Sucker M.C.’s

For the month of January 2015, both of my books are only $5 each. Buy 2 of them and I’ll give you a free mystery mini print. After January they are GONE FOREVER

I am selling them at or below cost so they can go to Fancy Bastards that will appreciate them, rather than a bonfire. Grab them HERE. 

hijinks-ensue-january-2015-book-sale-2

I would say nearly 100% of my daughter’s holiday musical program was this psuedo-hip hop referenced in the panels above. I know you know exactly what I mean without actually having to hear it. For a good decade (between the late 80’s and late 90’s) it was everywhere. In Fruity Pebbles commercials, and Simpsons episodes, in a parody song about Ronald Regan, and an ad for Chiquita Bananas. This style of “rap” was so common in advertisements that I feel like an entire generation (my generation) grew up thinking that a ton of actual rap songs started with “My name is _____ and I’m here to say, I like to ______ in a _______ way!” As far as my Google-fu can suss out, there aren’t any actual songs from that time period that featured this lyrics scheme.

Rap songs from this time DID, however, heavily feature the artist saying who they were and what they liked to do, but it was (at least almost) never in that exact pattern and rarely quite that corny. I mean, that’s some weak ass rhymes right there. But it was so ubiquitous that when adults and kids alike would “make up a rap song,” it would almost always start with that phrase.

I left Kiddo’s program just puzzling over this phenomenon. It’s like a game of cultural telephone. A lyric is misheard or misremembered, then mis-quoted enough times that people take the meme for granted and start building off its foundation. For instance, “Wouldn’t it be cute if the 1st graders sang a song as if they were Santa’s Reindeer? And wouldn’t it be cute if they RAPPED it, because of how the rap is the most popular form of music these days with the kids?  And OF COURSE we should start the song, the way every single rap songs starts!” BUT THE THING THAT THEY ARE REFERENCING NEVER ACTUALLY HAPPENED!!!

I think this situation is akin to pop culture misquotes like “Beam me up, Scotty,” or “Luke… I am your father.” If enough people just keep saying them, everyone else just assume they’re right and our collective pop cultural memory just forks from that vector and grows in a different, weirder direction.

It’s holidays times, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that I have an Amazon Wishlist for any of you who are interested in such things.

Sometimes When We Touch

PHOENIX COMICON BOOTH LOCATION CHANGE!!!

David and I will be at booth 243, NOT 1749 and NOT by the LEGOs. Come in the main entrance, hang a left and head to the back corner. Here’s a photo of David peeking over a handy map.

COME SEE ME AND DAVID IN PHOENIX THIS WEEKEND, APRIL 23-26! BOOTH 1749 way in the back by the LEGOs! BOOTH 243! More details HERE

Welcome to the wonderful future we live in. A time where nerds get mad when maybe not a white guy plays a super hero in a movie. I don’t I can’t…

Michael B. Jordan on the Possibility of a Black Human Torch: “It’s 2013″

COMMENTERS: Who was your favorite super hero to ever be portrayed against their established type (different race, different gender, etc) in film or on TV? I’m sure Sam Jackson as Nick Fury is near the top of everyone’s list.

Comments (30)

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Luckily, this is why Johnny is able to turn off his flame in certain portions of his body so that he can make catches like that, lol.

2 replies · active 108 weeks ago

So, assuming at least 2/3 of his body would still be on fire in order to maintain flight, the person he saved would just need all new skin. Got it.
Jules's avatar

Jules · 108 weeks ago

Yeah, there was a point where just being *near* the torch would melt *cars.* I’m guessing that was a difficult time for the FF.
Sam's avatar

Sam · 108 weeks ago

Michael Clarke Duncan did an awesome job as Kingpin in Daredevil.

1 reply · active 108 weeks ago

jessie_monster's avatar

jessie_monster · 108 weeks ago

I can’t think of a single actor who could of portrayed that better. The physicality, the gravitas. Perfect.
Vertiga's avatar

Vertiga · 108 weeks ago

Not strictly a superhero, but I love Maximiliano Hernández as Agent Sitwell in the MCU.
Idris Elba as Heimdall is a definite contender as the answer for that question. MCD as Kingpin was definitely a good one too.
James's avatar

James · 108 weeks ago

Nobody complained when Marvel made Nick Fury black in 2001 for their Ultimate Universe, because he was based on Sam “The Man” Jackson. A decade later, who do most people associate with Nick Fury? A white dude in blue spandex? Or Sam Jackson?

