Sunday, February 28, 2010

Good luck!

Just wanted to wish Tony Brisciani all the best in Court, I think it's Wednesday, not sure. He's been done for harassing someone else, this time a lady, and she has taken the excellent step of taking out an AVO against him- basically a restraining order to stop his foul behaviour and force the ever-slack police force to do something about him and his walking sludge pile "friends".

Best of luck Brisciani, I know how much your sort of low level miscreant dislikes having the spotlight shone on you, and of course your adolescent power fantasies sort of fall flat when you actually get called to account. And boy oh boy does that ever happen a lot to you, huh? Even in our current decadent system you must be a piece of work to draw the amount of attention you have. But I forgot- you're a blameless victim and the people you abuse and stalk are at fault. Oops.

ISLAND OF THE APES: preview page 1~! :)

Saturday, February 27, 2010


All I needed to know about DC crossovers I learned from Superboy #93

Page 4, Joker breaking the fourth wall. Actually he isn't, since he began the comic addressing the reader so in fact he is simply framing and telling a presumptively fictional story. But the ignorant 250,000 call that chestnut breaking the fourth wall. Explains why they still buy Marvel and DC if that's their height of intellectualism... But I digress.

You know, people aske me all the time,
"Joker, before you puncture my eardrum with that frozen cheese stick, you simply must tell me -- how do I know if I'm part of a crossover?"
"Well," I answer into their good ear, "Look for tantalizing cover graphics and unusual guest stars. These might be accompanied by the sound of train derailing."

Thank you, and good afternoon.

Rocky Balboa: NOT a G.I Joe as it turns out. Well that clears THAT up thank goodness.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Ghost Zero: Escape From The Vigilante Crypt #1

Ghost Zero: Escape From The Vigilante Crypt #1
Written and Illustrated by Dave Flora

Standard Comic
Black & White
Page Count: 28

Eddie Quick takes a dare to sneak into a haunted house to spook a ghost researcher, only to find himself running for his life from a burning ghost! This issue is the first in a series that tell the origin of GHOST ZERO!

In 1947, young Eddie Quick finds a magical ring haunted by the ghost of a dead vigilante named Charles Pallentine. Together, they become the ghostly GHOST ZERO, avenger of the helpless dead!

Ghost Zero: Escape from the Vigilante Crypt TM and © Dave Flora. All rights reserved.


Captain Marvel meets EC. Excellent in every way other than not being in colour and this is a comicbook that can totally swing black and white by both genre and trope. There is NOTHING from the number two that comes close to this for freshness, content or entertainment.



The Line #3
The Line #3
Shannon Chenoweth (creator/writer)
Eric Gravel (penciller)
Rhian Engel (inker)

Standard Comic
Black & White
Page Count: 24

Still struggling with the "gift" her former partner gave her, things begin to become even more complicated. Will Jessi finally come to terms with her newfound life?

Officer Jessica Myers' partner dies in her arms, but not before he passes her a special gift, powers dating back to the dark ages. Now, Myers has some important decisions to make about her future...

The Line #3 TM and © Shannon Chenoweth & Eric Gravel. All rights reserved.


It's almost a shame that The LINE involves powers at all because as an example of how something a little like DC's ancient Lady Cop could be done today and done right it would make a great police procedural. Despite the claims from fanwankers about Bendis' ability to write crime- or what cheetoh-stained armchair pilots think of as crime- The LINE does it way way better and is a great read all round.


WTF #1 on sale now at IndyPlanet! :)


Havin' some -issues- with getting the images up at IndyPlanet for this one so in lieu of that I am putting up the images here for now, plus the sales link. :)

IndyPlanet snapshot

For the ageing 250,000 who cling to Marvel and DC- no point even trying with those sadfucks any more.

In actual news, this is the current map at IndyPlanet:

Manga (86)
Fantasy (577)
Science Fiction (619)
SuperHero (669)
Adventure (653)
Sugary Serials (2)
Anthology (71)
Crime (157)
Drama (288)
General Audience (1281)
Horror (482)
Humor (457)
Mystery (345)
Non-Fiction (46)
Posters (206)
Rated ::E:: (596)
Mature Readers (523)
Sketch Books (70)
Slice-of-Life (204)
Suspense (8)
Trade Paperbacks (251)
Western (32)
Young Reader (25)  The categories overlap, but as sensible classifications it shows a picture much more like the American Golden Age- superheroes are there, for sure, but along with them and basically at the same level of popularity are action, sci fi, with fantasy not far behind. Some of the awful crap the incest crowd at Marvel and DC crank out as pseudo-indies would fit into slice of life or crime etc. but the IndyPlanet ranks range from the best to the worst and everything inbetween. It's a total tragedy that most of these books haven't yet got a wider audience because there are some stone cold treasures! :)     

In For The Krill

Written and Illustrated by Greg Holfeld and Jill Brett

Standard Comic
Black & White
Page Count: 36

Max overhears penguin predators dangerously scheming, discovers another bird's corpse strangled by a cord attached to a mysterious canister, nearly gets eaten, and is refused service at the Ice Bar. Worst of all, he can't figure out the last line to his new haiku.

All is not what is seems in the cool and cruel ice-noir world of the Emperor Penguin. "It's full of penguiny goodness, and some of the most stunning black-and-white illustrations." -

In For The Krill TM and © Greg Holfeld, Jill Brett. All rights reserved.


Frank Miller Penguins. That is all you need to know. Noir on ice.


Sales figure from when comicbooks were genuinely universal. How's that taste, "big (number) two"?

It sounds negative, but actually we love stupid comics. Everybody loves stupid comics. The theory goes that when ALL comics were stupid, they sold in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions. But how to TEST this theory?

We noticed that some of our stupid comics had little notices with details about circulation and such. Details that included sales figures. So, we said, let's see how some of our stupid old comics measure up, sales-wise, against the non-stupid comics of the 21st century.
Master Jimmy Olsen; reporter, Superman's pal, transvestite, robo-sexual; personifcation of the whimsical and generally brain-damaged Silver Age of comics. How WAS Jimmy selling back in the day?

Well, gee whiz. 367,000 copies? 367,000 copies! According to the December 2006 rankings of the top 300 comics, courtesy of ICV2, the top selling comic book now is Justice League Of America at a measly 136,000 copies. Obviously the might of the Justice League cannot stand against the mighty Olsen and his leaky tenement with rats.
But what of Jimmy's co-worker Lois Lane? How well was HER comic selling, back when she was feuding with Lana, tricking Superman into engagements, and being drawn by Kurt Shaffenburger?

That's right, a comic featuring a Superman made up of glowing flying fish was moving FIVE HUNDRED TWENTY NINE THOUSAND COPIES. That's not quite FOUR Justice Leagues. More luminous fish, DC!
Meanwhile over on the Archie side of the aisle, how were Betty and Veronica holding out?

Betty and Veronica were doing quite well, thank you, selling 450,000 a month in the late 1960s. That's a lot of comics every month; even Mr. Lodge wouldn't sneer at that kind of profit. Unless Archie was holding it, then he'd sneer.
Of course things started to slow down for the Riverdale gang as the 1980s arrived; what with videogames and cable TV kids simply didn't have the time necessary to fully enjoy the comic art.

As we can see by the helpful red circles, Betty & Veronica were limping along at a mere 68,000 issues sold monthly. On today's charts this would put them easily in the top 25 of all comics sold, beating Supergirl, Teen Titans, Detective Comics, and something called "X-23 Target X # 1 Of 6".
But what of Marvel Comics? As the 1970s wore on, their line got more and more serious, dramatic, pompous, continuity-obsessed, and lame. It was up to reprints of Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos to keep the barely-logical spirit of Stupid Comics alive!

Here we see an issue of Fury, four years into solid reprints, still selling 112,000 copies every month to barely repressed homicidal maniac kids such as myself. Today this would make Sgt. Fury the #5 best selling comic in America, beating something called "The New Avengers Illuminati" - a book 7 year olds can't even PRONOUNCE, let alone BUY. And they wonder why kids don't read comics any more.
But all good things must end, and Sgt. Fury's reprint battalion was finally decommissioned to make way for GI Joe. To this day, I hold a grudge. So how were the Howlers selling at that point?

78,000 copies sold. That's not bad for a book that had of late been forced to rely upon Syd Shores-pencilled "Captain Savage" reprints. Not bad at all, Sergeant, it beats Batman and Spiderman in the year 2006. Dismissed!
And last but not least we turn to another titan of American comics - Harvey. How was Harvey doing in the halcyon days of the 1960s?

