______ _________ _____ ____ ____ _______ _____ ___ ___ | | | | / _ \ | \| | | /\ \ / _ \ \ \ / / |BLiP| | |~~~~~ / / \ \ | | | | \/ | / / \ \ \ | / | | | ~~~~~| | ~~~ | | | ____ | / | | | | | | | #4 | | |~~~~~ | ___ | | | | | | | /\ ~| \ \ / / | | | | | | | | | | | |\ | | | | ~~ / \ ~ / | | ~~~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ [Cover has Fan.Boy looking very dazed in a maze of streets.] ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Barry woke up at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. This wasn't because he had been drinking till dawn the night before, and now suffered from an incredible hangover like some LNHers who *did* drink until dawn and probably were suffering from a hangover, but it was because he was from New Zealand. Due to geography, and the physics of time zones this meant that Fan.Boy was normally 18 hours ahead of everyone else in the LNH. For him, this was early morning, but he was slowly adjusting. He lazed in bed, wondering what to do with the day. He flipped through recent posts on the net, catching up on the latest news. Skimming through alt.comics.lnh, he came across "Easily-Discovered Man #24". After reading it, the only about it he didn't like was that is caused him to fall out of bed. Hmmm, "Panta #325". Now there's someone he had to meet somtime. "Bird's Fly" is being reposted... and a new one's coming out. Cool. And just posted was "Decible Dude and Vigalante Guy #41". Ahh, the joys of psychosis. Turning his mind to other groups, he grinned as he scanned sci.math. The things newbies asked... Newbies... that threw his mind back to a few days ago, when he faced off against hundreds of mindless B1FFBOTS. Well... others faced them off and he was around. Anyway, he had got his glasses fixed later. He picked them up and put them on. Time to get up... _-~-_ He entered the cafeteria to see, as he had expected, Innovative Offensive Boy and California Kid crawling around. They were the two who had been drinking last night. He considered shouting out, but decided that would be too cruel. "HI GUYS!" he yelled. "HOW'S IT GOING?" (Sometimes, he thought, people were allowed to be cruel.) IOBoy and CalKid tried to hide under the table. "Next time," Fan.Boy continued. "Don't try to drown me in a keg." They had tried that last night and found out that, while being stunned, it was all too easy to be pushed into beer kegs (IOBoy and CalKid had pillaged Frat Boy's room while he wasn't there for the beer). They didn't mind too much, as they were too drunk when they surfaced to care. Fan.Boy grabbed a piece of peanut butter and anchovy cheesecake (either that or the burnt offerings made by various LNHers as they attempted to cook), gagged, and went out into the lobby. Waving to the receptionist (who briefly wondered who the idiot was that was waving at him), he stood in the LNHHQ entrance. He looked out at the city of Net.ropolis and took a deep breathe. His lungs complained and he was forced to cough it back out. Shaking his head to clear it, he walked down the steps, past whatever fight scene was currently taking place outside the LNHHQ, and walked onto the main street of town. He was feeling really good. A nice bright day, clean fresh spandex against his skin, and people avoiding him wherever he went. Could it really get any better than this? The clouds crowed in, blocking out the sunlight, and started a nice fine drizzle that soon seemed to centre on Fan.Boy. He gazed up at the sky and wondered if it was possible to kill your own writer. He glanced around, then ducked into a nearby doorway. Leaning back to try to get out of the rain, he pushed too hard against the door behind him, which gave way. He stumbled backwards into a darkened room and the door closed in front of him. Staying still, he let his eyes become adjusted to the darker light. He was in a shop of some kind, with rows of antique looking dust covered objects sitting on long wooden shelves. He breathed quietly and heard the rasping of someone to whom breathing was not a naturally easy process. He peered into the darkness, trying to see the person, but the shadows shrouded the shop too much. He moved forward uncertainly, trying to find someone, anyone. "Hello?" "Eh?" he heard. "Eh? Who's that? Who's there? What do you want?" "Er, hello," called out Fan.Boy. "I just ducked in here out of the rain. It's raining quite heavily outside." Oddly enough, he couldn't actually hear the rain now, although it should have been easily audible. "Eh? Who are you?" "I'm a hero," replied Fan.Boy. "My name's Fan.Boy." "Oh, you're a fancy boy," said the voice dismissively. Fan.Boy spluttered a