Monday, April 30, 2007

These heros they rise and these heros they fall...


so this is odd eh? Two postings in a month? I have to say I'm weirded out too, but in a good way. Its a fuzzy weird that warms the stranger parts of my stomach (now that isn't gross at all...) now on to other things.

This is more of a "hmm" post than any kind of story, unfortunately. (though I think this thought will lead into a story at some point, we'll see). This "hmm" has to do with superheros and, more specifically, spiderman 3 that hits theaters everywhere this weekend. It has me worried, honestly, I'm worried, and heres the reason why.

There are a few writing techniques that a writer might employ to keep a series like this going. When a film hits the third installment, it has to have something that the first two didn't or else your audience is going go feral and start fires in anger. you have to keep the story fresh. Alot of the time that means adding more. New characters, new plot new twists and new settings. It appears that spiderman 3 plans to use the first two. (NOTE: continuing storyline is another thing that keeps a trilogy rolling, and spiderman franchise uses those wonderfully. Not in a Lord of the Rings sort of story arc, but subtly in the character relationships and certain events.)

We've seen in x-men that cramming as many classically cool characters and story lines as possible into a film is not a winning combination. There hits a point of confussion. S3 plans on three villians, sandman, venom and the Hob-Goblin. I'm worried that its too much. Saying that, the themes that come with these characters are extremely similar. Harry needs revenge for his father, peter is looking for revenge for his uncle and, well, we all know what Venom is about: a creature born for revenge.

Can the directing staff balance these characters? I'm honestly not sure. History says yes, the previous installments have been wonderfully imagined and recreated for the big screen. That said there has never been three villians, each big enough to carry his own movie. Add to that mix Spiderman's inner demons he must resolve all the while romancing MJ and getting sage advice from Aunt May.

Its a big film full of big ideas and alot of larger than life characters. So much so that it has fan boys drooling. I want to say this movie will be amazing, I really want to. And it could be. It has potential to be greater than the previous two, it could surpass any other superhero movie ever created! It could! But after a disappointment like xmen 3, where the CGI was amazing and the story was a confusing hodge podge of dribble strained from one of the richest superhero worlds in existance, I hesitate. Pheonix, Magneto, Beast(finally!), angel, collosus, juggernaut... how could have they went wrong? But they did.. and S3 could too.

Thus I hesitate and thank goodness for teh interweb where I can post my thoughts where they will be lost among the hundreds of thousands others.

End thought one.

I actually had another thought, that is similar but at the same time not. How does a new writer create a new hero? Think about the attempts recently and compare them to the household names. Highschool high? That wasn't a serious SH flick. Zoom... not up to speed. Mystery men? Again a comedy. You can stretch the defination and go to characters like Riddick but he doesn't really fit. You could say "the incredibles" but thats animated. Most current blockbuster films are going to comic books to get their heros. I can't blame them. Rise of the Silver Surfer? Of course I'm going to go see it, and it wouldn't matter what story they pick or if they decide that the best way to beat him is with a clown army. Its the silver surfer! Might as well be the golden surfer, its a no brainer when it comes to ticket sales.

I think thats the trouble. You would need a good character, and I mean really good. And your story has got to be tight, so tight it starts to restrict circulation. But on top of that you need to break through the "whos that?" Because your character will not be superman, he won't cling to walls and he won't ride a flaming bike. Also, unfortunately I would say a huge percentage of the good powers are taken. Flying, shooting fire and freezing junk have all been taken by about a dozen other characters. Original superhero models are hard to come up with, so on top of everything else you have to break the "pffft that guy's just like daredevil, spiderman, iceman, pyro, xavier..." the list goes on to infinite.

bottom line. Original superhero = tough. Therefore I want to try it. Stay tuned for a few shorts about heros and, possibly, maybe something a little longer about the "Returners". Except I'm not allowed to start anything new until I have something finished... so off to work on 1001 :) still, short stories are good breaks... haha. until next time!

John, the Writer

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Huzzah! The victory shall go to the swift... oh, nuts...

Hi everyone who still reads this from time to time. I've put some effort into another 'Creatures' story and really the only thing its helped me figure out is that I need to define this world and this style of writing a little more. Its mostly inspired by the art over at and I guess the best words for it would be 'Surreal' and 'minimalist' That said, I know its not for everyone but I think with a bit more work and alot more of the igredient known as plot, this world could survive. I know it will have to lose the minimalistic appraoch for it to make any kind fo sense but for now, I give you "Clumsy: creatures number two" Soon perhaps I'll take you all to the Barrens in a more orderly and detailed way, but for now I kinda like how this piece turned out. Enjoy.


