[REPOST/LNH] Saviours of the NET #7: 'A Fight Scene! A FightScene!'

Arthur Spitzer arspitzer at earthlink.net
Tue Apr 25 19:59:25 PDT 2006

in article 1145678547.502363.327590 at z34g2000cwc.googlegroups.com, Tom
Russell at milos_parker at yahoo.com wrote on 4/21/06 9:02 PM:

> Saxon Brenton wrote:
>> Actually, running off on a semi-tangent from that: Tom, I apprecaite that
>> you're embarrassed by a lot of your early work, but I have yet to be
>> convinced that this *persistent* self-flagellantion is productive or
>> healthy.
>> Just saying...
> Duly noted. :-)
> I've also got to work on my persistent need to apologize for my
> behaviour nine years ago.  I'm a different person now than I was at
> that time, and it really feels that way: when I run across some old
> post of mine or flame war that I started, it's like I'm looking at the
> childish antics of a whole 'nother person.  A person I don't
> particularly like, and whom I'd have very little patience for if he
> existed today.
> But I know that I was that person.  And that's something that's
> upsetting to me.
> At that time, the thing I loved most about superhero universes was the
> history of it.  The way one story intersects with another, and becomes
> another thing entirely.  The way the threads weave in and out.  And,
> yeah, that's still a big part of it for me.  The feeling that I'm
> adding to some great big story gives me goosebumps to this day.
> But at the time, I *wasn't* adding to the great big story.  Making Gary
> Niceguy the son of Sarcastic Lad, for example: that didn't *add* to the
> story.  Retconning Carolyn's mother into CPDC and making Carolyn the
> daughter of Killfile-- that didn't add to the fabric of the LNH.  Or
> the time that all anime on television was replaced by insipid
> children's programming featuring a purple dinosaur.

Sarcastic Lad has a son?  Does he know this?

Giving Dr. Killfile a daughter probably made him more interesting.

> And there are reasons why this early work didn't add to the story of
> the Looniverse as a whole: first off, they were cheap ploys.  EXACTLY
> the kind of bad twists and writing that I hated in mainstream comics at
> the time, and to this day.  It took me a while to realize I was doing
> it.  And it took me a little longer to realize the reason why I was
> doing it, the same reason why Brubaker brought back Bucky and Bendis
> disbanded the Avengers: it leaves a mark.
> Fanboys adore writers like Alan Moore, who ended the career of Batgirl.
> And, as what, a cheap joke?  Because it wasn't her story.  It wasn't
> even Jim Gordon's.  THE KILLING JOKE was the Joker's story.  And, if
> you ask me, I'd say that was wrong.  The last Batgirl story should be
> Batgirl's story.  Just as the death of Firestorm should be a story
> about Firestorm, not four fucking pages in the middle of a miniseries.
> As much respect as Moore and Meltzer have for the DC universe and some
> of its heroes as a whole, they DO NOT have respect for Batgirl or
> Firestorm.  Because if they did, they wouldn't *end* them so casually.
> And, in my mind, since they lack that very basic respect for the
> intellectual property of others, they have no right to alter it--
> especially not in the course of a few panels, almost as an
> afterthought.

Actually from some interviews I've read, I believe Alan Moore regrets
writing 'The Killing Joke'.

I liked Batgirl and it was kind of shame what happened to her.  But treating
every character like some sacred cow?  I'm not sure about that.  I suppose
sometimes doing things that will piss off fanboys can be a good thing
(usually if it's done by a good writer).

Of course now days even the most shocking things have become horrible

> I think it's a little sadistic, too: consider that Barb is crippled,
> stripped, humiliated, and tortured.  It's strongly implied that she is
> raped.  I'd rather not see this happen to anyone-- but if you're going
> to do that to a character, you owe it to them, and to those who came
> before you and worked on that character, to show some sympathy for
> them, to give them the focus, instead of using cynical distance and
> perverse casuality.
> When writers make major changes to the characters and the universe they
> inhabit, the stories are taken more seriously than your usual superhero
> escapist entertainment, because "serious literature has consequences"
> and in "funnybook stories" nothing ever changes.  And I think that's
> the only reason why Barb Gordon was shot and paralyzed: because Alan
> Moore is a Serious Writer who Writes Serious Stories.  Because Alan
> Moore wants to be taken seriously.
> There are Serious Writers who work in comic books and RESPECT the
> characters they write. Like Kurt Busiek.  I enjoyed his run on AVENGERS
> immensely.  Though his stories had reprecussions, he didn't have the
> Scarlet Witch go insane *years* after her kids had vanished, resulting
> in the death of many Avengers and the disassembly of that august body.
> He just told good stories, the best he could, about characters he
> loved.  He didn't kill them off as a cheap stunt because he understands
> that cheap stunts are preternaturally disrespectful and that they are
> not good stories.

