A Terrifying Panoply of Human Events

charlotteofoz:

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I choose to believe that Superman swoops down and gives his point of view any time someone mentions his name in an argument.

Superman isn’t standing for anyone using his name for their own ends.

"Superman wouldn’t stand for all these immigrants flooding into our-"

*CRASH*

"JESUS CHRIST!"

"Say what I wouldn’t do again, Senator. While I’m here. Go ahead."

anthemisegan:

God fucking damn it, I just heard a Gamestop employee saying they wanted to see this in Hyrule Warriors.

FEAR THE FAIRY COCKROACH.

anthemisegan:

God fucking damn it, I just heard a Gamestop employee saying they wanted to see this in Hyrule Warriors.

FEAR THE FAIRY COCKROACH.

thedrunkenminstrel:

This is how I feel though I am also happy that it’s majorly pissing off fans of the first anime who never read the manga. But then I remember that I think the manga was boring shit and get sad…

Eh, as…

The real question I have so far isn’t how the first episode goes, but the 2nd and 3rd. We only have one data point at the moment.

thedrunkenminstrel:

So the controversy behind Rick Remender is about Jet Black supposedly being underage right?
When has 23 been underage?
If there’s another reason please explain it to me, because I am genuinely confused as to what this is about.


Pretty much all about a Tumblr user who already hates Rick Remender making shit up to try and get more support for their opinion.

thedrunkenminstrel:

So the controversy behind Rick Remender is about Jet Black supposedly being underage right?

When has 23 been underage?

If there’s another reason please explain it to me, because I am genuinely confused as to what this is about.

Pretty much all about a Tumblr user who already hates Rick Remender making shit up to try and get more support for their opinion.

No, I would not call the clan the Wu-Tang.

The other day I talked about how a dream movie of mine would be a Japanese period drama, but with a cast where everyone was of African descent. Since no one asked me to, I wanted to elaborate on that.

The thing is, this is a dream project in both the “I would love to see this” and “there is no way it would be made.” How many Japanese period dramas have we seen coming out of Hollywood? 1, starring a white guy (I’ll give them credit for saying he’s half Japanese and the son of a foreign trader, at least) and with overt supernatural elements. And it flopped. So, probably not going to see another one for some time. I’m sure there are some being made in Japan, but probably not a huge amount, and good luck telling them “Hey, you know that big medieval picture you’re doing? Yeah, don’t cast any of the thousands of actors you have in your own country and put a whole bunch of foreigners in it instead!” Leaving aside the often ignored xenophobia and racism that can rear its ugly head in Japanese culture, that doesn’t seem like the best argument.

So why would I want to see a movie like this?

Because it hasn’t been done before, and it would be completely atypical.

All the arguments against it that will obviously keep it from happening make me want to see it happen. I want to see a movie so weird, so obviously idiosyncratic, pop up and leave audiences wondering what they want to see. And I want to see so many actors of African descent in completely nontraditional roles, with a completely nontraditional story, because it would both be a gigantic challenge to the regular Hollywood “black” movie, and mean scouring the country (hell, possibly MULTIPLE countries) for enough actors and actresses to fill all the roles. And you know there are enough talented actors and actresses to do the roles justice, they just don’t get the chance to play them very often.

Like the many SNK games I’ve brainstormed that will never be, it’s just a dream. But it’s a nice one, at least to me.

StrexCorp issues.

I know we’re still in the middle of a two parter for Night Vale (for the vast majority of listeners who couldn’t attend the live show), but at this point my issues with the show are no longer about how the StrexCorp plot might conclude, and with the fact that it’s been the main plot at all.

In a show where every conspiracy is true at once, of course the evil corporation was going to show up at some point. But I was uneasy with their more dedicated introduction, where they became owners in the Night Vale radio station. It immediately defanged the original station owners, and meant this would probably come up again as a direct plot, rather than a passing reference or vignette. And every time they’ve shown up since, it’s involved taking over more of the town, enforcing a corporate hegemony. And to an extent you could argue this is the point-driving out the strangeness and menace of Night Vale with boring, bureaucratic bullshit can be a potent narrative.

