Sunday, October 21, 2012

"The Boys of Summer" - an Orphans story

A while back, I posted a short story set in the world of one of my various comics ideas. I don't think it was a particularly good story—I like the concept more than my execution—but what the hey, you never learn anything if you don't try. So, in the spirit of trying, I present to you a short story set in a completely different comic universe of mine, which I just call Orphans. Ladies, gentlemen, and assorted, may I present: "The Boys of Summer."
(I should probably say that this story is extremely not safe for work, albeit only in the swearing department.)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Why the ending of Mass Effect III was bad

Hoo boy. Here we go.

In case you don't follow video games (hi, mom!), Mass Effect III is the highly-anticipated sequel to Masses Effect I and II. It's the third and final part of a massive, sci-fi space-opera trilogy that's garnered massive critical and audience acclaim, won dozens of awards and made piles of money, and is regarded as one of the best video game franchises of all time.

And then the third one came out, and now it's getting more hate than Richard Nixon and herpes combined, mostly due to the ending. Dozens of video game reviewers and anonymous YouTube commenters have already expressed their opinions on the end, but I might as well add my voice to the chorus, because, why the hell not?

Probably unnecessary warning: this post will have various massive spoilers for the Mass Effect series.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Dear Chik-Fil-A supporters: You're arguing the wrong thing

A Facebook friend of mine liked this image the other day, and I feel compelled to comment on it, because it's peculiarly wrong-headed and shows a deep misunderstanding of the issue of gay marriage, or, really, the so-called "culture war" entirely.

Here's the problem with this image:

This isn't a free speech issue.

I like free speech. I like it a lot. I am willing to passionately defend free speech in any and every instance: the Westboro Baptist Church, the Ku Klux Klan, Ann Coulter, the North Ohio Puppy-Kicking Council, etc. I support Chik-Fil-A's freedom of speech 110%, regardless of how delicious it may or may not be. They can speak as freely as they like, and I will fight to the death for them to do so.

It's not the fact that they can speak freely that disturbs me, it's the content of that speech, because it is remarkably hateful. It's motherfucking two thousand and twelve; I shouldn't have to explain that saying "You two people can marry because your genitalia are compatible in such a way that you could theoretically produce children, although you are under no direct compulsion to do so and there is no penalty if you are unable to, but you two people cannot, because your genitalia are not compatible, and thus you will be unable to receive equal protection under the law" is a horrible thing to say, even more so when there is no logical support for such an argument. (Preemptively: arguing that your holy book, which was written over the course of centuries by hundreds of people with a variety of opinions, fallacies, and preconceptions, which has then been interpreted, reinterpreted, and misinterpreted by even more people over the course of millenia, tells you that homosexuality is wrong based on two or three passages which may or may not be interpreted as such, when there are several hundred other passages like "love thy fellow man" and "treat others as you'd be treated" and "what God has called clean, let no man call unclean," is not considered logical support.)

This isn't a free speech issue. Speak as freely as you like, Dan Cathy of Chik-Fil-A. You're just proving yourself to be an ignorant bigot and giving more rope to (metaphorically) hang yourself with.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Single-sentence review of The Cabin in the Woods

Yet again Joss Whedon subverts enough cliches to be thought of as clever and innovative, while also following enough cliches to confirm he's a one-trick pony.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sex and the modern Whedon

If you've ever been in the same room as me and an episode of Buffy (or Firefly, or Angel...), then you probably know that I've got a problem with Joss Whedon.

No, that's not quite true. I have many problems with Joss Whedon. Unfortunately, some of them I still haven't quite figured out.

There are elements of many of Whedon's works (movies, TV, comics) that have always bugged me, but for reasons which I have difficulty verbalizing precisely and/or backing up properly. For instance, I feel that even though he's often lauded as a feminist writer, Whedon's "strong female characters" too often end up being "strong FEMALE characters" rather than "strong characters (female)." But this is only a vague, undefined feeling of mine, and to dissect that feeling would require much more time and effort than I'm willing to expend. (Moreover, I'd have to actually define what I consider to be a "strong character," and that alone would be a doctoral dissertation.)

Just recently, though, I unraveled a small part of the Whedon Paradox, decoded a portion of the whole document that defines in exact terms why his works leave me cold. What have I discovered, you ask? Just this, gentle reader: Joss Whedon has an adolescent's view of romantic relationships.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Thoughts on technobabble

No matter how media-savvy or un-media-savvy (hi, mom!) you may be, you're bound to be familiar with the phenomenon. The ship is trying to fire its proton lasers, but some engineer explains to the captain that quantum interference is preventing them from locking on to the enemy ship. Or the robot has a safety inhibitor that means he can't attack humans. Or the quark reactor is overloading and someone needs to go and eject it before it goes critical. This is what we call technobabble, and I think it's an overly maligned tool in the writer's toolbox.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Isaac & Ida, episode 8: the Black City

I've spent the past few weeks digging through my old projects and ideas, looking for some gold that I missed the first time around. (I may have found some, but that's a story for another time.) All this nostalgia reminded me of one of my very first comics projects, good ol' Isaac & Ida from the good ol' University of Chicago. It's been a while since I posted one of these strips, so why not join me in my trip down Memory Lane?