Saturday, July 28, 2007

This is probably all over the nerdosphere, but...

Heath Ledger would appear to do a solid Jack Nicholson.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Appropriate substitutes for traditional vulgarity:

A few days ago, I waxed irritatingly about science-fiction-spawned pretend swear words being used in any sort of discourse. However, being a jerk, I provided no suitable alternative to yelling "frell" in mixed company. To that end, I give you this, the high water mark of the television edit of The Big Lebowski.

This is what happens when you feed a story scrambled eggs.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

New at the Facedown store:

Let your friends and acquaintances know that they're not amongst the one percent of people who can pull off yelling "HIGH FIVE" or "SEXYTIME" without making everyone in earshot cringe with the new Your Borat Impression Sucks shirt, hot off the presses. The... presses inside of my copy of Illustrator.

Also available in girl and organic.

Update: Cafepress suddenly noticed I'm apparently violating their terms of service. Who told on me?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Dear Internet:

"Frak" and "frell" are not real words and, even if you're using them in the context of something as preternaturally lame as an Ain't It Cool News talkback, you sound like a gigantic lisping pile of dork whenever they come out of you. If you want to swear, go nuts - you're writing on a website where the owner somehow managed to compare Blade 2 to cunnilingus, after all, I don't think people are going to get offended because you felt like dropping a fuck-bomb. Swearing may be childish, immature and a good indicator of poor intellect, but using pretend swears SciFi Network Originals writers came up with to avoid censors while still cheaply manufacturing drama is a damned sight worse.

To put it in perspective, you're about one step removed from swearing in Klingon. And we can all agree that that's totally and soul-crushingly weak sauce.

Thank you.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

God bless America.

Home of the free, land of the weiner dogs towing children on skateboards.

Suck it, Communism.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Napalming the Barrel the Fish Are In: Youngblood Bloodsport #1.2

I warned you there was more, I did, but did you listen? No, you came back for more, sucking up pain like some kind of punishment sponge. Standard Grown-Up Eyes Only Below disclaimer applies here, but nothing this time out is nearly as bad as last time. However, Johnny DC loves warning people, so here he is:

When we'd last left off, Shaft had saved Supreme's pubic hair from a gang of zombie civil rights leaders. Seriously. That's what happened.

While handing off the hair to the local constabulary, Shaft is besieged by the legion of super-powered types looking to make it big - all of whom are thinly-veiled references to existing characters, none of whom were funny enough to bother scanning. Shaft points out that none of them will make the morning papers - it turns out he works for a company owned by former Youngblood member Troll wherein he gets paid to actually do the crime-fighting and Troll gets all the media credit. Which doesn't seem like it would work, as Shaft is a six-foot-three redhead with a bow and arrows and Troll is a dwarf Wolverine with goggles, but that's neither here nor there.

We rejoin Shaft, now in his civilian identity of Roy Harper Jeff Terrel, eating lunch with former teammate Badrock. Jeff, as mentioned, is working for Troll, but Badrock's hurting for cash.Tee hee, a Gold Surfer! Purple Hulk! Also Purple Arrow! Lara Croft tremendously out-of-scale compared to the closer-to-us-in-panel Batman! Commander Steel, of all people!

See what I mean about the thinly-veiled references being un-scan-worthy? They're not even jokes, it's just a copyright-infringing Where's Waldo.If you're keeping track, this is the second time Millar's written a "Two Former Youngblood Members Discussing Joining the Mysterious Secret New Youngblood" scene in the space of ten or so pages. Also, Badrock has, at some point between panels, grown to about three times his average size.

The two are interrupted by their waitress, who tries to beg her way onto the team by bringing up her "power-resume" (she also hyphenates "eye-balls" the sentence prior, because the letterer is still taunting me with superfluous hyphenation), all the while looking straight out of the page and at the wall behind me. Two panels in a row, she's gazing soullessly dead into the camera to the point where I find myself turning around to check what the Hell she's looking at.

