I'm once again taking comments I made in response to a past topic of the mailing in Apa-LSH and posting them here, this time addressing the First Family of the Legion, the Ranzzes, and their home world of Winath.
Through the 5YL run, we depicted Winath as a pretty idyllic world with a happy, nurturing culture and a general public acceptance of nudity and near-nudity. Over the years I’d kind of assumed Mary and I must have been the ones to come up with the nudity part, but upon re-reading the run a few years ago, I was reminded that Keith had shown Ayla and Vi wearing nothing but little loin clothes earlier in the run and I think there was some similar content late in Paul’s run, so our depiction of everyone wearing not much in the Reunion issue was in fact consistent with what had been recently established.
I guess Paul established big agri-plantations on Winath, with Imra and Garth running the Ranzz family’s spread, and during the 5YL run, we built on the idea that through the tumult of the five-year gap, Garth and Imra heroically turned their plantation into a thriving bread basket for their world and many other struggling U.P. planets. To me, it made perfect sense for two of the galaxy’s most heroic and formidable personalities to step forward and make a big difference through those dark days.
If we’d explored that world further, though, I think our take on Garth’s character was a clue that the Ranzz family plantation hadn’t always been the upstanding operation we saw in 2995. With our depiction that the original Garth was an implusive, angry, sometimes abusive personality, and knowing that Mekt went into full villainy, I can imagine a somewhat more amoral Ranzz clan that might have pursued its business interests somewhat less idealistically than had Garth and Imra.
In this scenario, the insertion of Proty’s genuinely noble personality into Garth, and then the addition of Imra’s enormous heroism into the mix changed the family dynamics. In my mind, Ayla has always been an idealistic, nurturing personality, very typical of the broader culture on Winath, and was haunted by Garth’s and Mekt’s flaws, but was able to really blossom when Garth shaped up so dramatically after his death and seeming return. The positive momentum continued to snowball to the point that Mekt was eventually saved through the commitment and support of Ayla, Garth and Imra and the effectiveness of 30th century rehabilitation approaches.
As I recall, there’ve been stories over the years about how the lightning powers and “lightning fever” helped touch off Mekt’s villainy and affected Garth as well. And so given the dynamics I’m seeing, it’s quite likely that Mekt might not have turned out any more anti-social than Garth had not his mental processes reacted so negatively to his lightning powers.
Some of Garth’s obnoxiousness and Ayla’s more hostile impulses through the end of her relationship with Brin might have also been exacerbated by the lightning powers. It’s possible that some of this was diagnosed and successfully treated to produce the more mellow, happier Ayla of our run, and it’s also possible settling down with Violet and responding more honestly to her sexuality might have gone a long way toward bringing Ayla contentment.
Which leads to another story thread we introduced in an unpublished story, that Ayla had always held a necessarily suppressed crush on for Saturn Girl, which was part of her mixed-up motivations way back in Ayla’s first appearance when she impersonated her deceased brother. (Thus, her emotional reaction to the supposed Imra-Brin tryst on that asteroid had as much to do with feelings for Imra as for Brin [this idea was originally suggested to me by former Interlacker Richard Bensam].) In this scenario, one can imagine what a release it would be for Ayla to eventually form a satisfying relationship with Violet.
Boy, one could set quite a complicated soap opera among the Ranzzes on Winath.
I saw Ayla as being very much in synch with the nudity of the Winathian culture, as was Mekt, while Garth would have shied away from nudity after taking ill during the Validus plague and suffering a fair amount of scarring. And Imra probably never felt quite comfortable baring everything, even though in her “pink bikini” days she wasn’t afraid to show a little skin. By the time she was running a huge agri-businss and was the mother of two sets of twins, I can see where she’d feel more comfortable with the kind of coverage she wore in the Legion’s early days.