That's correct, Justice League - even LITTLE DOT was owning your ass! Two hundred three thousand copies every month of stories about dots and food and the girls who love them! Also Richie Rich! That's a combination that no amount of tightly rendered super people gritting their teeth can overcome.

So remember -the next time somebody starts crowing about the amazing sales of some lame-o new non-stupid comic, GIVE HIM THE ONCE-OVER - because when comics were STUPID, they ruled the world.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

prog trogs at marvel perverting captain america? old old hat.

Astroman 1986. We could have had this go viral, or we could have had TMNT. Our universe got TMNT, and eventually Obama. But just imagine...

That Overrated Bus Sure Is Crowded.

Couldn't agree more with the above. And it hits the button of one of my own personal broken records, PLAUSIBILITY versus REALISM.

We don't actually want realism. Whether we're fans of LOST, Simpsons, comicbooks (the last 250,000 as I call those fans), movies or major league baseball, on some level we know it's pointless, fake and indeed to a large extent, corrupt. However, if we like or love something, we suspend disbelief. What helps us suspend disbelief is of course, ad contrae, a level of realism, but only enough to allow what is shown to us to remain PLAUSIBLE. In other words entertainment relies on being plausible, and plausibility is about belief, not about realism. In fact the moment actual non-fanwank examination is carried out on any tall tale, be it movie, sporting event or anything else, the masquerade falls apart at once. Hence: plausible good, realism bad for storytelling.

It's almost the anti-documentary approach. For documentaries the sin used to be going for plausibility ie emotional appeal or a priori rather than dry fact. With the Civil War and other more personal story based approaches, and with the modern refinement to mass media mind control in the quietyl pervasive buzzword "narrative", there is a covert but deliberate attempt to blur realism and plausibility. Stupid stupid stupid STUPID. That is not how hypnosis works*! /Morbo

*although hypnosis also doesn't work how the fuckwits who take eg wikipedia as gospel think it does either.

Check out my Alien Bodies wiki and do some searches under mind control, cia and hypnosis.

Is that She-Rulk, She-Hulk and Lyra watched over by Hulk and Rulk, or is it Brandy, Evil Brandy watched over by a roided up glassless Frank?

Also Lyra totally looks like Jen from Liberty Meadows. And She-Rulk and She-Hulk are basically Brandy. It isn't so much that Cho can't draw beautiful women... It's that he pretty much draws the SAME woman over and over again. Brandy vs Evil Brandy updates to Shrulk vs Shulk. Add little lazy circles for glasses to the hulks and courtesy of their silly prognathous jaws they even passably imitate roided up Frank.

Friday, February 19, 2010

If comicbook characters were allowed to age, would continuity matter?

I was reading back through some CrossGen, some terrible Fantastic Four and a little bit of everything else, including golden age Captain Marvel and Superman & Batman. Yikes.

A couple of people around the place have, I think, really nailed it about what Marvel so ridiculously good compared to DC in the 1960s. The suggestion is that Marvel happened in real time, in contemporary settings (and a lot of crazy settings too), with the sense that a year of comic time was most often translating a year of real time, and when it wasn't, it caught up. The further suggestion one chap has made is that come the 1970s, Marvel lost its original thread, continuity became essential not as a simple byproduct of a real shared universe but as a means of referencing itself to confirm to readers that it really was plausible and happening in one Marvel cosmos. So in a somewhat subtle way, plausibility and ageing went together for Marvel- 16 year old Peter Parker became 26 year old Peter Parker, and the universe was believable and incredibly fun, with more of an old school newspaper strip feel - that a living breathing world was growing up. As Stan Lee himself noted and has referenced in interviews, the school students of 1961 became the college students and angsty young things of 1971, and kept right on reading Marvel, Viet Nam, culture wars and babies notwithstanding.
By the time that Marvel generation hit the 1980s, the die was cast- Marvel at that point had characters now old enough so that the "asian war" Tony Stark was captured in had to be changed, the Fantastic Four's Reed and Ben could no longer be WW2 veterans, and so on.

Understandably, but foolishly, Marvel blurred the age process and chose to start using the relative dating method that they still claim to use to this day- although in the last ten years their continuity has been entirely destroyed anyway and they clearly couldn't care less.

It would have been better for the heroes to retire or die, and be replaced by new iterations. It would have been cooler in the long run, and a lot fresher.

To the extent Marvel has been influenced by its imports from DC it has suffered horribly. Now there is a long list of Marvel characters who will never graduate, never fulfill themselves, never grow up in fact. Just like good old DC. Yikes, 2.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Stan Lee talks comics (2002)

Stan Lee: Talking Pictures

Written By, May 2002
Art by Jack Kirby

In the early 1960's, writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby populated the struggling Marvel comic book universe with THE FANTASTIC FOUR, X-MEN, THE HULK, THOR, THE AVENGERS - truly the first post-modern superheroes. Kirby's dynamic art provided the comic's visual power, while Lee's unique voice imbued these near-deities with mortal woes. This clever formula gave Marvel and their characters unprecedented success during the decade and beyond.
This surreal-realism had its roots in SPIDER-MAN. Here was not a square-jawed, barrel-chested superman, but a 90-pound weakling named Peter Parker, who gains amazing strength through a radioactive spider bite. The schism from geek to God elevated SPIDER-MAN to complex places unseen in comics of the day, mirroring the turbulent 60's. Peter Parker learns that being an urban savior exacts a terrible price, and SPIDER-MAN never shied from topics such as filial death, drug addiction, and the loss of ideals (a once-important theme in the 20 th century).
Lee's writing captured the exuberance of heroism while revealing its problems. Like the best fables, Marvel stories provided a moral point and counterpoint for youth - albeit between fantastic cityscape battles. Still, it's only been in the past 15 years that comic books have been recognized as an important American art form. Witness the success of Frank Miller's DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, Robert Crumb's acceptance as a major artist, and Michael Chabon's Pulitzer for his novel THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER & KLAY. Meanwhile, the phenomenal success of the SPIDER-MAN film has solidified the web-swinger to our culture.
In conversation, Stan Lee is funny and exuberant, and with his POW! (Purveyors Of Wonder) Entertainment busy as ever developing new film and comic projects, he shows no signs of slowing down.

WB: How does it feel to finally see SPIDERMAN on the big screen after all these years and have it become an enormous global success? 

SL: It's about time! People have been saying to me for years, "Why isn't SPIDERMAN a feature film?" Now I don't have to answer them anymore. Sam Raimi did a magnificent job. He just showed me some rough effects for the next one with Dr. Octopus. It looked awesome!

WB: I think the film worked because, like X-MEN, they finally focused on the characters.

SL: That goes for everything. If you're not interested in characters, then it's hard to care. I think Avary Arad, who's developing many of these projects, is determined to see them done right.

WB: How did you get interested in writing?

SL: I was a voracious reader. I went to the movies a lot. People are inspired by everything they see, or hear. I read anything I could get my hands on: Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Nicholas Nickleby by Dickens, I loved Mark Twain, Edgar Allen Poe, O. Henry. I loved little series for kids like Hardy Boys, Bomba the Jungle Boy.

WB: You read all the pulps.

SL: Oh sure, everything there was. H.G.Wells. And I read Shakespeare. I was too young to fully understand it, but I loved the words. I'm really big into the rhythm of words, which is why I like Poe, why I like the Rubiyat, the way the words string together impresses the hell out of me. And I read the Bible, I'm not a particularly religious person, but I love the phraseology: Thous, and Doths and Begets, so that was definteley in my mind when I was writing things like Thor.

WB: When did you first start to write?

SL: I was always writing little poems, jokes and stories. I used to draw little stories for myself. I would take a sheet of paper and draw a line horizontally across it, and that was my horizon. Then I would draw little stick figures and have them racing around, fighting.

WB: In a way, you were already writing comic books. Did you ever write for the pulps, or other magazines?

SL: The funny thing is that I didn't write short stories. I had a couple of friends when I was 13 or 14, and after dinner we'd go hang out and make up stories. I was the guy who made up the most of them, and I'd tell them to amuse ourselves. I never wrote them down. I wrote a lot of non-fiction. When I was 17, I was writing obituaries for the Associated Press -- obituaries for living people. They always have celebrity obits written in advance. So I gave that up because it was depressing writing about living people in the past tense. I got a job writing publicity for a hospital. I was never sure what I was supposed to accomplish, make people want to get sick so they could go to the hospital? At the time, the New York Herald Tribune had a contest called "The Biggest News of the Week" contest for high school students. In 500 words or less, you had to write what you thought was the biggest news of the week and describe it. I won it three weeks in running and the editor called me to stop entering the contest and give someone else a chance. He asked what I wanted to become and I said, "I'd like to be an actor!" He said, "You're a schmuck, why don't you become a writer?" And that was the first time I thought of it.

