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Arthur, King of Time and Space Arthur, King of Time and Space

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Arthur, King of Time and Space


Remember in 2005 when I said I can't do crossovers, but if I could I'd just figured out who?

My impression of Elaine of Carbonek and Astolat is derived from T.H. White and Tennyson. She seems to me to have nothing, and/or to believe she has nothing, of any substance in her life but her infatuation with Lancelot.

Now's the time to note that not all authors conflate Elaine of Carbonek the mother of Galahad with Elaine of Astolat the lily maid who pines away for love. T.H. White does; John Ervine quite pointedly does not. As of this writing, I'm doubtful AKOTAS shall.

Among the evolutionary steps in my casting King Arthur into saleable space opera was the first draft or two of a novel. More than one of its readers found Elaine in that (a conflated Elaine) to be little enough developed relative to the other characters to comment on. Well, that's because (like T.H. White) I'm trying to propagate characters I know and love rather than invent new ones: if Elaine's less developed than the others then, most likely, it's because that's how I found her to be (like in T.H. White). But I wasn't sure that's good storytelling, or fair to the character.

Then, one day shortly after I'd made the self-referencing amendment at the end of the essay linked above, I was thinking.

Suppose I stand by my position that AKOTAS can't do crossovers, or I propose a Narbonic crossover to Shaenon Garrity and she turns me down, or I propose one to Shaenon and we try to put one together but it can't be made to work. I could still put characters into AKOTAS who were parodies of tributes to Helen, Dave and Mell.

I've already decided that, crossover or tribute, I can't have anything like a mad scientist in the contemporary arc, because the lack of fantastic elements is what distinguishes that arc from the others. But that's all right because the Victorian interplanetary war thread at Narbonic already shows that Helen and her company are shot through time just as Arthur and his company are. It's already obvious that, crossover or tribute, any Helen Narbon in AKOTAS would be a mad sorceress in the fairy tale arc.

I've already decided that her name has to be Elaine. The reason there are so many Elaines in the Matter of Britain - Arthur's half sister, Lancelot's mother, Lancelot's lover(s) - is because Elaine's a French form of Helen and these characters were named after Helen of Troy during the Arthurian legends' centuries of primary residence across the Channel. But what about the Narbonic part? Narbon's a place name innit? Is there any Arthurian placename that sounds like Narbon? Narbon Narbon bo-Barbon... Carbon. Narbonic. Carbonic. Carbonek.

Helen of Narbonic. Elaine of Carbonek.

No. No. NO.

But if I were to do it ...

If I were to do it, what's the medieval equivalent of the name Dave, Helen Narbon's henchman, romantic foil and experimental subject? No no, no new character - obviously Lancelot would be analog to Dave. Elaine sleeps with Lancelot because she's as loopy as her father (Helen is as loopy as her mother). Elaine, not Pelles (as in White [and Malory]) or with Pelles, is the one after melding her line with Lancelot's. She's not a mad scientist, she's not a mad sorceress - she's a mad theologian.

No. Still mustn't do it.

Of course if I were to do it, there'd have to be a Mell analog too. Elaine'd have to have a weapons-happy servitor with cheerful destructive and homicidal tendencies. At least in the fairy tale arc such a person'd have to be male, and a knight.

But what'd be his name? Are there knights in the sources with the syllable mel in their names? Conversely, what characters already exist who are associated with Elaine of Carbonek? Say, what again is the name of Elaine's retainer who's sweet on her in Le Morte d'Arthur? Brommel, that's right.


Okay, now I gotta do it.

And it's not like Elaine'll be the only AKOTAS character whose look and manner are swiped from another comics character [that is, even aside from select time-travel pals of Space Merlin]. In fact, the other's her son.

...Say, I wonder if any of this is what Shaenon was thinking?

Aside from her formal debut as an AKOTAS character last month when Morgan visited Carbonek, Elaine appeared uncredited in the western arc since here (or, arguably, here); in the Serenity parody; and in the arc space flashforward here.

Webcomics I read mornings: Kevin & Kell, For Better Or For Worse, Shortpacked, Todd and Penguin, Scary Go Round, Tux & Bunny, Sluggy Freelance, Irregular Comic, Real Life, Peanuts Webcomics I read M-W-F mornings: El Goonish Shive, Theater Hopper, General Protection Fault, Nukees, Newshounds, Girl Genius, Malfunction Junction, Ctrl+Alt+Del Webcomics I read Tu-Th-Sa mornings: AppleGeeks, Achewood, Kismetropolis, Erfworld, Crap I Drew On My Lunch Break, Striptease, Punch an' Pie, Digger
Webcomics I read middays: Calvin & Hobbes, Least I Could Do, User Friendly, Questionable Content, Starslip Crisis, Devil's Panties, Narbonic, Schlock Mercenary
Webcomics I read evenings: LuAnn, Count Your Sheep, Goats, Pearls Before Swine, American Elf, Sinfest, Little Dee Webcomics I read M-W-F evenings: Reasoned Cognition, Two Lumps, Zortic, Order of the Stick, College Roommates from Hell!!!, Home on the Strange, Penny Arcade Webcomics I read Tu-Th-Sa evenings: Girls With Slingshots, The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, Get Out of My Head, Megatokyo, Buck Godot Zap Gun For Hire
Webcomics I read bedtimes: B.C., Something Positive, Station V3, Dinosaur Comics, Wapsi Square, Help Desk, Sheldon, PvP
Webcomics I read Sundays: xkcd, Minus, Smithson, Something Happens, Li'l Mell, Three Panel Soul, Butternut Squash, Perry Bible Fellowship, The Non-Adventures of Wonderella, Ctrl+Alt+Del, Boxjam's Doodle Webcomics I hope will start updating again: Casey & Andy, 13 Seconds, Medium Large, The Magnificent Adventures of Hieronymus Bosch, esquire, Dandy & Company, Breakfast of the Gods, The Green Avenger, The Angriest Rice Cooker In The World, No Room for Magic, Anywhere But Here, The Whovian Observer, Gossamer Commons See also The Daily Grind Iron Man Challenge, Talk About Comics, The Living Comic, Online Comics Day, The Belfry Comics Index, The Webcomic List, Mister Bloo, Nth Degree, 100% Originality Theatre, Girls Read Comics (And They're Pissed), Fleen, Mr. Myth, Comixpedia and Websnark.

Arthuriana sources I use or recommend:
Arthurian Legend
Arthuriana - the Journal of Arthurian Studies; the website of the quarterly journal of the North American Branch of the International Arthurian Society.
The Camelot Project at the University of Rochester.
Camelot In Four Colors: A Survey of the Arthurian Legend in Comics
Mystical-WWW - The Arthurian A2Z knowledge Bank which has encyclopedically-arranged entries on the characters of the Arthurian legends.
Le Morte Darthur: Sir Thomas Malory's Book of King Arthur and of his Noble Knights of the Round Table, Volume 1 and Volume 2.

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