Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Yet Another Shitty Book Cover


Maybe it’s just me, but this cover just gives me the giggles.

Something about the absurd juxtaposition of a black male model (admittedly, my own assumption) stomping down an alleyway brandishing a broadsword and donning a goddamn crown; just seems silly to me.

In many ways, the Chuck Taylor’s are kind of the icing on the cake in terms of the silly little details of this cover.

The really weird part about this cover, is the fact that, from a purely technical standpoint; it’s actually not all that bad.

The coloring and blending of the various elements is done well enough, largely banking off of the oh-so-infamous Michael Bay technique of “oranges and blues.”

The model’s pose is striking and suits the layout well enough.

Really, it’s the core premise of the African American, sword and revolver wielding “Street King” that ruins what, in many ways; could have been a surprisingly decent cover.

Let that be a lesson to all you potential authors:

DON’T WRITE STUPID SHIT.

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Character Designs Via HeroMachine!

I’d just like to kick things off by saying “thank you.”

Today marks the 1 year anniversary of The Azn Badger’s Blog, so “thanks” for reading and/or commenting, I assure you it’s very much appreciated on my end.

Anyway, sappy bullshit aside, let’s get to the actual post, shall we?

Have you ever been to a site called HeroMachine.com?

I forget what I was searching for, but I ended up stumbling across this site while I was Google-ing last night; and boy am I glad I did.

As it so happens, HeroMachine is a Flash based web-tool that essentially serves as a superhero character generator.

Using a very straightforward and intuitive “paper doll” mechanic similar to the one’s found in the Smackdown! vs. RAW videogames, you’re able to create and accessorize your own characters.

Pictured: The interface.

While normally I’d write this kind of thing off as a waste of time akin to a Facebook game, after tooling around with it for awhile; I became enamored with it’s breadth of content.

The artwork for all of the items/parts in it’s library is extremely well-drawn, plus there’s so much shit to choose from that I rarely found myself frustrated in terms getting what I wanted out of it.

Anyone who’s read this blog before probably knows that I’m a pretty big Marvel/DC comic fan; so HeroMachine ended up being a lot of fun for me.

That being said, here are some of the designs I ended up coming up for a comic book inspired story idea I had awhile back:

Pictured: Zero, the morally questionable protagonist.

This one is of the main character.

Inspirations for this design include some Deadpool/Deathstroke references in the mask and body pattern, as well as a bit of Cable in the boots.

I don’t know what it is, maybe I was just in a Rob Liefield sort of mood yesterday…

Pictured: 2nd draft of Zero.

This one is a 2nd draft of the main character.

Changes include some tweaks to his belt to seem more practical/realistic, removal of the Cable boots to make his body lines seem more sleek, the addition of some Beetle or Batman-like “ears” to the mask, and the addition of a katana to see what he’d look like with something for an accessory.

At this point I’m leaning towards the 2nd design, though I might have to color it to see how well the body patterns work out.

Pictured: Fanto, an interdimensional being and fairly major antagonist.

This one is of a pretty big villain in the story, who also happens to serve as comic relief from time to time.

I know that doesn’t really make sense, but bear with me…

Anyway, inspirations include Dormammu for the armor and stature, with just a hint of Baron Zemo in the form of the fuzzy bits on his neck and cape.

The main idea I was working from while putting this one together was that I wanted him to seem imposing and “war-like,” while at the same time just a little bit over-the-top so as to make him kind of hard to take seriously.

I think the goofy helmet and gaudy cape do enough to make this clear, however I might have to tweak it some more to make him seem less powerful.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for now.

Check back tomorrow for the beginning of an awesome new Top 10 list!

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Thoughts On Zack Snyder’s Superman

I’ve always felt that Superman was one of the more difficult superheroes to make good stories for.

I like the old-timey nature of the character, and I appreciate the values he represents, but for the most part; Kal-El of Krypton is just too damn powerful for his own good.

Seriously man, you could probably count all of Superman’s known weaknesses/vulnerabilities on 1 hand,

Taking that into account, it’s hard to deny the difficulty writers face when trying to create drama for the man of steel.

Inevitably, most Superman stories end up being centered around a villain scheming to do destroy the Earth/Metropolis/Jimmy the Cub Reporter; thereby testing the heroes’ mettle in an indirect fashion.

Oh Silver Age comics, how I love thee.

While said storytelling device is indeed effective for the most part, honestly; it gets kind of old after awhile.

Watching Superman race to save Lois, or pick up a mountain to save a busload of school kids is fun, but prefer my superheroes’ biggest threats to be of the more direct sort.

In short, I prefer it when my heroes are in just as much peril as the people they are trying to save.

I suppose it should be no surprise that, of all the Superman trades I own; The Death of Superman is easily my favorite.

FUCK YES.

Which brings me to Zack Snyder’s upcoming film, The Man of Steel.

Very little has been publicized in regards to the film’s plot or cast, other than the fact that it’s a *gasp* REBOOT, but given that Snyder is the director; I think we all know what to expect.

Over-the-top imagery and color correction, an overbearing soundtrack, absurd levels of graphic violence, and more than a handful of gratuitous slow-motion fight sequences.

