Archive for the 'Characters' Category

Apr 03 2008

We have fan art!

I provide advice about how to write novels, comic books and graphic novels. Most of my content applies to fiction-writing in general, but I also provide articles specifically about superhero stories.

I liked this fan-art of everybody’s favorite mutant alligator.

10 responses so far

Mar 25 2008

A Hurricane of Coconuts

“I’m not a poker shark.  Did you know that coconuts kill more people than sharks do?  I’m like a hurricane of coconuts.”
–Catastrophe

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Mar 24 2008

Extreme Non-Prejudice

It has been incorrectly claimed that the Office of Special Investigation’s Human Resources branch terminates with extreme prejudice. Make no mistake: we are 100% committed to equal opportunity.

–Agent Orange, OSI-HR Director

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Mar 23 2008

Quote of the Day: 3/23/08

Agent Orange: Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

Agent Black: If you’re about to ask a question that includes the word “alligators,” “mammals,” “conspiracy,” or any combination of those, no.

Agent Orange: …

Agent Orange: Have you developed psychic–

Agent Black: No.

Agent Orange: Are you posi–

Agent Black: Yes.

Agent Orange: So how–

Agent Black: Wily mammal tricks. I could tell you more, but then I’d have to make you into a suitcase.

Agent Orange: …!

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Mar 21 2008

Quote of the Day:

“In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate groups: local cops, who investigate crimes like jaywalking and double-parking, and federal agents, who investigate crimes that the people care about.” — Agent Orange

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Mar 17 2008

March Madness!

At the Office of Special Investigations, March Madness can get heated pretty quickly.

Agent Black: Are you doing a bracket this year?

Agent Orange: I spit on your vile brackets. The NCAA was obviously embarrassed that the Florida Gators had humiliated the whole of mammal-kind two years in a row. And, last year, the Gators swept the national championships in football and basketball, so it was inevitable that the Vast Mammalian Conspiracy would keep us from the tournament.

Agent Black: It’s too bad you’re not doing a bracket. Guess who I’ve got winning it all.

Agent Orange: A wholly unqualified and helpless mammal team?

Agent Black: The Georgia Bulldogs!

Agent Orange: Gah! Mammal… conspiracy… vicious mammal conspiracy.

Agent Black: Hey, hey. Relax. Just because we had an “amazing run” and “reached heights no one could imagine” doesn’t mean you have to cry about it.

Agent Orange: Georgia’s presence is indisputable proof that gator-haters are conspiring against us. Georgia placed in the Western conference. Notre Dame, a team notoriously close to a mammal renowned for driving snakes and other innocent reptiles from Ireland, got into the Eastern conference. And Stanford, that crazy-eyed bastion of basketball-playing trees, got into the Southern conference. Portland—Portland!– made it into the Midwestern conference.

Agent Black: Portland played great basketball.

Agent Orange: That’s not the point. Portland is not in the Midwest, any more than Notre Dame is Eastern or Georgia is Western. The standings have been rigged by a bunch of deranged gator-haters to ensure that we will not be allowed to thrash their beloved trees and bulldogs.

Captain Carnage walks in.

Captain Carnage: Hey, Orange. I heard a joke today. What’s the difference between an alligator and a longhorn?

Agent Orange: One is a reptilian carnivore and the other goes great with tabasco sauce?

Captain Carnage: The Longhorns are in it to win it!

Agent Black: Ooh, nice one.

Agent Orange: …

Agent Orange: Mammals!

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Mar 14 2008

Villainous New Year’s Resolutions

What’s at the top of supervillain to-do lists for 2008? (Hint: not saving money or losing weight). Here’s a sample.

  1. [Paingod] Attain absolute power in at least one country. My first act will be to ask Evil Overlord to be my chief of police. If he says no, I’ll kill him. If he says yes, I’ll poison him so that he can live by earning regular doses of the antidote.

  2. [Chronic] Develop a time machine and get advanced technologies from a future version of myself. But I know that he will see an opportunity to exploit his foreknowledge and technology by replacing me. So I’ll kill him first.

