The Letters Page: Editor's Note 72
We're back! It's been too long!
Run Time: 1:28:07
We talk about songs, do some goofs, and reveal an already revealed schedule!
- 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
Then we read real life letters, answer questions, meta questions, and meta meta questions. Including a surprise guest near the end of the episode! Stay tuned and find out!
Join us next week for Episode #265 about Guise fighting the Draculas!
Before we start, the first few letters are actual, physical letters that Christopher received. Two of them had art included. There was some talk about putting the art in the show notes, which doesn’t seem to have happened, so I did some screen grabs from the livestream.
- During the fight against OblivAeon, there’s a scene where Paul Parsons VII arrives through time to join the fight alongside his son and granddaughter - how awkward is Luminary’s presence given that he, y’know, eventually kills the time-displaced hero? It’s not addressed. The point of that scene is that it’s just the three Legacies against OblivAeon - it’s set up to be just the three of them, so there’s no opportunity to undercut the moment by having Ivan there. There may have been an awkward conversation after the fight if it weren’t for the fact that Luminary died sacrificing himself for the greater good. A true hero.
- Adam, would you discuss the thought process that went into the changes for the art of the Iron Legacy card “Final Evolution” between Enhanced Edition and Definitive Edition? The era was a big factor. Even when he did the original art he had the thought that it might be too graphic. In the new one, the “technological” limits of printing for the era in question played a factor in how it looks. It’s still pretty graphic in its presentation, just toned down a bit.
- We know that during Burying the Blade Luminary’s stuck in the Realm of Discord and that later, during the OblivAeon fight itself Legacy winds up there after Harpy teleports him away from the final confrontation with Voss; due to time dilation nonsense here’s there for some time before she brings him back - do we ever learn more about what Legacy’s time there was like and how his survival strategies differ from Baron Blade’s? We don’t follow that part of Legacy’s story. It’s possible that somebody in the post-OblivAeon era might revisit that moment in flashbacks and whatnot. As much as OblivAeon feels like an ending (and it was designed to be), in the metafiction they’ve set up for themselves they have to remember that these are ongoing comics and people still need to put out their comic every month and so lots of threads that were left dangling at the time of OblivAeon probably get picked up by somebody eventually. We don’t get the feeling that Legacy was lost in the RoD for as long or to the degree that Baron Blade was, though.
- In the RPG era Paul becomes Heritage and is the U.S. representative at G.L.O.B.A.L. - we know that Mordengrad joins as well, but who is the Mordengradi member? Does Baron Blade himself take that role? Some other Mordengradi hero takes that role.
- In episode 142 it was mentioned that Legacy and Baron Blade being at odds verges on being a Fixed Point - if it’s not and there are realities where they’re allies, what’s their relationship like? It’s almost like a fixed point in that their animosity seems pretty consistent, but it’s not one because there are universes without one or both of them, or they don’t interact, or they’re friends, or they make out a lot. Lots of options. A universe where they’re allies could make for a decent Disparation issue - like the US and Mordengrad were wartime allies or something as an extenuating reason to explain the difference.
- [The second letter is mostly being saved for the Play Greater Podcast that Christopher does with Paul, but Christopher shows off the art above. Nominally it’s something to help Paul learn about Night Snake.]
- [A third letter was accompanied by the delivery of some Extreme black licorice candy for them to try, which they will sample together while recording at some point in the future - tentative plans for during the next Editor’s Note recording.]
- What methods have been used in the pages of Sentinel Comics to dampen character powers? Baron Blade’s regression serum. F.I.L.T.E.R. has power-dampeners that they use in both prison cells and handcuffs. There’s probably lots of magic stuff over the years (NightMist could probably rig together some kind of spell to cause powers to not work in a specific area, there’s probably some kind of relic that can render the holder “inert” in some way, etc.). There’s likely a lot of these things over the years - most are also probably one-off things. Like, even just “psychically convincing somebody that they don’t have powers” probably worked once. The ones they mentioned first are probably the most notable in that they weren’t one-offs.
