Ready Player One Presents: Ender’s Last Starfighter: a WarGames Novel — A Review of Armada by Ernest Cline

ArmadaIf I had to summarize what my review of this book was, then read the title of the article.  Thanks for stopping by!

For those of you that want something more in-depth, let me see if I can summarize up things nicely.  There is a risk of spoilers, so go into this knowing something might be otherwise ruined for you.  I will try to keep it at a minimum.

Armada is Ernest Cline’s second book, following up Ready Player One.  I will be discussing this here, but I plan on giving a full review of that book at some point in the very near future.  Let me be clear on this, when I was introduced to that book, I instantly fell in love with it and its characters.  I have listened to the audiobook 20+ times since owning it.  So I eagerly awaited this one, just because I wanted to see what the creator of RPO had to offer this time.   If you read the last book, then you automatically know that you’re going to get a healthy serving of nostalgia wrapped in a story that feels like it was directed by an 80s director looking to capture that feel in a very modern story. That’s the charm of Ernest Cline’s work.

The Premise: Zack Lightman is a high school student in Oregon.  Before Zack’s first birthday, his father is killed in an explosion at his workplace.  Due to the nature of the job, this becomes a source of much teasing by fellow classmates.  This fuels Zack’s temper, which we find out can become rather volatile when he feels pressed.

Zack’s latest problem starts at the very beginning of the book as he looks out the window of his classroom.  There, he sees a space craft that resembles an enemy fighter craft from his favorite video game, Armada.  He starts to be believe that he’s going off the deep end, much like what he’s come to believe of his own father.   What he finds out is that he’s not insane, nor was his father.   The truth is that the Earth Defense Alliance, the good guys from the  game, are real and have been using games to test the worthiness of pilots against a group of aliens on the Jupiter moon of Europa.

After Zack is collected by the EDA from his school, the longest day of his life is put into high gear as the aliens will be invading Earth in no time.  He and a number of other gamers have a little over 8 hours to digest this new truth about the world they thought they knew, and then prepare to fight back an invasion before they destroy humanity once and for all.

The Good:  The feel of this book has a great deal of what made Ready Player One successful.  As I said before, I get a feeling of nostalgia from the very outset of the book.  It has a great amount of references for anyone who knows this stuff to geek out on, while still maintaining a story.   I will warn you now, this is something that’s also going to be put in the bad category as well.

This story feels like a progression movie.  What I mean by that is if you watch something such as National Lampoon’s Animal House, then watch PCU, and follow it up with Accepted, those movies follow a certain progression of college life in 3 separate generations.  Like the kids of the Animal House guys grew up to go to PCU, and the children of the PCU kids made their own college in Accepted.   Armada feels like this is where WarGames or Last Starfighter progressed to.  More the latter than the former, but don’t discount the former’s importance. The Ender’s Game element is more for what Zack grows into.  He’s the kid, he’s the one that even in his screw ups, finds a way to make big things happen for the positive anyway.  This is the child of those concepts brought to a time when people have a want to see them.  In a world where these concepts are done, and mostly badly, it’s nice to see one that actually reminds me of the fun I had with this when I was a kid.

Another great part for me is that Zack reminds me of people I know, and has definite elements of me in there.  He’s a fully fledged character, not an empty shell that I see so many of these days.   The writers get afraid to put too much into a main character, because they hope you’ll place yourself within that part.   The problem with that is you lose an entire potential storyline with a character who’s personality may take off into directions you weren’t expecting.  To me, it’s writing yourself in a corner.  Much like Parzival from RPO, Zack has qualities that make me hang in there to see where they will resolve. He could be my friend, we have similar enough backgrounds that he and his friends could’ve been sitting in my living room talking about whatever springs to mind.

For audiobook listeners, they get a win in Wil Wheaton reading the book.   I think, above all, that was one of the biggest things I was hoping for, because his enthusiasm for the material the last time around was so strong that it would’ve been wrong to get anyone else.  He’s been everywhere for several years now, bringing the geek culture to the masses, and thank Crom for him.   If Ernest Cline puts out a book, and he’s not on the audio, I will wait until he’s available for re-recording to hear it.  It’s a double act thing, and I’m certain that they both see it.  Okay, maybe not in those terms, but they certainly understand the chemistry that’s been struck here.

The Bad:  I said nostalgia would make a return here, and I wasn’t kidding.   The nostalgia factor here is impressive.  It makes me want to pull out my old consoles, watch the movies that are referenced here, and even re-read Ender’s Game (well, listen to it again at any rate.)   That’s never a bad thing, but what I feel is bad is that there is an inundation with it.   It’s not just the old material of the 80s that we’re being reminded of, it’s his first novel too.   The set up has enough similarity to it.   I know all of these things are good, I want to know why this is just as good.  Can this book stand next to its predecessor and the reference material that it uses?  I see enough in it that I think it makes for a good second outing, without reaching the status that the first one did.   Ready Player One speaks to an age.  This one speaks to those old film buffs that wanted to see an updated, tried and true concept from the same guy who did RPO.   I won’t bust his chops too hard on that front, but as much as I love the video games, comic book references, and movies, I’d love to see what he would do away from those things.   I give him credit for trying to pull back on some of it, like Zack’s two friends talking about comic characters who wield swords, and most notably they don’t bring Wonder Woman back up in that conversation (for my friend who was telling me all about it after he heard it).    The problem there is, I wanted to hear the end of the conversation, use it as some running gag throughout, or something.  I had almost hoped that it would be like the Ladyhawke references from RPO, in that there was something that would happen where this tidbit about characters who could wield Mjolnir (Thor’s hammer for those few that might not yet know) or could carry a sword would come back into play.  It was just a geek conversation that lead nowhere.   I know they aren’t all supposed to, but to bring it back up a little later to just abruptly end it, seemed like we could’ve gone without it.   I can also see where in broad strokes, you might claim that Zack was worthy of Mjolnir by the resolution, because he makes a decision that effects the entire world.   It also sounded like that if anyone else had come to that conclusion, they could have made the same decision.  However, this is Zack’s book and that means he gets the ultimate save here.

