LNH/ACRA: The Legion of the Net. Heroes Vol. 2, # 10
milos_parker at yahoo.com
Tue Sep 27 09:08:32 PDT 2005
[No bad language, violence, or on-screen nookie in
this story; still, there are some risque jokes and so
I slapped it with an ACRA.--Tom]
Master Blaster! Frat Boy! Kid Poetry!
And introducing Joyce Carol Oates Lass in...
THE LEGION OF THE NET.HEROES Vol. 2 No. 10
"An Investigation of Masculinity in the Medium of
Comics and Comics-Related Prose Fiction, Specifically
the Superhero or Tights-and-Capes Genre, Taking the
Form of a Humorous Tale of the Legion of the Net.
"Omen of the Flopping Fish"
Humbly submitted for the approval of the Mid-Nite
Master Blaster and Frat Boy were standing in the
hallway of LNHHQ, near Frat Boy's room. They
exchanged greetings, and then Frat Boy said, "I won
the lottery yesterday. The jackpot!"
"That's good!" said Master Blaster.
"But I lost the ticket."
"But then I found it again."
"And then I was mugged."
"Ooh. That's bad!"
"The mugger was an energetic, busty, scantily-clad
"... named Frank O'Malley."
The door opened, and a rotund naked man poked his
head out. "Frat Boy...?"
"Be right there."
"Who...?" said Master Blaster.
"Oh." Master Blaster blinked. "Oh."
"Obviously," said Sister State-the-Obvious, "Frat
Boy's childish antics are desperate attempts to
reassert his failing ideal of his own masculinity, as
he feels that he would not be accepted for who he is.
Rather than confront his hidden homosexuality, he
decides instead to deny his own nature and conform
"Look," said Master Blaster. "If he was gay...
which he isn't... we would all accept him with open
arms. Once an LNHer, always an LNHer."
"Is there one gay LNHer? Even just one?"
"I can name two. Groundswell and Lunchbox Lass."
"They were lesbians, dear. They don't count."
"What are you talking about?" said Master Blaster.
"Of course lesbians count. They always count. They
"Precisely my point," said Sister
State-the-Obvious. "If homosexual characters exist in
superhero fiction at all, they're almost always
"I didn't say that. I said almost always."
"That's because sexuality doesn't matter. It's not
about that. Not even the acraphobe stories."
"You and I are married."
"So, that's sexuality. Heterosexuality."
"Well, that's different. You and me, it's about
love. It's not the same for gays."
Sister State-the-Obvious stared at her husband.
He looked down at his feet and heaved a sigh. "I'm
a big idiot, aren't I?"
"Talk about stating the obvious."
"Well, he isn't gay anyway. He's Frat Boy, for
"So, he... hold on."
He left the room. She could hear him talking to
Upon his return, Sister State-the-Obvious said,
"You left the room, and were talking to someone."
"Yeah, that was Tom."
"He's not our author. Our author is..."
"Well, Tom's writing it, anyway. Tom Russell."
"That's a little egotistical."
"That's tifferiffically lame."
"He that blesses RACC with diseased hyena
A fish flopped into the room.
"Okay, so you were talking to him about...?"
"I forget. We spent so much time on this last
gag." Master Blaster scratched the back of his head
with his gun. "Oh, yeah. I was going to make some
joke linking Frat Boy to roofies in order to assert
"But Frat Boy doesn't use roofies."
"I know. That's why we didn't do the joke."
"Why would you even think of that?"
"Technically, Russell did. You see, because date
rapes are quite common in colleges?"
"But Frat Boy would never rape anybody."
"I know. That's why we didn't do..."
"Frat Boy doesn't use roofies."
"That joke's not even funny, and certainly not
"I. Know," said Master Blaster. "That. `S. Why.
We. Didn't. Do. The. Joke."
"Frat Boy doesn't use roofies." Sister
State-the-Obvious gave her husband a long, hard look.
"I thought you were his friend. Is this what you
think about, date rapes?"
The fish flopped inquisitively.
"Is this what you find funny?"
"Well, it is funny, you got to admit..."
"It's not funny."
"Well, I suppose not, but maybe in another
"Frat Boy doesn't use roofies."
"I know that!" said Master Blaster.
"It's not funny. It's perverted. You're a
"Oh, come on, now..."
"The requests for spanking, I could deal with."
"This is a story, dear," said Master Blaster.
"Your bizarre lactation fantasy, I indulged."
