Saturday, October 25, 2014

Men Against Women Against Men

Recently, there's been some kind of nonsense regarding a lover's spat between two people in the gaming industry, one who may or may not have had outside martial relations with a game reviewer who gave a review to an experimental game that was supposed to foster feelings of a suicidal nature.  (The given the review part, not the slept around part)  Not unlike that first episode of The Critic where a Sharon Stone-esque actress pretended to be interested in Jay Sherman so he'd overlook her faults, and give high marks to a movie without ever actually seeing it in the first place.  Sure, plenty of games are frustrating enough to the point where we're biting our controllers in half from constantly running off a cliff or being surprise-attacked by a rogue sniper near the checkpoint flag, but the purpose of the industry is to indulge customers to keep coming back for their next fix.  Having an upspike in the mortality rate would only scare off our more lethargic clients rather than attract daredevil customers who are more likely to brave crowds of rowdy competitors than boring menial tasks like raking leaves.  Those enemies aren't going to die by themselves, you know.  (Unless they play Depression Quest, which I have no interest in, let alone finding out what it's really about)

All this fuss is just taking attention away from their feminist agenda, which is NOT to foster equality and fair pay between sexes, but to undermine Man's role in the universe, and make a laughingstock out of him, demeaning his position as lord and master of the universe.  To get an idea of what having more women in charge is like, just imagine a giant stiletto heel grinding down on your balls... forever.  Now, unless you're a masochist into that kind of thing, this is the kind of agenda that only appeals to wimps and traitors everywhere.  Asking for respect in the gaming industry is only the beginning.

Ever since woman offered man a piece of succulent fruit bursting with information, they've been raising a stink about everything ever since.  If Eve wasn't selfish enough to save that apple for herself, she alone would've been cast off, while the rest of paradise would be left in the company of men.  (Of course, we wouldn't be able to memorize baseball scores, so there's kind of a trade-off there)  Women have been responsible for postulating all kinds of ideas that for better or ill, brought grave consequences that would be better off being kept away from the spotlight.  If they didn't raise such a stink about inconsequential things such as child labour, slavery, forced prositution (the best kind!), underage pornography (okay, anything younger than 12 is pushing the ick factor), mental institutions, cigarettes, calories, high carb, sugar, manners and pretty much anything enjoyable in life, the world would be much better off.  It's no secret that constantly casting every bad thing that happens in the world in a bad light is responsible for sucking away the fabric of enjoyment in life.  If we had to pay attention to all that junk, life would become unbearable to the point of insanity.  That must be why women are insufferable - they don't know how to tune out that senseless noise.

This is further exacerbated by their constantly nagging us to get enough money for inconsequential things such as mortgage, rent and food, as well as wasting valuable cash on presentable items for the womenfolk themselves such as makeup, undergarments and shoes instead of essential items like toilet paper and beer.

Whenever the weaker sex have gotten involved with anything they obviously just don't understand, they've wound up ruining it... FOREVER.  When women got involved with Comics, they introduced Manga, a Japanese import once featuring manly men and bloody fistfights, until they wound up effeminating too many male characters, which ruined Graphic Novels... FOREVER.  When women got involved with novels, they released lousy bestsellers such as the Scarlet Pimpernel, Frankenstein and Harry Potter, which wound up ruining literature... FOREVER.

Obviously, if we allowed women to get involved with movies, the resulting backlash would be of such epic proportions that it would wind up casting a shadow over every cinematic accomplishment throughout history, blotting them all out to the point of inexistence, and making Battlefield Earth look like a cinematic masterpiece in comparison.  Sponsoring an experimental low-budget movie that doesn't follow the Hollywood Blake Snyder Save the Cat! model is just asking for trouble.  And even if they somehow managed to release a hit title, it'd obviously be an aberration, that could only happen once in a generation, or it'd be shamelessly marketed to specific audiences based on hype, since there's no way that such a creation could possibly exist.

It's hard to believe, but there was a time not that long ago when the Barbershop was the principal domain of MEN, not women, giving a safe refuge from the toils of everyday life.  (Real men, not the faux-men that exist today)  Then our sanctuary was invaded by women and children, and our bastion of male identity was weakened so as not to scare them off, and our cultural identity was forever lost.  FOR - EVER.

