LNH/RACCies: Just Imagine Saxon Brenton vs. Andrew Perron in the Return of the RACCies! #9: All You Need To Understand Is...

Andrew Perron pwerdna at gmail.com
Fri Oct 1 17:57:09 PDT 2010

"All right then, three goals!  Deal with Manga Man Gold, go to the
center of the Sixniverse, and go *back* to the Looniverse and collect
all the color-based heroes we can."

"I think it's time... to split up!"



Just Imagine Saxon Brenton vs. Andrew Perron in the Return of the 
 RACCies! #9

"All You Need To Understand Is..."



Mission: Track down the nefarious Manga Man Gold.
Manga Man Violet
Tom Ploteau



Manga Man Violet frowned. He hadn't wanted to bring the four-year-old 
along, but Tom had made a compelling argument; now that he had regained 
his memories from his lifetime as Manga Man, he was the one with the 
most experience against Gold, and, since his father would be busy, he 
was the only one who could guide them around this world.  And Violet 
both respected and trusted the boy; in those eyes, he could still see 
the defiant spark of the man who'd given him his powers.

Still, he thought, the flying tricycles were a bit much.

The three of them sped through the sky towards the monumental RACCies 
Pavillion.  Violet could see the gleaming golden spires rising in the 
distance, and could distantly hear the roar of the loudspeakers 
broadcasting the ceremony to the crowds outside.  It was dazzling, it 
was breathtaking, it was... worrying.

Perfect worlds usually turned out to be allegories in disguise, their 
perfection only a cover for the darkness that really ran the world.  
...but then again, this world wasn't really perfect.  True, it was wish 
fulfillment for Plot-Error Man, but it also held at least one 
net.villain and one group-of-morally-ambiguious-types-who-seemed-to-be-
net.villains.  Well, he'd keep his eye out for Horrible Secrets anyway.

The walkie-talkie spit out a burst of static. "Breaker one, this is 
Blasferatu.  I'm Alice in Wonderland, what's the plan?"

Manga Man Violet pushed the button. "Land in the clearing nearby and 
I'll give you the skinny.  Over and out."

They parked the skytrikes underneath the dappled shade of a willow tree 
and huddled up.

"Okay," said Violet. "First, Blasferatu will hide using his powers of 
Blending Into The Shadows Even When You're Wearing Really Loud Clothing.  
He'll open the maintenance door for us, then we can boost Tom up into 
the heating vents, where he'll make his way to the dressing rooms and 
let us in.  Then I'll disguise us as characters from Manga Girl: The 
Next Generation.  We'll make our way to the presenter's room and lie in 
wait for when he comes back."

"Or," noted a voice hovering slightly above and to the left of them, 
"you could just talk to him now."

The three, Power Manga, vampire slayer and small child as one, slowly 
rotated to face the figure floating there.  It was the one they'd seen 
on the TV screen.  He wore the face of Manga Man, from before Black, 
White and Gold, but he was garbed in a glowing golden tuxedo, and wore 
an expression of smirking satisfaction.

Blasferatu rolled to the side and cocked his stake-pistol, while Manga 
Man Violet threw out his arms, shielding Tom.  The floating figure 
barely reacted, folding his arms with a conemptuous sneer.

"You!" shouted Manga Man Violet. The speech he'd been meticulously 
assembling in his head flew apart, pointed questions and veiled threats 
vanishing like the morning dew. "A- are you Manga Man Gold, and if so, 
what are your plans!?"

The man descended, a perfect landing, his tie fluttering in the breeze 
and somehow acquiring the majesty and dread of a long black cape. "Yes, 
\I admit it.  I was, as you called me, Manga Man Gold.  But that name 
is incomplete.  It leaves out a few critical syllables."

Violet raised an eyebrow.  What was he playing at?  Tom stepped out 
from behind him, cautious, his My First Personal Force Field raised.  
Blasferatu held his place warily.

Manga Man Gold spread his hands and smiled down at them, only a hint of 
menace paying about the edges of his mouth. "Come, I am but the 
presenter here.  The ceremony will go on without me.  Let me stage you a 
personal presentation..."


It was the nineteen-twenties, and Japan (or "Japa.net", if your accent 
goes that way) was in the grip of a militaristic fervor.  I won't bore 
you with the details, but every sector of society was involved, 
including the mage-diviner-priests known as onmyoji.

