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Thom
05 February 2007 @ 07:00 am
I am officially done updating the Livejournal.

Go To:
http://thomwade.wordpress.com/
 
 
Current Location: Wordpress
Current Music: The Ramones: Acid Eaters
 
 
Thom
30 January 2007 @ 09:41 am
Let me tell you my video game history.

When I was a wee lad, my uncle gave my sister and I an Intellevision. let me tell you, we were masters at Burger Time. After awhile, we got more casual and comfortable around the game system. This resulted in a glass of milk spilling on the console. In case you did not know? This is not good and you shouldn't be pouring milk on your game system or computer.

This was the end of my career as a Video Game Master. After that, all I got to play was Tetris. Eventually the program became corrupted. I found out a couple years ago that when I was in high school, my mom bought a PS. And then she returned it before Christmas and bought me something else. What else, I do not remember, since I don't know the exact year she bought me the video game system.

On a whim, a couple years ago, I picked up a used X-Box system. I have, I think about 20 games. I have yet to beat one of them. See, in keeping me from having easy access to video games as a kid and teen, my abilities as an adult are nil. I needed help from a friend to get to the museum in the Fantastic Four game, and that's where I am still at. I am at a standstill in King Kong. Don't even get me started on Destroy All Humans! I do okay in Buffy:Chaos Bleeds...but beyond this...I suck.

So, it makes sense that with a portion of my tax refund I am buying an X-Box 360, right? I got a nice little deal, including a free 12 month subscription to X-Box live. I definitly find that I enjoy playing games more with other people than by myself. Maybe the X-Box Live setup will allow for that.
 
 
Thom
24 January 2007 @ 07:05 pm
I got a letter from Maxim Magazine the other day. First, I noticed they wanted to entice me with Jessica Alba.

Ain"t she cute?

I won't lie. I think she's quite attractive (although she seems to be getting dangerously skinny and losing her appeal every year). But I am not yet convinced, just because they throw Jessica in my face (the mini pamphlet also features Angelina Jolie and Eva Longoria for those wondering).

They are offering me two years for the price of one! Why? Because Maxim is written especially for me. They say so, and addressed the letter to "Friend". Unlike Playboy, who just send little cards in the mail to try and get my money (it hasn't worked, but they are persistent!). How impersonal. See, according to the letter, Maxim speaks my language. Maxim is here to celebrate everything that makes my life outstanding! "Hot women, cool cars(i have a 1997 Saturn), cold beer, high tech toys, breath taking sports action, spectacular sex." Wow. They really, really got my number.

Maxim always delivers the goods! The letter says so! According to this letter I can learn secrets to dining with piranhas and how to hypnotize my penis!!!! (There's an image for everyone)

Yes, as I said, it's clear Maxim knows me all to well. They must have been spying on me. Clearly, Maxim is an avid reader of my blog. How did they know my weaknesses? How can I say no? Should I?!

But seriously...I've seen issues of Maxim. They hit the right buttons about...oh..never. Sure, they have had plenty of actresses/celebrities I thought were attractive normally. And yet, in Maxim's hands, they looked immensly unappealing and come off as vacant. Totally devoid of any personality. And Maxim's interview style is to try and make every woman they talk to sound like a sex kitten, totally devoid of any personalty and that vacant porn star look in their eyes. Blah. They remove any character and personality a particular woman has and reduce her to a sum of physical parts and *giggle* "erotic" talk.

I resent that Maxim thinks that what I want to see in a woman, whether it's a friend I am running to the movies with or Jessica Alba. I resent that Maxim thinks "my language" is hot cars, hot women, cold beer and dwarf tossing.

So, no I do not think I will be taking the special offer, boys.

But I am glad you are reading my blog.
 
 
Thom
23 January 2007 @ 06:13 am
So, I showed a friend, lets call him Frank, this rant from Ami's blog. After he finished reading it, he launched into a tirade about the lack of cool girls into gaming and comic books. I tried to explain that he missed the point...but after six attempts, I gave up. Which turned out to be almost as big a mistake as letting him see the number of hits my blog got over the weeked.