Moving on, we check in on a full page of Johnny Panic's answering machine messages - all geeky in-jokes ("it's Hollis down at the auto-shop, kid. You still owe me five hundred bucks for fixing the Panic-mobile and I got bills to pay, son," et cetera). Panic, if you don't remember, was supposed to be a central character in Alan Moore's aborted twelve-issue Youngblood relaunch - Moore called him "the first postmodern superhero," if I remember right - but since only two issues came out, I don't think he ever really caught on. He (Panic, not Moore) and his girlfriend apparently lounge about their apartment in full costume (which, now that I think about it, Moore might do, too, if you call "wacky Victorian dandy-style garb" a "costume"), one presumes because they've never had model sheets drawn for their civilian identities. They, too, discuss joining the Mysterious New Youngblood for a couple bubbles, and scene.
I think Liefeld was really trying to draw Stan Lee, there. When your Stan Lee ends up looking more like a mustachioed Jim Lee, you should probably avoid likenesses. Just sayin'. Anyway, the entrance to the secret Mysterious New Youngblood Headquarters is in a porn shop. Specifically, in the "masturbation-booth" of a porn shop. I swear, it's like The Great Gatsby, or something.

Just oozing class.

Badrock and Shaft head down an elevator that might also be a teleportation device - it's not clear from the art, shockingly - and walk straight into a two-page spread.
(Click to make with the bigness.)

You'd think that a shot like this would force Liefeld to notice that he's got four characters (Diehard, Sentinel, Battlestone and Task) in the same panel wearing pretty much the same costume - and with Shaft coming in a panel later, the count goes to five. Seriously, what do the little thigh-straps even do?

Next time:
The Moderately Thrilling Conclusion.

Monday, July 02, 2007

I want a Childhood Rape Whistle.

It will emit a high-pitched screech whenever somebody dares modify anything I remember from my youth.

Hollywood Reporter ran a story back on Monday basically consisting of a press release for a forthcoming Transformers cartoon - one with new character designs, an increased roll for human characters (always a bone of contention with the property's freakishly loyal fandom) and a decreased role for the traditionally villainous Decepticons - as you'd expect, Ain't It Cool News is practically awash in spittle from dozens of geeks dramatically losing their cool at once.

The primary bone of contention is that the show isn't a straight remake of the 1984 series - the Autobots are younger, they're fighting supervillains instead of supervillain robots, the character designs don't match up with the ones all these guys crushed on twenty-three years ago, blah blah blah Hasbro is raping my childhood, et cetera. All of your niche fandoms have a core contingent of guys that vehemently resist change - they want new material, but they don't want it to stray from whatever it was they had a giant hard on for in the first place.

Which is all well and good, I suppose. I'm pretty well accustomed to comics being the same Goddamn thing over and over again, with any attempts to modify the existing status quo being met by resounding cries of "but Spider-Man wouldn't do that!" or linewide continuity resets every couple of years, and the Ultimate line on the whole has pretty much proven that the closest your average reader wants to actual change is Wolverine being slightly taller. Thing of it is, though, is that I don't read comic book message boards, so I've got my head in the sand as to exactly how nuts people are about this sort of thing in my particular nerd niche.

I do, however, read the Ain't it Cool News talkbacks on occasion, chiefly because they make me feel a hair better about myself - checking their levels of vitriol, hyperbole and general batshit craziness against my own is a solid barometer of how nuts I'm not, see. And this particular talkback thread makes me feel like the sanest man in the world. Buckle up, because we're hopping into my internet bathysphere to explore the deepest depths of people getting way the Hell too angry about a show aimed at ten-year-olds.

We'll start out with the relatively benign:

"anyone else tired of this same old "samurai jack"-ish animation style?"
As far as I can tell from my ten minutes of background research, there's been only the one bit of art released from this show:Which looks a Hell of a lot more like, say, The Batman or Teen Titans - which is no surprise, given that the character designer worked on the latter and the director worked on both. It's not even a valid criticism, as the designs don't look a thing like Samurai Jack's, but that doesn't stop a handful more posters from running with the same ball.

