Blue Light Productions presents

Limp-Asparagus Lad #16     Two More Helpings of Culinary Disaster
Written by Saxon Brenton

Cover is split vertically in two. On the left the angle of view is
looking up at Footnote Girl and Kid Not Appearing In Any Retcon Hour
Story from the top of a table. Kid NAIARHS looks grimly determined
while FGirl looks shocked and nauseous. On the right Lipid-Artery Lad
is twirling pizza dough in the background, while Retcon Lad bemusedly
inspects jars and packets of toppings. The label on the jar in his
hand reads 'peanut butter', while others still on the workbench
include pickled herring, liver, and broccoli.

[Continuity Note: These two stories take place during the montage of
Culinary Disasters in _LNH Comics Presents_ # 29-32, and a few other
titles - Footnote Girl]

Culinary Disaster: First Helping

"I don't believe this!" said Petina. "I've only just barely gotten
here, and already I've been drafted into kitchen duties?!"
  "It is an almost unique occurrence," Kid Not Appearing In Any
Retcon Hour Story assured her. "It is seldom indeed that all of the
Legion's cooking staff are absent."
  [_LNH Comics Presents_ #26 & 29] said Petina.
  "Why did you say that?"
  "Say what?"
  " '_LNH Comics Presents_ #26 & 29'," he repeated.
  "Did I? Oh crud. It must be these powers. Dr. Stomper seems to
think that whenever I footnote something I get a flash of
omnicognizance to get the details right, and then forget it all. Most
of the time I don't even remember creating the footnote." She made a
  "Then it seems that it is for the best that you are here to receive
training to control your powers, Footnote Girl."
  She gave him a sour look. "You do realise that the only thing worse
than being called that would be 'School Girl', don't you?"
  He gave her a blank look. Petina sighed. She was coming to realise
that although KidNAIARHS was noble, brave, and good, he didn't
actually think the way normal people did. Which was not to say that
he was in any way mentally defective; he had a versatile and quite
powerful intellect. The problem was that it was totally constrained
to the superhero paradigm, and thus he was utterly incapable of
imagining anybody gaining superpowers and _not_ dressing up in
spandex to fight for Good or Evil.
  There were several others like that in the Legion of Net.Heroes.
Virtuous people of at least above average mental ability who were
nevertheless completely mad by the reckoning of normal human beings.
Easily-Discovered Man and Writers Block Woman sprang to mind
immediately. How EDM Lite and Mouse ever managed to go on adventures
in street clothes was a mystery to Petina.
  She threw her arms in the air. "Okay. Okay. Fine. Call me Footnote
Girl if it makes you happy. Let's just get the cooking over and done
  "What do you suggest for the menu?"
  "How about something relatively easy to make in bulk, like maybe
worms in gravy?" she suggested.
  "I beg your pardon?"
  "Worms in gravy. You know... oh, sorry, maybe you don't. It's
school kids slang for spaghetti bolognaise. Just like tapioca
pudding's called frog spawn or cauliflowers called bits of brain."
She shrugged. "It's just what kids call it to be silly and try and
gross each other out."
  He inclined his head with an amused smile. "Worms in gravy it is
then. You'll forgive me if I don't write that on the menu though."
  She grinned at him.

