LNH: Easily-Discovered Man #48

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Jan 20, 2007, 10:41:13 PM1/20/07
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Doused with microwave radiation, Theodore Wong
gained the ability to glow and be detected at great
distances by anyone with a Geiger counter.
Together with his sidekick Lite, his intern Cynical
Lass, and fellow hero Substitute Lad, Wong wages a
constant battle against the forces of corruption,
chaos and common sense as the fabulous
EASILY-DISCOVERED MAN.
---------------------------------------------------

---Previously on
"The Adventures of Easily-Discovered Man"-------


Easily-Discovered Man Lite encounters the
villainous Professor Perhap, who informs Lite that
he is the least important being in the universe and
proves it by showing him that no matter what he
does, his future will be the same. Lite refuses to
give in to despair, however, and the Professor
reveals that it was all a test to see if Lite was
worthy to lead an assault upon the Apocryphal
Universe.

Confused? So are we. After all, this story
arc began in issue #45, which was posted way back
in September 2004, and even the author is having
difficulty keeping track of everything that's
happened since then. That's why we've asked the
Easily-Discovered Man Singers to help us present...

THE EASILY-DISCOVERED MAN PLOT SYNOPSIS
(to the tune of the "Theme from Animaniacs")

It's Easily-Discovered Man
More radioactive than Iran
With his faithful sidekick Lite
He battles crime and glows at night
Easily-Discovered Man!

Our heroes had to battle Uma Thurman
and the GLURGE
For reasons more ridiculous than
Bush's "Iraq surge"
They argued and they angsted
as heroes sometimes do
And Cynical Lass chewed out Lite's ass,
told him to get a clue...

In Easily-Discovered Man
(Or "Fight Glow Teacher" in Japan)
Comics ate away his mind,
but he's never hard to find
Easily-Discovered Man!

Lite rode a ghostly train and met
with Professor Perhap
Who'd come back from the dead
thanks to some crazy cosmic crap
He taunted Lite with images of what
life had in store
The plot was dense. It made no sense.
And now it's time for more!

Easily-Discovered Man
Able to give himself a tan
Though he's nuttier than a squirrel
He'll step up to save the world
He's Easily-Discovered...
Blue Cross doesn't cover...
Knows what you did last summer...
Easily-Discovered Man! (Don't send us spam!)

-------------------------------------------------
And now, we present episode #48 of "The
Adventures of Easily-Discovered Man," "Gloomy
Monday," in widescreen, high-definition, stereo
format where imaginations allow...
-------------------------------------------------
The Adventures of Easily-Discovered Man #48
"Gloomy Monday"

Plot: Script: Apes Month Concept:
Rob Rogers Rob Rogers Tom Russell, Jr.


Rejections hurt. They hurt whether they're
coming from the college of your choice, or from the
magazine you've been reading since you were little,
where you always dreamed about seeing your name
(though you never told anyone) or from a person you
happen to care about.

They hurt a whole hell of a lot when they're
coming from a very attractive woman who's slamming
you into the walls of her parents' home with
six-foot stainless steel arms.

"No!" Aurora Jones said, shaking me one more
time for emphasis before letting me drop to the
ground. "I don't care what you say. I'm not
coming with you on any invasion of another
universe."

"No is such a strong word," I said, picking
myself up from her parents' white deep shag
carpet and dusting the cat fur from my jeans.
"Have you given any consideration to what 'maybe'
might have to offer you?"

I'd met Aurora a little over a year ago.
She'd been operating underground as a super-hero
called the Screen Saver, using her powers to bring
any reflective surface to life (the same power that
allowed her to use her parents' hall mirror to
throttle me). The Waffle Queen had kidnapped me and
used me as bait to draw her out.

Despite all of that, Aurora and I had remained
friends, more or less. She'd retired from being a
super-hero, but I still saw her from time to time,
and she'd agreed to help me with my physics homework
on a semi-regular basis. Aurora knew her science,
and unlike Easily-Discovered Man, she was able to
explain it without a lot of long anecdotes about how
certain properties might be different under a red
sun, or exactly what the proportionate strength of a
spider was. She wasn't particularly hard to look
at, either.

"You would think," Aurora said, her green eyes
boring into mine, "that the last four years would
have taught all of us that pre-emptive invasions are
a really bad idea."

"Did I mention that anyone who joins me will
walk away with all the cheesecake she can eat?"

Aurora, who'd held up a finger to object,
paused. "Damn you!" she said. "You know how hard
it is for me to turn down cheesecake."

"And besides," I said, folding my hands behind
my head and leaning back against her grey leather
couch, "you'll be helping to restore hope and
happiness to millions of..."

Aurora held up her finger again. It was a
nice finger -- she'd clearly put a lot of time into
painting the nail white with Liquid Paper -- but it
was beginning to get on my nerves.

"See," she said, "that's where we disagree.
The whole 'hope' thing. People talk all the time
about how super-heroes are supposed to bring people
hope. But in reality, they do exactly the opposite."

"So we're like the Red Sox."

"You can joke about this all you want, Lite..."

"I fully intend to."

"...but the fact is that superheroes have been
as damaging, in the long run, to the human spirit as
fascism or communism," she said, smoothing one long
strand of her short blond hair back over her ear.

"Because we all wear uniforms, have silly
titles, and tend to discourage the reading of
literature?" I asked, worried about the direction
the conversation was taking.

