Episode 244 of the Letters Page: Writers’ Room: Tome of the Bizarre: Vol 3 #126

Cowboys and Rhinos go well together


Oh man, Naturalist in the Wild West, this is gonna be good. :smiley: And this is the first time we’ve seen a “Tome of the Bizarre presents the Naturalist” cover, right?

Top-tier opening bit there.

I’m so glad they settled on Omnitron, if only because we can play the scenario on digital. XD

And of course, I played it immediately and had a good time. :slight_smile:

Love that Christopher is hung up on this money thing, I also find it funny.

Oh my goodness, I had no idea Gun Rat came from such a storied – and villainous! – line! Good on him for rising above his predecessors and turning the family name around. :slight_smile:

I also ran that scenario, and it went far less well. c_c

Okay, Miss Abyss is Mr. Abyss’s daughter? That’s kinda what I was thinking! :smiley:

The fear in Adam’s voice when Christopher suggests three covers. XD

And I just noticed the price on the cover is a hundred and ninety-nine cents. Fantastic detail.


Now I want to see a steampunk Onmitron event…

(Yes, I said steampunk… dieselpunk brings to mind the World Wars and associated tech. This is still old west, steam powered, trains and the rest. Then again, dieselpunk, steampunk, and clockpunk can sometimes be lumped into steampunk as a sub-genre, much the same way any near-future sci-fi with heavy human augmentation themes is categorized as “cyberpunk,” even without the anti-authoritarian bits… YES, I have thought about this a lot, and not just because I have a dieselpunk story written and in search of a market.)


Most of the listenership is outside the U.S.? That’s surprising to me. I wonder where from mostly?

This episode was alright, but the story arc sure sounded focused around Expatriette and Setback for a book headlined by the Naturalist. Argent Adept almost seemed like an afterthought. However, I’m willing to forgive if provided art of Cowboy Setback. :cowboy_hat_face:

I’m not sure why they kept saying “dieselpunk” Omnitron. Silver Gulch is firmly in the steampunk/weird west setting. Dieselpunk/weird war is using the aesthetics of the first half of the 20th century – art deco, the two world wars, airplanes and automobiles.

Steam and brass, not steel and gas.


Because apparently this was one of the things sent back.

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The thing about the money reminds me of an episode of “Dukes of Hazard” where there was a treasure hunt to find the lost Union pay roll strong box. When they open it, it was filled with Confederate script so Boss Hog “generously” allowed the guest stars to keep it. And they sold it to the university for good money because it’s not legal tender, but it is a noteworthy historical artifact.

So, Mister Abyss was in the Wraith Cartoon that came out after the campy live action show. Voiced by Ted Knight or Lennie Weinrib?

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Yeah, that says “Steampunk” to me. The wood, the big boilers and fires.


Doesn’t have enough gears to be steampunk imo. Looks grimy and dirty, which falls more in dieselpunk territory.

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Enough people are debating this that we clearly need a third category. Call it “railpunk” or “cactuspunk” or whatever.

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If “railpunk” is not an actual thing, it absolutely should be.

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Or there’s a bunch of other options here:


I think there’s at least a few Australians (source: I am one), and Tumblr gives me the impression there’s a few Germans, too. But I think this question was actually addressed on the podcast a while ago, and the biggest single listener country outside the US was…somewhere in South America, I think?

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Would stand to reason if it was Venezuela, since I would imagine a few of his old buddies down there stumbled on Christopher’s kickstarter in 2011 and were like "hey, I know that guy (in Spanish, natch). So they told their buddies to tell there buddies, and the game got relatively popular there.

I’m still waiting for geek culture to become mainstream enough that a “real” game (not something light like Pandemic and Ticket to Ride, but more along the lines of Gloomhaven or Scythe or Gaia Project or Seasons) ends up turning into the next Monopoly or Magic the Gathering, such that “people in general”, on every continent and in every generation, can be assumed to know it. SOTM itself would never be the game to reach that apex, being a deliberately niche product specifically for comic book fans, but it’d be neat if something at least vaguely similar or connected, like a deckbuilding game with expansion boxes or a CCG about superheroes, were to reach this level of prominence. At least in a country or two, if not on the world stage. (Debatably this has happened already with Spirit Island, but I have my doubts if a random person in Podunk Idaho or Caracas or Beijing or Budapest would recognize that immediately, the way they would chess or poker or Battleship.)


I had forgotten about Cattle Punk.

Like I said, when I’m explaining stuff to folks not familiar, I tend to lump clockpunk (“What if Leonardo Da Vinci actually made some of that stuff he designed, and they worked?”) through dieselpunk (“World Wars with diesel powered mecha”) as “Steampunk.” For those in the know, then I differentiate depending on the tech level and general vibe.


They discussed this a little a while back – the US is by far their highest listenership, and Canada is second, but when they were discussing where their listeners are from they had excluded north america so as to see the more interesting “overseas” group.

The top five Letters Page listening countries are, in order: US, Canada, South Africa, UK, and Australia.

There was some speculation that South Africa might be incorrect because a lot of VPNs run through there – the weirdly high number there at may be a false result based on US listeners using a VPN.


Ah, so even if South Africa is a fluke they’re all still English-speaking countries. Makes sense, I guess. Has anyone seen other language prints of SotM, any version? Just curious what those would look like and how the translation could be pulled off in a small text box.

I think we’ve had questions before about Sentinel Comics in countries other than the metaverse U.S., but I don’t remember exactly what was said. Obviously we have heroes in other places - not just Disparation anime/manga issue but the Soul Twins in Japan. Have there been SC books published in another country that have crossed with the main U.S. readership?

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I just today commented on this in the subreddit, but my headcanon has always been that the Cauldron characters are essentially “Sentinels UK”, all international heroes, published under the SC banner, but made in other countries by local creators. Big enough to have local popularity, occasional crossovers by “main characters”, but not big enough to make the jump to the big leagues.


I could see that for some of the Cauldron characters, but others I’m less sure about. Cricket for instance seems very American to me, although I suppose she could be from Canada or Australia without feeling very different. And maybe I’m wrong but I got the impression that Terminus and the Infernal Choir were based in a San Francisco type Chinatown rather than actually being in China. To me, the story of a thoroughly Americanized third generation immigrant discovering that their grandparents’ mythology is actually true, that just seems like it makes a better story than a person who lives within current Chinese culture finding out that Chinese-style ghost stories are based in fact.


I agree, it’s not perfect across the board, but my headcanon boils down to “where did Britain establish ‘control’ over the years, and thus could have descendants living in the UK, who want to tell stories in their ancestral homes?” You get things like Hong Kong (Terminus), Australia (Echelon), India (Impact), Egypt (Malachai), Canada (Cricket, Vanish, others), and of course a crap ton from England proper (Knight, Drift, Titan, Doc Havoc).

It’s the easiest way I could “justify” these characters in the SCU.