  A frantic hour or so later Footnote Girl at last had the chance to
take a breather for a moment. Most of the Legion were eating, and the
remainder of the spaghetti was on simmer to keep it warm for any late
arrivals.  "It certainly smells appetising," KidNAIARHS remarked.
  "Well, thank you. I..." Then she was interrupted by the cries of
disgust and sounds of hasty exit coming from the cafeteria.
  Peering out through the doors from the kitchen they found that the
entire cafeteria had been emptied. Half eaten plates of food were
left on the tables, or in many cases spilt over the floor. And the
food itself...
  The food itself was _wriggling_!
  "Oh gak!" FGirl said, covering her mouth with a hand.
  Kid Not Appearing In Any Retcon Hour Story knelt down to inspect
the wriggling spaghetti. He picked a piece up between two gloved
fingers, and stood to examine it.
  It was a worm. Covered in gravy.
  His face hardened.  He scanned the cafeteria, then announced in a
loud voice, "All right, I know you are around here somewhere. Reveal
  "Who are you talking to?" FGirl asked.
  "An aspect of being a Superman parody," Kid replied grimly. He
pointed across the room, where FGirl saw that a small, leprechaun-
like man had just appeared. He was dressed in a bowler derby, as well
as tights and coattails in a violently clashing rainbow of colours.
He was also floating in midair. "Footnote Girl, this is Mr Net.zptlk;
a pesky other-dimensional imp who is not quite as malicious as R, but
nevertheless is rarely as well-meaning as Squid-Mite."
  "And how does he compare to the Improbable Man?"
  "Actually, the Improbable Man is extraterrestrial, not
  "Hi Nappy. Did you miss me?" called Mr Net.zptlk.
  "Not in the slightest," KidNAIARHS replied.
  "So, what do we do with him?" she asked.
  Kid Not Appearing In Any Retcon Hour Story sighed. "We have to
trick him into saying his name backwards so that he will be exiled to
his home newsgroup for a period equivalent to 90 of our days."
  "Why did I just _know_ he was going to say that?" FGirl lamented
to herself.
  "Ha! You can try, O Big Blue Cheese," taunted the imp. "But I'm
wise to your tricks. I intend to stick around and have fun with you
for at least a three issue story arc, with crossovers and
merchandising tie-ins."
  "Great Vathlo Net.zptlk, be reasonable! This is only a filler
issue. There is a second story already awaiting for us to finish,"
KidNAIARHS explained patiently.
  "Tough. Let them wait," pooh-poohed Net.zptlk.
  "Why are you even bothering with this ninny?" asked FGirl in
exasperation. "I mean, look at this. He's gone and turned the
spaghetti into worms? That's absolutely juvenile! I bet he can't even
spell C-A-T."
  "Ha! Try 'cat'. Don't assume that everywhere has schooling
standards as lax as where you come from."
  Footnote Girl scowled. "A-A-R-D-V-A-R-K," she challenged.
  "Aardvark," he sneered back.
  "Kltpz.ten... Arrgh! No fair, you tricked me!" he cried as he
vanished in a puff of smoke.
  "I can't believe he fell for that," she mused. "I would have
expected that at the very least we'd have to paint his name on the
front of an ambulance."
  "He was expecting the trickery to come from me. That was quick
thinking," Kid approved.
  "Thanks. Hmm, the spaghetti hasn't turned back to normal," she
  "His enchantments do not always break when he's forced back home to
alt.pests," Kid observed by way of explanation. "I suspect that it is
some form of plot device."
  She nodded in resignation. "So, do we have to do the cleaning as well?"
  Then there was a rumbling sound. The cafeteria doors burst open,
and a hungry green tide flowed into the room.
  "KI-WI!'" chorused the kiwis.
  ['Worms! In gravy! Yum!'] translated Footnote Girl reflexively.
  "I think me that this takes care of the leftover problem,"
KidNAIARHS smiled.

