Tuesday, March 31, 2009
So why the change? Well, after four years, things kind of slowed down here at the old site (what with people taking new jobs, moving to new cities or just vanishing outright) and I decided not only to inject new life into the old girl, but to shift direction a little too. What kind of new direction, you ask? While the focus is still on commentary, links to cool stuff floating around the Internet and outright mockery of all things geek, at the new site you'll find what I hope is more consistency both in publishing and theme.
But don't think this is going to be a one man show. Already, there's been a shift to having multiple posters and God knows help will be welcome (virtual empires don't build themselves you know). So if you have something you really want to share with the world and want to do it via The Nerduary, just head over to the new site and contact me directly.
Because, really, that's the goal of the the new Nerduary; to become a destination site for everyone with a love of comics, movies, TV and everything geeks get a little too excited about.
So head on over to Nerduary.com and gives things a look. And tell your friends to do the same. And their friends. Actually, tell everyone.
Thanks to everyone who made this first version of The Nerduary such a fun place to hang out over the last four years (you know who you are) and I'll see you at the new site.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
I’m no chode, by God, and I will NOT be exiled from the action. So I talk sports. Problem is, my knowledge of sports is almost nonexistent. So how do I do it? How do I talk for hours on end and convince people that I’m up on the latest in athletics? And more importantly, how can you?
PRESENTING CHRIS’ GUIDE FOR TALKING SPORTS (WHEN YOU KNOW NOTHING AT ALL ABOUT SPORTS)
“He’s a Good Player”- This one phrase is perhaps the most important sentence you can ever utter when forced to engage in a conversation about sports. Chances are, the athlete being discussed in indeed a good player, and as such, the person who brought up said athlete will speak positively on end about him. This will allow you time to pay attention to the details and try and figure when to insert one of the gems to follow. However, in the off chance that the athlete being discussed is NOT actually a good player, don’t panic. Just tell the person you were being sarcastic. Everyone will get a good laugh and you’ll come across as someone with keen insight indeed.
“Their Defense Could Be Tighter”- There will be times when someone will ask your thoughts on a specific team. Your first inclination will be to be panic as you don’t know one athlete from another, let alone what teams they're playing for. But no worries, all you have to do is say “Well, their defense could be tighter.” This is perfect as it’s not only noncommittal, but it’s also true. Unless the Patriots have recruited the 300 Spartans, no one has a perfect defense. No one. And even the most passionate team follower will have to admit that, yes, as perfect as the home team is, their defense could indeed be tighter.
“That Was Something Else”- If you choose to fake knowledge of sports, be prepared to be asked if you saw a specific game. Most likely, last night’s. Most posers tend to fall a part at this point. What kind of game was it? Was it a big game? Did something spectacular happen? What the hell were they even playing? Did a tiger get loose on the field? I don’t know what happened? Don’t panic! And for the love of God, don’t try to guess what happened. Just affirm that you saw it and say it “was something else.” “Something else” can be so many things. It can indicate that you did see that spectacular show of athleticism, it can mean that it was hard fought by both sides or can mean that it was boring as hell. It was something else. Like I said, most sports people just want to hear themselves talk anyway. They don’t care if you actually saw the game. They just want to rehash it themselves. All you have to do is say the right trigger to keep the conversation moving, and “That was something else” is a powerful one indeed.
“He has/does not have heart”- Sports fans love to talk about heart. Heart can make their pants tight or their blood burn. Heart is a way of saying losers are worth rooting for. Accusing someone of not having heart is an excuse to hate him even though he has more athletic prowess than most in the game will ever possess. You can only bring up heart when the conversation has caused a rift to form in the room and everyone assembled calls for you to choose a side. How do you choose which side to fall on? Easy. Identify the side with the loudest asshole and go the opposite way. "Come on!" the asshole will cry out. "How can you like that piece of shit?" "Easy," you'll say. "He's got heart." Once everyone is united against the asshole, you can let others carry the bulk of the conversation, and go back to “he’s a good player” as a means of supporting the dude you purport to support.
“You’re a racist”- Sometimes people will catch on that you don’t shit about sports and attempt to call you on it. Not only that, but they'll go about it by being a complete asshole and go for the jugular as happened to me very recently. Sometimes they’ll ask the race of the athlete being discussed. Yes, as a fan, this should come easy. But you’re not a fan. But they might be a racist. Call them to task on it. Ask them what race has to do with the game in the first place. Accuse them of letting outdated mindsets cloud their love of the game. Tell them they're part of the problem and proof positive that as a country, we still have such a long way to go. Then, politely recuse yourself from the conversation and walk away. You're now not only known as a passionate sports fan but a man (or woman) of high moral fiber. Respect all around.
There you have it. You now have the tools to fake an actual conversation about sports. But believe me, just having the tools doesn’t make you a master. Like any other skill, mastery takes practice. Start by dropping a “He’s a good player” here and there and see where it takes you. You’ll know when the time is right to move on. And remember, never feel like you can’t walk away from a conversation. In fact, sometimes disengaging is the best course of action you can take, especially if a subject is about to turn violent. After all, one man’s good player is another’s symbol of all that is evil in sports.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Both Know a Lot of Dumb Things- You can list all of Derek Jeter’s stats going back to his high school years, I can list all the different shades of kryptonite. You can pontificate on the virtues (or lack there-of) restrictor plate racing, I can pontificate on the virtues of having a multiverse to work in. You can tell me who coached who to Super Bowl victory back in ’75, I can tell you who wrote Uncanny X-Men 75.
