___ ___________________________ | |-| \ | |-|  / #40 | | |  egion of \ 'The Rescue Of The Edmund Fitzgerald' | | | __     / (Part of High Concept Challenge #16) | | | [___][ \et.__eroes \ | | | \ ] [ __ ] / written by and copyright 2011 | |-|     \ Saxon Brenton | |-|___________________________/ | | | | | | The cover is painted and depicts the deck of a violently pitching | | ship deck in a storm. Suicide Squid is on deck and facing off against | | a vaguely human figure with the features of a horned panther and | | composed of water who is rising from the waves. The banner at the | | top proclaims: Classic Reprint! Suicide Squid versus Mishibizhiw for | | the souls of twenty-nine men in 'The Rescue Of The Edmund Fitzgerald!' |_| - spoken recitation to the tune of 'The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald' by Gordon Lightfoot [Publishing note: Reprinted from _Suicide Squid Adventures_ #159, March 1976] The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead When the skies of November turn gloomy. >From his lodge far beneath Mishibizhiw planned grief For Lake Superior and all of its sailors The nibiinaabewag dirged as their master prepared To drown more and so increase their numbers. With a load of iron ore - 26,000 tons more Than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty That big ship was famed and a prize of be claimed By the manitou's gales striking early. Concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms The ship left fully loaded for Cleveland And later that night when the ships bell rang It was Mishibizhiw's winds they were feeling. A hero of fame Suicide Squid by code name Was recovering in those same waters Dr Calamari's defeat had left him quite weak But the Cabaret's fall was well savoured. The dire songs of merfolk and the rise of the storm Caught the Ten Limbed Avengers attention But the nibiinaabewag shoals weren't his overall foes There'd be a god to raise waves quite so threatening. With the weather set in things looked mighty grim A wounded hero and a dark god to be confronted For it was false, what they say, that they could've made Whitefish Bay If they'd just fled with all engines full running. The horned panther god rose up from the lake bed And sent his minions to capture the hero Fighting past slave manitou circled 'round ship and crew Squiddy climbed aboard and spoke to the captain. Athwart pitch, roll and yaw the Squid stood straight and tall And from the main deck called out a challenge The lives of the crew and of the ship's cat too With the symbolic chess match spoke of in legend. Mishibizhiw agreed and then set the game's stage With a localised field of clear water In the eye of the storm the freighter sat calm A stable place to game with black and white pebbles. As the battle played long the spirits saw none Of the slow crawl of the Edmund Fitzgerald With her engines on low and with movement so slow And the storm wall hiding the approach of the shoreline. To Mishibizhiw's dismay the Squid won the game And in his arrogance reneged on his promise The storm wall closed in and tossed the ship once again While the nibiinaabewag howled with their blood thirst. At this prearranged point the great engines where gunned And the ship made a dash for safe harbour While the Squid did his bit and crash tackled midship Mishibizhiw to keep him distracted. They fell over the side as the freighter rolled wild With the merfolk further churning the waters The ship limped into shore and although damaged some more No loss of life was thereafter reported. The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead When the skies of November turn gloomy. When ask the new dead: 'To whom do gods bow their head?' The answer is short and quite simple Suicide Squid, they do say, won that right on that day When he rescued the Edmund Fitzgerald. ==== Author's notes: Written for the 16th High Concept Challenge: The Epic Poem. There are a number of background details for this one. Technically this isn't a poem, it's a filk. I'm lousy at poetry, mainly because I'm too unskilled (either from laziness or innate inability, take your pick) to easily decipher metre. So instead of creating something from scratch, I took an existing song whose beat I was already familiar with and changed some of the wording. That said, I was pleasantly surprised to discover some of the cheats that Lightfoot made with his own rhymes, since it makes me feel less guilty about my own crappy scansion. The name 'The Rescue Of The Edmund Fitzgerald' comes from a throw- away line in the Champions RPG supplement _Millennium City_ about pop culture songs featuring superheroes. Until I began researching for this story I had been unaware that the Edmund Fitzgerald had been accompanied by a second freighter, the Arthur M. Anderson, of which the original Lightfoot song makes no direct mention. This story compounds the situation, since the shape of the narrative not only doesn't refer to the Anderson but actively infers that the Fitzgerald was alone. The Chippewa mythology as used here has been bent, folded, spindled and mutilated almost as much as Gordon Lightfoot's song lyrics. Mishibizhiw is indeed an ill-regarded manitou who lives underwater and causes drownings, but I included powers to cause storms and early winters that make him more like the winter spirit Gaabiboonikaan. The Nibiinaabewag and niibinaabekwewag ('watermen' and 'waterwomen') are merfolk, but I decided that the ones that Mishibizhiw would use are creepy undead/demonic versions that he creates from the bodies of his victims after he's eaten their souls. Suicide Squid... You know, there was a time when I wouldn't have felt the need to explain Suicide Squid on a rec.arts.comics.* newsgroup. But it was twenty years ago, and the Squiddy awards haven't been held since 2005... Back in 1991 someone posted a question to rec.arts.comics.misc asking about events in the then-current _Suicide Squad_ comic - but mistyped it as 'Suicide Squid'. Whereupon other posters ran with the joke and began to explain in great detail what was happening in the totally imaginary Suicide Squid comic. The Ten Tentacled Avenger Of The Deep went on to become the mascot of rec.arts.comics.misc, and had their annual awards (The Squiddies) named after him. Ty Templeton did the artwork for the t-shirts. Within the Looniverse, the Legion of Net.Heroes member Squid Boy was the sidekick of Suicide Squid, and is a long time member of the team that started out as the Secret Dvanders and later became Dvandom Force (in the _Constellation_ and _Dvandom Force_ series). When Squid Boy died (the second time), Suicide Squid sacrificed his existence in the Looniverse to bring Squid Boy back to life (_Constellation_ #29 [cover date June 1994), and Squid Boy subsequently took the code name of Squidman. Since Suicide Squid can't manifest in the Looniverse anymore, his subsequent LNH appearances have either been off-dimension (as in _Limp-Asparagus Lad_ #49-50) or in the past (as this story is). And on a personal note: I have often wondered why more Suicide Squid stories (whether tied to LNH continuity or free from any continuity) weren't posted to alt.comics.lnh and rec.arts.comics.creative during his heyday in the 1990s. Just one of those things, I guess.Back to the Index.