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Archive for the tag “Geek”

Animated Resistance: Counter-Hegemonic Ideology in Adventure Time

Note- I wrote a bunch of essays for class and I want to upload them since they are taking up space in my computer.

 

Bare-bone definitions:

Hegemony– “the social, cultural, ideological, or economic influence exerted by a dominant group” (Merriam-Websters)

Ideology– ” a systematic body of concepts especially about human life or culture”(Merriam-Websters)

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“It’s not whether children learn from television, it’s what children learn from television… because everything that children see on television is teaching them something” –Joan Ganz Cooney, co-founder of Sesame Workshop.

Children are the future, and the media that they consume now will influence them and the way that think in the future. That is why it is important to study what ideological values are present in television programs made specifically for them. What is this show saying about society? How is race being presented? How is sexuality being presented? How is gender being presented? It is impossible for a show to not have a stance on the dominant ideologies that exist within our culture because ideology encompasses everything. Many modern children television shows both reproduce and challenge the dominant values of America ad similar nations. The animated show Adventure Time is a great example of a currently running show that constantly combats the dominant ideologies of gender and acceptance that exist in our culture through positive representation. Adventure Time is just one of many contemporary children shows that challenge the hegemony presented in media.

The Males

Since the main character of Adventure Time is a young boy named Finn, his age begins at 12 in season one and is 16 as of seven, the concept of masculinity is addressed and challenges quite a bit. Chase Wesley Raymond states in his essay that, “Fairclough (1995) describes the relationship between media and society as a dialectal one in that the former is both shaped by as well as shapes the latter, to a great extent a cyclical process” ( Raymond, 24).   In many ways, Finn is a young boy enamored by our societies definition of masculinity and attempts to live up to it. In this way, the show is shaped by cultures definition of masculinity. The basic premise of the show suggests that it upholds the ideology of masculinity as it is defined by our culture. A boy and dog goes on fun adventures slaying monsters and being knights for a princess. In many ways, it does uphold this belief system. In episode five, “The Enchiridon”, Finn saves the princess when she falls from her tower. He is then sent on a series of quests in order to find the The Enchiridon, which is, ‘…guarded by a manly minotaur… waiting for a truly righteous hero to claim it”. Many of the trials are solved through violence and the minotaur, whose name is Mannish Minotaur, is shown to be overflowing with muscles. All of this upholds the standard definition of manliness. Most of the first two seasons establish Finn as a fairly standard male action hero. By setting Finn up as the definition of masculinity, the creators can establish forms of masculinity that are alternate to the dominant ideology by having Finn experience them.

There are two ways in which Adventure Time combats the standard ideology of masculinity. The first is by having Finn’s definition of masculinity being challenged directly. In the episode “Blood Under the Skin”, Finn wears a thimble as an armor to protect himself from splinters. The other knights, all of them men, then ridicule him for not having real armor. He is sent on a series of trials to get the best armor. Unlike the Enchiridon trials though, each of these trials are meant to embarrass him and make him less manly. When he finally gets the armor though, it is “lady armor”. His friend Jake, who is not the standard definition of masculinity, wears the armor however and saves Finn from being killed.

As a short aside, Jake is the second most viewable male in the series as Finn’s best friend, roommate, and older brother. While he may be a source of much of the comedic relief, he is also seen as a source of wisdom for Finn. Finn goes to him when he has emotional problems, especially when they relate to women. Jake has his own ideal of masculinity. While he too goes on adventures and resorts to violence sometimes, he is also lazy and prone to avoid confrontation. With experience comes a watered down version of Finn’s masculinity. He cooks, accepts the eventuality of death, does not see the world as simply good and evil, and even settles down and has kids. Jake does not take masculinity as seriously as Finn does, and often act as a counterweight for Finn’s ideology. However he can be problematic sometimes, since he can reaffirm gender expectations, like when he tells Finn, “Make her think it was her idea. That’s how you make the ladies do what you want”.