"Think about it," Aurora said. "All three
movements became popular during the Depression, when
people lost faith in government, in religion, and in
their own ability to take care of themselves. All
three depend on a 'good vs. evil' ideology, with the
party in power defining who the villains are.
Everything that's wrong with the world is the bad
guys' fault, and only an elite corps of good guys has
the ability to save the world from their evil plans."

"It's an interesting theory," I said, sitting
up. "But the thing is, I've met Acton Lord. He's a
pretty nasty character. Do you really want the
average person going up against him?"

Aurora leaned forward. "You went up against
him," she said. "What makes you so special?"

"Well," I said. "I have this really great
spatula."

Aurora threw up her hands and shook her head.

"Okay," I said. "Let's say that you're right.
Let's say that super-heroes tend to make people
dependent and apathetic, and that I'm out there on
the streets prostyletizing for an evil ideology.
I'm still your friend, Aurora, and I'm asking for
your help."

Aurora stood up and leaned her head against the
mirror. The glass rippled a little when she touched
it, as though it was a vertical pool of mercury, or
a liquid- crystal display screen.

"There are some things friends don't do for each
other," she said. "You know, when you first told me
you had a favor to ask, I thought you were talking
about the prom."

"Would you have gone with me?"

"Oh, hell no," she said.

"But you would have considered it," I said.

"For about eight hundredths of a second."

"That's all I ask," I said. "Just think about
it."

"In order for me to have considered going to
the prom with you," she said, smiling at me through
her reflection in the mirror, "I'd have to believe
you were a really, really good dancer. And that you
have a great car. And that you'd wear something
other than that ridiculous 'Chooters' T-shirt."

"The shirt is brand new," I said.

"And that you'd do something about my cousin
Luke," she said. "Ever since you gave him that
magic ring of simplification, he's become even more
difficult and weird than he was to begin with."

"I'm confused," I said. "Are you saying
you'd consider going to the prom with me? Or that
you're thinking about helping me to save the people
of the Apocryphal Universe?"

"That all depends," Aurora said, "on how good
your cheesecake is."

I left Aurora's a few minutes later and
wandered past the lush, sprinkler-fed lawns and
empty streets of her subdivision, barely
registering the stares I received from her
neighbors. There aren't many people named "Lopez"
in the kind of neighborhood where Aurora lives.

I wasn't thrilled to get the hairy eyeball
from minivan moms and children who looked like
startled deer, but I didn't really mind. Since I'd
woken up that morning, I'd gone toe to toe with a
monster made of living syrup, had a fight with one
of my best friends, seen a ghost, been told I was
the least important being in the universe and
worked my way through several difficult physics
problems. Dealing with a little racism felt almost
quaint by comparison.

I had passed through downtown Russell and had
almost reached the subway station when my cell phone
hummed to life.

"Hector? It's Summer."

"Hey," I said, wondering what part of my day
to try to explain to my girlfriend first. "It's
good to hear from you."

"We need to talk," Summer said. "I need to
see you."

"Sure," I said, ignoring the glares of a man
with a briefcase, doing his best to ignore my
conversation while waiting to cross the street.
"We can... hold on. My Legion pin is pinging."

"What?" she said.

"Lite," Easily-Discovered Man's voice said,
booming through the little gold "LNH" symbol pinned
to my T-shirt. "Your presence is required
immediately! Some nefarious force beyond
comprehension is transforming the populace about
Four Color Square into atavistic simians!"

The man with the briefcase had begun edging
away from me.

"Hector, are you still there?" Summer asked.

"Uh, yeah," I said, turning my head from one
direction to the other. "Prof, I'll be right there.
Summer, I need to go. It's one of those 'people
getting turned into gorillas' things again."

"That's the lamest excuse I've ever heard,"
she said.

"It's true," I said. "Down on Four Color
Square. It's probably on the news. Prof, is it on
the news?"

"Setting coordinates for transport," Easily-
Discovered Man said. "Stand by for transmat in
thirty...twenty-nine..."

"Fine," Summer said. "I'll meet you down
there."

"No!" I said. "That's a terrible..."

"...idea," I said, as the world went white for
a moment, and I found myself standing in central
Net.ropolis, surrounded by snarling, chest-pounding
apes.

"And the city says it's having a hard time
attracting visitors," I said, snapping the cell
phone shut and ducking as a red-furred orangutan
threw a tray loaded with cocktails at my head. The
disc crashed and splattered on the sidewalk behind
me. "I'd say our service industries could still
use some work, however."

"Lite!" said Easily-Discovered Man, waving to
me from the sidewalk just outside of the cafe where
I'd arrived. I crawled underneath a pair of wire-
mesh tables, hearing apes leaping and thumping
above me, and arrived just in time to snatch an
object out of the air before it collided with the
Prof's head.

"Banana?" I said, offering it to him.

"Who can think of good nutrition at a time
like this?" Easily-Discovered Man said. "No one
knows from whence these terrible creatures, bestial
reminders of our inhuman origins, spawned forth!
No one knows what mad craving drives them. Rage?
Lust? Parasitic pestilence? Who can say what
dark enchantment has so corrupted their peaceful,
primordial primate...

"Lite? Is something the matter?" the Prof
asked, interrupting himself. "It is most unlike
you to appear distracted while I thunder to the
denouement of an particularly dramatic oration."