  3. [Gangrene] Surf City’s been a bust. The cop-to-plant ratio is far too high. This year, I have a better idea. I call it Plan Colombia.

  4. [The Colombian] Cooperate with Gangrene to develop hardier drug crops. Then I’ll kill him.

  5. [Jihad Joe] Anything. I’m still relevant, dammit!

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Mar 12 2008

Eat Me!

Agent Orange: Greetings, mammals! I have a question.

Captain Carnage: (Unfortunately, Agent Black, I have an alibi. Just now, I realized I was due at the Capitol two hours ago).

Agent Black: (I hate you).

Agent Orange: Yesterday, National Geographic claimed that grizzly bears can eat five times their own body weight. Is that true?

Agent Black: Why wouldn’t it be true?

Agent Orange: Frankly, it sounds like mammalian propaganda. Five times their own body weight? That would be like me suddenly eating a ton and a half: you, Captain Carnage, the Beatles, and a golf-cart.

Agent Black: I’m not supposed to tell this to non-mammals…

Agent Orange: No, I must know!

Agent Black: Grizzly bears can eat a hundred times their own body weight. National Geographic lied to you to lure you into a false sense of security.

Agent Orange: The fiends!

Agent Orange: …

Agent Orange: … but that would be like me eating 75,000 racks of ribs. Waitresses already give me weird looks when I order eight!

Agent Black: I’m not supposed to tell this to non-mammals, either… but all mammals can eat a hundred times their own weight.

*Agent Orange gasps*

Agent Black: So, if you’re 600 pounds, that means that any mammal that weighs six pounds could theoretically eat you.

Agent Orange: But, but I’ve seen rats in the basement that must have been six pounds heavy! The Gator Gods would curse me for all time if I allow one to devour me. I thank you for your assistance, mammal-Black.

Agent Orange stalks off.

Agent Black pulls out his cell-phone and calls Captain Carnage’s voice-mail.

“Black here. I think I just solved the rodent problem.”

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Mar 08 2008

Quote of the Day (3/8/08)

“When you’re this good, you need to stand out.  That’s why I wear a lab-coat.”

–Catastrophe

Yeah, the lab-coat really sets him apart.

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Mar 07 2008

Alligator Semantics

Published by under Agent Orange,Comedy

Agent Orange:

“English-speaking mammals instinctively understand that gators are friendly and helpful. It’s no accident that, when you are lost, you call for a navi-gator. When you need to solve a mystery, you call an investi-gator. When you need to inflict unspeakable harm and misery upon your enemies, you call a liti-gator. English-speakers are similarly perceptive about crocodiles. For example, you might hear the phrase ‘what a crock’ used to describe something that is entirely without merit (see also ‘crock of shit’).”

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Mar 05 2008

Interest Readers Without Action

Published by under Catastrophe

Today, I sought to write a chapter that was interesting but not action-orientated.  The resulting work, Gotta Kill ‘Em All!, is tangentially related to the Superhero Nation storyline.

You can download Gotta Kill Em All! here.  (It has footnotes, which is why I wasn’t able to post it online like a regular sample of Superhero Nation).

Yours,

J. Mallow

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Mar 01 2008

Quote of the Day: R.B. and Q.B.

In theory, the Office of Special Investigations employs all of the US government’s supernatural employees. Several examples suggest otherwise. In WWII, Sgt. Audie Murphy found 80 Nazis and took them as prisoners of war – alone. Several DEA agents can smell narcotics through layers of clothing and, in one case, a Mr. Potato Head toy. And everyone knows about the Navy SEALS, whose “Hell Week” is the single best argument that only mammals can be ninjas.

 

However, in only does one agency– the US Secret Service– does the presence of undeniably unnatural agents shape agency procedures and contingency plans, particularly regarding the Football, the laptop with the President’s nuclear launch codes. SS regulations require that the agent protecting the Football must flee if the President is attacked. Furthermore, statutes require that the Football always be within 30 seconds of the President.