Culinary Disaster: Second Helping

  "I don't believe this!" said Lipid-Artery Lad. "I've only just
barely gotten here, and already I've been drafted into kitchen
duties?!" He threw a look at Retcon Lad, who was rummaging about
taking stock of what was available in the kitchen. "Is this some form
of subtle revenge by Ultimate Ninja for me turning up on his doorstep
or something?"
  "Nah. If he wanted revenge he'd just cut you to pieces."
  "Sounds like Penultimate Ninja."
  Retcon Lad grinned. "Yeah, I guess. Anyway, all of the regular
cooks are away at the moment. Cheesecake-Eater Lad is off with
Bad-Timing Boy and Good-Timing Girl..."
  [_LNH Comics Presents_ #26-32 - Footnote Girl]
  "...Steak-And-Potatoes Man and Frat Boy are in Alt.stralia..."
  [_LNH Comics Presents_ #26 - Footnote Girl]
  "...Limpy's visiting his parents, and Leftover Lad is supposesdly
chasing after something that escaped into the sewers in the first
issue of his own net.comic."
  [These are two of the LNH cooking staff that Jaelle overlooked.
Limp-Asparagus Lad was first mentioned as being on the LNH cooking
staff in _U-Force Annual_ #1, and Leftover Lad's skills were
recruited by the LNH in _Leftover Lad_ #1 - Footnote Girl]
  "Limpy's on the cooking staff here?" Lipid said, surprised.
  "Yeah. Does the salads and stuff."
  "Weird. I don't do anything like that back home." He shook his
head. "Oh well. If they want food, they'll get food. So, next big
question is: what to prepare?"
  "Actually, the next big question is: how good are you at cooking?"
  "I'm good enough to make my own pizzas an' burgers. The pizza bars
just don't have a big enough range of toppings for me, an' takeaway
burgers just aren't ever dribbly enough. Nowhere near enough
beetroot, tomatoes, an' sauce on 'em."
  "You're better than me, then. I only ever delivered pizzas; didn't
make them."
  "What made you give it up?" Lipid asked, curious.
  "Net.heroing pays better. And besides, you could end up possessed
by a deranged Artificial Intelligence with ninjitsu skills if you
work delivering pizzas in this town, like Malcolm did."
  [_Easily-Discovered Man_ #11 - Footnote Girl]
  "Uh-huh. Okay then. What sort of stores do we have?"
  "All sorts of stuff, and in huge quantities. We're fully stocked,"
replied RLad, sounding a little bit bemused. From what he'd heard
about other people's attempts at cooking duty, the amount held in the
larder varied wildly from next to nothing to more than enough. He
suspected that it was some type of plot device.
  "Okay then, you up for pizzas?"
  Retcon Lad shrugged. "Sure, whatever."
  Lipid-Artery Lad grinned. "Cool. Pizza for several hundred,
coming up."

  Later, RLad came back into the kitchen. "They're still not happy."
  "What didn't they like _this_ time?"
  "The Indian curry pizza with extra chilli. Frothing-At-The-Mouth
Lad was game enough to try a slice, then had to go and stick his head
in a bucket of water."
  "Okay, okay! So it's an acquired taste!"
  "I managed to distract them in the meantime with the pizza flambe."
  "But that's so bland! Only a cheese base with alcohol for burning
on top. It's only there for visual effect!"
  "Maybe so, but it's about the only thing they're eating at the
  "Philistines," Lipid muttered. "Okay then, I'll give 'em something
normal. I've got a few dozen supremes in the oven at the moment, with
just the boring toppings that takeaway joints put on theirs. Ick."
  "So no strawberry jam to compliment the anchovies?"
  "Nope," confirmed Lipid morosely.
  "And no hidden layers of chocolate underneath the cheese?"
  "Okay, I'll give it a try."

  Later still, the pair of them sat around the now emptied cafeteria.
  "Well, I guess we managed it in the end," observed RLad. He was
sitting on the edge of a table, his feet resting on a chair. "It took
us long enough, but at least we _did_ finally manage to feed them.
That's a lot better than some of the others did."
  "I suppose so," said Lipid around mouthfuls of unfinished fruit
salad pizza.
  "How many were there left over in the end?"
  "Oh, several score. Mostly the good stuff from the early batches
that they didn't want. I threw out most of them though, an' kept only
a small sample of each type. There's no way I'd be able to eat them
all before they go off, an' I guess Leftover Lad won't be back to
mount a salvage operation in time either."
  Retcon Lad nodded, then stood up and stretched. "Well, apart from
finishing the cooking chores, we also managed to catch up with
continuity too."
  "That's good," said Lipid. "That joke was beginning to get old. So,
what's up next?"
  "Well, The Flame Wars III are coming up soon, and next issue I've
got a crossover starting in _Fan.Boy_ #9. First up though I've got an
appearance in _Kid Kiwis Kommandoes_ #5."
  "Hope you enjoy yourself."
  "Well, it'll be interesting, at least. Apparently I'm scheduled to
  Lipid-Artery Lad started at this, and almost choked on his pizza.
  "Oh, don't worry about it," said RLad. "I've got it on good
authority that I'll get better."
  "Oh, well. That's all right then. Busy, busy, busy, huh?"
  "Ayup. Anyway, I'd better call it a night."
  "Okay, see you."