Both of us stepped aside as a pair of gibbons
began hurling napkin dispensers in our direction.
The Prof looked at me, his eyes half-hidden by
his glowing orange mask. "Girl trouble?"

"Sort of," I said, picking up a discarded
drinks tray to use as a shield. "I got into this
thing with Cynical Lass. Then I had this argument
about what it means to be a super-hero with Aurora
Jones. And now Summer..."

"Say no more, my erstwhile explorer of Eros'
enticing, yet enigmatic empire," the Prof said,
throwing a hand around my shoulder. "Woman is a
mystery no power can divine, a riddle even the
keenest mind can scarcely fathom. Yea, even mine,"
he sighed. "Irene left me this morning."

"Again?"

He nodded, using an overturned chair to thwart
the advance of a rampaging chimpanzee. "And she has
taken Jennifer as well. This time, I fear, her
actions are not a dream sequence, an alternate
universe, or the machinations of mind-controlling
Others from worlds beyond our capacity to
comprehend."

I drew my spatula and used it to fend off a
beady-eyed bonobo who'd been trying to eat the head
of an elderly flower-seller. The ape grunted, then
backed off.

"Prof," I said, "did it ever occur to you that
looking for all of life's answers within the pages
of a comic book might not be the healthiest way to
go?"

Easily-Discovered Man paused in the middle of
a duel with a pack of howling baboons to stare at
me.

"I will endeavor to erase that statement from
my memory, said as it was in the heat of battle,"
the Prof said, beating back the baboons with an
umbrella.

"What have comics told us about relationships?"
I asked, getting between a barrel-chested gorilla
and a group of Girl Scouts, who insisted on taking
photos rather than running away. "Comic book
characters lie all the time about who they are and
what's important to them. They're always putting
their jobs and their buddies ahead of their
significant others. And they depend on their
butler, their arch-enemies or 30th-century
technology to raise their kids for them."

"We shall discuss this at a later hour,
assuming we survive the next," the Prof said, as
two blue-white flashes illuminated the sidewalk
beside us. "Cynical Lass and Substitute Lad are
here. The time has come to craft a plan."

"Nice suit," I told Substitute Lad, who'd
replaced his usual blue outfit with banded
red leather that looked like the armor from
_Bram Stoker's Dracula_, or a skinned
weightlifter. "Is that off the rack?"

"It's something I came up with while
duplicating Contraption Man's powers," Substitute
Lad said. "It absorbs and redirects kinetic
energy."

"I can't believe you show up for battle
wearing a 'Chooters' T-shirt," Cynical Lass
said, taking in my attire. "Actually, now that
I think of it, I can believe it. I'm just
surprised that it took you this long."

"Huddle up, heroes," the Prof said,
gathering the three of us into a circle. "Yon
plaza is under assault by a gaggle of galvanized
gorillas proceeding without benefit of motive or
regard for persons, property or propriety. What
say ye?"

"It's either a government experiment, the work
of a super-villain, or a particularly nasty bit of
performance art," Cynical Lass said, folding her
arms across her chest. "In any case, we find the
person who's at the center of it and shut them
down."

"Verily, verily," the Prof nodded.
"Substitute Lad?"

Substitute Lad looked agitated -- which made
sense, since he was the one of us in the huddle who
had his back to a group of crazed apes. He
straightened up.

"In order to beat an ape," he said, his voice
deepening, "one has to be an ape!"

His shoulders stiffened, his arms lengthened,
and five o'clock shadow darkened the jawline
beneath his mask. Substitute Lad yawned, showing
a pair of canines that looked like they could
snap a baseball bat in half.

"haiku gorilla
lends me the power I need
as leaves fall, I strike," he said, and leapt
into action.

"He's been doing that a lot lately," Cynical
Lass said, as Substitute Lad overturned a table,
scattering a trio of chimpanzees wearing fezzes and
vests.

"Which?" I asked. "Speaking in poetry, or
transforming himself into a monkey?"

"Rushing into action without thinking,"
Cynical Lass said. "It's like because he doesn't
have any powers of his own, he thinks he has
something to prove."

"Yeah, well," I said. "He has a lot on his...
Prof, look out!"

Easily-Discovered Man whirled, just in time to
see a massive silverback bearing down on him. The
Prof stiffened, drew back, and threw a punch that
knocked the gorilla cold.

"Sic semper primatus!" he cried.

"I don't believe it," Cynical Lass cried, as
Easily-Discovered Man rubbed his fist with pride.

"That the Prof hit someone for the first time
in forty-eight issues?" I asked. "Or that I
managed to watch him do it without shouting 'Bang a
Kong, get it on!'? Or calling him the 'top banana?'
Or congratulating him for finally getting the monkey
off his back? Or making any reference whatsoever to
Dr. Zaius?"

"Enough with the either/or questions," Cynical
Lass said. "Have you noticed anything unusual about
the situation?"

I looked around. The Prof was quoting from
"The Charge of the Light Brigade" while fighting his
way through a crowd of orangutans armed with tiki
torches. Substitute Lad was, in the shape of a
gorilla, holding his own against another gorilla
while talking about the beauty of moonlight upon
chrysthanthemum petals. Cynical Lass herself was
being menaced by a gorilla who had climbed to the
top of a scaffold and was hurling barrels at her,
as well as a short Italian plumber across the
street.

"Not especially," I said.

