Blue Light Productions presents

Limp-Asparagus Lad #11     A Meeting With An Unknown Past Acquaintance
Written by Saxon Brenton

Cover shows Limp-Asparagus Lad facing away from an overweight young
man in an unfamiliar spandex costume. L-ALad his arms folded, and is
clearly ignoring the other, who is standing with an arm outstretched
and a pleading look on his face.

  The mind-croggling threat to the continued existence of had been averted, albeit at great cost. The
Footnote Fiend had been revealed to be the mind-controlled Petina
Witherington-Brown, and freed.
  However, in the process of drawing back the footnotes that had been
destroying the newsgroup, she had overreached herself severely. When
the net.heroes - Fourth Wall Lass, Kid Not Appearing In Any Retcon
Hour Story, Librarian Lady, Limp-Asparagus Lad and Retcon Lad - had
evacuated her back to the medical centre of the LNHQ in
alt.comics.lnh, the diagnosis of Dr. Bad Bedside Manner had been that
she'd blow a gasket and would never be able to fire on all cylinders
ever again.
  When Librarian Lady had glared at him and extracted an explanation,
it turned out that this meant she had crippled her footnoting powers,
and would never again be able to operate at the level of ability that
she had before. Limp-Asparagus Lad suspected that Petina would be
concerned by this only insofar as her powers hadn't been totally lost.
  Now L-ALad was walking though the LNHQ, thinking. The data that had
been collected from the Fiend's fortress had proven inconclusive, and
they seemed to be no closer to identifying the ultimate villain
behind the affair. Was this a plot danger? Or was the Writer merely
being lazy? Time would tell, although he should probably arrange to
consult with LLady on the matter.
  Then someone said, "Hello, Limpy. Long time no see."
  Limp-Asparagus Lad turned to find a pudgy young man in a spandex
costume sitting in a chair. And he wasn't Cheesecake-Eater Lad. That
much was obvious from the fact that he was munching on a chocolate
bar rather than on a slice of cheesecake.
  The net.hero recognised him. "Lipid-Artery Lad," he said by way of

  Subplot Lad gratefully accepted a cup of coffee off Chris. They
were at the latter's dorm not far from Dave Thomas Deluxe University,
following SLad's attempts to talk the young normal out of trying to
find his criminal father. The simple fact was that Exclamation!Master!
was too dangerous and erratic to try to reason with by using appeals
to kinship. He also used too much Drama to be considered sane; after
all, multiple exclamation marks weren't the only sign of a deranged
mind; mere excessive use counted too.
  The net.hero was glad that Chris had listened. He wouldn't have
liked to have brushed Chris off to another Legionnaire if he had
chosen to persist in trying to find E!M! He found that he rather
liked Chris - but something like a confrontation with a supervillain
rarely constituted a subplot, so SLad would hardly have been in a
position to help him if things had gone wrong.
  "So, you still haven't said why you wanted to try to find him,"
SLad prompted.
  Chris stared down into his coffee. "Because he's my father. That's
all. He's a good man. Well, was a good man. Whatever. The point is, I
just can't desert him like this. When he was going through therapy,
just before he relapsed, he was stressed out over what his absence
and crimes had done to the family. Mom took it real hard. And... I
know there's still good in him. I... I'm scared that if I don't try
and talk to him then I'll be passing up the only chance to bring him
back, and then it'll be gone forever..."
  "Oh, how sweet. How very _Return of the Jedi_. Diddums loyal son
seeks to redeem Daddy from Evil," came a mocking female voice.
  Subplot Lad was up from his chair and into a defensive position
before Chris' dropped cup even hit the floor.
  Standing before the ajar front door that neither of them had heard
open was a woman dressed in a _very_ revealing green and black
spandex costume. She was standing in a dramatic looking pose, facing
the two men at a three quarters angle, her right arm raised and
extended forward, while her left hand was clenched by her side and
surrounded by a green glow and Kirbycrackle. But what SLad found
really amazing was that she was appearing in a splashpage; he
wouldn't have thought there would be room enough for one in this
  "I am... Splashpage!" she announced.
   Ah. That explained it then.
  "Your Daddy wants to talk with you," she told Chris with theatrical
  That didn't sound good. SLad moved to position himself between her
and her prey, but noticed to his horror that his worst fear had been
realised. "No!" he cried as he began to vanish again. The subplot was
clearly on the verge of becoming, or at least merging with, the main
storyline. "Chris! Run!" he yelled, swinging his arm across in what
he hoped would be assumed to be a dramatic gesture. And then he
disappeared entirely, the sound of Splashpage's Evil supervillain-
type laughter echoing in his ears.

