Thursday, October 31, 2013

Frankenstein Comic Special

Hey, folks, nothing much to see here, it's been another fun Halloween, and I figured I'd just share a link to one of my favorite examples of how comics can get away with story lines that used to thrive in campy movies and bizarre Twilight Zone episodes.

At the following link you'll find a story I wish I came up with:

Frankenstein in "Rescue From Ghost Planet X"


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Ask Erik: Episode Thirty-Nine

Here at Ask Erik we've spent a lot of time reading novels and comic books, playing video games, and watching television and movies in order to amass a deep vault of pop culture knowledge.  While constantly trying to still gather new information, it only seems prudent to share some of what we have learned to help solve some of the world's greatest questions.

What's your pumpkin carving technique?  What's the real origins of Halloween?  Why does anybody even bother giving out Milk Duds when they're such an inferior Halloween candy?

Once a week Erik tackles a question asked to him and tries to answer it in a method that handles the topic with the respect and attention it deserves.  Failing that, he'll at least try to make it funny so you don't regret reading it.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


For so many years I could not be bothered with Halloween.  During my high school years I couldn't be bothered with even handing out candy.  I didn't dress up in any costumes, I didn't go anywhere, I didn't even really eat any candy.  The one single thing I looked forward to every year was the fact that in the evening the local NPR station would broadcast the original airing of War of the Worlds.  I'd sit in a large easy chair and listen, doing my best to imagine the people panicking over a radio show and the power that these simple words had over masses at the time.

Now, to be fair, the Internet has stuff like that happening every day, except I don't think anybody would ever call Orson Welles a troll.

Once I got into my twenties, I started to appreciate the holiday a bit more.  I still didn't dress up, though that partly came from disgust at the fact that even though I was so deeply into anime, I couldn't find a single character I could cosplay as because there just weren't that many tall guys with glasses in the programs I saw who didn't have costumes way outside my price range to assemble.

Yes, before you ask, I did have to look like the character, I wasn't going to try to dress as someone I looked nothing like because I wanted to capture the character.

These days, I'm more into the holiday.  I own a few costumes (a few that I put together myself), I hand out candy, I watch the specials on TV (I swear, one day the Great Pumpkin will show up!), and I find myself volunteering at places to be the one to help decorate or be in charge of buying items for groups.

There is one thing, however, that I've done every year of my life but has only really become a true passion in the past few years: pumpkin carving.

These are a few of my carvings over the past few years.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The "M" Stands For Mighty Part Four

Back in the 90s, no other cartoon show grabbed my attention like Mighty Max.  It was short-lived and doesn't have the same staying power of programs like Animaniacs or Gargoyles, but it will always have a special place for me because of how it managed to explore the world, face fantastic creatures, and have a (to a kid in the 90s) sharp sense of humor.  In much the same way Spider-Man would joke his way through combat to hide his fear, I imagined myself in the place of Max (perhaps with a single t-shirt in my wardrobe that read "E"), facing danger and laughing the whole way through.

Let's look at the fourth episode of the series that so far seems to have continuity like the Swiss have cheese and see if we can't figure out a bit more about this world.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Nintendo 3DS Mii Games

I carry my Nintendo 3DS XL with me pretty much everywhere I go.  Not only is it fun to just bust it out during idle times when I'm stuck waiting somewhere, it's also great for travel.  It has a rather extensive library of classic games, and between older DS games and the increasingly high quality releases of 3DS games, I expect I'll get years of enjoyment out of it.

However, there's one thing I have to admit.  See, there are these built-in games that come with it based on the idea that you can "meet" other people who have a 3DS out on the street, and your devices will exchange information.  This is assuming, of course, that your 3DS is in "sleep" mode with the wi-fi turned on.

Later, when you open up your 3DS to play, you'll notice that your little "Mii" character has met new people, and when you check that out you have the option to play games with the new "Miis" that have stopped by in your system to visit.  These games are evil, cruel, and extremely addictive.