"What about the fact that gorillas are normally
shy, skittish creatures who avoid contact with
humans?" Cynical Lass said. "Or the fact that
Easily-Discovered Man wouldn't be able to knock one
out on the best day of his life?"

"Well, that could be... hold on, Cyn. Take a
look at the shadow of the gorilla the Prof
coldcocked."

The body lying on the sidewalk, its features
illuminated by the phosphorescent glow of Easily-
Discovered Man's cape, was that of a giant, grey-
furred gorilla, but the shadow it cast was that of a
short, stocky man.

Cynical Lass and I stared at each other.

"Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" she
asked. "Wait. Forget I asked that question. I
never, never want to be thinking what you're
thinking. It's obvious that someone or something is
making all of these people appear to be apes, even
to themselves. The question is who. And why?
And can I hit them in the face before that gorilla
drops a barrel on my head?"

"Lite?" Cynical Lass asked, after a moment
had passed. "Are you even paying attention?"

"I'm still working on a Dr. Zaius reference," I
said.

"Now isn't that just like Hector Lopez," said
Summer, walking up to the cafe in a short white
jacket, red tank top and leather skirt. "All of
this action going on around him, and all he wants to
do is talk."

"Hello, Summer," I said. "I thought you were
the one who wanted to talk."

Cynical Lass looked from me to Summer and back
again. She waved a hand in front of my face. I
blinked.

"Not that I want to intrude on 'take your
girlfriend to work day,' " she said, "but we need to
do something. Those gorillas just poured a barrel
of purple Gatorade over your boss, and now they're
pounding on it like... well, like a bunch of
gorillas."

"Grape," moaned Easily-Discovered Man, the
barrel covering his head, shoulders, and most of his
torso. "Grape...apes!"

"They're all boys," Summer said.

"What?" Cynical Lass said.

"She's right," I said. "You can see their..."

"Yes, I get it," Cynical Lass said. "How
interesting that it's the first thing you noticed."

"I try to help out whenever I can," Summer
said. "I don't want to be one of those people who
just stand around and watch when something bad's
happening. Like that woman in the window over
there."

"There's a woman in the window over there? And
I missed it?" I said.

I turned to Summer. "See what monogamy does to
me?"

"About that..." she said.

"I'll be over here, fighting my closest genetic
relatives," Cynical Lass said.

"Hector," Summer began.

"Whatever it is, I'll change," I said, sensing
the tone in her voice. "See? I've already
changed," I added, holding out my T-shirt as
evidence.

"I'm not sure wearing a 'Chooters' T-shirt is
helping your cause," she said. "Besides, this isn't
about you. At least, not in the way you think."

Believe it or not, I'd never actually wanted
super powers before. Most of the time, as far as I
could tell, they caused more problems than they
solved. But at that moment I wished I'd had the
power to stop time, to put the whole world on
pause: Summer standing there, her eyes focused on
mine, her blonde hair cascading over her shoulders,
a dozen howler monkeys screaming ape obscenities
behind her.

Sure, things had been bad between us. We didn't
have much in common: different tastes in movies, in
music, in people. Summer had a career and a lot of
friends, and when she made time for me, it made me
feel special. In the beginning, I'd made her feel
special, too. Somewhere along the line, things had
changed.

So yeah, I wasn't fooling myself. What she was
about to say next, I'd seen coming for a while. But
I still wanted to freeze time, to keep her standing
like there, looking like that, thinking that the
future was still full of possibility and she was
still my girlfriend.

"Don't say it," I said.

"I've been thinking about it for a while,"
Summer said. "I knew I'd made the right decision
when I saw you on the news this morning, fighting
that syrup thing at the mall."

"It was my hair, wasn't it?" I said.

"You know I love to sing," Summer said. "Until
I met you, I thought that was all I ever wanted to
do. But seeing what you do... you and people like
Easily-Discovered Man, and that rude English girl...
I don't just want to sit on the sidelines on my
life. I want to _do_ something.

"So I made a decision," she said, looking away.
"I've joined the USO. I'm going to Iraq. I'm going
to see if it's possible to do what I love and do
something meaningful at the same time."

"You... but..." I stammered.

"Lite!" Cynical Lass shouted, running up. "I
think Summer was right. I think the woman in that
building up there has something to do with what's
going on. I'm going to see if I can get to her.
But I need a distraction."

"Yeah... All right," I said. "Just give me
a..."

Summer placed a hand on my shoulder.

"Let me," she said.

"I don't..." I began, and then thought about
what she'd said. About what Aurora had said.
About what it would mean to live in a world where
only those with super powers, or for that matter
those who seemed to know what they were doing,
were allowed to help out.

"Knock 'em dead, kid," I said.

"What is she thinking?" Cynical Lass said, as
Summer climbed on top of one of the few tables
still standing in the cafe.

"She's providing us with a distraction," I
said, as Summer cleared her throat. "And trust me,
she's one hell of a distraction."

Summer's hips began to sway. She opened up
her jacket and let it hang down a little,
showing her shoulders. A few of the apes
closest to her table, the ones I'd thought were
ready to rush at her a moment before, stopped
what they were doing and stood there, waiting,
scratching their heads in anticipation.

"Thank you," Summer said. "You're a
beautiful audience. I'd like to send this out
to a very special someone..."

She closed her eyes, and began to sing.

"Tall and hairy and heavy and dark
Gorilla from Ipanema goes walking
And as she walks, she grunts
'Cause she is in heat..."

