Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Villainy's Victors- Hexxus

89) Hexxus from Fern Gully-

This is yet another villain whose inclusion on the list is based on childhood nostalgia. Fern Gully was one of those incessant Disney rip-off animated movies that came out in the early 90s with an ecological theme. The premise of the film is that the fairies who live in Fern Gully in Australia are threatened when logging operation accidentally releases Hexxus, a pollution spirit made of toxic chemicals and smog.

This character is on my list because he left a strong impression on me as a child in what is otherwise an unmemorable movie. The character's in the movie are really, really bland. Pretty much all of them are stock character from an average disney film. The young princess who is curious about the outside world (NOTE: Dear Fern Gully fans, her father is the village chief. She's a princess. As if any of you read this blog in the first place), one obnoxious good looking male lead, his rival for the princess's affection, and the elderly overprotective father. Really, you've seen all these characters before in better movies.

As a result, Hexxus comes off as the only character in the movie who has any force of personality. This is primarily the work of actor Tim Curry who also portrayed another character on the list when he essayed the the role of Pennywise the Dancing Clown in It. Curry is famous for his performance as the Doctor Frank N. Furter in the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Indeed, that character informs much of Curry's performance as Hexxus. Like Furter, Curry's Hexxus is an incredibly flamboyant and over-the-top, adding a sense of fun to a character that have could just easily been a one-note villain. This results in a high-camp character who is hilarious to watch while still maintaing a sense of menace. It also doesn't hurt that he gets the best song in the movie.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Villainy's Victors- The Wiseman

Note: In the interests of getting more content on the blog, I have decided to devote a whole post to each character on my list of the Top 100 Villains. This should give me more time to reflect on each post before I send it out and now, without further ado---

90) The Wiseman from Sailor Moon-

Now, I maintain that Sailor Moon, like many cartoons I enjoyed as a child is best enjoyed from a distance behind a thick veil of nostalgia. The power of memory lets you forget about the dubious animation quality, the truly painful voice acting, and quite frankly silly plots. Nine time out of ten, the show relies on Sailor Moon engaging in a normal activity that, by complete coincidence, turns out to secretly be an evil plot. (Beauty contest? Evil scheme. Cruise ship vacation? Evil scheme. I swear I remember in one episode a snack stand at the mall turned out to be a front for the latest group of villains).

So I can be forgiven if the my pick for number 90 on this list, Wiseman would probably seem silly to an adult eye. But in my defense, this character offered something we hadn't seen on the show before. Though there were many villains on Sailor Moon, some epic and others kind of pathetic, the Wiseman was the first Sailor Moon villain who was actively unnerving.

The Wiseman offered something I really hadn't seen in a villain before that point. Physically, he was unprepossessing, a short somewhat gnarled figure whose features were obscured by shadow and by the robe he always wore. The Wisman's main goal was the complete and total destruction of everything that existed, thereby, returning everything to a formless void.

Now, I was no stranger to villains whose plan was to destroy the universe. However, most of the time those villains a) had a plan in which destroying the universe would actually benefit them (i.e. being the God of the next universe) or b) were such megalomaniacs that I legitimately thought it never occurred to them that destroying the universe would be bad for them too.

Wiseman, on the other hand, was the first villain I had ever encountered who seemed to genuinely believed that nothing was, in the grand scheme of things, superior to something. A pure nihilist, it genuinely didn't matter that he would also cease to exist when and if he succeeded. Furthermore, he could be extremely persuasive in gathering converts cause thanks to his ability to literally rewrite peoples memories until they to believed that life was horrible and meaningless. To a kid like me, he was genuinely terrifying and the impression he made never really left. Thus, he will always remain one of my favorite villains even if the show he appeared on hasn't aged well at all.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Villainy's Victors Part 2- My Top 100 Villains in All of Fiction

95) Pennywise the Dancing Clown from IT:
 There comes a point in every horror fans life that they graduate from beginning horror fare like Dracula and Frankenstein and move on to material for a more adult audience. (Yes. I know Dracula and Frankenstein were intended for adults. However, time and changes in the things we find shocking has transformed them into books that could be comfortably read by children as young as ten.) When this change occurs, the best book to make the the transition is, in my humble, opinion Stephen King's IT.

Although the book itself is for adults, one of the main themes is the fears that people experience when they are children. This is embodies by the main antagonist in the book, It, also known as Pennywise the Dancing Clown. Based on the troll from the Three Billy Goats Gruff, It is a shape-changing monster that dwells in the sewers of Derry, Main. It's favorite form is that of a clown, a disguise it uses to gain the trust of unsuspecting children.

 Pennywise's main food is fear and Ot kills those it feeds on. Given it's ability to change shape, this means that It can literally be any monster that frightens it's victims. Throughout the book, for example, It becomes a vampire, a mummy, and even a giant leach.

Pennywise is more than just a creepy clown. It is everything that frightened us when we were children and that is why It remains one of the strongest monsters in all of fiction.

94) King Hyperion from Immortals:

Those who are familiar with the film Immortals are probably scratching their heads at this point. "Isn't Immortals a legendarily bad movie, Mr. Blogger? Why would you include a character from that film?"

My response to the first question is: Yes. Yes. It is is a terrible movie. It is a wretched pile of visual excess filled with people wearing incredibly silly looking costumes. It is perhaps the most inept retelling of the story of Theseus ever to exist (mixing and matching form several Greek myths, with original elements thrown in, such that the story made absolutely no sense). However, just because it is not a good film does not mean that it is not an entertaining film. Immortals is an entertaining film in the same way Plan 9 from Outer Space is an entertaining film.

The most entertaining part of the film is Mickey Rourke's performance as  King Hyperion. This is not a good performance by any means. Rourke moves between phoning it in and actively trying not to laugh at the dialogue he is delivery all while waring costumes members of Cirque de Soleil would find over the top.

However, King Hyperion is the best part of the movie. The film tries so hard to make him a into a credible threat that it actually become comic.  You know that scene in all them movies where the villain executes a henchman for giving him bad news? King Hyperion does that at least three times. It's enough to make you wonder why anyone in his right mind would work for this guy. (It's not helped by his tendency toward philosophical musings on the brutal nature of life. It's supposed to sound cool but comes out sounding less coherent than the label on a bottle of Doctor Brounner's soap).