Let's look closer.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Rifftrax & Mystery Science Theater 3000

As I type this, I am sitting in a theater waiting for the Rifftrax live broadcast of the original Night of the Living Dead.  I missed out on the live Rifftrax broadcast of Starship Troopers, and while I own several sets of the MST3K box sets, it's not as many as I want to own.  if you guessed I'm a fan, you guessed right, and I'm willing to go on record that Joel Hodgson, Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett, Kevin Murphy, Mary Jo Pehl, and everybody else who wrote for the show compose the smartest and funniest writing team television ever had.

Take that, Community.

You, too, The Daily Show.

I swear one day I'll start an Internet feud with something huge, and that's the moment I'll know I made it big.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ask Erik: Episode Thirty-Eight

Here at Ask Erik we've spent a lot of time reading novels and comic books, playing video games, and watching television and movies in order to amass a deep vault of pop culture knowledge.  While constantly trying to still gather new information, it only seems prudent to share some of what we have learned to help solve some of the world's greatest questions.

How do computers work?  How can a tiny percentage shift in a DNA sequence cause such differences between species?  Can I recycle my own paper?

Once a week Erik tackles a question asked to him and tries to answer it in a method that handles the topic with the respect and attention it deserves.  Failing that, he'll at least try to make it funny so you don't regret reading it.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Last Of Us

By every right, I should hate the PS3 game The Last Of Us.

No, really.  I have a mental checklist of features in games that drive me absolutely insane, and this game managed to mark off quite a few of them quite often.  Are there monsters with one-hit kills?  Check.   Are the monsters really difficult to pick out from other monsters when a majority of combat happens in dark places?  Check.  Does the AI constantly show how ridiculous it is, either by having monsters trip over NPCs without seeing them or having a bad guy get stuck somewhere so it becomes impossible to sneak past him?  Check.  Do my NPC partners occasionally run over to the other end of a map while I'm in combat and get themselves killed before I can get over to them?  Check.

Worst of all, do I die a lot while playing it?  Check.

I died one hundred forty-four times.  The game keeps track for you.  It's, well, I don't want to call it "kind" for doing that, but I guess the information does come in handy.

So why did I play it through to completion?  That's a good question.  Mild spoilers ahead, but I'll try to be vague.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The "M" Stands For Mighty Part Three

There was a time period in the 80s and 90s where toys were the major inspiration for cartoons.  If the cartoon wasn't directly inspired by toys (He-Man and the Transformers come to mind), then the cartoon simply acts as a means to make more toys (G.I. Joe, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).  

One of the most blatant examples of this was, of course, one of my favorite cartoons from the time period, Mighty Max.  Of course, the creators of the show had a bonus in that they could extend out further than just the basic premise of "kid fights evil around the world" and develop actual plots and backstories for characters.  Where they came from, who they knew, who they cared for, these were all touched on by the program more than it ever needed to be to move merchandise.

I'll admit I'm saying this as someone who never, once, ever bought a single Mighty Max toy product.

So let's look at the third episode, which is surprisingly light on two of the three main characters!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter

I'm stuck at home today with a pretty bad cold (normally I get over these within a day or two), so I figured it was a good time to clean out a few things in the DVR.  Because I'm apparently also a masochist (or I hoped that the germs would be less tolerant than me and flee first), I decided the first thing I would watch is the horror classic Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter.

You haven't heard of it?

Probably for the best.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Another Encounter With Gamestop

Yesterday I received a call from Gamestop saying that the used PS3 they ordered for my sister arrived.  This is the one they ordered as an apology for one of their employees selling the one I had asked them to set aside.  I picked up my sister and drove her down to the mall, fully expecting there to be some kind of misunderstanding or confusion because, to be honest, I never really had any truly fond memories of shopping at Gamestop.

I think that part of the problem is that many of the employees feel they don't have to be professional.  I've stood in stores where employees would talk about the gruesome execution they pulled off in a game, using extremely descriptive language, while a couple of kids are walking around them looking for a game that's age-appropriate.  I've seen Nerf gun fights, with shots fired around customers.  I've heard employees act rude to customers, swear around customers, and simply decide to go on break when there's a line of people waiting to purchase something.  The most amazing moments were things like a Gamestop employee wanting coffee, so he let a friend of his (not an employee) man the store while he ran over (the guy's response to everything was "oh, he'll be back in a moment and he can help you"), or when a guy was telling some friends of his (also not employees) everything wrong with his coworkers, using language I'd expect to hear on Springer.

