Sunday, December 30, 2007

Fushigi Yūgi in 30 Seconds




"Mi -- Mia...ka..."






Saturday, December 29, 2007

March of the Sinister Ducks

Proving yet again that he is the most multitalented individual in the world of comics, Alan "The Peacock" Moore tells us the truth about those avian ne'er-do-wells...

Friday, December 28, 2007

10 Answers of Doom!

Here it is! Muahaha!!!

1. Alex P. Keaton (Family Ties)
2. Death of the Endless (The Sandman)
3. Drizzt do'Urden (Forgotten Realms)
4. Filby Pott (me!)
5. James T. Kirk (Star Trek)
6. Lex Luthor (Superman)
7. Mario (Super Mario Bros.)
8. Sauron (The Lord of the Rings)
9. The Scarecrow (The Wizard of Oz)
10. Wonder Woman (her own comic)

Incidentally, in a dance-off between Death and Sauron, Death wins every time.

From Swinebread (whose blog I really need to start reading regularly 'cause he's gracious enough to read mine):
if 7 did a cooking show would 1 like it?

Are you kidding? Who wouldn't like Cooking with Mario? He's the Mushroom Master! He puts the "fun" in "fungus!"

From Ami (who totally made this meme worthwhile -- thanks!!!):
If 2, 3 and 6 were turned into Dinosaurs (they still have their intelligence), what Dinosaurs would they be? Who would be eaten first and who would most likely survive past the initial meteor impact and why? :o

Drizzt would be a dromaeosaur (raptor) of some sort, because they're graceful, deadly, and incredibly overhyped. Lex would be a tyrannosaurus, for obvious reasons. Lex chows down on Drizzt before Death shows up, she being the meteor.

1 wakes up being drawn by Ian Churchill at his worst, is s/he happy about this? xD
So Alex is Power Boy, basically? I don't think he'd mind, though he'd need to do something about that hideous chest-hair.

If 4 and 5 were trapped in a desolate world all by themselves as the last people left, how long would it be until they fell in luff? xD
Um... Jim Kirk might be willing to screw anything with two legs, but I think even he would draw the line at Filby. Like srsly.

7, 8, 9 and 10 play Magic: The Gathering, what colours would each play, what type of decks would each play? :D (this is my favorite question)

Matching their colors up with their personalities, I'd say it'd go thusly:

Mario's deck is white (because of his commitment to duty), with a strong artifact presence ('cause he relies on versatile equipment). He's playing for fun, so his deck doesn't follow any particular archetype.

Sauron's deck is black and white because he's completely self-interested yet wants to rule as the ultimate authority (unlike Yawgmoth, who wanted to destroy his enemies, Sauron wants to rule them). He's playing an aggro deck, maybe something like the "Ghost Husk" archetype, tricked out with lots of expensive rares.

Befitting his great intelligence, the Scarecrow is playing mono-blue. He's got a control deck with lots of counterspells and bounce effects.

Wonder Woman is playing a green deck, because she's both nurturing and super-strong. Her deck is mainly huge creatures, buff effects (Might of Oaks is made for Diana), and maybe some protective effects like high-toughness treefolk and life gain.

(As for the rest of the chars, Alex is white/black, Death is black/green, Drizzt is red/green, Filby is blue/black, Kirk is white/red, and Lex is black.)

Who would be ultimately the best player of all 4 in your opinion? (considering stuff like money to spend on cards, creativity, intelligence, guile, etc) :D

Sauron has the most resources at his disposal and is incredibly, um, guilesome, not to mention aggressive, so he's probably the best player. Diana and the Scarecrow would give him a real run for his money, though.

If they had a 4 way match and 8 could pick one format to play, what would s/he choose?

Sauron would choose to play in Vintage Format, 'cause it lets him use his Black Lotus, set of five Moxen, Demonic Tutor, and Necropotence.

Imagine all of your characters had been turned into babies (this idea was given to me by a friend who wants to be known only as a green dinosaur xD) but retain their general intelligence but are subject to the emotional states and instincts of babies :D

Who is the first person to want to find a "cure"? Who is most likely to be the one okay with staying this way? Does nebody WANT to stay this way?

Drizzt would be the first to set out looking for a cure, 'cause he's that kind of heroic type, while Luthor's pride won't let him stay that way, prompting him to help the elf. Mario would rather be an adult, but given that he's saved the Mushroom at least once while in diapers, he can get along. Death would probably enjoy the time off from her responsibilities, but would want to get back to normal.

Would any try to act like things haven't changed and try to find a way to adapt to their normal life? xD

Baby Alex would continue carrying around a mini briefcase and Wall Street Journal, yes.

Who is the first one to cry? :o


Who is the first one spanked? >.>


What would be each one's favourite toy? :D

Alex: Wall Street Journal: Tiny Tots Edition.
Death: Kid's gardening kit.
Drizzt: Toy sword. Two of 'em.
Filby: Jar of paste.
Kirk: Plastic rocket.
Lex: Pastel blue death ray.
Mario: Game Boy of course!
Sauron: My First Artifact of Ultimate Doom.
Scarecrow: Blackboard and chalk.
Wonder Woman: Golden jump rope of truth.

Imagine their first day of preschool, what does each one do? xD

Alex: Convinces the cafeteria to stop taking lunch vouchers. No pinko social programs in his school!
Death: Plays nice with Diana and takes care of the class hamster.
Drizzt: Beats up some bullies.
Filby: Sulks in the corner 'cause Lex gets away with everything and he doesn't.
Kirk: Kisses Diana on the playground and gets slapped three zip codes away.
Lex: Stages a hostile takeover of the principal's office.
Mario: Helps Drizzt out.
Sauron: Starts building his power base to conquer the day care across the street by corrupting nine other kids with cursed pacifiers of doom.
Scarecrow: Astounds the teacher with his l33t math skillz.
Wonder Woman: Plays with Death then joins in with Drizzt and Mario.

4 has a date with 6's mother. Creepy? Not creepy? xD 8 finds out, does s/he tell 6? 8 finds out regardless, is s/he happy about this? 4 marries 8's mother and becomes 8's parent now, how is their relationship? XD

An evil, wrinkly old hobbit dating Lex Luthor's mother. That about sets the bar for creepy.

Sauron tells Lex, yes, because he fucking hates hobbits.

Um... Sauron doesn't have a mother. He's older than the universe. Unless you meant "6" in the second half in the question, in which case Lex is pretty pissed off to have a lame-ass shadow of himself as his pop-in-law, though he might warm up when he realizes how useful Filbs can be in scheming.

1 and 10 are presidential candidates, which party would each run for? (they can't both run for the same party) Out of 3 and 9, who would each choose for their running mate? Out of their supporting casts (of those 4 characters), who would they choose for a potential secretary of defence, attorney general, surgeon general and secretary of state? xD

Alex P. Keaton vs. Wonder Woman? I can see that. Obviously Alex is a Republican. Diana would prefer to run for the Green Party, but would run as a Democrat out of practicality.

Alex chooses the Scarecrow as his running mate, whose rustic ways endear him to midwestern voters while his considerable intellect gives him clout among the Wall Street elite. Given that his family is mostly liberal, he instead chooses his cabinet from among the Scarecrow's circle of friends: Secretary of Defense Omby Amby (he's a one-man army!), Attorney General H. M. Wogglebug, Surgeon General Nick Chopper (any man who can chop off his own limbs and replace them all, including his head, with tin prosthetics must have one hell of a head for medicine), and Secretary of State Dorothy Gale. (We'll pretend that non-Americans, non-humans, and royalty/nobility are allowed to run.)

Diana's running mate is Drizzt do'Urden (who is almost as pretty as she is, natch), who provides Bruenor Battlehammer as Secretary of State, netting Diana both the elven and dwarven votes (heh). The rest of her cabinet: Secretary of Defense Steve Trevor, Attorney General Regis Rumblebelly, and Surgeon General Etta Candy (whose constitution always has room for a few amendments).

Who would win a presidential debate? Who would voters most resonate with and why? :o What would the news media say about them? Would each focus more on issues or attacking the other side? :D

Diana's the better and more charismatic debater, but the fact that she's a pagan feminist turns off a lot of people. Needless to say, Fox News savages her. Alex would be more comfortable taking pot-shots at her, but they'd both stick to the issues for the most part.

Would any of those 4 appear on the Colbert Report or Daily Show? xD

Alex and Diana both have a pretty good sense of humor (though Diana's is more understated), so sure, they'd both go on either show. Scarecrow wouldn't hesitate to go on either, but Drizzt's too retiring to do so.

Ultimately who would win and how close would it be? Would the votes be divided by certain demographics or regions?

Alex would win, mainly because of his greater experience in politics, his "traditional values" campaign, and his down-home image. The fact that Diana is way more progressive than the Democratic mainline doesn't help, sadly; she really only makes strong headway in New England and California.

Do you think the winner would be good for America? :D How long until they're impeached, and why (if at all)? xD

Alex isn't the worst that could happen. Imagine Ronald Reagan without the senility, heartlessness toward minorities and the disadvantaged, fundamentalist rhetoric, and foreign scandals, basically. And a lot prettier. And with a laugh track. But just as many jelly beans. Heck, he'd probably be the best Republican president since Eisenhower. I'd still vote for Diana, though.