Instead they tried to make StrexCorp themselves menacing and strange, and it falls flat for me. In effect, it makes the town of Night Vale less interesting not by draining the weirdness out of the town within the plot, but making them less exceptional, because there’s something similar out there to buy them up. Combined with how long it’s been strung out, it has made the show itself less interesting.

Was this just a pothole that the show got stuck in and is now getting out of? Or is it a sign of a more lasting decline? I’m hoping it’s the former, especially since Night Vale seems like a concept with a lot of potential mileage. Besides, I’d much rather see it continue as a show I enjoy, since even in the middle of StrexCorp heavy episodes, there have been good things; The ‘adorable’ visitor that attacked Cecil, Lauren not-so-subtly threatening Cecil’s extended family, and Kevin all around. And to be fair, I can’t argue every episode beforehand was unalloyed gold; there was definitely a formula that was getting stale. Still, the sooner StrexCorp is done and dusted in Night Vale, the more I’ll look forward to new episodes rather than being ambivalent.

Since I was asking Jerry, I'll ask you also. What is the worst JRPG villain? Either a particular example or just an archetype you hate?

I’m going with the archetype here (and I am so sorry it took me this long to find an answer for this), and that’s God. I hate it.

I’m not a religious person, so I’m not offended due to religious regions about having to fight God in a JRPG. And there have been some great ones where that ends up being the final enemy. But the problem is that to me, a “god” is not just a really tough fight. It implies a being with the power to do things like remake or disintegrate matter, almost limitless energy (even if it’s within specific domains), and the like. Obviously that depends to some extent on how you conceive of a diety and what limits they have, but the God archetype I’m talking about is when your party fights either the supreme leader of the gods, or a monotheistic one, and it just breaks down. It’s an attempt to go for maximum dramatic tension, and instead I see it as a cheap ploy most of the time.

Again, there have been some great JRPGs with this theme. I loved Grandia II, for example, and I think FF6 comes pretty close to it with Kefka’s final set of abilities; Tales of Symphonia and Xenoblade have you taking on “angels” and “gods,” even though they’re not quite what they seem. But each of those games managed to personify the diety in question, and make it clear that the problem stems not from God the Father being A Divine Jerk, but from a person being arrogant enough to decide they should be God, and seeking to impose that on everyone else. In that sense, you’re fighting the same kind of battle you would be if someone was trying to be the king or emperor of the world, just on a bigger scale, and thus it doesn’t bother me as much as “You’re fighting Yahweh!” does. Or to put it another way, punching Kefka in the face is a lot more satisfying because he’s been around for almost the entire game, and he’s taken actions outside of “ascension to godhood” that seal the deal on him being an evil fucking bastard. Not every villain should be like Kefka-in fact, I’d go so far as to say most should not be evil just because they’re crazy. But the point is that he could be trying to achieve entirely earthly power instead of godhood, and I’d still want to stop him because of his personality and behavior.

If, on the other hand, you go “God is going to kill everyone because he thinks they’re too sinful” and spring this as a last minute reveal of your true foe, I’m going to go “Really? This is what we’re doing now?” Persona 4 is a perfect example of this. The true ending isn’t bad, mind you, and the fact that it’s optional means I don’t think it detracts from the overall story. But after finding out the true murderer and stopping them (being vague because even though the game is years old at this point, it’s STILL a great character piece I don’t want to spoil), following up with a reveal that it’s a deity that was behind it and that you must now stop doesn’t add anything. It doesn’t detract in this case, but if it hadn’t been optional, it certainly would have.

So yeah: Fighting God is my least favorite archetype for a JRPG villain. It can be done well, but usually not for the reasons they want to do it.

Mace to the Ghost Face!

So I’ve mentioned that the latest Here’s The Thing made me want to do a fresh Hawkman pitch, which is partly “Oh, I like this idea,” and partly me just being a contrarian. Which, to be honest, is where my last Hawkman pitch came from. But here goes.

Carter Hall is a fairly young archeologist with a reputation for…odd theories about the past. He denies going so far as an Ancient Astronauts believer, but he does think there is a reflexive dismissal of unusual theories about the Earth’s past, when they should be at least considered seriously. So when a source alerts him to a truly staggering find in Egypt, he’s the first to organize an expedition, even if it’s only by the skin of his teeth (funding is hard to come by when you’re working to avoid being the laughingstock of the profession).

