Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Fanfic Review: KIM POSSIBLE in "THE CLAWS OF THE KITTEN" by Richard Smyers

Those who, like me, toiled for years in the fruitful vineyard of the Disney TV-themed a.p.a. WTFB (1992-2003) will readily attest to the extremely high quality of the fan fiction produced by such writers as Kim McFarland, Michael Demcio, the late Jim Kellogg, and others. WTFB may be gone, but some scriveners are still pushing the pen (or clicking the keyboard) to great effect, as witness this story from longtime member Richard Smyers. The a.p.a. went under just as Kim Possible -- arguably, the last truly outstanding show to be produced by Walt Disney TV Animation -- was hitting its stride, so Kim, Ron Stoppable, and company never got a fair chance to strut their stuff on WTFB's spiral-bound pages. Richard gives us a peek at what we may have missed with this excellent effort, which stays faithful to the generally light-hearted spirit of the source material while including somewhat grimmer subject matter.

For those interested in dipping into this fanfic, I won't dilute the wine by giving away any plot points, but suffice it to say that the daring Kim gets to play a "role" here that more than a few Disney feature-animation characters have had to shoulder. And she carries it off quite well, I might add. The one-shot villain, Al Capone wannabe Al K. Trazz, seems very much like an overstated TV villain at first, but behind the corny dialogue lurks a deadly serious bad guy who has very nasty plans for the entire planet if he doesn't get his way. A number of Kim's regular adversaries get face time as well, and I'm pleased to report that the petty bickering that frequently characterized their relationship on TV has been preserved here (though their ultimate "fate" is a pleasant surprise). Kim, Ron, Wade, Rufus, and Kim's family members are all very well characterized, including a few folks whom I don't recall ever having met on the small screen (they may have appeared in episodes I missed; I don't know). The only real debit is a somewhat talky last chapter that follows up one of the most emotional moments that these characters have ever experienced with what feels, for all the world, like an extended version of a "coffee scene" from Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. Richard is always careful to add dashes of verisimilitude and "little known facts" to his stories, but here, the placement of the material seemed awkward. Still, any KP fan is bound to love this story. Better yet, Richard promises more tales to come. The spirit of WTFB refuses to die!


Joe Torcivia said...


It’s practically my obligation to describe what the “Coffee Scene” from Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea is… as, for all I know, I might actually have coined the term in our many years of conversations.

It is that last minute or two of an episode where, after the (often explosive) climax, Admiral Nelson and Captain Crane discuss – over COFFEE in the observation nose of the Submarine Seaview – the events of the adventure you just witnessed, and tie up any loose ends of the plot for the viewer. Actual scripts call this the “Tag”.

“You know, Admiral, there’s just one thing I don’t understand…”

“What’s that, Lee?”

(Fill-in plot point(s) that needs clarification, followed by explanation.)

Coffee may not always be present for these exchanges, but usually is. Thus, it has become the “Coffee Scene”. (Sometimes it could be in Sick Bay or the Ship’s Lab, but mostly it’s coffee-time!)

Now, the “Coffee Scene” directly follows a “Big Action or Impact Scene”, so it sounds as if Richard is employing the concept correctly. Of course, Nelson and Crane were never known for being too “talky”… They just did their jobs, downed their coffee, and sailed on to the international incident, scientific experiment gone horribly wrong, gargantuan or rampaging creature, or alien invasion.


Anonymous said...

Well, it took some hunting but I finally found this review. Thanks for the compliments, Chris!

Let's see. Characters in this story who were original with me: Patricia Wimsey; Al K. Trazz; Yolanda Renault; and those four gangsters that Dr. Director says "disappeared" thanks to Al Trazz. These were "Creepy" Nussman, "Bullets" Durgham, "Zikko the Nose" and (my favorite) "Big Noise": Winnetka. Everybody else who was named was either from the "Kim Possible" TV series, or was an actual historic individual. (Although I question the name of the dinosaur.)

Also, the green diamond "The Star of Ireland" is sadly fictional. No diamond of a true emerald green color has ever been found.

Thanks again for the kind words, Mr. Barat. Keep reading, for I'll keepo writing.

Richard Smyers