9 replies · active 107 weeks ago

Richard's avatar

Richard · 108 weeks ago

I think the problem most people have with it is that it’s established that he’s Sue’s brother. Sure there probably are actual racists mad about a white character being played by a black person, but the majority of the people that are mad about it are comic book geeks who hate continuity changes for what they don’t see as a reason. Same reaction with the Mandarin.
Fren's avatar

Fren · 108 weeks ago

Simple. Not altogether familiar with the continuity, but if Sue is the elder then her parent divorced and remarried a black person. Bam, next kid is black. Works for me.
I thought the Storm Human Torch died in-continuity a while back? Why would the assumption be that this isn’t another “Human Torch”? dunno, I don’t follow comics religiously…

I liked the John Stewart Green Lantern, but that’s mostly because for me, it’s DCAU, not DC.

lou's avatar

lou · 107 weeks ago

John Stewart, in the comics, was the second or third human to join the Green Lantern Corps after Hal Jordan
That really begs the question “where are the FF during the Avengers film”?

Obviously Fury would know about the FF and if it was important enough for him to find Banner in the middle of nowhere, then it should have been important enough for him to call his sister and get some help from “the smartest man on the planet”, Reed Richards.

Not to mention that the other FF members could have been phenomenally helpful once the fighting started — after all, they called in Hawkeye and Cap for that when their powers pale in comparison to the other Avengers. Any member of the FF on the other hand are right up there with Thor, Hulk and Iron Man.

Well okay, maybe the human rubber band isn’t all that helpful in a fight, but he’s “the smartest man on the planet”, so…

Kirby's avatar

Kirby · 108 weeks ago

The easy answer is that the rights are owned by different companies so there won’t be a connection.

Not to mention the FF magically get their powers at a certain point, so even if they were in everything together, they could have gotten their powers later.

(Yes I realize they didn’t actually get them magically, but they might as well have for all the sense it makes/as much it matters)

To me, Nick Fury will always be portrayed by David Hasselhoff, as God intended.
Dean's avatar

Dean · 108 weeks ago

Heresy. Bruce Campbell.
Bea Aurthur as an alien bartender?

No wait… Alice Eve as a British daughter to mean old Admiral Robocop.

Not a superhero, but StarbuckStarbuckStarbuckStarbuckStarbuckStarbuckStarbuckStarbuckStarbuckStarbuck
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StarbuckStarbuckStarbuckStarbuckStarbuckStarbuckStarbuckStarbuckStarbuckStarbuck

2 replies · active 108 weeks ago

Since when is Starbuck *not* a superhero? [S]he can fly, has Stark-level field-op tech-hacking skills, can shoot just about anything with a barrel, and has more lives than a DC second-stringer. In both incarnations.
DuckAmuck's avatar

DuckAmuck · 108 weeks ago

Not a HERO, but how about Mr. Freeze played by Arnold Schwarzenegger?

Or did you mean not a sarcastic favorite?

2 replies · active 107 weeks ago

Oh if we’re doing sarcasm, then I’ve got to include Jim Carey as the Riddler… I really wish we’d had a Riddler faithful to the comics and I’d have cast Alan Rickman.
lou's avatar

lou · 107 weeks ago

Carrey’s portrayal was stunningly similar to Frank Gorshin from the 60’s TV show, and that portrayal made the Riddler popular in the comics
Not a hero, but I thought the casting decision for Wilson Fisk (Kingpin) in Daredevil was just really poorly made. I’d hate to think that anyone would consider me a racist for wanting a murderous criminal to be portrayed as white, but I felt like there were real historical reasons for his character being white. Fisk as representing organized crime in a way represents both the criminal underworld and “the man” as in the cops, the government and even corporate America. Shit, god knows he’s got more than his fair share of influence in all of those places anyway. But really, ‘the man” as in “the white man” who keeps everyone else down. Maybe nobody else agrees with me, but I thought it was important to the character. I would have liked to see him played by Pruitt Taylor Vince.
I’m looking forward to seeing Lawrence Fishburne’s take on Perry White
Denzel Washington as Don Pedro in Much Ado About Nothing. I know that’s not a superhero movie, but I mention it because I’d love to see them use a similar approach as the model for a black Johnny Storm. They never mention his race in the film. You just roll with it because he’s Denzel and he’s awesome and OF COURSE he’s in charge, even if it is seventeenth century Italy.
StephC's avatar