Of course on the other hand if Kurt Busiek had his way the Dark Phoenix Saga
would have never happened (or at least Jean Grey would have never died).
And he was the one who came up with the whole Dark Phoenix was just a Jean
Grey clone type story which kind of ruined one of the best X-Men stories.

I like Kurt Busiek (Astro City and Thunderbolts), but I'm not sure I agree
that Superhero universes should be constrained to the way Kurt Busiek would
write them.

> When I started with the LNH, I wanted to be an important writer.  I
> wanted to be remembered.  I wanted to make sure I couldn't be ignored.
> I was an Alan Moore (without the talent).  I've gotten better at
> writing, and, like Alan Moore, I think I'm pretty good when I don't get
> too pretentious.  But now that I have some modicum of talent, I don't
> want to be an Alan Moore.  I don't want people to say my name and
> immediately associate me with, say, Frat Boy becoming homosexual. :-)

I wouldn't mind being Alan Moore (well as long as I didn't have to live in
England, have a huge beard, worship snake puppets, and all that other crazy
stuff he does).  But I'd certainly take the money and respect.

Ideally I think what I'd like right now would be to get just one story
published, then another, then maybe a novel, then maybe some awards, movie
scripts, a few Nobel Prizes for Literature, and then finally somewhere down
the line an island full of people worshipping me and sacrificing beautiful
female virgins in my name.

But probably for now just one single story published.

> Which, like WikiBoy's cure for AIDS, was never intended to stick.  In
> the case of the Frat Boy story, I restored status quo at the
> conclusion-- admittedly a cop-out, and one of the dangers of shying
> away from high-stakes.  But other writers liked what I did, and ran
> with it.  And I think that's terrific.  That's what a shared universe
> is about.
> As for WikiBoy/AIDS/having sex with just about every living person
> thing-- he's WikiBoy for Chrissakes!  Of course he's going to get
> retconned!    That's the whole point of his powers!  I'm not about to
> take a big dump-- or, in this case, WikiSplooge-- into the public
> sandbox.  Only a child tries to remake the sandbox in his image.
> And I'm not a child anymore.  I don't want to be an Alan Moore.  I want
> to be a Bill Loebs.  I'd rather someone come across a story that they
> love and discover that I was the one who wrote it.  I'd rather write
> great stories that have no major reprecussions.  I'd rather quietly add
> to the tapestry of the LNH, because I respect it now.  I love it more
> than I love myself.

That's a bit extreme Tom.

> I love the LNH, and the people who people the Looniverse.  By people, I
> refer to both the writers on RACC and the characters they've written.
> I consider them all to be among my dearest friends.
> I've hung out with Sister State-the-Obvious and Cheesecake-Eater Lad
> for nearly nine years now.  With Obscure Trivia Lad and Irony Man.
> With poor Cannon Fodder and ridiculous, imperious Ultimate Ninja.  I
> care for them very deeply; I cherish them and I want to protect them
> from those that would do them harm.

> I'm working on an anniversary story for LNH vol. 2 # 12, to be posted
> (naturally) on April 29.  It's something of a sad story, and parts of
> it has moved me very deeply.  It's not because I think my story is that
> good, or indeed even because of anything I've done; it's because of the
> deep feelings I have for these beloved characters.  It's because of all
> the work so many others have done over the course of fourteen years.
> When I look back on my old posts, I'm looking at someone I now consider
> to be my antithesis.  That's why I hate his stories, and that's why I'm
> always apologizing for the way he tried to ruin things.

You didn't ruin things Tom.  No one can ruin the LNH.  Either people like
something and refer to it or they don't and they ignore it.

> At the same time, it's hardly productive to keep apologizing and
> bashing on this idiotic Russell kid.  After a while, it begins to
> schmack of schtick.  So I'll keep it to myself from here-on in.
> Just thought I'd offer some words of explanation and reflection.  Feel
> free to comment on any or all of it: conversation is healthy, even if
> self-flaggelation is not. :-)
> --Tom

Arthur "Never Apologizes" Spitzer

More information about the racc mailing list