"Now's our chance," said Cynical Lass, as
a bonobo in front of us held up a lit cigarette
lighter. "Head for the apartment on the other
side of the cafe."

Cynical Lass and I made our way through the
mass of hairy, sweaty, arrhythmic apes, and I
had a sudden flashback to the last Phish concert
I'd attended. Neither of us said anything until
we reached the door to the apartment building.

"That was beyond brave," Cynical Lass said,
once I'd bribed the doorman with a banana and the
two of us had gone inside. "Lite, I'm sorry. I
take back everything I ever said about your
girlfriend."

"Thanks," I said. "Except that she's not my
girlfriend any more."

We passed through the lobby and began
climbing stairs, heading for the third floor, where
we'd seen the girl in the window.

"I'm sorry to hear that," Cynical Lass said.
"Especially so close to the prom."

"Yeah, well," I said. "I may be able to do
something about that, after all."

"You're a real piece of work, Lite. You
know that?"

"How are we going to find her?" I asked.
"Should we just start knocking on doors?"

"If I had to guess," Cynical Lass said, "I'd
probably pick that one."

She pointed to a door near the center of the
hallway, across which someone had written "ALL MEN
ARE APES" in indelible ink.

"We'd better take it easy," I said.
"Whatever device she used to turn everybody into
apes...."

"I don't think it was a device," Cynical Lass
said, knocking on the door. "I think I've finally
figured out what's going on."

"Go away," said a small, sad voice from behind
the door.

"Can't," Cynical Lass said. "It's the Legion
of Net.Heroes. We need to talk to you."

There was a long pause.

"It's not my fault," the voice said.

"Oh, obviously," I said.

Cynical Lass shushed me. "I'm coming in,"
she said, and opened the door.

The room was small and dark, a student rental,
with lots of wire mesh furniture and a photograph
on the wall of the man standing in front of the tank
in Tiananmen Square. On the floor was a portable
radio and a mattress and on the mattress was a
very scared looking girl, hugging her knees and
rocking back and forth.

"I didn't mean for it to happen," the girl
said. "I don't know how it happened."

"I know," Cynical Lass said. "You were having
an ordinary day. And then someone was mean to you.
Really mean. A boy. And you wanted to scream, but
you waited until you got home, all the way home, and
then you went to your room and threw open the window,
closed your eyes and yelled at the top of your lungs
that all men were apes. And when you opened your
eyes, they were."

The girl looked up at Cynical Lass. "How...?"

"How do I know what it was like?" Cynical Lass
asked. "Because that's what it was like when I got
my powers. That's what it's like for a lot of
people. You're not alone."

The girl sat up a little and brushed the hair
back from her face.

"They're going to throw me in jail," she said.

"Not necessarily," Cynical Lass said. "The
Legion can help you. I'm Cynical Lass. This is
Easily-Discovered Man Lite."

"Charmed, I'm sure," I said. I reached out
to shake her hand, which is how she received her
first glimpse of my T-shirt.

"CHOOTERS!" she yelled. "THAT PLACE WHERE THEY
MAKE THE WAITRESSES WEAR THOSE TINY LITTLE...I KNEW
IT! YOU'RE ALL THE SAME! YOU'RE NOT EVEN APES.
YOU'RE WORSE THAN APES! ALL OF YOU ARE..."

"Hey," said Substitute Lad, out of breath but
no longer a gorilla. "You guys going to put the
kibosh on the super-villain without me?"

"Careful, Sub," I said. "She's..."

"You," the girl said, looking at Substitute
Lad. "I know..."

And then the girl's eyes widened. Her head
tilted slightly to the left, and she began to
drool.

"What did you do to her?" Cynical Lass said,
looking at Substitute Lad.

"Super Apathy Lad's power," Substitute Lad
said. "Believe me, she won't care about turning
anyone into gorillas again. Or much of anything,
for that matter."

"Meh," the girl said.

"My God," Cynical Lass said. "I think you
lobotomized her."

"I had to concentrate the power, so that it
wouldn't affect you or Lite," Substitute Lad said,
as Cynical Lass snapped her fingers in front of
the girl. "You saw what she did. People were
really hurt out there. Lite's girlfriend
could have been killed."

"You're a bastard," Cynical Lass said, her
hands balling into fists. "A bastard!"

"Excuse me," said a youngish woman in a
police officer's uniform, entering the room with
another cop. She held up a badge. "I need to
talk with the three of you for a minute. I'm
detective Crumple. This is detective Cruller.
We're with Net.ropolis PD."

"That was fast," I said.

"We're not here about the ape thing," said
Detective Cruller, who was big without being fat
and had red hair and long rusty sideburns.
"We're here on a homicide case."

"Homicide?" said Cynical Lass.

"Whose?" asked Substitute Lad.

"Constance Schlubb," Detective Crumple said.
"Also known as The Waffle Queen. Found the body
about an hour ago."

TO BE CONTINUED...

-------------------------------------------------
NEXT ISSUE: Is Easily-Discovered Man's most
persistent foe really dead? Then who killed her?
And why? And did they leave teeny-tiny footprints
on her brain? Find out -- in an episode the new
Democratic majority has ruled we can call "Funeral
for an Enemy."