Diana goes on to successfully run for governor in Massachusetts, introducing sweeping and widely popular reforms in health care, gay rights, and environmental protection. She plans on shooting for the presidency again in 2012. Or 2016. Or 2020. She's immortal, she can wait.

2 and 5 get into a heated argument about something they believe differently in that comes to blows. What were they most likely arguing about? 7 comes in, does s/he pick a side or try to mediate or just turn around and leave? Who would most likely resort to personal attacks first? xD

I really can't see Death and Kirk getting into a fight like that. They're both pretty easygoing. Mario would probably side with Kirk, though.

From Tricia (who came unlooked-for out of the e-ther!):
All ten enter a dancing competition. Who pairs up with who (given that 4 and 5 are a pairing) and which partnership wins?

Filby and Kirk: Filby's lame in one leg, so they're first to be disqualified.
Alex and Diana: To show there's no hard feelings off the political field.
Death and Scarecrow: He's offbeat, and she likes that.
Lex and Sauron: Great evil minds dance alike?
Drizzt and Mario: They got picked last. :(

Alex and Diana win.

Odds and evens are split into two teams and placed on a deserted island/planet/whatever where they have to make use of natural resources and are told they are in competition with the other team for a fantabulous prize. Who wins?

Team one: Death, Filby, Lex, Sauron, and Diana.
Team two: Alex, Drizzt, Kirk, Mario, and the Scarecrow.

I'd say team one has the best thinkers of the bunch, but infighting between Lex, Sauron, and da Filb tears them apart, letting the more well-rounded team two win.

Thanks guys! That was fun!!! :D

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

More gushing.

Seriously, Fushigi Yūgi is made of win and awesome. I just watched episode 33, and it had me crying for like 20 minutes because my favorite character died heroically... Maybe it's just the time of year or all the holiday stress, but I get really depressed around the holidays, and it just gave me a chance to blow off some pressure. A cathartic experience. Kudos to the show's creators.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

10 Characters of Doom!

From Ami. (Who will be the only person to respond to this, I know it.)

I'm gonna make a list of 10 characters, it is a secret list. If you want, comment to this post with a question like, "2 and 8 have a dance off, who wins?" and then I answer them in a separate post and it is the most fun meme ever. And you can ask as many questions as you like.

Monday, December 24, 2007

It's the most wonderful time of the year!


Merry Bat-Christmas and a Happy Bat-New Year, everyone.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Some brief fanboy gushing.

My sister let my borrow her VHS box set of Fushigi Yūgi (The Mysterious Play), and I've gotta say, it's somewhat awesome.

And it has an awesome theme song. Dig those guitar riffs! It's like one of those fantasy movies from the '80s with a cool rock soundtrack, like Legend or Labyrinth. It's just... awesome!

That is all.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Ten Comic Book Characters I Don't Particularly Like

Apparently there was a meme on LiveJournal this past week to list 10 characters from comics you hate. I missed out on that, but being disgracefully late never stopped me from getting involved in a meme!

Note that I really don't hate many characters (except for #4, whom I don't really see as redeemable), and there are rare instances when I find even these sad sacks interesting, but in general they just bore me and/or piss me off.

1. Spider-Man
Yes, Spider-Man. To be fair, it's not really Spidey I have a problem with so much as the editors mandating his life's direction. It's just one insipid tragedy after another. The poor shmo isn't allowed to be happy for even a moment. Instead it's just angst, angst, angst. NO THANKS. I'll be over here reading my happy, hope-inspiring Superman comics, thankyouverymuch...

2. Green Arrow
I dislike Green Arrow for the same reason I dislike Michael Moore: He claims to speak for the same political ideals I do, but at the end of the day he's just an obnoxious rich white guy with a chip on his shoulder. They both just end up making me look worse.

3. Egg Fu
He's Fu Manchu as a giant yellow egg. We couldn't have just left him buried back in the Silver Age where he belongs? I wish that when they reintroduced him last year they could at least have purged him of all his Yellow Peril elements and made him completely alien, but no, he may not have the moustache anymore but he's still "Chang Tzu," the living embodiment of the "inscrutable East" stereotype.

4. Mother of Champions
In the same vein as the above... Yeah, she's appeared for no more than two or three panels over a year ago, but the very fact that a Chinese woman whose super-power is having lots of babies so much as exists pisses me off.

5. Catwoman
The "femme fatale" thing never really interested me all that much. That's pretty much all I have to say.

6. Sally Floyd
...on general principle.

7. Orion
I'm one of those people who doesn't worship the warrior archetype, and as such Orion holds little to no interest for me. Mister Miracle is so much more interesting, or at least he was before Jim Starlin stuffed his wife into a fridge.

8. Major Force
Speaking of fridges!

9. Bigby Wolf
I don't hate him so much as I'm incredibly tired of how Bill Willingham constantly uses him as a mouthpiece for his political views. "Operation: Israel" my ass.

10. Jean Grey
Stay dead, already!

Honorable Mention:
11. Wolverine
Yeah, he's an obnoxious manly-man prick and he pretty much singlehandedly killed the concept of the "cape," but his gruff obnoxiousness makes his brief humanizing moments that much more effective (and the parodies more hilarious). So he manages to stay off the list.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Filby's Wish List

Well, it seems that my pay has been doubled. That means I'll be able to pay off next semester's tuition and driving school by the end of January! Woohoo!

So that got me thinking: Now that I have a singularly disposable income, I really need to come up with something to dispose it on. I don't plan on being a total spendthrift (I'm part Scottish, after all) so it'll be maybe one item per month (two tops), but still...

  • Books: The Children of Húrin by J. R. R. Tolkien.
  • DVD: Vol. 2-4 of Mobile Police Patlabor (I already have Vol. 1) plus the movies and straight-to-video series, the special edition of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (I have the whole series on my HD but it's good enough for me to want it in tangible form), various Studio Ghibli movies (Spirited Away, Porco Rosso, Princess Mononoke, etc.).
  • D&D: Hard copies of the 3.5-edition Player's Handbook and Dungeon Master's Guide. Screw 4th Edition, I ain't playin' it.
  • MtG: The complete Lorwyn and Morningtide sets. I practically never play but I'm in love with the art.
  • Comics: Trade paperbacks of Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps from 2005 to the present.
  • Electronics: Personal computer, scanner, printer.
  • Art supplies: More of 'em.
  • Some kind of automosomething.

Can I get any more recommendations?

Friday, December 07, 2007

Thoughts on The Golden Compass

Apparently a lot of religious people are getting up in arms over this movie The Golden Compass because its creator is an outspoken atheist and he used his books to get his beliefs across to young readers.

So... wait wait wait.

One British guy writes a series of fantasy novels explaining his personal beliefs, and they're hailed as being among the greatest young adult literature of the 20th century.

Another British guy writes a series of fantasy novels explaining his personal beliefs, and... controversy.


Okay, honestly? I liked The Chronicles of Narnia. They were well-written, they had engaging characters and exciting plots, and while I didn't agree with C. S. Lewis's Christian message I thought it was stated gracefully and eloquently. In fact, the main problem I did have with Lewis is simply that his fictional world wasn't created with as much verisimilitude as Tolkien's. :P I highly recommend his books.

So why the hell can't right-wing Christians have the grace to let someone outside their group have their say? Hypocrisy, much?

Ahh, well. In a way, the Christian Right is actually doing the "atheist agenda" (heh) a favor by raising such a stink. No such thing as bad press, after all.

Anyway, if I end up seeing this movie for political reasons, it won't be because the author's an atheist. It'll be because the villain is an evil woman named Coulter. :D

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

More Ranting (SPOILERS for Countdown: Arena)

Countdown: Arena #1 pissed me off.

So they introduce 52 alternate versions of the DCU and its most popular characters... and immediately start slaughtering them en masse.

I'm insanely pissed that Victorian Batman and WWII Batman unceremoniously got their throats ripped out by Vampire Batman. I really liked both of them. Hell, I put in like 300 votes for WWII Batman just because I knew Vampire Batman would kill them if he won and I didn't want them to die. I was right. Lot of good my votes did...

Screw you, DC. That was a stupid move.

Thoughts on the Latest JSA

A Japanese super-villain named Kamikaze whose power is blowing himself to smithereens and pulling his limbs and guts back together.




What's next, a super-villain named Suicidi al-Bomber who just happens to be Palestinian?

I'm just... WHAT THE HELL?! I'm just saying, kamikaze is the ultimate example of the sheer insanity of theocracy. It is tragic and disgusting. And it should not be invoked so lightly and in such a crass manner.

And of course he's a huge fat sumo-looking guy who prattles on about honor. Excuse me -- "HONOR!" And his costume looks like Mount Fucking Fuji. Jesus H, could this get any more stereotyped and insensitive?

Regarding his companion Kung the Obake: "Kung" is not a Japanese name. The Japanese language doesn't have an "ng" sound (as in "ring" or "sing" -- when the two consonants are together they are pronounced separately, like "Ringo"), and words don't end in consonants other than "n." (If I'm mistaken, please correct me.) They could at least have called him "Kun" or "Kunge" or something; it would've been nonsense but at least it wouldn't have been out of the question for the Japanese language.