Now, to be fair, from everything I've heard, working at a Gamestop is a bit like selling part of your soul.  In an industry that, really, is still in its infancy, people who don't take an active role in the hobby tend to not to any of the necessary research to make sure they or whoever they're buying a game for gets the most out of the experience.  Remember, I heard a father ask if Grand Theft Auto V would be appropriate for his thirteen year-old.  I've been present when parents blindly buy a Call of Duty, Halo, or Resident Evil for their child who I swear must barely be starting high school, and then the parents complain about the fact that they needed to be present.  I don't think I'd ever want to work at a Gamestop, and there are times I feel bad for those who do.

However, like I said last time, the people at the mall had been extremely apologetic and seemed to be working quite hard to make it up to my sister, so I kept my fingers crossed.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Ask Erik: Episode Thirty-Seven

Here at Ask Erik we've spent a lot of time reading novels and comic books, playing video games, and watching television and movies in order to amass a deep vault of pop culture knowledge.  While constantly trying to still gather new information, it only seems prudent to share some of what we have learned to help solve some of the world's greatest questions.

What's the oldest word origin you know?  How can tiny little meteors cause such huge damage when they enter our atmosphere?  How does "Goo Gone" work?

Once a week Erik tackles a question asked to him and tries to answer it in a method that handles the topic with the respect and attention it deserves.  Failing that, he'll at least try to make it funny so you don't regret reading it.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The "M" Stands For Mighty Part Two

When I think back to my cartoon-watching habits, I remember soaking up shows like a sponge.  Even if they weren't any good, I loved watching the outrageous ideas they'd come up with.  You'd have things like The Hair Bear Bunch, where three hippie bears rode an invisible motorcycle around town because of course they do.  You had a show based on Mr. T, one based on the Harlem Globetrotters, and a cartoon based on Chuck Norris.

And yet, when I think of all the ones I wish I could get on DVD to just watch at my leisure, the one I always think back to is Mighty Max, the show based on a toy which was a boy's version of Polly Pocket.

However, Polly Pocket never had a skull mountain or dragon island play set, so points for Max.

...I wonder how much those go for on eBay.

While I look that up, let's dig into the second episode of the amazingly brutal show, The Brain Suckers Cometh.

Monday, October 14, 2013

An Encounter With Gamestop

Okay, so a slight delay on getting the next episode of Mighty Max through, but here's the story.

Gamestop is having a special deal right now as they prepare for the newest system releases, and they're selling all used XBox 360s for $99 (I believe) and all pre-owned PS3s for $150.  I contacted the one down at the local mall today to ask if they had any of the 500 gig PS3s left, and they said they had one in stock.  I asked if they could set it aside, and the charming woman who answered the phone took my name down and promised it would be there that evening.  My sister has been looking forward for a long time to own her own PS3 (almost solely to play Kingdom Hearts games), so this is her big opportunity.

I picked her up after work and drove her down, where we waited until the line in the store died down, then approached the counter.  I said I had called earlier that day regarding a PS3, the man behind the counter recognized my name, said that the morning shift woman had clarified that the PS3 was not to be sold until I arrived, and went into the back to get it.

I have to say, this is much better service than I'm used to from Gamestop.  The primary other store I go to in a nearby shopping complex seems to be more determined to act smug and push product than provide quality customer service.  Questions are answered at the barest possible minimum, and I one guy's response to a father asking, "do you think Grand Theft Auto V would be okay for my thirteen year old?" with a disinterested "if you think he's mature enough" instead of either a) looking at updates after it came out and the upset about a (taking the commentator's word on it here) "rather brutal torture sequence that occurs during it" or b) "No, that's why it's rated M."

