Category: Comics

Save us Turbine Man!

There has been an awful lot of press release info on the Warner Brother Purchase of Turbine inc. The most interesting speculation, has been what new MMO’s Turbine is working on. There has also been a lot of speculation that this MMO is a Harry Potter MMO. There is a lot of Credence to this thought process and it the HP franchise lends itself heavily towards this as a theory. It’s already got a built in story, Houses, classes, factional, plus an element of PVP, and fluff content, plus a great set of villains and plot lines. Truly, after seeing the world that Turbine has done with Lord of the Rings, if anyone could pull off an HP MMO. Turbine could, and they could do it well.

But The more I Thought about this, there were a few things that came to mind.

First. The HP Franchise for WB has been a cash cow. they’ve made money Hand over fist, and it would in a lot of ways Behoove them to keep the cash cow going. But I think this is also a target audience that also likes HP, may not be so Interested in an MMO. The Demographics really just don’t fit well enough to Risk that kind of Venture.

The proper answer didn’t occur to me until just recently when a my brother in law, a fellow geek showed me a new MMO he’s playing and how much he likes it. After some discussion about it’s highlights and what he loves about it. The answer struck me. While yes, This seem cliche and over used it makes a lot of sense.

Lets take a look of what other franchises and or companies that WB owns. Castle Rock, New Line, Fine Line, Tolkein, DC comics. Granted this is a fraction, but these are the ones that I would declare had some significance. The one that has been over looked is DC comics. DC was purchased by Warner Brothers in 1969 and they’ve put out a handful of mediocre Superman and Batman Films, and they’ve put out a few REALLY good ones. But it’s mostly been an under used IP Franchise That still has a lot of popularity. As Marvel was being purchased by Disney, and the Comic Book fan were in an uproar, WB was giving Feeding Turbine Money to the tune of 80 Million+. And Quietly putting together a new MMO. The WB Purchase went off without a hitch, and people cited that WB had controlling interest in the Tolkien Franchise, and Seeing that it was WB giving money to Turbine the automatic assumption was an HP MMO. Not really thinking, or knowing that DC is owned by WB. It happened long enough ago that most Comic book fans didn’t have the public outlet that we have now. The purchase wasn’t a world wide announcement. I’m willing to wager that Most DC Comic Fans realized that DC is owned (subsidiary) by WB

City Of heros, City Of Villians, Champions online, All have hit a demographic that is kind of exclusive to the hard core comic fan. Champions online Character creation is so extensive that if you were willing to put the time in you can custom create a character that is so accurate to the original it’s almost plagiarism. I first played Champions on my Brother in laws Account, and built a Character that looked so much Samus Aran that you’d mistakenly think that it was. Plus it was fun to play. My In law has this fantasy book in his head that he’s writing. He’s used Champions online to build his characters, he’s tweaked out every detail of how they should look. All of these MMO’s have done very well for both the fan and the non fan.

So when you sit back and look at the larger picture. Turbine has made a very successful MMO based off of a movie and series of books that New Line Cinemas did a fantastic job with. (also part of the WB)

Warner Brothers is seeing Marvel Rake in the cash from their IP’s and are starting to realize that their own DC IP is very under utilized in todays media. WB has announced a series of new Movies leading to a Justice league movie, Marvel is doing an avengers movie. There is some creditably to suggest that WB is after a demographic that is mostly of untouched by most mainstream MMO’s. It’s not far fetched to assume that WB is after a DC MMO to run in Sync with their own Movie franchises.

Video Game Characters doing what they do best.

Click for full image.

So as someone pointed out. We have a ton of books that are several hundred years old that give in details world of another nature, Languages and ideas that simply do not exist in our lives at the present moment. But Seriously what if it was just a Guidebook to a game of tabletop?

Meaning, If in 700 years someone came across a D&D 3rd edition rulebook, they’d probably think it was some kind of biblical guide to how we lived our lives– Or we had some kind of alien visitation that advanced our technology, then mysteriously left.

“Hark! Thine holy city is destroyed! You take 2d6 Damage!”

How much do we REALLY know about our history, and what’s to assume that we aren’t reading too much into some of the “historical artifacts” that we’ve found. For example the dead sea scrolls. What if table top was outlawed so they played it out in a cave in the middle of no where so as to avoid being caught and executed for heresy!? The scrolls themselves are nothing more than a guidebook to the most epic game of tabletop ever!? This really isn’t out of the list of possibilities, seeing that I grew up in an era where D&D was outlawed entirely by my parents – as a lot of people cited it as being demonic, or satanic. Simply because they did not understand it. People didn’t understand it 20 years ago, and they were quick to reject and classify something has bad because it gave people ideas. There was nothing wrong with it, and if nothing else it’s encouragement to enable people (and kids) to use their imagination, and *GASP* Think for themselves! For me it would have been an escape of what I would easily classify growing up in the center of hell! There is no reason to suggestion that the same reaction would not have occurred 500 or 700, or even 1,000 years ago.

I’ve gone off on this rant before about how Comics are not bad for kids, it instills and brings about critical thinking. It’s exposure to science and history, a lot of things were based off of historical fact and ideology that would only exist because someone else though it up. I don’t see how Tabletop is any different. People freak out and panic over, and quickly reject or label something as bad before they understand what it is. It’s sad too, life for me growing up would have been very different if I had access to a tabletop Group, or someone to play Magic with.

On that train of thought these are the very reasons why I’ve been teaching my boys how to play Magic the Gather and the WoW TCG. I Started with WoW TCG because it’s a name, pictures, cards and spells they are familiar with. But it will instill Critical thinking in them, give them reason to think ahead of what they are doing. Give them a place to escape to that isn’t in a prefabricated world of someone else creations. Let them create their own and push the limits of their own imagination.

