Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Ballad of Admiral Longinous Jonathan Silver


Two days ago, my brother began sending me a series of texts with his thoughts on various fast food seafood establishments. I still have no idea what prompted it. Either way, I just went with it to see where it would take me. Here’s how it went down…

DAVID: Fuck you if you don't like Long John Silver's. Talk shit about Captain D's all
you want. He was a drunken fool. Long John Silver knows what's up. He's the true
visionary.

ME: Long John Silver ain’t got no “captain” in front of his name is all I’m sayin'…

DAVID: That’s a weak dick argument. I can go buy a boat and start calling myself
captain in 30 minutes. Does that mean I know what I’m doing when it comes to
serving delicious seafood to people?


ME: You can buy a boat?

DAVID: I didn’t say it would be a nice boat.

ME: A canoe?

DAVID: Does an inflatable raft from Wal-Mart count?

3 hours later…

ME: You at work?

DAVID: Yeah. Dreaming about what the rules of my ship are gonna be.

ME: Any in particular?

DAVID: The first rule, and most important rule, is to always have fun.

ME: That’s a good rule. Write it down so you don’t forget it.

DAVID: The second rule… Don’t ever trust that son of a bitch Chris Brennaman. He
just wants to crush the dreams of the captain of the ship.

ME: Hmmm… I don’t know about that one. Maybe you should think about it a little
more.

DAVID: What about “Don’t trust that son of a bitch Chris Brennaman. He thinks
Captain D was a far superior naval officer that Admiral Longinous Jonathan Silver.”?

24 hours later the following unsolicited picture arrives on my phone…

DAVID: So apparently when you search for Google images of Admiral Longinous
Jonathan Silver, this is what comes back. While I’d trust him with a great sing along
about the sea, I’m not so sure I’d buy seafood from the guy.

The next picture immediately followed…



DAVID: This guy on the other hand… I’d buy from him any day. He looks like he’d
fight any man or beast to bring only the finest seafood to my table.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Living the Disneyland Dream


I found this film a few years ago while ratting around archive.org and have viewed multiple times since. And by film, I mean a family film shot in 1956 documenting a vacation to a then new Disneyland. It’s one of my favorite things to watch when I run out of Internet.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Fun With Lists!

I made the following my Facebook status yesterday:

"Contrary to popular belief, the list of comic-based movies I enjoyed is actually longer than the one of those I don't."

Maybe I was tired of being called a hater, maybe I was tired of being called a purist. Maybe I was just in the mood to declare my love hypothetical lists. Typed with no irony, I felt confident in the moment to make that exact assertion. But then?

Then I realized there was no actual list.

"Holy shit balls," I thought. "What if someone calls me on that? What if I have to make a list and it turns out I'm a liar? And if that happens, what will people do should they learn they can no longer trust my Facebook status updates?"

Thus it came to pass that in the spirit of being open and honest with the good people of Facebook, I carved out just under five minutes to make that list a reality. I made that list and what I found was nothing less than shocking.



I was shocked to learn just how fucking terrible I am at making basic columns. Seriously, those were my first two attempts. Whatever. Science is trial and error. At least that's what I told myself as I crumpled up the second miserably failed chart. Anyway, my third attempt at making The List would be where the magic would happen. My third attempt would not only be where I would (barely) succeed in drawing multiple columns, but where I would also succeed in telling the haters...


... TO EAT IT! HA! 

See that?! Boom! The list of comic movies I could think of in about five minutes is so totally longer than the one of comic movies I hated. It's even longer than the list of comic-based movies I'm almost completely indifferent to. Hell, it's so long, I needed a second page to continue onto! That's right. I'm absolutely not the hater you (or I) thought I was.

Hooray for lists.

Hooray for science.

Hooray for me.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Let's Talk About Man of Steel

If you haven’t seen Man of Steel, please do know there will be SPOILERS. Like,  a lot of SPOILERS. So if SPOILERS bug you, then you may want to stop reading two sentences ago.


Still with me? Good. Let’s do this thing…

Believe it or not, there are examples of Superman taking a life. It’s rare, but not entirely unheard of.


Alan Moore’s Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow, one of the all time great Superman stories, actually ends with Superman believing he has no choice but to take a life. During a time when Moore was setting the tone for all things grim and gritty, he actually makes a loving tribute to the wonder, grandeur and oddness that was the Silver Age adventures of Superman, all lovingly penciled by Curt Swan.

Anyway, the story ends with nigh omnipotent Mr. Mxyzptlk revealing himself to be a violent force for evil who intends to wreak irreparable havoc on the world. Thus, in an extremely rare moment of desperation, Superman kills Mxyzptlk. In one of the greatest, most well-regarded Superman stories ever published, winds up a murderer in order to save the world.

It was this story that was on my mind as Superman kill General Zod in Man of Steel and a feeling of rage rushed over me.

“Shit, Superman has killed in the comics,” I thought as I watched Superman snap General Zod’s neck in Man of Steel. “Why the hell is this murder bothering me so badly?” That’s what I thought. What I said in the packed theater was “OH WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS?”

I was actually conflicted and confused. Then it hit me why I was so offended by what I’d seen. Superman’s murder of Zod was not only not earned, but there was no regret. At least, no Superman level regret.

See, in Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow, Superman faces a no win situation similar to the one in Man of Steel. Mr. Mxyzptlk is more powerful than Superman in every sense of the word, and Superman only has brief seconds to act. This is where the experiences differ. Once Superman kills Mxyzptlk, he is immediately overcome with guilt, remorse and regret. So much in fact that Superman steps into a chamber with Gold Kryptonite which permanently removes his powers. Yes. So filled with sorrow at his failure, Superman decides he’s no longer worthy of his position and name.

In Man of Steel, there’s no regret. Sure, he cries for about thirty seconds onto Lois Lane, but the very next scene he’s talking and cracking jokes with the military. He’s just committed murder, something that should shake this iconic character to his core, but he seems to get over it fairly quickly.

