The Letters Page: Editor's Note 71
We were live again! And we reveal so much!
Run Time: 1:22:05
Some introductions, but then, a DOUBLE SCHEDULE?! You better believe it!
- Tuesday, October 3rd: Episode #262: Robert Johnson vs the Headless Horseman
- Tuesday, October 10th: Episode #263: General Geist Returns
- Tuesday, October 17th: Episode #264: Werewolf Haka
- Tuesday, October 24th: Editor’s Note #72
- Tuesday, October 31st: Episode #265: Guise fights the Draculas
- Tuesday, November 7th: Episode #266: GloomWeaver vs. Æternus
- Tuesday, November 14th: Episode #267: Prime Wardens in the Egyptian Underworld
- Tuesday, November 21st: Editor’s Note #73
- Tuesday, November 28th: Episode #268: Grimm: Lord of the Harvest
Now you know ALL about the spooky months! A wild time shall be had! Get your letters in on all these topics ASAPP (As Soon As Possible Please)!
We answer a bunch of questions, both from letters and from the live chat. Do you wish you were there? You could be next time! Join us on The Letters Page Patreon!
See you next week for The Death of Sk8blayd!
- As the Adhesivist can create increasingly-sticky glues, is it possible for him to create one that can stick realities back together? Could he repair the Shattering of the Timelines? Could he hold an otherwise doomed reality together by throwing some glue globes through an appropriate dimensional rift? Could this have thwarted OblivAeon? No. But it’s funny to think about. There’s probably a non-canonical book that Sentinel Comics puts out that’s like MAD magazine where writers/artists are allowed to be goofy like this and this could definitely have happened there.
- Regarding Nixious the Chosen: in what comic was his backstory told? Was he involved in any fights outside of the OblivAeon event proper? It probably happened in either Cosmic Tales or Tome of the Bizarre after the Grimm story wrapped up. It’s weird “cult stuff” so TotB is appropriate, but it’s also “weird space stuff” which fits into CT. Christopher suggests just putting it in an issue now, but Adam wants to have a longer conversation about where that and other non-OblivAeon appearances happen off the air.
- Is Nixious stronger at magic than NightMist before she opened the gates? Where does he rank among magic users? Nixious has more raw magical power, but she has more talent and knowledge. The thing is that NightMist is much more concerned about mitigating the costs of magic, to the point that she’s significantly limiting herself in most situations. Nixious don’t care. He is more dangerous because he doesn’t care about consequences occurring, but he is not a type of “master” of magic in the way that NightMist or even Argent Adept are, but he knows enough to just pull on some strings to get stuff to happen.
- Nixious’ backstory talked about a bunch of OblivAeon cults all across the universe - was there one on Earth? There probably wasn’t one before the OblivAeon event.
- What was Inversiverse Nixious like? A cheerful fella. He’s the leader of a group of all-still-living ragtag fighters who oppose OblivAeon. There’s probably also a kind of “hippy church” thing going on.
- Regarding the idea of a Singular Entity being replaced and then encountering their replacement prompts a question: could there be a Singular Entity who’s primary physical manifestation is multiple bodies (say the entity of Duality, or of Discussion)? They don’t have any in mind, but they don’t see why there couldn’t be one who is still a singular being/consciousness who manifests as a group or swarm or something.
- [A long letter starting at around 20:30 is from Ansel G. Moreau so we are graced with more of Adam’s French accent:] Why did you specifically need to call out that Ambuscade didn’t use the name “Ansel G. Moreau” or talk about doing all his own stunts (clearly Ansel is a movie star and Ambuscade is a villain)? Because of the confusion that some people have that they might be the same person because they’re both so epic. They’re just clearing the air for those people.
- In the fight against the Prime Wardens, why did Ambuscade choose to go shirtless? Just showing off his physique? To show that he “had nothing up his sleeve”? He was showing that he was using no gear, no tech, no tricks.
- Did he choose the Prime Wardens because Haka was on the team? Because he could tell they were a less cohesive team than the Freedom Five or Dark Watch? What kind of chance would he have against a team like Dark Watch? The jumping off point is obviously the Haka connection, but each of these heroes is a powerhouse that showcases Ambuscade’s skill and maximizes his glory for defeating them. Defeating Haka is probably at least as difficult as defeating Dark Watch, but Ambuscade would probably have a harder time with them or the Freedom Five (he’d get the upper hand, but the heroes would rally and then win - unless the opposite is the exact story being told).
