LNH: Classic LNH Adventures #19: RETCON HOUR Alpha

Drew Perron pwerdna at gmail.com
Sun May 29 22:34:47 PDT 2016

On 5/24/2016 9:08 PM, Arthur Spitzer wrote:
> LNH: Classic LNH Adventures #19:  RETCON HOUR Alpha
> In this weeks reposting of stuff you can find in the eyrie archive
> https://archives.eyrie.org/racc/lnh/
> we have the first part of RETCON HOUR.
> Okay, Retcon Hour is one of the biggest crossovers in LNH History
> (well, at least in terms of the number of authors who participated
> in it.)

It's AMAZING, you guys. So much fun stuff.

> A central figure in Retcon Hour is the character Myk-El created by
> Mike Kelly who was one of the original Cosmic Plot Device Caper
> LNH'rs.  Back in the early days of the LNH there were a number of
> flame wars about whether you should crosspost LNH stories to the
> newsgroup rec.arts.comics.misc.  Mike Kelly took the side that
> frowned upon the crossposting, which caused some bad blood between
> him and various other LNH writers of the time.
> Ultimate Ninja #5 written by Raymond "wReam" Bingham revealed Myk-El
> to be a traitor that Contraption Man had warned about in the Cry.Sig
> storyline and killed him (without Mike Kelly's permission).  This was
> approved by the various other Council Elders (a group of LNH writers
> that sort of ran things at the time) with the exception of Dave Van
> Domelen who resigned from the Council (which ultimately was the final
> nail in the Council of Elders' coffin).

Ahhhhh, is *that* the whole story behind that. @.@ Back in the day when I read 
this in the archives, it seemed like a parody of other traitor storylines. Only 
later did I learn that it was actually pretty fucked up.

(I should put this in the wiki... there we go.)

> which had the Secret Dvanders dig up the grave of Myk-El to reveal that
> it wasn't Myk-El who was the traitor.  And this led to another Flame
> Warl.  And eventually to Retcon Hour  (name inspire by the DC crossover
> at the time called Zero Hour).


> 	"Choose, Brother Napalm?  Choose what?"
> 	"I choose to bring the matter to Dr. Stomper.  Perhaps he knows.  Shall
> we?"
> 	"Let's."

That's some nice dialog. :>

> 	"If anyone could, you could," agreed Ferris.  "But UN has been acting
> _strange_, and not just lately.  I'm not sure what's behind it, but I think
> I'll wait it out a little longer."

Was this while the "evil twin Ultimate Ninja" thing was going on?

> 	Cat's communicator thingie hummed.  "Whooops!" she giggled.  "I've got
> to remember to wear these vibrating thingies in less sensitive places!"

Oh *my*

> 	In the LNHHQ basement, a large machine of indefinite proportions hummed
> along.  It operated on a power cell provided by Pocket Man, so it could con-
> ceivably run forever.  Which was a good thing.  For despite the cobwebs and
> dust it was arguably the most important machine in the Looniverse.  Which, you
> would think, would warrant some type of observation -- one of Multi-Tasking
> Man's tasks at the least.  Sadly, that was not the case.

Gosh darnit, Legion.

> 	Kid Kirby surveyed the crowd before him.  Adamant-Authority-On-Every-
> thing was energetically endorsing the theory that the armored figure was
> 'Claude,' the fourth Pep Boy.


> 	"He is here to move the universe, should that be necessary."  Kirby had
> obviously not considered the effect his words would have.

Oh, you know, moving the universe, no big.

> 	If it was possible for an armored helmet to look uneasy, Kirby's did.

I've seen people do wonders with careful body language.

> 	Sarcastic Lad voiced a common sentiment.  "Hey, don't worry about us.
> We _love_ being second class citizens.  I think UN was perfectly right ignoring
> Cat's excellent leadership.  I don't even think we deserve a vote."

Sarc, sometimes you're great. :>

> 	Kirby coughed, which noone in the room could ever remember hearing
> before.  "Not exactly.  You might begin feeling some slight....personality
> disorders.  If it moves, the Looniverse will be accessible to many more....
> forces....that could potentially change how you act."