 

One wonders what’s the point of fleeing if the agent plans to stay within 30 seconds of the President. He would presumably be within 30 seconds of the attackers, right?

 

That’s where RB (pronounced Arby) comes in. We haven’t bothered measuring what his land-speed is. What we know is that’s he fast. Really fast. In a test-run, he went from the Oval Office to Arlington, VA in approximately three seconds. (He blames most of that on closed doors). The Secret Service and relevant Air Force bodies have constructed safehouses within 30 seconds of the White House. Although they had not anticipated building such sites in Colorado or Montana, no one is disappointed.

 

The problem is that RB only works twelve hours a day, seven days a week. For the other half of the workweek, QB (cuby) controls the Football. He’s a Ph. D in particle physics and he looks more like one of the guys that designed the Football than one of the agents that guards it. However, he does have the ability to teleport… However, his teleportation has a roughly five percent chance of destroying everything within a hundred miles of his “landing zone.” Accordingly, contingency sites have been constructed in American Samoa…

–Captain Carnage

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Feb 25 2008

Got leeches?

I don’t mean to demean the risks of a terrorist attack or chain-saw murder spree, but Americans have generally discounted the threat of a death by face-leech. There are worse deaths than a face-leeching, but most involve IRS audits.  And blenders.

–Agent Orange

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Feb 25 2008

Agent Orange’s Guide to Animals

3 responses so far

Feb 20 2008

Thought of the Day: Intelligence

“Supervillains,” “supercriminals,” or whatever else you weaklings want to call us tend to exaggerate our own intelligence. That is a mistake for two reasons.

  1. No “supervillain” will be 100% successful. Losing to cretins from South Carolina and Ohio is bad enough, but it will only be more humiliating if you’ve claimed to be a supergenius.
  2. If your accomplice claims to be the smartest man in the world, he thinks that he is smarter than you.  Unless you kill him immediately to preempt his eventual betrayal, you have proven him right.  Conversely, if you were to claim that you were the smartest man in the world, it would entice others to kill you.  Who’s smart now?

–Paingod

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Feb 14 2008

Quote of the Day: 2/14/08

Ultimately, governments do two things: take taxes and kill things.  Do I look like I’m from the IRS?

–Agent Orange

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Feb 13 2008

Quote of the Day: 2/13/08

Doctor:  Well, I’ve never seen any case remotely as exotic as this one.  But it could be worse.  Gregor Samsa turned into a cockroach.

Catastrophe:  You’re not helping.

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Feb 11 2008

Next writing article: voicing your characters

Right now I’m working on a piece on character voice. What sort of character voices do you enjoy reading the most? What sort of character voice issues concern you the most when you are reading or writing? If you have any thoughts, please e-mail at superheronation… at…. gmail.com . (I’ll credit you unless you say otherwise).

Continue Reading »

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Feb 11 2008

Catastrophe’s Guide to Poker Terminology

Catastrophe:  In Texas hold’em, a pocket pair of aces is known by many names, including “the rockets”, “a good time”, and “FINALLY”.

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Feb 10 2008

Quote of the Day: 2/10/08

Captain Carnage: “Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are not a bureau…they’re a fine night.”

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Feb 04 2008

Quote of the Day: 2/4/08

Love demands infinitely less than friendship…” — George Nathan

…but costs infinitely more.” — Agent Black

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Feb 03 2008

Quote of the Day: 2/3/08

Some people see things that are and ask “why?”  But, at the Office of Special Investigations, we only care about who and where. — Captain Carnage

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Feb 02 2008

Quote of the Day: 2/2/08

If you don’t have enemies, you don’t have character.” — Paul Newman

If you do have enemies, you’re not shooting fast enough.” — Captain Carnage

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Jan 31 2008

Schedule of the Day

One of the Google searches that brought someone to Superhero Nation was “what do alligators do all day?” Agent Orange, our resident mutated alligator, provides his daily schedule.

1 AM: I respond to a WMD scare in Surf City. (It was just a death ray).

2: A purported representative of the British government calls, asking for urgent help “to stop an impending act of anti-supervillain activity.” Terrorist! I hang up.