- We know this was Tempersonation - would the real Tempest have been able to turn the tables on Ambuscade? Well, as far as the writer of that issue was concerned that was Tempest. Their powers and skill sets are comparable enough that it probably wouldn’t have made a difference.
- [This letter also results in the workshopping of a stunt from a Night Hunter movie and a tactical planning thing from a non-Night Hunter movie which they decide is Checkmate which unsurprisingly involves Ansel’s character doing chess-related stuff - it’s his least-action-oriented role, but still a good character piece.]
- So, what was the Mocktriarch event doing in the poll? Did that happen twice? This was a reverse-Busybody situation where they forgot that they’d already done that one.
- Is Ambuscade in Super Smash Bros? Absolutely.
- Is the world Haze came from a potential visit for the the post-vertex Disparation books (I know that area of the multiverse is likely not up for storytelling any time soon, but a world that has lost two Wraiths seems like a pretty interesting if depressing place to see)? Sure. That’s up to you.
- So, is 666 the hellverse? And regardless, what exactly is that? Yes. It’s a reality where Æternus won and took over everything.
- What would happen if Oblivaeon, or any other Singular Entity, got a hold of the Sliver of Creation? They don’t know that it would change a lot for Singular Entities. There are certainly other foes that might want to do similar things and it would help them (that’s why La Capitan having it/doing a thing made her much more dangerous).
- Oh, wait, Nixious is snakes, isn’t he? Does he fight Ra? Nixious is like Giger snakes where they’re “organic metal” kinds of things that are also slimey. Ra would definitely fight him, but they don’t know offhand that they met.
- Happy 6th anniversary of the Southwest Sentinels episode on the day this releases! A question about them - since we know they were not part of the Vengeance event… when did the Crackjaw Crew showdown happen? And since Wager Master isn’t busy with those guys, what is he doing during Vengeance? Wager Master was off doing stuff elsewhere during Vengeance and wasn’t involved. They put the Crackjaw Crew’s first story in Southwest Sentinels #10-12 (they get powers from Wager Master, are a threat to the Southwest Sentinels, and are defeated by the Southwest Sentinels and have to play at Wager Master’s birthday party “forever”). Given that their story is tied into the Southwest Sentinels stuff, this is probably also their first appearance in comics generally.
- Is there a Dirt Hightower native to Universe 1 and if so, what does he do? Just gardening? He wouldn’t have such an XTREME name. Let’s say he’s Derek Hightower and he is a gardener, but is just a guy.
- Can you please quickly summarize the plots of the Night Hunter movies? The first one is a thing where there’s some Unabomber-type terrorist guy out in a forest outside the city. Authorities call up Ansel’s character out of retirement to go out into the forest to take care of this situation. There’s a cat and mouse thing between the Night Hunter and this ex-Special Forces guy out in the woods. The first one is a pretty tight 90s minutes and was a decent character study. From there they get more and more ridiculous. Finding an excuse for there to be another terrorist doing something in a new place. The action gets dumber. The plots get thinner. Night Hunter 4 absolutely jumps the shark. Y’know, during the big shark fight scene.
- [Referencing a thing from early in the recording where people were posting werewolf memes after they mentioned that the Werewolf Haka story got through the voting and Adam telling a story about him having a mousepad with this image on it.] So… space wolves, huh? Are there any stories involving werewolves going to space? If they traveled to a different planet, would their lycanthropy become tied to the cycle of this new planet’s moon? What if there were multiple moons? What about no moons? What if they ended up on the moon? Those sound like good questions to ask for the Werewolf Haka episode.
- How good is Ambuscade at tennis (and cart racing, parties, etc but mostly tennis)? He’s a good driver so he’s good at cart racing. He’s probably pretty good at tennis. He’s excellent at parties.
- Since Captain Clawsmic is a cat, does he feel an urge to pounce on the bright glowing constructs he makes? [laughs] Yeah. He gets defeated by a laser pointer.
