The Letters Page: Editor's Note 38
The first live show of the year!
Run Time: 1:17:59
Here's the upcoming schedule!
- Tuesday, February 4th: Episode #134 Writer’s Room: Disparation vol. 1
- Tuesday, February 11th: Episode #135 Writer’s Room: an early Parse story
- Tuesday, February 18th: Editor’s Note #39
- Tuesday, February 25th: Episode #136 Creative Process: Naturalist supporting cast
(Mind you, this could all change if Adam has a baby.)
We talk about all manner of things in this one, including but not limited to:
- The SCRPG
- Animated Shows
- and more!
Also, we were asked a question about what Mr. Fixer was called by each of the characters that met him in the show.
- NightMist: “Harry”
- Setback: “Slim”
- Expatriette: “Fixer”
- Harpy: "Mr. Walker"
- Chairman: "Old Man"
We're here to help!
- Luminary/Baron Blade
- The Freedom Five
- Grand Warlord Voss
- Aeon Girl
- Iron Legacy
- Aeon Men
- Captain Cosmic
- Argent Adept
- Mr. Jitters
- Dark Watch
- Mr. Fixer
- Kid Cosmic
- Omnitron/Omnitron-X/Ronnie the Robot
- Greazer Clutch
- Kaargra Warfang
- Wager Master
- After the current slate of upcoming episodes, they want to put Disparation Writers Room stories on hiatus for at least a few months. They love doing them, but they’ve got a lot of main-continuity stuff out there to explore too.
- Because of the upcoming birth of Adam’s second kid, it’s possible that the schedule posted in the show notes may be disrupted. They might have a guest fill in for him for a while as well.
- Since Luminary drops a piece of the moon on OblivAeon, the moon is no longer in one piece; are there repercussions to that that going forward (disruption of the tides, some physical change to the moon in background shots, etc.)? Luminary only dropped something like a sky-scraper sized chunk on him. That’s not big enough to cause any of the problems you mention. [They do tease that “The moon does have some ch-ch-ch-changes coming up for it.”]
- So, the Freedom Five are surprised when Scion Voss shows up because they hadn’t seen him in ages, but if Luminary had been working with both Voss and the FF, wouldn’t he have told them who Tim Cosing was as part of the triple-cross planning? Did they not believe him? Was their surprise an act? He didn’t tell them who Tim Cosing was, although he probably should have. Sure, he’s working with the heroes, but it’s not like he’s completely reformed here and he’s going to keep some secrets because that’s part of who he is.
- Does being the offspring of OblivAeon give Aeon Girl the ability to spawn and absorb constructs (like OblivAeon did with Aeon Men)? What about something like OblivAeon Shards? What would happen if she got her hands on an OblivAeon Shard herself? She doesn’t have the outpouring of energy that OblivAeon had. She’s also not really the “offspring” of OblivAeon - she was made from some of his energy (so a portion of one part of what he was made of, contained/shaped through Infernal energy to make something new), but she’s her own being rather than being OblivAeon-lite or a Singular Entity or anything. What happens if she gets an OblivAeon Shard? Shenanigans. That would be interesting - but it could go any number of ways. Maybe nothing. Maybe it becomes an inert rock or disappears entirely. Maybe it’s a disaster/cosmic power explosion. It’s possible that there are people out there worried about what could happen and are trying their best to make sure she never gets one. There could also be an organization out there that’s desperately trying to get one to her to see what happens.
- In a previous Editors Note you talked about a destroyed timeline ceasing to exist throughout its history, but things done by people who had traveled outside of that timeline don’t have their actions erased - like, despite La Comodora destroying the Iron Legacy timeline, the events of the Iron Legacy event in the main continuity still happened; does that mean that an enterprising time-traveler with perfect control could scour the Multiverse for prior interactions with people from the Telenovelaverse and keep them from returning to their doomed home? Hypothetically, somebody who could travel between realities/timelines with perfect control could find and save some heroes from the Telenovelaverse. There is no such canonical character. Such a person could travel to the Iron Legacy event (not to the Iron Legacy timeline) and do some shenanigans to basically duplicate Iron Legacy to keep him around (basically, creating a reality split point such that he doesn’t return to his home reality and ultimately get erased along with it).