Now combine that lack of regret with the annihilation of both Metropolis and Smallville. Those climactic battles were hard to watch. They looked pretty and they were beautifully choreographed, but as I watched them I kept wondering when Superman was going to try to take the fight away from populated areas. Why? Because that’s what Superman would do.

He’s all about making sure no one gets hurt. So every time he sent a Kryptonian careening through a skyscraper, or punching one into a gas truck, I cringed. Massive amounts of people were dying and Superman was part of the problem. Thousands upon thousands of people die because Superman never, not once, has the foresight to draw his adversaries away from populated areas. In fact, his ultimate victory happens in the ashes of thousands of dead men, women and children, all of whom he never tried to actually save because he was too busy punching things.

And that’s where Man of Steel fails.

The promise of Superman is a simple one. Superman will save us. And if he can’t or isn’t able to, it won’t be because he didn’t try or didn’t think to. It will be because he exhausted every possible (and impossible) means he could. This is why the fight at the end of the movie made me sad, and why the murder of Zod didn’t sit right with me.

I keep seeing the counter argument to people like me not enjoying Man of Steel as breaking down into roughly two arguments. 1) This Superman takes place in the real world, and 2) This Superman is relevant to our times.

1)  This Superman takes place in the real world -No. This movie does not take place in the real world. In the real world, men can’t fly, they can’t shoot lasers from their eyes, and if aliens are out there, they probably don’t look and act EXACTLY like us.

2) This Superman is relevant to our times- If this is what it takes t make Superman relevant, if what we saw in Man of Steel is a reflection of our world today, then that’s more upsetting than anything else perceived wrong about a movie. We’ve decided that we don’t want hope and wonder, but rather ever darkening shades of gray and a hero who, in the end, is only concerned with us in word only. 

That makes me sad.

Superman deserves better. We deserve better.

As to the movie itself…

Before the movie fell apart at the end, I was, for the most part, enjoying it. Like a lot of super hero movies now, it tries to cram way too much into a single movie, but there are worser things than that. The stuff with Krypton was amazing, Russell Crow brought it and Lois Lane was actually portrayed as a capable reporter.

I got that Pa Kent was protective of his son and even appreciated it, but, as I feared, he came across as a dick at times rather than the guiding force in a demigod’s life. His death, however, was touching, heartbreaking and almost impossible to watch because of the sorrow it evoked.

Michael Shannon put Terrance Stamp on notice, however this Zod seemed to be written as waaaay too much of a “villain” rather than a zealot who wanted to save his people (seriously, guy is the worst pitchman ever. “I just want to bring our people back and need your help to do, NOW LOOK AT ALL THE SKULLS OF THOSE YOU LOVE! NOW GIVE ME THE MCGUFIN! EVIIIIIIIIL!”)

The action was beautifully choreographed yet became tiresome after a bit. The pacing was just, I don’t know, off?

Oh. And the suit looks weird without the red trunks. And don’t give me that “It looks more realistic/not as silly” crap. It’s a guy in a blue spandex suit with a giant “S” on his chest and a red cape. It already looks silly. Red trunks ain’t gonna make it look any sillier than it already does.

Monday, May 20, 2013

On Star Trek Into Darkness...


Some general thoughts on Star Trek Into Darkness. Spoiler ahead. Obviously...


  • I know a lot of lip service was given to trying to preserve The Prime Directive, but I don’t think anyone was really all that worried about violating it as the entire crew (save Scotty) thought hiding a massive starship under water less than a mile from the alien natives was better camouflage that outer space.
  • In Starfleet, you don’t just get demoted, you get sent back to school.
  • Starfleet evidently has its head honchos hold super secret meetings on the top floor of a very visible building that anyone can just look into.
  •  Amanda Marcus had to get naked in front of Kirk on that shuttle. You know, because.
  • Also, she’s inexplicably British now.
  • Apparently leaving the military in the future is as easy as saying “I’m out.”
  • And, getting a military grade shuttle is really, really easy.
  • And, getting into top-secret military installations doesn’t take much sneaking. In fact, you can fly your shuttle in formation from the wrong direction right in front of everyone and get right inside.
  • Just to be clear, Starfleet engineers and weapons designers needed to thaw out a guy whose last experience with technology was dial-up Internet to help build better star ships.
  • Again, just to be clear, the one guy they thawed out conquered two thirds of the planet back in the day. Not a lieutenant, not an underling, but the man himself. Jesus Christ…
  • Star Trek gets a new time line, Khan gets a new ethnicity!
  • As Kirk and crew descended to the surface of Kronos, we see the shattered moon Praxis. Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t the breaking of Praxis all but bring the Klingon Empire to its knees? I guess in the new timeline it just looks cool hanging there in shattered pieces of Kronos’ night sky.
  • Ok, so let me get this one straight; because of the incursion of Nero from the future with all his impossible future technology, the destruction of Vulcan and the attack on Earth, Starfleet got serious with looking out for possible threats against its way of life. Cool. Got it. SO WHY THE HELL DID NO ONE NOTICE EVIL ENTERPRISE ATTACKING REAL ENTERPRISE 200,000 MILES FROM EARTH?!
  • Did the designers of Evil Enterprise make a tiny hatch because they thought it would be funny?
  • What future secrets is old Spock trying to hide? This is a different reality. The future will never be the same. Not mentioning Khan is just the slightest bit dickish. Think about it; he knows that somewhere out there, waiting to fuck The Federation big time are threats like; The Borg, The Q, The Cardassians, The Dominion, a probe that’s gonna show up one day looking for hump back whales, a thing at the center of the universe that’s pretending to be God, and V’Ger. Old Spock is a raging asshole. The timeline is no longer his own.
  • Seriously? We're just gonna redo the most famous scene in all of Star Trek? Oh. I guess we are. Because why not, right?
  • Khan crashes to Earth, and holy shit, look at that! A perfectly fitted trench coat just like the one he lost just sitting on a cafĂ© table! Lucky!
  • Hey, look! Raiders of the Lost Ark ending!
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was a poignant movie because the cast and crew had 20 years together. There was a history there and Kirk had actually never made a major mistake in all that time. The movie ends with the villain defeated, but at a heartbreaking cost. Every emotion in that movie was earned over two decades. Into Darkness, as pretty as it is, is a rehash, a greatest hits movie that doesn't earn any of the emotions it asks the audience to feel. With Star Trek, J.J. Abrams made a promise of something new and different. He didn't fulfill that promise.



