LNH: Legion of Net.Heroes Volume 2 #13

Tom Russell milos_parker at yahoo.com
Tue May 2 08:14:06 PDT 2006

Jesse Willey wrote:

>    It was really that the story was cruising on 11
> pages as it was.  If I added the exposistion and
> explainations for everything then it would have gone
> on for 11 more pages.

That's not really an excuse for bad story structure.  If you can't fit
your story into the alloted space, you've got to rethink your story and
make some cuts: cutting character development, supsense, drama, and
information necessary to understand the story is, in your defense,
quite daring.

>    Remember, one of the Vels was the one who chopped
> off his hand.   And he keeps all his weapons and
> technology in diplomatic pouches.  The implication
> being that Ninja didn't really ask to borrow the
> sword.   And as shown in Onion Lad... Vel wouldn't
> even blink about trying the theft under Dorfan law.
> Which means limited right to due process, no
> protection against self-incrimination and anything
> from indentured servtitude to death by dehydration as
> punishment.

But the Ultimate Ninja wouldn't give a rat's ass about any of that.  He
would welcome the challenge!

And if you don't understand that, you might be the only person who
doesn't understand the Ultimate Ninja.

>    Plus, due to his treatment prior to Vel #0, Vel has
> the ground for a civil action discrimination lawsuit
> that he could bring at anytime to bankrupt the entire
> organization.   He is quite possibly a bigger threat
> to the LNH than any villain they've fought.  But at

::rolls eyes::

> >    Touching on execution, structurally: there's no
> > sense of beginning,
> > middle, and end in this story, or in many of Jesse's
> > stories, truth be
> > told.
>     With this story that was intentional.  If this had
> been System Corruptors I would have focused on the
> villains point of view.   The beginning happened
> before the start of the story.

Wait.  Did you just say the *lack of any coherent story structure* was

Now, granted, I'm a terrible plotter.  I admit this freely, and I
greatly admire people like Jamas and Dvandom who know how to plot.

And you don't have to have a terrific plot to have a decent story.  If
my work is any good at all, it's from the character work, or the

But here's the thing, Jesse: your work is plot-driven.  So I think it
would behoove you to learn proper story structure.

The thing that irritated me the most about this was that you decided to
publish this story in LNH vol. 2: the *flagship title* of the
Looniverse.  Flagship titles should be accessible, Jesse-- not
incoherent tie-in ramblings.  The stories in LNH vol 2 should be
reasonably self-contained.  And while this might be the end of the
baby-stealing story, it is not by any stretch of the imagination

You can argue that the story is better served here because, instead of
focusing on the villains, you focused on the heroes.  The problem with
that argument is two-fold: first, the villains take up far more screen
time, and secondly, there is no focus!

If anything, this story and its prose show a phenomenal lack of focus,
the same lack of focus that informs all of your writing.  And I
probably wouldn't have felt compelled to write a review if it wasn't
for the fact that self-contained stories in a flagship title, on a
whole, require focus and accessibility: two things that have never been
your strong point.

And beyond that, most stories-- whether they're flagship stories or
giant crossovers-- require a point.  Even if it's something as simple
as a well-written and compelling action sequence, or a stunning and
revelatory character moment, or something as cliched as a moral to the

But to have an action story, you have to write action.  And, I'm sorry,

"       There was a loud kaboom and suddenly a super powered figure in
tech super armor with a large helmet was standing next to Doritron .
The man in the helmet was tearing through the shock troopers leaving
nothing but a pile of corpses."

-- is not good action.  The big thing here is time: slowing down long
enough to describe what's happening, to elicit some kind of emotional
investment from the reader.

And to write good character work, you have to take the time to do it.
A moral theme needs to be developed, through dialogue and action.

The big problem is that without taking the time to give things
emphasis, the story suffers.

>   Captain Pathetic was as you said... pathetic.  In
> order to be true to the character his death would have
> to be unawe inspiring, undramatic and ultimately no
> one would really care.   That's the joke.  Or at least
> it was funny to me.

Sure, that could be funny.  So do it with one of your own characters.

>    Personally, I don't think that type of death is
> appropriate to that type of character.  If you set him
> up to be unnoticed and pathetic when they're alive...
> then a direct consequence nobody notices when they
> die.   Some would call that tragic... but in fiction,
> I don't know.

The thing is, he's not unnoticed.  Someone like Pants Rabbit Lad, or
Background Character Lad, or Never-Gets-Credit-For-His-Dialogue Boy,
they're unnoticed.  It'd be like saying people don't notice
Super-Apathy Lad.  Of course they notice him. (He just doesn't care.)

> > But as for Captain Pathetic...
> >    ... you didn't ask, Jesse.
>   And with a character who, by your OWN admission, was
> created as a pseudo-flame... why should I?   Turnabout
> is fair play.

The character was created as a means of satire.  Not a psuedo-flame.
And this isn't quite turnabout.

I wrote a story that poked fun at the way you were acting, and at the
whole Sig.ago flame war.  Turnabout would be writing a story that poked
fun at me, the way I was acting, or even the style in which I write.
And I welcome that.  Hell, that's what Martin did in some of his Deja
Dude/Master Blaster Specials last year and more recently in his second
Matthew Almighty story.

Turnabout, Jesse, *isn't* killing off one of my characters.

> > Captain Pathetic doesn't have the power to be
> > completely useless.  He
> > has the power to be a loser.  To be the most
> > loserly-loser that ever
> > lost.  To be, in essence, pathetic.
>   Being a useless and be a loser are incredibly
> similar.   One does not become a loser if they feel
> society has a place for them.

One thing you have a problem with, Jesse, is making distinctions.
Being useless and being a loser are *not* incredibly similiar.  Here's
an example:

Charlie Brown is a loser.  Terri Schiavo is useless.  See the

> >    This story-- or at least the death of Captain
> > Pathetic contained
> > herein-- is hereby elsewhirled.
>    He's a public domain character.   You can't just
> retcon OTHER people's stories.  You can't put genie's

This is coming from the guy who gave Speed Richardson his powers back
and made Captain Pathetic a member of the LNH.

And I think I'm actually within my rights, here.  If, for example, I
was to kill off Obscure Trivia Lad, Brian Perler has every right, as
that character's creator, to elsewhirl my story, public domain or not.

And Martin Phipps had every right to retcon or elsewhirl my Teenfactor
work with Morgan Le Fab.  I'm no angel here.  I did some stupid things
in my early days, I kicked the public sand in other people's faces.
Something I've apologized for many, many times.

Here's the difference, though: I was a newbie, and I stopped doing that
a long time ago.  You've been here just as long as I have, Jesse.

It's about time you grew up.

> back in the bottle after the fact.  You want to bring
> him back THEN reserve him, fine.

Consider him reserved.

LEGION OF NET.HEROES Vol. 2 # 13.1 (add-on story)

   Plot Point Lad rushes to the Loser Den.  "Captain Pathetic!  You're
   Captain Pathetic's blood-shot eyes glaze over in confusion as he
scratches his unkempt muzzle.  "... yeah...?"
   "But I thought you were dead!  Killed by Monark!"
   "... M... Monark...?"
   "You know, your alternate future version."
   "Um... no."
   "Huh.  Because I thought..."
   "Because it said on the news that you were killed in Net.ropolis."
   "Why would I be in Net.ropolis?"
   "Aren't you a member of the LNH?"
   "No.  They kept saying that I was useless."
   "But you're not useless."
   "I know.  They failed to make that fine distinction.  So I refused
their... their invitation."
   "So who got killed by Monark?"
  "I dunno.  Prolly the Scarlet Stoner.  ... my clone."  He vomits.


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