Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Long Night Of Driving And Gyros

Sorry folks, had to pick up my buddy from the airport late last night.

I got a free gyro out of the deal, but it looks like you guys got a day without a new post.

Oh well, here’s me making up for it with Simpsons goodness and Herb Alpert’s Spanish Flea.

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

IT BEGINS.

Alrighty folks, as Barney stated in the clip above, as of this moment; IT BEGINS.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but over the past several days I’ve been very lazy in writing posts for this blog.

I still enjoy writing, but the fact of the matter is, I’ve been in a rut for a long time now, both in regards to this blog and life in general.

That being said, I’m not the sort to give up easily.

After all, I’m one of those guys took it up the ass long enough to eventually beat Demon’s Souls and is likely going to end up doing the same with Dark Souls.

I really don’t know what to expect from this, but I’d like to take this opportunity to ask you, the reader; to let me know what you’d like to see me do in future posts.

As much as I know there’s a demand for it, I’m not gonna’ post photos of my dick or anything like that, but if you’d like to say, see me draw something, or write an article on a particular topic; I’d be more than willing to accomodate your requests.

Anyway, here’s hoping I get a lot of responses, or at the very least, a few good ones.

Seriously folks, don’t waste my motherfuckin’ time….

Filed under: Games, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, #9


Yesterday we kicked off our list of the Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights with an alum from the pantheon of Dr. Wily’s robotic warriors, the original Yellow Devil.

The Devil earned his spot on the list through the frustrating nature of his borderline random attack pattern that made battling him a test of reflexes and coordination rather than memorization.

Appropriately enough, battling the #9 entry on the list requires a similar range of skills, however coming out on top is measurably more difficult given their more aggressive stance.

That being said, the next entry on our list of the Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights is:

#9. Shredder – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game

Pictured: The Turtles take on the Shred-Head and his shadow clones.

If there’s any one, constant truth about arcade beat ’em ups, it’s that you can always expect to face a cheap-ass boss or 2 at some point within them.

Wind blows, water flows, Mr. Shadow dies by the power of Leeloo and Corbin Dallas’ love, and arcade beat ’em ups have cheap-ass bosses.

In the age of the beat ’em up, no other company stuffed their games full of quarter munching bastards quite like Konami.

Don’t get me wrong, Konami was also one of the best when it came to cranking out beat ’em ups, but whether it be Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Turtles in Time, The Simpsons, X-Men, or Metamorphic Force; virtually all of Konami’s beat ’em up bosses made use of an infuriating attack pattern that was entirely beatable, but rarely without the use of a continue or 2.

As you may have guessed, Shredder makes use of said attack pattern, both in the Ninja Turtles arcade game, and the NES port of, well, basically the same name.

While I highlighted the arcade version of the Shredder in the pic above, make no mistake, he’s equally tough on either platform, though arguably more so on the NES.

Unlike the Yellow Devil from yesterday’s entry on the list, I’ve beaten Ninja Turtles 2: The Arcade Game numerous times, mostly in my early childhood; however on every occasion I’ve had considerable difficulty in challenging not only the Shredder, but virtually all of the end level bosses.

Especially Granitor. NOBODY, fucks with Granitor...

As mentioned earlier, fighting the Ninja Turtles arcade game bosses is mostly a reflex oriented experience, much like fighting the Yellow Devil; however the difference in difficulty lies in the aggressiveness of their attack pattern.

The Yellow Devil has only one attack sequence, that if you can endure for long enough; (which in my youth, I couldn’t) will lead to your eventual victory.

Shredder, along with virtually all of the Konami arcade game bosses of the day; doesn’t have a distinguishable pattern in his attacks, but instead forces you to enter into a war of attrition with him.

The bosses in all of these games have superior reach and damage dealing ability to your player character, and attack in such a way that there really is no good way to ensure dealing damage to them without taking some yourself due to their split-second reaction times.

