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No one has gotten vampires right since Stoker

Anne Rice and Stephanie Meyer have obviously perpetuated the teeny bopper vampire romance crap, but pretty much everyone since Stoker has ruined vampires and missed the whole point of the original story. The original Dracula is a social/racial commentary filled with class warfare between the prim and proper white Europeans vs the primitive inhuman Gypsies creatures of the night. If written in modern times by Democrats, Dracula would be Mitt Romney, an outsider rich white man who "sucks the blood" of the poor by taking their tax money, labour, and livelihood. Sadly, none if this is even touched upon in adaptations of the freakin' book, simply focusing on the horror as opposed to the political thrill. And don't get me started on the vampire forbidden love exploitation crap........................


Big in Japan #1: Shmups(Shoot-Em-Ups)

Part 1 of a series of Japanese and other foreign culture and media.

Why is it that in America, shmups are a seemingly dead genre, where as in Japan, they're still produced in abundance? Just for clarification, shoot em ups are not 1st/3rd person shooters like Half-Life or Gears of War, run-n-guns like Contra or Metal Slug, or shooting platformers like Metroid and Mega Man. Shoot em ups first appeared and became popular with titles such as Space Invaders, Galaxian, Galaga, Bosconian, Geometry Wars, and Radar Scope. Don't be fooled by these older games' simplicity, however, as Shmups have evolved into an infamously difficult genre of gaming. During the late 80s and early 90s, infamous titles such as Gradius, Darius, R-Type, Raiden, and 1943 were created. Tropes and cliche trappings of shmups were space based or in sci-fi versions of WW2. However, later shmups began to employ gimmicks to set themselves apart. Rail shooters, such as Rez, Sin and Punishment, and Panzer Dragoon, were shooters where the player's character followed a specified route, and the player would shoot in multiple directions. Twinbee was a more cutesy and child oriented shmup, starting the subgroup of "cute-em-ups." Parodius was similarly cute, as well as being infamously absurd. A parody of Gradius, Twinbee, and shmups in general, the main characters were Vic Viper from Gradius, Twinbee, and an original octopus character named Takosuke. Its humorous world was filled with giant Vegas dancers, ballet pandas, villainous penguins, Maori Easter Island heads, and pirate ships with cat heads on the front. Another quirky, albeit utterly creepy, game was Cho Aniki, which would use fighting game like command codes for its action. The game is most famous for its almost intentionally creepy amount of homo eroticism, starring a pair of musclebound men in thongs who have holes in their bald heads that shoot white energy called "Men's beams." The games imagery is filled with other scantily clad men and employing several offensive Japanese gay stereotypes. The most popular subgroup of shmups, however, is Danmaku, which means bullet curtain or bullet hell. These games are notably difficult, with enemies shooting large fields of projectiles that cover the screen. Companies such as Cave, 8ing/Raizing, and Toaplan are known for producing several of the best shmups in the history of the genre. They have also inspired several doujin games, or D.I.Y., fanmade, and indie games. The most notable of these is Touhou Project, a series created by the Zun, the sole member of Shanghai Alice. These games are known for their beautiful, almost distracting amount of bullets that fill the screen, as well the gothic lolita anime girls that make up its world. For a indie game, it has an extremely expansive lore and fanbase, with even the most minute character being well known amongst the fandom. Even though the genre is still niche in Japan, it is far more there than in Western countries. Many attribute this to Western gamers seeming obsession with 1st person shooters(which is still true), but it is mainly attributable to the fact that many of these games were first released in arcades, if they ever get ported at all. Arcades are still very popular in Asia, particularly in Japan, where as in America and other Western countries they are nearly dead, with the few that are still around paling in comparison to those of Japan or even the American arcades of yore. Shmups, however, have found a fandom with many Western gamers through the internet, mainly due to the popularity of Cave shooters and games in the Touhou Project.

