Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Disney's Marvel Adventure

There is only one circumstance in which I would imagine going to Disney's California Adventure and that is if I get one of the multi-day passes where you get access to both parks and I realize I'm bored of the magical kingdom and just want to do something different.

However, ever since Disney purchased Marvel Comics, I can't help but think how awesome it would be if Disney scrapped the California Adventure and replaced it with Marvel Adventure.

I like to imagine this as a best case scenario where Disney Imagineers work with Marvel Comics artists and writers to create a truly immersive environment that makes you feel like you are actually in the comics. (Although seeing out of work actors dressed as superheroes all day might be depressing. Unlike Disney characters, you'd be able to see their faces.)

Like other Disneyland rides, a large part of the appeal would have to be waiting in line and enjoying the incredibly immersive environment so each ride is set in a location that would just be fun to walk through. There should also be an attempt to hire the original actors (whenever possible) in order to create a strong sense of continuity.

Journey into the Negative Zone

In this ride, you start off in the lobby of the Baxter Building and as you move through the line, you see trophies and videos of past battles... maybe an animatronic Mr. Fantastic and Ben Grimm working on a Fantasticar.

The ride itself takes place in a Fantasticar and you start off in front of a Negative Zone portal. You are shot through the portal into a rollercoaster indoors similar to Space Mountain (which is kind of a contradiction, if you think about it). You pass through the distortion area to a space-like environment without the normal laws of physics... in other words, its a lot cooler because you can have planets, stars, and asteroid belts a lot closer to one another. There is a brief encounter with Annihilus, but he is fairly easily avoided.

As you explore, the Fantastic Four are on a video monitor, bickering as usual. Suddenly, Mr. Fantastic turns on the others, locks them up, and steers the Fantasticar back through the distortion area. The vessel arrives at the Skrull Throneworld as it is being devoured by Galactus. Skrull ships are flying away in the panic as Mr. Fantastic is revealed to be a Skrull. He pilots a suicide run at Galactus as the Fantastic Four escape... the passenger area is dislodged from the cockpit and the real Mr. Fantastic's arm stretches out to grab it. The Human Torch flies overhead in a flash of light and the other two do things as well. Regaining control, Mr. Fantastic sets course back through the Negative Zone and lands in the Baxter Building.

Dr. Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum

Similar to the Haunted House, Dr. Strange's ride would be in his distinctive Greenwich Village mansion as visitors would find themselves set upon by the Baron Mordo rewriting reality with the powerful Darkhold, a magical grimoire. This gives the riders a chance to explore the dark side of the Marvel Universe with guest appearances by Ghost Rider, Blade, and the Marvel zombies. You follow Dr. Strange under his protection as the world descends into hell and he has to battle Dormammu to restore the world to the way in should be. The ride ends in Dr. Strange's mansion and you are told that no one will remember the world that almost was.

J. Jonah Jameson's Spider Hunt

If you lineup inside the Daily Bugle building, you will notice the many papers on the wall with photos of Spider-Man taken by Peter Parker. Also along the walls are artifacts collected from Spider-Man villains like a goblin glider, Dr. Octopus' arms, and Mysterio's globe-head. Along the way, you are welcomed by J. Jonah Jameson who appreciates your contribution and promises frontrow seats to the battle for Spider-Man's life.

You sit down in a custom helicopter (or something similar) as it takes off in an enclosed nighttime city environment. You head to the docks where Spider-Man is fighting Dr. Octopus and you hear through exchanged dialog that Spider-Man is fighting the Sinister Six. You barely see Spider-Man as his animatronic body is swinging between buildings, but you follow him as he fights Kraven, Mysterio, Sandman, Electro, and finally the Green Goblin. At one point, Spider-Man grabs onto the helicopter to get a rest and tell Jonah to get these civilians out of here. In the end, Spider-Man is victorious, Jonah is humiliated, and all is well.

Tony Stark's Iron Rider

If you line up in the Stark Building, you will be greeted by the voice of Jarvis and once again, you will find multiple Iron Man suits and villain trophies littering the walls. You board the "Iron Rider" for a Stark sponsored tour of the SHIELD helicarrier. As your tour begins, you are guided by Tony Stark himself in the Iron Man costume but almost immediately, SHIELD warns you of an attack by HYDRA. The ride takes you around and through the helicarrier as it is attacked by HYDRA soldiers and giant robots. Maybe you glimpse Nick Fury, Black Widow, and even Dum Dum Dugan. Iron Man is constantly moving in and out of view while his armor is getting beaten to shreds. At one point, he comes flying through the wall with his armor shooting sparks. This finishes with a fight with Fin Fang Foom before you are safely docked back at Stark Tower.