See, he got it in his head that I could help him find a girlfriend who would really appreciate his "Geekness". I really tried to avoid this, since that is hardly why I started blogging (Which was originally started years ago to meet Super Models. Who knew they don't read blogs?). But he pushed. And pushed. And pushed. And pushed. And pushed. And pushed. And pushed. So I relented. Yeah, I lack resolve, people. Please do not ask for money. So, he sent me an e-mail with what kind of woman he is looking for:

--------------------------------

Thanx for the help, Thom. First off, comic books. She has got to like them. No like love them. But certainly not so much that she can recite as much information about Superman's Kryptonian heritage. Granted, that might be hard, I mean, who hasn't heard of Erok El??? But if she at least knows who the new Batwoman is, I am happy. Manga don't count.

I also want to stress "gamer". I mean, she should be good enough that I don't have to explain how to use my PS3, X-Box 360 or Weii. I want a girl with some experience. Well, not too much, if you know what I mean. If she can beat me in Gears of War, that's one doomed relationship.

TV. She has got to love Buffy and Battle Star Galactica (not the old one, the new kewl one with sexy Cylons!). Same as comics and games. Knowledgeable enough that I do not have to explain everything, but not enough that she could correct me in the rare case I might be wrong.

Music is not that important, as long as she likes Linkin Park and 50 Cent.

Then there is the looks thing. Totally not important, maybe something like Jessica Alba (circa Dark Angel) or maybe Scarlet Johannson. Or that girl from the OC...Rachel something or other. She looked hot dressed as Wonder Woman. I am totally open to all races, especially hot Asian girls. She should take care of herself some, you know, go to the gym and stuff, but not force me to tag along.

That's it. I am not too picky, afterall. Man, I wish it wasn't so tough to find a gamer/comic girl who digs geeks, y'know?

--------------------------------

So...um...there you all go. Any takers? No, you cannot have his address so you can kick him in the groin (I know someone was thinking that!). I know, I know, ladies. You are all thinking, "Why aren't there more guys like him?" But you are so in luck! Let me let you know where you can find your own Frank (just in case he gets swooped up soon after I post this!)...your local comic shop is chock full of guys just like Frank!

Again, any takers for Frank out there?
 
 
Thom
Tom Hanks is...

007...

I totally want to see that movie!

I recently mentioned Milestone Media. Well, Colleen Doran stumbled on some unpublished artwork she did for a series that never saw the light of day for them. To bad this is all that ever became of it, looks intriguing!
 
 
 
Thom
20 January 2007 @ 08:38 am
One of the common complaints against recent incarnations of Supergirl is her costume.



It's one of many, to be frank,very valid concerns. Bare in mind, she's sixteen. Is it kiddie porn? Not really. But it is absurd and I think part of what keeps a lot of female heroes from being taken seriously.



Now, I realize that the newer outfit of the past couple years is inspired by the animated version of Supergirl from the Animated Superman series.

In comparison, that is a modest outfit. Supergirl seems more Paris Hilton than Maid of Steel, and I realize that in the DC universe, most alien women, by default, are sexual exhibitionists. But I think this keeps people from taking Supergirl that seriously. She's the cheesecake version of Superman right now.

I've toyed around and tried to come up with an outfit that feels more right. She is Supergirl, Superman's cousin, so it felt wrong to lose the Superman theme. What I opted for was getting rid of the skirt. The main reason is, it seems silly for a girl who flies to have a skirt...especially a short one. I also tried to emphasize a look of youth and strength with this one. I hope people like it. It's simple, I know.

super
 
 
Thom
Time for another installment of my advice for my fellow aspiring female audience. Comics are not just read by geeky boys who can't get dates with girls anymore. Now those girls they can't get dates with are reading them as well.

This advice is based on my hard work and research over the past couple of years. You want to have a large female fan base? Read on!

1. Skirts and Stilleto Heels:This is important. Nothing is more believable than a female superhero in stilletos. And how about skirts? Nothing tells people a female hero means business than a mini skirt that might let you see her girl bits or underwear. And women appreciate this attention to their fashion sense. If you are drawing a book and these do not appear in the character design? Ignore it and add them!

2. Barely There Outfits: As we all know, women always try and dress to distract us men. Super heroes are no different. A female hero knows that her super powers alone are inadequate to defeat a villain. Get into her head when designing a costume...and if she has no powers? Expose more skin. Because when fighting crime in dark alleys, you want to have as little protection from the elements and weapons as possible. If the breasts are not at risk of falling out, you are drawing the costume wrong.

