As I noted before, I began 2016 by trying to finish all of the stories in my 5th Grandpa Anarchy collection, and I started a 6th book/collection/folder. Here's what I have to report so far.
Book 5 -- Steel Knights & Iron Maidens
1/18/2016 Gorgon Gun (#160)
1/19/2016 Sharp Dressed Man (#163)
1/22/2016 Old Boys Club (#171)
Proposed stories still not finished:
161 Oz on the Half Shell (novella)
164 Happy When It Rains
173 Patron of the Arts
176 Sisterly Love
177 Christmas Story for 2016
While we're at it, here's my unfinished stories from previous collections:
Book 2 -- Fist of the Anarchist
37-40 World of Hero (Novel-length)
Book 4 -- Never Say Anarchy Again
103 Second Class (Novel-length)
141 Gate Into Danger
(Not assigned to any collection)
Serial Anarchy (novel-length)
And now that that's out of the way, here's what I've actually been working on for most of this week:
Book 6 -- Weird Tales of Weird Anarchy
I came up with a good title for my 6th book, as you can see. I forget exactly what I was calling it to begin with, but it was a very uninspired title. This one works.
My theme for this volume -- I really have never had a theme before but this time I do -- is "Grandpa Anarchy in outer space / alternate dimensions". I had one story idea called Doomed in which Grandpa interacted with a group of very weird superheroes, along the lines of the old DC comic Doom Patrol. I had come up with some very weird ideas for heroes too, but I hadn't really figured out the plot yet. And I had another story called Secret Crisis Wars, in which Grandpa and some of Earth's other famous heroes wind up in a cosmic battle that will result in a "reset" of the universe. Each hero winds up different in some way, and maybe a couple are written out of existence. So my plan was to combine the two ideas into a story arc in which Grandpa and company head off into weird dimensions and alien planets for a while. Eventually I'll reboot everything to the way it was to begin with, but I want to have some fun with the concept first. My ideas range from Grandpa's only change being that he wears nicely-pressed black suits, to killing off the entire League of Two-Fisted Justice and replacing it with people who are former sidekicks or currently dead. A twist where Grandpa Anarchy died instead of Circuit Girl would be fun -- she might wind up as leader of the New League of Two-Fisted Justice.
Anyway I broke the Secret Crisis Wars story idea into three parts, but exactly what each story entails is pretty nebulous at this point. I also created a file called Another Secret Crisis Wars, which would be the reboot of the reboot. Although suddenly I want to call it Return to the Valley of the Secret Crisis Wars, or something similar.
For the purposes of these stories, I've come up with three sidekicks that I think will be a lot of fun to write. The first is Magical Mimic Cosplay Girl, the second is Quantum Uncertainty Boy, and the third is Suck It Up Buttercup.
This past week, my goal was to work on the unfinished stories from book 5, and I did indeed get a lot of work done on Sisterly Love, it's about half done right now, but then I began getting ideas for other stories and kept adding to my Book 6 folder. Initially these were just ideas jotted down and saved as documents in the folder, but several of them converged together and I began writing on them.
Shadow's Secrets -- This story popped into my head at the beginning of the week. Grandpa Anarchy teamed with Guy Shadow from 1950 until Guy Shadow died in 1959. Who was Guy Shadow? I'd never really thought about it, but what if it was a big mystery and no one (save Grandpa) knew the answer? Wouldn't that drive Kid Continuity crazy? Wouldn't she and the Continuity Crusaders go back in time to try and figure it all out?
That sounded like a great idea for a story, and I only had to figure out who Guy Shadow really was, and why it might be a cool revelation. Maybe he was someone from Grandpa's earlier past, or the son of someone? Anyway, I've done a bit of work on this story, although I think it's one that will require several scenes -- not one of my short-shorts.
X Factor -- Once I had the idea for Shadow's Secrets, it was perhaps inevitable that I would think of Miss X. Miss X is a deliberate mystery I added to the universe that I'd never really figured out. She was supposedly Grandpa Anarchy's first sidekick, but information on who she really was, or anything about her at all, is very hard to come by. She's also supposedly working with Cyber Granny and the Electric Bluejay as a silent, hidden partner in their Temporary Superfriends corporation -- the company that provides sidekicks for Grandpa Anarchy and other heroes. But nobody ever sees her -- I'd never even written her into a scene.
The thing was, I'd never actually tried to figure out who she really was. Someone who was good at covering her tracks and hiding her past, apparently. What if she were a powerful sorceress? Who could she be?
I spend some time working out who she really was, and plotted a story where Kid Continuity tries to find out. But of course, Miss X doesn't want anyone to know who she really is. Kid Continuity could find out, and the suddenly not know anymore, because the sorceress intervened. But Kid Continuity would just go back in time to try and figure it out again and again. There needed to be another way for her to guess at the truth, so that she could be satisfied that she knows the answer, without having to go back and prove it and then have her mind erased yet again.
Complete -- And this spawned a story that had to happen earlier than the others, in which Kid Continuity picked up something from the past that would eventually clue her in to the secret of Miss X. And that by itself spawned a really interesting story idea, which I've more than half written, in which Kid Continuity goes back in time simply to fill in a glaring hole in her Grandpa Anarchy memorabilia collection.
All of this meant digging into my timeline and history, and adding a few things. Now I know the name of Guy Shadow and Miss X, and I know of a story written by Evron Lempel that might possibly reveal some secrets. And all of this gets my mind working even more. Writing stories that explore the long history of Grandpa Anarchy are some of the most fun.
Tyrone the Great -- I'm not sure if this can actually be worked into a plausible story, but the idea was a kind of conflagration of a washed up, Bill Cosby trapped in a sex scandal of his own making, and Tony the Tiger. Possibly this happens in a different universe while Grandpa and company are out in space -- a universe where the idea of an aging Tony the Tiger type character who's involved in a sex scandal would actually be possible, and Grandpa has to bring him down.
Truthiness -- This entire idea is built around Grandpa having a sidekick named Truther Boy, who believes every weird conspiracy known to man.
Throw in two old story ideas about a villain named Big Pharmasaurus (Pharmacopia) and a story about Kid Calculus finally changing his name -- to Emperor Calculus -- (The King Am I) and another story idea in which some of the more recent sidekicks form their own super group (The Non-Humans) -- and that's what I have on hand for my Book 6 folder so far. At this point it looks like I'll be writing some of these stories soon, but mostly my plan is to write this set of stories come Spring Camp NaNoWriMo in April.