Friday, April 12, 2013

Texts Between Two Grown Men in Their 30's


It should come as a shock to no one who's reading a blog called "The Nerduary" that not only am I a geek, but so is a good portion of my social circle. Also, much like me, a good portion of my social circle is made up of assholes. So with that, here's a text exchange I recently had with one of my pals round about 8:28 A.M. on an idle Monday morning...

FRIEND: You’ve got the touch! You’ve got the powweweeeerrrrrrrrr!

ME: YEAH!

FRIEND: I had a dream last night. I had the Matrix of Leadership, but I abused my position for completely petty purposes.

FRIEND: I was also a Dinobot.

ME: Of course you did. Because you were a Dinobot and you were you.

FRIEND: All good points. Why were all the Dinobots autistic?

ME: Because Wheeljack was drunk when he made them. Also, oddly enough, Transformers featured in my dream last night as well, including the Dinobot Swoop. Weird.

ME: I was hanging out with Hot Rod and Kup.

ME: Swoop just came by, started talking some shit in third person and left. Hot Rod called him a fucking idiot then we went about our adventure

FRIEND: Swoop. I hated that asshole.



I Think I'd Rather be an Asshole, Thank You...


Alright, gang, confession time.


Remember that series of posts I was gonna do called “The Wrong Kind of Fan”? Yeah, I don’t think I’m going to pursue that. It started out as a germ of an idea that I thought was funny, that others would get a kick out of, but, alas, it turns out there’s no way to write a series of posts like that without sounding like a complete and utter asshole.

I’m not saying I’m not an asshole. The older I get there’s an ever increasing amount of evidence to the contrary. But I like to think I’m that lovable asshole, or, at the very least, a tolerable asshole. Writing blog posts wherein I become openly hostile to entire segments of fandom? At that point I’m fairly certain a line is crossed leaping from asshole to complete dick, and no one wants to be a dick.

Do certain kinds of fans annoy me? Sure. I’m alone in that. I’ve got a friend who becomes violently angry whenever he runs into fans who prefer Super Pro to Kickers, Inc. and another who’s absolutely annoyed with Firefly fans (crazy, right?). Everybody’s got their something, and everybody’s got their something (or someones) they feel compelled to hate on.  It’s human nature. I’m no different.

Like I said, I don’t want to be a dick about it.

Now, a raging asshole? That’s entirely different…

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

How I Learned to Love the Furries


You know how it’s not only okay and kinda encouraged to make fun of Furries and the whole culture around it? How even among geeks that's the one group everyone is more than fine marginalizing?

Yeah, I'm not down with that anymore.

Back in March, I was pulled to one of my wife’s work events. This particular meet-and-greet was being held in downtown Atlanta at the Hard Rock Cafe, and the only reason I was excited to be there was because there was an open (and unlimited) bar. I got more than a little hammered. Scratch that, I got college-drunk. You know what I mean by that. Don’t pretend that you don’t.

By the time the event wound down, I was pretty lit. Double fisting free whiskey does that to you. Maybe that was why I said "sure" when my wife made the following suggestion:

“Let’s go to the Furry convention,” she said.


Right across the street from Hard Rock Cafe Atlanta that very night at The Westin was a fairly large gathering of Furries, all of them in town for Furry Weekend Atlanta 2013. Had I not been drunk, my reaction to someone suggesting we go to Furry Weekend Atlanta, even as tourists would have been a resounding “Hell no!” but like I said, I was college-drunk. And when you’re college-drunk, you’re open to anything. Besides, I figured wandering through the hotel would give me ample ammo for making fun of these people in the future. So across the street we went to the Furry convention!


And holy shit, were there furries everywhere. I mean, sure it was a furry convention, but I don’t think the uninitiated human brain is every prepared for seeing that many people in finely crafted animal costumes in one place. We wandered through the mass of anthropomorphic animal people, marveling and even giggling a little. They were silly, right? I mean, who in their right mind dresses or behaves the way these people do? They’re not normal. They can’t be! No way!

And that’s when we met Shaw.

You expected the head piece to come off while drinking? For shame...

Shaw was drinking alone at the hotel bar. No idea how long he'd been there, no idea how many other tourists had bothered him, but I do know if the Furry community ever needed an official ambassador, then it has to be this man. Shaw almost singlehandedly changed the way I looked at Furries from the moment I first asked if I could take a picture.

See, Shaw was just… cool. He was so fucking comfortable with who he was you really couldn’t help but be more than a little envious. I don't dress in a blue wolf costume and go walking through major metropolitan areas and I'm pretty certain I'm not half as comfortable with myself as Shaw is with himself. On top of that, he welcomed any and all questions a tourist could have. Shaw was cognizant of the fact that his lifestyle ain’t exactly the norm, and people tend to make fun of what they don’t see as normal. Shaw was in fact so cool and comfortable that, no bullshit, after a few minutes, we actually forgot we were talking to a guy in a blue wolf costume. We were talking to (and drinking with) a guy named Shaw and Shaw was likeable as hell. 

We interacted with lots of Furries after Shaw as we wandered The Westin that night, and we didn’t have a single negative interaction. Not a one. No one refused a photo. No one made us feel unwelcome. No one made us feel uncomfortable.

This fella's wearing his actual Boy Scout uniform. And yes, he's an Eagle Scout.

