Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Future Site of Cartoon World

I've got both bad news and good news for Bay City.

First the bad news: Dellybean North has left, and with her a lovely Art Deco structure in Falconmoon.  (Actually I'm keeping the Pineapple Building there until I'm ready for maneuvers)

The good news?  I own that parcel now, right on Gershwin Boulevard.  This was a street I named, so this location holds much significance for me as well as a bit of a triumph.

Will I sell my first plot or turn it into a park?  Well, I'd really like to get my money back.  Then again I could create a permanent buffer between myself and that godawful spinning adfarm sign that cheapass character put next to Oona Opinion's place.

The new place appears to face an old church across the boulevard.  I suppose it's an intersection of landmarks if I include the Molexandria excavation site.

I starting to wonder if my Atomic Age style is out of place for that block?  Everything else seems to be an elegant 20s-30s' style.

Any opinions?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Avoiding the Suckage Pitfall

Shmoo brought up Tron the other night when I showed him the concept poster.  It's funny; Tron never crossed my mind.  However it made sense that it came to others'.

I'll tell you why this isn't like Tron.  First of all, Tron was about someone who existed in a representation of what someone deluded was a computer environment.  This wasn't about people in an alternate dimension or cyberspace.  Other than Flynn, the other participants were not people - there or anywhere.  

Tron just wasn't such a good film.  Disney banked on the computer graphics to carry a limp story.  People were attracted by the goth darkness, the neon colors, and the notion that a computer did all the effects and graphics.  And lest we forget the light cycles.  By the way, those neat glowy stripes on their suits weren't computer generated.

I can't say how good my comic will be since that's a subjective judgement which may vary from person to person.  However things that suck tend to lack some basics and thought put into them, and my comic won't have fallen into those ruts.

Will there be clichés?  The concept is already a cliché.  So is the notion of dropping a popular fictional character into any locale or scenario familiar to the author.  I'm like a mad scientist and love to mix and match, then see what happens.  I'd like to think I can do it better than what's come before.

If you want to get philosophical about it, everything's been done before.  The successful stuff just had more thought put into it, perhaps were the culmination of a few of the right things combined in just the right way.  I've certainly had time to think about this and covered most angles by asking myself a barrage of questions. Shmoo asked some; I had quick answers to as much as I was willing to divulge.  I thought that was pretty good for a start.  Certainly as I work on the project, more things will firm up.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Pre-Comic Ponderings

 Integration Complete

It's mostly internal and therefore undetectable.  Creative output would show the change in some cases.  Aside from planning my Burning Life project, I'll be focusing on my comic.  The time is right I think. 

I've thought about this all very carefully: as a fan, as an inspired artist, and as a comics professional (yes, I still see myself as a comics professional):

- Will this comic fit within the current Dr Who timeline?  Yes.  Anything can happen during a quick trip to the moon & back.  Further in my favor is The Doctor's skewed sense of time; this trait was touched upon a few times over the course of Series 5 (this year).  God Bless Steve Moffat.  The man has a visionary's eye. 

- I've mention to a couple of friends I wanted them to be in the story.  No objections (cleared some questions with one to their satisfaction).  I don't think I'll use their names though (or full names), just their personifications and my perception of how they represent their subculture.  Also anyone depicted offline will be fictional avatars.  There are two characters who are fictional, one a villain inworld and RL.

- As much as I think 3D Glasses are cool, The Doctor won't be wearing them.  I have to remain objective to make the best story.  That would have been cool though...

- The story will predominantly take place on a grid like Second Life but will not be called Second Life or mention Linden Labs or the Lindens.

- The Doctor... Who could possibly trademark that?  I've repesented another "The Doctor" for over a decade.  He's The Doctor in my comic too.

- Given the endurance Dr Who fandom, I'll ASSume that the BBC values the free advertising that comes with allowing fans to freely exercise their creativity - like Paramount does with Trekkies. 

Case in point: About ten years ago, Marvel bit themselves in the ass by requiring fan pages to register by postal mail or fax; on approval the "lucky" fan would receive a limited collection of acceptable images to use.  Other feeder biters over time have included Disney, Children's Television Workshop (Sesame Street), and United Features Syndicate (Peanuts etc).  And don't get me started about YouTube.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Countdown Sequence to Regeneration

I've been here close to ten years.

I've followed a conflicted existence in virtual life, being a fantasy creature while avoiding role play groups like the plague (refer to Trek Sim personae in I, Holodoc; I've paid my dues).  But Voyager landed and it was time to explore culture and just get immersed into what the world had to offer. Any world.

Anyway, after having mastered everything from donning armor to play a game of acronyms, battling the VP of the Sellbots, curing drama queens, and the bunny hop, it was time for a tune up.

Having many theories about time of my own, you'd think I'd have warmed up to Dr. Who long ago.  I knew of it during the Tom Baker era.  I think most people here in the USA did.  Back in the late 70s it was on WOR Saturday mornings. I know because I saw the vortex thingie and end credits before watching local wrestling ("...and Ivan Putski: the Polish Hammer!").  Well, the 3 Stooges weren't airing during that era here.  Standing in line for a convention with round fans in long scarves speaking in painfully fake British accents was another put off early on; I just wanted to get some commissioned pieces from comic artists.

