Reds fanfic

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by E. Burke, Jan 17, 2015.

  1. Redshank Galloglass Literally Alasdair Mac Colla Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2016
    Location:
    Lost Wages
    These quotes are from @traveller76. All credit goes to him.

    From a British Member of Parliament (1944)
    "The Americans are over sexed, over paid and over here!"

    "The American military officers are professionals and most of the enlisted ranks have good training and initiative. Officers are expected to lead and work with non-commissioned ranks and so there is less class division. If there is only one distinction it is between veterans/experienced soldiers and non-experienced."
    Report from Union military intelligence (1945)

    "The American Marines are as fanatical and tough as some of the religious fundamentalists. The fundies would rather surrender to us than the Americans, especially the Amazons."
    French officer, anonymous, East African War
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017
  2. Aelita In ur means of production...

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Location:
    Earth, to my misfortune
    I'm posting this here and not int he main thread because it's mostly about popular culture in the UASR, and was mostly done for fun. It should be treated as mostly canon, though telescoping this far into the future may result in some discontinuity later.

    This of course makes us ask can one write fanfic of something they "own". I think the answer is yes.

    I should note that I'm not a huge fan of Archie comics by any means. I've read a few here and there, and absorbed a lot of the rest by osmosis. This was mostly a result of my own fascination with how the series could endure for three quarters of a century, and I decided to use it as a sort of mirror to culture in the Reds! universe. So I've done my homework, but this isn't intended to be an accurate recreation of OTL Archie by any means. I've taken the basic premise and gone off in my own direction based on the fictional history of the UASR.

    Cultural Trends in the UASR as Witnessed by Archie Comics


    Though the original parent cooperative, the MLJ Collective, had been publishing comics for nearly two years before hand, the December 1941 introduction of the characters Archibald “Archie” Andrews, Elizabeth “Betty” Kubisz(1), and Forsythe “Jughead” Pendleton Jones III would prove to be the watershed moment for the young cooperative.

    Along with Veronica Del Valle(2), introduced four months later, the Riverdale gang would quickly become the cooperative’s flagship title, and lend the main character’s name to the company. Archie Comics has been publishing continuously for over 75 years, a long history filled with multiple imprints, numerous reboots, retcons, what-ifs, etc.

    Aside from the cast of characters and their basic personalities, there have been few constants in the entire run of Archie Comics. Its continuous self-reinvention has proven the secret to its enduring success. The basic premise follows the life of everyman Archie Andrews’ life in Riverdale Polytechnic school, and his relationships with friends and family. His laid-back best friend, Jughead Jones, is his constant companion. Betty and Veronica are romantic rivals, both seeking to win the often-oblivious Archie’s affections.

    1940s

    The earliest comics established the basic premise, and there are few obvious early installment bugs that would seem bizarre to readers in later eras. Riverdale is a generic suburb of an unnamed city that is portrayed as an amalgam of many major cities. Archie is the only child of Fred and Mary Andrews. His father is a chemist, and his mother works as a freelance writer.

    In his debut comic, Archie tries (and fails) to impress his tomboyish next door neighbor, Betty Kubisz, who initially considers him annoying. Betty is the youngest daughter of Hal and Alice Kubisz. Hal is an ambiguously Jewish army officer, and Alice is a cook at a factory canteen. Around the time Betty starts to get sweet on Archie, Veronica moves to the neighborhood. Veronica is the only child of Hiram and Hermione Del Valle. The Del Valles were a clan of affluent pre-revolution lawyers turned nomenklatura supporters of the new regime. Veronica is somewhat vain and conceited, and her family exhibit a comical form of a lot of old bourgeois affectations.

    In the first two years of the run, the ongoing Second World War was never mentioned. The comics existed in looptime, eternally on the eve of war. The backdrop was a time of hope and occasional danger. In 1943, the comics became slightly more somber, the tone beginning to approach dramedy, as the looming war was first referenced in comics. Some plotlines, commissioned by the government’s public relations programs, used preparedness measures as a dramatic or comedic backdrop. A memorable story line occurred on a Pioneer League field trip. Archie’s enrolling in the youth group prompts both Betty and Veronica to join to get close to him. The co-ed trip is filled with hijinks, including some boundary pushing references to teenage sexuality. The paramilitary nature of the early Pioneer League, and the blatantly militaristic maneuvers that the Riverdale crew participate in are somewhat shocking to modern viewers, but uncontroversial in its era.

    The looming prospect of conscription increased dramatic tension for the rest of the war years. Though the writers occasionally debated taking the characters in that direction, it was ultimately decided to keep Archie in the loop time of a perpetual polytechnic. This scenario would be explored decades later in the elseworld comic line G.I. Archie.

    Following demobilization, Archie Comics adopted a more light-hearted tone. The editorial line became one of avoiding any heavy or controversial real world topics. Archie’s political content was reduced to the standard genuflections typical of contemporary society, invisible to Americans but highly charged in foreign markets.

    The comic had become popular in Great Britain, France, and Canada, as well as Mexico and the Soviet Union during the war. Changing global political situations in the late 1940s resulted in official censorship and commonly, the withdrawal from many newsstands.

    Archie Comics received its first adaptation in 1946, a radio program carried by the cooperative Mutual Broadcasting System until 1955. The program was typical of the era; the characters were voiced by twenty-something professional actors. Everyone spoke in immaculate Transatlantic accents, the kind that was standard among all professional politicians, news broadcasters, film reels, movies, and used a homogenizing cultural force in the military and polytechnics across the country.(3)

    1950s

    The 50s were an era of slow metamorphosis in Archie Comics. The brand expanded from comic books to a daily newspaper strip in 1951, which would be syndicated in newspapers across the country for decades to come. The main monthly comic and the newspaper strip would exist in a loosely shared continuity throughout the decade. Fan lore explaining the various inconsistencies is dense almost to the point of incomprehensible.

    Two monthly comic spin-offs would also launch, Archie’s Pal Jughead, and Archie’s Girls Betty and Veronica. All three comics were under the tight editorial control of the Archie Comics Central Committee, which planned out story arcs with writers and worked to prevent discontinuity.

    The Jughead series put the series darkhorse Jughead in the spotlight. It was a slightly more mature series, aimed at college aged youths as well as polytechniks(4). Jughead’s quirkiness evolves into the quintessential beatnik persona, and much of the story and comedy are driven by Jughead’s existentialist musings on life.

    Betty and Veronica focused on the two’s frenemy relationship. The love triangle with Archie was put more in focus, but the two competing versions of femininity also strived against one another in sports, school, part-time jobs.

    Betty and Veronica’s relationship became less venomous in the 50s. No longer irascible foes for Archie’s attention, the two enjoyed a somewhat affable relationship as worthy rivals. Common plots included devil’s pacts to defeat a third-party interloper, good natured sabotage of one another, and direct competition in sports and scholastics. One of the pair would take up a new sport/hobby etc., and thereby compel the other to join in as well to test themselves against one another.

    Evolving standards of decency changed the tone of the comics significantly. By the end of the 50s, the series had inched towards a more realistic portrayal of teenage relationships. Archie dated both Betty and Veronica in plot lines in the late 50s. Certain comics caused controversy by depicting “necking”, the portrayal of teenage party games like “spin the bottle,” or the use of joking references to sex acts. The most famous incident, immortalized by references in other media, occurred in a January 1959 issue of Archie. Archie had inadvertently agreed to a date with both Betty and Veronica on the same day. Both dates begin flirting towards the idea of “going steady”, while Archie tries to juggle both dates and keep Betty and Veronica’s paths from crossing. After a series of hijinks, the ruse is revealed, and both Betty and Veronica are deeply hurt by his duplicity, which had begun innocently enough (not wanting to disappoint either of them). After commiserating his problems with Jughead, Jughead observes that he would not have this constant romantic problem if he had been honest, stopped stringing along his number two choice Betty, and just told Veronica how he felt rather than hemming and hawing for the past twelve issues (a fourth wall breaking reference). Archie scoffs and tells Jughead to “blow me.”