  "I take you are here to continue our fight from our last meeting,"
Limp-Asparagus Lad stated.
  "Nope," the other said, shaking his head.
  "Then why are you here?" he asked pointedly.
  The one called Lipid-Artery Lad grimaced, as if embarrassed, and
then squared his shoulders. "I've come to apologise."
  Surprise actually registered on Man of Dull's face. "I do not
understand," he said. "The last time we met you were trying to kill
me, with the help of Lean-Apples Lad. In fact, that has been the
pattern of nearly all the meetings your team has had with mine. I
find this sudden change in heart suspicious."
  A look of irritation past across Lipid-Artery Lad's face, and he
jumped up of his chair. "Yeah, well, that's because you don't know us
particularly well, do you?" he retorted hotly.
  "I should think I know enough."
  Just then, Fan.Boy came wandering down the corridor. "Hi, everybody.
Hey, you're Limp-Asparagus Lad, aren't you?" he said, recognising him
from the description of his costume. After all, few people had a stylised
asparagus symbol on their chest.
  "Yes. And you, I take it, are Fan.Boy?" Limp-Asparagus Lad replied,
recognising Fan.Boy from the roster. L-ALad had found that one of the
advantages of having almost no social life was that he had time to
read most of the items put out by the LNH's computers, and as a
result was one of the few people besides List Lad who actually knew
who was on the membership roster at any particular moment.
  Fan.Boy's face lit up with a pleased grin. Wow. Not only had
someone recognised him, but _he wasn't being chased away_! This was
just too cool. As he glanced about, still beaming, F.Boy spotted
Lipid, and since he didn't recognise the him asked Limp-Asparagus 
Lad, "Hey, who's your friend?"
  "He is not my friend," Limp-Asparagus Lad replied bluntly. "He is,
perhaps, my mortal enemy. Fan.Boy, this is Lipid-Artery Lad, my
counterpart from the Oddball Legion."
  Fan.Boy's eyes widened. "Wow! You mean the group that was created
from Particle Man's subconscious during the last leg of his
interdimensional trip back in _Particle Man_ #6, and who then turned
up in _LNH Comics Presents_ #s6, 11 and 12 to find some of their
missing members, such as Liable Lad in _Pliable Lad_ # 9, Cig.Lad in
_Constellation_ #18, not to mention Easily-Dejected Man of the Deadly
Faux of Easily-Discovered Man in _Substitute Lad _ #s1 and 2 ?," the
Fannish Freak burbled enthusiastically. "That Oddball Legion?"
  "Yes," concurred Limp-Asparagus Lad.
  "Hey, I'm really pleased to meet you Lipid. Let me be the one to
shake your hand," he said, doing just that, "since I know that if an
LNHer and his Oddball counterpart touch something dreadful is
supposed to happen, even though your Van Damme Stranger did reveal in
_LNHCP_ #12 that it wasn't the formation of a giant vortex that would
suck up a huge part of the Looniverse like was originally thought, so
I know Limpy here won't be able to shake your hand himself."
  Lipid-Artery Lad had a glazed look on his face as he finally
managed to disengage from F.B's handshake. He turned to his
counterpart. "Geez, he's as bad as Tan Boy back home."
  Fan.Boy's mouth pursed in irritation at this, but he decided to say
nothing. Then, something occurred to him. "Hold up. If you know him,
how come I don't?"
  Both of the others looked at him.
  "Well, I can read all the past postings to a newsgroup. If you two
have met before, I should have read about it," Fan.Boy said
  "We met in the _Limp-Asparagus Lad of Two Worlds Special_," Limp-
Asparagus Lad replied.
  "I don't remember that," Fan.Boy began, then paused as he recalled
a farewell-for-now post from January '95. "It wasn't posted, was it?"
  "Darn! That sort of thing really gets up my nose! It's as bad as
unrevealed back-history and retcons for keeping things secret." Then
his face brightened. "Oh well. Your big fight scene'll make up for
  "I am NOT here to FIGHT!" exclaimed Lipid-Artery Lad, as he strode
about in a hyperactive manner. "How many times do I have to keep
saying that?"
  "Perhaps until we believe it?" suggested his counterpart.
  This time it was the turn of Lipid-Artery Lad and Fan.Boy to stare
at Limp-Asparagus Lad. "Was that a joke?" F.Boy hazarded carefully.
  "No. It was a statement of fact."
  "Oh. Right. Well, that's all right then," said F.Boy. "So, like,
what happened in this special?"
  "Essentially, Exclamation!Master! set in motion a plan to kill me.
He used Lipid-Artery Lad and Lean-Apples Lad from Earth-I to kidnap
me into another dimension where they would finish me off."
  Out of the corner of his eye, Fan.Boy could see a look of petulant
defiance on Lipid-Artery Lad's face and guessed that he was using