Regarding Judomaster: Since when doesn't she speak English? Isn't this the smart-alecky woman who was cracking wise -- in English -- about Big Barda's mighty mega-rod (which looms large in her hands) in Birds of Prey last year? I really hate the whole "silent exotic foreign woman" thing they have going for her now. And do we really need yet another Asian super-hero whose gimmick is martial arts or mysticism? Why aren't there any Asian supers who wear capes and shoot laser beams from their eyes?


I really wish they'd focused solely on the Kingdom Come plot, because this "legacy heroes" plot is just feeling tacked-on to fill up space. They're trying to tell two stories in the space of one, and it's annoying me.

I mean... I'm just angry because this is Geoff Johns. HE CAN DO BETTER.

Just Posting to Say...

...that "Doctor Psycho" is the coolest super-villain name ever.

And Gail Simone writes him really well.

And I liked him better without the full beard and sunglasses. He should look like a sleazy little know-it-all bastard with a ponytail and goatee, not like Gimli son of Gloin joined ZZ Top.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

'Twas the Dark Knight Before Christmas...

Okay, I realize that Pott Manor Bag End is in serious danger of turning into a video linkblog, so I'll try to cut back on the videos for the time being. But first...

Monday, December 03, 2007


Decided to change the blog name, mainly 'cause I'd been using the same name for my LiveJournal.

I've finally succeeded in swindling that fool Baggins out of house and home. Muahahaha!!!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Christmas with the Kents

December starts in about 25 minutes, so to start getting into the mood for the impending Christmas season (which I observe secularly despite being an atheist; I'm sorry if I offend), here's one of my favorite scenes from Justice League, from the episode "Comfort and Joy."

Enjoy, and happy holidays.


It occurred to me just now that Watchmen, Kingdom Come, and DC: The New Frontier form a neat trilogy or circle on the development of the super-hero over the last three decades, from deconstruction to reconstruction to new wholeness.

Am I all wet or am I on to something?

I Hate Cartoon Network

David Willis hits another one square on the head.

Seriously, what is up with Cartoon Network's bizarre scheduling issues? I used to get my anime fix on [adult swim] watching Fullmetal Alchemist, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and Cowboy Bebop and they'd show like two new episodes before going back to reruns with no warning for months on end. And the shows they did show on schedule were obnoxious surrealist crap like Tom Goes to the Mayor and The Squidbillies plus other shit that weren't even cartoons (how the hell could they show Saved by the Bell on Cartoon Fragging Network?!). And the way they just casually belittled their viewers, like, "Yeah, we're so hip, we can insult our fan base, and that's cool 'cause it's postmodern." I FUCKING HATE CARTOON NETWORK.

Eventually I realized it'd be less frustrating to just rent the damn anime myself.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Oh, and while I'm here:

Lord Flashheart!!!


Speaking of D&D...

This is my first time playing, actually. Well, not technically: A friend in 7th grade invited me to join a game in the cafeteria once, but I was out as soon as he found someone cooler to play. (Heh.) I enjoyed reading both the rulebooks and the tie-in novels, and hung out on several D&D online communities, but because my social life (or lack thereof) precluded it, I never had a chance to get involved in an actual gaming session until my friend Michael invited me to join his online campaign with his wife Natania (also an old friend of mine), her sister, and her sister's boyfriend.

It's not quite the real tabletop experience (I sorely rue the lack of pizza, Cheetos, and Mountain Dew), but I'm still having an incredibly fun time. :) I'd been involved in role-playing before (see my award-winning post, "The Secret Origin of Filby Pott!"), but the thing about RP in a setting based on a book is that you're just not allowed to do anything notable that would change the setting in a meaningful way. Especially if you're a hobbit. On the other hand, RP in D&D is all about you, so there's no such limitation.

I'm also thinking of maybe -- just maybe -- starting my own D&D campaign once I feel confident in my grip of the game rules. That would be fun.

Just on the border of your waking mind...

I already posted this before, actually, but no one was reading my weblog at the time, and it's just awesome enough to post twice.

From the people who brought us Neon Genesis Evangelion and FLCL: Feast your eyes on the Holy Grail of anime fandom, circa 1983. It's all been downhill from there.

Monday, November 26, 2007

What Vow of Celibacy?

So I'm playing D&D today, and my character is a woman, when I get in a fight with another character, who is also a woman (but disguised as a man with a spell) because she called me a fool and a coward. So one of the other characters, a male cleric, casts create water and drenches us both.


Goddamn it, my foremothers didn't win me the right to vote and own land just so I could get leered at by some nerd in a robe!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Four-Color Politics

I've been thinking about writing this post for a very long time now, but my last post got me thinking, so now I've finally gotten around to it. It's weird, I know, but I enjoy trying to extrapolate political views from different fictional characters, and comics are no exception. Yeah, I have too much free time on my hands, wanna make something of it?

So without any ado...

Superman: Clark Kent votes Democrat, no question. His core guiding principle is that ordinary people can't defend themselves against certain things, be it alien invaders or poverty, and that it's his duty to help them. He's also a journalist, which is a traditionally liberal occupation. Given that he's a farmboy from Kansas, he's probably a Christian and part of the Religious Left, like Jimmy Carter or the late Martin Luther King: He believes his faith compels him to help the needy, but not to try and convert others or sign what he believes to be right on a spiritual level into law.

Batman: The (city) government is Batman's enemy: Like a criminal organization, it's got its fingers in everything; it's hopelessly corrupt, serving only its own ends. Batman believes he knows what's good for people better than they do. People need to be protected, but they don't need to know they're being watched. Plus he's a wealthy industrialist. Bruce Wayne is definitely a Republican.

Wonder Woman: Since she holds a title of royalty in another country, Wonder Woman can't be an American citizen and vote in our elections. She's not a monarchist, since she turned her duties as the Amazons' sovereign (back when her mother, the queen, was out of commission) over to an elected chancellor. She's strongly feminist and environmentalist, is a vegan, and has pagan religious beliefs. Diana can't vote for them, but I'd say she's probably an advocate of the Green Party.

The Flash: I can't say much about Barry Allen because he died long before I started reading comics, but it's been established in-continuity that he was a moderate Republican in the mold of Dwight Eisenhower, and it fits. He came from a small town in Illinois, was pro-capital punishment, and was socially conservative.

Green Lantern: Green Lantern was often paired with the far-left Green Arrow as a staunch moderate who never really questioned the status quo. I'd guess Hal Jordan is a swing voter; given his philosophy of rugged individualism, he probably leans toward Republican.

Aquaman: Atlantean monarchist. ;) I don't know much about Arthur's history, but he seems to rule Atlantis as a benevolent dictator.

Martian Manhunter: Thoroughly non-political. Though he's been on Earth since the '50s, J'onn J'onzz lived for much longer on an alien planet with a communal, telepathic social system that just doesn't map to anything we humans have come up with. If you reaaaaally stretch it you could call him an anarcho-communist.

Green Arrow: As mentioned above, Green Arrow is very far-left. He's the kind of pinko liberal your parents warned you about. In fact I'd say Oliver Queen is a "stealth" Socialist who votes Democrat in the same way Ron Paul is a Libertarian in Republican's clothing.

Hawkman: Very far-right. He believes in strict social rules, that the poor need only pick themselves up by the bootstraps to get ahead, and is intensely hawkish (groan) in his views on foreign policy. Carter Hall is undoubtedly a Nixon Republican. I'd bet he listens to Rush Limbaugh every day. In fact, scratch that: He probably has Rush Limbaugh on his speed-dial.

The Question: I doubt any of my non-comics-reading friends have ever even heard of him, but I can't leave him out. It's no secret that the late Vic Sage was a radical objectivist conspiracy theorist with an acute distrust of anything vaguely resembling government. Not a Libertarian -- even further than that. "Ayn Rand? Ayn Rand didn't go far enough!"

Captain America: As the "ultimate American" I think it's dangerous to tie Cap down to any one political ideology. That said, I think it's been established that Steve Rogers was a WWII-era New Deal Democrat, and that makes a certain amount of sense to me, given that he was a young lower-class New Yorker. He'd be more militarily inclined than modern Democrats and believe in the use of force, but still believe in social programs to help the poor.

Iron Man: Tony Stark is a billionaire weapons manufacturer, so there's no way he's anything but Republican. Possibly leaning towards Libertarian since he's not the type to push his ideals on others, but since he's all about his own power base he'd throw in with the GOP for the greater support they can give him.

Thor: Being a physical god, he's pretty much above human politics, much like the Martian. I don't know enough about his former alter ego, Donald Blake, to gauge his politics.

Spider-Man: Peter Parker is a middle-class high school teacher from New York, so he's probably a Democrat. That fits with his role as the protector of the little guy.

The Hulk: Hulk hate federal government. Hulk just want to be left alone. Hulk vote Libertarian.

You tell 'em, Hulk!

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And to think, all this time I had Hulk pegged as a Libertarian.

Gaming Idiocy

A hat-tip to Ami Angelwings.

I think this story pretty adequately sums up just why I avoid video game culture like the plague: It's filled with pathetic, small-minded men with the mentalities of 15-year-old boys.