Two in particular competed for the attention of the Emperor.  They were 
each instructed to summon a shikigami, a familiar spirit, to help 
glorify Japan.  Am I going too fast for you?  No?  Good.

One brought forth a being who fed on hate, bringing those who hated its 
land and people the incarnation of that which they despised.  The other 
summoned a being who would become a living work of art, reflecting the 
dreams and hopes, the images and words of those around it.  Both onmyoji 
were judged worthy, the better to continue playing them off each other.  
The struggle for power continued, but the shikigami stayed.

They became part of the Imperial Japanese Army Mugen Arsenal, alongside 
a collection of other misfits and oddities. There was Suzaku no Senshi, 
a mystic soldier in draconic armor that it was rumored he couldn't quite 
control; Steamingman, an early and not exactly reliable attempt at a 
power-armored hero; Sakura no Itako, a blind priestess of cherry 
blossoms who babbled prophecy; and Lieutenant General Kamiken, a 
tactical genius with a slight tendency towards subordination, who lead 
the unit.  Even if Imperial Command doubted their effectiveness on the 
battlefield, they couldn't deny their intimidation factor, and the unit 
were mainly deployed as a propaganda tool... until the Second 
Sino-Japanese War.

Reorganized as the IJA Zeroth Independent Mixed Brigade, they were 
packed off to battle their counterparts in some godforsaken part of 
northern China.  A closed-off mountain pass was their battlefield, a 
driving blizzard their trumpet call.

I'm being far too poetic; it was dark, damp misery.  To call it a 
fiasco would be to slap the face of a good fiasco.  Despite that, the 
Japanese side seemed to be driving the defenders back - and what 
happened then made misery look sweet.

I'd compare it to a nuke, but that would be culturally insensitive, 
wouldn't it?  Nonetheless, it was a great, ravening explosion that swept 
the battlefield, laying out friend and foe alike.  It was never 
discovered what caused it, or which side; the only evidence was the 
chaos it caused.

Suzaku no Senshi's armor was intact, but of the man within there was no 
trace. Steamingman was left unharmed but naked on the snow, and the 
pieces of his suit were later found in a perfect circle around him - a 
hundred miles in every direction.  Sakura no Itako disappeared, and in 
her place formed a cherry tree - one which was completely impervious to 
cold temperatures, and which, as far as I know, still stands.  Three of 
the Chinese defenders died in various gruesome ways, two went 
irretrievably insane, and one spontaneously reappeared thirty years 

And, in a mystic implosion, General Kamiken and the two shikigami were 
fused into a single being.


"That... was you, wasn't it," said Tom, face curled in a mixture of 
horror, revusion and fascination.

"Very good!" Manga Man Gold sneered. "You'd almost think that you were 
somehow familiar with it."

"And what's it to you if he ain't?" asked Blasferatu, returning the 
sneer with one of defiance.

"What an impatient class!  Listen to teacher, and perhaps you'll 


Three days later (though by internal reckoning, seventy million years 
had passed in pain and confusion), I awoke.

You know, I've never been quite sure whose soul I have.  Though I woke 
up with General Kamiken's face, and to this day I can recall the 
memories of his life, I feel nothing for them.  He, it seems, is not I - 
if once, not now.  Similarly, I can recall the earthly experiences of 
the shikigami up to the critical moment, and a few, fractured memories 

But once I awoke, I had the skills, the powers, the hungers of all 
three.  I could feel hatred, taste it, a solid object of ridges and 
lines - not unlike rock candy, really.  I could sense art, flowing like 
a river of molten light that parts of me longed to conform themselves 
to.  And I could know that I still held loyalty.

The thing that motivated General Kamiken was loyalty. I'm sure he never 
thought of it this way, but it wasn't loyalty to the army, or the 
Emperor, or even to his country; it was loyalty to the culture.  To the 
torii at the entrance to the shrine, to the swooping curves of the 
kanji for "woman", to Mount Fuji, to the rising sun.

I ramble.  The point is, his loyalty was now mine, and so, I served.