Did I mention virtually all of the Shredder and his buddies’ attacks have priority over your own, and have the nasty tendency to fling you across the room or knock you out of the air every time they hit you?

As with yesterday, check out this video to get a feel for what’s it’s like to tangle with the Shred-Head:

It looks dumb, but the player in the video above’s incessant use of the JUMP KICK is basically one’s only viable option in Ninja Turtles 2, especially against the Shredder.

Think of it like a nightmare scenario where you’re fighting a counter-puncher who’s not only got your number, but also has 20 lbs on you.

You’re only real option is to try and remain elusive (read: JUMP KICK) and take potshots at distance, however inevitably; no matter how fast or accurate you are with your attacks, Shred-Head is gonna’ find you and put the hurt on you.

See that spear? That's his beatin' stick, and it's about to go up your ass...

Such is the frustration of doing battle with Konami’s quarter munching stable of assholes.

While one could argue that virtually all of these bosses deserve a spot on this list, I’ve always felt that Shredder’s multiplying ability and one-hit kill anti-mutagen beam put him over the top.

That’s right, Shredder can indeed multiply in this game!

AND kill you in one hit at any given moment!

You see!? THIS is what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps!

So imagine every nasty detail I mentioned above, coupled with the fact that during the course of the battle you have to contend with 2 Shredder’s on the NES, and up to 5 in the arcade; any one of which can take a life away with one blast of the blue laser from their hands!

Imagine being like 5 years old and having to deal with that bullshit!

While the arcade version may put you up against 5 Shredders, I honestly think the NES version is more difficult.

When you face 5 Shredders, you do so with the help of 3 other players; not to mention the arcade Shredder has a less overbearing style of attack that rarely knocks you across the room, making it easy to simply swarm him and trade blows until he folds.

Given the lack of an option to pump more quarters into the machine for extra lives, as well as the Shredder’s slightly more annoying style of attack; I’d say the official #9 entry on this list would have to be the NES iteration.

Filed under: Games, Movies, The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Early Avengers Poster Makes Me Feel All Warm And Fuzzy Inside

Photo courtesy of Toplessrobot.com. Hope they don't mind...

It’s funny, even though this is nothing but a (official) photoshopped mock-up of what a real poster for The Avengers might look like; it actually looks kind of good to me.

These days I find myself actually consciously trying harder to be excited/positive about things; and it’s quality products like this one that make said task just a little bit easier to manage.

Probably the coolest part about the poster, at least to me; is that it serves as my first real look at what all the live-action versions of the Avengers look like next to one another.

While I have no idea whether the art design for all the Avengers tie-in films has been directed by the same crew/individual, I must say; the character designs gel together quite nicely.

With the exception of maybe Thor, the costumes all bear a weighty, leathery, almost utilitarian feel to them that gives them that always appealing combo of being “ornate, yet plausible.”

Much unlike anything seen in Final Fantasy, which tends to throw "plausible" out the window.

Hell even Hulk, with his more streamlined Incredible Hulk look; seems to fit in quite well.

Hawkeye’s digs seem perhaps a little too subdued for my tastes, however I can definitely understand why Marvel would want to turn down the guy’s purple quotient; as much like Jem, in the comics it is truly outrageous.

Truly, Truly, Truly Outrageous!

On a side note, Iron Man’s design appears to have been altered since Iron Man 2, as evidenced by the gray patches on his collar.

Though it may just be an artist’s flub, the shape of the glow on his chest emblem looks more round than triangular to me; leading me to assume that either:

A): Tony Stark decided to reshape his new element core into a circle for aesthetic purposes.

B):  Severely inebriated and desperate for a way show the world how fat his cock is, Tony Stark decided to outfit his newest armor with one of his old and HIGHLY TOXIC palladium cores.

C):  I’m wrong, and his chest emblem is in fact triangular.

or D):  The poster artist isn’t as OCD as the average comic fan and/or hasn’t seen Iron Man 2.

My vote would go to option A, though if you’re going by some of the comics, option B is equally plausible.

