Nerd Passion: 3 Villains I adore.

So Today is just going to be me praising 3 villains I adore in media. I think are favorite villains tell us just a much as are heroes. So here’s some looks into my psyche.

droctopus

Doctor Octopus: Doc Ock is still My favorite Spider-man villain and I think what  I like most about him is his inventiveness. Sure, he can’t get at Spider-man on a personnal level like Venom and Green Goblin. However, He hates Spidey just as much as they do and this NEED to get at him makes him just as bad a villain as they are. Ya know what they say “Necessity is the mother of invention”. Since he doesn’t have those techniques, Spider-man writers often give him a way to threaten Spidey, most of which involve twisting his superhero life and the politics thereof. The biggest being he founds the Sinister Six to take on spider-man and in the Spectacular Spider-man he understands how to utilize supervillian help better then any other supervillian. It’s this Super-villian threat to New york and development A weak, Myopic man that just happens to have robot limbs that can restrain the hulk! Love it.

Chase_Young

Chase Young: This guy might go down as one of my favorite Villains, which is funny because Xiaolin Showdown, while good isn’t one of my favorite shows. But yea, This guy is the king of The Fallen hero archetype. He’s a former heroic warrior turned evil when his insecurities caused him to sell a soul for a soup that would grant him eternal youth. To make things more interesting, he uses his immortality to make a similar bargains with warriors, collecting them into his army. I wasn’t kidding when I said he was the “king” of Fallen warriors. In addition, he’s the most formidable enemy in the show and his noble past makes even the good characters admire him. Definitely one of my favorite characters!

Mister_Sinister_1989.png

Mister Sinister: My favorite X man villain. While characters like Magneto and Apocalypse represent how monstrous mutants can be, Sinister represents how exploitative and terrifying humans can be, especially when mutants (and by extension, people) are seen as an end rather then a means. In addition, His design is one of my favorites in comics. It looks sophisticated but monstrous. I also like how he appears and behaves more monstrously then most of the mutants that fight him. it leads to a great thematic irony that I just adore. Maybe one day, my dream will come true and he will be featured prominently in a film.

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Marvel Phase 3: Sins of the parents and the past

A recurring theme I’ve seen in the Marvel Phase 3 movies have been an older family or foster family figures commiting a sin from the past that comes to torment the main hero. It’s like the sins of the previous generations have arisen to torment are heroes.

Let’s take Thor: Ragnarok for example. In this film, it’s revealed that not only Thor’s father Odin wasn’t just the wise pacifist he seemed, but that he also fostered and hid from his new family a vicious bloodthirsty sister named Hela. In the opening theme, Hela reveals that Asgard was founded on war and blood and that this was graciously hid from everyone. Odin may have wanted his people and family to move on past this but by hiding the truth from them and neglecting his daughter, his entire kingdom was destroyed and it’s people almost completely wiped out. The sins of the father strike at the son giving him a new burden in kingship.

A similar dilemma happens in Black Panther. T,Challa’s father T,Chaka, killed his own brother to keep Wakanda hidden. These actions eventually led to the creation of Killmonger who nearly turned Wakanda and to a war state, almost killed T,Challa and destroyed the succession of Black panther’s by burning the Heart shaped herb. Whatever T,Chaka’s intentions were, he and the previous Black Panther’s isolationist policies ultimately provided strife for are protagonists.

We also have father-son issues in Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2. Star-lords Blood father Ego is revealed to be a planetary monster and a murderer of his mother. It’s a little more direct then the other examples, but ultimately Star-lord and the Guardians have to stop the lasting actions of a crazed patriarch.

Having to cope with the actions of the past extends even to films without parental relationships as the focus. Doctor Strange is another example of this. Half-way through the film, it’s revealed that the Ancient one’s order has not only done ugly things to preserve themselves but that their matriarch has violated some of their orders most sacred principles. Ultimately it’s left to Doctor strange and the remaining order to decide how to conduct themselves in the future.

Lastly, Ant-man has a touch of this theme as well. Ant-man is ultimately a successor story about the previous superhero passing the torch to another protagonist. Just like the other examples though, the previous generation came with some baggage. The conflicts in Ant-man come from Hank Pym trusting the wrong people and keeping secrets. Ultimately while not the main antagonist of the film, he’s helping the protagonist undo the actions of a young man he mentored.