Another part that bugged me was the entire “all in one day” storyline.  Yeah, I get what’s happening there.   The fight has been going on for decades, and even the Armada players have been involved, but it feels like we’re going to get introduced to a group we’re never going to fully get to love as characters.    Zack gets picked up at school by the EDA, he’s at a base, he’s on the moon, he’ s back on Earth, he’s heading out to space again.   I’ve had RPG’s that have jumped far less.   It makes for an action packed adventure, and I’m all for that ride, but the book started slowly telling us why Zack was a problem kid and that his dad had the possibility of being half whacked, to this kid being a hero and one of the last hopes for humanity.   The difference between this and RPO is that Parzival gave us the run down of his world through short bursts as we needed them.  Armada is a slow walk through Zack’s life and his mother’s wish for him to not waste it for a starter, then goes into a break-neck pace with a countdown clock.  Don’t get me wrong, I get that things can happen in a day.   The enemy is coming, no time to catch everyone up to speed as much as they’d like.   I’ve seen Wrath of Khan.   The crew aboard Enterprise  were training a few hours ago, and then they’re in a fight with a fellow Federation ship that has targeted  all the major systems.  They have to survive and fight back.  It happens within a short span of time that we can see, but it’s paced well.   When Armada gets going it feels like someone took a Red Bull, dumped in a a package of Pixie Stix, blended it with a Mountain Dew: Code Red, and handed it to a hyperactive kid.    Okay, maybe it’s not that bad, but it certainly felt like that to me.

The Overall:  I really don’t have much to say here, that wasn’t said back there.   I guess the reiteration I want to make here is that it’s fun, predictable in many places, but full of heart.   If you’re looking for this to be what RPO was, I believe you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.  That’s not this book.   It reads like it was ready to go to camera at any moment, a redo of concepts in the age of the remake. What I can say for that is that at least it does it well.    No one else could have told this story with half the grace.  I truly hope Ernest Cline’s next outing will be far more original.  If he decided to keep working within a fandom, I hope it’s possibly one that he’s not touched on within these first two books.  Having said that, I’m hard pressed at the moment to think of one he didn’t manage to bring up.   This man is a competent writer who knows his stuff,  Armada is proof of that.   It just needed a more pacing, and less reference.

WWE: What’s the next move for Sting?


Ever since Survivor Series 2014, I have personally been geared up for whatever the WWE was going to do with the Icon.  During the Team Cena vs. the Authority match, the iconic figure walked out from the back, surprising everyone on the floor and preceded to give Cena and his team the upper hand in winning the match.   This had the benefit of getting rid of Paul “Triple H” Levesque and his wife, Stephanie McMahon, for around a month.   The only stipulation to that was that Cena could at any point reinstate their positions, should he find it necessary.   Of course, as you know these things to be, they found a way to bring back the Authority to power.   Go figure, one of the WWE’s most influential wrestlers, and his wife being the daughter of the man who owns the company.  Stephanie also being quite hands on in the business in so many other ways, yeah… I’m surprised they lasted that long away.

80s Sting

Regardless, from the time of Survivor Series to Wrestlemania, whenever it looked like the Authority was going to get too much of an upper hand, Sting would appear like some dark avenger and put an end to it.   This usually end up with Triple H being put into the Scorpion Death Drop or at least being held at bay with Sting’s trusty bat. Scorpion Death Drop  The 12 year old me was screaming at the top of his lungs in excitement every time I saw it.   The kid that watched the WCW as often as he could, because in the 90s they got an influx of some of the icons from WWF mixed with their own collection of awesome wrestlers.   I remember watching Sting, with that blonde flattop and the painted face, giving some of the best matches I had seen since World Class Championship Wrestling ended.   Even when he changed his look into the Crow inspired face paint, I realized that his reinvention was going to keep him around for many more years to come.  Indeed, it has. It kept him wrestling against new things like the nWo (new World order) and even succumb to joining factions of it.  The reinvention succeeded into making an 80s icon a 90s and beyond icon.   To see him finally make it to the WWE, after years of him staying away, I saw all sorts of potential in store for this.  I got damned excited for where a match between him and Triple H would go.  This is where I got my biggest disappointment.   Me, and a lot of other fans.

In 2001, after many years of giving the WWE a bloody nose in the Monday Night Wars, and then making a series of bad decisions, WCW was bought out by Vince McMahon.  McMahon brought the wrestlers that wished to come into the WWE, albeit not as flawlessly as one might hope.  Sting saw that he wouldn’t get a fair shake, because he was the WCW franchise.  He held that banner up through the very last day.   So he found other places to wrestle, and stayed away from the WWE for as long as he could.  He never completely shut the door to  it, but it would only be when the company would offer him a chance not to be their punching bag for being on the other team.  It would take nearly 15 years for that to be the case.   When they did, Sting made sure in his first appearance on RAW, the Monday before Wrestlemania, that he wasn’t there to fight for WCW.  He said that all these years later, it would be futile fight for a long since dead company.   It made sense, because it’s not like this match hinged on them resurrecting a dead franchise.

This match was one of the 3 biggest reasons for me to want to watch Wrestlemania 31.   Sure, there were others, but between this, the Undertaker and Bray Wyatt, and Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns (the other match that pissed me off severely) I was set for a night of great entertainment.   When Sting hit the runway, I was on the edge of my seat.   I know he’s 56 years old, and that he’s seen his best days as an athlete. sting 3 It didn’t matter to me, even in the face of wrestling the 45 year old Triple H.  Triple H doesn’t wrestle much these days, but he still is in good physical condition,  but they reserve him for special occasions.  Though I haven’t looked up his injuries in awhile, I’m fairly certain that his knees, along with several other older complaints have kept him out of a great deal of matches.   Still, even after Triple H hit the runway with an opening that I wish I could forget, I was ready.   It didn’t disappoint me either.  The two were tossing each other around like rag dolls for awhile, giving Sting the look of having the advantage.   However, that wouldn’t last long.   Weapons came out, then came D-Generation X (WWE’s biggest faction at one time), then out came Sting’s old rivals in the nWo to face off.  All of a sudden, the thing that Sting said wasn’t going to happen did.  The match didn’t mean wrestling to show the Authority that they were an abusive power, but it was the 90s match no one wanted to see a decade and a half later.  This culminated in Sting being hit in the face with Shawn Michaels’ Sweet Chin Music (a superkick to the face)

Shawn Michaels delivers Sweet Chin Music
Shawn Michaels delivers Sweet Chin Music

and then Triple H’s sledgehammer head next.  He would pin Sting to get the 3 count, ending with the two shaking hands in the middle of the ring.  Wait… what just happened there?   Oh, I see now.  It was WCW losing to the WWE one more time, and Sting having to accept the handshake lest he look like a sore loser.  It means that the build up from November’s Survivor Series to March’s Wrestlemania, sparse appearance from Sting, and a whole lot of excitement lead to a conclusion that means nothing.