“It’s the Gob’s fault. Always the Gob’s fault. They’re clumsy with everything. Life needs finesse, life needs style. Gobs are too clumsy, too …”
“They smell too.”
“See? Everything about them is clumsy. Their smell even. Clumsy clumsy clumsy, can’t even dance. Can’t even sing… Gobs… Gobs… Gobs… no good, no good…”
“No good at magiks.”
“Right! Magiks! They’re no good at that either, its cause they’re too clumsy… too clumsy for it. You need grace, style; magiks need style and grace. There’s a flow, you need a flow for life too. Gobs are too clumsy for the flow, they don’t flow.”
“Don’t know what she sees in him, I just don’t.”
“Gah! …”
Bartender Hjen looked up from his station, eyes winking slowly, one at a time.
“You shouldn’ta said that… life is cycles, everything goes round. He was almost done the cycle, the crying cycle. Now he’ll start again.” The last eye blinked and the bartender turned to get another mug to wipe. “not healthy ta start another cycle before the first ones done, now there’s two cycles, none of them finished. How’s he gonna heal with two cycles spinning and nowhere to go?”
Lilin shook his head, “you sure you weren’t a sage?”
“They don’t let me in the library.”
“How do you know about cycles then? Huh?”
Hjen shrugged, “talent for it I guess. They’re obvious, cycles are.”
“I suppose. Still… I don’t understand them.”
“Natural for me, life’s full of cycles if you watch careful.”
“You’d be a naturalist then?”
“I wouldn’t go that far.”
“For a Gob! She left me for a Gob!”
Lilin’s companion of drinking was not the center of the bar’s attention, but neither was he unwatched by the other creatures that drank their private poisons. It was difficult for the patrons of “The battered Warrior” to decide which was more entertaining, the drama of a Shrub who had lost his girl to a Gob or the two Drops who were dancing on the tops of tables, lacy wings beating lazily in their stupor. The age old argument of Comedy versus Tragedy had reared its head and was being unconsciously debated between the patrons. A typical day at the Warrior, such as any day is typical.
The Warrior stood hunched in the middle of the Barrens, an area of vast plains and sudden cliffs. It had once been a machine of war, a metal man of sorts with sunken eyes in a hunkered chest and four great arms. In whatever battle that had ended its life, the warrior had been struck to the ground so that the arms and legs were pillars of rust and invincible metal holding up a cradle in which Hjen had seen fit to build his bar. There was a shrine at the door of course, to appease the spirits that might call the building a desecration of a body in death. Hjen had thought it suitable tribute that a dead meknic machine of war was now used to celebrate life, a cycle he called it. He was scholarly like that.
The patrons were of a multinational, inter denomination and cosmically diverse sort, such as could be found in the barrens. There were no Darks or Sharps, and very few Tin men (though only because the tin men didn’t find occasion to socialize with soulful men) but most other races were present. The Barrens welcomed all, because it received so few; it was a hostile place to live and work. Thus there were those that flew with wings and those that flew without, there were green and blue drops, red and brown Shrubs, Gobs of all shapes with a sprinkling of man blood strewn about like a breeze. Clods and Hoofs and Tall Men, all sat shoulder to shoulder. Metal adorned many; Meknics loved the Barrens.
“See what’d I tell ya? Cycles, he started all over again, ruined the cycle he was in, now he may never heal, he might always hurt.” Hjen started his eyes winking again.
“Hah wasn’t my fault, he’d have started again anyway, look, see the door there? That’s his girl, the Shrub with the amber eyes. And see there? That Gob behind her, that’s the Gob of our friend’s woeful tribulation.” Lilin shook his head, “I should not have said anything, for I think he heard me, now there will be blood I imagine.”
“It would not have made a difference, he would have seen anyways.”
“That Gob! That’s the Gob, the clumsy, clumsy Gob! I’ll ruin him!” Lilin’s friend said, eyes flashing dangerous colors of magic and rage.
“Friend, let me buy you another drink, to help you along in your cycle? Hjen here says it’s not healthy to break a cycle. He should know, he was once a sage in a different life.”
“Was not, cycles just come natural.” Hjen blinked slowly once but put his mug down and squared his shoulders, “they won’t let me in the library.”