Anyway, back to the story.  The man searches around the store and then looks on the computer system to confirm it's there.  He frowns a bit, and reaches for the phone saying he's going to contact the woman who worked there earlier to see where she put the PS3.  After a conversation with her, he comes back to me and apologizes, stating that they had a "game adviser" there that day (read: retail clerk, near as I can tell) who apparently sold it despite the fact that a) the woman who ran the morning shift told him not to, and b) the guy working the evening shift confirmed with the woman that it shouldn't be sold, c) IT HAD A NAME ON IT.

So, yeah, real turd in the punch bowl there.


The man working there apologized profusely (fifteen times!) for the mix-up.  He offered to order one from another shop, have it shipped to the store at the mall, and provide a further ten percent discount on it for the inconvenience.  He then personally called a store in New Hampshire, had them take a white 500 gig PS3 off the shelf, put a note on it with my sister's name, and the manager of that store said he would personally hand it to the UPS guy the following morning to try to have it in by the end of the week.

So, while I am a bit frustrated about having driven down for nothing, I think that ten percent discount actually makes up for the gas I used driving down there.

I think Gamestop really needs to work on a bit of its image (especially in particular stores where you can tell the people who work there don't care at all about customers), but I encountered two people today (one by phone, one in person) who really seemed to care about good service.

Plus, I take comfort in the fact that a "game adviser" is going to get yelled at by two assistant managers and a store manager tomorrow.

Expect a Mighty Max episode review tomorrow!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Super Graphic: A Visual Guide To The Comic Book Universe

Every now and again something drifts through the ether and manages to find a way to take root in my brain and become something I fixate on for a short time.  This tends to spread itself across a wide variety of topics, because one thing I absolutely loathe to do is admit I have "no idea" about something.  It's for this reason I've researched topics ranging from the advances in camera technology through history to the winners of the Eurovision Song Contests.  The information buries itself in my mind like a cicada, only emerging every seventeen years when someone else mentions the topic and the information becomes useful, or I'm able to incorporate it into something that lets me show off share the information with others, such as, say, a blog.

Then there are the parasitoid wasps of knowledge that find my brain.  They grab hold immediately and lay their eggs inside, and- hold on, this is disgusting, let's find a new analogy.

Ophiocordyceps unilateralis is a parasitic fungus that infects ants.  It co-opts the mind of the insect it infects, forcing it to behave in a way outside of its nature in order to spread its own growth.  In nature, the fungus makes an ant climb a plant or tree, clamp its mandibles shut on a leaf to lock it in place, and then kills the host so it can consume the body and spread its spores.

In the instance of the book Super Graphic, I'm not really acting outside of my normal behavior, but I have become completely fixated on this book.  Now, after reading through it twice, I feel compelled to share it with all of you before I go read it a third time.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Downfall of Pompeii

If I had to describe the current popular technological advances that face the masses, I'd have to describe it as "blending."  A blu-ray player can also hop onto Hulu or Netflix to stream videos.  Your television can sync with a tablet device and act as a larger screen.  Your phone probably either has a camera or a built-in mp3 player.  Even non-entertainment-based technology seems to be coming together, with bluetooth services available in cars for easy telephone use, shoes that sync with your phone to count your steps, and a chair that refills your empty beer.  Obviously we are living in a golden age.

Now, board games don't have the same luxuries.  We all remember the games that tried to advance technology from earlier times.  They either involved swiping a pretend charge card as you travelled through a mall, playing the sound of a missile that missed a battleship, or using an electronic randomizer to replace dice.  Better blendings in board games tend to come from historical periods, allowing you to either retrace the original rail lines of America, simulate the early settler expansion across America, or in the case of one of my favorite board games, repeat an event that caused the deaths of sixteen thousand people.

Let's dig in.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Ask Erik: Episode Thirty-Six

Here at Ask Erik we've spent a lot of time reading novels and comic books, playing video games, and watching television and movies in order to amass a deep vault of pop culture knowledge.  While constantly trying to still gather new information, it only seems prudent to share some of what we have learned to help solve some of the world's greatest questions.