WB: Were you reading comics then? 

SL: I read comics, but they were different. The comics in those days were reprints of the newspaper strips, Flash Gordon, The Katzenjammer Kids, Blondie....

WB: Did you later read the infamous E.C. Comics?

SL: I was a big fan of EC.

WB: Did the resulting Comics Code have an effect on you, or ever try to censor Marvel?

SL: No, it never bothered me because we didn't have stuff that was sexy or too horrible. We got along pretty well with the code.

WB: What was the process of writing a comic script?

SL: Once the characters were created and had their series, I knew who they were and would write each episode. I would come up with an idea for a plot; I didn't have time to write detailed outlines because I was writing a lot of stuff. I had a vague idea of what the story would be. I'd sit down, type it out, sort of how you'd write a screenplay: I'd write page one, panel one, and a description for the artist of what the drawing should be. Then I'd write the dialogue, or a caption. Then I'd write panel two, so on. Later, I developed what was called the "Marvel Style." I didn't have time to write full scripts, so I would tell the artist what I wanted the story to be and let him or her draw it whatever way they wanted. Then I'd get the pages back and I would write the dialogue and indicate where the dialogue balloons should go and it went much faster. I also got better stories, because the artist would re-interpret the plot anyway he wanted. The artists were wonderful visual storytellers so it gave them free reign. When I had to write the dialogue it was so much easier when you're looking at the drawings, expressions on their face, than looking at a blank sheet of paper.

WB: Jack Kirby did a beautiful job of illustrating the stories. You two were like the Lennon-McCartney of comic books.

SL: Thank you. He was a joy to work with.
Galactus from Thor #160 by Lee and Kirby

WB: I especially loved the THOR comics. You used rich, Shakespearean language for the mythological characters. Actually, my favorite comic page of all time is right here, THOR #154 circa 1968. Mankind faces Armageddon and Thor pensively walks the streets of New York. He encounters some hippies who mock him for his strange outfit. Thor challenges them to pick up his enchanted hammer, but they can't. Then Thor swings his hammer around and tells them, "'Tis not by dropping out -- but by plunging in -- into the maelstrom of life itself -- that thou shalt find wisdom! There be causes to espouse! There be battles to be won! There be glory and grandeur all about thee -- "

SL: "If thou wilt but see!" Oh my God! Are you kidding? That is one of my favorite things I've written and you're the first person to ever mention it to me! I am so pleased to hear you say that! Wow! At the time, I didn't think it was special. But I admit that when the book was printed, I thought, "That's good!" I'm my biggest fan. (Laughs) Very often, a kid will bring me a comic to sign that I wrote and I'll say, "Man, this is great!" But if it wasn't for those great artists, it wouldn't matter what I wrote.

WB: It's a beautiful scene because Thor isn't judging the hippies. He acknowledges that they have a pure spirit, but they don't know everything. In the 60's, Marvel had a huge counter-culture fan base. When did you realize that your readers were not kids anymore?

SL: I gauged it from the fan mail. The kids would write in pencil, even crayon. After awhile, they were written in pen and ink, or typed. Return addresses would be from a high school, later from colleges, so I began to realize the age of our readers was going up all the time.

WB: Did you adjust the subject matter based on that knowledge?

SL: If I did, it was subliminally or unconsciously. I always spoke to myself when I wrote. I was trying to write stories that I would like to read and I figured I'm not that unique, so there must be people out there with similar tastes. You can't be somebody else 100 percent -- but you can be yourself. And if you write something that makes you say, "This is terrific! I love this!" That was my test whether I was satisfied with what I wrote, not will an older or younger kid like it, but me.

WB: You also tapped into the 60's zeitgeist by making your super heroes have mundane problems. Every teen could identify with Peter Parker.

SL: I was trying to make 'em realistic. Now how do you make characters real without giving them problems? The whole idea was that up until Fantastic Four, Hulk, Spiderman, heroes never had a problem. I thought it would be fun to give them personal lives.

WB: Did you ever feel much writing pressure?

SL: I enjoyed it. I was also the editor, art director, head writer at Marvel, so I'd write at nights and on weekends. I was the editor-in-chief, writing most of the stories, and since I'm my biggest fan, I didn't have to make many changes.

WB: What was your favorite part of writing comics?

SL: When I finish. (Laughs) When you write the last panel, and you walk away from the typewriter (in those days I used a typewriter) and it's done and it's a great gift. Of course, a few minutes later I had to write another one. Actually, I hate to write. But once I'm doing it I get caught up in the story and I enjoy it. The toughest thing is to start.

WB: I think every normal writer feels that way.

SL: There's so many things I'd rather do: go to a movie, talk to my wife, look at television, anything! But then you start writing, and you wonder, geez, how I'm going to get this character out of it? It's like doing a crossword puzzle. Your mind is working all the time, trying to think of the best way to do something, and I enjoy that mental stimulation.

WB: Which Marvel character are you most excited about seeing on the screen?

SL: All of them. Soon, there'll be the Hulk, Daredevil, X-Men 2, Fantastic Four, God knows what.

WB: And The Black Panther, the first African-American super hero. How did you and Kirby come up with the Black Panther in the mid-60's?

SL: I wanted to do a black character, simple as that. I said, "Jesus Christ, Jack, they're ten percent of the population. We should give one his own book." And we made it up and there it is. I think he's a wonderful character -- I have to learn not to talk that way about characters I helped create (laughs). Actually, I'm not that involved with Marvel, except I write a few introductions.

WB: How do you look at comics today now that they're officially "respectable"?

SL: It's great. Comics are an art form, like film, television, anything. People who look down on comics, I give them this example: suppose Shakespeare and Leonardo Da Vinci were alive today. Suppose Shakespeare said, "Hey Leonardo, let's collaborate and do a comic book." And Leonardo painted it and Shakespeare wrote it. Would anybody say, "Eh, it's just a comic." It really depends on who's doing it and how it's done. You can't condemn the medium. There could be comics that are masterpieces, some that are a waste of time. But that goes for every other form of the media.

WB: After Peter Parker becomes Spiderman, he chooses not to stop a robber who eventually kills his Uncle Ben. That's when he learns that "with great power comes great responsibility." That could be the credo for all the Marvel universe. Do you think that's still true?

SL: I think it's true that anybody with a position of authority has a responsibility. Parents have a responsibility to their kids, government officials have responsibility to their cities or state. Everybody. And the more power you have, the greater your responsibility. 


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Grant Morrison sure does like Big Bang Comics.

Big Bang Comics is a pastiche universe, created and maintained out of love. It's borderline commercial and firmly indie, having moved from Caliber to Image to... well to Limbo actually, but it will be around forever.

And I tell you, they have some amazingly high profile fans. Chief amongst the noteworthy fans of contemporary times must surely be Grant Morrison.

Flamingo, a "new" "Batman" villain is actually straight out of Big Bang Comics, as is Knight and Squire, an "amazing" "new" "Batman" concept from the *snigger* current time-travelling Batman crap. Jesus. Meanwhile, for decades, Big Bang has featured Knightwatchman and Squire, aka Kid Galahad.

Now sure, Big Bang is a pastiche. Knightwatchman is transparently and deliberately Batman. But nevertheless, it shows utter intellectual bankruptcy for Grant Morrison to rip Big Bang off.

Grant Morrison is no more a genius than the Big Bang guys are. Seriously, he appeals to ageing sophomores who crave a veneer of sophistication without the intellectual rigour or education that would actually confer it. As for Satanists like Morrison, Moore and the rest- sooner or later they'll learn two things.

1. Black Magic can't really be learnt out of books, even obscure ones.

2. The only problem with magic is... IT DOESN'T WORK!

Zombie industry, maniacs in charge of it- and now they're plagiarising pastiches.

Stay classy, "big two".

Bendis enjoys breaking other people's toys


NYC Graphic Novelists does a sugary interview with Brian Bendis, where he continues with his blatant gushing, telling a bit more about why his books would be better avoided. First:
Under Bendis’ tenure, the Marvel Universe has become a more noir-ish place, as heroes question their own missions and clash over beliefs, and – every once in a while – the badguys win.
But that's the problem - under his tenure, the Avengers became so noir-ish, the series became less imaginative. And if they questioned their missions and duties, it wasn't in a good way. Worse, their clash over beliefs, as in Civil War, was contrived and forced. And if a villain like the Hood won, it was in the poorest taste possible. His assault on Tigra certainly was.
Brian Michael Bendis grew up in Cleveland, Ohio; aside from American Splendor writer Harvey Pekar, there isn’t much comics culture there.
Say what? Didn't these guys ever hear of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the creators of Superman, Star Spangled Kid and the Spectre? (Superman was co-created by both, the other 2 heroes were created seperately.)
Marvel’s pride has always been a solid continuity since the 1960s, unlike rival DC Comics, who has constantly restarted their superhero series anew.
Oh god, is this site totally out of touch with reality: since the turn of the century, their continuity has been lost in outer space. And let's not forget Quesada and company's classic groaner "we don't need to explain anything, it's magic."