Character Credits:
  Kid Not Appearing In Any Retcon Hour Story created by Badger (Matt
  Leftover Lad created by Eric Gearman, and thanks also for
consultation on where LLad should be during the CDs.
  The Kiwis created by Descrii (Ian Porell).
  Footnote Girl, Lipid-Artery Lad, Mr Net.zptlk, and Retcon Lad
created by Saxon Brenton.

All characters copyright and tm 1995 their owners and/or creators.
Adventures on the Letterspage #5

  It was a dark and stormy night. Up ahead, through the windswept
foliage of the tangled thicket of forest, there's a light shining at
the Frankenstein Place... uh, no, sorry... at Ghostwriter Manor.
  The front door opens, to reveal a man in formal attire. Although
not exactly gaunt, he nevertheless has about him the sense of being
sepulchral. One gets the feeling that the faint smile on his face is
a grin of the type normally seen on bare skulls. The death's head
tie-pin accentuates this impression.
  "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I am Mr Marrowbone, the butler
here at Ghostwriter Manor. Please come in."
  He closes the door behind you, and takes your wet coats. "I'm
afraid you are all a bit late, and have missed the start of the story.
If you will permit me to be so bold, I will summarise this evening's
proceedings as we go to the Uncommon Room to join the others."
  He leads the way through the dark, dusty, and quite cluttered manse.
"The Queen of Hearts, she made some tarts, all on a summer's day; The
Knave of Hearts, he stole those tarts, and took them clean away," he
recites. Then he throws an apologetic look to you over his shoulder.
"Of course, they weren't tarts. The Queen actually has a preference
for blood pudding. The puddings themselves were cooked - and stolen -
only earlier today. And as for who actually stole them... Well, that
is what Miss Mayhem is about to reveal."
  He opens a large double door with disturbing but fortunately vague
cravings on its wooden panels, and ushers you into the room beyond.
Within are seven people, using that description in the broadest
possible sense. None of them seem to notice the arrival of yourselves
or your guide.
  The Queen of Hearts is immediately obvious, despite a complete lack
of similarity to any Tenniel illustration of _Alice in Wonderland_.
She is a tall woman, with eyes of fire (literally) and six arms, most
of which bear scimitars. About her throat and waist are a grisly
necklace and girdle from which she gains her name. "Of course he's
guilty!" she roars. "Off with his head!" she cries, waving her various
swords about, "Off with his head!"
  "That has yet to be proven," counters a small, wrinkled woman
working with a bundle of knitting. She is sharp-eyed, and the lines
of her face have fallen in such a manner as to give her a look of
cool cynicism.
  "Miss Mayhem of Parva," Marrowbone explains. "One of the foremost
amateur sleuths in the Writing, although there are some who maintain
that her skills derive from being a professional busybody."
  "I trust we can proceed then?" asks a tall but rotund man with
impeccable grooming and a cultured accent. He wears evening dress and
has pointed canines.
  "Lord Wilberforce Upington-Smythe IV," notes Marrowbone. "A vampire,
of course, and hence the prime suspect."
  "yES, PlEaSE prOceEd," says a glittering, multicoloured silhouette
of... something... sitting in/floating above a comfortable chair.
"tHeeSE OneS Are iNTErEsted IN the OutCoME."
  "A psychotrope. One of the many avatar's of The Madness, the
creature of pure creativity that even after all this time still lies
trapped near the centres of the Writing," Marrowbone informs you.
  The other three watch the proceedings with interests but without
comment so far. One is an owl. He wears a hat of woven palm fronds
and a T-shirt that proclaims 'The Land Where The Bong Trees Grow'. He
also has his left wing in a sling. Sitting beside him on a sofa is a
cat, who wears a gold ring upon one paw.
  "The Owl and the Pussycat," says Marrowbone. "They've just returned
from he sailing honeymoon."
  The final member of the group is a human man, dressed in a white
costume spangled with black letters, with a black cape similarly
sprinkled in white.
  "Very well the, since we're all assembled," said Miss Mayhem,
putting aside her knitting. "Earlier today, a crime was committed,"
she began without preamble. "A number of puddings were made by the
Queen for the Faer tomorrow, and went missing around noon. The
puddings, of course, were made with Life's Blood, and so are prized
not only for their culinary value, but also for their longevity
enhancing qualities.