bit, not quite sure how to take that comment. "Come in, then, if you must. Can't have you getting wet. Ruins your clothing." The voice cackled, as if it had made a rather amusing observation. Fan.Boy cautiously stepped forward, following one of the shelves. As he got near (as far as he could tell) to the back of the shop, he saw a small glow that soon turned into a small lantern. Bathed in the lantern light, Fan.Boy saw the visage of an old man, withered from age. It was attached to an old frame, stooped from carrying years on its back. "Eh, eh, let's take a look at you boy. Hmm, you wear a cape," the old man came around the bench, and grabbed Fan.Boy's cape before Fan.Boy could stop him. "Can you fly, boy?" "No," said Fan.Boy indignantly, not use to this sort of thing. "Humpf, I suppose you can use it for a handkerchief then." The man made to do just that, but Fan.Boy swished his cape out of the old man's grasp before he could. "Humpf, don't annoy your betters, kid," said the old man, sharply. "You don't know what they might do." Fan.Boy took a step back. Who was this crazy old man? What had he got himself into? More significantly, what had the writer gotten him into? He looked around, trying to find a distraction. "What is this shop?" The man turned away, and grabbed the lantern. He walked off into the shop, and Fan.Boy was forced to follow him, or be left behind in the darkness. "This ain't no shop, boy," the old man cackled as he walked. "This is my life. You see that there?" He pointed vaguely at something, but there were too many objects scattered around to know which one the coon was referring to. "Er, yes," said Fan.Boy, humouringly. "You can?" the old man looked surprised. "I never seen it before. Didn't think anyone could. Live and learn, live and learn..." the old man continued muttering. Fan.Boy continued to look around as they walked. Although he couldn't be positive, he was sure that he hadn't been to this part of the shop. It couldn't be that big, could it? The old man stopped, and Fan.Boy only noticed when he nearly stepped out of the pool of light. The old man had his head cocked, and Fan.Boy imitated him, trying to hear whatever it was that had caught the man's attention. Far off, there were sounds of birds cawing. The man became panicked, agitated. "Come, we must get out of here." "What? Why?" As ever, Fan.Boy was the master of perceptive questions. "Just move, boy," cried out the old man. "You don't want to be here when they arrive." "Who?" By now, the old man had started moving away from the sounds, going faster and faster, until Fan.Boy was running hard just to keep up with him. All the time, the lantern bobbed around, sloshing oil about, but, amazingly, none of it fell out. Fan.Boy was positive now. No way could any shop be this big. The cawing got louder. The old man stopped abruptly, changed direction (a gap seemed to open in the shelves for him) and he set off down another corridor. Fan.Boy panted as he tried to keep up. Again, the cawing got louder. "No, no, they cannot get me, not here," said the man, stopping again. "Who? *puff* Can't? *pant* Get? *gasp*" Fan.Boy (moreorless) said. Instead of answering, the old man bent down and tugged at something. Looking down, Fan.Boy saw that there was a trapdoor set into the floor, and the old man was tugging at the ring on the top to try to open it. He decided against asking how they managed to stop exactly at a trapdoor. Reaching down to help, Fan.Boy and the man got the trapdoor to rise. Revealed was a ladder reaching down into darkness. The old man pushed the lantern into Fan.Boy's hands. He motioned for Fan.Boy to climb down the ladder. "Go, go, they wont get you. They're only after me." "What? What's going on? I want to help." "Get away with you. Escape now, while you can." Despite Fan.Boy's protests, the old man managed to push Fan.Boy onto the ladder. Although Fan.Boy could stun the old man, he didn't know what to do afterwards if he did. Finally assenting to the old man's wishes, Fan.Boy climbed down the ladder, with the lantern's handle stuck between his teeth, in order to free both hands for climbing. He moved down a metre or so, then looked back up. He took the lantern out of his mouth. "Well?" he called to the man. "Are you coming?" In a burst of strength that took Fan.Boy by surprise, the old man reached for the trapdoor lid and slammed it down. The clang that followed shook the ladder, and Fan.Boy grasped it firmly while waiting for his hearing to return to normal. When it had, Fan.Boy moved back up the ladder and listened, but was unable to hear anything. "Hey. Hey out there. Are you all right? Can you