It's interesting. On the one hand, Kid Kirby is presenting opening up the LNH to 
more authors as horror. Now, I would say that the LNH's open-ness is not only 
what makes it really good, but what's caused it to survive this long - 
especially when you look at the various closed universes that were forming 
around the same time this story was coming out; ASH, Omega, Crossroads - and 
those are just the ones we remember!

...on the other hand...

>If the
> Looniverse moves, all of you," Kirby's gauntlet gestured to the audience,
> "will be prey to the whims of many many more...forces.  Possibly contradictory.
> Possibly....sinister."
> 	<( Then this is similar to Myk-El and Contraption Man? )> asked Hooded
> Ho`'od Win.
> 	Kirby was motionless for a long pause.  "Not exactly.  Myk-El had more
> protection than any of you."  The horror set in fully on the NWC's.

This is *really* effective existential horror. @.@ And a *really* good way of 
emphasizing what the true danger is - being written radically out-of-character, 
for reasons that have nothing to with who you are as a character. (This gains 
additional resonance from whole Captain-America-is-Hydra thing that erupted 
recently. x.x Talk about a worst-case example.)

> 	A continuity-friendly imprecise number of centuries into the future

Oh well that's nice.

> The 'throne' itself was a Chester lush enough to drive Al Bundy mad with envy.

Yep, Married With Children references. XD The '90s.

> 	"So Contraption Man.  Acton Lord's GIF was discovered?"  There was an
> annoying tone of I-told-you-so in the hooded figure's voice.


> 	"Hold on.  If we are in the future of the LNH, why do _we_ need to wait?
> It's their time stream not ours."  The robed figure sighed.
> 	"First no sense of Paradox, now no sense of Narrative.  Are you sure
> you've done this Time Travelling before?"


> 	"I may work for you now, but once we get the machine done...." said
> Contraption Man to himself.
> 	"And at least have the decency to be _behind my back_ when you
> plot behind my back," tsked the hooded villain.  "Amateurs."

*cackles* Jeff was really good at playing with narrative.

> 	Behind her, smoke began filling her room.  Out of the smoke stepped the
> mysterious figure of All-Knowing Last-Chance Whiner Destiny Woman, gesturing
> dramatically.
> 	"Nay, Cat.  The Looniverse's fate is larger than your will; your powers
> are needed in another matter still."
> 	"Hey, neat!  Have you been reading _Netrigan_?"


> 	Catalyst Lass' irises disappeared from her eyes, as was standard for
> people no longer in complete control of their own will.  As AKLCWDWoman faded
> back into her billowing smoke she held out a pair of sunglasses.  "You know
> what must be done, Cat.  Now put on these sunglasses -- this white-eye thing
> is most unsettling."

XD <3

> 	Hooded Ho`'od Win hopped out of the shower.  In a stunningly contrived
> sequence she managed to hop over to her prosthetic leg and struggle into it
> without ever revealing either her face or her considerable feminine charms.

Pfffff. X3

> 	<( I do not understand... )>  Cat removed her sunglasses and looked
> somewhere near Hood's scalp line.  <( Mind control! )> gasped Hooded Ho`'od Win
> as she spotted Cat's all-white eyes.
> 	"No,no silly.  If it was mind control I'd be moving real stiffly and
> saying "Yes Master" and stuff.  This is Cosmic Mission!

You know, back in the day, reading the LNH was like TV Tropes only more fun. 
Learning all these new things about how stories worked and what signifiers meant...

> Inside, two of the Looniverse's most powerful
> entities were locked in tense combat.  Sweat beaded on brows, hands knotted
> tensely.  Mental strain was a near palpable force in the craft's artificial
> atmosphere.
> 	"You took your hand off it."
> 	"No, I didn't."
> 	"You did.  Now king me."