- So the most prominent cities where things happen in the comics are the fictional Megalopolis, Rook City, and San Alonso, but the Southwest Sentinels are in Phoenix - why do they get a real city? Their book is meant to be the most “you don’t need to know anything about other comics” as it could possibly be and so got set in a real city. However, it’s worth noting that the fictional locations of Sentinel Comics (and there are more than just these three, they’re just the most prominent) are just superimposed over the real world’s geography and real cities like New York and Los Angeles still exist in that world. Part of the reasoning for using the fictional cities is down to the writers destroying large parts of them with some regularity.
- What year is the Freedom Academy created? 2017 - the post-OblivAeon relaunch with all #1 issues is a reset point that is meant to be “these are happening right now.” Things probably spiral out of control eventually, but it’s meant to be “modern day” and a specific readjustment/starting point for the sliding timescale.
- Why do some Inversiverse characters also get gender-swapped? Why those particular characters and not others? Is that the only alternate reality where this happens? There are other universes with gender swaps. They way they chose which characters is the same process as from the Metaverse - as they tell a story and have to come up with the new version of whatever characters are involved, it occurs to them that swapping genders is good for that particular stories. Nobody just sat down and workshopped names and character traits for everyone in the Inversiverse at one go. It happened organically over time and there is no real rhyme or reason to it.
- Are there any specific Sentinel Comics pseudo-swears (e.g. Battlestar Galactica and “frak”)? Any specific to space properties in particular? Or used by particular writers? There are a number of made up “clearly being used as a swear” things over the years. Some are more successful than others (many fail in that it’s hard to envision a person saying them aloud). They don’t know that there’s something as ubiquitous as the “frak” example in the BSG show.
- In the last Editor’s Note you said that the Prime Wardens never go to a carnival - does Madame Mittermeier’s Fantastical Festival of Conundrums and Curiosities not count? They definitely go there - what they meant was more of a “normal” carnival.
- [Jeysie writes in that folk song character Lilly the Pink is definitely villain material - possibly a Scholar foe. The guys will listen to it later.]
- So, if every card game is canonical somewhere in the Multiverse, does that mean that there’s some universe out there where the Wraith throws knives at a teenage goth girl who’s clearly going through some stuff and that Bunker shoots the Omnicannon at Organization thugs? Yup. In at least one reality.
- What can you tell us about MatriMark [to review: Mark (and to do this properly you have to say his name just dripping with disdain) is the Inversiverse version of Matthew who dated Matriarch - he’s just a total scumbag with frosted tips and everything]? To make stuff up on the spot, he’s a very bad influence. Like, he tries to get her to smoke and drink out behind the convenience store. It’s not even villain stuff, just general “peer pressure” bad stuff.
- I am back once again after giving you guys time off from finding the answer to this one because of Gen Con (and definitely not because I accidentally slept through the live stream time) I would like to know when Sentinel comics dropped the comics code entirely from their books? Uh… they still haven’t looked it up. Christopher is writing it down. He’s also in the process of a heavy editing pass on The History of Sentinel Comics and it’s definitely in there, so they’ll get it eventually. Sorry!
- But the “no carnivals” thing only goes for the Prime Wardens together, right (certainly there is a story about Haka at the carnival)? Yeah, individuals have gone; they’re just saying that they haven’t gone as a group. In comics from the ’70s or earlier “going to the carnival in town” was a common thing for characters to do where they would then encounter a villain. That sort of normal carnival thing is what they are saying that the Prime Wardens as a team have not done.
- The only time I recall you mentioning a goose in Sentinel Comics is during the Dark Watch animated series where it flies into Setback; are there other prominent geese in Sentinel Comics? Perhaps a Mother Goose that has some relationship with Grimm, perhaps? They can’t think of any. Maybe there’s an Animalverse goose out there but Animalverse things have never made it through voting, despite being up for it several times.
- If I got to choose only 1 convention to go to, and I wanted that convention to have the most “bang for my buck” when it comes meeting Greater than Games and trying out cool new games, which one should I pick? Would the convention be different if I wanted the most “bang for my buck” for just board games in general? Gen Con. Either way it’s Gen Con. PAX Unplugged is a solid choice as well. If you want video games too, then PAX East is pretty good.
