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    • Random Geek: Stark Contrast (2) - Central, Dynamic and On Sale Now

    • Posted by TechnocratJT on 5 Feb 08
    • Consider Iron Man - Marvel editorial touts him as the central figure of their shared universe now, the most dynamic figure, the most controversial figure (almost think a movie is coming) - and he is all these things.

      But, perhaps not in the way intended.

      Central, at first, seems the most clear under analysis. Stark is central because the nature of the post Civil War Marvel Universe he touches on every book. Each character is defined in relation to a position that Iron Man has come to represent, and that position, fictional or not is a political one. In a literal sense many books have had the same scene, Tony Stark shows up and informs the title hero to register, resulting in a confrontation or acceptance. Tony is central because he looms large, and has a political label strewn across is armor.

      So we come to the, very fictional, politics of the Super Hero Registration Act.

      The water immediately clouds here, for it is not the clear what those politics are. The very details and intentions of the fictional SHRA blurred across different writers pens. A permanent prison, or no? Do you have to sign if you have powers or simply if you act like a powered vigilante. Other continuity details, and contradictory statements and presentations, ripple and vanish across different books and different writer's pens.

      Several people are now giving me odd looks. Geek you are Josh, but continuity discussion, really? No, hah, no. Just need to get to a point.

      The central figure in the Marvel Universe stands in proxy for a story point - a fictional law built on fictional politics which of course has not text and no history. Yet, it has no clear defined now either. The SHRA only has a vague shape, and thus is an empty jar waiting for each writer to fill.

      Tony Stark, narrative icon of the plot line, becomes dynamic, shifting and changing with the contents of the jar, what ever waters get poured in become a political mirror for the writer and the readers.

      Controversy, well I will get to that latter.
    • WITCH DOCTOR Workblog 4: The Red Queen War

    • Posted by Brandon Seifert on 4 Feb 08
    • Witch Doctor is a forthcoming medical horror comic from writer Brandon Seifert and artist Lukas Ketner. Witch Doctor combines horror archetypes and really sick shit from the real world. This is the book's workblog. For more information, read the first entry.

      Yesterday I named one of the central elements in the backstory of Witch Doctor: The Red Queen War.

      The Red Queen is a character in Through The Looking Glass. When she meets Alice, the Queen takes her on a frantic run -- in which they fail to move at all. "Here, you see," the Queen tells Alice, "it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. " In biology, the Red Queen's Race has become a metaphor for the evolutionary arms race between a parasite species and a host species. Every time our bodies evolve some helpful new adaptation that makes it easier for us to fight, say, malaria, the malaria parasite Plasmodium finds a way to adapt too. Both species are fiendishly working to come out on top, only for both to usually end up in the spot they started.

      In the cosmology of Witch Doctor, the universe itself is a living organism, and the creatures of myth and folklore are its parasites. The supernatural evolved in a greater spectrum of universes, and initially found our single, isolated world and its quaint little creatures easy prey, the same way rats and crabgrass that evolved on a continent finds it easy to take over an island's ecosystem. But over time, our realm's immune system has gotten ever more adept at locating and destroying the supernatural... which just leads to supernature adapting new tricks to fool our realm's scouts and overcome its soldiers.

      Take Bram Stoker's Dracula. Dracula is famously unable to enter someone's home until he's been invited in. If Dracula was a character in Witch Doctor, that'd be because humanity as a whole, as the primary unit of the universe's immune system, has adapted an unconscious psychic defense that prevents vampires from entering their homes. So Dracula's ancestors evolved a countermeasure -- Dracula's mind control. It doesn't matter that his mind control is a brute force assault that shatters the sanity of his victims, leaving people like Renfield locked in asylums; it gets him in their houses, and for the vampire species, that's the part that matters. So what adaptation will humanity evolve next to counter the countermeasure?

      The world's mystical community calls this The Long War. Our protagonist Dr. Vincent Morrow, he's recognized it for what it really is. He calls it the Red Queen War.

      (The most interesting thing about the Red Queen arms race in biology, to me, is what happens when the host species no longer has to deal with its traditional parasites. There's that adage about old soldiers and dying, and it's the same thing about weaponized adaptations... But that'll have to wait until Part 5.)

      Previous Entry: 3: Lukas Ketner rocks your flip-flops, all winter long | Next Entry: 5: Meet the good doctor
    • I hate my developmental Psych book

    • Posted by Rootfireember on 4 Feb 08
    • So. I'm in a Developmental Psych Class. Go me.

      It's not as easy as Abnormal, because I've had little experience with sprogs*. In any case my problem isn't the class. It's the book. First off it came pre-highlighted. Not as in someone had the book before me, but in that the book has words and sections already highlighted in it straight from the printer; I suspect the book was created and mainly formated in some version of WORD. The thing is, highlighting stuff in warm colors is part of how I learn, and are we really that stupid that we need other people to highlight our crap for us, now?

      *Sprog: a Small Child.
    • Right! That's it! I've been forced into it!

    • Posted by Will Couper on 4 Feb 08
    • I'm going to start a blog here. How often I post will be entirely dependent upon my own whims.

      This will be blog number three. Perhaps it's true that blogging is addictive, and I been hurtin', man, I been hurtin' real bad for it. The other two are on: MySpace and The Engine Network.

      Anyway. Simple idea, stolen from someone else, and I've been wondering if I should do it or not.