The Rock and Ronda Rousey

However, Triple H and his wife Stephanie would later get the same lesson about being abusive of power and what it means to give back to the public by Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson.  After Stephanie threw her two cents at the Rock and realizing he wouldn’t touch her, he found UFC Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey in the crowd and brought her in the ring to give Stephanie a bad day.  However, she also threw Triple H out of the ring too.  I have to admit, I liked that! There does lie a problem in this, though.  while I enjoyed it, it took another meaning to it.  You see, the Rock was popular at the time of WCW’s crash, he wasn’t as open and welcoming of some of that talent as others were.  To that, I’d say ask Booker T.    This is yet another twist of the knife, as now the WWE’s own star gets to make the point, with the help of a UFC champ and they could potentially use this to build a big feud for later.  It sounds good in theory, but who knows how it will play out?  March 2015 is a long cry from April 2016.

The Undertaker
My personal fan made poster. I’ve posted this everywhere I could to push for this match, but do I want it now?

The question is, where does this leave Sting?   One of the biggest things that we’ve heard on and off behind the scenes is that they plan on Sting vs. the Undertaker.  It’s the two iconic figures going head to head in a double retirement match.   I, personally, have been pushing for that since the idea has come down the pike.   These two legends getting into it one last time would be a dream come true for the wrestling fanboy in me.  However, there is a consequence to this match that cannot be overlooked.  One of the two favorites is going to have to lose this match.  The only way it doesn’t is if the two get double disqualified.   That’s not going to satisfy anyone, especially the WWE who have been going through a great deal of ratings problems.  Sure, the big event will likely draw the numbers, but how many will it turn away to see the biggest cheat?   So, I figure that’s out of the question.   If the Undertaker loses, it’s another load of problems.  The loss to Brock Lesnar shook fans badly enough.  Despite claims to the contrary, I’ve talked to many Wrestlemania XXX goers that said that the board read 22-0, referring to the Undertaker’s undefeated streak at Wrestlemania.   Ending it with another loss would only be another hit to his loyal fans.  It would have to end with the most spectacular battle that either wrestler had seen in awhile.  If Sting lost, it’s the second time they brought him to the big event and he’s lost.  What good is that?  He can’t deliver at the main show?   I don’t think so.  The man has had a long and distinguished career.

The Authority

Honestly, I’d love to get Sting back in sooner and give him a few shots at John Cena.  Why Cena?   John never once thanked, or even acknowledged, Sting’s intervention on his behalf in any way.  What’s worse than someone who abuses their power, someone who doesn’t acknowledge they wouldn’t have gotten where they were without help.  Gee, I wonder who’s recently been learning that lesson?  Hmm… couldn’t be Seth Rollins, could it?   Cena’s not much better than that right now, having treated a miracle as a given in his matches with the Authority.  This could lead into bigger things, especially if Sting comes out as still gunning for the Authority.   If this could deadhead into the match between him and Undertaker at Wrestlemania 32, so much the better.   If anything, it might play out better if the Authority try and steer Undertaker or Sting towards the each other, only to bring the two icons together in what looks to be an epic match and have them both turn on the entirety of the Authority.  They might have to bulk their numbers a bit, but this gives a few benefits to the match:

1. This makes sure that if rumors are true, and both men would be retiring that night, that they don’t go out of Wrestlemania having lost a match.  Undertaker got a hit in his undefeated streak at XXX, thanks to Brock Lesnar.  Despite what was said, it wasn’t supposed to go down like that, and the fans have never let the WWE forget it.  Sting losing twice at the show of shows would be a bad thing too.  It looks like he can’t deliver when the pressure’s on.  Come on, this is Sting we’re talking about.  He’s better than all that.

2. This can give Kane a much needed turn on the Authority.  Kane has been a whipping boy to the Authority for sometime, which has given many of the WWE roster plenty of fodder to comment on who Kane used to be.   Though he’s already been shown to side with the Authority, even after nearly being given the chance to break out on his own again, it’s time for that break to happen.  No one in the company could bring that about better than the Deadman.

3.  This could break the Authority as it’s currently known.  Stephanie McMahon, outside of her ring persona, is a very busy lady. She’s been doing a great deal of work in and out of the business trying to promote the company and do charity work.  While Triple H should always be a presence in the WWE ring, this would give him and Stephanie the chance to get away from things, place someone else in the role of being in charge who comes off a little less nefarious, and allow the faces and heels to not be outshined by their bosses.  Twitter could be buzzing for a couple of weeks with #destroytheauthority, what more could you ask than that?

There’s pluses and minuses to consider with Sting.  I certainly don’t want to see him fade off into the sunset, but let’s face it, there’s only so many years left.  So many appearances he’ll likely want to do before calling it quits.  The man has well earned his time, especially to invest in family and other endeavors outside of wrecking his body in the squared circle.  Whatever the future brings for him, I hope it’s as epic as his career demands he have.

Editorial – Halloween Returns & Leatherface, or How I Learned to Like the Original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Hate Leatherface

LeatherfaceI’ve been trying to write an editorial on Leatherface for the past two days.

You wouldn’t think it would be all that difficult to talk about him, unless you have never seen the films, or just didn’t care enough to pay attention.  Truthfully, it wasn’t that I glossed over the details, it was simply a case that the more I talked about him, the more I was trying to make comparisons to other slashers.   Yes, it’s that hard for me to talk about the chainsaw wielding maniac.   Luckily (if you want to call it that) I have the ability to bring this article to life!  For you see, two new films are coming out in the next year or so in both the Halloween and Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchises.   Both of them stemming from the original films, and not the remakes.  I hope this will help to bridge the subject that I’ve been wanting to talk about for awhile.  Maybe it won’t, but you’re here anyway, might as well see where this is going, right?   Hello?  You still out there?  *Tap* *Tap* *Tap*

Not much has been given on details about these new movies, but I’ll warn you now that I will be talking about what little they have given us to think about.  If you care, then I’d turn back now.  If you don’t, well, read on!

Halloween Returns takes place after the original Halloween II (yes, this is the 3rd time, not counting the reboot) that they’ve gone back to this particular well)  and have decided that Michael Myers has been on Death Row for quite some time.   On the day of his execution, some teens find a way into the box to witness Michael’s death.  One of these teens is the daughter of a deputy sheriff who is obsessed with Michael Myers.  Apparently, his sister was killed by Myers at some point, which made him focus on that case vs. his family.  Of course, Myers finds a way to escape the death chamber and the panic ensues as now the kids are trapped in a prison with the notorious killer.

Leatherface, other than being the working title to the original film, well that and Headcheese, this was also the name of the ill-fated Texas Chainsaw Massacre III.  The only part that most anybody might remember of it is Tex, played by Viggo Mortensen.  Yeah, Aragorn was one of the cannibal family!   This story, however, is a prequel to the original film which talks about him and a few other guys escaping a mental institution and how he learned to pick up the chainsaw and wear the mask for the first time.  So if the origin story you got when they did Texas Chainsaw: the Beginning wasn’t enough, you’ll be able to see how this version was lead to his dangerous reputation.