hear me?" He thumped on the trapdoor, but only succeeded in bruising his fist. He tried to push the trapdoor up, but soon gave up after not even budging it an inch. Resigned, he put the lantern back in his mouth and continued his downward climb. _-~-_ Fan.Boy looked around him for the umpteenth time. When he had finally got to the bottom of the ladder, he found himself on a featureless white surface, although everything else around him was black. Picking a random direction, he had walked for what seemed like hours without seeing anything else on the barren landscape. His stomach rumbled, reminding him that all he had for breakfast was a small piece of inedible cheesecake. Fan.Boy sighed, and tried not to think of food. Continuing on his way, he finally realised that he was travelling downwards. Also, shapes had grown around him, existing, but not quite seeable yet. He walked for another hundred metres or so when he decided that he could see the shapes around him. They seemed to be walls, possibly belonging to buildings. Turning around, he was shocked to note that the buildings stretched back behind him, making it look as if he had never been walking on any white plane whatsoever. Speaking of which, the white path underneath was more a dirty grey, and resembled pavement stones more than anything else. Looking above him, he could see something joining the buildings together, what looked like wire or something. As he continued to walk and examine his surroundings, he also noticed that there was more light than accountable for by the lantern. Turning it off, Fan.Boy could tell that there was another source of light, somewhere high up. A voice caused Fan.Boy to jerk and spin around. A small boy was standing behind him, looking at him strangely. "Sir? Are you a hero, sir?" In surprise, Fan.Boy took a step backwards and bumped into a wall. Looking round wildly, he found himself in an alley, at a dead end. The buildings were run down apartment buildings, and the wires that joined them were washing lines, damp clothes hanging from them, catching the warmth that radiated from the afternoon sun. The direction from which he walked was blocked by a brick wall, high, thick and unyielding. Wherever he was, he was here to stay. At least the rain seemed to have stopped. "Sir?" The question reminded him that he had company. He turned his attention to the boy in front of him. "Can you tell me where I am?" "Sir?" the boy looked puzzled. "You're in Hovel Homes." "What..." Fan.Boy could tell that this was going to sound strange. "What city is this?" "Net.ropolis," replied the boy. "Are you all right?" Fan.Boy ignored the boy as he considered his position. He was still in Net.ropolis, but not in any area he had ever heard of. He was sure no LNH comic had ever mentioned the Hovel Homes before. Worst thing was, he had absolutely no idea of where the LNHHQ was. He wandered down the alleyway, leaving a small hero- disillusioned boy behind him. When he got to the joining street, he glanced up and down it, but only saw more slums. He put the lantern down and shivered as his full predicament hit him. He was completely lost, clad only in a chilled spandex suit, and had no idea how to get home. Deciding that nothing worse could happen, he set off down the street, hoping to bump in a taxi or something. _-~-_ It was now an hour later, and Fan.Boy had much less found any cars whatsoever, let alone a taxi. His stomach was constantly rumbling now, but Fan.Boy was still trying to ignore it. He was sure something strange was going on with the city. The buildings around him were still slums, and people had been few and far between. The ones he had seen either hid, or looked as if they were ready to cook him for dinner. He was wondering what people did do around here for meals when he heard the scream. Against his immediate impulses, he ran towards the sound. Another scream rang out, and Fan.Boy was able to track their source to one of the surrounding buildings. He ran up the entrance steps and tried the front door, and found it open. Inside was a hallway, with apartment doors leading off it. At the far end was a stairwell leading up. Another scream emanated from higher up, so Fan.Boy took to the stairs. He was on the second floor when he heard a final, terrible scream. It was from the third door on this level. He quickly ran to it, and tried the door. It was locked. He put his ear to the door, but was unable to hear anything. He took a step back and tried to charge the door. He bounced off it, and bruised his shoulder. He then pounded on the door, demanding that it be opened. It was. In the doorway stood a short angry