Oh, and did I mention every year, Atlanta Furry Weekend goes out of its way to raise money for charity?

If that doesn't certify me and almost everyone else in the country a dick I don't know what does.

“We expect people are going to stare at us and think we’re weird,” Shaw said, setting his drink back down at the bar. “But I think we do a good job of showing them we’re pretty good people who just like to have fun in a different way than they do.”

So that’s it. No more mocking. This is my formal and public apology for every disparaging word I’ve ever said about Furries. I’m done. I spent a night partying with these people and even though it was painfully obvious I was a tourist, they still welcomed me, my wife and everyone else who had wandered into the hotel to have a laugh at their expense. 

They won us all over with acceptance.


The Happening


See this?


Oh, yeah. That's me coming up with a new post. Look at that. Almost like you can see the wheels turning. That, my friends, is a picture of shit about to happen!

After lunch, of course. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Hey, Chris... Why You No Post?

I wish I had an answer. Because I'm a bad blogger?

No, I think the real answer is somewhere between the day job has been uber busy of late and a lot of side projects have demanded my attention.

Oh, the lovely wife and I podcast now, so there's that. You can check it out here. In fact, I'd love it if you did.

 (of which I'll share the details soon). But excuses be damned! No one's looking to hear a random guy online bitch and moan about being too busy to talk nerdy, so let's do some catching up...

ROBIN DEAD (AGAIN)

But in all fairness, it's a different Robin than was killed last time (and resurrected almost 20 years later). this Robin was one Damien Wayne, son of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul. Some folks online cried foul as the character was beloved despite starting out fairly universally hated. Well, it turns out that hatred was by design, thanks to his creator and murderer Grant Morrison. Damien Wayne's death is... fitting, really. Since his debut back in 2007, we've watched him grow as a character someone to be despised with no feelings towards others to that of a selfless, caring hero willing to put his life on the line for others. Rest in peace, Damien. Rest in peace.

ANGELA COMING OVER TO THE MARVEL UNIVERSE

Because... why not, I guess? I don't know. I'm fairly indifferent to this. Was anyone clamoring for the character to make a big return? I mean, we do get new Neil Gaiman comics out of the deal, which is always a good thing, but still...

WRITERS LEAVING DC COMICS IN DROVES

Who knew creative types don't like being glorified typists for editors or having their work constantly tweaked without their input?

CAPTAIN JACK NOT APPEARING IN DOCTOR WHO 50TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL

And that just makes me sad.

Alright, that's all the time I have for now. I promise, I'll do much better from here on out. I don't know what happened this past month, but let's put it behind us, shall we? Anywho, I'm off once again to appear on HuffPost Live. They seem to like me for some unknown reason...

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Veronica Mars Movie (Or, This Changes Everything)


Despite the pomp and circumstance of The Vatican rolling out a new model pope, the big news yesterday as far as all good geeks are concerned was the reality setting in that we are indeed getting a Veronica Mars movie.

And before you ask, yes, I did contribute a small sum to the Kickstarter project to make this move happen.

As I celebrated on Facebook last night, reveling with other fans who contributed to make the movie happen, one dour friend came in and made a very sobering, yet valid point; we had all just essentially gave a major studio money to make a movie.

I’m not gonna lie, I was bummed at first. I couldn’t help but feel a little bamboozled. I love Veronica Mars, but my buddy was right. I’d just handed over some of my hard earned cash to Warner Bros., a studio that makes more money in profits a year than I’ll ever see in many, many lifetimes. I’d been duped! Duped!

But then I got over it. I realized I hadn’t been duped. Everything was fine, even if my money was going to a major studio.

Here’s the things; it ain’t like Michael Bay got up there and asked for money for the next Transformers movie. James Cameron wasn't begging for money for Terminator 5, nor was Joss Whedon organizing a Kickstarter for Avengers 2 (although Serenity 2...).

No, this was a Kickstarter from a guy that created a property he loved so much that even after his show was cancelled he never stopped trying to continue the story, even though a major studio owned the property. This was a Kickstarter from a group of people that had moved along to other, lucrative jobs, but believed in the quality of this one little show so much, they said to hell with it, and got to crowd sourcing (with the major studio’s blessing, of course).

Fans are always complaining about their favorite shows being cancelled too soon. We lament that movies like Serenity don’t make enough money at the box office to merit a sequel despite having rave reviews. Well, as of yesterday, we have a little more power to make things like that happen now, and that makes me happy. Pushing Daisies, anyone?

I think the only negative I can find in this whole affair, however, is the unknown artist that Kickstarter really helps. The filmmakers, the writers, the musicians that don’t have studio, publisher or label support that rely on crowdsourcing to get their art out there. I do worry that an influx of Veronica Mars style Kickstarters could potentially hurt the earning potential of unknowns trying to carve out a place for themselves.

Which is why after I donated to Veronica Mars, I made a donation to an independent project. As much as I can’t wait to see Rob Thomas’ vision come to fruition and see Kristen Bell get all sleuthy, I don’t want the little(er) guy to get lost in the shuffle.

Because, ya know, maybe I'll do a Kickstarter for that webseries I've always dreamed of doing sooner rather than later. Who knows...?

Monday, February 11, 2013

What is The Wrong Kind of Fan?


Last week I talked about The Wrong Kind of Fan. This is a concept I’ve been thinking about for quite some time but one that, when I bring it up, people tend to call me an elitist. Or asshole.

People call me an asshole a lot.

So let me explain what I’m talking about when I talk about The Wrong Kind of Fan. The Wrong Kind of Fan takes the fun out of the thing you love. The Wrong Kind of Fan brings really negative attention to the thing you love. The Wrong Kind of Fan is a walking bundle of stereotypes many, many people have worked hard to negate and The Wrong Kind of Fan is really fucking obnoxious. The Wrong Kind of Fan is these things, but taken to such an extreme that you’re left wondering if you should stay involved with that thing you love so very much.

