Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

The Hapa Bro-Cast 02/24/2015


So….. My brother and I randomly sat down to try our hand at a podcast!
Sadly, I think I derailed some of the finer points he was trying to make, but oh well, it was fun to make.
Here’s hoping we do it again sometime!

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New Story Idea

BEST. COVER. EVER.

Well, it’s been about 2 years overdue, but I think I finally came up with a new story idea to keep me occupied for the forseeable future.

Bear in mind, when I say “story idea,” I’m referring to something along the lines of a concept for a comic book, short story, or *GASP!*maybe even a novel!

Pictured: "Novelists."

Don’t worry, I promise I won’t go all counter-culture hipster on you guys.

Anyway, at this point in time, with my idea less than 6 hours old, the whole thing is more of a concept than anything else, but even so I think it has a lot going for it.

In interest of saving some time, namely my own, here’s a basic rundown of what I’m shooting for:

Basically, you take the setting of that movie The Village, (I haven’t seen it, but I’ve had the ending spoiled for me)

... Yeah, chances are I'll never sit down to watch this one.

marry it with the aesthetic and monster populated world of Capcom’s Monster Hunter game series,

Haven't played any of these, not sure if I could put up with the grind-fest gameplay. Even so, the art and music alone have got me tempted to pick one up sometime...

and then give it the Dances With Wolves/The Last Samurai/Avatar treatment.

This may as well be the title of said movies.

Actually, now that I think of it, that doesn’t reflect what I’m shooting for at all…

Here’s my idea, in my own words:

Our hero is a young man that comes from a small village of pre-Dark Ages technological status.

The village is surrounded by wilderness on all sides, and aside from a small water source and a single mountain peak visible from over the treeline, completely isolated.

Basically, the villagers live on the assumption that they are the only humans in their realm; that there is nothing for them beyond the forest.

The reason for this isolationist line of thinking is due to the presence of some truly ghastly and vicious man-eating beasts that live in the forest, thereby making travel through the wild all but impossible.

There is a very distinct border between the territory of the villagers and these creatures, crossing it by even the slightest amount agitates the monsters, yet they never cross this border.

These creatures, the wild landscape they inhabit, should be viewed as representing nature, or rather “the wild unknown.”

The real meat of the story, at least at this point, comes from the fact that sometime in the past, maybe a century or 2 ago, someone from the village in question looked upon his surroundings and found them inadequate.

He was disgusted by the sad state of his village and the fact that it’s inhabitants had begun to turn to inbreeding as a means to preserve their dwindling numbers.

He looked at the mountain in the distance and said to himself:

“I want to see the other side of that mountain.”

He was the first man in the history of the village to adopt this progressive line of thinking.

Think of him as sort of the Prometheus of this particular account of human history.

After rallying others to his cause for a time, this man eventually ended up leading a small but determined expedition into the wild.

Most were eaten by the monsters, several became lost in the woods never to be seen again, and that one man, the one that was responsible for it all, found a new life in a clearing at the opposite end of the wild.

He would be the first human to do so in the history of the realm.

This man would be the founder of a new, expansionist and progressive-minded civilization composed people who, like himself, migrated from their respective “island” villages.

Of course, this particular civilization exists without our hero’s knowledge.

The aforementioned people that became lost in the wild would become consumed by the very landscape around them, transformed into horrific and violent man-beasts.

The “wild” in this story is special in the sense that, to most of the characters in the story; it’s still unknown, it’s still dangerous.

In that sense, the wilderness in this story should be regarded as a truly hostile environment, one that not only presents danger to the humans that venture within, but does so willfully.

In this story, the natural world truly hates humanity, such that it produces horrible creatures specifically for the purpose of keeping man outside of it’s borders.

Think of it as a sort of Gaia-like Earth-spirit that exists to keep man in his place, to keep man from discovering the true depths of his insatiable lust to consume and destroy.

Huh, now that I think of it, it’s kind of like Adam and Eve and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

With monsters, lots and lots of monster…

Anyway, that’s where our Prometheus throws a monkey wrench into the mix by surviving what was supposed to be an impossible endeavor.

