Archive for February, 2011

Temporary Template

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Our new template is temporary, but I needed to ditch the one that was infected with a Russian hack.  I’ll get the site’s look updated soon.

Hate Star Trek: TNG? Only for the holodecks.

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

If there’s anything truly, fundamentally wrong with Star Trek: The Next Generation, it’s the holodecks. The rest I can stomach.

Holodecks were a terrible idea.  They eliminated the need for shore leave on a real planet, where a cabin fever-ish crew can get off the ship and provide the plot with whatever they encounter on the planet.  They quickly went from a crude simulation that could be disrupted by throwing a rock against the back wall to a representation so convincing that you couldn’t tell it from reality even if you were an android or you could see a broad spectrum, and the people in it go from little more than animatronics run by algorithm to pseudo-people who ostensibly possess sentience.  (If a computer-generated person is sentient, doesn’t that more to the point mean that it’s the computer that is sentient?)

It’s not that there aren’t a lot little things wrong with Next Gen. It always bothered me that they didn’t have any weapons designed for starship hallway combat.  Endless shots of two-way gun-battles, and I’m thinking, how about throwing a gas grenade around that corner?

Perhaps on a more thematic level, Star Trek:TNG’s biggest negative can be summed up in a one-word line of dialogue:  “Conference.”

Picard has just encountered the Borg for the first time.  These monsters, described by Q and Guinan as the biggest, scariest boogeyman they’ve ever encountered, have just had their ship disabled and significantly damaged by the Enterprise.  Picard knows that they learn from encounters and are tougher to defeat after that.  Picard knows they cannot be negotiated with.

The Borg ship is, like, 20% damaged.


Farewell to the great Dwayne McDuffie

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

I think it’s fair to say that most everyone in the comic book industry is in shock right now.  Dwayne McDuffie has passed away, reportedly due to complications during surgery.  We still don’t know too much about what happened. Through this last weekend he was still posting on his blog about the debut of his next animated film, “All-Star Superman” (which debuted yesterday) and the announcement of an action figure based on his creation, Static.  (Or as he put it, “From the Department of Oxymoronica: Static Action Figure Has Arrived“)

And then he was gone, one day after his 49th birthday.

I wish I could say I knew Dwayne personally.  I didn’t.  Indeed, I had seen him at the local Midwest Comic Book Association Convention and yet I didn’t talk to him, for the same reason I often don’t talk to creators I have a lot of respect for:  I don’t know what to say that doesn’t sound like what he must hear all the time.  Just one more “I loved your writing on Icon” or “Justice League Unlimited was awesome and it should have never ended” or… even my examples sound trite.  And now that I know I’ll never get another chance, I’m filled with regret that I didn’t talk to him even if I came off as bubbling with unoriginal geeky praise.  For all I know, it was a slow day and he could have used the boost.  Or maybe he had already heard it a lot, but what could one more accolade hurt?

I don’t know if Dwayne saw himself as a mover and a shaker, but he certainly was.  He created a comic book imprint at DC, Milestone, that drew a lot of critical praise and had a good run in the mid-1990s.  He was the creator and writer for the animated show “Static Shock” based on one of his Milestone characters.  He has been the staff writer/producer and/or show-runner for the Justice League animated series and for the series of animated movies that have been hitting the DVD market in rapid succession since JLU ended.  He returned to writing comic books while continuing to work as a producer, though it often seemed as if he got a raw deal here and there…writing Firestorm for the last few issues before it was canceled, and Justice League of America during yet another era when DC dictated which big icons couldn’t be in the JLA (hint: most of them).

Dwayne pushed for increased ethnic diversity in comic book characters, and in his writing he demonstrated how to achieve it without simply racial bean-counting.  I’ll freely admit, I bristled at the pitch for his book “Icon”.  A conservative black superhero meets a street-wise girl who tells him he’s out of touch and she pushes him to get active in his community.  Sounds like a  “The Wiz” version of “Green Lantern/Green Arrow”, right?  In actuality, the book is far subtler and more politically fair than I ever would have expected.  Icon is a fully-developed character who imparts as many lessons as he learns from his young sidekick, Rocket, and she urges him to play a role in his community not so that he can learn the error of his political ways but so that he can be an inspiration to others, which he isn’t doing when he hides out in his big house.  Dwayne McDuffie had a way with clever dialogue, such as “it’s easy to tell others to pull themselves up by their bootstraps when you can fly” (that’s quoted from memory almost two decades later, so hopefully I’m getting it right).  Dwayne handled hot-button issues like teen pregnancy and abortion without being preachy or unfair.

His approach to diverse characters worked well because he never saddled any character with being a positive representative of his or her entire race, something which often plagued black characters in media.   As he put it,  “If you do a black character or a female character or an Asian character, then they aren’t just that character. They represent that race or that sex, and they can’t be interesting because everything they do has to represent an entire block of people. You know, Superman isn’t all white people and neither is Lex Luthor.”

Dwayne McDuffie, February 20, 1962 – February 21, 2011.  R.I.P.

Dwayne McDuffie is dead

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Milestone Creator Dwayne McDuffie has Died – Comic Book Resources.

His work was inspirational.  His orginal creations were awesome.

More later.

Comments Off (for the nonce)

Monday, February 21st, 2011

You may have noticed that our web site disappeared over the weekend.

For some reason, this blog’s database was using up a ton of resources on our server host, which doesn’t really make sense.  (I’ll be the first to say that my posting here has been almost non-existent for some time.)  Powweb shut down all of my sites until I could resolve it…which is hard to do when I can’t see anything that’s using up resources.

For the time being, I have disabled comments…except on this post.  My apologies.  I have also disabled new user registration.  We haven’t been getting any spambots here…but I can’t see what else it could be.

This is just a temporary solution until we can see if the problem persists.  Thank you for your patience.  My apologies to Big Blue Arndt!

it’s about ducks and dogs and Disney

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

A Guidebook to the Carl Barks Universe (test).

Ridley Scott’s Alien is filled with sexual symbolism

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Who knew?

This guy!

Well, everyone else, too!

did anyone really know that Bane wasn’t a white guy?

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Why Chris Nolan’s BATMAN Isn’t Racist | Obsessed With Film.

I never saw Alien so I don’t know what this is

Friday, February 4th, 2011

It looks cools though!

If Boyd Kirkland is dead

Friday, February 4th, 2011

SPIDER-FRIENDS.COM – Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends – Boyd Kirkland Interview 6/04.

We must read this intereview