man, powerful and compact. Fan.Boy took a step back in surprise. "What do ya want?" demanded the man. "I.. I heard screams," stammered Fan.Boy, now less sure about what he was doing. The man grinned, unpleasantly. "I was just teaching ma wife ta respect me. What's it to ya?" "Is she all right?" The man's grinned deepened. "Well, I don't like to brag, but she wont be showing me no disrespect for the next few days. She wont be doing much for the next few days." Fan.Boy's eyes widened in shock. "You scum sucking..." He took a wild swing at the man, who caught it easily in his hand. Belatedly, Fan.Boy remembered that he wasn't Continuity Champ when it came to strength. "Why you..." started the man, then began crushing Fan.Boy's hand in his fist. "I'll teach you ta interfere in other people's proper business." "Oh $%^$, oh %^%$, oh !^%&," whimpered Fan.Boy. (Fan.Boy looked up, realising that the man had stopped, then smiled privately as he realised what had happened. Standing up, he peeled the man's fist off, and pushed the man.) (Slowly, then with gathering speed, the man fell backwards and, with a satisfying thump, hit the floor behind him.) (Fan.Boy entered the apartment, and gasped in shock.) (Lying on the floor, a woman, obviously the wife, was slumped in a pool of slowly expanding blood.) He knelt down beside her, trying to see if there was anything he could do for her, but feeling too impotent to be any good. Behind him he heard a "Grrr, I'll show you." He whirled around to see the man standing up, getting ready to leap. Just as he did, Fan.Boy said "You &$%$#* little %^%$. You're a &%^$ &%%^head, you ^%$%#% %#$%." (He stepped aside as the man fell forward onto his face. Fan.Boy didn't feel any better.) (Something moving past the window caught his eye.) (Going over to the window, Fan,Bo looked out to see a net.hero flying past the building, and out and up into the sky.) (Opening the window, Fan.Boy leaned out, and called out "HEY! NET.HERO!! DOWN HERE!!!") (The net.hero dropped out of the sky like a stone.) ("Oh @$@#," muttered Fan.Boy to himself.) (Just as whoever was about to hit the pavement, they obviously recovered and flew back to safety. After scanning the area, and seeing Fan.Boy's frantic waving, they took off to meet up with him.) (As the net.hero got closer, Fan.Boy could see that is was CAPTAIN CAPITALISE (the NZ version).) (The CAPTAIN flew up to outside the window. "WHAT IS IT, SONNY?") (Fan.Boy moved out of the way, and let CC see the woman lying on the floor. CC grew cold as he saw the injuries that the woman had suffered. "WHO DID THIS?!?" he roared.) Due to the CAPTAIN's outrageously loud voice, the man roused from his stunned state and stood. "What happened to me?" Fan.Boy pointed. "He did it." CAPTAIN CAPITALISE flew through the window, and straight into the man, causing the man to fly backwards and crash into the wall behind him. The man slumped on the floor, unconscious. CC knelt down by the woman, and tried to see if he could pick her up without harming her. "WHO ARE YOU, ANYWAY?" he asked Fan.Boy as he did so. "My name's Fan.Boy. I'm new here. Wow, it really is an honour meeting you." "I KNOW," grinned CC. "What are you doing around here?" asked Fan.Boy. "I SOMETIMES FLY AROUND HERE, SEEING IF I CAN BE OF ANY HELP TO ANYONE." CAPTAIN CAPITALISE looked sad for a moment. "USUALLY, THEY JUST TELL ME THAT I'M TOO LOUD, AND SHOULD GO AWAY." He looked down at the woman, tenderly. He picked the woman up gently. Fan.Boy could see that most of the blood was from a cheek that the man must have cut open. His anger at the man rose again. "WHAT IS YOUR POWER, ANYWAY?" "Oh, um, I can read any newsgroup, and can stun people with my power to pronounce punctuation." CC stared at Fan.Boy. "SO, YOU'RE THE ONE THAT STUNNED ME?" Fan.Boy was astonished. He had thought that that was obvious. "Well, yeah." "WELL, DON'T DO IT AGAIN," glared CC. "I'LL GET HER TO THE HOSPITAL," CC said, refering to the woman in his arms. "I'LL ALSO ALERT THE POLICE WHILE I'M THERE. I GUESS I'LL BE SEEING YOU BACK AT THE LNHHQ." "Wait," cried Fan.Boy, but CAPTAIN CAPITALISE had already left, taking the woman with him. "I don't know where the LNHHQ is," completed Fan.Boy to himself. Frustrated, he looked around for something to so, and stopped when he saw the the man slumped there. He cast a speculative look at the man's skull, then went over to the kitchen to find a heavy frying pan. _-~-_ When the police arrived a half hour later, they found several lumps on the man's skull that had obviously been caused by a frying pan lying nearby. However, they were unable to match the fingerprints on the pan's handle