I think the thing that bothers me the most is that these people don't realize that saying,

"That professional woman deserved to be harassed because she wore cute dresses in front of repressed nerds. She brought it on herself!"

is the same line of thinking that leads to,

"That rape victim deserved what happened to her because she wore revealing clothes. She brought it on herself!"

or, if you want to take it to its extreme (and I realize this is hyperbole),

"That rape victim deserved to be stoned to death in the name of Allah because she inflamed her attacker's passions by her feminine nature. She brought it on herself!"

See what I mean?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Haruhi Suzumiya: Two Songs

I'm at a loss for anything serious to write. I've got math finals next week and have to start reading Oedipus Rex (which I already studied in high school... feh), so I don't feel up to any in-depth posts. So in lieu of such, here's a cool video with brief commentary.

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya was pretty much the anime smash-hit of 2006, proving wildly popular with fans worldwide. What follows is my favorite scene from the series, from episode 12. To my knowledge this is the best animation (from a technical standpoint) to grace the small screen in the history of the medium. Seriously, just watch the detail on those drums and guitars.

The music's your typical J-pop fluff, but hey, it's pretty damn rousing.

Can't wait for the second season...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Seven Things You May Not Have Known About Filby

I was tagged by DJ Black Adam some two weeks ago and am only now getting around to it. Exam season's a bitch, I tells ya.

Please follow the rules of this game to the best of your ability. The rules of the game are:

A). Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog...

B). Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself...

C). Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs...

D). Let each person know that they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Facts About Filby

1) I'd really like to call myself a Democrat, but as long as the Congressional Dems keep being such spineless paper tigers I'm ashamed to do so. Until times change, I'm alone in independent Nader-land...

2) I first got into anime when I saw Fullmetal Alchemist, Record of Lodoss War, and Project A-Ko all in the same week by chance.

3) I got into comics because I was hyped about the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie (boy, was I let down) and read Alan Moore's graphic novel of the same name. I got into DC specifically when I read Kingdom Come on a whim the week after that.

4) I think that Mister Terrific really should team up with Zauriel sometime. The angel and the atheist, tell me that isn't a great story waiting to happen. They could hang out at a bar and have deep theological discussions or something.

5) My favorite president is either Abraham Lincoln or John F. Kennedy, depending on the day. My least favorite president is Warren G. Harding (Dubya comes in a very close second).

6) I'm pretty picky in my taste for music. I can't stand country, rap/hip-hop, metal, religious music, punk/emo, or the Beatles. I do like Canadian folk rock, though.

7) I cry easily at movies. Like, when Sam carried Frodo up Mount Doom, man, I was bawlin'.

I elect to break the rules and tag NOBODY! Mua-ha-ha!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Whisperer in the Dark

"And he shall put on the semblance of men, the waxen mask and the robe that hides and come down from the world of seven suns to mock..."

Check this out. It's a trailer for an adaptation of one of my favorite weird tales, Lovecraft's "The Whisperer in Darkness."

Pretty classy, huh?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Thoughts on El Goonish Shive

Be aware that THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS. You have been warned.

The week before last I spent about four days plowing through the archives of El Goonish Shive, a webcomic by one Dan Shive. I'd heard it mentioned in passing across the geeknet and seen it linked to from numerous other webcomics I enjoy but never felt inclined to look into it. It wasn't until I read John Solomon's negative review (which I admit is a redundant description and again, that review also contains spoilers), which basically boils down to "This comic is shit but not utter shit," that I decided to give it a try out of morbid curiosity to see just how bad it was.

And I ended up liking it.

You read that right: John Solomon made someone a fan of a webcomic. The end times are here.

"One big awkward moment." Shive himself describes EGS as such, and it fits. I'll be perfectly honest here: Some weird shit goes down in this comic. Men turn into women, women turn into squirrel-women, people shrink... there's clones and goo monsters in there... it's just blatantly obvious that the comic came into existence mainly as a means for Dan Shive to express his weird sexual kinks, albeit in a highly self-censored PG-13 manner. On the one hand, I've got to respect the guy for being true to himself and not caring what others think of him.

On the other hand, ewwwwwww.

A word on the title, "El Goonish Shive:" It means nothing. As Shive notes in his FAQ, he just couldn't think of a better title and took his high school nickname ("the Goon"), stuck it in front of his surname, threw in a little Spanish, and called it a day. Probably not the most auspicious start for a webcomic, but at least it's distinctive.

I should elucidate on the plot. From its beginning the comic revolved around two ordinary high school juniors, Elliot and Tedd, getting into bizarre sci-fi/fantasy situations. We quickly find out that they're not very ordinary at all, though, as Elliot is a practitioner of mystical anime martial arts and Tedd is a mad scientist who enjoys turning himself into a girl for jollies. And I never thought I'd ever type that sentence. They're joined in short order by Grace, a mysterious girl with bizarre powers and no past; Nanase and Justin, Elliot's fellow martial artists; Ellen, Elliot's opposite-sex clone (!); Susan (real name: Tiffany), a dour man-hating feminist (blah); and Sarah, a genuinely ordinary high school junior who just happens to hang out with them. If all of that sounds downright bizarre and/or offensive... well, it is. Bizarre, anyway. The offensiveness depends on your tolerance for weird shit.

I will never understand "furries" (ie, those fixated, sexually or otherwise, on anthropomorphized animals). If it ain't human I just don't find it attractive. I make an exception for elves (just humans with funny ears, really) and I don't have a problem with characters like Tigra for instance because she's still human but with a few extra parts glued on (it's not like she has a goddamn muzzle), but straight-up furries, animals walking like humans, that's just a huge turn-off. And it just so happens that Grace is a human-squirrel hybrid. A weresquirrel, I guess. She spends most of her time as a human, but the fact that her boyfriend (and apparently Shive's vicarious stand-in, at least in the earlier strips) Tedd is incredibly turned on by her... rodentness... weirds me out.

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Tedd vs. Susan. These two panels sum up just about all that is wrong about El Goonish Shive.

The whole gender-bending aspect of the comic (of which there is considerably more) doesn't bother me as much, mainly because at least everyone stays human. Oh, and I sat through seven or eight seasons and thirty trade paperbacks of Ranma ½, so I'm pretty thoroughly desensitized to sex-changing hijinks. And honestly, I think it's a very effective tool for either exploring gender issues (see: Woolf's Orlando) or as comedy (see: Tootsie), so I don't complain. The only thing that bothers me is that it's very much a sexual thing for Tedd (and by extension Shive), which again, I don't get. No matter how attractive "she" may be on the outside, I can't get myself worked up over a girl who's mentally a straight male.

From the way I've spoken of the strip so far, you may come to the conclusion that there's nothing good about this comic. And honestly, the first year or so of strips are really not that impressive. The art was pretty bad and first couple story arcs seemed to exist mainly as a vehicle for Dan Shive's various turn-ons, as noted above.

I think the turning point was the "Sister" story arc. Elliot is turned into a girl against his will by Tedd's plot-convenient MacGuffin transformation-inducing ray-gun, which conveniently promptly breaks, making it impossible for him to turn back until it gets repaired. Prompted to seek out another plot-convenient MacGuffin a magical curse-removing diamond, upon touching it he's split into two separate people -- his old male self, and the living manifestation of his "curse," his female self. Tedd explains that the female Elliot, dubbed Ellen, may fade into nonexistence in a month; Ellen, hearing this, is filled with rage at "her" situation and endeavors to spend the remainder of her short existence making life hell for Elliot for thrusting her into this situation. Before long, however, Tedd learns that he was wrong: Ellen will not fade from reality, and is in fact putting herself in danger by acting so self-destructively. He, Elliot, and the rest of their friends finally manage to talk some sense into her just as she's about to charge suicidally into battle against a monster attacking their school; she has a change of heart, manages to defeat the creature without ending her own life, and finally accepts that she's not Elliot (despite having memories of living as him up to that point) and learns to cope with her new life -- as Elliot's newly adopted twin sister.

There's a certain glimmer of maturity that starts to creep into the comic with this storyline. For the first time the issue of changing one's gender is played straight, as Ellen comes to grips with her existence separate from Elliot and starts to build herself a new identity. It's Ellen's journey of self-discovery, culminating in the later "Grace's Party" storyline, that most gripped me, and by the time I read up to the end of the archives Ellen had become my favorite character.

The next storyline, "Painted Black," reveals to us Grace's origins and continues to build on the comic's newfound depth. Where before Grace had been this pretty-looking cipher whose only role was to indulge Tedd's transformation fetishes, "Painted Black" sheds light on the ramifications (and indeed, the horror) of being a half-human/half-animal creature who was never meant to exist, and forces Grace to take her life into her own hands for the first time as she personally faces the arc's ultimate villain in single combat. Grace's three "brothers" -- Guineas, Hedge, and Vlad; three guesses what animals they're based on -- had up to this point been built up as these shadowy monsters with no motives but evil, but over the course of the arc they're revealed as scared, tortured, and above all human individuals who've been thrust into this life against their will. By the end of the storyline, the three are given a chance at redemption, and contrary to standard conventions, they all take it.

It's the following long storyline, "Grace's Party," that cemented me as a fan of El Goonish Shive. Still reeling from her ordeal in the previous story, Grace sets about to celebrate her eighteenth birthday, and decides to throw a sex-change party. And that's yet another sentence I never thought I'd write. It's to please Tedd, of course. So the whole cast gets together and (minus Ellen, who'd already been through enough sex-swapping by this point) switches genders. Yes, it's a pretty ridiculous excuse to engage in some transformation-fetish fanservice, but Shive also uses the opportunity to get into the psychology of gender, with very interesting results.