Bingo.

While all of the above do in fact add up to a pretty extravagant audio/visual experience, the sad fact of the matter is that Zach Snyder’s shtick just doesn’t do it for me.

The man definitely has an eye for angles and gorgeous visuals, but of the films of his that I’ve seen, I felt the pacing was meandering at best, and there was a distinct lack of “heart” to the presentation of the story.

That being said, while I have an idea of what to expect from a Zack Snyder Superman, in truth it’s very hard for me to comprehend why he was selected to do it.

Superman fuckin’ is heart.

That's right Mati, show 'em what heart's all about!

Richard Donner’s first 2 Superman films with Christopher Reeve did an incredible job in capturing this aspect of the character, that to this day many people, myself included; still think of Reeve as the finest representation of Superman in any medium.

That's a pretty goofy smirk, but even so; he's still Superman in my book.

In that sense, the new Superman, Henry Cavill; as well as Snyder himself have their work cut out for them.

Hmm, I seem to have gone off on a tangent.

The reason I started this post tonight came as a result of reading that Michael Shannon will be playing General Zod in The Man of Steel.

While I have no doubt that Shannon will do well in the role, as I was very impressed with his performance in Revolutionary Road; it bothers me to know that General Zod is being re-used for the film.

It’s as if the producers/writers are afraid to stray away from the success of Richard Donner’s films.

Superman has a pretty solid gallery of rogues to pick from, and truth be told; aside from Terrence Stamp’s brilliant portrayal of the character in Superman II, General Zod has never really been one of my favorites.

*Sigh* I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of that.

Knowing Zack Snyder, and his penchant for going over-the-top with things; I’m guessing there’s going to be several villains in the film, if not an entire army or some shit.

I’m sorry, but I just can’t picture a Zack Snyder film without a SLOW-MOTION 100-on-1 fight sequence.

In that sense, I’d bet that the movie will reference the recent Last Son and New Krypton storylines; thereby giving Mr. Snyder an excuse to have hundreds of Kryptonians flying around chucking cars at each other.

Pictured: Promotional art for Zack Snyder's Superman.

While that could be fun I guess, honestly I’d at least prefer to see a different villain take center stage.

How about fuckin’ Brainiac?

He’s pretty much at the top tier of Superman’s list of baddies and his back story has been ret-conned to have ties to Kal-El’s origins, what more could you want!?

 

Holy shit, he looks like fuckin' Kojak...

Better yet, since Christopher Nolan’s been kind enough to put Bane in his upcoming The Dark Knight Rises, why not throw everyone a bone and put Doomsday in the new Superman movie?

Sure, he’s not interesting enough to carry a whole movie, but goddamnit; Superman’s at his best when he’s punching things, and Doomsday’s one of the only baddies he’s got that he can really slug it out with.

While I’m the topic of punching things, why not give us some Metallo action!?

 

Who the fuck wouldn't want THIS in their movie!?

Oh yeah, ’cause Metallo’s boring and nobody likes him…

But c’mon man, he looked like James Coburn in the cartoon, surely that has to count for something:

 

"You know what time it is? Time me for to kick your ass..."

I apologize, I’m rambling.

My point is:

Superman Returns made the mistake of playing it way too safe, and in the process brought nothing new to the table; least of all villains or characters.

While Zack Snyder’s excessive style can be obnoxious at times, he has an opportunity to really try something different with his take on Superman; and I’d hate to see that hindered by a story that recycles villains used in films made almost 40 years ago.

That being said, here’s hoping that for fuckin’ once we get to see a Superman movie with some different villains; hopefully not including Nuclear Man.

Wow, you mean there actually exists a photo of Nuclear Man where he isn't screaming or shooting lightning bolts!?

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Fallout 3 Didn’t Do It For Me…

Fallout 2 is one of my favorite games of all time.

I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve stepped into the boots of the savior of Vault 13, but I’d figure the number would have to be close to triple digits.

For the most part I skipped Fallout 1, largely due to the absurd degree of enjoyment I experienced from my time with the sequel.

That being said, Fallout 2 had a charm to it that few other games, in my eyes; have managed to live up to.

See? CHARMING.

There’s just something about the inherent minimalism of the first 2 Fallout games, and indeed most text heavy adventure games; that lends so much to the experience.

Reading a graphic description of how I just blew some poor shmuck’s eyeball out his ear, while watching the same shit different day stock death animation play out; was a primitive gameplay element that really worked for me.

Which brings me to my feelings on Fallout 3.

In short, I really didn’t care much for Fallout 3.

Being as it’s a Bethesda product, I came into the game fully expecting the game to play like “Oblivion With Guns,” (and equally shitty animations) and to be honest; I don’t think anyone could dispute the fact that it does.

You got your Oblivion in my Fallout! No wait... THIS SUCKS!!!

There was a time in my life when I played a lot of Oblivion.

I missed out on Morrowind, but regardless; Oblivion was a neat game with a colorful world and an impressive breadth of content to uncover.

Sure, there were a shit ton of problems and issues that cropped up while you played it, but for the most part; my time with Oblivion was a positive experience.