This leads me to the crux of what the original article I intended was about.  Leatherface has this rather larger-than-life reputation among many people I’ve met.  Way back during my time with SciFiFX, we did a podcast on Horror Movie Icons and of course both he and Michael Myers featured prominently on it.   The problem was I could go for miles on Michael, but Leatherface I hit the breaks on pretty quickly.   A few weeks later, at my paying job, I had one person who told me they listened to the podcast and gave me no end of grief.  I had not given his favorite slasher the time of day, and he couldn’t understand why that was.   So I explained that while I had seen the original movie and its sequels a few times, Leatherface never stood out to me as being the character that he should be.  He told me I really wasn’t giving it a chance, because I was being close minded.  I could have dismissed the comments, but instead I evaluated what he said to me.  I mean, I know my biases when it comes to slashers.   Luckily, one of the cable channels was showing the remake at the time, so I got to see it and then Amazon ran a special with the Collectors Edition of the original.  I paid $5 for a two disc set in a metal case.   So I watched it, given that this was the movie I actually remember best, and tried to give Leatherface his due.

I think we all know the movie’s plot fairly well.  In case I’m mistaken, here’s a simple summary of the film:

Two siblings, Sally and Franklin Hardesty, find out that the cemetery their grandfather is buried in has been desecrated.  Along with 3 other friends, they head down to the rural town to see if the grave is okay, and confirm nothing has happened.   Afterwards they meet a crazed hitchhiker who tells them about the local slaughterhouse that had shut down many years ago, and that his family was once a part of it.  Once the hitchhiker starts to become more erratic, and cuts Franklin with his own knife, the group kicks him out of their van.  They stop for gas and meet an old man who not only runs the store, but he cooks BBQ.  He informs them that the gas truck will not be coming right away, which gives Sally the idea that they should go and see the old Hardesty homestead.   Unfortunately for the group, living next to the old homestead is a cannibal family.  After two of them go to house to try and find out if they can get assistance with gas or any other help, death ensues.  It’s not long before Sally is the only one left alive, and even she manages to get captured twice by the family.  She is brought as a guest to a rather macabre dinner where the hitchhiker, the old man, and Leatherface continue a rather torturous experience to the young woman.  She manages to escape their clutches one last time, but not without pursuit.  Luckily, people help her and she manages to ride away in the back of a pickup.  She’s covered in blood, laughing hysterically, and the movie ends with Leatherface dancing in the street with his chainsaw.

In that summary, you’ll note that I didn’t mention Leatherface all that much.  He was in the movie a bit more than that, I admit that.  But I think I covered the most interesting bits about him.   When you first see him, is when one of the “teens” goes to see if he can get some gas.  Instead of just waiting for someone to answer the door, he goes inside the house and starts to explore a bit.  Once Leatherface makes his appearance, he hits the guy with a sledgehammer and then drags him to the back.   Even the girlfriend doesn’t get much more treatment than that.  Though, she was shoved in a freezer.

Why the disrespect here?  Why talk about loving Michael MyersMichael Myers while bagging on Leatherface?   It’s a matter of personality, which you have to convey when you’re wearing some sort of mask.  Both men wear them to hide away from something.  They become detached to the person underneath.  More often than not, the credits refer to Michael, with his mask on, as the Shape.   That’s because he’s considered to be the shape that evil takes form in this film.  Given John Carpenter’s wishes, it was something quite different once the Michael Myers story line was thought to have been ended.  Michael had a pent up rage that he allowed himself to deal with only when that mask was on his face.   If it were ever removed, it would do anything he could to get it back on his face before returning to the slaughter.   Once it’s on, the malevolence of the character shines through with clear intent.   He will stop at nothing to kill a specific target, even so much as to setting up elaborate surprises with those he’s already killed.  It’s to give that sense of hopelessness and weariness when the body could still give a little more.    Leatherface does not have this trait.

When you look at Leatherface, knowing the mask is made of human skin, and that he has that chainsaw, you can place malevolence there.   In still shots, it leaves such an iconic impression that you cannot forget what you’ve seen.  It’s terrifying to think that this man will come out of the backwoods of Texas and find you!   I live in Texas, and as a kid I lived in the country.  Those people could have lived just down the road from me!   For all this, Leatherface should creep me the hell out of me.   What’s on film tells a different story.  Instead of that sheer malevolence that Michael has,szalvafrjjkxhmoajwbh7yldobd or I would argue Jason Voorhees displays, what you get is a confused man who is defending his homestead from invaders.    He is a large and confused man, who obviously isn’t a mental giant.   He isn’t a man who hates these people, he is attacking invaders of his home, and at the same time providing a service to his family by making sure they have food a-plenty.    There’s no sense that he’s taking any more sadistic pleasure in this than butchering cattle.  Even his gruesome facial gear can’t make up for the personality he can’t convey.

He wears 3 masks throughout his time, one is the “Killing”mask that people know best.  Not much explanation needed there.  The others are more female roles, and meant in this film to be submissive.   The “Old Lady” mask  he wears is intended to show him trying to be a complete domestic in this farcical view of the nuclear family.  The “Pretty Woman” mask is used specifically to show his proper side.  He is dressed for dinner, and showing an old Southern charm to their guest and his family.  It’s meant to be a respectful thing, but it’s far more disturbing.  This man in dressing as a woman, because his family has basically lead him into this role, as far as we can tell.  The hitchhiker shows a far more dominant side, which he pushes on everyone at the dinner table.  1974-TEXAS-CHAINSAW-MASSACRE-Dinner-Scene-740x493 The old man doesn’t have nearly that fight in him, but certainly enough to put Leatherface in his place.     The masks are the only way he can express that he understands his place in the home and is trying his best to live up to that expectation.  He’s more of a frightened child than Jason was when drowning in Crystal Lake.  Even when Jason grew up and found his vaunted hockey mask, he didn’t allow the blank expression do the talking for him.   It told you that you weren’t going to get him to speak, sure.   His posture told you that he’s not interested in talking anyway, you’ve done something to offend him and you’re going to die.    Never once can Leatherface convey that, nor feel the emotion.

In all the sequels, they never give Leatherface much of a chance to expand past that.   It’s not until the remake that they ever try to make him that far more evil force, but even as he’s gained a level of the malevolence I spoke of earlier, it’s tempered by far more domineering family members who get to express themselves far more.    The opportunities to force the character into some sort of “growth”, if you want to call anything in a slasher film that, has been blatantly ignored.  They would rather try to put him back into the situation of the first film, where he’s surrounded by family, even if they weren’t in the original.   It leads into bad territory doing such things.   Ultimately, that’s what makes Michael far more successful to me.   Whenever they’ve shown a docile side to him, it’s more him waiting it out.  Dr. Loomis tells you directly that this man isn’t really a man, and his patience is beyond the pale.   Whereas the cannibal family makes you believe every moment that Leatherface is the whipped dog that will kill you with his chainsaw if they let him off the leash.

