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

Tom Russell milos_parker at yahoo.com
Fri Apr 28 09:30:05 PDT 2006

martinphipps2 at yahoo.com wrote:

> 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.

Speaking of the leadership crisis-- I'm going to say something
controversial.  Ultimate Ninja, the greatest leader the LNH has ever
had, has been the leader of the LNH for many, many years now.

I think being leader of the LNH is the greatest thing that ever
happened to the Ninja.  We've seen, over time, many different aspects
of his personality, many different slants on and interpetations of the
character.  And, like wReam said in the How-to-Write guide, it's
because there's not really a wrong way to write the Ultimate Ninja.
And that's part of what makes him an ideal leader; a character who is
more specific, whose personality is more rigorously defined and
complex, would be harder to "get" for many writers, it would be easier
to get it "wrong".

The Ultimate Ninja has been developed over time into one of the richest
characters in the Legion, and that's because he's the leader, because
he's in the position to be logically a part of so many stories, written
by so many different authors.  Now, here comes the controversial part.

>>From time to time, there's been talk of holding a new leadership
election.  Of replacing UN with another character.  Nothing has ever
come of this talk, and nothing probably ever will.  And, really, the
Ninja doesn't need to be replaced, and I'd be perfectly happy reading
about the Ninja-as-leader for the rest of my natural life.  But, a new
leadership election is worth considering for at least one in-story

Giving another character the same chance.

The Legion is full of characters whose personalities are somewhat
ill-defined and vague.  Now, Martin, Drizzt, Saxon, and a host of
others have worked towards giving these characters a little bit of
life-- as Martin mentions in this very same thread.  And, on ocassion,
an author will find a character-- like Mainstream Man-- and see
something there that no one else did.  And so they try to bring that
character to life, give them the focus and love that they deserve.
Both Steven Howard and I did this with good ol' MM.  (How well I
succeeded is up to the reader.)

I think that one of these underdeveloped characters is ripe to be
improved by committee.  To have different slants and interpetations
presented.  To be-- LEADER OF THE LNH!

Now, I'm not talking about a character with a well-defined personality
trait: Super-Apathy Lad and Adamant Authority-on-Everything would be
terrible choices not only because they would be terrible leaders, but
also because they're too well-defined by that one aspect of their
personality.  Too one-dimensional.

I'm talking about characters who have remained somewhat cipher like.
For example, Multi-Tasking Man.  Now, he's had lots of appearances, but
when he appears, the only "colour" he gets is that he's doing four or
six different things at once, including, invariably, playing Net.Trek.

Now, there's nothing wrong with that: it's a solid gag.  But it has no
personality.  One can extrapolate, for example, that he's either
extremely focused no matter how many things are bearing down on him,
that he's dependable and responsible.  Which are all great leadership
traits.  That, plus his underdeveloped personality, make him ripe for a
leadership slot, for the kind of character work and attention the Ninja
has recieved.  (And if someone can't come up with much personality, the
multi-tasking is a fine gag to fall back on.)

Or Cheesecake-Eater Lad.  This most iconic and lovable of LNHers is
still something of a cipher.  I mean, he's a nice guy, likes to help
people out, but that's about it.  Where's the personality?  He's kinda
vague.  CEL is, like the Ninja, another character that you can't write
wrong.  (And, looking at an in-story reason for a replacement, he--
like Catalyst Lass or Pocket Man-- is one of the Ninja's most-trusted
friends, and thus an excellent choice.)

Ideally, IF-- and I'm only saying IF, I'll say it one more time to make
it stick-- IF we were going to have another leadership election... our
best bet would be an underdeveloped character in the unreserved pool, a
character from the first few years of the LNH.

And while I'm not sure if the time is ripe to have a leadership change,
I think any time is ripe to at least discuss it, the pros and cons, et

And that's my somewhat controversial statement.

> 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

She actually struck me as a bit ditzy in TRIPLE PLAY.  But I guess that
counts as seductive for some. :-)

> 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.)

A story which will be reprinted in NET.HEROES ON PARADE TEB # 4,

> 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

Personally, I prefer present tense myself.  I'll quote myself from
elsewhere on the 'net as to why:

<<I often use present tense in my own writing and most don't find it
particularly disconcerting. There are two reasons why I utilize present

First off, the present tense offers a higher incidence of sillibants
and "soft" letter sounds. For example, take the word "fidget". In past
tense, it's "fidgeted". Saying it aloud, it's a very harsh sound: both
"d" sounds are spectacular hard. The middle syllable, the "get", makes
the "t" a harder sound because it's the last sound of the syllable, and
the "g" thrusts a lot of weight its way. The last syllable, the "ed",
cements the hardness of the word.

But, with "fidgets", the last sound is a pleasing sillibant. Not only
that, but the slight harshness of the t is diminished, since it rolls
into the "s"; pronounced quickly enough, the "t" sound is almost

It leads to a more pleasing sound, and this soft, rhythmic quality is,
I find, a terrific reasons to use present tense. But that is, of
course, if the author prefers a soft and rhythmic quality; I use it
because my work is primarily nostalgic in nature, and introspective.
For something more grounded in reality, past tense would be

The second reason why I use present tense myself is that my work is
comics-related, and it is the convention of superhero comics for
narrative captions to be in present tense.>>


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