Now, it's hard to imagine anything involving the hairstyle industry as being anything that caters to anything other than women, which has cut us off from something that was singularly ours.  If we allow women to interfere with our lives, they'll continue clenching their harpy claws into every establishment we own until there's nothing left but the dregs of society, and who wants to get stuck with that??  Obviously, the best - nay, the ONLY - recourse against this is to threaten, demean and outright force these women away from getting anywhere close to our valued palaces of worship.

The level of enjoyment of a group of men with women can be condensed into a handy-dandy mathematical chart:

Getogether with a bunch of men: Number of men compounded by the number interested in the same hobby as you X number of men with similar interests

Number of women there: Enjoyment by number of women: 100X
If any of these women are your wives or girlfriends: Discomfort factor: 1000X
If any of these women are someone else's wives or girlfriends: Arousal factor: 1000X
If any of these women are looking for someone: Probable Breakfast time: 50%
If any of these women are currently attached: Probable Lunchtime: 20%
If any of those women are nagging shrews: Discomfort factor: 10,000X
If any of these women are wearing revealing clothing: Catcall factor: 100X
If any of these women are wearing practical clothing: Catcall factor: 1000X
If any woman gives opinions that we agree with: Relief factor: 10X
If any woman voices opinions we don't like, even if we agree with most of those complaints: Aggression factor: 1,000,000X

As you can see, the mere insertion of women into the fragile fabric of male society places their social standing in severe jeopardy.  Why else would we be so virulently opposed to a change in the staus quo?  If we had to take the opposite sex's feelings in question, our enjoyment factor would dip down into the negative figures, well below the boolean line, plunging our existential crisis into a circular spiral of depression, ultimately culminating in suicidal thoughts, vengeance fantasies and binge eating.  Do you women want to be responsible for the deaths of thousands of men on your hands?  Now, you may not have pulled the trigger, but you certainly cultivated the passive-aggressive stance that made it nigh impossible for any of us to voice our displeasement without the need for violent opposition.  Fighting back is the only sensible choice any of us have in preserving our natural way of life, and being party animals the way God intended.


What is the proper place for a woman?  Check all that apply:

  • Bursting out of a cake
  • Dancing on a phallic pole
  • Leaning under a lamp post
  • In the maternity wing
  • On a bearskin rug
  • At a nudist resort
  • In a cheerleader outfit
  • In a maid outfit
  • In a nurse outfit
  • In a latex outfit
  • In a miniskirt
  • In an apron
  • In a bikini
  • In Jeans
  • In suspenders
  • In a shirt (no pants)
  • In the bedroom
  • In the trophy room

What is the worst place for a woman?

  • Anywhere that is best suited for men

There has been call for larger representation of the fairer sex in Video Games, such as instead of showing lovingly crafted revealing costumes like those in Queen's Blade, Code of Princess and Dragon's Crown, to create sensible clothing for (hah-hah) female assassins, as if female assassins ever existed.  Attempts to appease these insatiable women for sensible clothing has resulted in the Hawkeye Initiative, which is frankly, ridiculous, since no man would wear willingly wear such flimsy clothing in the first place.  The whole appeal of Lara Croft was that because of the first-person camera perspective, we got to admire her most remarkable traits without ever having to see her polygraphic face.  And these modern women would want to deprive us of what is generally considered a strong female protagonist.  If it were up to them, the only acceptable action figures would be dull matronly figures devoid of humor and personality, or pink sparkling vampire unicorns.  Don't ask us how we know this - it's basic internal knowledge gleamed from numerous failed attempts to appeal to their demographic.
These women's arguments would be more convincing if they weren't distracting us from our duties by constantly flaunting their frontal assets and cabooses for the world to see.  They knew the risks of being part of a world that's larger than their tiny minds can possibly convey.  There's not enough room in the industry for two genders, and only one can be allowed to dominate.  If we rant and scream against them, it's only to see if they can pass our initiation rituals, free of the telephone booth-cramming, raw egg-eating, ass-paddling that would be extremely off-putting for weaker fans not fully devoted to their cause.  It's only because we love our hobbies so much that it looks like hate when taken out of context from the outside.  If they didn't want to be constantly harassed, they should've known their place in the first place.  As the old saying goes, if they can't stand the heat, they should get back in the kitchen.

