Too Many Long Boxes!

End of Summer

Feeb-Off Writing Challenge


Well, not quite as many entries as last time, but not a bad turn-out either. It seems that some of our contributors really do have soft spots in their hearts for some half-forgotten DC character or other, and the affection each entry shows for its "feeb" is obvious. Whether or not they won, each of these entries stands as one of its star's finest hours.

Most of the authors did expert jobs at introducing their subjects for readers who don't know anything about them, so these stories are a good way for you to introduce yourself to some of the DC Universe's lesser lights with whom you might be unfamiliar.

And without further ado, here are the entries, in alphabetical order:

The Case Of The Disappearing Heiress

By Syl Francis

Syl does an excellent job at creating a "voice" for her first person protagonist, Jason Bard, as a hardboiled private eye. She explains who he is and touches upon his continuity (such as an apparent liaison with Barbara Gordon) but doesn't let her story become bogged down in it. This is a well-plotted mystery with several good action sequences, and it more than demonstrates that Jason's got plenty of good stories left in him.

Unusually for Syl, there were numerous typos in this story, such as misused and missing commas, missing words and words where they didn't belong, etc. (This is apart from the deliberate idiosyncrasies of Bard's narration.)

Glass And Shadows

By Mathew D. Rhys

The first of Mathew's two entries focuses on Geist, and it sums up his origin, career in the comics, and life since his last appearance in a coherent and interesting way. The bitterness he feels is nicely described, and his disagreement with another hero, Argus, is well-portrayed, with both sides being shown sympathetically and the conflict having all the more force because they are both well-meaning people caught up in an unfortunate situation.

A Mite's Tale

By Eric Lindberg

This story is the only really humourous entry, and it's got quite a few funny lines that make it successful in that regard. You'll probably find something to chuckle at, whether it's Bat-Mite's goofiness or Batman having to deal with him. That contrast, between the light-hearted Mite and the Silver Age he remembers on the one hand and the current Bat-universe on the other, is what this story is about, and it really does show how much things have changed. The choice of Mr. Zsasz for the villain helped with that, and gave the story some action to balance the comedy. Also, there's a good explanation of who the Bat-Mite is and his previous appearances.

Unfortunately, the contest rules specifically forbade using characters who were intentionally created to be goofy and not taken seriously. The story wasn't eliminated on this ground, but it was penalized.

One Life In Gotham City

By Mathew D. Rhys

Mathew does a good job in making the reader understand why Joe Public became a hero, and various viewpoints are used to show several different facets of the man. There is also interesting use of the major events of the Batman titles, with Mathew showing how they effected Joe in a manner that adds to those stories in a worthwhile manner while remaining true to Joe Public.

There were numerous grammatical problems in the original submission (they were cleaned up before publication). The story also lacks focus, as it jumps around in time and place without really connecting events.

The Return Of Genius Jones

By Gerald Wilson

Gerald must have found the most obscure feeb of them all! Genius Jones apparently hasn't appeared in anything since the Golden Age. Unfortunately, the story doesn't tell the reader much about him; it omits any description of his motivation, abilities, appearance, origin, etc. The plot also contains several other things that aren't well-explained: why the Icicle is battling him, or why he wasn't found for fifty years, or even how he could be an admirer of Superman when he had been frozen since before Clark was born.

The Wandering Ruin

By Murmur The Fallen

Captain Comet has slipped in and out of obscurity numerous times in the decades since his creation, and Murmur revives him once more with an interesting premise. He posits that Captain Comet could become a cosmic trouble-shooter, stopping menaces from the past; this could certainly lead to an interesting revived career for Adam Blake, which is nicely in line with the contest's premise. The story also nicely sums up Comet's origin and abilities, and gives the reader a sense of his desire to explore the unknown.

On the other hand, this story doesn't really have much plot; Captain Comet tours a dead world and then the Glimmer delivers some exposition. Also, there were a fair number of run-on sentences.

Whatever Happened To Mind-Grabber Kid?

By Harvey Kent

Harvey's choice is probably the second most obscure feeb; Mind-Grabber Kid was the villain in one issue of the Silver Age Justice League of America and then had one guest shot in Primal Force (this story contradicts that appearance, but no points were deducted, because we don't expect our contributors to have read everything DC has ever published). This story sums up the JLoA appearance and shows us how it has effected MGK and where life has taken him since. It also provides a nice adventure that shows what a character with his apparently-unimpressive abilities could have accomplished.

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for...

The winner of the Fanzing Feeb-Off Challenge is...

The Case Of The Disappearing Heiress

By Syl Francis

Syl's story overcame its lack of proof-reading with its strong characterization, its complex and engaging plot, and its film noir atmosphere. This entry, more than any other on the list, managed to take a character from obscurity and make it seem absurd that he had ever been there. If anyone needs proof that Jason Bard is a character with the potential for great stories, this is it.

And an honourable mention to:

Glass And Shadows

By Mathew D. Rhys

It's easy to make fun of the New Bloods, because most of their debuts sucked, but Mathew proved that there are no bad characters, just ones who haven't found their writers. The only reason he didn't win was that his story is about two thirds over before the plot gets moving.

Congratulations to Syl and Mathew, and thanks to everyone who entered.

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