MISC/ACRA: Guttertrash #25 (4/4): Notes from the Gutterground...
arspitzer at earthlink.net
Sat Mar 12 18:14:49 PST 2005
(I strongly suggest you read the story first before you read the Author
Notes because the story is a lot better written, and there is some stuff
in the notes that might ruin the story for you...)
Notes from the Gutterground:
This issue is bitter sweet. This was supposed to be the triumphant
return of Guttertrash, but do to things that I really can't speak about
it's more like the issue that killed Guttertrash. (Ah, if you only knew
the soap operas that happen behind the scenes while making RACC
stories.) In case you're wondering, I did get Abhay's permission and
blessing to post this issue. (Which was probably a big mistake, but I
won't go into that...)
I'd like to post a link to past issues of Guttertrash, but they've all
been purged from the archives as have everything else Abhay ever wrote.
Guttertrash was series of self-contained stories that twisted around
with the superhero genre. It ran from December 10, 1996 up to June 11,
2000. Besides Abhay, the other writers of Guttertrash included Matt
"Badger" Rossi, Marc "The Jazz" Singer, "Joltin'" Jeff McCoskey,
Peter "Tick" Milan, and Jamie "I don't know his nickname" Rosen.
It was great stuff, and it's a shame that it's no longer in the
archive. If you had a chance to read it, you were lucky... And
if you didn't? Well, tough luck I guess.
One of my favorite things about Guttertrash and for that matter any
Abhay Khosla story were the Author's Notes at the end. Sometimes the
Author Notes were even better than the actual stories. And so because
of that I'll be rambling on a bit with my own (less entertaining) Author
Notes. So get out now, while you still have a chance.
So why did I do this? Well, I've always wanted to write an issue of
Guttertrash. And I had this story in my head.
The characters in this story were actually characters I created when I
was a little kid (I changed the names of them however). Around the time
that I was in third to sixth grade I created an entire universe filled
with superheroes. I had this team called the Dominators (Yeah, I know.
Great name for a group of superheroes) who were sort of this Avengers
They were led by Julius Wolfe, who was also a superhero called The
Dominator. He was this billionaire Iron Man - Tony Stark rip-off.
The Mirror was originally called Mirror Girl. She had the power to
reflect any physical attack against her. If you hit her, you were
hitting yourself. If you killed her, you were killing yourself.
The Shadowraiser was originally this supervillain called Sun-Down. He
was the arch-enemy of Captain Japan who was kind of this Ultimate Ninja
type character. I think he was also Captain Japan's evil twin. He was
part of this secret society of ninjas who could use shadows as weapons.
Sort of a Reverse Green Lantern Corps. I like the name Sun-Down, but
it's not exactly a heroic sounding name.
The Midas Touch was originally called Golden Man. He was this King
Midas rip-off. Everything he touched turned to gold (although he could
control it). I think when he was normal he was blind, but when he was
powered up he could see.
The Breeze was originally called Speed Ghost Girl. She was the sidekick
of a character called Speed Ghost. You can probably guess what Speed
Ghost's powers were.
RESULT-O was originally called ROBOT-O. He was this wise cracking robot
who was a swiss army knife of weaponry.
The Second Hand was originally called the Executioner (which I thought
was a pretty clever name till I found out that a Marvel character also
had that name). The Executioner was a scientist who had this mystical
hand which could kill people by just touching them. The hand could also
warp reality, reach into other dimensions, and create portals to travel
into time. His purpose was basically just to kill every single hero and
take over the world. He was the Dominators biggest foe. I remember
writing a story in which he killed all the heroes. I can't remember how
the Dominators got out of that one.
The reason he's called the Second Hand is because, well heck, all the
good 'Destroy the World as We know it' names have already been taken.
In the Destiny Patrol Universe Mythology, there is a First Hand which
created the Universe. The Second Hand is the one that will destroy the
Universe. Somewhere along the line I made him a teenager.
The Asteroid Sphinx was the Asteroid Sphinx. No name change. He was a
big cosmic robot cat who conquered worlds. He gave his potential
conquerees a chance to save themselves if they could answer the riddles
he gave them.
I changed the name of the Dominators to the Destiny Patrol because it
sounded cool. I created Destiny City to give a logical reason why they
would call themselves the Destiny Patrol.
This story I guess is me giving the "Watchmen" treatment to my
characters. I have over the years had a ton of potential storylines for
a Destiny Patrol series. I doubt I'll ever do more Destiny Patrol
stories for RACC. If a series ever happens, it will be a Real Comic
Book series in the Real World. Not that that's ever going to happen
unless I win the Lottery or something.
As for this story...
Well, you know, there's a certain type of story that writer's should
never write. Here's an example of one.
* * * * * * * *
The Really Happy Kid Meets the Really Happy Genie
by Arthur Spitzer
Once upon a time, there was a really happy kid. He had been happy ever
since he was just a tiny zygote. And each second he existed, his
happiness increased just a little bit more. By the time he was eight,
he was eight times happier than he'd been when he was born. He was
really happy. And everything he wanted, he always got.
Once upon a time, there was a really happy Genie. He had been happy
ever since long ago when a Sorceror had conjured him up. And each
second that happiness increased. By the time he was 3000 years old, he
was 3000 times happier. Being trapped in a lamp made him happy. And
when people would rub the lamp to release him to the outside world that
also made him happy. He enjoyed granting peoples wishes. He enjoyed
giving people anything they could possibly want.