CHARACTERS: Easily-Discovered Man, Easily-
Discovered Man Lite, Cynical Lass, Substitute Lad,
Aurora Jones, Summer Meadows and the Waffle Queen
are (c) the author. Luke Jones is (c) Ben Rawluk.
Haiku Gorilla and Cookie Crumple are (c) Tom
Russell, Jr. We think Super Apathy Lad is (c) Jacob
Lesgold, but we can't be bothered to check. Lovell
Cruller is (c) Gary St. Lawrence. "Chooters"
created by Arthur Spitzer.
--------------------------------------------------
"You know, the bomb at the gate is more
harrowing in retrospect than the experience itself.
When things do happen, they seem to happen so fast
that there's little time to do anything but
realize 'I'm okay, now who can I shoot?' I suspect
the difference between one who can react
effectively and one who cannot rests largely in the
individual's ability to swiftly answer that
first question: am I okay? Those we call heroes
are frequently those who forget to ask the question
at all."
--American soldier returned from Iraq,
describing the experience of watching a car bomb
explode, as quoted by a poster on Newsarama
--------------------------------------------------

Tom Russell

unread,
Jan 21, 2007, 6:32:30 PM1/21/07
to
A review of this, and many other stories, will be forthcoming-- things
are getting kind of stressful, as I've lost my job as a result of
running for mayor, in an act that flagrantly disregards the
Constitution. (Little bitter about that.)

But I just wanted to take a moment to say--


> Plot: Script: Apes Month Concept:
> Rob Rogers Rob Rogers Tom Russell, Jr.

--that Apes Month was created both by myself and "Stylish" Saxon
Brenton. But thank you, thank you, thank you for participating. :- )

==Tom

Tarq

unread,
Jan 21, 2007, 8:13:19 PM1/21/07
to
Rob Rogers wrote:
> ---------------------------------------------------
> Doused with microwave radiation, Theodore Wong
> gained the ability to glow and be detected at great
> distances by anyone with a Geiger counter.
> Together with his sidekick Lite, his intern Cynical
> Lass, and fellow hero Substitute Lad, Wong wages a
> constant battle against the forces of corruption,
> chaos and common sense as the fabulous
> EASILY-DISCOVERED MAN.
> ---------------------------------------------------
And now seems like a perfectly acceptable time to point out that
Easily-Discovered Man was the first LNH story I ever read (first RACC
at all, actually), and I still get all giggly and fan-girly as soon as
I see a new one posted. Tee hee hee. How my masculinity abandons me.

> THE EASILY-DISCOVERED MAN PLOT SYNOPSIS
> (to the tune of the "Theme from Animaniacs")

...well hey, it worked.

> Rejections hurt. They hurt whether they're
> coming from the college of your choice, or from the
> magazine you've been reading since you were little,
> where you always dreamed about seeing your name
> (though you never told anyone) or from a person you
> happen to care about.
>
> They hurt a whole hell of a lot when they're
> coming from a very attractive woman who's slamming
> you into the walls of her parents' home with
> six-foot stainless steel arms.

That's a nice introduction, that is. I think it works well with the
whole first-person thing that the first thing you're aware of is Lite's
pain -- which is what he would be concerned about, not about where he
is or how he got there or whatever. All that's explained in time,
without shoving meaningless names and places in your face all at once.
Kudos.

> nice finger -- she'd clearly put a lot of time into
> painting the nail white with Liquid Paper -- but it

Haw haw. Apart from being an amusing aside, it helps to remind us of
the age of the characters, which is (I feel) an important element of
Lite's wise-cracking persona. A sixty-year-old wearing a Chooters shirt
wouldn't have quite the same effect, ya dig?

> "...but the fact is that superheroes have been
> as damaging, in the long run, to the human spirit as
> fascism or communism," she said, smoothing one long
> strand of her short blond hair back over her ear.

Now that instantly grabbed my attention: the idea that superheroism
could have a negative effect on humanity had not actually occurred to
me before, I believe. This made me think, even before the ensuing
explanation ensued, which I enjoy. It's a much more profound thought
than 'I wonder what Mr. Naughty's nefarious plan is?' or whatever.

> "Because we all wear uniforms, have silly
> titles, and tend to discourage the reading of
> literature?" I asked, worried about the direction
> the conversation was taking.

[increasing suspense due to still not knowing Aurora's reasoning]

> "Think about it," Aurora said. "All three
> movements became popular during the Depression, when
> people lost faith in government, in religion, and in
> their own ability to take care of themselves. All
> three depend on a 'good vs. evil' ideology, with the
> party in power defining who the villains are.
> Everything that's wrong with the world is the bad
> guys' fault, and only an elite corps of good guys has
> the ability to save the world from their evil plans."

Woah. Or 'whoa', as it is apparently meant to be spelt. Whatever. I had
seriously never looked at it from that angle. That does, however,
remind me of a conversation between Captain America and Maria Hill in
what I believe was the first issue of Civil War, something about Cap
being pissed that Washington will get to tell them who the villains
are, and Hill being all "I thought villains were people in spandex who
refused to obey the law" or whatever.

> Aurora leaned forward. "You went up against
> him," she said. "What makes you so special?"

I think you may have just single-handedly destroyed my faith in
superheroes. Good job!

> "Lite," Easily-Discovered Man's voice said,
> booming through the little gold "LNH" symbol pinned
> to my T-shirt. "Your presence is required
> immediately! Some nefarious force beyond
> comprehension is transforming the populace about
> Four Color Square into atavistic simians!"

