Thursday, June 30, 2011

By your powers Combined..

I've never been good at keeping up with the current events in the DC universe. Mostly because DC comics hasn't been published in a monthly edition in Denmark in a decade. That being said, I have been able to sometimes go to an actual comicbook store (a rarity in Copenhagen, oddly enough) and take a look at the new hardback releases which is why I'm now able to talk about Green Lantern in Blackest Night.

To start off, naming this as a Green Lantern book is kinda silly, as most of the other DC heroes appear. It's more of an event book some would say, putting it in the same booth as Crisis on However-Many-Earths-DC-Is-Gonna-Blow-Up-This-Time. So why not call this Death Crisis affectionally, eh? Well because in my eyes it's more of a Team-up comic. The Flash and The Atom seems to have just as large roles in this as Hal Jordan and his merry band of intergalactic cops do so you might as well call this "Brave and The Bold, Zombie Edition". Also, Now they HAVE to do a Marvel Zombies crossovers. There will be blood if you do not comply with my nerdy wet dreams!

But what I could not imagine is what I would find in said comic. Now I'm totally aware of the Green Lanterns will powered ring and the stuff he can do with it. But as I used Blackest Night as my jumpng on point, I was kinda baffled by the stupidity of the Captain Planet-esque every-corpse-has-its-own-element thing that I was thinking
... Maybe Geoff Johns forgot he was writing a DC comic and started writing his saturday morning cartoon wet dream?

Or maybe he was teasing something? Captain Planet the Comic book? Nah. That could never happen. Could it?


Speaking of Capcom..


According to The Escapist, Capcom has decided to come up with the most ridicolous DRM in gaming history. You see, Capcom has decided that to manage THE SCOURGE OF USED GAME SALES (Thunderstrike in Background) their new release of Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D for the 3DS will not only support only ONE Save Game but by Extension Only One Playthrough. This is the stupidest thing I have ever heard since The American remake of "The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo" (and allow me to say that that is a retarded fucking idea). Capcom have bought alot of cheap fan thumbs-up over the years. Mega Man 9, Bionic Commando Re-armed and Marvel vs. Capcom 3 just to name a few, and this is SURE to kick them in the face. So what? Did they figure that they were so far ahead in the Awesome-O-meter that they could take some REALLY stupid chances? For this is not only going to hurt your PAYING, LEGAL, CUSTOMERS. This is going to hurt YOU. I understand that used game sales are hurting the industry. Heck, one could argue that it actually hurts MORE than piracy does. Giving money only to retailers and none to the developers is a very cruel move and I can see why you're upset. However, pulling off a dick move like this certainly ISN'T going to help. Then make a EULA with retailers, disallowing them to resell your products after they have bought them used from a customer. Really, the customers aren't gonna be that hurt by this, sure buying new games as opposed to used ones are expensive, but most hobbies are. If you can afford a 3DS or a PS3, then you should have more than enough to lay out the money for at least one of the truly top tier games that rarely comes out anyway. And on the retailers side, just what are you playing at? Retailers has it rough after digital distribution has grown, true, but not to this extent. This is just being a money-grubbing greedy person and nobody likes those guys. Sure, you may have to downsize in the next couple of years but you have to realise that retailing as a business really isn't going anywhere. There will always be people who prefer the feeling of looking through a store, looking at the shiny box-art and what-not. Making a fieldtrip out of going to your local mall, shopping, and then ending it at the restaurant floor is a international tradition now that will last for years to come.

Being directly mean to your customers is going to burn you in the long run, And I'm pretty sure heads are going to roll in the marketing department over this one.

To those interested, you can find the original Escapist article HERE

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Anti-Heroic Addendum

As I showed my blogpost to my friends, one of them (a girl, such mystical creatures indeed) had a pretty good counter argument. You see, she argued that the "Superhero frontfigure" thing wasn't very up to date or at all in touch with todays industry. Granted, what she actually said was "I've never cared for Superheroes, I've always rooted for the villains and bad boys". But you know, potato, tomato, Shigeru Miyamoto, really.