This brings me back to the newest prequel coming next year.  What are they hoping to accomplish in making this one?   Well, the obvious answer is cash cow to exploit the franchise.  The problem with that is it further waters down the drink, which doesn’t have much of a trace left from what it was.  Telling the story of how Leatherface got the mask and became a chainsaw wielding maniac might be interesting, but does it cover any real new territory here?    If he was ever that intelligent, or even willful, then they’re going to have to push really hard to show what he went through to become the submissive that he is now.  How did he become so terrified of his family  that it also made him afraid of a group of kids who obviously couldn’t defend themselves against him?     Can that story be told in what will likely be just over 90 minutes?   Okay, maybe it will run 2 hours or more, but can even the staunchest Chainsaw fan really be looking for this story?  I cannot see it, and I’m trying.   It’s going to be horrible seeing what should be the legendary slasher, the one that came after Norman Bates himself, get neutered to the point of dressing up as an old woman because the chores have to be done.    If you can tell me yes, then good on you.  You all are true troopers, and I say that knowing that I own a copy of Halloween III.

I know I’ve beaten this horse enough.  You can obviously tell that even after reviewing movies with Leatherface in it, I cannot find the love that so many have for him.   I give the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre all sorts of credit.  It had a visceral feel to it, because the budget demanded that they couldn’t do a great deal of Hollywood clean and polish.  It’s stark, it’s violent, and it’s unnerving.   It does one thing very right with me and gives me one victim to sympathize with.  You never feel like you want everyone to die.   My only problem is that I feel bad for the biggest bad ass of the film too.    The hitchhiker and the old man give me enough of that bad vibe that I don’t feel like giving up on the movie, but the nagging doubt is still there about Leatherface.    I have a cardinal rule for these films: I should never sympathize with the killer.  It’s wrong to do that.   This man is a cannibal, he’s wearing human skin over his face, he’s helping to torture a poor victim (albeit it, because he’s trying to please his family).  There is nothing redeeming about any of that.  Yet, there he is.   Hollywood needs to forget its last Chainsaw sequel, go back to the end of part one again, and then allow Leatherface to be on his own and become his own monster.   Even if they wanted to take a good chunk of the opening of Texas Chainsaw 3D and use it as their basis, more power to them!   It certainly is going to be better than anything they do for a prequel on a character who doesn’t have much of anything to give the audience.

Editoral: Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan and Jane

TarzanLet me start off by saying that I wanted to keep my personal feelings for this project separate from the news.  I have a responsibility to keep the bulk, hopefully all, of my personal feelings aside from the information that might interest people.  Having said that, I do have some very strong personal feelings on matters, so instead of just blasting outright on the Netflix adds Tarzan and Jane news article, I decided to rant here instead.   It’s just easier that way…

For those who didn’t read the synopsis the last time, here it is again:

  • “Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan and Jane” (second half of 2016): In modern-day remake of the classic characters, 16-year-old Tarzan returns from the African jungle to a London boarding school where he meets Jane, who helps him solve environmental injustice, crimes and mysteries. The eight-episode season comes from 41 Entertainment and executive producer Avi Arad (which are also developing “Kong – King of the Apes” original series and feature-length film for Netflix) with animation from ARC Prods.

I want to be excited about this.   I REALLY want to be excited to see a project like this become reality.  It’s a favorite character of mine coming back into the limelight.   There are books, movies, television shows, and animation a-plenty for this particular character.  He ranks in good company with the likes of “Sherlock Holmes”, “Dracula”, “Frankenstein”, “the Phantom of the Opera”, to name a select group.  These characters who are brought back time after time, in so many different mediums, to bring a new generation of fans to the table.   That should please the fan in me, or so I’ve come to believe.

Now, I realize for all of this, I’m about to rant on just a small outline of a series that will be almost another year in the making.   Regardless of that, there is so much wrong in the one sentence that sends a cold chill down my spine.  Why?  Let’s examine, shall we?

First: this modern-day remake.  No, absolutely not.   This story has no place in modern day.  “Tarzan” is a product of its time.   When the Claytons were stranded on that desert shore, there was no way to know that they would ever be found, and if they were, who it was that would do the finding.  John Clayton’s life was in the hands of fate.  His parents died horribly in their hideaway in the trees, leaving a baby to be raised by an ape mother.  Kala lost her own child when Kerchak killed it in a fit of blind rage.  A fate that Tarzan almost shared as well, on more than one occasion.   In the late 1800s and the early 1900s, such a fantastic story makes one suspend disbelief.  In today’s society, they would have soon found this “ape-man” incarcerated for study be a battery of scientist, should he ever have been lost for so long.  Technology these days has a far better chance to track where a plane or a boat would have been at the time of its loss.  Charters, radio signals, black boxes, etc. are prevalent.   Suspension of disbelief is out the window that he would turn into the tanned and well-built Jungle Lord that he was when Jane and party found him.

Tarzan in boarding school: I know this is for kids.  The Disney offerings were too.  However, the story of “Tarzan” really isn’t as much for kids as one wants to believe.  It’s often a violent story, with many social overtones to it that even plague today’s society in many ways.  I give Disney’s version a great deal of credit.  Disney's TarzanFor what they did, it gave a great deal of sensibility to the character.  First, they didn’t treat him like he was an idiot.  The man is a sponge when it comes to information.  He had to be.  The circumstances he was raised in dictated the need.  He was a human raised in an environment where his “peers” were 10 to 20 times his strength, and were prone to lose their tempers quickly when something wasn’t going their way.  This means you learn quick, or you die.   He applied that to everything he did.  Would schooling him be necessary?  I’m sure lessons in the ways of the world would be a necessity.  However, I’m very quick to point at “Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes”. Greystoke I find the way he was learning there a far more acceptable way of going about things.  Jane was helping him, he learned his lessons, and he moved on.  A genius level intellect helps with that.  If you’ve read the books, you can tell that he’s got that sort of intelligence.  He’d have to, just based on what he’s capable of doing between books 1 and 3 alone.   The teenage Tarzan going to some stuffy school, away from the jungle setting that he thrives in, is ridiculous.   It reeks of being like James Bond Jr. was back in its day.  The incredible things he and Jane will be getting themselves into will most assuredly lead him to using his jungle-learned skills and will lead to a confused headmaster.   Yeah, I know it’s for kids.  I know I’m reiterating the point, but kids are far more intelligent themselves.  Why play down to them?