Option C is of course a statistical impossibility, and was only suggested in jest.

"I am so smart! S-M-R-T!"

Anyway, I know it’s cheesy, I know it’s childish; but for whatever reason, this poster pleases me.

It’s exceedingly well designed, the colors have been tweaked to vivid perfection, and seeing all of the characters posing together makes me believe the movie could work.

Now let’s just hope Captain America doesn’t drop the fuckin’ ball next month and kill my buzz…

Filed under: Comics, Games, Movies, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Azn Badger Is In Portland. Bein’ A Dude…

Sorry folks, I done got lazy on yah’.

Well, that’s not exactly true, I’m just away on a road trip and without computer access; so posting anything significant is kind of out of the question.

Anyway, if everything works out, and WordPress doesn’t fuck me over; hopefully my preemptively scheduled posts will have, uh; posted when they were supposed to.

Ah technology, allowing me to maintain my UNBROKEN 300+ day posting streak while never once looking at a computer for 2 days consecutively since…

Well, since I figured out how to do it last month.

Anyway, here’s hoping WordPress doesn’t fuck me over; though I can’t say I’d be surprised if it did.

Hopefully I’ll have some pics from Portland to show you guys when I get back tomorrow!

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

I Just Bought My First Rare Comic

Pictured: Hopefully this won't be me in the near future...

I don’t consider myself a “collector” of comic books.

None of the comics I own are of any value, nor do I operate from the belief that any of them will accrue any value at any future date.

Comic’s worth are typically derived from their rarity, their condition, and ultimately how limited their production run was, all factors that the current age of mass produced collected editions has done well to eliminate.

Regarding my own comic buying habits, I’m a trade-only buyer of comics; meaning I don’t purchase loose comics off the newstands.

That right there is often viewed as borderline blasphemous behavior on the part of anyone that could consider themselves a comic collector.

Thank you Collected Editions for standing up for us trade-only guys…  Oh yeah, and for publishing my guest review awhile back.

When you factor in my trade-only habits with the fact that I buy comics solely for the purpose of reading and enjoying them, you have the makings of a man that is more of a casual comic enthusiast/reader than anything else.

That being said, today I received a package in the mail that represents my first purchase of what some would consider a fairly rare or valuable comic.

The comic in question, is the trade paperback collection of the 1996 Batman crossover, Batman: Legacy.

Mmmm, rare....

The story itself is not regarded as being within the top 25 of Batman’s best, however in my case; it was the premise moreso than the quality of the writing or art that drew me to Legacy.

Supposedly acting as a follow-up to the 1993 Knightfall storyarc, an epic and sprawling story that served as one of the most important of my youth.

As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, the early 90’s were a tumultuous and ugly period in comic history; one punctuated by the creation of outlandish and violent characters, as well as the implementation of more than a few shocking publicity stunts on the part of Marvel and DC in an attempt to sustain their dwindling sales numbers.

Needless to say, “shock” was the order of the day for 90’s comic books.

I grew up watching Doomsday kill Superman.

EPIC.

I grew up watching Bane break Batman’s back.

EVEN MORE EPIC.

I grew up watching Carnage cut a swath through the Marvel universe with reckless abandon.

Fun, but nowhere near epic...

These sort of “MTV Generation” characters, and their respective homicidal antics; served as my introduction into the world of comics, and as such; I bear a great deal of nostalgia for them.

As much as comic fans tend to deride some of these characters, I for one will never get tired of them.

Except maybe Carnage, he’s kinda’ overstayed his welcome…

*Sigh* Sadly, no one stays dead in comic books...

That being said, the major factor that drew me to Batman: Legacy, despite it’s fairly substantial (for me anyway) price tag; was the fact that it features the only legitimate rematch between Batman and Bane.

The 2 have encountered one another several times since Bane’s first appearance in Knightfall, though Legacy represents the only time they actually battle one another.

Ever since I heard of Batman: Legacy several years ago, I told myself:

“That’s something I have to see.”

