Bam! Yet ANOTHER project

As some of you may know, I attended Comic Con a few weeks ago.  What many of you do not know is that my background in video games is only proceeded by comic books.

Growing up, my family, in particular my father, has had a love for books.  Dad would hand me books since before I could read.  He told me tales of fantasy and these larger than life characters.  My mother never understood this aspect.  I truly believe dad may have been doing it partially to piss her off.

They are now divorced and happier.  She lives in Illinois still with her new husband.  Dad lives in suburbia Los Angeles in the dreaded 909.

The comic books that I collected growing up are currently stored in a trunk in a garage at my mother’s home.  I am actually quite amazed that they are still there, regardless of whichever condition that they may be in.  You see, my mother burned the baseball cards I collected at the time.

Dad’s house is like another world entirely.  Everywhere you look is traces of his fixation with comic books.  He has a full bedroom for my son that is nothing but Spiderman.  Dad is a big kid at heart.  He frequents comic shops weekly.  He raised me on books like Tales from the Crypt, Batman, and Spiderman.

Uncle Jay & I in my sons Spiderman Room

Uncle Jay & I in my son's Spiderman Room

Despite my recent cosplay endeavor, I wasn’t always a Supergirl fan.  Dad wasn’t interested in Superman.  It seems that you are either a Batman fan or a Superman fan.  We were the former.  The new Detective Comics featuring Batwoman are currently in my monthly “must pick up list.”  Superman still has of yet to make a regular home for me.

However even back then I really didn’t partake as much from the mainstream comic book lines.  There has always been a draw for me to the artistically popping, underdogs of indie comic books.  Maybe that’s why I was rebellious growing up.  Maybe that’s why, to a degree, I still am.  It feels awesome to be a cliche.

After the convention I began to re-evaluate where my passions were.  While I do love video games, I have found that the community within the comic book industry has some very important things to offer me that, well video games really don’t for me- timelessness and a foundation in encouraging literacy and imagination in its execution.

I found myself looking back.  At my own childhood.  Of sitting on shoulders with loose teeth as my dad pointed to superheroes on comic books.

In present day, I have passed these things to my children as well.  I encourage my son to read comic books.  And, while he may go with his grandfather and read those mainstream books, he also reads indies with his mother.

my son reading The Edge a story within Volume 3 of the comic Flight

my son reading "The Edge" a story within Volume 3 of the comic "Flight"

I realized that I had not been completely true to myself.  Perhaps part of the reason why I never felt at ease or why it didn’t just all fall into place was that.  I was denying myself the potential to reach further.

When I went to Comic Con, I was representing Girls Entertainment Network.  And while I am thankful for the opportunity I had to work with them, I have come to realize that I have a different vision for how I would like to proceed with my venture into comic book journalism.

Approximately 2 years ago I purchased a series of domains for various projects that I was considering.  I had been mulling over the thought about a comic book site for some time but never made the jump into it.

I went to a movie showing of the 1943 rare Batman serial and an exhibit this weekend on the Golden Age of comic books over at the Skirball Cultural Center.  It reminded me so much about what we, as a culture, have lost, what we have gained, and what remains the same though it may have a different face.

It was profound and moving with its subtleties and brash overtones.

The time has come.  The past doesn’t always have to be so scary.  Neither does the future.  It’s time they shook hands.

I will continue to write freelance for comic book realted sites, but am also gathering steam for what I need to make a website that I believe will be something I am proud of.  Please stay tuned for further information about my site: Superficially Iconic: “a site for comic book intellectuals.. and everyone else too.”

The skys the limit oh dear Superfriend of mine.

The sky's the limit oh dear Superfriend of mine.

See you at Long Beach Comic Con.  And now I have to get ready for a superhero birthday party… Marvel turned the big seven-oh today don’t you know?

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I’m not a pervert, I’m a beauty enthusiast: the sensalization of video game characters in the modern era

Memorial Day has come and gone and with it brought the sun out not just for those outdoor beach nuts, but also for the nerds.  Nerds from across the country have been waiting for these sacred moments.  Ah, yes to count down the days before the two biggest conferences of the year: E3 and Comic Con.

A couple of weeks ago, there was a Pinup Fundraiser featuring Diablo Cody and burlesque pinup queen Masuimi Max.  The fundraiser was to help raise funds for military wives.  The women there, were of that 50s quality that exuded looks reminiscent to Betty Paige and Marilyn.  Even the crowd was hot.  Looking around, you were surrounded by lounge lizard dreams and Varga dames.

