Podcasts/Episode I-74

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The Letters Page: Editor's Note 74

Original Source

Intro

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Show Notes:

Run Time: 1:25:11

It's the end of the year as we know it, and we feel fine!

What's coming up for next year? We don't know! Well, we know some things. Like the upcoming recording schedule!

Upcoming schedule:

  • Tuesday, January 2nd: Annual break!
  • Tuesday, January 9th: Episode #272: Stuntman vs Nightsnake
  • Tuesday, January 16th: Episode #273: Lifeline encounters Waykeep
  • Tuesday, January 23rd: Editor’s Note #75
  • Tuesday, January 30th: Episode #274: Baron Blade vs non-F5 team

Also, as promised, Adam's delightful Hydro Force arts!

Thanks for being part of the Multiverse this year, everyone! You make what we do possible, and also way better!

Characters Mentioned

Summary

Questions

  • What did Expatriette get for Setback for Christmas? What did Young Legacy get her dad? Expat got Setback a mug that says World’s Okayest Boyfriend which he immediately dropped to shatter on the floor. This is okay. Expatriette bought two for account for it. Felicia gets her dad the regular kinds of things that kids get their parents. Let’s pick a year and say that for the Christmas during her first year away for college she gets him a digital photo frame loaded with a bunch of photos of the two of them doing stuff together. In the Metaverse, Sentinel Comics sold this as merch - you could buy a digital photo frame with a bunch of Legacy/Young Legacy comic panels and mock-up newspaper clippings.
  • Back in episode 209 you talked about whether Omnitron-U was Jewish (which you decided at the time that you were not qualified to answer), but a better question might be: Does Omnitron-U want to be Jewish? What are Omnitron-U’s thoughts on religion in general? Does he think that Fanatic is a real angel? Does Omnitron-X think that humans do not understand what it means to be God? They don’t know that Omnitron-U would want to be Jewish - the question of whether he is was based on the idea of “Jewishness” being matrilineal and Unity could for some definitions count as his “mother”. The thing that you do with religion for Omnitron is to do an issue where he considers religion in general as a “Lots of humans do this, I should investigate it” kind of thing. You start in a very cynical “all of this is obviously just made up by humans” thing and work through things to the point where you end with a real BS-y question mark of a “but maybe…” resolution. The interesting thing here is to explore the things that Omnitron-X/U does “believe” that aren’t necessarily facts.
  • Re: the idea of having “theme months” next year where we limit things to specific months/years-of-publication seems like it might be difficult for the patrons to pick things to suggest in the first place, how do you see this working? Setting things in a month doesn’t necessarily theme them (October comics don’t inherently need to be about Halloween). They were worried that they would be additionally limiting, but when they set up the topics for the January voting that just wrapped up, they picked things that they felt like “this could go in a January issue.” They cut the topic list down to that. There were some things suggested that they bumped to later months because the story that happened in was a March issue or whatever. They’re going to give this a shot, but if they feel like they get into a spot where the gimmick gets in the way, they’ll just stop. This is also just a plan for 2024, though - they don’t intend for this to be a thing that goes on forever. Maybe a new gimmick every year and also have the patrons vote on the gimmicks in November or December. It’s an experiment and they feel perfectly fine about pulling the plug on it if it’s not working (or even just skipping a month if things don’t work for that month). They’re using the gimmick as a way to focus their creativity in a particular direction, but the storytelling is still the main thing.
  • What is the difference between The Rubber Bandit (from the OblivAeon Refugees episode), Doctor Rubber (from the Wraith’s Rouges Gallery episode), and Lieutenant Major Twist (from The Guise Book)? They all seem to have similar powers, how do they differ in execution? Rubber Bandit is a guy from the rubber universe where everyone is like this and he’s not special, but it makes him special here. Doctor Rubber is somebody who turned himself into rubber via experimentation and probably makes a lot of other things into rubber too (he likely creates a lot of rubber-based traps in a very Silver Age-y way). A lot of how he’s presented is… Okay, you see him on a cover of a comic and you likely see him laughing as things bounce off of him. Lieutenant Major Twist is rubbery, but his specific gimmick is more tied to the twisty/springy part of it. Yes, they’re all rubbery and you’ll see a lot of overlap as a result. The Rubber Bandit is the most at home in this “being rubber” state. Doctor Rubber is doing a lot of stuff with rubber in addition to just being rubber. Lieutenant Major Twist is mostly military-themed, just with the rubber thing in addition.