Now, here's where Bendis comes up with a very sleazy statement:
Bendis’ start on Avengers in 2004 was with the end of the book; in a storyline called “Avengers Disassembled,” several Avengers were killed (including fan favorite Hawkeye), and the team was relaunched with a new line-up in New Avengers

“When I look back at it, I came in and wanted to blow shit up,” Brian admits. “I came in like a bull in a china shop and blew up Avengers Mansion on page six, and everybody died. Then there were my Avengers…

“There was no difference between what I did and a little kid coming up on the playground, coming up to a toy, and stepping on it. I did exactly the same thing: you don’t know who I am, and I came up to you and popped your balloon with a pin. I kept doing it, for five straight months, and then I ended it. I had a great idea that I would direct my Avengers so that every reader is an Avenger. If you were sitting at the table with them, you were the one at the table, and were an Avenger. If I made you an Avenger, then I could sit you down at the table and blow your world up. It wasn’t the nicest first thing to do to you as a reader.”
With that kind of attitude, it's a wonder anyone could be a fan of his. It just simply boggles the mind how he can claim he wants to make the very readers Avengers, and then proceed to ruin everything for them. With the way he handled Hawkeye, who'd want to be Clint Barton if all that's going to come about is misery?

This also brought to mind Steve Ditko's essay (Toyland) about how today's writers are taking apart stuff that doesn't need fixing and rebuilding it into something that suits only their idea of how things should be done. That's what Bendis did. That's also what Quesada's done with Spider-Man. It's what DC is doing too since Identity Crisis. Why, it's what Geoff Johns is doing with Barry Allen and the Flash.

Bendis is not the kind of person I'd want to hang around with if he's willing to take my favorite toys and what I'd built as a labor of love and turn it into junk. The sooner the "success" of his books drops further down the charts and he leaves Marvel, the better.

Love-starved ex-employee of comic shop gets owned in his comments

Scott says:
Y’know, Chris, the only really violent act at any of these Tea Parties was when an African American tea partier in St. Louis was knocked down, struck and kicked repeatedly by anti-tea party protestors who, apparently, also yelled racial epithets at him.
Stick to talking about things you actually know about.

Perfect. And a perfect adieu for me to ISB. It's been going downhill, and it was never that good, and the St. Jerome level of apologetics for comics everyone else knows are crap wore thin in 2007... So what a fantastic epitaph- a truth witnesser kicks ISB in the face. Adieu. And good riddance.

Inside The Cosmic Cube: Unlocking The Cosmic Cube

Inside The Cosmic Cube: Unlocking The Cosmic Cube

Year of the (Inherited?) Tiger

Onward through the fog, as was once written on the University Union House wall...

This Year of the Tiger will be brilliant, if you're a fan of traumatic change and permanent alterations to the status quo. In gaming, the old and extremely pathetic dichotomy between hardcore and casual gaming will vanish completely, in favour of the real dichotomy between mobile phone and desktop gaming. The massive rise of the mobile phone "app" has killed recent game iterations before they have even had a chance to attract their obligatory 18 fans. Cool stuff.

In comics, Marvel is now a subsidiary of one of the most evil and relentless corporations on Earth, Disney, and only the most insane or retarded of folks out there still think that Disney won't covertly make wholesale changes to how Marvel is run, what it produces, and how commercial what it produces can be. Disney killed its own monthly title, and they won't hesitate to do the same to Marvel. And rightly so.

Warner, it would be wrong to call it DC since it is now entirely assimilated, DC is just an imprint now, Warner, will continue to try and occupy the space Marvel vacates on a monthly basis. Remember way back when DC meetings revolved around copying the unbeatable performance of Marvel- by imitating the amount of word balloons on cover or lack thereof, the amount of red on covers or lack thereof, the number of gorillas and so on? Warner has learned nothing.

The incestuous echo chamber of comicbooks will slowly come to and end and it will become noticeable this year. A lot of current creators are film and tv hacks with fanbases that are quite large in terms of internet forums, and pathetic in terms of absolute numbers. This fact is slowly dawning on all the lesser lights of the comicbook world, who are mobilising their own teeny tiny fanbases to good end. Chris Sims has been one of the more proactive in doing this, it's just that so far he hasn't produced anything with the spark to take him to the next level. He keeps writing love letters to DC in his blog posts... He doesn't seem to realise that treat em mean keep em keen, the whore logic, works really well on the fanwankers in charge of Marvel and Warner comics.

And then there's AGS- red-headed overall wearing stepchild of indie gaming. It will continue on. Brilliance will be shown everywhere but on its own website and forums. Well duh.

Friday, February 12, 2010

CS Weekly requote requoted again. See that? Yeah.

"One writes out of one thing only -- one's own experience. Everything depends on how relentlessly one forces from the experience the last drop, sweet or bitter, it can possibly give." 

- James Baldwin

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Numbers don't lie. Even when extra books are stacked in to pad out a terrible sales graph...

Comics: 2010s not 1970s

Even the biggest DC or Marvel comicbook sales event sells 250,000 copies. That means, in all seriousness, with the rest of their wretched lineup selling somewhere from 29,000 down to a mere 3000 or even 1500 a month, in real terms, any Indie can knock them off.

Literally, in this day and age, an Indie, a real one, not fucking Image or Top Cow or whatever, but a garage band level indie, can outsell DC or Marvel with the perfect product and perfect marketing.

I can easily see that if another Bone appears on the scene, let alone another TMNT, if it hits the right marketing angle it will not only outsell Archie Parker, the oldest teenage superhero in the world, let alone Inflatable Geriatric Man, Closet Man, Ambiguously Gay Man and Bulldyke Woman over at DC, it will also wipe out the monthlies. The only thing keeping monthly comics going from DC and Marvel is money. The moment something wrecks that paradigm, the monthlies will be terminated. And the Indie creators will be the ones achieving that, by leading the way. Pioneers do that.

Walther Schellenberg WAS right...

Seeing "Ric" and "Stu", those two gentlemen of letters, bon vivants and over-achievers, comment here, has reminded me strongly of what Walther Schellenberg of the SS said, with no discernible irony:

"In the SS, one met a better class of people" too, it seems, at the AGS forums.
"As for suffering: I believe that there are fewer people than ever who escape major suffering in this life. In fact I'm fairly convinced that the Kingdom of God is for the broken-hearted." -- Mr. Rogers

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Shadow Over Marvel

Bendis. A hateful unpleasant little man, who has never forgiven Hollywood, his would-be mistress, for ignoring his obvious genius in favour of those... with more talent.

In return, and given the chance foolishly by fellow hacks, he has destroyed the Marvel Universe, aided and abetted by the fellow hacks and slackers who are proving right all too many of the TV Tropes tropes- not least of which is fans in charge of the asylum.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

TEMPLAR #1: Political Capital

Soon to be joined by a decidedly different publishing mate, the first modern ZODIAC COMICS title, Templar, is on sale. Sales are meh, but then one could say the same for many a comic! :)

Templar is a retelling of the public domain Saint radio plays, set in a nebulous Noir period somewhere between 194x and 195x. It's not so much left vague to make an issue of the year it is set in since there are internal subtle references that date it quite exactly, it's more to emphasize the slow shift in the Noir cinema (and indeed radio) era from extremely adult to almost slapstick or dare I say it comicbook elements. This pastiche and self parody of course is the mark of decadence and decline in any genre or trope.
If the spirit moves you to buy a copy of Templar, CLICK HERE. :)

Dictionary of RPG Cliches

By Fritz Fraundorf. Contributors:

7-11 Rule. Shops never close. At the least, they close very rarely and only during certain major events. (Exception: Zelda 64)
8-bit plot. Oldest RPG plot. You are the legendary hero. Kill the Big Bad Demon. Most 8-bit RPGs (and some 16- and 32-bit ones) use this plot.
16-bit plot. Standard RPG plot. The Corrupt Empire rules the world. You're the leader of a small rebel band. Overthrow the Empire. Usually the hero is a soldier for the Empire at the start of the game (as in Suikoden, Vandal~Hearts, or FF6), but soon realizes that the Empire is evil and joins the fight against them. General standard for RPG plots.
32-bit plot. Similar to a 16-bit plot, but somehow religion is involved.
64-bit plot (Quest 64). See 8-bit plot.
99. Maximum number of units of any item of type you can carry, often leading to peculiar situations in which you could carry 99 Potions and 99 Hi-Potions, but not 100 Potions and 0 Hi-Potions.
1000 years. Frequently-occuring date in RPGs. The evil demon (or demons) shows up every 1000 years, or was sealed by the Ancients for 1000 years. Why can't they just kill them off permanently?
Ability Loss. Whenever you fight a character before they join you, they have abilities that they can't use once they actually join. (see young Rydia, Yuffie, Sonya in Suikoden)
Airship. Every RPG has a flying vehicle, usually an airship or a flying dragon, which is obtained near the very end of the game. (although in FF games, you tend to get the airship sooner).
Ambidextrious. All non-polygon characters are ambidextrious. This is to save time by just flipping the character's image for both the left and right facings.
Amnesia rule. Whenever there is a good character with amnesia, they were always a bad guy before they got amnesia. (See Shining Force II and Lufia). In addition, everybody with amnesia is cured (Exception: FF5)
Ancients, The. Ubiquitous race that vanished long ago (typically 1000 years ago), but left behind advanced technology. Usually, however, one of your party members is a female magic-user who is the last Ancient or a member of some other special race. (Terra, Aerith, Rydia, Mariel, Eleni in Vandal~Hearts, Asellus, etc.)
Ancient Flying Castle. Generic final dungeon.
And Behind Door #2... When in you are in a dungeon, and you come into a room with two doors, you generally want to go through the door further away from you, as it will have a switch or something that opens a passage behind the closer door.
Anonymous Hero Rule. Up until recently, the main character never had a name and you had to enter one. (You can still usually enter a name, but there's also a default one)
Anorexia Rule. RPG characters never seem to need to eat. (exceptions: Wild Arms and Earthbound) This may explain Brave Fencer Musashi's appearance.
Army rule. No matter how big the armies of both sides are, the final battle always inevitably comes down to a few chosen heroes versus a big bad evil monster. Particularly ridiculous in Suikoden.
Asbestos Rule. If something is burning as part of the storyline, it will not burn down until whatever you have to do there is accomplished, yet it stays burning. (See the burning house in FF6 or any burning town)
Atheist rule. All priests and churches are up to no good (the same with rich guys). Religions that do not involve priests and/or churches are ok (Wild Arms) and in fact are always on your side.
Backwards Day. Whenever somebody tells you not to do something or go someplace, you should.
Beat You To It. Whenever the heroes go to stop the bad guys from getting something/somewhere, the bad guys are always there when the heroes arrive at the end, but they apparently didn't have to go through the dungeon because all the puzzles weren't solved, switches not flipped, etc.
Block Home. Towns are always completely safe -- those wandering monsters just don't feel like coming inside for some reason. (Exception: FF8)
Block Home Rule #2. Nobody cares if you just walk into their house and start talking to them as if they were family and not some strangers with weapons.
Blues Brothers Rule. The heroes are always right, no matter what they do. Whatever side the heroes are on is the good side.
Bonus Boss. Feature of many recent RPGs. Extremely tough boss that you don't have to beat to win the game and is just there as an added challenge. (Weapons, Elidibs, EarthDragon, ArchMage, Ragu Ragla, etc.) Usually, you get some really powerful item for winning that isn't at all useful because if you're tough enough to beat the boss, you don't need it. (Like the Sherrif Star in Wild Arms or the master materia from the Weapons)
Broken Bridge. Adjunct to a Fetch Quest. An obstacle, frequently a broken bridge, prevents you from progressing to the next town. Once you complete the Fetch Quest, however, the bridge is fixed. What a coincidence!
Broken Record. Townspeople will continually repeat the same message over and over, even if you revisit the town later in the game and the message doesn't make sense anymore. (Exceptions: FF7 and Wild Arms)
Buddy rule. Whenever the hero has a more experienced buddy or leader, that character always dies, leaving the hero to fend for themself (Suikoden [Odessa], Phantasy Star IV, etc.).
Building Ordinance. All enemy castles, towers, etc. are all designed as a maze, which must make it really hard for the people living in the castle.
Cait Sith's Rule.. Whenever a character permanently leaves the party (due to death or otherwise), all their items and equipment are usually returned to you. So named for the absurdity of Cait Sith No. 2 inheriting all of No. 1's experience, equipment, and Materia, even though No. 1 was crushed in the temple. (Of course, we all know what really happened to Cait Sith No. 2 ^_^) Very weird in FF8, especially parts when allies seem to be dead but you still can equip and un-equip them (Missile Base)
Call For Help. Annoying enemy move in which an enemy summons other members of its kind (see Phantasy Star games and Shining the Holy Ark). Can lead to frusteratingly long battles.
Carrot On A Stick. Most shops have chests behind the counter. Frusterating as it is, there's no way to reach them.
Chancellor rule. Chancellors or other advisors to kings are always up to no good.
Charades Law. Whenever a character performs an action such as handing something to somebody else, they usually hold out their hand, but you do not actually see the item in question. For example, when Celes attacks Kefka on the Floating Continent in FF6, her sword cannot be seen. (Exception: the Zodiac Stones in FF Tactics, some items in FF8)
Chicken In Every Pot. People in games keep stuff in weird places, i.e. valuable heal potions inside pots, powerful equipment just sitting around caves in chests, etc.
Clown Car rule. All buildings, towns, vehicles, etc. appear tiny on the overworld map in relation to your character, but when you are inside them, they are much bigger.
Clown Car rule #2. All vehicles have infinite seating capacity. Can all 9 FF7 characters really all fit in the buggy? (Exception: FF8)
Collapsing Castle Law. Major enemy hideouts (especially the final dungeon) always collapse when you beat the dungeon, even though there is absolutely no physical force that would cause them to collapse.
Communist Choice. A situation in a game where you are presented with a choice, but if you choose one of the choices, you just have to choose again until you choose the choice the game wants you to choose. (I did not come up with this term; I don't know who did, but I claim no credit for it.)
Confidential Information. You can never see how much HP a boss has -- spells that normally show enemy's HP don't work. (Exception: Most FFs)
Conservation of Death. In most RPGs, one major good character dies, but only one (FF4, FF6, Wild Arms, etc.). There are a few games (Suikoden, for example) where more than one major good character dies.
Countdown Rule. Whenever you have to escape from a place within a time limit, the location will blow up / collapse as soon as you leave, no matter how much time is left on your timer. (See the Mako No. 1 Reactor, Galbadia Missile Site)
Cowardice Rule. The major bad guys keep running away, leaving flunkies for you to fight, until you finally fight them near the end of the game.
Crono's rule. Except in Final Fantasy games, the main character never talks (unless you are choosing the response), although other characters react as if the character was talking.
Currency Name Convention. All currencies in games start with the letter G. (gil, gella, goth, gilder, gold, etc.)
Cute Animal Character. Stereotypical cute and furry animal character. Usually worthless in battle and just intended for comedic relief. (the only exception is Peco, who is really powerful in addition to being extremely cute, and Spekkio, even though he doesn't join you).
Dead or Alive. Characters and enemies can have 1 out of 2500 HP and be perfectly healthy, but as soon as they drop to 0 HP, they suddenly die. (exception: Kartia)
Deja Vu Dungeon. Cliched plot device in which a dungeon you visit in the beginning of a game (generally in the game's opening sequence) later is the last dungeon or a dungeon near the end of the game (see BOF2, Mario RPG, Shining the Holy Ark, Shining Force 2, Suikoden, and others).
Dekar's Rule. If you don't actually see a character die (or are explicitly told so by somebody who did), they're not dead. (Example: Seifer in FF8, Dyne in FF7
Dibs Rule. In most cases, your party are the only ones trying to save the world. Nobody else ever beats you to it or even tries. Anybody that is trying to save the world on their own ends up either joining you, or dying.
Double Agent Rule. Whenever there is a spy for the bad guys in your party, that spy always up turning good and staying in your party after being unmasked (see Caet Sith, Kira in Vandal~Hearts, and Sanchez in Suikoden). Similar to the Party Compulsion Rule.
