[LNH/Precogs] Road to Killfile Wars

Tom Russell milos_parker at yahoo.com
Thu Sep 1 16:31:54 PDT 2005

Okay.  So.

Jesse asked me to post something, saying that I vouch for the issues of
his new mini that don't carry my name as co-plotter.  And so, yeah, I'm
doing that now.

I think he might be a little overly-generous with the co-plotter credit
in the first place.  What happened was he sent me issues, and I made
some comments and suggestions.  But, in his words, I "doubled the size"
with my "toxic sense of logic".  Still, it's Jesse's story and I'll let
him take the fall for it.  :-)

I got less involved, less suggestive, as the series ran its course, and
there's a number of reasons for that, personal and otherwise.  And
Jesse got worried, because he uses a fair amount of my characters and
does things to them.  Heinous things.  People die, even those people
who you thought couldn't die.  People return, even those people who you
thought could never return.  And people are transformed into new,
weird, and grotesque forms.

And yeah, these are some of my people.  The surviving members of
Teenfactor were like my babies.  The cast of NHOP, those were my
friends.  And Jesse Willey is relentlessly sadistic with them.

But I give it my thumbs up.  First of all, it's his story; secondly,
I've declared my characters public domain; thirdly, I think it works.

Now, Jesse and I have some basic disagreements about storytelling, and
that might be part of the reason why my suggestions became less and
less frequent with each issue.  (At the same time, he was writing a
six-issue mini and now it's twelve.  So there you go.)

As a writer, I prefer some formal order to things, some degree of
linear cause-and-effect.  I prefer each episode or issue to work not
only as part of the series, but also to be self-contained and in some
way satisfying in its own right.  And I like to keep things fairly
simple at the beginning of a series, even if they are old characters,
because each new series, each new story, should be something of a
jumping-on point.

My stuff is generally more interior, sometimes repetively so, as some
Cause of Angst or Past Misdeed or Essential Self-Doubt or Motivation is
espoused and considered many times over.  I remember once when writing
NHOP, I wrote two scenes in two different issues of NHOP with Ms.
Paprika.  Then, before posting the second, I checked it over and found
it was exactly the first scene.  Basically word-for-word, with some of
the same metaphors.  That's repetitive and somewhat insulting to the

I try to be as clear as possible, and I dislike certain elements of
drama that are, more-or-less, part and parcel of superhero fiction.  I
dislike "mystery" characters; I'd rather have the story from the start.
 Sometimes it works, but I'm not left wondering about Spider-Man's past
and, you know what?  Spider-Man is better for it.  (I also dislike
retcons, as they more-or-less are cheats.  Instead of building on four
hundred issues of history, they pervert it.  Grumble grumble Green
Goblin grumble grumble Gwen Stacy...)

And cliffhangers.  Yes, cliffhangers are, in theory, an ideal way to
tell a story serially, to keep people interested.  But every issue
can't be a cliffhanger.  That was a big problem with Teenfactor: I'd
start the issue addressing last issue's cliffhanger, give lots of
exposition explaining it, then, boom, rush to the next cliffhanger.
And while it's somewhat satisfying in an artificial way, it gets in the
way of telling the story.

When you make love to your special someone, you take it slow, you
build, and then, after a bit of a journey, you have a satisfying
climax.  Hopefully, she does too.  If not, you should have taken care
of her first.  That's why the good lord gave you a tongue.  Anyway.
But if you give her lots of exposition about the last time you blew
your load, and then boom, blow your next one, sex will quickly become
an unsatisfying experience for both parties.  Since you have no build,
the sensations are somewhat dull and the load itself isn't particularly

In short, it's really a matter of timing, and like mystery characters,
cliffhangers can be good if properly implemented and timed.  But, these
are just my opinions, and I've been wrong before*.

[*I recently discovered a stash of Silver Age DC comics in my wife's
possession, with a fairly intensive selection of "Imaginary Novels".
Some might remember that I put my foot in my mouth back in April with
an off-hand insult to alternate reality stories, and I have to say,
first of all, that it was completly and totally my fault.  It was very
idiotic of me.

I'm not denying culpability for my asinineness, but I do want to say
that I was, basically, a Marvel boy.  That much was probably obvious
from my early and juvenile love of retcons, mystery characters,
cliffhangers and crossovers.  And Marvel's alternate universe stories
were, well, lame.  Come on.  Age of Apocalypse?  Lame.  Factor X?  Why
not just call it X-Factor?  That's it's god-damn name.  Lame.  Most
issues of What-If?  Lame.

I perfer continuity, linearness, things building on another.  (Which is
something else, in theory, that I got from Marvel.)  At any rate, most
of the alternate universe stories I was familiar with were the Marvel
variety, simply because I didn't read DC.  And most of my silver age
comics, those were Marvel (and reprints).

But now, I've read me some 3 part Imaginary Novels.  And I've picked up
DC's excellent "Greatest Imaginary Stories" trade.  And now, I
understand just how cool, fun, and sometimes very effecting these
stories can be.  I decried the Imaginary Stories because they lacked
the emotional resonance of continuity storytelling.  But I was reading
the wrong ones: these one pack a wallop at times, and are so bizarre
and fascinating, and you can only get that with iconic characters.

I still like things somewhat neat, I don't want to have a chart in
order to sort out which characters have which relationships in which
reality-- but now I understand, and I apologize, and I rescind my
previous stupidity.]

Jesse's worldview differs from mine: he likes things chaotic, messy, he
likes to take seven or eight or twenty divirgent strands and weave them
together, slowly, so that you don't see it coming and then, boom,
everything connects.  Which is satisfying in a D. W. Griffith way, and
in a Jesse Willey way.

But these differences, they are essential to our styles as writers, and
perhaps as people.  And that's really the way it ought to be.

So this series?  This is Jesse Willey story.  You're going to be
confused at first.  But slowly, the strands will draw together, history
will be written, and the story will give you some pause for thought.
It is, in my estimation, the best story Jesse Willey has ever written.
The best.  And he did that not by imitating anyone, or kowtowing to my
whiny need for structure, but by being completly and absolutely true to
himself, his style, and who he is.

Has Jesse's stuff turned you off in the past?  Give it another look,
and give him another try, with this series.  It's his best.

And, hey, while we're on the subject, did I piss you off in my newbie
days?  Did my lack of a spell-checker/logic/linear
storytelling/comprehension and my prolificity/shittiness/asinine
behavior make you ignore my stuff forevermore?  I've gotten better, if
only marginally.  Check out Speak!  I don't think you'll be too


cabbagewielder at yahoo.com wrote:
> The Road to Killfile Wars is coming.   It brings together LNH
> titles new and old in one story that will make you think twice about
> what you know about Teenfactor, The Team, Vel, Onion Lad, Pearly White,
> Net. Heros on Parade and the LNH itself.
>      Based loosely on a plot by creator of Vel, Jesse N. Willey and Tom
> Russell Jnr (The creative force behind Speak! and House of Fiction) and
> a script by Jesse N. Willey... comes a tail of betrayal, love, lust,
> life, death and... tinfoil?
>   Begins this weekend.   And assuming I don't I have rewrite #12 due
> the original and backups failing... all of it shall run on a smooth
> weekly pace till the end of November.

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