So I was listening to this broadcast called “geekshow” it’s done by several local personalities, they talk about well.. geek stuff. Comics, Movies, Games, toys, etc. They talked about something today that disturbed me. Apparently a mother somewhere in the U.S. sued her local School district for having Comics in the library. She said it was a waste of money for the school to spend money on comics. Honestly I think she needs to be slapped. I will that part of the reason why I can read at all is because I spent a lot of time reading comics. It’s something that will get kids interested. Let’s not forget that this Saturday (May 2nd) is Free comic day. It’s a nationwide event. You can go into any comic store and get free comics. I’m  certain that somewhere in this state there is at least 2 comic stores would allow any school system to go in the day before, and get age appropriate content appropriate comics for free for the schools. There is one local guy who home schools his kids, he called up a comic shop and asked about resources to get comics. The Owner of the store told him that he’s got a box of comics that he has multiple copies of, and he sold him to the guy for 10 cents a comic.

Why am I making a big deal about this?

Two reasons. Comics are not the root of all evil… it’ll happen, one day we’ll have the media going nuts “oh someone went on a killing spree because he thought it was better than letting humanity rot, and in his coat jacket was a comic of Watchmen.” This has happened with music, then movies, then games, now it’s certain fantasy fiction books written for teenage girls, and soon it will be comics. The fact of the matter is it’s a great way to get kids, boys especially to get interested in reading, Some of them are long the words get big and explanations get complicated, it will not only help them with their general reading but also their comprehension which is a big deal and being a father of 4 special needs children and being severe ADD myself, it’s a really big deal. Comprehending certain aspects of writing styles and certain words and their actual meanings gets to be really tough. But This is a great way to get it so kids get that exposure they need.

Secondarily, the Geek show broadcasters said that a comic sent as a care package to the soldiers in Iraq were some of the favorite things that they got. I confirmed this with a friend of mine who is an Iraq vet. “Nothing was better and more relaxing to me than sitting down and reading a comic.” This mirrors one of things said in the broadcast this week “There is very little that can mentally take you out of the horrible situation that you’re in like a couple of issues of the uncanny X-Men.” I would say it’s true. It’s a very great way to get your mind involved into a story, and out of a bad situation.

However it is the responsibility of the parent to know what their kids are reading, sit down and read the thing before they do so you know if it’s going to be too much for your kids or not. There are some that are definitely not appropriate for “all young ages.” But comics open the doorway to Mythology, Geography, history and chemical sciences. Most comics start with a basis of truth, and they maintain certain truths, There are aspects of most of comics that the ideology is based around truth, and a point of history. Captain America came out During WWII, he was the icon for freedom and fighting for it. He became a symbol for support for the troops overseas. Let’s not forget what made comics what they are, they are not evil. Suing a School system because your child brought home a copy of Spider man is stupid, it’s not only entertainment, but good reading for kids and adults alike.

Twilight Fans gone Rabid…

I’ve just flat out decided to distance myself from acknowledging people who have these books on them out in public. I’m sure that this is not what Stephanie Meyer had in mind when she wrote it. The books didn’t create a horrific cultic mindset it’s the unstable people who get obsessive about it that created this.

If you’ve not heard about this, and have no idea what I’m talking about. Check out this insane list.

Twilight fans have separated themselves into groups, there is the group called the “twihards” and the “antis” however if your somewhere in between (much like I am) You’re still likely to get attacked regardless. I showed this someone, they turned around and made the retort of “I’m sure every major story book line like Harry Potter, or Starwars, or Startrek has have people who have gotten violently into it.So I went out to either prove, or disprove this. I have spent much more time searching than I care to admit, the closest thing I found was in 1999. When Starwars Episode 1 was released a riot broke out at a movie theater because the person who was in line first bought 150 tickets, and therefore the theater ran out quick for the midnight showing. The guy in question then turned around and resold the tickets for 4 times the cost. This isn’t the fault of George Lucas, it is partially the fault of the theater for selling 150 tickets to one person. It was one guy who made an ass of himself, and he got beat up. That was the only event I found, of this magnitude. I’m not saying that there aren’t any others, only that I couldn’t find any others. The fact that people have had knives pulled on them, beaten with bats, flare guns shot at them, slapped, kicked, bricks thrown at head, and body parts mutilated because they expressed a personal opinion without provocation is absurd. It’s groupings of people who are mentally unstable to begin with and took it too far. Before I get chastised, yes my wife and I sat down and read the books together. She really liked them, they weren’t for me. Her writing is chaotic and hard to follow, it wasn’t that great, it wasn’t bad, it wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever read. (I’ll leave that to Stephen King.) But it wasn’t the phenomenon that it was made out to be.

I feel bad for Stephanie Meyer, This kind of crap isn’t what she intended, this is the result of unstable people taking it too far, and parents who don’t reign in an obsessive behavior before it gets out of control.

However, There is a positive side to this.

This introduces a whole set of generation of kids to the fantasy world. Vampires, werewolves, shape shifters. This will hopefully get some of them to look into the Buffy and Angel comics, as well as some of the other types of fantasy media which is intended for entertainment.

Swine flu?

The Whole Swing Flu thing has been blown completely out of proportion, but for good reason. In years past when we’ve had “Mad cow disease” and “Bird flu” The governments in question slaughtered all of the infected animals to remove the spread of the disease. In this particular case certain governments are not willing to take this step. Which isn’t a good thing, however people are taking it too far. There are people thousands of miles away from where the flu is being spread, in areas where there have been no outbreaks that are out driving their car with a gas mask, not just a standard face mask, but a gas mask. Is it a concern? Absolutely. Ignorance isn’t bliss… but paranoia isn’t either.