LNH: Legion of Net.Heroes Volume 2 #51

Martin Phipps martinphipps2 at yahoo.com
Sun Jun 17 23:38:17 PDT 2012

On Jun 17, 5:57 pm, "Adrian J. McClure" <mrfantast... at gmail.com>
> So I guess I'll have to say more about this story.
> First of all, the attempt at offensive humor really, really doesn't
> work. It's just an ugly stereotype put out there with no commentary or
> critique. What exactly is being satirized here? Supposedly, it's
> comics' jumping on board the gay bandwagon for the sake of publicity.
> But the fact that there is effectively a trend now for more diverse
> characters in any way is laudable, even if not all the manifestations
> of that trend are. (There are good arguments to be made that Alan
> Scott's outing smacks of tokenism, given that it was done to replace
> his son who was erased from history. In other news, the DCU makes my
> head hurt.) Doing this kind of deliberately provocative, offensive
> humor can work, but like everything else you have to put careful
> thought into the tone and purpose of it. In this case, the tone is
> snide and dismissive, and the purpose seems to mainly be to get
> revenge for criticism of a cheap joke that was never funny in the
> first place.

First of all, why is it offensive?  Is it offensive because there is a
character who is gay or because he is "stereotypically gay"?  There
are people like that.  I meet people like that every day.  Basically
you are saying that characters in the LNH can only fit into a narrow
window of what is "inoffensive" even though that doesn't reflect what
people are like in real life.

> And that's the other problem: the treatment of other peoples'
> characters and ideas. This story deliberately uses Andrew's character
> of Kid Enthusiastic to get in a cheap shot at him. I can't even begin
> to say how petty, disrespectful and immature that is. There's also the
> handling of the WikiBoy debate. Andrew raised a genuinely interesting
> question that sparked a genuinely interesting debate about free will,
> the nature of fiction, and so forth, which suggested all kinds of
> compelling and funny stories. But this story seems to exist simply to
> foreclose on these possibilities without taking into account
> everything everyone has had to say.

Please explain to me where the cheap shot was.  If you are going to
make accusations then you need to back them up.  Kid Enthusiastic
never backed down: he only conceded one point which I considered to be
a tautology.  (The Flaming Torch is no more offensive than Master
Blaster, who I admit is sometimes a bit offensive.  The Flaming Torch
is actually a lot less offensive if you really think about it.)

> This story also manifests some recurring problems I've noticed with
> your writing, namely how overliteral and one-dimensional it is. You
> don't really develop your ideas, they just kind of sit there on the
> page. A lot of the time your stories parod some movie or other (it's
> almost always a movie or a TV show, your sources of inspiration are
> very narrow) and the dialogue points out, in as flat and awkward a way
> as possible, that that's what they're doing, with little or no
> deviations. You seem to be unable to tolerate or understand any kind
> of metaphorical thinking, as seen in the way you approach Mr.
> Morrison. But that kind of overliteralism and not just lack of but
> active hostility to imagination basically kills writing and is the
> opposite of what the LNH should be about.

The LNH was intended as parody of comics.  I don't know if people are
still reading comics.  I don't have access to comics here in Taiwan.
I take inspiration from movies, TV and from life.  I never claimed to
get inspiration from classic literature.

Frankly, we have yet to see if the Mr. Morrison concept as is actually
works.  How likely do you suppose would it be for other people to use
the character?  You basically ignored my questions as to how the
character would work, saying that you guys hadn't figured it out yet.

> The thing is, your ideas aren't necessarily bad. The idea that WikiBoy
> is effectively a cosmic scapegoat who has to suffer for the sake of
> comedy is an interesting one that fits very well into the LNH. It
> raises all kinds of questions about humor, empathy, free will, the
> possibilty of meaningful change to the status quo in superhero comics
> or in life and what kind of pain we're willing to accept as important
> and what we're willing to overlook. It sets up a lot of interesting
> conflicts--what if some of the other LNHers don't accept this state of
> affairs? After all, fighting cosmic forces is a staple of superhero
> stories. But instead what happens is just that WIkiBoy suffers
> horrible things and then a cosmic entity shows up and says that's the
> way it has to be, and that's it. It exists to basically lay down the
> law and lecture about how this is supposed to be, which is another
> thing that gives the whole story a bullying tone. It serves to
> foreclose on potential stories, not encourage them.

