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Nuke 'Em 'Till They Glow!! - The  Early Years

Special Report
Written by Benjamin A. Oliver
Artwork by Esa Karjalainen
May 25, 2003
Ben Oliver

Ninjas, Ninjas, Ninjas!

It's always tough coming up with new content when other things are hungry for the time necessary to do so. I believe Fred Galligher mentioned once about true free time being necessary for any real creativity, and that time stolen from work or other areas will never cut it. That's generally true, but even with all that, nifty new stuff to show to other people doesn't always occur on a timetable. In fact, it usually doesn't. Take the following pinup, for example. It was done months ago, but we haven't found a specific use for it until now.

But, time is a fascinating thing, since I'm currently working for my dad and have never had so much raw, unfettered time to work on writing or whatnot. I inventoried the shop already, and put it into a database. Now, all I have to do is figure out something useful to do with that information, since there isn't really that much turnaround in vintage home entertainment equipment. So, I find myself answering phones, talking to customers, reading, and re-editing the NETTG fanfic in its entirety. There's no feeling quite like it when one's done fifty pages of line-by-line edits in a single day. I'm on chapter nine right now, and bit by bit, I'm fixing the whole thing. After I'm done with this first run-through, I'll go back for content, proofread it all, and then hand it off to prereaders to eventually make the "Nuke 'Em 'Till They Glow!! Final Mix". My goal is to finish it by the end of this summer—no, actually, my goal is by the end of next week, so it'll probably end up being completed by the end of this summer. I figure if I work 7-11 hour days on it, it can theoretically get done. Once the edit's complete, then I can move onto the NETTG fanfic's grand finale—where everything really gets blown out of proportion.

I've been doing fan fiction since 1997, and while others have been at it for much longer, I feel kind of old talking about it. It's been fun so far, and I'm not going to quit until the stories are all done. This includes NETTG, Sailor Stylin', Heart of Sugar, and Mix and Match. Even when those get blown away, this comic will continue as long as I can convince Esa (or whoever else signs on) to keep on going. I somehow have trouble not thinking big, so that's why we're also working on a Princess Maker parody game called Galactic Destroyer Maker. We plan on making it fully functional, and with as many satirical anime/manga details as we can cram into it.

You know, I might think I'm working on a lot, but there are tons of people out there that probably have many times as many projects they're working on.

So, now that I've divulged all my master plans and have set out on the path of world domination, I should probably tie it all in and make it relevant to the comic and the various material that's going into it.

Instead, I think I'll just leave that to the Philosophy majors and just talk about ninjas instead. ^.^

All of us have heard of ninjas, most of us have seen some variety of ninja on TV, and some of us have even gotten email ninjas. I'm not an authority on ninjas, and so I wouldn't be the best one to give an accurate historical or sociopolitical depiction of them. But here's the thing: a lot of people seem to think that ninjas are cool (or, at least, would be cool riding the back of a dinosaur and wielding a bottle of Febreeze), and as such they tend to end up in a lot of popular fiction—possibly as much or more than Samurai do.

We've all heard of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and only a few of us know about Immature Radioactive Samurai Slugs—but I'm not going to talk about them. Here's one thing I will talk about: are ninjas good or evil? The response is, of course, depending on what show you're watching. A ninja can either be a good guy or a bad guy. The Naruto story is a good example of a wide variety of ninjas, honorable or not. It's a show where just about everyone can shapeshift, disappear, reappear, or whatnot. Personally, I like Naruto 'cause he's similar to Terra in many respects—except for a few key aspects. Don't want to spoil too much, so I won't.

But, one thing I did think of for the NETTG comic was the fact that ought to have a ninja or two. Wouldn't be proper otherwise.

Well, ya gotta have ninjas or the genre won't be complete, ya see. We already know there's going to be knights and such in it, especially since the fanfic has the Atomic Starlight Knight as a major focus. Can a ninja beat a knight? Certainly. But can a ninja beat a knight riding atop a dinosaur that's wielding a huge bottle of Febreeze? It's all about accessories, y'see. If a knight's got the right stuff, like say a Samurai's got, then he or she can take on a ninja. But what if the ninja's also a knight? Then things get a little more complicated and it takes an ArbyFish to sort things out. Can a ninja beat an ArbyFish? No chance at all. Unless that ninja also happens to be an ArbyFish.

But, let's say a ninja does get introduced into the comic. Would he or she end up being part of the protagonist cast or antagonist cast? Yes. Or maybe it was no? Is that definition at all clear in NETTG? Maybe. Even if I show off every last image I have so far and show off every hint, will people know what I'm plotting? Maybe, but they'll be right only half the time, thereabouts. Will this go anywhere without Esa helping out at every step? Nope!

Several months ago, I asked Esa to design a new character whose background I explained, and who really isn't such a new character after all. The definition was a kunoichi. I still use terms like 'ninja' to describe that sort of character class. But yes, if there's one thing a story like NETTG needs, it's more new characters. That's really all it's got going for it—aside from the jokes and the situations, that is. (Of course, that's like saying, "all this cake has, aside from the icing on the cake, is the cake.")

But yes, an old familiar character from the NETTG fanfic will get a past life and a dark angsty history to go along with it. Gotta have dark angsty histories in a parody. How do we make fun of seriousness if there's no seriousness to make fun of, eh? Oh, I suppose we might be able to just leave the seriousness outside and let the serious writers deal with it, but I like to have rich, full stories full of creamy nougat and a crunchy cookie center. Or is that the sort of candy bar I like to have…?

Anyway, I can't keep a lid on storyline points forever. Just call this concept art and by the time we actually get around to doing it in the comic, you'll have all long forgotten about this post. In the meantime, feel free to discuss in the forum what you think of the character. That way, Esa and I can see expectations and adjust accordingly.

At this rate, it could be years before I make it in…
At this rate, it could be years before I make it in…

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