The same night however, on another side of town, was another burlesque show.  In fact, it was something entirely different.  It was a unique spin catered to my generation of nerds.   Instead of your standard rockabilly divas, cosplay clad women dressed (and undressed) in your favorite video game character outfits.  The light shined down yet again.  Video game burlesque had been born.

Blood Rayne (via LA Weekly)

The cast of characters was short.   Most of which stayed true to that of the 8 bit stylings that have swept the art stream- therefore appealing to a wider potential crowd.

Every gamer’s wet dream came true at Bordello on May 9 as Devil’s Playground presented Video Game Girls burlesque. The dancers arrived armed and outfitted for an arcade battle, and included Super Mario Bros. Princess Peach, Metroid’s Samus Aran, Street Fighter’s Chun-Li, The Legend of Zelda’s Link and Princess Zelda, and BloodRayne’s Rayne.

From what I’ve seen on the LA Weekly, and among the talk from friends, I would venture to say that the show went well.  I was among the first to catch wind of the story in my circle of friends and twittered immediately about my disappointment for missing the debut.  The grip, as well as my best friend Mo, all discussed it more.  Mo and I were determined to see it.

Thankfully there is still hope.  For the others like me, and those who are in town for the conference this week are open to attend an encore showing this Tuesday Night at the Bordello- the same club as it was previously.

flyer for the encore presentation of Videogame Burlesque

I’m not a pervert, I’m a beauty enthusiast.

So, hot girls wearing cosplay costumes stripping down… is bad how exactly?  You wouldn’t think so due to the ever popular and already existing erotica aimed at geeks, Nerdcore.  Nerdcore depicts pictures of girls covered in video games, to super heroes, to sci-fi true geek warefare attire…. and nude.  It has been the epicenter of nerd porn juxtaposition previous to newer alternative sites like Zivity that cater towards a more digitally connected technophile.

Nevertheless, I was reading a blog on my friend Alex’s site Girl Gamer, to see that a few people were unhappy about the burlesque show.  Strange, because most everyone I’d talked to personally (both male and female) had said relatively nothing to say beyond praise about the whole concept of it.

Don’t get me wrong, I love cos-play as much as any other geek out there, but when fantasy turns to reality in a degrading manner for female gamers just to satisfy some male fetish, I have a problem. How can the dancers arrive “armed and outfitted for an arcade battle”, when all their gear comes right off? I guess Princess Zelda has powers I’ve never heard of, and I don’t even want to ask where Princess Peach will be pulling out those mushrooms from. I have to wonder, as decade-old characters that we all grew up with, is this what we have reduced them to, and is this how we now portray them? I doubt our delicate Princess Peach would ever participate in a burlesque show, and don’t think Link or Mario would ever see the princesses as “fairest” anymore.

I’m sorry, but it’s the video game industry.  Do you really think those game developers made the characters the way they did so that you wouldn’t come back for more? It’s the entertainment industry for Christ Sakes.

Sex sells games.

That’s why there are successful game series like the Leisure Suit Larry and Dead or Alive.  Hell, in the game I tested for SOE, Untold Legends 3, if you look closely, the main playable female character’s breasts actually pulsate.  Game developers and players alike are perverts.  It’s natural.  Back in the days before it was less pop for females to like video games, the target demographic was… (drum roll please) men!

Ok, so you want to get into semantics then?  Sure, I can do that.

Don’t you also think it’s kind of odd that Princess Peach was being pursued and saved by two brothers?  Their occupation being plumbers.  Let’s be realistic.  Princess Peach was likely a slut getting her plumbing fixed by the both of them.  Toadstool was the equivalent of either her gay friend or some kid with a crush on his teacher.  And her name” Peach?”  Hmm, I wonder what that might be referring to.

Why Mario really saved the Princess repeatedly

Why Mario really saved the Princess repeatedly

The other thing is that when you add the fetish world to the equation, and the fact that the I am 8-Bit gallery exhibits and the steady stream of retro gaming energy drinks and merch of various kinds (like this blooper keychain I got last week) lining the shelves,  and graphiti making headlines and the pinup subculture gaining more appeal and this was bound to happen sooner or later.