    By the mid 50s, the standard of loop time was thoroughly entrenched. The leather jackets, goggles, flying caps and jackboots of the older dieselpunk aesthetic had given way to the relaxed 50s youth culture of blue jean jackets, flowery skirts and bandanas. Jughead’s “whoopee hat”, once a common affectation of schoolboys, was alone immune to the changes.

    1960s

    The Archie editorial committee made the controversial decision to allow the timeline to crawl forward. In an era where a large number of youths were now going to some form of higher education, the comic’s focus on the idyll of polytechnic was becoming quaint. In July 1961, the “Archie Graduates” plotline began. In the build-up to graduation, running over two years of comics, Archie goes steady with Veronica. The two are implied to have lost their virginities to one another, but there is no direct reference to this. In grief, Betty cuts her hair short, takes up the guitar, and joins a garage band with Archie’s rival Reggie Mantle and series newcomer Chuck Clayton. Jughead surprises everyone by being the class valedictorian, and gives a memorable address to put a capstone on the series’ polytechnic years. The syndicated newspaper comic would diverge, continuing to focus on the gang’s life at Riverdale Polytechnic.

    In the following arc, the three main series and the new Reggie Mantle comic followed the gang mustering out to Armed Masses Militia service. The portrayal received mixed reviews at the time, with some critics lambasting it for depicting the Militia as “polytechnic with guns and sex”. It was, however, not far from the truth, and new writers such as Abbie Hoffman and Leah Kline* drawing from their own personal experience with conscription in the late 50s.

    Somewhat implausibly, most of the main cast from Riverdale are grouped in the same brigade, the fictional 13th Militia Brigade, clustered in the same company. The experience of living and working together in the barracks changed the main cast’s dynamic. Parental influences were greatly reduced, and the main characters started to show a previously unthinkable level of introspection (i.e., any at all). Veronica’s privileged background, which in the original runs had been somewhat anachronistically led to fawning behavior from others, had now become a liability. She faced hazing from her fellows, portrayed in a mean-spirited by not overly threatening way. Her relationship with Archie ended soon after basic.

    Betty became somewhat more macho, and she proved to be in her element in the military. Her athletic qualities came to the forefront of her character. Meanwhile, Jughead proves to be a constant thorn in the side of instructors and officers, and Archie’s passion for cars gets developed. His indecisive nature takes on a more dramatic quality in the complicated relationship between him, Betty, and Veronica.

    Some mid 60s stories created moral panic through the depiction of non-sexual nudity. The controversy, which drew battlelines between the more old-fashioned and libertines, grew large enough for Premier Richard Nixon to make a jocular comment about it at the annual White House Correspondents Dinner. Aside from the fading influence of bourgeois body-shame, the comic did devote some time to some serious issues, though not, as rumor had it, at the behest of any government agency. Plotlines dealing with intimate partner abuse, drug addiction, and social responsibility were notable additions.

    By 1968, “Zouave Archie”(5) had played out. It had given the comic a number of other firsts, including the first use of the word “fuck”, when Betty referred to the infamous “Ham and Lima Beans” C-Ration meal unit by its nickname “Ham and Motherfuckers”. The flamboyant use of 60s fashion, including men growing their hair out, and the infusion of Chinese, Mexican and Native American cultural influences. The next major phase in the comic would come with a splintering of the main characters.

    1970s

    In 1969, Archie Comics would remake itself. Bob Montana would retire as chairman of the Archie Collective. The relatively young Vasili Pound* would take over, and chart the comics in a new direction.

    Vasili Pound was born in Omsk in July 1941, the son of Lorne Pound, an American engineer, and Zorja Livovna Sokolov, a Russian ballerina and journalist. With somewhat of a wunderkind reputation, having already published several novels as well as his well-received contributions to the Archie brand, Pound’s rise signaled the changing of the guard in the collective.

    The Archie Collective was in financial distress thanks to declining sales in the flagship line, as well as poor critical reception to non-Archieverse properties. While some in the committee had wanted to reboot the comic, following the lead of successful reboots of several superhero properties, Pound successfully lobbied for more contiguous re-imagination.

    In its near three decades of running, the flagship series had accreted a large crop of characters and a somewhat convoluted lore that was difficult for new readers to get into. While the reprint of old comics in anthology format helped bring in new revenue, it wouldn’t save the brand alone. The “Archie goes to University” arc would simultaneously return the comic to its roots while continuing to push the story forward.

    Archie, Jughead, Betty and Veronica would be living under a single roof, in a student apartment in Brooklyn. While Jughead would pursue the Platonic ideal of the hamburger working for a local co-op, Archie, Betty and Veronica would enroll in the Republican University of Metropolis (RUM).

    Archie, as captivated with space travel as most of his audience, would enroll in the aerospace engineering program. Betty reconnected with her old passion by pursing a music degree. Veronica was originally undeclared, but would eventually settle on economics.

    At RUM, the old antics of live triangles continued in a more mature form. New side characters were introduced, and old favorites would occasionally pop in for a visit. Rapidly shifting proletarian culture bubbled up in the new stories. A June 1971 issue featured the first on-screen depiction of sex, a one night stand between Betty and a classmate, orchestrated to make Archie jealous.

    The college years featured a return of political content, though now in a satirical manner. The farcical nature of campus politics was a common comedic source. Archie gets delusions of grandeur when he runs for the campus soviet, only to find his life choked by bureaucracy and moonbattery from fellow party members (never named, but implied to be the Student Post-Scarcity Society, a standard bearer of the late 60s and 70s student movement). Veronica grapples with the excesses of 70s campus feminism: her speech bubbles start filling with “womyn”, and she flirts with political lesbianism before chickening out. Betty falls in with a collective of avant-garde artists who produce very little art but ruthlessly tear down any perception of “conventionality”.

    While magnified from its source material, 70s Archie did reflect some of the disjunctive trends of what would later be called the Second Cultural Revolution. As the characters aged and became a bit wiser, the moonbattery died down. Jughead remained the voice of reason, and helped his friends through their trying personal issues.

    By the mid 70s, the love triangle, long out of focus, returned to the center of drama and comedy. A famous January 1976 issue featured a cover where Jughead, who rarely loses his temper, angrily chastising Archie for being indecisive.

    1980s

    Now four decades old, the flagship comics had covered just shy of ten years of the character’s lives. Now almost 24 and preparing to graduate, Archie’s love triangle would be reaching its resolution. But the comic itself was feeling its age. Many writers, even the previous era’s champion Vasili Pound, were contemplating a return to form.

    In one of the most controversial decisions in comics history, the central committee decided to tie off the love triangle permanently as a final swan song for “Old Archie”, a decision that still inspires internet backdraft in 2017. In a soap opera-esque story running across Archie and Betty and Veronica (and occasionally spilling over into Jughead), Archie chooses the feminine rich girl Veronica over the tomboy Betty. There is no graceful reveal; Betty walks in the couple, and sees Archie on bended knee in front of Veronica.

    The December 1981 epilogue depicts a short scene of a polytechnic reunion. The surrealist re-union is attended by multiple versions of each character, each from a different historical era. The meta-commentary on the series did very little to sooth ruffled feathers.

    The flagship would go largely dormant for a couple of years. Jughead would continue free of the drama of the love triangle in this time. The Archie Collective would gather its creative energies, and make a number of new forays into action and mystery comics with unrelated characters.

    The first elseworlds comic, GI Archie, began publishing in May 1982, riding a wave of new WW2 themed movies, TV shows and historical fiction. Tonally, it was somewhat akin to the 1940s pulp comics. It was low on grit, high on MacGuyver-esque antics, though without the outright demonization and racism that often was an undercurrent in the historical comics.

    Archie Comics would return to form in 1984. The reboot would put the crew back in Riverdale Polytechnic in a contemporary setting. To promote the reboot, the collective would invite talented new artists and writers, including one each from Japan and the Soviet Union (where the comics had proven almost as resolutely popular as in the home country). And as the cherry on top, a primetime animated series was developed, targeted for the same launch date as Riverdale.