Like I said, the story of Legacy isn’t supposed to be anything to write home about, but the prospect of a rematch between one of my favorite DC villains and my favorite DC hero was something I just couldn’t shy away from seeing.

Not from Legacy, but a fun image nonetheless.

In the comics, it was always speculated that Batman was physically on par with Bane, with the notable exception being a disparity in their physical strength levels when Bane was on Venom.

At the time Legacy takes place, Bane has long since renounced the use of Venom, which; combined with the fact that Batman is likely in much better physical condition than he was during Knightfall, (he was severely fatigued when he first fought Bane) adds up to a contest of equals that, in my mind; has all the makings of a terrific read.

Haha, listen to me ramble on about a comic book match up like it’s some sort of real-life boxing match or some shit…

Anyway, I’ve been waiting to buy a copy of Legacy for years now, with the price being the sole prohibitive factor in me doing so up until now.

I’ve seen Legacy listed for anywhere from $80-180.

I’m sorry, but as much as I love comics, I simply can’t justify that sort of expenditure for a book.

Then again, I am known to be Azn, and therefore CHEAP:

Too expensive. I'll wait till it's on sale... And a pretty lady is selling it...

Luckily, I happened upon a listing last week for $45, which while much more expensive than any of the other comics on my shelf, even the heft hardcover ones; was a price I was more than willing to pay for something I’d waited so long to get my hands on.

Hah, I hope this isn’t becoming a trend, otherwise I might just find myself happy and surrounded by comic books.

Oh yeah, and POOR.

Anyway, as of writing this, I have yet to so much as crack this bad boy open.

Hopefully Batman: Legacy proves to be worth all of it’s $45 price tag!

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

Kung Fu Panda 2 WILL Be Awesome

I liked Kung Fu Panda.

I saw it in theaters with a group of some of my closest friends, and despite my initial feelings of apprehension regarding Jack Black’s presence as leading man in the film; (I like him better in supporting roles.  Too much Black can lead to bad things.  NOT racist…) I found myself laughing aloud in the theater to an extent I’ve rarely experienced.

You see, I’m one of those guy’s that generally doesn’t go to see comedies in the theaters, not just because really good comedies are hard to come by these days; but largely because I feel self-conscious about making noise/disturbing others in theaters.

Call it a quirk… A really stupid and oddly specific quirk.

Anyway, I’ve seen Kung Fu Panda once or twice since I initially saw it the theater, and I’ve gotta’ say; the movie is still pretty damn good.

While Pixar will always put out more technically advanced, prettier, and more thoughtful films, Kung Fu Panda stands as an example of Dreamworks’ more lighthearted and scatologically humored formula adding up to something enjoyable to the masses.

In particular, I found the voice cast; while riddled with needless celebrity cameos, (Jackie Chan had 2 lines, Lucy Liu was there for no other reason than her Chinese heritage, etc.) to be quite exceptional.

Jack Black’s energy and enthusiasm, married with the hilarious animations and facial expressions of Po was a match made in heaven.

... I like the Panda better.

Dustin Hoffman also managed to impress as Shifu, with the timbre of his voicing doing well to add a sense of forcefulness to his voice regardless of the volume in which he spoke.

While I’m on the topic of great voice acting, let me just say:

Ian McShane = PIMP.

... And all the panties in the room suddenly dropped to the floor.

‘Nuff said.

The fight choreography in the film, while of course animated; and thusly free of the inherent limitations of the human body, also managed to impress me.

The movements were artfully strung together, with a pace that reminded me of the old style of Hong Kong choreography I.E. sharp movements, with brief pauses for every strike so as to highlight and make visible, the beauty of each exchange.

In other words, everything was imaginatively choreographed, but conducted in such a way that the viewer could easily see exactly what was going on.

In this age of Greengrass-ian shaky cam techniques, and ultra-fast handed performers; I found Kung Fu Panda’s battles to be a refreshing take of the art of fight choreography.