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The second way in which the show combats “Hyperheterosexual hegemonic masculinity [as] a socio-cultural product”(Meyers, 128) is through the showing of emotions. While the American ideological definition of masculinity forbids the showing of emotions that makes one looks weak, such as fear or sadness, Adventure Time does not shy away from showing Finn depressed and sad. When he is rejected romantically by his princess he is shown on the ground, depressed. He sings,

Can’t keep pushing this down any deeper,

Why do I keep trying if I can’t keep her?

Every move I make,

Is just another mistake,

I wonder what it would take,

Because it feels like there’s a hole inside my body,

Like there’s a hole inside my heart.

It’s like this feeling is gonna consume me,

If I keep waiting for this thing to start.

Oh, I feel like I’m all gummed up inside,

It’s like I’m all gummed up inside,

It’s like I’m all gummed up inside

This open expression of melancholy and helplessness is a clear crack in his manly façade.   He is later seen punching his tear ducts in an attempt to stop his crying. Finn is shown to cry openly, write poetry for the flame princess, and lose his temper. While Finn strives to be the Hollywood textbook version of a manly adventurer, his emotional reactions undermine this. Adventure Time does not only focus on masculinity though.

The Females

            One of the most striking features of Adventure Time is that most of the characters with authorities are female. Most of the world leaders are princesses, including Princess Bubblegum. Princess Bubblegum is an interesting character due to her role as the sovereign ruler of the Candy Kingdom. She is one of the most intelligent people in the world as a leading scientist, a pragmatist who is willing to sacrifice herself and others for the Candy Kingdom, and probably the most mature person on the show. The character Marceline the Vampire Queen is one of the strongest individuals in the show, with abilities that far surpass the hero Finn. Just like Princess Bubblegum, Marceline separates from the hegemonic display of women in media. She is a free spirit that loves to play pranks on others. In the first episode that she appears in, she kicks Finn Jake out of two different houses. When they all fight, Jake and Finn only survive and get their first house back because the fight amuses Marceline. In their relationship, Marceline tends to be the more active and superior one. Her next appearance shows her tricking Finn into becoming her henchman, where she harasses him by making him think that she is doing evil deeds. Marceline is the definition of Kathleen Rowe’s unruly woman. She is a spectacle and excessive(Both good things). She tends to be the dominant personality in whatever scene she is in and can only be restrained by Princess Bubblegum. Jake is scared of vampires and Finn usually adheres to her strength and cunningness. Banet-Weiser wrote in one of her essays that,

In the world of children’s television, programs about self-confident, assertive, and intelligent girls such as Nickelodeon’s 1991 hit, Clarissa Explains it All, and more recent animated programs such as As Told By Ginger, Rocket Power, and The Wild Thornberries initiated a new trend in programming that actively rejected the conventional industry wisdom that children’s shows with girl leads could not be successful (Banet-Weiser, 120).

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The women in Adventure Time come in all shapes and sizes, with different personalities and moral codes.  They do not exist simply to assist Finn or be his romantic interest. Bubblegum rejects him and later another suitors advances claiming that, “Oh, Braco, I don’t want any of that mess. I do love you, but it’s the undifferentiated love I feel for all candy citizens”. Despite her many suitors, it is commonly accepted by the Candy people that she does not date. Flame Princess broke up with Finn and rebukes his attempts at getting her back, instead focusing on herself and her kingdom. Very little of the conversations between female characters are dedicated to talking about men, meaning the show would likely pass the Bechdel test with flying colors. The latest season was focused on expanding Marceline’s backstory and growing her character, a season that Finn and Jake played only a nominal role in. The role of women in Adventure Time is counter-hegemonic because of their own agency. They turn down the main characters love advances for both responsibility and personal growth, they are given adequate screen time and characterization without even the mention of male characters, and all of the main females are shown to be able to hold their own in confrontations. Despite Finn’s role as an adventurer and knight it is acknowledged many times on the show that each of the three women that I have mentioned are either significantly physically or mentally stronger than Finn. Finn accepts this reality and does not particularly care that he is weaker than them, another characteristic that shows how counter-hegemonic the show in when dealing with gender roles and expectations.