3. Enormous Breasts and Small Waists: This is a given. Women really appreciate when we artists show how breasts appear in clothing. Basically, draw large round circles, that consume large portions of the torso. The costume should also look painted onto the torso. Don't worry about observing real life, women hate if you actually understand how cothing looks on their bodies. Weird, I know. Keep the waists tiny. Remember, women like the idea that these heroines are the type of woman you would jump into bed with, not look up to. Don't draw them like a real woman, with room for minor things like...oh, internal organs.

4. Impractical Positions:Arched backs and twisted spines. Sure, a real woman could not turn so that you can get a good shot of her breasts AND her butt...but that's what is great. Women really appreciate fantasy.

5. Vacant Eyes: Women don't appreciate a female hero who has...you know, personality. Keep the expressions vague and lifeless, though a slight "f***k me" expression is desirable.

6. Trace Porn: If you do decide to go for more realism, trace porn! This way, you get those rare women who want a more plausible body type. And bonus: poses. By tracing porn you can get those realistic poses and facial expressions that occur when fighting villains. You can really capture the closed eyes and wide open mouth that scream "OH YESYESYESYES! I am kicking your assssssssssssssss!" Plus, the girl is already naked, so you can draw the costume as it should be...looking like body paint.

7. Keep Her In Her Place: Always make sure that your female hero, no matter HOW powerful, is never more powerful your male heroes-even if she is the title character! And if you forget this point and make her too powerful? Have her go crazy with power and then require her to die. If you don't want her to end too badly, instead of having other heroes kill her, have her sacrifice herself! Women appreciate when you can show both sides of womanhood. Both the crazy woman who can't handle her strength AND the noble hero.

8. Whores!: Trying to think of a gritty and tough woman for your comic? Make her a prostitute. Women really appreciate it when you comics feature a cast of women composed primarily of strippers and prostitues. In fact, some writers fill their work with nothing BUT strippers and prostitutes. Women really appreciate this attention to their career options.

9. Screw the Real World: Seriously. When designing your female character, don't worry about things like body mass, height and weight. Just pick random numbers under 125 lbs and make sure she is shorter than her male counterpart. Women appreciate this attention to detail.

10. Traumatic Backstory: Every super-heroine needs one. Your women readers will not be able to accept the idea that your heroine just happened to use her super powers for good for...you know, the sake of doing the right thing. She needs a motivator. The best motivators are either child molestation or raped in college. At the very least, there should be a lousy boyfriend in her past. Maybe he broke up with her unexpectedly or cheated on her and shot her parents and puppy. And then raped her.

I need to give credit, where credit is due. I could never have compiled such a list without the kind folks at Girl Wonder as well as other female fans on the web. I know they will really appreciate me putting together this advice for artists and writers, so we can continue to get the fine portrayals of women in comic books that we have gotten for years.
 
 
Thom
18 January 2007 @ 07:04 am
I wanted to do a little experiment when I stopped drinking soda pop. I didn't exercise at all for the entire week. I ate okay generally, but had fast food no less than four times. I still dropped three pounds. Granted, this week, I go back to eating a bit more sensibly and my exercise routine. I would like to get my weight back under my control. My family has all sorts of fun health risks that are directly related to weight (among other things). So while I am happy as me, I definitely want to be healthy and not deal with things like aching knees and exhaustion as I walk a flight of stairs.

The other day, Doctor Who, season 2 disc 1 came from Netflix. I could not get it to play in my DVD Player. My computer could not recognize the file format. I took it over to my local Hollywood, and they ran it through the buffer. Now it played. Well, halfway through the second episode on the disc, the picture pixelates and reforms something else. Doctor Who is a BBC show, so maybe another BBC show? Nope. A Warner Brothers movie? No. Instead, the final 20 minutes of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (A New Line Film) plays. So, I get mostly Doctor Who and then the end of a totally different product on the same disc. <blink>

Identity Crisis has come up again, and it's not hard to understand why. It's a controversial piece of work. Kalinara commented about her frustrations on her blog. Loren answered with a slightly different perspective (and being bold enough to share a tragedy from his own life). And I struggle.