Because she's kinda right, I myself have always been a big fan of both Disney's version of Hades and The Joker. Some bad guys are just so unquestionably evil yet somehow relatable that you can't help but feel a little sorry for them when they loose. After all, why do you think Iznogood or Pinky & The Brain ever got so popular? We know that what they want is horrible yet seeing them fail, time and time again when they come close to actually suceeding is why we enjoy their company. It's kind of sadistic really, we want them to succeed because we recognize the feeling from when we try to swat that one fly that JUST. WON'T. DIE.

But, that was kind of my point in my previous post. We have become very used to the worldweary Humphrey Bogart-type character that doesn't have perfect morals but is doing good for the rest of us in the long run. Characters switching sides has become a stable of modern culture and in particular the Manga fanbase where this among some has become known as "The Vegeta Complex" based on the very popular Dragonball Z, where on of the invading Saiyans that was the main villain in the first storyarc turn out to be one of the main characters most powerful allies in the long run. This is also seen in American popculture, with examples like Gambit from X-men, and Spike from the Buffy The Vampireslayer franchise. Of course the most well-known example of side-switching is Darth Vader. The one who started out as a noble jedi, betrayed his brethen due to the potential loss of his wife and children (which he ultimately lost anyway, cheery, eh?) and back into a hero when his son needed him the most.

Isn't this kind of naive? to assume that EVERYONE ultimately will hold up their end of a bargain like Hades or come to our aid in battle for the honor of the lost like Vegeta? One of the things The Dark Knight actually got right was this line of dialogue: "Some people just want to see the world burn". And while The Dark Knight might have been an open letter of sympathy to the Bush administration (Another article, promise) it actually had a point. Human beings can be fairly stubborn and some of them to the point of going to their deaths merely to piss off the people they disagree with. How else do you think suicide bombers can actually exist? Whoa, this took a very dark turn. So that's another reason we need our Supermen and Astro Boys, they balance things out with their just as naive pursuit of truth and justice to make our Rick Blaine's and Punishers all the more enjoyable.

so, my computer died on me. The Graphics started gradually dying on a day-to-day basis in a period of 3 months, every day the "The Graphics Driver has encountered an error and has been reset" error became just a little bit more frequent, at first totally unnoticeable to the point of actually exploding the day-before-yesterday. I formatted my computer, with what turned out to be a too scratched windows back-up and now my computer shows black screen beyond the point of the Windows Vista logo before the logon-screen. It's a probable mixed drink of melted graphic-card, bad windows back-up and some kind of servicepack 1 update that triggers it. In case you're wondering, I've been going online from my fathers laptop since the "incident" and I'm now waiting on payday (tomorrow) to go out and buy myself a new graphic-card. I've always taken pride in having at least a decent gaming PC and I'll be damnned if I'm gonna be left behind.


So I was searching online for refferential images of Wallace (or Waldo) online when I saw a group of individuals having a annual meet-up in canada dressed up as Where's Wallace characters. It wasn't a barcrawl and just seemed to be something of a communal nature. That's when I thought, I loved going to Zombiecrawl 2009. It's to this days on my top ten of favorite moments in my life. So why not combine the two? Therefore I have come up with the Where's Wallace Barcrawl. I will get as many people as I can and do a route in Copenhagen. The date isn't set yet, but It's probably going to be some time in September. My cousin Rikke has agreed to do a British version if she can't attend mine on the same date, More on that when I get some more information. But that's that.

Incidentally, you can find my comicstrip All Sorts of Happenings including the strip that caused the barcrawl HERE

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Modern Superhero

Once upon a time, a publisher that would later evolve into DC comics decided to release a story about a man in tights. This was Action Comics #1, the story was called Super-man and the comic has since been hailed as the birth of a Golden Age.