Burlesque is a tasteful, classier, and artistic approach to making the dreams of millions come alive.  I think the cartoon above is 10xs more offensive than real women enacting pixelated fantasies on stage for fun.  Sure it’s not technically accurate to the games entirely.  It’s an artistic strip show.  They’re on the stage prancing about and dancing.  They’re not getting plunged right on the stage.  And if you’re thinking there isn’t porn out there catering to that crowd, you’re naive- especially if you live in LA or have been to any metropolitan area.

As far as the entertainment factor goes, I’m for equality. What happened to including a shirtless Rayu or Tidus? If you add men to the mix I’ll be at the front of the stage drooling.

Personally I really couldn’t get into the whole male stripper community.  Chipendales never did anything for me.  I guess because they didn’t seem real.  My idea of the perfect man… let’s just say for now that it’s not a Chipendale. I like a fit and athletic man, but honestly, beefy guys generally lead me to those 80s meathead stereotypes.

Is that hypocritical psychology?  Probably.  But no one in their right mind would say that they watched a Van Damme or a Schwartzeneger movie because they were portrayed to be intellectually superior.  It was all about the “ooo muscles” factor.

As far as the entertainment factor goes, I’m for equality. What happened to including a shirtless Rayu or Tidus? If you add men to the mix I’ll be at the front of the stage drooling.

Well, for one, Tidus was gay.  That whole thing about falling in love with Luna was likely a coverup.  I mean, look at how he was in the storyline.  Straight men just aren’t that sensitive.  Not when they dress like that.  It screams “I’m a closet homosexual.”  Which is perfectly fine and.. dandy.  I can’t bitch about it because I’m a one calorie fag too.

That said, they really should do something like this for the gaymer community. I’m sure that there’d be hordes of all walks that would love to see men dressed like Link or Ash from Streets of Rage.  I read an article awhile back that Link was voted the hottest game character by the gay community.

Ash- Streets of Rage 3 Japanese Version

Ash- Streets of Rage 3 Japanese Version

So sure, let’s make it even playing ground.  I think it would be awesome and everyone wins.  But then again, that’s what I thought about the female version.  I guess I must be a bit biased.  I mean, I’m typically “one of the guys” as far as mindset goes.  I’m open about my sexual prowess. The line of what I find being tasteless vs artful may be a bit off the conventional path.

I know that by writing this, I run the risk of potentially being seen in a very negative light.  On one hand, I’m more than likely a hero for saying what many didn’t want to say in public.  On the other, I’m sure it could be construed that I’m an asshole sexist pig.  I am willing to face the consequences.

I’m just sick and tired of people whining about every damn little thing.  The internet is evil.  Television is evil.  Wa wa wa… evil evil evil evil.

No, it’s not cheapening my experience or appreciation of the games.  I repeat the obvious, they’re for entertainment value.  So if lines of paying patrons of both sexes want to line up in droves (and I have a hunch being that it’s during E3 festivities, there will be quite a few people there) why complain?  I’d go to it regardless of the sex- regardless of my sexual preferences.  The concept melts two fantasies for me.  Beats the hell out of ren faires.

Again this is nothing compared to what they could be doing.  Open minded individuals, I’ll see you there.  I’ll be that “cool chick” with my guy friends enjoying it.  Let the flaming commence, I’ll go grab a cigarette.

Kk thnx bai.

Aspirations and Vocalizations

Validation enters the picture once again.  Lots of buzzwords.  Marketing.  Angles.  Diversity.  Social Economics.  Propensity to change.  Strategy.  Innovation. Entrepreneurship.

The arguments were entered that marketing as a whole was a lot of superficial smoke and mirrors and very little to do about content.  Social media, video games… the entertainment industry as a whole.  Is it just a get rich scheme to line the pockets of a few individuals?

Well, the honest answer.. to a degree is yes.  Look at those even semi successful within those realms.  Take a step back and look at a big portion of corporate America.  The rich get richer, and the rats scurry to try for their leftovers.  Then there’s the copycats and sycophants.  Its a race to try and push your way up front.  Maybe Candy Mountain is at the top. At which point, I’d have to say.. move over I want some fairy floss and Snow caps please. Nom nom nom.

I want to believe that there are genuine people in the corporate and entertainment sectors.  And while social media may very well have many of the same components attributed to marketing callousness, I think it’s a step in the direction of forcing people to be more genuine.

