Too Many Long Boxes!
  • Belief
  • Of Bugs and Bug Men
  • Circus!
  • Collector's Item
  • Green Future
  • Hooray For Hollywood
  • Idiot's Delight
  • Mere Mortals…
  • Mister Zeus…

  • End of Summer


    by Michael Hutchison

    It's time to judge the entries for Fanzing's "Arkham Asylum's Vacation" Writing Challenge. This has been, hands down, the best writing challenge ever. The response was tremendous, and almost everyone who submitted started rattling off several other ideas for future stories! For that reason, Arkham Asylum's Vacation now has a spin-off writing challenge…but we'll get to that later.

    The winner of this writing challenge gets a Fanzing T-shirt (or, if he/she prefers, a Fanzing mouse pad or Fanzing coffee mug). And picking a winner…phew! This is…nearly impossible. We have not had any horrible entries, or mediocre entries. There's just "good", "great" and "should be published as a comic"!

    If you haven't read these yet, try to ignore the summaries on the right.

    Read the Intro to Arkham Asylum's Vacation

    by Nicolas Juzda

    Maxie Zeus encounters ????

    One of several Maxie Zeus adventures submitted (each entry accompanied by something along the lines of "Here's a villain nobody will be using!"), this tale also dredged up a little-used protagonist. To Juzda's credit, it also uses the character (I'm being vague on purpose) in a way that's true to his original profile. Well done!

    by Scott Rogers

    Blue Beetle encounters Charaxis

    While it would have been funny to see this encounter end the moment Charaxis hit the windshield, I enjoyed the battle. Scott Rogers writes a great Blue Beetle! Competent and capable, but still a goofball. A nice mix of all versions of Blue Beetle. Good work, Scott. (Scott, by the way, prefers the old version of Killer Moth…but does a good job with Charaxis!)

    by David R. Black

    Legion Subs vs. A Quartet of Misfit Villains

    Whew! As a Legion of Substitute Heroes fan ever since their 1983 Special, I loved this story. Unfortunately, I have to disqualify this one as a competitor just because it is not in current continuity. (Although I really wish that the Subs WERE in continuity!) The rules did make it quite clear. But don't worry…David did submit another entry.

    by Dannell Lites

    Angel and the Ape vs. Clayface

    Dannell does have a bit of an error here, but I don't know whether to hold it against her or not. The problem is that Clayface 1, Basil Karlo, is no longer the "ugly wacko actor"… he's now the reigning shape-changing Clayface in Gotham (according to Penguin during 1999's "No Man's Land". However, given that there have only been a few Basil Karlo stories in the last decade, I can't really fault her for that and will allow the story to compete.

    Over all, it's a very fun tail, er, tale. I can see how Basil Karlo would be annoyed at the thought of animal actors receiving awards. However, the story doesn't really go anywhere too interesting, and it seems like Arnold the pig (who must have died decades ago) gets more attention than Angel and Sam!

    by Michael Rees

    Poison Ivy vs. Titans

    Michael Rees pleases Titans fans everywhere with well-written portrayals of Damage, Argent, Troia and Arsenal. On top of that, the plot is very logical and we even get to see the younger Titans doing some planning. The superb story did have some grammatical errors, but graded as a story it was the tops! And there's some inter-fanfic continuity, too. Rees should definitely submit some work to DC and see if he can follow Faerber's run on the Titans title! (Frankly, I liked this story better than Devin Grayson's stories.)

    by Michael Condon

    The Mad Hatter vs. er…A New Hat

    Mad Hatter is portrayed as both the hat collector and the Lewis Carroll character. Nicely done. Although the ending is a bit strange, I loved the premise and the portrayal of both main characters.

    by Michael Condon

    The Idiot Returns

    Having never read the "Idiot Root", the story this was based on, it was a little difficult to understand. Gruesome, too. Still, I was able to get the gist of the character, and it did make some sense that he would go after Superman. I'm not sure I really buy the idea that Superman would develop a new power just to defeat him, though. (Brainiac attacks his mind all the time and Superman never has done so.)

    by Chaim Mattis Keller

    Green Arrow vs. Maxie Zeus

    Maxie Zeus takes over Eden Corps. It's great to see Connor Hawke again. However, I think the plot in this story is a little meandering and tries to do too much at once. It was great seeing Maxie getting addicted to Starbucks Coffee, though!

    By D. J. LoTempio

    Maxie Zeus vs. Wonder Girl and Troia

    This story…is quite impressive. The research that must have gone into it for the quotes and the Greek history. Wow! On top of that, we have good storytelling (such as introductions to the major characters) and a very believable, logical reason why Maxie Zeus would seek out Helena Sandsmark.