Both Like To Show off Loyalty- Is there really any difference in wearing your New York Yankees jersey out in public and me hitting the mall in my Aquaman T-shirt? And define how the guys who dress up as Boba Fett at a convention are any sadder than the assholes who paint the names of their favorite teams over their fat bellies in 30-degree weather at football games.
Passions Run Deep- How often have people almost come to blows when discussing just who exactly is the greatest NFL coach of all time? On the flip side, don’t ask a room full of fanboys to decide the outcome of a fight between Superman and Thor. See lines drawn when you announce to NASCAR fans that Dale Earnhardt was over rated. Watch friendships die when you ask if The Enterprise could take a Star Destroyer. Really. Watch it here and here.
Everyone Knows What’s Best For Their Favorite Franchise- Wouldn’t The Braves clinch the title every year if you had a shot at coaching? I know The Justice League of America would be the best selling comic in the world if I were writing it. And what was Manning thinking passing the ball the that guy? Oh, and can someone explain to me exactly why Marvel still pretends anyone likes The Sentry?
We All Know Controversy- Just how many past and future Hall of Famer’s used steroids to enhance their performance and should that be held against them? How in the fuck does Rob Liefeld keep getting paying work on mainstream books?
We’re All Pretty Immature- When you think about it, sports fans are getting worked up over grown men getting millions for playing children’s games. And geeks? Most of us never stop to think that our obsessions began as escapist entertainment in the early 20th Century for the then burgeoning kid’s culture.
Kind of Homoerotic- Hate to break it to you sports fans, but you’re really into those guys in tight clothes, grabbing each other’s ass, placing hands on each others taint, and fighting for possession of balls (not to mention soaping their naked bodies up en masse after the game). And yes, I do realize that most super hero books are about a bunch of very physically fit dudes dressed in fetish suits all hanging out together in a secret place. BUT, in their defense, they’re only doing all this to save the world, so EAT IT SPORTS FANS!
The Joke is on All of Us- Whether your passion is for the Miami Dolphins or The Mighty Avengers, we all gloss over the fact that all of it is a long con to get us to care for and shell out tons of money for (let's be honest) meaningless corporate franchises. Yep, we're the ones making a select few rich. So remember that the next time you whine about how over paid Alex Rodriguez is or about how Joe Quesada is really screwing up Marvel. In the end, it's our own damn fault.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
He's Gaius Baltar; there' a naked Six in his bed and he's just turned his back on people he supposedly cares about to his own benefit. Of course he's okay. Jeez...
Monday, March 09, 2009
Don't lie to yourself. You know you would've had all the action figures.
Thanks to friend of The Nerduary Michael Harper for passing this gem along. And give credit where is is do by checking out the animator's other stuff here.
Saturday, March 07, 2009
Not really going to bother with a review as most people reading this aren’t looking to be swayed one way or another. But as a long time fan of the Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons source material, I think Zach Snyder and everyone involved did a great job.
Still, that's not going to stop me from mocking it later this week. Just a heads up is all.
Friday, March 06, 2009
Judging by the look on his face, Captain America knows what I'm talking about.
Thursday, March 05, 2009
But super heroes have the added stress of having to be vigilant against fictitious diseases as well. As if polio and lupus weren’t enough, there’s the Legacy Virus, Morticoccus, MacGregor Syndrome, and God knows how many variations of the ever-popular techno-organic virus to contend with.
However one serious ailment that has never seemed to be acknowledge by any respectable medical organization in either Marvel or DC is one that seems to strike every single super powered being at least ten times in any given year. It’s so serious that even those around the sufferer are at risk from the effects.
I’m speaking, of course, of TFR, known in the medical community as Temporary Functional Retardation.
TFR can strike anyone at any time in super hero universe, but as mentioned those most likely to be stricken tend to possess any number of super powers. If you’ve never consciously been cognizant of TFR in a super hero or villain, take heart! Fantastic Four #564 is a case study in how people act and respond to obvious danger and make really, really bad decisions when afflicted with this serious mental illness.
Not asking in-depth questions as to why your science fictiony technology isn’t working while on vacation in this great Scottish town when it does just fine everywhere else in the universe (great reception in the Negative Zone, actually).
Not raising an eyebrow when the police brag about how perfect their little town is when you’ve been to Latveria more times than you can count and know what usually is behind “perfect” little towns.
Taking miracle cures for physically debilitating condition such as MS at face value when your line of work has shown such wonders are usually the work of dark forces. Or Doctor Doom looking to score a favor. Either way, dark forces.
Ignoring a cry for help from a random stranger involving children, despite a lifetime of experience telling you that’s most likely not a good (or especially moral) route to take. Also, letting a strange, kindly-looking old man be the one to convince you not to help said innocent bystander, despite having a rogue’s gallery consisting of a fair share of strange old men who look kindly enough.