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Wonder Woman: Fans singing Johns' praises, criticizing Azzarello

With the revelation that Cheetah is finally making an appearance in the DCnU (yay!), some Wonder Woman fans have made comments such as "Johns is doing what Azzarello won't" and that "Justice League is a better Wonder Woman book than Wonder Woman." Then they'll talk about "the hack writing WW, and the genius writing JLA." Um.....let's compare their treatment of different characters between the two:

Brian Azzarello

1. Turned Hippolyta into a liar who slept with Zeus.

2. Turned the Amazons into basically whores who slept with men for children. (Basically turned them into Welfare whores from the ghetto.)

3. Revolutionized the Greek gods' characters and personalities.

4. Brought an epic saga storytelling to the book.

5. Brought WW's sales and quality back to how they were with Rucka, who was arguably the best writer since Perez.

Geoff Johns

1. Brought back Steve Trevor and made him Diana's lover-man again. (Cuz SOMEONE had to get rid of the Supes/WW pairing.)

2. Randomly "Affirmative Actioned" Etta Candy for no good reason.

3. Did the same thing by replacing Martian Manhunter with Cyborg, which makes absolutely no freaking sense whatsoever, whilst completely insulting the history of MM with the whole "he was a villain" crap.

4. Seemingly got rid of the Frank Miller "Batgod" treatment that Bats used to get when around metas, as well as seemingly restoring the Silver Age friendship of Superman and Batman that was also destroyed by Frank Miller.

5. Had a book that despite being the premiere book of the relaunch, hasn't gotten decent until recently.

6. Treated Wonder Woman like a battle obsessed bimbo in the 1st few issues, and constantly using tired fish out of water humor and characterization.

7. Ruined Captain Marvel. 'Nuff said.

So count the pros and cons of each and tell me Johns isn't losing his luster. Despite him revolutionizing Aquaman, and writing Green Lantern better than before the reboot, he seem to be acting like the OTHER Geoff/Jeph/Jeff....ya know, of the Loeb variety.


The Host(2006) vs. Godzilla(1998)

Warning: Spoilers ahead

Ah, Godzilla(1998)....a.k.a. Zilla to most fans. When this film was released in theaters, it was a box office hit, a success not shared in its critical reception. Critics blasted the film, particularly Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel. These two were notably harsh on Roland Emmerich's previous two films to the point where he had put their likenesses in this film. This was heavily criticized, with even Ebert questioning why they were put in a monster movie and yet weren't violently killed off. The acting, for the most part, was either over-the-top or just not there, and the monster design failed to resemble the classic design of the monster, or even the 1985 redesign. The greatest offense, however, was to seemingly attempt to remake the original Godzilla whilst completely ignoring the political satire/commentary present in the original film. Unlike some of the silly sequels it spawned, particularly of the late 60s, early 70s era, the original 1954 Gojira was a dark, serious, and harrowing film. Being created by Japanese people affected by the bombings during WW2, it spoke on the dangers of certain military advancements, notably the atomic bomb and the hydrogen bomb. The result of these weapons' abuse was that of an unstoppable beast, one which we were inadvertently responsible for. Aside from the social commentary was the human element, showing how everyday human lives were affected by the sudden destruction caused by this monster. We didn't just see the city being destroyed, we saw the aftermath, how that affected the people, how their lives were disrupted, or even ended. Zilla does none of this, opting for all flash and no legitimate substance. Any atomic commentary that has to do with the title character is simply glossed over, given lip service for about 10 seconds. Also, the storyline is just an excuse for explosions, with the character interactions being extremely 1 dimensional and sappy. Never was there any time to feel sympathy for the characters, as their storylines seem almost superfluous, never achieving the reactionary drama of the original. Instead, most of the "drama" told in reaction to the creature's appearance is about getting the best scoop on it for the paper.

Many could argue that the atomic energy storyline might seem dated when made into a further developed plot point, which is why I would suggest to have made the film a period piece. Even that, however, is an excuse for laziness. One could easily update it to nuclear or some other type of energy, especially nowadays with the recent incident with Japan(mirroring the circumstances that inspired the original Gojira). Even Godzilla 1985/Return of Godzilla, which was a sequel/reboot which started a new continuity, slightly updated the social commentary, adding the Cold war element of the U.S. and U.S.S.R. attempting to "one-up" each other concerning Godzilla's destruction, with Japan caught in the crossfire.