    The animated series and new comic had undergone a stylistic evolution, incorporating influences from Japanese and Soviet pop art styles. Compared to the sarcastic and occasionally dour 70s, the 80s were an exuberant, optimistic period. The cultural mélange of big hair, acid-washed jeans, retro-dieselpunk, and loud music was captured in a somewhat exaggerated fashion.

    The animated series ran for three seasons. The comics ran parallel, covering the same plots with some occasional minor differences in characterization. The animation was well received for its voice acting and score, which incorporated a mixture of contemporary pop music, pop tunes written for the series, and instrumental tracks. The show sampled the who’s-who of 80s voice acting talent. The reimagined background for Veronica, daughter of the well-connected Party nomenklatura, retained the elegant Transatlantic accent. Betty, now a first-generation Czech immigrant, was portrayed by Czech teen actress Barbora Kodetová. Archie himself spoke in the practically regionless patter of daytime TV, often described as a kid from Iowa trying and failing to do a proper theater accent.

    The New Archie proved to be an explosive hit. Several parallel comics were launched, continuing the dynamic of focusing on the characters of the love triangle, and the ever-popular Jughead. New Jughead would run in double issues with the still popular old Jughead, the last holdover from the pre-reboot universe.

    The new Archie broke new ground. The inclusion of openly gay and lesbian characters among the main cast, an increased emphasis on racial diversity, and a Franco-British exchange student, Jean-Pierre Cromwell, were well received. While some critics noted that the refusal to tackle issues like racism or homophobia were serious omissions, others applauded the hopeful nature of Riverdale, where race, sex, or orientation were treated as uncontroversial, and diversity was accepted.

    New Archie’s biggest surprises came with how it handled its core love triangle dynamic. The final arc of the animation’s third season focused heavily on Betty and Veronica’s frenemy relationship. While some reviewers had noted the undercurrent of belligerent sexual tension between the two, the finale’s slap-slap-kiss-kiss moment surprised most viewers.

    The ramifications of cutting Archie out of the love triangle were more fully explored in the ongoing comics. Archie’s reaction was mostly treated for comedy, with gags about going into withdrawals from the lack of attention or conflict over him. Betty and Veronica would date for over a year in the comics before breaking it off, their youthful wills sabotaging their relationship.

    1990s

    If the 80s were a party, the 90s was the hair-of-the-dog. The optimistic hope that the Cold War would soon be peacefully won was under assault. The utopianism the previous decades Ecological Revolution was turning out to be much slower and more difficult in practice. The development of space had inched forward, leaving the old dreams of space colonization by the year 2000 in serious doubt. And even cultural change was encountering new forces of resistance.

    Archie Comics continued the basic formula from the 80s with some new wrinkles. Jughead, often aloof to questions of romance, was pretty much confirmed asexual. Betty and Veronica continued their conflict over Archie’s affections while dealing with their own attraction to one another.

    Content-wise, the comics had put themselves firmly in the teen sex comedy genre, with bawdy content interspersed with the misadventures of hormonal teenagers. Nonetheless, dramatic story lines remained in the canon, including Archie’s parent’s looming divorce, Reggie Mantle’s older brother being diagnosed with AIDs, and Jean-Pierre’s feelings of cultural alienation living in America.

    Archie comics published a number of short-running elsewords comics outside the main canon. This included crossovers with popular media, such as the series Archie ½, a crossover with the martial arts genderbending action/sex comedy Ranma ½. Both series were well known for their love dodecahedrons, and the result was turned into an ongoing series after the latter’s conclusion. Other notable crossovers include Archie: First Blood Part XVIII, a parody of the long-running First Blood action movie series, Archie Andrews of Mars, a pastiche of the popular Edgar Rice Burroughs Barsoom series, and Archie Who, a Doctor Who crossover penned by legendary Whovian Matthew Jacobs.

    Other elsewords were based off fantastic dream sequences that occurred in the animation or comic in the 80s or 90s, such as Archibald Andrews Esquire, where Archie is a Scottish nobleman’s son in the Regency era, or Archie Andrews: Space Marine, which is exactly what it says on the tin.

    In the main series, Archie remained in perpetual polytechnic stasis. Fashion and cultural references changed, but none of the main cast were any closer to graduation by the end of the 90s. Old Archie received a revival comic, Archibald, which continued the plotline of Old Archie ten years later. This Archie is married and has two kids with Veronica. He’s a successful engineer, and works on the iconic Starclipper shuttle(6). Veronica is an elite civil rights attorney working with the Southron Proletarian Law Center. Betty is a heavy metal guitarist who’s made it big critically and popularly. The three have recently returned to Riverdale, and reconnected with one another and Jughead, who now teaches philosophy at Riverdale Polytechnic.

    Archibald took a more mature sitcom approach, intended to resonate with readers of Old Archie. Dramatic themes of family, home and identity were at the forefront. Archie is torn between his career and wanting to be close to his parents in their twilight years. Veronica tries to mend fences with her father, who never approved of her relationship with Archie. Betty identifies as a lesbian, but still pines a bit for Archie. Nonetheless, her relationship with Veronica is friendly, though some of the old cattiness sometimes comes out.

    Archibald culminated in 1999, with the love-triangle resolved in a new way. After enduring mounting romantic tension, Betty and Veronica narrowly avoid having an affair. When they confess this to Archie, they talk through the issue. In the final issue, they form a ménage a trois relationship. To their mortification, Archie’s teenage eldest son Forsythe catches the trio in flagrante delicto, having returned a day early from a road trip with friends to find them fooling around in the living room. Forsythe, completely unfazed, congratulates them for working out their deep-seated issues, and excuses himself.

    2000s

    The 2000s opened with a new animated Archie series, in a separate continuity from the long-running comics. The new animated series played with some of the basics of the series while remaining true to formula. The series reimagined the love triangle. Archie and Bettie, old childhood friends, were now thrust into heated rivalry for the affections of transfer student Veronica.

    The show dealt with the Kinsey Scale in a playful manner. Veronica, whose fashionista regality was cranked up to eleven, explicitly states she’s a 3 (equal opportunity bisexual) on the scale in the series pilot. Archie flutters between a 1 and a 2, and deals with some level of confusion over attraction to other men. Betty, now a chapstick lesbian athlete and tinkerer, thinks about experimenting with men on occasion.

    The series reimagined iconic plotlines from past Archies in this new framework. After getting off to a rocky start, it won a strong following both domestically as well as in foreign localizations in Japan, China, Germany and the Soviet Union.

    By contrast, the comic series was in trouble. Editorial control had become arthritic and stifling, and the perpetual stasis was starting to wear out. The inclusion of increasingly fantastic elements to keep things interesting while still not resolving basic character arcs or even letting the characters graduate, was highly controversial. While the Time Police Arc was fun on its own merits, Shanghaiing the Riverdale gang in the future, and watching them hop through timelines to get home was out of schema to the series.

    The gimmicks couldn’t sustain the comic, and by 2009, the decision was made to reboot the comic again.

    2010s

    The Reboot Arc, jocularly referred to by fans as Crisis on Infinite Archies, took the fantastical elements to their final conclusion. A sprawling arc, incorporating characters and settings from all the various Archie continuities, including elseworlds, as well as nods to popular science fiction and fantasy series, played out over web and print comics.

    The various continuities are revealed to be a series of simulated realities in the endless mind of a matrioshka brain. All anachronisms are explained by subtle archiving and rebooting of simulations. Archie Prime, the original 1940s era Archie, succeeds in convincing the Overman, the immense posthuman intelligence residing in the matrioshka brain, to give them something real. While the Overman is revolted by the possibility of real, permanent suffering, it relents in the end.

    The series reboot started six months after the conclusion of Crisis on Infinite Archies. The new comic, done in a manga style reminiscent of popular 90s animes like Nadia of the Mysterious Seas, re-establish the basic premise by drawing heavily on the original 40s comics as well as the early-2000s animated series.

