Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Piss Poor Lock-Ups

Been watching Super-Girl this week (just glad that for once they actually got the whole super-person character right for once) and have been enjoying it, thankful that they are avoiding a great deal of the laws that have always made Super-Man an uninteresting character. However, there was one great flaw in the series that is a common flaw in general fiction.

So many sci-fi/fantasy prisons just do not work and are so poorly conceived, they become insulting.

In Super-Girl, the Kryptonians are so enlightened that have do not have the death penalty. Instead they have a far worse, less humane way to deal with unwanted individuals. They put the criminals in a place called Fort Rozz, which is in the Phantom Zone.  Time does not pass in the Phantom Zone. And we are given the impression that all trips to Fort Rozz are life sentences  with no hope of parole. This basically means the prisoners are held in a place where they are outside of time, not aging, forever. No surprise at all that when the prisoners finally get free, they are pissed off and wanting revenge. Nothing about the Fort Rozz concept works. The dangerous criminals get to stay young, and spend their lives being tortured by captivity on a truly inhumane level. There is nothing enlightening about that concept.

Same goes for the Phantom Zone in the 80s Super-man movie. General Zod and his crew were trapped in a real confined space and shot into the Phantom Zone, which they escape from and were even more dangerous than before, in no small part due to their anger over being treated so inhumanly.

There is no doubt that death would be far more humane than being imprisoned in the Phantom Zone.

Yet this idea of being enlightened and not having the Death Penalty pops up a lot and creates stupid form of imprisonment. One we see often is the idea of suspended animation.  The perfect example of this is the movie Demolition Man. Both our hero and villain are frozen as their punishment (will ignore the fact that the hero was frozen over testimony from the villain and nothing more.) Once unfrozen neither of them have experienced time. The villain basically got a long nap for being a mass murderer, and is fully rested when awoken. When the punishment deprives the criminal of any sense of being punished, it really just goes against the whole purpose of a punishment. There is no chance at all of rehabilitation. Being forced to take a nap will not give the bad guy any time to reflect on his/her actions. Any time-based sentence in suspended animation is really just a waste of time, and any life sentence to such is just silly.

Then we have Azkaban. No matter how much you might enjoy the world of Harry Potter, any thinking person has to admit it has a good deal of poorly thought-out concepts, and it is fair to say that Azkaban is at the top of that list. Azkaban is a truly horrible place where people are sent to be tortured in a manner that is beyond inhumane. This is from the Harry Potter Wiki: "Most of the prisoners inside its walls died of despair, having lost the will to live. This is due to the presence of Dementor guards on the island. Dementors drain people of all happiness and leave them with their worst memories, long-term exposure can also lead to insanity." To make this all the more deranged, we know that individuals are sent there for just being suspected of committing crimes. You hope there are other less dramatic prisons in that world for those found guilty of minor crimes, but we never get the sense of that. The logic of sending criminals to a place that will either kill them from sever mental torture or drive them dangerously mad just does not work on any level in any manner of an even mildly humane society. With that kind of thinking running the magical world, it should be highly surprising that they are not producing Voldemorts every day.

I am not sure where the idea of such poorly conceived prison concepts come from. Those concepts are a weakness in so many fictional worlds and could easily be avoided with a little thought. In all the examples I have given here, death would be a truly more humane choice, so the claim of being enlightened falls flat in all these cases.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

At The Edge of Disappointment

A few years ago Marvel comics did a huge Spider-man event called Spiderverse. As a huge fan of Spider-Man I was excited for it and found it very enjoyable, loving all the ideas of alternate versions of Spider-man as well as making use of all the versions we had seen before in unique, creative ways. I wrote a few posts on it at the time.

As a follow up event, Marvel is right now doing Venomverse, which was being promoted to look a lot like Spiderverse. I started regularly reading and collecting Spider-Man right before Venom was introduced, so I have been there since the beginning with him. And while there were aspects I liked of the character, it took them a while to give him real growth, most of the time he was at his best when he was breaking away from the crazed killer mentality, fighting with his duel nature. In recent years they did some drastic changes with the character, curing the alien symbiote of its madness, creating a heroic version of the character called Venom Space Knight, with a real purpose for once.

