LNH/REPOST: LNH Comics Presents #303: Infinite Leadership Crisis Part 268

Scott Eiler seiler at eilertech.com
Wed Dec 25 18:51:03 PST 2013

On 12/24/2013 1:45 AM, Andrew Perron wrote:
> (Okay, so I just realized I messed up my calculations on both which issue
> it would be and which day of April it would be. Fixing!)

Did you also intend this to be an ancient horror of Christmas for the 
High Concept Challenge?  It sure felt like it.

> April 268th, 2007.

Have there been 267 other Infinite Leadership Crisis stories, or did you 
skip to the holiday issue?

> The comfortable mountain shuddered tectonically and collapsed in a great
> eruption of yawning young man. Casey von Aluminumfoil rose, scratching
> himself under the arm and peering blearily out the window. Yep - the chill
> of early spring was still in place. This *would* be Christmas Eve, if April
> hadn't been going for eight and a half times its normal length.

Ah.  I've developed a liking for Casey von Aluminumfoil (ever since I 
wrote him myself).

> Casey opened his mouth. He raised a finger. He closed his mouth. He lowered
> his finger. "...okay, so Santa Claus. Very good." He waved a hand. "Show in
> Santa Claus."
> Fourth Wall Lass chuckled. "Yes, sir." She disappeared out, and through the
> door stepped Merry Old St. Nick.

Yay, holiday story!

> "Sharp thinking! In fact, that's why I needed to talk to the leader of the
> LNH - one of the few people cleared to know the secret of my organization."
> "Your... organization? Like... the elves?"
> Santa shook his head. "No. No, I speak of the great and august legion in
> whose name I work. The Seven Hundred Secret Santas!"
> "...thank you, Sing-Along Lass," said Casey. S-AL bowed and left the room.

Nice gag.

> "So what you're saying is, there are seven hundred Santa Clauses?"
> "Actually, right at the moment there's seven hundred and twenty-seven.
> Every archetype, you see, that exists in the minds of children, from Pere
> Noel to Sinterklaas. And that's the problem."

Nice concept.  (But I always figured it was one Santa with multiple 
bodies.  That explains all the mall Santas too.)

> Casey blinked. "Er... I'm afraid I don't quite understand. You have...
> too... many?" He wished he was a bit better at pretending to know what was
> going on.
> Santa smiled at him. That made him feel curiously better - but there was
> melancholy at the edges of those old eyes. "The number is not the problem;
> the problem is... one."
> Suddenly it clicked. "Oh... it's *everything* that exists in the minds of
> children."
> Santa nodded, a heavy sadness settling around his shoulders. "The children
> for whom Santa means bitterness, means pulling the belt even tighter, means
> that your mother won't let you see your father or your father resents you
> for having to spend money on presents that you didn't even want. The
> bringer of stress and fear and pain. Edgar Sorrow."

Nice menace.

> Casey sucked air through his teeth. "Awesome. But it's not Christmas... but
> you're going to tell me that that's also the problem."
> "Very sharp indeed. Yes, that's the trick - the great battle to hold back
> Edgar Sorrow takes place at Christmas."
> "You wouldn't think you'd have time for that, with all of the flying around
> and giving gifts."
> "Ah, but the gifts and the battle are one and the same, you see? We are
> creatures of emotion and happenstance, and we, the seven hundred and
> twenty-seven, try to bend minds and events towards moments of singular joy
> that cannot be diminished, whereas Edgar Sorrow rages, clawing at the
> consciousness of those he can reach, trying to draw them into the darkness
> from which no joy can be seen. You understand?"
> "I... think so?" Casey scratched his scalp. This was getting heady.
> "But it doesn't work the same way in April. And his power has been growing,
> building, seeking release as it does every year. We began a ritual at
> midnight on the International Date Line to hold him back, but it won't hold
> forever. Casey..." Santa leaned over the desk, hand clenched. "We have to
> stop him!"

Hmm.  If the children and the Santas and Edgar Sorrow all know it's 
Christmas, we have to come up with a reason why Christmas is 
substantially different in April.  Ever since before they called it 
Christmas, Christmas has always been about turning back the darkness.  I 
doubt April would be any better for Edgar Sorrow in that regard.  Still, 
maybe equinox gives him equality...

> Casey looked around the table. He'd assembled every specialist in magic and
> ritual that he could find and brought them together in hopes of stopping
> this threat to children everywhere.
> ...unfortunately, this amounted to precisely four people - two LNHers, a
> specialist they'd called in, and a kiwi. Explain-the-Joke Lass was also
> there, but only long enough to note that she could not be, as references to
> LNH20 would be anachronistic at this point in meta-continuity, before
> poofing in a cloud of transdimensional silliness.

(cue Sally Struthers) Please help us save this precious LNH20!

> "I've only heard the name in whispers," said Trevor Blount, the Shoeceror,
> tapping his chin thoughtfully with a pointy elf boot. "Bad juju - able to
> channel the worst of not just your past, but everyone's who's ever believed
> in Santa."

Did you just make up the Shoeceror?

> Casey snapped his fingers. "I know just who to call!"
>                                   *****
> "Hey, Casey," said his mom. "Nice job on the family reunion!"

heh.  Christmas menaces are no match for family reunions.

> A misty humanoid form began to coalesce, legs fading into view within the
> boots. Then with a dramatic WHUMPH, he was there - a sickly-pale wizened
> figure in a ragged coat and a moldy gray-brown beard, eyes burning like
> fireplace embers. With a ravenous howl he began to devour the spoiled food.

In my continuum, he's a bit fatter but we call this villain Uncle Scott. 

> Casey brought his hand down, and the music stopped. He raised it, and
> another song began. 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas' - the original
> Judy Garland version. With a big grin, he turned back to his audience. "Now
> we need *your* help! Everybody, sing along!"

My, he *is* a retro hero, isn't he?  But I suppose any Christmas song 
will do.  And it helps when the whole family knows it.

> "Casey..." said his dad. He squeezed his hand. "Good job."
> His mom ruffled his hair. "Bet you're at least in the top five leaders."
> Casey smiled. "Thanks." He squeezed both their hands. "You know I'm gonna
> be all right, right?"
> His mom just smiled, melancholy but proud. His dad said, "Yeah, but we're
> still gonna miss you."
> Casey winked. "I'll be back again someday."

Just like Christmas!

Nice holiday story!

(signed) Scott Eiler  8{D> -------- http://www.eilertech.com/ ---------

When you *are* the leader... whatever goes wrong... whether you did it
or not... *you* are held responsible. - Barack Obama

I know. - Archie Andrews

- from Archie #617, March 2011, scripted by Alex Simmons.

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