Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Spiderman: The Televised Curse


Hello again geeks and welcome to the Guide to Geekdom
I’m sure everyone knows about The Superman Curse; if not go check its own Wikipedia page. That’s how famous it is folks. What you may not know about is The Spiderman Curse. A curse is plaguing Spiderman and it has gone mostly unnoticed by the public view. So I’m here to show you The Spiderman Curse.
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The curse itself is very simple: Almost every Spiderman TV show will end horribly.  ‘But that seems more like a point a view and not an actual curse’ the reader asked wistfully, well that’s where you would be wrong. Now the reason I say almost every is because this tradition didn’t really start until the 90s Spiderman animated series. Maybe it’s because they knew how to end on a good note back in the day I don’t know.
Spiderman the animated series (1994 – 1998)

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 Wasn’t this an awesome series? Personally this was the series that truly introduced me to the world of Spiderman, and it was awesome. From the kickass opening to the amazing story lines pulled straight from the comics to the great voice acting, this series had it all. What you may not remember was how it ended.

The series ended with the 5th season, 2 part finale Spider Wars. Spider Wars has Madam Web dragging Peter through different dimensions with a small army of alternate Spidermen in order to fight alternate Spiderman that had gone rogue, Spider-Carnage. After saving reality from the evil Spider-Carnage, Peter is sent to our reality where he gets to meet Stan Lee. After that fun little insert, Peter goes off into an interdimensional portal with Madam Web in the hope of finding Mary Jane (who was currently lost in dimensions at the time). This is where it ends. http://chud.com/nextraimages/june1venom6.jpg
This is where our 5 season journey ends, with Spiderman hurtling through dimensional space looking for Mary Jane. They had assumed they would be coming back for another season and ended it on a cliff hanger. Little did they realize that they would be cancelled and replaced by a more bizarre series. The creators of the show would later go on to say that Peter would have found Mary Jane in good ol’ London but it’s a bit of an odd way to go out for this beloved series.

Spiderman Unlimited (1999 – 2000)
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Let me talk a moment about Spiderman Unlimited. This was a series that came out around the time when it cyberpunk dystopian futures were really in. Around the same time Beast Machines and Batman Beyond also came out. Marvel decided to jump on the band wagon by creating Spiderman Unlimited where Peter ends up on an alternate futuristic Earth mostly run by anthropomorphic citizens. This series only lasted 13 episodes. While it was a major flop, I’m actually a major fan of the series (if you get the chance, check it out its pretty good) and always wanted to know how it was going to end, which will never happen.

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Spiderman Unlimited ends on episode 13, Destiny Unleashed. Venom and Carnage have been working on a bomb for the Synoptic and the High Evolutionary (our two major villains of the series) which will release a symbiotic mind control upon the planet. This does happen.

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The episode ends with the bomb going off and Peter stuck in a collapsing building. THE SERIES FREAKIN ENDS RIGHT HERE! What bullshit is this. It was never followed up or concluded. We are forever leaving this series with the world ending and Spiderman dying. Way to go cliff hanger.

Spiderman (2003)
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This was another failed Spiderman series that came out in 2003 (this one also only lasted 13 episodes). Though it has the uniqueness of being fully digitally animated (its fair animation, Iron Man Armored Adventures wasn’t much better).  This series was supposed to be a follow up to the first movie and depict Peter in his college years. Trying to be in the same universe as the movie it even included an episode with Michael Clarke Duncan as the Kingpin from Daredevil.

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The series ends with the 2 part finale, Mind Games. The episode focuses on the Gaines Twins, who have vast mental abilities, and Kraven the Hunter kidnapping Mary Jane and trying to take down Peter. Peter of course defeats them but Mary Jane almost dies because of this, causing Peter to give up his life of Spiderman and throw his costume into the river.


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But of course we all know that Peter is going to realize that he should be Spiderman and that with great power comes…………oh wait no, this is where it ends. This is where the series ends. We leave this series with Peter giving up Spiderman. You can just accept this because the series never got a follow up or another ending. This is it. Hilariously though, Spiderman 2 was announced the same day that this aired.

