The Letters Page: Editor's Note 22
An Editor's Note for between the two OblivAeon episodes!
Run Time: 1:01:10
We answer questions NOT about the OblivAeon episodes! However, we will be talking about those in the next Editor's Note!
IMPORTANT NOTE! The morning that this episode is released, we'll be doing a live recording of a "create a story live" episode! It's happening, today, September 20th at 11 AM Central! The live showing will be viewable by everyone on the Patreon! Come join in!
Here's the upcoming schedule:
- Tuesday, October 2nd: Episode #85: Create a Story Live! (Recording today!)
- Tuesday, October 9th: Episode #86: Story Arc: Burying the Blade
- Tuesday, October 16th: Episode #87: SCAUniverse, Phase Two (Part 2)
- Thursday, October 18th: Extrasode #7: Casting the Voices of Sentinel Comics
- Tuesday, October 23rd: Episode #88: The Art and Mechanics of Incapacitation
- Thursday, October 25th: Editor’s Note #23
- Tuesday, October 30th: Episode #89: Something Wicked… (Halloween Special)
And [here's the customary photo of next month's release calendar](https://ssl-static.libsyn.com/p/assets/a/2/0/8/a2084fd7e8a1a41f/n22_schedule.jpg):
The bulk of the questions section of this episode is spent on various topics from the Vertex line of Sentinel Comics, but after that, we also go on to talk about a few other things, including:
- When Sentinel Comics stories happen in the "real world"
- "Super ultra kawaii" manga comics?
- And even some thanks!
We hope you can join us at 11 AM, Central today for our live "create something" episode recording! And look forward to part 2 of the OblivAeon story next Tuesday!
- Emily Parsons
- K.N.Y.F.E. and P.R.I.S.M.
- Dr. Medico
- Argent Adept
- Mr. Fixer
- Captain Cosmic
- Wager Master
- Sergeant Steel
- Jansa Vi Dero
- Count Barzakh
- Kaargra Warfang
- Baron Blade
- Black Frost
- Wind Walker
- Catastrophe and Verge
- Grand Warlord Voss
- Vertex was created by some “superstar” writers from the ’80s and ’90s - do you have fake people names made up for these people? [They start off with several silly fake names for people, as opposed to names for fake people.] They do have names for these people, but that’s content for a book [presumably the History of Sentinel Comics thing they’ve talked about a bunch].
- Did the Vertex people have an actual plan for what the eventual fallout of people collecting/using Oblivion Shards would be? Yes, and things were leading to it, but because of all of the falling-apart around the publishing end of things they didn’t reach that conclusion. Parts of it were there for use by the Prime War writers. In a real-world sense, there were plans for the setting of the games - some of which are repurposed in Prime War and some for the RPG, and some for other things entirely.
- How does the Vertex setting’s stance on negative public opinion/government crackdown on supers wind up affecting Senator Emily Parsons’ career given her familial relationship to Legacy and Beacon? For her career’s sake, she has to publicly disavow her family’s actions - “the family is estranged” and whatnot while her husband and daughter are on the lam. Readers don’t like this situation.
- You said that the Vertex line has more sex in it - any especially cringe-worthy, abusive, or crack pairing relationships? One thing that never actually happened but only because the line ended before it got to that point, was a Legacy/Wraith affair. That’s the kind of thing that was going on, but they don’t really want to get into the specifics. Early on in the books they basically just took existing relationships and made things more overt - pushing the envelope of what they could get away with actually putting on the page. Later on, they went the more sensational route with the dumb pairings to boost sales.
- So, in the Mist Storm Universe, K.N.Y.F.E. dies in an encounter that she survived in the main line of comics, Dr. Medico is killed to bring back GloomWeaver, and Tachyon’s death is focused on what she did wrong - what’s with the troubling fates of all of the LGBTQ characters [well, Tempest and Argent Adept aren’t dead yet]? Was this intentional as something the ’80s and ’90s writers screwed up badly/were they called out on this? First things first, this was not an intentional thing done by Adam and Christopher. They don’t think the writers did it intentionally either - this was a case of characters leaving themselves vulnerable in some way and the writers were looking for any vulnerability to exploit. Part of it is also that the two most notable LGBTQ characters, Dr. Medico and Tachyon, are kind of overpowered and removing them from the playing field makes everybody else more vulnerable too. Their power sets are useful enough to “solve an unsolvable problem”. Additionally, both of them were really messed up in the OblivAeon event and the Vertex crew thought that their return to “normal” afterwards was too easy.