Fallout 3 however, despite borrowing several ideas and gameplay systems from Oblivion; just didn’t do it for me.

Kind of like Puke Face Zellwegger.

The first major problem that I’d like to address in Fallout 3, was the fact that the dialogue system feels weak compared to Oblivion, or even previous Fallout games.

That’s right, I said “first.”

As stupid/pointless as the speechcraft system in Oblivion was, I kind of liked the idea of playing a brief mini-game to stand-in for the very real process of developing a rapport with someone.

In short, Oblivion gave one the option to improve their standing with a person through idle chit-chat, thusly expanding the number of subjects they could converse with them about; and the depths of which they could probe into said topics.

Fallout 3 ties it’s dialogue options directly to your character’s skill ratings, with speech skill centric options being listed with a percentage of success statistic.

In other words, if you have a high enough rating in appropriate areas; then a special speech option becomes available.

What I discovered, early on; was the fact that all of these special speech options, were the “right” thing to say.

"Success!" Get used to seeing this a lot...

In Fallout 2, the “right” thing to say wasn’t necessarily the appropriate thing to say.

I can recall an instance or 2, particularly in New Reno; wherein I said something that seemed lucid, that seemed like what needed to be said; only to have the character I was speaking to take offense to my logic and blow me off.

This wasn’t because I didn’t have a high enough speech rating, but rather because I failed to read the character of their personality properly, and simply said the “wrong” thing.

By my reckoning, there wasn’t a single person I wasn’t able to talk down in Fallout 3.

With all of the “right” dialogue choices clearly outlined for me, all of the guess work and intricacies of conversations faded away the moment my skill ratings got high enough.

Honestly, the “right” comments were so boldly outlined; that  I’m pretty sure I managed to get through more than a few conversations without even reading what people were saying.

That’s enough about that, let’s move on; shall we?

I think a huge part of the problem for me, was the scrounger/pack rat mentality the game instills in you through scattering usable/pick-up-able items fuckin’ EVERYWHERE.

I understand that about 80% of what you find in the game is in fact junk, and not really all that useful; but the fact of the matter is, there’s simply too much shit to pick up/look at/jam up your ass.

Do I really need to be able to pick up a garden gnome? Or worse yet, do I really need the option to turn on a useless ham radio?

Seriously, I don’t even want to think about how many minutes or hours of my life I spent dumping shit out of my inventory, picking up a busted-ass rifle, using said rifle to repair my slightly less busted-to-shit rifle, and re-picking up my previously dumped shit.

I hardly got anywhere in the main story of Fallout 3, quitting around the time I first got power armor; but rest assured, I did every fuckin’ fetch quest and sidequest up to that point.

I’m a completist, I do shit like that.

That’s why sandbox/open world games never work out for me, ’cause in trying to do everything, I end up accomplishing nothing.

Pictured: Agent 47 demonstrating the Azn Badger's typical reaction to sandbox gameplay.

*Ahem!* Let’s get back on topic, shall we?

Another gripe I had with Fallout 3 that was somewhat similar to the hoarding bid’ness of the gameplay, was the fact that items and equipment felt somewhat “cheaper.”

I use the word “cheaper” in the sense that, with so many items strewn about the environments; the frequency of quality items, or failing that; shitty items that can be pawned for profit, made most every item I ran across seem far less important or special.

In Fallout 2, good armor and guns were really fucking hard to get your hands on unless you were a really skilled thief, had a shit ton of money, or managed to kill someone equipped with said items.

All of the above methods required either high skill ratings, a little energon, or a lot of luck to enact.

"More than you imagine, Optimus Prime..."

Not only that, even if one were to have all of the above going for them; the number of items in any given environment was significantly lower than in Fallout 3, resulting in items being scarcer, and thusly more vital.

In Fallout 3, I can’t think of a single moment wherein I couldn’t afford to buy whatever the fuck I wanted, nor can I think of a time in which my inventory wasn’t full of decent shit that I was never going to use due to the extraordinary wealth of better shit I’d run across on a regular basis.

I think the worst example of this that I can think of, was at the very beginning of the game.

I just came out of the Vault, and the game told me to go to Megaton.

Given that I’m me, and I’m not one to go anywhere without looking for hidden goodies first; the first thing I did, was run up onto a collapsed highway.

To my surprise, I happened across a hoard of bandits that wanted my nuts.

Despite my being armed with little more than a baseball bat, using the power of circle strafing and bunny hopping; I beat the ever-loving shit out of about 20 bandits and took all of their shit.

Yeah, I was basically doing this to people with a bat...

That’s right, I fought 20 bandits, with a bat; and took all their good shit, thusly putting me ahead of the curve in terms of equipment and weaponry for, I don’t know; THE WHOLE FUCKING GAME.

Speaking of killing 20 bandits with a bat, that brings me to another gripe I had about Fallout 3: the “cheapness” of life within the game.

Killing someone, anyone; especially in the early portions of Fallout 2, was a fuckin’ EVENT.

Given the turn-based, purely statistic based structure of Fallout 2’s gameplay, it was very much appropriate that difficult battles; wherein your character or his party were severely outclassed or outnumbered, were really fuckin’ hard to win.