Why is he on the list then? Because he is hilarious to watch and anyone who makes me laugh that much deserves to be on the list. ( I said this was a list of my favorite villains. I never side that they were my favorite for a good reason).

93) The Dictator from Kingdom of the Wicked-

Kingdom of the Wicked,  tells a story that should be familiar to any fan of children books. Christopher Grahame, a writer of children's fantasy novels is suddenly wisked away to Castrovalva,  the fantasy world of his childhood to help his imaginary friends fight the forces of evil, led in this case by a man called the Dictator. And of course, his friends and family think he's losing his mind.

Only Kingdom of the Wicked isn't a children's book. It's a graphic novel for adults. So the fantasy world of childhood has now become a war-torn hellscape loosely based on World War I. The "forces of evil" are a group of hideous monsters that violently eviscerate several characters on camera and the Dictator is a human ho dresses like a brownshirt who bears a strong resemblance to the protagonist.

SPOILER ALERT: Of course, it turns out he's the protagonist's long lost twin brother. It's how this revelation is executed that add a layer of complexity to the Dictator. Because this time, the protagonist really is losing his mind.  Castrovalva isn't actually real, only a hallucination that Chritopher is having.

The Dictator, however, is real. In fact, he's Christopher's conjoined twin brother, a undeveloped  fetus that is attached directly to Christopher's nervous system. Castrovalva is a shared delusion that the Dictator has drawn Chris into in an attempt to take over into his body.

This revelation add a tragic element to the character that makes him more sympathetic. Sure, we've seen him murder several of Chris' imaginary friends but is that even murder if they were never real in the first place? The Dictator's motivations are, in fact, utterly sympathetic. He wants what anybody wants; a life of his own. If was can not condone his actions, in the end, we can at least understand them and even empathize with them. This is enough to  get a character who could have been "stock fantasy villain # 1,346" a place on my list.

92) The Salesman from Severed:

On first glance, the Salesman and Pennywise might seem like the same character. Both seem charming when they first appear. Both of them adopt a variety of disguises and identities to fool their prey. And of course, both of them have a diet that consists mostly of children.

But ultimately, it's the Salesman that's the more unsettling of the two characters. Ironically, it's because he's also the most human. Although Pennywise can appear as a person,  in reality, it is just an animals doing what all animals do; seeking out it's main food source. Pennywise can't not be evil because otherwise it will starve and die.

On the other hand, the Salesman is to all intents and purposes an ordinary person. Sure, there are hints that he's something more than a man but he never outright displays any supernatural abilities aside form longevity.  He can't change his shape; he has to rely on changing his appearance through old fashioned means like changing his hairstyle and altering his voice. The only thing that is overtly monstrous about him are the razor sharp teeth he conceals behind dentures and even then you could argue that he files them to look like that. He may not really be a human but he is human enough that you could imagine someone like him could exist and that makes him the more unsettling character.

91) The Color out of Space:

There's an argument to be made that the monsters that populate H.P. Lovecraft's stories are metaphors for Lovecraft's fear of science. Oftentimes, his stories would depict a scientist or other seeker of knowledge whose quests for truths would lead him into contact with a godlike and unknowable alien force. Sometimes these entities were indeed gods but much of the time they were simply advance aliens whose knowledge and technology made them seem supernatural. For example, the story At the Mountains of Madness reveals that the creators of men were simply aliens who created humanity for unclear reasons. (If you read the story closely, it is implied that we were a failed attempt at making slave labor). Upon the discovery of these truths, the protagonist would gain not only knowledge but only at the price of  madness and death.

The Color out of Space is the monster that, in my opinion, best represents Lovecraft's phobia of science and the unknown. Ironically, what makes the monster stand out is that, unlike other Lovecraft stories is that, in this case, there is no horrifying truth to be found. It's not an ancient deity, it's not some horrible ancestor of humanity, it's just something that fell to earth from outer space.

Unlike the other monsters, the Color is so divorced from what we would think of as life that the story leaves it ambiguous as to whether or not it's even alive in the first place. The Color seems to deliberately conjure up image to lure living things to it so it can drain their life. This would make it seem sentient but the story leaves open the possibility that this is simply a natural process caused by proximity to whatever it is the Color is made of.

In that case, the Color is no more evil than chlorine gas is for being poisonous to humans. (Indeed, the Color's is actually described as being closer to a  gas than anything else). The power of the story is that is leaves you wondering whether the Color is malevolent alien or simply an interstellar phenomenon and let's you make up your mind for yourself.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Pink Floyd Meets the Bee-Gees

Not the best mash-up out there but it's really a bit weird how listenable this is. Also, the fact that two songs that are almost polar opposites musically can be made to match up that well is a bit interesting.

Monday, September 9, 2013

An Open Letter to DC Comics

Dear Mr. Didio, Mr. Harras, and Ms. Nelson,

I have been reading comic books since I was a small child. I'm not going to tell you I've been reading DC Comics since it started since that would be a lie. I have been reading them for close to thirty years.

That means that I grew up in the nineties which were not the best time for comics in general. I was there there when the comic-book industry replaced storytelling with progressively worse marketing stunts. I lived through Onslaught and the Clone Saga. And one thing, I remember about that time was that DC Comics managed to mostly avoid falling into that trap. DC may have done it's share of stunts but they were mostly backed by strong storytelling. (Mostly. No one's going to defend the pre-Grant Morrison Justice League.)

And, despite that, during all that time, I never did what I am about to do today: walk away from a comic book company entirely. I just can't find it in me to support DC Comics anymore. Don't get me wrong, you still put out some good comics. But the sheer amount of wrong-headed and quite frankly bad decisions has outweighed any enjoyment I get from your product.

Quite frankly, it seems that the only way that we can get any real change in the direction of stories is if enough people stop buying the books. I'm just one guy and I know there's nothing I can to on my own but every little bit helps. I can only hope that more people join me.

And, I'm going to be honest here, I don't care about Batwoman in the least.  I wasn't reading the comic and, even if I wasn't quitting DC, I wouldn't be buying it in the future. But it's just the latest in a long line of editorial interfering with the people who write the books. A lot of your book lack a consistent direction because the writer keeps changing (see Stormwatch which I actually was collecting).