Disappearing Act #1. Any overpowering character that joins your party soon leaves your party for any number of reasons (killed, is actually a bad guy, etc.)
Disappearing Act #2. Semi-important characters often vanish near the end of the game. Witness Jane's total disappearance in Wild Arms after the Sweet Candy sinks, Palmer vanishing after the rocket launch in FF7, etc.
Dissection Rule. Every game has a boss with several body parts (head and arms, or several heads), each of which can be attacked and destroyed separately.
Dolly's Rule. All enemies of the same type are completely identical clones of each other (you never see a Slime that happens to be a bit stronger than your average Slime, for example). In addition, many enemy types closely resemble each other with just a variation in color. (Exception: FF8)
Dronejam. When annoying townspeople stand in front of a door or passage and won't move.
Duel boss. Most games have a boss that you have to find as just the main character.
Eager Beaver Rule. In a 16-bit plot, towns and people join the rebellion without hesitation and have no fear of the Empire attacking / killing / destroying them. Exception: Narshe in FF6.
Earthbound Rule. All final bosses have some special super duper dimension background that you fight in, frequently out in space. So named because Earthbound has these in every battle.
Earthquake Rule. Most earthquakes spells generally involve the ground simply shaking, which somehow damages people.
Eccentric Inventor. Stereotypical character in most RPGs; usually builds your airship. See Momo, Cid IV, Lucca, Lexus, Emma, and many others.
Ectoplasm Rule. Despite having no physical shape, ghosts and other spirit-like creatures can be physically damaged (by swords, lightning bolts, etc.)
Emperor's Clothes. RPG armor is apparently invisible; none of the characters ever look like they're wearing armor, just their normal outfits.
Ending rule. All endings are considered poor by the majority of players.
Ending Song. Lately it has become fashionable for a song (with actual lyrics) to play during a game's credits. See BOF3, Xenogears, Castlevania: SOTN, Wild Arms (the Japanese version), Tales of Destiny, Parasite Eve, etc.
Endless Fount of Items. Stores never run out of items.
Endurance rule. Both party members and bosses can survive an incredible amount of damage (shot repeatedly, hit with meteor, electrocuted by lightning, attacked with 15-hit sword techniques).
Energizer Rule. Lights (torches, campfires, lamps, whatever) never burn out or run out of electricity -- unless, of course, the story requires them too.
Equipment Progression Rule. The farther you get away from the starting point of the game, the better equipment the stores have. This is true even when there is no reason for it (why does a podunk place like Icicle Inn have better weapons that Junon?) (Exception: FF8, because of "remodeling")
Evil unleashed. Frequently in a Deja Vu Dungeon, the hero accidentally unleashes the big bad evil monster, which was sealed there (this can sometimes be an Unbeatable Boss). The hero is then sometimes exiled or punished for doing so, but in the end defeats the monster, and all ends well.
Evil laugh. Most games have a bad guy with a weird laugh ("Mwah ha ha!", "Gyaa haa haa!" [Heidegger], "Khhk khhk khhk!" [Alhazad], etc.). Of course, none of them can beat Kefka. Click here for a large list.
Fake King Plot. Oldest RPG subplot known. A town has a fake king that is really a monster, while the real king is imprisoned. Sure signs you're dealing with a Fake King Plot are messages like "The king has been acting strange lately" or "The king hasn't been himself since ...". References to this plot have even been found in primitive cave paintings.
False Endgame. Transparent attempt to make you believe you are at the end of the game when you aren't (Photosphere in Wild Arms, battle with Zog in BOF1, Floating Continent in FF6, etc.). Believed by no one becuase there is still a lot of the map you haven't explored, items you don't have, etc.
Family Feud. One of the major bad guys is always related to one of the major good guys.
Feeling of Impending Doom. Save points and healing items inexplicably congregate just before a dangerous area or boss.
Female Healers. The second character you get for most of the game is almost always female, a healer of some sort, romantically involved with the main character, or all of the above. (Examples: Tia(Lufia 2), Young Rydia(FF4), Mint(Tales of Phantasia), Nina(Breath of Fire 1), Marle(Chrono Trigger), Kid(Chrono Cross), and lots more)
Female Only Towns.Female only towns that hate men. Not only are these in many RPGs, they somehow manage to sustain throughout many generations...that's just wrong. And why aren't there male only towns?
Fetch Quest. Any subquest unimporant to the plot, in which you are sent to find a key / rescue a lost kid / save the workers in the mine / otherwise resolve a town's problem. Lufia 2 is filled with these.
Fire! Fire! All materials in RPGs are flammable, including metal, stone, and even ectoplasm (Mommy, look at the burning ghost!).
Flea Market Rule. All shops will buy any type of item, even if they have no use for it. Want to sell bazooka ammo to a fishing goods shop? No problem!
Flunky Boss. A boss that keeps summoning a group of flunky enemies; if you kill all of them, it will just resummon them. Thus, your strategy is always to kill all but one of them. (See Hidon in FF6, Mack in Mario RPG, etc.)
Free Inn Rule. When an inn is free for no reason, don't stay there. Somebody will steal your money during the night. Does not apply to inns that are free for a reason (i.e., you saved the town, main character's hometown, etc.).
Gas Shortage? There is usually one airship in the world. Despite the bad guys usually being a big empire/company that rules the world, they apparently can't build another airship. Perhaps this is due to a gas shortage... on the other hand, airships never seem to run out of gas.
Glass Ceiling of Magic. Most (but not all) female characters are magic-users.
Gratuitous Flashback Sequence. The name says it all. Especially annoying because these are usually extremely linear, change scenes frequently, and have no fighting.
Graveyard Rule. All graveyards have a secret passage revealed by pushing one of the tombstones.
Graveyard Rule #2.All graveyards with tombstones you can examine has a hidden message from the programmer somewhere, usually about something being dead that shouldn't.
Greeter Guys. Town/castle NPCs who have no purpose except to say "Welcome to ______!" (EVERY RPG KNOWN TO MAN)
Groundhog Day Rule. Townspeople remain in the same place, doing the same thing, the whole game. (Exception: FF8)
Hands Off rule. Nobody ever opens chests except you. In rare occasions, another important character will open them. (like when Locke opens all the chests in the Phoenix Cave)
Heat-Seeking Magic. Magic never misses. In addition, it will never harm people on your side (even if a huge tidal wave just swept across the battlefield, only the opposing side is damaged). (Exception: FF6's Merton)
Hometown rule. The hero's hometown, or other town where you start, is usually destroyed, or the hero is somehow otherwise prevented from returning (being exiled in Secret of Mana, FF7, or Wild Arms, for example).
How Many People You Got In There? In the majority of RPGs, only the main character is seen walking around. When an important event appears, the other characters come out of the main character.
HP Imbalance. The enemies always have far more HP than your characters do, but inflict less damage than your party does, so it all comes out even. I guess they don't want your party's HP numbers to get too big...
HP Imbalance #2.If you fight someone who joins your party, they always have way more HP when you fight them than they do when they join you. (Magus from CT is the most glaring example)
Inn Inflation Rule. Each inn in the game gets progressively more expensive for no logical reason.
Inn rule. Whenever the characters go to the inn without you controlling them, something important happens during the night (such as a Nighttime Chat).
Inn Accomodation Rule. There is always vacany at any inn. The inns apparently reserve a room for the party just in case they happen to show up.
Invisible Guardrail. Except in action-RPGs, you can never walk off a pit or into water. You can only walk off ledges in certain circumstances, when there is a need for you to be able to jump off ledges.
Item Duplication. Almost every recent RPG has had a glitch that lets you duplicate items. (FF7, Wild Arms, FF Tactics, etc.)
It's All In the Family.Heroes often have a parent/grandparent/ancestor, almost always male, who was a hero as well. (Examples: Lufia 1/Nameless Redhead(Maxim), FF5/Butz(father), Tales of Phantasia/Cless(Miguel), and even the starter of many cliches, Dragon Warrior/Noname hero(Erdrick))
It's A Small World After All. If you think about it, most RPGs take place in an incredibly tiny world with only a few cities and a surface area less than the moon. The same applies for towns -- they have about six houses, tops.
Kain (or Kane). Most common name in RPGs. Used in: FF4, Shining Force 1, Phantasy Star 2, Vandal~Hearts, Persona, Xenogears, Legacy of Kain (duh), and the old Sega Master System game Spellcaster.
King's Treasure Room. After you somehow help a king, he gives you access to his entire treasure room and lets you just loot the place -- which is weird on its own, but gets weirder when all these kingdoms have in their treasure room is a couple of herbs, a sword, and some money.
Kleptomaniac Rule. In most games, you can just walk into houses and loot people's cabinets, chests, and pots; and nobody cares, even though they are standing right in the room as you are ripping them off.
Last Moment. The heroes always arrive just as the bad guys are about to execute their plan. The bad guys always wait patiently for the heroes to arrive, even if you go off and spend several days building up levels.