Therefore, I've started up a new organization with its catchy title of The Outraged Outlaw Thesis United Founded Formation Biased Against Women (or TOOTUFFBAW for short).  My organization is devoted to making sure that everything good and wholesome remains as awesome as they were in the good old days, and that everything stays the same as it's always been.  It's also designed to call out women for the crimes of having brass ovaries, being too bossy, and not being born male.  There's no need to shake the status quo, unless we don't like it.  Otherwise, why make a fuss?
The host managers would like to remark that the views and opinions expressed on this site reflect those of the company and management, and proudly stand by this writer for telling it like it is.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pet Peeves - Misaligned Balloons

This is something of a continuation of my previous entry which focused on panels, but this is something of a subsection in itself, and I felt that entry was getting long enough on its own.  This refers to pages where there's someone talking, but the dialogue is focused in the wrong balloon.

In these cases, these kinds of mistakes are most heavily prevalent in Manga, where the text is more vertically based than horizontal.  In most instances, when deciding to place text down, it's done so in a numerical order, left to right, but depending on the composition of the layout, it may not always be obvious, which can lead to unintended results.

As you can see, the sideway panels in the bottom half screwed the composition up somewhat, because it was slightly different from the norm, and seemed almost normal.  Even so, all the extra space should've been something of a clue, since you typically reserve that for the most dramatic keywords.  This is why I always make a note of having the original page on hand when doing my scanlations so I don't wind up screwing things up.

But sometimes, space isn't always an indicator for important passages.  Even minor casual conversations can wind up falling prey to this kind of thing.  An example comes from Dorohedoro where during an exchange between two kidnappers, the guy who's asking the question about the hostage winds up answering it himself.

In another instance, when the Crosseyes gang come across a man whose curse reflects any and all assaults back on the attacker, the blonde guy throwing the knives is Ton, which must be terribly confusing, when everybody else calls him that name elsewhere in other books.

Due to the narrow space for balloons, it's easy to see how the decision to put the text where there would be more room to fit, rather than dividing them up.  On the other end of this spectrum is splitting words to the point where they're impossible to understand.

Another minor instance from Battle Royale that always bugged me is where Sho Tsukiya (the blatantly gay student who was left out of the popularity poll in the English version) checking his watch.  The time is divided into two, instead of the natural manner of 4:54.

So far, the most blatant offender of this sin was for The Legend of Zelda: 4 Swords Manga, which had TWO instances of this very mistake on the same page.

Compared to the earlier scanlation, despite the poor quality, this exchange makes much more sense.

But not all scanlations are considered flawless, and can too fall prey to the same mistakes.  A recent Toriko scanlation wound up being too faithful to its source material, which resulted in confusion, since two of the balloons were closer than the one below.

You'd think this kind of thing would only happen in Manga, but other translated titles can be infected with this symptom just as well.  The wonderfully insane Technopriests is a good example.  After passing one of many testing procedures to judge the hacking ability of potential new entries, Albino is being ferried around on his new friend's shoulders.  Yet the balloon cheering Albo on has only one tail, while the questioning balloon has multiple tails, connoting that they're from multiple voices.

That was a minor example, viable only to the keenest observers, so here's a more overt case.  On a planet where Albino's suffering family is having their madcap adventures of changes to their classes and status quo, usually regulating in one or more members being forced to clean the toilets, they've landed on a barbaric world ruled by a lion-man who makes sport of fighting any potential opposition to his rule and winds up cannibalizing their bodies for food.  This leads to an unintentionally amusing exchange where the ruler, Mongoroy winds up saying his name while biting off a piece of arm meat, while his appreciative audience says YUM! among the cheering crowd.

PROPHET!  CHAMPION!  YUM!  One of these is not like the others.

As long as we're talking about balloons in the wrong place, we might as well talk about another cardinal sin - where words are on the page, but they're not in the right place.  Some comics work off of a text sheet proof that is then later overlayed over the artwork.  And when that proof gets moved around, sometimes, it can lead to amusing instances such as the X-men issue where Wolverine said,

If the page is especially busy, these kinds of slipshod mistakes can be easily found out and complained at length, which can prompt the publisher to do a corrected printing, which based on demand, can cause the previous mistaken printing to rise in potential value.  (This is all deductive reasoning - I take no stock for the validity of these auctions)  Stagger Lee is a great historical retelling of the story behind the origin of a song that, depending on who sung it, was about either a white, or black man.  The black history involved just makes it that more interesting.