The official story was that the Zeroth Brigade had beaten back the 
Chinese, but the story the spies carried back was that they had all 
perished.  I became a secret weapon, the Empire's ultimate ace in the 
hole.  I practiced my new abilities. I covered myself with iconic 
representations of Japan, and was covered with symbols of military 
might. Finally, I was sent to the front lines, under the code name 
Divine Blade.

My first mission was a rout.  My second mission was a rout.  My third 
mission was a rout.  Obviously, anyone who could fight on my level had 
been taken in that mystic explosion.  I actually began to take *pride* 
in myself for cutting a swath through the unprepared rabble.  Hah!

I was disabused of this on my fourth mission.  An armed unit had 
gathered in a small village; we were to take them out and secure the 
area.   I fell upon them, streaking back and forth as if made of 
lightning, knocking about infantry, artillery, and cavalry like tenpins.  
My attention was fixed fully on the battle, and until I stopped, 
surrounded by the fallen, I did not see what was happening on the 

Madness.  Pain.  The soldiers had left the battlefield behind, and left 
behind their humanity.  Enlisted men pillaging and looting, officers 
egging them on.  Civilians, bystanders, attacked, slaughtered.  Men 
pulling women through broken windows in front of their children and... 
well, you get the picture.

I burned them all.

Afterwards, I ripped the military insignia from my body and swore an 
oath.  No longer would I serve foolish, fallible humans.  From this 
moment forth, my only masters would be dreams and words, songs and 
stories.  I would follow their hearts, not their wills.


Tom had begun silently sobbing.  He was in Manga Man Violet's arms, head 
buried in the crook of his shoulder.

"Fine," said Manga Man Violet. "So you were the big idealistic crusader 
now.  It's a long way from that to robot duplicates and ludicrously 
complicated plans."

Manga Man Gold raised an eyebrow. "Please save all comments from the 
peanut gallery until the end of the program."


So I became a free agent.  I would appear on a battlefield, conduct my 
former brothers in arms to victory, then draw back, watching silently 
and making sure that things were conducted... honorably.  The enlisted 
men saw me alternately as an unstoppable force of justice and as a 
tyrant keeping them down.  The generals appreciated the battle success, 
but my vigilantism seemed, let's say, less appreciated.

I suppose, if I had continued this way, I would have eventually been 
taken down by my own kinsfolk.  But, of course, neither I nor the rest 
of Japan were operating in a vacuum, and as the army continued to 
advance, I met the first of those of whom you, my impromptu audience, 
are the most recent.

He was a French net.ahuman, dispatched to stop our advance into the area 
known at the time by the quaint moniker of "French Indochina".  
Troisièmement Républicain, I believe his name was; ungainly names were 
common back then.  He was obviously prepared for my arrival; lying in 
wait at a likely battle, then ambushing me in midair before I could join 
the fight.

I was fascinated.  We sparred, he and I, trading blows, testing to gauge 
each other's strength.  I could feel his anger, certainly, but I could 
feel... something else.  Iconic power wrapped around him like a radiant 
shroud.  It was like a mirror looking into a mirror; dizzying.

The fight lasted for hours.  It was glorious.  I knew, now, what few men 
ever do; why I was created, what was my purpose in life.  I would be 
Japan, and my struggles would be the struggles of the world.

Eventually, I beat him into retreat, but he had achieved his goal; the 
battle I had meant to join was already concluded, and my invading 
comrades had been beaten back.  I laughed - laughed! - at how I'd been 
made to forget elementary tactics, and made my own leave.

I went back to my previous strategy, but it was half-hearted at best.  I 
spent increasing amounts of time searching for others to test my mettle 
against.  Though I had a few battles against net.ahumans, none were the 
equal of the first.

Until, that is, a certain day which would live in infamy.

It was glorious.  Each day was a new test, strength against strength, 
cunning against cunning, culture against culture.  I moved beyond simply 
battling into complex plans with multiple interlocking parts, requiring 
whole teams of Allied net.ahumans and badass normals alike to defeat.  
Simply put, it was a golden age.


"You're a weirdo," remarked Tom, now calm.

Manga Man Gold was unruffled. "Mock if you like, boy.  You've forgotten 
the only true kismesis you've ever had."

Tom looked up at Manga Man Violet, who shrugged.


But, of course, all gold things have to come to an end.