Another main ideology present in Adventure Time is the concept of unadulterated acceptance. In society we tend to have conditional acceptance, though we frame it as unconditional. For example, a family member may say that they will unconditionally love another family member. However, societal standards tend to see this as circumstantial and changing with the times. We are finally starting to see LGBT+ characters being treated with unconditional love by their family members, though this is usually done after some soul searching and only covertly done on shows for children since queer characters are still seen as risk in youth television. Character traits are not seen as something deserving of unconditional. Usually if a character has trait that is deemed undesirable, they either change or are rejected. Self-determinism plays a big role in American culture. Unfavorable personalities are things that we have to overcome. Adventure Time denies this narrative though. In the episode “Bonnie & Neddy”, Princess Bubblegum’s brother Neddie is introduced. Neddie is shown to be scared of almost everything and is shown to only be calm when alone or with his sister. When the princess explains that how she enjoyed being connected with others while forming in the mother gum. Jake protests, “ But Neddie’s from the same place you’re from and he’s a wet hotdog around everyone”. She calmly responds, “ People get built different. We don’t need to figure it out, we just need to respect it”. This is not the first time that Bubblegum preaches about acceptance. When talking about the cankerous and mentally unstable Lemongrabs, Jake asks Bubblegum, “But how come we don’t just fix their hearts like we did with Lemonjon so they’re more selfless and less selfish?” Bubblgum responds, “Oh, no, no. Their hearts are fine. They’re just like this”. In the episode “Donny”, Finn attempts to cure Donny of his jerkiness. However, it is shown that by changing him, Finn changed the natural order of the environment he was in and put many lives into danger. Marceline has a whole entire arc in which she must come to terms with being a vampire. Though she initially attempts to expel the vampire aspect of herself, which creates the antagonists of the season, she comes to terms with it by the end. Adventure Time does not discriminate against personality types, and calls for acceptance of others and their differences. The few times that people attempt to force others or themselves to change, the consequences tend to be dire. This could be seen as a reflection of our society that is moving towards unequivocal acceptance as a new dominant ideology.

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            I do not believe that mainstream television can ever be truly counter-hegemonic. It must adhere to the dominant ideologies to be well received by its viewers and more importantly, the advertisers. However, shows such as Adventure Time have the ability to be counter-hegemonic in small ways, challenging the vanguard ideologies and replacing suggesting alternate forms of ideology that are generally accepted by the young-adult culture that the creators live in. It is the generation of the shows creator Pendleton Ward, age 33, that began to learn what post-feminism meant in the classroom and grew up in a world where television studies was already an established field. Adventure Time is not simply a passing fad or lone shout against the current ideology. It is one of many shows that are participating in the changing of the ideological guards. These young show creators who grew up in the same time periods and went to the same colleges are now established show runners, at least in the youth animation field. Very soon, the ideologies of gender representation equality and acceptance will not be counter-hegemonic, but simply the norm.

-Grant

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Works Cited

Banet-Weiser, Sarah. “Girls Rule!: Gender, Feminism, and Nickelodeon.” Critical   Studies in Media Communication 21.2 (2004): 119-39. Web.

Myers, Kristen. “”Cowboy Up!”” The Journal of Men’s Studies 20.2 (2012): 125-43. Web

Raymond, C. W. “Gender and Sexuality in Animated Television Sitcom Interaction.”         Discourse & Communication 7.2 (2013): 199-220. Web.

 

 

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For Honor!

Pulled up a bio I made for one of favorite forum handles, HonorHunter.
Why? Because this homework needs some time to think about how it is hurting me.

On a day very similar to one quite like this, though different enough to considered peculiar, a young man was born. I say young man not because he came out of the womb almost fully grown in semi-formal attire, but because this child was full of Honor that few gain with multiple lifetimes in their metaphorical bag of life. However, this peculiar birth on this peculiar day would not end in a quirky yet joyful way, like I assume most days of birth end. No, this day would end in a particular sort of sadness saved for the most particular sort of tragedies. You see, this strapping young lads Honor was taken. To get into the details would take many a paragraphs, and though the harrowing tale is of an exciting sort with dragons and lost maidens and bravery with loss, we have no time for these shenanigans. All we need to know for now is that he has spent the last eighteen 365 days cycle hunting for his pilfered Honor.
And he won’t stop.

