Lydia’s princess autograph!
Special Lydia autograph log today!
In the past I think we’ve had nicer successes. We send Disneyworld a card asking for a specific princess or character (I got Lilo and Stitch) and they would send us an “autographed” photo. Maddie got Cinderella back in the day. Well, I recently sent out a request for princesses but specifically Rapunzel for Lydia. A few weeks She received this!
It’s a pre-print and just a post card, but it was mail from the princesses with her name on it so she was still thrilled. The girls actually pull it out and put it in the castle or dollhouse wherever they happen to be playing with their princess dolls at the time!
In Defense of Star Trek : Insurrection
Today we’re talking about what is actually my favorite of the Next Generation movies. I’ve never understood the hat this movie gets. I have heard more than ne person tell me this is a worse movie than Star Trek Five.
This is frequently used as positive proof that Jonathan Frakes can’t direct. Funny, considering he also directed what is arguably considered the best film of the series too; First Contact. I do see his flair in it. The zooming shots, a lot of camera movement. Many of the set-ups are simple, but certainly not bad.
This film gets lambasted for it’s humor – as if humor was never a part of Star Trek. Why do I never hear that criticism leveled at “The Trouble With Tribbles”? It’s really more than just humor in this film, it’s familiarity. We should be comfortable enough with the characters that it’s a reunion. If you’re expecting 2001 from a Star Trek movie then I don’t know what you’re thinking. They tried that with the first film. It didn’t work. To be fair, by this time Trek movies had devolved into simple sci-fi action flicks…and that includes Generations. and yeah, most of them have EXACTLY the same ending. This is still one of the better versions of it though…
The ships in this film are gorgeous – and it’s one of the first times we really some serious new design work in TNG in ages. A pity that the interiors look like any other Okuda hell, but those ships hulls are beautiful and a nice departure from First Contact.
Speaking of First Contact- I like the movie, but it really doesn’t have a story. No, think about it. The characters drift from one engagement to the next – it’s a video game. A fun ride but no real plot. This movie has a narrative, growth in the characters (which we sadly abandon at the end because everything has to return to the status qoe) and some good plot twists. It has great actors like F. Murry Abraham and Anthony Zerke.
If the gags bug you, ignore them. Try watching this for the romp that it is and visit with these characters we really grew to care about. There’s not to many movies in the TNG film period and it’s a shame to have to throw this one out.
I spent a lot of the past year doing work for Angel Lite Comics. This is a pinup of one of it’s flagship characters – the Servant Warrior.
And don’t forget, new Violent Blue tomorrow!
Mother, Jugs and Speed
We’ve got a new column this year, showcasing weird but fun films that I keep discovering and wonder why I never heard of them before.
We’re kicking this off with “Mother Jugs and Speed” from 1976
Look at this films stars for a moment….Bill Cosby, Raquel Welch, Bruce Davidson from before he was quite as well known (though I spotted him immediately. I’m a big fan not only form X-Men, but also Kingdom Hospital, Lords of Salem and a whole slew of other stuff).
Larry Hagman’s in this too! This is before Dallas, he still had the good guy image from I Dream of Jeannie (although this film would manage to kill that noise real quick) and Harvey Kitel!
From IMDB : Competition between privately owned LA ambulance companies is played for humour.
Yeah, that really doesn’t begin to describe it.
It’s very much a product of it’s time, with ambulance calls going awry, Raquel fighting to be taken seriously despite her gender, Cosby popping beers while he drives…but good fun, never particularly raunchy even though it may seem like that kind of movie.
Things get serious a couple of times, but never enough for you to mistake this for a drama. Seriously, give this a try, I found it on Amazon for under $10. It’s great vintage Cosby, shaggy Bruce Davidson and really fun to watch just how big a douche Larry Hagman plays!
Well, Christmas has come and gone and I’ve got a few new games to talk about. First up is the Disney infinity, Disney’s answer to Skylanders. That’s not an accusation of Disney ripping off someone else’s idea by the way. The idea of taking a physical toy and making it interact with a virtual game world is long overdue. Skylanders just got there first, and as a result, they are what the rest are judged against.