The Wrong Kind of Fan comes in many shapes and many sizes, and over the coming days, we’re gonna take a look at some of them.

And I’m probably going to come across like an asshole in the process.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Let's Talk About The Star Wars Expanded Universe



One thing that keeps popping up in a segment of Star Wars fandom since Disney’s purchase of the franchise is a fear that the Expanded Universe won’t be left intact.

Never heard of the Expanded Universe (EU)?  The EU is a vast collection of Star Wars stories featured in novels, comics, video games and various other media. For a brief period, it was thought the EU was canon, as after the release of Return of the Jedi, we were told there would be no more Star Wars. The EU expands on everything George Lucas presented in his films, adding new characters, new locales, and new adventures to the universe. A lot of people have dedicated a lot of time to the EU. It has a very loyal fan base and it’s understandable they would be afraid the stories will no longer count. 

But the EU, for the sake of all films and the sanity of audiences old and new, must be counted as nothing but apocrypha.

THE EU HASN’T BEEN CONSIDERED CANON IN A LONG TIME (IF IT EVER WAS)

Let’s point to the elephant in the room right now. A lot of fans of the EU hold to the belief that the EU is considered canon. Well, it’s not. Here’s a few choice quotes from George Lucas himself on the EU:
“’There are two worlds here,’ explained Lucas. ‘There’s my world, which is the movies, and there’s this other world that has been created, which I say is the parallel universe —the licensing world of the books, games and comic books. They don’t intrude on my world, which is a select period of time, [but] they do intrude in between the movies. I don’t get too involved in the parallel universe.’” – Cinescape, 2001
Here’s another quote:
"I don't read that stuff. I haven't read any of the novels. I don't know anything about that world. That's a different world than my world. But I do try to keep it consistent. The way I do it now is they have a Star Wars Encyclopedia. So if I come up with a name or something else, I look it up and see if it has already been used. When I said [other people] could make their own Star Wars stories, we decided that, like Star Trek, we would have two universes: My universe and then this other one. They try to make their universe as consistent with mine as possible, but obviously they get enthusiastic and want to go off in other directions.” Starlog, 2005
So there you go. At best, the EU is an alternate universe.

HOLDING THE EU AS CANON IS CREATIVE SUICIDE FOR FILMMAKERS

But let’s pretend the EU has been canon and George Lucas has given it his blessing. That’s all well and good, but Disney is in the business of making movies. Movies, as we all know, are made for the masses (at least the ones that come out of studios are). Disney, after all, just paid billions of dollars for Star Wars and needs a return on their investment.

So why in God's name would Disney require their very broad audience to have read hundreds of novels, thousands of comics and played dozens of video games (and maybe played an RPG or two) to get all the backstory they need to enjoy the film?

Think of it this way. When Marvel and Disney got serious about making their movie universe, did they make it an extension of the comics or did they make it its own thing? Obviously that’s a rhetorical question, but you get my point. The movies exist independently of the comics and rightfully so. To expect an audience to familiarize themselves with at least 40 years of continuity is absurd.

Expecting an audience to consume countless stories from various media to enjoy a series of films is not just absurd, it’s delusional.

THE EU ONLY WORKED AS CANON WHEN THERE WAS NO MORE STAR WARS

The EU was originally a bone Lucas graciously tossed when there was no intention to make any more Star Wars films (and, let's be honest, a way to keep getting people to pay money for Star Wars stuff). Say what you will about George Lucas, but the man has always been cool with letting folks play in his sandbox and it was nice having new Star Wars, even if it was in books, comics and games.

But the sandbox was George Lucas’ sandbox and he’s sold it to Disney. It was fun playing in it, but once it became clear there would indeed be new Star Wars, the idea that the EU was required to enjoy Star Wars should have been abandoned.

Does that mean there shouldn’t be books, comics and all the rest? Absolutely not. Bookstores are filled with Star Trek books, Doctor Who books and books on a large number of other properties. People enjoy those books. There’re comics and video games as well. And people enjoy them. They scratch the itch to get more of what they love.

But they also understand they don’t, and can’t, count as canon. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

So Lucasfilm Evidently Does Like Money...


UPDATE: So Disney has announced they are indeed making a Boba Fett movie. I'm going to pretend that someone high up at Disney is an avid Nerduary reader and decided to heed my advice. I'm also going to pretend that a movie featuring a Han Solo played by someone other than Han Solo isn't a monumentally bad idea. Isn't it fun to play pretend?

Anyway, here's what I had to say yesterday...

So now word on the Internet is that Lucasfilm is looking to make standalone movies featuring established characters. This absolutely makes sense to me, from both a creative and financial point of view. But what doesn't make sense to me is who the focus of the first spin-off is planned to center on (at least according to Ain't It Cool News)...


Now I don't think a Yoda flick is inherently a bad idea. In fact, I think a movie that shows Yoda in his younger years tearing shit up a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away would be pretty sweet. But that's going to be how you kick things off? I mean, you're Lucasfilm. I thought you liked money. Fans love Yoda, to be sure, but you know who fans really love? 


They love that guy. Like, a lot. They love him a in a way that when you really think about it makes no sense at all. Most of the time he's on screen, he's just kinda hanging out in the background, looking all mysterious and saying cool, badass things, sometimes even to Darth Vader.

Fans. Love. Boba Fett.

I'd like to add that I merely like Boba Fett. I have no super attachment to him beyond "his armor looks cool." But a Boba Fett movie would let you branch out and expand your franchise more than a Yoda flick.

A Yoda flick is more of the same when it comes down to it. Jedi Knights doing Jedi Knight things. And maybe Yoda bouncing around a lot. We've seen these movies already. What we haven't seen is Reservoir Dogs in space.

And I really wanna see Reservoir Dogs. In space.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Jonathan Hickman on Thanos and Marvel Cosmic. My Brain Shall Shut Down in 3,2,1...