That's right, get used to listening to Ron Perlman tell you that you just died like a little bitch.

I’d never say Fallout 2’s combat was realistic, but it’s inherent difficulty made it seem appropriate given the nature of the game’s environment.

Fallout 2 was a mean game that often took it upon itself to dick-slap you across the face and remind you that, as cool as your character was; he was still just a man.

As opposed to a Batman, who is of course a symbol; and thusly cannot be killed or corrupted.

Fallout 3 seems to have tossed this concept out the motherfuckin’ window and into a 4-lane highway.

As mentioned above, I took out 20 bandits, with a bat; all within the first 5 minutes of the game.

Admittedly, that was kind of cool at the time, as I can recall humming the Conan theme at some point during all the mayhem and carnage; however after it started happening every 5 minutes, it started to bother me.

During my time with Fallout 3, I killed hundreds upon hundreds of raiders, robots and crab monsters.

I'LL KILL ALL OF YOU!!!!!

I did that in Fallout 2 as well, (with the exception of the crab monsters, of course) but the only difference is; it took me the whole fucking game to achieve said kill stats, not the first half of the game.

You what’s really fucked up though?

Of all the things I killed, I’m pretty sure I ended up taking out Super Mutants more than anything else.

SUPER MUTANTS.

The LOU FUCKING FERRIGNO’S of the Fallout universe.

Holy shit, way to rock the Ultimate Warrior hair Hulk.

In Fallout 2, Super Mutants would utterly wreck your shit.

You could be decked out in power armor, and rockin’ a motherfuckin’ Bozar; but Super Mutants could still tear your ass up unless you came in with a plan.

In Fallout 3, I found myself killing Super Mutants with alarming regularity.

Not only that, I did so with leather armor and a fuckin’ hunting rifle.

To be fair, I could do that in Fallout 2 as well, but only because that game afforded you the option of scoring pinpoint shots to people’s eyes and radioactive packages; making it easier to disable or severely cripple your enemies.

*Sigh* Believe it or not, I’ve got more; so I’m just gonna’ dump these last few gripes in bullet point fashion.

Money is far too easy to acquire, given that anyone will buy anything from you for a decent price, even if you never put a single skill point into barter like I did.

Dungeon textures and layouts are cookie cutter at best.  There wasn’t a Vault or cave I walked into that felt at all different or unique.

Karma is too easy to acquire, (through giving water to the unfortunate) nor is it seemingly all that important.

Perks are too frequent, and too powerful.  Seriously, since when does Bloody Mess give you a damage bonus?

Weapons and enemies aren’t varied enough.  Like the dungeon textures, everything kind of felt same shit different day.

Anyway, there’s probably other shit I can say about Fallout 3; but in all honesty, I think I’m running out of steam.

I bought Fallout 3 for $10 retail, knowing full well that I probably wasn’t going to like it.

From what I read and saw before picking it up, it seemed to me like a pretty good game; but in my heart, I knew from the get go that in my eyes; it just wasn’t Fallout.

In all, it’s still a neat game world; with some neat characters and places, but for me it all just seems like too much.

I think the first-person perspective and 3D engine hurt the game in the sense that it forced the game world to contain all the things that a real world would.

In the real world, cans probably would be fuckin’ everywhere following a nuclear holocaust.

SHIT. EVERYWHERE.

In the world of Fallout 2, said cans indeed were apparent; however they served as static scenery and couldn’t be interacted with.

In Fallout 3, pointless interactive shit like this is fuckin’ EVERYWHERE, simply because; in order to maintain the illusion of a livable 3D world, it must.

Anyway, I ended up selling my copy of Fallout 3 to my brother; so for me, the nightmare is over.

Hopefully this marks the end of my days raging on Fallout 3.

Come to think of it, here’s hoping my brother doesn’t suffer the same fate…

 

 

 

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Summon Russell Casse!

I guess this marks the second instance that a legendary fighter pilot has been granted the honor of being given their very own Magic card on this blog.

Well, that is if you consider Jek Porkins to be “legendary.”

I suppose he’s legendarily obese and full of FAIL, but other than that…

Okay fine, today marks the first occasion that a legendary fighter pilot has been granted the honor of being given their very own Magic card on this blog; said pilot of course being Russell Casse.

To the sad individuals that are totally in the dark as to who Russell Casse is, I present to you the following clip:

That’s right, Russell was the drunk and loserly Vietnam vet who courageously saved the fate of the planet (well, Area 51 anyway) at the conclusion of Independence Day.

Claiming to have been previously abducted by the alien invaders, Russell launched his selfless kamikaze attack with the intent of paying them back, not just for blowing up every major city in the world; but for the horrible experiments they performed on him during the time he was in their custody.

Curiously enough, while Russell abduction claims were never confirmed to be true during the running time of the film, I think I remember reading a promotional comic book for Independence Day that actually elaborated on his past dealings with the aliens, revealing that he had in fact been telling the truth despite his perpetually oafish and drunken demeanor.

This could be crazy talk on my part, or worse yet; the result of bad rumors passed around the schoolyard while the movie was still playing in theaters, but I’m about 80% sure I’m not bullshitting you.