The Spectacular Spider-Man (2008 - 2009)

The Spectacular Spider-Man came out in 2008, and was actually a pretty successful telling of Peter in his high school years. This series was the first to successfully streamline the Spiderman story in a way where we met his entire supporting cast, major villains, as well as writing a good overall plot thread. The entire series actually feels like one big story arc and I applaud the writers for it. That being said it ended poorly.

 

The series ends on the season 2 finale, Final Curtain. The episode is about Peter and the Goblin trying to end their conflict once and for all. It’s a brilliant episode with amazing action sequences and revelations exploding out the wazoo. It’s a really good episode and I’m not going to ruin all the revelations for you if you still want to go check out this episode, but I will tell you how this ends, so spoiler alert. Spiderman knocks the Goblin into a pumpkin grenade turret which explodes and everyone presumes the Goblin has died.  The real ending killer is that during the episode Peter and Gwen have decided to break off their current relations so that they can be with each other. Peter leaves his girlfriend easy enough but Gwen is dating Harry Osborn at the time. Harry overhears their plan and decides to use his father’s death as a form of blackmail to get Gwen to stay with him. We also find out that the Norman is still alive and is leaving the country to live the good life.

 
This is literally where the series ends. A big part of this series was Peter’s social life and how it was affected by his life as Spiderman. This series has some amazing writing and fairly good animation, but to end on this note is a bit sad. They had full plans for coming back for another season and even mentioned plans for it at several conventions, but they were cancelled so that Marvel could start producing a new Spiderman series about Peter in his high school years (why?).

The Future… 
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Marvel wanted to create a new Spiderman series that would go alongside the new Spiderman reboot film while at the same time capitalizing on one of their most popular story lines, Ultimate Spiderman. This was highly unnecessary. The Spectacular Spider-Man was influenced by the original comics, the film trilogy, and the Ultimate Spiderman series. It was doing a pretty damn good job of doing so. But to be honest folks, I really don’t think the series would have made it that long in the first place. Marvel decided they wanted a teenage Spiderman series to come out with their new movie, which probably won’t be out till 2012. By then The Spectacular Spider-Man would have most likely been in its 5th or 6th season when the writing gets poor and show dies. If Marvel really wanted to capitalize on their new movie the best thing to do would be what they did. It’s just sad that a good series had to die because it came out at the wrong time. I don’t exactly have high hopes for the ending of this new animated series, but let’s hope that Marvel has finally figured out their problem and will go out on a good note this time.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Update

I don't want people to think my blog was a one hit wonder. I have far more to say than just Daredevil, but I am a very busy person. I am trying to figure out how to find the time to make posts on a regular basis, that way people can get some consistency with what to expect from me. In the mean time this is what you should expect to see from me over the course of the next few weeks (given that I find the time)
-Spiderman: The Televised Curse
-Let's Talk: Superman
-Batman vs Spiderman
-Abused Supervillains
and many more to follow
yours truly
-Headshot Bunny

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Lets Talk: Daredevil

As my first complaint I want to talk about Daredevil. For those of you who do not know who Daredevil is....

.....that’s him. I think it’s time he was talked about.

History

As a brief history Matt Murdock was raised in Hell's Kitchen (not to be confused with the Ramsay edition) by his father, Jack Murdock, who was a boxer. When Jack was suppose to throw the fight but didn't, he was killed by gangsters. Matt being the sensible type decides to put on some superhero clothing and defeat the gangsters that killed his father. Henceforth he has called himself Daredevil.
The Character

