Surgery…Also Iron Fist Sadness

It’s been over a week since I posted, so I thought I’d give you an update:

I had surgery on Monday to remove a growth and have it checked out. It wasn’t too bad, but I’m in a fair amount of pain now. I go back in two weeks to get the results and stitches taken out. Unless of course it turns out to be something serious, in which I’ll hear from the doctor right away (I hope).

Let Me Write Iron Fist Next Time!

Powerman (Luke Cage) and Iron Fist was one of my favorite comics growing up. It was one of the comics that the Lampstons by my apartment building always carried, so it became a fav by default.  My friend Frashard and I used to run around the playground in front of our highrise (we lived in Co-Op City, in the Bronx) and fight the Kingpin and his dastardly thugs. He even had a tiara made of tin foil, like Powerman. Growing up in the Bronx in the early 80s, it wasn’t that hard to imagine their world.

I was thoroughly disappointed with Iron Fist. It’s not that it was terrible, but it wasn’t nearly on the level of the other Marvel shows, and they didn’t even try to get his character personality right. They took the most mellow, unflappable, most in control of his emotions character and made him a loose cannon anger ball. Danny Rand is supposed to be the voice of reason, not reckless anger. I feel like they rushed through the whole writing and shooting process just to get it done. Not to mention that the fight sequences were mediocre, and Danny was humorless. I mean, he’s not a wisecracker in the comics, but he has a certain amused persona.

Powerman Iron Fist

I understand that he needs some sort of conflict. If I wrote the show, I would’ve had his conflict as more of a “fish out of water type,” confused at how the world has changed in the 15 years that he’s been gone. He should be trying to figure out how a smart phone works, and asking people to drive him around (there’s no way he should drive a car). He should be giving money to the poor, simply because he lived the last 15 years in a cosmic monastery. He should be confused by the internet (where’s the dial-up sound when you connect to AOL?) and why is there a starbucks on every corner?

I liked that he was easily duped and manipulated though. That made sense.

I would’ve also made a secondary internal conflict be whether he’s a man or a weapon. He said that fighting gives him focus (and that’s true to the comics) but what is he if he can only find peace in pain? There should’ve been more flashbacks to K’un L’un, to show how different his life was there, and the extremes of his training.

Oh well, memories are like food: you leave them out too long, they go bad.

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The Get Down and Me

Netflix continues to make better shows than anything on the networks or cable. They’re killing it with the Marvel series, the Voltron reboot was excellent, and Stranger Things is just straight up amazing. They continue this winning streak with Baz Lurhmann’s new project, The Get Down.

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True Colors

I’m different, and I know that a lot of my readers are the same way. Maybe you had a rough time in school: didn’t fit in, were bullied, or just ignored like a shadow on the wall. I know that many of my followers are LGBT. Although I suffered the weirdness of being…well…me, I can’t even imagine what it must be like for them. Imagine your entire identity as contrary to the harsh rules of teen society, where any deviation got you torn to shreds physically or emotionally.

There’s never been anything on TV that focused on growing up LGBT. But there is one project that might change that. It’s called True Colors, and it needs your help.

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Unveil the Tail

I’m a little late to the game on this, but I continue to be blown away by how good ABC’s The Muppets is. Tuesday’s episode was brilliant, and they continue to top themselves every week. I don’t understand why the ratings are so low. Dammit, why do the shows that I love always have poor ratings?

A brief synopsis for the episode: Continue reading

The Power of the Dark Side

Note: There are minor spoilers in this post. Not about plot things, but about characterization. I don’t think it will ruin the movie for you, but if you want to be extra careful, don’t read this until you see The Force Awakens

I saw The Force Awakens Thursday night, but I wanted to wait until the weekend passed until I posted about it. First, it was magnificent. I want to shake JJ Abrams’s hand for revitalizing the franchise. Second, Disney can go to hell for declaring most of the expanded universe books non-canon (though they still plan to incorporate some of it). They were great. In my mind, I’ll always consider them an alternate reality, like DC’s Earth-2. Those books are too good to be forgotten.

Now for what I really want to talk about: The Dark Side.

Psst. My novel, The Watchmage of Old New York, is only 99 cents until New Year’s Day. The reviews are incredible so far, and if the popularity of the serial version says anything, it’s that you’ll love it. Spend a dollar, find your new favorite book.

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Something Bigger Than Life

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That’s right, the long-awaited reboot of my award-winning serial, The Watchmage of Old New York, is here! Click here for the Amazon buy site, or buy on Barnes & Noble, iBooks, or Kobo.  Don’t miss out on this, old fans and new will love what I’ve done with the story.

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You’ve probably figured this out, but I read a lot. Books, comics, the backs of shampoo bottles, if it has words, I will consume its soul, therefore gaining its powers.

This is a metaphor, but apt.