    (1) Archie creator Bob Montana named Betty for a former girlfriend, Czech immigrant Betty Tokar Jankovich. ITTL, she also has Czech origins.

    (2) Veronica Lodge is named Del Valle IOTL Spanish language versions. ITTL, her familial ancestry is Castillan Spanish.

    (3) One thing that is often paradoxical about revolutions is the mass appropriation of “high culture.” During the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars, the wearing of powdered wigs was in decline in the aristocratic Great Britain. But in Revolutionary France, the abolition of sumptuary laws and material levelling resulted in people of all social classes adopting powdered wigs, thereby destroying their aristocratic connotation. In the UASR, the regionless “Transatlantic accent”, originally an affectation of prep school trained elites and theater actors in deliberate imitation of British Received Pronunciation, is re-appropriated as a sort of common “formal dialect” used by people regardless of social class.

    (4) Someone who goes to a polytechnic. Compare “high schooler”. The -nik suffix entered English from Yiddish, and is roughly equivalent to -er. In this case, it is deliberately punny.

    (5) Zouave is a somewhat mocking nickname for members of the Armed Masses Militia, referring to how proud new recruits tend to be at their dowdy uniforms (a right of passage to adulthood), as though they were a foppish old-fashioned Zouave rifleman. It’s not as mocking as “weekend warrior” is in IOTL, it’s a bit more comparable to “grunt”.

    (6) It’s the fully reusable Lockheed Shuttle LS A.
     
  3. Redshank Galloglass Literally Alasdair Mac Colla Banned

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    Interesting. I liked it.
     
  4. Mr.E The Man that Time Forgot

    Joined:
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    The Mountainous Democratic Republic of Colorado
    Excellent update! I toyed with the idea of doing an Archie piece, but, since I didn't read Archie, I felt I couldn't properly represent it, as you've done so excellently here.
     
  5. Redshank Galloglass Literally Alasdair Mac Colla Banned

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    The Workers and Farmers Revolutionary Marines Dress Uniform


    When we think of America's Armed Forces, many things come to our minds, the enormous Abrams Tanks, the Stealth bombers, the powerful weaponry, from the artillery to the mortars. And yet, these pale in comparison to the infantrymen.

    Ah yes, the infantrymen. The brave men (and often, women) of the American infantry forces are among the best trained, best led, and most charismatic soldiers this world has ever seen. They take pride in this fact, and it is shown through the way they act, the way they talk, and the way they carry themselves.

    This is also shown through their dress uniforms, none of which is more famous than the uniform of the Worker's and Farmers Revolutionary Marines. In popular culture, it is seen as the face of America's most hallowed military organization, and it's lengthy and hard fought battle record.

    Origins:

    Immediately following the revolution, many changes were brought to the structure and culture of the American Military. The Navy, many of whom were bourgeois admirals of the old guard, were ignored in favor of the zealots of the Army. Naval culture was largely shaped and transformed by the Army, along with the "Boatsheviks" Naval supporters of the new regime. The navy, up until World War II, was seen as bourgeois and untrustworthy by many in the Party and the Army.

    This did not carry over to the Marines. Though at least half of the US Marine Corps sided with the junta (constituted primarily from the 2nd Marine Division) the 1st Marine Division, under the command of Major General Smedley Butler, was seen as some of the best soldiers of the Provisional government. Thus, their zealotry and devotion to Marxist teaching was on par with the Army. The Marines, not the Army, were the tool of the party in policing the army in the years following the revolution, with diehard radicals such as Lewis Puller, Merrit A. Edson, Oliver P. Smith, and Evans Carlson taking major leadership roles, spearheading the new regime with Commandant Butler. To the disdain of Army officers such as Harry Truman, the Marines, not the Army, were appointed by the Workers Party to protect the Premier and guard his residency from threats.

    However, despite their reliability, many saw their dress uniforms, which the Army had gotten rid of, as bourgeois, and demanded that Commandant Butler rid them from the Marines. However, unexpected support from Generals Patton and Eisenhower, who were good friends of Commandant Butler, prevented the Marines from giving up their beloved dress uniforms. However, the Party demanded that the Marines change aspects of their dress uniform to fit the new era America was ushering in.

    The Uniform

    The most recognizable uniform of the American Marines is the Black Dress uniform, often seen in recruiting advertisements. It is often called "Dress Blacks" or simply "Blacks". It is equivalent in composition and The various designations are listed in descending order of formality:

    • Black Dress "A" has a long-sleeved jet-black coat (enlisted members have red trim) with a standing collar and red web belt (with corresponding by rank gold waistplate) for enlisted; and a similar red web belt for commanders with a gold M-buckle, barracks cover (a peaked cap), plain white shirt, jet-black trousers (deep scarlet for general officers), black gloves, and black dress shoes and socks. Full-size medals are worn on the left chest, with ribbon-only awards worn on the right. Marksmanship badges are not worn. Women wear pumps in place of shoes, and may wear a skirt in place of slacks. For men, the dress coat is cut to be formfitting.
    • Black Dress "B" is the same as "A", but medals are replaced with their corresponding ribbons and all are consolidated on the left chest. Marksmanship badges may be worn.
    • Black Dress "C" is the same as "B", but a khaki long sleeve button-up shirt and tie replace the outer black coat and gloves. Ribbons and badges are normally worn on the shirt.
    • Black Dress "D" is the same as "C", but with a khaki short sleeve button-up shirt and no tie.
    Because the Black Dress uniform is considered formal wear, Black Dress "C" and "D" are rarely worn. The main exceptions are Marine Recruiters and Marine Security Guards, who wear the "C" and "D" in warm weather, and Marine One pilots in place of a flight suit. Only the "B", "C", and "D" Black Dress uniforms are authorized for leave and liberty wear; the "A" is not.

    NCOs, and SNCOs wear a scarlet stripe down the outer seam of each leg of the black trousers. Commanders, in contrast, wear a gold stripe down the length of their scarlet trousers. General officers wear a 2 in (5.1 cm) wide stripe, field- and company-grade officers have a 1.5 in (3.8 cm) wide stripe, SNCOs and NCOs have a 1.125 in (2.86 cm) wide stripe.


    The Peaked Cap

    The standard dress headgear of the Workers and Farmers Revolutionary Marines, these caps are worn in two forms. For all ranks, the device is the Raven, Globe, and Anchor device. In addition, Commanders wear a lace cross on the top, called the quatrefoil, a traditional mark of distinction from the Marines foundation enabling sharpshooters aboard ships to identify friendly officers from foes. For black dress uniforms, the cap is jet black with a gold and scarlet device. Only the visor is scarlet, and the chin strap is black for enlisted marines; it is gold and scarlet for officers. For the service uniforms, an olive drab combination cap is available; the device is black, and the chin strap is black for all ranks. In both cases, field grade commanders have gold oak leaf motifs on the visor, similar to those worn by navy commanders and captains, while general staffs' caps have a different, larger oak leaf motif on the visor. Additionally the black dress cap of the Commandant of the Marines adds an additional gold oak leaf motif to the front of the band. In the Marines, the combination cap is referred to as the "barracks cover." Also referred as the dress cap or service cap in Marine Orders.


    The Ammunition Bandolier

    Depending on the wishes of the Commandant of the Marine Corps, dress uniforms may include large bandoliers of ancient 7x51mm ammunition from the Second World War. While seen as out of place by some in Western Europe, especially in the Kaiserreich, this ceremonial bandolier has its roots in the first years of Marine history.

