Tag Archives: creativity

Shame Day: Dark, Gritty Fan Art of Beloved Childhood Characters

I was in a dark place when I wrote the post I am least proud of: Fame Day: Creativity [and Imagination]. It’s not that I don’t think it’s a relevant topic, especially right now when it’s more common to see children in front of screens than playing make believe with their toys, it’s just that at the time I figured that writing it was the easy way out. As luck would have it, all of that segues really smoothly into today’s topic-

I hate dark and gritty fan art because it is both uncreative and lazy.

To be totally transparent, I was a high schooler once, so I did think these were really awesome once upon a time. It wasn’t until much later when I realized that if you want to take a beloved childhood character and make it appeal to a large section of the internet you have three simple options:

1) Make said character a killer/capable of killing.

There are altogether far too many gritty Inspector Gadget pictures out there.

Continue reading

Culture War Correspondence: Advertising

GORDON: Ladies and gentlemen, today’s Culture War Correspondence is brought to you by-

-well, we’re going to hash that out in just a second. Our topic tonight is advertising, on this blog specifically.

EVAN: If you all want to check over on our Contact page you’ll see that Michelle, “of BowlingShoes.com, BowlingBags.com, BowlingBalls.com and DiscountBowlingSupply.com” left us an offer to help advertise their products.

This isn’t the first time she’s contacted us either, as she sent the same offer to the blog’s email address, which I thought I replied back when I got it early November but didn’t.

As it stands, I’m going to have to publicly politely refuse her offer, as this blog isn’t the sort of place to find a) bowling paraphernalia reviews or b) other people’s writing. She did help us come to this topic, though, so my thanks to her for that-

GORDON: Which begs the question, of course, if you’d be up for other kinds of advertising here on the blog. What’s your gut reaction to the idea? Continue reading

Fame Day: Creativity [and Imagination]

It can be hard to write Fame Day posts. There’s always going to be someone out there doing something reprehensible, and it’s easier to find things I/we disagree with then something I/we genuinely love. Especially since a lot of what I love has to do with comic books, and I’m trying to diversify a little [no more than four comic-related posts (by me) per month].

As you can tell by the title, this post is dedicated to creativity, which is actually not something this blog is dedicated to, being more straight “news” and opinion. Continue reading

Free Information Culture

The last of my installments (for now) in looking at these rising alternative cultures is “Free Information Culture,”  which shares the same problem with “science” culture in that there’s really no good name for it yet. I’ve referred to it before as “internet culture,” only the problem with that is that, like “science culture,” it isn’t so much the culture of the thing itself as the culture of the fanbase. In simpler terms, it’s the difference between Hollywood culture and movie-lover culture- it’s the end product that’s valued.
So what’s the internet’s “end product”?

Besides porn and stuff like this…

Free Information.

Whether it’s the news, or Wikipedia, or TED Talks, or Imgur, or anything else imaginable, it’s on the internet for free and public use. It’s something of a great equalizer. No matter where you’re from, what language you speak, what class you hail from- you can create or say anything and then get called gay in the comment section.

And while that last bit is sort of a joke, it does play a role in developing the “free information culture.” Granted, general anonymity can make us vicious and vile people, but it also (to some extent) strips us of our egos. When you make something online, you really don’t get much, if any, credit, but that’s alright since it isn’t the point. It’s just about creating, nothing more or less. Who drew the first rage face? Who started up Bad Luck Brian? Who edited and sourced that one Wikipedia page you used to stitch your last minute term-paper together? Who puts together those monthly fail compilation videos? I don’t know and will probably never know, but I do know that they’ll keep coming because of the simple joy of creating them. I and every other person with a half-decent internet connection.

And all of this simply isn’t understood by some people.

Recall the massive outcry against the SOPA and PIPA bills? What prompted the creation of  these acts was that some people- certain corporations in particular- couldn’t quite wrap their heads around the idea of free and unlimited access. Now maybe you agree with them, and maintain that posting copyrighted material of any kind is piracy and immoral, however, what needs to be understood is that this was viewed as an act on the very nature of the internet and everything it had come to represent.