- You’ve said that Iron Legacy is basically the same as Legacy, only without any mental blocks subconsciously holding him back [they break in here: it’s also at least a little bit conscious - Iron Legacy is kind of like knowing that there’s an untapped “mother lifts a car off of her child” level of reserve strength there and resolving to tap into it. He knows that he’s capable of punching this hard and so chooses to punch that hard every time - no holding back.] - did they consider “saving” Iron Legacy from his timeline and having him involved in the OblivAeon fight? How would he have done vs. Oblivaeon? Against the Scions? Iron Legacy may have done a little better against OblivAeon than our Legacy does. He would have lacked the “let’s go, team!” aspect that, ultimately, is more useful in that fight than just punching harder alone would make up for. All of the Legacies are punching all-out against OblivAeon, even if they don’t have that complete defeat of their subconscious that Iron Legacy has that lets him punch harder than any other Legacy. Of course, that lets him punch at the level of Haka, who punches harder than the canonical Legacy. “Iron Legacy vs. a Scion is a mean fight for the Scion.” Adam: What if Iron Legacy was a Scion? Christopher: “Gross. Gross. Gross. … Gross.” They considered actually doing a 3 Legacies vs. Scion Iron Legacy fight, but ultimately cheapens the idea of OblivAeon as the ultimate villain if they’re just returning to the Iron Legacy thing. I mean, they’re already doing that with Voss, so this would be even more so. They did want to acknowledge Iron Legacy somewhere, though, which they did.
- Fanatic looks to have a lighter-than-usual skin tone in the Christmas issue cover art - am I imagining things? It’s a result of the era-appropriate color palette Adam was working from.
- You mentioned that in her first caper that Galactra tried to steal the moon - would this have made Baron Blade drop everything, build a space-dreadnought, and go after her? It wasn’t Earth’s moon, but what if she did… He would care, but not like “somebody else is trying to kill Legacy” care. Maybe a bit more if his current plot was one that involved the moon. However, “the moon is missing” is something that would probably negatively affect Mordengrad, so if he had the means he likely would try to get it back (or, more likely, he’d find a way to manipulate some heroes into going after her to get it back).
- Do we get an explanation of what other characters are doing during OblivAeon - for example, do we see a spread of a bunch of Aeon Men vs. Proletariat? We do get an explanation of most characters given the company-wide nature of the event. Christopher and Adam didn’t necessarily talk about everybody because of the time requirements. They don’t recall offhand if they talked about Proletariat (but Everyman was in there, so that’s something). [A very brief look at my notes for those episodes doesn’t turn up a reference to Proletariat’s actions at the time.] Biomancer wasn’t involved, but he also had a very clear “Going off to do his own thing.” exit beforehand. They start off saying that Proletariat was involved in some fights, but he didn’t really have any notable role, but then they consider where he is in the Starter Kit adventure and decide that he was strangely absent in the OblivAeon event, but then they answer the question of what he was up to immediately afterwards. They may need to consult some notes to see if there’s something important they’re forgetting about him, though.
- Will we get a new collector’s case since you couldn’t fit yours in your closet? Very funny. The box is less than a quarter of an inch too wide to fit into his game closet, so now it’s got a nice home on a coffee table.
- When Galactra offered to make Captain Cosmic her king to rule over the planet she just took over, was him rejecting her offer a nod to the fear of dealing with his responsibilities that we heard about in the Fall of the Prime Wardens episode? She didn’t offer to make him king, just asking him to stick around now that she was in charge - maybe see about that connection they both feel. It wasn’t intentionally setting up the Fall of Prime Wardens stuff (it was like 20 years before that story), but it was one of a number of events over the years that was taken into consideration when it was being written.
- Does CC ever actually make it to that dying star after it explodes or does he just give up and go home eventually? That’s a good question for a Writers Room.