Third: The solving of environmental injustices, crimes and mysteries.  I get the environmental injustices.  When in his own jungle, Tarzan would make it very clear about how things would be.  He was lord and master of those lands, any who trespassed and meant to kill an animal for sport, to destroy the lands, or cause any amount of trouble was subject to jungle law.  You were strong enough to beat him, then do as you will.  If you weren’t strong enough, if he didn’t beat you into submission, likely you were going to be killed.  Tarzan didn’t screw around with a lot of second chances.  If you managed to survive a meeting, it was because something general came about to separate you two out, and he would be satisfied with that until you returned.   That’s on you.   Crimes and mysteries?   Is every crime going to be about him or those he cares about?   I highly doubt that.  Besides, you’re overlooking the true nature of who Tarzan is in British society.  He’s Lord Greystoke.  This is a role he takes very seriously, and he acts with the manners of a gentleman and English Lord when in those roles.  He tries to trust things to the laws of society, because it’s expected.  Sure, there have been exceptions.  However, these exceptions have only come for the sake of personal wrong.    In a kids cartoon, I give leeway to certain things, but if I’m being brutally honest, this should be a period outing, and it should be done more like the “Batman: Animated Series”.   Given that the person running this show was one of the masterminds behind “Spider-Man: The Animated Series”, then you’ve already got a basic template.  Treat it with more reverence to the story.

Changing things for kids, or for change’s sake:  I mentioned “Batman: TAS”, and “Spider-Man: TAS”, I would point that “Gargoyles” in the two years before it became the Saturday Morning Cartoon as being perfect example how to do things.  You have a rich history to build from.  You don’t necessarily have to take every storyline that Tarzan ever went through to get the heart of the character.  However, a little attention paid to it would be nice.  Adapting doesn’t mean bastardizing.   Most people fall into this trap of belief that just because it’s been seen before, it’s gotten tired.   In some cases that’s true.  It’s very true.   However, when it’s been a good long while between outings, we can also look at things with a new sensibility and say it worked.   It can also work just as good, if not better than the last guy.  All we have to do is bump a little closer to template than the last guys did.

Is it too much for kids?   Depends.   If you’re going to show him cutting out the heart of an animal, yeah i’d say that’s too much.   If you allow the more graphic things to happen off the screen, and elude to possible worse fates, than perhaps not.  Disney’s version had the hunter, Clayton (borrowing the Tarzan family name) get hung from a vine.  a slight burst of thunder to light the shadows gave us the fate of the villain.   That doesn’t have to happen every episode, but it’s still a point of contention.  This isn’t “Captain Planet”, and these kids can learn the difference for themselves.  Yeah, I know, old reference there too,

I want to reiterate the point, one more time about sticking him in his own time frame.   I do not understand the need for everyone wanting to bring these characters forward in time.    You want to tell a story about Jesse & Frank James, you’re going to put them into the old west.  Shoving them into modern day downtown Branson, MO wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense.  What would these characters be fighting for?   Their original motivations for doing things are so well documented, and I mean WELL documented, that you’re going to find it difficult to just misplace them in time and get the same result.  If anything, they would be trading horses for motorcycles, and would be involved in some sort of gang that would likely be terrorizing towns, not knocking over banks.   That’s not Jesse or Frank James.  You now have a “Sons of Anarchy” knock off.

Oh, is my point supposed to be about a character, not real people?  Okay, let’s play that game too.  Let’s take Alan Scott, the Golden Age “Green Lantern”.  You can have the argument that they updated him to the current generation back when the “New 52” introduced “Earth-2”.  Yes, they did.  I believe it was also acknowledge that he was pretty much a completely different character to the original.  Well, yeah, he was.  The original was built in a world where World War II was on its brink, and the depression was still raging everywhere.   The new version was a modern day exec at a production company, who went to China.  He was going to propose to his boyfriend, who died in a train wreck.  However, Alan was saved by a mysterious green flame which turned him into the Green Lantern.   Earth-2 Alan ScottThey took elements, but they completely changed him.   Some will argue, that it’s just because I’m being homophobic and don’t want to see a character I know be pronounced gay.  This has zero to do with a character being pronounced gay.  Changes to characters happen all the time.  Some I like, sometimes I don’t.  However, I  see a marketing ploy for what it is.  There are thousands of Green Lanterns, one for every system in the universe.  A a brand new character could have easily created to fill the void instead of using an established one.   So what’s the marketing ploy? Link bait, pure and simple.  At the time it happened, news sites such as Yahoo, MSN, to every fansite that you could name published the story.  I even wrote about it back when I was writing for SciFiFX.  I’m making much the same argument here.  They wanted to get people reading and then buying the book.  People who hated it would buy it to so they could have something to bash.  People who could relate to him would buy it in support of the decision DC Comics execs made.  Then you have people who were sitting on the fence about it that will go ahead and buy it just to see if the story is actually worth its hype.

alanscott628In any case, the original story of Alan Scott finding the green metal while working on the railroad, then being told by this unknown force to forge a ring and a lantern, is ingrained into my memories.   The origin story, the weakness of the ring to wood, and even the original red, green, purple and yellow costume he wore was a product of time and place.  These elements define the Green Lantern.   Until Hal Jordan came around, that was a very unique mystical powered ring that gave an every day man the advantage to do good and even move up in the world.  When Jordan came around, and the Green Lantern was reworked, he was given a more scientific explanation of his ring, and it just worked.

What does any of this have to do with what I have been talking about with Tarzan?  Okay, bear with me a little while longer.   The point I’m making here is simple.  Much like Alan of the New 52, we’re using a well known property to tell new stories with, because someone didn’t want to bother to create new characters to fit the bill.  Honestly, if we were to make this the grandson or great-grandson of Tarzan, or some kin to Doc Savage, I might be on board with the idea.  To use a gimmick, then to completely remove it from where it works best is only worth it if you’ve got a writer and story worth its salt.  Tell me that what little is said here doesn’t scream that they’re one canine away from owning a Mystery Machine?   You’ll likely disagree with that point.  Any good characters with fleshed out backgrounds could fill these roles in just as well.   That’s what it’s all about.  Using the creator’s name and then butchering the property is wrong.   It’s a shameful publicity grab, because people will pick up on a well-known property.  I object to turning characters into a grab, just because they don’t have anything better to offer.

Final Words: Make your animated series, but don’t use the Lord of the Jungle.  Wait until you’re ready to actually tell his story, then come back to it.  He has fans, after all.

Netflix adds Tarzan and Jane to New Animation line-up

The logo for the on-demand video streaming service Netflix.