"People are reading this..."
"And, sure, I was a little perturbed when you
wanted to act out the psycho-sexual politics of BOXING
HELENA. But I bound your arms and legs behind your
back and shoved you into the tiny box just like you
asked. But this?
"This is just the kind of disgusting, pigheaded
masculine behaviour that has poor Frat Boy afraid to
come out in the first place."
"Frat Boy is not gay!" said Master Blaster. "And
what's more, I'll prove... wait a second. Have you
been talking to Radical Seventies Feminist
"No," said Sister State-the-Obvious.
"Who have you been talking to?"
"Joyce Carol Oates Lass."
The fish flopped ominously.
"Who is this Joyce Carol Oates Lass, anyway?" said
Master Blaster, trying to be casual. List Lad and
Librarian Lady exchanged glances.
"She's some kind of freak genetic experiment gone
awry," said List Lad. "Way I hear it, she is nothing
more and nothing less than the sum total of the
stories of Joyce Carol Oates, sexy bespectacled
mistress of American Letters."
"Wait a moment," said Librarian Lady. "Are we
talking seventies-eighties Oates or are we talking
List Lad consulted his roster. "Nineties Oates."
Librarian Lady shuddered.
"Is that bad?" said Master Blaster.
"That's bad," said Librarian Lady.
The Ultimate Ninjas motioned simultaneously for
Master Blaster to take a seat.
"What's up, chief?"
"Watch," said one of them, pointing to a small
screen that was being lowered from the ceiling.
"Watch, and learn."
It was a news report. People were panicking,
screaming. The caption said ISLE OF MAN.
"Where's that at?"
"Somewhere near Britain."
"So, like, they're part of the UK?"
"No. Just watch."
"They're not part of the UK?"
"They're a crown dependency. And their citizens
are considered part of the UK. But they're not part
of the UK."
"What the hell does that mean, crown dependency?"
"Means the UK handles their defense and makes all
international decisions for them. The Isle of Man
gets to make all domestic decisions."
"That sounds to me like they're part of the UK.
Can they even wipe their own ass?"
"Please. Master Blaster. Please. For just once
in your life, pretend you're not completely ignorant
of all international politics, pretend that you can go
five minutes without seriously offending someone
because of your asinine, America-centric comments."
"But I am completely ignorant of all international
"I know that. But. Let's pretend, okay?"
"Okay. I'm pretending. But I still want to know."
"Can they wipe their own ass?"
One of the three Ninjas leaped towards him, ginsu
blade in one hand and a pinch of Ninja Bush in the
other. One of the other Ninjas restrained him while
the remaining Ultimate Ninja directed Master Blaster's
attention back to the screen.
The camera was shaking.
"Should invest in a tripod," said Master Blaster.
The camera, still shaking, zoomed in on a handsome
figure in a double-breasted suit.
"I mean, seriously," said Master Blaster. "You
have a camera, that's, what, two, three, four thousand
dollars. Talking prosumer here. A decent tripod is
just a couple hundred dollars. If you can afford the
camera, you should be able to afford the tripod."
"Never trust a man without a tripod."
"Shut up, shut up!"
The Ninjas paused the video and called a
"Are you sure we want to send Master Blaster on
"He's the lead character in the story."
"Damn! Is he?"
"He and Frat Boy."
"Well, if they're the leads..."
"Then I guess we have to send them."
The Ninjas sighed in tandem.
Yes, in tandem. Not simultaneously.
The man in the double-breasted suit looked straight
into the quaking eye of the camera. "The Isle of Man
is no more. Say good-bye. Wave. And then say hello
to... the Isle of Mamet."
The scene shifted. Soon everyone, man, woman,
child, echidna, was strutting around, posturing,
pointing fingers and letting loose a string of
profanity that just wouldn't be acceptable in a
"Man. This is... severe."
"It's a very serious situation," said the Ninja.
Or, one of them, anyway.
"Are their British ass-keepers doing anything about
"Because then we wouldn't have a story, would we?"
Master Blaster snorted. "Suppose not."
"We're sending you to lead a team chosen
specifically for the gags that Russell can think of
involving them. And, also to keep the story structure
nice and neat. Again, you're the leader. With you,
take Frat Boy."
"Couldn't see that coming."
"Joyce Carol Oates Lass."
"And Kid Poetry."
Master Blaster found Frat Boy first, so that they
could enjoy an uncomfortable and uncertain exchange of
greetings, followed by mumbled platitudes, a long
silence, and a: well, let's go find the others, then.