StephC · 108 weeks ago

I figured it was because it would have been awkward to have Chris Evans play Human Torch again, so they went for someone who looks nothing like him to distract you. Although I’d love to see the interaction between Cap and Johnny if both were still played by Evans…
Personally, I’d like to see a black Reed Richards over a black Human Torch. Really smart, uptight, leader-guy who happens to be black? It could totally work. Plus, then you don’t have to have the whole mixed-race siblings issue with Sue and Johnny.

The Power Pot And The Meta Kettle

Here’s a Lo-Fi follow up to this comic about perceived racism in the world of spandex clad mighty men.

As a straight white dude, it’s often easy to forget that not everyone sees themselves represented (not accurately, mind you, but REPRESENTED none the less) in every conceivable form of popular media. That isn’t to say I have ever really identified with the muscle bound ab-havers of the various comic book universes, but I imagine it’s even harder to relate for the non-white, non-enpenised, no having-boners-for-the-opposite-sex types of people.

COMMENTERS:  Are there any minority characters in comics, or other nerd media that strike you as particularly accurate portrayals? If you belong to any minority group, was there ever a character in fiction that you identified with in a special way? Ladies, feel free to answer this one too. Even though you’re half of all people, you are still pretty underrepresented in geek pop culture as far as I’m concerned.

Comments (18)

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Well, Plastic Man can represent us if he’s in the right mood
You’ve also got Blob.
Handigoat's avatar

Handigoat · 109 weeks ago

It’s not nerd media per say, but Charles Ramsey is MY f***in’ accurately portrayed hero.
Asian dudes do not get a lot of representation in Western media. Seriously, there are only so many John Cho characters I can cosplay as.

2 replies · active 108 weeks ago

The Unknown FB's avatar

The Unknown FB · 108 weeks ago

You also don’t have any Native Americans really represented *well* at all.
Growing 50 feet tall is just…WTH for?
Diggy's avatar

Diggy · 108 weeks ago

The answer is Short Round.
lou's avatar

lou · 108 weeks ago

So is the current Batwoman, Kate Kane. Also, she’s a lesbian.
Sabra is Jewish – in fact, she’s the Israeli pseduo-Captain-America.

Also, just gonna leave this here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Jewish_supe…

Ryan's avatar

Ryan · 108 weeks ago

Well there is Magneto, who is sometimes a villain and sometimes a hero, especially in Marvels many alternate universes(seriously awesome in Age of Apocalypse).
Kryss LaBryn's avatar

Kryss LaBryn · 108 weeks ago

Spider Robinson is one of the few male authors who I’ve ever felt did a decent job at writing women. Also one of the very first, so far as I know, to have an asexual character. I suspect he’s doing a really good job on his black characters too, although not being black I can’t really say. They don’t read as token stereotypes to me, at least, and are just as much rounded people as any other race he might have in there.

Other than that, um… nice to see how well “The Princess Bride” did fencing, although that probably doesn’t count. Still, if you know anything about fencing at all, it was really, really good to see someone FINALLY get it right. Still pretty sure that doesn’t count, though.

lou's avatar

lou · 108 weeks ago

I remember Balacktus from Adult Swim’s Minoriteam. What a weird show.

White Light, White Heat, White Guilt

UPDATE: Get a print of panel 3 of this comic HERE!!!

CRUISE FUNDRAISER UPDATE: All 100 “Bridge Collapse prints are sold! Woohoo! They arrive at my house this weekend (a week later than I anticipated) and will start shipping Monday the 20th.

I made a new eBook/iBook! It’s called “Sorry I Ruined Your Book Vol. 1” and it has over 180 pages of HE book 1 preorder/artist edition sketches with commentary on every drawing! Donation subscribers get it free and it’s also available to anyone for a one time “pay what you like” donation.

I had a reader tell me via twitter he was unaware that I had a store where I sold T-shirts and books and such. WELL I CERTAINLY DO.