- Would that be a viable Creative Process topic? It’s worth suggesting. They could probably do enough “times when people’s powers were taken away somehow” things to fill an episode, but it might not be a popular enough topic to get through voting.
- How do you define an anti-hero or an anti-villain? An anti-hero is somebody who tries to achieve… well, maybe not even “heroic” ends, but they’re trying to make positive change, but through questionable means. A “hero” who kills criminals so that they aren’t around to commit crimes anymore could be an example. Early Expatriette and Parse easily fit into this category. Anti-villains are a bit tougher as it’s not necessarily just the reverse of an anti-hero. You can get somebody who is maybe reluctant in their villainy - Infinitor is a villain but doesn’t want to be. You could make an argument for Voss during OblivAeon in that his betrayal of OblivAeon helps save all of existence. Or take Luminary - is he a hero or is he an anti-villain (what with all of the background scheming with controlling the Freedom Five via the suits he designs or the triple-cross with Voss)? The TV Tropes definition is a character with heroic goals, personality traits, and/or virtues who is ultimately the villain and if we go by that it’s Deadline. He thinks that he’s doing the right thing. Citizen Dawn and Baron Blade can even almost fall into this category when their motivations are Isolationism and Protecting Mordengrad respectively. Ultimately these are all down to perspective and how they’re used as literary/storytelling devices rather than being concrete character traits.
- What would the superlatives that the various heroes would get, perhaps in some Metaverse fan survey (stuff like “most likely to succeed”, “best hair”, or “most likely to switch to villainy”)? Having it be a jokey fan thing is more likely than something that would have been in the pages of Sentinel Comics themselves. Legacy is probably something like “most likely to do exactly what you expect him to do” given how predictable he is. Tachyon could be “most likely to create and/or cure a new type of cancer”. Absolute Zero has “best music recommendations”. Bunker is “most likely to help you fix your broken-down truck” (Setback is “most likely to have the broken-down truck). Wraith is”least likely to be seen” or “best hair, don’t ask about my business”. If Legacy is “most likely to ‘dad’”, Captain Cosmic is “most likely to ‘dad’ with multiple people” or “most likely to find out about extraterrestrial offspring”. The thing is that neither of them are going to be the best at doing these because neither of them went to high school (they were both home schooled). If it was a fan thing in the Metaverse, we should probably just have the fans do it here too.
- How many of the Cosmic Contest match-ups are between characters who have never met/don’t know who the other is (prompted by the comment that neither Kismet nor Baron Blade knew who the Chairman was, although he knew Baron Blade, and that Bugbear didn’t recognize Proletariat)? Most of the heroes likely know one another at least as far as recognition, and most hero/villain pairs also likely know one another which just leaves the villain/villain matches: so, did the following matches happen blind or with knowledge of their opponents:
- Progeny vs. either Apostate or Citizen Dawn (mostly from Progeny’s perspective given that the other two probably at least heard about the swath of destruction Progeny carved before being defeated)? Yeah, Dawn and Apostate are aware of Progeny despite not being present during the event. Progeny doesn’t know who they are, but also doesn’t care. Progeny doesn’t know who Legacy is.
- Infinitor vs. either Chokepoint or Zhu Long? Both of those are blind in both directions.
- Kaargra Warfang vs. Zhu Long? Zhu Long might have heard about the Colosseum being an alien thing that showed up but mostly wouldn’t care. She doesn’t know him.
- Fright Train vs. Plague Rat or Operative? Fright Train has probably come across Operative at one point or another. Anyone vs. Plague Rat is probably going to be along the lines of “had heard the urban legend, but wasn’t sure if it was actually real” territory with the exceptions of people who had already run across it in the past. Most earth-based villains have probably at least heard of the Operative - possibly more than would have heard of the Chairman. She’s the “face” of the Organization’s leadership after all and definitely exists whereas the Chairman might just be a myth.
- Isis vs. Biomancer? Set vs. Blood Countess? Isis doesn’t know about Biomancer, Set doesn’t know about Blood Countess, but both of them know about the Ennead in general.