Joyce Carol Oates Lass stared at Master Blaster
imperiously. "Why are you the leader? Do you think
that because you have a penis, that makes you the
"Do you want to be the leader?"
"I am the most intelligent person here, so, yes."
"That might be true. But you don't really have any
powers, do you? You're just the sum total of the
stories of Joyce Carol Oates."
"Nineties Joyce Carol Oates," she reminded.
"Ouch," said Frat Boy.
Joyce Carol Oates Lass and Master Blaster both
stopped and stared at him.
"What? I'm Frat Boy. I have been to college.
Night school, anyway. Just got a bachelor's in
literature. Fat lot of good it'll do me, though, let
me tell you."
"Where were we?" said Joyce Carol Oates Lass.
"Um... you don't have any powers, do you? You're
just the sum total of the stories of Joyce Carol
"Do you have a power?"
"I don't need a power. I have a gun." He held up
his BFG proudly.
She swiped it from him. "Well, now I have your
gun. And you have no powers. So I guess I'm the
"She took my gun!"
"So," said Joyce Carol Oates Lass, "let's go find
Kid Poetry, hmm?"
The life of a Legionnaire is not always glamorous.
That's why Kid Poetry occupied much of his time these
days with other interests, hobbies, and community
service. At the moment, he was participating in a
program designed to teach comprehension of the
classics to uneducated farmers.
The lesson on Hamlet was not going well.
"Okay, look," said Kid Poetry. "Let's start again,
let me explain it this way. You have two cows.
"But what you really want is a chicken. Your
neighbor has a chicken, but he really wants a cow. So
you trade him a cow for his chicken. You got this so
"That night, you pour poison into your neighbor's
ear, kill him, take the cow back, and marry his comely
widow. The ghost of your neighbor appears to the
still-loyal chicken and demands that said chicken gets
"The chicken spends a lot of time acting weird and
pissing people off until he acts really weird and
pisses you off by putting on a play that reveals that
you murdered your neighbor. So, you panic, and you
write a note asking the English to kill the chicken,
and you send the two cows, who are not privy to the
note, to escort him to England. The chicken changes
the note, and the English kill both your cows.
"Then the chicken comes home, kills you, the widow,
and just about everybody in Denmark. Then
mid-nineties pretty-boy Rufus Sewell appears at the
end. Have you got it, now?"
"So," began one of the farmers hesitantly, "one
could say the play gets it momentum from the friction
between the genre-- a revenge tragedy-- and the
character-- who is more fit for philosophy. In fact,
the entire play is more about someone being
ill-at-ease with the role society has proscribed to
them, and his acceptance of that role-- his conforming
to norms-- results in a bloody massacre, making it,
really, in essence, a statement for personal freedom
"Bingo," said Kid Poetry.
The gag having ended, Master Blaster and his...
ahem... Joyce Carol Oates Lass and her team appeared.
"We need your help."
"Sounds great," said Kid Poetry. "When do we go?"
"There's one catch," said Joyce Carol Oates Lass.
"There appears to be some kind of bubble around the
"This is the first I've heard of this," said Master
"The author just thought of it."
Master Blaster snorted. If he was the leader of
the team, he wouldn't allow such slip-shod
developments and lack of planning to take place.
"Like, a force bubble, a force field?" Kid Poetry
"Not exactly. It's a layer of masculinity, of
aggression, of violence, of posing, of abuse and,
above all, profanity. The rhythmic and strangely
beautiful verbal violence of Mamet's work is so dense
and quick that no flight.thingy could possibly breach
"We don't need a flight.thingy," said Kid Poetry.
"Come with me, everyone! To the library!"
"Recently, I had a bit of a power upgrade," said
Kid Poetry by way of explanation as they worked their
way through the non-fiction section.
"Really?" said Frat Boy. "When was this?"
"Well, you remember the last story I appeared in?"
"Well, it happened after that story, but before
"Here we are. Isle of Man." Kid Poetry grabbed a
book in the nine-hundred's.
"What is this power, anyway?" said Master Blaster.
"Is it poetry related?"
"Well, not really," Kid Poetry admitted. "Well, it
could be. I mean, this power is really more of an
all-types-of-writing-apply kind of thing. Be it
poetry. Or prose. Or a children's book. Or
nonfiction, like this book here."