In a symbolic sense, I guess Prometheus’ victory is supposed to signify the power and mystery of nature beginning to wilt under the tenacity, determination, and ingenuity of man.

The man-beast population don’t exactly represent both parties, humanity and nature, as one would expect.

Rather, they are a doomed element in the story, a group of survivors that have grown powerful and ugly due to the harshness of their environment.

No longer fully human, they are nevertheless still regarded by the wild as intruders, thusly making them targets for the monsters, as well as complete outcasts to whatever human elements they may encounter.

They are physically powerful, but inbred and prone to illness and early death.

At some point in the story, they will probably engage in violence with the Promethean settlement, as that is simply the only way the 2 civilizations can encounter one another.

I think the angle I’m trying to play with the man-beasts, is to posit to the reader/audience the possibility that perhaps the various creatures inhabiting the realm this particular story takes place in are all actually cut from the same fiber.

That is to say, perhaps the vicious man-eating creatures of the wild are in fact mutated humans that were trapped in the forest for too long, or perhaps man is result of some of the monsters stepping out of said enviroment.

The world of this story is meant to have some subtle magical elements, (no spells though, I fuckin’ hate that shit…) so such transformations could easily happen over a reasonable period of time as opposed to through genetic/evolutionary means.

I’m rambling, I’m sorry.

Anyway, the story is basically about a young man, a hunter raised in a small tradition-oriented society, discovering the true breadth of the world around him.

At this point in time, the only background I have established for him, is that he is hunter who lost a friend to one of the monsters in the woods, thusly resulting in him seeking revenge on said monster years later.

Near as I can tell, it’s his quest to slay this beast that takes him into the wilderness and beyond.

What happens from there, and why, I have no fucking clue.

Anyway, that’s about all I’ve got for now.

Don’t steal my ideas.

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Crappy Book Covers Are Crappy!

Say what you will, it's still THE BEST COVER EVER.

Yesterday’s post was an example of intentionally bad cover art for a book.

Today I figured I would take a moment to show you a few examples of published book covers that are potentially worse from a design standpoint than the juggernaut that was “Dr. Vladimir’s Space Virus.”

Shitty book covers aren’t hard to find, one has only to venture down to the Sci-Fi/Fantasy section of any book store or library to find them.

Or don't. That would be my suggestion anyway.

All of the images that follow were taken at the University of Washington Book Store.

It should be noted that most of these covers were far from the worst I’ve seen.

I blame myself for this, as Barnes & Noble seems to stock a larger quantity of rubbish books with shitty covers.

Good job UW, way to keep the crappy book cover population to a minimum.

Anyway, let’s begin our journey through the world of shitty cover art with the book that prompted me to start this whole day of adventure in the first place:

Werewolf Smackdown by Mario Acevedo.

The moment I saw this on the shelf, I found myself stupefied, gawking in horror at the masterpiece of ass-itude that lay before me.

Now, first thing’s first, Werewolf Smackdown is a truly awful title.

Unless of course THIS was the subject of the story.

In my opinion, the most frustrating part of this cover isn’t the horrendous graphic of the werewolf character, but rather the typography of the title.

The “Down” part of the word “Smackdown” is on a slightly lower plane than the “Smack” resulting in a rather confusing appearance.

I guess one could theorize that this was done intentionally as a visual metaphor to put emphasis on the fact that werewolves are in fact smacked down in this book, but I seriously doubt most would come to that conclusion on first glance.

Hell, it took me like 20 minutes to even come up with that half-assed explanation.

Werewolf Smackdown, definitely playing second fiddle to Werewolf RAW is WAR.

Next up is Eric Flint Time Spike by Marilyn Kosmatka… Or is it Time Spike by Eric Flint and Marilyn Kosmatka?

Here we have our basic Tyrannosaur eating a Spanish Conquistador cover.