Until it

is

found.

The Joys of LARPing

 

Once a month in southern part of New Jersey, a magical occurrence happen for three suns and two moons. During this time the steadfast brick wall between reality and fantasy crumble  peeling away of preconception of belief and the unknown. As the dust settles and the earth lays to a rest a new land is formed. This land  is full of nefarious necromancers and wise wizards. This land is full of  elegant elves and ominous ogres. This land is safe haven for the weak and the strong, the fast and the slow, the fearful and the fearless with every other imagination of being ever to be spun on the spinning wheel of creativity and wonder.

This land is Evermoore.

 After  two painful months away from the South Jersey based LARP( That’s Live Action Role Play Playing) Mystic Realms, I finally found my way back to the Glory of Guildenhall. I had picked out my  deep elf costume(always a work in progress) and made the heart wracking decision of what kind of ears to purchase (halfing, regular,  or incredibly long anime ears)  and was set for the weekend. On the first night, I was able to experience a side of LARPing that I have never touched before. I was able to NPC. 

NPC stands for non player character. A non player character is a person or thing that helps the storyline and is not character that earns status or point for completing tasks. This can range from being a happy mushroom that throws spores to a hero from an era long gone that needs the players help in fighting spirits.  NPC’s help characters earn gold/items and move the storyline along. They are the framework of the mighty building known as The Story. On friday was given the opportunity to play an ogre. The experience was incredible. It was as if I was able to finally see the wires behind the computer. Needless to say, I plan on doing it again.

In under 80 hours I fought killer ants, became a gypsy hunting ogre, and evaded semi sentient moving lava. I was able to experience a different world from different eyes and truly suck the marrow from life.  LARPing is not the an escape from reality, as many people are led to belive, but an augmentation of existence. Live Action Role Play for me is a portal to experience different people and emotions that would be difficult to imitate in my regular life. So far, I have only attended two events, so take my word with a large shaker of salt. Maybe I am completely wrong and I am still in the honeymoon phase, with the stress of reality of cold hard truth eventually bearing its fangs me.

I don’t think so though.

I have spoken with people, both older and younger, who have been  LARPing for years. It seems to me that going to these events have made their regular lives not fade into shadows, but brighten to the height of a million suns. One day I hope to be able to look back at this post not just with fond memories but also with the same enthusiasm that I have now.  I look forward to writing more and more about my adventures into this brave new world.

                                                                   -Grant
Live Any Good Adventures lately?

 

Pictures of Possiblity

Oh God, I hope you are radioactive!

Today while I was walking home from the library(uphill none the less. SoCal is very hilly) I came across a spider hanging from its web, enjoying a freshly prepared fly for dinner. Beads of swear tiptoed across my face as a shoved my left hand into my pocket, fishing for my small grey camera. I almost never get pictures of bugs, especially arachnids. Like a zebra being stalked by half-starved lion in the plains of Africa, spiders seemed to have a sixth sense when it came to me wanting to take pictures of them. As my fingers clumsily changed the settings of the camera to adjust for the ever falling sun, my mind began to wander as my soul began to wonder.

What if this Spider is radioactive?

I know what you are thinking.   Get your nose out of the comic book and find yourself a girlfriend you damn geek(or boyfriend, we don’t judge). Just bear with the ramblings of a growing geek. What if the spider was a radioactive escapee from a lab?

What if it bit me?

What if it gave me powers?

What would I do?

I have come across many people who have wondered why Ben Parker had to die and why Peter has to go through so many hardships so early on. Very few heroes had such hardships after their back story was told. Being called a menace, getting turned down by the Fantastic Four, and so many bills. Would it not be better for him to just be in the right place at the right time and the sky’s open up for him?

Well, no.