Law of Foreshadowing. Whenever there is any mention that a character might die, that character always does. (for example, Gremio in Suikoden; there are some other examples I can't think of right now). In general, whenever there is a hint that something might happen or be true, it always happens or is true.
Law of Geometric Impossibility. All RPG world maps wrap around on both sides of the map (east/west and north/south). This is physically impossible. (In FF8, though, the map seems to work in two different ways)
Law of Sequels. In most RPG series (Suikoden and Arc the Lad excepted, Final Fantasies and Chrono's), each sequel has nothing to do with any of the previous games, but a few characters and locations inexplicably appear in every game in the series.
Law of Unnecessary Stealth. Your characters often have to sneak into some bad guy headquarters, even though they are powerful enough to just walk in the front gate and slaughter anybody in their way.
Laws of Monarchy. There are never ever queens in games, nor are there any princes (okay, okay, besides in FF4). Any princess in a game is always important to the storyline.
Laws of Parents. Similar to the Laws of Monarchy. The only living parent of male characters is the mother; for female characters, only the father is living. See FF7 (Cloud's mother is living, but not his father; Tifa's and Yuffie's father are seen but not their mothers) or Chrono Trigger (Crono's and Magus's fathers are never mentioned, Marle's mother is dead).
Laws of Programming. Programmers do not want to expend extra effort on characters and artwork that aren't essential to the game. Thus, any character that joins your party for any length of time (in a game where you can choose which characters you want to use) is not going to die, because the artists don't want to spend time on a character that isn't going to be used much (FF7 is a notable exception here). Also, any character (such as Mina in BOF2) with their own unique sprite is important, even if it doesn't seem like it at the time, because otherwise the artists would not waste their time drawing a different sprite.
Legendary Sword. Obligatory weapon that can only be drawn by the hero. Needed to kill the big bad evil demon.
Leo's rule. Any bad guy that turns good dies, except for characters (Kain, Magus, the generals in Suikoden, Edea) that were possessed by or under the control of one of the truly evil characters.
Leo's rule #2. No rumor is ever true. (Exception: Pokemon)
Leo's rule #3. All characters named Leo die. (FF6, SoulBlazer, Y's IV). Okay, EXCEPT for the one in Lunar.
Level Equality Law. All characters join the party at a level about equal to what the rest of the party is at, regardless of how much training they have. Occasionally, though, you get a character who starts at level 1 and must be brought up to a normal level.
Life's A Sport... Mad scientists to turn themselves into a monster (by drinking something or injecting something into themsleves) when you fight them (see Cort in BOF1, Hojo in FF7, Palet in BOF3, etc.)
Little Shop of Horrors. RPGs are frequently populated by plants that wander around and attack people. This is not common in the real world.
Locked Door Rule. To open any locked door, you must have the key. You can never just break the door down, despite having spells that could take out a small village.
Lost Kid Plot. Fetch Quest plot second-most common to the Fake King Plot. A kid from the village has gotten lost in the cave. Go find him.
Lunar Rule. Every cliche has an exception. (So named because of all the messages I got telling me that the Leo in Lunar didn't die)
Main character. With the exception of Suikoden (uh, and Mario RPG), the main character invariably wields a sword. A large majority of main characters also have spiky hair, generally blue.
Main Character Intermission. Segment of a game, usually about 3/4s of the way through, in which the main character leaves the party briefly due to some physical ailment (dead, missing arm, Mako poisoning, etc.), leaving the other party members to take over. Occurs only in recent games.
Malak's Rule. Every RPG has at least one completely useless character.
Max's Rule. Characters carry their weapons in an invisible space until battle comes, then they appear out of nowhere without being drawned (exceptions: Chrono Trigger and BOF3). So named for Sam and Max's Max, who pulls out of gun out of nowhere.
Metal Babble Rule. Monster with a very high defense (you can usually only take 1 HP off it with each hit) that runs after a few turns. Difficult to kill, but you get a lot of experience if you do. So named for the first such monster, in Dragon Quest. Other examples include Cores (Lufia 2), Gold Eggs (BOF3), Movers and Sabotenders (FF), and Acid Bunnies (Wild Arms).
Missing Family Member Rule. Most main characters must have a dead or lost family member.
Mithril. Usually, you have to find some sort of rare or precious mineral (generally mithril) to repair or upgrade something.
Moebius Rule. Most RPGs have exactly one major plot twist.
Monster Money. For some reason, all monsters carry money to give you after battle, even though wolves, slimes, dragons, etc. have absolutely no use for money. (Exception: FF8)
Monster Progression Rule. All monsters gradually get tougher as you go through the game, no matter what circumstances would normally lead them to be otherwise. (i.e, if you go into a flashback, the monsters will be stronger there, which makes no sense)
Mother of All Cliches, the. In every single RPG, without exception, you are trying to save the world.
Grandmother of All Cliches, the. In absolutely every single RPG (except BOF3), you are trying to defeat a bad guy.
Natural Ability. All party members are already trained fighters and/or magic users, even when there is no reason for them to be so. (look at Chrono Trigger... why does Crono, who's just some random kid, be a trained swordsman? Why would the princess know how to use a bow? etc.)
Nighttime Chat. Obligatory scene in which the hero and love interest talk outside the inn and resolve their problem (see Wild Arms and FF6).
Nomad Rule. Parties never get tired, no matter how far you walk on the map or in a dungeon.
NRA Law. No guns ever run out of ammo. Even in SaGa Frontier, where guns have ammo, they magically reload after battle. (Exception: FF8's Irvine's Limit Break)
Null and Void. Most enemies that can inflict some kind of status change (poison, silence, etc.) usually drop the item that cures that change (antidote, echo screen, whatever) when killed.
Numerical Rationialization. All damage inflicted can be expressed as a number, which helpfully appear over the target's head.
Obligatory Dungeons. Every game has a mountain, at least one cave, some type of icy dungeon, a tower, a castle, a high-tech dungeon, a forest, and a shrine. Most have volcanoes.
Obligatory Status Changes. All RPGs have the following status changes: poison, blindness, sleep, confusion, and paralysis.
Obligatory Tool Rule. Every action-RPG, or game with action-RPG style puzzles (like Wild Arms or Lufia 2), has bombs and a hookshot.
Obstacle Course Rule. Simple objects such as pots and chairs serve as major obstacles, forcing you to walk around them, rather than just step over them.
Old Guy Rule. All old men are powerful magic-users.
Ominous Ring of Land. Any ring of land has something evil (usually the Ancient Flying Castle) underwater inside (Lufia, Actraiser, Wild Arms). Said rings of land frequently do not appear on the map (as in Wild Arms).
OPEC Rule. No vehicles ever run out of gas. (Exception: FF8)
Packrat Law. Most RPGs have you collected some type of shiny magical object throughout the game (Crystals, Mana Seeds, Huge Materia, Zodiac Stones, etc.).
Party Compulsion Rule. After a character joins the party, they never permanently leave (unless they are killed) even if their storyline would cause them to part ways at some point. Through some silly plot device, the character decides to come with the party anyway (for example, in FF7, Red XIII is about to leave the party when you get to Cosmo Canyon, but Bugenhagen tells him to go with Cloud).
Pawn Shop Rule. If you sell something to a shop that the shop doens't normally stock, there is no way to buy the item back, even though the shopkeeper still has it.
Poison/Poison Swamp Law. Characters can walk thousands of steps through poison swamps (and other "danger" areas), or with the poison condition, and linger at 1hp, but never die. (examples would be in most of the FF series, Chrono Cross)
Potty Emergency. Aside from BOF2 and Vector in FF6, there are no toilets or bathrooms in games.
Preview Rule. In games where you can name all the characters, you can tell that a character will join you by the fact that you get to name them when they first appear. (Like in FF6... you meet Shadow in South Figaro, he doesn't join you, but you get to name him so you know he joins later)
Primary Elements. All games have fire, ice, and lightning as elements.
Prison Rescue. Whenever the party is thrown in prison, somebody immediately shows up to rescue them.
Prison Rule #2. When you're thrown in prison, your captors never bother to take your weapons and other equipment. (exception: Tales of Phantasia)
Prophecy, the. Your heroes are usually prophecied to save the world, sometimes by some old guy who shows up in the game to give you advice.
Punctuation. RPG characters have the unique ability to pronounce punctuation marks, as in "....", "...!", or "???".
Pyrotechnics Rule. All bosses have extra-spiffy death effects that normal monsters are not worthy enough to have.
Rambo Rule. Having a higher Strength statistic increases the amount of damage guns do (exception: Chrono Trigger). This makes no sense whatsoever.
Randomly Drops. Words every gamer dreads. Means you have to spend countless hours fighting an enemy over and over so it will drop the super-duper piece of equipment that you have a 1 in 127 chance in getting. See FF4, Earthbound, and the BOF games.
