Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Moral Outcry and a Short History Lesson

A tip-o'-the-hat to Thom Wade.

This is pretty damn creepy.

You know why you see this garbage in manga? It's because Japan's post-war constitution, which was drafted by the occupying American forces, was poorly worded in that it prohibited the depiction of pubic hair in any publication -- but said nothing about underage children. It wasn't long before some jackasses realized they could get around the anti-porn laws by depicting prepubescent girls. By the time the laws were revised, it was too late: Lolicon had entered the public consciousness and had staying power in self-published underground comics, which makes up the bulk of manga sales among otaku.

So there you go: Lolicon is Douglas MacArthur's fault.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Brief Thought on Pulp Fantasy

I enjoy reading fantasy novels based on licensed properties. Dungeons & Dragons, Forgotten Realms, Magic: The Gathering, etc., etc. Yeah, I know, they're basically officially-sanctioned fanfiction written by novices trying way too hard to be J. R. R. Tolkien, and the characterizations swing wildly depending on who's writing, but I still get a kick out of exploring the little details behind my favorite games. (There's also the fun of knowing that, hey, I could do this!). But there's one thing I can't stand.

SO MANY SPELLING ERRORS. If TSR/Wizards of the Coast rakes in millions a year from their games, then why the hell can't they hire a decent editor?!?!?

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Pirates of the Carribean at World's End

Disjointed thoughts on the pirate movie. I went to see th' film wit' me sisters and one o' their boyfriends (a scurvy lout if e'er there be one), and below be me impressions. Read on, if ye be pirate enough!

I thought it was pretty good. The big naval battle was amazing (tho' lacking in logic -- where does the Black Pearl's crew keep coming from when they're getting killed by the scores, and where was the rest of the pirate fleet?), the cinematography blew my mind, and at no point did the special effects look "fake" and take me out of the movie. Elizabeth's speech was AMAZING. I got all misty.

I really didn't like Sao Feng... he was just this side of Fu Manchu on the "stereotypically scary Asian guy" scale, the scene where he tried to force himself on Elizabeth was pointless, and he was in the movie for no reason other than to make Elizabeth captain upon his passing. He did come off as a human being, tho', which is more than I can say for Manchu. The character wasn't as overtly racist as the Caribs in the last movie. And the rest of the Asian pirates, including Mistress Ching, didn't come off as any different from the rest of the pirates. All in all, tho', a waste of a good actor.

I've heard some people complain about all the people switching sides all the time. All the betrayals didn't bother me. Just about everyone was one degree of Chaotic Neutral or another, so it's to be expected. The only problem was in remembering who was betraying who at any given time.

Norrington's subplot could have used a bit more... more. That would have made the movie all the longer, tho', and with my knee bent uncomfortably to fit in the annoyingly narrow aisles and a large cup of Dr. Pepper in me bladder, I don't think I could have taken it.

I was pleased with the Davy Jones/Calypso subplot. Jones remained appropriately badass throughout the film.

Barbossa was nerfed, tho'.

I was happy with how things turned out with Elizabeth, Will, and Jack. The lovers' ending was suitably sweet and sad for me, and it's good to know Cap'n Jack's still out there chasing his dreams.

The final scene was kinda flat, tho', especially after the rip-roarin' cliffhanger (I jumped outta me sofa when Barbossa reappeared, I tells ye) at the end of the last.

Flawed to be sure, but the Pirates trilogy is now firmly ensconced in my list of favorite fantasy films. All in all, not a waste of six bucks.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Rehabilitating Vibe

A brief thought vis a vis (I love using gratuitous French, it's so pretendous) the Multiverse...

Somewhere out there, on some alternate Earth or another, Vibe may still be alive.

And cool.




It's a good thing I'm already sitting down 'cause I think I broke my brain.


Seriously, I think it would be cool to see Paco Ramone back among the living. What if El Vibe-man's encounter with Doctor Ivo's killer robots hadn't done him in? It could have given him a new perspective on life and motivated him to leave his gang-banging days behind him and move on out of the ghetto. And then become a social worker or something, to teach kids about the dangers of gangs and drugs and stuff. And maybe (GASP!) drop the inane Charo accent. But he'd still know how to breakdance like a demon, natch.

Vibe's costume would need a truckload of work. I say change it to a black turtleneck and slacks, retaining the red-and-yellow color scheme on his belt. He'd keep the funky shades, and maybe have a ponytail, just so we all know he's still hip.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Finals are over.


Monday, May 14, 2007

Seduction of the Innocent

I mentioned a while ago that, as part of a research project for school, I'd gotten my hands on Fredric R. Wertham's Seduction of the Innocent, the book that prompted the creation of the Comics Code Authority and contributed to the fall of the Golden Age. I haven't read the book from cover to cover, but what I did read of it has made me think quite a bit.

It may surprise some to learn that Wertham was a liberal, a progressive. He spoke at length in his book against racist portrayals of blacks and Asians in comics, and decried the overdeveloped physiques of comic book women as harmful to young girls' self-image. He was in the battle lines of the crusade against racial segregation in the 1950s. He truly cared about other people and wanted to make their lives better.

I feel for Wertham. He was doing what he thought was best. He really, truly, genuinely believed that reading comics made children turn delinquent and felt it vitally important to get that information out to parents -- even if he had to stretch the truth, make up connections, and employ sensationalism to do so.

Seduction of the Innocent is a terrible book with shoddy research and outrageous claims. The only reason it had any impact was because it came during the era of Joe McCarthy and his witch hunts, the single most paranoid and unenlightened point in American history, when people were so obsessed with "decency" that they'd stifle civil rights to ensure it. Yet its author, Doctor Wertham, had the best of intentions.

And you know what they say about good intentions.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

On the Multiverse

I really don't know why all the aging fanboys are bitching about the return of the DC Multiverse in 52 #52. The problem with the original multiverse was that A) there was no clear point at which Earth-2 history ended and Earth-1 history began, thus breeding confusion on which Superman or Batman was which, etc., and B) they needed to come up with a convoluted explanation for how any given JSA'er was teaming up with Captain Marvel or the Freedom Fighters or whatever.

While I can see B) being a problem sometime down the line (expect a Crisis in 40 years to explain why Black Lightning III and Grunge are partying with the Justice Organisation of Canada on Earth-33), A) is already taken care of. The DCU's timeline hasn't been altered whatsoever here, and despite the superficial similarities to pre-Crisis worlds, the new Earths are all completely new.

And besides, the concept of alternate universes is a staple of the super-hero genre, and for 21 years, DC has had no structure in place to support that. The Multiverse is a vital part of what makes DC DC.

Welcome home, indeed.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

52 #52

I was moved to tears.

This is the most satisfying damn comic I have read in ages.

I keep hearing people complaining about all the crossovers at DC Comics, how it's just one after the other with no real ending, just one segueing into the next.

Well, this is the end. This resolves three years' worth of DC crossovers. 52, Infinite Crisis, DC Countdown -- all the way back to Identity Crisis. There are still a few plot points that might be picked up later on down the road, but this story, this three-year narrative, is over.

The end.

It was worth it.