Everything Vs. Everything, Epic Edition

I watched this documentary on the Phoenix lights, and it got me thinking about skepticism.  I even had this great idea of exploring skepticism, belief, and the Terran desire to find something “greater”.

But who really gives a shit?

I could throw my own observations into the collective consciousness of humanity, but it’s just more noise to the din.  I could point out that skepticism is not defined by a lack of belief in the paranormal, but an admission that there are limits to our own perception and whenever we try to exceed those limits, we usually end up making assumptions proven wrong in the end.  But it’s not going to convince anyone of anything, and I doubt anyone comes here looking for my feeble insights on the nature of perception itself.  So let’s just put all that aside, and talk about something that matters.

Let’s talk about Dinosaurs Vs. Vampires.

Or Robots Vs. Ninjas.

Or Dragons Vs. Space Aliens.

Or just about Anything Vs. Anything Else.

It’s no secret that I am a fan of the Vs. genre.  I enjoy it when things fight other things.  The best part of Sucker Punch (or is that Suckerpunch?) was the sequence were a dragon fought a bomber.  Although I did also enjoy mech Vs. bi-planes.  Avatar only really won me over when a space rhino crushed a robotic marine.  And one of the reasons Kung Fu Panda, The Incredibles, and How to Train Your Dragon are each so awesome is because of super kung fu, robot attacks, and a giant @#$%ing dragon battle respectively.

Heck, Pokemon has built an entire franchise of video games on this concept.

Perhaps it’s my comic book superhero background.  Reading them, that is.  I was never actually a superhero, and I certainly never went to Mars and fought Ernest Hemmingway’s brain in a robotic gorilla’s body for the fate of the universe.  (You’re welcome, by the way.)

In superhero comics, everything loves fighting everything else.  Superman, an alien, lives in the same world as Captain Marvel, a boy who gets his powers from a wizard.  Spider-Man can throw down with the Hulk.  Aliens will fight dinosaurs.  Space gods fight regular gods.  In the world of comics, a highly-trained rich guy, an alien, and an Amazon can all hang out together and no one thinks it’s weird.  So naturally, when it comes to watching memorable fights, you can’t really go wrong here.

My favorite would have to be Marvel’s Thor.  I admit I haven’t read much of him lately, but I really don’t read comics much at this point.  But Thor was my first superhero, and he’ll always hold a place in my heart because Thor is a god who fights everything.  He has gone to outer space and battled cosmic aliens.  He’s traveled through time.  His foes range from the Absorbing Man (a magically powered street thug), to the Tomorrow Man, to Loki, God of Evil himself.  He’s also fought Set, of the Egyptian pantheon, and punched the Hulk to a standstill.  If you name it, Thor has probably fought it.

Thor has even fought the Midgard Serpent in his comic, and it was an epic battle.  Every page was a splash page!  And this was back when that concept was still pretty cool.

Did I mention the Destroyer?  You might have seen him in the trailers.  He’s the giant armored warrior that is wreaking havoc.  The Destroyer is a magic robot created by Odin himself.  For those of you who skimmed that last sentence, let me repeat:  Magic.  Robot.  Odin.

In Walt Simonson’s epic end to his run on the Thor series, we’re treated to a series of amazing battles, one right after another.  It starts with Thor versus evil mutants and just gets crazier from there.  He faces Grendal, frost giants, the Midgard Serpent.  Eventually, his spirit ends up in control of the Destroyer itself, and Thor, as a magic robot armed with a magic lightning hammer, storms the gates of Hell itself.

Epic seems too timid a word.

Considering the high standards set by Simonson, I have to say I face the Thor film with trepidation.  I tend to be disappointed by superhero flicks because I want more action than I’m given.  And if the god of thunder is going to fight a magic robot made to obliterate everything it sees, it better be an epic battle.  Instead, I expect it will be like Iron Man 2, where the bad guys fall like tenpins.  That’s all well and good for a minor foe like Whiplash, but this is the Destroyer we’re talking about here.  If the fight is over in two minutes, you can be sure Loki must have had a hand in the screenplay.

Fighting the good fight, Writing the good write,

Lee

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2 Comments

  1. R. Greene
    Posted April 13, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    I just finished reading Gil’s All Fright Diner. It was a pretty good book. I don’t read male authors much but I enjoyed your writing. Although I am sure you don’t care and I may get completely blasted by your fans and for posting off topic.. I wonder why you wrote about Loretta’s weight so much and how much it repulsed Duke. It was almost distracting from the plot. I mean Loretta’s fat..ok. Loretta likes to let ot hang out…ok. But seemed like a waste of words to mention it so much. I mean Tammy was hot but an evil bitch. However, Loretta was fat but loyal, strong, and stalwart. Are you just another fat phobic male or what? Just wondering…

    • A. Lee Martinez
      Posted April 14, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      Ah, this again. I’ve addressed this concern before, but it’s been a while, so I might as well talk about it again.

      First of all, I can completely see where you’re coming from. There’s no doubt that beign overweight is usually portrayed as a serious character flaw. Especially for women. With rare exception, an overweight character is almost always played for laughs. If they’re sidekicks, they tend to be simplistic characters, often food obsessed, and usually one-dimensional. As protagonists, we often feel the need to point out that they’re “more than just fat”.

      Overweight people put up with a lot of crap in our society, as does just about anyone without washboard abs and a perfect body. So, yes, I understand where this concern comes from, and I can’t easily dismiss it.

      BTW, I think it’s unfair to assume that because I’m a guy I’m more likely to have something against fat people. Women are just as likely to be carriers of this particular prejudice. Just an aside though…

      It’s true that Loretta gets to be the target of humor in GIL’S. But there are jokes about Earl’s gawkiness, his combover. And Duke isn’t portrayed as particularly attractive either. Chad and Tammy are the most attractive people in the story, but neither of them come across in any positive light.

      Of course, I’m aware that saying “Well, I make fun of everyone equally” is hardly a great defense. I won’t argue whether or not Loretta gets more ribbing than the other characters. Such quantifications are beside the point. And I won’t disagree that, initially, Loretta is portrayed as unattractive. Although that’s Duke’s reaction. It isn’t necessarily everyone’s reaction.

      But by the end of the story, Loretta has proven herself to be a capable, tough, and heroic character. Her weight should no longer define her for the audience. And I think, as an example of an overweight heroic character, she succeeds.

      Body image is such an interesting problem because it seems like society gets you coming or going. I’ve heard others accuse me of disliking attractive women since Tammy is the most attractive character in the story while being shallow and evil. And I get where that’s coming from too.

      Ultimately, I feel that Loretta is a positive character who I am glad I created. And I’ll gladly take the heat and controversy for her existence because at the end of the day, she’s someone I really like and am proud to be associated with. I don’t know if this answers your question or not, but I hope it at least offers a view of my perspective.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. And don’t be afraid to ever ask me tough questions. I’d like to think me and my fans can handle it.

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