“They call me… Mister Lad!”

I don’t hide my excitement when it comes to super-heroic fantasy, particularly my beloved Legion of Super-Heroes. As rumors abound about the portents of an anticipated Bendis Book, questions arise about the likely venue, tone, or composition. Since 1958 the LSH has undergone many transitions, but it has generally been an optimistic story about righteousness vanquishing evil (until the next issue), leavened with enough teen angst to make it relateable to its target audience.

The talk lately on the message boards has been what to do about Matter-Eater Lad (nee Tenzil Kem). Should we redefine his powers or alter his backstory or give him an edgy new name like The Masticator or Devourex?

Edgy names and edgy characters have been way overdone. Unlike many fanboys, most Legionnaires are too self-assured of their own identities and tribal allegiance to trip the light iconoclastic. I adore Mark Waid (second only to The Levitz Himself, and possibly me, Lethargy Lad, in canonical scholarship), but his Edgie Legion of the Naughties (except for the presence of Supergirl) may have been the nadir of their run.

ABSOLUTELY bring back Tenz, do not modify his powers, and call him Matter-Eater Lad. Even if he’s drawn to look like a fifty or eighty year old ex-President of Bismoll, call him LAD!
Or Garbage Gut. We could live with Garbage Gut.

Poker Night

I like to imagine that some of my favorite Legionnaires, Brainiac 5, Bouncing Boy, Ultra Boy, Colossal Boy, and I (Lethargy Lad) get together every other Saturday night to play poker and pass the pipe. Sometimes the girls like to hang out too, which is great, because Kara can always quick chill our beers (Jo can‘t do it because when he drinks he forgets to switch powers and then he risks frostbiting his own fingers), and Yera usually manages to dig up some cousin or another for me who often looks amazingly like Bettie Page or Myrna Loy.

Playing poker with Brainy can be a mixed bag. The man knows his odds, but he can’t read anybody’s tells, and we can all read his. We generally clean him out.

Yay, Sports!

“How ‘bout them ritual contests of tribal dominance?”
Unless my memory or character fail me (which, for my ‘Merican readers, means “unless I’m forgetting or lying“) I have never said to a stranger, “Wow! Did you see that latest issue of Superboy? Man, red kryptonite, huh? Who’d have guessed?” And yet, probably hundreds of times by now (maybe thousands) strangers have said to me, “Did you see that game?”

I like stories about magic and time travel and super heroes rescuing fair maidens from nefarious villains. Other people like to watch other people play games. Good for us all! We’re having fun! So why do I take heat for it? “What’s wrong with you? What’ve you got against football (or field hockey, or lacrosse, or crew, or…)” I respect and recognize the grace and commitment and skill involved in many forms of athleticism, and I haven’t got anything “against” any of it. It’s just not for me.

Of course, since I live in this culture, I recognize also how much most people do care about these vicarious tribal struggles, and I realize that it’s not “sports” fandom at all. It’s team fandom. I have friends who enjoy spectator sports, and I enjoy their company, and sometimes the activities overlap. Not a problem, unless I happen to overly appreciate a particularly spectacular play. Half the time my friends are appreciating right along with me, but the other half they’ll throw cold stink-eye on my enthusiasm and let me know that that’s “the wrong team.”

Maybe it’s just because they’re the majority and it has nothing to do with sports qua sports at all. Nevertheless, the presumption that “all must like what we like” is rude, dismissive, and arrogant. I, on the other hand, am simply resentful, hostile, and probably jealous.

Interlac Arithmetic Makes No Sense

Interlac, the putative lingua franca of 30th & 31st century United Planets’ (and larger) known space, is loads of fun! We know that it isn’t a “real” language. It isn’t even code. It’s English, couched in your basic symbol substitution cipher. But its presence in panel backgrounds gives the stories an additional other-worldly flavor. For those of us who are so motivated, reading the “hidden” messages provides even more entertainment. The presence of Interlac, like any other “Oestre Egg,” should never detract from the story, nor materially contribute to the plot or action. For those with the wit to pick them up, however, these “eggs” can provide a lot of extra fun!

Interlac numerals, as originally presented, are a problem. The first three make sense, but after that they break down. Since Legion stories are literary events, and not mathematical treatises, the silly numerals were a tiny problem, if any problem at all. Still, they are inelegant and inconsistent and an affront to obsessive math geeks. The apparent similarities between the Interlac 6,7,42,and 43, for example, betray fundamental flaws.

My personal “retcon” solution is to assert that (in continuo) Interlac is derived from Coluan, and that their number system happens to be base four, or “quartal” rather than decimal or octal or hexagecimal. Serious (ly bent) arithmetricians often argue that bases twelve or sixteen offer greater computational efficiency than our own decimal system, and the field of datics bears this out, at least in re hex. I stipulate that Coluans, for whatever reasons of their own, developed a base four system, as presented above.