This is where The Host succeeded so well. For those who don't know, The Host is a South Korean film about how a broken family must unite together to save the protagonist's daughter, who has been captured by a large mutant fish-like creature(Gwoemul). Meanwhile, government conspiracy erupts when the creature is said to be the host to a deadly small pox-like virus, with the government attempting to hunt and quarantine anyone who has come into direct contact with the creature's blood. The film is far superior to Zilla on all accounts. The characters, from the nervously cautious sister, the belittling alcoholic brother, to the seemingly mentally handicapped protagonist, are all developed from their initial character status', and their interactions are organic, well-acted, integral, and most of all, INTERESTING. You actually care about the characters and whether they live or die, making the non-monster scenes a joy as opposed to a bore.

Also, the political commentary is ingenious. The event that created this creature was when an American doctor orders his assistant to dump numerous bottles of formaldehyde into the Han river. This is based off of a true event in which the American military did just that. Later, a gas is used against the monster called Agent Yellow, which is obviously inspired by Agent Orange. Also, the virus is later revealed to be nothing more than an elaborate government hoax. The creature's design and physical likeness were inspired by reports of a bizarre mutant fish that was found in the Han river with a malformed spine. Basing much of the film's background on real world catastrophes, notably ones caused the U.S.A., further ground Gojira and The Host into reality, making the situations in the films far more terrifying. The Host in particular is a film many should look at as a way to make a post-modern kaiju film. Even Cloverfield, which promised to be the "post 9-11" kaiju film, failed miserably in this regard when compared to The Host and Gojira, feeling more like "The Blair Witch Kaiju" than a true American answer/equivalent to the Japanese kaiju titans. Hopefully the planned 2014 American reboot of Godzilla try much harder to tell an interesting social commentary/kaiju classic as opposed to just barraging our eyes with helicopters chasing Zilla and sappy Matthew Broderick romance.


Why does Indie apparently automatically mean good?

Why has the Independent company status of Comic Book Publishers somehow been equated to instantly show signs of quality work? Look, lets face it, the Big 2 do some dumb things, but to instantly declare that each and every book of theirs is not of good quality is the most ignorant blanket statement I've ever heard. Of course, this elitist hipster mentality expands to many different mediums, not just comics. There's the "Foreign/arthouse films are automatically better" crowd who will except the most idiotic, acid trip schlockfest, thinking it's "high-art" or some crap like that. This of course is evident in comic fans. Whenever Grant Morrison transforms into "insano acid trip writing British guy" his fans will start singing his praises to high heavens, talking about how "those two-bit hacks from other companies couldn't POSSIBLY write something so INTELLIGENT and ARTSY!!!!!" I feel the same way about a lot of acclaimed work from Brits. Neil Gaiman's weird emo goth version of Sandman is praised by people who haven't even read it, and yet reading it myself, I couldn't stand it. It seemed like much of the praise was just about how "cool, different, and edgy" it was, which is the same excuse I heard for LIEFELD'S initial popularity. And apparently, when a pretentious Brit blatantly takes existing characters and does "edgy, smart" writing moves like making the World's Finest analogue gay, adding "teh secks and teh bludd and gotts!" it all of a sudden becomes "intelligently written" and something "the Big 2 could only hope to ever publish." Let's not even get started on how early Image comics, ya know, the king of Indie publishers, just pillaged characters from Marvel and DC, and then promptly wrote them far WORSE than the Big 2 ever had. Despite this, they acted like they were God's gift to mankind, like they were just creative visionaries in a world that had lost creativity. In actuality, they and a lot of other "Indie" are about as creatively bankrupt as Liefeld....See what I did there? BLANKET TERM!!!


Why don't certain characters look more ethnic?

Look, I know i've "kinda" spoken onthis already with certain characters, but alas.

Have you noticed how certain characters lack any ethnic features besides skin color, if that much.