this as his only defence against squirming in embarrassment. "Why
another dimension?" F.Boy asked.
  "Because it still hasn't been determined precisely what will happen
if we touched. If something bad happened, then it would be safest for
Exclamation!Master! that it occur at the remove of at least one
universe away."
  "Okay, that makes sense," agreed the Nerd of Annoyance. "Go on."
  "The dimension had some unusual properties of symmetry, however,
and to balance the number of villains..."
  "Hey!" Lipid protested loudly.
  " Earth-B counterpart was drawn there as well. There was the
nigh-obligatory confrontation, and we escaped. I haven't heard from
any of them until Lipid-Artery Lad arrived not ten minutes ago. In
all honesty I would have expected a communique from Limp-Asparagus
Lad-B before meeting one of the other two like this."
  Fan.Boy's face fell. Should he tell? He sighed. Yes, probably.
"He's dead, Jim."
  "The Limp-Asparagus Lad of Earth B is dead. He was murdered by
Repulso in _League of Heroes_ #23."
  "Oh," said L-ALad neutrally.
  "I'm sorry," he said.
  "Me too," Lipid said quietly with unexpected sympathy. "We've all
lost teammates and friends... Lost Clause Boy, Golden Receiver,
Nameproof Lad, Trivia Monster, Comics Slob Boy, Unmentionable Bodily
Functions Boy..."
  Fan.Boy turned to the Oddballer. "And what's your side of the story?"
  "What makes you think I've got a story?" he evaded, a touch sourly.
  "Well, you had to have _some_ reason," F.Boy persisted with morbid
  Lipid-Artery Lad grimaced. "ALRIGHT! ALRIGHT! I was stoopid, okay!?
E!Master! called me, an' offered me the chance to appear in a story.
Since at the time it looked like that may well have been the last one
your Writer ever did," he said, jabbing a finger at his counterpart,
"I could hardly pass it up, even if I did have to be a jerk an' play
the villain. Then the whole thing fell through. But just because the
story wasn't posted doesn't mean that the events didn't happen! So
here I am, lumbered with a black mark on my record, an' nothing to
show for it."
  "Geez," commented Fan.Boy. He looked back to Limp-Asparagus Lad. "I
know your Writer likes to labour on the theme of characters doing
almost anything to get an appearance, but this is getting ridiculous."
  "If you found it so distasteful, then why did you agree to take
part?" Limp-Asparagus Lad asked his analogue. "There are many
characters who voluntarily withdraw into Comic Book Limbo rather than
be subjected to mishandling of their personality."
  "If it was just a matter of my characterisation then maybe I
would've," Lipid replied soberly. "But things are a little bit more
complicated for us Oddballers. We don't just have to look out for
promoting ourselves, we have to try an' keep a high profile for our
whole world as well."
  "Could you explain that, please?"
  Lipid-Artery Lad nodded. "To understand why I'm here, you have to
understand the predicament the Oddball Looniearth and Subliverse are
  "And that is?"
  Lipid sighed. "They're not real."
  "Strictly speaking, none of the Oddball Legion are real."
  "No! That's where you're wrong! We _weren't_ real, but that was
then! Okay, basically we were figments of Particle Man's imagination,
but we had enough self-awareness to know that, an' want more."
  "Which you attained by tricking Particle Man," Limp-Asparagus Lad
pointed out without sympathy.
  "Yeah, but, look, you have to understand our position. Kid-To-Be-Or-
Not-To-Be had already determined with his ShakespeareTech that,
despite everybody's memories, we'd all only existed for a few weeks.
An' that as soon as PMan left we'd all sublimate back into nothing.
An' he had no reason to help us; he was already tired an' p*ssed off
from being shunted around the multiverse, an' we were just
hallucinations, man! So, yeah, we tricked him. A lot of us weren't
particularly proud of that, but we thought it was necessary.
  "Anyway, Particle Man got wind of what we were up to, and the team
was swept out into Astral Space when he turned the tables on us. But
we did manage to get to exist in and of ourselves once he was gone.
  "But when we managed to get back home, Kid-To-Be-Or-Not-To-Be made
a pretty darn scary discovery. _We_ might now be real, but apparently
our world wasn't. Like, apparently it'd vanished after we'd left, an'
then reappeared when we'd come back. Basically, our world an'
everything on it depended on our presence. An' of course, in the long
term that meant that as Legionaries died in battle or even of old
age, there'd be fewer and fewer of us to keep things existing, an'
eventually the whole show would just vanish forever. It was about
that time that some of the team took it into their heads to try an'