I mean, I'm not sure if you have something against Bat-family characters being married or you have something against any superheroes being married. If it's the latter, that's kind of sad that your idea off an entertaining hero is someone whose personal life is dysfunctional and falling apart. I mean, God forbid we allow any light at all in the DC Universe. Heroes must be grim sociopaths with psychological issues. Alan More taught us that [NOTE FOR PEOPLE WITH READING COMPREHENSION ISSUES: This is sarcasm]. (Even if your statements were meant to apply to Bat-family characters only, it wouldn't be the end of the world if one Bat-family character did something different then sacrifice a shot at happiness so they could go beat up street criminals).

I know you say that the stories need to be "exciting" and "entertaining." But for most of your comics, you're not even delivering those stories. The entire Teen Titans line, for instance, read like Nineties Image comics.  You really don't seem to know what to do with the characters you brought over form Wildstorm. And clarifying the Phantom Stranger's past misses the entire point of writing the Phantom Stranger. I don't doubt that you think these stories are exciting and entertaining but I would argue that your viewpoint is so alien to objective reality that it is one that I find utterly incomprehensible and impossible to understand. Indeed, I have no interest in trying to understand.

I know the stories are selling well. Sales do not equal quality. As evidence, I would point to the Star Wars prequels and Twilight. Is this really what you want your creative legacy to be?

At this point, I think I would actually prefer it if you hated the fans and were only in it for the money. That, I could, at least, understand. But either way, it doesn't matter. I'm out for now.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Useless Bits of Genius- Kung Fu from Beyond the Grave

I'm not sure if this is better without commentary--

Or with commentary.

I kind of understand this scene. Dracula is immune to the scroll is there because the filmmakers wanted to show that Dracula is a foreign monster and thus immune to Chinese magic. Dracula is summoned by American money because the filmmaker's have no idea where Dracula is supposed to be from.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

More Mountain Goats- No Children

Perhaps the best break up song ever.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Mountain Goats- Love, Love, Love

Some music for your listening pleasure.  Did I ever mention that the Mountain Goats are one of the best bands in recent memory? Because if not, I really should.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Villainy's Victors- My Top 100 Villains in All of Fiction

Lets face it: The classic story of the hero's journey is almost utterly useless without a villain. In many (I'd even venture most stories), the hero generally wins in the end. There is nothing inherently wrong with this form of storytelling. It's a classic story form and one people really have never tired of. Since we go into most stories expecting the good guy to win, generally, the stories are entirely dependent on the scope of the conflict the hero must face. The conventional wisdom runs the greater the scope of the obstacle the hero overcomes, the more invested we are in the story. The obstacle can generally be an external force or it can come from the internal flaws of the protagonist. Possibly the most common form of external obstacle come in the form of another person: in other words, the villain.

In the spirit of fun, I have decided to compile a list of my 100 favorite villains in all of fiction. This list will include all forms of media; novels, comic books, anime, and even video games. These villains are ranked only by how much I felt they enhanced the stories in which they appeared. This list will include villains of all kinds from supergenius evil masterminds to malevolent deities and even mindless monsters. On that note

1OO) Ben Courtman from I Am Legend:

Ben Cortman is not the most complex of characters. Generally, that would be a fatal flaw for a villainous character. After all, there are a lot of character who are evil for the sheer sake of being evil and they are (to a large extent) interchangeable.

What makes Ben Cortman work is that he's not evil. Evil. after all, is a human construct. And Ben Cortman is no longer human.

In the book, I Am Legend, Cortman, is one of million of people infected by a plague that transforms them into ravenous vampires. Most of the vampires are barely human, ravenous beasts who exist to do nothing to feed. Later in the book, it is discovered, that some of the vampires have retained there sentience and are trying to rebuild society.

What makes Ben Cortman stand out is that he straddles these two worlds. His sole goal is to break into the home of Robert Neville, the main protagonist, so he can kill and eat him. However, he shows a greater intellect then most of the other feral vampires (including a rudimentary ability to speak, constantly yelling the phrase "Come out, Neville"!). He's barely more then animal but he's also bear enough resemblance to the man he once was . It is this disturbing contrast that makes him one of the more unsettling antagonists in fiction and worthy of inclusion on this list.

99) "Judge" Holden from Blood Meridian:

Judge Holden is definitely a villain that can be accused of being evil for evil's sake. Loosely based on an (alleged) historical figure, Holden is a member of the Glanton gang, a group of depraved killers and robbers operating under a semi-legitimate pretext as Indian hunters.

Holden, though, by far is the worst of the lot and by far the most, contradictory. He is more intelligent then the other members of the gang, proficient in several languages, and is an amateur naturalist, constantly sketching plants and animals in a book he carries around. He is also a ruthless killer and, quite possibly, a child murderer who worships war above all things.

He also may be far more than that. Most every member of the gang has met the Judge, on their own, at some point in the past. He seems capable of almost supernatural feats of strength. He is associated with the fiddle and, at the end of the book, alleges that he is immortal. Indeed, the character is often referred to as a "Devil."

Whether he is mere psychopath or Satan himself is ultimately beside the point. In the end, every one who joins Judge Holden in his pursuit of violence meets a bad end, some at the hand of other parties (with some implied assistance from the Judge) and, in at least one case, at the hands of the Judge himself. Ultimately, Judge Holden is a powerful metaphor for the dehumanizing effects and the destructive nature of a life of violence.

98) The makers of the Cube from Cube:

The movie Cube has a premise that should be familiar to any horror movie fan. A group of people wake up trapped in a prison without any idea how they got there. In this case, the prison is designed in the shape of a large cube, composed of several smaller hollow cubes. Many of these cubes are harmless but most contain death traps built to kill any one who enters. In order to survive, the protagonists have to work together but as the movie progresses they begin to sucumb to paranoia and desperation.

What gives the film a Kafakesque twist is the reason that the Cube exists. As the movie progresses, we find out that one of the prisoners worked on designing the cube. He reveals that the Cube was a project that was begun by some nebulous organization that has been in development for so long that nobody remembers why they started working on it in the first place. As the Cube expanded, the organization realized that they had a rather large structure filled with death traps that was completely pointless. Thus, in order to justify the Cube's existence, they started putting people inside it.