This theme of Sins of the past seems like a logical progression as today’s generation is learning the missteps of the old and how it’s effecting their present. Whether that be poor political policy from days of old, colonial history filled with blood or just finding out are parents have skeletons in their closet, are superheroes seem to be facing the same trial the Millennial generation is facing.

Nerd Passion: Why I can’t “hate” Man of steel

So there has been a lot of criticism centered on the DC extended universe. Everything from them copying Marvel’s formula and failing miserably, the over-bleakening of the DC Universe and just poor (just o so poor) story, character and structure decisions. You do a quick Youtube search and you can find countless video’s discussing why the DCEU is terrible.

And yea, I agree with many points made buuut this Blog is assosiated with the positives and the good stuff. And in addition to that, there is A LOT I personnally like in the DCEU (and i’m not just talking Wonder Woman). I am with almost all the criticisms I have heard and seen, but this weird mess of a film franchise does have it’s moments. What’s even better is I think it has some stuff to teach us and some things to identify with.

Nowhere Does these weird mix of feelings extend then the Man of steel. Let me make one thing clear: I AM just as pissed as everyone else for what this film did to superman. I don’t agree with every criticism but the killing, the “surprise” mean-spiritedness and the lack of believable chemistry between some actors. It’s all there. However, I can’t say I hate this film, I even must say I even like it. Not love, But it’s definitely one I want in my Super-hero catalogue. Furthermore, I think It can connect with people in a special beneficial way.

Why? Well, first off, the one thing the film nails very well is the Kryptonian super-powers being code for mental dis-abilities like autism or ADD. This is touched on in other Young superman/superboy stories, but this is definately one of the best. The scenes at school and between Clark and his mother are fantastic and the social outcast aspect even kinda works.

Which leads me to a big idea of the film: Superman as a confused outcast. This, despite being not much of a staple in previous superman stories is a story worth telling with a superhero. As feeling like an outsider is a universal feeling in man’s condition, it helps give an interesting angle to connect with this version.

People don’t believe they can relate to feeling Super, but they can relate to feeling like an outcast. Someone who feel’s different and seems to attract animosity to it. That’s a large facet of this Superman depiction. That story and that version is worth being told.

In addtion, another idea Synder is commenting on is the human spirit. Throughout this story, not only is Superman fighting for his adoptive homeworld despite the abuse he’s encountered from human’s but he’s also able to achieve more “because” he has human spirit. A very on the nose scene is when Superman’s struggle to destroy one of Zod’s machine is connected with quick-cut of the Daily Bugle rescuing each other from Zodd’s wreckage. Superman grows weaker and almost quits, but as the human’s gain the will to pull each other out of the rubble, Superman will’s his way to destroy the generator. In any case, the message is clear:The human spirit is valuable.

This story deserved to told. As much as I believe most my people get superman wrong and this film encapsulate all of that I also thing it’s one of the worst of what people think Superman “should” be. However, I think it does feature’s elements of the Superman mythos that people can connect with and it is the story of a confused outcast finding his place in the world and how being human can be empowering.

Nerd Passion: My Love for Ventura

Ace Ventura

So living in the household of a bachelor, I got to watch some things a little more gear towards adults. Some of this included shows like Simpsons, Futurama and That’s 70 show. They also included movies like Ace Ventura: When When Nature calls. A sequel that only this last year have I realized the pun in the name.

The man was my hero growing up. I mean he was an eccentric man who loved the animal world and dedicated himself to preserving nature, while also shaking up human world and polite society. What a boss! and in a film involving , bowls made out of literal bat-shit and a robot Rhinoceros giving birth to a sweaty full sized man. Who wouldn’t want to watch a movie with all that! Am I right?!

You can take your anarchist bands telling you to pirate their albums or your comedians burning money. I’ll take a neurotic animal lover punching a wealthy white caricature unconscious then wearing him like he’s a fur-coat. That’s my “stick it to capitalism” symbol.

