LNH: Classic LNH Adventures #74: Birth Of A Villain Part Fourteen

Drew Perron pwerdna at gmail.com
Thu May 30 23:00:48 PDT 2019

On 8/19/2018 4:44 PM, Arthur Spitzer wrote:
> And with #35 Saxon Brenton returns.  Will Gorilla Grad finish the
> cure?  And while that happens Fourth Wall Lass and Invisible-Intangible-
> Inaudible Lass have a heart to heart about whether the Writers are satanic
> or just sadistic.

:D :D :D

> And with #36 Martin Phipps attempts to chop the head off this cascade.
> Will he succeed?  And who will win the 2000 Nobel Prize for Peace?

Haha yeah. x-x

> Spotlight On: Fourth Wall Lass and Invisible-Intangible-Inaudible Lass
> Written by Saxon Brenton
> In consultation with Jamie Rosen

Always a excellent combo.

> Cover shows a lab in the LNHHQ. In the extreme foreground on either
> side, both Gorilla Grad and Tsar Chasm can be seen, absorbed in
> their work. They are so far forward on the picture plane that the
> perspective makes them look huge and out of focus, with their forms
> running partly off either side of the cover, and their faces being
> obscured by the title logo towards the top.

I love that sort of thing

>       It would take a while for Gorilla Grad to synthesise the cure to
> the Legionnaire's Disease that had been spread by Melissa. Of course,
> Melissa was calling herself by the net.villain code name Vector now,
> but ultimately she was still just Melissa - another follower of the
> maniacal Church of the Fourth Wall and its leader, Father Brown.

...you know, the idea that the original Vector was a person who got transformed 
comes up a lot, but this seems to be the only suggestion that she was actually a 
member of the Church of the Fourth Wall. Fodder for a future story, mayhap.

>       It was strange in some ways. During her initial appearance at the
> Planet Kirby theme restaurant Melissa had claimed to be the 'ultimate
> villain'. Shortly thereafter this seemingly extravagant claim had
> apparently boiled away with the revelation that she was just another
> one of Father Brown's minions, albeit an impressively powerful one.
>       But had it?

She is, in fact, THE ULTIMATE ANTAGONIST~ Capable of inspiring monumental 
amounts of story conflict!

>       "Oh, nothing much. I was actually thinking about what would
> happen if the first through third walls collapsed."
>       *Tsar Chasm said the Looniverse would be sucked into Real Life.*
> [In _Birth Of A Villain_ #23 - Footnote Girl]
>       Fourth Wall Lass nodded absently. "That's one possibility, though
> I don't think Vammo Woman, the RACCelestial Madonna, would allow
> that to happen without a fight."

Oooooh, excellent continuity invocation.

>       "That's right. I think it's safe to say she'd put quite a bit of
> effort into keeping the Looniverse from falling into Real Life. Or
> rather Real Life -1. I don't know whether she'd succeed though. I
> mean, I *hope* she'd succeed, but it would probably depend on how big
> the 'hole' caused by the collapse of the walls was. And it might be
> that only a part would get ripped way, anyway."

Saxon would later do a really fascinating story featuring this idea.

>       Invisible-Intangible-Inaudible Lass smiled wanly. *I think it's
> supposed to be. From what the Perfect Stranger told me, the whole
> point of my powers is so that the universe has someone to suffer
> hardship for no sensible reason.*

I've got a WikiBoy story I'm planning to do as part of WikiLull about this, and 
as you may suspect, I Got Opinions.

>       Fourth Wall Lass nodded with weary resignation. "It might be
> Drama related. Limp-Asparagus Lad once speculated that the Drama is
> necessary to keep our stories interesting, and that the net.ahumans
> have to shoulder the burden of most of the outrageous misfortunes that
> the Looniverse seems to thrive on." Then she rolled her eyes, and
> added, "Of course, that means that the normals have to bear the weight
> of being a crowd of non-entities whose only purpose is to be saved
> from the Threat Of The Week."

I've been in dialogue with Saxon's work on this matter for most of my RACC 
career, I feel like. X3 I feel like stories about people being happy, overcoming 
challenges proportionate to their skill, and often not having to overcome 
challenges at all - can all be really interesting, and worth writing. (As seen 
in my Writer's Block Person work, my Mighty Medley stories, and others.) One of 
my ongoing goals has been to prove that there's plenty of space outside these 
very fraught scenarios; and it's not that such scenarios don't have value, but 
they aren't the be-all end-all.

>       *They often talk about how real we are to them.*
>       "Yes, but like I said, that's in the sense of knowing how a
> character will react. Then they put on the pose about people getting
> intuition from other dimensions and writing that history down as
> fiction, like in the Heinlein stories and from DC comics and stuff.
> But if the Writers really started hearing voices or getting strange
> new ideas from literally nowhere, I can tell you now, they'd freak and
> book themselves a session with a psychiatrist."