I have had a love affair with these industries for years now.  I get defensive when they are bashed.  I do not disagree that there are many negatives and potential for failure.  Humanism sets in, and I think that’s the main reason I get upset.

The reason why stereotypes even exist, is because at the base of them, lies truth.  Truth is not a pretty picture.  But there comes a point where you need to buck up and accept that and/or make steps toward a proactive change.

Things I have found that I want to attain:

  • a career as a writer- This is something that I’ve had some major potential leads towards and when it came to application time, scared myself out of trying.. for fear of success as well as failure.  No more of that crap.  I need to embrace the chance of both.  Hell, there really isn’t a such thing as failure if you try and learn from it right?
  • further involvement in social media- I want to see those strengths become more apparent.  I want to instigate further discussions and the open source diversification for better free flow of ideas for change.  Most people from the outside see transparency and just another marketing ploy.  It is part of the reason why the word recession has been coming about.  Let’s give them something positive and clean up that image.
  • a public relations position within a company that is involved with the things I am passionate about- I am confident in my relations with people in a business setting.  I want to use the one asset that matters most more: my brain. I want to grow and expand and learn in the best way I know how.. from experience and failure and not superficial means.  I think companies need to focus on finding more people that still hold this passion.  I know many business professionals- however see less this tenacity.

I have found that these things have their place in todays society.  However change starts within.  With one person.  There is opportunity out there.  We can always be better than what we are.

I think there needs to be some major revamping to the images our industries are projecting.  I think that dividends will still come, and even more so, when paired with authenticity.  Additionally, I think the general quality of content many places are providing is considerably under par.  There needs to be more attention to this aspect, and less about just the marketing.  Marketing attracts clients, content retains them.

The power of social media is there.. I firmly believe that it has not reached its potential.  We, as a collective should focus and brainstorm more about that.  And thereby, once we’ve reached realization, ascertain it to be a solid actualization.

For our dreams.

For our visions.

For our businesses.

For our consumers.

As our consumers.

“All men dream… but not equally.

They who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it is vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.” —T.E. Lawrence

carrie carrie carrie

This will be the first of a few blogs related in sex and the city postoff.

I’ve been seeing people write about it lately due to the new movie out. I don’t even regularly watch Sex and the City. But when I moved in and I was stuck without the internet, I did watch some of it. And the rare instances that I do watch television, I don’t exactly stop it when the DVR pops on to record it.

I was reading a blog from the wonderful Slackmistress, when I saw the following comment about the show:

Regarding SATC, I love it. It may be my favorite show ever. But I do agree with you on some points. Mainly because I HATE CARRIE. Hate her. But I loved Charlotte and Miranda and their storylines.

Now, like I said, I’m not a die hard fan of the series, but I do rather enjoy it. And out of all the characters in it, I do think that Carrie is the most like me.. well with a bunch of Samantha.

For the most part, while the stories of the other women were interesting to an extend.. it was obvious since that show’s birth that they were essentially filler characters. Their stories were not very interesting… they were essentially over hyped stereotypical viewpoints of what a “modern” woman is or should be. And sadly, the reason a lot of women can relate to them, is because that’s how shallow it’s become. Dating is a farce. Sex is taken for granted. I say this, and yet I talk about sportfucking… as I said, I know there’s a bit of Samantha in me.

Granted, I hate Carrie’s sense of style.. some of her outfit choices are absolutely hideous, which perhaps is why her string of lovers is as poor as it is… or maybe it’s a New York thing. Heh, I’m not sure and I’m not going to label it completely as that.

I think that part of why most women seem to hate Carrie, is that deep down.. there’s probably some of her in each of us. I think that’s the reason most women can relate to the show, and why its been such a huge success. Yes, you hate that shes nerotic, narsassistic and indecisive. You don’t like the games she plays. You think shes naive and a hopeless romantic. But that really is every woman that I know. She’s the real character.. or maybe she’s what every woman really aspires to be.

Every woman is part Carrie, part lusty and sometimes slutty Samantha, and parts boring, mundane Charlotte and Miranda.

So for you ladies who enjoy the show.. for those of you that hate it… what’s the major draw for you? Which character made that show for you? And, be honest, who do you relate to the most. Because to me, there are very often times where I feel like I’m an alternative version of Carrie Bradshaw…. it’s a love hate thing. Hey, I’m near Hollywood maybe I can make a spin-off? Ya think?)