Let’s get real though, As a kid I loved weirding people out and I loved animals and that was what Ace Ventura was all about. He didn’t care for general human culture unless it involved women or making a pop culture reference, but he did care about animals. whether it be a dolphin or a little raccoon (Bats and bullied crocodiles not withstanding). In his second appearance he appears like a god of a forest, surrounded by the animals he loves. Like an image of Krishna in a grove or a Satyr greeting his animals friends in Greek tradition (and he’s horny like a Satyr to boot!). In another scene, he smacks the wealthy capitalist antagonist with a horse whip simply to remind him of the pain he’s inflicting on his beast of burden.

He never cared about polite society and it made him difficult to work with for his colleagues, but it also shook them out of their complacency and into adventure. Even if there’s a simple path the other way, he’ll take you on a ride through the jungle weather you like it or not. Greenwald might have tough time enduring his antics but he has a respect for his intelligence. He may have been neurotic, but he could be as intelligent as Sherlock Holmes, knowing much about his client via looks and mannerisms.

However, unlike the mechanical Holmes, Ventura had no qualms about tearing things down if it meant better harmony between animals and humans. By the end of the film he’ having animals destroy the wealthy white mansion. He’s giving the retribution against a White hunter who took so much life for sport and who was going to start a genocidal war for wealth. He even declares it by saying “The Day of Redemption is at hand!” Property damage? Formality? This means nothing to Ace Ventura for he is a Fury to those who endanger animal life.

I guess to conclude, I guess this crude 90’s comedy gave an unintentional hero’s story I could watch. In a world wear people were too stuck in human trappings to care about the destruction and death of innocent and loving animals, they’re came a neurotic catch-phrase spewing hero who could play human politics but not be of them of it and cause the very jungle to rise up and fight what threatens it. All while declaring “Human’s and animals can live in harmony” Quite inspiring for an animal loving kid who doesn’t want to fit in to the adult world.

Poison to both Peter and Spiderman: The case for Venom

Probably the most infamous of Spiderman’s foes, Venom has grown to become one of the most popular character’s from the Spiderman stories, sometimes even eclipsing the webhead himself at times. However, it’s this very popularity that’s caused the character to come under much scrutiny. Many of have criticized the 90’s stories he took part in. Some even go further then that. Many older fans proclaim Venom is a lame or boring villian.

Film critic, editorial writer and avid Spiderman fan Bob Chipman had this to say about Venom in his thoughts on Spiderman 3.

“ Okay I get there are people who see something in Venom that I just don’t but I still don’t there’s nothing interesting about him other then he looks like Spider-man”

As much as I love Bob Chipman’s thoughts, I respectfully disagree. In fact, Venom is one of the best villains in the Spider-man rogues gallery, easily rivaling the likes of the Goblin or Doctor Octupus. Venom as both the symbiote and the Eddie brock hybrid, represents addictions, toxic relationships, A inverse mirror to Peter’s ego, a twisted “familiar” mirror to his alter-ego and a threat dangerous to him physically, emotionally and far more spiritually then any other villian in his rogue’s gallery.

Let’s first start with what Venom represents in his most basic form: An addictive and toxic relationship. The symbiote at first provides Peter with things he seems to want such as success in crime-fighting and a confident backbone. However, slowly it becomes clear that this all comes at the cost of Peter’s personnal life and health. The symbiote wears him like a puppet and he starts to lose his identity to more aggressive behavior. Thankfully, he realizes what happens and rejects it.

However, what’s terrifying is that experience didn’t come without a twisted price. Later the Symbiote would become Venom and wreck havoc on Spider-man. What’s even creepier is that it resembless real world toxic relationships and how intimacy with a person can be used against you. The symbiote was able to get into his thoughts and feelings and is able to use that “quality time” against Peter. He knows Peter’s identity, loved ones and a number of personnal details. The connections gives the Symbiote a perverse obsessions with Peter too. In additions Peter’s spider-sense, a self-perserving force, is completely powerless against Venom. To put it simply, The familiarity the two of them had makes the confrontation far deadlier and dramatic. (Improve)

However, the interesting master-stroke in this equation is in in character Eddie Brock. Originally planned to be a woman who lost her child to Spider-man, Brock is instead a muscle-bound thug-like man who blames Spider-man for his personal losses in life. Unlike the symbiote, Brock knew nothing about Spider-man as a person. But, he knew he hated him, blaming the wall-crawler for his greatest failings. Spider-man becomes a symbol in his mind for everything that is wrong in his life.