- Given the RPG incorporates the meta-fiction of a character’s publication history on top of the in-setting aspects, how would you (as a GM or other player, not “how do the rules…”) handle an intentionally “Mary Sue”/writer’s pet character? Benchmark would almost qualify - he’s not a self-insert character as the classical definition would require, but he would have gotten accused of being one given that he was introduced to be the new guy who was the best at everything. If you want to try to make a character like that, you should talk to your GM and other players to make sure that everyone is on-board with this character concept being present in the game - they could see a more wacky game where everybody really leans into one of these more out-there archetypes for a short game. In terms of execution, how they would handle a Mary Sue is that whatever Twists arise from her actions are things that affect other characters, never her. On the other hand, if a player isn’t doing this intentionally because it’s funny, but is unironically creating a practically-perfect-in-every-way character that the original Mary Sue story was mocking, that’s more of a situation where you sit that player down outside of the game session and have a discussion about the social contract inherent in RPGs around spotlight-sharing and the possibility of failure. There is no story without conflict.
- What kind of age range do you envision is appropriate for the SCRPG [letter writer has children ages 9 and 7]? That should be fine - might require some hand-holding occasionally, but if you’ve got basic reading comprehension down it shouldn’t be too difficult, but even that could be gotten around if the GM is willing to explain things.
- Is there such a thing as a phoenix in Sentinel Comics? If so, what are they (a cryptid, mystical beast, etc.)? There is a phoenix. It probably has some specific purpose, but they don’t want to Creative Process it right now (and it’s not enough for a full episode of its own, so maybe they’ll do a “grab bag” episode at some point). It seems like an Argent Adept-adjacent thing (like NightMist’s book of monsters, or maybe a “supporting cast” or “rogues gallery” like Naturalist is getting and Wraith got).
- In re-listening to the Phobias episode it occurred to me to wonder if Mr. Jitters is related to the Spirit Island spirit Bringer of Dreams and Nightmares, given the explanation that the Nexus of the Void is a version of the island in Spirit Island? There is no connection between Mr. Jitters and Bringer of Dreams and Nightmares - it’s a fun fan-theory, though.
- For the 100th episode we were able to send in details from our home-games of the Starter Kit - for the 150th episode could we do an episode where we write in with our original creations using the RPG rules? Should that wait until the core book is actually out? That’s a neat idea - they would want to wait until after the book is out so that everyone can have a chance to see the rules (as opposed to only those who backed the Kickstarter) and because the text could still change up until that point. Additionally, there’s some legal legwork on that, though - if you share your original character and then they had created a similar character that hadn’t been made public yet, they don’t want to open themselves to any kind of Intellectual Property theft suit. So they need to cover their bases on that front before inviting such submissions. This is similar to how they made it a policy to not look at any fan-decks for SotM.
- It was mentioned in the Animated Universe, Phase 3 episode that it might be possible for the series to eventually reach the OblivAeon story and this prompted the question of how this would play out - we know that OblivAeon is a Singular Entity, and so only has one existence in the Multiverse and is only defeated once. That defeat is at the hands of the main continuity heroes, not the Animated Series versions of the heroes (who exist in-continuity since we were told they have cameos in the big all-hands fight), but it seems unlikely that the TV writers would want to sideline their heroes for the big story, so how was this handled? The easy answer is that while the comics recognize the existence of the animated shows (as existing somewhere in the Multiverse), the shows ignore the existence of the comics. The OblivAeon story would play out mostly straight, just substituting in the Animated heroes in place of the main comics continuity ones. They wouldn’t necessarily even get into what “Singular Entities” are in the cartoons, so he can just be some big, obvious cosmic danger and any time travel and alternate-reality stuff would be from the animated series’ perspective on such things. Hell, there were probably even comics that existed purely as tie-ins to and in continuity with the animated shows instead of the main comics line (either as a “Free Comic Book Day thing or occasional movie-release tie-ins - this sort of animated tie-in title has existed in reality for a number of properties). This gets down the rabbit hole a bit on whether stuff like a kid’s book that has Legacy learning to brush his teeth or something exists in its own universe or something because it’s not canonical. While Sentinel Comics has continuity control more than any "real" comics company does, you still have to make concessions for the necessities of putting out a product in a variety of media. There’s all sorts of merchandise (kid’s books, sticker books, action figures, etc.) that exist, but are outside the canon because you have to draw the line somewhere.
- Was the animated version of Glamour who showed up in Season 2 of The Freedom Five voiced by the same actress who voiced Shrieker back in the pilot? Did she suspect or have a contract that she would return in a later episode? Were there comparison sheets for the two characters so that the animators would draw them with similar proportions? It was the same actress, but it wasn’t acknowledged that it was the same character. In terms of model sheets, most characters look pretty similar in animated shows. There would be a basic male and basic female builds that would have some variations/outliers (Haka is huge), but for the most part they’re all on a template for ease of animation.