And that's all I have for now. I admit that four rides does not a theme park make and there are the glaring omissions of the X-Men, the Avengers, Captain America, the Hulk, and Thor, but I'll keep working on it. Thor could have a giant battle on Asgard while the X-Men could visit the Danger Room or Days of Future Past. I also think it would be fun to encorporate Atlantis, the Savage Land, and Dr. Doom's castle in Latveria.

Another issue is how you would divide the park into theme zones. Most of Marvel takes place in New York, so I would imagine a mock Manhattan to be at the center of it, but you would definitely want a park that is more atmospheric than walking around a city. At the same time, places like the Savage Land, Wakanda, Asgard, Atlantis, and Latervia don't seem important enough to warrant their own area.

Minor details. I still think this would be a great idea.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

WildStorm now a casual drizzle

DC Comics has finally canceled the WildStorm imprint.

I have been waiting for this for a long time. I'm not sad. In fact, I'm relieved. Like when my grandmother died after being in a non-functional state following a stroke for many years, I'm just happy that it is over. I'm tired of seeing my loved ones suffer.

WildStorm got me back into comics after Marvel and DC scared me out of them. Sure, they were a bit gratuitously sexual and violent, but if you got past that, at its heart you would see a more realistic and nuanced interpretation of the superhero genre where heroes and villains could not be distinguished quite so easily.

DC purchased WildStorm from Jim Lee in 1999. This was a classic selling out of the first order. Aside from making millions (literally), Jim Lee got a publishing job at DC and some high profile work on Batman and Superman. This effectively ended their ABC imprint which were titles created by Alan Moore (who didn't want to work for one of the big two).

Most recently, DC literally destroyed the entire WildStorm world and turned their properties from relevant reflections of the modern world into post-apocalyptic nonsense. None of the original creators work their any more and any talent has long been siphoned off.

Like a vampire, DC drained the life out of WildStorm. It is now an empty corpse.

For those of you who want to see the WildStorm that was, I recommend Gen13 #1-17 & #60-77, Backlash #1-30, WildCATs #21-34, Wildcats V.3 #1-24, Team 7 #1-4, Sleeper Vol. 1-2, StormWatch Vol. 1 #37-50 & Vol. 2 #1-11, The Authority #1-28, and Planetary #1-27.

Expect a primer post in the near future... if I can muster up the energy.



Someone turned R2-D2 into the ultimate mobile gaming system.

I can't think of anything to do with R2-D2 that is more awesome than this. Seriously... I'm trying, but I can't.

If he can follow his creator around while beeping, that's on par with any sexual fantasy I've ever heard.

Read this article for details about this incredible mod.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Love: Need or Want - A chat with my sister

9:37 AM me: You there?

13 minutes
9:51 AM Rose: yes
me: Just rolling a big question through my head and I wanted to get your opinion.
Rose: sure
9:53 AM me: Is love a "need" or a "want?" In the sense of, do you think "needing" someone in your life suggests dependency (and perhaps a fear of loneliness) or does wanting suggest that the feelings are somewhat shallow?
9:54 AM Rose: i think that's a really good question, and one that people just assume they know the answer to
me: Mom once said you should want someone, not need them and I've never really settled my thoughts on it...
9:55 AM Rose: in my experience, its ideal if you know you can be happy alone before you commit to a relationship.
mom is not the most complex theologist
me: No, but she doesn't overthink things either.
Rose: people are not designed to be alone
we are designed to live in communities
small social groups
me: I agree with that.
Rose: its normal to want to share with a group.
in my case, i've always wanted a family
9:56 AM i'm happier now that i live in one
9:57 AM fear of loneliness isn't a bad thing
loneliness is a major cause of depression and despondency
it leads to all kinds of dimunations of quality of life
me: I feel like there is a modern expectation that people develop some sort of self-actualization before they are compatible for commitment.
So they need to strip themselves of "need" until they only want.
9:58 AM Rose: that is an impractical idea and a very modern notion, imo
i got a lot of weird looks from people when i lived in sf and told them i was engaged at 24
there is this sense that you can't commit to someone until you've gone through X amount of alone time
i think its bullshit
9:59 AM it isn't right for everyone and holding out and being on your own does not mean that, when you finally get married at 36, you've done the right thing
10:00 AM in my case, i don't think anyone is a perfect match for anyone else. i spent time away from Rob and decided I liked my life better with him in it.
there were things i liked better about being alone.
my house was much neater
for instance
me: nods
I think I'm very similar.
10:01 AM I like and value my privacy and independence, but as an exception rather than as a rule.
Rose: and those things don't need to be mutually exclusive!
10:02 AM we have a very reactionary attitude about relationships nowadays
its seems to be a reaction to 1950
there are lots of examples of great couples throughout history who keep their own rooms, have their own independent activities, etc.
10:03 AM me: The way I see it... our grandparents (speaking in the general sense) were stuck in a commitment without divorce, our parents had divorce and exercised it, so our generation is trying to find a way to avoid either of those options.
10:04 AM Rose: yes, everyone wants to be happy.
but the thing about successful relationships is that they're going to give and take, have highs and lows
10:05 AM but the people in them need to accept that, but be committed to the relationship beyond all that
i think when you get in trouble is when you start looking at your spouse/partner as the person depriving you of something
10:06 AM or, god forbid, if you have the idiocy of looking at them as someone who "should" be different
me: Indeed.
Rose: are we talking about what you wanted to talk about?
10:07 AM me: Pretty much.
Rose: its hard to talk about relationships theoretically
because you only have your own experience to go on
me: I guess its not exactly a "one or the other" scenario.
Rose: i think that is a healthier way of looking at partnership and independence.
they're a spectrum
10:08 AM not a choice
me: Want-Need spectrum?
Rose: that is also a spectrum
10:09 AM sometimes we need others and its ok
sometimes we need them because we're avoiding something
i think a key may be to look at the relationship from NOT your own standpoint
think about the other person. are you giving them the best parts of yourself in the relationship
10:10 AM me: Hm...
Rose: meaning fidelity to their growth and happiness, willingness to compromise, willingness to communicate even when its really hard to do so
10:11 AM me: nods
Rose: if you aren't giving them those things, then its not really a relationship, right?
then its wanting someone to make you happy
me: True.
10:12 AM Do you mind if I repost this on my blog? I find it interesting.
Rose: not at all
i like my soapbox