Again excluding porn and stuff like this…

Now more and more companies are catching on to the idea that it’s wiser to try to work with the faceless and vengeful cat-worshippers of the internet than against them- just look at video game companies that are starting to work in tandem with modders. The game Minecraft in particular is a good example of this, as many of the new aspects of each update to the game coming from the fan-forums themselves. Nevertheless, there are still plenty of people out there (I’m looking at you, Music Industry) who continue to struggle (vainly) against the dissemination of what they view to be the “information wants to be free” crowd.

Again, it all boils down the core of the culture that the internet has produced, gravitating around the concepts of freedom and egalitarianism. Look at Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange.

If he did his work back in the early 90s, we can be pretty sure he’d be viewed overwhelmingly as a candidate for a James Bond villain. But today we (for the most part) view him as being a heroic (or at least positive) figure in a world that’s become increasingly secretive and unequal. Why this dramatic shift in perception? Again, it’s the internet and it’s affect on us. In a time of economic crisis we might not be able to go to the movies, or eat out, or drive for miles to see a friend, but we can watch something online, or browse recipes, or video-chat with the same buddies that you’d otherwise not be able to see. Any threat to your full and unrestricted access to the internet is, by proxy, a threat to some of the last pleasures you have left.

Hence the formation of a culture obsessed with the values of free speech, free access to information, and freedom from censorship. And with every development of the internet or our access to it serving as another leap in the evolution of the culture, it’s safe to say that the howl of anger that the governments of the world met when trying to create such bills as ACTA is only going to intensify.

Christopher Bird: Should Be Writing For Comics

Part of this post hinges on you having read the last one I did, Aaron Diaz: Has a Lot of Opinions About DC. In it I wrote about webcomicker Diaz, his redesigns of DC characters [and his reasons for doing so] in particular. Where that post and this one overlap is that Diaz wrote new origin stories for his reboots, and these have been the subjects of replete praise.

Christopher Bird, creator [and namesake] of the blog Mightygodking, is another man with ideas that involve the intellectual property of others. A man who knows [and loves] comics, he’s written his fair share of posts about them, and demonstrates an impressive knowledge of the work of both Marvel and DC. We would expect someone in his position to have strong opinions about the direction both companies are going with their comics, maybe even implying that either company would do well to hire him to write for one of their properties.

MGK should write Marvel’s Doctor Strange. And he has reasons.

Eight days ago MGK released the 42nd of his “I Should Write Dr. Strange” posts. That’s 42 reasons why Marvel certainly wouldn’t suffer by putting him in charge of writing about the Sorcerer Supreme himself.

The reasons, however, are never directed at his own qualifications. From the very first post, in which he creates a scenario where the colour blue has been magically leached from our existence, he presents stories. There’s little to no explanation whatsoever before he starts it off with the sentence, “One day, you wake up, and blue is gone.” From then on it’s a description of an eerie, uncomfortable scene right up until the last two paragraphs. The last one is but a single sentence, “And that’s why this is a job for Dr. Strange.”

I read through all 42 of his reasons this week, and was thoroughly engrossed and enchanted by every one. As someone who loves comics but isn’t terribly familiar with Dr. Stephen Vincent Strange, I found myself garnering an appreciation for the character and wishing that these stories, all hypothetical, were a reality.

Where MGK really excels in his knowledge of the lore behind it all. Whereas Diaz took and remade characters, creating an entirely new universe for them, MGK makes his narratives fit in Marvel continuity and acknowledges the world he’s writing in even though he has no obligation to do so. When he writes about Dracula he mentions Blade, and when writing about the death of Cytorrak [picture shown above] he makes sure to hint that there’s a chance not all is well with the Juggernaut. He even justifies his entire act of writing these reasons by explaining how it all continues to work even when Doctor Strange was no longer Sorcerer Supreme.

When it comes to writing about comics, especially Marvel and DC, it’s easy to criticize. While Diaz provided an alternative of sorts there’s a sense, in his redesigns, that he rejects a great deal of the characters’ original origins and histories. I enjoyed a few of his takes on a few heroes, but ultimately wasn’t convinced that this was an entire world worth creating.

MGK, Christopher Bird, on the other hand has won me over with his tremendous tales of superheroism and magic. He tips his hat at every turn to the ones who came before him, even though he technically does not come after them. He doesn’t disparage current writers [which isn't to say that he's never criticized any aspect of the industry], but instead provides stories, dozens of them, to prove that he knows the character and what he’s doing.

And, if after all of that, he hasn’t proved that he should write Doctor Strange, maybe he can convince you that he should write The Legion.