- POC characters don’t fare much better: Naturalist becomes Chimera, Mr. Fixer is closer to his Blaxploitation iteration, Parse becomes one of the characters responsible for the end of the world. Then there’s the female villain sacrificing herself for the male hero she loves [[[Galactra]] and Captain Cosmic] or the shadow-based hero [[[Writhe]]] becoming a villain. Is this still all intentional? Well, Writhe isn’t a POC, but fair enough with the whole “he’s literally black in pigment” thing. The thing with Fixer is more that he’s about the martial arts like Black Fist was, but without the Blaxploitation elements in character. While becoming Chimera isn’t pleasant for Naturalist, that’s actually one of the better/cooler stories out of this whole thing and they go in some interesting directions with him. Singling Parse out is also kind of unfair as most characters fall into that category in this setting. That’s kind of the point of Haka’s reaction when he emerges from the Mist Storm and sees the mess everybody’s made.
- So, if Ur-Space is outside space and time, can the Prime Aspects pull more characters from the Mist Storm Universe (like, Man-Grove seemed to be making some good progress and it’s a shame if it was lost with everything else)? Sorry, this Man-Grove was not one saved from that universe. Could the Prime Aspects have saved Man-Grove? Yes, but they didn’t.
- Can they go back to “before” the OblivAeon event or is that kind of a border that they can’t cross? Hypothetically, they could, but one thing that the Prime Aspects don’t do is mess with the timeline. Even Wager Master doesn’t want to pull that trigger. Whenever we see timeline shenanigans being pulled, it’s generally people, not Prime Aspects/Singular Entities (with the massively notable exception of OblivAeon [well, and Wellspring from what we were told about the origins of the Parsons family]).
- So, Prime Aspects can get to multiple realities even after OblivAeon’s defeat shuts that down due to their presence in Ur-Space, but not all of them are “Singular Entity” powerful - so how powerful are they/how does this all work? OblivAeon’s defeat “shutting it down” isn’t exactly the best way to put it, but we’ll get to that in the next few episodes. The Prime Aspects can reach into other realities from Ur-Space, but not the Sentinel Comics Universe [and they call it “Universe 1” which hints at the reality numbering system mentioned in a prior episode).
- In the Prime War era, why do the Wardens have 4 members when the other teams only have 3 each? All of these teams actually have many more members than those that were stated, but the named ones are the ones that make it into the Prime War game (as of the base game and the initial expansion). They have more planned for further possible expansions and whatnot, but for now just focus on the ones that will be available.
- How similar is P.R.I.S.M. to the K.N.Y.F.E. we all know and love? She wasn’t a soldier/Royal Marine, but an activist (in the extremist sense, so still a fighter in her own way). She’s still willing to get into a fight when necessary, but not the barroom brawl style that K.N.Y.F.E. was. Rather, she’ll take a principled stand on something and fight for it. K.N.Y.F.E. likes fighting in itself and will let a fight go on. P.R.I.S.M. is looking to win the fight, on her terms.
- What’s her relationship with Parse like? How about the relationship between G.L.A.S.S. and F.I.L.T.E.R./Sergeant Steel or the agents of A.C.R.O.N.Y.M. [a callback to a joke in episode 22]? Sergeant Steel and the Steel Squadron aren’t affiliated with G.L.A.S.S. at all. She and Parse don’t have much of a relationship - Parse had been around as a hero for forever, but Paige hadn’t been. Parse is also in the group’s public-facing administration section and needs to keep her hands clean, which limits the amount of contact they could have in general.
- Is Tempest taking in just oppressed supers on Plavu’Col or oppressed people in general? Was he still in contact with the Maerynians who left? Just how close to Citizen Storm are we getting here? He’s willing to take in anybody who wants to come and work the land/feed the world, powers or not. He doesn’t have contact with Maerynians - that was brought up when they left that they weren’t likely to keep in touch and that he should come with, but he turns them down to stay here. He’s not really like Citizen Storm as he’s not looking to “lead” - he’s interested in creating this place and is in charge of it because he’s the one who can make it happen, but he’s not trying to create an army like Citizen Storm was.
- It looks like Jansa’s team is the most overpowered, do the other Prime Aspects give her grief over this? It’s hard to say that any of the teams are really “overpowered” as they all have their own things going.
- We hear of the badness that happens to Dr. Medico and Writhe, but what happens to Mainstay and Idealist in Vertex? The good news is that they just forgot to actually talk about them, so thanks for asking! The bad news is that they were the ones trying to help Writhe out with his whole Voidsoul/villain turn thing and wound up being his first two victims.