"Well, what is it?" said Master Blaster, getting
"It's the magic of reading," Kid Poetry said. He
opened the book and said in a low, whispering tone of
voice: "Take a look. It's in a book."
From the pages of the book, seven ribbons of light
climbed towards the ceiling, creating a rainbow.
"Come on, everybody!" said Kid Poetry. He leaped onto
the rainbow and it whisked him away, passing through
the ceiling like it was a cloud.
Joyce Carol Oates Lass was next.
Master Blaster sighed. "Oh my lord. This is so
gay." Then he winced. "Sorry."
"Let's not talk about this here and now, okay?"
said Frat Boy.
They leaped onto the reading rainbow, and it
disappeared with them.
"We're coming towards the isle," said Joyce Carol
Oates Lass. "Brace yourselves, this is going to get
The rainbow riders braced themselves. All around
them, screams of profanity (rhythmically artistic
profanity, yes, but profanity none-the-less) filled
the air, pounding at them relentlessly, threatening to
toss them from their multi-coloured wave.
"We got through it," said Kid Poetry.
About ten feet off the ground, the rainbow
disappeared. The quartet dropped straight down.
"Oh, geez. We landed on somebody," said Frat Boy.
"What?" said Joyce Carol Oates Lass.
"We landed on somebody." He turned the body over.
"He's dead. Hmm. Looks a bit like Alec Baldwin. But
"That's the guy, then!" said Master Blaster.
"That's the guy who transformed this into the Isle of
"So... we won?" said Frat Boy.
"We won," said Master Blaster enthusiastically.
A mass of Manx wandered out. The sun shone up
above. And nowhere was heard a discouraging word.
"You saved us. Thank you!" came the chorus of
"That was easy," said Kid Poetry.
"Well, get us out of here, then," said Master
"I can't," said Kid Poetry.
"That was too easy," said Frat Boy.
"What do you mean, you can't?" said Master Blaster.
"I mean, I can't. The reading rainbow can only be
"What, like once a day? Or once per turn? Or..."
"Once. As in, once. Just once. One time."
"And you used it to get us to the Isle of Man?"
said Frat Boy. Or Master Blaster. Or Joyce Carol
Oates Lass, for that matter. It didn't really matter
which of them said it. They all could have said it at
"Yes," said Kid Poetry.
"You could have used that to go anywhere," said
Master Blaster. This time it was definitely Master
Blaster, and no one else: "You could have went to some
exotic lands, or to Atlantis, or back through time, or
anywhere in the solar system! You could have gone to
the moon, man! Those Moon Amazons are kinky![*]"
Joyce Carol Oates Lass snorted in disgust.
[*-- See the now-classic PIGS IN SPACE.]
"Pigs indeed," said Joyce Carol Oates Lass.
"I just got off the phone with the Ninjas," said
Joyce Carol Oates Lass. "He's sending along Random
LNHer Who Only Serves a Plot Function Lad/Lass and
Throw-Away Character to come pick us up."
"They could have sent Parking Karma Kid. Or
Student Driver Lass."
"Then there wouldn't be a joke, would there? At
any rate, they'll be here in a few hours. Let's meet
back here then."
Joyce Carol Oates Lass and Kid Poetry went their
separate ways, leaving Master Blaster and Frat Boy to
have a thematically relevant conversation.
Master Blaster sighed. He felt uncomfortable.
He'd be much more confident if he had his gun. "Let's
"So," Master Blaster said again. "Are you...?"
"No. Well, I don't think so. I dunno. Maybe."
"I mean, I don't know. This is very confusing for
"Hey!" said Master Blaster suddenly. "Come on!
You're Frat Boy! You can't be gay. You're Frat Boy,
man! You're all about getting drunk and stoned and
eating munchies and chasing after chicks!"
"That's true," said Frat Boy. "Hence the
"I mean, you love p..."
This is not an acraphobe story, Master Blaster.
"Porridge. I was going to say porridge."
"I was. Wasn't I, Frat Boy?"
"I believe you."
"So, like I said, you love tapping that sweet,
"I know, I know," said Frat Boy. "There's only one
thing I like better than ramming some chick."
"What's that? Drinking? Watching scramble porn?
"Getting rammed by some guy."
"You can't be serious, though, Frat Boy," said
"I mean, I never knew. Until Frank..."
"Whoa, man. Look, it's not that serious. Everyone
experiments. Especially in college."
"Man, I didn't finish high school. You know that.
Teachers try to program you, so you don't think more
good than they do."