While I’ve known for awhile now that a Kung Fu Panda sequel was in the works, I found out just today who some of the new characters/voice actors were going to be.

Gary Oldman, James Woods, and Jean-Claude Van FUCKING Damme.

"That's right, ME!"

Oh yeah, Michelle Yeoh’s in there too, but chances are she’ll just be there as a novelty ala Lucy Liu in the previous film, or rather Michelle Yeoh herself in The Mummy 3: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.

Pictured: Brendan Fraser about to lay the smack down on Jet Li. I'm not kidding, it actually happens.

I hope she was paid well for that, ’cause her presence in that film certainly didn’t earn her any brownie points in my book.

Moving on, as long as they let James Woods be his same old snarky self, I expect great things for him in Kung Fu Panda 2.

He was great as Hades in Disney’s Hercules, and he seemed to have fun playing himself on The Simpsons and Family Guy, so yeah; I think James Woods was a good choice.

And then there’s Van FUCKING Damme.

No caption necessary.

I’ve never heard The Muscles from Brussels do voice acting before, but chances are he sucks donkey balls at it.

Not that his normal acting was anything to write home about, but give him a break; the man’s entire career was based around him kicking people in the head… and showing off his ass.

And wouldn't you know it, here's him doing both at the same time!

Apparently he’s playing a crocodile in the film, so I don’t expect any jokes to emerge regarding his limberness, nor do I expect any gratuitous shots of his ass; but regardless, it’s Van Damme, he’s in an American film, and you can be damn sure I’ll be there to see it.

Anyway, the previous film was good, Van FUCKING Damme is in the sequel, and thusly Kung Fu Panda 2 WILL be awesome.

Well, maybe not THIS awesome; but close enough...

Filed under: Kung Fu, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Happy New Year From The Azn Badger!

Pictured: A candid photo of the Azn Badger making mochi for New Year's while wearing his "Hapa" shirt.

I don’t know about the rest of you out there in the blogosphere, but New Year’s eve at the Azn Badger’s house is a day of tradition.

Not of the Japanese variety mind you, with the eating of soba and ozoni, and once a year praying to the shinto gods and what not.

No, the traditions observed by the house of Badger are what you would call “Hawaiian Japanese” in nature.

That is to say, much trashy food is prepared and consumed, and much television, equally trashy in nature; is watched while battling food comas on the couch.

An example of this evening’s programming:

Spam Musubi + The Soup = New Year’s bliss.

New Year’s Eve is a day of feasting and family in the house of Badger, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Every year, the Azn Badger and his mother work together to craft exquisite meals fit for the finest of palettes.

The centerpiece of said meals, is Spam Musubi.

I could eat this every day. No joke.

For the uninitiated, Spam Musubi consists of rice and seaweed wrapped around a slice of spam.

Some families use vinegar in their rice ala traditional sushi rice, however the house of Badger prefers to keep it’s rice plain.

Anyway, if you’ve never had one, you’re missing out.

Next up, mom makes her Chinese Chicken Salad, which is very likely not Chinese in origin, but is sweet, cleansing, and delicious all the same.

Pictured: The only remotely healthy thing on the menu for New Year's Eve...

Truth be told, I think this is the only New Year’s Eve dish we make that the Azn Badger’s brother can stand to eat.

He’s always been big on salads, but surely everyone knows…

Finally, the Azn Badger and his mom tag team to make microwave mochi with red bean paste.

Yeah, we're too cheap to buy a mochi maker, and too lazy to make it the old style. Microwave is best...

It’s kind of messy to make, (especially when the Azn Badger gets overzealous with his takakuriko AKA potato starch) but it always feels nice to commit to making mochi at least once a year.

It’s a healthy annual ritual y’know, burning your hands in the name of making tasty treats for others to enjoy.

Anyway, this time around we made reddish pink mochi, not my favorite color; but it all tastes the same regardless.