When I finally moved out and acquired an old High School friend for a roomate, I endured watching Tom Baker Dr Who's with her.  She had to watch them.  Still not sure if it was because she liked them or she was taking notes for her video production class.  Gawd awful effects on video for an insufferable half hour.  And those lame daleks! They made Tobor the Great look like ILM. ugh! ugh! ugh!  Eventually she watched the one in a sweater... whatsisname? Peter Davison?  It wasn't much better. As I recall the episode aesthetics seemed more sterile from the previous era, but it was still a cheap production and annoying.

By the late 80s I was selling esoteric stuff at Creation Cons with a friend.  We would trade off who we'd see while the other minded the table.  The big deal at one was another doctor starting up. Some Sylvester guy.  He made an appearance at the con.  Seemed like a nice enough fellow, but I couldn't compare him to Tom Baker; this one looked more like someone on a fishing trip than an eccentric time traveler.

When she moved on, so did my proximity to anything Dr Who.  I had by then quit professional comics and stopped going to conventions, and even for the latter I hadn't attended as a spectator for years.

I ran into a Christmas special last year.  I didn't care for the actor playing the doctor.  I thought he had limited skills for an actor.  The other guy who thought he was the doctor was better.  I thought: "Whoah - they're doing these on film now," but featuring a race of crush kill destroy robots.

Oh bruh ther

They had to go and ruin it with an eyeroller foe.

Twitter was all a-twitter about the end of that doctor earlier this year.  Oh yeah? I thought if the next one was any good it might be worth watching.  Boston Legal was long gone, Warehouse 13 was done for the season and left viewers with an amazing cliffhanger, and I couldn't get into 24 or Stargate Universe.  I was open to something.

I watched the end. Gad what a STOOOOOOOOPID story with everyone on Earth turning into an excessively hyperactive lunatic and Timothy Dalton - who killed his career's momentum when he accepted a role in the Rocketeer - spitting out melodrama.  The doctor was like Wile E Coyote: jumping out of a space ship, smashing through a glass ceiling and slamming onto marble.  He got up after that.  Ohkayy...

The whole regeneration thing was new to me.  Regeneration means different things to someone who trained with Starfleet.  All I knew was that it was an essential process for Borg physiology and something my friend Sevhen did.  I hadn't realized through all those years and doctors there was this vehicle to include their distinct changes as part of the plot.

For those reading who aren't familiar with how this works: Dr. Who is about an alien who travels time and space with haphazard regard; he follows no set Temporal Prime Directive.  He's lived over 900 years by regenerating when he either reaches the end of his physical lifespan or is seriously wounded.  Either can trigger the process where his body undergoes a transformation.  The results are random; he can return as any age.  With a new body of course comes new chemistry, and with it new senses and a new mindset - with a lifetime of memories intact.

Traditionally the body of the departing actor lap-dissolved to the new one at the end of a season, leaving fans hanging to see a full story with the new person a long while later.  Fans lost their tenth doctor with a fireworks show that destroyed his place.  The shock of a new face they had to speculate over for almost a year.  For me it would be another hour before the opening episode aired here.

I skipped some documentary about the first ten doctors.  I didn't want a burden going into this.  They had already cleansed the legacy's palate for me.  I went fishing at Blaksleeworld I think for that hour.

Eleventh Hour, the new doctor's first episode, was amazing. Just amazing. Clearly there was a new writing team at work.  And the mold was broken; this had to have been as far from Dr Who it could get in my mind, and I was sold.  I could easily have gone to see something like this in the theatre.

At first it seemed to have America's failings, with jumps in the plot and unaccountable changes.  I learned later that about 25% of the episode was cut for commercials.  I eventually saw the episode uncut. Even more amazing.

This actor Matt Smith: don't let his youthful looks fool you. He traversed the gamut this season and proved himself.  There are many elements to the series' premise which appeals to me, and the "companion" the doctor's chosen is so different from anyone he had tagging along with him in the past. Amy Pond seems like real stuff for a change (dynamic, neurotic...).  The few times the writing dipped (daleks automatically earn an eyeroll from me), it has still been better than most of what's out there.  And then there are those little details in each episode which lend themselves to the main story arc of the year.  This is tight.  Like Back to the Future Trilogy tight. Everything is important.

I've had the advantage of seeing the rest of the year.  The USA is still 3 episodes away.  Then comes major deprivation for everybody until next spring.  Fortunately there's the return of Warehouse 13 this week to cushion the shock.  I'm glad I finished one before moving on to the other, particularly since they're scheduled opposite eachother on Tuesday nights.

For the most part I still snub the legacy and have a hard time associating with it.  In a YouTube video taken last spring, they showed diehard fans in their scarves. They looked like they could have been the same people from  decades back, and they were very serious.  SCARY!!!  I've seen filler episodes with David Tennant (#10) and saw one episode with doctor #9 whom I found quite good, but the plots from those years were all hard to rise above, even with exceptional performances (and as nice as a guy Tennant seems to be, I truly wasn't impressed with his doctor).  That's ironic coming from someone who has come to side with the series.  With season 5 it's become a long lost twin, the yin to my yang, the doctor to my doctor.  I can't fly a tardis to save anyone's life, but that's okay.  I have temporal mechanics on my side.

The energy the series left me with though has brought me to a place I haven't been to in a very long time.  I will be making an announcement about this at my party tomorrow night (Friday the 9th at 2pm SLT. Look for the pink events star over Hydrangea, then get your coordinates from the police box by my diner).

For this party, I'll be hosting the music myself.  This is a personal, almost spiritual day.

Whether you're a fan of the show or not, a party is a party.  The announcement will be related to Dr Who, but not require anyone to be a fan to appreciate or enjoy what is to come.  You won't be disappointed.