With no explanation given, Marvel comics took Venom back to his original character on just about all levels, seeming to ignore the past decade of its history.

With the Spiderverse event, it all started with the Edge of Spiderverse, where we got to see various takes of Spider-man, each was unique and different, with Spider-Gwen (Where Gwen Stacy ended up getting bit instead of Peter Parker) taking off as and receiving her own regular comic. The regular Spider-Man comics also had extra stories introducing other new concepts, each one being its own character with a new take on Spider-Man (A young Aunt May as the Steam Punk Spider-man). And then they all came together with their uniqueness and each having their own place in the story. As some o the version were darker takes on the character, that created conflict and opened up the story to possibilities.

With Venomverse they did an Edge of Venomverse. With EoV they took two version of Wolverine, two versions of Deadpool and Ghost Rider and gave them an alien symbiote. So you now have already dark characters each becoming more like the generic Venom, with the basic madness. They all felt to me like almost the same character. All of them were Venom, just now with extra super powers. There really was nothing at all inspiring or interesting it these new versions of the character. Four of those stories ended with a Venom Captain America recruiting the new Venoms to fight a war.

Everything about Venomverse already comes off as lacking in all the areas that matter. I really have  no desire to read a story where they have half a dozen versions of the same character, at its least interesting, teaming up for some reason that I'm not sure I care about due to having no sympathy or interest in the characters. After reading Edge of Venomverse, I really don't care about the characters or their stories. I am a little beyond the sixth grade mentality that these characters seem to be trying to appeal to.

While the initial concept intrigued me and I had so hoped they would follow what worked with Spiderverse, while making it into its own story (Which was possible). It looks like I will be skipping this event and invest my efforts elsewhere.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Supporting Small Artists

For those of you who check out this blog and do not know, I am a writer. And as a semi-pro I can tell you it is not easy and getting any level of notice feels great.

I also know a good amount of other small artists, one of them did a whole video on how to support small artists. Check her video out and check out the Losing Lara channel, as she has a lot of fun geeky stuff there.


If any of my readers want to see what I have been up to lately, check out:




All of them are also available on Amazon, where someone I do not know has left five star reviews for me, which feels real good.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Movie of Countless Easter Eggs

A while back I wrote a review of the book Ready Player One. It will not be long now until we get the movie adaptation.

You can see the trailer for it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiK2fhOY0nE

I enjoyed the trailer, but was disappointed that it did not give any hint of the story. The action was good and we were given a flood of the visual effects. We are given the most basics of the world. The problem is anyone not familiar with the book will not know what the movie is about.

I also found it interesting that most of what we see in the trailer does not appear in the book (unless I am misremembering something). While I loved those scenes, I am wondering how they fit into it all. I have never been a purest when it comes to the source materiel. I've seen great adaptations done that have taken great liberties from the original souces. So that is not bothering me, I just want to see more so I know the story is there.

No matter what, Ready Player One will undoubtedly have more Easter eggs in it than any other movie.  You couldn't do the movie right without that. The book had so many geek/pop culture references to begin with. Any movie of it would have to go beyond that with all they can do in the background now days. The only limit would be making sure they have the rights to do it and with a movie like this, being produced by Spielberg, most of those companies are going to be fine with allowing it.

My predictions are that when all is said and done, we will be talking hundreds, is not thousands of Easter eggs. It most likely will be a movie you have to watch over and over again just to catch half of them. Now they just need to make sure it is watchable enough for that to be doable.

With the trailer alone, we most likely already have people setting up web pages to point out the few dozens Easter eggs it that alone. And each new trailer from here on out will most likely just add to that list.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

I'm Hot For The Doctor

So the big news today is that the 13th Doctor will be Jodie Whittaker (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2092886/), our first female Doctor. I am binge watching Broadchurch today in order to get familiar with her

I have no problem at all with the idea of a woman playing the Doctor, outside of the idea of finding the Doctor attractive, which does feel a little odd after a life time of male Doctors. I am ready to see what direction they take this change and how this alters the dynamics of the series. There is no doubt this is a big change that will attract attention, both positive and negative.

