Author Archives: SpoonyViking

The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle

Welcome to the jungle / It ain’t all fun and games

Hello again, everyone! Now that I’m close to finishing my Master’s, I’ll try to go back to posting semi-regularly. To (re)start things off, I’m going to cover something which I promised Farla quite some time ago: the “Dresden Files” comics. I won’t be looking at them as adaptations of a preexisting work, however, but rather, as original works themselves – as if they were an entirely separate franchise. I believe that will allow me to evaluate them in a fairer manner than if I analysed them as part of a book series which I already dislike. That also means I don’t have any plans of covering the comics that are straight adaptations of the novels.

So, without further ado, let me start with Welcome to the Jungle, the first “Dresden” comic book – one that is chronologically set before the first novel, Storm Front, although it was released in 2008 (which means the book series was already up to Small Favor at that point).

Oh, before I forget: there will be spoilers. (more…)

Is Shirou Sexist? A F/SN’s Fandom Case Study

Hello, everyone! We’re back with our regularly (hah!) scheduled spooniness. This time around, I’d like to do something a bit different from my usual: I’m going to perform a textual analysis of a post which tries to explain Shirou’s supposed sexism in the Fate/Stay Night visual novel.

Oh, and don’t worry about the fancy-pants title, this won’t read like a college paper – or heck, even a high school one.

Let me make myself perfectly clear: I am not doing this to “call out” the author, or anything of the sort. I am merely using their post to showcase a common issue in fandoms. Also, one thing we should keep in mind is that communication is difficult; after all, it’s not as if we’re all mind readers capable of immediately ascertaining exactly what someone else is saying, so we have to rely on a variety of things to convey meaning: choice of words, tone of voice, body language. As one can imagine, communication solely by written means is even more difficult, since we can’t rely on two of the methods I mentioned. So, I’ll exercise a reasonable amount of effort when analysing the post (emphasis on reasonable; after all, communication is a two-way street, so the burden doesn’t fall only on the receiver).

Here’s the aforementioned post. After the cut, I’ll proceed to the analysis.
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The Return of the Living Dead

So, personal story time, DQ readers: I’m simultaneously fascinated by and terrified of death. Not of the physical act of dying in itself (although that also disturbs and intrigues me), but of the idea that once I’m dead, that’s it, my consciousness – everything that makes up who I am – will be gone. I’m actually a bit jealous of more spiritual people: they know what will happen to them in the afterlife, while I only have this vague hope my loved ones and I will continue to exist in some way that’s still discernible as us (not just in a vague “Oh, you’ll still exist, only without any sense of self”, for example).

This isn’t just me being candid. This fear of mine is partly why The Return of the Living Dead is one of my favourite movies, even as it’s also one of the few that has genuinely scared or disturbed me even as an adult. (Or perhaps it’s the other way around – maybe my fear can be traced to having watched this movie as a child? I remember taking a long time to fall asleep that night.) So, this being October, let me see if I can’t spread some of that around, eh?

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Why Is Rorschach So Beloved By Fans?

Warning: there will be heavy spoilers for Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen graphic novel (and, by extension, for the movie) here. Also, I urge you guys to first read this article (again, beware of spoilers), which compares and contrasts the portrayal of the Comedian and sexual minorities in the original comic and in the Before Watchmen prequel (written and drawn by a different team). Not that its contents are directly related to what I’ll be talking about; I just think it’s awful that not only Darwyn Cooke (the writer) is portraying a rapist and murderer as some sort of rugged anti-hero, lesbians as sexual fantasies for straight men and homosexuals as morally-bankrupt deviants, but that others (including famous comic writers like Grant Morrison) are praising his writing!

Anyway, on to THIS article. (more…)

The Gamers: Hands of Fate

Hello, everyone! Sorry for not posting anything lately, but you know how life goes sometimes (and how it will keep on going for the foreseeable future, unfortunately). But I’ve missed writing for DQ, so much I even considered writing a recommendation post for assorted “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” media, especially the first two live-action movies – they both just ooze* so much personality! -, but those aren’t that interesting, academically speaking.

* Hah! I made a funny!