For some reason, the man at the top of the stairs in the 3rd panel is making a threat, while the lamp appears to be screaming out in pain.  According to the publisher, the page looked fine in the letterer's proofs, but somehow all the text slipped down and to the left in the print files.  At the time, it was lucky that it happened to a page with so little dialogue.  If it had happened to a page with more dialogue, it's more likely it would have been spotted.

Another instance is where words are bunched together, rather than spaced apart.  This panel from Aria where a soldier responds should've been "Well... OK...", split into two balloons instead of squeezed into one.   This is a good indicator for testing the quality of a release.  If all the text on a balloon is heavily slanted to the left or right, instead of being centered, that's a sure sign of laziness.

Then there are instances where you're lucky if the words manage to fit within the confines of the extra-large balloon.  You can barely make it out, but if you look alongside the roof above the balloon, Shuya Nanahara is trying to say "Don't..." to the classmate pointing a gun at him.  It's a wonder the rest of the text managed to stay legible on the same page.

Sometimes overlapping text can be the result of reusing a pre-existing script that wasn't entirely wiped clean.
Here's the last panel of page 97 from the 8th Dorohedoro volume.

Nothing terribly wrong there, right?  What's there to complain about?  Now, here's the same numbered page for the 9th volume.  If you take a close look at Asu's leg (the wounded skinless guy), you'll see "Epic Poverty Fail" visible there.

As you can see, the placement and decision on where to put your words can make all the difference.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Prehistoric Instruction Manual

I was browsing a second-hand videogame store, looking for cheap entertainment material when I came across two boxes of instruction manuals.  However, they were so disorganized that I could hardly find anything there, and went to the trouble of organizing them into their prospective sections.  (I like organizing things)

Early online manuals just simply replicated the text, with none of the helpful illustrations.  The surprisingly difficult Low-G Man had maps of the boss levels, as well as how to ride several vehicles, which wasn't terribly intuitive, since unlike other side scrollers, you defeated enemies by shooting (freezing) them, and then stabbing them with a spear that only worked vertically from above or below.  Since I borrowed pretty much every game I was interested in (but didn't want to buy) out of a Video Store (back when such things existed), they oftentimes didn't come with the manuals, leaving it up to me to figure out how to play them with brief hints in Nintendo Power.  Today's online archive of V-game instruction manuals is more comprehensive, but they're not as tactile as the real thing.  What surprised me was that there was a 16-page comic in the Bubsy game that gave some background for the twin-headed Woolie boss you face at the end.

There was also a comic for Earthworm Jim, but that was only in an Electric Gaming Monthly mag, or one of its spinoffs.  (The Marvel comic doesn't count)

You probably can't see it, but on the second page where Psy-Crow pulls out his "Bigger Gun" on the alien, the green blob is raising his hands, trying to surrender.

Getting back to the disorganized instruction manuals, I divided them into Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Gameboy, Sega Genesis, X-Box and Playstation consoles piles.  What surprised me was how small the Sega, PS2 and X-Box section were.  But what surprised me was how large the old-school section was.  And I'm not talking about the Nintendo section - I'm talking about the Atari and Intellivision manuals.  Of the drab adventure, sports, learning, puzzle and side-scrolling game manuals, there was one that caught my eye.  Namely, the one based on a comic strip.

I was completely unaware that Johnny Hart outsourced his legendary strip to the early realms of experimental gaming.  There were a lot of generic games with cover art that was more fully detailed than the actual games themselves.  People nowadays have a fond nostalgia for pixelated art, but back before the Japanese made this an art form, practically nobody knew how to fully render sprites to resemble human beings, so all we were left with were splotchy blobs that barely moved around.

In addition, the game was played with a ColecoVision keypad joystick that was similar to Intellivision's which was ranked the 4th-worst controller in history.  Just look at this thing.  Long before the advent of the Wii made handling a remote with ease, the Intellivision's controller was a literal remote control.  With numbers and everything.  With a curly telephone wire connected to the console.