We were being pushed back, Army, Navy and all.  They were not yet at the 
doorstep, but momentum had long since been reversed.  But I was 
singlehandedly holding the line at a small cluster of godforsaken 

I could see them coming over the horizon; tiny, human dots converging on 
my location.  It was a brash move, concentrating all their forces on a 
single point, but I would turn it back on them - or so I thought.

They were all there.  The Classics Squad.  Galatea.  The original 
Occultism Kid.  The half of the Society of Wireless Heroes that weren't 
in the hospital this week.  The Amazing American.  A time-traveling 
Ultimate Mercenary.  And many more.  Long-time foes and people I'd never 
even met, arrayed as one against me.  Flattering, no?

The battle was joined.  A thousand knives of metal flew at where I'd 
been three seconds ago.  I passed through their ranks like wind through 
autumn leaves, scattering and rattling.  Inhuman punches were blocked, 
inhuman kicks were turned away.  They fell like stars in June, but as 
each was tossed aside another rose up.  Complex battle plans executed 
flawlessly ripped away my armor, only to reveal something far more 
potent underneath; my body had been traded for a form of pure spirit.

Tendrils of pure hate lashed at them, the sky and the sea and the rising 
sun filled my limbs.  Waves of blue-white light buffeted my shape, 
shouts of revenge and rage scratched at my soul.  It was flame, it was 
steel, it was all the days of the war collapsed into one.

It was all a distraction.

As the allies amassed threw themselves at me, Occultism Kid hopped from 
island to island, completing a mystic circuit with but one rather 
nauseating goal, a spell that would... well...

I assume you've heard of the technique known as the "Care Bear Stare"?

It was rather clever, I must admit, turning my own strength to against 
me.  I couldn't see what he was doing, and even if I had, I would've 
been helpless to stop it.  He enhanced my pride, my honor, my love for 
all things Nihon, and I became stronger and stronger.  My strength 
crested, overflowed; it was reflected outward, and by mystic 
arrangements made before the battle, channeled through the minds of my 
enemies.  It filled the hearts of everyone within a ten-mile radius, 
leaving no room for anything else, no room for hate - no room for 
anything to fuel the hunger inside me.  I fell; I was lost.

Of course, even in losing, I won.  What was myself became a part of 
them.  Now lacking the will to truly finish me, they sealed me away in a 
great stone statue of Kan'on, goddess of mercy, and left, one by one.  
Seeing what they had seen, forced to feel from another perspective, not 
many had the heart to continue battling in the Pacific Theater.  For a 
few, it changed their lives.

Sentimental fools.

Of course, you know the rest of the story.  America wins the war!  
Science takes hold of the power of the atom!

And power is difficult to let go of, once grasped.  So the atom is 
tested, again and again.  And eventually, it is tested on a godforsaken 
island, without a single native, nothing but trees and rocks to worry 
about... and a stone statue, slightly weathered by time.

In flame, I was free - but I was very little other than that.  Drained 
of the energies that had sustained me, blinded and deafened by these new 
energies, I returned to the heart of my power, to my home - only to find 
it altered beyond my most vivid hallucinations.

Not everything was different.  I could see what had been in what was, 
but it was a skeleton wearing new flesh.  The dreams and wishes I had 
pledged myself to were busy metamorphosing.  It was disturbing, a 
desecration, and yet... fascinating.

I had made myself over in the form of an ideal.  Now the ideal was 
changing.  Should I change with it?  Did my purpose mean anything in 
the face of this?  If I changed what was at my core, who would I become?

I dithered on like this for quite a while, I'm afraid, drifting as an 
insubstantial spirit.  Finally, I discovered that my decision, in a 
sense, had been made for me.

I had always been a mysterious figure to the people of the land, 
appearing mysteriously, disappearing more so, helping or harming 
apparently at whim.  Was it any wonder that they'd started telling 
stories about me?

This new "me" was a villain, but an honorable one; he represented both 
the good and the bad of the old world - of all the old worlds, far into 
the unknown past.  He allowed the writers of these stories to indulge in 
the trappings of a bygone era.  They could put in subtle criticisms of 
the way things were by having them come out of the bad guy's mouth, and 
they could have him act in ways no one would dare to.  Yet the 
progressive new age would always win out in the end.