Instead, I’m going to talk about the third “The Gamers” movie, The Gamers: Hands of Fate. (more…)

It’s a Mad, Mad Max World

So, Mad Max: Fury Road seems to have been a hit. I’m very surprised – I’m a big fan of the original trilogy (well, more of the two first movies, but even the third one has its moments), but I didn’t think a new movie over thirty years later would be so well-accepted by the audience of 2015. Of course, the joke’s on me: I had forgotten how the original movies had also been surprise hits (again, at least the first two).

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Quick Review: Supergirl Trailers

So, as many of you (most? All?) probably already know, there’s an upcoming Supergirl TV show produced by Greg Berlanti, the same guy behind Arrow and Flash. Two trailers have already been released for it; you can find the first one here and the second, here. The first is over 6 minutes long, but the second clocks at just a bit over 2 minutes. You guys can go watch both if you haven’t already; I’ll wait.

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WTH Moments: Avengers: Age of Ultron

This won’t be a review of the movie itself. Suffice to say I enjoyed myself immensely when I watched it, even though, from an objective viewpoint, it is a weak movie. Two characters were needlessly thrown away (at least, as of this movie; maybe they’ll be brought back in some way in later ones) and there were a few scenes where Whedon’s penchant for “witty” dialogue harmed the mood of the scene, but overall, it’s like a Snickers bar – not a proper meal by any stretch of the imagination, but it does satisfy your hunger somewhat, and damned if it doesn’t taste delicious!

I’d like to talk about a specific WTH moment in the film. It is entirely possible I’m being too uncharitable with it; I’ll leave it for you guys to judge. Oh, and there will be spoilers regarding an unexpected romantic relationship between two important characters, by the way, so don’t read this if you’d prefer to see the movie first. (more…)

Let’s Talk About Myths

Since I was a kid, I’ve been fascinated by mythology. At first, it was because of the usual reasons – you know, “Wow, Hercules just strangled to death a lion with invulnerable skin! Cool!”, or “Wow, Odin and his brothers just built the world out of a giant’s corpse! Cool!”. As I grew up and learned more about other mythologies, especially once I got into college, I also learned to appreciate not only the intrinsic entertainment value of those stories, but also their deeper meanings  – even if, speaking from a purely personal viewpoint (as opposed to an academic one), I didn’t agree with or accept those meanings.

However, fascinating as the subject would be, I’m not going to talk about the myths themselves; rather, I’d like to talk about their reception and discuss how those ancient stories are reinterpreted and reimagined in modern times, especially in popular culture.
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Fiction and Personal Growth, Part 2

Onwards to part 2! Now, the text after the cut continues directly from the end of part 1, so I’d recommend re-reading it first.

Oh, and in addition to the previous spoiler warnings, I’m adding another one concerning an important character in Victor Hugo’s novel Les Misérables, Inspector Javert. (more…)

Fiction and Personal Growth, Part 1

Can people change, for better or worse? Can a person truly let go of a part of their personality, their self, especially if it’s to fill the void with something else? I’m not talking about the changes we are (hopefully) forced to go through as we grow older (for instance, children have no concept of boundaries, but one expects adults to have already learned those at their age), nor about the little things such as likes and dislikes (“Yeah, I used to love that show, but nowadays I can’t get past how campy it is”); rather, I’m talking about the big things (or possibly a whole bunch of little things that all add up) on the scale of “Can a murderer truly repent for what he did – not because he was punished, but because he came to acknowledge that the act of murder itself is wrong?”.

Well, to be even more precise, what I’m really going to talk about is how fiction tends to deal with that kind of thing. Then again, the best stories always reflect something of real life, even if only an idealized version of it, so I’d be very surprised if nothing we discuss here can be applied to our own world.

Warning: there will be HEAVY spoilers for Kieron Gillen’s run on Journey Into Mystery, Al Ewing’s current run on Loki: Agent of Asgard, and Nobuhiro Watsuki’s manga Rurouni Kenshin. You have been warned! (more…)

Chronicles of Prydain

The Mabinogion is a collection of several prose stories which were found in medieval Welsh manuscripts (written sometime around the 12th-13th centuries), but were actually based on an older oral tradition (although we’re still discussing exactly how old). It was first fully translated into English by Lady Charlotte Guest, scholar of Welsh language and literature, in the 19th century. Besides just being a very good read, this book would prove very influential in literary studies about the Arthurian mythos – and (more relevantly for this post) would also inspire the fantasy series The Chronicles of Prydain, written by American author Lloyd Alexander during the sixties (the first book was written in 1964, the fifth and last one in 1968).
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