If you win money in a lawsuit, do you have to pay taxes on it or does the source of the payment have to compensate by increasing how much they pay to accommodate the taxes?  How many species are left on the planet to be discovered?  Do CD spindles make good bagel holders for transporting?

(Spoiler alert, they do)

Once a week Erik tackles a question asked to him and tries to answer it in a method that handles the topic with the respect and attention it deserves.  Failing that, he'll at least try to make it funny so you don't regret reading it.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


I used to be a pretty big fan of crime dramas.  Granted, I never watched a show whose title was simply a mash-up of letters (JAG, NCIS, CSI), and I was usually more interested in the solving of the crimes than the personal lives of the characters, keeping me from getting pulled in by programs such as The Wire or The Shield.

Yes, I know, I missed out on some great television, but honestly, I don't really mind!

For a while I used to watch Law & Order and its spin-off Special Victims Unit (which I guess could be L&O:SVU but I hate that acronym), but the former went away and the latter became so completely contrived and far fetched I expected an episode to eventually take place in Narnia.

 My personal favorite series is Numb3rs, but there's a series I just watched recently that's completely changed my attitude towards these kinds of programs.

The show is Broadchurch, and it's possibly the best crime-based television show I've ever seen.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The M Stands for "Mighty" Part One

There were a few cartoons I was absolutely a die-hard fan of in the 90s.  You had your Batman: The Animated Series, you had Gargoyles and Duck Tales and Darkwing Duck.  You had Captain Planet and the Planeteers.  Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain.  The 90s were essentially a golden age for cartoons, one that faltered in later years and is just now really coming back.

But by far, the series that I absolutely loved to the point that I used to schedule records on a VCR to watch it when I realized it was on television at four in the morning... was Mighty Max.

So starting with episode one, let's look back and see what made it so great (and pray it still holds up).

Friday, October 4, 2013

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Day Four!

So far we've looked at the opening episode of the new ABC series Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and listed characters we hoped to see and ones we hoped to/figured we'd never see.  Now, at day four of our 4/5ths of a week-long spotlight, it's time to look at the next logical matter to focus on.

...I just wish I knew what that was.

Okay, um, let's see...I've gone over the characters already, I've discussed the story and the set-up, um...

Well, okay, actually, let's talk characters.  Namely, how ABC and Joss Whedon have to be really careful not to get them wrong.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Top Eleven: Characters I Don't Want To See/Don't Think We'll See In Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

That might be the longest title I've ever had for an article.

Last time I discussed the top eleven characters/teams/groups I really, really hope we'll get to see or have a reference to in the new awkwardly named Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  As people know, my knowledge of obscure and obtuse facts and characters is rather well developed, and while I'd love to see every character done in a live action format one day (the world cries out for one of the villains in a Spider-Man movie to be the Big Wheel), I know for a fact there are certain characters who simply don't seem to fit in how the current cinematic Marvel universe is being developed.

Here's where I break down the list of ones I don't want to see or just don't think would work in this new universe we're getting glimpses of annually/weekly.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Ask Erik: Episode Thirty-Five (Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. special!)

Here at- eh, forget it.  Let's get to the question.

To Erik: With there finally being a program devoted to exploring around the cinematic Marvel Universe, who do you want to show up?  Who do you not want to show up?

Well, as we all know, the Marvel Universe is a pretty huge place.  It has decades of history to fall back on, and little pieces of treasure hidden in the darkest corners that could be mined.  As for who I'd want to see, well, is there any better way to handle it than a top eleven?  I didn't think so.

11)  Unlimited Class Wrestling

Picture the WWE franchise in a world with actual heroes.

I mean- okay, let me rephrase that.  Picture the WWE/WWF franchise from back in the 80s with all of the goofy costumes and ridiculous names, and then bombard them all with radiation so they all get actual super powers.  That's the Unlimited Class Wrestling group in the Marvel Universe.

