Remember when trolling used to be fun? I don’t mean yelling obscenities and harassing people with death threats, that was never fun and please never do that. I mean the way that people on the internet used to troll in the time before time, via mostly chaotic-good forms of online pranking. Remember the Rickroll? Or those memes where people vastly misquote multiple sources (As the great Yoda once said in Star Trek,, “You’re a wizard, Harry!”) Little things that don’t hurt anybody, unless they let themselves get annoyed.
I have an idea to return us to that gentler, wholesome time of Trolls. Here’s the pitch: We’re all going to become really obsessed with Steppenwolf.
Not the villain, though. The band.
Let me explain. As you’ve probably read on various other comic book movie websites, Steppenwolf is a sidekick to Darkseid, a tyrannical ruler of a planet called Apokolips, who wants to take control of the universe. You know Thanos in the Marvel movies? He’s like that, and Steppenwolf is a general in his army. He was created by Jack Kirby and first appeared in a 1972 issue of New Gods, and he’s going to be the villain in the Justice League movie.
Steppenwolf the band was a Canadian-American rock group formed in Toronto by singer John Kay, keyboardist Goldy McJohn, and drummer Jerry Edmonton in 1967. The band was most popular in the late ’60s and early ’70s for songs like “Born To Be Wild” and “Magic Carpet Ride.” They have sold 25 million records to date and have released eight gold albums.
So, to sum up: On the left, Steppenwolf. On the right, Steppenwolf. See the difference?
Now, forget about the one on the left. He doesn’t exist. What’s more, he has never existed. I want you to pretend that there is only one Steppenwolf, and interact with everyone in your life (but especially the Internet) according to that.
But you can’t just contradict people; that’s lazy trolling. Instead, you have to find ways to blur the lines between Steppenwolves, before the person you’re talking to has realized what’s happened. Some examples:
Them: Steppenwolf is such a dumb name for a bad guy.
Me: Yeah, they really shouldn’t have changed it from The Sparrows.
Them: I wonder how they’re going to design Steppenwolf’s horns for the movie?
You: I’m worried about that, too! Straight Shootin’ Woman just won’t sound the same without any brass instruments.
Them: … what
Them: Ugh, I can’t believe Steppenwolf is going to be the villain in Justice League.
You: Right? Hasn’t been relevant in decades.
Them: True, although there was that New 52 arc recently, wasn’t there?
You: Oh no, technically that was John Jay & Steppenwolf. They changed their touring name in 1982 when some of the band members were replaced.
Them: ………….. wut
Them: What’s everyone’s favorite Steppenwolf storyline?
You: The one where Goldy McJohn and Nick St. Nicholas formed their own revival group after the band’s first official break-up in 1972.
Them: Okay that’s it I’m blocking you
I’m not going to lie to you: It will be hard work. You will have to familiarize yourself with Steppenwolf in the way that comic book nerds do — which is to say, you must become well-versed in their discography and extremely prone to citing inane trivia about them in conversations. You will have to do this to everyone, DC fanatics and critics alike, which means you may lose friends and followers and your Twitter mentions will probably become a mess.
But imagine it. Imagine the transcendental experience of all of us, working in tandem, to create an alternate reality where a Canadian rock band is the villain of a major blockbuster comic book movie. If we can manage to make one person temporarily lose their grip on the world around them and join us in our shared madness, then it will have been worth it.
Godspeed, and get your motor runnin’.