I don’t watch television much anymore, with a few exceptions. I haven’t for a few years, mostly because I was burnt out from broadcasters changing the timeslots for shows I was trying to keep up with. Because of that, I’m seasons behind in Supernatural, and I never finished Burn Notice or Dexter (thanks for all of those, Channel 10). There are only a few shows managing to keep my attention on weekly tv. Doctor Who is one, and the other is Game of Thrones. Last year I also counted The Legend of Korra in that number. But even given my interest in those shows I still find myself more and more disheartened by television. Up until the last couple of months I hadn’t really considered the reasoning for my detachment from TV, it was just a lack of enthusiasm as far as I was concerned. But Netflix being brought to Australia nudged the gears into motion and my discontent began to process properly.
If you’ve never played Dungeons & Dragons, chances are you’re under the impression that it’s a game where a bunch of basement dwelling greasy nerds pretend they’re heroes and wizards, roll a bunch of dice and consult a lot of charts. It’s not far from the truth really, except for the first part, which isn’t so relevant anymore. Media nowadays has done a lot to stem the preconceptions about roleplaying games, such as with the television show Community portraying D&D and it’s players in a positive not once, but twice so far, throughout it’s run. Closer to the mainstream, The Big Bang Theory featured a roleplaying game in one of it’s older episodes, although it was as much a playful reference as a condescending jab. Nevertheless, Dungeons & Dragons and other roleplaying games are losing a bit of the geek stigma that they used to be infamous for.
Yesterday, or this morning, or the day before or whatever it actually was because of timezones and because I’m late to this party, Iceman came out of the closet – or was dragged out of the closet kicking and screaming by a teenager with greater psychic powers than she has morality and ethics because nobody in an X-Men comic currently seems capable of actually educating anyone – in an issue of Brian Michael Bendis’ ALL-NEW X-Men that hasn’t even come out yet.
That last bit is really important. Because it also means that nobody has actually read the book yet. There’s a whole heap of conversation about the young Bobby Drake coming out as gay and it seems to be focussing on a number of things – notably it seems to be focussing on how great it is, or how terrible it is, or how disingenuous it is towards bisexuality. The entirety of the conversation is framed around a few leaked pages in abstract to the rest of the issue and, for most people consuming and participating with the conversation, in abstract to the rest of the run and the whole X-Men comicbook universe of storytelling. So it’s really hard to contribute to the conversation, or put much stock in the conversation, because the conversation is already totally moot and could very well be made irrelevant or redundant by the comic once it’s out totally.
So it’s important to mention that, while I’m very passionate about what part of the conversation I’m about to engage, I could be back here in a couple weeks totally back-peddling because the issue itself has rendered my abstract of the conversation sterile. But, until then, I’m hoping I can contrive something with a potent offering to the discourse surrounding what should be a really important storytelling beat that I feel, very strongly, has been totally mishandled and misfired. Continue Reading →
This is probably unspeakable evil’s first and biggest departure from what the blog is ostensibly about – where so far the blog has been complexly about the various conflicts and disconnections between the end user and the distributor/content creator in a larger macro setting, this particular post takes things to a smaller, anecdotal, world to talk about specifically the beginning of the crossover between end user and creator as a part exploration into the transition and growth from one into another.
to put simply: this is a small commentary on what it means to become an artist
I’m not really prepared to claim any sort of authority on the matter, of course. Because, if I’m anything, I’m still emerging. I’m still in that cocoon. And to that point there’s nothing wrong with being in that stage, or for being in that stage of growth for a large amount of time or a small amount of time. It’s important to remember that transition into a creator is a process and that it’s inevitable. And to that point I think it’s very important not to judge a person for beginning and for, in that beginning, being actually quite awful at what they do. Continue Reading →
So there’s not much I want to say about this, because everything I could possibly have said has been said with a greater understanding and eloquence than I have the time to muster over here at comics alliance, but to make the small point I want to make, I’m pretty much required to provide a little bit of context.
So Frank Cho, a comicbook artist who sells books by drawing all women the same, posted this on his official website
This was an interesting weekend for content and content distribution in the we had a few consolidating events that, in conjunction, have helped to prove a point that everyone under sixty has been trying to make for the better part of the last however-many-years-old-youtube-is years.
the point, being, of course, that nobody wants to actually watch television anymore.