replace their counterparts on this world."
  "Why only some?" asked Fan.Boy, intrigued.
  " 'Cause Kid-To-Be-Or-Not-To-Be proposed the idea that perhaps we
could rock our world back across to the other side of the line into
full reality if we strengthened our links with the Readers. He's very
good at existential stuff. Not surprising, I suppose, considering
that being or not being is one of his fave pastimes after Shakespeare."
  Fan.Boy nodded. That made sense, since it accounted for the
non-hostile attitude of the Oddballers in the _LNHCP_ issues, as well
as that of Dayglo Dude in _Legion of Net.Heroes_ #68. He hadn't
mentioned him, since Dayglo Dude's appearance had been simultaneous
with a visit by three other of Deja Dude's counterparts, which Deja
Dude has chosen to keep secret. Understandable, considering that they
had included two villains: Psykeye from the Mirror Looniverse and the
Evil Deja Dude from the Reverseworld Looniverse.
  Fan.Boy tried to keep his mouth shut about those sort of things,
fearing that if he started blabbing the spoilers to other people's
stories they might dump on him. Okay, okay, dump on him even more
than they did now. And though he might be able to survive dying, that
didn't mean he enjoyed the experience. He was beginning to appreciate
Cannon Fodder's weariness with that particular schtick, and wondered
why Aeneas Boddy didn't share the same level of reluctance. Maybe the
reactions of his nerve endings had atrophied somewhat over the past
few million years?
  "Anyway," continued Lipid-Artery Lad, "Kid's idea was based on the
fact that, for various reasons, different worlds have different rest
states of reality and levels of stability. Some are stable enough to
exist without any help, but others have to be supported by various
god-beings, while some are client worlds to other, more senior,
dimensions an' need an exchange of life-force of some type to keep
  "We are aware of the theory," Limp-Asparagus Lad interjected calmly.
  Fan.Boy nodded. "Dvandom went over it in detail in _Constellation_
#7, and then we got a real good look at what happens when the link is
cut in _Legion of Occult Heroes_ #4." Then he snickered, "And Limpy's
Writer even went so far as to propose in issue 6 that if people got
bored with us we'd all wither up and die slowly and horribly. Which
would've put us all in a real tenuous position. But fortunately
Dvandom came back in _DForce_ #42 and said, 'No, no, the Looniverse's
Drama flow from the Writers and life-force from the Readers can only
be cut off by a deliberate attack', which let's us all sleep easier
at night, I can tell you."
  "Yeah, well, you're lucky. My world doesn't even have any Writers.
Nor any link to the Readers. Yet. An' that's what the rest of us who
decided not to bail out an' try to take up residence here have been
up to. We've been brainstorming ways to try an' attract attention to
ourselves an' our world. Unfortunately, that tends to compound the
typecasting problem. These days, fight scenes are what sells comics
best, so..."
  "You mean not all of the Oddballers who came to pick a fight
necessarily wanted to replace their counterparts here, or were even
belligerent towards them at all?" F.Boy tried to clarify, somewhat
  "Some are, some aren't. Which are which is left for individual
Writers to decide as they come to post future stories. But my case is
somewhat unique, since I don't necessarily have to fight Limpy here
in order to justify an appearance."
  Limp-Asparagus Lad nodded as he saw the other's point. "My series
isn't being written to pander to fannish tastes. If anything my
Writer is bloody-minded enough to want to drive them away with
anti-fan appeal."
  "Oh well, thank you very much," commented Fan.Boy with enormous
  "Nevertheless, it is true. The fans hate me. My action figure is
the most poorly selling of the entire LNH range. Even the Fan.Dom of
Alt.Ra only has one; for completeness's sake."
  "He's right," said Lipid. "Which is really to my benefit. If this
were a usual net.comic, then the need for an obligatory confrontation
an' fight scene would mean we'd be trying to kill each other by now..."
  "Within the limitation of not being able to touch each other,"
added Fan.Boy.
  "Within the limitation of not being able to touch each other,"
Lipid agreed. "As it is though, I can try an' talk to him without
having to use my fists. An' though ultimately he might turn me down,
at least I know he'll listen to what I have to say first.
  "So that's the situation," Lipid-Artery Lad concluded. "Now, if you
don't want me around, then just say so, an' I'll take off and won't
come back. But - for the sake of my world - _please_ Limpy, I'd like
to be a member of your supporting cast."

