Podcasts/Episode I-76

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The Letters Page: Editor's Note 76

Original Source

Intro

The most normal episode in weeks! And we did it live!

Show Notes:

Run Time: 1:48:25

Medical updates, schedule updates, plans, hopes, dreams, and whiteboard drawings. What more could you ask for? What's that you say? Questions, answered live? Yeah, we've got those, too!

First off, here are a couple of hopefully illustrative whiteboard drawings, as discussed near the start of this episode.

The problem:

The solution:

Makes sense? Certainly something Christopher is looking forward to!

Next, the proposed schedule, though with the knowledge that it could change at any time, due to surgery!

Upcoming schedule: ???

  • Tuesday, March 5th: probably Episode #275 - Writers' Room: Choke in Megalopolis
  • Tuesday, March 12th: maybe Episode #276 - Writers' Room: A Villain romantically involved with a support character
  • Tuesday, March 19th: possibly Editor’s Note #77
  • Tuesday, March 26th: hopefully Episode #277 - Writers' Room: A Vengeance tie-in story

And then, we read some letters, give some answers, and also answer questions in the chat! Starting off with two lovely postcards:

Thanks, everyone! Join us next week for Episode #274: Baron Blade vs non-Freedom Five heroes! Get your questions in now!

Characters Mentioned

Summary

Spine Watch 2024

  • The first 47 minutes of this episode are Christopher giving an update on his health issues and a series of letters wishing him well and whatnot. While important in general, the details are not pertinent to what I do for the wiki. The main takeaway is that there is a plan and he’s got one of if not the top surgeons for this particular problem lined up, but it is likely a month or so until they can get him scheduled for a slot to have the procedure done. Although, if an opening becomes available due to somebody else not being able to make their time, he’s very very interested in getting it done earlier, which can throw things off schedule even more here. Speaking of which…
  • For the podcast schedule, for now they’re just going to bump the already-voted-in topics down the line and get to them as they can. This means abandoning, for now, the comics/episodes months matching scheme.

