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

martinphipps2 at yahoo.com martinphipps2 at yahoo.com
Sat Apr 29 13:19:11 PDT 2006

Tom Russell wrote:
>> Martin wrote:

> 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!

There are only three possible candidates.

ULTIMATE NINJA: He is the current leader.  He's got experience.  And he
wants the job.  Plus, some of the characters like Cheesecake Eater Lad
would just automatically defer to him in the field, just like how
Captain America always reverts to being leader whenever there's a big
emergency (read: crossover).

FEARLESS LEADER: He's also got experience, having led the Legion in
another reality, but his version of the LNH all died under him.  Not
exactly a good resume.  And when he first showed up, nobody knew him,
let alone trusted him.  Things might be different now.  A lot of people
refer to him as "deputy leader" in their stories even if he doesn't do

IRONY MAN: He's also got the experience, having been co-leader with
Lurking Girl, Loquacious Lad, Kid Yesterdaze and Marvel Zombie Lad when
the Legion first formed.  (Actually, this was an Avengers parody.
-Sister State-the-Obvious)  It was only later, after the Cosmic Plot
Device Caper, that it was decided that the Legion even needed a single
leader, this according to Scav's Lurk of Faith.  Drizzt wanted to
retcon this and have Rebel Yell be the LNH leader from day one but the
retcon didn't stick, which is just as well because that wouldn't have
been what Scav wanted.  Anyway, Steven Howard wrote Tsk Force and made
Irony Man a field leader, just like that.  To me, that immediately puts
him up in the big three.

There are other possible candidates, I suppose, including the
aforementioned LURKING GIRL.  I assume she's still around.  I don't
know about MARVEL ZOMBIE LAD.  You mentioned MULTI-TASKING MAN but his
power does not lend himself to leadership: because he can do everything
himself he's not good at delegating responsibility and, besides, you
don't want a leader who is also checking his e-mail and playing
net.trek at the same time he's leading the LNH: even if he _can_ do
this, the fact is that he looks preoccupied and people need to feel
that their leader is giving the LNH his undivided attention.

There's KID KIRBY, who I would probably say is number four right now.
But Jameel hasn't made Kid Kirby a usable-without-permission character
so the only possible candidates are the top three.  Oh and I almost
forgot DOCTOR STOMPER.  I can't imagine him even breaking into the top
four though: he's too much of a supporting character.

Other characters such as CONTINUITY CHAMP (left the LNH, powerless) or
SIG.LAD (had been in Dvandom Force, then was dead, now in Exarchs) are
not available.  Who's next in line?  CLICHE LAD?  OBSCURE TRIVIA LAD?
DEJA DUDE?  Now we're scraping the bottom of the barrel. :)

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

I think I told him in an e-mail that she came across as "ditzy" and he
said "Oh, really?" or something to that effect. :)

> > 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
> tense:
> First off, the present tense offers a higher incidence of sillibants
> and "soft" letter sounds. [...]
> 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.>>

I agree with both points.  Jeff McCoskey used present tense in
flashbacks in Golden Age LNH-MEN and this gave the flashbacks a strange
dream-like quality.  I would also add that it seemed to me to be odd
writing a story in the past tense if the story is supposed to be taking
place right now.  My purpose for using present tense was to mimic
captions, as you point out.  You also see the present tense in scripts
for stage plays, TV and movies.

I understand the argument for using past tense though.  The use of the
past tense causes the narrator to be detached from what is happening,
otherwise this:

"Susan hung up the phone.  She knew the killer was still in the house.
She decided to go upstairs and take a shower."

would become this:

"Susan hangs up the phone.  She knows the killer is still in the house.
 She decides to go upsairs and take a shower.  What an idiot!  Susan,
for God's sake, get out of the frickin' house!"

which, in all fairness, sounds more LNH-like.  Tom, you went the extra
step in Speak! and switched from third person to second person so it
sounds like the narrator is actually talking to the main character.
Most stories are written in the past tense and, indeed, a lot of
stories are written with the narrator himself being a character, with
all the stories told by Harry during Speak! being good examples.  The
past tense resembles a story being told to you, or a story you read in
a newspaper.

Anyway, the majority of LNH authors settled on the past tense so that
became the default, especially for multi-title crossovers like Retcon
Hour.  Originally, the Cosmic Plot Device Caper was put together by
combining different posts, some written in the present tense and some
in the past, and it does read better when everything is put in the past
tense.  If I could, I'd go through the archive and "fix" all my
archived stories so that they were all in the past tense, except maybe
in cases where it's obvious that I'm imitating a caption.


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