"Autobots versus evil humans? Only Cartoon Network could be retarded enough to think that was anything like a good idea. Now if they give us Optimus Prime incinerating Dick Cheney or something I might have a slight change of heart on this... but that would imply that Cartoon Network had balls, instead of an empty nutsack dangling listlessly."
Yeah, way to not kill politicians on a kid's show, you bunch of pussies.

"When I was a kid, I watched stuff that was cool. It didn't matter if it was geared to me or not. So, why is it that production companies feel that in order for kids to watch the show must be geared towards them, and subsequently dumbed down? Do kids ever ask for this?"
You watched shows that were transparent toy ads, same as me, and they weren't any cleverer than this.

"Will somebody please fire the dumb ass, "creative" MBA marketing fools and anyone along that whole chain of command responsible for this garbage? Are these the same guys responsible for putting on Saved By The Bell a few months back? The best cartoons and anime isn't/wasn't/never will be born from marketing surveys and traget groups or just going for what's hip at this moment. You want somone who's going to give us something that's going to last and have tons of licensing opportunities and spin offs. If they can't come up with new ideas, how about they bring back JLU or Batman:TAS."
First off, I love how people are still pissed that Adult Swim ran Saved By the Bell for like two weeks a year ago. Second, if you're going to decry shows created by marketing groups, I'd probably avoid bringing up Batman - sure, it's a fantastic cartoon, but the only reason it ever had a chance to be aired at all was because it was a movie tie-in, and it was micro-managed to all Hell its entire run.

"Maybe some corporate douchebag feels a 5 year old's feeble mind can only register simple shapes. However, back in the 80s companies knew that we wanted to see something that looked cool not corny."
I don't even know what has to go wrong inside of a brain to make someone think that companies in the 1980s had anything more on their mind than where the next giant pile of blow was going to come from.

"This is kharma showing its head. This is for all you people who said that Michael Bay is raping your childhood by drasticly changing your beloved characters. What do you think now?"
Wait, what? The karmic backlash for complaining about childhood rape is more childhood rape?
"oh noes they're stealing my childhood yet again! no wait, its hasbro, it's thier product and they can do what they like. suck it losers!"
Someone is angrily firing off an email to this guy as I type.

"aside from Battlestar Galactica, PLEASE STOP RE-IMAGINING SHIT!!!!! It was pretty good the first time around, otherwise if wouldn't have been so fucking popular you ficktwits!!!"
Remakes are bad except when they're good! Also, "ficktwits" sounds like a Willy Wonka product.

"What Bob Higgins, Senior VP of Programming and Development at Cartoon Network meant to say was: "Basically we paid a hefty fee to Hasbro to rip off the name of this decades old franchise and slapped it on some poorly animated crap to sell to kids who don't now the fuckin difference." Sound about right to you?"
Twenty-five years ago, Sunbow had the exact same conversation, except they traded out "decade-old franchise" in favor of "a couple of random Japanese toylines cobbled together" and look at the mess we're in now.

"Say what you want about Bay's Transformers, at least it keeps to the formula and appears to be visually outstanding (easily going ot be the big deal hit of the summer, make trillions, pave the way for Evangelion, Gundam, Macross, the works).

This abortion, on the other hand, looks like a highway to heartbreak; geek anneurysms, and all the rest. It'll be gone, and then they can replace it with a good show."
Trillions? Really? And are people still really looking forward to an Evangelion movie? Do they think it'll remain true to the source material and make use of heavy-handed but utterly meaningless Christian symbolism and a scene where the lead character rubs one out over a girl in a coma? Oo, maybe it'll blow its budget super early and end on a kid sitting in a chair watching the storyboards of stuff they can no longer afford.