While “quartal” is as sound a construction as octal or decimal, I like “Quartalac,’ as it gives the name more of an Interlackian rhythm. Also, the extra weight helps it stand up to Hindu-Arabic’s superior syllabic firepower.

The English transliterations of the symbols shown are as follows:
One, two, tri, for, fyv, sik, sen, ayt, nyn, ten, leven, dozen, trizen, tetrin, pentin, sissin, sissin one, sissin for, sissin ayt, twosis, trissis,
sekki, tekki, trikki, qwarkay, haykay, sesqway, kay, twokay.

Symbols not shown are trikay and beyond. The alert reader can probably easily imagine the look of the trikay. For numbers larger than trikay sesqway trikki trissis pentin, the multiplier would appear above or to the left of the kay, there would be no mulitplier inside, and the remaining sum less than kay would be below or to the right. For orders greater than kay we can look to the Interlac alphabet, and apply the same protocol of small enough multipliers inside the symbol, or blossoming out the left or top as needs be. Rather than spell out all 26 (sissin ten) letters, I’ll just say that the next three after kay — Mega (kay kay), Giga (mega mega), and Tera (giga giga) — should be both obvious and sufficient. Perhaps only the Coluans themselves (or Sardath of Rann) ever trouble with computing a Zillion.

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Alex (Swamp Thing) Olsen, Linda Olsen, Shvaugn Erin, & Jan (Element Lad) Arrah, are all properties of Detective Comics and Warner Communications.  Their images are reproduced by Piracy Press for purposes of analysis and scholarship.  If anything, their use here constitutes free advertisement for DC‘s properties at the considerable expense of Piracy Press and Greigh Area Associates.

Stories are selected with the greatest of discrimination, but even numbered issues of Daring Love are specifically edited with the prurient interests of atavistic fanboys in mind.  Reader discretion is advised.

If We Surrendered “Isis” the Terrorists Would Win

Brian Bendis’ broad hints of late, in re a resumed, rebooted, or re-imagined Legion of Super-Heroes, have fueled a flurry of speculation, prognostication, and condemnation. I am not among those who would scorn the notion of a Bendis Legion. I’m presently enjoying his work on Superman and am willing to give his vision as fair a trial as I had Gerry Conway‘s, Cary Bates‘, or Roy Thomas‘. As a Silver-Age Supremacist myself I have my obvious preferences, but if Bendis and DC are going to sell us the Legion I’ll be there, whether it’s “my Legion” or another Archie Legion or even one of Mark Waid’s or Keith Giffen’s Edgy Legions.

If it is to be, I expect it will have to be after Geoff Johns and Gary Franks have taken their sweet time with Imra’s involvement in Doomsday Clock. Since Geoff and Gary are taking a very sweet time of it indeed, we all have plenty of opportunity to campaign for our particular favorites, or to propose new Legionnaires (or at least Cadets.)

From column A:
Brainy, Supergirl, the founding triad, Jo & Tinya, Chuck & Lu, Brin & Ayla & Vi (oh my!), ERG 2.0 & Dawny, Nura, Mysa, RJ, Marla, Jan & Schvaugn, Dr Gym’ll, Circadia Senius, Gigi Cusimano, and Rond Vidar.

And introducing…
Magic has been well established in the Disparate Continua (Doctor Thirteen‘s protestations notwithstanding), and so appears in most Legion incarnations as well. The specific image of Isis that I’ve swiped from CBS is likely not available, as her particular parentage could be split between Warner Communications, Columbia Broadcasting, and/or Filmation Studios themselves. She was licensed to DC for a while, but such arrangements are usually perishable.

As a member of the ancient Egyptian pantheon however, Isis predates copyright and trademark considerations, and is as up for grabs as are Hercules or Thor or Jesus. While Filmation’s interpretation is off the table, Isis herself, as a thematic ancestor of both Athena and Aphrodite, remains a laudable and powerful concept. Besides, it might be a good opportunity to make this particular Isis an actual Egyptian native rather than the generic “anglo-mediterranean” we might remember from Saturday morning.

The name of “Isis” could stand some rehabilitation, too, as the televised version was pretty weak. Then there are the Losers, Ignorant Savages, and Irredeemable Sadists (LISIS) who would insult both Isis and Allah with their homicidal excess and spiritual commitment. She’s infinitely better than they are.

Of course, some might argue that in a universe that includes a Diana of Themyscira, an “Isis of Memphis” would be redundant. Fine. So are the Super-Cousins and the whole Bat-Family. Besides, Diana and Isis can patrol separate centuries.
And Brainy always needs a little magic around to keep him on edge.