While their alter-ego’s are similar Peter and Eddie are polar opposites from demeanor to physique. While Peter was a scrawny nerd, Eddie is a large Body builder the size of a tank. Where Peter is intelligent and Clever, Brock is foolish and in some cases foolhardy. Peter Parker is constantly thinking about others, While Brock only cares about his goals of vengeance and not the pain it will cause. While Peter complains about his experiences, he ultimately remembers he has responsibility in life, Brock constantly blames and scapegoats everything around him.

This adds a new dimension to the character. It makes him less of an evil clone and more of a de-construction of everything Peter is. He’s not Peter’s double, he’s Peter’s anti-self.

This is what makes him such a great villian. He is the un-maker of Peter Parker and he doesn’t have the distractions or the strange “honor code” other villians do. Take Green Goblin for example. In Green Goblin stories, While Goblin does know his secret identity and occasionally WILL strike at Peter’s loved ones (famously Gwen Stacy), There’s a perverse sense of limits due to the interconnected of Peter and Norman’s personnal lives being connected and Norman having his own distinct goals and convoluted master planner madness.

This is not the case with Venom. Venom Hates Spider-man in every way and will take him every moment he can, only holding off on killing him So Peter can suffer more. It’s so disturbing because it comes from a much more human place instead of “evil for the sake of evil” mad scientist behavior that many of Spider-man’s rogue gallery possesses. Instead, combines the disturbing intimacy of an abusive friend, family member or ex-lover with the prejudiced bigot who barely knows you but is willing to murder you because of what you represent to him.

In addition to all that, Venom is a terrifying physical threat for Peter. As pointed out, he’s not merely a clone of Spider-man, he’s Spider-man amplified. He’s stronger, hardier and even has more powerful webbing then Peter. That mixed with his spider-sense immunity, means Peter always has a large disadvantage and has to win via his wits. Venom is so dangerous, that he’s one of the few villian’s that Peter actively has PTSD fear or nightmares about.

In both Spider-man the animated series and Spectacular Spiderman, Peter has visions and dreams of Venom even after defeating him. Again, this further connects Venom and the symbiote stories with elements of Toxic relationships, abuse and being “used”. Peter is emotionally scarred by Venom himself and the physical and emotional torments directed towards Peter. These conflicts are exactly what makes him so valuable as a villian. he forces Peter to respect who he is rather then constantly feeling “guilty” for what he’s not. Excellent evidence for this is the end of the first Spectacular Spider-man season 1 Peter pours out a potion that would have removed his powers permanently. He affirms to himself “Spider-man is who I am” This is the conclusion of a subplot of the season of where Peter had been questioning whether to get rid of hi spowers or not.

In the end, Venom represents a Physical, emotional and spiritual threat to Spider-man that the rest of his rogues gallery can learn from. His alter-ego destroys the spirit of Peter-parker, He emotionally torments people as the symbiote and the terrifying venom and he’s never going to be a villian he can punch away like a street thug. However, because of all that, it’s such a powerful triumph when he wins.

Spider-man and unrecognized care and talent.

So the Spider-man stories tend to focus on the torture of dual identity then many superhero mythos. Peter toils with the burden of both being a superhero with incredible talent but also one that has to constantly sacrifice these talents in his everyday life. His family, friends and even employers never get to see this noble side of him.

We may not have to conceal a superhero identity, but I think we all have private battles in are life and things that others don’t see. What’s even worse, these can be are very gifts. Mental illness and problems is a good example. Mental problems are not something that can be seen on the surface. Mental health or disability can not always be seen on the surface. When people look at you, it’s hard to imagine certain struggles. Someone with ADD might shock his peers when they do poor at school despite intelligence. A person with a chipper persona may shock his peers with the knowledge they have clinical depression.

Peers don’t always understand how tough it can be to keep healthy, to keep up the battle everyday. we all have private battles no one sees. Instead of Green Goblin, it’s a learning disorder, instead of the symbiote Venom, It’s PTSD and trauma.

There’s just going to be times where your great accomplishments are “hidden” from the world. With private battles you’re not always going to get the social acknowledgement and respect you deserve. Much of the Spider-man stories are about the injustices that Peter faces from bullies and a world that doesn’t appreciate his intelligence. It’s a major theme happening before Peter gets his spider powers.