Later films would provide would contradict this explanation but considering that 1) they were written and directed by different people and 2) I didn't see them, I feel safe ignoring them completely. What made Cube scary was not that the villain was some maniac serial killer or an organization with an agenda. In fact, aside from one character, we never get to see anybody else who was behind the Cube project. It's the idea of the Cube markers that make them worthy of inclusion on this list: The idea that the person responsible for putting the characters though Hell is not some mastermind but rather group of people who are desperate avoid admitting that the giant killing machine they built is a massive waste of time and resources. Sometimes the best villains are the ones we never get to meet.

97} The Emperor from Star Wars:

This is a character of whom I can honestly say I have no idea why he's on the list. The Emperor is pretty much a stock evil overlord character. He's the shadowy power behind the evil Empire, responsible for every bad thing that happens though out the films. I think perhaps my fondness for the character comes the shear joy he takes in being evil. He just looks so happy when he blast everyone with his force lightning.

My affection for this character is, strangely enough, only enhanced by the prequel trilogies. This may be because his function in the movie is to make all of the other characters suffer. In fact, an argument could be made that this makes him the hero of that trilogy.

96) The First of the Fallen from Hellblazer-

Hellblazer is the comic book series which has the honor of being the longest running comic from DC Comics' Vertigo line of mature readers title. It ran for three hundred issues and resulted in one movie detailing the life of London conman and magician John Constantine and his encounters with the supernatural.

With a title like Hellblazer, it's no shock that most of Constantine's enemies tended to be demons. However, none of these enemies was more of a threat than the First of the Fallen. The first angel to be cast out of Heaven, he was actually older and more powerful than the Devil himself. (As you can see from the clip above the movie adaptation just made the character into Satan).

Unlike most demons, The First's threat wasn't in his ability to manipulate others. Instead, he was a far more physical threat. Though he isn't above trickery to gain souls, his most formidable weapon was his not inconsiderable strength and a variety of unpleasant magical spells. This combination meant that he really didn't need to rely on the cunning employed by the lesser demons.

And yet despite all his power, he can not have the thing he really wants: John Constantine's soul. He's come close a few times but he's never really gotten it. His prize is always snatched away from him at the last moment and it's in those moments when you can see the true nature of the character. He maybe the most powerful demon in existence but ultimately, the First is like a angry child whose destructive acts are the metaphysical equivalent of a temper tantrum when he doesn't get his new toy. (Hell, it not like Constantine's soul is that big a prize. The First just has a grudge against the guy.)  It's this contrast between his vast power and ludicrously petty behavior that makes this character interesting to me.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Useless Bits of Genius: Dr. Doom is Grandiloquent

I forgot how good the voice acting for Dr. Doom was in the 90s Fantastic Four cartoon show. Why couldn't they have gotten someone who sounded like this for the movie?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Thoughts on an Inconstant World: All Galactus Edititon

It takes a big man to admit when he's mistaken. It had long been my impression that in his initial appearance the classic Stan Lee/ Jack Kirby character was not, in fact, wearing pants underneath his gigantic skirt when he first appeared. I have since discovered that this incorrect thanks to this video--

Though you have to wonder considering that Galactus is a giant and is literally standing over tons of people how much the pants really help.

PASSERBY: AHHH! I can see up his skirt!
GALACTUS: Judge not, mortal. The fashion choices of Galactus are beyond such as yourself.
GALACTUS: Galactus is not bound by your mortal conception of modesty  Galactus is beyond good and evil. Galactus does what he must--- goes where he must-- AND WHERE GALACTUS GOES, GALACTUS GOES COMMANDO!


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Thoughts on the Man of Steel

Actual conversation I had with my father about Man of Steel:

Dad: "How was the movie?"
ME: "It's the best Superman movie ever made."
Dad: "That bad, huh."

As you've probably guessed by now, the Christopher Reeves Superman films are not exactly regarded as cinematic breakthroughs around the house. (Yes, yes, I know people who will defend Christopher Reeves' portrayal of Superman in the first movie. To which my rebuttal is that Gene Hackman's utterly terrible portrayal of Lex Luthor has completely and utterly eclipsed any aspects of the movie that I might have otherwise enjoyed. Although, taking my fading recollection, I don't think there was much about that movie that I thought was that great otherwise.)

Actually, Man of Steel was pretty awesome. I think it's the first Superman movie to really capture that sense of awe that regular people would feel if  they lived in a universe where Superman actually existed. A combination of "Oh, my God. That dude's flying! That's awesome!"  and "Holy Shit! This completely contradicts everything I believed about the universe and the laws of nature.  I'm scared. Hold me."

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Useless Bits of Genius: Everything Wrong with the Dark Knight for 4 Minustes or Less

Damon Lindelof hates this video. That alone is good enough reason for me to post it. (No, I'm not letting the whole ending of Lost thing go).

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Tumbling Dominos

So I've been reading Moonstone Comics Domino Lady series. In case you know don't know what Moonstone Comics is, this independent comic company primarily licences the adventure of pulp era or similarly vintage superheroes like the Phantom or the Black Bat. In other words, they're like Dynamite Comics with generally lower production values.  (Characters Dynamite has published include --- the Phantom and the Black Bat.)

The Domino Lady remains a relatively obscure pulp heroine. The premise is that the Domino Lady is secretly Ellen Prentiss, a socialite whose father was a businessman murdered by rivals. Out to get revenge, Ellen Prentiss becomes the Domino Lady, a thief who robs corrupt rich men, often putting a stop to their crooked plans in the process.