The last real New Year’s Eve tradition in the house of Badger, is that of placing okasane (mochi stacks with tangerines on top) in our living room and cars.

Pictured: The okasane in The Azn Badger's living room.

Mom says its good luck, so we all do it on New Year’s Eve, even if it’s only for a few minutes.

I don’t know what the symbolism of the okasane is, or what it’s significance is; but mom says it’s important, so we do it…

Anyway, hopefully you all are having as fun and relaxed a New Year’s Eve as I am.

Here’s to gaining 20 pounds tonight, and spending all of the coming year working to lose it!

To new beginnings, and hopeful futures!

To getting a better job and never having to work in a -20 degree freezer ever again!

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM THE AZN BADGER!!!

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In A Wholly Expected Circumstance Of Fate, Something Bad Happened At Work Today!

I should’ve known something was up when I won that Zune yesterday.

As they say, “nothing in life comes free,” and wouldn’t you know it, I ended up paying for a Bill Gate’s take on Jobs’ Ipod with my health and safety.

That’s right folks, after months of slogging it out in the warehouse, the Azn Badger has finally succumbed to the horrors of “wrist strain.”

Hah, had you thinkin’ I got impaled by a forklift or some shit, didn’t I?

You see, today was one of those weird days where everything was almost absurdly slow, to the point in which many people were sent home early.

Despite this, as per the Amazon routine, the last 3 hours of the day were absolute balls to the wall insanity of last minute orders, cancellations, and diapers, lots and lots of diapers…

Being as I am now the resident whipping boy (I’m apparently subbing in for my friend who was laid off not too long ago) of the warehouse, I was of course scheduled to ship during said 3 hours of mayhem and chaos.

With about 2 and a half shipping lines worth of volume bearing down on me, not to mention the hoard of shit-for-brains seasonal workers constantly breathing down my neck with priority packages for me, (DON’T JUST SHOW IT TO ME, LEAVE IT IN THE GODDAMN TOTE ASS-HAT) I think it’s safe to say I was rushing just a bit.

With time being very much of the essence, I found myself reaching back at odd angles to snag packages off the line, which after 2 hours or so; began to ’cause me quite a bit of discomfort.

During the last 30 minutes of the day, I was told to go meander the aisles and pick inventory for the night shift, y’know; like yah’ do.

With barely 15 minutes left in the day I planted my feet and turned my very full picking cart into the main aisle to return it to the staging area, when all of a sudden I felt this “pop” in my wrist.

I felt a sharp pain, stopped in my tracks, and said aloud to myself:

“Oh man, that can’t be good.”

Sure enough, the next time I tried lifting something, a small hardback book; I felt an annoying tinge of pain in my wrist.

Following that, I reported my injury to my manager, as per company regulations; and then got sent off to the nurse’s office just like in elementary school.

Although thankfully I was vomiting or bleeding from my nose like I used to back in the day.

Yeah, the Azn Badger was kind of a sickly child way back when…

Anyway, I mentioned that this all happened in the last few minutes of the work day, right?

Well, as it turns out, getting a case of “wrist strain” at Amazon necessitates an hour long visit with the nurse filling out paperwork and talking over symptoms and treatments.

Now, while I kind of wish it hadn’t taken quite so long, I was honestly quite surprised to learn that my time spent in there counted as being on the clock.

Huh, now that I think of it, maybe getting hurt wasn’t all that bad.

The injury itself is minor at best, plus I just earned 10 bucks for sitting down and having a pleasant conversation with the silly nurse lady. (She’s silly, so I call her the silly nurse lady.  Tee hee.)

Anyway, sorry for the lame post; but be thankful you even got one.

I’m taking this “rehabilitation” crap pretty seriously, to the point in which this entire 600+ word post was written using just my right hand.

That’s dedication…

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Anybody Remember Zen The Intergalatic Ninja?

Anybody remember Zen the Intergalactic Ninja?

Yeah, neither do I.