Now to those that don't know, American comics are devided into "ages" based on the state of the industry, or a particular trend. The most referred to are as follows: The Golden Age where the superhero was born, The Silver Age where alot of them were reborn with science fiction origins (to the point of some of them being downright silly) and The Dark Age where everything was put into an ultra serious semi-realistic format (as realistic as an universe with Captain Marvel can be, anyway) with lots of violence and fanservice.

before the now classic superhero format, the closest thing we had to Superman were costumed vigilantes in Pulp books. Magazines with novels of all sorts of stuff, some following the same character and others with 5 or 6 different stories but the only kind that seemed to have survived up to this day and age is romantic fiction aimed at women.

We had Zorro and The Phantom and Mandrake The Magician, and before them, we had Sherlock Holmes and Tarzan. I'm sure you can make arguments for Thor and Hercules (even Jesus) fitting in there somewhere but let's keep it simple.

Now I'm personally convinced that todays Superheroes are actually placeholders for the hero myths. Alot of people scoff at Superman "He's too powerful" they claim "not identifiable with at all" and then they go read Deadpool comics. Seriously, that guy could survive roasting hot dogs on the flipping sun - anyway, here's my counter argument.

You're NOT supposed to identify with Superman (or at least not entirely), he's practically a reimagining of Moses. Born in another world pending destruction, sent down the Nile (or in Supermans case, through space) avoiding all sorts of dangers on his way. Brought up in other living conditions than was meant for him (His actual parents were reknowned scientists, his stepparents were lowly farmers) and then growing up to set an example for the common man. That's what Superman is supposed to be, a better man. By always following his naive sense of right and wrong, not being able to lie and always trying to grab defeat without killing anyone in the process he sets an example for others to follow. Sure Superman could beat people up as much as he wanted, and be king of the world but that's not what he does. Every time he get's in front of a criminal he initially tries to appeal to their conscience before using force. This is a man every other man should strive to be, and it shows.

Problem is, people don't like the whole morality lecture these days. They wanna be able to smoke, drink, generally not give a crap. Of course there's exceptions to the rule but when I venture around in the world (and especially the internet) I meet lots of people that really could take a lesson or two from The Man of Steel.

No, people identify with people like Batman. And I get it, Batman is cool. He's put down to our level by having no powers (other than extreme riches) and having his parents shot in front of him. People identify with El Mariachi because thugs killed his girlfriend and shot his hand so he couldn't play guitar. What is it about revenge that makes us identify with characters? Would we feel better about Superman if he went around in the universe, tirelessly looking for a way to somehow avenge his planet? Would we enjoy Mickey Mouse more if he went looking for his appearantly missing parents?

Anime and Manga seems to be the new go-to place for superheroes. Now alot of manga fans will kick me for this but mangas are basically superhero comics. Akira Toriyama, author of the famous Dragonball series was a huge fan of series like Superman, thus it had a direct impact on his work. Goku was a fugitive from a distant planet that was blown up by a menacing force like Superman, he was able to fly and had super strength. And in a twist he could be compared to Havock from X-men in his ability to shoot beams from his hands (Kamehameha!).

So I think that fans of modern shounen are ignoring the resemblance to western superheroes in their beloved franchises. Monkey D. Luffy is like Mr. Fantastic or Plastic Man and can stretch all he wants, Uzumaki Naruto can multiply, just like Multiple Man and Conan from Case Closed! is a huge fan of Arthur Conan Doyle and an ace detective like Batman or more obviously Sherlock Holmes. The main differences are of course the art style, which in Mangas case are influenced heavy by the artist (and so-called Kami No Manga/God of Manga) Osamu Tezuka that created his Astroboy character based on his work as an animator for Disney (thus the resemblance between him and the former mentioned mouse)

So where is the Superheroes at the home country USA going? Well, DC comics that started the whole thing is rebooting all of their franchises, and the well-known and established characters from all the big companies are facing increasingly darker themes like death, divorce, rape, religion, racism and miscarriages. While I like that some of these themes are discussed and presented in modern media (Red Arrow being the first singledad in superhero comics) they are far more often disposed off as soon as there are drops in the economy. Editors even going as far as killing of small innocent girls (Red Arrows daughter) or having even Spiderman selling his love of his life to the devil. Dark times indeed, and people are outraged every time.