Netflix has released information about 4 new titles that they plan to debut over the course of 2015 into 2016.  Each of them will vary in count of episodes, but will boost Netflix popularity with parents as commercial-free viewing for their children.

The 4 new shows are:

  • “Cirque du Soleil Luna Petunia” (to debut fall 2016): Preschool series from Saban Brands and Cirque du Soleil Média chronicles the adventures of Luna Petunia, a girl who lives in our world but plays in a dreamland where she learns how to make the impossible possible. The first season of 11 episodes will premiere worldwide exclusively on Netflix, kicking off a franchise rollout that will include a consumer products line, interactive digital content and a potential live tour.
  • “Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan and Jane” (second half of 2016): In modern-day remake of the classic characters, 16-year-old Tarzan returns from the African jungle to a London boarding school where he meets Jane, who helps him solve environmental injustice, crimes and mysteries. The eight-episode season comes from 41 Entertainment and executiveproducer Avi Arad (which are also developing “Kong – King of the Apes” original series and feature-length film for Netflix) with animation from ARC Prods.
  • “Kulipari: An Army of Frogs” (2016): Based on the trilogy of books by NFL star Trevor Pryce that were inspired by his childhood fear of frogs. The series targets grade-school boys and follows poisonous frogs, scorpions and spiders who must go to war to ensure their power and the survival of their entire world. The 13-episode season, produced by Splash Entertainment and Outlook Company, will premiere worldwide exclusively on Netflix in 2016.
  • “Puffin Rock” (Sept. 1, 2015, in major markets): Set on an island off the coast of Ireland, series revolves around charismatic and plucky young puffling Oona, who with her curious little brother Baba explores a diverse array of sea, sky, land and underground creatures. Actor Chris O’Dowd narrates the English-language version of the series, from Penguin Random House Children’s, Dog Ears and animation studio Cartoon Saloon. The 13-episode season premieres exclusively on Netflix in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, Benelux, France and Germany in September, and with other Netflix territories to follow at a later date.

Netflix is also adding three new first-run exclusive kid series: “Masha and the Bear”, “The Day My Butt Went Psycho”,  and “Elias”.

Netflix has a win-win scenario with this.  It gives the parents hours of entertainment for their kids, the episodes don’t have to be cut for time, and the most successful will drive people to keep up their subscription for whenever new seasons of shows will premiere.  In the meantime, people can still enjoy a variety of family friendly, and more grown-up entertainment as they blast through things from “Puss-N-Boots”, “M*A*S*H*”, “Daredevil”, to “Orange is the New Black”.  Plenty for everyone, in an age where more people turn away from cable due to expense and overall lack of programming.   It’s things like “Game of Thrones” or “Penny Dreadful” that keep people coming back, but even at that, more than a few have gone to the HBO GO, or Showtime on Demand services.  Those that haven’t just download the episode offline.  Numbers  don’t lie on that.  Even so, the waiting game seems to be on the viewer’s side.  Those who don’t mind the wait will likely find that  HBO and Netflix will eventually strike some sort of deal for the rights to show “Game of Thrones”  and “Penny Dreadful”.  

Back on to the children’s side of things, I’ve found a great amount of material to benefit from the Netflix library.  Watching “Batman Beyond”, “Justice League”, “Justice League Unlimited”, “Garfield and Friends” (though this one in short doses), and several new release films.   When Cartoon Network may not win the day completely, and Boomerang isn’t showing the cartoons of yesteryear that a kid may want to see, this opens up so many doors.  It can allow parents to introduce things to their kids they enjoyed growing up.   Add the benefit of original programming, helping to further give a kid their Saturday morning cartoon fix back.  Netflix just wins all around.

Review – Masks (2012)

MasksWhat is to follow will be full of spoilers, read at your own risk.

In 2012 writer Chris Roberson, and artist Alex Ross, brought together a rather unique crossover decades in the making.   The story, Masks, brought together the Shadow, Margo Lane, the Spider, the Green Hornet & Kato, Zorro, the Green Lama, Miss Fury, Black Bat,  and the Black Terror.   Some of these characters are so obscure that the average fan might not even know who they are, but for those of us in the know, it’s a treat to see some of these things get brought back to life in such style.

The premise- In an altered version of a story from the Spider; The Justice Party has come to power in New York State.  So much so, that the newly elected governor and mayor are a part of the new system.  Laws are being passed to arrest vagrants, new arrivals in town, people of different race, among many others.  Taxes are being collected from the rich and affluent,  Former criminals and other thugs are being put into stormtrooper outfits as the new police force, known as the Black Legion.  The newly arrested are also being forced into camps to keep them away from society, as the “Master” of the Justice Party attends to getting the nation ready for his brand of Law, Justice, and Order.   The only thing standing in his way of completing this task is a group of famous vigilantes who start to systematically shut down the operation from the very beginning of the book.

The group must fight through the Black Legion, find the head of the organization, and bring New York back into the hands of real law and order before the the Master seizes the rest of the country.

The Good – Like I said, from the outset of the book, we’re introduced to the Green Hornet, Kato, and the Shadow.  They’re busting heads of the Black Legion, despite the overwhelming odds and in true form of the Shadow, he takes command and gives the opposition the worst day of their lives.    That’s one thing I can say for certainty, the characters are played up really well here.  They stay rather true to form in most instances, there are some slips here and there.

The story plays itself like a pulp, just as it should.  Had this come out in the 40s (when I believe the last of the characters that appear in the book would have been created, such as Black Terror and the Green Lama) this would have been a great black & white serial.   It has shades of the books and the radio broadcasts of the day.  Even down to the cliches that the Shadow utters.

“The Weed of Crime Bears Bitter Fruit…”

I can tell Roberson had a lot of fun writing this story out.  Who wouldn’t?  The love of pulp characters is one that runs deep with fandom, but the problem I’ve found over the years is that the deeper you go with it, the more you have to keep digging down to get to the well.  More people don’t seem to know who these guys are or what their motives might be.   Once in awhile these characters pop out of nowhere, and make me realize just how appreciative that the 30s and 40s characters can still live with new stories vs. just sitting in the back of a bin somewhere rotting.   Zorro will always find a way to get into films.  The Shadow and Doc Savage, will have their stories reprinted time and again.  They were the hard hitters of their age, and for good reason, but as they lead the charge of the pulp brigade, so should they bring others with them into this age.  People should appreciate just who these characters are and were.

I was also thrilled by the artwork.  The first issues was fully done by Ross, which is a treat these days.  The rest of the art was done by Dennis Calero.   I like a great deal of his stuff.   There were a couple spots were the Shadow looked more insane than he did menacing, but it certainly didn’t last very long.   The movements of the characters looked fluid enough to make me appreciate the art style, and hope to see more of his stuff in future.

