Superfreaks: The Superfreaks Trash Can

Martin Phipps martinphipps2 at
Wed Jul 9 05:25:26 PDT 2008

I was once criticised for lacking the ability to edit my own material,
of rushing my story ideas to completion and of posting for posting
sake and, as a result, offering up material that would have been
better off not posted.  Of course, the person making these comments
was grasping at straws to find things to criticise in a  malicious
attempt to raise his own status as both a writer and reviewer.  It's
ironic that the person making these comments went on to write a story
about talking snails.

The truth is that I typically spent months developing ideas.  For
example, back last January I came up with the idea for The Amazing
Race: Mutant Edition and was planning on writing a whole story about
it.  Thing is, I could tell right away that such a story would suffer
from an overly high degree of suckage.  It is, alas, not good enough
to simply have a clever title to run with.

(I found that out the hard way back in 2004.  Back then, I came up
with the clever title "The Retcon Effect" for a Looniverse-set parody
of the movie "The Butterfly Effect".  I originally planned to use
Retcon Raccoon or Retcon Lad or some similar character as the main
character but instead ultimately decided to make the story a mix of
Johnny Neumonic, Pay Check, The Butterfly Effect and Back to the
Future.  It was a valient effort but the result was a bit of a mess.
It wasn't anywhere near as bad as my Manifest Destiny story from 1994
but it was apparently bad enough that it got thrown into the "Also
posted this month" pile of the August 2004 End of Months Reviews.
That's not good, boys and girls.)

The bottom line is that there's nothing in Superfreaks that I don't
think was worth posting.  Even the "Final Preparations" issue that
inspired the above "criticism" was as good as it was ever going to
get.  One "problem" I have is that, rather than fail to self-edit, I
will actually edit out in advance any concept that I think is too
silly.  In this case, if an all-powerful unseen entity is going to try
to kill you because you were meant to die and didn't then the simplest
thing to do would be to wait until you're asleep, start a fire in your
apartment and jam the door shut.  Granted, it's not as elaborate as
the electrical-fire-you-try-to-escape-but-you-slip-and-fall-on-your
kitchen-knives-or-whatever traps laid in the Final Destination movies
but, if you really think about it, those elaborate traps were actually
quite silly.  Perhaps my problem is, rather than not thinking enough,
I might actually think too much for my own good.  The result was
simple, unsophisticated "traps"... but hey the focus was on the
Detective Michael King's investigation after all.

One good thing about Superfreaks is that if an idea doesn't warrant a
full issue I can still use it as a throw away gag.  Thus, The Amazing
Race: Mutant Edition was referenced twice in Extreme #2.  Similarly, I
had this idea for a serial killer who was inspired by the titles and/
or lyrics to popular songs (a reference to The Beatle's Maxwell's
Silver Hammer would have been an obvious thing to include) but I
eventually decided the story didn't warrant more than a single issue
or even a full issue to itself and instead had an abridged version of
the story told by falshback in Superfreaks Season 3 #7.  A similar
story about a murder during the taping of a reality show became
another story told by flashback in the same issue.  It so happens that
an episode of CSI used a similar technique to describe four cases in
one episode, cases that were apparently similarly decided not to
warrant having entire episodes devoted to them.

Anyway, the point is that I am feeling a bit flummoxed at this point.
(I suppose you could call it writer's block except that the process is
quite different for me: a story idea will bubble in my head until it
reaches fruition and is typically let out in a typing frenzy in one
sitting and then almost immediately posted.  As nothing is actually
being written until the story idea finally pops out as is I don't know
if it is exactly the same phenomenon: it's almost like stories
starting as seeds and some seeds being duds and those duds never see
the light of day so you would normally never know about them.)  Lately
a couple of ideas have been circling around in my head but it's
starting to look as though neither of them will actually get to be an
issue to themselves or even part of an issue.

One idea is "The Wrath of Zon".  Cool title, huh?  But as I said, a
cool title isn't enough.  Obviously, having started an Extreme series,
my plans were obviously to bring back Zon.  But how?  A few ideas came
to mind but they all suffered from excessive suckage.  And even if Zon
were to somehow return to our dimension what then?  He faces Extreme
again?  Been there.  Done that.  So what do we have?  Cool title?
Check.  Basic premise?  Not yet.  Cool ending?  Not even close.
Basically if I were to ever actually use the title I would have to use
a different protagonist other than Extreme to avoid repeating myself.
Oh and then there's the question of what to do with all the Zon
clones.  Heh.  I've got an idea about that but I won't let on about it
just in case I ever find myself able to salvage this idea. :)

A second idea would be to have a West Coast equivalent of the Extreme
Force Six called the "Amazing Force Six" featuring heroes named
Amazing Man, Posh Girl, Kid Mercury, Paris Mariot, Ice Guy and the
Crimson Queen.  I was thinking that they could, in typical Hollywood
fashion, have their own reality show.  From here on in, the story
practically writes itself.  What I'm stuck on trying to decide if
Paris Mariot actually has super powers or if she is, like her real
life counterpart, just simply super famous and lacking in any actual
talents or skills, let alone super powers.  But if she has no powers
then why is she part of the team?  Is she just someone the shows
producers told Amazing Man to put on his team for the sake of
ratings?  Well, that's just too silly and just won't do.  Here's a
case where my own need to edit out anything too (dare I say it?)
stupid causes me to reject what might otherwise have been a cool
story.  Until I can resolve this sticking problem, this story idea is
dead in the water.

Of course, not all is lost.  Local TV has started showing this
season's CSI: New York and CSI: Miami and I haven't seen Hancock nor
(of course) The Dark Knight yet so I might be able to draw inspiration
from any of them.  I suppose, ultimately, The Dark Knight is the most
obvious choice for inspiration.  After all, if I were to do a parody
of Hancock, something which is itself a satire of superheroes, then
wouldn't that simply be a ripoff.  So any ideas involving a Hancock
inspired character over and above a passing mention would simply be
dead in the water.

That being said, I do have an idea for a story that is so good (in my
opinion) that it almost certainly see the light of day.  But I won't
say what it is.  Stay tuned.  If I go for a few months before posting
it then you'll know how long the process is taking now.  It never used
to take this long, I admit, not back when I was writing LNH stuff.

Oh and yeah, I suppose I should read over stuff just before I post it
because I usually make at least one typo that really annoys me a month
later when I re-read my own stuff.  Yeah.  I'm going to hold on and
wait a month to post my own stuff so I can come back to it fresh and
read it again before posting.  Not likely. :)


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