---And if they left it at that, she would be a generic costumed heroine. But the Domino Lady takes it a step further. Like many a hero before her, she has a special gimmick to distinguish her from her competition. Her modus operandi is to seduce men into bed and when they're naked, drugging them with a syringe filled with "knockout drops."(Thus making the Domino Lady the only superhero who fights crime with the power of roofies). I don't know if this element was present in the original pulps but given that she appeared in Saucy Romantic Adventures, hich according to Wikipedia was targeted at more "Adult" audience, I'm guessing yes. As for the comic itself, it's --- well, I believe the word is terrible. Domino Lady narrates the stories in an overwrought pulp pastiche voice with incredibly purple prose.  I get that it's trying to sound like a hard boiled-crime story but it doesn't ring true.  Instead, it sound like what someone who read a bunch of mystery novels think that those characters sounded like. As a result, the character does not sound tough, but as someone who is trying to sound tough. In addition, the art pretty much sabotages the storytelling at every turn. One story derives it's narrative weight from Domino Lady killing a man for the first time. You know what would have made that work. Some visual indicator  that Domino Lady had killed the man. Instead, the decision to convey this information entirely through narration on  the last page of the story robs this moment of any dramatic impact. (Another issue has Domino Lady doing a homage to Batman. You know, the one where Commissioner Gordon looks away from Batman while he's talking to him and turns around to find that Batmans already left. In this comic, a similar scene occurs on a stretch of flat coastline directly leading into a large body of water. Which means, that the only way the Domino Lady could have vanished so quickly without the policeman seeing is if she is literally jumped into the water and is holding her breath. Which seems like an extreme length to how to just to make a police officer feel like an asshole.)

Also, just a bit of advice, if you're shooting for a gritty crime noir fell, don't have Sherlock Homes show up for absolutely no reason. It just doesn't work for the tone you're trying to set for the same reason it would be weird to have James Bond show up in a George Smiley story. Just because two characters share a genre doesn't mean that they can appear in the same type of story without a few eyebrows being raised.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Usless Bits of Genius: A follow up to the previous post

By the people who brought us "Building a Human"

The correct answer, as I'm sure you've figured out by now, is that Imhotep is invisible.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The First Unspeakable Horrors Crossover

It's the long awaited team-up of Tom Wait's Tuesday and Useless Bits of Genius.  It's the video the people at the people at the Sesame Street workshop don't want you too see.

I always thought there was something wrong with that guy--

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Useless Acts of Genius: My ded's been sending me cat vidoes--

If I've got to suffer, you've all got to suffer--

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Useless Bits of Genius: Acapella Video Game Music

Seriously, this is impressive.

Review: Bedlam 1-3

Ler me get this out of the way: Bedlam is a good comic. It  may even be the super hero comic of the last year.

 There is every reason for me to hate this comic. It's falls into the  "I wanted to tell a story using established DC/Marvel Comics characters but  the major comic companies would never let me do this stuff to their characters so I changed everybody's name and published it myself" type of story-telling that is often tiresome in independent super-hero comics. 

However, Bedlam manages to make the most of using characters that we are familiar with and then twisting them in unexpected directions. To be blunt, the premise of the book is  "What if the Joker were cured and became a police consultant, helping the police and Batman solve crimes?" 

The story hook is simple. Set in the city of Bedlam, Madder Red, the Joker pastiche (think a creepy mask instead of clown make-up),  is captured by the costumed vigilante, the First, who is essentially Batman. As anyone who as seen The Dark Knight knows, Red's capture is actually part of a plan to bring the city into anarchy from his prison cell. 

Unfortunately, the plan goes wrong and Red is believed dead by the authorities. In truth, he is spirited away by a man known only as the Good Doctor, who "treats" Red  and reintegrates him into society supposedly cured of his insanity. (This is helped by the fact that Red was never unmasked and thus can resume his civilian identity of Fillmore Press with no one the wiser).  When a series of murders in the city, Red, as Press, offers to help the police who take him up on his offer do to his ability to predict the killer's next move.

The series'real strength is that it is a Batman story utterly unconstrained by the limits of being a Batman story. Thus, it is free to play with our expectations. For example, it is free to do things with a stock  Batman  characters that couldn't really be done in a Batman comic. At the end of the day, for all of his flaws, Batman is the hero of the story. By contrast, the First is portrayed much less sympathetically, a burtal thug who beats confessions from suspects with the approval of the city's police forces.

The scariest thing about Bedlam is that even the heroes are corrupt. This is perhaps most exemplified by the Good Doctor. Loosely based on Dr. Jeremiah Arkham, the asylum keeper from Batman whose tendency to think of the various super-villains as victims in need of treatment goes a long way towards explaining why homicidal maniacs under his care keep escaping every second Tuesday, the Good Doctor takes that character in an disturbing direction. Having gone beyond traditional methods of treatment, the Doctor uses truly brutal techniques of torture and brainwashing  (Red goes from giving long speeches to having trouble speaking in complete sentences without getting distracted as an after effect of the Good Doctor's "therapy") to cure super-villain of their "evil" all the while without realizing that, in his own way, he is a super-villain himself.

The real star of the show is Madder Red. We're never quite sure why he's doing anything. There are hints that there was a method  to his madness and other hints that indicated that he was just doing it to relieve his boredom. (The first issue give us the sense that the reason Red  tries to goad a police inrterragator into simply killing him is not for the pleasure of driving a good man to murder, but  because it would be something new.) Similarly, after his "rehabilitation", we aren't sure if he's truly changed or he has some ulterior motive.

Ultimately, I have to say Bedlam is one of the best comics to come along recently. At the point I stopped reading, the book is still setting up it's first story arc and it's status quo. That being said, I can't wait to see where it goes from here.

Monday, April 8, 2013

More Sir Christopher Lee

I shall begin by answering the question "Is this music video I am about to post here good?" The answer is no, no, it is not. It's mediocre at best.  From the musical band Rhapsody of Fire, the song is part of there Dark Secret Saga, an epic fantasy told in song. It details the quest of group of humans, elves, and hobbits to dispose of the One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom to prevent the rise of the dark lord Sauron. (Note: This is not literally the plot of the song cycle but I maintain that on a more metaphorical level, the previous sentence is completely true).

 However, the video is worth watching for one reason: It is the closest we will come to seeing Christopher  Lee sing a duet with Weird Al Yankovic.

Remember, kids, unless you're in comedy, that hair style is not a good idea.  It will never be a good idea.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Greatest Super Villain of All Time: Mr. Midnight

A good supervillain preys on his enemy's weakness. Sometimes they attack a hero's friends and family. Other times they use  an elaborates series of deathtraps and trials designed to  break the hero's spirit.   But I think you'll agree that Mr. Midnight for reduces his enemies to a curled up wreck in a fashion that's all his own.

From the Return of Captain Invincible.

