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  • Writer's pictureE.L. Ward

What's in a Name?

Updated: May 14, 2022

MALOB's roots in a nutshell. A little bit about the founding members, and how we got started.

If you want to know about MALOB - who we are and the nature of our collaboration - there's hardly a better way to convey it than to tell you the story of our ridiculous name. We're real people, with real dorky tendencies. And if that doesn't come across by the time you're done reading this, then I'm sorry...

“Instead of 'Smallville,' they should've named this show 'Bozos with Kryptonite'.”

One Fateful Afternoon

It was a cold, grayish-brown day in Michigan. The sun was probably shining. A lovely whiff of fish stew filled the air. Assuming that was the day we ate fish stew... I guess I don't remember for sure. But either way, there we all were - myself, Zeke of the Fusspot Washouts, and the Morenos, whose house we'd gathered at for another action-packed evening of Star Wars: X-wing - when suddenly, Ruben made a curious suggestion. Surely bored to tears from hour upon hour of watching me slowly gather squadron cards from 13 different decks, he proposed that instead of trying to fit a game into the limited time we had left, we could all just take in a few episodes of Smallville. As I was already exhausted from the all the shuffling myself, it was no trouble agreeing...

Now, I've heard of Smallville... surely everyone has. It's that show about teenage Superman. Or, that's what you think it's about, until you actually go to watch it. At its best, I'd say it's really a show about teenage Lex Luthor. But, as the Morenos began to describe to me, quite a lot of the early show was really just one instance after another of the dweeb-of-the-week randomly coming into a windfall of Kryptonite and causing a bunch of mischief. I suggested something to the effect that, what they were really telling me was: Instead of 'Smallville,' they should've named the show 'Bozos with Kryptonite.' Well, suffice it to say, this suggestion went over big. 'Bozo' jokes and jabs ensued for the duration. We all had a pretty fun time, even without maneuvering any plastic spaceships across the hotly contested airspace of the kitchen table... which is a pretty radical achievement when you stop to think about it.

Vision in Flux

Fast forward some weeks. Rebekka and myself had already published books by this time, and Zeke and his band had their first demo album. We had long held a general notion of doing local craft shows together, but were still without a solid strategy. It wasn't until we all agreed that we ought to try for vendor status at the Comic Con that we really started to take the idea of incorporating and brand-naming seriously. We knew that, more than anything, we were going to need a name...

My first idea - I thought it very clever, in no small part because it was my idea - was to go by the brand name "Mostly a Lot of Craters." This is where we start to wade into how we all knew each other to begin with. You see, Zeke is a Crater. His brother Josh, who is also in the Fusspot Washouts, is a Crater. Rebekka was a Crater before she married Ruben and became a Moreno. And, looking forward, I fully expected others of the Crater clan to join our little alliance eventually, when they finished their own books or albums, or what-have-you. I have known this family a long time, and I've learned never to underestimate their creative panache. Being a rare outlier - a kind of surrogate brother in what was otherwise almost unilaterally a family confab (with the other exception being Gavin Holmes of the Fusspot Washouts) - I figured the name "Mostly a Lot of Craters" fit like a glove. Better yet, we could have a picture of the moon, and we'd be home free in the branding department. It seemed like the perfect plan...

But, like pretty much all perfect plans, it was far from perfect. The language was inexact. From the inception, people in the alliance who were actually named "Crater" were outnumbered by those who weren't. And this was only likely to get worse in the future, because the most likely next two members were Rebekka and Zeke's older sister and her husband... at best, a second former Crater and another guy who'd never been named "Crater" at all. Now, maybe that sounds like being too technical to you, but that's too bad. The fact is, we were still left with the need for a name that better reflected the realities of the situation. We needed a name that could be taken seriously...

So, we looked for alternatives. This was when Rebekka fortuitously remembered the 'Bozos with Kryptonite' extravaganza. And just like that, a worthy substitute for "Craters" was found! Because, while being a Crater may be exclusive, and even sometimes impermanent, being a Bozo is easy, and it's forever! Let that be a lesson to all of you.

Now, there's really nothing left to say. We're "Mostly a Lot of Bozos". True story!


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