Everything I have seen so far personally has been people all for this and ready for a female Doctor. Of course that is the crowd I associate with.  I have heard reports that I do not find surprising, just disappointing, that there has been those who have a negative reaction to this news.

Found this pic for anyone looking to read comments about the casting:

Regretfully chances are real good that you could get bingo in no time at all on twitter today.

Hopefully the new series will be here next year and we can see how effective a female Doctor can be.

Monday, July 3, 2017

And My Army Grows

If you didn't know, I am a bit of a Star Wars fan, and I do a little collecting here and there.

I also have an army of R2-D2s

And there are more of them in other displays, as well as packed away because I am unable to find room to display them.

R2 has always been my favorite character and he is so easy to merchandise. I love it when I run across a new piece that corresponds to me having money (It is annoying how those two have to come together).

This last weekend I was at Denver Comic Con, which I always enjoy. As of late for various reason I have not been picking up pieces too often, so I was not going out of my way to look.

But on my last trip through the dealers room, I stopped to look at a booth selling Japanese merchandise of all manner.

And I found this guy:

It is an R2 on a bottle cap. The bottle cap itself does not have any groves on it, so you just place it over the opening. Not sure how they were distributed, as there is not really a practical way to have them on the bottles at the stores. Would be interesting to look up that info. I have a bunch of them that I picked up years ago with mostly episode 1 characters on them, but this version of R2 is far cooler.

Always a good find when you can pay a couple bucks for a piece that is not easy to find here in the states.

Update: Did some quick research and learned that in Japan the bottle cap figures are sold via gashapon, or what we call gum ball machines here in the states.


Friday, June 2, 2017

Is This The Movie We've Been Waiting For?

Today we see the release of what truly may be about the most anticipated super hero movie ever.

Wonder Woman.

Anyone who reads this blog knows I am not a DC comics fan. I have never been able to get into their comics (With a handful of exceptions) and rarely find their movies worth seeing. Superman vs Batman is one of the worst, most poorly convinced movies I have ever suffered through. Suicide Squad was...not sure how to describe a movie that empty in story, plot and character. Despite all the praise, I found The Dark Knight lacking, with only the portrayal of the Joker being well done. Which may not saying much, as I find the character of the Joker to be weak at its core.(I may have a future post to write on why the Joker is a poor character in general)  I have not had any desire to see a single DCU film in the theaters due to just how poor they have routinely done with their movies.

Yet something about Wonder Woman is making me want to see it in the theaters to learn if it is a good as it looks like it might be.

I also have hopes it will do good because I do think there are a great deal of female super heroes that would be great as the lead character in a movie.

And I am not the only one thinking this. Alamo Draft House decided to celebrate this possibility by hosting women only showings of the film, which has upset a batch of people who are proving such an event is actually needed by their protesting of it. I am a white, heterosexual male who agrees that there are too many movies that focus on white, heterosexual males as the main character.

The reviews for Wonder Woman are the best there have been for a DCU movie, so that is hopeful.

The one thing that kept bugging me with the Wonder Woman trailers is that it looked a lot like Captain America: The First Avenger. Yes, Wonder Woman is set in WWI (Even though that was not how the comics went), but it is still a period piece super hero film, where the main character fights in a world war before somehow ending up in the modern era. Hopefully there will be a storyline that makes Wonder Woman unique enough to stand on its own. Would be nice to see a DCU movie actually have a well thought out plot for once.

Even if Wonder Woman is as good as everyone is saying, is that the beginning of a change for DCU movies? Right now I do not have any faith at all that Justice League will be any good. From everything I have seen it just feels like it won't be able to deliver what it is trying for. While they may have improved the looks of Aquaman, just making him look badass for once does not mean they will get anything else right in the film.

In the end, Wonder Woman is a movie that will be heavily watched by all the film studios to see how it does. It has a huge weight on its shoulders, due to just what it will mean if it does well. Time to wait and see what comes of it.