Saturday, January 21, 2012

Jim's Rants & Raves

Similar to SQT’s Random Thoughts, sometimes a few things wind up sticking in my craw that I feel the need to talk about, but it isn’t enough for me to write an entire entry about. Usually these are things that I either feel the need to express my displeasure about, or that I want to sing the praises of – so despite the fact that it’s rather unoriginal, I’m going to go with Rants & Raves.
  • Rave – the “Glory”ious return of Extreme Studios comics. Believe it or not, I wasn’t a huge fan of this particular sub-studio of Image back in the day – I was more of a Wildstorm guy (though I was not a Rob Liefeld hater, I just didn’t wind up reading most of these titles, with the exception of Prophet). I was only mildly intrigued by the announcement that some of these titles would be coming back in 2012, and even Prophet didn’t garner my attention at first (though it has since moved onto my list to check out, with it’s combination scifi/Conan vibe) – but after this recent interview with the creators of these books at Newsarama, I’ve decided I must give Glory a try. A book I never looked twice at, despite it’s attempts to pander in the past, I love how the creators of this book go out of their way to talk about how they don’t want to make a book that girls are embarrassed to read (like – as they say – DC screwed up royally with their relaunch). Descirbed as a superheroes meets epic fantasy book, with that kind of attitude from the creative team, I’ve decided I must give Glory a try.
  • Rant - Speaking of attitude, there was a great article on Author Behavior that I completely agree with. I’ve had contact with a number of authors over the years, even ones whose books I haven’t always loved (and they knew it). There have only been a few occasions where I’ve had completely bad interactions with authors (and by this I mean, giving me undeserved bad attitude) – in two cases I let it go owing to the situations (one was at a signing, the other through a Yahoo! Group interaction). But one I have never been able to let go. I had long lurked at the Star Trek BBS for discussing literature, where many of the authors interact with the fans. I had long seen one particular author act rudely to fans, but I didn’t know him and had never read anything by him. Eventually I did read one of his Trek books, and found it to be entertaining though not memorable. I never said anything one way or the other about that particular book, but when I was later praising a follow-up book by another author, the rude author wound up engaging me over my comments about the characterization of one new creation who had been introduced (by all of these authors) in the books. It became a personal attack against me (directed by this author), because it was apparently my fault that multiple authors had failed to make this character sympathetic to me. I’ll also note, I was essentially a new user to that board – I can’t imagine how people would feel welcomed in that kind of a situation. I vowed I would never read another book by that author again and that I would never post at that board again, and I haven’t. This despite the fact that TOR just released covers of some new books, including one by the author in question, which sounds like it would be right up my alley – but I’ll never allow my dollar to help subsidize his career again.
  • Rant – my family and I were recently watching The Brave Little Toaster. Actually we didn’t get very far with it – within moments of turning it on my wife was asking me when this movie was made (because it looked like Snow White era, and not in a good way, despite being made in 1987). Since I was on the Wiki page for it, I looked up the plot and decided it was going to be too sad to continue (at which point we switched to the new Pooh movie, which was hysterical by the way). I’m not sure if my rant is more directed at The Brave Little Toaster – which seems to be alluding that a Toaster, a Vacuum Cleaner, a Radio and an Electric Blanket are the favorite TOYS of their child master whom they miss (yes, all electrical appliances kids, lets go PLAY!) – or am I more annoyed to discover that essentially the Toy Story movies (which has the involvement of John Lassetter, who also worked on guess what? The Brave Little Toaster) drew from this plot with the household items coming to life, missing their master, going out on their own into the real world, sent to a junkyard… I guess I could look at it as the Toy Story movies actually took what was probably a good idea and making it far more appropriate by actually making it about toys instead of appliances that could get a person killed, but the whole experience has just gotten to me.
  • Rave – to end on a positive note, Orbit books recently announced that they would finally be bringing Michael Cobley’s Humanity’s Fire scifi series to the US. I’ve had an advance copy of the first book for a few years now, and I look forward to finally cracking it open in time for the debut here. You’re bound to see me feature these books in upcoming Waiting on Wednesday columns, but I thought I’d share my excitement here first.


SQT said...

I can appreciate where you're coming from in regard to that author. I'm the kind of person who won't pay money for people who personally offend me-- and that goes for movies too. Pretty dumb to abuse the goodwill of your fans in my opinion.

SQT said...

Btw-- I like the theme of this post. I hope you don't mind if I steal it sometime.

Bets Davies said...

Damn. Now I'm going to have to read Glory. That's a challenge. The only thing I have ever been embarrassed to read was Bridget Jones' Diary (believe it or not my boyfriend insisted we read it together. Sensibly, I ended up leaving him. As far as I know he actually is straight, though). I read my mom's poetry books where she writes about fucking my father down to a nub. I don't really embarrass.

I've seen The Brave Little Toaster all the way through. I found it amusing and, of the eighties when animation sucked, reasonably animated. You made one major mistake--a mistake in their marketing and a mistake made purely because it is a cartoon: This is not, in no way, a children's movie. Sure, it ends up all right. But the implements used, you are correct, are electrical. The terrors face too terrible for a young child, and the sad parts too sad. It's quality story and I'll admit I knocked off the Toy Story movies b/c they were, essentially, remakes.

The Brave Little Toaster hides out with the cultists. Never finding a real niché.

Speaking of twisted use of childhood (probably not for your kids either), check out My Little Ponies Massacred for some gory stop animation fun:

Bets Davies said...

Lost my URL?

Jim Haley said...

@SQT - you can absolutely use this same topic again in the future. I've already got my next one brewing, probably for posting next weekend. But next time I'll just use the generic "Rants & Raves" and then we'll just use it whenever.

And I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who won't pay money to those who've offended me. It feels like I'm holding a grudge (because I guess I am) but it doesn't feel misguided to me. I tried to interact with the author in question on the subject a few times before becoming sick of his condescending attitude towards me.

@Bets - that explains a bit about The Brave Little Toaster, although I still question the intent of the movie - wasn't this based off of a kids book? Still, there are plenty of Disney movies that I don't feel are "child" appropriate (or at least, not for the age of my kids), and now at least I've got a better understanding that the movie wasn't really meant for them.

SQT said...

Maybe it is a grudge, but I wouldn't go back to a restaurant with bad service either. I'm not sure if that's a good comparison but I think it's the same principle-- you don't give money to people who treat you badly.