I've thought about this particular line a number of times, and, well... I do 
tend to think of my characters as real, in the sense of... the part of my mind 
out of which their actions and words come isn't always the same as the part of 
my mind out of which the actions I take and the words I say as Drew come. It 
honestly does feel like my personality, the emotions I feel on a day-to-day 
basis and the system of reactions I present to the world, is a character too; 
just one that was created, not for a specific fictional narrative, but to fit 
into the narrative of "interacting with neurotypical people in late-20th 
early-21st century American society". And it feels like a lot of the time, 
they're at least as real as that character is, and sometimes moreso.

(Also, you know, I *am* a mentally ill person, so...)

...gosh, I feel like I'm being hard on Saxon here. X3 I just wanna say, I 
appreciate his viewpoint here, and how straightforwardly and thoughtfully it's 
expressed; it's really useful for working with and against, and building my own 
thoughts on these issues.

>       This set the two of them off with the giggles. After a few
> seconds this tapered off, and FWLass added, "So, no, the Writers might
> be malicious at times, but the situation isn't quite as knowingly evil
> as it sometimes looks like. When you get right down to it, in their
> heart of hearts none of them truly believe we're real, and I suspect
> that they think that if they're inflicting pain on something that
> doesn't really exist, it doesn't count as pain."

Also, to be fair, I've never really been into stories about inflicting pain on 
characters *without* having them overcome it.

>       *Actually, it took me ages to figure that out that much.*
>       "Figure what out?"
>       *That the Writers aren't literally God. Where I grew up it
> wasn't... really considered proper to get involved with the activities
> of net.ahumans.*

Ooooo lovely worldbuilding.

> *But, you can imagine what it's like for most normals who
> aren't part of this world of high weirdness. They don't get all that
> much information. If the villains talk at all they're usually making
> misleading statements for their own purposes or issuing terrorist
> threats, and the heroes tend to censor the seriously strange stuff
> in their press releases.

Heck, I can see it as less "censor" and more "here's the most sense we can make 
of this shit".

>       And sometimes FWLass worried that she might become so focused
> on the interplay of plot, characterisation and drama that she might
> loose track of how it looked to people who didn't know that they were
> fiction. She made a habit of trying to see things from the normals'
> point of view, simply to try and maintain her humanity.

She's *so* human, tho, as mentioned. I love her. <3 <3 <3

>       *Anyway,* said IIILass. *I guess all those sorts of things are
> why the Church of the Fourth Wall has such an attraction to some
> people. The notion that the fourth wall is a danger, and that the
> Church has ways to seal it off so that the nasty things on the other
> side can't get us... That must be extremely appealing to anyone who
> feels helpless against the bullying of the Writers.*

Ohhhhh, bringing it around. :D Excellent point in this story.

>       "No. I can see where they're coming from, but... No, I mean,
> partly it's because I don't hold with the idea that the world is a
> fundamentally bad place. Amoral on the physical level, maybe, and
> subject to all the creative nastiness that the Writers can cook up,
> definitely. But on a spiritual level it's like you said: it's all been
> overseen by a good and loving God." Fourth Wall Lass gave her a
> sober look...

This is an excellent time to remember that FWL is Jewish, and that "israel" 
means "to struggle with God".

>       (Or at least, she would have given IIILass a sober look if she
> had known where she was sitting. As it was, FWLass was only vaguely
> aware that her invisible companion was sitting somewhere to her
> immediate left. It's really hard to make eye contact with someone that
> you can't see.)


>       "...As far as I'm concerned, the First Fallacy of the Church of
> the Fourth Wall is that they've given up hope.

HELL YEAH. Hope all the way!

> Having seen some of
> what the Church gets up to, I think that closing off the fourth wall
> is only its first priority and then after that it has taking over the
> world and generally being tyrannical psychopathic nutburgers running
> a close second."

True that. <3

>       *Actually, I was thinking of: 'Always judge a man by the way he
> treats someone who is of no use to him.'*
>       Fourth Wall Lass hadn't realised that that was a saying that he'd
> favoured, but she savoured the philosophy behind it. "Yes. That's a
> good one."

It *really* is.