One thing I liked was that this was the first time that the female characters switched over to males; up to this point it was strictly male-to-female. That's how it always seems to play out in transgender fetishism: The male body is the norm, and the female body is something "other" to be changed into. Male body: Subject. Female body: Object. Shive finally throws that out the window in this storyline and, as noted, actually goes into how switching sex would affect people of either gender.

Either that or he's just an equal-opportunity perv. I can respect that.

This is the first occasion on which side-characters Justin and Susan take center stage. I particularly liked Justin's reaction to the idea of being a girl. Justin is a gay male, you see, and there's this widespread assumption in our culture that gay men want to be women (conflating homosexuality with transexuality, which are not the same), but Justin plainly asserts his masculinity. He's eventually coaxed into it out of curiosity (and other reasons I won't spoil), but I really appreciated that character beat.

Susan, on the other hand, eventually embraces the opportunity to see how the other (male) half lives for a few hours, mainly so she can confirm her preconceived belief that men are crude, violent, and lecherous by dint of their genes (as opposed to upbringing or whathaveyou). I'd strongly disliked the character up to this point, but these four pages here (pay no attention to the duck) represent a pretty impressive piece of character growth that made me like her a great deal: It's at this point that Susan makes the transition from a man-hating strawfeminist to a real feminist.

I've gone on long enough now, and should bring this to a close. I'm definitely going to follow the comic from here on out, but I still have a pretty major problem with EGS: The updating schedule, or lack thereof. I spent half a week reading straight through five years' worth of archives only to come to the most recent page, which hasn't updated since. In fact, it hasn't updated since October 24th. It's like running for four days only to slam into a brick wall at the end. Shive keeps posting amusing little filler strips every three days or so, but it's not quite as satisfying as the real thing. Oh, and his scanner's broken. *sigh* On top of that, the story moves incredibly slowly: I read "Grace's Party" in two days, but it took a year and a half real-time to publish those six-to-eight hours' worth of story. AND YOU THOUGHT BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS WAS BAD WITH DECOMPRESSED STORYTELLING.

I'll wrap it up here. Suffice it to say that I'm going to enjoy reading EGS in the future. And after reading this -- if don't mind a healthy heaping helping of weird shit -- maybe you will too.

Friday, November 09, 2007

A Correction

I'm embarrassed and humbled to note that a song mentioned in my post the other day, "Ontario Sucks" by the Arrogant Worms, is in fact properly titled "The Toronto Song."

And it and "The White House Burned (The War of 1812)" are actually by Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie.

Uh... that is all.

Christ, that's one of the weirder posts I've made. Damn Canadians.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The More You Know, Eh?

Important facts I have learned about Canada from the Arrogant Worms and Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie:

  • Canada's really big.
  • Seriously, you can put like fourteen Frances into Canada.
  • Canadian mountains are very pointy.
  • Canadian prairies are not.
  • The rest of Canada is kinda bumpy.
  • Canada has a lot of rocks and trees.
  • And water.
  • Members of the Royal Candian Mounted Police don't technically have to be awake to do their job.
  • The White House burned, burned, burned, and Canada's the one who did it.
  • If you're going to be a pirate, Regina's the place to do it.
  • Toronto sucks.
  • Thunder Bay sucks.
  • Ottawa sucks.
  • Alan Thicke sucks.
  • ...okay, everything in Ontario sucks.
  • (Except Ami.)
  • Newfoundland sucks.
  • Prince Edward Island sucks.
  • Nova Scotia sucks.
  • New Brunswick sucks.
  • Quebec sucks.
  • Ontario sucks.
  • Manitoba sucks.
  • Saskatchewan sucks.
  • Each of the territories sucks.
  • British Columbia sucks.
  • Seriously, Ontario really sucks.
  • Alberta doesn't suck.
  • ...but Calgary does.

And now you know, too!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Take Me Home, Country Roads

I always feel a little guilty about my blogging habits when I go too long without writing a lengthly, thoughtful post. I've been working on a good long post for several days, but it's exam season, I've got a paper due on Friday, and I'm just generally worn out lately, so it may be a fair while before I post anything of substance.

To make myself feel like I'm writing more than excuses here, here's some music by John Denver.

I've never been into the whole folk music thing, but I've been on a minor John Denver kick lately. The man had a beautiful voice. A shame we lost him so early...

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Two Stories Found

You find a lot of cool stuff clicking around the TV Tropes Wiki. Here's two creepy short stories I stumbled across via some outbound links:

All the Myriad Ways, by Larry Niven. I've been crazy for alternate universe stories (Infinite Crisis, etc.) for years, but not enough of them get into the effects the knowledge of parallel Earths would have on the general populace. This one does.

Daphne and Her Dog, by Rebecca Sean Borgstrom. I've not much to say about this one save that it's a hilarious and terrifying deconstruction of a certain enduring piece of pop kitsch.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Happiness Meme

Tagged by my friend Beaupepys on LiveJournal, and I thought I'd cross-post here. We all need to focus on the brighter side from time to time...

The rules are simple. Just create a post about any number of things that have made you happy recently. Then tag any number of people and have them post this meme on their blogs.

1) The Red Sox getting to the World Series and winning 2 games out of the 4 needed to win. GO SOX!!!

2) The imminent end of the Bush administration. Honestly, even if we do get another Republican in office (crossing my fingers we don't), it'll still be better than the last seven years.

3) The "Sinestro Corps War" storyline in Green Lantern. I'm a sucker for overblown cosmic adventures with casts of hundreds where the fate of the universe -- nay, the multiverse! -- is at stake, and the top-notch art and writing is icing on the cake.

4) Speaking of cake, my dad's birthday earlier this week. Even if we had a bunch of unwanted visitors bursting in uninvited. :P

5) And speaking of my dad, if all goes well, within a month I'll be receiving a paycheck from the state for looking after him. It won't be a lot of money, but anything is something.

6) For the first time in my life, I don't hate algebra.

7) OMFG I got a hobbit deck for Magic. And it rocks! Joy!

8) '80s music. Specifically Electric Light Orchestra's "Twilight." And also Journey's "Don't Stop Believing."

9) Shortpacked!

10) Drawing, like usual. Too bad I don't have a scanner.

I tag Ami Angelwings, DJ Black Adam, and Zhinxy.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Fetch the Pestridder, Paka! There's Trolls in the Rutabagas!

Some guy called me a eunuch.

*checks* Oh my goodness, it must have fallen off while I was sleeping. I hate it when that happens.

I'm not sure if I should be insulted by this guy's insolence, or honored that someone actually took time to form an opinion of me.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I feel dirty. Also: Shuggoths.

My first blog fight. Ugh. I managed to go for over a year with no drama whatsoever, and now this. I don't hold it against WFA 'cause it's not their fault who follows their links, but I think from now on I should moderate myself a little better when discussing feminism and other political topics in case I attract more trolls out to belittle my fanhood. bulging, throbbing fanhood.


Okay, I'm done being juvenile. No ripping bodices here.

On a completely different note, here's Neil Gaiman talking about H. P. Lovecraft:

Damn straight. The thing about Lovecraft isn't that his stories were particularly scary (most were not), or that he was a particularly skilled writer (he really, really wasn't). In fact, he was a wordy, overly-sentimental bigot -- and that's what his fans have to say about him. The great thing about Lovecraft, though, was his ability to masterfully set a sense of mood, to convey his worldview, and to inflame the imagination. Say what you will about his writing ability ('cause it's all of it true), but he's still one of the greats in my book.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Gasp! Shock! Horror of Horrors! Dumbledore is--- GAY?!

A tip o' da hat to Thom Wade. May the hair on his toes never fall out!, wait. Wrong fandom. Moving on...


At first I thought that was from CBS and I was all like, "You call this shit reporting? I expect this from Fox, but geez!" But then I realized, "Oho, it's CBN! Pat Robertson's guys! That makes perfect sense!" Ahh, I love the smell of Christofascist moral panic in the morning.

Seriously, there are too many broadcasting networks with "CB" in their name. CBS, CBN, CBC...

I also love how the "reporter" thinks that Fan Fiction is one specific website and that all the fanfic on the 'Net is located there.

Oh, and the "young fan" was nineteen.

On a more serious note, I think it's great that Rowling made the conscious decision to write such a popular character as gay, but I agree with Kalinara in that it would have been a lot more courageous on her part if she'd explicitly written that detail in the books instead of tossing it out as a sound bite months after the series ended. A casual reader 20 years from now will be none the wiser.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Massive SPOILERS for Death of the New Gods #1.











They killed Big Barda.


Without a fight.

To kick off her husband's quest for vengeance.



We are talking about the character who is possibly the most empowering super-hero for female comics readers short of Wonder Woman. A consumate warrior -- the greatest warrior of all the New Gods -- who can stand to be second to no one, man or woman. A woman who can trade punches with SUPERMAN and stand a good chance of winning. One-half of the DCU's most celebrated married couple after Lois and Clark.


What the fuck were you thinking, Starlin?! The woman is a WARRIOR! She should at least go out swinging! If Barda should die, her death should mean something more than a "you touched my stuff" plot for her husband! Her death should have been nothing less than a blaze of fucking glory!