The most interesting thing about Daredevil is the fact that he is blind and a lawyer. His superhuman powers consist solely at having superhuman senses. He has four super sharp senses. That’s it. He isn't about to reach Superman's level of power. Comic book writers consistently point out that the hardest part of writing a Daredevil story is keeping him alive. As a lawyer, Matt fully believes in the justice system and that it works. This also means that he refuses to kill anybody and decides to put all criminals through the justice system. This has created some amazing story lines of Daredevil and Punisher butting heads, but that’s another subject for another day. The best part about Matt is his ability to lose absolutely everything, pick himself up and start over from scratch. This includes having his building destroyed, having 2 of his girlfriends be murdered, as well as being beaten within an inch of his life. Every time a moment like this happens in his history he picks himself back up and carries on. What works for Daredevil is his ability to come out of the ashes of destruction and new man, stronger than ever before (just try and see Superman accept the loss of any of his supporting cast). This doesn't mean that Matt is a bad hero; it just makes him more realistic as a hero. He can't be everywhere at once and his villains do target his loved ones and property. Speaking of which...
The Villains

Let’s talk about Daredevil's villains. Now, can you think of any off the top of your head? Okay Kingpin and Bullseye don't count. It’s easy to remember a hero's arch nemesis, but can you remember any others? I didn't think so. The major problem with Daredevil is that he doesn't have very memorable villains. The most memorable rogues’ galleries in comics are Spiderman's and Batman's. Why? Because they are simple. Spiderman's villains have a running theme of animals and elements, Batman's villains have a running theme of psychological issues. Both are really easy to remember. Daredevil's cast of villains are gang leaders and their super assassins. This includes The Owl, Gladiator, Typhoid Mary, Mr. Fear, The Hand, Bullseye, and Kingpin. (Interesting fact, TMNT is basically a giant parody of Daredevil. Daredevil's evil ninja group The Hand was the basis for TMNT's main evil ninja group The Foot). None of his villains are easily remembered and none of them have had huge story arcs in his life other than Bullseye and Kingpin. Speaking of...
Supporting Cast

Aside from the superhero community, Matt's only supporting cast member is Foggy Nelson. Foggy is Matt's law firm partner. Though sometimes bumbling and oafish, Foggy always pulls through and is always trying to look out for Matt (going so far as to climb up the wall of a building in order to save Matt from being possessed by a demon {I have no idea how he accomplished such} aka the Shadowland arc). Foggy has always been there for Matt and if writers ever decide to get rid of him Matt will be screwed. Now in reference to my last lead in, Matt has had a good number of girlfriends, most are dead now. At the order of Kingpin, Bullseye has effectively killed two of Matt's lovers. Everyone forget about Elektra. I do not care that she was in the movie, I do not care that she was Matt's original love, Elektra and Daredevil have not shared a comic panel in years. The two characters could not be more remotely removed from each other’s lives. Yes, the impact of her death had a lot of emotion and was a big story arc for the character. The real girlfriend you want to care about is Karen Page, the second one to be killed.

Karen was Matt's secretary at his law firm. They had a long lasting relationship that had a lot of bumps but still worked out. Her death was a very defining moment in Daredevil's life, one that had long lasting repercussions. Unlike: Bucky, Jean Grey, Elektra, Jason Todd, Mr. Immortal, Aunt May and just about every other hero, Karen Page has never {AND NEVER SHOULD MARVEL} been brought back to life. This has been a constant reminder to Matt that he is limited in what he can do and that he has to keep going in his fight against crime.
What Doesn't Work

Like any super hero there is something that doesn't really work for the viewer and ruins the character's realism {look I'm only going to say this once, I get that this is all a piece of fiction and that 'I shouldn't take this as seriously as I do' but if you just thought that than this isn't the place for you. This is a blog that is a real look at the characters as a whole and how they should be handled}. Sorry about that. Now where was I...oh right. Before I really get into this, if you haven't seen the Daredevil film, go out and watch it now.....done? Good. Wasn't that a piece of crap? I don't have a huge problem with the film except for two things. The first scene with Daredevil going out to fight crime, and the costume itself. The first scene with Daredevil goes against absolutely everything that represents Daredevil.

