Iron Man: Does Whatever An Iron Can

Iron Man, Iron Man, does whatever an iron can. Straightens clothes, gets real hot, smashes you up the butt. Hey there! Here comes the Iron Man!

Well, it’s another of those things I’m looking to stock up in here: character crash courses! And this week, we’re talking about…what do you mean he’s already super popular, more than ever? As if I’d let that stop me!

A cool exec with a heart of steel. And, most importantly, severely crippling physical and psychological issues, and THE suit of high tech battle armour. To some of you, he’s Robert Downey Jr.. To others, he’s Iron Hitler, the asshole with the keys to the toybox.

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Nuanced characterisation was a casualty in other Civil War titles.

But really: Who is Iron Man? Has he lost his mind? Can he see or is he blind? Was he turned to steel in the great magnetic field?

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20th Century Failiterature

Probably for the best, I don’t want to see Gor’Mok The Savage spend three chapters having a debate with Durgamar The Feldrake about the ethics of using sentient beings as mounts.

Hark! Today, I shall be talking about 20th Century Literature and giving my thoughts on it. Not quite ALL literature written then, nor ONLY literature written then, but a particular genre which fixates on miserably moping about the 20th century.

There were plenty of other things written back then, but somehow, by the time I went on to study 20th Century Lit in university (among other more enjoyable subjects), the texts I studied almost entirely covered the miserable injustices of life. Racism, sexism, elitism, classism, this here appeared to be the primordial, eldritch ooze from which Social Justice Warriors evolved: all noise, no substance.

Obviously, I’m very much AGAINST it and I’ll explain why after I explain what it is. So watch out, netizens! Here there be opinions!

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Fabletop: Mastering Dungeon Mastering

Consider if there’s a way to make that stupid idea of detonating a barrel of alcohol to rocket jump work. Or if the Bard can, in fact, end the boss encounter because he rolled a 20 to seduce with his songs.

This week, I’ll be branching out into another of my interests: Tabletop roleplaying games, and the guys that run them! Also, an attempt at naming a post series!

True, D&D and its ilk have long endured, and have been getting more and more accessible and popular. We’re no strangers to the concept, and certainly, there are sites and video series which are dedicated to tabletop gaming, but consider this a crash course for newbies, told from the perspective of a fellow relative newbie as opposed to someone with a lifetime of D&D editions and Pathfinder homebrews. I always had an interest, but grew up in a time of electronic gaming and a lack of dedicated groups. Add to that my current state as someone who reluctantly adults the adulting of the adulty adult world, and I can, as always, speak as someone who has to deal with everyday life and its responsibilities.

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Some DMs carry on well into their golden years.

Maybe you know nothing about it, or you’ve heard about it but don’t get it. Or you might even be a frequent player and want to try running a game yourself, seeing what it’s like to be in the driver’s seat. You might even be a card carrying DM. Either way, let’s roll initiative and get started! …What do you mean you’re the ONLY one around to take a turn? …What do you mean I can’t make you roll against other readers on the internet? …What do you mean I’m asking useless questions for things nobody actually thinks? Silly, that’s how the internet works!

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I Play Fighting Games For The Plot

“Ah, but will he finally achieve his revenge in SUBURBAN SLAPFIGHT 2???”

Get your start buttons ready, folks, I’m talking about one of the last things you’d expect to have a plot! …No, not whatever is trendy for nerds to mock. It’s fighting games!

Ah, fighting games. Button inputs, dial-a-combo, outrageous special moves, and people beating each other up while getting up daisy fresh for next round. Of all genres, this one seems like the one of those that least needs a plot, right? Really, just give it a tournament or event, design a marketable cast, give ’em some fluff, and you’re good to go, right?

Not exactly.

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Metaphors Embodied: The Psychopomp’s Circumstances

No, it’s not the Psycho Pope, the main antagonist in a poorly written Young Adult novel with hamfisted anti-religion themes.

In today’s edition of Things You Recognise But Don’t Know The Names Of, a totally legit and not-at-all-made-up series, we’ll be talking about the PSYCHOPOMP! What thing that you recognise is it?

No, it’s not the Psycho Pump, an item in point and click adventure games to fix the Psycho Plumbing.

No, it’s not the Psycho Pope, the main antagonist in a poorly written Young Adult novel with hamfisted anti-religion themes.

No, it’s not the Psycho Crusher, the signature torpedo move of Master Bison, overlord of Shadaloo.

The PSYCHOPOMP is in fact…DEATH! Well, kinda.

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Comic Book Deaths And You

“We have to retrieve Blue Beetle’s soul from the Phantom Zone and his body from Gorilla City and get Etrigan to stick the two together!”

Ah yes, death. The final answer. The culmination of a gripping battle or a long march. A powerful tool in the writer’s arsenal, meant to create SHOCK and DRAMA. For surely all will be touched by the loss of their loved one, the legacy and memories they leave behind, and all the emotions that come with it.

And then there’s comic book deaths.

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Don’t be so shocked. Isn’t religious Sonic fanart a thing?

As part of my usual target audience, you’re more than likely familiar with the concept. A character ‘dies’ only to come back to life later, sometimes to joyful celebration and other times to rolled eyes. And of course, you know the various ways this happens: clones, robot doubles, magic, time travel, bad/mad science, fight with Death itself, it was a dream, reality gets mixed up, the works. And of course, the classic “The fans/profits demanded it.”

There are plenty of articles to discuss this particular trope’s merits and faults, both from a literary and in-universe perspective, but I won’t be going into those. Instead, I’ll do my best to present the usual ways this plays out, and hopefully give you some fun and some tips about writing along the way. Because really, discipline aside, it IS important to have fun with writing.

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It’s Only Logical To Be Illogical

Others are sick of this bandwagon and think “In that case, I’m gonna make my story EXTRA stupid to spite you!”

This is not a logical topic for a blog post. It isn’t even a logical thesis statement. With that stupid joke out of the way, let’s get into it!

As the internet grew larger and nerds had more platforms to proclaim/declare/scream their opinions and insights, a popular topic to arise was this: Pointing out idiotic moments in stories.

Whether you call them plot holes, poor writing, or a means to progress the plot, there has been something of a market for fans to play backseat driver and point out when characters are being stupid, or put themselves through unnecessary trouble. These days, we’re obsessed with telling people how things should have ended or what they got wrong. The spirit in which this is done can range from a loving jape to just the most salty vitriol.

We’ve got different responses to these, of course. Some of us think they’re the BEST responses and think “Man, I’m gonna make my story HYPER logical!” Others are sick of this bandwagon and think “In that case, I’m gonna make my story EXTRA stupid to spite you!” And some might feel fear. They might wonder “Do I dare write? What if I’M the one getting torn up?”

And I, in heretical fashion, am going to defy the trend by answering all these imagined concerns with: It’s OK to be illogical. It’s OK to make mistakes. It’s OK to be inefficient.

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