Anyway, consider the above card a tribute to Randy Quaid’s awesome and wholly memorable performance in Independence Day.

For what it’s worth, know that I belong to that “special” group of people that actually like Independence Day, not just as a novelty; but as a genuinely fun movie.

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Thoughts On The Dark Knight Rises Rumor Mill

 

Jim Lee Batman FTW.

I happened upon an article on IGN earlier today that ruminated on some possible plot details of Christopher Nolan’s upcoming Batman three-quel, The Dark Knight Rises.

Said article made mention of Talia al Ghul and the League of Shadows (“Assassins” in the comics) likely having a role in the central plot of the film, which most likely points to Tom Hardy’s previously announced role as Bane taking a hit in screen time and dramatic relevance.

"Bane takes backseat to NO ONE!!!"

My personal objections to this potential snubbing of Bane aside, I honestly feel that Talia could be an interesting element to the overarching story of the Nolan-verse of Batman lore.

With Catwoman already announced for the cast of the film, we now have 2 very potent femme fatales of Batman’s rogues present in 1 film.

Combine that with a Bruce Wayne who’s very likely still shaky around the lady-folk due to his previous love getting, y’know; blown the fuck up in the previous movie, and you have the makings of a very intricate and deceptive love triangle.

Eew! Batman has cooties!

In addition to this, Talia serves as an effective anchor to Batman Begins in the form of her familial relation to the primary villain of that film, Ra’s al Ghul; making for an epic plot thread that, if executed properly; will lend a sense cohesiveness to the whole trilogy.

While nothing is certain, least of all the plot elements mentioned above; the thought of Bane being cast as anything less than a primary villain feels like kind of a letdown.

When Bane was initially announced as a villain for The Dark Knight Rises, I was hoping against hope that he was going to be the villain, that is; the main foil for Batman regardless of whatever notables of his rogues gallery ended up being cast in the film.

Upon reading that Talia was a possible element of the film though, it makes it hard to picture Bane as little more than the muscle, or worse yet; a pawn to the machinations of the League of Shadows.

Despite my personal disappointment in said news, (anything short of a live-action Knightfall will probably fall short in my eyes…) it’s interesting to note that this particular plot rumor actually follows the Batman comics pretty closely.

Not long ago, I was fortunate to acquire a copy of the somewhat rare Batman story arc entitled Legacy.

I PAID!

In Legacy, the Bat-Family (including Catwoman) is charged with preventing Ra’s Al Ghul, his daughter Talia, Bane, and the entire League of Shadows from unleashing a catastrophic plague on humankind.

While the story is indeed “comic booky” to the point of being unfeasible for live-action adaptation, the one element of the story that drew to pick it up, was that Legacy was known to contain the only legitimate rematch between Batman and Bane post-Knightfall.

While I honestly can say, grudgingly; that the rematch was not at all worth the considerable price of admission, it was fascinating to see Bane incorporated into a Ra’s Al Ghul story nonetheless.

In Legacy, Bane’s role was that of a stand-in for Bruce Wayne as Ra’s Al Ghul’s potential heir.

A key storyline that has often been used in interactions between Batman and Ra’s Al Ghul has always been that of Ra’s wishing to marry Talia off to Bruce and have him take control of the League of Shadows.

Hell, at one point Batman actually went through with all of the above; only to turn his back on Ra’s and Talia after a moral disagreement.

"Moral Disagreement" of course being code for "Naked Swordfight."

The point is, Bane is and always has been somewhat of a cracked mirror image of Batman, such that their origins and motivations are nearly opposite, but their abilities and steadfast natures are nearly identical.

Going with this line of thinking, the writers cleverly wrote Bane into Legacy as Ra’s new heir, as well as future husband to Talia.

If Christopher Nolan and his crew were to associate Bane with the League of Shadows in a fairly logical (by comic book standards) manner, such as the one listed above; I see no reason why it wouldn’t work out.

My hope remains that Tom Hardy is given free reign to take center stage as the villain of The Dark Knight Rises, but with Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman, the yet to be cast role of Talia, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s yet to be announced (or confirmed) role in the film also floating around somewhere in the script; it seems unrealistic to think that anyone will be claiming this film as their own.

Much like every Christopher Nolan film of the post-Batman Begins era, I’d expect The Dark Knight Rises to be very much an ensemble affair, making it unrealistic to expect a singular, commanding performance from anyone in the cast ala Heath Ledger and Jack Nicholson’s Joker(s).

Bane’s a heavy for sure, but his charisma and personality can’t hold a candle to the endless possibilities that a character like The Joker presents to actors.

That being said, I’m a Batman nut, and a Bane fanatic; so The Dark Knight Rises is basically the biggest comic book movie ever for me.

Gonna’ be hard to wait for this one…

 

 

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New Godzilla Comic!

Godzilla is one of my biggest heroes.

Anyone that has read even a single article on this blog is probably aware of that by now.

I’ve been watching Godzilla movies since the cradle, and despite the character’s less than stellar film catalog over the past decade; I’ve remained an ardent fan ever since.

One particular aspect of Godzilla mythology that was particularly special to me in my youth however, was the Dark Horse comic series of the early 90’s.