Marvel Infinity. Jonathan Hickman taking on Thanos and all things Marvel Cosmic.

My apologies. My brain cannot handle the awesomeness. There are some things in life that just seem too perfect. Things you've wished for for years. And then they happen, yet still you find yourself completely unprepared.

Read all about it at Bleeding Cool.


I'm going to go lie down for a little bit while my brain reboots.

If Lucasfilm Likes Money Just Make a Boba Fett Flick

So now word on the Internet is that Lucasfilm is looking to make standalone movies featuring established characters. This absolutely makes sense to me, from both a creative and financial point of view. But what doesn't make sense to me is who the focus of the first spin-off is planned to center on (at least according to Ain't It Cool News)...


Now I don't think a Yoda flick is inherently a bad idea. In fact, I think a movie that shows Yoda in his younger years tearing shit up a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away would be pretty sweet. But that's going to be how you kick things off? I mean, you're Lucasfilm. I thought you liked money. Fans love Yoda, to be sure, but you know who fans really love? 


They love that guy. Like, a lot. They love him a in a way that when you really think about it makes no sense at all. Most of the time he's on screen, he's just kinda hanging out in the background, looking all mysterious and saying cool, badass things, sometimes even to Darth Vader.

Fans. Love. Boba Fett.

I'd like to add that I merely like Boba Fett. I have no super attachment to him beyond "his armor looks cool." But a Boba Fett movie would let you branch out and expand your franchise more than a Yoda flick.

A Yoda flick is more of the same when it comes down to it. Jedi Knights doing Jedi Knight things. And maybe Yoda bouncing around a lot. We've seen these movies already. What we haven't seen is Reservoir Dogs in space.

And I really wanna see Reservoir Dogs. In space.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Uncle Ruckus Movie

I feel like more people should be talking about this. I feel like I should have known about this before now. I feel like this should have happened before now.

An Uncle Ruckus movie Kickstarter from creator Aaron McGruder.

I usually give some kind of commentary to these things, but for now, I'm just going to let it stand on it's own. I mean, hell... it's Uncle Ruckus.



You can see details of the Kickstarter here.

I've funded Kickstarter projects before and I'm quite certain I'll be funding this one. You?

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Wrong Kind of Fan

Sorry for the lack of posts. I have a fantastic excuse for the radio silence, but really, who cares to hear it? I most certainly don't.

That doesn't mean I haven't been busy though. I've been thinking a lot about fandom of late. Why it's amazing and, well, why it sometimes isn't. Mostly why it isn't, to be perfectly honest. And what I realized is that it comes down to The Wrong Kind of Fan.

I'm still fleshing the post out (and it's looking like it's going to be a series), but understand it won't be a call to be exclusionary. Not at all. Some people want to limit who's invited to the party while I say keep the door open and see who wanders in. Rather, it'll be a look at certain types of people who make being a fan of something, anything, not quite as fun. You've met these people, you've interacted with these people, but hopefully you aren't one of these people. The Wrong Kind of Fan comes in many shapes and sizes and there are many, many different types of The Wrong Kind of Fan, and we're going to take a look at some of them.

But not today. Like I said, it's still being composed. In the meantime, I'd love to hear what you think about The Wrong Kind of Fan. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below and I'll likely have the piece ready early next week (or maybe even this weekend).

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Matt Farmer Explains Pro Football Offensive Skill Positions to Chris Brennaman

Earlier in the week, Chris was a guest on HuffPost Live. As it turns out, his system of how to talk sports when you know nothing about sports caught the attention of some Huffington Post staffers. Hilarity ensued  

Matt Farmer, however, has decided that Chris has become too comfortable in his ignorance, and has endeavored to teach the confirmed football hater about all things football.

By MATT FARMER
Pro football is a complicated game. However, any sport can appear hopelessly complex to the uninitiated. I remember a fateful day in Atlanta, back when we had NHL team that I loved with all my heart. I was sitting cozily in the nosebleeds with the real fans sitting next to a fella in a Georgia Bulldogs (or is it Bulldawgs?) sweatshirt. He was completely vexed by the goings on taking place on the ice below. I did my best to explain the rules to him, “that’s icing,” “that’s offsides,” “that’s a goal,” “yes, those guys are fighting and it won’t stop until one of them hits the ground.” He remarked about what a complicated game hockey was. I replied that it’s no more complicated than any other sport, it’s just that you didn’t grow up with it. Imagine trying to explain college football to someone who’s never seen a game before. He reluctantly agreed. Although, I don’t recall ever seeing him around Phillips Arena again, but that place is pretty big so it’s not entirely inconceivable that I’d miss him, but I digress.

I’m a unique bird. I love discussing the pros and cons of a cover 2 defense just as much as I like determining who would win between The Battlestar Galactica or an Imperial Star Destroyer (The Galactica, BTW… nukes and TIE Fighter pilots are a joke compared to Kara Thrace). So, when I see other nerds struggling with sports, it brings me back to my more awkward high school and early college days before I was really indoctrinated with a love of football. I’d always had a passing interest in sports. I’ve never been the type to dismiss them, but I just wasn’t a rabid, fantasy playing, yell-at-the-screen, get your heart crushed by the Falcons kind of fan. It wasn’t until I started playing sports video games (sports knowledge via video games=nerd AND sports cred) that I really grew to understand the intricacies of the game of football.

Either way, this introduction is taking to long. Seeing my friend struggle with the basic knowledge of America’s true pastime was just too much for me to bear. So, I’ll attempt to explain four skill positions in football using a member of the Justice League of America.

I’ll do offense today. The obvious solution on offense is to have Batman be your quarterback and Superman be your running back and truthfully Batman wouldn’t have to play at all. Simply direct snap the ball to Supes and watch people try in vain to tackle him. It would look silly. So, I’m going to try and put most super powers aside for the most part. I hope it makes sense later.