Despite its crude presentation, this game apparently won all kinds of awards back then, which goes to show just how much times have changed.  Chances are if you saw this game first-hand with no prior explanation of what was going on, you'd be completely perplexed by the seemingly nonsensical obstacles throughout the game.  It's only by looking at the helpful illustrations that you get some idea of what you're up against.  I've taken the liberty of rearranging the text to more closely resemble what they're talking about for ease of access.
The title is somewhat misleading, since the main character is actually Thor, inventor of the wheel.

As you've no doubt noticed, the background flows from one edge to the next.  The only wrinkle is at the entrance to the Dinosaur cave, which was continued on the back flap of the instruction manual.

The Cute Chick apparently has quite a pair of lungs, considering that her cries can be heard all the way across the vast expanse of pathway that Thor apparently has to roll across.

 There's no transition of when you reach the exit.  There's no literal light at the end of the tunnel - one moment you're dodging stalactites, the next, you're in broad daylight, with the Cute Chick looking no worse for the wear.  Furthermore, you have the same expression as when you're being carried by the Dooky Bird and jumping over the cliff, which raises unfortunate implications.  This marks the end of the game right here and there - but don't worry - you can just start again from square one - only slightly faster each time.  Thing certainly have progressed considerably in the account of New Game+ that weren't just rehashes of the first game, having Goombas replaced with Buzzy Beetles, or a harder Zelda layout with next-to-impossible puzzles involving warp whistles and invisible walls.

There was a second BC game titled Grog's Revenge, but I wasn't able to find the manual for that one.  From what little I've seen, the character designs are more fully rendered, but you're basically still on a stone wheel, picking up (running over) blue clams to pay Peter's toll to pass the levels, as well as navigating totally dark caves with a flashlight.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Pet Peeves: Rearanged panels

This is something I've seen quite often, but has hardly ever been mentioned.  This isn't in the same realm as Perplexing Reprints where there are various panels drastically different from their first printing.  Nor is it in the vein of being confused from the layout of a double-page spread.  This refers to two panels being accidentally switched around so that the comic in question winds up being slightly out of whack.

This has happened more than once, and one of the easiest examples I know of is this early Calvin & Hobbes Sunday comic:

For a long time, I thought this was how it was supposed to go, but other more faithful reprints have had the last two penultimate panels switched around so that Calvin winds up sliding before announcing his mortality verification.  Even now, it's difficult for me to go back to the right version, despite knowing that it's the proper way to go.

This wasn't an isolated incident, since I wound up seeing instances of switched panels everywhere.  I don't have the albums and treasuries in question, but these recreations should be close enough to get my point across.

With these panels out of composition, Garfield winds up acting rather schizophrenic, long before Garfield Minus Garfield relayed that role to Jon.

While the composition of the bodies are more consistent, the overall flow of events is a mess.  Garfield winds up losing his enthusiasm halfway through, only to suddenly regain it near the end, and then lose it completely.  While I can look back and laugh about it now, it bothered to me no end, because it wasn't how the joke was supposed to go.  Knowing comics forwards and backwards isn't quite the same when they're slightly out of alignment.

EDIT - After thinking for awhile, it occurred to me that ironically enough, I got the composition of the rearranged panels wrong.  It was most likely the 3rd and 4th panels, rather than the 4th and 5th ones.  I must've subconsciously chosen this new alignment, solely because it was more pleasing to the eye.

The Peanuts collection Brothers & Sisters: It's all Relative was the worst offender, having not one, not two, but FOUR comics, each with the same mistake.  See if you can figure it out.

For this last one, Charlie Brown is pointing down exactly to the next panel.  These comics only make sense if seen in a strange zig-zag pattern that's at odds with the other comics in the book.

The modern-day equivalent to such reprinting mistakes would be having pages switched around or showing up multiple times in the same book, all of which I've seen in various publications, which for a long time was one of the main arguments against having trade paperbacks of comics, since they would be radically different from their "better" pamphlet format.  Things have considerably improved since then, but mistakes still abounded.

Domu was one of the earliest Mangas I ever saw in French, and I started off with the last third, which was quite a traumatic experience.  It was one of the scariest things I'd ever seen.  There was so much death and destruction involved.  I had absolutely no idea who all these people were, and why they were dying left and right.  At the time, I thought that Cho was a boy who'd aged overnight after facing off the assault from Etsuko's rampage.