Daydreaming as I took amateur shots of a spider in the dark led me to the conclusion that Peter Parker had to go through these hardships. If I received amazing powers without a reason to act, I would probably have done what he initially did. I would be taking the easy way out and cashing in on the success( I think in one episode of the 90’s show we meet a  Peter Parker who des just that). I came to the conclusion that although we don’t always need a reason to do good, sometimes a good push is needed to take the plunge.

Satisfied with my average photo and delightful daydream I walked home. In the dark. Apparently I don’t have the power to stop time while I day-dream. Who knew!

-Grant

(with great power comes great action shots. Nooo, that’s not right at all)

Avatar the Last Airbender: when East meets West

I wrote this a long time ago, so be gentle.

Ionic versus Pentatonic.   Nuclear family versus extended. Chopstick versus fork. For as long as the cradles of civilization have been around, there has been a difference between Eastern Culture and Western culture that has gone beyond the physical separation by the Ural and Caucasus Mountains.  Whether it be by the main differences in philosophy and religion or the way to hand a business card, it obvious that there is a major divide between how things functions between the cultures. However, every so often lightning strikes and that great red line dissipate to create something truly awe-inspiring.   In the year 2004 at Comic-con, the world saw lightning struck once again. Avatar: The Last Air bender was ready to shine.

Like many great animated television shows, ATLA(Avatar The Last Air bender) began in Burbank California. The two men who came up with the main idea were Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko in 2001. It took them only two weeks to come up with the idea and pitch it. By February of 2005 it was an overnight hit. Since that fateful day there has been three seasons, a few hour long specials, and a successful second season to grace the avatar universe. The Avatar universe tells the story of Avatars, one person every lifetime who has the ability to use all four of the elements in comparison to only one, to bring harmony to the land. ATLA tells the story of how Aang, an avatar trapped in a block of ice for 100 years, and his companions defeat the fire nation after it had waged an all-out war for domination. Avatar: The Legend of Korra, is about the Avatar after Aang named Korra who must live in a world where although people with elemental abilities live in harmony,  a resistance of normal people is formed to stop bending.

So why is Avatar special? Well, that is multi-part answer. One would be the fact that Avatar is a serious drama.  Even though there is humor involved, most notably involving the character Sokka and his trusty boomerang, it would be a lie to say that ALTA does not tug on the metaphorical heartstrings. The creators masterfully play with music, storyline, and character developments that make mature characters that are relatable despite the odd universe in which they live in. I found myself emphasizing with Anng’s attempt to get Katara to notice him and crying with him when the frustration of being born into responsibility became too much to handle.  What we were given was a show not just for the demographic of 8-11. We were given an epic story that blended western and eastern ideas to give a masterpiece. It is understood early on that eastern philosophy, art, and martial arts heavily influenced the show. The amazing thing was, it was not based off of tired old stereotypes that would often show up in western shows including Eastern elements.  ATLA was a celebration of Eastern culture.

Recently, Avatar: The Legend of Korra was renewed for a second season. A greater diffusion between western and eastern history/ideas is created, with jazz and automobiles painted next to Chinese folk music and bamboo trees.   The future for this show is unknown to everybody except the small group of dedicated artists in Burbank. What is known is that Avatar will continue to meld the hearts of mind of Eastern and Western fans for years to come.

God I love the track Team.  (M. Knight Free since  ’05)

-Grant

Why Kids are Geeks (and why we should all strive to be kids)

Whether you adore little kids and their positive outlooks on life or you loathe their constant caffeine-like high and grubby, fidgeting hands, let’s face it:

Kids are geeks.

In fact, kids are, and always will be, the only pristine form of Geek that will ever walk the Earth. With their innate sense of being themselves, children have yet to be corrupted and trained to hide who they are, what they love, and what they believe in to fit the mold society (parents, peers, and the media) presses against us.  A child will stare at a handicapped person, not with pity or horror, but with innocent curiosity on why that human looks like a robot with their prosthetic leg or why they are in a wheelchair with a tube in their nose.  It’s this innocent curiosity that we lose as we get older when we’re taught not to stare at, point to, or question anything that isn’t deemed ‘normal’.  It’s this innocent curiosity that allows humans to grow and learn about themselves and others around them.  It’s this innocent curiosity that we need to soul search for as we get older, with more layers of security added as each birthday passes.