- In the recent refugees episode, you introduced Rubber Bandit - since he sounds like a Guise villain, how much overlap is there with Major Twist? Do the two of them have a team-up, or form a rubber themed villain team? He’s probably fought Guise, but he’s not a “Guise villain” otherwise he’d be in The Guise Book for the RPG. There’s not a lot of conceptual overlap between those two villains outside of “stretchy”. Lieutenant Major Twist has the militaristic theming and is very specifically all twisted/springy - not so much “vanilla” stretch powers. Rubber Bandit doesn’t have as specific a “gimmick” as that - he’s a silly villain but one who takes himself very seriously.
- Civilizations of super-intelligent apes (gorillas seem to be the most common for some reason) are staples of the earlier eras of comics. Did any come about in Sentinel Comics? If not, WHY? If so, do they show up in any major way after the fact? There was “The Apes of Mars” as a Golden Age thing and a few more apes here and there, but the main reason why not is that Sentinel Comics had a major competitor that went all-in on the ape thing and so Sentinel Comics doing it too would be seen as just riding coattails. This is also explicitly an excuse for them to not have to do the "Apes" thing for real.
- You gave us a list of universe numbers that you’ve assigned but we don’t know which is which for most. Can you run down the list telling us what the numbers are assigned to? There are more that they know exist, but these are the ones that have numbers at this time.
- 0 - Null Space
- 1 - The Sentinel Comics Universe (i.e. the main continuity)
- 2 - no official name yet, but the home universe of the other Haka, Arataki, the Primal Wardens, and Citizen Storm.
- 46 - the home reality of the “replacement” Janet Valenco who died during OblivAeon in the main continuity.
- 87 - one they haven’t mentioned yet, this is a post-apocalyptic universe where the apocalypse was a Vampire Empire that has since fallen.
- 101 - Omniverse (where Omnitron took over everything - home of Omni-Unity).
- 128 - Universe where Man-Grove fought Akash’Bhuta, defeated her, and took up a role as an Earth Spirit (backstory of the Prime War version of Man-Grove).
- 212 - Supply and Demand Benchmark universe (also backstory of the Count Barzakh from *Prime War).
- 250 - Extremeverse
- 387 - Universe where everyone is made of “rubber” - home of the Rubber Bandit.
- 426 - The Animalverse
- 476 - The reality of the alternate Dark Watch (with Lucky Strike, Rat Beast, Lady Luck, Shockwave - half of the alt-reality characters from EE “¿Quando? ¡Ahora!”) from Disparation vol. 2 #10.
- 516 - The reality from Disparation vol. 1 #2 where Wraith died saving Sara Scott and Eduardo López from Spite. Origin of the post-OblivAeon, empowered Sara known as Haze.
- 623 - “Magic Freedom Five” universe from Disparation vol. 1 #4.
- 666 - Hellverse. A reality where Æternus succeeded in taking over everything.
- 719 - The Mist Storm Universe from the Vertex imprint.
- 804 - Home reality of Nadir, the Dr. Nick Hernandez who absorbed the rest of the Southwest Sentinels and Quetzalcoatl while foiling the latter’s world-destroying plot.
- 883 - Wild West Universe (in the story of “Cowboys and Indians” where North America was colonized and the natives relegated to reservations in our world, in this world the Native Americans “won”. Modern day, but with aesthetic still derived from what we would consider the “old West”. Home reality of Wind Walker.
- 945 - Telenovelaverse.
- 987 - The “eldritch” universe that’s vaguely Victorian/Lovecraftian and lightly steampunk.
- 999 - Inversiverse.
- Have Guise or Setback ever fought werewolves with Nair? [Jokes about a team-up with somebody named Nair.]
- When the Disparation expansion for DE comes out, will we also get a Definitive Edition update of the podcast branding (with Christopher, Adam, and Omnitron-X)? It’s definitely due for an update. Adam will get around to it here soon, but he’s not likely to just redo the existing art.
- From what you’ve said, am I right in assuming your least favorite letter is one that’s multiple pages, consisting largely of fan-fic, which only asks rhetorical questions or favorite/least favorite questions? Yup. They’ve gotten those letters. They don’t use them on air, but they read them. They have dropped off after a recent episode’s PSA about the length of letters.
