|Synonyms:||Bizarro Seven, Bizzaro 7|
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The Origins of the Bizarro UniverseIn the editorial of the first issue of the zine, Leah Rosenthal writes of how and why the Bizarro universe got started and of how TPTB were aware and involved in this fanwork:
Back in 1985 Annie and I had just discovered the joys of BLAKE'S 7 and were reading every zine we could lay hands on that had a B7 story in it. Unfortunately, back in '85 the vast majority of B7 stories were very grim. I'm talking GRIM. This made sense, given the general overtone of the show, but it got a bit ridiculous. I guess a lot of the original B7 fen perceived the show's ending as some kind of unavoidable karma that was to be faithfully adhered to, no matter what. There were exceptions, like the superbly funny GOOD CLEAN FUN that appeared in an early issue of B7 Complex, but in general, you could count the good B7 comedy stories on the fingers of one Space Commander's hand. Well, unrelenting karma is all fine and good, but as a steady diet, too much of anything sometimes causes an allergic reaction. In the case of Annie and me, we reacted with BIZARRO....
There are literal [sic] thousands of influences that contributed to the shaping of the BIZARRO universe. Annie and I drew heavily from many sources, including minds polluted by Danny Kaye, Mel Brooks, Jay Ward Productions, Tex Avery and Warner Brothers, Jean Shepherd, Don Martin, Gary Larson and many others. We also owe tribute to the suggestions or mad ramblings of many of our fellow fan associates (with whom I intend to get even, a little further along) and the actors of B7 themselves. Anyone who's actually seen these folks in action knows in short order that they are actually more Bizarro in real life than they resemble the characters from the show. Annie and I had no idea of this fact when we started writing. If it were not for the fact that we have numerous witnesses, I'm sure it often looks as If we've taken their behavior in public as a model for many of the BIZARRO premises. The plain fact is that the opposite is true...we wrote most of these tales before, and ever since it's been an eerie case of life imitating BIZARRO, not the other way around. Paul Darrow stated after the fact on stage in Trenton, New Jersey that if he could not have been an actor, he would have liked to be a rock star 'because they get to wear all that neat black leather and studs'. We had no idea Gareth Thomas is a birdwatcher, nor that he would love the 'cute little ducks' at the pond in front of the hotel at SCORPIO (boy, was that embarrassing!). And Michael is always 'that way'. Period.
To make matters worse, some of them have started writing B7 stories too (and I suspect at least one of them is putting Americans he's met into his literary effort, as models for characters. Better watch out, kiddies It's all well and good to write 'get Avon' stories, but what the heck are you supposed to do when Avon starts writing 'get Avon' stories—?! I mean, gee whiz. For the record, although the actors are unaware of BIZARRO in general (which we prefer, for purposes of longevity), they have suggested ideas for actual stories. This makes perfect sense when you realize how brilliant most of them are at comedic portrayal.
Anyway, there are three basic rules of BIZARRO that have prevailed since the very beginning and they bear re peating herein. 1) If you're one of those fen who staunchly believes that the Dignity of the B7 characters must be forever maintained, BIZARRO is not for you. ('Dignity'?! These characters...? You're kidding, right? Hahahahah) 2) There is virtually no premise or basic concept in BIZARRO 7 that was not suggested by some thing in the BLAKES 7 series itself. You may have a bit of fun chasing some of the sources down, but most of the inherent comedy isn't that obscure. I mean after all. Captain Kirk never had parts of his own ship leap out and attack him like a cybernetic pit bull. Han Solo never squeezed telepathic rocks for moonshine. They never threatened some poor slob's record collection to make them join the Rebellion in BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. And I can't think of a single piece of modern popular literature where the 'hero' becomes romantically entangled with the villainess on a steady basis (with the possible exception of the Batman's romance of Selina Kyle. I don't count Sherlock Holmes's 'admiration' for Irene Adler). Like I said, your basically funny show. And it's got one hell of a silly punchline, when you think about it.Although we are deeply grateful for all the reader appreciation, it also bears repeating here that Annie and I do have a very definite series of plans and a timeline for the BIZARRO universe and its characters. Not to denegrate the tribute, but we have to insist that the writing of BIZARRO stories be left to us, for many good reasons. Yeah, I know it's hard to believe, but all of this is actually going somewhere. (Frightening concept, no?)
"Life Imitates Bizarro"
Sometimes stuff we observed Darrow doing in our company would find its way into serious or Bizarro stories. Much more often, however, we would write the stories (Bizarro in particular), and discover that the actors actually WERE much closer to the fan fiction characterizations than the original serious series depictions. For example, we saw an actual newspaper article in a Long Island newspaper about a man arrested for molesting ducks, and thought it would be funny if we had Blake's original accusation as duck molestation (rather than child molestation) in the Bizarro universe. Imagine our horror, a couple of years later, when we discovered that Gareth Thomas adored birds of every sort, and would frequent the pond in front of the Oak Brook Hyatt every year at SCORPIO con, luring the ducks with pieces of bread.This sort of thing happened with such frequency that our catch phrase eventually became "Life imitates Bizarro." 
From the editorial of The Bizarrow Zine #1 (1988)
Although we are deeply grateful for all the reader appreciation, it also bears repeating here that Annie and I do have a very definite series of plans and a timeline for the BIZARRO universe and its characters. Not to denegrate the tribute, but we have to insist that the writing of BIZARRO stories be left to us, for many good reasons. Yeah, I know it's hard to believe, but all of this is actually going somewhere. (Frightening concept, no?)