I love kids.  I work with them all throughout the summer, volunteering for the children’s programs at my local library and as a CIT for a day camp.  It’s with these kids that I feel most comfortable, because I know they aren’t going to judge me.  They don’t care what race or religion I am as long as I push them on the swings.  They don’t care what my sexuality or gender is as long as I help them find the book they’re looking for.  If I am kind and friendly to them, they like me.  That’s all that matters.  And that should be all that matters as we get older, but how quickly we are blinded when we are placed in the orderly line set to keep everyone organized and the same.

Humans need to learn from their smaller form, and strive to be like them in the sense of unconditional love (not unlike that of a dog’s), acceptance, and zest for life.  Sure, we want to grow up from the days of temper tantrums, but we don’t want to lose sight of the most important values to have.  If every single person showed just who they are and accepted others in the way a kid does, we’d have a lot less hate, bigotry, and anger in the world.

A true geek isn’t just an expert on their topic of choice, whether it be movies, books, comics, or other nerdy things.   A true geek isn’t just someone who reads under the covers at night to avoid an early bedtime or tries to defeat the next Pokemon gym leader before the school bus comes in the morning.

A true geek is in touch with their inner child.

~Rizzo

(Oh, I probably should introduce myself.  I’m Rizzo, and Colin is my Musically-Inclined-Older-Brother-I-Never-Had.  I do have a real older brother, but we’ll talk about him another time.)

The Dark Knight Rising into theatres

All right Ladies and oh so gentle men, the day that we(Though I can only speak for myself) have been waiting for  is almost upon us. That is correct,  The Dark Knight Rises flies into theatres in just three days.  M Night, I mean The Dark Knight Rises, is the third movie in Christopher Nolan’s action packed trilogy that follows the creation and possibly destruction of Batman. This last movie is going to be a special treat for fans of the  comic book. Nolan is using the pivotal storyline of when Bane breaks the bat. Every so often in a comic book, a storyline comes along that brings all the right people and ideas together to create a special moment in a comic. This moment is like a bottle of Dasani on a deserted island or that Pokeflute that moves away the tired old storylines and hashed out idea. Batman vs. Bane is that kind of storyline and Nolan is sticking pretty close to it, unlike that dumbed down Bane in the infamous Batman and Robin. This movies seems as if it will live up to the hype.

There is much mystery surrounding the movie, and nobody knows exactly what Nolan has in store for the end. All that is known is that the franchise is going out with a bang. I am so excited, I am not even going to rant about Anne Hathaway( and trust me, if you could see the conversations me and my friends have about her as Catwomen, you would pay me to shut up).  Regardless of how good the movie is or is not, it can be safely said that  this trilogy that explored what Batman is, with all his flaws and idisyncrosies, shall be missed.

See you at the Theatre    Grant

 

I’m Batman!

So Cute

Comic Store Heroes: Real Life Super Heroes

Up Up and Away! Click for a link to Mid Town Comics

There is no doubting or denying it. Being a geek, or a nerd, or whatever sub category you delineate yourself with is becoming not only tolerated, but embraced.  Still, there will always be that percentage of the total population who can say that they eat, breath, and sleep the geek. I don’t think I can. Will Wheaten and Felicia Day defiantly can.  Still, it is rare to see a television not only for geeks, but celebrates the lifestyle. Last night, I saw a television show slipped nicely into that Mylar sleeve. On July thirteenth Comic Store Heroes, a show about a comic store called Midtown Comics, premiered on NatGeo.  In the special one hour opening, the show followed the owner, two of the main staffers, and two comic fans with unique stories as they all prepared for comic-con New York.  The main players in this amazing episode included: Gerry Gladstone who is an owner, Thor Parker the marketing and events manager, Alex Roe, who is in charge of buying and selling merchandise, Jill Pantozzi a huge name in geek blogging, and Chris R.Notarile who is an aspiring comic book creator.