This would be about the only bad point I have for this issue: Hasn't
the whole 'we turn you into gorillaz!' thing been done enough yet? =(

> Summer, I need to go. It's one of those 'people
> getting turned into gorillas' things again."

At least you recognize it yourself. =)

> throwing a hand around my shoulder. "Woman is a
> mystery no power can divine, a riddle even the
> keenest mind can scarcely fathom. Yea, even mine,"

Amen.

> "haiku gorilla
> lends me the power I need
> as leaves fall, I strike," he said, and leapt

I cannot deny that I was hoping that that would happen.

> "Constance Schlubb," Detective Crumple said.
> "Also known as The Waffle Queen. Found the body
> about an hour ago."

Dun dun dunnn!!

Alrighty! The saga of Easily-Discovered Man continues, with evermore
twists, thoughts, and monkeys, too! Keep 'em coming, Rob.

~Mitchell.

phipps...@hotmail.com

unread,
Jan 23, 2007, 11:48:16 PM1/23/07
to
Tom Russell wrote:
> A review of this, and many other stories, will be forthcoming-- things
> are getting kind of stressful, as I've lost my job as a result of
> running for mayor,

If it's any consolation, being able to prove that losing your job was a
direct result of running for mayor might help with the sympathy vote.
You'd be out of luck if your former employer came out and said you
weren't a good employee though: that would actually end up hurting you.

Martin

robro...@gmail.com

unread,
Jan 24, 2007, 7:28:50 PM1/24/07
to
On Jan 21, 5:13 pm, "Tarq" <mitchell_cro...@caladrius.com.au> wrote:
And now seems like a perfectly acceptable time to point out that
> Easily-Discovered Man was the first LNH story I ever read (first RACC
> at all, actually), and I still get all giggly and fan-girly as soon as
> I see a new one posted. Tee hee hee. How my masculinity abandons me.

Wow! If it turns out that I'm in any way responsible for encouraging
you to
write for the LNH, I may end up getting into heaven yet.

> That's a nice introduction, that is. I think it works well with the
> whole first-person thing that the first thing you're aware of is Lite's
> pain -- which is what he would be concerned about, not about where he
> is or how he got there or whatever. All that's explained in time,
> without shoving meaningless names and places in your face all at once.
> Kudos.

Thank you. Although I'm not above shoving meaningless names and places
in people's faces. It comes with being a journalist.

> Apart from being an amusing aside, it helps to remind us of
> the age of the characters, which is (I feel) an important element of
> Lite's wise-cracking persona. A sixty-year-old wearing a Chooters shirt
> wouldn't have quite the same effect, ya dig?

I'm always struggling with the age issue. If I'd allowed Lite to age
chronologically, he'd now be... let's see... around 29. It's somewhat
sad to be a 29-year-old sidekick, unless you're Ed McMahon. I
decided that Lite only ages when I post, which means that he
could be in his teens well into the next century.

> Woah. Or 'whoa', as it is apparently meant to be spelt. Whatever. I had
> seriously never looked at it from that angle. That does, however,
> remind me of a conversation between Captain America and Maria Hill in
> what I believe was the first issue of Civil War, something about Cap
> being pissed that Washington will get to tell them who the villains
> are, and Hill being all "I thought villains were people in spandex who
> refused to obey the law" or whatever.

I had great hopes for "Civil War" -- I thought that Marvel might
actually be
willing to question the whole concept of super-herodom, in the way that
The Authority used to. And then they had to go and make Iron Man a
mustache-twirling villain, so that the audience knows with whom to
identify. I've been told this is a topic that "Miracleman" addresses
well, and I'm currently seeking out old issues.

> I think you may have just single-handedly destroyed my faith in
> superheroes. Good job!

I hope not. [Rob drags out soapbox, climbs aboard].
My favorite super-hero stories are the ones that suggest
that heroes are here to inspire us, to show us that it's
still possible for one person to make a difference.
Think of the earliest comics -- Superman taking on
mobsters and corrupt officials, Captain America socking
Hitler in the jaw. They arrived at a time when ordinary
people were being asked to do their part to fight evil.

I loved hearing my grandfather's stories about serving
as a bomber pilot in World War II -- but I also like
hearing my grandmother's stories about taking part
in scrap metal drives, painting her headlights black
to hide them from airplanes, scanning the horizon
for submarines. I'm sure it was a scary time to
be alive, but it was also a time when the average
person could feel as though he or she was doing
something important for the country, and for
the world.

I had the opportunity, once, to ride in the same
kind of bomber my grandfather once flew
(there's only one of them left in the world that
still flies). It was an incredible experience, and
it made me wonder if, given the same kind of
world crisis, I'd be able to step up and make
the same kind of sacrifices he did.

That was on Sept. 9, 2001.

Two days later, I found myself thinking the same
thing as a lot of other people -- that something
terrible had happened, that the whole world
was probably going to be involved, and that I
desperately wanted to do something to help.

Instead, my country was told that the best thing
we could do to fight global terrorism was to shop.
"Don't worry about it," the government said.
"We're taking care of the problem. But we're
doing it in secret. We can't tell you who we're
fighting, or what they've done, or where they
are, or what they've planned, or where we're
going to send them if we catch them. You
just have to trust us. Oh, and we might have
to listen in on your phone conversations and
poke through your library records, too. Hope
you don't mind."

