Things are a bit turbulent over at The Secret Lair these days. Chris Miller, my co-overlord, has packed up his belongings and moved to California, where he will take command of The Secret Lair West, our new facility located somewhere near Los Angeles. During one of his pre-move trips to L.A., Chris managed to accidentally shakes things up a bit and our own Secretary of Artistic Propaganda, Natalie Metzger, immortalized the event as an episode of The Secret Lair Webcomic.
Meanwhile, closer to home, I’ve had to deal with not only the ramifications of Chris’ departure, but the day-to-day administrative duties of running an illegal, covert facility near what passes for a major metropolitan area in northeast Ohio.
As a result of the hubbub, we anticipate that our podcast release schedule will be even more sporadic than normal, though we did recently release our final face-to-face episode for the foreseeable future, recorded during Game Night at the International House of Johnson and including a number of very special guests.
Once the dust has settled (and we’ve determined that it’s not radioactive), we’ll fire up Skype and get back to what we do best. And if anyone out there knows exactly what that is, please let us know.
EDIT: Like the sands through the hourglass, so have fallen links to The Secret Lair.
You may have heard rumors that I am presently attending the Origins Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio. I can now confirm that this is (as of this writing), absolutely true.
You may also have heard rumors concerning the absence of one Mr. Ken Newquist and whether or not Mur Lafferty was somehow responsible. Though I cannot say with absolute certainty that this has no basis in fact, I have reason to believe that it is patently untrue.
Finally, there is another dubious assertion that Cmar, M.D. goes around wearing a prosthetic noggin so as to appear taller than four feet and two inches, and that he uses a complex periscopic device to look down upon those around him through eerie, ever-staring artificial eyes. Is this true? I don’t know, but having spent considerable time with the man yesterday I have come to the conclusion that it could go either way.
If you were under the impression that the rumor of the doctor’s false head was the last of the bunch, then I’m afraid you were deceived. It is unwise to believe everything you read on these Internets, even on this very blog. Here is the true final rumor of the moment, one I can happily assure you is one hundred per cent accurate and true: Natalie Metzger, known in some circles as The Fuzzy Slug and in other circles largely overlapping the first as minitotoro, has released the first episode of her fantastical new podcast, Radio Isopod. You would do well to listen to it; you might even recognize a voice or two.
While you do that, I shall remain at Origins, attempting to substantiate or disprove the scurrilous scuttlebutt as I become aware of it. At some point, I expect there will be photographs.
Natalie Metzger is The Secretary of Artistic Propaganda over at The Secret Lair. In addition to designing our site banner and Overlord avatars, Natalie also writes and draws our official webcomic. In the (very) quiet times between podcast episodes, it is Natalie’s webcomic that keeps The Secret Lair alive.
The Secret Lair Crew(L-R): Kris Johnson, Chris Miller, Natalie Metzger
Before she turned Chris and I into cartoons, Natalie turned us into a zombie and an orc, respectively. Code Zombie is her rendition of a Twitter avatar that Chris used once upon a yesterday, while Ootk’j, Orc Warrior is an adaptation of one of my early 5 O’Clock Shadow self-portraits.
Between drawings of Chris and I, Natalie has created several covers for the PDF version of Mur Lafferty’s superhero audionovel, Playing For Keeps as well as the cover of for Sam Chupp’s sword-and-sorcery audionovel, Heart of the Hunter.
Natalie also (at my request) created the new favicon for KJToo.com. If you’re the sort who visits the site rather than reading the RSS feed, hopefully you’ve already seen it in your browser’s address bar. As an added and unexpected bonus, Natalie also created two critters that each contain the letters “KJToo” cleverly integrated into their design.
The Fuzzy Slug is the home of all of Natalie’s artistic creations, not just drawings but photographs and even the occasional furred beastie. One never knows what may show up at the Slug from day to day, but you can bet it will be interesting.
The first panel of Natalie Metzger‘s latest webcomical creation for The Secret Lair provides an insight—one some might classify as profoundly disturbing—into the decidedly non-traditional celebrations Chris Miller and I have adopted for certain of the minor holidays observed here in the United States.
