Monday, April 3, 2017

The End of an Era

It's very difficult to say goodbye to one's childhood heroes.

It's even harder when one of those heroes continues to be active into one's adulthood.

After 27 years, The Undertaker, has apparently hung it up. 

For wrestling fans in general, it's a stunning moment.

For myself in particular, it feels almost like a punch in the gut followed by a boot to the head.

It's no exaggeration to call The Undertaker the longest running and best loved member of the WWE roster. The man began wrestling officially for the WWE under the Undertaker gimmick in November of 1990, making his on-camera debut at the 4th annual Survivor Series pay-per-view event. The character was created in a time where gimmicks that seemed to come out of comic books and cartoons were the norm. Yet despite all the other characters the WWE (Then the WWF) had at that time, Taker stood out. Where others were colorful and bombastic, Taker was slow, calculating, methodical, and effectively monotone, with his jet outfit paired with gray gloves, tie, and spats. He looked like— and so far as anyone could tell actually had his look modeled on— the depictions one would see of an undertaker out of the Old West.

At nearly seven feet tall and over three hundred pounds, Taker was as close to the mythical 'total package' as any athlete can hope to get. And as far as wrestlers went, he was a perfect fit. The size. The look. The voice. The charisma. The absolutely unbelievable agility for a man his size.... In the years that followed his Survivor Series debut, The Undertaker garnered many nicknames, but perhaps none was more appropriate than that of The Phenom. He lived up to that in every possible way. Taker was rarely out on injury, a fact that I and many other fans are thankful for. But what helped him become such a classic figure in the wrestling world and the community that has sprung up around it over the decades, was that above all else, he was incredibly adaptative.

Taker's look and even aspects of his gimmick changed over the years. From something resembling a half vampiric mortician (The Deadman) from the days of Wyatt Earp to a demonic monster and/or priest of a demonic cult from a comic book (The Lord of Darkness), to the motorcycle driving American Badass all the way back to the original Deadman persona, Taker managed to roll with the times, transitioning easily from the more fantasy based characters of what we might call the Federation Years to the grim and gritty days of the Attitude Era to the  PG 13 era and back to the Federation Era, always able to keep himself relevant. And at all times, laying it all on the line to entertain the fans. It was for good reason that I and so many others would cheer our heads off when that tell tale gong would ring. He gave us the best years of his life and tried to give us more than our money's worth every time he went out to that ring. I can only hope that in some small way, we were able to give him back some of the joy and excitement he brought to our lives week after week for the last twenty-seven years.

It can truly be said for anyone who remembers my character Warwolf's original beginnings that Taker was not only among those who inspired him, but in many ways was the most direct inspiration. Without The Undertaker, there would likely have been no Warwolf, Esheraso or otherwise. In that, I owe Taker a very personal thank you as a writer for providing me with the spark that gave birth to a character I might never have dreamed up otherwise.

In recent years, Taker has gained a new nickname; The Last Outlaw. I would like to amend that.

He wasn't just The Last Outlaw.

He was The Last Survivor.

He was a part of a time we'll likely never see again in our lifetimes, and the chances of seeing another individual who could ever do what he did is slim to none, no matter how many wrestlers come and go. He was a part of my childhood and teenage years who kept rolling with me until April 2, 2017, when he finally said it was time to go.

One thing many people have said about the Undertaker is that he very much believed in the tradition that when you go out in the wrestling business, you go out on a loss, to give back to the fans and the company. I can tell you here and now nobody would have been upset if he had gone out on a win. But he respected tradition. He took only the second loss he's ever had at WrestleMania, a show that carried an indelible magic due to his insane winning streak. Another feat we'll never see again in our lifetimes. For this last sacrifice on the part of a man who gave his all to please us in the wrestling community, much respect is due, and much respect is given. 

You've earned your ride into the sunset, Undertaker.

And so the final bell has tolled.

The lights have faded to black.

God I'm gonna miss him.



Godspeed, Deadman.

And thank you. For everything.

We'll miss you.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

A book returns, however slowly.