- Green Grosser vs. Ermine? It’s a coin flip whether they’ve met or not. If they haven’t met they may still have heard of one another just given the fact that they both run in pretty street-level circles that would have some overlap.
- Citizen Dawn vs. La Capitan? La Capitan would know of Citizen Dawn, but not the reverse.
- Operative vs. Sergent Steel? Operative is known for the above reasons (plus by this point she’s been associated with Zhu Long for quite a while). They don’t know that she’d necessarily know about him, though. She’s familiar with “F.I.L.T.E.R. goons” and it’s possible she’d qualify him as in that category. He’s maybe close enough to her counterpart within F.I.L.T.E.R. such that she might know about him, but he might just as easily slot more into an Underboss level of notoriety and so might be under her radar. (Adam thinks she knows him but Christopher is not convinced that she does. At the very least it’s more likely that they know of each other than that they’ve met.)
- Proletariat vs. Spite? No.
- Baron Blade vs. Highbrow? Yes. It’s likely but not certain that they’ve met, but they definitely know of one another. Evil geniuses tend to take note of each other.
- GloomWeaver vs. Biomancer or Blood Countess? GloomWeaver is aware of both of them (and is more aware of/concerned with Blood Countess). All three of them know of each other. They don’t think that Biomancer and GloomWeaver would have ever had reason to interact directly. GloomWeaver and Blood Countess may have. Blood Countess and Biomancer may have as well.
- Spite vs. Heartbreaker or Operative? Spite and Operative are aware of one another. Heartbreaker and Operative definitely know of one another. Heartbreaker comes along too late for Spite to know about him.
- Hermetic vs. Lifeline? Because Lifeline is on Earth so rarely the run-in they have with one another during OblivAeon is the only other time they’d have encountered each other.
- Citizen Dawn vs. Zhu Long (note that for their entire match Zhu Long is a dragon)? Zhu Long would be aware of Citizen Dawn as a power in the world. She probably isn’t aware of him. “Man, what was the deal with that dragon.” “Oh, that was Zhu Long.” “Cool. Who is that?”
- When did Sentinel Comics drop the Comics Code Authority completely from the covers of the comics? Christopher has a note to himself on the whiteboard behind his desk to look this up. Still hasn’t done it, sorry.
- So, you’ve said that the minions in Apex’s deck are former pack leaders, but when did they first appear? Was it during the big Apex event, or did they have their own stories as antagonists for Alpha (or anyone else fighting werewolves)? The issues cited on their individual cards are their first appearances (so Alpha: The Wolf-Woman issues #19-21 depending on the wolf in question). Magistra Damaris’ is Dark Watch vol. 1 #130 which is in that same period (aside that Night Snake’s first appearance is Southwest Sentinels #2).
- For those of us who like having print versions of things, but couldn’t make it to a convention this year, when will Terrorforms make it to the GTG webstore? That’s a great question that Christopher cannot answer now, but will make a note for himself.
- Of the two different Mon series Digimon or Pokemon which do each of the members of the Freedom Five + Unity and Dark Watch + Alpha prefer? Neither. They’re obviously fans of Pouch Beasts.
- After the Southwest Sentinels are introduced, there is not that much time before Disparation is taken over by La Commodora. So, in the short time there is for it, is there an issue of Disparation about alternate Southwest Sentinels? Yes. They don’t have one picked out, but there’s over a year for something to have happened.
- In the card game, Unity and Alpha don’t play well together, because Alpha tends to go after the golems. Now, those two don’t have much overlap in the comics, but did Alpha ever munch on some mechanical golems? What does Unity think of that? They don’t think that would have happened. They probably don’t get along because Alpha doesn’t have much of a sense of humor (or the one she has is much darker than Unity’s). The instance they can think of where it would happen is a story where they’re both around and Alpha has lost control. Unity might use a golem to interpose between Alpha and somebody as a way to protect them. That being said, it would be unsurprising for them to have never met.