A simple synopsis of the hour long premiere is that Midtown Comics is preparing for Comic-Con. During this time Thor has to try to find a big name to sign autographs at their table and Alex must buy 10,000 comics along with the task of finding a special comic book for Gerry, “Hot Stuff, The Little Devil No.1″. Along the way we meet Chris Notarile , a man on a mission to get his comic on the shelves of Midtown Comics. To do this, he must woo Thor at comic-con with super ideas.  Jill Pantozzi, a blogger with muscular dystrophy and 15,000+ views is featured.  The teapot comes to a whistle as Comic-Con approaches and the pressure builds up.  What happens? Watch the episode.

The first time I went to Midtown Comics was my freshman year of High school.  I was on a trip with the orchestra and we had extra free time to walk around NYC.  Something attracted me to that amazing shop, and every chance I can find myself in New York with extra time and extra money I head down there. As you watch the show, you can truly tell how special a comic book shop is. A community is formed, and as long as you have an interest in comics you are immediately accepted into the clan of collectors.  Comic Store Hero is special because it does not try to build upon an age old stereotype. It shows a candid community of people who share a common bond and the extremes that they will go for their passion.  Whether you have been reading comics since before you could talk or you have only seen The Amazing Spiderman in films, Comic Store Heroes is a show to watch.  Sometimes, a super hero doesn’t have to fly. They just have to believe and move forward.

-Grant

http://www.thenerdybird.com/

http://www.houndcomics.com/protector.php

The Amazing Peter Parker

Bear with me, I have’nt written a review in a few months.        Peter Palmer?

Whenever a movie or a concept is redone for the movies, a collective gasp is held in the lungs. Most movies take ten years or more to redo a loved movie, for fear of backlash by the critics and potential audience. That is why it came as a great surprise to almost everyone when the franchise movie featuring Tobey Maguire was rebooted featuring Emma Stone and  Andrew Garfield, that guy from The Social Network.  It is common knowledge that the Spiderman trilogy had lost steam after the first movie, but that never warranted this. I have no qualms when it comes to my love of Spiderman. He has always been my favorite superhero. I even wrote one of my main college essays about Peter Parker. You can understand why a feeling that can only be described as joy, anxiety, and the whole entire Spanish soccer team kicking me in the unmentionables came to mind. One good comic book movie is a gift from the Gods. Two based off of the same character by different directors filmed only five years apart is…….impossible?

Or is it?

Last week I got up the nerves to get on my knee’s and ask my aunt to take my broke ass to the movie theatre. After shamelessly smuggling in food and scaring the annoying tweenagers into shutting up by secretly telling them about how the next ten years of their lives would play out, the movie began.

I was not disappointed.

Okay, so  from a film critic’s point of view, it was nothing new.  It had the feel of Indie with a Hollywood budget, which makes sense coming from Marc Webb( I know,  he was born to direct Spidey!), the director of (5oo) days of Summer and numerous music video’s for big time artists(Trust me, you’ve seen one of his video’s).   It was a very safe movie. As a critic I would give it  4 out of 5. B+, A-.

As a self-proclaimed Spiderman fanatic, let me just say YYEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS to the nth degree yes!

I loved it. I really liked the Tobey Maguire series, I honestly did, but I lived this movie. Garfield may not look quite as geeky, but he embraced the loner aspect to the fullest.  With that, let me say this: watch out Mr. Andrew. Emily Jean Stone is mine. Everybody loves “You hit the jackpot, Tiger”,  but nobody remembers the first and great love who was tragically ripped from Peter. It was Gwen Stacy who ended the Silver Age of comic books with a snap of her neck. It was Gwen who shared  Peter’s love of all things science and taught our sensitive spider about love. It was Emma Stone who played her flawlessly. She was smart and charming and everything I thought Gwen should be.  Andrew Garfield did not disappoint either. Though he is a bit cooler than I imagine Peter, everything else was spot on. He was socially awkward( I have never seen a man stumble so much in the mouth than Peter talking to a girl), he had problems with bullies, and best of all he had a quick tongue.   Also, Webbs did not have an easy task. He had to take away staples of the Spiderman series to distance himself from being a sorry repeat of a good trilogy. That means no Mary Jane, no Norman, no “With Great Power comes Great Responsibility”(Though he did everything but kick the audience into that general direction).