    In the Second World War, American Marines were deployed as Shock Troopers by the General Staff, assaulting enemy positions with the goal of creating massive casualties and punching a hole that allied forces could exploit, this lead to the Marines having exceptional battle records in South America, Europe, and the Pacific alike. Being assault specialists that were nigh impossible to break, American Marines were often issued weaponry with high rates of fire compared to those of their allies. Despite being effective, these high rates of fire caused many Marines to run out of ammunition quicker than they expect. To remedy this problem, General Roy Geiger of the Second Marine Division began issuing bandoliers of ammunition to his Marines, beginning in 1942. The intimidation factor this gave the Marines was surprising yet obvious, and Commandant Butler, seeing the opportunity this gave the Marines, ordered ammunition bandoliers to be given to all combat arms Marines as standard issue. In this case, Butler's opportunism was correct, and enemy morale was reported to drop when they saw these heavily armed warriors coated in ammunition bandoliers.

    After the war, Butler ordered that the bandolier become standard issue for all enlisted and field grade officer Black Dress uniforms and it has been seen as a beloved memento of Marine history, cementing its place on one of the most recognizable dress uniforms in the world.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
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  6. WotanArgead God of Impalers

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2016
    Location:
    Ural People's Republic. Ekaterinburg.
    Three steps forward!!! Finally something!!!!!!!! For the liberation of the body from exploitation!
    As far as I can remember in the USSR, pop art was not liked (even avant-gardists were looking for other ways of form ... "creativity") - "Bourgeois Formalism." And (IMHO) I honestly do not like this ... kitsch.
    But this is all a trifle. I here that you wanted to show -
    This is a kind of alter-futurism, an opposition to the traditional futurist ideology. I think the tips will be the first. What do you think? Can such movements originate in other countries?
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
  7. Bulldoggus Socially Guelph, Fiscally Ghibelline

    Joined:
    May 9, 2016
    Location:
    Boston and/or Nashville
    I forget- is there an equivalent of State National Guards in the UASR?
     
  8. Redshank Galloglass Literally Alasdair Mac Colla Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2016
    Location:
    Lost Wages
    Yeah, it's the red guards, I believe.
     
  9. Aelita In ur means of production...

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Location:
    Earth, to my misfortune
    I should note that ITTL, the Garand and the 7 x 51 are still the Comintern service rifle and standard cartridge.

    It will look different, but the core action is still a select fire Garand. It hasnt been replaced because it's already an intermediate cartridge that's good enough, and the numerous attempts to adopt new platforms failed because the expense couldn't politically justify the modest improvement.
     
  10. Redshank Galloglass Literally Alasdair Mac Colla Banned

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Lost Wages
    You mean they are using garands in 2016?

    Is there at least expanded ammunition magazines? Improved ballistics? That sort of thing?
     
  11. Aelita In ur means of production...

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Location:
    Earth, to my misfortune
    I was speaking about the core mechanical components.

    But the most common variant of TTL's Garand in WW2 had a pistol grip, 20 round magazine, and select-fire between single shot and full-auto. The 7 x 51 is an intermediate cartridge (though on the upper end), so that puts it squarely in the ballpark of the assault rifle concept.

    Later versions will have synthetic stocks, burst fire, rail mounts, thirty round magazines, flash hiders, and other features typical of modern military hardware. Because it's reliable, proven, and a bajillion of them have been made, and pretty much everyone in the Comintern has adopted the 7x51mm cartridge, there's a lot of inertia. Other states may build their own comparable assault rifle chambered in the same cartridge.

    It probably won't be replaced until, at the very least, cased telescoping cartridges are practical.
     
  12. Redshank Galloglass Literally Alasdair Mac Colla Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2016
    Location:
    Lost Wages
    So the Garand is more like an M14 ITTL?
     
  13. Mr.E The Man that Time Forgot

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2012
    Location:
    The Mountainous Democratic Republic of Colorado
    Time and Time Again
    Episode 3.14 of Beyond the Horizon, aired December 22, 1961
    Written and directed by Rod Serling

    "Picture if you will, a Robert Condon. Just your average citizen, seemingly going about his life. Getting up, going to work, going home, sleeping. Rinse, rather, repeat. Day after day. Trying to forget his past. However, a little reminder that sometimes the past can catch up to you ... from Beyond the Horizon."

    -----------------------

    Bob Condon sits at the bar, taking his third drink, making small talk with the bartender over his job as a shoe salesman. When the topic moves towards their service during the war, Condon briefly mentions serving in the Pacific, but is evasive about the details, and finally states that "he would prefer to forget." As he leaves the bar, he catches the image of a man in a dark hat, which scares him, and forces him to run back to his apartment.

    The next day, while at his job, he is about to make a successful sale to a young woman, but sees the mysterious dark hatted man again, and flees back to his flat. His flatmate is stunned to see him back so early. He says that he was just sick, but the flatmate hears him mumble to himself "He's back. He's coming for me" repeatedly. Returning to the shoe store, he tries to use the same excuse for his co-worker Terry, but she isn't fooled, and after needling, he finally tells his story.

    While serving in the Pacific, he, ill-equipped for war, began to grow more and more disillusioned with the deaths around him. After one particularly brutal battle, he sees a Japanese soldiers crawling towards his side. Seeing that he was injured, he prepares to capture him to see if he might defect. However, a dark figure in a black hat appeared and killed the soldier. After that, he is watching another soldier, Marv, doing a brief comic monologue only to Bob, when air shipment land, and a knife pops out to stabs him. Bob goes to get bandages, but returns to find the dark figure again, also killing Marv. Later, he is at a party with other armed soldiers. However, it was suddenly seized upon, and after gunfire, he emerged as the sole survivor. As he stumbles away, he sees the dark figure again. At first thinking him an illusion, when he can see him looking directly at him, and walking towards him, he realizes that he could be next for him to kill. Even after the war, he keeps seeing the figures, but was always able to evade him.

    Terry states that it was likely an illusion, and advises Bob to go home. However, at home, he once again sees the figure with the black hat. The camera pans up to the figure, who tells Condon, "I believe we have a... long overdue appointment, Mr. Condon."

    ----------------------

    " Robert Condon, shoe salesman, war veteran. Learning that the inevitable will always come for everyone. A lesson learned, Beyond the Horizon.


    -------------------

    Production notes: Serling based the character's guilt, trauma, and fear off his own experiences serving in the Pacific War. Later biographers would compare Bob's flashbacks to recorded incidents in Serling's war record. The scene where the soldier is killed by a misplaced knife in an air shipment is a reference to a real incident, where a soldier was decapitated by an air shipment landing on him. [1] It is often cited as a direct example of the influence of Serling's war experiences, and the deaths he saw on his later writings.

    The original script (leaked in the early 80's, after Serling's death) actually named the black figure as death himself. However, the aired episode itself never referred to him as death, despite it being the obvious intention. This was likely due to the decaying Television Code, which, while unable to prevent the episode to get on air due to free speech previsions, would've prevented the needed tax breaks for the production to film the Pacific flashbacks, had Death been directly referenced. (Lower budget episodes do have occasional references to religion and other non-social realist ideas)

    [1] A real incident during Serling's war service
     
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  14. Mr.E The Man that Time Forgot

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2012
    Location:
    The Mountainous Democratic Republic of Colorado
    AH.com Thread: Thoughts on Cultural Diplomacy?

     
  15. WotanArgead God of Impalers

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2016
    Location:
    Ural People's Republic. Ekaterinburg.
    AH.com Thread: Thoughts on Cultural Diplomacy?
     
  16. traveller76 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2006
    Location:
    Fort Worth, TX
    Four Queens (1996)

    Directed by Robert Liu

    Produced by Robert Liu, Edgar Powers

    Written by Robert Liu, Edgar Powers, Dr. Nelda Tam,
    Duration: 120 Minutes

    Synopsis
    While on the way to her pre-arranged wedding, Daria the oldest daughter of King Jacob and Queen Helen is kidnapped by pirates who attack her ship. Wanting to avoid being married to Prince Charles Ruttheimer, an obnoxious flirt, she willingly goes with the pirates along with her younger sister Quinn and best friend Jane. She is taken to the desert moon of Vega but soon becomes a nuisance with her refusal to 'behave like a princess'.