- Similarly, did the actress for Matriarch know that she would be back for Dark Watch in a year? Any differences between her (or other characters like Mr. Fixer’s) appearances in the two shows? Also, everyone in Dark Watch calls Mr. Fixer something different, what do Harpy and Chairman Pike call him? [On this last one, they couldn’t remember offhand, but have put it in the show notes - we knew that NightMist called him Harry, Setback called him Slim, and Expatriette called him Fixer. They now tell us that Harpy calls him Mr. Walker and the Chairman calls him Old Man.] The actress for Matriarch would have been hired to voice the character, so they come back to her when the DW show spins off. Generally the actors are the last to know in this whole process and are usually up for the work. There were a lot of differences in character appearance between the shows because they had radically different animation styles.
- When Ra showed up in Freedom Five needing help dealing with Atum and then later we had the Ennead story in Prime Wardens, did the earlier episode get referred to in the later one? When did those episodes air? Ra wouldn’t have mentioned it in the later episode. The air dates should have been in those episodes… [The Atum story was Freedom Five season 2 episode 7 “God of the Sun” which aired November 3, 2009. The Ennead story was in Prime Wardens season 1 episodes 9 and 10, the “War” two-parter. Those aired March 4 and 11, 2010.]
- In the Expatriette episode from season 1 of Freedom Five we see both K.N.Y.F.E. and Naturalist, but then we see Paige Huntley in a season 2 episode and Naturalist’s origin in season 2 of Prime Wardens - what’s the deal? The early appearance were meant mainly as cameos/Easter eggs, before they counted on additional season orders and actually wanting to use those characters. Just pretend that they didn’t appear in the early episode. The animated show doesn’t have the same level of continuity monitoring as the comics did.
- How is the teen hero team/show in Phase 3 spelled? Neo-fighters.
- Does Kid Cosmic ever show up in the comics proper (like Unity transitioned from a cartoon to the main continuity - he could fit in with a team like Daybreak or something)? He hasn’t shown up in comics yet. There’s potentially space for him down the line, but nothing yet.
- Any other tidbits you can share about them on the air? No, sorry.
- You said that Kid Cosmic gets a Cosmic Cuff that he wears on his wrist, can turn into a suit of armor, and calls him Chosen or Champion - is this related to the amulets of the Knights of the Order Cosmic (from the first season of RPG livestreams)? They could be retconned to be related, but they’re definitely different. If the comics were to do an interpretation of Kid Cosmic, that could be seen as the obvious route to go with him, though.
- How would you envision an adult Kid Cosmic looking/acting/interacting with other heroes? That would really depend on what happened to him in the intervening years, as it does for literally everybody. They can think of everything from villain to anti-hero to paragon hero.
- How many legs does Ronnie the Robot have in his collection? 26 (for now, he’s always adding more).
- What sort of housing does Ronnie live in? What does his furniture look like? A big charging station/room. He’s got a variety of furniture because what he uses can depend on what legs he’s currently using. Lots of computers/upgrade stations.
- Was Kid Cosmic ever brought into the comics? Was the Neo-fighters name ever used in comics (for this group or otherwise)? No on Kid Cosmic, as mentioned. No on Neo-fighters as well, and that’s not likely to come up. While the unique character of Kid Cosmic might make a transition eventually, it’s highly unlikely that there would be a Neo-fighters comic beyond maybe those cartoon tie-in things mentioned earlier. A pie-in-the-sky desire for the RPG is, after all of the more straightforward books they have on-deck, they would want to do sourcebooks for more out-there genres like Golden Age characters/adventures and another is stuff set in the Animated Universe.
- The current RPG campaign deals with time travel shenanigans, how does that work with the locked-away nature of Universe 1? Is is just going to be ruled as outside of the comics canon? A few things: the game is traveling strictly within that reality and the method of time travel is also much different from what we’ve mostly seen in the Shattered Timelines period. It’s like somebody has created a loop of thread that people are following, so you’re setting up a distinct snapshot of time that they’re going around in. As with the earlier season, this is likely to mostly wind up as canon as well in the same way the Visitors story was - it would need some massaging to get it into the appropriate shape, but it’s mostly there already.