Sometimes when you are alone in this world, you have to acknowledge the good you are and the good you’ve done. It’s not a matter of growing an ego, just self-gratitude so it’s easier to press on another day. As much As Peter may hate his dual-identity, he knows it’s a necessity and is doing some good. That’s why he never stops.

Nerd Passion: why I love Mad Science!

 

So I’m a big fan of the Mad scientist trope. Some of my favorite villains include Doctor Octupus, Lex luthor, Mister Sinister And Scarecrow. Hell, even some of the “good” mad scientists like Tony Stark and Donatello I really enjoy. There’s just some beautiful inventiveness to this Sci-fi archetype that I just love and as I learn about writing, I just love them even more!!!

I think one of the biggest reasons I like them is their inventiveness. There’s just a range to what they can do. They Can build a weather control device one week, Make a new supervillian (one that might end up as cool as the villian) itself the next week, make Robot dopplegangers of are heroes to cause chaos and then a new plot involving mind control to end the month! These guys lead to great writing potential and creativity. Hell, when they’re not doing the “i’m going to give the hero too much time” for something cliché, They can craft Anti-Deus Ex Machina’s. Plans and devices that save them or add as an unexpected threat to the hero as he finds victory.

There’s an episode of Justice League where the “King” of mad scientists Lex luthor makes a simple looking belt, that can instantly counter and reverse the superpowers of all the Supervillians in the “secret society” It’s a simple looking belt, barely noticeable and he’d have to know the intimate natures of his comrades powers to make something like that. This sounds like a ridiculous feat and yet I believe he did it!

In addition, as I learn more about writing and archetypal characters, I think i’ve discovered something really cool: They are Male patriarchal “old Hags”. In older stories and espicially fairytales, Old witch women were depicted as sowers of dischord and chaos. Sometimes, they were depicted as mentors or beings to consult, but in a lot of retold tales they are the monsters that bring curses and self-hatred.

However, in the age of sci-fi storytelling, these old women seem impractical. Instead, they seem to have been replaced by these egotistical men (mostly anyway) who think’s they can control the world with their “superior” reasoning and intellect. To them, their should be no limits to their experiments and human lives are just another frog to be dissected. Atleast with Witches most of the time it was simple human grudges, With these conceited scientist, they will claim it’s for a “higher” cause. As we learn most of the demonization of Witches was propaganda, I think these mad scientists are a good substitute for an age critical of patriarchal structure and rule.

Nerd Passion: Why Nerdy Wisdom?

So in an age where it seems like more and more people are neglecting history, news and science why is it important to critique art, culture and new media? This is a question I find myself asking often espicially as I gravitate towards making a career in art.

Well, a couple of reasons. One, pointing out meaning and purpose. With how popular philosophy like existentialism and nietzchean nihilism is, you’d think the world would be deprived of meaning. However, my experience is the opposite and are entertainment industry is the prime example. Despite thoughts to the contrary, are media is TEEMING with passion and meaning. In fact, I’d argue we go to it more for meaning and purpose then entertainment. Entertainment is defined as enjoyment and amusement. I didn’t watch Jessica Jones( A series about rape, psychological abuse and gaslighting) to be filled with “amusement and enjoyment” and I don’t think the creators do that either. The purpose of the series was to bring light to ugly relationships and manipulative behavior. Tons of media, has similar good intention either fueled by positive authorial intent or positive audience desire. As such, I think it’s important to understand that.

Two, is that in a world full of more and more media coming out and in addition, more negative criticism coming from these new art-forms, it’s easy to get swept up in the destructive elements of art while ignoring the Constructive elements of art. Now don’t get me wrong, no work of art is above criticism and I even have a few things to say on those things as well. However, I choose to focus on the positive and constructive elements of what most people take for granted. It’s simply not as common as it should be.

Third, we need to know that art is not just for entertainment. It appeals to are emotions, values, philosophies and minds. By knowing how they do that, I believe people will abandon their shame at consumption. The idea that we “escape” into art is sillier then it sounds. Much art is filled with violence, pain and misery. Even the most cheery stories have conflict as that’s arrives in the story. We don’t go too them for escape we go into them for emotional catharsis, mental guidance and many more wonderful things. Understanding that I believe will change the world, especially one that has so much art without the power to appreciate it.