Because I’m not a gamer and my kids are young girls, we have a Wii. Experience may differ on other platforms, but I’m not so sure.
The sculpts on the figures are wonderful. Fun, and detailed, they may actually be superior to Skylanders in that respect. The fact that you get to play with familiar characters like Captian Jack or the Monster’s Inc guys is a HUGE plus. The game doesn’t have to create it’s own world from scratch. Then again, toys are something Disney does well.
Video games on the other hand are not.
The infinity worlds feel cheap. Slapped together. It’s a failing I’m more prone to assign to Disney than to Nintendo too. I’ve see namazing worlds on the Wii – Metroid immediately comes to mind. I have on the other hand, seen Disney put out truckloads of poorly coded games and sell them at a premium because they are Disney. We specifically got the Vanellope character from Wreck-it Ralph because I desperately want a good version of the Sugar Rush racing game. The racer that came with Vanellope was awful. Slow speeds, uninspired cars, blocky characters….and don’t tell me that’s a limitation of the console. Play Mario Kart just ONCE and you’ll see how great this console can handle racers.
The real tragedy of this game however is the VERY limited co-op, available only in the mini-games in the “Toybox” environment, not in the adventure track. This is unforgivable, especially since the packaging proudly proclaims two player gaming. Again, I’m told this is a limitation of the console, but again, it doesn’t seem to bother Skylanders any. Seems more like a limitation of the Disney Developers instead. I was hellbent on getting the Lone Ranger set (and by the way, after the rather poor performance of the film, how on earth can they justify that $35.00 price tag???) but with such limited co-op functionality…I’m just going to get the Lone Ranger. I’m sorry if this offends, but really, what’s the point of playing Tonto solo?
Speaking of characters, I’m appalled at the limited releases. There seems to be a focus on male gamers – but that’s not Disney’s core market. Where are the princesses? Rapunzel was on the shelf for about five minuets six months ago, sold out and never restocked. The Frozen girls are out, and that’s it. Where are the girl warriors like Pocohontas and Mulan and Meridia? Here’s a radical thought. Put out a princess edition of the infinity with three (perhaps limited edition sculpts) classic and neo classic princesses? Ariel, Cinderella and Snow White perhaps. Aladdan and Jasmine sets, Belle and Beast sets (oh look! Target boys and girls at the same time!)…where are these??? This stuff should have been first wave and then shortpacked every wave after!
Perhaps they will come if the system lasts long enough, but I’m not sure I’d be taking bets on that. With such a poor reception, the infinity is likely going to die, but seeing as it’s Disney, the existing parts will linger, making it a slow death.
Go buy a Skylanders Swap force instead.
The Adventures of Mr. Kidzpointe part one
Last year we went through my Screwtape Letters series. This year we’ll be exploring a superhero comedy I was making for the kids program at a Church that no longer exists.
Before he left, the director of the kids program had created a superhero character as a mascot and had been talking with me about creating a nemesis for him. A foil. When he left and the drama was now my responsibility, I decided for continuity’s sake to keep on the same path he had started going, and this is what I came up with. It’s Mr, Kidzpointe vs. Mr. Badpointe!
Young Cynics Club
The Young Cynics club is a fascinating examination of that weird time right after High School, and maybe before College. It’s a time when things that were SO important to us in High School change, and priorities begin to shift. A time when we find out who is going to drift away and who will stay with us. Diane Cary once wrote that you change more between nineteen and twenty two than any other time in your life and this plunges us right into the middle of that .
It’s a weird thing, because what strikes me most about this story isn’t the characters, as much as the atmosphere, the attitude and really, that time-of-life. It’s a feeling we tend to forget about because it’s a traumatic shift, and we want to look back at our twenties through rose colored glasses – almost as much as we do our high school years (perhaps not so much in this post-modern age, but nevertheless). It reminded me of a lot of things I was going through at the time, particularly with my writing and art.
There’s only one issue of this so I don’t really want to get into plot points. You can generally find it for cover price or less. Give it a try, this is a great example of what comics can be if they break free of the bonds of superheros and become truly indie.
Fighting is Magic
I know, this game has been around for a while – kind of. It’s been on my radar, but I figured I’d never get to play it because, well let’s not get ahead of ourself.