- Fashion’s appearance in the animated series was an Easter egg, but does she also show up in the Bloodsworn Colosseum? No, the gladiators in the animated show are all clearly aliens.
- How long does it take for Adam to draw a cover for a Writers Room? Depends on the cover, generally between 2 and 6 hours depending on how much he needs to do to make it era-appropriate. He streams the process over on his Twitch channel on Sunday mornings (now that he’s not doing the covers for his Saturday RPG campaign anymore).
- Could any descendant of Bast take on that mantle? No, it would take somebody who’s had the power passed down in the right way (which you can see in that Cleo was “attuned” to cats). Additionally, it would require that the power be “awakened” like what Thoth did for her.
- Any timeline on the release of the History of Sentinel Comics book (I’ve got a coffee table in need of a coffee table book)? They hope sometime this year, but they can’t make promises. The fact that they keep creating new stuff that happened in the time period the book covers kind of makes the writing process a pain for those guys.
- [Dirge writes in to answer the question of whether there are people who listen to the podcast without knowing what the episodes are about - they’re one such person. They save them up to listen to in batches during long drives.]
- On the 2019 Recapsode you said that all of the major characters’ parents had babies, but I think you’ve forgotten about some edge cases that might need clarification:
- Would the original programmers working on the Omnitron project have thought of it as “their baby”? Would later Omnitrons be the “babies” of the prior ones? Christopher: Adam, would you consider Sentinels of the Multiverse to be our “baby”? Adam: “Yes.” [Plus additional goofs regarding being in labor for 16 hours, etc.] For the later iterations of Omnitron, there’s a certain point of view where you could say that they’re the “baby” of the previous version.
- The little girl that wound up being the host for Fanatic certainly had parents, but can you really say that Fanatic has parents? Are Host spirits created by other Host spirits in a kind of parent/child role? No on that latter question. Sure, the child had parents and Fanatic is very different from that child, but that’s true of any adult. They also spitball the idea of there being a story somewhere in the publication history that’s like “Could these be Fanatic’s parents?!?” Of course it’s not (or it was until somebody 6 months later decided that no, of course not).
- Charles Clarke certainly had parents, but what of John Rhodes, the Scholar, after his existence was erased? He had parents. They don’t remember having a child, but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t.
- Regarding the “who doesn’t look good in sunglasses” discussion, what about Greazer Clutch? You’d think that this hep cat would look good, but he just wouldn’t because his lack of a nose would cause them to just flop down on his face, making him look rather dorky, wouldn’t it? He has something of a nasal ridge. The foil art for his incapacitated side actually has him with sunglasses. Even then, there are wrap-around styles that could be made to stay up without a nose.
- How would Omnitron/Omnitron-X even wear sunglasses? You just put another lens in front of the red “eye” - you can even have it glowing from behind it, which is just cool.
- Kaargra could look good in some mirrored aviators, looking like an old-school prison warden, right? They disagree. Her intensity is a big part of her personality and the sunglasses would just get in the way/give her a different vibe. Christopher thinks she might look cool in the sunglasses, but less cool than she already is, is their point. Adam doesn’t think it works in the first place.
- You said that the Void defies attempts at food metaphors, but what then of Void Jelly? What have I been spreading on my bagels and PB&J sandwiches? Different contexts. They often talk about it in terms of either it existing in itself, not within a larger metaphor or when Void seeps into reality and starts behaving differently. [Regarding that first point, the “it doesn’t make sense” food analogy thing was also within the context of Ur-Space, which added a wrinkle to the proceedings on top of just the Void/Reality interplay when trying to make a metaphor.]
- Who is Wager Master’s parent? Mr. and Mrs. Master - of course, these are just things he conjures up for the joke (like copying himself). They also love the fact that this opens up “Call me Wager; Mr. Master is my father.” as a possible actual line he says at some point.
- What is Ammit doing in the Inversiverse? Nobody trusts it and they think it’s up to no good, but it’s genuinely trying to do good/helpful stuff.
- [They get two birthday notifications in the chat. In honor of that and the fact that this episode was recorded on the 3rd anniversary of the podcast the songs they sing at 1:13:58 are the “Letters” song and the SotM theme.]