See, on it's own, as a story, I liked it. In spite of the fact that I have always been fond of Ralph and Sue Dibney, and seeing her (and her husband's) life turned upside down was frustrating. I hated to see her taken out of the DC Universe. Yes, Brad Metzler crafted a mystery with more than a few shocks. And I thought that Rag's Morales did a beautiful job on the art. On the other hand, it was an opening salvo on a group of beloved characters...intiated, according to a former employee of DC, because DC decided they needed a rape to spice stuff up. Personally, that makes me want to puke.

Understand, I am not opposed to a story in which a rape occurs. I don't think it's appropriate for a kids comic. But I would definitely be able to appreciate a story in which the story followed the victim, not merely making the victim a catalyst for the story. Show what she (or he) is going through. If the character who was raped is a supporting member of the cast, it is certainly appropriate to also address how it affects the book's lead. But it should mostly be about what the victim is going through. And Identity Crisis did not do that. Sue Dibney was raped, and we never got a window into Sue's soul. What she endured emotionally afterwards (or was she mind wiped?). And of course, that was not the point. The reason she was raped was to elevate a villain to "Bad Ass". And then to provide an major ethical problem for the Justice League of America. And I am all for forcing Super Heroes to face grand moral and ethical dilemmas.

It is worth noting I am not alone in my ambivelance. Kalinara herself noted that she did enjoy the series. In some ways, this is the most frustrating part. The flaws are glaring ones in an otherwise well written story by a talented (well, in my opinion) writer. And frankly, right now I am at a loss to be able to reconcile the part of me that likes it with the stuff that bothers me.
 
 
Thom
17 January 2007 @ 07:46 am
No, not the current incarnation. Not even the "classic" incarnation. I miss these guys:

THE Justice League

Sometime in the mid-80's, after the Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Justice League of America closed up shop. It returned under the shortened moniker of "The Justice League". They were formed in the John Byrne penned Legends mini-series. It was written by Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis with art initially by Kevin Maguire.

The book was unique, as it was in the early days of the darker books. And yet, here was this super hero book that was light hearted and fun. We got to see the heroes hanging out and interacting while not fighting a grave danger. Not that they didn't save the world every other issue, they did. But instead of A-Listers, we were given second stringers (with the exception of Black Canary, Batman, Captain Marvel and Martian Manhunter). The team remained in flux for the first dozen or so issues, and while Blue Beetle, Bats, Guy Gardner, Canary, Martian Manhunter and Mister Miracle stayed, Dr. Fate, Dr. Light and Captain Marvel took off from active duty.

They were replaced by Booster Gold, the Rocket Red, Captain Atom and Fire & Ice (of the Global Guardians). Booster and Beetle quickly became favorites of mine, as super hero best buddies seemed uncommon. This was not America's Finest. This was two pals who liked hanging out together and had a blast poking fun at each other.

Batman and Guy Gardner were having spats, and while Guy Gardner (of the Green Lantern Corp) continually claimed he should be running the show and threatened Bats (as well as other team members)...Batman took him down with one punch. Best comic book fight ever.

We were also introduced to the wonderfully smarmy Maxwell Lord, who manipulated multiple events (including getting Booster Gold into the League) before finally being allowed to be a representative (against the better judgement of some of the team members) for the League. He ultimately needed the leagues help, as he had gotten himself into trouble years before when he stumbled on a sentient computer. Lord was a sleaze, but still likeable.

This lead to numerous spin-offs, as the League went international. This allowed for even more additions to the teams (Such as Power Girl and Ralph "the Elongated Man" and Sue Dibny) and more than one crossover. We were also introduced to the Martian Manhunter's love of Oreos. These books gave us incite into the characters, focusing as much on the supporting cast (such as Sue Dibny, Oberon and Max Lord) as the main heroes. They were fun adventures. We even saw them deal with mundane things. Like Blue Beetle trying to get back in shape after putting on weight. Finally, both Giffen and DeMatteis decided it was time to move on after nearly a hundred issues between them (this was over the course of numberous spin-offs and both Justic League America and Justice League Europe). They had the climactic Breakdowns crossover. Then the books suffered. Without the watchful eyes of it's creators, the writers who followed could not capture the same spirit. An the book floundered before being cancelled.

