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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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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Night Of The Living Weapon

It doesn’t age because of the magic within it. It doesn’t feel hunger, pain, or even pleasure. All it perceives is the world around it, the hands seeking to wield it.

After weeks of finding something to say about storytelling, I’ll be changing gears for a bit and going back to something I’d set out to do more often: Giving a crash course of tropes, characters, and concepts!

Today we’ll be talking about a certain type of character: The Artificial Character. Self-aware objects, artificial intelligence, living weapons, spirits trapped within objects, you’re probably familiar with these things. They are a thinking, cognizant existence of a different kind from conventional life. Basically, the servants from Beauty and the Beast. From wisecracking sidekicks and sage advisors to malevolent enemies and alien entities, many fantastic settings have given ‘life’ or ‘spirit’ to what was once lifeless.

So what is the deal with these guys, and what happens when you give your props lines of dialogue?

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Agendas, Assemble! Also, Black Panther and the Falcon.

Set aside the fact that a Spider-Falcon sounds TERRIFYING and let’s talk about when comics dip into REAL real life!

Agendas. Messages. Themes. From the days of the Golden Age’s Hitler-punching propaganda to the we’ll-hate-mutants-but-not-cosmic-radiation-freaks racism allegories, reality has always had a place in comics. And in today’s age of “This Is The Internet So Any Moron Can Put Their Opinion Online” we also have no shortage of people trying to explain the meanings and intentions of these stories (plus why you are objectively bad if you disagree with them).

However, I’m not here to tell you whether you should lean to the Left, the Right, or the Red. My priority has been and always will be one simple thing: Does it make for a good story?

Well, get your animal suits out of the closet (don’t ask, I know you have them, you bronies, don’t deny it) and let’s take some recent examples from the men themselves: Black Panther and the Falcon!

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Kayfabe, Bayfabe, and High School Musicals

Also, it has Ashley Tisdale in it, who went on to voice Candace in Phineas and Ferb, and she is the best part of the franchise.

Following up on my point of the Emperor’s New Groove, we’ve seen what I opined to be the height of a story which could have been one big pandering mess and yet became one of the most honest, hilarious tales of all time. Here are some other examples to illustrate what it means to be ‘genuine’ in works.

I realise belatedly that there’s a term for this sort of honesty, of believing in what you’re doing, no matter what you’re doing, no matter how ridiculous the premise: kayfabe, the spirit of pro-wrestling.

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Blizzard, Martin, and Light in the Darkness

None of this would be possible without caring about Jon, or Samwell, or Daenerys. Or Hodor.

It’s always darkest before the dawn, as Harvey Dent said. Well, he was more right than you can imagine.

Today, I’m going to be talking about the importance of hope and characters in storytelling and how it’s not just grim darkness which makes a good series. To do that, I’ll be looking at two franchises that seem very different yet are surprisingly similar: Blizzard Entertainment (of Warcraft, StarCraft, and eSports fame) and A Song of Ice and Fire (better known as the Game of Thrones guys).

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