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

martinphipps2 at yahoo.com martinphipps2 at yahoo.com
Fri Apr 28 08:19:21 PDT 2006

The problem with most LNH characters is that they were created as
concepts.  With Manga Girl and Super Apathy Lad, the concepts are
female-manga-character and apathetic-teenager, respectively.  The name
"Super Apathy Lad" suggests a personality but what about Manga Girl?
That's not so clear.  You could say she is cute and has a falsetto
voice but that sounds dangerously like a Japanese cultural stereotype.
I won't even comment on Fuzzboy. :)

When I first came across the roster I thought "How do you write these
people?"  Not all of them had obvious personalities implied by their
name or powers.  And a lot of the original writers were off the net and
couldn't provide "How to writes".  Some of the characters hadn't even
had any dialogue.

Between The Leadership Crisis and The Marriage of Pocket Man and
Organic Lass, I made a point of using ALL the characters on the roster
to date, with most of them getting dialogue, some for the first time.
I forgot about Browsing Boy when I wrote the Leadership Crisis so I
included him in the first Deja Dude / Master Blaster Series, which also
featured Sister State-the-Obvious prominently.  I also forgot
Loquacious Lad and Kid Yesterdaze and mentioned this to Drizzt and he
admitted that he forgot about them too when he did Cry.sig so he ought
to use them in a story (which became Whatever Happpened to...)  So
between the two of us we had the roster covered.  Drizzt then went on
to create the on-line roster and we re-wrote most of the roster entries
to take account of the fact that the characters had (and still needed)
more personality.

At the time, there was a bit of opposition to this: Todd "Scavenger"
Kogutt was adamantly against the idea of making changes to other
people's characters.  wReam and Drizzt were more liberal: the idea of
Pre-Cry.sig characterization and Post-Cry.sig characterization was
introduced to ease the transition.  Thus, Irony Man was no longer Doug
Moran's WC but was now Toony Stork, son of a wealthy industrialist.
Similarly, Cheesecake Eater Lad's powers no longer had anything to do
farting.  Jef Kolodziej then went the extra step of declaring these
characters "Public Domain".  Ken Schmidt and Jeff McCoskey made a big
deal about public-domain-ness during their Looniverse Adrift crossover:
really, a public domain character only differs from an ordinary WC in
that more than one person has a say on how the character develops.

A good example of this was Catalyst Lass.  Harith Jameel Alkhafiz
imagined Catalyst Lass was domineering and a bit bitchy and that this
was how she got other people interested in her interests.  Jeff McCosky
imagined Catalyst Lass was sexy and seductive and that this was how she
got other people interested in her interests.  I assumed that Catalyst
Lass' powers were psionic and that this was how she got other people
interested in her interests.  (See, for example, the more recent LNH
Comics Presents Special #9: Unofficial Crossover in which Catalyst Lass
and Chatillon realize that they have the same power.)  Jeff and Jameel
were using Catalyst Lass at the same time and eventually started
arguing about who's interpretation was right: I even got e-mail from
BOTH of them (separately) thanking me for writing Catalyst Lass and
"being true to my version of the character".  In truth, I was just
doing what Saxon does and taking everything that the character had done
to date, considering it all canon and thus coming up with a tough, sexy
woman that each of them thought was theirs. :)  Anyway, the argument
eventually led to their collaboration on Catalytic Conversations, a
decent yet totally unnecessary resolution to the problem.  Sigh.  Jeff
and Jameel were both good writers: they should realize that real people
are conplex, that they aren't defined by a small set of character
traits and that fictional characters should be just as complex.
Anyway, don't worry about me talking behind the backs of Jeff and
Jameel because I said this at the time but they both felt they needed
their own versions of Catalyst Lass so that they could develop the
character independently of the other's permission.  Whatever.  This is
why we now reserve characters in advance. :)

So, in a nushell, I wasn't trying to impose anything on the LNH.  As
you can see from the above example, I was trying my best to develop
characters within the framework that I had been provided with.  I'm
satisfied that I've either left characters pretty much alone or took
them to their natural next step (which in a few cases meant marriage,
although this was also a self-serving way to create children who would
grow up to be the next generation of Net.Heroes ;) ).  I feel a bit bad
about my treatment of Doctor Stomper though: I had him fall in love
TWICE, once with Linguist Lass and then to Sing-Along Lass (although
technically that was Jesse Willey's idea).  It's ironic in a way that
the original writer of Doctor Stomper actually wrote a story in which
Doctor Stomper left the Legion but then Scavenger (of all people)
brought him back and so his leaving the Legion was retconned out of
continuity (although Doctor Stomper was absent for Cry.sig so maybe he
left and came back).  I shouldn't have the authority to take someone
else's character and turn him into such a dateless wonder.  Oh well.
At least I didn't make him gay. ;)

Oh and Sarcastic Lass has actually had two children: Gary Niceguy
(conceived during Pigs in Space) and Token Boy, son of Token Girl.  So
Token Girl is currently a single mother and Sarcastic Lass is a
dead-beat dad.  Actually, this shouldn't come as a surprise given both
of their original roster entries.  In fact, Sarcastic Lad may actually
have conceived other children, say in acient Egypt or in old Mexico
or... I've said too much. :)

Martin... probably should apologize for using tense inconsistently
during his early stories but, then again, it was a common problem back
then with some LNH writers using present tense and some using past
tense and there not being a clear choice (at the time) as to what which
was to be used

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