Between the usual holiday nonsense and Jen struggling through an unreasonably long-lived sore throat, we’re taking a week off from Stasis Pod and delaying our December Patreon episode (Into the Spider-Verse!) until January. But we’ll return soon, and with a second Patreon episode for late January (probably Bumblebee?)!
Early in the morning on Monday, September 4th, I lost my dear friend and co-host Alex to a fatal pulmonary embolism.
Alex was the first person I had in mind when I created these podcasts. I’d known them* for ages from #wiigii! — they rode with me to BotCon 2007, on the maiden voyage of my new-to-me ’92 Volvo 240 wagon — and co-hosted the 80-Pagecast along with some other friends, and, along with David and a few friends from other communities, they joined a D&D group I helped put together on Discord. That group became fast friends, and Alex was someone I knew I wanted to do more with — and someone I could tell was the sort of kind, shy person who needed someone to make sure they were included.
Kindness and generosity defined them, but it was the kind of generosity born of believing that everyone is more deserving than you. I’ve had my own ongoing struggle with depression and mental illness — and with the lingering trauma of being chronically treated like the least important person in the room — and it helped us help each other. I’ve had a very rough year, and they helped me through it not just financially but by being the sort of friend who will remind you, in your darkest hour, that there are people out there who care if you live or die. And I did my best to try to be that kind of friend for them, too. They helped me move, and drove an hour each way and crashed on my Lovesac overnight to do it — and for my part I coaxed them into overcoming their depression enough to come out for that one last visit.
I’m not certain where we’re going with Stasis Pod and Iacon Underground Radio from here. All of us want to continue, but it’ll take at least a couple weeks until any of us are up to it — it was hard enough for David to finish editing the Black Friday episode after we learned what had happened after Alex went to the hospital. Watch our Twitter feed for updates.
A few people have asked about charities and the like, and I’m recommending donations in their memory be sent to Take This, an organization that “seeks to inform our community about mental health issues, to provide education about mental disorders and mental illness prevention, and to reduce the stigma of mental illness“. Alex’s death was not a suicide, but those who spoke with them on an everyday basis know depression made it hard for them to get medical help, and I believe that was a contributing factor. A mutual friend from that D&D group has dedicated her first (now free-to-read) Patreon story to Alex’s memory, and we’ll be looking into sending some of our Patreon donations to Take This as well.
- There’s been some confusion due to some in the community who knew Alex was exploring the possibility of being trans and chose to effectively transition them posthumously. Alex was a complicated person, and among close friends who shared their everyday experiences, it was common knowledge that they were exploring it but were not at all ready for a transition beyond using gender-neutral pronouns — which is what I’m using here. I ask the admin of the TFWiki to reverse the forced transitioning that was done in haste and without consulting with Alex’s closest friends, use Alex’s preferred (neutral) pronouns at the time of their death, and leave the issue as a biographical note — something that was planned for the future of their story but tragically never got to be canon.
Over on his Tumblr, More Than Meets The Eye artist Alex Milne has revealed his designs for a few new female Autobots who’ll be showing up with the crew of Thunderclash’s Vis Vitalis, a few of whom were revealed on the cover to MTMTE #41. The characters he’s shown off so far are (G1 veteran) Firestar, Javelin, Proxima, Roadmaster, and Velocity.
We here at Iacon Underground do like things other than just More Than Meets The Eye. Every Wednesday, four of us – Trixter (Jen), awa64 (Alex), strangefour (David), and Rob – are getting together for a new podcast that discusses every episode of the groundbreaking Beast Wars TV series!
In Episode 00 we discus where Transformers as a franchise was in the waning days of Generation 2 (spoilers: in the gutter) and where we all were when everything changed from Trukk to Munky. In Episode 01 we take a look at the first part of the pilot episode on the anniversary of its first syndicated airing. How well has the show aged? How did the fandom react to it? What fun production trivia does Trix remember from long-ago BotCons? Just how awesome can Rob’s voice be? Listen on to find out, and drop back by every Wednesday as we discuss a new episode!
Stasis Pod Episode 00: Before the Beast Wars
Stasis Pod Episode 01: Beast Wars Part 1
The Elegant Chaos arc reaches its end here. Five million years in the past Brainstorm stands before a half-finished Megatron, finger on the trigger, as Rodimus and the others rush to save reality as they know it by saving one of the universe’s greatest tyrants. In the present Megatron, Ultra Magnus, and Perceptor can only stand by and watch as the fate of their entire timeline plays out in the past.
Just what is Brainstorm thinking? Can Rodimus’s team stop him? And is Megatron even worth saving?
It’s never easy to assess the middle chapter of a story. The potential of a setup is at least somewhat apparent, and a grand conclusion can sweep the audience away, but middle chapters can falter in so many ways that aren’t even apparent until the story reaches that grand conclusion. In the heat of the moment, sometimes you just have to settle for enjoying what is there, especially the character beats, until you can return with the benefit of foresight and do it all over again.
It’s been mentioned elsewhere that sometimes not a whole lot happens in MTMTE. Don’t get me wrong, stuff happens, lots of it, feels and pain and sadness and funny stuff, but the plot, the overarching plot arch that Roberts has all penciled out somewhere is moving at a rather relaxed pace and this felt especially obvious with this one issue, which truly felt like a first part of a longer arch (which it is, I know).