2009-07-10

Whateley Academy, or, What I've Been Reading Recently

Nestled in the Presidential Mountains of New Hampshire lies the Town of Dunwich, near which is located Whateley Academy, founded in the late 1800s by Noah Whateley as a school for Young Gentlemen. Fallen on hard times in the late 1950s, foreclosed upon by the bank, it was brought forth anew in the mid-1960s as a High School for those who possessed 'odd talents'.


Dunwich, New Hampshire? Where, pray tell, is that? Nowhere in our reality, although mentioned by H.P. Lovecraft. Welcome to the world next door to ours, where the Superheroes, Supervillains, and Mutants of the comic books are reality, and where the writings of H.P. Lovecraft are fact disguised as fiction; this is the setting for the stories of Whateley Academy, a High School founded [and protected] by a consortium of Supers, both Hero and Villain, for the express purpose of educating young Mutants in the usage of their powers, and the development of skills needed to survive in a somewhat hostile world, for there are many who do not love the Mutant as their brother.


Welcome to Whateley Academy, student body circa 600. Scrupulously neutral as to the path their students take upon graduation, directed by one of the foremost Superheros of any generation, staffed by some of the finest educators and researchers in the land, part prep school, part mutant academy, their graduates are accepted into the most prestigious colleges, courted by the CIA, NSA, NASA, and other governmental agencies, as well as the established Superhero & Supervillain teams, The Syndicate, and other shadow organizations both malign and benign.


Written, singly and cooperatively, by a group of approximately 17 writers referred to by their fans as 'The Canon Cabal' to difference them from those writing fan fiction set in their universe, the main sequence of stories follows six members of the Class of 2010 starting with their arrival at the beginning of their freshman year, in September of 2006. Brought together initially by the common thread of a change in gender accompanying their mutation, these six individuals rapidly form bonds which will last their lifetimes, however long those may be...


Five years of writing, with significant weekly updates for the most part, has brought the storyline partway through their second term, Winter 2007, although some Fall 2006 storylines are still in progress. Utilizing 'The Canon Bible' [a Secret Compendium of Established Lore regarding the Whateley Universe], a private forum, and individual emails, the Canon Cabal have maintained an astounding level of character consistency and universe coherency. Originally posting their stories at Sapphire's Place, a GLBT Internet fiction site, Whateley Academy has for several years now maintained their own server, The Crystal Hall, hosting the official Canon of stories, a fan maintained wiki, and an active fan forum, including fan fiction. [Some fan fiction has also been posted to The Big Closet.] Several significant members of The Canon Cabal began as writers of Whateley fan fiction, and were invited into The Cabal, and their work revised and reissued as Canon.


Experience the pathos and bathos of life at a coed mutant boarding school, the comedy, tragedy, seriousity and farce of life in the mutant fast lane with fifteen-year-olds adjusting to new powers and abilities, some eagerly, others reluctantly, all while taking English, Maths, Powers Theory & Lab, Home Ec, Basic Martial Arts, Introduction to Flight, Gadgeteer/Deviser Lab, Costume Theory, Introduction to Mystic Arts, Advanced Topics in Mutant Genetics, and others both academic and vocational.


Cliques and clubs abound! Jockey for social position with The Alphas [Whateley's self-proclaimed elite]. Considering a career as a cape, why not rush the Future Superheros of America? Your parents are Supervillains, that's a sure in with The Bad Seeds, admittance only to those of proper pedigree; desire to emulate your parents not required. Fancy a career as a model, Venus, Inc., is for you! Family from the upper crust, hang with the Golden Kids. Think yourself the next James Bond, the Intelligence Cadets [Spy Kidz] might be for you. Spectre more your style, the Masterminds for those with guile.


Acknowledged influences include the various major [and minor] comic book universes, H.P. Lovecraft, Japanese anime [especialy Ranma ½ & Urusai Yatsura], various role playing games with a superheroes/supervillains or Cthulhu theme, Saturday Morning Cartoons, Adam West's Batman, Vincent Price' laugh, and a familiarity with Prep Boarding Schools [US & Foreign].


And that's what I've been reading lately.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nicely recapped.
Odin