Self gratificationYou know you’ve made it when someone, anyone, anywhere, wants to interview you. And I know I haven’t made it because no one anywhere wants to interview me. And while that would stop a lesser mortal dead in his tracks, to me it is no obstacle, because like Jimmy Rabbit in The Commitments, I am perfectly capable of interviewing… myself.
And I won’t be lobbing myself any softballs, either.
So it is that MISERABLE ANNALS OF THE EARTH magazine interviews… ME.
MAOTE: Highlander, you’re a powerful force for good in both the real world and on the Internet, and you’ve been crusading for justice for a long time, under a great many identities. Just how many nom de cybere’s have you had, over the years since you got your first computer with an AOL account?
ME: Well, first, of course, came Doc Nebula. DocNebula was, in fact, the very first AOL screenname I ever had. I wound up with it after every possible combination of GiantMan turned out to be taken, which still strikes me as bizarre, but what the hell.
MAOTE: And who is Doc Nebula?
ME: Dr. Nebula is the arch villain of a high school superteam I created back in college named Fighting Five. He’s actually the high school janitor. One of the members of Fighting Five was this total comics geek who used to fantasize about what would happen if he and four of the really cool kids at his high school were all on the same superhero team. Because the janitor looked very sinister to him, he also incorporated him into the fantasies as their arch nemesis, Dr. Nebula. Well, one mind staggering plot device later, his fantasies were transformed into actuality, the Cool Kids and he all had super powers (although they still didn’t want to hang out with him, of course) and the poor janitor had his personality completely overlaid by that of the megalomaniacal Dr. Nebula.
MAOTE: And did the hero feel guilty about it?
ME: Yeah, when he wasn’t getting beaten up by the Cool Kids he’d inadvertently given superpowers to.
MAOTE: What would have been a nifty twist there would be a couple of the Cool Kids ending up going villainous, and some of the other nerds in the school, who also got superpowers from the plot device, joining the team instead.
ME: Yeah. That was going to be the big second year reversal story arc – three of the original members of the team more or less go evil – well, arrogant and self involved, anyway – and the original geek and his girlfriend, who used to be one of the Cool Kids, end up with three other geeks in the team fighting the original members.
MAOTE: Would Dr. Nebula ever have become his normal self again?
ME: No, he’d be a tragic figure like the Hulk. Well, worse, because he’s totally evil, but it’s not his fault.
MAOTE: Okay. So, after Doc Nebula…
ME: I don’t know. I suppose my next webnomen was John Jones, Manhunter from Marathon, IL. I’d gotten a reputation under the Doc Nebula name that made it difficult to get people to read my work objectively… potential audiences were coming to me already biased by crap they’d read about stuff I’d written, that they hadn’t bothered to read themselves.
MAOTE: Like the whole Kurt Busiek/ASTRO CITY thing.
ME: Yeah, we call him ‘Slappy’ around here now, to avoid Google searches.
MAOTE: Ah. Wise foreign policy. So with John Jones, you wanted to start over…
ME: More or less. But after a while I got tired of being all conciliatory and just started to let my true colors show more and more in my writing, and it wasn’t long before certain people…
MAOTE: Slappy, for one…
ME: …yeah… tumbled to it. So I copped to it. But then I started blogging. My first blog was called Doc Nebula’s Eastern Oregon Dum Dum Depression Blog, but unfortunately, I was blogging about a really exasperating job I had at the time in the City Clerk’s office in Tampa, and my boss heard about the blog, so I had to go into hiding. Eventually, that led to me creating A Brown Eyed Handsome Man, a blog title that was actually inadvertently suggested by Elaine Riggs.
MAOTE: You don’t hang out at Elaine’s blog much any more.
ME: No, she writes about things that don’t much interest me, like, I don’t know, tofu matza balls and what have you. She’s a funny, sharp woman, but our reality tunnels don’t seem to intersect much these days.
MAOTE: So, let’s see: you were Doc Nebula, and then John Jones, and then A Brown Eyed Handsome Man…
ME: People generally just called me Handsome.
MAOTE: But you’re not vain.
ME: I considered it an ironic nickname. Like calling the tall guy Shorty.
MAOTE: But now you’re Highlander, and what the hell, dude, the blog name is pulled from BUCKAROO BANZAI, so what’s up with that?
ME: I live in a neighborhood called the Highlands. I was originally going to call myself Monkey Boy when I started this blog, but Supergirlfriend absolutely hated that name, and wanted me to be Highlander. I find when I do what Supergirlfriend wants my life is a very happy one, so…
MAOTE: ::makes whipcracking noises::
ME: And the horse you rode in on, buddy.
MAOTE: Okay. Marvel comes to its senses, calls you up, and begs you to write any one title you want. What is it, why, and what are you going to do with it?
ME: AVENGERS. It badly needs me. And damage control.
MAOTE: Give us an example.
ME: Like this:
VISUAL: This is a splash page, with several Avengers – Hawkeye, the Scarlet Witch, the Vision, Captain America, Iron Man, Giant Man, the Wasp, all dressed more or less as if they’ve all just gotten up on Saturday morning, in the kitchen at Avengers Mansion. Hawkeye is at the table with a plate of food, a stack of comics on the table beside him. He’s reading a copy of AVENGERS; from the cover, we can see it’s the issue where he supposedly died. Everyone else is sitting or standing around, eating or getting themselves food or washing dishes or what have you.
HAWKEYE: Say, guys. Did you know I was dead?
TITLE: Starting Over
VISUAL: Iron Man, Scarlet Witch talk to Hawkeye.
IRON MAN: You just got to that issue? Oh, it gets better.
HAWKEYE: Better than me dead?
WITCH: Sure. Turns out I killed you. And eventually about a million mutants. Because I’m an unstable psychotic mass murderer.
VISUAL: Add in more Avengers, see word balloons.
VISION: But you’re a very beautiful unstable psychotic mass murderer, Wanda.
WANDA: Aw, Vision, that’s soooo sweet. Pass the jelly.
CAP: I don’t know. I like the part where Tony begs Wolverine to join the team.
HAWKEYE: Wolverine… joins the team…?
CAP: Yes. ::snicker:: But only after Tony begs him.
HAWKEYE: You never begged ME to join the team!
IRON MAN: Well… be fair, Clint… we were enemies…
VISUAL: More yammer.
GIANT MAN: I don’t know, Tony. Wolverine could be a valuable addition to the team. I could, like, throw him at… I don’t know… the Mandarin. Or giant robots.
WASP: Oh, ew. Those sideburns. And he never showers. I’d rather have D-Man. Honestly.
CAP: Maybe Tony can beg D-Man to join the team for you, Jan…
GIANT MAN: ::musing:: Yeah… I could throw D-Man, too…
And then, the mansion gets attacked by, like, super gorillas.
MAOTE: Super gorillas?
ME: The Marvel Universe has a criminal shortage of super-gorillas.
MAOTE: I suppose they could be being led by the Man Ape…
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There's no chance we won't continue this later. I could write this stuff all day and all night. Don't even dare to hope this is the end of it. But that's all for now.