The Alabaster Sock

We Will Fight the Threat with Fighting

Archive for May, 2010

Posted by Matt on May 31, 2010

This is from a few weeks back, but a look at a really big manga magazine. It’s over 1000 pages! And it costs around $5! Whatta deal! It’s the kind of format I think works really well for comics.

I know there has to be something behind the curtains that makes something like this possible. Maybe the creators are paid less. In the comments, readers point out how these magazines are printed on really cheap paper, sometimes detracting from the quality of the art, and that only a few of these magazines can actually succeed, and usually on the strength of one or two series that have crossover appeal (Fullmetal Alchemist being the example from the magazine in the post), and they usually have to be sold at a loss until those series take off. There’s also a difference in culture – most comic readers in North America are used to full-color, professional-looking product, whereas black and white comics magazines have been the most popular format in Japan (and Europe, as well) for over 50 years. There are many extra things to consider before calling this thing obviously perfect in every way.

Even so…whatta deal!

Posted in Comix, Leinks | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Posted by Matt on May 28, 2010

Apparently the latest movie punching bag is Sex and the City 2. I don’t know much about the show or the previous movie, but I think I get the gist if it enough to know that a plot involving the consumerist zombie protagonists going to Abu Dhabi is a strange thing indeed. It reminds me of the kinds of plots that journeymen screenwriters churn out for every feature-length adaptation of something that can not sustain a story beyond 30 minutes. Sitcoms, board games, silly cartoon characters, you name it.

So, if you have to write a movie script for one of the above, here’s a helpful list of story ideas that no one other than me will call you out on reusing:

* (X) go on world adventure/road trip across America, get involved with jewel thieves/smugglers
* (X) ‘s home is threatened by greedy real estate developer
* (X) inadvertently carry around top secret government technology, government tries to get it back from them
* (X) save the environment from evil corporation (not just greedy or negligent, but worse than Hitler)
* (X) get involved with the Mafia. Not the real Mafia, some cartoon bullshit version.
* (X) do the exact opposite of what they normally do, realize how wrong they are, and then go back to the status quo
* (X) get involved with some stupid regicide plot by the Duke of Dickface or whatever
* (X) go to another planet/dimension where ‘more epic’ things can happen
* (X) save/meet the President
* (X) are stranded on a desert island

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Posted by Matt on May 25, 2010

Look, an article about videogames that is interesting. Talks about what makes an appealing character in a game (fun fact: the goal of the Team Fortress 2 character designs is similar to how they designed characters on The Simpsons, to make recognizable from silhouette alone), and how that could be applied to woefully mistreated female characters in games.

The talk of a lack of variety among character designs reminds me that there really seems to be a lack of variety among game characters (and, consequently, game concepts) in big name games. It just seems weird to me that we don’t see more big games starring characters who are different from the same old human warrior archetype. Where are the games starring giant monsters? Weird aliens? Robots? Completely abstract concepts? Does no one want to make these kinds of games? Why?

Posted in Gamezzzzz, Interesting Things | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Posted by Matt on May 22, 2010

Bear with me, I’m on a nostalgic trip.

Early this morning, I saw that CTV was airing OWL TV. I used to watch OWL TV in my preschool days. It was one of those shows that made me interested in Animals!

How many of these kinds of children’s science magazine-format shows do they have now? Honestly, I think one of the easiest ways to get kids more excited about learning and science is to just show it to them, plainly, because nature has a way of being awesome on its own. I’m sure kids still like animals, and animal facts, right? They damn well better.

This, of course, led down the rabbit hole of children’s shows that I watched. Camp Cariboo, Fred Penner’s Place, The Umbrella Tree (fucking horrifying puppets), stuff like that. Then came…PJ Katie’s Farm. Upon reflection, I now realize the utter strangeness of this show.

Here’s the thing: the show was about a woman manipulating little home-made clay figurines to tell a story about farm animals, doing all the voices as well as narrating. No camera tricks, stop-motion, or anything. She just moved the clay figures and told the story in plain view. It’s sub-Manger Babies level television. Yet there’s something to the low-key affair and its public access production values; it makes me kind of glad it exists.

To show you how this show worked, here is a highlight reel:

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Posted by Matt on May 20, 2010

http://chud.com/articles/articles/23769/1/FIRST-IMAGES-FROM-RUBBER-THE-MOVIE-ABOUT-A-KILLER-TIRE/Page1.html

Directed by Quentin Dupieux (Steak, Nonfilm), RUBBER is the story of Robert, an inanimate tire that has been abandoned in the desert, and suddenly and inexplicably comes to life. As Robert roams the bleak landscape, he discovers that he possesses telepathic powers that give him the ability to destroy anything he wishes without having to move. At first content to wreak havoc on small desert creatures and various lost items, his attention soon turns to humans, resulting in the most gory vehicular-related mayhem inflicted on screen by an “inanimate” object since Christine.