The new world needed a devil's advocate, a memento mori, an agent of 
discontent in complacent times.  The role was mine for the taking, so 
why not?

With this new post came a new name.  The old names were forgotten; the 
Japanese of this new world, inspired by the heroes and villains of the 
new art form that had taken hold since the Occupation, called me 
"Manga-otoko", or, in English... Manga Man.


Tom's jaw dropped in shock. "So you... I don't... what!?"

Blasferatu's brow creased. "So it wasn't just a put-on?"

Manga Man Violet's eyes narrowed. "So that's it, then.  You're not just 
Manga Man Gold.  You're the *original* Manga Man - the Golden Age Manga 

The Manga Man he addressed threw his head back and laughed. "Golden Age, 
yes, definitely.  Original?  What makes you think that?"

"...there's *another* one!?" Tom's eyes were about ready to start 
spinning in circles.

He shook his head, smugness radiating from his expression. "You *still* 
don't get it?  Oh, dear.  Let us keep going, then..."


So I leapt into the world once more.  I took over a pachinko parlor, 
feeding on the emotions therein.  I invaded a Self-Defense Force outpost 
and advocated militarism.  I teamed up with my archenemies to fight off 
Kamisamazilla.  I attempted to sabotage the Olympics.

Eventually, I discovered that I could subsist off emotions other than 
hate, as long as they were strong enough.  Rage, victory, fear, love - 
they each had their own tangible taste.  Yet, even though it did not 
befit my newfound honor, I kept coming back to hate.  It was bitter yet 
deeply satisfying, like red meat to an aspiring vegetarian.


"Or like an uncut hit to a recovering addict," noted Manga Man Violet.

Manga Man Gold snorted. "Armchair psychology isn't the point of this 

"Then what *is*?" shouted Tom, pulling at his hair in a frankly cute 

"Tsk, tsk.  I'm afraid I'm not done being smug and cryptic about it 


I continued on this way; if I might be allowed a moment of immodesty, I 
was the reigning supervillain of Japan, though few outside the nation 
knew me.   My goals grew loftier, schemes grander.  It had long since 
stopped being a role to play.

Naturally, this was what caused my second downfall.

Lightning crackled 'round the peak of Mt. Fuji and the six-story clock 
face covered in Buddhist mandalas that I'd installed there.  None had 
caught wind of my plan until the last second, and so, there was but a 
motley lineup of net.heroes to face me; Record Man, Sakura Woman, So-Da 
Type 999, Queen Selene, Dragknight, and Tangusutenjin-42.

"You're too late!" I shouted over the raging wind. "For when this clock 
reaches midnight, it will be exactly twenty-eight years since December 
7th, 1941, and by the power of the twenty-eight lunar mansions, I will 
send myself back there - along with every scrap of military technology 
in Japan!"

Queen Selene pointed a silver ladle at me and said something about the 
light of the moon.  They charged, yelling their catchphrases, but I used 
the standard ninja trick to create distracting duplicates of myself.  I 
harassed the giant robot with a ten-thousand-horsepower laser and shot 
black roses at random.  I was fighting a defensive war, and I knew 
enough to win it.

As you can guess, I didn't know as much as I'd thought.  So-Da Type 999 
had brought along one of his backup bodies, and as it fought my 
duplicate, the tiny android used his carbonated booster rockets to jet 
past me, ramming straight into the clock!

I shouted and leapt after him.  The clock crumpled, as the fabric of 
time and space reacted violently against its disrupted patters.  So-Da 
disappeared in crackling purple light, and I was right behind him...

I was nowhere.

It wasn't even an empty void.  It was true nothingness, blind ravening 
unbeing.  It is well that we are in text, for it would be almost 
impossible to portray in images.

I did and didn't exist.  I was outside of the story, I knew without 
thought.  I had been inside a story, and "now" I was outside.  I was a 
character, an idea, flattened to pure concept.

I saw/knew/thought the android was there, too.  The scraps of thought 
that washed through this living nothing were changing him, changing me.  
The concept stayed, but the details changed, adapted to chaos; the power 
of that place, that being, destroyed everything that could not stand 
against it, and in doing so made those within into its perfect opposite 

I acquired... perspective.  I could see, now, that the world I lived in 
was a cardboard backdrop; that the demiurges of another world wished it 
into existence solely so that that world would have a past, and the true 
past was here, voracious before me.