>       *The same thing had occurred to me as well,* IIILass agreed.
> *Still, it's kind of nice being able to help people. Sometimes when
> they're having bad dreams I can kind of talk them into... well, it's
> not quite straight lucid dreaming, but sort of having a bit more
> control over what's going on. And I get to hang out with Cheesecake-
> Eater Lad, too."
>       "Cheesecake-Eater Lad?" said FWLass, somewhat bemused.
>       *He's so sweet. And I don't just mean because of all the sugar in
> his cheesecakes, either. He cares about people, and he's always
> working so hard. But he never remembers me when he's awake. Or at
> least, he's never mentioned me. But I often visit him in his dreams,
> and we go dancing and walking along the beach and stuff.*

He's a super sweet and good character and he is extremely LNH and I love him.

> Probably this was because she was already involved with
> someone, but the fact was that Cheesecake-Eater Lad was a bit on the
> tubby side (and this despite all the ninjitsu training he did under
> Ultimate Ninja!). Still, girls were more likely to choose a boyfriend
> based on what type of person he was rather than whether he looked like
> a sex god,

Also, chubby bodies are very nice. <3

>       Just then Gorilla Grad interrupted: "Okay people, it's done! The
> cure for Legionnaire's Disease is ready!"



Um... well, it's not the subplot one o3o;

> Curing her
> of being Invisible-Intangible-Inaudible Lass won't revert her to
> normal, or anything like that. It'll just cause her to cease to be.
> (Why, yes, this is another of the aforementioned instances of a Writer
> being creatively nasty. Why do you ask? :-)

See previous thoughts.

>       Finally, the Neddy Thunderbox quotes were put in during the week
> in April when I first started writing this episode, which was also
> when the news of the death of Harry Secombe came out. Secombe, of
> course, used the nom de guerre of Neddy Seagoon for The Goon Show
> radio comedies and is therefore the person (once removed) that Dvandom
> based Neddy Thunderbox on. I'd known about the 'He suffered fools
> gladly because he was one' quip he made about himself, but I didn't
> realise until I'd read the obituaries that he'd favoured the other
> aphorism, which he had inherited from his father. Since Thunderbox
> is supposed to be a super*hero*, I thought it would be appropriate if
> in addition to Seagoon's jovial but blathering idiocy, he also had a
> touch of Secombe's empathy for others.

Yeah, I really like that touch. :> <3

> "The Conclusion (?)"
> Written by Martin Phipps with no one there to stop him!

And, you know, this is not unreasonable? Cascades peter out, and deciding "okay, 
time to resolve things" is good for the continued health of the storytelling 
milieu. (Eheheh. >#>) But is it done well, or badly? Well..

> This then ultimately resulted in
> one ultimate fate for all the Melissa clones, one which struck the fancy of
> the only writer who was apparently interested in seeing the story to its
> ultimate conclusion: the Melissa clones all became amorous Filipinas who
> went around Manila saying "I love you" to all the men they met and causing
> them to momentarily erase from their minds all memory of their wives and
> families.

...we've firmly kicked *this* out of continuity, that's for sure o3o

>    Doctor Stomper brought the canoe to shore.  He looked up at the man who
> had called to him.  He wasn't very tall so the reeds along the shore
> obscured all but the part of him that was above the waist.  He was an old
> man, but still healthy, which was all the more surprising because he was
> dead.  "Grandpa?"
>    "Yes, boy, it's me!"
>    "Am I dead?"
>    "No, you're dreaming."
>    "Oh."

This is certainly an imaginative sequence. X3

>    The vision shook his head.  "My God, son, did you even read the last issue
> of this series?  Don't you realise how dry the pseudoscience for this
> reality is becoming without your entertaining explanations?  Do they need
> you?  My God, son, they need you more than they've ever needed you before!

Look... yeah I can't deny that but I like that sometimes >#>

>    Doctor Stomper opened his eyes.  Around him stood Gorilla Grad, Tsar
> Chasm, Weirdness Magnet, Pedestrian Girl, Fourth Wall Demolisher Lad,
> Expendable Man, Fourth Wall Lass, Twaeila Brock, Mouse, Insomnia Boy, Easily
> Siscovered Man Lite, Coward Lad, Google-13, DeadHead Man and Chinese Guy; in
> other words, the entire cast of the past thirty-five issues, with the
> exception of Writers Block Woman who was sitting elsewhere in the room with
> Mr. Tiddles on her lap.

There's *definitely* some characters who are missing here - remember Lad and 
Authorial? yeah me neither - but god, this story is overstuffed, I don't mind 
that they're not here. X3 The "big list of who's around" format Martin does 
sometimes can get annoying, tho; I've had several times where I've been looking 
up a character's appearances and their name is only mentioned in that list; they 
don't seem to actually *do* anything, and it's like, do I count them or not?

>    Gorilla Grad nodded.  "We need to give this to all of them," he said,
> refering to the special mixture of Dr. Paprika and Jolt Cola.  "But be
> careful!  Make sure the solution is only 25% Jolt Cola!  Anything more than
> that could be dangerous!"