Members have included characters such as Ben Grimm (a.k.a "The Thing"), Demolition Man (not Stallone), the Armadillo, and a bunch of minor characters who never really amounted to anything.  However, the Unlimited Class Wrestling is where one of my favorite, most obscure groups of all time comes from (at least, it's the only time I ever saw them), the Power Tools.  Each of them has various power tool implements on their gauntlets (or in at least one case, I think, replacing their hand entirely).  You had spinning saw blades, a jackhammer, hammers, a pick-axe, a sledgehammer

Um, yeah.  The guy on the left has screwdrivers on his gauntlets.  His codename actually is "Screwdriver."

Look, they can't all be winners, okay?

Anyway, an underground arena exploiting people who get powers would be a great storyline, one that could be in the background of a few episodes before coming out and being a huge two-parter.  This is especially true because, if you're having the Unlimited Class Wrestling, you have to include...

10)  The Power Broker

Hey, man, looking for a bit of a boost?  Some extra "zip" to your day?  You want to be able to get a high like you wouldn't believe?  Well, man, you just gotta talk to the Power Broker, and he'll hook you up with the goods.

That is, he distributes super powers in drug form.  Criminals, heroes, and people just looking to get to fly for a short time or beat up the guy picking on him at work all come to him to get what they need to get the job done.  I mean, sure, the drugs might kill you, either directly or because they'll wear off when you're flying over the city or holding up that crumbling building, but that's the risk you take, man!

9)  Nova

Imagine, if you will, an ordinary person here on Earth who gets picked to become part of an intergalactic peacekeeping force.  Granted fantastic powers through advanced technology, he gains the ability to fly, project energy blasts and force fields, and still manages to try to deal with the every day issues of normal life around his hidden identity.

And he isn't played by Ryan Reynolds.

We already know aliens exist in the cinematic Marvel universe, in fact we have an upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie on the way to enforce it.  So why not have S.H.I.E.L.D. be present when the "good guys" of the universe start picking human representatives instead of it always just being "the bad guys" who come to the planet to mess around?

8) Count Nefaria

Count Nefaria is one of those villains who has links to the Avengers as a whole but has a more personal link to Iron Man in the fact that his daughter, Madam Masque, is both trying to kill him and sleep with him at the same time depending on which writer remembers what part of her history.

Having enough power to take on the Avengers single-handedly, Count Nefaria (which is, let's face it, and awesome name) used technology to grant himself "ionic powers" or something that I never worried about the science of because, hey, it's comics.  It'd be great to have the Agents track down stolen technology that could be used to grant someone those powers and be present at the "birth" of such a major villain, which would probably turn into a "use the same technology to stop him" plot, but at this point I just want to see the character on screen.

7)  The Molecule Man

Owen Reese has, arguably, the most powerful "super power" that ever existed.  He can turn anything into anything else.  He alters them at the (as the name suggests) molecular level so that they simply stop being what it was and becomes, say, a block of solid gold.  Or a ball of twine.  Or a penguin.  He can affect things on a microscopic level or alter entire landscapes around him...

But he has the self-confidence of Woody Allen before Woody Allen was famous.  Instead of shooting, punching, or blowing up a threat that faces them, it'd be great to see Agent Coulson or someone else on the team have to simply talk down a guy with the power to simply make them dissolve just by thinking about it.

6) The Psycho Man

Nick Fury established in the very first Iron Man movie that there was more to the world than Tony Stark knew.  This means they've already had encounters with things that would boggle the human mind.  Suppose one of those was an invader from a microscopic universe who had control over everybody's emotions?  A guy who could make an entire city riot in anger or hide away in fear?  He's not quite as powerful in a fight as, say, Count Nefaria, but seeing a more psychological episode of the show would be quite entertaining, and we know that Joss Whedon has done a pretty great job in the past when it comes to messing with the heads of his characters.

5)  Arcade

In a world where people get super powers, where the Avengers are now action figures, and where technology steadily advances, I expect at some point you'd get a guy who takes all of that and turns it into a twisted means of killing people.  Enter Arcade, one of my favorite villains to ever exist, even if his character has taken a disappointing turn in Avengers Arena.

I'd love to see Arcade in a recurring role, hired by other villains through the series to try to lure S.H.I.E.L.D. agents or "pesky gifted people" to their dooms.

