So these two geeks are playing cards . . .
Of course, being geeks, Ian and I weren’t playing poker or anything, we were playing one of those collectible card games. The really popular one. No, not the one about Japanese kids making imaginary animals fight in death-matches, the other really popular one. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, suffice to say that it has all the accoutrements of your standard nerd game: elves, dwarves, dragons, yada, yada, yada. To my recollection, Ian was winning. No, that’s not right. He was drinking wine from my skull while performing unspeakable acts on every orifice in my body with a meat tenderiser. It was that kind of game.
Most of this triumphant pounding was derived from one card, which he had taken to nick-naming “Argoth the Destructor.” However, merely trouncing me with Argoth’s fury did not prove satisfactory. Every time Argoth attacked, an ever-growing expository tirade began in a voice not unlike that of the narrator of Conan the Barbarian. Coincidence? I think not. But it was damn entertaining and I couldn’t help but get in on the fun myself. It became a game of sorts, seeing who could outdo the other by keeping their pointless and proper-noun laden narration going for longer.
Argoth may in fact be the ultimate culmination of post-modern culture. Suburban white kids, ones not even considered cool by other suburban white kids, taking the principles of free-style rap and applying them to narration of a non-existent fantasy film. It’s not even about the fictional fantasy film itself, it’s about the concept of a narrated introduction. One can almost imagine that Andy Warhol, Walt Disney, and George Lucas were conspiring to create this very moment from the beginning. We kept up the game for a while and the abstract character that was Argoth kept rearing his head. We were going to do a comic about him for a while there, but that fell through. Then Ian resurrected him on the Legends forum on MySpace, bringing back the game in a sort of jam story form, but that didn’t really catch on. I’m taking another crack at it anyway, albeit in a slightly modified form.
There’s another reason I’m trying to do this. It has to do with a different conversation with Ian from a few months back. He called me to tell me about Octobriana, a comic character from the former Soviet Union. Not only was she a super-woman who stood for Socialist ideals but the comic itself did as well. There was no copyright; any artistic citizen good tell a story of the righteousness of the state via the exploits of Octobriana. After the end of Communist Europe, westerners began to do Octobriana comics and zines with the requisite degree of irony. Ian’s line of thought, which I agreed with, was why not create intentionally public domain characters ourselves and try and spread their use as much as possible? Comics and popular fiction are filled with archetype characters, so there might as well be a single character to represent the archetype that anyone can use. Enter Argoth.
So I figure this blog will be a place to start. I’m going to try and get as many members as I can, hopefully all posting stories about Argoth. They don’t have to follow any sort of pattern or continuity. They can be whatever you feel like writing that would use the big, dumb fantasy barbarian archetype, whether it be serious, comedy, or an abstraction like the original game. With any luck I’ll get this going. If you are reading this and you interested in joining, e-mail me and I’ll get you on board.
May your sword stay ever wet, like a young girl in her prime. — Man O War, Hail and Kill
P.S. Props to my beloved Elise and the Judge Bob Doom for being, to my knowledge, my most devoted readers. Not to slight anyone else, just wanted to thank the people I know for a fact read this #$%@!
P.P.S. My review of Serenity forthcoming. I can’t wait for tonight.