But that's part of the problem, stories like these have shock value and this makes the major corporations have dollar signs in their eyes. People are going to be buying the comics if the death of a well known character is advertised on the cover. It's silly, shallow and never going to end.

Yet I feel like the heroes are in an era of change. The movies have increasingly bigger influence on the medium as a whole, and both DC and Marvel are busy producing more and more TV-series.

Superheroes will continue to set an example for the common man to better himself, doing what they do because they it's simply right, and let's hope that even a few of us follow the example to always do the right thing as well.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

About The Duke

I'm kind of late to the party on this one, but I might as well tell you all what's wrong with"Duke Nukem Forever".

Lack of relevance. Duke was a smash hit back in the 90's along with Spawn and Youngblood. In some ways he was a carry-over from what comic fans call "The Dark Age" of comics where all superheroes were supposed to be 'dark' and 'cool'. This resulted in Superman dying in "the Death of Superman", Batman breaking his back (in "Knightfall"), Green Lantern/Hal Jordan going bananas and trying to KILL EVERYONE (In "DC F'ed up", they kissed the booboo and made it better later) and Spider-man's "Clone Saga" (try keeping up with it, I dare you). To properly explain what actually happened, let me go off on a tangent with some history:

It's normally said that "The Dark Age" was born with the coming of Alan Moore's "Watchmen" and Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns". While both of them had their own political statement, comic editors thought that people were buying them because of the shock value, sex and bloody violence rather than the actual (well-written) stories. So while DC was killing off Superman and Marvel were trying to switch out Peter Parker with some other guy in a hoodie (Ben Reilly/Scarlet Spider, long confusing story). The newly formed Image comics leaped into action with the really good, but also extremely dark and gorey "Spawn" and shot into the air like a magic beanstalk.

Meanwhile in Videogameland, the console wars were well underway. Super Mario's lighthearted Mickey Mouse-like antics were challenged by a blue hedgehog called Sonic from the smaller company Sega. This guy had attitude and was supposed to be the 'cool' alternative to Nintendo's Mario. Sega even went ahead with a pretty agressive strategy:

Now, my basic theory is this. Duke started out as a pretty basic PC-platformer with a guy shooting up stuff. There were tons of those back then, most of them taking place in grey places or sewers. I like to call this "The Grey Era" jokingly. I didn't have much of a console back then (and were barely alive, I'm from 1990), but somehow the developers chose to jump from a platformer and into a shooter - making "Duke Nukem 3D" one of the definitive first person shooters, and even GAMES of the era. People often mention him along with "Doom" and "Wolfenstein 3D" which both changed the world of games completely in their own right. That's a pretty big deal for a game. I have the feeling that Duke was a result of the thought that 'dark sells'. Duke was running around gunning down aliens with tons of gore, and even had the ability to watch half a second of porn in the very first stage on a theatre screen. You were able to give money to a stripper later on. Duke himself, of course, was a huge muscular guy with huge guns and an action movie personality. Every sentence he spoke was literally a quote.

So when "Duke Nukem Forever" FINALLY came out, it was as I had expected. A reminiscence of that weird spot between the Cold War and 9/11 where the only real action most guys got was from pop culture. And that's what I got. A dumb linear shooter.

So why does everyone hate him now? Well, 14 years in development and you come back with linearity and no cover controls in the era of "Call of Grand Theft Battle Shock: Combat Effect"? That's like swinging your junk around inside a nunnery. Things aren't gonna get pretty, and they certainly didn't. People were outraged. "FORCED STORY PROGRESSION?! IN THE ERA OF FALLOUT 3?! OUTRAGEOUS I SAY!" Personally, as a movie nerd, I love the game. But that's the thing. I don't think this is a game for gamers, It's more of a game for... cinephiles? Let's call it a shooter for that one guy that isn't terribly impressed having to live through World War II and Vietnam over and over again.