Lest anyone get the wrong impression, let me assure you that none of our festivities involve any sort of violence toward this particular holiday‘s honorees, despite the fact that certain deciduous individuals among them persist in perennially covering our lawns with their palmate-netted castoffs. Indeed, The Secret Lair is as environmentally friendly as any facility housing a trans-dimensional alien power siphon, an unregulated plutonium refinery and three separate sub-basements dedicated to various (allegedly) biohazardous experimentation possibly can be. We’re not technically a “green” facility, but there is a very nice hyacinth in Mr. Miller’s office and one of the minions has planted daffodils on the west bank of the moat. ((These are, unfortunately, no longer officially being tended, as the would-be floriculturist severely underestimated the tentacle reach of the giant squid.)) In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that the koi pond near the Visitor Center is an artifice: a hologram designed to disguise one of our surface-to-air missile batteries. ((Astute visitors will surely notice that the koi swim in a pattern that is repeated every ninty-two-point-five minutes—or rather, they would notice the pattern if they weren’t fleeing the hunter-seeker robots that are automatically deployed when our hidden DNA scanners detect the presence of unauthorized personnel near the Visitor Center.))
If you are in northeast Ohio this Arbor Day, you would do well to avoid The Secret Lair. ((The facility and its immediate surroundings are slightly out of phase with the “normal” time/space continuum; we expect the issue to be resolved no later than Wednesday of last week.)) However, admission to The Holden Arboretum is free beginning on Friday the 25th and continuing through Sunday the 27th. Mr. Miller and I are—due to the aforementioned non-traditional observances—banned from the grounds for life, but we hold no grudge and encourage you to visit the Arboretum this weekend if you are able.
There’s plenty of activity over at The Secret Lair these days. We’ve posted our discussion on Richard K. Morgan’s Market Forces in the latest episode of The Secret Library, the donations from our loyal minions have completely covered the cost of our new Samson Zoom H2 mobile recorder, our promo has been played on some great podcasts (including J.C. Hutchins‘ UltraCreatives and Geek Radio Daily) and the comic strips just keep coming!
P.G. Holyfield, who apparently isn’t busy enough recording his own audionovel, has published some comics over at Bitstrips suggesting that things aren’t exactly rosy over at The Secret Lair. I couldn’t let that kind of impudence go unanswered, so I fired a shot across his bow. Unfortunately for Mr. Holyfiend, he couldn’t take the hint, and his continued poking and prodding has awakened the dragon. I am assured by a very reliable and trustworthy source that his uppance will soon come.
Rivalries aside (and Mr. Holyfiend has more than one), I’ve ventured into morally and bioethically challenging territory with a strip that addresses cloning. “Evil Kris” introduces a new character to The Secret Lair and brings up a very interesting question from my co-overlord, Mr. Miller.
Meanwhile, the Secretary of Artistic Propaganda has been busy creating comic strips the old fashioned way. The overlords and their rivals must leverage emerging technologies to bring the illustrated funny, but Natalie Metzger has something better than a drag-and-drop interface: loads and loads of talent. Episode 0002 of our web comic finds yours truly participating in a very dubious blood drive. Click the preview panel below to see the full comic (and yummy cookies!).
I’ve seen the scripts for the next few episodes of the webcomic and I must admit that I’m very pleased with our Secretary of Artistic Propaganda. Ms. Metzger has quickly risen through the ranks of the various minions, pursuivants, lickspittles, lieutenants, lackeys, lobbyists, goons and thugs we employ at The Secret Lair and proven herself to be quite valuable. I have informed the Disposal Squad that they can stand down…for now.
The Secret Lair has gone two-dimensional! Thanks to the efforts of some very talented (and funny) folks, the evil overlords have recently been featured in not one but two comic strips.
The first strip comes from the Lair’s own Secretary of Propaganda, Natalie Metzger. Natalie is the very talented artist who created our official site banner, community site banner and evil overlord avatars. Click the thumbnail below to view at 750 x 500 pixels. The full size image, a whopping 1500 x 1000 pixels, can be seen at The Secret Lair. This is the first of what we hope will be many, many Secret Lair strips from the Secretary of Propaganda.
The second strip, “Problems at the Lair?” by P.G. Holyfied, relates an unfortunate early communications problem; one long since resolved, I can assure you.
Big things are happening over at The Secret Lair. Yeah, there’s another movie episode, but more impressive than a couple of geeks blathering on about Night Watch and Justice League: The New Frontier is the new masthead ((Call it a banner, if you prefer, or even a logo; your fancy words don’t detract from the sheer coolness of the thing.)) on the website. Designed by Natalie Metzger, the Lair’s official Secretary of Artistic Propaganda, the graphic features a skull-topped mountain looming large in front of the Cleveland, Ohio skyline at dusk, its stony eye sockets glowing malevolently as the masterminds and minions who call the craggy cranium their base of operations toil within the mysterious chambers hidden deep within.
So visit the site. Download the newest episode. And if you know what’s good for you, tell Natalie how truly magnificent the new masthead is, or the next time you see those glowing eyes it will be in the company of one of our Retrieval Squads.