  • The cards “End of Days” and “Eydisar’s Horn” both cite Absolution #9 - what was Argent Adept doing there, summoning viking ghosts in the middle of a big Fanatic/Apostate conflict? Is that a mistake on the card or did he really get involved? It’s not a mistake. Absolution #7 was the return/reboot of Apostate as a deceiver guy (as opposed to the more straightforward “fallen angel” thing alongside other “angels” that had appeared in Fanatic’s stories back in the ’70s). Issue #8 is where Fanatic kills Apostate with her giant sword. Then in #9 he’s back from the dead (so get used to that) and summons an army of skeletons. Argent Adept is around in this issue (and maybe the next one) and helps by using the horn to summon an army of viking spirits to fight the skeletons. Fanatic releases an explosion of radiant energy to wipe clean the field of battle (after the vikings and skeletons fight for a bit it’s clear that the skeletons are just going to keep coming, so she goes for some overkill - destroying both armies in the process). The issue ends with Apostate stabbing Fanatic with his giant sword.
  • What is the Naturalist like in the Animalverse? He’s a man! An animal who turns into different men (tall, short, thin, fat, laywer, construction worker, etc.)! They’ve made similar jokes about Plague Rat being a rat who becomes some kind of weird naked-ape thing. There are different takes on the Animalverse. Some are more serious, others more ridiculous. Some are Duck Tales style animal people, but there’s probably at least one backup story in Disparation with an Animalverse story where the characters are just normal animals (no anthropomorphic features). Are these all different Animalverses? Who knows! Maybe there are just different worlds/populations within the Animalverse. It’s not important.
  • In the Tempest episode, you said there’s probably a Disparation issue where Tempest meets Baron Blade before he meets the heroes. Is there still space for this? Absolutely.
  • If Prime Wardens were to have a barbecue who would work the grill? Who outside the team would be invited? The joke is that Ra is from outside the team but gets invited and works the grill. He doesn’t have the focus/patience to be a good grillmaster. It’s probably Haka. It’s the least interesting answer, but it’s the one that fits the best. They’d invite Sky-Scraper, Visionary… They’d invite the Freedom Five and Dark Watch and maybe occasionally some of them would show up. Naturalist and Scholar. How do you invite Scholar? Just whisper it on the wind and he’ll hear it.
  • Who are the unexpectedly best and worst Christmas gift givers in Sentinel Comics? Haka being good is not unexpected. Adam thinks that Fanatic being good could be interesting - her paying attention to people and what they like and so getting them an appropriate gift is weird for her, so they like the idea. Wraith is not unexpectedly a bad gift giver. She gives something expensive, off-the-shelf - everyone gets monogrammed towels! Unexpectedly bad is tough - maybe the Scholar? Like, people could assume that he’d be good, but he forgets that he’s supposed to do gifts and so just grabs something random from his houseboat.
  • Just how “Christopher and Adam” are Jerry and Mike from Penny Arcade (being another creative “words guy and arts guy” duo)? There’s an unsurprising number of similarities and an also unsurprising number of differences. Mike is much more introverted than Adam and Jerry is more of a social butterfly than Christopher. If you have the Extrovert-to-introvert spectrum, Jerry and Mike are on the extreme ends while Christopher and Adam are much closer to one another in the middle-to-introvert area. Adam’s more introverted than Christopher, but he can spend all day talking to people at a convention no problem, but he gets the impression that Mike would rather just not talk to people in the first place.
  • Does Felicia as Legacy tell dad jokes (she’s the young hip Legacy but also dad jokes are tradition)? She’s not as jokey. Before college she would be the standard “Ugh… dad…” teenager. Then she gets to college and her friends all think she’s the corny one. She couldn’t escape it the environment she was raised in. Now, the vibe of comics had changed drastically between the time when she has her own comic and the majority of her father’s run, so while she’s not Serious Business all the time she’s just got less silly stuff going on than he had, and that has an effect on the writing/characterization.
  • I’m having my birthday party later today at a local game store that has an extensive game-borrowing library - I don’t usually play a lot of party games, do you have any recommendations? Christopher’s suggestion is Wavelength. Codenames is a good game, but it’s not a party game. It can support people dropping in and out if you have enough people to support it. Adam likes The Hygge Game which is more of a guided discussion and is great for getting to know people.