  "Shortly thereafter Marrowbone returned from his trip for both
provisions and to receive myself from the train. A thorough search of
the grounds revealed the puddings sequestered in the old ice-house on
the far side of the thicket, normally accessed via the service road; a
roundabout trip of a good thirty minutes. Thereafter I impressed upon
Marrowbone to call upon Letterspage Man to be on hand for the
identifying of the culprit."
  "Normally such a crime could be referred to the Lord of the
Writing," Marrowbone explains, "but since his disappearance we've had
to make do ourselves. It has been a trying century for all of us."
  "Now, the most obvious suspect was Lord Wilberforce. A little too
obvious however."
  "And what of the bloodstain on his cuff?" asked Letterspage Man,
playing the part of devil's advocate.
  "Far too old to have been from a noon theft. Rather, it was blood
from the dinner party the previous evening. That can be corroborated
by several witnesses. One will note that it wasn't even he who spilled
the blood in question. Rather, it came from the glass of Miss
Flaventine, who was by all reports a touch tipsy at the time."
  "Thank you at least for confirming my table manners," Lord
Wilberforce said.
  Miss Mayhem inclined her head slightly.
  "And what of the time factor? He was the only one not present,"
said Miss Pussy.
  "Ah, but that is not entirely correct. He was, of course, the one
who was absent for the longest period, in the chapel at mass."
  Lord Wilberforce nodded. "As any good Catholic should be," he said.
  "However, there were similar periods, albeit shorter, that all of
you were gone. The Queen, for example, visited her room for
approximately a quarter of an hour to touch up her woad. Owl went for
a walk before lunch to work up his appetite for roughly twenty
minutes. Miss Pussy went and changed her dress, ten minutes; and the
psychotrope spent a period of roughly fifteen minutes watching dew
drops evaporating off flower petals."
  "No-one who could not fly could have gotten to the ice-house and
back in time," the Queen stated bluntly. "Owl cannot fly, and the
psychotrope cannot carry material objects. It must have been
  Miss Mayhem looked disdainful. "Try not to let your blood-lusts
blind you to the facts."
  "You forget who you deal with, woman!" raged the Queen. "I will
make your heart palpitate and burst if you are so foolish as to try
to baulk me!"
  "Your threats do not impress me," Miss Mayhem replied coldly. "Or
have you forgotten that I have no heart?"
  The Queen gnashed her teeth in impotent fury.
  "That leaves the other guests," continued Miss Mayhem as if nothing
of importance had interrupted. "While the psychotrope certainly had
the opportunity - it can, after all, go anywhere - it lacks the means
because of its intangible state. We will leave aside the argument
that because it is a true immortal that it also lacks a motive. No-one
has ever been able to discern why those creatures do anything."
  The psychotrope somehow contrived to look smug.
  "Are you saying that one of we two did it then?" asked Miss Pussy.
  "Yes, my dear. And the motive is quite clear. How much, precisely
did that ring cost?"
  "Why, we got it off a pig... Oh Owl, you didn't!?"
  Owl looked morose. "I'm sorry, Pussy. I just wanted to make you
  "But I told you we could call on my savings. And you didn't have to
buy the ring if it were going to cost so much."
  "The route roundabout that piece of woodland is deceptively long,
but can be traversed quickly by taking a shortcut _through_ it,"
observed Miss Mayhem. That will cover the discrepancy in time between
the tennis match and lunch, I should think."
  "Very well then," said Letterspage Man. "Come along Owl. The King
of Hearts will be waiting."
  "Off with his head!" cried the Queen, who LPMan choose to ignore.
"Off with his head!"
  "Hmf," sniffed Miss Mayhem disdainfully. "I should think that the
hysterical woman may actually have the right idea, for once. None of
this would have happened if those two young fools hadn't run off to
elope." She returned to her knitting, then added with a touch of
nostalgia. "You know, I haven't seen a proper beheading since the
Reign of Terror."
  Letterspage Man rolled his eyes. Owl would certainly be a lot safer
once he was in the custody of the King of Hearts, and was far more
likely to get a just sentence than he would from those two.
  As he was leading Owl away, the butler approached bearing a silver
tray. "Excuse me sir, but a message has arrived for you."
  "Indeed? Thank you Marrowbone," he answered, taking the envelope
proffered to him. He opened it, and this is what it read:

Mail of Limp-Asparagus Lad #15

[from Ben Rawluk]
    Liked the issue. I can tell I'm not the only one who read Quasar :)

    - Thank you. I knew there had to be someone else out there who
    read _Quasar_. I know _I_ certainly couldn't have been the only
    one keeping it afloat for 60 plus issues. I miss it now that it's
    gone (you can tell by the way I try to shallowly imitate it by
    referring back to all the past continuity :-), and in my wildest
    moments I imagine myself putting in for being the Keeper of the
    Quasar Flame, but I know I'd never be able to make the time to
    properly tend it on rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe :-(

Mail on Limp-Asparagus Lad #14-15

[from Jamas Enright]
    I have to admit that these issues aren't so much "Retcon Lad
  coming to terms with angst", but "Explaining how Angst and Cosmic
  Entities work in the Looniverse, guest-starring Retcon Lad."
    Was there characterisation? Yes, but hurriedly. Was there
  exposition? Yes. Definite yes. Possibly over the top yes. Was there
  an actual story? Umm, I would have to say... no.
    While these two issues are good for explaining things, they
  aren't really entertainment. Saxon, you have written a thesis in
  LNH-comic book form. :)
    It was just too dry.

    - Okay, thanks for giving me some solid constructive criticism.
    I'll try to keep my response from sounding too much like whining
    self-justification :-)
    - I've know for several years now that if I get too wrapped in an
    idea that I *really* like, that there's a good chance that I'll
    overlook some vitally important fact in my enthusiasm and end up
    making a really stoopid error. I've done that several times before
    - However, I had expected any faults with this story being with
    the logic of the metaphysics involved (especially in #15). It
    hadn't occurred to me that I may be missing something in the
    *story*. But looking back on it... well, yeah, it is a bit dry,
    ain't it? My habit of wallowing in the fact that it's a net.comic
    coming to the fore again, I'm afraid. And it's actually a lot
    better than the idea of original presentation. I've known for
    *ages* that I've wanted to do the metaphysical discussion that was
    presented in #15, but suspected that I'd simply have someone have
    a near death experience, they'd talk with Death, superscience
    would save them at the last minute, and the discussion wouldn't
    *mean* anything. It would simply be an aside with no emotional
    relevance to the participants, it's only purpose to let me show
    off and at the same time expand the cosmological structures of the
    Looniverse. This way there is *some* relevance to Retcon Lad's
    growth, since it shows him one possible method out of his
    situation. It's tenuous, yes. Moreover, he'd probably eventually
    have come to the same conclusion without having met and talked
    with Death; probably quite soon since he may well have gotten the
    same impetus from hanging around with Fan.Boy in the upcoming
    crossover. But it is there, nonetheless. In all honesty I think it
    may be more that I tried to shoe-horn too much explanation-
    exposition into those two issues, to the point where they
    overwhelmed what little story there was, than that there was no
    story at all.
    - Anyway, all I can say is, I'll try better next time :-)

Character Credits:
  The Queen of Hearts, and the Owl and the Pussycat are all nursery
rhyme characters.
  Letterspage Man, Lord Wilberforce, Marrowbone, Miss Mayhem, and the
psychotrope created by Saxon Brenton.

All characters copyright and tm 1995 their owners and/or creators.
Add Notes:
  Mr Marrowbone and Ghostwriter Manor are takes on Mr Bones, the
butler of Ghost Manor. He's a story narrator in the EC style, but I
have no idea which publisher his stories were put out by. (Up until
the mid 1980s the only colour comics available in newsstands in
Australia (rather than in comics specialty shops) were Archies.
Marvels appeared sporadically, while DCs and several others were
reprinted as black and white anthologies. These were usually stripped
of original publication data like the name of publisher, date, and
cross referencing footnotes, etc. In fact, it was only in the last
half-decade or so that many of the stories of ongoing series were
printed consecutively, so I suspect that up until them many of the
subplots were edited out as well.)
  Miss Mayhem of Parva is a distortion of Agatha Christie's Miss
Marple. The name derives from Mayhem Parva, which is the name of the
genre of detective fiction to which most of Christie's writings belong.

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