Well okay, that’s not entirely true, I do in fact remember Zen, I wouldn’t be typing this article if I didn’t; but all of my memories of the character are foggy at best.

I was exposed to Zen via the Archie/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics of the early 90’s.

Pictured: The only Archie Comic I'd touch with a 10 foot pole.

My brother used to get Ninja Turtle comics every so often via some sort of subscription service, though he’d usually end up throwing away the Archie or Jughead comics.

To this day, I fail to see the beauty of Jughead’s soul.

 

Is it just me, or is Jughead the original stoner/hipster doofus?

Anyway, being as I am indeed my father’s son, and never throw away anything, even if it never even belonged to me in the first place, I still have a few of the Ninja Turtle comics somewhere, namely the one’s that introduced Wingnut and Chameleon:

Yup, got both of these... In absolutely horrid condition...

At some point during this era, presumably around ’93-94, (I remember Maximum Carnage was big news at the time, as was Superman and Batman’s unfortunate run-ins with Doomsday and Bane respectively) one of my neighborhood buddies was kind enough to share a new comic he had just bought.

It was called Zen, the Intergalactic Ninja:

AWESOME! But what's up with Oscar the Grouch over there on the right?

That comic, or rather it’s cover; pushed just about all the right buttons in my young, action figure obssessesd mind.

Yes, they are in fact action figures, not dolls.

"New Shia LaBeouf action figure! With easy access "open mouth" action for inserting of donkey balls! Donkey balls sold separately..."

Get it right power-fag, lest my kung fu grip find your larynx.

*Ahem!* I seem to remember the plot mirroring Bucky O’Hare, as well as just about every other 90’s Saturday morning cartoon; in the sense that it surrounded a strange group of colorful and easily action figure-ized characters coming to Earth and seeking the aid of a young boy to whom the audience could easily relate to.

(Insert picture of any mid-80’s to early 90’s cartoon here)

Y’know, standard genre fare.

The few elements of Zen that really stuck with me after all these years were, of course; the name of the main character, his unique and kid-friendly bo weapon, (no sharp weapons or blood-letting for the kiddies, that would be inappropriate!) and the fact that the plot was at least somewhat eco-friendly…

Make that, “eco-obsessed.”

Um, gender = What?

That last part was kind of a deal breaker for me, a robot and violence obsessed little boy.

I honestly liked Zen’s character designs, in fact I remember drawing him at school a few times on my test papers; however the whole “save the environment” thing just didn’t appeal to me all that much.

I remember they pushed it just a little bit too far with Zen, to the point in which most of, if not all of the principle hero characters represented some element of recycling.

Put it this way, I’m pretty sure I remember the yellow dude being named “Pulp.”

Hey, it's Pulp! And Compost Man! And Recycled Aluminum Man! And Plastic Bottle Man, etc...

That’s just fuckin’ sad, being named for mashed up paper byproduct.

Let it be known, saving the Earth is only cool when Captain Planet tells you to do it:

Honestly man, a catchy theme song and green giga-mullet go a long way towards capturing the hearts and minds of children.

Jumping back to my initial dealing with Zen, I honestly don’t really remember much about the comic, (which consequently would be the only Zen comic I’d ever read, let alone see) other than the fact that the art and character designs had a definite Captain Bucky O’Hare vibe to them, and the comic was packed to the brim with advertisements… For itself.

Seriously, if memory serves, there were advertisements for the Zen comic itself, the upcoming Zen NES game, and a line of Zen action figures; all in one comic!

Lord CONTAMINOUS!? "Take out the garbage!?" Good God, it really is a tree-hugger comic/game/action figure line!

That, my friends; is what I like to call “super-liminal marketing:”

Despite all the effort on the part of the publishers though, clearly it didn’t pay off; as almost none of my friends have ever heard of Zen.

Even so, I’ll always remember Zen as being a particularly inspired example of those 20,000 or so highly marketable characters that were thrown at us in the wake of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle phenomenon, only to slip through the cracks like so many others…

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