God fucking damn it, I am incensed. I am furious. This is unthinkable.

Oh, for the love of Jack Kirby, where's Gail Simone when you need her?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Speaking of Greg Land...

I think these scans of his art from before he started tracing referencing porn photos perfectly encapsulate why Land is a far, far worse artist than Rob Liefeld could ever be:

Greg Land can draw well, but he chooses not to.

And that's absolutely disgraceful.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

In Defense of Rob Liefeld

I know I'm opening myself up to a lot of scorn here, but... I don't hate Rob Liefeld.

Now don't get me wrong! The stuff he draws is absolutely hideous. It pains me to so much as look at it. I never, ever want to own a single comic with his... "art"... in it.

And yet... and yet he's just so earnest and enthusiastic about what he does. "This guy's a big tough guy! I'm-a give him big muscles! Grrrrr!!! Ooh -- can't forget the cross-hatching!" And unlike some other hack artists (*coughgreglandcough*), he's actually fostered his own distinct style, no matter how awful it may be. And from what I've heard he's actually a very nice, pleasant guy.

I guess what I'm saying is that Rob Liefeld is the artistic equivalent of Florence Foster Jenkins. The man's a hack, but he's the best hack he can be.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me

Well, I hit the big (?) Two-Three today. Another year older and nothing to show for it: Still unemployed, still living with my parents. Such a stereotypical nerd. *shrug* At least I'm doing well in college.

To celebrate I bought myself Captain Carrot and the Final Ark #1. And it was awesome. Go Zoo Crew!!!

Monday, October 08, 2007

You Learn Something New Every Day

Much to my surprise, I've just learned that fantasy artists Ron Spencer...

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...and Terese Nielsen...

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...are twin siblings.

Who'd'a thunk?

I have to say I like the latter a mite better. Mr. Spencer is great at depicting action-packed scenes, heroic figures, cool monsters, and attractive people of both sexes, but his artwork often comes off as far too busy, not to mention extremely "kitsch" -- like a poor man's Boris Vallejo, I think. Ms. Nielsen, on the other hand, is good at all those things as well, but her artwork also has a much more realistic, natural, and sometimes sensual feeling, conveying not just action but emotion.

Not that I know anything about real art. *shrug* Just a spontaneous thought.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Fashion Corner with Filby: Those Anime Figurines


Remember those kinda skanky-looking "anime" figurines that DC Direct released last year and created a bit of a stir around the comics blogosphere? Well, seems they're releasing a few more. I meant to post my thoughts about them when the buzz first started but never got around to it, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to do so now.

My main problems are twofold. First of all, they all look the same age. This isn't a problem for Batgirl or Supergirl, but Power Girl and Wonder Woman shouldn't have the same big eyes and proportionately large head. Which leads into my second problem: The anatomy is all kinds of off. I realize that they're trying to emulate cartoons here, but still, anime need not have bad anatomy (see Mai-HiME, which is pretty fanservicey but with a wide variety of body types well within the human norm). Some of these are approaching Liefeld-scale ugh-ness.

Anyway. These are my impressions, one by one:

Catwoman: Absolutely awful. I'm just not into those extreme fanservice extravaganza bishoujo series (Mouse and Najica Blitz Tactics spring immediately to mind), and she looks like she stepped right out of one. Last year I recall these figurines described as "masturbatory aids," and I think this one is by far the most blatant.

Power Girl: Looks pretty good, but I'd do away with the navel and knee holes and make her tights more like a normal one-piece and less thong-like. As noted, I hate her face -- no way Karen should look so vapid. Otherwise, fairly solid, especially the boots and gauntlets. I appreciate that they gave her a slightly more muscular physique than the others. I get a vague Evangelion vibe, but maybe it's just the color scheme.

Batgirl: Solid. Dig the sentai look. Lose the heels and maybe make the belt better-fitting, and it'd be perfect.

Supergirl: Bring the skirt up a little higher and make it a little longer and I'd be okay with it. The bare torso is also not really necessary, and it draws attention to the poor anatomy worse than the others. I do, however, like the gloves, boots, and cape.

Wonder Woman: By far the best of the bunch. Implausible anatomy, but since her outfit actually covers more skin than the "normal" Wonder Woman it's not as distracting. I love the shield, pauldron, (apparently) leather armor, and tiara-turned-helmet. I also don't mind the high heels; Diana can fly, so it's not like she needs to worry about tripping. They also got Diana's personality down pat with her pose. The sword's a little big, but since I enjoyed Berserk I'll let it go. I'd go so far as to say I like it better than the real Wonder Woman's costume.

Those are the first wave of figurines. Here's the new ones:

Harley Quinn: Another fanservicey bishoujo-looking outfit, but I think it actually works on the character. I doubt the artist intended it to look so... goofy... but again, Harley's a goofy person! That said, the little Joker-tassels are stupid and must go.

Poison Ivy: I'd make the bikini bottom cover a little more area, but otherwise I like it. The vine-hands and "snapdragons" are a very cool, kinda creepy touch.

Hawkgirl: She needs pants. I don't hate the loincloth, but in the immortal words of the Bowler, "Maybe you should put some pants on, or something, if you want to keep fighting evil today." I mean, you don't fly over peoples' heads in a loincloth, especially since she shows no indication of wearing undies. Also, her scabbards seem to be attached a little too loosely. Those complaints aside: I like the helmet, the bracers, the boots, and especially the finger-claws.

Cheetah: I'm mostly neutral on this one, though I don't like the bondage collar or the oversized paws (like Felicia from Darkstalkers -- animal parts are always a turn-off).

Black Canary: Where are the fishnets?!? You can't have Black Canary without fishnets. I mean, technically you can, but it sucks -- see her JLI costume. Otherwise I really like the ninja look, especially the flat boots and coat.


I kind of wonder who the target audience is supposed to be: American comics fans who are also into anime, or Japanese anime fans who might be curious about American comics. In any case, it's apparent that whoever they're aimed at it's exclusively male. I'm sort of disappointed that there aren't any male superhero redesigns, especially Superman, Batman, and the Green Lantern of your choice. And who wouldn't want smexy bishounen Nightwing? Just sayin'.

Anyone else have any more thoughts?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Creative Writing Returns: Mountains

I enjoy writing, but I'm not very disciplined. I've only ever completed one story, actually, over five years ago. Still, it's good to flex the writing muscles every once in a while. So on the spur of the moment I whipped up this little vignette.


Ken had never seen a mountain before.

Well, that's not strictly true. He'd seen hundreds of them on film. He'd driven through the Berkshires a couple times, with its rounded mounds marching like elephants along the horizon, just tall enough to qualify as "mountains" by surveyors' standards but which were really just glorified hills. But he'd never actually stood at the foot of a real mountain out West, staring up at the snow-covered peak impossibly high above the vast green expanse of conifers. His mind could barely appreciate the sheer immensity of the thing: How could something so huge exist? He had vague memories of his mother reading him The Hobbit as a small child, and pictured himself as a scared little hobbit without a pocket-handkerchief staring in wonder at the enormous Misty Mountains looming in the distance.

"It's beautiful, isn't it?"

Ken's mind snapped back to reality. He was back on the city's main thoroughfare, modern glass-and-steel buildings flanked by homey old storefronts, tourists swarming everywhere. One of the three huge cruise ships in the harbor behind him sounded its enormous, bellowing horn; he felt his whole body vibrate. Suzanne had an arm slung over his shoulder and was playing idly with his short black ponytail.

"Uh... yeah. Yeah, it is. I just never saw anything so..."

"Big?" she interrupted with a chuckle. "Yeah, you Easterners and your little molehills. And it's 'I've never seen,' by the way." She playfully punched his shoulder.

"Shut up," he said with a grin. He looked back up at the peak towering high over town. "I expected more snow."

Suzanne rolled her eyes. "This is Juneau, not Nome. And July, by the way."

"So no polar bears?"

"No polar bears."

He shrugged, and laughed. Suddenly Suzanne grabbed his arm and tugged him toward the street. "Look, there's my brother's car. David!"

Getting Fed Up with Scans Daily

Christ, these people just live to bitch.

"Oh boo hoo! Plastic Man's in a story with drama! Dan Didio wants to rape my childhood!"

And they still won't shut up about fucking Blue Beetle getting killed two and a half fucking years ago. ARGH!!!

Seriously. Pisses me the hell off.

EDIT, 12/08/07: For those of you coming here from Google (I don't know how I got to be on the first page of results for "scans daily"), let it be known that this was written in a fit of pique during a bout of depression. I'm over it. Please don't take it all serious-like.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I'm in Love with Kyle Rayner

I am. I really, really am. I'm allowed to be, now that it's the '90s the '00s. And I'm from Massachusetts. Choke on that, Westboro Baptist Church!

*ahem* Seriously, I picked up Tales of the Sinestro Corps: Parallax today, and Green Lantern Kyle Rayner is now totally my hetero mancrush. One-shot crossover tie-ins usually don't turn out terribly well in my estimation, but this one completely changed my perception of the character. I knew he was one of those sensitive art school types, but I never really got a look inside his psyche until now.