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Of course, most fans don’t remember the last issue, because it came out THREE YEARS AGO.
The excuse is that Lindelof being a big TV writer had to prioritize, which I can understand. But THREE YEARS? After three years, you give up on things. Hell, he writes a series about people lost at sea who the world gave up on as being dead after just three months. He should get this more than anyone else.
Awe, who am I kidding? Last issue ended with Hulk ripping Wolverine in half. And check out that cover. Those are adamantium claws tearing into Hulk's green ass! Eat it you gamma irradiated bastard! How can I not want to see how all this plays out even there was a THREE YEAR gap?
Damn you, Lindelof. This round to you.
Monday, March 02, 2009
But first, the reality check. There has always been this fantasy that open submissions at Marvel and DC was the key to getting paying work from the companies. Send in a great pitch for The X-Men or Avengers, wait for phone call from salivating editor. But in recent memory, I can’t think of any writer that found a way into working for the company through open submission, and I’d be surprised to hear of an artist that did as well. Most, if not all, did it by having his or her work published elsewhere, so anyone who’s using this as an excuse to stop trying to create was never destined to work on Spider-Man to begin with.
I do, however, look at it as a formal sea change, at least for writers. It’s never been a secret that landing a paying gig at either Marvel or DC has never been the easiest feat for writers. Artists tend to have it a little cushier, at least in terms of skipping a few steps. Put together a powerful portfolio proving that you can not only draw well but can also tell a coherent story is all it really takes. Not discounting talent, because God knows it takes that as well, but I’ve been told by more than a few artists that if you can draw the mundane, i.e. lamp posts, telephones, people sitting down to talk, and make that interesting you’ve won half the battle. Put together a great portfolio and show it to the right editor at the right convention, there’s always the chance you’ll be working on something.
But for writers it’s always been different. You can’t just drop a script in front of an editor at a convention and hope for him or her to take a serious look at it. There’s just not enough time in the day. Throw in the possibility of possible lawsuits at the hands of a would-be writer who swears their story was stolen in with what has to be thousands of terrible scripts, and I imagine going through submissions can be pure torture for an editor that still has to get a line of comics to print each month.
No, writers historically have flowed into Marvel and DC from the indies. Brian Michael Bendis did it by making superb creator owned crime comics as did Greg Rucka and Ed Brubaker, Judd Winnick made it through Barry Ween and Pedro and Me, and a whole slew of British writers made names for themselves on the UK’s anthology series, 2000 A.D. That, however, is not the sea change.
“With the successful discovery and publishing of writers in the fields of comics as well as TV, film and literature, Marvel will continue to search out new voices in all published fields, as we have for the past number of years.”- From the Marvel press release on no more open submissions
Ever since Kevin Smith wrote a pretty good Daredevil story a decade ago, Marvel has made lining up TV and film talent a cottage industry. Joss Whedon, Damon Lindelof, Alan Heinberg, Marc Guggenheim, Daniel Knauf, Aron Coleite and Kevin Grevioux are very prolific TV and film writers and just a few Hollywood types that moonlight writing for Marvel.
Hollywood is the new recruitment ground for Marvel, and how can you blame them (not so much literature yet as most authors have only so far leant their names and properties but not their actual talent. See Stephen King and Laurel K. Hamilton. Orson Scott Card is the one exception I can think of)? These are not only proven talents, but names with pedigree. They write or have written for shows like Lost, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Sex and the City and Heroes just to name a few, properties that have huge followings. If Marvel can put the words “From the Writer of Heroes” in an ad, that alone, in theory at least, will cause more than a few people to pick up a title they may not normally buy.
I’ve also read that Marvel can get these names on the relatively cheap side as well. While there is some money to be had writing in comics, it’s not generally enough to pay for a house in the Hollywood Hills. TV and film is where that money is. But the Hollywood writers don’t seem to mind taking a large pay cut if it means writing for characters and comics they grew up reading. How many non-entertainment industry fans have you ever heard say they would kill to get to write The Uncanny X-Men or put their stamp on The Fantastic Four? These guys are no different.
No, Marvel ending its open submission policy isn’t a death knell in anyone’s aspirations to being a writer at a big company. Your chances of being published via that route never really existed in the first place. But Hollywood calling? That may well be a severe hindrance. Because while anyone can put together and self-publish a comic, not everyone can be a writer on a big name TV show, and it seems clear that’s what Marvel wants: ties to Hollywood.
That said, I do think like other trends in comics, this one too will likely implode. After all, writing and producing comics is a business meant to make someone money, and typically not a lot for the talent. I foresee the luster wearing off, at least a bit, for this new batch of TV writers, and them wanting a bigger paycheck for their troubles; a paycheck that reflects the same amount of time and effort they put into producing network television shows (which, by all accounts is about the same as goes into making a comic for Marvel). And when that happens, expect Marvel to get stingy and go back to looking for hungry writers prowling the independent scene. So don’t give up hope yet, just the delusion that you’ll be discovered based solely on that kick-ass Thor idea you’ve been sitting on for a decade.