I think what made the movies worth it, besides the fact that we saw the making of the wbshooters was provided the knowedge that spidey does not web to clouds, was that it was never about just spiderman. The movie was about Peter. For the last ten minuets, there was no man behind the mask. It was just a man. There is something you need to know about Spiderman that may shock and astound you.

His power origin story sucks spider balls.

Seriously.  The Fantastic Four went into space in a space ship made by the smartest man in the world, Bruce Banner saved a kid who walked into the high level test he was doing, and Thor is a god. A GOD!   Spiderman was a science nerd bit by the wrong spider.  How pathetic.

Want another secret.

I’m not a Spiderman fan.

But I am a Peter Parker fan.

Hell, I am a fantastic. Why? Because he is just like us, the readers.  Despite the amazing powers he was given, he is immediately called a menace and cannot get a real job.  Just when things start to go well, his girlfriend dies, and he might have killed her.  He can’t catch a break.  Peter Parker has always been about the rollercoaster ride of life. No other hero initially had that.  Spiderman did not punch the lights out of The Lizard. Peter Parker and science saved the day.

I cannot wait for the next movie to see what Webb will do with our two science nerds.   If God, A.K.A Stan Lee, will allow it,  believe that we shall seeing a lot more of the greatest hero ever. Peter Parker

-Grant

“With power that may be gre- alot, there should be responsi- certain moral tasks that take the form of sacrifice. Do you understand me Pete?”

Say What?

Terms and Trolls

In Roleplaying games you have many types of people. You have the born leader,  the helpful healer, the tough tank, and so on and son. There is another well-known player whose mere mention strikes nausea into the heart of every player. This particular player is infamous across the land, from the depths of D & D to the jungles of Japanese JRPG. This player is unrelenting, devoid of mercy, and lacking the very thing that makes a role player a role player. This player is the meat in a vegetarian casserole, the fire at an explosive plant, the arrow in the knee! Run, don’t walk, when the very name drips from the crevice of the experienced players lip like a blob of egotistical ooze. Whatever you do, do not say its title three time fast lest it appear quicker than Beetlejuice after a funeral.

God modder

God modder

Godmodder!

So what is a god modder? A person who is god modding is a player within a rpg who gives themselves abilities that ensures them to be successful.  When a person god mods, there is no reason or experience capable of defeating them because they are acting outside of the rules of that particular rpg.     Here is an example of exactly how annoying  god modding is.

Sam the Savage(average Role Player):  Using his Agorian Axe, Sam strikes at Deus’s arm.

Deus Ex Machina (Godmodder): Sam, being the loser that he is, misses and begins to cry. Taking pity on him, Deus uses the infinity sword he just found a few seconds ago tocut Sam into a millon little pieces.

That may be a little bit of an exaggeration, but not far off.

Here is a more relatable example. Remember when you were children on the playground participating in a rousing game of tag. As the person who is it, it is your duty to tag all the other children in the school yard. The first five children are easily aprhended. Then you get to Donny, and the dialugie goes something like this.

“I got you!”

“Nuh uh”.

“Did too!”

“I used my cloak of invisibility. You couldn’t see me”.

“ We aren’t playing Harry Potter, Donny”.

That is pretty much what playing with a godmodder is like. There is only one thing to do with that kind of situation. Do not try to reason. Do not attempt to show them the error of their way unless, of course, they are new to roleplaying. The only way to get rid of a godmodder is to ban them. Destroy their ability to interrupt your role play. They are not only insulting the moderator and the players, but the integrity of all role-players who play for the experience of the game and not just the experience.

-Grant

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