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Awesome Comic Tuesday

Yes, Superman has some dumb powers.

No, that does not make this any less awesome.


Bad comic Thursdays

My my Rob Liefeld. I know comic like to show over over-idealized women, but what planet does this species come from? Where are her ORGANS?


Trailer Trashing: Epic

What can I say about Epic? When the first trailer came out, I'll admit that I was kind of intrigued. It look very mystical, very heavy on the atmosphere and letting the beauty of the natural imagery do the brunt of the storytelling.
Then we learned more about this flick.
With every new trailer that came out, every voice actor that was announced, my expectations for this film sunk lower and lower, hitting its lowest point when I saw this trailer. Mostly this is because of the slug character. I mean this guy looks painful to watch. He looks like some executive sent a note down to the studio demanding that there be a "hip" and "cool" character who spouted comic relief and catch-phrases. I'm calling it right now: this is the Jar-Jar Binks of the summer movie block.
That's not to say that my problems with this preview are limited to the slug though. It seems like virtually every character uses a lot of modern slang. The leaf people, the villain, everybody has a very modern-day way of talking that is not going to age well. Not only that, but it just really does not fit in to the world that they're trying to create. For something that looks so mystical and one with nature, this kind of talk really pulls us out of the movie.
Finally, and arguably most importantly, this movie has been done to death. Oh, its someone being shrunk down and experiencing a smaller world. Oh, its the destruction of the forest by some big evil force.
This movie looks like Ferngully meets The Spiderwick Chronicles, minus anything that made the former two good.


Good vs Bad: Spoof Horror

I kind of hesitated to call this “good vs. bad”, because I don't think today's “bad” example is really awful. I don't even really think that negatively of it. That said, however, there are some real problems that I have with it, and I think its far better handled in the “good” example. Today we're going to talk about deconstructing horror movies with Tucker and Dale vs Evil and Cabin in the Woods.

The Bad: Cabin in the Woods

Cabin in the Woods is a Joss Whedon film exploring why the stereotypical monster movie tropes exist in the universe of the movie. It turns out that an ancient evil is asleep in the Earth, and only the sacrifice of four to five people can keep it dormant. But there are some specific rules to the sacrifice: those being killed have to make the choices that lead to their deaths on their own, and those doing the sacrificing can only have minimal intervention in the process, or so we're told. The sacrifice must include a whore, an athlete, a scholar and a fool. The virgin of the group is an optional sacrifice. Underneath the cabin is a huge military complex monitoring the situation and storing the monsters that they will unleash on the unwitting teens, and we find out that these places exist all over the world to ensure the success of the sacrifice.
So yeah, it kind of works. It explains why there is always those particular archetypes of characters, and why there's so much demonic stuff in the woods. They also explain that the characters are really that dumb, the military operation has been secretly drugging them to act less logically and heighten the chance of them getting killed.
This is where I have my first problem with this movie: the drugging. They keep spraying chemicals that effect the kids' behavior, like phermones to make them hornier, or some really specific chemical that somehow makes Thor (I know he has a name, but to me, he will ALWAYS be Thor) go from making everyone stick together to telling them to split up.
The whole chemical thing really seems like a cop-out by the writers, and to me, it broke my suspension of disbelief. Also, why does the monster care about those specific archetypes of characters? They freely admit that the kids don't always fit, and they manipulate them to “work with what they've got” so how does the creature know the difference? This is especially apparent with “the scholar”, a guy so bland that I barely remember what he looked like, and at no point did anything to indicate that he was this “scholarly” individual. It's just weak.
Finally, if they need five sacrifices, this seems like an INCREDIBLY convoluted way to go about it. Why not just use prison inmates? Are you telling me you can't find a jock, a whore, an idiot and a guy you can pass off as scholarly in American prisons? Also, they say the monsters have to kill the people, but in the end they say just shooting the stoner will do just as well, so why bother with the monsters at all?
Like I said, this isn't really a BAD movie, it just could have been told better, and with far fewer plot holes.

The Good: Tucker and Dale vs Evil

This is a movie about a pair of guys named Dale and Tucker. Tucker has just purchased a summer home in hillbilly country, and he and Dale are going to fix it up. Meanwhile, however, a group of college kids are camping in the same woods as the cabin, and mistake Dale and Tucker for killer hillbillies that they see in movies. When on of the kids gets hurt and the two take her in to take care of her wounds, the other kids assume Dale and Tucker have kidnapped and killed her, leading to a series of misunderstandings and accidents that end up getting most of them killed. Dale and Tucker, meanwhile, are just as confused as the college kids, and think that they are some kind of suicide cult that came out in to the woods to end their lives and the lives of anyone they come across.
This is a great movie for exactly the same reasons that Cabin in the Woods isn't. It doesn't resort to “chemicals” or other far-fetched scientific things to make the story believable. The college kids simply HAVE seen the kinds of horror movies that deal with this situation, and are making it a huge misunderstanding. Dale and Tucker aren't actually evil, and they actually do try to straighten things out, but to no avail.
Finally, the main college kid (Chad) hits on what is a real problem with the horror movie stereotypes, that I think needs to be addressed more. Chad believes that they can take care of those killer hillbillies themselves, and that they don't need the police to save their friend. In any other movie, Chad would be the hero, but here the other characters recognize how crazy he is, and that just drives him even more mad. By the end, HE'S become the psychotic killer, and the hillbillies are the heroes who have to stop him.
And finally, for a movie that pokes fun at horror movies, this one is better in that its actually trying to be funny, which is the genre I think that these movies need to go for. Cabin in the Woods kind of tries to go for the serious angle, while keeping those tongue-and-cheek nods to the audience, and I really think it needed to go one way or the other.
So in the end, I have to say that Tucker and Dale vs Evil is the superior horror movie spoof.