For some reason I can't exactly put my finger on, I think Mr. Midnight would be a great Iron Man villain.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Super Short Review: the Pathology of Addiction

Wow! Just wow! The first thing I have to say about this video is that it is incredible simplistic.  I mean, l I know there is  a biological causes for drug addiction. There is a biological component to all human behavior. On the other hand, I don't think an addiction can be boiled simply a lack of serotonin and an excess of dopamine. There are other factors that should at least be considered like social pressures, the environment in which a person was raised, and economic factors.  Otherwise, what's the point of trying to stop people from doing drugs?  If this video is to be believed, addicts are addicts because of evolution and addiction is hardwired into their genes.

Did anybody really stop to think that showing this video at an anti-drug seminar really sends the wrong message? No use trying to avoid drugs and alcohol! Your best bet is to seek help after your life spirals out of control which in this video means that you turn into a shark and eat a dude. This video just illustrates why I think anti-drug seminars are ineffective. The people who put them on always seem to think that their audience is twelve. It's patronizing and incredibly insulting. I know they mean well, but seriously, at least show some respect for you audience instead of numbing our minds with this drivel.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Incubus- the Warning

The song is about living life to the fullest because you never know when everything could end.  The music video is making the viewer defecate in his or her  pants about as often as possible in four minutes.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tom Waits Tuesday: Bad as Me

Last week, I gave you Tom Waits in his "lounge singer" mode. To compensate for that, here's Tom Waits at his most Tom Waits-iest.

You know,  in the movie "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus", Tom Waits appeared as Satan. Although the movie had many flaws, that bit of casting choice was pretty spot on.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Tom Waits- Back in the Crowd

I thought a recent Tom Waits songs where he's in a more "Heart of Saturday Night" type of  mood.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Thoughts on an Inconstant World Pat 2

A person when comparing the virtues of cats as compared to dogs once told me "Dogs have owners, cate have servants." I always wondered why this was a selling point.

People who extol the virtues of independent comics forget that 90% of independent comics are terrible. That's not to say Marvel and DC Comics can be terrible but at lest there terrible in "that was an entertaining waste of time" way and not a "I paid good money for this" way. (Except for Marville.  Marville was just  a really bad no matter where it came from).

Actually, I love how the writer of Marville tried to defend the book with an excuse that basically amounted to: "While, I wasn't trying to win any popularity contests." Except for, you know, the actual popularity contest. You know, the one where the book with the most sales after six issues got to continue.  Which you lost to a book that didn't come out on time and a book that wound up getting cancelled the next year anyway.


Monday, March 4, 2013

Amusing Amazon Review

Thank once again to my Dad for showing me this and Benjamin Hamilton for writing it.

5.0 out of 5 stars After the divorceJanuary 10, 2011
This review is from: Microwave for One (Hardcover)
After the divorce my diet consisted primarily of uncooked ramen and whiskey. Occasionally I wondered aloud if I'd ever have another home cooked meal again.

Then I discovered "Microwave for One" and everything changed.

My favorite chapters were:

Chapter 1: Plugging in your Microwave and You

Chapter 4: How to Wait 3 Minutes

Chapter 11 [BONUS CHAPTER]: Eating with Cats

In closing, I give this book 2 thumbs up (and a paw!). Thanks Sonia Allison!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Legal Ethics 101

Despite their bad reputation, lawyers serve a valuable function in our society. We need them to keep our society working. I truly believe this. (I wouldn't be attending law school myself if I didn't.) And I know as well as anyone how hard it is to decide on the ethically correct course of action when you're working on complicated cases with lots of parties involved. But there is one basic ethical rule that I think every lawyer can clearly agree on--- What this guy did. Don't do this. Just don't.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Why I Like July Talk

You know that one pop band  that we hear on the radio every now and then. You know, the one that combines a woman with a voice that's high enough to be a member of the Grateful Dead (insert drum roll here) and a man who sounds like what happens when you cross Darth Vader with a six-pack-a-day cigarette habit.  Perhaps you heard this formula in songs like "Barbie Girl" by Aqua and "The Sailing Song" by a band whose name is literally not worth looking up (but may also have been Aqua).  July Talk is like those bands with one stunning innovation: Their music is actually good and worth listening to. Seriously, if these guys don't take off, I will give up on humanity.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tom Waits Tuesday

I was gonna play one of  his more recent works but then I realized that this old standard had more mass appeal (and was less likely to unsettle perspective employers.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

True Confessions

Is it a bad sign that I want to see this movie for the bit at the end of the trailer?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Emergency Broadcast System in Action

Thank you, hackers. The damage you caused by breaking federal law and potentially causing a panic is more than made up for by the gift of laughter.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Only Interesting Scene From Adventures in Babysitting--

-- occurs in the  first minute of this scene.

You don't even have to listen to the song that comes next. It's just the implications of that scene.

Look at it this way. You're a blues player. You're playing a concert to a packed house which presumably you've done hours of painstaking rehearsing and spent mention years of practicing on your instruments. Suddenly, a group of complete strangers burst onto stage obviously confused and having no idea where they are.

I would not blame you for being angry at these people. I would, however, be somewhat confused if your demand was that these people, who for all you know have no musical experience whatsoever, sing a blues number and refuse to let them leave until they do.

There could only be only one reason for that behavior. That, over years of playing, you have gradually come to believe with a zeal reserved only for cult leaders that it is you duty,your God-given moral obligation, to do one thing and one thing only: Make sure that not one person --- NOT! ONE! SINGLE! SOLITARY! PERSON!--- leaves that nightclub without singing the blues.

I guess what I'm saying is it must really suck to be the janitor there.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

If I Ran the Zoo: Dr. Fate

(Once again, I' going to return to my feature where I describe how I would write my favorite comic book characters in the unlikely event that a publisher allows me near their properties).

Dr. Fate is the quintessential example of a character who was never written as well as when he first showed up.  One of the first magic based superheroes, he is today primarily most for having a cool design and being  a precursor of Marvel Comics Dr. Strange. As a result, ever since the silve age, there has been an unfortunate tendency to write Dr. Fate exactly like he was  on off-brand version of Dr. Strange.  (Note that I am talking about the original Dr. Fate. The successors to the mantel were pretty much all off-brand version of Dr. Strange.)