FanBoy Fun

Many of us lately find our congregations on-line.
Or so we hope.

In my pursuit of Legion of Super-Heroes oriented good times I join in on discussion groups composed of similarly minded geeks.
Turns out the discussions are not all geekery.

Someone had posted an illustration called “Dream Boy” featuring an elfinly masculine analog (perhaps) of Legionnaire Dream Girl, or maybe a fellow Naltorian with the same indigenous prognostication power as she. Who knows? Anyway, it was mostly a fine illustration, with maybe a some minor critiques about transparent legs not being a typically Naltorian feature.

Apparently someone had gotten into a bit of a twist over the illo’s vaguely androgynous look, and then someone else got into an even tighter twist over someone calling someone a “deviant” and then calling for the mods or the admins or Mommy or Pop to squelch the heretics for blasphemy, homophobia, apostasy, and transphobia. And I’m only kidding about two of those crimes. So by now I’m wondering, “What happened to the fun and the camaraderie? Aren’t we all deviants on this bus?”

So of course I have to weigh in.
A deviant is that which deviates from the norm.
Norms and their derivatives the deviants are simply mathematical constructs. We expect the norm because it is the most common, and we are sometimes surprised by deviations depending on their rarity.
So what exactly is the problem with “deviant”(a concept that embraces the left-handed in a right-handed population and the lactose intolerant in a lactose digesting population equally)?
There is neither anything exalted about normal nor anything disgraceful about deviation.
I recommend a dose of Trichillin.
(from the makers of Chillax, use only as directed)

And then, just because that was too reasonable, I had to add a little more.
Or remove me for insufficient piling on.

Correspondent JK asserts that I “can’t be that stupid”, without specifying exactly HOW he thinks I’m being stupid. Since I am riddled with doubts I thought it might be prudent to go back and check my math and English. Nah, there’s no need to check my math, or the statistics, as many minorities are abundantly obvious. As for English, Merriam-Webster’s first definition of “deviant” refers to it as an adjective, to describe something that has deviated from the norm — as in deviant results, deviant data, or deviant behavior. The SECOND definition vindicates my usage, as it is a person whose characteristics or behavior deviates from the norm. And still, deviations remain good, bad, OR indifferent, according to circumstances.

Correspondent JM recommends that I depart for the Nether Kingdom, and also possibly to Spoil The Friendly Urchins(?). It’s a little hard to make out through his seething ire. Often it seems that the greatest outrage is that others aren’t outraged enough. I cheerfully reply.
Or simply anger on… as umbrage is so ambrosial… Happy Daze!

Apparently not one to be mollified, JM cuts me deeply with “Quiet down troll,” and goes on to declare (I presume) that I have a “fake profile.” This, somehow, is “very brave” of me. Meanwhile, admins seem to provide JM no succor, just as JM provides no clue as to what aspects of my profile he believes are fraudulent or courageous.

I may have developed too thick a skin after a lifetime of deviation. Sometimes I’m not terribly sensitive to people’s delicate little fuh-fuh-fuh-feeeeelings. Tough. I am a multi-threat deviant myself: anarchist in a statist world, atheist in a mystic world, polyamorist in a monogamist world, and a shameless fan of super-heroic fantasy in a “them funny books is fer kids” world. You don’t think I know from ridicule? The fact is, every one of us who participates on this forum is a deviant.
So what?

Chameleon Boy, Saturn Girl, Phantom Girl, Colossal Boy, Gigi Cusimano, Cosmic Boy, Triplicate Girl (all depicted by Steve Lightle), Shvaugn Erin, and Jan (Element Lad) Arrah (both depicted by Colleen Doran & Al Gordon), are all properties of Detective Comics and Warner Communications.  Their images are reproduced by Piracy Press for purposes of analysis and scholarship.  If anything, their use here constitutes free advertisement for DC‘s properties at the considerable expense of Piracy Press and Greigh Area Associates.

Stories are selected with the greatest of discrimination, but even numbered issues of Daring Love are specifically edited with the prurient interests of atavistic fanboys in mind.  Reader discretion is advised.


* don’t miss these great issues *

 Hawkman, Triplicate Girl, Lightning Lad, Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, Supergirl, Phantom Girl, Stone Boy, Flame Lad, Polar Boy, Chlorophyll Kid, Night Girl, Superboy, the Legion of Super-Heroes, the Legion of Substitute Heroes, & the Army of Living Kryptonite Men are all properties of Detective Comics and Warner Communications.  Their images are reproduced by Piracy Press for purposes of analysis and scholarship.  If anything, their use here constitutes free advertisement for DC‘s properties at the considerable expense of Piracy Press and Greigh Area Associates.