Admin, Writing Process

Second Betas, or “We Have Always Been at War with Eastasia”

Part of Folio #1 is the second Beta of the actual “Interviewing Leather” novella, which raises an interesting point about the writing process.

When I first wrote “Interviewing Leather…” it was 2007. My intentions for Justice Wing were very different than they have become over time. In fact, “Cannon,” posted in first beta over the weekend, showed a world that had some significant differences than the one I wrote about a decade ago.

This makes sense, because this is actually the fourth iteration of the Justice Wing universe. Clearly, I’ve read too many DC comics in my life.

The first Justice Wing existed in a serial I sold to Mythic Heroes magazine back in the 1990s. It was a cheerful story called “The Death of Paragon,” and it was a comedy. Because why not? Greg — our action editor — took it and even commissioned a cover I seriously wish I had a print of, because it featured Leonardo Lucas with a death ray and said Leonardo Lucas was… well, me. I modeled it for the artist, and Lucas’s look has stayed relatively close to my own.

Unfortunately, the magazine suffered the fate of most such things in the 1990s, and Justice Wing went dark. I’d started writing a short story called “Interviewing Leather” set in the same universe, but had nowhere for it to go once I realized it’d be too long for short story magazines and too short to be a novel.

Flash forward a decade, and I was high on Websnark and Banter Latte — and needed content for the latter. So, I dusted off the old short story, reworked it, made it more serious and developed it more into an examination of 4-color comics tropes — it wasn’t enough for me to say “well, in the real world supervillainy would be entirely different because economically–” and then unattractively snort while looking superior. I didn’t want to write about Grim, Dark, Evil Wins universes. I wanted to write about heroes and villains as I grew up with them.

But how would villains make a living doing that?

This became “Interviewing Leather,” and also became the Justice Wing universe as it was redefined. This was the second Justice Wing universe, for those playing along at home.

When Banter Latte went dark for a few years, I did a lot of soul searching about how to take all the stuff I’d written for Justice Wing and the second version of Mythic Heroes (my version — using the name with Greg’s blessing — which all the “Home Front” stories were set in) and how to reconcile them into their own singular universe. This is where the “Five Eras” Justice Wing universe came from, as was teased in a few Banter Latte posts. I actually have a non-trivial amount of stuff written for that, tying things in together and building up three separate grand plotlines and blah blah blah. Universe #3.

Then, bad things happened. I had to walk away for a good long while. And when I came back, the reconciliation looked… well, ridiculous to me. Those two sets of stories had different purposes behind them. Justice Wing was my chance to look at Superheroic tropes and themes. Mythic Heroes was a chance to essentially take old Superguy content and make it something I could publish without violating other peoples’ IP.

So, I stepped away from the Five Eras universe and came up with two discrete lines. 023SG, which was Mythic Heroes and is where my own take on Superguy will go, and 001JW, which was the Justice Wing universe as it actually would proceed. To tie them all together, I created Ninespace, which is halfway between an imprint and a metaphysical construct. I’ll go into more details later, but suffice it to say everything I’m currently writing fits somewhere in a nine-dimensional brane floating in (at least) thirteen-dimensional space, bordered and protected by the mysterious Sentinubal. Those other various Justice Wing universes are out there too, as is something that looks a whole heck of a lot like the 000SUPERGUY of the 1980s through… well, today… though I can’t actually publish those things. I have a post queued for the Folio that’ll explain the Altiverse designations and another post that’ll explain the paradimensional mechanics for people who’re into that kind of thing.

What this means to the content that’s appearing both on the Patreon and on Banter Latte, however, is that 001JW content is set in a similar but not exact universe from the stuff already on Banter Latte.

This will be clearer in the second beta of “Interviewing Leather,” part one of which goes up on the Patreon later today. Places will change. Names here and there will change. (Folks who saw the teaser for “Cannon” have seen that already, as ‘Shocker’ became ‘Shockburn’ because I don’t like being sued by Marvel.) It will not substantially change the story, though the published version will have some more depth and a lot tighter editing. And I certainly don’t plan to take it down anytime soon.

You’ll notice it a bit when we get to the next post of “Interviewing Trey” or “Vilify 5,” since both of those start in the second Justice Wing universe and will continue in the fourth. Because even now, Universal Crisis Reboots suck.

Mostly, I’ll try to keep it invisible. But I wanted to say something now before people noticed inconsistencies. If it has a 001JW tag on it? It supersedes previous iterations.

Lovelace½, and Corbett-877 are not changing universes, paradimensionally. Nothing to see here. In the background, the next Lovelace½ post is cheerfully being composed.

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