Nonsense.  People write stories and other people write stories.  No
one story discounts another.  Master Blaster can now go around
claiming that the universe wants him to pick on Wikiboy and people
don't have to believe him.  At least this makes Master Blaster less of
a crazy asshole which, incidentally, I objected to.

> This kind of approach is a huge, huge problem when you're writing
> about the kinds of subjects you are here. Even a character who's
> deliberately an offensive stereotype could work. Look at what Jamie
> Rosen did with Ebonics Lad back in LNH v2 #21. It's a little on the
> nose, but he certainly gets something interesting out of an apparently
> irredeemable character. The thing is, as I mentioned, in your version
> the character being an offensive stereotype is the only "joke." Taken
> together with the snideness of the story, you're expressing naked
> contempt for gay people that would do Fred Phelps proud. I think--I
> hope--that the problem is that you really don't think about what
> you're writing at all, especially when you're nursing some kind of
> grudge.

What grudge?  If I held a grudge I wouldn't be posting here at all: I
would just say "screw this".

> Because you have a recurring pattern of holding onto childish grudges
> to the detriment of the group and of your own writing. There was the
> time you refused to honor Dave's wishes about Squidman.

What are you talking about?  You weren't even on RACC at that time.
There was no "refusal" involved.  The fact is that Drizzt came up with
this idea of parodying the legacy virus and I made Squidman one of the
victims and then Dave wrote a story in which he came back.  That's

I actually think Dave is upset with me because I created an LNH2
imprint and he had his own ideas for an LNH2 imprint.  I don't know
why he didn't go ahead with LNHB.  Arthur eventually came up with LNHY
and you guys came up with LNH20.

Frankly I get sick of this immature "It's my ball and I'm going to
take it home and not play anymore" attitude.

> There was the
> ongoing, completely pointless feud with the Omega writers that went on
> for over ten years, I think, up until around the point I started when
> you used the Omega characters without permission Flame Wars VI until
> you were called out on it.

I asked for permission to use Omega characters.  They said no.  So
then I got the idea of using similar LNH characters in their place.  I
should have made it clear that was what I was doing.

Anyway, these things go back YEARS and yet you are accusing me of
holding grudges?

> And then there was the time when you almost
> sabotaged the whole LNH20 project because you refused to accept any
> changes that would make it meaningfully different from the classic
> LNH.

Again, what are you talking about?  How did I sabotage the LNH20
project?  Seriously.  Let me know exactly what your grudges are.  Are
you saying I shouldn't have had any input at all?

The fact is that the last part of The Spoon of Destiny was posted back
on March 2.  LNH Volume 2 #50 seems similarly held up.

I am perfectly willing to work with people and help get these stories
back on track but, frankly, I am getting a bit tired of this
childishness.  Are you saying that these stories are held up because
of something I did?  Fine.  Believe what you want.  But don't be a
hypocrite and accuse me of holding grudges to the detriment of the
group while meanwhile just letting things slide.

> And that's another problem with your writing in general and this story
> in particular: the hostility to doing anything differently. Right now
> we're at a very interesting time in the world of both superhero comics
> and the LNH. The market and the readership are changing, diversifying
> and expanding and the companies are slow to join them. This year the
> rest of us LNH writers are working overtime to do something new and
> different and reach new audiences. Part of the reason I've been absent
> lately is I'm helping Andrew build a presence for the LNH on Tumblr.
> We've both been starting to engage seriously with that site. And the
> thing is, Tumblr is the gayest thing in the world. A lot of young
> creative people in fandom are somewhere on the LBGTQ spectrum; they're
> coming here to get away from this exact kind of lazy stereotyping in
> real life or even in series they otherwise love. Many others are
> friends of people like that and sympathetic to their goals. Writing a
> story like this is deeply exclusionary; it's telling them all they're
> not welcome. And with our community as small and remote from the rest
> of the internet as it is, that is deeply self-destructive.

I disagree.  I frankly feel that your reaction is immature.  If we
can't laugh at ourselves then there is something wrong with us.