Offense:
Quarterback: Batman


Quarterback (or QB) is the most important position on offense. The quarterback is in charge of relaying the plays called by the coaches to his teammates. He is the one who looks at the opposing defense and judges whether or not the play would work. He can either hand the ball off to the running back (RB) or pass the ball to a wide receiver (WR) or Tight End (TE). Batman is the brains of the Justice League. Without the vast resources of the Batcomputer, the Justice League would be lost in trying to uncover the weaknesses of their enemies. That’s what a QB does all week breaking down film and preparing for the game. The film room is his Batcomputer. He may not be the strongest or the fastest guy out there, but the ball is always in his hands if for only a brief amount of time. He needs to be able to make intelligent, quick decisions, know the strengths and weaknesses of both his teammates and his opponents. It is up to him to execute the strategy put forth by the coach. Batman is the smartest member of the JLA and provides the leadership they need. Batman is cool under pressure, fit beyond reason and always the smartest guy in the room (although Victor Fries and Edward Nygma might take exception to that).

Running Back: Superman


The running back (or halfback) is the muscles of the offense. It is their job to carry the ball past a bunch of defenders that want to kill him without getting dragged to the turf. They take a lot of abuse and they’re typically deemed “washed up” by age 30 because of all the hits they take. These are the guys who are likely to have the worst knee, back and brain problems in their old age. Now, as I mentioned earlier, if Superman were a running back there would be little need for any other players. Just give Supes the ball and get out of his way. There are players in the league that are kind of like that. The Minnesota Vikings are a terrible football team, but their running back, Adrian Peterson is the NFL’s real Superman (sorry, Cam Newton) and despite being awful, they made it to the playoffs this year. Why? Like Superman, Adrian Peterson can singlehandedly take on an entire defense. All one needs to do is hand that cat the ball and watch defenses try to stop him. It’s virtually impossible. The running back needs to be strong, quick and have a lot of stamina because it’s going to be a rough day. Superman performs that role for the Justice League all the time. He’s the muscles that send fear into the hearts of his opponents. Plus, he’d be a helluva blocker when Batman wants to throw instead of hand off, but then again Superman would probably accidentally kill someone if he laid too hard a block on the guy.


Wide Receiver: Flash


Wide receivers (WR) need to be fast, evasive, but still strong and tough. Nobody is faster than Barry Allen. Their job is to catch the ball thrown by the quarterback and run as far and as fast as they can until someone tackles them. Calvin Johnson (with the nerd-friendly nickname of Megatron) is a prototypical, dominant Wide Receiver. He’s tall, he’s strong and he’s fast. Flash would have no trouble getting behind a team’s defense for a long bomb thrown by Batman. There’s not a defensive player in the league that could keep up with him. Calvin Johnson is kind of like that. He’s always open and can outmuscle any defensive back for the ball. Bats to Flash would be a combo for the ages that would eclipse Joe Montana and Jerry Rice.

Tight End: Martian Manhunter



Tight End (TE) is kind of a hybrid position. They serve two purposes. They’re either blocking for the running back, or getting open for medium yardage situations. They need to be strong, yet quick and tough, but be able to catch. J’onn J’onnz possesses a multitude of superpowers. He’s not as strong as Superman or as fast as the Flash or as smart as Batman, but he’s a very feared defender of justice on planet Earth. A TE’s role on an offense can change every play. Sometimes, they’re the guy who needs to catch a pass for a few yards, or sometimes he needs to be stopping a linebacker (presumably wearing Kryptonite pads) from throttling your running back. He needs to possess a large set of skills, but not necessarily be a master of any of them. Martian Manhunter isn’t the mightiest of the Justice League, but the myriad of powers he possesses are sometimes just what the team needs to get them out of a bind. Plus, he’s green and kind of just hovers around and that’s cool to me.

Now, that’s just four positions on a football team and there are 11 on both offense and defense. So, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I’ve got an idea of where I’d play Wonder Woman (middle linebacker), Green Lantern (cornerback) and even Zatanna (cheerleader), but I currently have no idea where I’d put Aquaman. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Scott Garner Defends The Big Bang Theory

In an effort to show how impartial I am in my various hatreds, one of the biggest being CBS' The Big Bang Theory, I've decided to let friend and fellow writer/blogger/former journalist Scott Garner to guest today...

... So he can defend The Big Bang Theory. Understand, I want to pepper your judgement at this point. I want to poison the well and remind you all that The Big Bang Theory isn't for geeks and nerds, that the producers hate you, that it is, in fact, a Geek Minstrel Show.

But I'm not going to do that. That would be unfair to Scott and underhanded on my part. So sit back, and enjoy Scott Garner defend... God this is hard... defend The Big Bang Theory.

Oh, and be sure to check out Scott's blog here when yer' done. Take it away, Mr. Garner...


By SCOTT GARNER

In the fourteen months since my son came into this world, the dinner hour is generally filled with the sounds of syndicated reruns of How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory. The theme song to the latter is young master Atticus’s Most Favoritest Song Evah. At the end, as the Barenaked Ladies yalp out their final “BANG,” my son triumphantly throws his arms into the air.

The proprietor of this fine blog calls BBT a “minstrel show” and generally rates the contribution to geek culture generated by Sheldon, Penny and the guy who used to be on Roseanne somewhere between DC’s latest attempt to reload their brand and anal splinters. He’s not a fan.

After fourteen months of Big Bang Theory reruns, I have come to develop an affinity for the program, if not a downright fondness. This means I’m in a pretty strong position to come to the show’s defense. With some caveats, of course.

If you need a Cliff’s Notes version of the program, here it is: two scientists, one geeky and the other geeky and Asperger-y, both geniuses (the latter Wile E. Coyote, super genius-y), live next door to a smoking hot blonde of average (or possibly lower) intellect. Non Asperger-y geek falls hopelessly in love with unattainable blonde. Hijinks ensue. The cast is rounded out by other colorful characters, most of whom are also card-carrying Mensa types.