Other than my confusion over what’s the title and who’s the author (thank you very much, shitty typography), this is a pretty crazy-awesome/retardly-awesome/shitty cover that I honestly don’t have problem with.

That doesn’t make anything more than a shitty cover though.

Just ask any of my friends, I have a tendency to find reasons to like truly awful things.

Pretty sure I'm the person I know that actually liked this movie...

Moving right along, next we have Pyramid Power by our homeboy Eric Flint, or wait maybe it’s by that son of a bitch Dave Freer, I honestly can’t tell:

Like the previous cover, this one isn’t overtly bad, it’s just really fucking stupid.

I mean come on, it’s a fuckin’ dragon holding a viking with it’s tail.

On paper that sounds pretty cool, but I would’ve preferred to see a less static representation of this most epic of encounters, you know, something a little more action oriented or dynamic.

Goddamn you Monster Hunter, lookin' all cool n'shit...

Conceptually speaking, this is like looking at a heavy metal album cover.

You aren’t allowed to ask “why,” you just sort of accept it in all it’s insanity and excess and get on with your life.

Either that, or you briefly question the band's sexuality for a moment, then rock until you just don't care.

Pyramid Power loses points for it’s shitty title, however, like the previous cover; the cover isn’t all that bad, just uninspired.

Finally, I’d like to take a minute to look over a couple of covers from an author that seems to have a knack for generating crappy novels deserving of crappy covers, Mr. John Ringo.

Holy shit! He looks like Muldoon!

First up is The Road to Damascus:

In case you couldn’t tell, that is in fact a child in red pajamas, holding a teddy bear in one hand while holding a laser gun in the other.

Oh yeah, he also appears to be facing down a tank.

Based on the color palette and (shitty) fonts, my first instinct upon viewing this cover was to compare it to one of those choose-your-own-adventure novels.

I know they look nothing alike, but I just felt like using this image 'cause I acutally own this one.

Though silly in nature, The Road to Damascus, once again, doesn’t have all that bad a cover.

The image is provocative, with some definite time and effort put into the illustration, with some very straightforward and easily distinguished focal points to the layout.

The fonts are pretty boring, but not clip art bad.

I will say this though, the cover seems a little too busy in places, particularly at the top, where the tag line is inappropriately large given it’s close proximity to the author’s name/names.

Our last cover is another John Ringo book, called Gust Front; and this time it actually is shitty, not just bad like most of the others.

I apologize about my leniency towards these shitty book covers.

Many of them probably deserve harsher words than I’ve given them, but I guess it’s just not in my nature to gripe about and be unnecessarily or overly critical of things, no matter how shitty they may be.

Oh well, here’s Gust Front:

Holy fucking shit that’s bad.

Pretty much everything bad that can be said about cover art can be applied to Gust Front.

The title is ass.

The fonts are ridiculously over-the-top, oversized, and horrendously colored.

Oh yeah, and the composition is off-balance, somehow managing to be both cluttered and sparse, with truly awful original Starcraft quality CG renderings for all the figures present in the image.

Hmm, I don't remember the old Starcraft looking like this. Sadly, no trace remains of it ever since the announcement of #2.

It’s kind of funny actually, the dude in the power armor reminds me of the Starship Troopers CG cartoon, Roughnecks.

Yup, these guys and the Extreme Ghostbusters were my best buddies after school...

Man, that was a good show…

Hang on, now that I think of it, the title font seems to bear a certain resemblance to the Starship Troopers one, at least in terms of it’s alignment.

I'm proud to say that the DVD I own of this film has a MUCH better cover.

I see, so we’re to buy this no doubt shitty novel based on the associations it brings on in our minds in relation to Starship Troopers?

Clever girl Mr. Ringo… Clever girl indeed…

I feel it is worth noting that John Ringo’s section at the UW bookstore was pretty much a shelf unto itself.

That’s a lot of shit novels.

Huh, guess I really can be an asshole when I put my mind to it.

Go figure.

Anyway, this has been a truly half-assed post.

Things will pick up a little bit more tomorrow, promise.

Praise be to Space Bobcat.

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