1. Voodoo: I've noted before that Voodoo's ethnicity is oddly ambiguous most of the time, despite her dark skin. I've been told that she's black, but many times you can't tell. This may attribute to Jim Lee's(and many others') inability to draw non-caucasian features on characters. This is especially scary in Lee's case, considering he's....ya know.....not white.

2. Wonder Woman: This is slowly but surely being fixed. I've always felt that Diana should have darker, olive colored skin as well as have curly hair and Mediterranean facial features. The hair was something put in by artists like Perez, but Cliff Chiang has gone and finally given her darker, more "greek" skin.

3. Any hispanic character: Unlike asians in comics, who, no matter what their skin color, can be shown to be ethnic by their eyes, hispanics are a bit harder to characterize. In fact, most, like Jaime Reyes and his family, usually look white unless the artist actually tries. The fact that on B:TBATB, he's voiced by the white actor who played Terry McGuiness/Eric Matthews doesn't help.

I'm not asking for racial caricatures, I'm just asking for more ethnic characters, particularly the women, to look a bit more like their own race and less like photoshopped white people.


British Thor=Lazy

Look, I know Marvel's Thor ain't the mythology Thor, ok? Don't start giving me crap about that.

But seriously, why has no one ever written Thor and the Asgardians with German/Scandinavian accents as opposed to those stupidly inaccurate British ones?

How come in media, it's A-OK to always portray Germans as Nazis and villains, but the second you portray a black person in a harsh light, "victimized" negroes like Sharpton start popping out of the woodwork?

Why not give positive Germanic character as opposed to a negative one? What is Germany's as well as other countries who once worshiped him reactions to Thor? That would actually make an interesting story!!!!

Heck, him ending up in Germany or another Nordic country as opposed to wherever the crap he ended up in the movie would have made a much more interesting film, considering the half decent/half lame fish out of water story we got. And I even really like Thor!!!


Not so Glorious

ok, why are girls so adverse to attractive female characters? I can understand if they're REALLY oversexualized, and I understand if a girl didn't like someone like Ed Benes for that reason. But why are females( in comics or real life) with blessed with attractive features such as...well...large breasts seen as sluts or slutty for no reason other than being well-endowed?

But onto my message. First off: Glory is a lame Liefeld Wonder Woman, in the same way that Zealot is a lame Jim Lee Wonder Woman, so I guess they really didn't screw up much.

Anyway, as said, Glory started her life as a pin-uppy Liefeld Wonder Woman, and so there were certain measures taken in the Extreme...ooops....EXTREME!!!!!!!!! Studios relaunch to keep that from happening. Now, instead of looking beautiful, graceful, or even just "hot", Glory has two new looks: an over-muscled CREATURE who looks even more Liefeldian than the original, except this time looking like a Liefeld male muscle head, and her second look, which is that of a fat asian baby.

You don't have to go to such!!!!!!! to avoid oversexualization.

Look at Ed Benes', Mike Deodato's, and even Jim Lee's depictions of Wonder Woman. She's very beautifully and skillfully drawn yes, but there are usually many oversexualizations in their drawings of her and others. For instance, Deodato may draw her "panties" to look like a skanky thong, and all three usually gave her ample boobs and a mountain of a butt.

Then look at Cliff Chiang's version: She still looks beautiful, but without all of the immodesty. Her chest is not nearly as large and not nearly popping out of her top, lol. She's covered up well considering her costume, and even has darker olive colored skin to evoke an ethnic Greek look that should become the norm. This is a well drawn depiction without the sexuality, and guess what: they didn't make her look ugly or like a fat asian baby!!!!!

Better luck next time BloodyDeath EXTREME!!!!! Wonder mean Glory.


Brazilians are not (just) white

Look, I know that there are some Caucasian Brazilians, so don't get your thongs in a knot. Ya know, with DC and other companies going batty(lol) over forced diversity, such as characters like Morgan Edge and Etta Candy being black to Cyborg being forced into the JLA Big 7 instead of John Jones, you have to wonder: why is Fire still white? Brazilians are usually indigenous(native americans), blacks, Caucasians, Asians, or a mixture of one or more. So with all the diversity, why not have a mixed or Native version of Fire? Would it not make sense?

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