Here is where we collectively pause for a second. At this point, I am one paragraph short of beginning my defense of BBT. Before travelling any farther, I should state explicitly and for the record that I am not attempting to change anyone’s mind. Internet arguing is the sort of stupid that warrants a two-hour block of programming on either E! or Fox News. Please understand this is a defense of BBT not a Clockwork Orange attempt to reprogram the reader. If you really don’t like the show, nothing I write is going to persuade you otherwise. Perhaps, though, if you accept the arguments I will lay out, it might be possible to begin to understand the broad appeal of the show and not dismiss anyone else who enjoys the program as mentally ill.

Onward.

FIRST POINT: It’s a fucking sitcom. With only a few notable exceptions—including All in the Family, MASH, Roseanne, Seinfeld and Louie—the entire sitcom form is riddled with artistic bullet holes. Plot contrivances, caricatures, deus ex machina and laugh tracks are just a few of the intellectual slaps in the face we’re forced to endure to squeeze thirty minutes of “entertainment” out of a network’s need to put something on to hold a place for the commercials. There are five levels of creative accomplishment awarded based on how a show handles these pitfalls.

                Level 1: The Simpsonsonian Ideal. Y’know. Perfection. We’re talking seasons 3-8 for the zenith, but even the nadir of The Simpsons is better than anything on Level 3 or lower. If you’re going to argue this point, please stop and cut out your reproductive parts now. You’re bringing nothing to the collective gene pool or this conversation.

                Level 2: The MASH Pit. Great enough to create cultural touchstones, even if some of these shows—I’m looking at you Married… With Children—don’t always stand up to repeat viewings. These shows have something in the premise or execution that separates them from the pack. And all of them are unambiguously funny.

                Level 3: Good Enough. These shows aim for the middle and hit the target. Occasionally, one will capture a zeitgeist moment and float improbably high in the ratings. These shows are neither great nor terrible. They’re like sex with an ex-girlfriend: you pretty much know what’s coming, but it’s still better than watching reruns of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. The Big Bang Theory is unapologetically a Level 3 sitcom. It’s keeping company with such classics as Night Court and Sanford & Son, so the peer group isn’t horrible. (Good luck getting the Night Court theme’s baseline out of your head, by the way.)

                Level 4: Thelma and Louise. These shows start strong for a few episodes then drive off a cliff. You know why it’s hard to think about an example for the Level 4 show? Because they were neither good enough nor bad enough to remember. Anything that lasted a season and a half on Fox is probably a 4.

                Level 5: Inexplicably Green-Lighted. This is the pond scum. Cavemen ring a bell? Or Whoops, which was both the title of the show and the inevitable punch line of its miserable existence. Right. Moving on.

SECOND POINT: Geek Nation has more dysfunctional, warring tribes than the Middle East. Nerds, Fanboys, Hackers, Cinephiles, Beer Geeks, Wine Snobs, Game Geeks, Role Players, Cosplayers, SF Fans Who Detest “Space Opera,” Trekkies, MMO Gamers, Fantasy Football Wonks, Foodies, Political Junkies, Hipsters, Performance Artists, Theater Geeks and Internet Trolls are just a few of the subspecies fighting for geek supremacy.

There is only one piece of connective tissue binding the collective body of “geekdom” together: passion. Geeks love something. They integrate their love of this thing (or things) into the fabric of their being. Their love isn’t always healthy, either. Just mention Episode I to a Star Wars fan and you’ll get everything from a frown to a full-on Kathy-Bates-in-Misery, get-me-the-goddamn-hammer-and-a-block-of-wood. Lynching would be too good for Jar Jar. Geeks love their passion and they expect creators to take good fucking care of their baby. Because no genius, not even the one who first created C3PO and the Millennium Falcon, are too good to get a foot in the ass (via a scathing online screed, of course).

THIRD POINT: Dismissing the entertainment value of a sitcom because the characters do not exactly handle their broadly-drawn attributes, meant to be hyperbolic exaggerations in even the most forgiving of critiques, might be more a symptom of being a geek. If the stereotype of a comic book store where a guy called Captain Sweatpants shops cuts a little too close to the bone, perhaps it is because the intended hyperbole lands close to the truth. (True story: a fat kid in a tee shirt and sweatpants was in Barnes & Noble last week while I was there, browsing through the manga with solidly one half of his crack hanging out. He did not appear out of place.)

The one admirable quality of The Big Bang Theory is how the show actually takes all of its primary geek characters and makes them incredibly successful. None of them are unemployed. Most of them are in meaningful relationships. They enjoy their lives and are passionate about the things they love, just like all of the real geeks I know. It’s a third-tier sitcom, folks. Considering where the bar is set, perhaps we can give BBT a little leeway.

The Big Bang Theory isn’t the greatest show ever to hit television. It does boil the diaspora of geek culture down to a dozen or so easy-to-digest stereotypes. But these geeks are the heroes of this show. In the end, they are going to win their battles. The finale of BBT, whenever it comes, will feel clunky and awkward but even those of us who have lost interest by then watch for sentimental reasons. Penny and Leonard? I’m pretty sure they’ll end up together, just like Ross and Rachel. None of this may convince this blog’s proprietor to change his mind about the show. The jokes are still going to be sitcom lame (or sitcom funny, which is still several rungs below “belly laugh”) but because the jokes involve things geeks love, that lameness can be damning. Still, the jokes aren’t so bad in the context of the sitcom milieu. In fact, they are often better than average, even if ”average” is like being the valedictorian of Summer School.

And they’re more than good enough to keep on during the dinner hour, if only to see the little Future Geek in my house throw his arms in the air for that final BANG.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Follow up: How To Talk Sports (When You Don't Know Jack About Sports)

Chris Brennaman has been asked to share more about the article "How To Talk Sports (When You Don't Know Jack About Sports)" with Ricki Camillieri from Huffington Post.

Take a look at the interview here.

To read the article, click here.