In this episode of Rock the Dragon, we touch on themes of courage and sacrifice as each of the Z fighters lays down his life in an effort to prevent the Saiyans from destroying the Earth. There’s some heavy stuff going on and in the finest tradition of Shakespeare, everybody dies.
“In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war.”
Warhammer 40K brought the mythology of the wildly successful Warhammer Fantasy world into space, extending the mythos to embrace sci-fi tropes and aliens. The property started as a tabletop miniatures game, and has gone through many iterations through the years. When Fantasy Flight successfully licensed Warhammer 40K for a role playing game line in 2008, they sold out of their first print run in a matter of months. Along the way, the property has forayed into computer games, music, and fiction. Several attempts to animate a film have finally resulted in the video release of “Ultramarines”, the first official feature-length video project from Games Workshop.
In 2001’s Action Comics #775 , writer Joe Kelly asked the question, “What’s so funny about Truth, Justice, and the American Way?” Kelly was responding in part to a trend in comic books that embraced heroes that took extreme actions towards their villains, often killing or permanently maiming their foes. The violent trend is one part reaction to the “revolving prison door” trope that allows series fiction to reuse villain characters, and one part the emergence into the field of a generation of creators that came of age in the 80s and 90s. Publishers Dark Horse and Image Comics built their entire businesses around providing consumers with content graphically depicting violence and brutality, and populated by heroes and villains that embraced the narcissistic nihilism of a generation raised with a dominantly post-modern viewpoint that insisted on deconstructing any kind of ethical or moral standard.
Released now, calculated to bring as little benefit or press to the film as possible, Curtis and I break down as much of “Avatar” as we can stomach. We lay the entirety of the blame at James Cameron’s doorstep – he really ought to know better. We do some side trails into the fad that is the current generation of 3D movies, “Prince of Persia” – which we both really enjoyed, in spite of my frustrated rant about the ending, and then plug upcoming RPG projects here at Critical Press Media. Hey, it’s worth repeating: look for OpenD6: Agents to hit digital download and POD before the end of the summer!
Alternate and parallel earths are a staple of modern science-fiction, due in no small part to the prevalence, or even dominance, of these stories in the pages of the DC comics titles all through the 60’s, 70’s and into the 80’s. Though the company departed from this convention during the late 80’s and 90’s, duplicate earth stories are back with a vengeance, in the comics, on the tv series, and finally in the movie-length releases.
Evil is never so clearly defined as in the presence of good, and the duplicate reality stories really bring this contrast to light in clear and interesting ways. Whether it is the antimatter universe of Grant Morrison’s “JLA Earth 2”, or the Justice Lords of the millennial Justice League animated series, I have always loved seeing the good guys triumph over their darkest failings brought to life. I was excited to see the teasers for this movie in front of Green Lantern: First Flight, and thrilled to hear that Dwayne McDuffie was the pen behind the script and story originally pitched for the animated series. With this kind of talent and creative team, standing in front of the movie aisle waiting for me to make up my mind, I made a judgment call and filched the price of the Blu-Ray from my Starbuck’s budget.
I was surprised to find “Planet Hulk” on the new movie shelf this week, not having seen any trailers for the project at all. Given Lion’s Gate’s track record with Marvel properties, and especially with adaptations of existing stories, I didn’t hesitate to slip the Blu-Ray version in between the laundry soap and frozen pizzas, where my wife would hopefully overlook it until we’re at the checkout lane….
I didn’t follow the Planet Hulk stories in the comics when they were current, but made the opportunity to read the back issues once World War Hulk exploded into Marvel continuity. The dozen-plus issues worth of adventure on an alien world brought the Jarella stories of the 70’s to mind, though without the trademark storytelling of Harlan Ellison or Len Wein. I found it especially intriguing to see the differences in popular culture that 30 years has wrought on a very similar story.
Mistreatment of my favorite characters makes me crazy. Unearned reputation makes me crazy. Spending two and a half years on a comic book hoping against hope that it will turn out to be epic (or at least comprehensible) makes me crazy! And when the Powers That Be decide to turn a waste of paper into a waste of film, shoot a trailer and promotional reel that looks freakin’ awesome, and then utterly fail to deliver the goods on a product that I really should have known better than to buy in the first place . . . well that really makes me crazy!
Marvel Comics has really dominated the animated movie landscape for the past three years or so. I take the time to look at the recent offerings from Lion’s Gate and break down the subtext of my favorite films. They’re all good stuff, and I recommend any of them. This week introduces a few new things, including the Fanboyarama section of the Amazon store, and the podsafe album of the week. This week, we’re doing Marvel Heroes in animation, and the music selection is “Manifestations” by Synaecide. Check it out in the tabber box!
So, I had like two days warning when I found out there was an anime con at the local library. I grabbed my mic, ambushed a few people, and generally had a great time. Here’s what happened!
The gang is back in house, properly bribed with chili and cornbread. We caught up on the latest episodes of the new Batman cartoon – Brave and the Bold – and then talked a bit about other animated Batman incarnations, along with other shows. Plus, Curtis and Greg tell me about the new RPG from Palladium Books, “Dead Reign”. Zombie hunters beware!