I feel like you could just put more caffeine in Dr. Paprika and have the same 
effect - but of course, it's entirely possible that Looniverse Jolt Cola has 
some additional weird chemicals in it.

>    "Congratulations!" Tsar Chasm said.  "Of course, you realise that I will
> have to leave now.  The Legion considers me a villain and if any of them
> were to wake up and find me by their bedside there might be an unfortunate
> understanding."

Ehhhh, they expect it by this point

>    Over the next few days, the Legionaires were slowly came out of their
> comas.  As it turned out that Legionaires disease was not life threatening
> and, given time, the Legionaires would have all have woken up on their own
> accord. 

This is super unnecessarily tension-defusing and I'm really not sure why Martin 
said it?

> In fact, none of them had been out for more than a week when all
> was said and done.  Yes, that's right, the past thirty-five issues all took
> place in a matter of a few days, which meant that it was still 1999 (much to
> the confusion of Weirdness Magnet who seemed to think it was 2001 already).

Yeah that's reasonable.

> Meanwhile, with the LNH back in action, the Legion of Costumed Individuals
> (Pedestrian Girl, Fourth Wall Demolisher Lad and Expendable Man) made their
> way back to their home dimension and Twaeila Brock similarly returned to
> alt.barney.dinosaur.die.die.die.

Quickly undone.

>    After checking Writers Block Woman's entry in the LNH roster, however, and
> following the link to her daughter, Mouse, Tiddles was able to determine
> that Writers Block Woman was, in fact, the ex-wife of Jonathan Connery, the
> Director of the Conspiracy Corporation, the second largest corporation in
> the world.  Tiddles soon realised that, short of getting Writers Block Woman
> and her husband back together again, there was no way he could use Writers
> Block Woman to gain control of the Conspiracy Corporation.

Well I don't know about that (it's not like the two of them have no influence 
over each other), but...

> Mouse, however,
> was another story.
>>From what Tiddles had been able to determine, it seemed Writers Block Woman 
> and Jonathon Connery shared custody of Mouse.  Thus, all Tiddles had to do
> was take control of Mouse, leaving Writers Block Woman with a big gaping
> hole in her memory but otherwise no more the wiser, and then just bide his
> time until Mouse's next trip to Net.Zealand.

...this is not a bad plan.

>    =( I am no ordinary cat.  I am Tiddles. )=
>    "And I'm Mouse."  She shook his paw.  He felt humiliated.  "Nice to meet
> you, except that mice don't like cats... and now I can understand why."
>    =( Enough of this!  You will take me to Net.Zealand where I can use your
> father to take over the Conspiracy Corporation. )=
>    "I don't think so.  I'm quite happy here with Mom and all my friends in
> the LNH.  Now, why couldn't you just be an ordinary housecat?"
>    =( Ha!  Someday cats will rule the world!  You'll see! )=
>    "Fine.  Until then why don't you just go to the kitchen and get a nice
> bowl of milk.  Hmm?"
>    With a hiss, Tiddles ran out of the room, out of LNH HQ and out into the
> night, perhaps never to be seen again.

So... there's no actual *explanation* here as to why Mr. Tiddles' mind-control 
powers don't work on Mouse, and it feels weirdly dismissive? Especially with the 
"perhaps never to be seen again". Did he need to be written out *that much*? 
(That said, it's an easy retcon to say that Mouse's immunity to subliminals 
would block Mr. Tiddles's powers somehow. That might actually be established 
later on? But still.)

>    Of course, you might be wondering what happened with wRreamicus Maximus
> and his church of Dvandom in his on again, off again battle with Father
> Brown and the Church of the Fourth Wall who were at one point allying
> themselves with the Nodacommandos.  Well, unfortunity, due to the separation
> of church and state and the freedom of religion, both guaranteed by the
> constitution of the Loonited States of Ame.rec.a, there was nothing the LS
> government could do about either group.

That is not how any of that works. This was only a few years after the Waco 
standoff, right?

> After months of intense negotiations, the two church leaders were brought to
> Camp David where a beaming President Clinton, always thinking about his
> legacy, got the two of them to sign an agreement to cease hostilities and to
> not try to bring any writer, neither Dave Van Domelan nor David Henry,
> through the fourth wall to the Looniverse.  The two church leaders then
> agreed to shake hands.  They met again in early 2000 when they shared that
> year's Nobel Peace Prize.

Sure, why not

> It remains to be seem, however, if the two churches, with their
> diametrically opposed beliefs and points of view, would continue to coexist
> peacefully.  That's life: you can't expect that everything will have a neat
> and tidy conclusion.

I really feel like you're the last person to be saying that

Drew "glad people wanted to write post-conclusion issues" Perron

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