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When Things Stop Making Any Sense

Posted by Matt on May 15, 2010

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benji,_Zax_&_the_Alien_Prince

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Posted by Matt on May 13, 2010

Linkblog again.

Following on the Joe Casey interview from a few days ago, here’s a history of creators leaving big comic companies and telling everyone about it.

Also, Warren Ellis gives sound writing advice.

Posted in Comix, Leinks, Writin' & Other Creativity | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Posted by Matt on May 11, 2010

An interview with Joe Casey on CBR. Apparently, a story he did for DC was altered after the fact, and he gets some pretty good analysis of the industry out in the open. Read it, dammit.

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Posted by Matt on May 9, 2010

I’ll explain: the reason why I’m playing Pokemon again, aside from nostalgic residue, is because it plays perfectly into my OCD desire to customize characters and make a distinctly ‘me’ team in games. For this same reason, I also like SRPGs like Final Fantasy Tactics and Disgaea, as well as Worms. The fact that’s it’s a simple fun RPG that can be played anywhere is a bonus.

I don’t understand this trend among a lot of online Pokemon fans or former fans who seem to think every monster made after the first games are shit. They’ll say things like “Oh, well the first 150 were more like actual animals. and the later ones are too weird!” (there are several answers to this question: (a)there’s a mix of more ‘down-to-earth’ designs and weirder ones in every game, and (b)who cares? Did you not notice the part where this a game of magic monster fighting for kids?), and it seems to be based more on nostalgia than any actual logic. I mean, what kind of standards do people have for cartoon creatures? For me, it goes like this: if I were ten years old, would I draw this?

Is every Pokemon design awesome? No, but when you’re creating 100+ new designs every few years, each one attempting to fill a specific niche, that happens.

As you can see, I discuss matters of utmost importance on this here site.

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Some have been freaking out about Marvel vs Capcom 3 since not long after it was announced. Capcom has made mention that they want the game to appeal to as broad a audience as possible. Since Street Fighter IV, ‘hardcore’ fighting players know what that means: they will not be the primary demographic the game is designed for! They will ‘dumb down’ the game and make it for casuals and scrubs!!!!! More importantly, it won’t be exactly the same as Marvel vs Capcom 2!!!!!!!!!!!

And now they have evidence: the game is going to use the 3-normal-attack layout (like Tatsunoko vs Capcom) instead of the 4-button of MvC2. Here’s the thing, though: that layout worked in TvC. In a more fantastic game like this, you don’t need to follow the Street Fighter standard 6-button layout, because you don’t need to have specific buttons for punches and kicks like those game do. Some people complained before TvC came out that it would be confusing not knowing which button is a punch and which button is a kick, but I think that’s more of a problem with preconceived notions than anything else. In any case, you have to figure out what the button does; even if you know it’s a punch or a kick, you still have to know what that punch or kick does. so what difference does it make if it’s not specifically either?

The other argument against this is that it limits the amount of moves that each character can have. That’s a possibility, but I doubt it’s really a significant hamper. For example, in TvC, Ryu’s moves are easy to figure out even without a Punch/Kick separation; and unless one thinks every character should have a dozen different special moves (which wouldn’t even be in-line with past MvC games), the system works out fine. Yes, the game will technically have fewer attacks than, say, Street Fighter IV, but so what? These games have never really been as ‘in-depth’ as the SF games, or at least not in the same regards. Don’t forget: this game also has lots of its own unique features (everything revolving around the assist system, snapbacks, aerial raves, stuff like that) to help provide a unique strategic experience, and they announced ALL those features being brought back alongside the new button layout. Losing an attack button really doesn’t hurt the possible depth of the game that much, from what I can see.

I had considered the possibility that they would use this control scheme; my only concern was it would use an odd number of buttons with the two assist buttons needed for a 3v3 game (in TvC, it worked out very well with only one assist, leading to 4 buttons). They solved this problem by adding the Exchange attacks, which actually sounds pretty interesting. Aside from providing one-button launchers (which is fine by me, I see no real difference between using a specific button and DF+HP for it) and other easier access combo-oriented attacks, it can also be used to counter other Exchange attack, depending on what they use. So, not only do they solve the even/odd layout issue, as well as make a certain important aspect of the game very slightly more doable, but they even added entirely new ideas in the process! I’ll be curious to see more about this new thing.

Posted in Gamezzzzz, NERDS!, Nobody Cares | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Posted by Matt on May 7, 2010

Via Ebert:

“I recently went on a general meeting at a studio, which I won’t name, and asked if they were looking for original ideas. The answer was, “We are always looking for original ideas. As long as they are based on underlying material like a comic book or video game or novel.” I sat there a bit confused, then finally responded, “So you’re answer is no then? If it’s based on someone else’s IP, then it really isn’t an original, is it?” Then he sat there a bit confused. He didn’t understand what I was talking about.”

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