- “Count Barzakh” sounds like a callback to the even-shadier-than-usual wing of Pike Industries that created Spite, is Count Barzakh meant to be a version of the Chairman or of Spite? He’s an ancient evil sorcerer who will be talked about more in the future (now is not the time), but he was somehow related to the creation of/inspiration for the Barzakh Wing. The one we see in Prime War is an alternate reality version of him (from the Supply & Demand Benchmark reality).
- Kaargra Warfang wasn’t really mentioned, is she still around causing a ruckus? How does she feel about Sky-Scraper being the new Bloodsworn Champion? Kaargra and a bunch of the gladiators show up here and there as one-off foes (largely in the Captain Cosmic stuff), but aren’t really notable. They also mention something they talk about in one of the OblivAeon episodes being relevant [this could be a reference to the destruction of the Colosseum negatively impacting their power that they mentioned in Part 1, which could explain their status as jobbers now, but it might be something covered in the next one].
- Baron Blade poses as if he’s framed by a Blade-bot and leverages this into a place on the security council, but that he had a deeper scheme - I didn’t catch what that scheme actually was, though? What was it/did he pull it off before the setting got destroyed? Blade’s plot was to take over the world through political means rather than brute-forcing it. He’s definitely feeding into the distrust of super-powered people worldwide.
- How exactly is Black Frost an agent of Preservation? He joined up with Legacy of Destruction as a place of strength for him to operate from. His thing, as cheesy as it sounds, is that he wants everything to remain frozen just as they are, which is a pretty “preservation” outlook.
- Not a question, but looking forward to learning more about Wind Walker (who seems to be something like a Native American, animist time-traveler)! They do confirm in response to this that she’s Native American and an alternate version of Chrono-Ranger [like Chronoist]. More on her in the future.
- Has anyone turned down a Prime Aspect on being picked for a team? [*sigh* Ok, in the chatter before answering they specify here that in the Mist Storm Universe, these powerful things that people are collecting are Oblivion Shards, but the one that shows up in the card game is an OblivAeon shard… I’m sure that won’t drive me nuts trying to track down all the times I’ve called the former by the latter name in all of these things.] There actually is a fair amount of fighting against the control that the Prime Aspects have over the characters, and that takes multiple forms. It’s tough to really refuse, though - if you were to jump off a cliff rather than being a “slave” to one of these things, being powerful outside-reality things they could just blip you back to the top of the cliff. A lot of the Prime War/Disparation stories are about people trying to maintain their heroism/personal identity while being forced to follow the will of their Prime Aspects.
- Can you tell us/are you willing to tell us what’s preventing the Prime Aspects from interfering in the Sentinel Comics Universe? Sorry, no. They’ll talk about it in the next few episodes, though.
- So, we never got to actually see Catastrophe and Verge who were slated for a Sentinel Tactics expansion that never happened; did they show up in Vertex or have you repurposed them? All of the ST things showed up in Vertex (and those two in particular only show up there as their origin is connected to the Broken City stuff). If you’re wanting to know if they will show up in Prime War/Disparation or other stuff, only time will tell. At the very least they’re not there in the beginning. As a general rule, as long as it’s not something they’ve specifically called out as having not happened/not being possible it’s not off the table. They do say here that most things from Vertex don’t get picked up later.
- Is there any point in Vertex where they acknowledge the existence of the Sentinel Comics Universe (like, do Headlong or Muse show up as cameos or something)? There are a few cameos - Muse is around for Man-Grove’s story in particular. But they’re uni-directional - like G.L.A.S.S. might take on a mission and open up a cell somewhere that had Headlong and Rockstar in it, but the Sentinel Comics Universe doesn’t ever make reference to characters/concepts unique to Vertex.
- Since Expatriette seems more concerned about money, why does she keep working with Dark Watch? They’re still the people she cares about - she and Setback have remained a team the whole time and are very much involved in the whole “saving Rook City” thing.
- We’ve been told that the Sentinel Tactics characters will get updated panels for use in Prime War - will there be story reasons for these updates/which Prime Aspects they’re associated with? It’s complicated. Most of these specific characters don’t fit into the Prime War story, but there will be various explanations given for what’s going on. Bear with us.