While there was in fact a Marvel Godzilla comic sometime before the one in the 90’s, even as a little kid I found the art, storylines and characters to be somewhat disagreeable.

Maybe it's just me, but I don't like Avengers in my Godzilla...

That’s saying a lot coming from a hardcore Godzilla fan.

Anyway, the 90’s Dark Horse comics were, in my humble opinion; actually quite good.

I still have every issue I collected from way back in the day, and I find that every time I crack one open for a little taste of nostalgia; I end up having a good time.

While the art and writing staff would change pretty much from issue to issue, I found that Brandon McKinney’s pencils stood as some of my favorite in the series; not to mention Arthur Adams’ always stellar cover work.

My first, and favorite issue, featuring the work of both the aforementioned artists.

The overarching plot of the series concerned the exploits of “G-Force,” a team of Godzilla-focused Japanese scientists who curiously seem to spend almost no time on Japanese soil.

Over the course of their adventures, they end up doing battle with Godzilla, attempt to protect Godzilla, fight several varieties of alien species, and even travel back and forth through time to thwart the nefarious machinations of an evil scientist.

Needless to say, the storyline wasn’t exactly the main draw of the comic.

The real selling point of the comic, was the same as is typically the case in most Godzilla movies, that of getting a chance to see Godzilla stomp through cities and beat the shit out of other monsters.

... Or in the case of Godzilla vs. Barkley, shut up and jam.

The biggest success of the comic, in my opinion; was that it managed the rather impressive feat of crafting it’s own unique characters and universe, all while maintaining the feel of the Godzilla movies, both new and old.

While there were a few issues that I purposely ended up skipping do to poor artwork or writing, the Dark Horse Godzilla comic of the 90’s is one that I regret not fully collecting, as well as one that I wish had lasted a little longer than it’s 17 issue run.

Fortunately, I happened across a news article on Sci-Fi Japan today announcing the impending release of a brand new American Godzilla comic published by IDW.

While no real details are available as to the nature of the comic at this point, one thing that’s certain, is that Toho is involved in it’s production on an advisory level; and the creators of the comic have been given free reign over their use of the extensive roster of Toho’s monsters.

While it might not seem like a big deal to some, both of these points do quite a bit to bolster my optimism regarding the release of this comic.

The sum of these points is that Toho trusts IDW enough to allow them use their characters; but more importantly, it means that I’ll finally get a chance to read a Godzilla comic where he fights a monster I actually give 2 shits about!

Pictured: A monster I give 2 shits about.

Anyway, the new comic comes out in March, and rest assured; if it comes out in trade paperback and is at least somewhat good, I’ll pick it up without hesitation.

Filed under: Comics, Movies, Tokusatsu, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New Superhero Story Idea

Every now and again I come up with ideas for stories I’d like to write.

More often than not, said stories are best suited for a visual medium like comic books or film.

I rarely, if ever; get around to actually completing these stories, but rest assured, all of them remain safely tucked away in the “vault” of my memory.

Oh yeah, and on countless barely coherent notepad docs stored on my computer…

Anyway, today I came up with a pretty decent premise for a story.

Wait, you mean someone already did a story about an island full of dinosaurs? Damn...

Being as this is a tale coming from the mind of the comic obsessed Azn Badger, the story involves a world where superheroes are pretty commonplace.

The protagonist is a superpowered young man that wishes to be a live the dream of being superhero, though his ability to do so is severely hampered by the nature of his powers.

In short, the man’s superpowers grant him the strength of “almost” one and a half men.

In other words:

He’s not very “super.”

Coincidentally, I imagined him looking kind of like Union Jack, (without the Union Jack, of course) a not-so-super superhero.

Though a formidable street level crime fighter, with excellent fighting skills and a keen mind for strategy and planning; his reputation as a superhero never really grows beyond that of a local urban legend.

In an attempt to spread his influence and make a name for himself, our hero attends a local “superhero mixer.”

By the way, the “mixer” takes place at a superhero’s dumpy apartment.

Hey, just ’cause a guy’s a superhero doesn’t mean he gets a Fortress of Solitude, just for being “super.”

Needless to say, much like Captain Amazing in Mystery Men, sponsorships, either corporate or government based, are a much sought after source of income for most big-name superheroes in this story.

Behold: An awesome actor, in an awesome role, from a shitty movie!

At the “mixer,” our hero gets a chance to rub elbows with some of the more famous (and powerful) heroes in the region, only to find that many of them write him off as a novelty and a disgrace to the “profession” of superhero-ing.

Insulted, humiliated, and more than a little down on himself after the experience, our hero turns his back of the superhero community, and decides to do something more practical (and lucrative) with his abilities:

He becomes a mercenary/hitman dealing exclusively in superhero related contracts.

While most of the details are unclear to me at this point, one of the key scenes I have in mind for the story, is one where our hero takes on the world’s most powerful superhero team; and defeats them (through non-lethal means) single-handedly in a wily Punisher/Bullseye/Spider-Man sort of way.

Another idea I had for the story, was that the strongest member of said team, a young woman; is actually too powerful for him defeat, thusly resulting in him hitting on her out of desperation.