> 	Deductive Logic Man had spent the last month trying to get in touch
> with Catalyst Lass, to find out why she stood him up and what was going on.
> He knew she was involved in some massive construction project in the center of
> Net.Ropolis.

God. Re-reading this, I note how good Jeff is at *structure* and at setting up a 
plot to play out.

> 	"I'm sorry Mr. Logic, but Ultimate Ninja's orders were explicit.

I mean, it'd be weird to call him "Mr. Man".

> 	"She's not missing, she's gone catatonic."  Dr. Stomper entered the
> reception area, to the receptionist's relief.  "Hey Ferris.  Hood seems to be
> building up a tremendous amount of power for some reason."
> 	Ferris started.  "Move the Looniverse?  But what about the Universal
> Anchor?"
> 	Dr. Stomper struck his forehead.  "How stupid of me.  I've been so
> preoccupied with my nephew lately I forgot all about it."

I mean, it's a little bit of a contrivance that nobody's really focused on this 
stuff until just this moment, but eh. Not a big deal - I've written bigger 
contrivances. <.<

> 	"Are you telling me the man who built the Universal Anchor was _Evil_?
> There's no telling what he's done to the machine.  We've got to turn it off
> before...."

And this is a good tension-moment.

> 	ReFoDis looked down along the length of his arm.  Ferris and Stomper
> reached the stairs and leapt down them four at a time.  A mechanical whir
> sounded from ReFoDis' arm actuators.  Stomper and Ferris burst into the
> Miscellaneous Equipment Room.  A dummy light on the Universal Anchor's dash-
> board was flashing madly.  ReFoDis hand quivered.  Stomper and Ferris leapt
> for the ignition switch.  Bad-Timing Boy suddenly stood up.  "Y'Know, I've
> always wondered what's in this room...."


> Dr. Stomper and Deductive Logic Man
> collided with the unfortunate hero, spilling them all to the ground.
> 	ReFoDis' hand rotated sharply upwards. The crowd outside cheered madly.
> 	"Oh no...." said Ferris.

*evilcackle* Good stuff.

> 	"Bogus, Ted.  Like we almost creamed these free-floating Evil dudes."
> 	"Supremely untranscendant, Bill.  It seems they failed to read the
> 'Guests leaving their car will be ejected from the park' signs."
> 	Contraption Man and boss zipped around the obstacle.  The robed figure
> turned and shook his fist.  "Insolent youths!  I will retcon you into evil
> robots!"


> 	A large tube of time and space lay across their path.  With his back
> turned, the robed figure collided with it full force, sending it spinning madly
> out of control.  Voices could be heard inside saying, "CAW, get your rail gun
> out of my G-string!"
> 	"Road Hog," muttered the robed supervillain as they continued their
> flight through time.

:D I love the anachronistic reference to an issue later in the crossover. 

As a side note... Retcon Hour has a reputation for being really random and 
chaotic and hard to understand, but I've never found it so. I mean, it's got a 
lot of different series in it, but the crossovers tend to all be pretty 
straightforward and fun. If you've ever been able to follow one of the Big Two's 
summer events, you'll do just fine.

> 	Flashes of energy coursed around Net.Ropolis and the world.  To those
> sensitive to it, the world suddenly seemed much smaller than it had been.  The
> cozy closeness of the Looniverse expanded impossibly, but what it lost in
> security it more than gained in the thrill of expectation.

Yesssss. <3 I love this paragraph so much.

> The Universal Anchor overloaded from the strain of trying
> to lock the Looniverse into alt.comics.lnh.  Sparks flew from its interior.

Would you say that the sparks from trying to keep a universe in place are... 
metafriction? :D

> 	Deductive Logic Man stared at the newcomers, but spoke in an aside to
> Dr. Stomper.  "That was a tremendous display of techno-babble, even for you."
> 	"I work best under pressure."
> 	"Silence!


> 	Contraption Man sighed.  "Alright Stomper.  Let's see if you can
> name the technology that kills you!"

DUN DUN DUNNNN! (I love the followup to this.)