2:30: Britain reports that Doctour Nefarious just carried out “anti-supervillain activity” at Big Ben. The reports don’t mention which supervillain he acted against, but I’m betting Jihad Joe or Paingod.

2:35: I call the Ministry of Defense and ask them to pass along my congratulations to Nefarious for turning on his evil compatriots. They swore and hung up on me. (And they wonder why we declared independence).

3: A genetically-engineered slime monster attacks Surf City. Dr. Darpa suggests that a salt-spray will kill it, but he doesn’t mention that salting it will send slime shooting for blocks in every direction.

3:10: Showering.

3:30: Still showering.

3:45: I get dressed. I’m feeling dangerous today, so I reach for a black tie instead of my usual navy blue.

4: I brush my teeth. (Yeah, I brush my teeth, too—it just takes more time).

4:30: Still brushing.

4:45: I check my voice-mail. IRS Agent Percy Leguin called again to complain that the Office of Special Investigations is doing too much “showboating,” by which he means investigating crime that Americans actually care about. The bitch insinuates that OSI agents couldn’t handle IRS work.

5: A citizen that incorrectly filled out a 1040-DX Schedule ECQ gets a very special no-knock home visit about why filling out a proper 1040-DK Schedule FIS is important. I’m sure it’s a mistake he won’t make again.

6: Downstairs, I encounter Agent Black and Captain Carnage discussing female-mammals. For reasons unclear to me, talking about mammalian matters makes Agent Black pathologically forgetful. Unsurprisingly, as soon as he sees me, Black mentions that he’s forgotten his ammo. When I offer to go find some for him, he smiles. (I’m so helpful).

6:30– I come back with the ammo, but Black’s gone. (Mammals). I’ll find him later.

7– As part of the ongoing Friendly Skies program, I get a free ticket to New York. Having a uniformed federal agent on a plane tends to terrify mammals, so I just told anyone within earshot that I was just scamming a first-class ticket. That calms them down considerably. (Mammals).

7:45– Mike is also on the plane with me! He is conspicuously surly and says that “I’m going to carpet-bomb your neural nodes if you ask about the Gators game again.” I don’t remember having spoken to the mind-wiper earlier today. I decide that until Mike gets unsurly, he doesn’t deserve to talk about the Gators.

8– On my way to the office, I stumble upon two gunmen attempting to rob a Caribou Coffee. They are not successful.

8:05– Waiting for NYPD.

8:10– Still waiting.

8:15– I assume that I’ll be here a while. I ask the cashier which species of caribou they have on hand. I’m especially partial to Rocky Mountain caribou, but even Alaskan elk are better than whatever else you can find in New York.

8:17– The cashier admits to me that Caribou Coffee does not actually sell caribou. I make a note to inform the Better Business Bureau of bait-and-switch advertising– they lure in unsuspecting customers with promises of caribou and then sell them coffee instead. (Mammals). Two NYPD officers walk in; I trust that they will take care of this criminal cesspool of deception and lies.

8:45– I reach the local police station and start filling out paperwork related to the coffeeshop arrest.

10– Still paperworking.

10:30– A detective asks me if I’d like some coffee or something. Unless coffee means caribou, no.

10:45– A captain interrupts me. Space slugs are clogging the Hudson again. I tell him that I’m still doing paperwork, but he calls my bluff by offering to handle the paperwork himself. I ask which way it is to the Hudson.

10:55—Goddamn. This was a new suit.

11: I walk down to the Office’s New York branch. Raul, our lobby guard, starts quizzing me with questions designed to weed out potential shapeshifters.

11:05: “Raul, I am coated in slug slime. Let me in immediately or you will regret it. “What does the 5th amendment say, sir?” “Here’s the abridged version. No person shall be deprived of life or limb without due process of law. Without due process, Raul.” He lets me in.

11:45– Still showering.

