by Nicolas Juzda
When I read Michael's request for humorous fanfics for his April Fool's Day issue, my first response was to ask him why the #&^% he didn't think to tell me to hold off on my Inferior Five story for a few months. I mean, how much sillier does he think I get than that?
So, having used up the funniest idea I could think up already, I was fresh out of things to contribute. But then I thought, hey, this is a perfect opportunity to pull out of mothballs all my Fanzing stories that had been rejected. I figure I can con Michael and David into believing that they're actually "ironic" and thus funny.
Yes, though you've only recently begun to see my work in Fanzing, I've actually been attempting to contribute for years. Here's my first attempt to get into Fanzing, an entry in the "Reclamation Challenge", in its entirety:
James Robinson Left A Loophole
by Nicolas Juzda
"Hey, firestorm," said Flash.
"Yeah, Wally," firestorm replied.
"Too bad about you being with the JLE when they all got killed."
"Yeah. One minute I'm listening to Crimson fox going on about our glorious future in that funny French accent of hers, the next she's a charred corpse."
"Wait a second, roy. Are you sure Crimson Fox had a french accent?"
"Yes." firestorm nodded. "positive. Why? didn't she always?"
"The crimson Fox was actually originally twin sisters. the one with the french accent was already long dead. The surviving fox had no accent."
"Then the crimson fox who the mist killed... was an imposter!"
"And the real Crimson Fox is still alive out there... somewhere."
Unfortunately, it turns out that this story, due to its lack of plot, characterization, passable dialogue, regular capitalization, or really anything more than a nitpicky glee at finding a minor continuity error that could be exploited, fell under the jurisdiction of the dreaded "It Must Not Suck" clause. This was a harsh lesson, but a worthwhile one, and from then on I shifted my focus to producing non-sucking work. The improvement in my writing was remarkable.
My second attempt was during the "Team-Up" Challenge. Though the work was well received, this was during the Fox Network crack-down on their licensed properties being used for fan websites. So, not wishing to bring the wrath of Fox's lawyers down upon this fine site, I suggested that the story not be run. Since those concerns are still valid, I will only present a brief excerpt from The Truth Is Btz Kglrd, and have concealed the names of Fox owned characters:
"Don't you see, Sc*ll*? These babies are communicating, relaying information that we will never understand so long as we close ourselves to the possibility that even the youngest among is us capable not simply of producing sounds but meaning, perhaps a truer meaning than any adult is capable of. If we insist upon only noting speech that is quantifiable and classifiable, falling into our own narrow understanding of what constitutes grammar and syntax, we leave ourselves at the mercy of an uprising by the babies that will kill us all in our sleep. It's the babies, I tell you, the babies! Every single person currently employed by the government was a baby once, Sc*ll*! That can't be a coincidence. It's a conspiracy. And tell me, Sc*ll*, aren't babies really just grey aliens, except not grey? Big heads, bald... it all fits. Trust no one under thirty months, Sc*ll*!"
"M*ld*r, take your medication."
"Gee, Doll-boy, that guy sure looks upset."
"I wonder why, Sugar. That lady is giving him lots of candy."
"Maybe he's getting a stomach ache, Doll-boy."
After that, I finally succeeded in getting a submission published with Belief, part of the Arkham Asylum Vacation Challenge. But my follow-up story The JLA Versus A Really Big Threat, an attempt at capturing the exciting feel of the then still current Morrison JLA, was not so lucky. Note the absence of Batman, by the way, a necessary condition of that contest. For space reasons, I present only the opening section of the story:
The JLA Versus A Really Big Threat
By Nicolas Juzda
The intruder alert of the Watchtower rang out suddenly, startling the members of the JLA into instant alertness. J'Onn J'Onzz, Superman, the Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman and Wonder Woman were in motion without a second's pause, moving into action as if they were the foremost fighting force on the planet, which indeed they were. They were the Justice League.
"If only Batman was here," Superman moaned. "What are we going to do without him? I mean, what good are three super-strong invulnerable flying people, two telepaths, a shapeshifter, four super-speedsters, a guy who can create anything he can imagine out of thin air, and a... uh... guy who swims really really well? Face it gang, we're all just dead weight."
"Buck up, Superman," Wonder Woman scolded. "Sure, all of us except Batman seem to have the I.Q. of snails when we work in the JLA, but we'll still beat whatever the threat is. We're the Justice League, Superman, and we're the best there is at what we do and what we do is save the world."
"You're right, Diana. Okay, troops, let's get to work like the well-oiled unstoppable pro-active team we are. J'Onn, can you get a reading on the intruder's mind?"
"I'm trying. It's confusing. I... Moons of Mars! Such power! I'm sensing that he knows himself to be omnipotent. According to the information I'm scanning from his mind, he's immortal, invulnerable, unbeatable. We are quite literally facing a god."
