- The Net.Trenchcoat Brigade was dead, to begin with.
- —WikiLull #10
- "You learn the basics, have a hideous experience in a graveyard, they give you a trenchcoat and steal your razor. Like an assembly line, really."
- —Ambrose Bierce, Stanley and his Monster #2
The Net.Trenchcoat Brigrade, or NTB, are a collective of trenchcoated bastards who are more often than not parodies of various Vertigo characters (most often John Constantine). They're usually mystical, generally cynical, and thoroughly sloshed.
Much like the LNH itself, the NTB began with one big burst of enthusiasm, leading to a Chaotic Add-On Cascade – specifically, Wrath of the Administrator, and leading to miniseries and ongoing series thereafter. The big surge of energy faded, though, by the end of 1995, and the NTB slowly went from an active multi-Writer storytelling milieu to a concept that writers would homage, be influenced by, and use characters from.
At this point, the concept of the NTB is (and isn't) dead in the same way punk is (and isn't) dead. It has given way to new waves and movements which are part of the Lunaverse milieu, drawing on such diverse sources as urban fantasy, queer witchcraft, and magical girls, but still owing some inspiration to the Vertigo-esque trenchcoaters who came before. (And some of the resilient old bastards are still around to give bad advice.)
Warning: All NTB stories are automatically Acraphobe. Swearing, demons, and scatology ahead!
See also NTB Timeline.
There were trenchcoaters long before there were trenchcoats. Closely tied to the archetype of the trickster figure, their roots are deep in history and legend. But unlike other, more privileged formal schools of magic, trenchcoaters have poor records of their own history. Some people say that the first trenchcoater was Christopher Marlowe, some say it was Bacchus (mainly Bacchus himself), some say that it was Jesus Christ. Many say that the idea of looking for the founders of the tradition is (in the kind of British slang trenchcoaters tend to adopt whether or not they're actually British), complete bollocks.
Regardless, the whole scene of trenchcoaters in their modern form came together in the late 1980s and early 1990s, in reaction to the genre growth of proto-Vertigo-ish supernatural comics, and the surge of postmodern mythic/occult fantasy in general. A group of them loosely centered around Sig.ago (or "Chicago" as they insist on calling it) formed the Net.Trenchcoat Brigade, around the same time as the new wave of heroes who became the LNH. They were closely linked, as much as they'd both hate to admit it.
A number of NTB members joined together to battle the incursion of the Universal Office (as seen in Wrath of the Administrator). The years following were something of a rennaisance for trenchcoaters, but in time the scene faded away. The NTB didn't hold together the way the LNH did, trenchcoaters being a rather solitary and antisocial bunch. The paradigm changed and mutated, as magic often did, with new waves and styles of magic informed by new kinds of media taking its place.
But just as there are still punks, there are still trenchcoaters. If you see one, you'd best hope you're not one of their long-lost friends they haven't seen in a while, or you just might end up spontaneously combusting.
Trenchcoater magic works by directly interfacing with the Drama that underlies the Looniverse, without the elaborate rules used by more formal and upper-class magickal schools. Drama surrounds trenchcoaters and permeates their lives at every moment. Many of them seldom actually cast spells, instead drawing on the vortex of Drama that surrounds them. It can exercise a high cost, and some pursue it deliberately: sacrificing friendships and romantic relationships and mental well-being to create Drama to give them more power. Few trenchcoaters live long; the NTB counts as one of its number the god and founder of tragedy.
Of course, some NTB members are swamp monsters, ghosts, metaphysical personifications and other kinds of beings that work with magic/Drama in different ways. These have their own kinds of issues.
List of Members
- The Anonymous Trenchcoater
- Malcolm Barnstable
- Doctor Deadbeat
- Dvandom Stranger
- Elrik of Mojebone
- Figment Lad (maybe)
- Guy in a Trenchcoat Fighting Ninjas
- Kid Anarky
- Brad Pitt
- Ring Job
- Mullen Voyd
- Wiloughby Withnail
There's also the Pet.Trenchcoat Brigade (which became the Young Animals), and Luke Jones, who wasn't part of the NTB but really wanted to be (and his sisterEmily, who didn't particularly want to join the NTB but was along for the ride).
List of Stories
- The Barnstable Incident #1-4
- Coat of Chaos #0-3
- Dance of the Daemon #1-8
- Dangerous Collectibles?
- Esoterica: Rebirth
- Fortune's Wheel #1
- A Guy in a Trenchcoat Fighting Ninjas #1
- Hunting the Hunter #1
- The Summoning/Net.Force
- LNH Volume 2 #25, 33, 38, 42 (Misanthropic Tales of the Net.Trenchcoat Brigade)
- Masque of the Red Death Virus #1-3
- Net.Force II #1
- Netrigan/Tales of the Daemon #0-7, Fall of the Daemon
- On the Deadbeat #1-3, Special: Beige Happy Hour
- Raw Shark Returns
- Return of the Incharger #1-6
- Reve Arcane #1-7
- Thirteen's Somethings #1-4
- Tim Harris and the Soul of the City
- Untitled Story
- Voyd #1-18
- Whatever Happened to LJC?
- Wrath of the Administrator
- Beige Countdown #0
- Beige Midnight #8-9
- Just Imagine Saxon Brenton's RACCies on a Plane Filled with Killer Ninja Gorillas!
- Legion of Occult Heroes #0-7, Malcolm Barnstable/Legion of Occult Heroes Special
- An Obnoxious Guy in Spandex Fighting Guys in Trenchcoats Fighting Ninjas #1
- Retcon Hour
- Simon Velcro
- Swordmaster and the Load Island Renegades #21
- Vertical Plain
- Or "magick." Some of them spell it with a "k" while others think that's too pretentious.