The other acquired power.  The once-been soda became far more tied to 
sugary drinks; rising up, he fed the Power Grapety Purple back into the 
monstrous maw, and as nothingness collapsed in on itself, I was thrown 
back into what I no longer called reality...


"Oh, so going mad from the revelation is how you became an overdramatic 
jerk," noted Tom.

"No, I was already like that," said Manga Man Gold.

"Waitwaitwait," interrupted Manga Man Violet. "So... *you*'re 
responsible for the awakening of the Hungry Past?"

"Hah.  Yes, my greatest act of villainy was a complete and utter 
accident.  Par for the course, it seems."

Blasferatu looked up from the easel where he was recording the complex 
timeline shenanigans. "So where'd'ya go?"


Naturally, I came out at the end, or rather, the beginning - the time 
and place where the Hungry Past ceased to have any impact.  May 6th, 
1992.  And I saw... you.


Tom blinked. "You saw Manga Man."


Yes.  The original.  I thought I came before - but I was created long 
after, placed into the timeline in imitation of you.  I beheld the 
Platonic ideal.

You *were* the agent of discontent.  You weren't just the devil's 
advocate, you were the Devil.  The villain who created himself 
because the world needed villainy.

I realized that my second purpose had been taken from me, and I'm afraid 
at that point, I fell apart - quite literally...

I floated, discorporate and discombobulated, stuck to your timeline.  I 
was conscious, on a certain level, recording the events before me 
without analyzing them to any great extent.

Slowly, actual awareness trickled back in, and I discerned a pattern to 
what I was seeing.  Like many of the characters of the time, you started 
off simple, iconic.  But over time, characterization accumulated.  You 
gained depth, personality... and a new direction.

It wasn't some sort of sickly-sweet redemption.  You had no need for 
something like that.  It was more an... *affinity* between you and the 
heroes, a gradual change of viewpoint on both sides.  It happened bit by 
bit, passed from one demiurge to another.  I don't truly know if they 
meant it to happen.

Whatever the cause, the effect was clear: You were becoming... 
shudder... a good guy.  An anti-hero, perhaps, but still on the side of 
the angels - and no longer the devil the world needed.  With this 
knowledge came conviction: I had to act.

Outside of time, I had seen time's structure.  It was relatively easy to 
abscond with the LNH's disused Timecycle and, hovering on the boundaries 
of Hypertext Time, take a temporal snippet of your timeline.  Then I 
slathered this duplicate of your existence with essence of Limp 
Asparagus - all but for a few crucial parts.  The parts that had lead 
you to this point; experiences, decisions, chance meetings.

And then I left time once more, awakening the past.  Its hunger devoured 
those parts I had left untouched, creating a version of you with nothing 
to stop the villainy from reaching its apex...


"Dopplegangers, illusions, clones and mind control?" said Blasferatu. 
"Tom Russell's gonna have a fit!"

"You re-awoke the Hungry Past *and* you created Manga Man Black," said 
Manga Man Violet. "Tell me, is 'convenient plot device' part of your 
villainous role?"

"Of course," said Manga Man Gold. "Anything to help the story along."


I traveled back along your timeline and released this new Manga Man to a 
point shortly before you formally renounced villainy.  Then I sat back 
and watched.

And became frustrated.  It wasn't... quite... right.  Oh, certainly, he 
was gathering his forces and making nefarious plans... but it was taking 

I realize, now, that this was base hubris.  My desire had overcome my 
sense; everything had to be as I willed it, right now.  Foolish.

Nonetheless, it was what it was.  And even as his plans slowly, 
laboriously began to bear fruit, I decided it was time to step in 

You will remember this part, I trust - the robots, the manipulation, 
leading up to the final battle.  It was grand; I had finally inserted 
myself in events once again, and was gorging myself on conflict like a 
child at the cookie jar.  Naturally, this gluttony caught up with me.

Your sacrifice was unexpected.  I escaped, slipping outside the walls of 
reality - but something was wrong.  I couldn't get back in.