When he arrives, it’s obvious that something truly unearthly has been found and is being excavated, but many people assume the alien ship is a hoax of some kind, even as its size and construction argue against it. Once it’s mostly unearthed, Carter discovers the entry way, and-what’s more astonishing-it still has enough power to open on its own. As everyone else hangs back, astonished and scared, Carter (charitably described as determined, uncharitably as really fucking stubborn) goes inside and discovers hundreds of Thanagarian skeletons, still wearing their uniforms and weaponry, and a record of their ship’s logs…which he can’t read, of course. At least, not until he picks up a mace that had been laying across the keyboard of the console.

Carter is suddenly flooded with memories from the ship’s captain, an unquiet spirit who has been trapped underground for millenia, trying to complete his last mission of establishing a presence in Earth space, specifically to fight against the supernatural forms that even then, the Thanagarians could tell were focusing on this particular planet. But a mutiny among the crew threw them off course, and even as the captain was fighting the ringleader, his former command officer, the ship crashed and killed the entire crew. Now Carter can read the Thanagarian script, understand the technology, even know much about the Thanagarian homeworld. It leaves him reeling, almost unconscious, as the captain’s spirit grips him and commands him to take up the charge to protect the Earth (and by extension, all of space) from the encroaching threat of otherworldly creatures and threats from beyond the veil.

When Carter finally recovers enough to be aware of himself again, he is almost a whole new person, ready to fight against the darkness…and he’ll have to start by surviving the Thanagarian skeletons that are now starting to move, and arming themselves to kill the living interloper.

Casting Hawkman as a man who fights the supernatural might not be the most novel niche for him, but I think it would sidestep some of the problems of his convoluted continuity by merging some elements at the beginning, discarding others, and leaving a few elements fallow at first, but allowing them to come back if it seems appropriate. It also introduces the idea of a Hawkman who has to struggle with what he does in specific situations. The Thanagarian ideal would be to banish all supernatural things and rely purely on physical skill, might, and technology, but Hawkman himself isn’t as dogmatic; despite the new voice in his skull, he can recognize that Captain Marvel is (in theory) a force for good, not evil. But it also means that any time he encounters a person who uses magic (for example, John Constantine), he’s going to almost always take a dim view of it.

It also means that you can give his solo book an entirely different focus from his presence on a team. On his own, he could focus on doing things like finding an ancient crypt, and then wading into it mace first to beat back the dark spirits and ancient rituals of blood that saturate the area. Or help someone who is convinced there’s something strange about how their spouse went missing, but no one believes them. Even when he’s not fighting against magic, he’s trying to learn more about Thanagar, fulfilling the still existing drive to learn more about how aliens (and now magic, he knows) affected human history.

Meanwhile, on a team book he can be a burgeoning expert on the supernatural who disdains speaking in riddles or using magic himself, outside of any necessary protective symbols for those who don’t have the Nth metal tools he does. And maybe speak with some authority about an alien race that isn’t inherently hostile to humanity, but also doesn’t really give a damn about its well being compared to their own mission. But he’s also happy to hit a target upside the head with his mace, even if it’s a perfectly non-magical robot; that practical side of Thanagarian tech means they didn’t make things that only work against magic, after all.

Finally, ditch the conservative political side of Hawkman that’s been shoe-horned in, and make him a cynic with a grim sense of humor. In that sense he’s getting uncomfortably close to behaving like Batman, but when you have an alien ghost in your head constantly reminding you that he would really like you to fight off other spirits, it’d be hard to be happy-go-lucky.

I’ve been enjoying Tales of Xillia so far, and a large chunk of that is the fact that I’ve made everyone in the party wear aviators for 90% of the game. But I really want them to stop talking about the main villain as this admirable, honorable person.

I’ll grant them that he has his reasons for what he intends to do, and is not randomly cruel to others. But he’s still planning to kill half a world’s worth of people because it’s the quicker, easier path, and even this late in the game, the protagonists seem to be opposing him simply because they’re obligated to.

thedrunkenminstrel:

The Mighty Thor #326, art and story by Walt Simonson.

He stood alone at Gjallerbru… and that answer is enough.

Even sans context, this is an amazing scene.