“If you are my friend, unhand me! There is injustice in this room and it has the look of a Gob!”
There was a flare of light and Lilin’s hand was flung from his friends shoulder. The Shrub leaped into the air, hoisting a lightning bolt in his outstretched hand. The two who had entered, the amber eyed girl and a rather large Gob looked up in surprise.
The bolt came crashing down, the shrub’s body convulsing in magical release and he crouched breathing hard for a moment before looking up to behold the chaos that he had turned the Warrior into. Meknics sat rigid, with weapons morphed and outstretched, swords and barrels all shivering in anticipation of use. The outlaws dug for hidden guns, not checked at the door, warriors drew knives and those with the Art, readied arcane powers, twisting reality to make fire and light. Anger and tension boiled; the shrub’s lightening had missed its mark.
“She’s gone!” The drop sobbed, body limp with her friend in her arms, “her spirit is fleeting! It is nearly gone!”
“I.. I…”
“What have you done?” Hjin said. His eyes winked but did not move, there was nothing left to do.
“She’s not gone.. not quite…” Lilin had rushed to the two drops, and laid a glowing hand on the burnt drop’s side.
“She is, she is gone!” the drop wailed
“You’re drunk, she’s not gone… you, you with the cross, use your skill. I have no art to cure this, but you! You and your science may!”
The Gob that had entered with the amber eyed Shrub grunted in agreement and lowered a visor. At his left the meknic arm folded and moved, its thin wires and worming cables took the drop gently from her friends hands. The friend released her, collapsing into Lilin’s arms as the Gob enveloped the small being in his healing cocoon. On his back a life pack filled with meknic fluids charged and expanded, the creation engine priming for the work at hand, humming. The red cross of a medic swung on a chain at his neck
“It’ll be ok, he’s a healer, look at his science, it is beyond me but he will fix her.”
“He’ll change her! She’ll be changed… it won’t be the same ever again…!”
“How could you? Look at the pain you’ve caused, look at it! Look at her! This is why I left you, this is why you’re alone. How could anyone be with someone like you?”
“I was alone… I wanted you back… Gobs are so clumsy, I always thought they were clumsy… maybe.. maybe I was clumsy all along…”
“Parts, she’s broke good, anyone got parts to give? I don’t got enough ta do it.”
They came, the meknics and scraps gave away their bits. Pathways, conduits and sheeting. The Gob took what they offered, grunting and added back the drop’s fragile wing, filling her ruined body with synthetics. Sparks flew and the fluids from the Gob’s life pack drained into her veins, reviving parts of her. Fingers twitched from an arm that lay outside the cocoon and a foot kicked, dancing ever so slightly like it had moments before disaster had struck.
The Gob’s arm collapsed, finished its job, parts of it folding and turning back into an arm shape and ejecting the Drop like a manufactured thing. The life pack stopped its humming, and became small again, the Gob resumed his normal appearance, except for the sweat on his green face from the exertion.
“Is she…?” the friend approached cautiously. The Drop shivered, still covered in creation fluid, the bits of her that were burnt and broken were now hard and cold, metal and meknic science.
“She ain’t what she was, but I fixed her. Dunno what’s left, what’s there now.” The Gob said, “I need to drink.”
Hjin set a double wide flagon on the bar, “tonight it’s on the house.” Hjin shook his head, “that was some cycle, I’ve never seen a cycle like that before, never like that. Is he alright? Or he goin’ ta pop?”
The Shrub who had lost the amber eyed girl, who had missed with his lightning and nearly killed the Drop was still where he had fallen, he had not moved. The amber eyed girl had moved to her Gob, hand lightly on his shoulder and her hip. Lilin gazed from the bar, attention split between the two Drops, hugging and wondering at the meknic miracle and his drinking companion, still on the floor.
“I guess his day was always tragic, tragedy builds and builds, it never lessens. That was before he was angry, getting angry always makes things worse.” Lilin said to no one. “I guess its… I guess it’s a cycle.”
Hjin blinked his eyes slowly, wiping mugs. “What, were ya a sage in a past life?”
Lilin smiled, “I doubt it, they don’t let me in the library.”