Against all odds, she finds him charming, and the 2 become an unlikely couple.

..... Lesbians(?)

Now, one thing that needs to be said about this story idea, is that the central character is not meant to be sympathetic, nor heroic in any way.

In short, he’s an asshole, and one with a very nasty chip on his shoulder.

His strength as a hero/mercenary, lies within his cunning and intelligence, and besting other, far more powerful superpowered beings in this manner is his way of looking down his nose at them.

Some characters that resemble the protagonist in some way, are Marvel’s Deadpool, Taskmaster, and Bullseye.

All 3 are relatively low-powered, or in the case of the latter 2; unpowered; super-beings, with their resourcefulness and skill usually serving to make up for their meager attributes.

I wouldn’t expect my character to break the fourth wall like Deadpool, however his snarky, loudmouth attitude is something I’ll likely borrow.

Pictured: Why we keep Deadpool around.

For some reason, I’ve always found the idea of a relatively “weak” character somehow conquering a superior opponent, to be downright enthralling.

It worked for me when Cyclops took on the entire X-Men team by himself in the aftermath of the Dark Phoenix Saga.

It worked for me when The Punisher wasted the entire Marvel Universe in Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe.

Hell, it even worked for me when Spider-Man hilariously bested Firelord.

BWAHAHA! Unlikely PWNAGE!

Okay, maybe that last one was fuckin’ stupid, but the others were classics, I swear!

Anyway, I have no idea where I’m going with this story, but it’s something I think I’d like to keep working on for awhile.

Feel free to post ideas or comments!

 

 

Filed under: Comics, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Best Boss Music #12: Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage

Maximum Carnage was a decent beat ’em up in an age when beat ’em ups were a dime a dozen.

Produced by LJN for the Super NES and Genesis, the game followed the storyline of the massive Spider-Man crossover of the same name, with the player taking on the role Spider-Man (duh), or in some cases; his nastier (and cooler) counterpart, Venom.

Aside from a rather harsh difficulty level, the only really glaring deficiency of the game, was it’s lack of 2-player simultaneous support.

Honestly, LJN product or not; nobody in their right mind should ever think it’s okay to release a beat ’em up without a 2 player function.

Behold, the rainbow of ass.

Despite this (huge) flaw, the game did offer some interesting innovations to the genre in the form of special items that bestow the player with aid from other superheroes, and Spider-Man and Venom’s decidedly spidery movesets.

The “superhero summon” system was a decent idea on paper, however the item pickups that activated the function were extremely rare, and often were only useful to the player in very specific circumstances.

I remember hating to use the “summons” sometimes, ’cause every time you did, it would trigger an annoying second or 2 long clip of the summoned character’s “theme music.”

That might not sound too bad to you, but try summoning Black Cat 5 times in a row, see what happens.

Yeah, pretty fuckin’ annoying, right?

*Ahem!* Moving on, the movesets for the 2 protagonists were pretty well thought out for their time.

In addition to the classic one button punch combos, throws, and 2 button screen clearing attacks; both Spider-Man and Venom had the ability to run, jump, backflip, (useful for finding items, hidden areas, and nothing else) climb walls in the background, block attacks with their webbing, swing from web lines, grab enemies with their webbing/symbiote, and even slam 2 enemies’ heads together ala Batman in the Batman Returns game on the Super NES.

While most of these features were elementary for the most part, the addition of the web based moves added a lot to the experience.

In addition to giving the player added flexibility to their approach to various fights, an important factor given how absurdly overpowered some of the bosses could be; the web attacks also served to make good use of the Spider-Man license.

On a side note, while some of the character art… and animations… and backgrounds; are kind of shitty, I’ve always felt that LJN did a pretty decent job with the Spider-Man, and in particular; the Venom sprites.

I said "decent," not "great"....

Not that they managed to do anything else right in the entirety of their game developing existence, but that’s besides the point…

Both are animated fluidly, though Spider-Man looks kind of weird given his oddly dick-shaped head and lack of web pattern on his suit.

I always thought it was cool how both had their own unique animations, with Spider-Man’s being more graceful and Venom’s being more brutish.

One thing that kind of sucked, was the fact that Venom was definitely the more difficult character to use than Spider-Man.

As a kid, I always picked him every chance I got, though his slightly slower attack speed and harder levels made for an experience I rarely made it to the end of.

Pictured: THE reason I rarely beat Maximum Carnage.

While Maximum Carnage was indeed only an average (at best) game, my memories of it run very deep.

I remember reading the comic arc around the same time I played the game, and to this day I feel the harsh atmosphere and violent content of the game do well to live up to the original story.

Nevermind that the comic itself was actually kind of shitty, but bear in mind; I was a young and mostly stupid Azn Badger when I read it, so Venom and a healthy dose of violence were pretty much all I needed to be impressed.

Besides my personal attachment to the source material, another silly little bit of nostalgia worth noting, was the fact that the game cartridge WAS FUCKING RED.

FUCKING. RED.

Remember the stupid fuckin’ gimmick of the golden Legend of Zelda carts?

Remember how many fuckin’ copies that game sold?

Well, my guess is LJN was hoping to cash in on the “colored cart” gimmick; and for all intents and purposes, it worked.