> I've been reading a lot of early LNH stories, and when I look at your
> first stories and the things your'e writing now there's barely any
> change and development at all. You are basically writing the exact
> same kind of thing you were in 1993. The thing is, though, you
> actually seemed to be getting better for a while. The Cat Lady stories
> were actually something different and they really worked. Your plain
> and direct style worked a lot better for that kind of children's story
> inspired tale than it did for more dramatic or pseudo-dramatic
> stories. They were inspired by your own experience, but they weren't
> about you, let alone based on TV shows. Practically everything you've
> written to date is one or the other of these things. It also helps
> that they're coming from a place of affection rather than snide
> contempt. And when I wrote a somewhat passive-aggressive article about
> Deja Dude (which was a dick move and I'm sorry for that. I had some
> problems with elements of your stories but I didn't want to engage you
> directly for fear of, well, something like this. Also many of the
> negative things about Deja Dude were taken from things you yourself
> wrote in Arthur E.L. Presence #2), you responded to it pretty
> reasonably.

Oh you mean the article on LNH wiki?  Yeah,  that was a dick move.

> But now this happens: Andrew criticizes something you write in the
> most reasonable way possible and then you throw a gigantic temper
> tantrum and write a profoundly offensive and worthless story in
> response. I'm tired of this kind of thing. And you've shown a pattern
> of doing it again and again.

And this is another dick move.  How dare you accuse me of taking a
temper tantrum?  How dare you refer to something I wrote as
"worthless"?  How does the attitude that you are giving off now
encourage people to write here on RACC?

What you don't seem to notice is that I ALWAYS respond in a reasonable
manner.  This IS me responding in a reasonable manner.  I am
responding to completely baseless accusations and I am responding
reasonably.  I even responded reasonably when Arthur called me an
"asshole" and I got shit for it.  And when I later decided to respond
accordingly I got shit for that.  I've taken a lot of shit from a lot
of people and yet I am still here and then finally I get Dave
suggesting that I am a troll.  Presumably if I take enough shit it is
because I WANT to take shit from people.  Well I don't.

> So unless you retract this story, stop doing this kind of thing and
> start listening to reasonable criticism of your work, I will deny you
> use of any characters or elements I created or had a hand in creating,
> which includes most of the framework for LNH20. I really don't want to
> have to do this; it's basically a nuclear option. I generally believe
> in letting people use my characters how they want even if it's
> something I disagree with. After all, part of the strength of shared
> universes is the possibility for divergent interpretations. The
> creator should always have rights, but the creator isn't always right.
> And you've created genuinely useful characters like Master Blaster and
> Googlemesh, and I know that other people I like and respect like Scott
> and Rob still enjoy your work, so I didn't want to start a fight that
> might end with you walking out.

Alright then, this is my counter option: you act your age, sincerely
apologize for being an asshole in this post and I will prove to you
that I don't hold grudges against people who apologize to me

> But now things have reached the point
> where if you don't clean up your act it's just not worth putting up
> with you anymore. Again and again you've shown a refusal to listen to
> other people or consider points of view other than your own. If you
> don't show a basic modicum of respect for others I don't want you
> anywhere near my creations.
> It's not too late. You still have a chance to try and change, if you
> can. I hope you take it.

So can you.  Your basic argument is that there is something wrong with
me for being "reasonable" as you yourself say and presumably it is
alright for you to be completely unreasonable.  Well, what would you
expect me to do?  What possible reason would I have to want to work
with you if you are going to behave like this?  What possible reason
would ANYONE have to work with you under these circumstances where you
can childishly say "I don't like your story and therefore I refuse to
give you permission to use any of my characters in the future?"  My
God.  Did you even ask for permission to use Gilgamesh?  No, he was
mentioned in the first chapter of The Spoon of Destiny and I had to
ask if you had any plans for him and you guys said "No".  Then when I
went ahead and used Gilgamesh in Generation 2.0 Andrew took a hissy
fit saying that you guys had plans for him, plans that neither of you
bothered to tell me about.  Is that what you consider treating someone
with respect?

You do realize that if I say right now that you can't use Gilgamesh
then you can't finish the Spoon of Destiny Saga, at least not with the
permission to use a character I created.  That is the nuclear option
but we're facing mutual assured destruction here.

One thing I will not do is participate in a flame war.  If you are
trying to start one then, well, frankly, I've got other things to do
with my life.  My apologies.

It's your call then.


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