Character Credits:
  Fan.Boy created by Jamas Enright
  Chris, Footnote Girl, Librarian Lady, Lipid-Artery Lad, Splashpage,
and Subplot Lad created by Saxon Brenton
  Limp-Asparagus Lad owned by Saxon Brenton, created by Mystic
Mongoose (Robert Armstrong) and wReam (Ray Bingham)
  Limp-Asparagus Lad-B and Lean-Apples Lad created by Ben Rawluk
  Dr Bad Bedside Manner created by the Tick (Peter Milan)

All characters copyright and tm their owners and/or creators

And thanks to:
  Jamas for help with the care and feeding of Fan.Boy
  And all the people who helped with the details:
    Jameel al Khafiz for consultation on the status of the Oddball
    Martin Phipps for confirmation on the Deja Dude's Evil
counterparts' homeworlds
    wReam and Steve Hutchison for followups to the dead Oddballers

Adventures on the Letterspage #3

  "But enough of me," declaimed Letterspage Man. "Who are you
stranger, and how did you get to be in such a predicament?"
  "I'm called Cannon Fodder, of the Legion of Net.Heroes. The last
thing I remember was being attacked by some guy calling himself
Ultimate Ninja, who had come to kill Spelling Boy..."
  [see _The Origin of Ultimate Ninja_ - Footnote Girl]
  "What's that?" Cannon Fodder exclaimed in surprise.
  "That's just one of Footnote Girl's footnotes. Ignore them; they're
like Ubiquitous Lad, and turn up everywhere. Normally they're
invisible unless one can fourth wall, but text becomes visible in
this world."
  "I see. Okay, anyway, I don't remember anything after that, nor how
I came to be here."
  "I found you floating, injured and unconscious, in the letterspage
dimension," explained LPMan.
  "There's no way of telling how long I was there for," mused CF. "I
should get back to the LNH."
  "Well, actually, there is a way of telling roughly how much time has
elapsed," noted LPMan. "By monitoring the letters columns of the LNH
net.comics, I can tell you that Ultimate Ninja has been leader of the
Legion for quite some time. Moreover, I have to inform you that there
has been a Cannon Fodder active in the team for all of that period."
  "What! That can't be! It must be an imposter! I have to get back
and warn them!"
  "By the constructive criticism of T.M. Maple, that presents no
difficulty. If you are recovered from your injuries, then I can
deposit you back on Looniearth by means of the Mail Chute. Follow
me," LPMan said.
  "Thank you," said Cannon Fodder, following him and briefly assuming
an Evil Grin(tm) on his face.
  Behind them, the still active screen continued to display an
updated letter column:

Mail on both Limp-Asparagus Lad #7 and 8

[from Jaelle (Jessica Ihimaera-Smiler]
    I'm sorry I haven't mailed you before to officially welcome you
  back but I have been busy like you wouldn't believe. Which is why
  WBW has been so choppy and late lately...
    - And for my part I'm sorry I haven't had the time to attack more
    people with my LOADSEs (Long And Over Detailed Story
    Examinations); not just you, but all sorts of other stuff I've
    been meaning to get my teeth into for a nice, juicy commentary,
    but haven't found time to do :-(  Maybe I should just stick to
    short, first impressions (yuck, how boring :-)

    Anyway, I caught LALad #7 and #8 and loved them... although
  unfortunately it was impossible for me to follow Footnote Master
  dialogue... I just had to wait until the end of the story and read
  what he had to say then. Fortunately it wasn't excruciatingly
  crucial, at least I don't think it was.
    - I may've been bastard enough (as Jamas noted, with a smiley) to
    arrange the Footnote Fiend's dialogue like that in the first place,
    but I did deliberately keep it from being anything too important.

    Kid Not Appearing... etc seems to be developing nicely. I don't
  know, but Fourth Wall Lass seems to be awfully powerful, it's
  getting to be a bit of a trend, she breaks the fourth wall and saves
  the day. Limpy is... himself... his normal self I should say. It
  must be hard writing a series  with a character with no personality.
  Yeesh. Scary.
    - I'm enjoying working on KidNAIARHS. And I also got a very nice
    letter from Badger about just that, (included below, even though
    it will make me look like an ego-maniac :-)
    - I concur about FWLass. I'm actually beginning to get a bit
    concerned about her. I'm afraid I may not have put enough thought
    into the development of her powers, and though I have some nice
    stuff for future character development, her powers are unbalancing
    to the rest of the cast. I have to think of some sensible way of
    restricting the use of her abilities beyond the cliche of blocked
    powers (which I think I've already done to death).
    - As for Limpy. No, it's not hard at all. I not sure why, since
    you're right that it would seem that way, but it's not. I'm having
    great fun with new ways to detail his blandness, and I've got
    several dozen issues worth of ideas on how to examine him.

[from Badger (Matt Rossi)]
    Feel free to use this letter in any way you see fit...I just HAD
  to tell you how creepy it is for me to see you wringing life and
  lively stories out of a character I created solely for the purpose
  of a lame-ass joke. It makes me feel icky.
    Don't get me wrong...I like your take on all of the characters.
  Limp Asparagus Lad is indeed just that. He's got the personality of
  a lump of coal...or am I insulting coal? Fourth Wall Lass and Retcon
  Lad are amusing characters who seem to have possibilities. But Kid
  Not Appearing In Any Retcon Hour story? Written well? And not by me?
    Saxon, congratulations. You've done what, up till now, only John
  Byrne and Mark Waid were able to do...taken a loser and made a winner.
    Now, where's my damn check?
    - I'm pretty sure the coal won't feel insulted :-)
    - Well, I would like to include it in the lettercol., simply
    because I've got Long Term Plans for Letterspage Man and the
    letterspage dimension, and so I need a letters page as a pretext
    to post adventures about them. Yes, I know it's a silly running
    gag, but I hope it will be all worth it in the end. On the other
    hand, there is a major problem in including this letter, in that
    it's such a strong compliment that I'm going to look like an ego-
    maniac. My goodness, such high praise. I'll try not to let it go
    to my head :-) Thank you Badger.
    - As for the check, well, you're named as creator in the credits,
    and so get a hefty percentage of all royalties, including from the
    action figures. The problem is that these are net.comics, which
    don't produce a profit, so even a large percentage of nothing is
    still nothing :-)

Character credits (which, incidentally, were supposed to be included
last issue as well, but somehow were left out):
  Letterspage Man created by Saxon Brenton
  Cannon Fodder is Public Domain, reserved by Specter
  The guy appearing here claiming to be Cannon Fodder was probably
created by wReam. Or Possibly Dvandom. (Ha! That's gotten your
attention, hasn't it? :-)
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