tap tap tap
This thing on?
If you find this recording, don’t feel bad about this. Part of the journey is the end.
Just for the record, being adrift in cyberspace with zero promise of rescue is more fun than it sounds.
Free time ran out five years ago. Partner started his own thing two years ago. Sparkling cider’ll run out tomorrow morning. That’ll be it.
When I drift off. I will dream about you. It’s always you.
Stubbazubba lies in a half-conscious state, staring at the porthole into the various webpages projected across the horizon beyond his dying ship…
His eyes close, and his lips mouth the word “Rosebu–“
He startles back to consciousness. Outside the ship he sees Spider-Man (Peter B. Parker), Spider-Man (Miles Morales), Spider-Gwen, Spider-Man Noir, the SP//dr suit piloted by Peni Parker, and Spider-Ham all looking through the porthole at him.
“Man, he looks terrible,” says Miles.
“I know terrible,” adds Peter B. Parker, “this is just pathetic. Did he really just rickroll his entire follower-base for his first post in almost five years?”
“We should leave the poltroon here in his ice box,” sneers Spider-Man Noir.
“I don’t know what that means,” says Spider-Ham, “but I agree with it.”
“Whu–where did you all come from?” Stubbazubba asks, disoriented. “Did, did Film Crit Hulk send you?”
“Um, no,” says Spider-Gwen, arms crossed. “Pretty sure he has bigger things to worry about.”
“I picked up your distress signal,” Peni says with a smile.
“And I convinced them there would be something worth saving here,” says Miles.
“Yeah, I think I won that bet, you owe me $20,” says Peter.
“Not so fast,” Miles replies. “Look, we’ve all been pinned down at the bottom of a hulking rubble pile that no one–even you–thinks you’ll ever get out of. Ending up there doesn’t make any of us, or anyone else, a failure.”
Gwen cracks a smile at Miles. Peter rolls his eyes and looks away.
“Languishing for five years without a post?” says Noir, “That’s not a mountain of rubble from a confrontation with evil, that’s just a milksop giving up the fight.”
“Well, which is it?” Gwen asks. “You’re down, you’re on the verge of giving up. But can you get back up again?”
“No matter how embarrassing showing your face around here might be?” Spider-Ham adds, wiggling his snout.
“I… I don’t know that I have what it takes to keep this up. I mean, this space–superhero movies, Dungeons & Dragons, a nerd podcast–it’s all so saturated these days. I’m not Matt Colville, Hello Future Me, or Lindsay Ellis. I’m not even Dael Kingsmill. There’s a whole subreddit for amateur movie rewrites. I don’t have a gimmick, a niche, or an insider perspective. How could I possibly be interesting? I’m just…some random guy.”
“No, you’re not him, either,” says Peter.
Miles shoots Peter a glance, then turns back to Stubbazubba. “If you think you need to be special to belong here, to have a voice, you haven’t noticed who you’re talking to yet.”
Peter raises an eyebrow. “A bunch of closet geniuses who are also radioactive spider people gifted with superhuman strength, agility, the ability to climb walls, and PTSD that manifests as a guilt complex?”
Spider-Ham puts his hands on his hips, “And one genius, radioactive, gifted, traumatized spider pig, thank you very much!”
“No, no,” Miles shakes his head, “I mean them,” he gestures to the audience out in cyberspace, “the readers. They’re hungry for quality, not gimmicks. You have that inside you. It’s a little unpolished, but you’ve got…a spark. Y’know what I’m saying?”
“I…I think I do.”
“All those people, and much bigger personalities–I’m talking Matthew Mercer, Marques Brownlee, Hank Green, you name it–started out as just another nobody having fun and sharing it with the world. Anyone can do that. And if you stay in it long enough, be consistent, take the good feedback, roll with the punches, and keep quipping, you can be a friendly, neighborhood internet personality, too.”
Stubbazubba stands and locks eyes with Miles. “You’re right. I can do this. I have everything I need, even without a gimmick or a following. I’m gonna get there, one step at a time. No matter what’s come before. Thanks, Spider-Man.”
“Don’t mention it, man.” He pulls his mask over his face, and the others follow suit. “See you in the feeds!” He shoots a web into the distance and leaps away with a wave goodbye.
Gwen eyes Stubbazubba. “You’re his project, now. Don’t you disappoint him.” She turns and shoots a web, then turns back. “Good luck,” and she leaps after Miles.
Peter grasps Stubbazubba’s shoulder. “You’re right about one thing: just ’cause you messed stuff up before is no reason to put off doing the right thing now. Remember that.” He turns and follows the other two. “Hey, Miles, you know I was joking about that bet, right? Miles?”
Spider-Ham extends a hand, which Stubbazubba shakes. “Hey, I’m trying out a new tagline, tell me what you think: Excelsior!” he exclaims as he swings away. “Pretty great, huh?”
“One of the best!”
Spider-Man Noir looks to the left and right, then back at Stubbazubba. He whispers, “I thought, y’know, the thing? It was hilarious.” He turns and leaps after the others, humming to Rick Astley.
Alone, Stubbazubba smiles. Then he realizes something. “Uh, guys? I’m still stran–“
“Power’s back!” Peni and SP//dr pop out from around the other side of the craft. “Pretty easy fix, really.” The craft hums back to life.
“Um, wow. Didn’t see that coming. Thanks!”
“Ha ha, it was nothing! Gambaru!” Peni and the bot swing away, as well.
Stubbazubba closes his eyes and focuses for a moment. He opens them and walks back to the center of the craft, sits at a roll-y chair in front of a large computer screen, and taps the keyboard, bringing the monitor to life.
Let’s try this again.
Enough navel gazing: long time no see. Ready to pick it up again?
I’m finally in a place where I can devote a bit of time to writing again, and boy, have I got stuff to write. More movie fixes, D&D house rules, musing on game design, and a campaign diary that follows the exploits of a small-time adventuring party trying to make it in a big city DM’ed by yours truly. Besides that, I’ll be walking you through the D&D world that Cham and I have made for…well, it turns out for like a decade at this point. There’s a lot going on there, and we’re both quite proud of it. Last, but not least, I will be posting some fiction that takes place in that world or others.
All that being said, I don’t want to set expectations overly high, and I don’t want to burn myself out. So the schedule will be, at least for now: monthly posts, aiming for the last weekend in a given month. We’ll see how that goes for a quarter, and then see about going biweekly. Hopefully, as I get better at it and have multiple projects/series to work on (so I’m not just waiting for random inspiration), post volume will increase. As we roll into Q3/Q4 I might even start looking at making videos (one obvious difference between myself and most of my influences linked above).
I hope you enjoyed this little interlude. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is excellent, by the way. Not perfect, mind you, but certainly on par with many of the best super hero movies of the last several years. No spoilers for now, but that one’s going in the queue.
For those of you subscribed, I hope you’ll stick around for the new content starting in a couple weeks. For those of you just finding this, there’s a backlog of stuff I wouldn’t entirely disown even though it’s at least five years old. Both more of that and new things are coming, so go ahead and subscribe if you’d be interested in seeing it when it arrives. Or don’t, you’re pretty sharp, you don’t need anyone to tell you how this works.
Now I need a tagline. JARVIS, put that in the queue, too.
Now, how do I turn this thing–ah, here it is.
Power down sound.