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A thought

It is far easier to sense that something is wrong than to tell someone why it is wrong, and easier still to tell why something is wrong than to make it right.

Easier than both of these is to deny that anything is wrong at all. This only becomes difficult when faced with overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Then you can only deny harder or accept the burden that you have avoided.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Spoiler Alert

I'm posting this more for the video than the music.

If someone can figure out what the video has to do with the music, please let me know.

Boyz n the Ring

Harry Potter's quidditch commentary

Well, the embed was disabled by request, but check out this awesome narration on the Harry Potter movie. He does the entire movie, which is a bit tedious, but this scene alone is hilarious.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

"And the American way..."

I just finished reading this article by Bill (Fables, other stuff) Willingham. In this article, he condemns the fact that Superman's battle for truth and justice often no longer includes the words "and the American way."

Are you fucking kidding me? You have no idea why this might be?

This article was written in early 2009 after 8 years of having our country and its ideals raped by an arguably elected leader. We invaded two countries (at least one without provocation), wiretapped our citizens, and justified torture. This was just the big stuff, of course. I won't count the shitty response to Hurricane Katrina or Cheney's hit squad (oh wait, just did).

The fact that Willingham quoted Rush Limbaugh in the article should tell me everything I need to know.

So I guess the heroic American qualities that Willingham wants to see involve Superman waterboarding Toyman? Or shoving an electric pear up Lex's ass?

Just like how the pledge of allegiance added "under God" as propaganda to distinguish between God-fearing capitalists and godless Communists, the phrase "American way" was added to Superman's oath to make Americans feel like their way is the right way. It first appeared in the Superman radio program of 1942 to reflect wartime patriotism. It was dropped by the end of the decade and returned again in the 1952 TV series to (once again) reflect the Cold War with Russia.

The problem with having a character who is both absolutely moral and yet a protector of the law is that often laws are immoral... if not by their design then by their implementation. If the law conflicts with what is basically "truthful and justified," the law should not be obeyed and a moral person will risk legal consequences to support their values.

Why do so many writers exclude "the American way" from Superman's oath? Because it portrays him as being narrow-minded and jingoistic. It encourages that "American way" as if that were better than other ways. It identifies him as supporting American interests above other interests.

The Superman that most writers want to portray is the populist Superman who supports "the human way," who identifies Earth as his home rather than one country.

This is the same reason that the Justice League of America was renamed the Justice League in the '80s (and later, Justice League International and later still, JLA). The "America" in the name suggested a preference for defending or representing a single country, but to have the most powerful and trustworthy heroes on the planet represent such narrow interests seemed laughable, if not insulting to anyone outside our country.

But I suppose the fact that his article is read by hundreds if not thousands says all it needs to. Don't worry, Bill. I'm sure that you will be given the opportunity to make Superman a fascist again. It's all cyclical.