The Bad –  As I said, I enjoyed the story.  However, this story does suffer from some little points that I found myself asking.   I realize I have to give certain conceits to the writers, but I still have to ask.   The first point is how did the Justice Party come to fruition in a world with the Shadow?   If they took over another state and started to work outwards from there, I might have actually bought it.  They used the Empire State Building (which I will be getting back to in a moment), so this puts the Party right into Shadow country.   He would have been all over this like Batman on the Joker.  He would has sussed out what the situation was and cut the head off the Master as soon as he arose.   Again, I give the conceit that this needed to be in place to make sure that we had a story to tell.  Their are many threats the Shadow has to face, and this one just came into prominence while he was busy dealing with around 100 others.

Justice IncConspicuous by his absence is Doc Savage.   I know that Dynamite didn’t have the rights to the character at the time they did this book, which is what makes their latest pulp crossover, Justice Inc., so important.  This books teams Doc with the Shadow and the Avenger. However, seeing the Empire State Building being used, and the reference the Shadow gave in the book, made it scream out that they needed him all the more.

The other thing that I point is that another old hero is used as the villain in this story.  The Clock is an old time mask. The Clock The first in a mask, but no superpowers to hit comics back in the day.  This, much like other things, is a minor complaint.   I’ve just seen hero-turned-villain so many times that it seems to me that there could have been someone from the pulp past that could have served the story better.   The Clock’s story was at least understandable.   It also set up an interesting twist to the Black Bat origin story, as they decided to use it here.   However, the reveal really wasn’t that shocking, and it turned a hero who’s been given the shaft a few different times another stab in the ribs.

The eight issues of this book also seemed to fly by.  I mean there was not a great deal of meat put behind these things.  I would have loved to see a few things progress a little more naturally than on fast forward.  Issue 2 with the unmasking seemed so out of place, because even despite the odds they were against, it seemed like it was a given that it would happen then.   This should have been an earned moment, not just something haphazardly handed to us.    The best part of that is the Shadow telling the Spider and Hornet that he was simply the Shadow.  You do get to see the Shadow’s alter ego, Lamont Cranston, at the Cobalt Club, which is a great treat, but from that point on it’s all Shadow.  What this screams to me is that each issue should have been anywhere from 48 to 64 pages each.  I know the expense of a series like that, especially when it came to collecting it into trades, but what we have here is something so long in the making that it’s worth it in every respect.

The other thing is that the Shadow could have used a bit more exposition without having to completely speak in cliches.  Yes, the rhetoric is down, he’s  also a mysterious figure, but he’s also got the ability to talk, especially when it gives him the chance to set up that creepy laugh of his.

The Overall – This book is a definite recommend, despite my list of bad stuff.  It just doesn’t outweigh the sheer fun of this series.   It’Masks 1s not the Justice League or the Avengers.   It’s a group of violent heroes, each with their own codes coming together to dole out the 1930s ideas of justice.   There is a heart and soul to the story that just makes me beg to see what else the Dynamite Universe can offer these characters in future.  Perhaps you might agree after you give it a read.

Look Out, Ol’ Big Dog Is Back!

Welcome to the Nation!
Welcome to the Nation!

Wow, has it been a long time for me!

This is a real treat for me to launch a brand new Geekdom Nation into  the world.  Somewhere that I can talk to the fandom public about anything and everything that I love so dearly.

Let me stop for a second, so that we can reacquaint ourselves with one another.  My name is Jeremy, but I generally go by Big Dog.  For around 2+ years I worked with SciFiFX on their articles and podcasts. A couple of guys, Matt and Carl, got together with the intent to reinvent SciFiFX with a podcast and report, review, and generally discuss all things in the world of science fiction.  They jumped at the chance to get the next contributor (Troy), into the mix, because he’s rather well versed in most anything, and usually has a strong opinion about it.  From there, they invited me on, and we had a fun run of things.   However, things got to a point where I felt a bit limited in what we were talking about.  I love science fiction!  I’m always going back through things trying to find the next thing to delve into, because I’ve missed so much over the years.  I’m coming around on that.  However, for as much as I’ve missed on the science fiction front, it’s not my only passion. My fandom reaches across so much.  Music, Food, Superman, the Shadow, Radio, and a plethora of more.  As Geekdom goes, most people tend to shoehorn it into being someone who enjoys comic books, sci-fi, and dresses like a social outcast.  For those of us in the Nation, we know better.  We dress to comfort, we love things far older than the current generation will ever go back to, and we make no apologies for those who don’t keep up.  However, if the average person wants to get that bit of a taste, we’re willing to give them that taste of what they’re missing.  At least, I try to do that as often as I can.

I know that most of this could likely go into a “About Us” page, and believe me when I say that there will be one in future.  However, I wanted to give a personal touch to all of you.   I want you to get to know me, and I hope to get to know everyone else out there too.  We’re fans, or we want to know more about it.  So many live openly in their fandom, and yet there are those that have to hide it because of the ridicule they receive about it.   I think most fans can relate to that under one circumstance or another.  I know for me, it was my love of professional wrestling that has had me mercilessly mocked.  From sports fans, they’ll tell me that it’s all just fake.  From some of my geek friends, I’ve had the same response.    The reason I fell for this was because my grandmother and I would stay up late on Saturday nights and watch it.   I lived in a small town in Texas, the local stations were either from Dallas or Waco.  World Class Championship Wrestling was a must.   At first, my mother would try to put me to bed, and the minute the bell rang I was laying on the floor between the bedroom and living room.   I’d get caught, and put back to bed, but if I heard the name Kevin Von Erich, I was back up and watching the match.

Courtesy of
Courtesy of

I never missed my favorite wrestler.    Unfortunately, after a time, this became a taboo thing.  People grew out of it, but I didn’t.   I hid away that fandom, because it was easier to do that than to let people know I enjoyed it.  I even tried to convince myself that I wasn’t THAT into it. I never could get that down, so I’d always go back.   I’ll go more in-depth on this at a later date, but the point is that I know what that’s like.  It’s unfortunate that so many do.

It all boils down to me being a geek.  I know that I am, and I love every minute of it.  I’m inviting you to come here, be accepted, and enjoy whatever eclectic, weird, or awesome subject that i talk about it.  From Beethoven to Batman, I’m here to discuss all of it.   With all hopes, we’ll expand to more writers over the course of weeks or months, and start to get noticed by more and more.   We are part of a large community, though we all have different views of it.   I don’t discourage that, I relish it.   Love what you love, and tell me why!

Welcome to Geekdom Nation!