"Kyle! What does your ring detect?" Superman barked.
"I'm scanning... that's funny. It just reads an ordinary human."
"This is worse than I thought," Superman said. "If he can shield his power levels from your ring, then he truly must be godlike. The Oans made that thing right, and to deceive it he'd have to have a power level that dwarfed the Guardians'. The scale of the threat to Earth we're facing is huge. Okay, team, get into positions. This is the sort of menace we formed the JLA to fight, and by God we're going to fight it. We're the Justice League!"
"What's the plan?" the Flash asked.
"J'Onn! Telepathic link on! Everyone get ready to blast whatever comes through that door! Wally, lend us your speed; we'll need it to get the drop on whatever we're facing. Arthur, link your telepathy with J'onn's for a mental assault! Kyle, you hit from the right, Diana take left, I'll hit from the front. Let's go, people!"
Suddenly, the door opened, and as the team sprung into action, no one heard Diana say, "Wait! I just faced this loser. He's only Maxie Zeus!"
The story continued from there, with the JLA emerging triumphant.
I received this reply from Fanzing Fiction Editor David R. Black:
Your story is well written. However, I am sick to death of all these Maxie Zeus stories. Last month we ran THREE of them. Sure, Belief, Mere Mortals as Victims of History and Mr. Zeus Goes To Washington were all good stories, but this is FANzing, not ZEUSzing. We need more variety. Why can't you people write about one of the other delusional madmen who think they're gods that populate the DC Universe, already? Because if I read one more goddam Maxie Zeus story, I swear I'm going to hurt someone. I'll do it, too. Don't think I won't.
Why don't you try submitting a Nightwing piece instead? Maybe something where he talks with Barbara Gordon about their relationship.
David R. Black
Well, I was up to David's challenge. So within days I had turned in Two Vigilantes, a Wheelchair, and a Pizza Place. Here's an excerpt from the middle of the story:
Dick glanced shyly at Babs. Oh Barbara, he thought, if only I had the courage to tell you how much I love you, how much I've always loved you. Ever since we were pre-adolescent kids (and there's nothing creepy about that, dammit, no matter what that shrink says), I've known that you were the only one for me, and Lori, Bette, Kory, Helena, Mirage, Clancy, Donna, Victor, none of them meant anything because in my heart there was only you, and I'll never let anything hurt you and I know that I kinda screwed up with regard to that since you did get crippled and all but I feel really bad about that and I'll never let anything ELSE hurt you and I love you even if you can't ever walk or play hopscotch.
Babs sensed Dick looking at her. What are you thinking? she wondered. Is it about Bruce? You two have such a complex father-son relationship, but you never talk about it, because it's a complex relationship wherein he made you wear a costume with no pants up until your late teens and that's gotta have screwed you up inside, plus he doesn't express his feelings about how proud he is of you, and I know you're hurt that he doesn't call you "chum" much anymore, but I'm here for you, Dick, and if I wasn't confined to this chair, I'd help you heal your wounds over Bruce, and Kory, who I know you hurt over for a long time because you had so much in common, even though she was an alien warrior princess, because you could both walk and that gave you a bond I can't ever have with you and so I'll stay silent.
They stared at each other across the table in silence for a moment more, each lost in thought.
"Hey, Babs, wanna go back to your place and #&^%?" Dick asked at last.
"Yeah, baby, yeah!" Babs replied.
Unfortunately, it turned out you couldn't use the phrase pound sign-ampersand-accent circumflex-percentage sign in a family website like Fanzing. They suggested I change it to four asterisks, but I felt that would ruin the integrity of the work. Fortunately, Michael has since relaxed his restrictions in this area.
Finally, no tour of my Fanzing rejections would be complete without mention being made of Decisions, my thirty nine part saga where Jonni Thunder A.K.A. Thunderbolt visits a parallel world where no writer had ever had anything in her life go wrong. How would she have lived her life differently if the Thunderbolt hadn't turned out to be an independently sentient evil creature, if Skyman hadn't been killed, and if Mr. Potter hadn't seized total control of Bedford Falls? But I'm still hoping that, with some minor revisions, it will one day be published, so I'll avoid spoiling further details.
I hope you've enjoyed this tour of my rejected work, and that it's given you all further appreciation for the editors of Fanzing, who work hard to ensure that lesser efforts such as these don't get into Fanzing and only the highest quality fanfics, be they about Nightwing or Dick Grayson or even the first Robin, reach you.
All characters are DC Comics
This piece is © 2001 by Nicolas Juzda.
Fanzing is not associated with DC Comics.
All DC Comics characters, trademarks and images (where used) are DC Comics, Inc.
DC characters are used here in fan art and fiction in accordance with their generous "fair use" policies.
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