    Meanwhile, on Druidia Prince Ruttheimer asks for permission to rescue Daria after the King's agents discover Daria's location and receive a ransom demand. King Jacob, along with Prince Charles decide to lead a rescue mission. Secretly Queen Helen asks Tom, the son of another family and military veteran to go with the rescue party to save Daria and 'keep the men out of trouble'. On Vega, Daria has become the leader of the pirates after defeating the leader Kevin in combat while Quinn manipulates several of the men (Joey, Jeffy, and Jamie) who have a crush on her.

    When Jacob, Charles, and Tom arrive on Vega the moon is invaded by the neighboring Phoenix Empire who desired the resources the moon possesses. Daria leads the local militia and the pirates, along with her father's rescue party which defeats the invasion force. Daria's begins to develop an attraction for Tom who treats her with respect and admiration. When they return to Druidia Tom is knighted and Daria announces she will marry whoever she chooses. Prince Charles accepts defeat and King Jacob agrees with Daria after Queen Helen convinces him to let her be happy.

    In the end credits, we see Jane painting Tom and Daria's royal portrait while they argue. King Jacob and Queen Helen look on in dismay while Quinn is being followed by Royal Guardsmen Joey, Jeffy, and Jaime. Prince Charles is trying to talk to a warrior woman from the Phoenix Empire who looks at him with amusement.

    The Nasty Cinema Guide, Hexagon Publishing, 2001
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2017
  17. Bookmark1995 Bookmark95 Reborn!

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2016
    There are two things that can wake up the most lazy a soul. A bucket of cold war, and a nuclear armageddon. Guess what was dumped upon me?

    I felt soaked and shivering, and when I looked up, I saw my father, holding a dripping bucket, giving me the most annoyed look.

    "Harry," he bellowed. "Get up! For gods sake. Your gonna be late." I was a little groggy, so even with the splash of water on my face, it took a while to register.

    "Late," I said, my voice slurred and quivering, "it's only," I glanced at the clock, and immediately lept up. "Oh god, oh god, oh god,"

    "Just because its the last day of school doesn't mean-,"my dad started, pontificating, but then decided he wasn't going to pontificate ,"just get to school," he said with frustration.

    'I wouldn't be sleeping in if you didn't make me scrub the floors late night,' I thought to myself, and starting rummaging, trying to get my stuff on.


    .....

    I started running down the halls. In these situations, I treated making it to class on time with the urgency of trying to earn gold at the Olympics.

    I saw the dirty, wooden classroom door. I jumped for joy, until I came to the front, and saw Mr. Harrison glaring at me throw the rectangular window. I suddenly loss all my energy. He gave me a vicious grin, signaling with his index finger, welcoming me to his classroom, the same way a spider welcomes a fly to their web.

    "Well, well, well," Mr. Harrison said dramatically. I came in, suddenly feeling ten thousand pounds on me, as the classroom stared at me. "What have we here? So, MacDevon, thought the last day of school made you free from me," he uttered, crossing his arms on his chest ,"is that what you thought? You thought that the last day of school would liberate you from proletarian shackles, right?"

    As my teacher, he knew about me and friends working in Metropolis. He wasn't exactly the most enlightened person in school. His nickname in the halls, and to some of the teachers, was "General MacArthur." I missed two, okay three, deadlines and now he's breathing down my neck.

    "No. Until that final bell sounds, you are still under my reign," he uttered. "Since you, unlike your classmates, can't respect that, maybe you should get detention....

    "Wait," Ian said, "Mr. Harrison..."

    "No boy," Harrison said, yelling in an angry way,"Your imbecility isn't going to protect..."

    "My watch says 8:19," Ian said with a smile, and showing off his watch. "Harold was supposed to be here at 8:20. So, he's not late."

    "The clock on that window says, 8:22", replied Harrison," pointing directly at the clock. "Thus he's late."

    "As I recall, those clocks were ten minutes two fast," said Ian with a smile. "Who knows if they've been adjusted."

    "Don't play games with me..." Mr. Harrison said warningly, but Ian was undeterred.

    "Those clocks are always late you know," Ian continued. "They don't always mix with the bells when they ring. But my watch does." To prove his point, the bell suddenly rang. Mr. Harrison looked at the clock on the wall, and it said 8:23. He looked at Ian's watch, which said 8:20. He let out a defeated sigh.

    "Alright smart-butt," Mr. Harrison said chillingly. I think he wanted to say something nastier, but the schools have the same moral outlook as my mom. "You're friend can stay out of detention". He then turned his head to glance at me."Truth be told, I just want to be rid of Harry as much as possible." He turned his head directly to me, "Now SIT! The less I hear from you the better" Joyful about getting out of a jam, I went to my desk without a word. I sat next to Ian, looking at him like he won me a million dollars.

    "You are a saint," I whispered to him.

    "You can send the check to nearest postal address," he whispered to me smoothly.

    "Fuck you," I said, albeit with mirth.

    "SHUT UP!" Mr. Harrison yelled. We clammed up pretty quickly. The guy had the ears of a bat, I swear. He could hear a faucet running, all the way in Saskatchewan.

    I won't bore you with our lesson from Mr. Harrison, because I was too excited about our going to the UASR to really care. Very few people really cared about lessons on the last day. Nowadays, schools just have huge parties on the last day (another wonderful tradition imported from the UASR) but in those days, they used every last moment of the semester to pump useless facts into you before they unlocked your academic shackles for the summer time.

    ....

    I was walking down the halls with George, having just come from our class. Listening to him drone on about our math class.

    "So when you add two ratios," George uttered. The guy is the only person I could think of who could enjoy math on the last day of school.

    "George," I said, annoyed. "I asked you about what job you'll be getting, and your talking to me about RATIOS!" He sighed, realizing he went off on his tangents. "Let's try this again," I said, a little more softly," So George, what job did you get?"

    "I'm working as an office boy, mon ami, I get to-," I put my hand up.

    "Good George. Leave it at that," I said, somewhat exasperated, "The less you say, the better." He's the only guy I can think of who could be doing a desk job at a beach.

    We continued to walk down the hall, when some nasty jerk jumps right in front of us.

    "Hey Harry," said Guillaume, with a fake nice tone. He then puts his arm around me. "So you headed off to good old Metropolis. Saw the red light, didn't you?"

    "What red light," said George. "I don't

    "No Guillaume," I replied, gritting my teeth. "I'm assuming that your joy is because you finally saw your toes?" Guillaume removed his arm, enraged. His enraged look was replaced with sinister joy.

    "Cute, Harry. Very cute." He paused. "I suppose you've seen Stacy, haven't you?" I became very calm, and suddenly, my face became very flushed. I supposed he got the reaction he wanted from me.

    "She moved away." I said, very slowly. "She moved. That's it."

    "Yeah, keep telling yourself that," Guillaume.

    "You should keep telling yourself to lay off the maple syrup," I said angrily,"maybe you'll lose 80 or 90 pounds!" Guillaume again became flushed. George's laughter didn't really help his self-esteem. He eventually stormed away. Of course, my moment of triumph didn't last.

    "So have you written to Stacy lately," George asked insensitively, "because-," he paused when he saw the glare I was giving him. I stared at him like that for a minute, before I walked away from his wordlessly.

    "Harry, wait-," he said trying to catch up. George, you mean well, but you can be quite the dick.

    ...

    On May 31, our time in Metropolis would soon begin. Our journey, however, would begin in the nearby town of St. Leonard. They decided Young Pioneers (man, the Reds find a way of glorifying any kind of labor, don't they) in the area were going to meet up at a local secondary school in the town, where a bus would come and collect us.

    My mom, of course, decided to volunteer driving Me, Ian, Fred, and George to St. Leonard. I got into dad's old sedan, and we drove away, after the usual hassling, where the mother makes sure the son has everything they need.

    We first went to Ian's house. He came out of the house, dressed in jeans and a t-shirt that said "Better Red than Dead." He had an idea that we could show our enthusiasm for the cause by wearing red-shirts. I decided to wear one too. He ran up to the car, opened it like a guy opening a treasure chest and hopped in. I noticed he had some binoculars on his neck.