Questions

  • Christopher, you’ve clearly been varying levels of incapacitated over the last month, what are your three incap abilities? First: One Hero may use a Power (when he’s incapped he can still inspire the people left to take action). Second: Bury an Environment Ongoing card. The last (i.e. the interesting one): Reveal the top card of each Hero deck. One player draws their revealed card, one player plays their revealed card. Bury the other revealed cards. These have not been playtested. This deck still needs a lot of work. [A joke in chat is that Adam’s are all “draw a card” in some way.]
  • In the Sentinel Comics RPG, it says that Tachyon and Dana Bertrand were married two years after Meredith completed her doctorate. It doesn’t explicitly state that this took place before she became a superhero and joined the Freedom Five, but the fact that her superheroic origin is presented in the following paragraph seems to imply that she was married before she became Tachyon. Is this a “sliding timescale” retcon? If so, how does this affect the big wedding story from the comics, which was deeply tied up with superheroics? It’s mostly a sliding timescale thing. In particular, the post-OblivAeon era is a soft reboot and jumping on point for new readers. There’s probably a lot of small changes/streamlining that happens in peoples’ backstories. Like, Bunker had a bunch of important story stuff happen around Vietnam, but in RPG times he’s a veteran of Afghanistan.
  • Is there any thought or plan to make the Sentinels RPG available on any virtual tabletop game systems? There’s a bunch of stuff for it on Roll20 already.
  • Expatriette’s original episode says that Expatriette and Setback get together some time during ''Dark Watch'' after the event with Hammer, Anvil, Sergent Steel and Biomancer. Is that still the case? It feels to me like they became a couple earlier? And what is the timeline on the whole thing in general? Yeah, it’s changed a lot since episode 4 of the podcast. They are in an “are they a couple?” state for pretty much all of Terminal Ballistics and finally get together in the last issue, #50. Dark Watch itself starts up over 4 years later.
  • In Grimm’s first episode you mentioned an Emily Evans… she goes by Parsons now, right? Yes, Emily Evans marries Paul Parsons VIII. [This has been mentioned before.]
  • The Prime War story starts with Jansa Vi Dero being confident that humanity wouldn’t destroy themselves and she was met by somebody responding “I’ll take that bet!” - that was Wager Master, right? Yes.
  • Rose Griggs is Chaos Witch - that implies Discordian Magic? No. She’s doing something else.
  • How do Chaos Witch and GloomWeaver/The Cult of Gloom feel about one another? They’ve certainly run across one another at some point, but there’s not a lot of room for conflict/alliance between them. Both could happen, but they’re not sure that they both have happened.
  • What is going on with the publication timeline of Toll of Destiny since the dates on Argent Adept’s First Appearance card don’t have the issues lining up monthly - was it an every-other-month series? Yeah… that was a typo in the first printing of DE. Sorry for the confusion. This has come up before - they hope to do an errata pack for people to get corrected cards eventually.
  • In episode 81 you mentioned that the A Day in the Life books started in August ’85 with Legacy, came out every other month, and ended (the initial run) in July ’87 but that puts things off by a month - starting on an even-numbered month and ending on an odd one - so which is it? The first came out in September, not August. [This had been implied already in previous episodes, but nice to have things verified.]
  • You also mentioned that the Bunker suit first appeared in Justice Comics #148 in August ’52 - but that’s well before Tyler Vance first uses it in The Indestructible Bunker #29 in March ’55. When did Tyler himself first show up in Sentinel Comics? What was the suit doing in JC when Tyler wasn’t in it? Why did Sentinel Comics title the book The Indestructible Bunker if the eponymous suit wasn’t in it for over 2 years? IB starts in November ’52 and that’s Tyler’s first appearance. It’s a book focused on the Korean War and is centered on a group of soldiers who are the crew for a particular tank which they have humorously nicknamed the Indestructible Bunker due to despite it always being broken down, outclassed, and out of supplies it’s never been destroyed and so “we’re still winning”. The last of the issues dealing with the Korean War in particular was #28 in February ’55. The next issue introduces the suit. It’s still about Tyler and his platoon doing soldier stuff, but he’s got this suit now instead of a traditional tank. The G.I. Bunker suit first shows up in United Men Comics #22 in June 1941 (UMC is an every-other-month book [this is new information - this would indicate that #1 was in December 1937 and it also puts the UMC #22 in the same month as JC #14 which had previously been mentioned as the first appearance of Vernon Carter, so if that still holds true then he first shows up in JC before having his first adventure as “Bunker” later that same month in the other title.]).
  • [Question is asking about the timing of a few titles, so I’ll just break it down by the answer.] The Best Book (Guise’s origin and solo book) starts in Mark ’85. The first three issues of Hero in the Arena run from May-July ’85. New Memories starts in July ’85 as well. Then the fourth through sixth issues of Hero in the Arena are from April-June 2013. So almost three decades of real-world time pass before they pick up the same numbering from where things left off. Welcome to comics, everybody. Adam kind of imagines that it was the same writer who felt that they had never managed to really finish the story satisfactorily and so got the go-ahead to do things this way.