  • How do you plan on celebrating Giftmas and/or other holidays this season? Any special get-togethers with family and/or loved ones? Christopher and his rock-climbing partner (who is in recovery from a minor, but still “shouldn’t climb rocks for a while”, surgery) will be hiking around scoping out future climb sites. Then on Monday he’ll be back in the office working on things. Adam then points out that Christmas is next Monday. He doesn’t know what he’ll be doing that weekend, but he’ll probably still be in the office since nobody else will be around and he can really get some work done. Adam has a big family and so has a lot of obligations with them. His brother will likely spend Christmas Eve at his house and they’ll probably have their traditional viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life and Muppets Christmas Carol. Also: he and his neighbor invented some shots that he’ll recreate for Christmas as well - a shot of Fireball, a shot of honey whiskey, then two shots of eggnog. Shake that all up, pour and top with whipped cream, cinnamon, and nutmeg. His sister will also be in town sometime in there. The week between Christmas and New Year is the most boring time when nothing happens, so they’re trying to plan out stuff like movie marathons and games and make it a week’s party instead of just Christmas.
  • You mentioned that in his original version, Baron Blade had a sword and was a skilled fencer - can you tell us more about what the original concept was and looked like? Not that different. He still had the lab coat, but it was buttoned up. They changed that because it looked too much like Citizen Dawn’s outfit.
  • Adam also seemed to suggest that some of that may have carried over to the final version of the character. Can you confirm that this is the case? Apart from using his brilliant inventions in the field, what combat capabilities does the Baron have? The part that carried over is that he should still have a blade (he has a scalpel - it’s not important but he has it). Adam thought that he might still have been a good fencer since that was a prized skill of European aristocracy, but then Christopher points out that he was very intentionally not aristocracy before rising to power. By the time he was in charge of things he has his inventions, so what need has he of mere swordplay? As a combatant he’s actually pretty poor except that he’s got all of these inventions and nanotech and everything to “cheat”.
  • [In reference to the Hydro-Force toy line they invented a month ago] Who’s the villain of the set, Akash'Bhuta who’s an octopus that changes color in warm water? Apostate on a jet-ski? Adam drew the whole set on an art stream a while back and Christopher gets to live-react to them now. The images are in the show notes on LibSyn as well as in a dedicated page here on the wiki.
    • Sea Captain Cosmic has flipper kick action and the flippers and a giant hook are constructs.
    • Holy Water Cannon Fanatic has a big water gun.
    • Deep Sea Diver Haka is maybe Adam’s favorite as the people designing things obviously didn’t have any idea what to do with Haka so they just gave him glow-in-the-dark diving gear (gloves, swim trunks, snorkel).
    • Silver Siren Argent Adept has a conch shell whistle that’s attached to his hand and you can blow through the back of his head. They’re also really playing up the “thirst trap” Argent Adept thing.
    • Torpedo Terror Tempest - comes with a submarine as a playset. This is the only way to get the Tempest figure. Why does Tempest of all of them need a submarine? Why does the toy have the worst battery requirements imaginable (three C batteries)? [The name of the submarine is also The Prospero which I suggested and am inordinately proud of.]
    • And the villain of the set, Surf Marauder Ambuscade (with a surfboard and 7 attachable weapons for you to immediately lose). They really do like the Akash’Bhuta suggestion - that’s another playset situation. Apostate on a jetski is also the appropriate level of dumb.
  • You’ve talked about this character Raise Eraser, but it doesn’t seem like he has any ability to reduce someone’s wages - is that just too cruel a power, assuming that inflation is the way it is in Sentinel Comics like it is here? Oh boy… Look, this is obviously a command to lift up your eraser.
  • I’m blown away by the art you revealed in this week’s Backerkit update for the Scholar! The side-by-side comparison with Enhanced Edition was wild to see. I did have a question, however - can you tell us more about where the art from that One-Shot came from (I don’t think we’ve seen the Scholar act that intimidating in EE)? Adam is so confused, but Christopher loved this “letter from the future trying to get us to reveal things.” Nice try. The Scholar was obviously very mad in that story.
  • What are your thoughts on revisiting partially-covered issues (say, issues from later in the Prime Wardens in the Underworld arc that we only got high-level blurbs about)? The answer is: You Decide! If there’s an issue that you want to learn more about, suggest it! If they think there’s enough there to work with for a full episode they’ll put it up for voting like any other topic.
  • [Another letter pointing out that the type of mathematical curve they talked about back in episode 231 was a Logistic Curve - this letter writer just happens to be working through the backlog and hasn’t yet gotten to the later episodes where this was established.]
  • How many generic, empty train cars can Fright Train push at once? Christopher starts with an assumption of just 2 or 3, but Adam is pretty sure right off that he could basically just be the locomotive and push the whole thing. We’ve seen him just bring a train to a dead stop before. Christopher looks up how heavy things are to try to counter things, but moving train cars on their tracks is a lot different from trying to lift them. He has the horsepower and low-end torque to be able to shift things. The idea of the character is that he’s a living train, so him being able to move a full train is not out of bounds.
