Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Is this the age of superheroes?

Something is happening to the world. And no, I don't mean increasing national debt, the swine flu, or any sort of apocalyptic happenings that a street-corner preacher may be trying to shove down your throat.
No, readers. I mean the age of superheroes. It is coming upon us, whether we like it or not. As Charles Xavier would say, there are those that are different in our world. Those who do extraordinary things in the name of justice.
Take Cincinnati's own masked hero Shadowhare for instance:
Shadowhare is the 21 year-old leader of a group of nationwide masked good samaritans who call themselves the "Allegiance of Superheroes," with a roster that includes Aclyptico in Pennsylvania, Wall Creeper in Colorado and Master Legend in Florida. Shadowhare also teamed up with Mr. Extreme (from San Diego) to track down a rapist.
He uses legal weapons such as pepper spray and handcuffs, and is definitely on the right side of the law. He claims to have dislocated his shoulder while preventing a woman from being beat up by a man a few years ago.
And when not fighting crime? He's handing out food to the homeless, or patrolling the streets looking for ne'er do-wells. Sure, he gets some giggles from the police force and citizens, but if I were him, I'd sleep better at night knowing I had made the world a tiny bit better.
But as always with good, there is evil:
Joker wannabe Spencer Taylor was caught stealing memorabilia related to The Dark Knight from a movie theater in Michigan last July. Yes, he was caught and arrested by police at the scene.

All joking aside (no pun intended), I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that since neither has superpowers or high-tech gadgets, he can't be a superhero or villain, right? Well what if I told you that people with abilities could possibly exist? That homo superior may walk amongst us?
Russian girl Natasha Demkina is a good example. In 2004 and 2005, Natasha gained worldwide acclaim for being able to "see" through people's skin to diagnose an ailment. Nicknamed "the girl with the x-ray eyes," she globe-hopped from clinics in England and Japan as they tried to unveil the mystery behind her "ability." She was eventually assumed to be a fraud, after an English scientist compared her "readings" to that of a psychic's ("feeling" and asking questions to lead to correct answers).
Though Natasha may not be truly superpowered, there are many people that have been made famous by being able to do incredible things. Some include:

Kim Peek

"Abilities": Photographic memory, said to have memorized the content of over 12,000 books. Has severe developmental disabilites, yet can read and remember the content of an average book in one hour (on average).
Note: Peek was the basis for Dustin Hoffman's award-winning character of Raymond Babbitt in the 1988 film Rain Man. Go watch it sometime.

Daniel Tammet

"Abilities": A high-functioning autistic savant, Daniel has synesthesia, which allows him to see numbers as colors and shapes. Has recited Pi up to the 22,514th digit (the world record), and can do massive mathematical equations in his head. Is also gay.

Rüdiger Gamm

"Abilities": Can calculate extremely difficult mathematcal equations in seconds.

Stephen Wiltshire

"Abilities": Can draw an entire landscape after seeing it once. He is also autistic.

Jill Price

"Abilities": Can remember exact details of her life down to the date. For instance, if you ask her what happened on November 12, 1980, she would say that it was rainy, and proceed to give you details about that day. She is said to have an extremely severe case of OCD mixed with hyperthymestic syndrome.

With people like these, and the unnamed German boy who has double the muscle mass of children his age, or the average man who lifted three tons and held it for twenty minutes, it's sort of hard to deny that people who live extraordinary lives do exist.
For some fictional research on the subject of ordinary people trying to be extraordinary, I suggest you all watch the movie Special, and read the comic Kick-Ass (which is soon to be a movie).

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Marvel Comics: whores to advertising

First of all, I want to start this post off by saying this: I absolutely love Marvel Comics. Nearly every single one of my favorite heroes is under this brand, save for two that were created by DC (Batman and Shazam!).
But I have an issue with them. Aside from their usually terrible film adaptations of their properties (Daredevil, Elektra, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man 3, X-Men: The Last Stand, etc.), Marvel's marketing department will stop at nothing to assure that anyone with a radio, television, or internet connection knows about their upcoming releases.
Take their partnership with Papa John's pizza, for instance. I'm sure you know that the new Wolverine movie comes out on May 1st, right? Well, Marvel released a pizza to promote it. Yeah, a pizza:

But seriously, what? Why would you release this heart-attack waiting to happen upon the world? A full pound of cheese? I wouldn't be able to shit for a month after this fucking thing. But something primal in me wants it; something deep, deep within me knows that a fraction of the $12 (plus tip) I spend on this pizza will go towards making the next Marvel film that much better. And that's how they get you, right there.
Aside from that, the Papa John's pizza homepage has a few other interesting Wolverine-related things on it, including a "microsite" with backgrounds, AIM icons (for the three people that still use AIM), and other needless shit. But my favorite part is the three mini "profiles" you can scroll through; of the three major characters from the movie and their favorite pizzas:

I wonder how many wannabe comic book nerds emailed the Papa John's webmaster claiming that Wolverine's real name isn't James Howlett, but Logan. And I also wonder if the dude designing it knew anything about comic books at all. Ho hum.
But apparently Wolverine's favorite pizza is "the works." I don't know how to take that, because "the works" is usually a term used to describe a car wash (at least, in my world).
If I was the guy that answered the phone when some tool used the term "the works" to specify the toppings that they would like on their pizza, I would personally tug one out right into the center of the pie. "How do you like the way this works, motherfucker?!"