And that's what this whole issue is: A look at what's going on inside Kyle's mind while he's trapped inside Parallax, with Parallax taunting him with the horrible deeds he's forcing Kyle to commit. The whole "I can never get close to any women because they'll die" thing was trotted out like usual, but for once Kyle's showing some signs of moving past that.

Also, Kyllax is hot. Like, really smoking hot. I swear when Parallax showed up in Kyle's duds I almost fainted right there on the bus.

And Kyle watches Patlabor. That's like totally my favorite anime!!! OMGWTFBBQYAYSQUEE!!!

So yeah. There ya go. I am in love with Kyle Rayner.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Meme Time

Was tagged by Ami, so here's a "Fictional Characters Meme."

I've actually done something like this before, only with RPG characters I've played. That was a little easier, though, since most of them were from the same genre (fantasy). These are all over the place, making it a mite tougher.

First, select your ten fictional characters (from any medium) by whichever method you like best. Then answer the questions below.

1. Mister Terrific, Michael Holt (JSA)
2. Green Lantern, Alan Scott (JSA)
3. Power Girl, Karen Starr/Kara Zor-L (JSA)
4. Sir Parn (Record of Lodoss War)
5. Ferris Bueller (Ferris Bueller's Day Off)
6. Harunobu Madarame (Genshiken)
7. "Kyon" (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya)
8. Bilbo Baggins (The Hobbit)
9. Professor James Moriarty (Sherlock Holmes)
10. Filby Pott (me! yes, I'm vain!)

1. Divide the list up by even and odd. Which group of five would make a better Five Man Band (like a Power Rangers team)? Who would you slot in each position: Leader, Lancer (second-in-command), Big Guy, Smart Guy, The Chick? If you think the team would be improved by swapping one character between the even and odd groups, which ones would you switch?

Evens: Alan, Parn, Madarame, Bilbo, Filby

Odds: Mr. Terrific, Power Girl, Ferris, Kyon, Moriarty

Odd wins out. Leader: Terrific. Lancer: Ferris. Big Guy: Power Girl. Smart Guy (and evil mole!): Moriarty. The Chick (not female, but still Daphne-esque useless): Kyon.

2. Gender-swap 2, 8 & 10. Which character would have the most change in their story arc? Which the least? Would any of these characters have to have a complete personality change to be believable as the opposite sex?

Ellen Scott, Bilba Baggins, and... Filbie Pott?

"Ellen" would have the biggest change in her backstory. Her personality and heroic identity wouldn't have to change much, but since women couldn't be engineers in the early '40s (not until Rosie the Riveter, anyway) or work their way up to business moguls, her civilian life would be considerably different. She'd also probably get stuck as the JSA's secretary instead of one of its leaders, though. :P

"Bilba's" life wouldn't be much different. A burglar is a burglar regardless of sex, and I don't think Thorin & Co. would be any more or less receptive to her.

And "Filbie"... hah... I don't even want to go there.

3. Compare the matchups of 1 & 8 and 5 & 9. (Ignore canon sexual preferences for the moment.) Which couple would be more compatible? Which couple would be more plausible to people from either principal's home culture?

Mr. Terrific/Bilbo and Ferris/Moriarty.


Welllllll, I don't think Bilbo carrying on an affair with a man twice his size would be very... respectable (not that he ever cared that much what the neighbors thought). And also, as Ami says, Sasha would rip the poor hobbit to shreds. So I'll have to go with Ferris/Moriarty, if only because they're both the same species. Ferris is pretty charming, he could make it work. ;P

4. Your team is 3, 4 & 9. The mission consists of a social challenge, a mental challenge and a physical challenge. Which team member do you assign to each challenge?

Power Girl, Parn, and Moriarty.

That's not too hard. Power Girl, with her innate Kryptonian powers, gets the physical challenge done without a hitch. Moriarty, as the greatest criminal mind of all time, gets the mental challenge. As a knight, Parn hobnobs with nobility and is expected to possess a level of refinement, so he gets the social challenge.

Being an utter blackguard, of course, Moriarty would be likely to betray me, but since Karen has super-senses and greater-than-human intellect, I'd have her remotely keep an ear on the Professor to see if he gets out of line.

5. 7 becomes 1's boss for a week in some plausible fashion. How's their working relationship?

Kyon as Michael's boss? That's... highly improbable. In fact it's impossible, since one's the smartest man in the world and co-leader of the most advanced spy organization on Earth and the other's just a below-average fifteen-year-old high school student. Not that they'd have a bad relationship, since Michael's an incredibly giving and understanding guy and Kyon would doubtless appreciate having a companion who doesn't speak in riddles and enigmas for once.

6. 2 finds him/her/itself inserted into 6's continuity. As far as anyone other than 2 or 6 is concerned, they've always been there. What role would 2 be presumed to have had in 6's story, and could they fit in without going wonky?

That would be weird. Madarame and his buds live completely mundane lives in a reasonable facsimile of the real world, and Alan would stick out like a sore thumb. Likewise, as a big-time American super-hero, he'd have no business hanging around a Japanese community college. I don't see Alan becoming a part of the Genshiken's story, but if he were operating openly the guys in the club might spend an issue/episode talking about how cool he is, before getting distracted by some new video game...

7. 3 and 5 get three wishes. The catch is that they have to agree on all three wishes before they get the benefits of any of them. What three wishes would they make?

Power Girl and Ferris? That's a toughie. Well, first I'll say that Karen wishes for Earth-Two to come back into existence along with her dead parent-figures Lois and Clark, which benefits Ferris because then he'll have a twenty-years-older doppelganger of himself to bestow wisdom upon him or something. Then the Ferrises Two would sweet-talk Peej into relinquishing her two remaining wishes so they could wish for unlimited days off and a totally sweet vintage automobile.

8. 1 and 2 are brainwashed by a one-time artifact that works even on people immune to mind control to attack and kill 4. They keep their normal personality, skills and competence level, except any Code vs. Killing has been turned off. Can 4 survive? How?

Power Girl and Green Lantern versus Parn? Geez. If he's on his own, he's dead, magic sword or no. That said, as the leader of a band of intrepid adventurers, it's only fair that Parn gets to fight alongside his friends. Since he's close friends with three powerful spellcasters, that would help him survive P. G.'s onslaught, since Kryptonians are vulnerable to magic. It would be a tougher fight against Alan, but Deedlit could summon elementals to keep him busy while Parn takes him out with a well-placed tree-branch, since his ring can't affect wooden objects. Power Girl would only be slowed down, though, since Slayn wouldn't unleash his full magical arsenal against her knowing she was mind controlled. So I think Parn could potentially win, but Karen would just as likely overwhelm the whole bunch of them.

9. 6, 7, 9 & 10 must help an orphanage full of small and depressed children have a merry Christmas. Who does what, knowing that at the very least the kids will be expecting a visit from Santa?

Oh geez, the two most useless plus the two most evil. This is further complicated by the fact that Kyon and Madarame don't speak English, Moriarty probably doesn't speak Japanese, and Filby doesn't speak either language. Well, being from a comedy series, Madarame has the greatest likelihood of getting stuck in an embarrassing costume, so he'd be Santa. Filby, of course, would be the elf, much to his chagrin. The good Professor would swindle the whole lot of them and leave the orphans out in the cold, leaving Madarame and Filby as the unwitting patsies. Kyon just stands to the side and snarks.

10. 3 and 8 are challenged to circumnavigate the Earth in eighty days or less, using only forms of transportation invented before 1900. Can they do it, or will they be fatally distracted by sidequests or their own personality conflicts?

Bilbo and Power Girl? Since Karen can fly around the world in, like, five minutes or whatever, yeah, totally. But assuming she agrees not to use flight or super-speed? Still possible. They're both pretty easygoing, so they'd get along just fine. Karen's pretty focused, which would help temper Bilbo's wanderlust. Plus Karen has all her other powers and Bilbo the Ring to help get them out of scrapes. So yeah, it's totally possible.

I tag... um, Adam and Ami have both already done it (Ami twice), and I don't wanna make them have to do it again. Tom Foss comments occasionally and Ragnell is probably at least tangentially aware of my blog if I've been linked by WFA, so I guess they can consider themselves tagged if they read this.

I am Iron Man!!!

Iron Man Trailer

There haven't been many great super-hero movies lately, not since Batman Begins in my opinion. I dunno if Iron Man will lift the genre out of its doldrums... but it sure looks cool. I kinda like Iron Man (even if he's an insufferable dick), and the filmmakers seem to have a solid grasp on the character. I've also always been a fan of his character design/costume, and it really stands out in that regard.

I'm glad they've also ditched his origin in Vietnam with the whole outdated Cold War-era "scary Asian people"/Yellow Peril angle. I've heard that the Mandarin will be an off-stage presence, like Sauron in The Lord of the Rings, and just the fact that he's involved at all makes me roll my eyes, but... I'll wait and see.

And hey! Sam L. Jackson's in it! How can that go wrong? *pretends not to remember XXX*

Monday, September 10, 2007

Thoughts on Rachel Ray; or, RAAAAAAAAAAGE!!!!





Saturday, September 08, 2007

Farewell to a Friend

I got the last issue of Dragon Magazine yesterday.

This is the end of an era.