    The story is hindered by numerous typos, errors and one obvious mistake (Helena suddenly knows who Maxie Zeus is when paragraphs earlier she had no clue). I also don't understand what relieved Cassie of the Joker's madness serum. Despite all of this, it is definitely one of the best stories submitted for this challenge.

    by Seth Gottlieb

    Joker Vs. the Marvel Family

    Seth has a good deal of fun with this one, I can tell. The combination of the light-hearted Fawcett characters and the Joker (who runs the gambit between funny and homicidal in his portrayals, as we all know) works very well together. The "we can't kill the bad guy" bit has been done to death, but it IS nice to see someone debating that about the Joker. (I have a problem believing that the wisdom of Solomon would have counseled against killing the guy, though. Leaving the guy free to escape and murder again isn't very wise!)

    by David R. Black

    Cameron Chase vs. Signalman

    A commendable job by David R. Black, who manages to tie in with a very recent issue of Martian Manhunter AND previous Arkham entries! Quite cool! The use of the lame-o Signalman in a touching story is also a very big draw.

    by Michael Rees

    Scarecrow vs. Supergirl

    A very effective story marred by an overabundance of grammatical errors and bad punctuation that often disrupted its readability. Still, the portrayal of Professor Crane is quite humorous, especially when he breaks the fourth wall and points out some of the cliches in Batman stories. Linda's situation is unique; I don't recall too many superheroes who have been afraid of their own identity.

    by Michael Rees

    Mr. Zsasz meets Resurrection Man!

    This story…this story. Wow! I'm tempted to give Rees the award just because the concept is hilarious. I mean…Zsasz the psycho trying to take out a man who can't die. I loved it.

    by Robert Flynn

    Blue Beetle and Booster Gold vs. the Ventriloquist!

    This entry was a bit short and straight-forward, but I did enjoy seeing Beetle and Booster again. Not sure i buy the explanation that the Vegas police would call them in!

    One thing is quite clear: Maxie Zeus is a great character, but he's not a good Batman villain! Against Batman, a delusional man is not much of a threat. But in three stories, Maxie Zeus is used most effectively. Unless the Batbooks have big plans for Maxie, DC might want to consider freeing him up for other titles to use. I mean, I really don't like most Wonder Woman stories…but if "Mere Mortals as Victims of History" was published in Wonder Woman, I'd buy it!

    Blue Beetle vs. Charaxes was…aw, jeez, I just can't get the mental image of Charaxes hitting the Bug's windshield out of my mind. CLASSIC!

    Rees' Green Future story is admirable and shows a thorough understanding of the current Titans title. As I said…it's as good as anything that Devin's book has done so far. I really like the way Troia and Arsenal are mind-controlled but seem like they're in their right minds..

    One startling observation is that most of the best stories involved obscure or discarded Batman villains. I almost wish the Ten-Eyed Man was still around, just because I'm sure someone would do a good job with him!

    In the end, we had to narrow it down to a few of the best entries:
    "Green Future"
    "Of Bugs and Bug Men"
    "Mere Mortals as Victims"

    And the winner is:

    I can't do it! I just can't do it! I can't tell any of these three guys that they didn't win. Their entries are all so good! I have spent the last day re-writing and re-writing the sentence to say that Rees or Rogers or LoTempio has won…and then I erase it and give it to another guy.

    "Bugs" is funny, enjoyable, easy to read and doesn't contain any errors. "Green Future" and "Mere Mortals as Victims" are more ambitious, character-heavy and deep, but both lost points for typos and, in the latter's case, a few plot holes in an otherwise superior story. I tried plotting out the various merits and demerits…and they balance out.

    I was THIS close to calling it a three-way tie…but I'm not paying for three prizes. So, after careful deliberation amongst the judges, we've decided.

    The award goes to Michael Rees for "Green Future"! Michael wins his choice of a Fanzing T-shirt, mousepad, coffee mug or oversized mug from the selection available at

    However, as a surprise consolation prize to D.J. LoTempio and Scott Rogers for their excellent challenges, both will receive a special discount for use in the same store! All three winners will be notified by e-mail shortly.

    Thank you to everyone who participated.

    --Editor Michael Hutchison, who just realized he has to pay shipping to England while Scott Rogers is a couple states away, grumble grumble.

    Return to the Top of the Page

    Now that you've read this piece,
    discuss it in the Fanzing Forum!

    All characters are ™ DC Comics
    This piece is © 2000 by Michael Hutchison.
    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.

    Fanzing site version 7.4
    Updated 7/27/2010