1. Matt loses the court case: MATT LOSES THE COURT CASE! The case was about a rapist who abused this woman. HOW DID HE LOSE! The guy gets up and testifies that she was asking for it. HOW DID HE LOSE! The real Daredevil would have brought the guy in for justice and found the evidence to put him away. So what does he do...
2. He goes after the guy: Now Matt believes in the justice system, he lost the case but if this ever happened to the real Daredevil he would have followed him and stopped him when he commits the crime again. Movie Daredevil tracks the guy down to a bar and decides to BRUTALLY BEAT DOWN ABSOLUTLELY EVERYONE IN THE BAR EXCEPT FOR THE GUY. What the hell Daredevil.
3. He chases him to the subway: So after failing to beat this guy in court and in the bar, Matt decides to chase him into the subway station. Here Matt knocks him onto the train tracks AND LETS THE GUY GET RUN OVER BY THE TRAIN! SERIOUSLY, WHAT THE HELL DAREDEVIL! Daredevil would never kill anybody! He believes in the justice system and believes that everyone deserves a fair trial. Having failed in that fail trial, Matt would not have gone out and murdered this guy. In fact, if the charges against him had been proven, he would have ended up in prison not a death sentence. This also connects back to why Daredevil and the Punisher butt heads all the time. They have very opposing sides on criminals with Punisher choosing to kill them all, which Daredevil disproves whole heartedly and has attempted to bring in Punisher to justice.
4. The flaming Ds: After murdering a guy, Matt decides to go out of his way and mark the subway station floor with the Daredevil symbol in gasoline. What, did he go out and get some, come back and decided to ruin the area. Or perhaps he has a gasoline dispenser in his devil belt. Which leads me to...

If there is anything I hate about Daredevil, it’s his costume. The movie version of the costume looks like really bad leather. It also doesn't look functional for combat at all. In fact, I'd go as far to say that the costume would actually be a hindrance in combat and only restrict the wearer. That said, I hate the comic costume as well. For a character who is a gritty street level hero, his costume is just silly looking. It’s a full body red jumpsuit. There is nothing dynamic or interesting about it. It’s all just one color and its very boring looking.
What Can be Done

Daredevil by all means should be Marvel's answer to Batman. Daredevil is the most underused character to be created by Stan Lee. He doesn't appear in any big crossovers or team-ups and he hasn't had a big story arc in a long time (I'm not including Shadowland, because that arc was poorly written and sucked). If I were to take over Daredevil, I would write a stronger theme of detective work, maybe even have him team up with Luke Cage more often to have a really strong Detective/Lawyer dynamic. Matt also needs more defined villains that are more than gang lords and their assassins. His villains need to have more prominent story arcs that have major influences on Matt's character.
Now the costume itself needs to be redone. The reason that Cole's costume in InFamous worked was because it worked in the urban settings he was placed in and didn't seem too silly. Daredevil's costume doesn't really fu inside the urban setting of his story and just looks like crap. When I saw the ultimate version of the Shroud I was actually pretty hopeful that this was a re-imagined version of Daredevil's costume.

This costume works within the urban settings and actually does take great strides in fitting into Daredevil's character (it’s a shame it turned out to be ultimate Kitty Pryde). The hands are wrapped in boxer bandages and the hood is reminiscent of his father's old boxing jacket. The only thing it’s missing is the devil horns. I have no idea why this great costume design is wasted on ultimate Kitty Pryde when it could have redefined the entire look of Daredevil.
In Closing

I really don't have that many complaints on the character as a whole. If Marvel were more willing to use Matt to his full potential he could very well rival Batman. Slight changes to his character design and story arcs could truly help make this character a stronger icon in the public eye. If a Daredevil movie were redone some of these changes need to be taken into thought.

Thanks for listening to my input
-Headshot Bunny
PS (I don't own any Daredevil related material; it is all owned by Marvel)

In the Beginning...

Welcome my fellow geeks to The Guide to Geekdom. For those of you who are not geeks, this will be a great starting point on your journey of discovery and self-realization. You are a geek and you will like it. Too long have I scoured the internets and found that fans reactions to poor media output was lacking and unfocused. I said to myself no more. This blog shall act as my voice and opinion toward poor fiction writers and the atrocities they've forced us to endure. That being said, lets get this guide started.