In my opinion, good governments -- like good
heroes -- don't try to solve our problems for us.
They inspire us to action. They ask us to make
sacrifices. And even when it's clear that we
don't have the powers and resources they have,
they find ways in which we can participate.

[Rob climbs down from soapbox].

This would be about the only bad point I have for this issue: Hasn't
> the whole 'we turn you into gorillaz!' thing been done enough yet? =(

You know, at the time, I thought, "Well, of course it's been done
before. The point is to come up with an interesting reason why
they've been turned into gorillas."

Looking back on it now, though, making them into zombie gorillas
would have been a lot funnier...

> > "haiku gorilla
> > lends me the power I need
> > as leaves fall, I strike," he said, and leapt

>I cannot deny that I was hoping that that would happen.

Until you've tried to write the character, it's hard to
appreciate just how good a job Tom does with his
Haiku Gorilla stories.

> Alrighty! The saga of Easily-Discovered Man continues, with evermore
> twists, thoughts, and monkeys, too! Keep 'em coming, Rob.
>
> ~Mitchell.

Thanks, Mitchell! It's comments like yours that make it
worthwhile. That, and being able to find a context for
using the phrase "zombie gorilla."

--Rob Rogers
--Easily-Discovered Man Lite of the LNH

Tom Russell

unread,
Jan 26, 2007, 12:29:23 AM1/26/07
to
Mitchell:

> > I think you may have just single-handedly destroyed my faith in
> > superheroes. Good job!

Rob:


> I hope not. [Rob drags out soapbox, climbs aboard].
> My favorite super-hero stories are the ones that suggest
> that heroes are here to inspire us, to show us that it's
> still possible for one person to make a difference.

Ah, if I had seen Rob's post, I probably wouldn't have mentioned the
whole inspirational thing in my review. At the same time, the whole my
thoughts on Rob's thoughts on the genre thing was the review. So there
you go.

And I want to say that I, for one, found your soapbox to be very
compelling. Of course, I share many of those opinions also, but you
expressed them with such simplicity and force that I feel it should be
commended.

>Until you've tried to write the character, it's hard to
> appreciate just how good a job Tom does with his
> Haiku Gorilla stories.

Thank you very kindly, Rob.

==Tom

Tom Russell

unread,
Jan 26, 2007, 12:23:42 AM1/26/07
to
Mitchell Crouch said:

>I think you may have just single-handedly destroyed my faith in
> superheroes. Good job!

Noooooooooooooo!

Ahem. It is time for a Tom Russell intervention. And review. All
mixed into one.

The thing that's great about Easily-Discovered Man (okay, one of many
things) is that while it works as surface entertainment, and is, in
general, incredibly funny, it also works on a deeper level, as a
bildungsroman.

Now, some of you are saying, Tom, bildungsroman is just a fancy word
for "Coming of Age" story, so why don't you just say coming of age
story? Wouldn't that be simpler? And, yes, if I just said Coming of
Age, I wouldn't have had to search to find out how to spell
bildungsroman.

But bildungsroman doesn't _exactly_ mean coming of age story. It
means, a novel of education. And while the two are intertwined and
more-or-less inseperable, it's a distinction I want to make because I
feel that "Easily-Discovered Man" as a whole, and particulary this
recent arc, concentrate on Hector's _education_, on an influx of new
ideas that challenge his preconcieved notions.

This is certainly the case in this issue. Not only do we get the
"superheroes-as-fascists" analogy that has shattered young, innocent
Mitchell's faith in the noblest and greatest genre ever concieved, but
we also get Lite's challenge to EDM-- that he shouldn't make life
decisions based on what he read in comic books-- and we get tangible
evidence of the fascists analogy when Substitute Lad practically
lobotimizes the young woman responsible for all these ape shenanigans.

These ideas are challenging to Lite, and cause him to rethink his
life's path-- which is the major crux of this arc, I think. But I
don't think this is a case of Rob Rogers becoming cynical about the
genre, which at its heart is not descriptive of humanity but
proscriptive: a genre and character type that inspires.

I think his general thesis might be somewhere along the lines of,
superheroes are only people, and therefore they can be fallible. I
don't think Rob is exchanging one moral simplicity (optimism, and I
don't think there's anything wrong with that, either) for another
(cynicism, which I disagree with strongly): I think he's taking us into
the territory of moral complexity. With jokes.

And what could be better? :- )

==Tom

Arthur Spitzer

unread,
Jan 27, 2007, 8:02:23 PM1/27/07
to
robro...@gmail.com wrote:

As always a good issue...

> "Constance Schlubb," Detective Crumple said.
> "Also known as The Waffle Queen. Found the body
> about an hour ago."

But the Waffle Queen dead?

I just hope that Plummet doesn't have the same fate.


>
> TO BE CONTINUED...
>
> -------------------------------------------------
> NEXT ISSUE: Is Easily-Discovered Man's most
> persistent foe really dead? Then who killed her?
> And why? And did they leave teeny-tiny footprints
> on her brain? Find out -- in an episode the new
> Democratic majority has ruled we can call "Funeral
> for an Enemy."

Hmmm... what villain *Might* possible have tiny feet?

*Might* such a villain perhaps have a name that rhymes with
Easily-Discovered Man Lite?

*Might* such a villain live in a box of tasty Easily-Discovered Bran Flakes?

*Might* such a villain have his own very tiny Chooters T-shirt?

Who *Might* this villain be?

Arthur "The Red Herring?" Spitzer

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