    "What are those for?" I asked, pointing to the binoculars.

    "These," Ian replied nervously. His eyes wandered off for a bit. "I'm just doing some, bird-watching".

    "That's a nice hobby," my mothered replied, her eyes in front.

    'Oh Ian, you know that the binoculars are for peeping. You tried to see Joanne topless, and she slugged you.' I said.

    Ian wasn't a bad guy. He has a lot of charisma and wit. That's why he decided to become a tour guide. But sometimes, he couldn't keep his hands to himself. I hope he didn't cause us problems.

    Next we drove to Fred's house. He lived and worked near a saw mill, alongside his dad. I saw he wasn't out front, so I decided to walk around the back.

    "Fred," I screamed. I found him in the back, carrying this giant log around, like it was as light as a butterfly. I swear he could snap a steel girder in two if he could. He was wearing a red-plaid shirt and dark blue jeans.

    "Hey," he rumbled. He dropped the log and ran over.

    "You ready for the best summer, ever,"I said, my enthusiasm building.

    "Sure," he said, carrying the log, and dropping it into the pile. Man, wasn't he poetic with words?

    Fred was a guy who looked like a Greek god and an Olympic athlete fused together. Having Danish blood tends to that. He always was very quiet. Of course, when you get that tall, you rarely need to speak. His face could betray his emotions better, and most people knew when to back off. He was perfect for beach security/lifeguard training.

    When he entered the sedan, struggling with Ian for room in the back, he seemed content.


    Finally, we came to George's house. We pulled up in front. When we saw he wasn't there. I volunteered to go get him. Just before I get out of the car, who comes out running in a panic? George, wearing a sweat-stained red t-shirt and Bermuda shorts.

    Ian opens the door for him. The three crowd the backseat, which is made more frustrating by George's panting.

    "I'm so sorry," George said, sounding contrite,"I didn't mean to be la,"

    "George, calm down," my mom said, shacking her head. "You didn't keep me waiting that long."

    ....

    We finally arrived at the St. Leonard school at about 8:30 am. Over the entrance was a wooden sign with red print that said "Welcome Canadian Pioneers", in both French and English. We saw in the parking lot that there were other teenagers getting dropped off by their parents. Many of them wandered in, wearing T-shirts that were in red. Ian seemed to have the right intuition about certain things.

    "You guys have fun," my mom said as we unbuckled our seat belts. Just as unbuckled mine, my mom asks ,"remember the dating guide I have you Harry?" Of course, she has to say this while Ian is still in the car. I look at him, and he gives me this mocking smile.

    "Thank you, mom," I say, gritting my teeth. 'I don't need your damn guide,' I thought to myself.

    "Be careful," she said ,"and get yourself a nice lady, not some tramp." I didn't hear anymore. We went to the trunk of our car, got our luggage, and walked away.

    Once we knew mom was out of earshot, Ian started getting excited.

    "So gentlemen," he said energetically," what are we hear to do!"

    "Turn oxygen into carbon dioxide," George asked, absent-minded. All of us chuckled at that a little.

    "Yes George," Ian said, putting a sympathetic hand on his shoulder, "But our most important goal is, getting laid!"

    "Yeah," George and I replied. Fred, however, was quiet. A little too quiet. And he seemed to turn his shoulder in the other direction at Ian's bold proclamation.

    We all wandered into the Gym. We knew, as we prepared to enter a new land, that the unexpected would pop up. As if fate wanted to prove that point, Fred's head slammed into the wooden sign that hung over the entrance.

    ...

    They had us, and about 50 other kids congregate in the school gym. We had to provide proof of our invitation and our passports to gain entry to it. What we saw inside blew our minds.

    All above us were banners, often the color red, with quintessential commie images: hammers and sickles, those pictures of farm and factory workers proudly slaving away, etc. Posters all over the room had the usual shibboleths of unity and communist struggle. They were combined with slogans of positive reinforcement. I thought it was a pep rally that was organized by Mr. Deleon.

    I think our fellow students were also somewhat disoriented seeing all this stuff. The kids often spoke in their own groups in hushed tones. For years, we had been taught to think of this stuff as anathema, and now we were surrounded by red.

    In the corner was a table. On the table were a dozens of white boxes, about the twice the size of a shoe box.

    Our dialogue had been broken by the sound of a whistle. Everybody looked to the source of the whistle, that was wandering in the room.

    She was a black (or as we said in those days, Negro, again we were rural Canadians without much enlightenment) woman, in her mid-twenties. She was wearing a bluish-green blouse, with a blue business jacket and skirt. She looked at us with what appeared to be unusual anger, but as George discovered, was actually discomfort.

    In all honestly, it was weird seeing a black woman. Growing up in New Brunswick, I rarely encountered African-people. The far-right parties weren't above racist caricatures in advertising to scare the Canadian public away from gaining interest in Comintern. And I learned how my father felt about people of color, when I witnessed him make a Jamaican man who was traveling through town wait an hour for his food, while two white men got their food in 25 minutes.

    This woman didn't fit the racial or sexist stereotypes at all. She looked like a bourgeois professional.

    "Welcome young comrades," she said into a microphone, with a French sounding accent. "Welcome to the Canadian Pioneer Vacation Program. My name is Stephanie Damelus."

    'Haitian', I thought to myself.

    "Many of you see this a just an opportunity to get paid and work," she continued, again a flash of discomfort across a face that combined strength and warmth. "But I am here to tell you that your time in the UASR will also be spent learning about your comrades across the border. After years of separation, the progressive forces seemingly have triumphed, and Canada is now part of the revolutionary struggle."

    "What a drama queen," Ian snarked. I agreed with him by silently bobbing my head. The other "Young Pioneers" were also stunned by her words. Like my friends and I, we only agreed to the program for cash, vacation, and pleasures of the flesh. How can all this be part of a revolutionary struggle?

    "By signing on to a Pioneer vacation, you will have two jobs: the current one, and learning how to help your brothers and sisters protect against reactionaries."

    'Oh god,' I thought ,'is this women turning us into child soldiers?'

    "You will learn the customs of our great land, interact with its people. Refuse our gifts, and you will be sent back." She ended that statement with a profound pause. Everybody got uneasy over it.

    "But accept, and the rewards are incredible. So I say to you my fellow young comrades, bievenue et allonsy", she said with a cheer. I think she was trying to reach out to the Acadians in the room. It would have worked, had she not used a metropolitan French accent. The other Acadians were somewhat annoyed by her European dialect.

    She pointed to the table with the boxes, telling us to take them, but not to open them until we got on the bus. The other kids started taking them. Fred silently went to the table himself, meaning he was going to get boxes for the rest of us.

    George, with a sad expression on his face, wandered over to Damelus. Ian and I elected to follow him.

    "Madame Damelus, you look tense," George asked ,"are you alright."

    "Yes, young man," Damelus said, "the anger is just pain from wearing these high heels."

    "You don't normally wear heels," I asked cautiously.

    "No. Foreign Affairs 'recommended' it", she uttered, annoyed. "Saying I would look more relatable to you Canadians. Wearing them is torture, I don't know how Canadian woman stand this torture." Truth be told, those words made her sound more connectable. Being forced to wear something impractical was something I did every Sunday for church.

    "Well," Ian replied, "if you can't stand it, why don't you sit down." There was a brief pause as we considered his lame joke. Then all of us, including Damelus starting laughing really hard. Ian's dumb joke was helpful. I thought this woman would draft into the army and send us into Asia. But her complaints about high-heels and her beautiful laugh removed much of the apprehension I had. Maybe this wouldn't be so tough. Or will it?