  • What happened with the Block when the Mist Storm happened and everything considering that it was attached to the Vertex timeline? It was attached to that timeline, but not part of it - it’s just out in Ur-Space now. That’s essentially what it already was before it got attached to the Vertex universe. It’s also used in Prime War story-wise.
  • You’ve said on a few occasions that Legacy is uncomfortable when using vehicles - we can’t believe this and as recompense we want to gift the whole Parsons family a tour via submarine… How long until Paul loses it? They don’t think he “loses it” (well, unless the person running the tour is Mister Jitters). He’s going to have a bad time, but his unease with vehicles here is much different from most people. Most people are afraid of something happening to them. He is afraid that something bad will happen in such a way that he’s unable to help. If something happens on a submarine and he accidentally punches through a wall bulkhead, that’s terrible for everybody else on board.
  • Does the Boldest Legacy universe ever get revisited? We know that there is at least one additional Disparation issue that revisits it (volume 2 #94, June 2010). It involves that reality’s version of Iron Curtain, a Cold War leftover/metal manipulator.
  • With Legacy’s flight mechanic, could he just gently lift the submarine from the inside in the event of an emergency, or is there a reference frame issue? Yeah, he probably could. Depending on the writer. Probably both “can lift the thing just fine” and “if I lift it, it will just fall apart under its own weight” have happened in this kind of scenario.
  • After Firestarter’s original plot, does she become just “the fire villain” or is there more to her? Does she try faking to be good now and seducing a hero again? She certainly isn’t the fire villain but she is definitely a fire villain. She’s not really used all that much. Like, she shows up in the “Off the Rails” RPG adventure issue, but is just one of a number of baddies in that story. That’s kind of her level of involvement in things - “a fire villain.”
  • In the SCRPG, why did you give Baron Blade Intuition and not something like Lightning Calculator as an Intellectual Power? Is he just really not that great at Math? Because he is certainly more intuitive than he is a lightning calculator. Sure, there are some scientists out there who are really good at mental math, but Baron Blade works more off of Vibes. He’s very good at math if he needs to sit down and work things out, but while Tachyon is a very intelligence-based scientist but Blade is a charisma-based one.
  • Finally able to to join a live show, so I need to maximize my irritating questions… why is the telenovela universe not 069? That wouldn’t be the right number for the Telanovela-verse (Universe 945). Universe 69 is a much different vibe. They haven’t picked a universe for that number yet - saving it for something nice.
  • So, United Men Comics is where the Secret Lads start, right? No, Secret Lads was a Metaverse young-adult book series. Maybe there’s a comic adaptation of it eventually, but it wouldn’t be canon to Sentinel Comics. It’s aimed at like 10-15 year old boys and they imagine it as similar to The Hardy Boys, but likely later (the main run of the Hardy Boys was 1927 through 1979 by 17 different authors) - they think that Secret Lads was in the ’70s or ’80s. Maybe in the ’60s to cash in on the James Bond zeitgeist. Yeah, let’s day mid-to-late ’60s as the starting point but they keep going.
  • What is Time Trust? You discussed it last month and kinda took it for granted that it was something we knew about, but I have no recollection of it; is that just on me? Chat actually comes in to answer this as well - there were a few responses, but I’ll just quote Bart_KF’s “Time Trust was a one-shot; it’s quoted on Concordant Helm, Harnessed Anomaly, and Rudder in the Timestream in La Comodora’s EE deck. It featured La Comodora and Chrono-Ranger doing a bunch of time shenanigans that fixed certain continuity problems or lined things up to prepare for OblivAeon. We see her erasing the Iron Legacy timeline on Harnessed Anomaly and tying the two Hakas together to create their multiverse-based immortality on Rudder in the Timestream.” Adam has actually done the cover for this one - he thinks it’s for the History and it’s got La Comodora, Chrono-Ranger, and Chronoist on it.
  • [In Editor’s Note 75 you mentioned that the embedded images had stopped working in the various podcast platforms - the letter writer brought that up by messaging the Letters Page Twitter account back in 2022.] Okay, so the thing about that account is that it’s not really monitored, sorry! It was supposed to be set to automatically tweet when a new episode went up, but they haven’t really looked at it in ages and it doesn’t appear to do so anymore - this is likely down to changes in the Libsyn and Twitter interconnections and Christopher doesn’t know enough about the technicalities to fix it. They just don’t really do Twitter much these days. Not in an “I’m quitting Twitter!” kind of way, it just has fallen off. Adam still @’s the account when he’s posting a cover art on his account, but Christopher just doesn’t really check in much. Maybe they’ll figure things out - if they were trying to make more money off the podcast then it would be a higher priority, but it is still a possible method of getting more listeners which they are interested in.