"People like Transformers because, and I quote, "Autobots wage their battle to destroy the evil forces of the Decepticons." That's all there is to it. It's not broken! Don't fix it!"
Kids like Transformers because they are trucks (and sometimes planes or tanks) that are also robots. That's seriously the formula - two things kids buy combined into one thing kids buy.

"I think cartoon network officially died when they decided to cancel dextor's lab, johnny bravo, powerpuff girls, and samurai jack, but to keep Ed, Edd, and Eddy on their air for over 6 years. Canceling JLU was just shooting the grave."
That's almost a fair point - Ed, Edd and Eddy isn't very good. By the same token, though Johnny Bravo was never particularly good. It's not like Cartoon Network's ever had a Golden Age, unless you really really really like Scooby-Doo, or something.

"It seems that you don't have to have animation OR writing talents to get a job at Cartoon Network. With shows like this (and their growing collection of Live Action shows), this really makes me wish they'd finally start the third network. Boomerang, Cartoon Network, and the third one - Pure Anal Discharge. Put the "classics" on Boomerang, the newer good stuff on CN, and everything else on PAD. The only TRUE animated show anymore is Robot Chicken, as it's true hand done stop motion animation, whereas most of the other stuff is FLASH animation. Looks like I've got another "Thumbs Down" show for my TiVo..."
Jesus. This is off of one press release and one picture, mind. The handle has been flown off of.

"Seriously, TF never fully dominated till they introduced the Dinobots. Kids love robots and dinosaurs. Still do. Also the Dinobots would be better to spin off since they kind of did their own thing in the original series and showed up when they were needed. " Me Grimlock, me king""
The Dinobots, if you're curious, first appeared seven episodes (or five, if you count the opening three-parter as one long episode) into the original Transformers series. The show only partially dominated prior to that.

"why do all this idiots need to take beloved pieces of people's childhood and "reimagine" or "reinvent"??? All these people that screw and ruin this licences don't seem to realize that it's because of what they were then that so many people love it. Basically if we all loved it then clean it up add new effects or whatever but keep the spirt of what we loved alive don't change it because then it stops being the thing we love and becomes the thing we hate."
Because the entire point of the license is to make money, and they can only make a limited amount of it bilking hardcore fans out of the cost of anniversary editions of Optimus Prime and DVD releases of an old show.

And because they hate you. Personally.

"No Decipticons? I am a very open minded person who grew up with the Transformers, I never make snap judgements but in this case I'll make an exception. I am eagerly anticipating the movie and it's large budget production values, but with this cartoon project it's just too obvious that the creators "don't get it". I really hope this fails and leaves all parties involved in financial ruin."
Emphasis mine. One press release, open mind, FINANCIAL RUIN FOR EVERYONE INVOLVED.

"the idea seems to be, "lets make a new transformers show to capitalize on the movie, only lets take away everything that made Transformers cool (i.e. decent animation, giant robots battling eachother, a fascinating mythology.)" Can't they just do a robot superhero show and call it something other than Transformers since the plan seems to be do dump everything except the names."
Somebody explain the "fascinating mythology" to me, because I remember "Autobots are good, Decepticons are bad, the comic books had two different origin stories, the cartoon had another, Unicron and Primus are robots that turn into planets and are more or less objects of worship," and that's really sort of mediocre, as mythology goes. "A long time ago, somebody built some robots and then they got into a fight" ain't exactly The Odyssey.

"IF you MUST "re-imagine" the transformers then here is a idea. Alternate universe, decepticons are good and the autobots are evil. I just saved you $10,000 in meetings."
I think the central thing they're missing is that the property, on the whole, is aimed at the same people it was twenty-five years ago - little kids. No one under about twenty-three would care about some kind of mirror universe Optimus Prime with an evil goatee fighting an heroic Megatron, and no one will make that cartoon because it caters entirely to a segment of the population that staunchly refuses to give up a thoroughly baffling attachment to children's entertainment from the Reagan administration.

It was an okay cartoon when I was three. It wasn't carved into stone tablets by the fiery finger of God and shat into your hearts as Law.