  • You recently said that Blake Washington Sr. died before ever appearing in the comics, maybe even before his son became Ra, but didn’t you mention earlier that Marty Adams talks to him after the death of Ra? Is that a mistake or a retcon? They would want to know the context of when they said that before - it would have been a mistake for them to not remember that they’d said a thing previously. Or they could say the more recent story with him being dead the whole time is what is true. The important point is that Blake Washington Sr. is a non-entity for the purposes of Ra’s story. [I would note that the “Marty visits his dad” thing was positioned as a “maybe this thing happened” story they made up off-the-cuff at the time, also pointing out that Sr. was not important to Ra’s story - they hadn’t placed it in an issue or anything.]
  • When and how will I learn more about Choke? When they do more episodes about her and/or when she shows up in game products.
  • On Reversed Gravity, Harpy calls out to Huginn and Muninn for help because she “can’t fly.” Can Harpy normally fly? If not, what is the context of that? She can’t fly, but they can and she’s suddenly in a situation where it would be helpful.
  • Is Animalverse Fright Train a powerful horse? He is now! His name is Frightmare.
  • So, we know about Matthew. But there must have been other hero/villain couples that didn’t last because either different writers wanted to use the villain as a villain or it was always meant to be just a villainous plot. Are there some you can name? Not offhand. They could do a Creative Process, but this sounds more like something that would be emergent over time. Hero/Villain couples are hard for them since most of their villains are so evil that having them be a potential romantic interest for a hero is very difficult. By the time any of them are redeemable enough for it to work, you just wind up with Harpy or Stuntman and they’re heroes. You’re probably not going to date Ambuscade -that guy’s a jerk.
  • When the early elements of Fanatic’s world building were rebooted to make the setting less explicitly conform to Christian mythology, the demons from hell turned out to be from Aeternus and fallen angel Apostate turned out to be an incarnation of deception. What did the angel supporting cast characters like Gabriel turn out to be? They became Clarity entities (or Æternus entities, but the majority of them went to Clarity).
  • A bit of a meta question, but in the last episode the discussion of team size came up, specifically Adam saying that Sentinels doesn’t really have a rotating cast team. Does the Sentinels of Freedom fix that hole? It seems to be the intent, given the events of the video game and the subtext of the RPG adding our “totally canon” heroes in? Yes, that’s exactly the point of the Sentinels of Freedom.
  • Speaking of Apostate, in what year is his attack on the Vatican now? Did any notable demons join the event since you came up with Æternus? And were Setback and Naturalist really there (I assume they were not, for obvious timeline reasons)? This is hard for them to search for given the way their issue details are locked into Notes attached to Excel spreadsheet cells. Christopher had an idea that it was around the time when the Host explanation was given.
    • [I found the reference to the Vatican situation back in Apostate’s original episode, 38, which matches the Host retcon timing, although it was way before the Timeline Spreadsheet was created] If that’s the case, it’s Mystery Comics vol. 2 #361-366. September 2003-February 2004. Holy Nova would be from the last issue of that. Divine Sacrifice and the Fiendish Pugilist are in #369. There’s a weird Fanatic in MC arc in there.
  • Whenever the question “who knows about X?” comes up, the answer is usually The Scholar. How does he learn these things? Can he look at someone and know everything about them or is just really good at connecting the dots? He is very good at connecting the dots, but he’s also just very connected to a lot of people and the more people you know the easier it is to be in the loop for whatever is going on. Plus the ley-line stuff. He can’t just look at a person and know everything about them, though. He has access to more information than just about anyone.
  • I was reading through Setback’s old deck and I noticed a flavor text where Pete accidentally calls Wraith Maia… who else knows who she is? How did Pete find out her secret? What else has figured it out? He was hanging out at Freedom Tower a lot and stumbled into the information. Expatriette knows because she figured it out before Setback. Parse knows everybody’s secret identity.
  • What is Gene-Doctor Kronz’ powerset? Removing memories and implanting memories. It’s disturbingly invasive.
  • Because I can’t imagine there’s enough for an entire episode: did the Metaverse ever use SC characters to sell a terrible product on something like QVC? They were with you right up until QVC. They wouldn’t be on QVC, but the characters would be on terrible products. Like, you could get a cheap toaster with the Wraith on it (not even somebody on-theme like Ra or even Bunker). Licensees often will be rather indiscriminate in what they produce with the characters they’re allowed to use.