- What exactly is Chel’s deal? What kind of magic does she use? Was she able to use magic before she became a werewolf? How is she able to cast spells at all while in werewolf form what with the lack of control werewolves have? She was a magic user before she became a werewolf. You’re right to say that this would cause problems re: self control necessary to do the magic, but she put in the work to figure it out. She’s got a lot more control than most werewolves due to this discipline. She’s actually looked on a bit suspiciously by the other werewolves for wanting to use magic (which is suspicious in itself, let’s be real here) and for the distancing between herself and her wolfish nature that she has to do to accomplish it.
- From a publication standpoint who did Operative work for longer Chairman or Zhou Long? Their initial guess is Chairman. Looking things up… she worked for Zhu Long from 2005-present, but she was dead/missing for a bit before that (’97-’04). Her first appearance was in ’89, so she was actually with Zhu Long for more time (even if we stop at OblivAeon). She likely had a larger cultural imprint as part of the Organization, though. She wasn’t “all in” on the Zhu Long thing until after OblivAeon (at which point she’s no longer “the Operative”).
- So I noticed an odd connection when I was reading through some characters bios recently. Jim Brooks is originally from Oklahoma. The Adhin family also settled in Oklahoma for a time. Does the timeline line up that the two of them would have been there at the same time? Is there any room for potential interactions between the Adhin and Brooks families? States are big, especially in the “West” - any overlap here is coincidental. Nothing had ever been done with this coincidence. Not to say that it couldn’t, but hasn’t yet.
- Did the Metaverse ever have a Sentinel Comics-tie-in breakfast cereal? Adam brings up the Nintendo Cereal System as a comparison - you’d get a Legacy cereal with red, white, and blue pieces (probably fruity) and a Wraith cereal (probably chocolate with purple marshmallows). Christopher suggests that a Freedom Five cereal could be possible, but Dark Watch is unlikely.
- You said recently that it was unfortunate that you couldn’t find a good way to work XXX or Triple-X into the Extremeverse as a name given the… other connotations, but then the next episode you gave that universe the number designation of 250 - that seems like a missed opportunity, why not assign it universe 30 for the Roman Numerals? You know, you’re right. Done. [sighs, edits some things]
- While there’s a common question of “what’s the best podcast episode to start with?” (stating that obviously it’s the Podcast Awards episode - Editor’s Note 26) - they break in, it’s more of a snapshot of what stuff was like at the time. It’d be like watching a recording of a Golden Globes award ceremony to figure out what good media came out that year. It would do that, but it’d be a weird way to go about it. You can kind of use that as a method of seeing which movies you should maybe watch, but even that isn’t necessarily telling you much depending on how similar your tastes are to the people who do the voting for whatever awards you’re watching.
- What is the worst (non-joke episode like Il Alimento) episode to start with? Christopher says OblivAeon part 2. Adam says the Southwest Sentinels episode - it’s very long and pseudo-science dense. It’s fine if you’re already invested in the universe, but it’d be a rough place to start.
- Is there merit in resubmitting a topic that appeared in voting previously but failed to get enough votes for an episode? Yes, definitely. Sometimes when things get really close to getting in they’ll revisit a topic automatically, but multiple submissions that show ongoing interest from somebody can help too.
- If you were to re-do Cosmic context, are there any newly created characters you would add to the list? Sure. They’re not going to go through things now, but revisiting any story they’ve told before would probably be done differently in one way or another. Not because there’s a problem with what has been done already, but because we’re all the sum of our experiences and they have more now than they did then. They’re probably not going to redo the brackets for Cosmic Contest, but they might do whatever the side story was that explains the newer characters’ absence. They’ll probably have to revisit at least some details when they get to that kind of area for Definitive Edition content, but the major story beats involving NightMist and Baron Blade or Argent Adept and Visionary aren’t going to change because they’re important for overall story purposes.