Awesome Comic Tuesdays:

As a follow up to last Tuesday's panel, I present to you the actual fight between Thor and Superman.



Awesome Comic Tuesday

Whether or not you enjoyed the Marvel Civil War, you have to admit that an enraged Hercules bashing the clone/cyborg Thor's face off is awesome.



So just like last week with Captain America, let's look at a bad Superman comic.
Good ol' Supes wasn't always such a great guy. In fact, in the olden days, he was...kind of a massive prick. Take for example, this comic, where he forces to people to fight each other because, somehow, this will end the war.



That is Superman with Thor's hammer.
And Captain America's shield.
And yes, you are doomed.


New Teen Titans! Yay...maybe...

There's going to be a new Teen Titans series!

As you know if you've watched some of my older videos (if not, look them up), I was a big fan of the old Teen Titans cartoon. It had kind of a lighthearted, anime feel to it, sure, but it could also get really deep and dramatic, exploring the everyday problems of roommates, teenagers and well, just life in general, while also having points that were huge, and dramatic and epic. The team learned about each other and themselves, and bonded to save the world from terrible forces.

So, what's this new series going to be like?

Oh no. Oh no oh no oh no.

Okay, for those of you who don't know already, cartoon network has already tested the waters of this new series with a set of mini-episodes called “Titans Go”. Whereas the original run was kind of a mix of ultra-cartoony and high dramatic, this one focused solely on the comedy. It wasn't about super powered teens saving the world, it was about super powered teens living together, facing such dire threats as...who should do the laundry?

I know this series is going to have fans. I know there are going to be a load of people who really get in to the whole idea of a superhero comedy. For me though, I could not be less enthusiastic. We already had a series that looked at superhero roommates, and the time spent between battling for justice. It was called the Justice Friends.

Okay, kids today aren't going to remember that reference, and I guess that is who this is aimed after. Kids. Its not for the die-hard fans of the original run, its not for comic enthusiasts, its there to make kids laugh. Is that so wrong?

In this case, yes. It was not those kids who made the series so popular, it was not their collective voice that caught anyone's attention to bring back the series, it was ours. It was the ones who loved the first run, with all of its colorful, cheerful moments and especially all of its dark moments. The episode where Robin is going slowly insane from a drug on Slade's mask and is hallucinating being almost killed by the guy (they literally say that) was incredibly intense, and it stuck with us more than anything in this series will.

Bottom line, I fear that this is going to be “Diet Teen Titans” or “Teen Titans the sitcom.” We do not want to see laundry day in the Batcave, we don't want to see Superman doing his taxes, its not why superheroes exist. I guess I talk a lot about cartoons need to have a certain gravitas to mean something, and its the same here.


Pokemon Retrospective: Gold and Silver

Pokemon Gold and Silver were initially showcased at the 1999 Nintendo Space World Expo in Japan. It was originally supposed to take off in 1998, but the relatively small production team already had their hands full with Pokemon Stadium, plus dealing with the changes for the American release, so instead we got Pokemon Yellow version.

Now, before we go on, I know what you're wondering: what did he think of Yellow version? was okay? I suppose? I'll admit, I was excited to play an adventure more like Ash's at first, but as its gotten older, I have to admit, it's grown kind of stale.

But back to Gold and Silver. One of the first things that kids knew about it was that there was going to be a TON of new pokemon, around 100. They were still based on childhood experiences of the creators like Japanese mythology and manga, much like bug collecting in the first one.

There were a bunch of new elements added in as well. Firstly, the dark and steel types were added, dark mainly to balance out the somewhat overpowered psychic types (alakazam). There was breeding (which we'll get in to more in a minute) and a larger variety of pokeballs, including custom made ones depending on what apricots you've collected. One aspect left over from yellow was the idea of the relationship you had with your pokemon. If your pokemon got hurt or lost battles a lot, he'd like you less and less, but if you gave him items, took care of him and were successful, he or she would like you more and more.



Most of you probably saw this coming, what with the content of Awesome Comic Tuesday. Oh Rob Liefeld. Are you even trying? If you've never seen the mans work, this should about sum it up for you.



For those of you who don't know (which is all of you since I just decided this) Tuesdays on this site are now going to be "Awesome Panel Tuesdays" in which I post a comic panel that I think shows how great the medium of comics can be.
And what better way to start off than with this, my favorite speech from Captain America! Of course, for every action, there must be an equal and opposite reaction, so prepare yourself for Thursday, which will be dubbed Awful Comic Thursdays (there's gonna be a LOT of Liefeld.)