I absolutely loved Django Unchained. Call it a base, animal reaction, but I really do enjoy seeing histories most egregious hatefucks getting served violent and almost comically gory revenge. I’m not super gung ho on cinematic violence, but how can you argue with Jews carving up Nazi’s or freed slaves cutting a swath of recently face-exploded slave masters across the South? (I guess you could argue plenty if that’s just not your bag, but it certainly hits the spot for me).

Django Unchained is a Tarantino film if there ever was one (Spoilers: There was. There was a few, actually… WERE a few. A couple of them were good.). It’s backdrop is a terrifyingly hateful period in American history and deals with some of the most unpleasant subject matter humanity has to offer, yet wraps all of that in pleasingly witty word choices, top notch performances by all and an L.O.L. (laughables outed loudly) level of cartoonish violence. Jaimie Foxx was surprisingly effective as, Django, the slave turned bounty hunter. I say “surprisingly” because, for the first few minutes he’s on screen you wonder if this movie is somehow below the Ray Oscar winner’s station. It isn’t. The movie and the actor simultaneously rise to the occasion once it gets going, and they continue to compliment each other for the duration.

That said, Foxx is not the star of the movie. Christolph Waltz, just as he did in Inglourious Basterds, STEALS the show. I was wondering if I would be able to see him as the hero, Waltz having so permanently cemented himself as the villain in his previous Taratino collaboration. If you loved to hate him as the monster of the Third Reich, you’ll love him even more as the German dentist who assassinates bad guys and sells their corpses to the government for profit. German Fancy Bastards who has seen the film will have to tell me if Waltz was doing a certain regional German dialect that I am unfamiliar with or just annunciating like a funny little German elf might. Either way, it was delightful. I could listen to that man oddly pronounce words all day.

DiCaprio did a fine job, but I felt his was the part that could have been played by nearly anyone and the movie wouldn’t have suffered. There’s just something about him that I never quite buy into, especially when he’s doing a crazy accent (which is nearly ALWAYS). Couple this with the fact that he was CONSTANTLY upstaged by Samuel L. Jackson’s doting Uncle Tom-esque house servant character and you have a performance that neither detracted or particularly added to the overall film.

Overall it was a very satisfying movie. It’s an action film, a revenge drama, a bit of a heist-flick or con job, a love story, a comedy… it covers all these genres, yet never feels unfocused. I will say that if you are squeamish about hearing the n-word oh… I don’t know… A THOUSAND TIMES, then this isn’t the movie for you. I know Tarantino has taken some flack for trying to make a movie about racism and slavery without somehow sidestepping all the racism and slavery. I’m not sure how he was supposed to do that, but I do not feel the end product was exploitive to anything other than the concept of a Spaghetti Western. Each of his films is a love letter to a certain genre of cinema. Some hit home better than others, but Django is the first “Best Picture” caliber movie he’s directed.

On a side note, every time I hear “Django Unchained” I think about Picard and that Tamarian captain in “Darmok.” Oh, and Thomas Edison is just a slimy ratcock of a villain. Fuck that guy. Seriously.

The ADristocrats

KNOW THESE THINGS TO BE TRUE: 

My wife and I are currently plowing through all 5 seasons of Mad Men. We’ve been running an average of about 3 episodes per night and are about halfway through season 4 (NO SPOILERS!!!!). Almost immediately I knew everything I’d heard about the show was true. The acting, the writing, the believability of the world, ALL were superior to nearly everything else on TV (save for Breaking Bad). There are moments when the racism and sexism are TRULY and BRUTALLY shocking, but those elements are never used in a sensationalist way. Rather they just remind the viewer how far society has come in 50 years and occasionally how far we’ve left to go.

Consuming so much superlative TV in such a short amount of time (the same way I blasted through Breaking bad, 1-2 episodes a night, every night), I’m starting to really coalesce a Unified Theory of Television. What I mean is, I’m beginning to realize that regardless of genre, setting or subject matter, every television show geared towards me (a human person smack in the middle of all the prime demographics) either fails or succeeds based on the exact same successes or shortcomings. I noticed that not even 3 episodes into Mad Men, I was pausing the show to talk to my wife about a character’s motivation, how they really felt vs. what they were saying/doing, what their next actions might be and what repercussions those actions would have on their future and the other characters around them. This and THIS ALONE is the halmark of quality television.