    Part 4: So Long Grand Falls, Memoirs of the Red Turn (2006), Harold MacDevon
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2017
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  18. The_Red_Star_Rising Homestuck Trash

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2014
    Location:
    Is of much dark here
    And here I thought name-dropping the Cuban-Venezuelan unification crisis would get more notice. :p
     
  19. migolito Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2011
    Rivals in Love and War: Girl's Best Comics, post romance comics and some AFS reactions to the American romance comic genre

    Extract from speech given by Hugo Bauer* at London Comicon Q and A (2000)

    "Look, what you have to understand, is that in the 1960s before me, Simone* and all the others started working there, Girl's Best Comics... weren't [1]. When the first Comintern romance comics started coming over, a number of people were worried about the effect reading these would have on their daughters [2]. The founders of Girl's Best Comics came together to provide an alternative not for teenage girls to buy willingly, but for their parents to insist they buy. This was stuff that was meant to lecture them back into the kitchen, to be chased rather than to chase but at the same time to not be too easy to get...

    Now, confession time, I was a proud cold warrior and conservative back in the day. Less so now, but even so. But this just made Girl's Best Comics even worse for me. Unable to properly fight each other without risking annihilation, the Cold War was as much a war between words and stories as much as anything else, and anyone with a brain knew that the average teen would buy Comintern every time as long as their parents weren't watching [3]. And who could blame them? But let's ask, how likely were those readers likely to support the struggle against Comintern? We were in the first war in history that could be lost by not being interesting enough, and if the 60s managers of Girl's Best Comics had run the AFS we'd have gone red long ago."

    Extract from She Shall Never Be Chained: The Life of Simone Moreau*, 2015

    Simone was perhaps destined to never quite fit in. Influenced by Ayn Rand but nevertheless critical of her [4], after spending the early seventies drifting between whatever low paying art, editing and writing jobs she could find, she would get her first big break as the comic editor for the revived Girl's Best Comics line in 1973...

    ... She was at first pleased at being given her own team to work with, it was increasingly clear that she had been given a poisoned chalice [5]. Profits for Girl's Best Comics had been decreasing steadily for the past 5 years, and most of the stock holders and executives were inclined to cut and run. While she did have the support of her team, who were talented people in their own right, she was more or less starting from scratch...

    ... The first comic she edited was the anthology series All That Glitters. It was a collection of romance comics that were united by an aesthetic: specifically the glamour of female celebrities, of the 1920s and 1930s bourgeois socialite and of pre revolution Hollywood [6]. It was a startling success... [7]

    ...In its first 6 years, All That Glitters would carry several comics that remain popular even today, including the serialised biographies of Madame De Pompadour and Catherine the Great [8], but at the time the most popular comic serialised in All That Glitters was actually Renée's War. Created by Simone and influenced by British war comics and by James Bond films, Renée's War follows a glamorous French actress who acts as a spy for the Allies in Traitor France [9]...

    Extract from the script of Renée's War #4, originally serialised in All That Glitters #8, Girl's Best Comics, 1974

    Page 8 [this is divided into 6 panels. Imagine 4 rows across the page. 4 smaller panels go down the page on the left side, with the story carrying on in a panel to the right of the 4th row panel. These panels are in the foreground. In the background, is one large panel that takes up the remaining space in the first, second and third rows from the top. The reason I say this is in the "background" is that the panels are not truly contained. Things that should be in the "foreground panels" actually stick out of the space they should be in and intrude on the "background panel"]

    Background panel: [on the right hand side, an officer in the SS with his back to the reader has been stripped down to his swastika patterned underwear. He is standing up with his arms held in the air in the traditional "don't shoot me" position. In front of him is a table with a whiskey bottle with 3 small glasses on it. On the other side of his office is a safe which Renée is sitting on top of whilst pointing a small pistol at the SS officer. Renée is wearing a slightly anachronistic glamorous dress with a feather boa across her neck and shoulders and a knife strapped to her leg. Just to the right of Renée is her current love interest Abraham, a Dutch resistance fighter, who is currently dressing himself in the SS officer's uniform to prepare for their escape plan]
    Text box: [the text boxes throughout the comic are always Renée looking back on the mission] I knew the exploding radio tower would take the enemy three minutes to react to...
    Renée: I need the code to this safe. You will give it to me.
    SS officer: I don't think so fräulein
    Text box: ...another 5 minutes when the Wehrmacht and the SS argue over who's in charge...
    Text box: I could have killed the pig in a heartbeat, but hiding his body would take longer...
    Text box: I had to be quick.
    Renée: If it's not enough that I'll kill you, I could cut something off.
    SS officer: Cut what off!?
    Renée: Use your imagination pig.

    Foreground panel 1: [an unnamed Wehrmacht soldier stands at the base of a radio tower. He is leaning over due to having spotted something at the tower's base]
    Soldier: What?

    Foreground panel 2: [we see one of the explosives that Renée and Abraham planted earlier, it's timer almost completely run out. One corner of the explosive slightly sticks out of the right side of the panel]

    Foreground panel 3: [at the base of the radio tower, the explosions start, engulfing the soldier we saw earlier]

    Foreground panel 4: [the explosions travel up the tower, sticking out of the panel]

    Foreground panel 5: [the flaming tower starts to topple, falling dangerously close to the barracks. The tip of the radio tower sticks out of the top left corner of the panel]

    *Denotes a fictional character

    [1] The name Girl's Best Comics is derived from the OTL company name America's Best Comics.

    [2] Though the romance genre in the UASR was originally written for young adults and is arguably defined by the fact that it was written for young adults, when it was imported to the FBU or other AFS countries in the 1960s they would often be bought by teenagers.

    [3] It is worth emphasising that this is not due to one being high art and the other not being so. Indeed, romance comics in the UASR are often kitsch. However, the difference here is that Comintern comics allowed the female leads far more agency than their counterparts from the 60s AFS. They were liberating where their counterparts were stifling. And when you are buying something to engage with a fantasy, which would you prefer?

    [4] Specifically, whilst Simone appreciated the individualism and was enamoured of the same aesthetic as Rand, she would also comment that "[Rand's] view of capitalism gives the impression of someone who hasn't had to live with it"

    [5] Given the times and her gender, it is unlikely that Simone would have been the editor of her own comic line anyone had thought it would succeed.

    [6] Whilst many of these romance comics were historical, these aesthetics would also turn up anachronistically in comics set in the then present day. Many of these one shot romance comics were not set in a specific era and instead were set in a combination of several eras in a way comparable to OTL's Batman the Animated Series and A Series of Unfortunate Events. As cosplay becomes popular, dressing up in Simone Moreau's aesthetic whilst not dressing up as a specific character takes off among her fandom in the AFS.

    [7] The source here exaggerates the extent to which Simone's All That Glitters was responsible for the turn in the fortunes of Girl's Best Comics. Shortly after the initial release of All That Glitters, Girl's Best Comics released an equally popular anthology series edited by Simone's colleague Hugo Bauer called Grisly Tales For Gruesome Girls [10]. Grisly Tales was a combination romance and horror series, where a stand alone story would generally involve a "good girl" protagonist rescuing her love interest from a monster whilst the "bad girl" rival is either eaten by a monster, in league with a monster, or a monster herself. Some comic series serialised in Grisly Tales would drop the romance angle entirely, but would still be highly influenced by the romance comic genre: having female protagonists, a number of stylistic similarities and large quantities of topless men.

    [8] These were both controversial at the time, though for different reasons. The Catherine the Great biography was controversial for its sympathetic portrayal of Russians, the Madame De Pompadour for being a biography of a mistress to the then King of France. That said, the comics managed to deflect a lot of this criticism by in the first case emphasising the royalist nature of the comic, and in the second case by alternatively practicing discreetness and hiding behind claims of historical accuracy.

    [9] This was as much a female power fantasy as it was a romance comic, wherein the romance with the various "Renée's boys" sometimes finds itself taking a back seat to Renée killing fascists. That said, like all the Girl's Best Comics "post romance comics", the creators of Renée's War saw it as competing with American romance comics and it remains a central part of the modern romance comics fandom in the FBU.

    [10] Name derived from the OTL books and animated series Grizzly Tales For Gruesome Kids, which is more or less what it says on the packet.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2017
  20. The_Red_Star_Rising Homestuck Trash

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    Hrm, anyone want me to cover anything else with Columbia and co?