- Why do the Vertex writers avoid having Haka around? Was there some bias against the character or something that happened in the main line of comics to suggest that he not be present? Editorial mandate. We are doing this thing with Arataki as the current Haka and that’s the one we’re going to have around. His eventual return is a case of a comic book “return from the dead” event as our Haka was to be treated as such up until he no longer was. Haka was, in a lot of ways, the “heart” of Sentinel Comics throughout its history and, while she’s a very different character, Arataki actually does a pretty good job of filling the role of “Haka” even if she’s not operating in that exact same “heart” capacity due to their differences in characterization.
- With Prime War ending the Vertex line, did the other two books still being published at that time get final send-off issues? No, they end rather unceremoniously just as the other cancelled books were (although with a note in the last issue pointing readers to Prime War). While Prime War wasn’t able to actually wrap up all the dangling threads, it does acknowledge that there were unfinished stories, but that it was the ending you were getting.
- How far forward does your plan of the publishing meta-verse extend? What kind of stories are being published right now? You’ve caught on that OblivAeon happens in 2016 with the wrap-up and relaunch stuff happening in 2017 and Vertex happening a few years later, and so haven’t actually started publishing yet. It starts “getting messy” but they pitch that Vertex starts like 7 years from now [so around 2025, but they don’t want you to hold them to that]. Most stuff that they made up was “in the past” but other things happened around the time when they created them or have since happened since they created them. Part of that last bit was that when they then picked an actual start date and worked through the math they realized just how far forward the numbering had to push the dates - they initially had intended for OblivAeon to have happened by the end of 2009 into 2010. Because of when OblivAeon actually happened and when that means that Vertex happens, right now the stuff being published by Sentinel Comics are the RPG materials (well, not the RPG materials that we’ve seen so far - the Starter Kit and “Stolen Legacy” stories were from 2017). They plan on keeping pace with the RPG - that the stuff being published for the RPG will come out somewhere between a year “ahead” of the meta-verse or at the same time as it.
- Were there ever any super-pets in Sentinel Comics? Do any heroes/villains have regular pets? We’ve heard about Spangle, the Parsons family dog, as well as the dog that was Tempest’s friend. Neither of those were “super-pets”, though, but there definitely were some of those. They don’t want to take the time now to brainstorm what they would be, but maybe in the future. Guise has a cat, though.
- What kind of cultural impact did Sentinel Comics have overseas? Is there a “Super Ultra Kawaii” universe? There is a manga-verse. There are different international markets and things can get rewritten for those markets. They do pretty well in Japan (see the various video game adaptations) - for example there’s a Japanese Setback comic, but it’s more of a high-school comedy of errors sort of thing rather than a superhero comic.
- Not a question, but thanks for everything you guys have done with this stuff. Looking forward to Adam’s RPG campaign and the type of character that Christopher will make. You’re welcome. They get a lot of these types of letters and while they don’t read them on air, they do read them and appreciate them. Adam will say regarding his RPG that he wants it to focus more on the street-level.
- Has Christopher’s brother Anthony (who wrote/performed the “Reading letters to you” song) heard Jean-Marc’s remix from this year’s Gen Con episode? Christopher doesn’t think so - Anthony doesn’t really engage with this stuff, but they should probably show it to him.
- What is Voss doing in the inverted universe? They’ll get to that (hinting that it’s something relevant to the Inverted Prime Wardens topic).
- Just how long in-universe have the heroes been doing their hero things? It’s all very hand-wavy. We get a lot of vague guidelines like “Bunker served in whatever the most recent war was.” Legacy has been Legacy since his early 20s and is in his 40s/early 50s at the end of the Multiverse/beginning of the RPG stuff. But there’s still weird age things like Legacy and his daughter seemingly undergoing random age “jumps” where they’re all of a sudden depicted as older than they had been while Wraith started out in the same rough age as Legacy (late teens vs. early 20s) and is now depicted as being “barely 30” by the RPG time. Wraith tends to be perennially a “young” hero because as physical as she is as a hero, she’s unpowered and so needs to be younger to believably keep up. The sliding scale affects different characters differently. It’s likely that Heritage won’t visibly age again unless there’s a big time jump involved.
- In the Guise episode, it was mentioned that he kept his old job after gaining powers - what do his coworkers think of him now? Where did he get the “Guise” name? The joke of his name is that “I’m in disguise”. Any dumb joke you can make about the name and how it sounds has been made. When he goes back to the photographer job and hands in what he’s got they’re mostly unusable (“These are mostly selfies.” “Consider them head shots. I can autograph them if you want.”).
- Does Omnitron-X have any plans to make an Omnitron-XI? No, but Omnitron-X also died in the Multiverse era and became Omnitron-U, which will have subsequent iterations. More to come in the upcoming episodes.