I understand the formula is complex (writing, plus acting, plus directing, divided by budget, times network confidence and promotion, times Pi, etc, etc), and can rarely be duplicated with a resolvable, remainderless and equal solution, but my point is that all of these issues will have for the most part already been addressed before you and I, the viewers, see the end result. So let’s assume that all television shows have an equal opportunity of having a good premise, quality writing, and strong actors (which they do not, but let’s assume it anyway to simplify things). If, by the second or third episode, I am not either questioning or relating to a character’s motivation (which implies that said motivation is presented CLEARLY), then there is little hope that this show will hold my full attention. Let’s hope it has plenty of special effects and maybe dinosaurs (which we all know can’t always save a boring show).

My friend Amy Berg is a talented and successful writer in Hollywood machine and she always says, “What does your character WANT, and what is PREVENTING THEM from getting it?” While watching Mad Men, I began to think more and more about this idea. You see, at first I avoided Mad Men because I thought the whole “Period piece set in the 60’s” was a gimmick and would be overwhelming to the story or hokey in some way. I very quickly realized that, when executed correctly, the story and the characters trump the setting or the gimmick. As long as the show is telling a human story that explores wants, needs, hardships and triumphs then it will be relatable to the audience. Be it set in the 1960’s or a derelict spaceship during a robot war, a good writer can always tell a human story and a good actor can always convey emotions that will suck the audience in to their world.

I began comparing Mad Men to Revolution and that’s when my hypothesis really started to pan out. I couldn’t figure out exactly what it was I didn’t like about Revolution. It had most of the elements that typically draw me in to a televised work of fiction. It had a distopia and a dude from Breaking Bad and Katniss is there too. Lots of things to like. So why was I ready to give up after 3 episodes? I realized the premise, the show iteself WAS the character. Every human in Revolution acts solely as an extension of the premise and serves only to further the overall plot. “Where did the power go? Will it ever come back.” The individual characters are all replaceable and interchangeable. The thing needs to get from point A to point C, but only after it blows up the other thing at point B. ANY CHARACTER can achieve these goals. The plot still gets where it’s going and the audience is only attached to the action or the mystery rather than the characters. I would get just as much enjoyment out of an episode of Revolution if all I did was read the synopsis. In this case I think the failure is writing. I know at least 2 of the actors in Revolution are quite talented, but they are delivering less than captivating performances and I believe they haven’t been given much of a reason to think about what their characters really want. I could go on and on about Revolution‘s failure to impress me, but this is supposed to be about Mad Men.

Another thing I realized while shotgunning season upon season of Mad Men was how important the “show don’t tell” rule can be in television. Take another example of a show I try very hard to like, but can’t seem to stop finding fault with: Falling Skies. Every single character on Falling Skies speaks with the same voice. They all talk the same way, express themselves in the same way, get angry, get happy, get whatever in identical fashion. This starts to become super apparent when you realize that every character on Falling Skies explains their motivations with the same technique: the fond remembrance. Character 1 says, “Why did you let those aliens go? We’re at war.” Character 2 replies with a pause, then, “When I was 8, my dad used to take me to the batting cages to hit balls. There was this other kid who BLAH BLAH BLAH THE MORAL OF THE STORY IS WHATEVER.” They all do it. ALL OF THEM. Kill them all and replace them with a new cast on the next episode and I won’t notice because THE SHOW IS THE MAIN CHARACTER. Don Draper can raise or lower an eyebrow and it SPEAKS VOLUMES. Now again, is it fair to compare exceptionally bad writing to exceptionally good acting? It depends. How much of Draper’s eyebrow movement relies on the page saying “Don raises eyebrow as if to say…” and how much relies on John Hamm’s ability to execute those instructions. Obviously both are required, but I presume that neither works without the other.

So what’s my point? I’m not even sure I have one. I just know that high quality premises are being ruined by lack of attention to character detail, and high quality actors are getting shafted by sub par dialog and a lack of overall vision for what a show is, what story it is trying to tell, WHOSE story it even is and where the whole thing is going. Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Fringe, The first 3.5 seasons of BSG, Firely… these are the shows that prove the impossible is actually all too entirely possible and that everyone else is slacking off.