  • [Continued: My podcast app is Pocket Cast which correctly loads images up through Episode 218 if that helps you clear up the issue.] It’s not on their end. They have always posted images the same way and something changed elsewhere that they don’t have control over. Or at least they don’t know how to fix it. Christopher left this letter in to 1) let people know that they’re aware of the problem and 2) so that Trevor hears about it because while they don’t know how to fix things, sometimes Trevor does. Christopher is still not hopeful there, though, since he currently listens to podcasts on Spotify and none of them have images.
  • Would you be willing to “turn off” topic submission for a while so that you can “burn off” the accumulated topics that might not make it to voting? How about setting us up with topics that would help knock out some of the older questions in your spreadsheet? If so, what other rewards would you consider for Patreon backers? They could do that, certainly, but they’re not sure it benefits them to do so. They have essentially infinite stories to tell and they would rather prioritize things that people want to hear about. If there’s something they need to do, they’re perfectly happy to put their thumbs on the scales in both overt and obfuscated ways.
  • [I calculated when episode 1000 would be - these are all estimates given things like the Spine Situation happened since I ran the numbers, but if you want to have a ballpark estimate of significant numbers coming up, I can tell you.] Adam would like to know ahead of time. Christopher kind of likes these things sneaking up on him.
  • How’s this for an episode (or an idea for content in lieu of an episode while Christopher is not up for main episodes): Adam, Christopher, and Paul play a game of Sentinels of the Multiverse DE (you might need some kind of narration to make that work as audio content, though)? Maybe commentary from you guys about design processes? They talked about doing something like this a long time ago (back when they all worked in the same office - Adam is across the state in the Kansas City area now). The thing is, what you are describing is much more work than a regular episode of the Letters Page, even if they were all in the same office. It would be cool for them to eventually do a thing where the three of them play a game and they record it, but it would require somebody other than the three of them to manage the setup and record it. That’s probably Trevor, but he’s got enough other stuff on his hands as it is. It almost seems more plausible as a panel somewhere when they can have a screen displaying the game state as they go. They can imagine such a thing being about 40/30/30 split between telling stories, talking strategy, and remembering the design process.
  • Has anyone ever drunk Guise? Ugh… Why? No… What did you do? Christopher thinks the answer is yes. But he thinks it’s a trick that Guise is pulling where he figures he’ll fight some big monster from the inside and so makes himself into a beverage to trick the thing into consuming him.
  • What would happen if this did happen? It’s going to be hard for a person to drink him. Guise can mess with his size somewhat, but he’s still fairly consistent in terms of mass. They don’t think he could turn himself into a soda can size. RPG Guise could, probably. They just hate this so much. Anyway, in that case with the monster drinking him he’d likely have a Magic School Bus-esque adventure of the monster’s digestive system. If a person were to drink him (some or all) that would probably be very bad and they don’t want to dwell on it too much.
  • Can Guise be decapitated? Would he survive? Would the head still control the picture? Yeah - Guise is a cartoon. Cut his head off and he’ll just pick it up and put it back on. What’s the funniest option? Probably have the body wander around aimlessly while the head shouts directions to it.
  • Could Guy Hampton really resist bringing the Secret Lads into comics? If Guy Hampton wrote some Secret Lads comics, they were non-canonical to Sentinel Comics even if published by that company.
  • Any more unexpected couples on the level of Madame Mittermeier/Wager Master or Harpy/Matthew? They don’t have a specific answer to that right now. Episode 276 might give some insight on that, though, given the topic.
  • Does this mean that there are characters in Sentinel Comics who make Secret Lad jokes and references because their writers grew up reading the books? Yes. They’re fair game in the setting as much as any other pop-culture reference is.
  • What is Iron Curtain’s power source? We know that like with the Legacies the powers got passed to Barrikada from her dad and also got stronger in the process (like it is always active instead of her being able to turn it on and off). I suppose this could be interpreted as “progress”-themed, so can you tell us if Wellspring is involved in some way, too? Not from Wellspring. They’re not sure they’ve established the origin other than “Soviet soldier experimentation.” A different experiment from, but under the same overall project as the experiment that gave Proletariat his powers.
  • Is Freedom Squadron real (I know I heard it when you were looking for an issue to place a story, but I have no idea which story, and I haven’t heard back from my letter about it)? It is real, but they’re not talking much about it yet.