In a way very unlike the commentary of recent years regarding the death of the paperback novel, or the death of print and the newspaper, television is actually a doomed distribution platform. Because, you see, with books, there’s always going to be some subsection of people who enjoy holding them, and reading them, as opposed to using any sort other device. The screen as a replacement is a dubious argument and, really, at this point in time it genuinely feels like the people saying books will survive were right. Because the argument here was replacement. Nothing is actually being replaced in the television/internet transition — we’re still using a screen, only the nature of consumption is changing. It’s not so much that television is dying – we’re still going to use televisions, and make television, and watch television shows. It’s the schedule that’s dying.
I watched the first episode of the new Thunderbirds are Go! cartoon last night and this isn’t a review. This isn’t a passing commentary about how the show didn’t really make a lot of sense, how it just sort of started and threw everyone into the deep end of International Rescue without really explaining who or what they are. This isn’t about the bland voice acting or the dull character animations. This isn’t about how the show gave Brains an awkward caricature of an Indian accent¹. This isn’t about how Lady Penelope still makes no sense in the context of the show, or about how cool it is that Parker still has the same voice actor (who must surely be older than time at this point). This DEFINITELY IS NOT ABOUT how really jarring it is that Jeff Tracey is just sort of totally missing for no real reason and hardly mentioned but for some reason still delivers the countdown when the Thunderbirds actually lift off.
Although, that last one, this could probably be about that one and manage a gazillion words just about how that makes no sense but is also really cool because hello archival audio.
But, uhm, anyway, no. This is about the decision the show made to use a combination of physical and practical set pieces in visual conjunction with disconnected CGI character models and airships.
This morning I was moving through one of my many watch later lists that tend to govern my morning routine and I got to a particular piece that I was actually really excited to watch.
And at this point I’m pretty sure you know where this is going. Because you’re clever. But, hey, keep at it and give the whole thing a read. I promise I’ll try to make it engaging.
I wanted to watch a recent interview between John Oliver and Edward Snowden from John Oliver’s new and very excellent and, really, actually, at this point not really that terribly new show Last Week Tonight. I wanted to watch this because I figured it was important. Edward Snowden is an important name in the great scheme of the world right now and I felt that John Oliver was the perfect voice to encroach the politics of the whole situation and, because John Oliver is John Oliver, I thought it would be a helluva lotta fun in the doing of the whole thing. Because that’s what he does — he takes real, proper real, issues and ideas and problems and approaches them through the lens of comedy — because comedy gets shit done!
Or, at least, it makes people feel that way.
But, even if it doesn’t really get much done necessarily, it definitely makes for an enjoyable way of educating one’s self. SO I WAS PRETTY KEEN, YOU KNOW? I even left it until last, like that really gosh darned great chicken parmigiana I chose to save the best for last and watched all the stupid broccoli and dry bland mashed potato instead. But then the waiter was like “no, soz, the chicken is only for Americans”.
Super Mario 64 is just one of those things, you know? It’s such a colossally important part of the popular consciousness, an inevitable topic in the public conversation. We grew up on it, our parents watched us grow up with it, our children will grow up referencing it. It’s so important that it doesn’t even need to be good, in and of itself, it just need to be. It owns this very rare kind of unconditional love, and respect, and understanding. It just matters. It’s important to people because it’s so ingrained into what for a lot of people was the incepting idea of what constitutes that bizarre and still emerging intersection between art and play. It’s important to a whole industry because it existed almost solely as a tech demo – a tech demo that made a lotsa lotsa moneys, but still, more or less, a tech demo to show off, and show everyone exactly where, the industry was headed. And it’s important to culture because it’s fucking Super Mario.
So, it’s really little wonder that it keeps showing up everywhere. Nintendo themselves keep re-releasing it (and occasionally remastering it) and no one seems to get too embittered or cross about it. In a world where remakes are benign and offensive, everyone is just sort of totally okay with the constant recycling of Super Mario 64. It’s not exactly a very good game (it’s actually quite terrible), but it doesn’t need to be. It’s globally accepted and globally revered.
So. Really. Then a computer sciences student looking to break into gaming decided to rebuild an abstract of Super Mario 64 to show off something he’d built using the Unity engine – look, it just makes sense that he chose to quote Super Mario 64 and not something like Halo 4. It also makes a helluva lotta sense that Nintendo took issue with this and threw out a DMCA takedown request pretty damn fast.
may this post remain, whether we succeed or fail, and stand as a testament to the attempt and the ambition of those who dare and dream, as a record of the goals of us few who are entirely too stupid to give up and stop trying