I realize now why it's been canceled. In the lead-up to the (brazenly money-grubbing) debut of D&D's 4th edition, Wizards of the Coast has been pulling back its licensed properties: Dragon and Dungeon from Paizo Publishing, the Ravenloft setting from White Wolf, and I hear even the Dragonlance series is being cut. Wizards apparently wants all their eggs in one basket. It probably didn't help that Dragon's game material was consistently better presented and thought-out than Wizards's own, which for the last year or two had mainly been one or two new races or classes in between two hundred pages of filler; the student had truly exceeded the master.

It was a great issue, too. A beautiful painted cover by the talented Larry Elmore. An extra-long editorial bidding farewell to the readers followed by an extra-long letters page with messages from bereaved fans. We got a top 20 list of the vilest villains, from Lord Soth and Artemis Entreri to Demogorgon and the Dread God Tharizdun, all the way up to Lolth, Tiamat, and Count Strahd Von Zarovich. The secrets of Iggwilv's Demonomicon were laid bare. Lots of loose ends were wrapped up. Elminster Aumar, Lord Mordenkainen, and Dalamar the Dark had one last meeting in Ed Greenwood's drawing room. Greenwood let us know that Old El would reduce Raistlin Majere to a smoking pair of boots, while Margaret Weis made it clear that Raistlin would blast Elminster out of the Forgotten Realms and clear into Greyhawk. The Monster Hunters' Society met one last time to discuss the ecology of the legendary Tarrasque.

Finally, the comics. "Nodwick," "Dork Tower," and "The Order of the Stick" each give the magazine a touching send-off in their own unique ways, though it's tempered by the knowledge that all three strips will live on in webcomic form. I turn the last page, expecting just some random ad, but lo and behold...

Oh My God it's Phil and Dixie.

Two years after it'd been discontinued, they actually brought back Phil Foglio's "What's New? with Phil and Dixie!" for one last hurrah. I'm on the verge of tears now, I'm so happy. "Hasta la vista, amigos! Today we're talking about endings!" And with that, Phil and Dixie, and Dragon itself, ride symbolically off into the sunset.

And with that, I think my involvement in Dungeons & Dragons ends here.

I only played once, in 7th grade, before the DM decided someone cooler than me should take my place. The closest I came after that were two internet campaigns that were aborted before I got to roll a single digital die. Yet the worlds of D&D have loomed large in my imagination for years now, offering a welcome haven from the dreary toil of everyday life.

I don't like what I've heard of 4th Edition. From a rules standpoint a lot of their decisions seem like downright insipid throwbacks to 2nd Edition rules, but ultimately I'm just the cranky, crusty sort who doesn't acclimate well to change of any kind. Oh, if someone invites me to join in a 3rd Edition game I won't turn them down, and I'll still happily continue contributing to the online D&D communities of which I'm a part. But from now on, what Wizards of the Coast does with their properties is no concern of mine. D&D is over for me.

I say again: It is the end of an era.

And even if it's only been as a passive observer, I'm proud to have been a part of it.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Back to School

Well, it's back to college after three months. I was so anxious I literally didn't sleep a wink last night... just lay there for nine hours waiting for my brain to shut off. Ugh.

Anyway, I got straight "A"s last semester and I'm not too worried about my performance; it's just this sudden shift in my habits to which I'm having trouble acclimating. Not that I was a post-a-day wonder to begin with, but it's possible my updates will become a bit more sporadic for a while.


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Power Girl is Purdy

Ain't she, tho'?

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My appreciation for Darwyn Cooke just keeps growing by leaps and bounds.

I've been brainstorming a post about Peej for maybe a week now, actually, but what with school starting in less than a week I haven't found the energy to just sit down and write it. Consider this a prelude, I suppose.

If. I write it. Which I'm not sure I will 'cause I'm a lazy bastich.

But hey? Pretty picture, yah? Could've sworn her eyes were blue like her cousin Kal-L, tho'.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

52 Pickup

I'm pretty interested in the current direction DC is taking.

I mean, I pretty much concur with the prevailing opinion that Countdown is a subpar product. I only bought the first issue before deciding to bail out, but I've been flipping through it at the store and reading the occasional pages at Scans Daily, and I haven't been impressed with anything I've seen so far. The Multiverse aspect does interest me, however -- alternate universe stories are easily my favorite element of super-hero stories -- and I'm pretty stoked for some of the upcoming Countdown spinoffs.

The Search for Ray Palmer is the big one. A travelogue of the new Multiverse? I am so there. I don't have any real attachment to Donna Troy, Kyle Rayner, or Jason Todd, but the prospect of exploring the realms of possibility is too much for me to resist.

Arena, though, looks like kind of a let-down in the making. The fact that Didio openly compares it to fanfiction does not help. The fact that it's by the author of half that excreble World War III mess helps even less. Unlike World War III, though, I won't have to buy them all at once, so I'll have the option of checking out the first issue and seeing if it's worth my time and money.

I'm also looking forward to most if not all of the 52 spin-offs, as 52 now ranks among my favorite comic book titles of all time. I've already gotten Booster Gold #1 and that was a ride and a half. The Crime Bible, starring Renee "The Question" Montoya, is being penned by Greg Rucka himself, so I've high hopes for that one as well. Black Adam: The Dark Age #1 has passed me by, but I may consider checking it out this Wednesday if it's still in stock to see if I want to stick with it. I'm on the fence about Infinity, Inc., The Four Horsemen, and Countdown to Adventure, but my curiosity will probably get the better of me, especially on the last one.

I'm just wondering when we'll get a miniseries following the spectral hijinks of Ralph 'n' Sue: The Dead Dibny Detectives...

And then... Final Crisis. By Grant Morrison. I liked Identity Crisis, loved Infinite Crisis... I'm having a hard time seeing how this can go wrong.

Anyway, anything else you all are looking forward to? Please share!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Well this is pretty interesting.

"Plainswalkers, huh? Well I guess Graceful Antelope was kinda cool, but a Great Wall can stop 'em in their tracks..."

Urza, Plainswalker
Casting Cost: W
Legendary Creature -- Human Townsfolk
Plainswalk (this creature cannot be blocked if defending player controls a Plains).
"No relation to the other Urza, honest."

Seems that for the first time since the game's inception in 1993, they're adding a new card type to Magic:The Gathering -- planeswalkers. This fascinates me; up until this point, the premise of the game was that planeswalkers, near-omnipotent wizards with the power to move between worlds and summon creatures with a thought, were represented by the players, never any cards. This represents a huge change to game play; I can't wait to find out more.

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Information I have gleaned:
  • Apparently, rather than the usual summoned creatures you play with in MTG, planeswalkers represent allies or subordinates you call call upon.
  • Your opponents' creatures can attack a planeswalker you have in play, and creatures attacking your planeswalker can be blocked by your creatures.
  • For each point of combat damage dealt to a planeswalker, it loses one loyalty -- presumably the "5" in the corner. I have no idea yet how the loyalty score goes up and down aside from damage, or how the other numbers ("+1", "-2", "-8") are used or activated. If I had to guess, I'd say that you can only use one ability each turn, and when used it increases or decreases the loyalty score by the noted amount; when the loyalty score is at 0, the planeswalker leaves play?

All in all, I'm pretty excited about this new turn of events and hope I can get my hands on a planeswalker card of my own. :)

I think it's kinda corny that her name is an anagram for "villainess," though.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Possessions Meme

Ganked from a friend on LiveJournal. I'm brainstorming an actual post, of which I've had too few of late, but in the meanwhile...

1. What is the silliest thing you own?
Between all my ridiculous nerdy pursuits, I'd be hard-pressed to name anything in my possession that isn't silly. Maybe some of the broken Jurassic Park action figures I owned as a kid that are still gathering dust in the corner of my bedroom take the cake.

2. What is the most important thing you own?
My clothes? My bed? If we're talking sentimental value, I'd say my sketchbooks.

3. What is the one thing you'd like to possess if money were no object?
Bag End -- Bilbo Baggins's home from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings -- built to my scale. With modern wiring/heating/ventilation/plumbing/flat-screen TV.

4. What is the one thing in your possession that you want to get rid of?
The rotten old busted computer that's been sitting on my desk for a year or more.

5. What item do you have the most of in your possession?
Either paperback novels, comic books, or trading cards. I haven't counted lately.

I tag anyone reading this.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Oh, hey.

When Fangirls Attack linked to me again. Twice!

That's pretty neat.


Also: Blogger has flagged Pott Manor as a possible spam blog and now I have to type in a word verification just to post on my own journal. Thanks a lot, tech support. I AM NOT A SPAMBOT!!! Now if you'll just listen to this great offer for generic Viagra I have for you...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

"When everyone is super, no one will be."

I've just read a convincing argument that The Incredibles is conservative claptrap.

I mean... I love the movie, it was funny, it had great characters, great action, but the basic message here is that some people are just born better and that anyone else trying to be as good as them is wrong; and that in trying to level the playing field and give everyone a sporting chance (affirmative action, feminism, prepackaged super-powers), we're preventing special people from living up to their potential and enforcing mediocrity on everyone. "They keep on finding new ways to celebrate mediocrity." "When everyone is super, no one will be."

Now, the film was set in the early 1960s, when people were deathly afraid of communism turning everyone into identical drones and that the liberals were in cahoots. And of course the creators of the film have every right to express their beliefs however they see fit. But it's just... jarring to come to that realization.