However, reading the original stories it's suprising, how much of a debt the original Dr. Fate stories owed to H.P. Lovecraft. Fate's opponents not only included the traditional evil socerors but mad scientists, tentacled abominations, and Lovecraft's race of Deep Ones. (As Lovecraft's work were still in copyright at this time, they were called something like "Fish Men of Nyarl-Amen"but they were clearly Deep Ones. The new name itself is most likely a reference to Nyarlathotep, yet another of Lovecraft's monstrosities.)

To me, this suggests that the problem with Dr. Fate is not the character. Rather, it is the stories that are told about the character. Modern day Dr. Fate stories simply tend to focus on the superhero aspects of the character, and while those are important, the result is that Dr. Fate come off as something we have seen before.

In my opinion, Dr. Fate works best when there is a strong horror undercurrent to the character. Instead of being retreads of Dr. Strange villains (Fate's archenemy these days is pretty much Baron Mordo with the serial numbers filed off), his villains should be genuinely disturbing and alien. (Strange's villains, while awesome and definitely strange looking, had more in common, behavior wise, with Dr. Doom then Cthulu.) A good Doctor Fate story should do more than be a good superhero story: it should also  scare the audience.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Depressing Thought for the Day

I discovered that there are multiple videos on the internet depicting grown men dressed as Jar-Jar Binks dancing to "Gungan Style." (If you don't know whet this is a reference to you are either hopelessly out of touch with popular culture or are reading this article ten years after I wrote it.) Exactly zero of them are worth watching.  I was going to inflict them on you good people but I decided you might want to hear some decent music instead.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Question About Awards Shows

Do you ever wonder why awards just don't announce the winners before hand? When you think about there's no real reason for shows like the Oscars, the Golden Globes, etc., to be run like they are. Basically, all that happens in those show is that from a handfull of nominees, the people who run the Awards pick who they think is the best. Is there anything about that process that requires it to be doen on live TV, in front of an audience of millions? If the point of the show is to honor the best actor, screenwriter, film, what have you, why not just pick them in advance? The way they do it now, not only does the audience know who's accomplishments is considered worthy of award, but also whose accomplishments just weren't enough to cut it. I know audiences like it when there are winners and losers but in doesn't that just make  award shows into really glitzy reality TV?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Weekly Tom Waits- Diamond in Your Mind

Thanks to  Dad for putting  me onto this one.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Meta-Review: The Review Must Go On

This is as good a time as any to admit that I am fan of the webshow channel/ review site Thatguywiththeglasses.com. This site was probably most famous for creator Doug Walker's beloved character, the Nostalgia Critic. Over the years, people watched the character evolve from a gleeful, psychopathic man-child who ripped apart bad movies, generally children's films, to a character who's obsession with  films and popular culture masked deep reserves of self-loathing.  Last year, citing a desire to do something new, Walker "killed"  (it's complicated) off the Critic at the end of That Guy with the Glasses and began a new show called "Demo Reel".

However, this week, Walker revealed that he was ending "Demo Reel" after a handful of episodes and bringing the Critic back in a shot film entitled "The Review Most Go On." I have to say, that Walker sets out to tell a narrative story he manages to do it surprisingly well. Despite the lack of Hollywood-level talent or production values, his films somehow manage to be more satisfying then a lot of the stuff that winds up the theaters.

The story starts off in the world of Walker's  show "Demo Reel." There, the show's central character, Donny DuPre, (played by Walker), watches helplessly  as the other members of the "Demo Reel" cast begin to vanish one by one. What's more once they vanish, Donny is the only person who remembers that they existed in the first place. (Yes, this was the plot of an episode of the Twilight Zone and yes, this is intentional. Movie  and television references are kind of Walker's trademark).

And then things takes a turn into left field. Just when Donny's story about to reach a climax, the film cuts to Doug Walker (played by Doug Walker) writing the script for the film we have just seen. The focus of the story then shifts to Walker's debate over whether or not to revive the Nostalgia Critic. This debate takes physical form when the Critic (played by Christoph Waltz-- oh, all right, it's Doug Walker again) appearing to Walker, urging him to revive the show.

I must admit that I am not convinced by the  reasons Walker ultimately give for the Critic's return. The reasons he give might all be valid but I think the decision came down to economic realities rather then any artistic vision. From my understanding of the situation, "Demo Reel" just was not as popular as the Nostalgia Critic which is important when the show sole source of income is advertising from page view. Furthermore, "Demo Reel" was shot in a studio and had a larger cast of actors who were presumably expected to be paid for their work. Meanwhile, an average episode of The Nostalgia Critic was shot in Walker's home and often featured no actor aside from Walker. This leads me to believe that "Demo Reel" simply did not generate enough money to justify its continued existence and Walker is returning to his original character.

However, in my opinion, this actually works to the film's advantage. In the film,  it's not so much that Walker is trying to convince the audience that the Critic's return is for artistic so much as he is trying to convince himself. This puts an interesting meta-narrative to the film which is not so much a triumphant return of the Critic so much as Walker dealing with the fact that he is going to be stuck playing the Critic for the foreseeable future.

SPOILER ALERT! To me the film's most powerful moment is not when the Critic returns but when the film admits that the main character of "Demo Reel" is (in more ways then one) a retread of the Critic. That's what really makes the movie for me. It's an artist doing one of the hardest things in life for everyone, admitting failure. That alone makes this film, whether or not you disagree with this review, worthy of respect.

NOTE: While you could probably watch this movie and get the gist of it,  the ending especially requires some knowledge of previous Nostalgia Critic episodes to be fully understood.

Monday, January 21, 2013

A short mediation on Dean Koontz

This is not intended as a slam against Mr. Koontz. I've quite enjoyed some of his work in the past. But there is something I find extremely problematic about his work. I don't have an issue with him using religious themes in his work. Hell, Stephen King does that all the time and he's good at it.

It's that he is really bad at conveying the moral of his stories which is generally "God loves you." The evidence he provides for this is generally that  the protagonist of his stories generally triumph over adversity. However, the adversity in question is generally so horrible that you wonder if God doesn't actually want these people dead and just keeps screwing up. "Your entire family was murdered when you were a child, your friends were killed by a circus freak whose satanist father had a grudge against your family, a deranged conspiracy of art critics tried to kill your wife and son, and your serial killer brother inserted a live mammal  into a orifice of your body into which live mammals should not be inserted. (Note: These are all things that actually happen to protagonists in Dean Koontz novels). But your not dead. Clearly, God is looking out for you."

