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Episode 103 – Hammering With a Screwdriver

Episode 103 – Hammering With a Screwdriver

ShowCard103

WEEK IN GEEK: Andrew builds a new gaming PC while Dan plays Batman: The Telltale Series – “Episode 1: Realm of Shadows.”

SPOILERS REDUX AND DMCA C&D: Dan and Andrew’s discussion was initiated by a post over at the AV Club that covered an instance where major television network, AMC, issued a cease and desist order to a Walking Dead fan site, The Spoiling Dead Fans, when they started listing potential spoilers to the next season’s premier. It’s a broad topic that is hard to talk about (and, at times, infuriating), but they do their best to really take this topic apart as it relates to television shows and the networks’ loyalty to their paying advertisers.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ANDREW!

Leave your thoughts as comments at ForAllIntents.net or at the official Facebook and/or Google+ pages. To help the show out, please leave a review on the iTunes store.

For all intents and purposes, that was an episode recap.

FEATURED MUSIC:

-“Stayin’ in Black” by Wax Audio
-“The Lighting of Prism Tower” by GAME FREAK & Shota Kageyama (from Pokemon X/Y)
-“The Lonely Man Theme” by Dennis McCarthy (from The Incredible Hulk)
-“I Can’t Watch This” by “Weird Al” Yankovic
-“Birthday Cakes” by Joshua R. Mosley (from ‘Splosion Man)

Worth a Look

Worth a Look

Andrew and I do our best to steer away from politics or politically-charged issues if only because those topics––no matter the side you stand for––can be frustrating discourse. Of all comic book figures used to translate the world of political friction, the X-Men seem most ripe for such utility if only because they were born from it.

Art by Stuart Immomen. Source: Comicsverse
Art by Stuart Immonen. Source: Comicsverse

I’m not going to speak to the thesis of this article, though it is well-written and cogent, but it shows a technique that I appreciated and of which I would like to see more. Comic books––well, comic book characters, at least––have jumped the divide between niche and the mainstream. If we want the source material to make that same leap, I think using these properties as lenses through which we can explain and analyze the crazy world around us––like we do with literature and movies at this point––should be done more. Whether you agree with Jon Barr’s article or not, take note of what it’s doing and you’ll see the sketch of an important step to improving the cultural validity of comic books.

The incredible point the article makes has to do with a dangerous side-effect of using fiction as allegory or critical lens:

The biggest disparity between the X-Men universe and the gun control debate is this concept of a ‘good guy.’ The world of the X-Men have those heroes to rally behind as an example of how powers should be used.

For the sake of storytelling, clear lines sometimes need to be drawn between things like “good” and “bad,” even when those distinctions are either blurry or rare in real life. The growling of political discourse has done a lot of vilification of the “other” side when, if we were all at a barbecue together, we would all probably have more in common than not. Though there may be more “good guys” than “bad guys” on either side of any debate, it is nice to use popular culture as an avenue for intellectual investigation. As the article admits, using the X-Men as spokespeople for only one side is not only irresponsible, but the X-Men themselves have been figuratively on both sides of what is arguably the same issue as gun control. But I like that possibility. If the X-Men are about anything, it’s giving anybody who feels on the outside a place to belong.

As I progress further and further into nerd culture commentary, a major thesis that continues to bubble to the surface is my strange and possibly nebulous feelings about nostalgia. Specifically, I am kind of appalled at the persistence of the idea that hardcore fans of a property deserve even a modicum of ownership over its evolving direction in popular culture. Respect and rightful say are two very different things.

source: Nerdist.com
source: Nerdist

I want to say this basically started with the spark of superhero cinema––with things like the first few X-Men movies and their proud abandon (at the time) of the technicolor, exaggerated costumes of the comics in favor of matching padded leather or, more specifically, Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins in 2005 which really spearheaded the movement toward “gritty” and “grounded” nerd cinema. You could even argue that it started with Tim Burton’s Batman in 1989, but it didn’t hit a fever pitch until the turn of the century.

Since then, we have also seen reboots of properties from the 1980s that received similar “maturetreatment with efforts like the 2011 Cartoon Network Thundercats show that added liberal dashes of The Lord of the Rings to the popular ’80s toyline. Similarly, G.I. Joe made the tonal shift in 2009 with an animated series, G.I. Joe: Resolute, which pushed the beloved and silly franchise into serialized storytelling more commonly found in prime time drama, and did so to much acclaim. Similarly, the Arkham series of Batman games not only revolutionary gameplay but showed the players an even darker world than what we saw in the Nolan films with Gotham being a true den of sin and the rogue’s gallery being more grotesque and twisted than we’ve seen since the Burton films. Arguably, this is also what happened with Casino Royale which killed what little was left of the classic camp during Pierce Brosnan’s tenure. While these examples are the more well-regarded ones, the dark side of the trend has been things like the Michael Bay Transformers series and their dudebro Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cousins.

Benjamin Bailey’s Nerdist article confronts an idea I’ve longed wanted to approach, but couldn’t really find my thesis without sounding petty and bitter (when I didn’t want to––I do love nostalgia trips). The idea that the franchises of our youth are nigh required to meet our adult sensibilities as they met the sensibilities of our youth is a strange request from rebooted or extended franchises. These properties spoke to us because they tapped into a piece of the zeitgeist that others couldn’t find or hold onto. Why should we expect or want anything different when reexamined for modern audiences thirty years later?

Episode 74 – Scotch Tape and Hope

Episode 74 – Scotch Tape and Hope

It’s a bit of a ramshackle affair this week as the boys (mostly Dan) were plagued by technical issues, but they wouldn’t let that stop them from bringing you a new episode!

Week in Geek: Andrew watches Ronin again and gets some spicy behind-the-scenes details while Dan plays dress-up in Batman: Arkham Knight.

Cards Against Black Friday: Dan and Andrew detail the questionable history the cynically dark Cards Against Humanity has with the equally cynical (but different) Black Friday shopping event.

Howard No More: With the announcement at the most recent World Fantasy Convention that they would no longer be distributing a bust of H.P. Lovecraft as an award due to the author’s public and well-known racist and elitist views, different portions of fandom exploded with either outrage or victory (both sides have legitimate angles). Andrew and Dan discuss why this may be a good thing or a bad thing (mostly good).

Leave a comment about this week’s topics at forall.libsyn.com. Be sure to join the official Facebook and Google+ pages. E-mail the show with any questions, comments, or concerns at forallpod [at] gmail [dot] com. If you like the show, help it out by leaving a review on iTunes.

For all intents and purposes, that was an episode recap.

Featured Music:

-“Stayin’ in Black” by Wax Audio

-“Money For Nothing” by Dire Straits

-“Things Have Changed” by Bob Dylan

-“Everything is Broken” by The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band