"No. I mean..." Frat Boy shrugged. "Have you
"No, no, no!" said Master Blaster. "No way.
Nuh-huh. Not no way, not know how. Impossible. No.
Well, okay. Once. I mean... no. Never. No."
"Master Blaster... Rob..."
"Does it matter?"
"Does what matter?"
"If I am... If I am gay..."
"You're not gay, man!"
"I guess that answers my question," said Frat Boy.
He started to walk away.
"Frat Boy! Wait!" He chased after him.
"I just need to be alone for a while," said Frat
"I just need to be alone."
Master Blaster ran into Joyce Carol Oates Lass.
"Can I have my gun back?"
"Sure. Knock yourself out." She handed it back to
"I'm sorry if I've been acting, well..."
"You have a penis. It's to be expected. Say.
Where's Frat Boy?"
"He's... he's having some stuff he's working
through, I guess. I dunno. I think I pissed him
Joyce Carol Oates Lass started to walk away.
"Wait!" said Master Blaster. "Where are you
"I'm going to find him," she said. "I think he's
Master Blaster followed her. "What?"
"I think he's cute. I'd like to engage in
meaningless sex with him."
"But, you're Joyce Carol Oates Lass!"
"Yes. And...? Have you ever actually read the
work of Joyce Carol Oates?"
"Aw, come on. My name is Master Blaster. I have a
"The answer was somewhat obvious. It was a
"You have me confused with Andrew Dworkin Lass. I
don't hate men. I don't hate sex."
"Yeah, but... Frat Boy is like Master Blaster
Junior, man. He's a crude lewd dude."
"Who likes food," offered Kid Poetry, walking by.
"Right. How could you possibly be attracted to
"In the stories of Joyce Carol Oates-- we're
talking the nineties stories, not the vastly more
even-handed and introspective approach of her earlier
work-- in these more recent stories of Joyce Carol
Oates, men are basically abusive, controlling,
violent, nasty individuals who victimize weak, poor,
defenseless women who don't know any better than to
leave the scum.
"So, in order to show the contempt men inherently
have for women, it follows that said man must in some
way degrade or use said woman. So, basically, the
sole point of my existence is to be victimized. So,
what I'm going to do is, I'm going to find Frat Boy
and have him talk me into meaningless, emotionless sex
which leaves me feeling used and unappreciated."
And so she departed.
Master Blaster met up with Frat Boy again before
the flight.thingy arrived. Frat Boy was beaming.
Master Blaster could see Joyce Carol Oates Lass in the
distance, smoking a cigarette and wondering if anyone
would ever love her.
"Joyce Carol Oates Lass and I..."
"I know. That's good."
"I didn't last very long."
"She likes it rough."
"I'm still bleeding in seven places. Eight if you
"I guess this means I'm not gay."
"You really think so? I think the author's just
trying to score some points by bringing up real-world
issues. But since heterosexuality is confirmed by the
end of the story, he's playing it safe so there are no
repercussions from messing around with a beloved
character. In fact, it really just reaffirms the
homophobic status quo. He still wants credit, but on
the other hand he chickens out, refuses to deal
truthfully with the issue at hand. Like Howard
Mackie. Or Woody Allen."
"It'd be upsetting to me if you couldn't accept it,
if I was gay."
"That's bad, and it's my fault. And I'm sorry,
The fish flopped. "Awwwww."
I am a big fan of Joyce Carol Oates, though I prefer,
as one can infer, the earlier work to the latter.
"That's good/That's bad" is an old
A quick google search reveals that issues of male
homosexuality have been addressed in RACC before, and
also in the LNH: just last year there was a story by
Martin Phipps about Fagneto, the earth-GAY version of
Lagneto who was "super-gay". I'd like to give Martin
the benefit of the doubt that he was satirizing
My apologies to Ms. Oates, Mr. Mamet, and the Isle of
Text copyright (C) 2005 Tom Russell. Joyce Carol
Oates Lass created by Tom Russell and given to the
Master Blaster created by Martin Phipps and not
Frat Boy created by Uplink and not reserved.
Kid Poetry created by Theron Ross and not reserved.
Librarian Lady created by Saxon Brenton and not
List Lad created by Scavenger and not reserved.
Sister State-the-Obvious created by wReam and not
Ultimate Ninja created by wReam and not reserved; the
three Ninja situation, if I'm not mistaken, happened
in Jesse Willey's VEL.
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