Not Necessarily...

A couple years back, DC got the original creative team back together for "Formerly Known As the Justice League" and then "I Can't Believe It's Not the Justice League". The old spirit was back, and was loving it. So, why do I miss them?

Well, systematically, DC has been destroying the Justice League I love. Sue Dibney was murdered. Soon after, Maxwell Lord went totally evil and murdered the Blue Beetle (his friend). Max Lord in turn was killed by WonderWoman. Booster Gold was killed in 52. So was Animal Man (a member of Justice League Europe). It's like DC wanted to make sure that the League could never rear it's fun and crazy head again.

Dead

Thanks DC.

One punch. Bats took out Guy Gardner with ONE punch!
 
 
Thom
16 January 2007 @ 07:12 am
(Not so) Recently, over at Brian K. Vaughn's message board, BKV pointed his readers to an interview with Chuck Dixon. I actually provided a link to the article a couple days ago. I have sat on this article for a few days. But I have been giving though to why I have an aversion to the idea of race/gender/sexual orientation as a hype tool.

What I am referring to is the fact that over the years, comics have been touted to the public based on their "groundbreaking-ness" in less than noble ways. And no doubt, in many cases, they were a needed challenge to the status quo. And yet, it seems to fall back on old fashioned forms of audience exploitation to sell a new back or a change in direction. In the 70's, this was definitely done as simply as possible. Include "Black" in the name of an African American super hero's name. Kind of makes you wonder what code names Marvel and DC would have come up with if they were pushing gay Super Heroes in the 70's.

It's different now. The exploitation is both an aim at the curiousity factor of those "not in the group" (and potential controversy) and the people looking for a hero or character that reflects them and their lives. Of course, I understand the excitement that some derive when they find out that a new hero (or an established one) is going to possibly reflect the reader's own life experience. And yet, all to often, the attempts by publishers such as DC and Marvel (but certainly not limited to) smack of being more exploitive than genuine. When the new Batwoman was announced, the articles and promotion even made a point of noting she was not merely a lesbian...but a LIPSTICK Lesbian. See, they wanted to make sure we understood that she would still be hot. Just in case guys wouldn't be interested in reading about lesbian Batwoman.

I remember when the Milestone first opened it's doors. I was curious to read the books, but the hype always felt a little like, "Yes white guy, you can buy our comics, but remember, these are black super heroes". The writing, thankfully did not, and I have fond memories of several of the Milestone books (such as Icon, Hardware and Static). Their actual execution was "These are Super Heroes" not "These are BLACK Super Heroes!" I ultimitely want to read a book based on the intriguing premise (And I know I am not alone in that, it's probably a given). And the Milestone books had those. Along with talented creators, it was unfortunate to see the company have to shut down. Although, Static has been resurrected as Static Shock, for the most part, the heroes of Milestone seem to be unfairly relegated as "past".

Maybe my aversion to to this version of marketing comes from my history within Christianity, and specifically my experiences with Christian "entertainment". Christian entertainment has a long history of promoting the "faith" aspect of itself. See, you can't think a band is really talented and has interesting lyrics. It needs a deliberate "Christian" hook. Of course, the reult of this was that while Public Enemy was challenging their audience with politically charged and explosive rap, P.I.D. was telling their audience "get you a Bible" and singing safe lyrics that were youth group friendly. And you were expected to buy this, because it was your "righteous" alternative to what "The World" was offering.

And this drove me me nuts. Christians were producing art that regularly pandered and never asked their audience to think. This led to lots of crappy music that sold well, because it was sold on the basis of being "Christian", not being good. And sometimes I fear that's what's going to happen in comic books with the attempts to look diverse. They will be "safe" alternatives to the less diverse worlds of Superman and Spider-Man.
The problem is, the diversity needs to happen. I want to see this wide spectrum of characters. I would hate for these changes to not occur. I guess I would just prefer to see the marketing feel more genuine and less like an exploitation. I would like it to be a natural flow for the character...not something shoe-horned in to make a company's "Universe" look properly diverse. I hope to see more of this, and maybe the "sensational" and "tabloid" approach will die down.

Oh, who am I kidding??? In a world of Infinite Crisis's and Civil Wars, tabloid is going to remain king for awhile.