The Dark Horse English version helped clear things up, but there were a few pages that bothered me.  In the 3rd issue, the police interview with the press had the pages on opposite sides.  But more than that, I felt that the rearranging of some panels felt slightly off.

If you've read Telophase's essays on Manga page layout (and you should) you'll remember that there was a section on making the eye flow easily rather than forcing your vision to go all the way from left to right, and back again, but in a zig-zag pattern, that unlike the Peanuts comics above, was more intuitive.

Now, here's that same scene of destruction as above.  I couldn't find the same book I saw years ago, and am not going through the trouble of flipping the text, but see how much smoothly it handles.

If that's not enough proof, check out this scene of collateral damage in the mostly silent anti-climax climax, where Etsuko is conducting a final psychic assault that's just barely glimpsed at.

And the slightly modified version:

Not only does the position of the broken chain make more sense, the bent beam is also more consistent.  Somehow, the proofreader for Blade of the Immortal got their wires crossed and forgot to correct a flipped panel.

If I hadn't already known about these comics beforehand, I would've been more upset.  But when it comes to reprinting something that the rest of the world doesn't already know, the result can only lead to further confusion.

Krazy Kat is generally regarded as one of the finest (if inexplicable) comics, and the reprinting project was especially challenging, since there were so few reliable collections available.  So when the first strip of 1933 was presented, it left the impression that there was some hidden underlying message lost on readers not sophisticated or smart enough to figure out.  As a result, no one dared point out that there was something in the sequence of events that didn't make sense, lest they appear foolish, even if it would've allayed some general suspicion.

If it weren't for the generous contribution of a German Krazy Kat fan named Erich Brandmayr, the resulting comic would've gone completely unnoticed.

This wasn't Fantagraphics' only reprinting mistake.  The first album of Popeye the Sailor Man had
Even more annoyingly - the panels in question are numbered, so catching this mistake should've been obvious when putting it together.

At first glance, the two strips in question seem to be perfectly natural, but the lack of recapping right from the start should've been a tip-off.  Since daily comics tended to refresh the reader's memory every day, reminding them of the events of last time.  When placed all together, the result is something that's 50% rehashing, 50% story, and 50% running jokes.

Cerebus and Akira produced serial stories that when their exploits were collected into telephone books,
their narratives flowed so smoothly without disruption, interruption or recapping - making it almost impossible to find the seams in the works.  A trait that still hasn't been matched with recent comics.  (But there's still time)

At the penultimate reveal in Minds, Cerebus' adversary, Cirin, sees an event in Cerebus' childhood that's of great personal importance and interest to her,


To make matters more infuriating, this interruption only makes sense when it shows up in context later on.  All the dramatic build-up that'd been growing then is gone because a copied page was put in the wrong place.  At first, I thought this was an isolated event, but I saw another book in a second-hand comic store, which had the exact same misprint.  I have no idea if this is an aberration or not, since I can't find any mention of it anywhere.  Doubtless, any new readers who came across this misleading passage must've been grossly confused.

This isn't solely limited to just Newspaper strips and comic books though.  MAD Magazine suffers from this same symptom.  Because the dimensions of the magazine don't conform to the typical size of a comic paperback, some panels wind being out of order.  While this is fine for thematic articles such as "A MAD look at..." where which panels you read don't matter, it plays havoc when certain articles are slap-dashed haphazardly.

The article The Facts of Life (& Death) is ruined with the last two panels out of sequence:

Of all the artists, none was treated more slipshod than the legendary Don Martin.

His stories would start out normally enough (or as normal as a Don Martin character gets), and then things start getting weird before the punchline.

So far, the cut-and-pasters (I don't know what the proper technical term is) seem to have the most trouble in trying to tell when a Don Martin character is walking away.

Somewhat fittingly, a Sesame Street parody, Reality Street in a state of reconstruction wound up with this situation, fixing what wasn't broken.  Anybody who's been forced to undergo construction on their street can surely relate.

The one singular exception to all this was a Bloom County comic which was rerun from Berkeley Breathed's early days of B.O. (Before Opus).  Here, it looks like Milo is about to leave before Freida figures out the calculation, only to be prevented from doing so.  Ironically, making the penultimate panel the punchline wound up making it personally funnier than if it were left alone.