- [Letter noting that 1) they need about 10 times as many Patreon people as they currently have for the podcast to become their actual job as opposed to the whole “games” thing, 2) the question of “which is the best jumping-on point podcast episode?” comes up regularly - we see what you’re doing and we’re here for it.] They’re not actively working towards that goal because it’s not realistic, but it would be fun if it happened.
- How do you even explain this podcast to people (I find it difficult, but I assume you must have a good elevator pitch at this point)? Adam doesn’t have a good elevator pitch for anything. Christopher’s is along the lines of “Years ago my co-host and I created a comic-book-themed cooperative card game where the players take the role of superheroes who fight villains in different environments. After it had been around for several years, we had demand from players (and interest ourselves) in telling the deeper stories that they made up in the process of creating all of these heroes, villains, and environments for the game. The name of the podcast, The Letters Page, gives away the conceit of it - it’s analogous to the actual page of reader letters to the editor you’d find near the back of physical comic books. The podcast is where people who play their games (or at this point people who may not really play the games, but have listened enough to be interested in the stories) write in questions pertaining to these comics. They tell stories set in this comic book universe and answer questions people write in about these comics that are just as”made up” as real comics, just without the actual comics existing.”
- A shorter one: “The Letters Page is a podcast that I do with my co-host Adam. It’s about comic book stories from a series of comics that were never actually published. There’s a fake publisher called Sentinel Comics that in some reality published comics and we tell those stories.”
- Fencing match between Christopher and Stuntman who walks away victorious? Stuntman. Stuntman is a comic book hero. Think about Wolverine. What do you think of? Claws, healing, berserker rage. Maybe some samurai stuff. Do you think “Olympic level athlete”? Because he is. As is Cyclops for that matter. Comic book characters just exist on a higher level than people in reality do. Christopher is well above the average person in fencing (not in the top 10, or the top 100, probably not the top 1000) but even the top 10 fencers in the world would probably be unable to take down a single Prime Warden, let alone all of them. There are probably a single-digit number of fencers in the world who could beat Ansel G. Moreau at a fencing match.
- It’s also interesting that you specify “fencing match” - Christopher was a decent fencer back in the day, but he thinks that there are probably a lot of really good fencers out there that he could beat in a “sword fight” which is a different thing. Although that doesn’t help Christopher against Ambuscade considering that Ansel G. Moreau has learned how to use all different kinds of weapons. For as many as Christopher is practiced in, Ansel may not have all of the possible disciplines, but he’s got a lot.
- What does Fanatic think about Æternus? Does she believe it is really hell? Or does she believe in an actual hell separate from it? Does she fight demons because they tend to be agents of Æternus or because she sees them as “biblical” demons? All of these things have happened in Fanatic stories. The amount of nuance she has regarding these things depends on the story being told. She doesn’t need or care about that nuance, but she’s aware of Æternus and basically just considers it to be hell. The only practical difference is that it’s not a place you automatically go if you’re bad and die. It’s functionally as bad as hell. There isn’t necessarily a real “heaven” either for Fanatic story purposes given that she’s from the Host realm.
- Was there ever a joke story with the Wraith and Writhe teaming up just because it would read funny? Maybe also including the Demon Prince of Wrath or other things containing Wr and th? Those two have probably worked together (but maybe not something you’d characterize as a “team-up” where they went out of their way to do so), but probably not for the purpose of name jokes.
- A lot of media and stories secretly look like superhero stories to me. Examples include Forgotten Realms, where the player characters are the fated heroes who will save the day. I mean, superheroes can be set in the medieval ages, right? Castlevania, where there are supervillains (vampires) and superheroes (vampire hunters), along with other magical heroes and unique monsters. I mean, Blood Countess Bathory is in Sentinels, so…? Greek Myths? Touhou? Diablo? Where do we stop? It’s all archetypal storytelling. All of those fit into superhero storytelling (or vice versa depending on your perspective). It’s just branding. Super heroes are modern day myths and legends. Sherlock Holmes is a superhero with his over the top intellect.
- Is Trevor the Meta-Metaverse Omnitron? The only reason that would be the case is that in the current podcast branding he would be represented by the Omnitron-X mic stand since he was the one who bugged them into making the podcast in the first place (well, they said they were going to do it and then years pass until he made it happen). Trevor has A/V skills that could work for the comparison, but he just loves chaos too much for Omnitron to be a good fit.