Wow, Sabretooth's favorite pizza is "the meats?" They got really creative with this, didn't they? I can tell they put tons of thought into this. I'll bet they thought "Oh hey, he has sharp teeth and claws. That must make him a carnivore!" Yeah, Papa John's executives, a carnivore. Meaning he'll eat a half-dead DEER CARCASS THAT HE SLAUGHTERED HIMSELF, FUR AND ALL, not your shitty pizza. But hey, if you really were willing to do anything to promote this movie, I guess you'd probably make a pizza with deer carcass on it. So I guess we were saved in that sense.

Why the fuck would Gambit like the "garden fresh" pizza? Last time I checked, he's from Louisiana (New Orleans, to be precise). He'd probably like shrimp and something with the word "cajun" or "gumbo" in it on his pizza, not some faggoty "garden fresh" bullshit. C'mon Papa John's! Stereotype Gambit like you stereotyped Sabertooth!
And did they have to choose a picture where Taylor Kitcsh looks like Sam Rockwell during the choking scene in Choke? Maybe it's the forehead veins.

But this isn't the only time Marvel Comics has done something ridiculous while promoting a movie of theirs. Oh no. There have been numerous times where I personally have slapped my own forehead in disdain for the sake of nerds everywhere. Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I proudly present: 5) Spider-Man 3: Printed Pringles
This was one of those symbiotic relationships in the advertising world. Marvel wanted to promote Spider-Man 3, and Pringles wanted to promote their new line of chips with printed shit on them. Thing is, that's gross. And the questions were stupid as hell. The one in the above picture reads:

Q: Which villain does Eddie Brock become?
A: Venom, you fucking retarded piece of shit. I'm surprised you can read, seeing as you had such a hard time with such a difficult fucking trivia question like this.

I'm paraphrasing, but you get the idea.
Point is, the intelligence qualifications for answering these questions fall between the realms of "having a functioning brain stem" and "being able to breathe and blink at the same time." Throw us some hardballs, Pringles! Ask me what Electro's real name is (Maxwell Dillon)! Ask me which superhero is a clone of Peter Parker (Scarlet Spider/Ben Reilly)!
Is it too much to ask to get your marketing team to throw a few questions together after surfing Wikipedia for ten minutes?

4) Iron Man: Slurpee helmet Looking at the above photo, you'd think that 7-11 exclusive Iron Man head-shaped Slurpee cup is pretty neat, right? But looking at it in comparison to the other, not as cool exclusive cups around it, you'd probably wonder why the fuck it's so small. Yeah, a lot of people did that.
But a few weeks after these were released, the helmet/cups started selling on eBay for around $60 apiece (plus shipping). 7-11 stores couldn't keep this shit in stock, since the markup on them on the interwebs was somewhere around 1500% more than the "suggested retail price" of $3.99 (plus tax).
I dunno, the helmet/cup idea seems a little lame to me. Even worse, they had four "collectible straws" with shoddy Iron Man toys glued to them. These were the type of "quality toys" you'd find in an overpriced vending machine outside an ethnic supermarket that a total of four people shop at. You know, the one that never changes the selection of what could minimally pass as a child's plaything? The one that still has toys from The Lion King, despite the fact that it came out in 1994? Yeah, imagine one of those stuck to a fluorescent crazy straw sticking out of Iron Man's armored skull.
Come to think of it, that's sort of awesome. Hm.

3) Hulk: Green Hershey's Syrup Ah, the infamous "green" era. During the theatrical run of the shitty Hulk movie in 2003, everything was green. From Twinkies to credit cards, Marvel had its first captain of the ship that sails the seas of whoring their products out so people will see a terrible movie.
But perhaps the most famous of these products was the green Hershey's Syrup that seemed to stay on shelves for a little longer than it should have. I seemed to see quite a few remaining bottles of this gathering dust at my local Wal-Mart long after Hulk had left theaters; probably because people don't really like to be reminded of giant green pectoral muscles and ripped purple pants while enjoying chocolate milk.

2) Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer: The "Search 4 $ilver" In a stunt so fucking dumb it could have only been concieved by the mad scientists at the Franklin Mint (creators of this ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE "SNEAKY DRAGON" SCULPTURE), the above pictured quarter was to be made 40,000 times over and distributed througout the world. The first 400 people to go to the website oh-so-casually painted next to the Silver Surfer were entered into a contest to win a trip to London for the world premiere of the downright terrible second movie in the Fantastic Four film series.
Yes, that's right. You had a 1/40,000 chance of winning this prize. After you pass the threshold of 1/30,000, is there really any point in having something as gimmicky as this? Maybe if the prize was better, I would think differently. But until they release quarters with Megan Fox on them that enters me into a contest where I could potentially fuck her, I'm not interested.

1) X-Men Origins: Wolverine: Charles Barkley
Okay, I admit it, I sort of misled you all into thinking that this top five list was going to have only previously released movies. Well, I only half-lied, since Wolverine has been seen by an estimated 2 million people already.
Anyways, take a look at this commercial that is currently playing during the NBA playoffs on TNT:

Yeah, that shit just happened. Charles fucking Barkley, one of the greatest basketball players of all time, just sprouted adamantium claws (after a Twinkie-related fat joke was made, no less). I watched this, mouth agape, and had to rewind it and watch it again. And again. And again. Kenny Smith's expression makes me want to kick an old woman in the tit while sodomizing an otter with a lima bean.

Bottom line: I hate advertising. So much.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Herculoids: Most well-rounded hero team ever?

Earlier this evening, I was watching me some 90's Batman on Boomerang (back when Bruce Timm was the genius that produced it), when one of their "commercial replacements" came on in the form of the classic 60's cartoon Herculoids.
For you Hercu-tards out there (yeah, I just made that up), the show revolved around a He-Man-esque hero named Zandor, his wife Tarra, and son Zorno. Oh, and they also had five superpowered creatures follow them around as well. They are as follows:

Zok (the "laser-ray dragon")
Zok is a big green dragon-creature that breathes fire, can fly in space, and oh yeah; can shoot LASERS FROM HIS EYES AND TAIL. He's Zandor's primary form of transportation, and has an obnoxious screeching call to alert everyone in a fifteen mile radius that he's (at the most) fifteen miles away.

Igoo (the "giant rock ape")
"Giant rock ape" sums Igoo up pretty well, I think. But this ape made of rock doesn't have a heart made of stone, as he's apparently always cockblocking Zandor and saving his wife Terra from the crazy shenanigans this bizarre troupe seem to get in. Part of me wonders if his rock cock ever had intercourse with her human pussy. Another part of me can't believe I just typed that out for the world to see.
I wonder what the market for Herculoids porn is like?

Tundro (the "tremendous")
Before I get into the details of Tundro, I'd like to pose a question to you, the reader. You see those descriptive terms of each character after their name? That's the description of each respective character from the opening dialogue. Now, Zok, Igoo, and the upcoming duo of Gloop and Gleep have pretty good ones, right? For instance, you know what's up with Igoo before the show's even started, because the announcer-man tells you that he is, quite literally, a "giant rock ape." You could be blind and still get the general idea of what he looked like.
So reader, my question is this: why is Tundro just "tremendous?" If I was a blind fan of Herculoids and had no one to describe this character to me, I would be totally lost every time a major plot point involving Tundro happened (if this show has what can be considered a "plot"). All I would know is that he's probably big and probably strong. Both of these sentiments would be accurate, but I would have absolutely no idea that he is a 10-legged armored rhino that can shoot energy balls from his horn; who spins his head super-fast so he can drill into the sides of mountains and shit. I mean, come on, he's pretty awesome, if not totally ridiculous.
You know, maybe it's better that they don't tell you Tundro's powers or describe him in any way in the introduction. Going back to the "blind Herculoids fan" scenario, I would probably turn my television off and shoot myself in the head if I heard an accurate description of this character.
And no, I have no idea why a blind person would own a gun.

Gloop and Gleep (the "formless, fearless wonders")
Perhaps the most famous of this motley crew, Gloop and Gleep were a pair of amorphous blobs that could assume nearly any form, split into mini multiples of themselves, and talk in a language that consisted of them saying "DI DI DI DI DI DI DI" in annoyingly high-pitched voices back and forth to each other. It has always been assumed that Gloop is the parent to the adolescent Gleep, and it sort of shows. Gloop always seems to know what's up, while Gleep seems...well...sort of retarded.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the Herculoids. Three humans and five superpowered creature-things that make absolutely no sense whatsoever. I suggest you check it out sometime.*

*After writing this, I have absolutely no idea why I was such a huge fan of this show as a child. Maybe I was secretly being fed crack, and this just made my high that much better. Maybe...