      I'm on Twitter (here if you happen to be interested or masochistic) and I asked those few mad souls who are following me if I should do tiny bits of fiction there. The silence was almost enough to loosen my poor bowels.

      So, I run the question past the good people of White Chapel (not the one in London, this forum one) if this would be a good idea. And by extension: would any of you read it?

    • I Return With Good News

    • Posted by Andre Navarro on 4 Feb 08
    • ... for me, aniway. I've been away for some few days because I've finally... FINALLY... installed 4 megs Internet in my notebook and a wireless router... and it took about two days to get the connection just right. But now, I have 4 megs. And you are all DOOMED.

      That is, if the connection remains stable. Fingers crossed.
    • Hip with wrinkles 2

    • Posted by Don Kelly on 4 Feb 08
    • (Sorry. Character length violation)

      His voice and the sight bread enveloped cooked cow in my foreground jogged a memory. About a year and half ago I worked in a steak house. Many celebrities dined there. Many enjoyed their evenings at my service. I have great success with celebrities because generally I just don't care. They honestly get the same service as anyone I serve. Sometimes worse if they are cunty.

      This night we had a celebrity I cared about destined to be served by someone else. Roger Daltry sat with four guests at a booth against the wall full of photographs of our celebrity diners. I had no reason to attend to him except when fate put me beside the kitchen when his food was up.

      Roger sat third in and I place his petit filet before him. He stared at it above the tiny, tinted, square lenses of his glasses.

      "This isn't mine."
      "I'm sorry. You didn't order the petit filet?"
      "Yeah. I did. The small one."
      "That's it."
      "That!?! That's 8 oz?"
      "It's enormous. Really...that's an American 8 oz. That's why this country's so fat, you see? They think this is 8 oz. It's ridiculous. And blah. blah, blah. Lovely. Blah, blah, blah."

      I felt saddened. Not for America. But for rock n' roll. Sex, drugs, and rock n' roll. I wanted to grab him, shake him, and damn him for selling every song I liked to a Bruckheimer production.

      But, I let it go. Sometimes you just have to let it go just to leave some conceptions of cool intact. It wasn't Keith Richards complaining about portion sizes, after all. <em>Who's Next</em> was a long time ago. The Daltry who could eat his share of cow probably went with that album.

      I save my fries. Burgers then fries. That's the proper order. You may dabble in fries during burger, but most of the fries must be left once the burger ends. Over fries I considered integrity. Would it be better to die Roger Daltry or hip with wrinkles?
    • Hip with wrinkles

    • Posted by Don Kelly on 4 Feb 08
    • Okay...sorry. Couldn't eat the burger and type at the same time. Here's what you need to know.

      First off, I'm a good person. I contributed some coin to KCRW (our NPR station) today. My soul has been cleansed. Guilt free, I can listen to all the radio personalities beg and cajole the listenership for bread and go "Yeah, what's wrong with you fucking people! They'll give you a T-shirt."

      When I decided on burger tonight the usual quadrangle of choice popped to mind. We have the 101, Fred 62, Canter's, and Swingers for dining after 11p.m. There's a host of Denny's and such, but, really, this was an act of love. I wanted my burger to taste kind of like burger.

      Canter's and Swingers are west of La Brea, kind of a hike, and are last ditch. Swingers has this gaudy loudness, bright orange walls, and this reverence for cows. It's not Hindu. You can eat them. It's just cow decorated and slightly annoying.

      Canter's is the place where old servers go to die. Souls are sold in Hollywood for SAG cards and 5 line roles and when the vig comes due, the sellers work at Canter's.

      My place nestles equidistant from Fred's and the 101. I tend towards Fred's, its mediocre product, and uncomfortable counter stools cause I know some of the waitresses from around. I fulfill two needs there. I eat junk food and flirtatious, 20 minute junk food relationships. They smile. I smile. We all go home happy.

      But it was too fucking crowded and no one worth the wait was on. So, the 101.

      See Swingers? The movie not the aforementioned diner. They filmed the last scene in the 101. Probably others, but it's been a long time. That movie epitomizes the Los Angeles experience from Los Feliz to Vine and Franklin. That's where the arty kids move. It's where those who believe they have something to say live. At least that's true when I got here and definitely in the time of Liman/Favreau.

      Those of us who stayed and aren't making Iron Man remain cool and hip just with wrinkles. I noticed a new one on my eyelid this morning. Fuck.

      So, I'm eating this, okay, but not great burger by myself in the booth as you know around midnight. The waitress and I have exchanged pleasantries and assurances, but around we don't know each other so it lacks flirtation.

      A new couple sits in front of me. The smartphone held my attention so they escaped my notice. I detect an accent from the fella with the goofy, Abe Lincoln beard while he gives into the chocolate goodness exuding from my milkshake mere feet away. But meters to him.

      Here's the thing about accents in LA, my neighborhood especially. BEWARE! This is still the capitol of reinvention and mental illness, so the psychotic you met on Craig's list may have just decided he's English.

      I listen, chomping on my burger. My inner Anglophile tweaks when I hear things like "this guy called..." or "that would be lovely" and "cheers." He's continuous, unending. Whether the front of the back of the blonde head before me wanted to talk I don't know, but he wasn't allowing it. Perhaps, he thought it gentlemanly to do all the talking. Or, perhaps he decided that to survive this date he must. I've had those dates myself.

      To be continued.