Hasbro has been really good about fan participation in My Little Pony : Friendship is Magic, turning a blind eye to copyright infringement on fan sites, fan fics, fan films, art and the like. However, when they discovered a video game being made in a Street Fighter motif, they came down hard on the programmers. The team, who call themselves Mane 6, never intended to see a profit from this, they simply wanted to do a cool game with the characters. Hasbro decided that a fighting game wasn’t in the spirit of their ponies (as opposed to clop fics, or disturbingly violent fan fics like Cupcakes) and issued a cease and desist, shutting down production of the game.
I managed to get a hold of an early release (fluttershy isn’t finished, and only the main six are in it) and tried it out.
It’s incredible. Yes, it’s a fighter, but the fighting is fairly non-violent, and absolutely in character. Pinkie Pie may whip out a pinkie cannon to blast you with pet alligators or presents. Twilight Sparkle telekineticly whips a book around at you and summons a spell from it to blast you with. The characters look exactly like they do on TV and the backgrounds look perfectly in place with Ponyville. My two little girls absolutely LOVE it. They beg me to play it with them almost every day.
It’s a great gateway to gaming and to ponies. It’s quick and simple and I’m really disappointed they never got to finish it. I’m glad the development team has since gone on to bigger and better things, but still, a perfected version of Fighting is Magic would have been divine.
And of course, we play it on the Arcade machine – and that makes it the best thing ever.
The Price is Right
A while back I auditioned for the Price is Right. It’s one of those shows that I grew up watching during the summer or on sick days from school, and they came to Cleveland. I stood in line for a couple of hours and didn’t get on. Oh well.
Still, I thought it would be nice to have an autograph from the show to go with my name badge and the newspaper article about the auditions. I sent away and got a cute Drew Carey Pre-Print.
Recently I decided I really should get the man himself, Bob Barker. Carey has been a fine replacement, but we all know Barker is who we really think of when we think of the Price is Right…and he’s not getting any younger. He just celebrated his 90th birthday with a brief return to the show! So here’s my sincere thanks for replying to my letter!
The Iron Man project
Last year we spent about eleven months walking step by step through the creation of my Pinhead makeup. I may still return to that subject and create other cenobites as well as armor, but for now, I have other fish to fry.
You probably saw pictures of me in my Iron Man armor last year, but did you ever wonder how I created it? This year’s oddessy will be the step by step creation of the suit, mistakes and all.
It started with the legs. The calves actually. I knew I couldn’t create rounded edges with the material I had and the subpar sculpting skill of mine. So insted we went with sharp edges and curved angles. These are the sides.
I then created the front of the leg, one piece of foam scored in two places on the back and then bent into a shape with three sides. I attached the previous two pieces to this.
Finally we need to create a blast shield at the bottom, a way for the leg to move at the ankle without there being a huge gap over the shoes.
Finally, I need a little helper to test it out! Obviously Lydia wants to be Iron man some day. Next month we’ll show you how we created that shoe! but for now, remember, there’s new Violent Blue tomorrow!
It’s a new year and this feature has a new name. Last year I found Lydia was contributing to this column just as much as her sister so it’s only fair she get some credit here too!
Today Lydia is trying to draw her Mermaid doll on her water mat. She starts by tracing around it and then filling in details!
Welcome back! I hope the holidays treated everyone well. I can’t believe it’s another year here at Argo City, and of course there will be a few changes again. I’m not sure where the Hellraiser project is going to go. I may be merging that into a general makeup feature, and hopefully we can get back on the horse sending out autographs. I’m planning one fewer cons this year and more mailings (I know. I say that every year). We’ll also be adding some new featurs this year and trying to keep a steady schedule – forgotten films on the last Friday of each motnh, maddies art show on the first…things like that. We’re also starting a new series in the Filmography section, laying with a superhero mascot from a church I attended back in 2006. The main character, Mr. Kidzpointe is grown up and graduated last year- making me feel really old….
And of course new Violent Blue on the main site – We’ll be transitioning from the comic series into the first novel this year, and classic Violent Blue right here at Argo City. Stick around, we’ve got some other surprises in store this year as well!