Thursday, May 29, 2008


Has anyone else noticed just how much "they" get brought up? You know "they". Those guys. Them. They did that thing that you liked, or hated. They're casting Captain America as we speak. Or they're choosing who gets killed off in the next issue of FINAL CRISIS or whatever. Or they're giving the green light for another season of your favorite new show. You know who I'm talking about. Or do we?...

See, I've just recently found it kind of funny how much of our "lives", you know, our recreational sides are spent talking about "they". What direction they're going with our comics, what remnants of our childhoods they're resurrecting in motion picture form, or even what laws they're trying to pass. All these "invisible" people getting so much of our breaths as we discuss amongst ourselves what they're doing and how it affects us, and yet we probably haven't met a one of them. Hell, we probably can't even call them out of a lineup if they were in front of us. Really, does anyone else find this kind of funny?

Editors, producers, writers, musicians, artists, senators, colorists, republicans, democrats, directors... creators and those guys behind the creators, all in their magical little lands, making the world go round in their own little or big ways. We talk about them so much. We praise them for their creativity when it amuses us, we damn them for wasting our time when they fail. We curse them when they cost us money, we begrudgingly nod approval when they send us $600 checks. We call them geniuses, we call them hacks, we say they're somewhere in between. Some we don't even talk about at all because they're just "little guys" in their own right, but they make the process happen with their own contributions so we throw them in the overall use of the term, but we have no idea who they are unless you sit all the way through the credits.

Who are all these people? What do they do in their free time? Do they think about the next project? Do they go out on the porch to enjoy a cold beverage and the sunset like us? Do they stand around their own water coolers talking about something a fellow creator or man of power did before they go and try to either outdo that person, or borrow from them? What do we have to do to become one of them?

Do we even want to? Seems like a lot of pressure in some of these cases. Even for someone as "lowly" as a comic book writer. People can be fickle; I should know, I'm a person too sometimes.

It's something to think about isn't it? Well, maybe later it will be. The season finale of LOST is coming on. I want to see what kind of shenanigans they pull out next...


Monday, May 5, 2008

Repulsor Rays and Dead Hookers...

Just two of the things I got to combine this past weekend in between bits of "let's see how much we can pile on Joe before he finally untaps his latent ability to kill people with his mind".

Fuck how I wish I could kill with my mind.

Anyways, yes, I did get to entertain myself with both a viewing of Iron Man this weekend, and some immersing of myself in the Next Gen version of Grand Theft Auto. Both very awesome, both something I'm looking forward to doing again soon when I have the free time, if I have the free time (of course, I guess I could GTAing right now instead of doing this nonsense, but eh, bonus Hockey is on the teley. Speaking of which, GO PENS! I hope all the Flyers and their mothers die of monkey AIDS).

To start with GTA since it came first, I can say that I'm really quite enjoying the game. I've only logged about a dozen hours onto it so far, but this thing is so overwhelming I can't tell if I want to just keep going in small doses so I don't completely freak out trying to do everything, or if I indeed want to freak the fuck out and go on a 14 hour drug running and hooker killing binge. I mean, when the opportunity to commit homicide on our street walkers presents itself, digital or otherwise, you take it. They have no souls and it's your right as one with that otherwordly essence to remove them from society, get me?

.... moving on.

But as far as the game goes, I think this is definitely going to be the best installment by the time the story starts to resolve and I can fully judge it. Niko is a great character, all the other players are equally endearing from who I've encountered so far, and the city is so fucking vibrant it's intoxicating. I'm much more interested in exploring its streets and alleyways than I am the Steel City I reside in.

Gameplay-wise though, I'm not so excited about a couple things which definitely radiate enough to immediately dismiss this as a "perfect" game like so many mags and sites with their 10 out of 10's and whatnot would, or at least should, imply. For one, the targeting system to me still seems pretty clunky. It locks on hard enough, but even though it's supposed to be a simple push of the joystick towards the next target that doesn't always happen until you're exerting a large amount of effort to make it do so. And free-aiming tends to be a tussle with the controller as well from my experience. The new driving physics too I think are a bit off. Oh, I know they deliberately went with more of a "rag doll" engine to make it all the more awesomer when you completely send a pedestrian flying over your hood, and sometimes even Niko, but the constant skid outs the cars do, and the sad ease with which they can and will flip while on the run is infuriating. I mean, overall this doesn't completely ruin the gameplay, but it knocks it down a bit enough to make me not really even want to do missions and settle with learning this fucking massive city (of which I know my way around maybe 10% of it so far. Sheesh).

All in all, a 9 out of 10 for the characters, story, and the glorious amounts of chaos within. Maybe a 9.2 for giving the option to select a price range for the services all those walking pieces of crushed self-esteem that wander the streets of LC offer.

And on to more comic booky pursuits, I did indeed dig the hell out of Iron Man. Pretty much everything you'd want out of a superhero flick and a summer blockbuster. I'd say from those aspects I like this just as much as I do Batman Begins with a slight edge to BB because I thought it was executed better technically. What I mean is that I think Iron Man had maybe some pacing issues, especially towards the end as it rushed to get out the big bag for the final showdown and whatnot. But Downey Jr. was the fucking mans, just like Bale in the Batsuit. Those two are easily the best castings ever done in comic book films.

The action was great for the most part too, except again that last battle seemed rushed and a little bit of some good old "Robot" smashing. Of course you want to see Stark win using his brains, but two minutes of car tossing, repulsor raying smashy smash is not enough to get you going. But a good origin retelling, a great build up of all the supporting cast, and that Cup Filling moment after the credits made the inner fanboy that I typically leave beaten and locked up deep down in side me running around his cage in ecstatic glee. Of course that means it's time to drown the uppity fuck in Indie comics to get that out of the system, but for now I'll let him have his moment.

I guess there's more Bonus Hockey to be played, so maybe I'll do all that up there now with some QUEEN & COUNTRY as I multi-task. Lord knows it's the only fucking way I'm going to get any geek shit done this next month. I gotta find a way to read comics and kill hookers at the same time. I wonder if they're sturdy enough to cover someone's face and suffocate them with... hrms...

Jack Thompson wept.