29 May 2013

Revenge on Wikipedia: Aristocratic Xtraterrestrial Time-Traveling Thieves

Back around early 2009, I think, I re-read my collection of Aristocratic Xtraterrestrial Time-Traveling Thieves comics, which inspired me to create a Wikipedia page for the series.  It seemed a far better thing to do than to stick up yet another web page that few would see and I would then proceed to not update.  (Not that I'd expect much in the way of updates.)

Normally I visit my Wikipedia watchlist weekly, but in May 2013 I got behind.  When I finally got around to checking near the end of the month, I discovered all my work on the article had been deleted by an editor who decided the series wasn't noteworthy enough. If there was any notice of impending deletion, I missed it.  So much for "keep[ing] useful information ... available on the Internet free of charge, in perpetuity" [http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Mission_statement].

Was the article only of interest to a small group of people? Sure, but it was also the only non-sales link on the first page of Google search results for the topic! In fact, it may have been one of the only web pages to actually give anything beyond bare-bones information on the series. And since it wasn't of wide interest, exactly how much was it costing Wikipedia to leave that article up? I'd guess very, very little. Just because something is not significant does not mean it's not worth preserving.

Don't get me wrong, I like Wikipedia; I use Wikipedia often.  But I think it has some problems.  In this case, the ease of deleting work because one person decided it's wasn't notable enough.

I stick to the fringe of Wikipedia and don't get hung up on its internal politics.  And I'm not going to start now.  I'm just going to re-publish the info and hope people who want to can find it.  I recovered the October 6, 2011 version of the article thanks to the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. (How appropriate.) The above text is copyright by me, but the text in this article below this point is attributable to Lee K. Seitz under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, since Wikipedia doesn't want to claim it.

Aristocratic Xtraterrestrial Time-Traveling Thieves

Publication information
PublisherComics Interview
ScheduleBi-monthly
Format(vol. 1) One-shot
(vol. 2) Ongoing
Genrecomic science fiction
Publication date(vol. 1) August 1986
(vol. 2) February 1987–December 1988
Number of issues(vol. 2) 12
Creative team
WriterHenry Vogel
PencillerMark Propst
CreatorsMark Propst
Henry Vogel
David Anthony Kraft
EditorDavid Anthony Kraft

Aristocratic Xtraterrestrial Time-Traveling Thieves, abbreviated as X-Thieves, was a comic book created by Mark Propst, Henry Vogel, and David Anthony Kraft and published by Comics Interview. It chronicled the adventures of two thieves, Fred and Bianca, in a futuristic, science fiction setting while often breaking the fourth wall.

Publishing history

Mark Probst and Henry Vogel were waiting to discuss future plans for the ongoing series Southern Knights with David Anthony Kraft in his office. Kraft was tied up on the phone, so Vogel was flipping through Probst's portfolio when he came across a drawing of the two characters who would become the X-Thieves. Vogel asked Probst about their back story, but Probst didn't have one as he'd just drawn them to show off his versatility. Vogel decided the two were high-class art thieves and he and Probst began exchanging ideas. Once Kraft finished his business, he joined in and the three ultimately became co-creators.

The three had been discussing the current trend to name independent comics to parody the name of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so Vogel initially called them the "Old-Age Extraterrestrial Marsupial Thieves." As the concepts around the two characters took shape, they eventually were renamed to their final title. Since the title was so long, X-Thieves was decided on as the abbreviated version, an obvious play on Marvel's X-Men, which was one of the top-selling comic book titles at the time. This abbreviated title was used on the cover of later issues.

The original idea was to have Fred and Bianca guest star in an issue of Southern Knights, but Kraft said they were so good they should have their own series. Vogel and Probst quickly agreed. To test the waters, a one-shot "micro series" was published first, which introduced the two thieves and most of their recurring foils. Retailers ordered 36,000 copies1, so a bi-monthly, ongoing series was announced within the one-shot. The Southern Knights then became the guest stars in the first issue of the on-going series. This series lasted a total of twelve issues. Issue #13 was to feature the wedding of the two characters, but it was never published.

Protagonists

  • Pansafredicopacog, nicknamed Fred, is a male extraterrestrial known as a s'bwat. He resembles a white, humanoid kangaroo but with a tall, white mane and requires special goggles to see in most environments. Little has been revealed of his origins, but his father is a judge.
  • Bianca Arden is a human woman and expert lockpicker. Her origins are also largely unknown, although she did attend and graduate from thief school.
  • The Fredmobile is their vehicle, a Tardis 40 Space Yacht. Named in homage to the vehicle flown by The Doctor in Doctor Who, it shares the abilities of being larger inside than out and traveling through space and time (via Way-Back Machine, an homage to Peabody's Improbable History from The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show). It also has the ability to transform into virtually any vehicle, tool, or weapon. Bianca and most others call it the Fredmobile, but Fred himself hates the name and refuses to use it most of the time. He has not come up with a better name, however, so he simply calls it "the car."

Recurring characters

Most of the recurring characters act as somewhat incompetent foils to the two thieves.
  • Officer Quinzal Pinback of Interstellar Police (Interpol) is a humanoid male with four arms. He has a tendency to shoot first and ask questions later.
  • Clint the Repo Man is a male alien of an unnamed race who continually attempts to repossess the Fredmobile, as the thieves took it without paying for it.
  • An unnamed agent of the Interstellar Revenue Service (IRS), who is a male alien of another unnamed race in pursuit of the thieves to collect on unpaid taxes. He is the most competent of Fred and Bianca's enemies, but they continue to escape from or otherwise thwart him.
  • The Continuity Inquisition is an organization designed to keep history on track. Under their regulations, any being traveling through time within its own lifetime is to be executed. Because of this, Fred and Bianca usually limit their time travel to their distant past, which includes the late 20th century.

Reprints and collected editions

  • Fred and Bianca Valentine's Day Special (reprints vol. 2, #5)
  • Fred and Bianca Mother's Day Special (reprints vol. 2, #3)
  • X-Thieves Graphic Album #1 (reprints vol. 1, #1 and vol. 2, #1-2)
  • X-Thieves Graphic Album #2 (reprints vol. 2, #3-5)
  • X-Thieves Graphic Album #3 (reprints vol. 2, #6-8)
  • X-Thieves Graphic Album #4 (reprints vol. 2, #9-10)

Notes

  1. Vogel, Henry (February 1987), "'X-Thieves' X-tra", Aristocratic Xtraterrestrial Time-Traveling Thieves 2 (1): inside front cover
Categories: American comics titles | One-shot comic titles | Humor comics | Science fiction comics | 1986 comic debuts

3 comments:

  1. "Not notable" is the cancer of wikipedia that will never be excised because 1% of all people are dicks, and 1% of those people are wikipedia editors.

    I spent hours and hours on a particular article only to have my additions removed under "no original research". I then published them on my own website, then put them back into the article with a reference. This act was done somewhat in jest, but it has survived to this day. So yeah, screw wikipedia.

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  2. I love X-Thieves, sorry I missed your article being on wiki but I'm glad that I get to see it here. Thank you for mentioning the title!

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