From the editorial of The Bizzaro Zine #2 (1989):
In 1995, Annie Wortham said:Some readers may wonder why Annie and I are stern about protecting the use of Bizarro in fanlit, even from those who are so appreciative. Unhappily, there is good reason. Rather than go into a lecture, I'll cite an example for you of what can happen. A friend of ours who also writes B7 literature composed and wrote a terrific B7 story with a smashing original idea to it. This friend submitted the story for publication, but there was a long delay before the zine went to press. In the meantime, another fan who had been temporarily rooming with our friend read this story, and she loved it too...so much so, in fact, that her admiration compelled her to write a sequel, without the consent of the Author. I suppose she regarded it as a tribute or something. Also without the consent of the original Author, this admirer submitted the sequel for publication in another zine. It was published long before the original story finally saw print! Needless to say, this is only one way in which the best of intentions can lead to the worst. The highest reward that any writer should expect is that people come to trust their work enough to keep giving them a try.
We know darn well that if someone wants to write a story using Bizarro characters or ideas or settings, there is nothing in the world we can do to stop them. Nor do we particularly want to. We just don't want them to publish them and _call_ them "Bizarro" stories, because they aren't. They aren't "Official." Now, does anybody on this list (or in B7 fandom, for that matter) _not_ know that B7 fan fiction is not "official" B7? Frankly, any zine editor with any sense has placed a disclaimer in the front of their zine very carefully stating that the stories therein are _not_ sanctioned by the BBC, etc. There _have_ been Bizarro take-offs published, by the way, and I even published some of them myself and there have been "unofficial" stories written by others and published in the "Last Stand" universe, as well. When "Shadow at the Edge" goes into print it will contain a couple of filks based on the universe written by Jane Mailander and a cartoon done by Jane, as well.The one real problem we ran into early on in writing Bizarro was that a couple of folks wrote a "slash" Bizarro story and obviously we have nothing against slash but, if I'm remembering it right, they had Avon and Vila having sex and (at the risk of sounding like Craig *oh no!*) Avon and Vila are brothers in the Bizarro universe so it just didn't work for us. The fans who wrote the story, however, had done it all innocence... at that time I don't think we had revealed the relationship between Avon and Vila yet. Actually, looking back on it now from a different perspective, it might have been even funnier if we had just clued them in that Avon and Vila were really brothers.. imagine Avon's horror when he realizes he's committed incest with his creepy little brother... :) 
FanonIn 1989, the author of "Intergalactic Velvet," a story in The Bizarro Zine, wrote:
One of the earliest Bizarro tales written, it's also a favorite with readers. It was here that we got our first glimpse into the weird and tormented family life of Kerr Avon, mostly through his weird and tormenting elder brother. The name "Terrick", like Avon's allergies, was not a Bizarro invention. It was a sort of tradition in B7 fan literature that had gained general acceptance through common use (rather than any evidence in the actual series). In fact, the bit about the allergies had become something of a cliche even back before the 'second wave' of B7 fanlit. 
1) There’s a running gag in Bizarro 7 that Blake was arrested and convicted for molesting ducks (canonically, he was arrested for child molestation rather than for being a BAMF rebel.) The joke has Blake stating at least once in every story in the series: “I never touched those ducks!” He may not have touched those specific ducks, but he’s definitely depicted as overly-fond of waterfowl, though we’re never quite sure if he’s truly the pervy fowl-fancier the Federation made him out to be. Bizarro was so influential to the fandom, you’ll find duck jokes in many old-school B7 humorous stories.
2) Blake was a custodial engineer in both Bizarro and Down Safe universes, rather than the canonical highly-educated Alpha engineer who’d worked on the teleport project. He did work on the teleport project… he was their janitor!
3) Bizarro 7 used a “due to heavy Federation mind-wiping when captured, Blake spontaneously mind-wipes every now and again” meme that I use in my B7 universe, but to be fair, that was a generally popular joke used in many of the humorous B7 stories at the time. For a depressing TV show, Blake’s 7 had an awful lot of humorous stories written about it.4) The creators of Bizarro 7 liked to assign characters to their friends, subsequently using their friends’ characteristics to flesh out some of the more 2-dimensional Bizarro characters. Bizarro’s Avalon was based on a friend of ours whose family owned a Greek restaurant and catering business, so our Avalon was a caterer/restaurant owner who had her livelihood destroyed by the Federation and became a rebel leader. (I was “Anna Grant”—see my parody story “Taken for Granted”, which will be posted soon. )
Some Early Works
"The Thought That Counts" -- "This was one of the very first stories Leah and I ever wrote together and is a sort of precursor to our later Bizarro stories. A first or second season story wherein the crew learns a little bit about Auron biology.
"Vila Don't Lose My Number" -- "The first-ever Bizarro story. Vila has a run-in with a vice squad and a crocodile!" Miami Vice crossover, printed in Magnificent Seven #4 (1987) and reprinted in The Bizarro Zine #4.
- B7 Complex #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #16 (1986, 1987, 1988)
- The Bizarro Coloring Book
- The Bizarro Zine #1, #2, #3, #4 (1988-92)
- Highlander Bizarro Style (1990s?)
- The Chronicles #34 (1988)
- Everything But the Kitchen Sink #3 (1987)
- Fantazy #3 (1986)
- Gambit #1, #2, #6 (1987, 1988, 1990)
- Interface #12
- Last Stand at the Edge of the World (1987)
- Magnificent Seven
- Of Dreams and Schemes #5 (1986)
- Outlands #10 (1987)
- Shadow at the Edge (1995)
- Shadowstar #21/22 (1986)
- Southern Lights #2, #3 (1985, 1987)
- Southern Seven #1, #2, #5 part (1986, 1987, 1989)