Just ask Killer Instinct

Biter...

I’m not saying the game sold all that well, (my guess is: it didn’t) but for me and my friends, the promise of a BLOOD/CARNAGE RED cart to shove into our Super NES’ was one that was awful tempting.

Anyway, another little gimmick, and one that I never really found any reason to get excited about, even as a kid; was the fact that LJN recruited the rock band Green Jelly to do some of the music for the game.

Now, I don’t know about you; but the only thing I really remember about Green Jelly, was the fact that they did that retardedly awesome rock version of “The Bear Went Over the Mountain” they used in Dumb and Dumber:

While that was indeed really fuckin’ awesome, please bear in mind that I hadn’t even seen Dumb and Dumber by the time I was playing Maximum Carnage.

Oh yeah, and I was a fuckin’ 7 year old kid that was still listening to a GREEN audio cassette of the Ninja fuckin’ Turtles in place of music.

Anyway, Green Marmalade did the soundtrack for the game, and I’ve gotta’ say; while I don’t really know what their songs are/were like, they did a pretty good job with the score for Maximum Carnage.

The score has an appropriately hard rock sound to it, in that the comic arc itself had a mosh pit sort of vibe to it, with Carnage’s mistress, Shriek; acting as the psychic ringmaster to an ongoing street riot in New York for much of the story.

As such, the soundtrack for Maximum Carnage has a very aggressive and sometimes dark sound to it that lends a sense of legitimacy to some of the more serious moments in the narrative.

Just listen the track they use during the cutscenes, it’s simple, but pretty fuckin’ sinister if you ask me:

Standing out as a highlight in the soundtrack though, is the boss music from Maximum Carnage.

Bearing a highly energetic tempo, the boss theme sounds very much the product of a hard rock band:

Truth be told, I really only like the first half of the track, when the primary (digitized) guitar riffs are front and center; however that isn’t to say the track isn’t great from a technical perspective.

My issue with the second half of the track, is that it comes across as being “too fun” for my tastes.

The first half sounds like the background to a fuckin’ supervillain beat down, while the second half sounds a little bit too colorful for it’s own good.

That’s just me though.

Anyway, this has been another (long overdue) installment of the Best Boss Music, tune in tomorrow!

Filed under: Best Boss Music, Comics, Games, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Collaborative Comic Project

A Far Side favorite of the Azn Badger's.

As you might have guessed based on the subject of some of my previous posts, I love comic books.

Though I’m almost exclusively a reader of superhero comics of the DC and Marvel variety, ever since I took a class in “Sequential Visual Narrative” in college; I’ve found myself enamored with the story-telling capabilities of the medium.

That class, with it’s impossibly epic instructor, Jim Blevins; was almost 100% responsibility for getting me back into comics.

 

Pictured: Jim Blevins, on any given Thursday.

While I fancied myself a fledgling pen and paper artist at the time, Blevins taught me how to use some basic techniques and tools that I still use to this day.

Since then, I’ve kept largely to writing most of my story ideas, (of which I have many) though thanks to the artistic confidence/competence I gained from the Sequential Visual Narrative class, I have tried every now and again to make comics of my own.

The problem with making comics, at least for me; comes from managing the workload.

I’m a sketch artist, and a very detail oriented one at that, so when it comes to drawing panels for a comic, each one takes me an ungodly amount of time to manufacture.

In other words:

I think I have it in me to make comics, but I don’t think I could ever do so with any sort of deadline attached.

To date, I have never finished a comic that I set out to make.

 

Pictured: A cover to an unfinished comic.

That being said, in the world of professional comics, the pencillers, inkers, and writers are rarely ever one in the same.

It’s like the movie industry:

With the notable exception of the indefatigable Robert Rodriguez, nobody makes a movie entirely by themselves.

That’s where my buddy Mencius comes in.

As of last week, my buddy Mencius of Another Sunny Morning fame came to me with an idea for a comic.

Though he’s always in the mood for a creative collaboration, I was massively surprised to hear from Mencius that he wanted to make a comic.

The project he had in mind was of the more personal and “indie” variety, much in line with his taste in comics.

While the basic plotline would involve humorous and fairly genuine depictions of ourselves, much of the story would also have a fantastical, hyper-real quality involving exaggerated versions of our desired selves that will likely come across as being somewhat akin to superhero comics.

*Cough!* "Residual Self Image."

While it goes without saying that I was immediately on board for the project, I couldn’t help but feel that this was going to work.

2 creative and motivated friends, with very different artistic and creative styles, working in tandem to write and draw a comic.

While our artistic differences may very well result in the comic book equivalent to a Frankenstein’s monster, (when was the last time you saw characters in 1 panel, drawn by 2 different artists?) I can honestly say that I wouldn’t care.

Working together with friends is fun.

Making comics is a painstaking labor of love.

Put the 2 together, and you have the makings of a project that will drive me nuts and bring me great happiness all at the same time.

It may take awhile to get started on this one, but chances are I’ll start a new website to accommodate the project materials and updates.

Here’s hoping this doesn’t end up like my ill-fated movie project that never so much as reached the pre-production phase…

Filed under: Comics, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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