It seems we had the same problem.  I had retaken the name and role of 
Manga Man, and now that there was only one Manga Man left in the 
Looniverse, the continuum had decided to keep things tidy by barring any 
others from entrance.  Once again, I had forgotten myself in a role, and 
once again reality had caught up with me - in this case, literally.

I had gotten used to floating.  I let go, forgetting myself in the warp 
and woof of time and space, assuming that this would be my final resting 
place... until I felt a certain pull.

At this point, I figured that I might as well go towards the light.  So 
I did... and wound up, not in the afterlife, but in a new life.

The demiurges had sent me on to a new world - one, I slowly came to 
realize, completely without bad guys - without conflict, without drama.  
This would be my new purpose.  I was needed here.

I was determined to prove a villain.


"And so," explained Manga Man Gold, "I figured out my own slow-boiling 
plan.  I would insert incredibly subtle subliminal triggers into the 
RACCies ceremonies.  Over a period of years, these would work their way 
into the minds of almost every person on the planet.  Then, when the 
heroes arrived, I would activate them, giving me a planet full of 
helpless bystanders to throw at the good guys."

"Diabolical," breathed Blasferatu.

"A pretty good plan," noted Manga Man Violet.

Tom stood. "You may have our sympathy, but that doesn't mean we'll stand 
back while you conquer the world!  We won't let you get away with this!"

And then Manga Man Gold did something they hadn't yet seen - he threw 
his head back and laughed. "Of course you will." His eyes flashed 
golden. "Salamander."

And Tom stiffened, and walked over to Manga Man Gold's side, eyes 
vacant. Blasferatu and Manga Man Violent gasped, and Gold smirked. "Why 
do you think I came out here?  Why do you think I took the time to 
explain this to you?"

"Gentlemen, I don't usually lower myself to filching a famous line, but 
if you'll permit me - I did it thirty-five minutes ago."



OH GOD SO LONG.  This must count as the longest issue of a "cascade" 

Yes, this is totally part of High Concept Challenge #13.

I hope you'll forgive the obvious quote, but I was plotting out the 
story and I realized how *appropriate* it was.

So-Lame-Even-Saxon-Brenton-Wouldn't-Use-Him-In-A-Story Lad was also at 
the big World War II fight scene, but the nature of this not-a-cascade 
didn't allow him to be mentioned.  The Amazing American is meant to be a 
predecessor to Lalo's Hyperbolic Boy and Amazing Amazon, but is able to 
be completely unrelated if it doesn't fit into his plans or he just 
doesn't feel like it.  And the Ultimate Mercenary cameo is meant 
entirely to summon Adrian James McClure back to RACC.  I mean, the guy 
established a huge chunk of the stuff I've been using since issue #6!  

The-character-formerly-known-as-Manga-Man-Gold is available for stories 
taking place during the periods when he was active.  Note that he was 
only known as Manga Man in the '50s and '60s; his World War II moniker 
was Divine Blade.

I lampshaded it in the story, but I noticed something; "Japan" and 
"Japanese" are hardly ever net.named in LNH stories. (I found one issue 
of Writer's Block Woman...) Gotta wonder why.

For instances of Manga Man becoming more sympathetic and heroic, I point 
you to Tales of the LNH #359 and Unlikely Aliens #17 and 18.  And, 
indeed, after Hubert left, nobody seemed to use Manga Man anymore except 
in the occasional alternate-universe story - which lead to the situation 
I put him in in the first issue of the original Just Imagine.

I'll leave it up to you, the readers, to pick out all the references - 
to anime, to LNH continuity, and to other things - but I'll point out a 
particularly obscure one.  The Type 98 So-Da was an actual Japanese 
armored personnel carrier - used up until 1980, I believe.  The sugary 
drinks connection was complete, and I could parody Astro Boy and Cyborg 
009 in one! (With a sideways Galaxy Express reference in there.)

Manga Man created by Craig Thomas Judd, Tom Ploteau and Manga Man Gold 
spun off by Andrew Perron
Pointless Awards Man IV (aka Manga Man Violet) created by Jesse Willey
Classics Squad created by Hubert Bartels (I think?)
Occultism Kid/The August One created by Josh Geurink
Society of Wireless Heroes created by Dave van Domelen, used with 
All other characters created by Andrew Perron

Andrew "NO .SIG MAN" "Juan" Perron, whew.

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