12 PM: The University of Florida calls. They want help creating a tagline for Albert the Florida Gator’s new clothing line. They like “Prepare to Get Swamped” but think that “Chomping Your Ass Since 1908” sends mixed messages.

12:15: They don’t like “Be a Gator, Not a Hater” either.

12:30—I walk down to the cafeteria and find… Agent Black! I hand him his ammo. He gives me a confused look. He has not only forgotten his ammo, he has forgotten that he has forgotten it. I swear! He’d forget his tail if he had one.

12:35—“He’d forget his tail if he had one.” Aha! I’ve stumbled onto the reason that Agent Black doesn’t have one.

4 responses so far

Jan 30 2008

Jeopardy!

Published by under Jacob Mallow

I just took the Jeopardy test. I don’t think that I did well enough, but I did better than what I imagine was an abysmal performance last year. There was one science question (“this plant reaction rhymes with soto-synthesis”). The many questions on literature, the theater and movies were the trivia equivalent of a kick in the teeth.

Americans living west of the eastern time zone can participate on Wednesday and Thursday. Central/Mountain states at Wednesday at 8:00 PM CST/7:00 PM MST and Pacific Coast states (including Alaska and Hawaii) on Thursday 8:00PM PST.

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Jan 29 2008

Quote of the Day (1/14/08)

Agent Orange: This has been troubling me for weeks: humans are obviously tail-deficient but claim to have a “tailbone.” Why is that?

Agent Black: Beats me. Whenever something about mutated alligators confuses me, it’s usually just because we’re hundreds of millions of years ahead of you evolutionarily.

Orange: …!

Orange: Tails are really useful. You’re jealous you don’t have one.

Black: Quoteth Calvin to Hobbes: they’re neckties for the ass.

Orange: Neckties that can strangle someone, an important distinction.

Black: I’m sure there’s scientists somewhere that deal with random shit like this. Just call one of them. And, while you’re at it, a psychiatrist.

The next day

Orange: Reptologists are friendly and helpful, like their area of research. They can answer any reptilian question, like why crocodiles are alligator-rejects.

Black: I thought your question was about humans.

Orange: I’m getting to that! I called several mammologists and I’ve concluded that mammologists are part of a vast conspiracy to conceal the truth about mammalian “tailbones” from reptiles.

Black: …

Black: They obviously didn’t do such a good job concealing the truth if you uncovered it anyway.

Orange: I was far too clever for them. I asked one what mammalogists were good for besides wasting oxygen and she blabbered about providing “mammo-grams.” That response was so inane that I knew right then it was an attempt at deception.

Black: Uhh, a mammogram is

Orange: Not merely a unit of mass, it’s British mass. And the problem here is not that I have too little mammalian mass (British or otherwise) but rather that humans have a dishonestly marketed bone. Perhaps if y’all got a few repto-grams, you might have a real tailbone.

Captain Carnage walks in.

Captain Carnage: Am I interrupting something?

Black: No, I think it’s almost over.

Orange: Yours is a very wacky species.

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Jan 28 2008

Scenelet of the Day

Agent Orange and Agent Black step onto an elevator in the lobby.

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Jan 27 2008

Nooooooo!

Published by under Agent Orange,Comedy,Guns

Sigh. Apparently the Office of Special Investigation’s Agent Orange is not the only federally employed Agent Orange. It appears the FBI also has one. The OSI’s Agent Orange, the free-wheeling reptile, has more.

Continue Reading »

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Jan 26 2008

I feel safe in New York City!

Comic book readers have often wondered what is it about New York City that causes so much bizarreness to happen there.  Superhero Nation finally answers this question by turning to the New York Historical Society.

Which leads us to our quote of the day.

 

In 1626, either the Shinnecock or Canarsee Indians sold present-day NYC, a spirit-cursed mosquito pit, to the Dutch for $24.  One of the strongest misconceptions in American history is that it was the Indians that got swindled.

— Agent Orange

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Jan 24 2008

Quote of the Day: 1/24/08

“Maybe this world is another planet’s hell.”

–Aldous Huxley

“More like our sanitarium.”

–Paingod

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