> 	Continuity Champ grumbled to himself, "Two years and no RACC.  Now they
> decide to pass it in the middle of _my_ turn."


> 	"Look out Ferris!  It's a momentum reverser!  A high energy beam of
> tachyon anti-matter reverses the momentum equation.  His gun literally draws
> the motion from us.  He'll paralyze us!"
> 	"Ah!  Only if we're moving, if not...."  Ferris froze just as
> Contraption Man fired at him.  The tachyon anti-matter reversed his momentum,
> sending him flying at high speed along the beam.  He crashed into Contraption
> Man, knocking him roughly to the ground.

Perfect. XD

> 	"Give it up CM!  Dr. Stomper can identify any pseudo-tech device you
> craft, and I can Logically counter it.  It's a losing battle for you."
> 	"Well maybe I'm just trying too hard then."  Contraption Man's hands
> were a blur of motion.  He pitched a ball of high-tech gunk at them.
> 	"Stomper, what is it?"
> 	"It's a, uh, grenade."

XD <3
> 	Bad-Timing Boy frowned.  He hadn't wanted to interfere with Ferris and
> Stomper when they were winning, but now he had to do something.  As the machine
> loomed tall above them, B-T Boy concentrated with all his might.  The robed
> figure suddenly returned, gasping and shivering.
> 	"Contraption Man, get me out of here!  I need to rest for the Final
> Retcon of Myk-El!"
> 	"Jeez boss, right now?  I'm just about to...."
> 	"Do not question me!  Do as I say!"
> 	CM muttered, "Of all the lousy timing."

Aaaaaaa, I love it when Bad-Timing Boy gets to be useful! :D

> 	wReamhack's eyes widened.  "No, wait!  I found something in Sig.Lad's
> account that you should hear.  Do you know how the dvanders knew Myk-El was
> innocent? _They exumed his body._"
> 	"So?" mumbled Renegade Programmer.  Multi-Tasking Man threw in Diversity
> Training for good measure, dashed off thirty FAQ-modifications, reached 10th
> level in Heimdall and called up a video from the Drizzt Defense Files.  It
> clearly showed Myk-El digging his way out of his own grave and becoming the
> arch-villain Squalor.  The video was date-stamped January 94.
> 	wReamhack voiced their thoughts.  "If Myk-El became Squalor.....

And might I say, an excellent use of a plot hole?

> Narcoleptic Dogs Press has no choice and must present...

Seriously, sometimes Rossi seemed *compelled* to write. `-`;

> David stood up, looking at the
> cobalt blue sky, the great expanses of green, the fluffy clouds,
> the three huge fanged mouths directly above him, the majestic
> volcanoes, the...
>      "HUGE FANGED MOUTHS!??" Swordy, having read the narration
> carefully, popped two broadswords into being and looked up.


>      "ALLOSAURS! The most unused dinosaurs of all!" Still upset
> that everybody ignores them in favor of the Tyrannosaur, who
> doesn't even have moving front claws, the Allosaurs attacked our
> spandex-wearing hero.

As a dinosaur-loving kid, I laughed so hard at this. <3

> They looked up as he went past,
> puzzled. "Where am I jumping TO, anyway?"
>      Splash. The Tar-Pit was quite warm.


>      Four dazed figures staggered out. They were, by all
> appearances, Swordmaster, his father, and his Teammates the
> Squealing Flying Rodent and CAW. In fact, they were. As were the
> poor saps currently being menaced in the Mesozoic era. Thus time
> travel can screw up continuity, by creating DIVERGENT TIMELINES!

GASP! Dun dun dunnnnn

>      "Hehuhahhehuhahueh." The low chuckling came from the cowled
> face of the Crapper, who, as those of you who read it no doubt
> remember, has been an ambulatory pile of nasty smelling caca ever
> since Cry.Sig. The Time Crapper leaned back in his throne and
> smiled. "So, my previous self has made his gambit to unravel time.
> Well, I shall profit from my mistakes!

You got that, audience? This is Time Crapper II, and the one Contraption Man is 
working with is Time Crapper I.