to any recorded prints. _-~-_ Fan.Boy walked around the Hovels for a while longer, still unable to find any way out. He had considered waiting for the police and and asking them for help, but, after taking his anger out on the man had decided that this wasn't such a good idea. It had started spitting again, and Fan.Boy decided to try to find shelter before it got worse. The terrain around him was slowly changing from slums to industrial workings. Unfortunately, the few plants he walked by didn't look too occupied, so they weren't going to be much help in trying to gain advice. He came across a large pipe as the clouds overhead really opened up and starting pouring down. Not faced with many alternatives, he climbed inside the pipe to escape the weather. It was quite large inside, and some of the wind was blocked. Looking out into the bleak surroundings, Fan.Boy huddled down against one side of the pipe. He curled up, ignored his grumbling stomach, and tried to get some sleep to the backdrop of rain thundering on the outside of the pipe. _-~-_ Fan.Boy was woken up by the feel of water lapping against his face. He abruptly opened his eyes and saw that the rain had leaked right by his head, and that his ear was right in the path of the drips. He got out of the way before any water could find its way down the back of his neck. He clambered out of the pipe, and found that he was standing on a well built road on the morning of looked like a brilliant day. Fan.Boy suspected that something was wrong, as the road had been a pitted mess the day before, and no labour workers, no matter what the compensation, worked that quickly. He started back down the road to the city, planning on getting a fresh start towards locating the LNHHQ, when he stopped in his tracks. Instead the Hovel Homes, before him were proper streets and nice gleaming shops. Fan.Boy's eyes bugged out. No way could this be real. He slowly approached a fruit shop he spotted, his stomach reminding him that he hadn't really had any proper food recently. He got to the shop before the fruit store when someone exploded out of the door. An angry someone. An angry someone in spandex. Fan.Boy hung back, waiting to see what would happen. He didn't recognise the spandexed figure, and wasn't sure that his intervention would be appreciated. "You have made an error today, shopkeeper!" proclaimed the figure. "You have earned our wrath, and you know how terrible it can be." Another figure followed the spandex (villain?) out. As he was wearing an apron tied around his waist, this second person was obviously the shopkeeper in question. "No, please," he pleaded. "I'm sorry. I haven't been well recently. Here, have this apple as a token of my esteem for you all.' The shopkeeper held up a ripe red apple. Fan.Boy's stomach twisted in hunger, and his mouth started watering involuntary. "In fact," continued the shopkeeper. "Take anything you want to. Free. On the house." The spandexed figure looked tempted, but shook his head. "No. Too late. You have incurred the wrath of Trumpet Man, and his wrath you shall suffer." So saying, Trumpet Man brought a trumpet to his lips. Fan.Boy wondered where Trumpet Man kept it, and also wondered if Trumpet Man was any relation to Guitar Man. That question was partially answered when Trumpet Man started playing. As the first chord jangled out, the shopkeeper doubled up in agony. Fan.Boy found himself rigid with shock, and, as the sounds continued, he began sliding down to the pavement. He had to be related to Guitar Man! Splash page: Full length shot of Trumpet Man blowing his trumpet with discordant notes showing. At his feet, the shopkeeper lies jerking in pain. To the left, Fan.Boy is slowly becoming unconscious. Titles at the bottom left are in the same style as the notes: "Down and Out in Net.ropolis." "by Jamas Enright." -------------------------------------------------------------------------- NEXT ISSUE: Who is Trumpet Man? Will this mean a battle versus Guitar Man for the right to torture people by music? Will there be a Battle of the Bands? Does this mean that there'll be a cross-over with Bad Hair Century? Is the author totally misleading people with the previous questions, and does he, in fact, have something totally different in mind for the next issue? Find out in Fan.Boy #5: "Fan.Boy vs.... the LNH?!?" -------- Credits: Fan.Boy is mine. (Gasp, shock, horror.) CAPTAIN CAPITALIZE (or CAPITALISE as we NZers spell it) belongs to wReam, used with permission. California Kid and Innovative Offensive Boy are Public Domain, and wish they were dead. As for Trumpet Man, well... find out next time...Back to the Index.