Wednesday, February 13, 2013
As I noted earlier, I'm supposed to be working on a Tai-Pan story. So far this week, I've failed.
Last night I got a great idea for a Grandpa Anarchy story. Maybe. I decided that there needed to be a secret society for former sidekicks. Not all of them, of course, just the ones who had proven themselves -- who had talent, who had gone on to bigger and better things, I don't know. I began writing a bunch of stuff down under the title "Brothers and Sisters" and I worked very hard to come up with a name for the group, which I ultimately decided was "The Eternal Order of the Brothers and Sisters of the Second Banana". Their symbol would be scales with a banana on one side, or maybe a banana on each side, and some sort of Latin phrase, I don't know.
I came up with a list of people who would be members -- Miss X and Electric Bluejay, of course, and Nina Ballerina, Solar Sister, Dog is My Copilot, and a few others. Probably Crimson Cyclone (a character created by Gene). I needed at least one other old-school sidekick from long ago, so I opened up my sidekicks file (list of names and ideas for sidekicks that I have not yet used) and decided on Sixteen Tons (he has one fist of iron and one of steel). He was another sidekick from the sixties. And maybe I could even reveal more information about who Miss X actually is.
Black Dahlia, Lady Lune, and Fire Maiden could be new initiates, they are relatively recent graduates from sidekickdom to full-fledged hero status. And maybe someone else -- Natural Twenty, who seems to have enough power to become a hero herself. Cyber Granny, the third founder of Temporary Superfriends, would not be a member, she was never a sidekick. Grandpa Anarchy was a sidekick but he would not be a member, in fact it would be written into their charter that he wasn't allowed to join.
I came up with a long list of historical sidekicks to reference in an oath or swearing in ceremony of some sort -- Gilgamesh had Enkidu, Achilles had Patroclus, Moses had Aaron, Sherlock Holmes had Dr. Watson, Daffy Duck had Porky Pig, the Lone Ranger had Tonto, Don Quixote had Sancho Panza, Batman had Robin, Bilbo Baggins had Samwise, Captain Kirk had Spock, Han Solo had Chewbacca. Xena had Gabrielle, Johnny Carson had Ed McMahon, Wooster had Jeeves. And I wrote a bit about what a sidekick really represented, and how, while the League of Former Sidekicks styled themselves as Grandpa Anarchy's greatest enemy, their actual natural enemy was this secret society. "We also oppose the Henchman's Union Local 666, of course."
I wrote an opening where the new sidekicks were being driven by limo to the secret location, but it was boring. How exciting is a limo ride? Not very. And I began to realize that I didn't have a story yet, either... people being initiated into a secret society was maybe fun background material but it wasn't an interesting story.
And as I worked a bit more on the idea today, it seemed less and less like such a great idea at all. For one thing -- what was the purpose of the group? TVTropes divides such groups up into the ones that are secretly manipulating everything in the world (or trying to) and those who are basically Brotherhoods of Funny Hats (and Sisterhoods -- aka the Red Hat Society), where people get to hang out, look ridiculous, and drink. I began to realize that maybe there wasn't a reason for such a group to exist. Were they trying to control things from behind the scenes? Doubtful. Were they secretly helping heroes? Very unlikely, as most of the members had already graduated to being heroes themselves. Were they there to help younger sidekicks? Maybe, except that this is something the temp agency Temporary Superfriends already does, publicly. Were they simply there to oppose the League of Former Sidekicks? But you didn't need a secret society to do that.
Were they simply there to hang out and network? Still a possibility, I suppose.
Anyway, I didn't get very far on this idea and I'm still not sure if it officially exists or not. It probably does, but maybe only as a group that does little except hang out. But then, I'm still not sure whether there's an actual story there.
Tonight I was going to work on my Tai-Pan story, but instead I got another idea for a Grandpa Anarchy story, this time a real one, and I wrote down what I could. I was thinking about how I want to delve into the backgrounds of some of the other characters, how they got to be the way they are, what are their origin stories, who are their past friends, their relatives, etc. But I came back around to Grandpa Anarchy and his relationship to his mentor the Gentleman Brawler. I've always thought it would be good to to a story of when Grandpa Anarchy was a wide-eyed sidekick. But I began to wonder -- what did shape Grandpa Anarchy in his past? Was he haunted by the death of the Gentleman Brawler? Was it really an accident as I've already written, or is the truth more complicated? Did Grandpa Anarchy really gain his strength and healing abilities by accident as I'd written, or did he do it on purpose because he wanted to become stronger, because when he was young he wasn't able to stop the murder of his mentor or avenge him in any way?
And if he was haunted by the death of the Gentleman Brawler, what of the deaths of others he'd worked closely with? I've already written that he had a partner in the 50's and 60's called Guy Shadow who is now dead, and that one of the founding members of the League of Two-Fisted Justice was someone named Adjective Man, who is also dead. Also I've made many references to the death of his sidekick Circuit Girl. How do these deaths affect him, really?
I decided that what would be really cool would be a time travel story, where he gets a second chance to save his mentor (which he fails to do, of course). You'd get to learn a lot about his past, you'd see him as a kid, he could try very hard to not let his current sidekick meet his younger self and/or pretend it's not him.
Anyway, it's a much more promising idea, so I wrote down what was in my head and saved it as "Stronger". It would be a longer story than most, and I don't have time to actually work on it right now, but it's a cool story idea.
I watched a bit of Venus Versus Virus tonight, and I like the whole setup of that anime, where the protagonists run a second-hand vintage clothing and jewelry shop, and behind the scenes are, for lack of a better word, demon hunters/exorcists. I think that the Black Moon Maidens might have a similar sort of organization. I haven't really figured out how any of my other superheroes operate, what kind of housing they have, if people can contact them or hire them for jobs. Some of them, at least, should be available for hire like a private detective might be. So that's something else I was thinking about tonight, although I'm not sure where I'm going with it. I'd maybe like to do at least one full story based on those three (Black Moon Maidens -- Black Dahlia, Fire Maiden, Lady Lune), without Grandpa Anarchy being involved at all. I'd like to figure out a little bit more about Solar Sister too.
But yeah, I'm supposed to be working on my Tai-Pan story. Maybe tomorrow.