In my opinion, this is the true moral of every Dean Koontz story: When you have a friend in God, who needs enemies?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

My new favorite song

Not so much because of the lyrics, but because Passenger has one of the best singing voice I have ever had the pleasure of hearing.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Thoughts on an Inconstant Wold, Part 1

-Theres a Native American myth where the villain/monster is literally just called the Bad One. You'd think you would reevaluate your lifestyle choices if, when somebody brings up the "Bad One" in casual conversation, every one knows they're talking about you.

- The difference fan fiction is like stealing money from the poor and  elderly, is that you feel less ashamed of yourself after stealing money from the poor and elderly.

-Being a Transformer is not glamorous, like they show you on  vision. Its mostly investigation and good old fashioned police work.

-Speaking of Transformers, does anybody feel that the Beast Wars line of toys missed an opportunity by not introducing Hippopotimus Prime?

Monday, January 14, 2013

I had a post about the "Supernatural" fandom "controversy"--

But I wasn't saying anything that hadn't been said before and better. (Also, I don't want crazy people showing up on my blog. How crazy? This is probably the only controversy that got started because a popular actor had a child with --gasp-- his wife.) Here, have some pretty music.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

On the Deconstruction of Superheroes

A small post today on a point that has alway bothered me about modern comics. It's no secret that ever since Watchmen, a ton of derivative comic-books were published, tripping over each other in an attempt to deconstruct the superheroic archetype. I won't say all of the books were bad. (Just most of them). But there was a take on the genre that always bothered me as it's premise seemed fundamentally flawed.
These books were often centered on the premise "What if the Earth's greatest superheroes were secretly complete and utter bastards?" The quintessential example of such books are Marshal Law and The Boys. In these books, written by writers who publicly proclaim their hated of superheroes, the heroes weren't flawed and human as they were in Watchmen. Instead, they were pretty much complete monsters. In public, they stand for Mom and apple pie, basking in the media spotlight but in secret, they indulge in every illegal activity known to man.
Naturally, it falls to the protagonist of the series to reveal the truth behind the so-called heroes. His is a lonely task, playing Cassandra to a world that doesn't want to hear what he has to say. To aid him in this task, the protagonist, of course, has powers of his own usually from the same source as the so-called "heroes." Heck, in Marshall Law, the main character even wears a costume designed to mock and strike fear into the hearts of his enemies. The protagonist in the course of his job  often commits disturbing and morally ambiguous acts but, given the ludicrously evil nature of the "heroes", the audience knows who to root for.
If any of this sound somewhat familiar, it's because these stories follow have the same basic plot as almost any random "90s antihero comic that weren't supposed to be ironic or anti-superher polemics. Angry disturbed anti-hero beats up, maims, and kills his way through thousands of terrible people. Calling character who in another work  would be called a "super-villains" "super-heroes" does not  reveal a fundamental flaw in "super-hero" stories.  It merely uses the old trope of the bad guy who everyone thinks is good. That trope have been in thousands of works of fiction. Heck, it even appeared in Superman. I think you'd be hard pressed to say that there's any comic thats more of a traditional comic then Superman. Just because a people in the comic say that Lex Luthor is a hero doesn't make him one.

Friday, January 11, 2013

I'm having computer troubles

Ironically, I'm posting this from the same computer that's giving me grief.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Video game journalism (Warning:

(Warning for the humor impaired: the following post should not be taken at all seriously).
I know next to nothing about video games. I'm not good at playing them. I find  every control system confusing. No matter how many times I move the joystick, my character winds up moving in the wrong direction often in the middle of an important boss fight. This may explain why at out of the twenty or so  video game I have ever plaid, I have beaten roughly two.
I also don't keep track of gaming news. I really don't care. However, I have come to understand that many leading video game journalists have come under criticism for essentially being shills for the video game industry. Essentially, the journalists are alleged to be promoting games in exchange for under-the-table cash and other perks.
All of this leads me go believe that being a video game journalist would be the perfect job for me. Cash, prestige, and free stuff for basically saying nice things. Sign me up. I can heap on on praise with the best of them. "Mass Effect 4 is the best thing to happen to human civilization since the invention of the lightbulb, penicillin, and the Internet combined." See, I can say that without knowing anything about the game.  I don't even know if their actually going to make a Mass Effect 4. I'm not even entirely sure what a Mass Effect is.
In summary, if you need a shill with no integrity whatsoever, you know where to find one.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Cat yodeling

Tormenting small animals is always funny.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Name Change

Just posting to says that after much (five seconds worth) consideration that I have changed the name of  this blog to Unspeakable Horrors. This blog has never really just been about comics, but more about my rambling on whatever subject interested me at the moment --- so I've decided to change the name to reflect that.
There's not much else to this post so I'd thought I'd just post a video by Darkest of the Hillside Thicket to thank you for reading.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Review: The Punisher Armory # 2

For Christmas, this year I was lucky enough to receive several old comics for Christmas. Most of them were rather good but there were a few odd ones. And this copy of the Punisher Armory issue 2 was by far the oddest.
The Punisher Armory is not a traditional comic in any sense. Published in the early 90s, it is ostensibly a list of the wepons (and be weapons, I mean guns) Frank Castle, a.k.a. the Punisher uses to wage his one man war on crime. Theres no plot, no story, just a listing of guns.
But this is no Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe style listing. Instead, the comic ostensibly provides the Punisher's personal opinion on each of his guns. (I refuse to belive that this actually is the Punisher narrating. I just don't see him referring to another person as a "smart Johnny." To be fair , I don't believe that anyone born after 1910 has ever referred to another human being as a "smart Johnny").  Each gun is lovingly described with lengthy paeans to their shooting power and ammunition making sure to name check the gun manufacturer.  As a result, the comic plays out like a long gun advertisement.
Which leads one to ask who thought this was a good idea? I mean, no matter a person's stance on gun control, you have to admit that the Punisher is pretty much the poster boy for gun misuse. He shoots people, for God's sake, When I think of responsible use of weaponry, I don't think of the Punisher. This is pretty much the equivalent Camel Cigarettes making their new mascot an emphysema patient. Actually, come to think of it that sounds like a great idea. At least it would be truth in advertising.