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Monday, October 16, 2017

Monday Media Musings: Heroic Origins

     Every good hero has a good origin story- Swearing vengeance for the deaths of your parents, or taking responsibility for the life you failed. Hurled from your dying world as it's last son, or given a power ring and made into a green space cop.

     What I am contemplating today is the story behind the story. When Siegel and Schuster created the Superman, they were inspired by other fantastic heroes of the day (I found a nice Bio on them, here). Martin Nodell created the Golden Age Green Lantern from an image of a trainman waving a lantern on dark track, plus elements of Wagner's Ring cycle.

     Yesterday I saw Professor Marston and the Wonder Women

     It was a good film, well acted, and respectfully handled. The subtle nods to things that inspired different aspects of the character were just that- not thrown into your face, just placed there for those in the know to catch. The Movie is R, for language and sexual content, so this is not one for your kids. William Moulton Marston  had a very unconventional relationship with two different women, both of whom he loved deeply, and who loved each other in turn. Their relationship was incredibly brave by modern standards, and damn near foolhardy brave by the standards of the times (the twenties, thirties and forties).

     Marstons granddaughter has come out saying the story is made up, and doesn't reflect the family accurately. She said the family was not consulted.

     The truth?  Who really knows? No one now was there to tell the tale. I liked the movie, and it seemed to have some truth to it. Go see it, form your own opinions. It's a good story, and a good story can make a pretty enjoyable couple of hours in a theater.

     So I leave this post with a quote from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

Ransom Stoddard: You're not going to use the story, Mr. Scott?
Maxwell Scott: No, sir. This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Toysday: Jump Start (or Tow Me Away)

     Way back in the day, when Hasbro was trying all kinds of stuff with their original transformers line, there were two experiments called Jumpstarters. They were pull-back-motorized toys that would roll forward, jump into the air and snap to a standing position. Crazy, right? Their transform was essentially a sharp waist-bend, when the catch uncatched, they would unfold and spring into the air. They were super-common toys back in the day, I had Topspin, but ended up giving him away during a purge.

     There was a little bit of later self-kicking, so I was really glad to see that the Titans Return line was giving them an update. It's a really good update. They don't transform with a jump any more, but the new toys have the blocky, bulky look of the originals, and are Titan Masters, also. The transformations are highly innovative, and despite the retool status of TwinTwist, there is a lot of differentiation between the two.

      They cam with the same pair of weapons, that can be used separately or plugged together. to make them look a little more different I display them differently

And to the title of this post, I go to Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull, to the album Crest of a Knave

Monday, October 9, 2017

Monday Media Musings: A Sparrow's Flight

     Today(And the release of POTC5) has me contemplating the curious journeys of Captain Jack Sparrow. I'm going to Omit anything here that is not POTC Movie Cannon(intentional). I am also far less concerned with his sea voyages than I am with his journey as a character.

     When we meet him in The Curse of the Black Pearl, he is a genius of improvisational tactics, able to lie like Loki himself, and is seeking the ship that was stolen from him. He has a cutlass, a pistol with one shot, a compass that points to what he most desires, and a list of enemies dead and alive that is staggering. He loves the Sea, The Black Pearl, and Rum. In pretty much that order.

     Bold, Fearless, Obnoxious. He is a classic trickster, carrying the seeds of his success in one hand and the seeds of his own downfall in the other, and juggling...

     When we meet up with him again in Dead Man's Chest, he is being , pursued by the supernatural Entity Davy Jones,
Not him.

and considerably more fearful. Jones intends to take Jack's life or the Black Pearl, as part of a bargain they made. Sparrow runs from his fate as long as he can, but when he can run no more, he faces his end with style and boldness, running straight into the teeth of the Kraken.

     When we find him in the Locker in At World's End, he seems to have gone somewhat mad, and fragmented into personalities to keep himself occupied-not necessarily multiple personalities, more like highly focused versions of himself. When extracted from the Locker and returned from the land of the dead, he is wrapped in his endgame with Jones and Cutler Beckett, but also wrangling for position with Hector Barbossa. At the end, he is free of that bargain, and while he loses the Pearl and his crew, he has a map in his possession of wonders galore that he can exploit.

     On Stranger Tides finds him athwart the most feared Pirate of them all, Edward Teach, AKA Blackbeard, seeking the fountain of youth. Not a captain now, but a conscripted sailor on Blackbeard's Queen Anne's Revenge. From this spot, he attempts mutiny, and is left alive only because Blackbeard and his daughter need the knowledge Jack has.

     Dead Men Tell No Tales is a curious turn. We Find Jack Sparrow, drunken, broken, still brilliant, but even more self- sabotaging. I think it's here that we truly start to see the shape of this character. There are two personae, the public and the private. And the public Persona has all the good stuff. Jack is a bit like me. I have been described as being always on stage(and not always as a compliment). And when he starts to Dazzle with Dexterity and Baffle with Bullshit, even his most bloodthirsty foes, whom he has delivered the gravest insults to, wind up watching in fascination. Alone, he creates an audience to perform for- he entertains himself, as it were. On stage, if he feels he is losing the confidence of his audience, he will resort to even more extreme behavior until he has their attention back. And I think it comes down to one seminal event, told in flashback in Dead Men Tell No Tales

     When he saves his ship and defeats Salazar, he is given tribute from the crew. It is in this event that Jack the Sparrow is truly born, and set on a path to remain a captain, on stage for his crew to observe his brilliance. When their confidence slips, so does his mask, and we see the lonely child behind the legend...

     This might be why the Rum is always gone.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Friday Funnies: Nushooz

So I found these at Walmart. Are they Crocs, or just something to wear while dragon your feet?