>      Standing on the blasted plains of nearly-the-end-of-time Earth
> gave the four heroic doppelgangers pause. Swordy (I'm just gonna
> refer to them as if they are the real thing, okay? For all intents
> and purposes, they _ARE_, so cut me some slack.)

Seriously, don't be prejudiced against doomed timeline versions of people.

>      "GET DOWN!" Swordy leapt for cover, dragging his father with
> him, and Rodent quickly followed. CAW stood there. "Now what good
> is me engaging my memory record of K-TEL's greatest dance hits
> going to...ooh, _now_ I get it. He meant I should...DUCK!" CAW
> activated his rocket propulsion system just as the energy wave
> slammed into where he had been standing.


> CAW finally arose,
> rebooted. Within a few seconds, he even managed to get his nasal
> sensors off line, and he only had to use a rock to do it, too.


>      "He's the leader of this plot, he's evil to the core, T I M
> E C R A P P E R!" And as theme to the Timeketeers played on, the
> Ploticon rubbed a thick warm Irish Spring scent onto the minds of
> our Divergent Heroes. Could they resist? Well, in all honesty,
> normally, yes. But I NEED them to fall for this so I can send them
> after the LNH, so they fell under the Crapper's sway.

XD A perfect parody of "suddenly a secondary character in a larger story and 
thus not able to Fight With All My Will And The Power Of Friendship"-itis.

>      Picture the biggest explosion you've ever seen. Wow, pretty
> big, huh? Just goes on and on and on...where was I? Oh yeah, well
> that wasn't what happened to our heroes.


>      <I am Hektor, the Dardan, from Ilium. Whoever you be, warrior
> in black, be you spawn of the Thunderer or tool of Hades, I will
> stand against you.>
>      <And I am Achilleos, from Achean lands  over the waters,
> chieftan and King. Can I do less than stand against you?>

Ahhhhh, classical literature. :>

>      "Well, if it isn't my favorite deity of inane plot twists?
> What brings you here, Marz old boy?"
>      "I actually belong here. You, on the other hand, have
> interfered in the plotline I had set up. Achilleos has been humbled
> prematurely, before years of war and suffering can result. I must
> fix this."
>      "You mean...YOU made the Iliad so pointless? It's YOUR fault
> that Achilleos sulks in his tent like a five year old for most of
> the poem?"

Hah. XD I love it - not afraid to call out what'cha don't like.

> "Now, if I were
> the RACCelestial Madonna, then who could stand against me?"
>      "The RACCelestials, Kid Kirby, the Dvandom Strangers,
> Da'Jaconar, James Brown,..."
>      "Digressor, my sweet?"
>      "Yes, dark mistress?"
>      "That was a rhetorical question."


> Ida stood and walked to her
> hall closet and pulled out a red cloak. "With this Riding Hood of
> Purity on, no one will suspect that I am a blood drinking beast of
> the night."

I love it. XD

>   "I'm not sure," he said, trying to gather his thoughts, "Doctor
> Stomper said something about the 'spacial anchoring' something-or-other
> being 'overloaded' during our move to rec.arts.comics.creative... and
> something about 'polarity' getting 'reversed' and the 'degrees of
> freedom' getting... 'realigned'... and, oh yeah, something about
> 'temporal destabilization'."

That's surprisingly detailed for not being sure.

>   "Right."  Pizza Girl grimaced.  "So tell me, if we're supposed to be
> a Generation X parody how come there's only five of us?"
>   "'Generation X'?" Continuity Champ Junior asked.  "That's not even
> out yet."
>   "I've always thought of us as being more of a parody of the original
> X-Men," Insomnia Boy mused.  "After all, there is a fairly good
> one-to-one correspondence between ourselves and the members of that
> group."
>   "Yeah," Bad-Timing Boy concurred.  "Why do you think we're called the
> Y-Men, anyway?"

*snerk* Okay, this is a good bit.

Drew "loves Retcon Hour" Perron

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