Rebellious Princess. Stereotypical character in many RPGs. Rebellious princess escapes from castle and joins party (Marle, Cecilia, Nina, etc.).
Repeating Boss. Many games have a boss that you fight over and over again throughout the game (FF7: the Turks, Wild Arms: Boomerang and Zed, Mario RPG: Croco, FF6: Ultros, etc.).
Reject Room. Any RPG where you can switch characters has a room where all the unused characters hang out and demand to be added to the party.
Resale Anomaly. Really strong/rare items usually have a resale value of 1 for some reason (perhaps to dissuade you from selling them).
Revival Law. Logical loophole that allows you to revive dead characters in battle with items and magic, but keeps characters dead that are killed for plot purposes. (Exception: In Final Fantasy 5, Galuf is killed, but it makes sense. He fights Exdeath, going way beyond unconsciousness, being stuck at 0 hp most the time but still able to fight. After he's spent, the party tries using revival items and spells on him, but his spirit is too lost for them to work. This is -the- only game I know of which explains the Revival Law, and they did it perfectly, imo. -- Minami)See also Soft-Hard Rule.
Right-Hand Man rule. Whenever the Emperor in a 16-bit plot has a "right-hand man" character, that character always kills the Emperor (or helps you kill the Emperor) and ends up being the final boss. Frequently, the Emperor just wants to rule the world, but the "right-hand man" character wants to destroy the world. (See Secret of Mana, FF6, FF7, Breath of Fire 1, Wild Arms, etc.). Probably the most common cliche; just about every game uses it.
Ross Perot Rule. When you defeat a major boss (one that's a character) in battle, it will usually disappear, but once you're back in the normal non-fight screen, the boss will reappear and start talking.
Roster Rule. The manual always lists all the playable characters, thus spoiling any surprise as to who joins your party. (Exception: FF8)
Safety Net. Characters can jump or fall unlimited heights without ever getting hurt.
Second Fiddle Rule. The obligatory Legendary Sword is never the strongest weapon; there's always another sword that's stronger. (Goo King Sword is stronger than Dragon Sword in BOF3, Ragnarok is stronger than Excalibur in the FF games, etc.)
Self-Awareness Rule. In totally dark rooms, you can always see yourself perfectly. This is not true in real life.
Self Help Booklet. Sequence right before the final boss (sometimes occurs elsewhere in addition) in which every character proclaims their reason for fighting against evil and what they've learned on their journey in an excess of melodrama. Named after Kefka's awesome "This is pathetic! You sound like chapters from a self help booklet! Prepare yourselves!" line in FF6 after such a sequence.
Setzer's rule. Any character with a carefree attitude has a tragic event in their background (see also Locke, Jack, and Gen).
Shadowboxing Rule. In the majority of RPGs, characters fight by simply swinging their weapons in the air and not coming at all close the enemies. (This is not true for games with polygonal battles or Chrono Trigger)
Share and Share Alike. All items carried by your party (except in Earthbound) are carried in some sort of void that can be accessed by any member of your party no matter how spread out your party is.
Shooting Blanks. Guns are always weaker than swords.
Side Quest Rule. There are never any side quests until near the very end of the game, when a whole bunch of them appear. (See Wild Arms, FF7, FF Tactics, Tactics Ogre...)
Size Doesn't Matter. Characters can perform martial arts moves on enemies many times larger than they are. Want to have Sabin do a suplex on a train? No problem!
Slime. The easiest enemy in most RPGs is some type of slime.
Smokey's Rule. Fire spells do not start fires; they can be used in thick forests with no repercussions. (Exception: Kartia and Bahamut Lagoon)
Soft / Hard rule. Characters can get hit with all sorts of attacks (lightning bolts, earthquakes, meteors, etc.) during battle and still be standing, but for purposes of the storyline, they can be killed by a lowly dagger or sword.
Sound Sleeper. Characters put to sleep during battle can sleep through the various sounds of battles, including meteor strikes, summoned dragons, exploding bombs, and never wake up -- not to mention being actually attacked and not waking up. In addition, almost all RPG characters either sleep kneeling or standing up. (Chrono Trigger is the only game where your characters actually lay down when they're put to sleep)
Status Change rule. All bosses are immune to status changes (poison, sleep, etc.) and instant death spells.
Sudden Growth. Until recently, all bad guys would always grow much larger or transform into a different form when you fought them. In most recent games (FF7, Chrono Trigger, Wild Arms, Suikoden, FF8), however, this is not the case, except on the final boss.
Swiss Cheese Room. Common type of dungeon room in which there are many pits. Falling in one puts you in a large, emtpy, room with a single staircase that leads back up to the room with all the pits.
Symmetric Building Law. Almost all castles in games are symmetric, and most towns are as well.
Telepathy Rule. Whenever you are giving permission to go through a pass / gate / whatever, you can go there immediately and they know to let you through, even though you just got permission a minute ago.
Tellah's rule. Old men usually get killed (Tellah, Bugenhagen, Galuf, etc.)
Temporal Battle Shift. Whenever encountering an unfriendly personage, one usually experiences a psychedelic effect, followed by a transition to a background that does not match where you are standing. (Exceptions: BOF3 and Chrono Trigger)
Titanic rule. Whenever the characters get on a ship, it sinks. The exception is ships that you control, but even these sink frequently.
Training Rule. It used to be that every RPG had a room / building with people that told you how to play the game (Earthbounds, all the FFs, etc.). Now only appears only rarely.
Trauma Inns. For sword impalements, dragon attacks, meteor strikes, gunshots, and even death, nothing beats a nice, refreshing, stay at an inn -- guaranteed to cure all your wounds!
True Form. The final boss always has several forms (usually three) that you fight in sequence. The transformation is often accompanied by a message like "______ reveals his true form!"
Typical Bad Guy Cut Scene.A scene where the Main Bad Guy is in a room with four lesser bad guys. He tells weakest of the lesser bad guys to kill the only threat to his plans. Weakest fails, of course, so the second weakest is sent out. Repeat until all four are dead, then all four are revived around the end. The third bad guy is almost always the only female one. Slight variations may apply. (Secret of Stars, Final Fantasy 4, Magic Knight Rayearth)
Unbeatable Boss. Obligatory boss that wipes you out easily, but you don't lose the game when you die. Generally a major bad guy fought again later in the game, and often appears in a Deja Vu Dungeon .
Universal System Rule. All game worlds (er, except Evermore) have a universal currency system, and a universal language (except FF1). This is despite most worlds having lost cities, remote elf villages, warring kingdoms, obscure islands, etc.
Unlimited Warranty. Weapons and armor never break. (Exceptions: Zelda 64 and FF Rods)
Untamed Wilderness Rule. There are never any roads (paved or otherwise) between towns, even in games like FF7 where you would expect there to be. (Exception: FF8)
Underwater Vacancy Rule. In games with submarines, there is almost nothing of note underwater. (See FF7 and Lufia 2). Usually there is just a cave or two, and a place where you have to dive to get under some shoals.
Vegas Law: Many games have a place for you to gamble away your money (Suikoden, Final Fantasy 7, Lufia 2). Most of these gambling games require no skill, but a very few of them do. They are also usually impossible to win, and/or the prizes cost so many "coins" that you could never afford them.
Vehicle Progression Law. Each new vehicle you get allows you to get to some new place which the designers didn't want you to go to before. Used to force you to visit locations in the right sequence.
Venus Rule. It is eternally daytime in games (BOF1+2 excepted), which is weird enough, but it also will suddenly become nighttime during certain scenes. (Exception: Zelda 64)
(so named because one day on Venus is as long as 118 Earth days)

Villainous Disbelief Law. When defeated, all major bad guys are amazed that you beat them and usually make some remark along the lines of "You're stronger than I thought."
Wandering Mercenary. Another stereotypical character in almost every RPG. A wandering ninja or mercenary that is helping the party, but doesn't really care about what they are fighting for. Frequently a popular character. (see Shadow, Magus, Boomerang, etc.). Usually wants revenge on one of the main bad guys (as in Magus or Vincent's case), and rarely talks.
Warm-up Battle. Rather than just have you wander around town talking to people, many games start with a really easy dungeon or battle (sometimes a Deja Vu Dungeon). See the bombing mission in FF7, attack on Narshe in FF6, opening battle against Zoot in Vandal~Hearts.
Waterfall Rule. All waterfalls have caves behind them.
Weapon Specialization Rule. Each character is very limited in the type of weapons they can use (except in the SaGa games and FF games with Jobs), usually only having one type (swords, axes, staffs, etc.) that they can use.
Wild Goose Chase. Annoying part in RPGs where you have to chase some character (sometimes a villain, sometimes an ally) around the globe, being informed you "just missed" the person at every stop. FF7 is the biggest offender here.