One day the Really Happy Kid was walking down the street. He spotted an
ancient looking lamp. He went over and picked it up. He decided to rub
the lamp because rubbing lamps made him really happy. The Really Happy
Kid was shocked when a cloud of blue smoke came from the lamp. And even
more shocked when the cloud changed into a genie. A Really Happy Genie!
"Ah, thank you for releasing me from my lamp," said the Really Happy
Genie. "And to reward you for releasing me, I will grant you three
wishes! You may wish for anything your heart desires!"
"Wow! Three wishes!" shouted the Really Happy Kid. "Jeepers! This has
got to be the best day ever!"
"Yes, I know what you mean," said the Really Happy Genie. "It does have
that Best Day Ever type feeling, doesn't it? So what's your first
"Gosh! Let me see! Oh, wait! I've got it!! Here's my first wish: I
wish that every single thing and person in the universe was happy! That
every single thing and person had been happy since the beginning of
time! That the happiness of every single thing and person had increased
a little bit more every time each second passed! That every single
person and thing always got whatever they wanted, and they would never
get hurt or die (unless getting hurt and dying would make them happy)!
And I mean everything happy! I'm talking the birds, the grass, the
rocks, cereal bowls, God, Satan, tv sets, robots, space aliens, people
in the afterlife, planets, suns, imaginary friends, atoms, quarks, and
even abstract concepts like Time and Space! Even the concept of
unhappiness! I want everything to be happy! Everything smaller than a
quark and bigger than the Universe! That's what I want!"
"I'm sorry, Really Happy Kid," the Really Happy Genie said. "But I
can't grant that wish!"
The Really Happy Kid was dumbfounded. "Gosh!! Why not?!"
"Because," and then a really big grin broke out from the Really Happy
Genie's face, "Because, it's already true! Every single thing and
person in the Universe is already happy!"
"Gosh! You're right!" the Really Happy Kid said giving his forehead a
slap. "I forgot all about that! Well, okay then! In that case, how
about you just give me the Three Most Perfect Wishes!"
And the Really Happy Genie nodded his head and granted the three most
perfect wishes which made the two of them really happy. Even happier
than they had been at the beginning of the story.
And every single person, thing, quark, and quark's uncle lived happily
ever after. Really, happily ever after!
(This is my 24 minute story, by the way...)
* * * * * * * *
So what's wrong with this story?
There's no misery, no sadism, no masochism, no depression, no
humiliation, no torture, no drug abuse, no hatred, no talking gorillas,
no angst, or sex.
Everyone in this story is too damn happy. No one wants to read a story
where all the quarks in the universe are happy. People want those
quarks to suffer.
The only way you could save this story would be to reveal that it's just
a hallucination from some transvestite homeless person dying of leprosy
in the back of an alley. Otherwise, this story just really sucks.
The ugly truth about superheroes and superhero comics is that the
superheroes can never win. Only in imaginary, or 'What If?' type
stories can superheroes ever achieve any type of peace.
The mutants will always be hated. The Joker will always escape so he
can kill again. Spider-Man will always have someone framing him for
You can give characters a happy ending, but once you do that -- that's
it. Because if you ever continue their adventures, you're going to have
to make them suffer again.
I've always been fascinated by the concept of happiness and the idea of
utopia. Various stuff I've written, like Saviors of the Net, and the
Daily Super Short-Short Story have dealt with those themes.
This story owes a lot to Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman's work on
Miracleman. As well as various Philip K Dick stories dealing with the
concept of reality and so on.
Could you ever make a world where everyone was happy? Probably not.
Misery and Happiness seem to be bound together. Why is it that someone
in some third-world country that is doing everything just to survive
doesn't kill themselves, and someone like Kurt Cobain who would seem to
have everything a person could possibly want does? (Well, maybe living
with Courtney Love is really bitch. Or maybe she did kill him!) But
there's always some celebrity out there living a very self-destructive
lifestyle which will probably in the end kill them. (Hunter S Thompson
committed suicide right while I was in the middle of writing this story.
Although I think he had medical reasons for doing it. Still, he
certainly lived a not-very healthy lifestyle...)
I didn't intend for the ending of this story to be shocking (but it
probably is). But when I thought it up, I just had to do it. Does it
destroy the story, or make it better? I'm not sure. I think it makes
it better, or else I wouldn't have done it that way. I guess the ending
is about perception. We can never really know what people are like.
How they feel. Some person who always seems happy on the outside could
be horribly depressed when you don't see them. Do we see the real Alice
Queen in this story, or just an idealized version of her that's in
Charlie's mind. Did any of the stuff happen? I don't know. It's
ambiguous I guess. Some movies like the Sixth Sense are better because
of the ending and some like Unbreakable are destroyed because of it. I
hope it worked for you...
I've got another idea for a Guttertrash story... Something called the
"The Runaway Chaotic, Sporadic, Traumatic, Make-it Up As You Go Along
Story Game". It will probably take me a few months to write it though.
Unless I get a bad case of writer's block...
Damn. So do I have anything else to say? I guess not. Guess I should
just end this incredibly long endless ramble. Well, I guess that's it.
Arthur "Somewhere under the rainbow" Spitzer
More information about the racc