Nerd Passion: 5 songs I’ve been into lately.

So I know this is a bit of a shock, but I really enjoy music! I’m not much of a musician or music theorist, but I do love a good song and this week I’ve been pondering what I like and possibly why I like it. It won’t be the most comprehensive list but considering it’s midterms I hope people will bear with me and enjoy.

 

5. Gorillaz – Clint Eastwood

This song is well, Interesting. The hook is great and simple (and possibly referencing drug use), and the song itself seems to be about observing something “other” then physical reality as well as keeping your inner child (“Rhythm, you have it or you don’t. that’s a fallacy). A lot of the lyrics refer to percieving something beyond your physical senses (Yall can see me now cause you don’t see with your eye, you percieve with your mind!) and the fact that the rapper in the music video is a “spirit” is very telling. Overall, the song itself doesn’t sound to weird but the hook and the subject of the wrap remind you that there’s something deeper beyond it all.

 

4. Panic At The Disco – This is Gospel

 

Quite simply one of the best songs i’ve heard in a long time! Concept wise, it’s another “ode to the outcasts” song, but if you enjoy my blog you know that it’s not whether it’s been done before, but how it’s told differently. And MAN does it give a great spin on this concept. Beyond the singing and instrumental sounding absolutely amazing, the lyrics are just to die for. There’s alliteration, rhyme and a huge multi-syllabled vocabulary make it sound like a Shakespeare era sonnet. I don’t know what else to say, it’s just an amazing song.

3. Flobots – One love

No official music video here, but This is an amazing song, especially if you’re in a lonely place. It’s all about just remembering we don’t have to go through the trials of life completely alone and calling for the ever true concept of love. It must have been a great closing song for their performances back in the day.

2. Flobots – White flag Warriors

 

Very powerful song. this is obviously a very “politically” charged song. As the name implies, it’s a protest song against declaring war. Throughout it talks of how there’s better ways to get your “rage” out and that questioning war is not a cowardly thing. As they say, It’s love, not treason.

  1. Of Monsters And Men – Slow and steady

 

Just a nice song to listen to when you’re winding down physically or emotionally. I’d like to think everyone has those moments where you feel like you can do more but don’t where you feel like you just haven’t been given the opportunities in life. this song helps with those feelings (as well as winding down for bed.)

 

Hope you readers enjoy! more content soon.

Little Moments: Relationships and Web-comics

So it’s no secret that relationships haven’t always been depicted the best in a lot of popular media. Even in the most well written stories, their tends to be an idea that the “magic” of two characters in love will somehow be lost if they get together, or worse get married. The conquest of the chase is always more preferable to the end result, no matter how contrived the “chase” becomes.

This is why webcomics are so interesting. Many of them hinge on real life moments with the artist and their girlfriend/boyfriend. In these worlds, Relationship’s aren’t depicted as some second-guessing soap-opera. instead, they are depicted as a fun series of moments from people being silly and happy. It’s cute, it’s happy and best of all, it’s real.

kevin-bolk-comic-2.

A few notable examples include. Kevin Bolk’s “I’m my own mascot” series and Sarah Scribbles. I’m My own Mascot has depicted Kevin bolk and his misadventures with his girlfriend Sarah. He’s depicted everything from sarah’s “sacrifice” when moving to a new home to the wonders of Alliterating around a laddle to even depictions. There’s even a telling comic of them balancing each other out with Kevin frustrated at a computer and Sarah stopping him from making a “stupid decision”

do-not-look

While Sara scribbles doesn’t depict anything that dramatic, it to has a number of “cute moments.” From showing off her new shaved legs or telling her boyfriend of 6 years to not peak when she changes. Again, the relationship is less some dramatic conquest and more of an experience.

It’s little moments like this that aren’t shown in most of the popular drama’s and soap-opera’s. It’s a shame, because these moments depicted aren’t just more realistic but more warm and happy. Web comics show how a relationship can be fun and have chemistry without conflict.

Check out the web-comics here!

Kevin Bolks “I’m My Own Mascot” www.mascotcomic.com

Sara Scribbles https://www.facebook.com/DoodleTimeSarah/