A few months ago, I wrote about how Inside Out explored human emotions by personifying them. Instead of being something abstract, suddenly Joy was a character, a joyful one, but with significant flaws. Sadness was a pariah, but with a hidden virtue. Anger, Fear, Disgust, all given life. This is how the mind works…

Sorta…

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Scifi/Fantasy and the Bigots that Love It

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Click the link above for The Watchmage of Old New York. Just 99 cents until October 27th, and then rising to $2.99.

My brilliant friend Michael wrote something on Facebook this morning. It was so insightful that I asked if I could share it here. This is not mine, but I wish that I said it. Here you go:

I will never understand how bigots of… well, any kind really, can be sci-fi-/fantasy fans.

Of course, we’ve got out Orson Scott Cards and Ayn Rands and all that, and of course their messages and styles will appeal to certain people, but I’m talking about people who glut on multiple major entries in the sci-fi/fantasy canon.

I mean, seriously. Practically every genre work of note is about liberating the oppressed. Lord of the Rings (for all its unfortunate Eurocentric implications) actually pushes for intercultural tolerance and cooperation, and the right of peoples to live freely as they will. Star Wars is all about taking down a greedy, oppressive regime that exploits its people. Harry Potter is all about respecting the dignity and sovereignty of all walks of life, regardless of how your values may clash or how weird they may seem to you. Star Trek has always (and, at points, problematically) prioritized humanity’s evolution beyond bigotry and warmongering over dramatic necessity. X-Men, even when everything else about it is stripped away, is about Civil Rights and the evils of bigotry.

And all of these stories are chock full of women who are strong either in body, mind, heart, or any combination thereof. Well, Lord of the Rings is pretty much a sausage fest, but the appendices help with that. A little.

So, how we manage get fanboys who are sexist, racist, homophobic, or whatever is just frankly COMPLETELY BEYOND ME. How does this happen? How can someone be drawn to works that are all about freedom, tolerance, and respect, and then turn around and be bigots? Like, what do they even get out of these stories then? Honestly?

Is it just that light sabers are cool? Is that really all?

He makes such a great point. Sci fi and Fantasy stories are usually progressive in theme. Unity, Peace, The power of the common person. These are not the thoughts of the bigot. Of course there are exceptions, but you are what you read. Even Orson Scott Card wrote Ender’s Game, and if that’s not a powerful progressive statement, I don’t know what is.

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Click the meme above to join my mailing list. The current FREE gift is a PDF of short stories. I also share book deals and contests from other writers. It’s a great way to snag free stuff, and everyone loves FREE.

The Muppets (So Far)

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I’ve talked about my love for The Muppets so many times that you’re probably all bored sick of it, but I’ve yet to talk about The Muppets, the new show on ABC. I love it (mostly).

Yeah, that’s not a surprise given my muppet love, but let me explain why:

The Muppets have always been a mix of slapstick, puns, and adult humor (there’s no better way to explain my humor as well, but that’s my own problem). Like Looney Tunes, if you look at the old shows as an adult, you see jokes that went right over your head as a kid. This show different.

In The Muppets, they dropped a lot of the puns and easy jokes and went for more (relatively) sophisticated, character-driven humor. It was unexpected, and I think it turned off a lot of fans. It wasn’t set-up, punch line, exploding fish anymore.

In a sense, they’re not “puppets” anymore. They’re characters with real problems and character flaws, not empty joke vehicles. They’ve always been one or two dimensional before: Piggy as the aggressive egomaniac, Fozzy is a hapless comic, Gonzo is the love-stricken weirdo, and Kermit was the hero keeping everyone together. The personalities are still the same, but much more complex.

It’s the flaws that are most striking now. Kermit is very manipulative, and at points I cringed at how he handles Piggy. If I have one problem with the show, it’s Kermit’s use of psychological control. Piggy is an unreasonable diva that terrorizes the staff. Fozzy is the engineer of his own downfall. He’s a furry George Costanza.

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Now it’s the bit players that really carry the show. Pepe, Rizzo and Yolanda are hilarious (and I love how all Muppet rats have old timey NYC accents). The Electric Mayhem is exactly what we always imagined them to be: recovering drug-addled road warriors. Bobo is the everyman (bear) that’s easy to relate to. And Gonzo…it broke my heart to see Gonzo’s online dating experiment go awry. From one weirdo to another, I feel ya, bro. Keep at the online dating, there’s a weirdo out there for everyone.

Oh, and how great is Sam the Eagle’s crush on Janis!

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But I do have some advice for the show’s writers:

  1. have Kermit solve problems without underhandedness: Kermit was one of the few three-dimensional characters before the show. We know who he is, don’t stray from that. He’s allowed to have flaws, but being dishonest is very out of character.
  2. Keep mining the secondary characters: There are so many Muppets. I want to learn more about them. They’ve done a great job of adding depth to them so far. Keep at it.
  3. More music: It’s not the Muppets without music, and Piggy is starring in a late-night talk show.
  4. Keep adding depth to Piggy. It’s ok to have Piggy as the antagonist, but she’s still beloved. Give us something to empathize with.

Other than that, I think the show is on the right track. I hope that it gets renewed, because it’s one of the only shows that I watch.

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