4)  Taskmaster

And yes, he'd have to be in that costume.

A guy with the innate (more about that wording tomorrow) ability to physically mimic the moves of anybody he sees, Taskmaster (Tony Masters, former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and now trainer of mooks for bad guys as well as the best mercenary ever) is a guy who can throw Cap's shield almost as well as he can, fight almost as well as Iron Fist, and move almost as acrobatically as Daredevil.

In fact, that's his only problem in that when you get right down to it, he's always almost as good as the source material, because the source material he observes can always try new things, he's limited to what he's already seen.  Granted, it means that a martial artist suddenly has to deal with Hawkeye's arrows or Cap's shield being thrown at him or Iron Man is left fighting a guy who ducks and dodges on a level shy of Elektra, but to fight a guy who can never really beat with the same combat maneuver twice is a great villain for this series.

3)  Joystick/The Great Game

This character was just fun.  Originally a villain for the "replacement" Spider-man, Joystick was part of a group taking part in "The Great Game," a series of events where big prizes were given to whoever could get a mission done first.  It might be simply stealing an object from a secure location or attempting to murder a super-hero (major points to her that she once tried to kill Mr. Fantastic and Namor the Sub-Mariner at the same time despite only being as powerful as a "lesser" Spider-Man), but it's all about the fun and adventure for them.

Joystick herself was great, because she somehow managed to break most conventions.  She was the "team slut" of the Thunderbolts, but didn't wear a revealing costume.  She was smart enough to tell when she was being manipulated, but went along away just to see what happened.  A total hedonist, she was always "looking out for number one" and seemed surprised when anybody called her out on her actions.

2)  Black Panther

We already know that Wakanda must exist, we've seen Cap's shield.  I can't remember if vibranium itself has been mentioned, but it only stands to lead that the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. might be called out to help T'Challa, the Black Panther, defend his kingdom from some kind of threat.  Of course, this could lead to the first appearance of Klaw, but I'd silently be hoping for the first appearance of Man-Ape.

No, seriously, Man-Ape.

...okay, maybe not Man-Ape.  Klaw'd still be pretty cool.

I'm trying to skip all of the obvious ones, since we can pretty much figure there will be Hydra at some point, maybe Paladin, maybe Luke Cage and Iron Fist, probably a good chance of Misty Knight.  I want something not everybody would think of.

So, here goes.

1)  Kang the Conqueror

Yes, I know that time travel is a beast to deal with in story telling.

Yes, I know that future technology is a beast to do CGI on.

Yes, I know that Kang is an Avengers-Level threat, but if you need a great manipulator to be behind events that the agents re trying to investigate, it's hard to do better than Kang.  Well, I mean, I suppose they could do The Wizard or The Leader but those are more specific to other teams or individual heroes.  Kang is just great to have show up when you want everyone to know things just got really serious.

Now, there are some obvious choices I didn't pick, and in fact one or two of my choices might be disqualified, but I'll address those in tomorrow's top eleven: characters I don't expect to ever show up on the show.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Hey, folks!  It's the first week of October!  Time for a theme week!  This week (minus yesterday due to some issues involving freshly sanded wood floors and being unable to access my computer) I'm going to focus every article (including "Ask Erik") on the new Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. program.

Man, am I going to get sick of typing that acronym.

I think the new show based off of the Marvel movie franchise on ABC might just have the silliest title for a TV series I've ever seen.  With all of the hype behind it, why do they need to clarify it's "Marvel's" agents?  Is there another S.H.I.E.L.D. out there that I haven't heard of?  Are there people who like Marvel comics but have not seen a single one of the previews, interviews, movies, or comic book ads to be aware that this is a show for them?

You don't see other comic book properties titled this way.  "Image's The Walking Dead."  "DC's Smallville."  "DC's Arrow." "Ben Edlund's The Tick."  "D.C. Cab"

Wait, was the last one not part of it?  I just remember it was made by Joel Schumacher.

Anyway, with the second episode airing tonight, I feel it's about time I gave my opinion of the first episode of the series.  Its strengths, its weaknesses, and the things that make my brain twitch.