- We know that Idealist is a fan of mecha shows but who else is in the world of Sentinel Comics? Idealist is representative of a type of character that only starts to show up at around the time that Idealist shows up: characters who are actually fans of stuff. Unity is a fan of the Freedom Five, but we don’t get her “involved in pop culture” to the extent that Idealist is. You can drop references to current movies or music into a story here and there, but you don’t see fandom as a character trait until relatively recently.
- What is the dynamic between Darkstrife and Painstake like? Is Darkstrife the more reckless of the two and Painstake is stuck reining him in? Are they ever forced to do demony things in public, and how do they cover that up to keep their secret identities? Painstake has a disguise, but it seems like Darkstrife’s dark skin and snow-white hair would make him stand out, and the fact that he holds a job for a while means that he’s at least somewhat on the grid, right? By the time we’re worrying about these questions they’re living and working in San Alonso where his bizarre appearance is less noteworthy. He’s definitely the more reckless one and she’s the intelligent/considerate one… up until she loses control of things. When he has to rein her in is when you can tell that things have gone dangerously off the rails.
- You’ve made a couple comments in a way that implies that Darkstrife and Painstake have separate First Appearances, saying things like “Darkstrife fights NightMist in his first appearance.” Am I reading too much into it? If not, is it an Southwest Sentinels situation where they’re only an issue or two apart?. If they are from different issues, how are they introduced without having the context of having the other around? Was Darkstrife test-launched as a solo hero before the bonded duo concept was formed? Their first appearances are in separate issues, but ones that got released right on top of one another and are more like teases of who this new character is before combining them to show people what both of their deals are. Darkstrife’s could easily read as a writer wanting for NightMist to fight the prince of hell and them making things work after the fact.
- In my family SCRPG game, we are facing Doctor Toxica, and I was wondering if you could describe what she looks like now? Fairly similar to how she did before. Outfit is slightly different, but has been updated. She’s also doing a different thing with her hair (green streaks probably). [That’s kind of a jokey answer - Adam will address this eventually.]
- [This is a letter from one of the people mentioned in the previous question which was in the chat] How many players would you say is too many for an SCRPG game (we have 6 players plus the GM)? That’s a large group, but is totally manageable. That’s probably on the upper edge of where Christopher would want to run, but is not out of the range of possible (4 players plus the GM is about the sweet spot). Just make sure that everybody is getting time in the spotlight. If people aren’t getting any time to talk during montage/social scenes don’t be afraid to break out the initiative system to make sure that everybody gets turns.
- [A previous episode had a bit where Christopher jokes about Mountain Dew Doritos and whether they were Mt. Dew-flavored Doritos or Dorito-flavored Mt. Dew - I’m here to tell you that the former is actually a thing that has been on the market in the past. While the latter isn’t, the channel Good Mythical Kitchen has made it. Also: “Flaming Hot” Mr. Dew is a thing that exists.]
- [At around 1:17:50 we get a letter to Trevor - this was a really fun bit during the recording since Christopher and Adam recorded a bunch of additional questions and prompts for him to fill in around, recorded later while he was editing the episode to be slotted around.] How much time do you, Trevor, have to spend taking the nonsense that Adam and Christopher record and turning into the finished episode? On average between 2 and 3 times the length of the finished episode, so 3-5 hours probably. He has to edit out things like Christopher typing, or dead time where they’re trying to come up with names. Plus coughs, expletives, and other noises. There’s also cases like a recent editor’s note where they thought they’d lost the audio entirely, but they had a backup! He took the video’s audio and put it through the same processes as usual. Backups are very important. This is a very fun way to start out the week and he enjoys editing these episodes. You guys have gotten better at this whole thing over the years.
- Wait, “The trip where I broke my hand and Paul was stabbed”?! What’s this story that you just dropped a comment to offhandedly? That is a story for the Play Greater Podcast rather than here since it’s a Christopher and Paul story and Adam’s involvement was already covered.
- I just spied a Nintendo Switch behind Adam. So, what game is currently suspended on that Switch? The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages
- Can we get an update on the oldest unanswered letter? Who was it from and what is the subject tag? April 7, 2017. Written by El Nate. He cannot tell us the subject tag.