As another year comes and goes, I am slowly working on putting my old book from 2006 back into production. I have a bit of work to do before it's ready such as making sure I have everything done right and double checking with the Library of Congress for the Control Number and how to reapply for it since something apparently went wrong back in 2006 that I only recently became aware of, but I suspect that in the next few months (God willing), my old book will go up on Amazon via their Createspace arm. I'll keep you all up to date on it as things get closer to its return to the world of sales.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

New York Comic Con

Well, sometimes miracles do come true!

I have been attending New York Comic Con since....I want to say around 2008. The show's been going for about ten years now, and I have always enjoyed it immensely, both because of how much fun it is and because of the chance it offers to make contacts in the various media genres. Well, a special thanks goes out to my buddy John Cavooto, who told me about the pro registration stuff and suggested I give it a shot since I had self-published a book in 2006 and am working on a few others now. I took his advice,  and applied. I wasn't sure I could get a ticket for the show however, due to the fact that...well, 2006 had been my last time having anything published. But low and behold, what to my wondering eyes should appear this afternoon in my email in-box but a confirmation of approval for the show on the pro pass.

To put it mildly, I am nothing short of elated. I quickly went through and confirmed my reservation, and am now able to say that I am officially in for this year's show. I hope in the next few years I can possibly get a table there. Though that might be a bit pricey, so I'll have to see about teaming with someone to afford a spot there.

One thing is for sure, even for people who've only published once and have been frustrated in getting anything else released, miracles do come true. Sometimes you just need a friend to point you in the right direction. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

One step forward; Five steps behind

Well, as the year moves along, one hing that always becomes and issue for me is research. I mentioned in my last post that it can be a pain in the ass. trust me, it can be. It's always worth it when I find what I need to continue my work, but it also has the issue of slowing my work down.

One of the biggest issues for research on my end is figuring out what makes the most sense to use. For example, one of the works I'm developing is vampire-related.

I know, I know. Who hasn't done vampires at this point?

But when it comes to the undead, there is thankfully a multitudinous amount of stuff to pick and choose from. However that's a double-edged sword. Because there is a virtual sea of stuff to pick from, culling it down to what i absolutely need can be a genuine mess to overcome.

It gets worse when you're looking into stuff that's more recent and almost purely in the realm of pop culture, rather than gleaned from mythology. Because at least with mythology, you can deviate wherever you want and just claim you're slapping your own take on it. With myths, everything old can be new again. Look at Marvel and DC and their various reinterpretations of classic myths for a great example on this.

For something akin to say, giant robots, that's a harder nut to crack. Why? Well, the giant robot genre is still comparatively young. And then there's the issue of  "real" robots vs. "super" robots and the like. Because there are tropes and structures that are almost completely built into either sub-category. Trying to make something new out of it isn't impossible. But it does come back to bite you if you think you're just going to waltz through that minefield unscathed. Though I suppose fans will get on your case on any genre if they're passionate enough about it.

In any case, I hate to do a title reference, but I keep feeling like for everyone step step forward, I end up five steps behind on the research lately. Maybe it's just me, but it seems like the further I go on this new project, the farther behind I get on the overall information I've gotten. I may have to break a bit further from classic material and just go my own way.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Research. Worth it, but slow going.

It almost seems like it would be inevitable.

Research can and will hit a dead end.

Sadly, that's what I've been putting up with in the last few months. My work is a piece of fiction and set an a alternate reality Earth. However I still want to be as accurate as possible with anything that would be recognizable as genuine real world culture when I used the real thing and not any of the fictional culture I'm using for this thing. The biggest problem is that the culture I want to represent faithfully is one I've never experienced.

You can imagine how much of a pain in the ass this has become, and believe me, it very much is just that. However I'm keeping at it even as I continue my work as best I can while scouring through stuff online and in books in the hopes that I don't royally screw up and do something to offend my future readers.

Here's hoping the Japan Foundation can help.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Catching up to myself

Well, it has been awhile since I posted anything on here. That's largely my own fault, sorry to say. It's been a hectic few months.

I went to the New York Comic Con, and as ever, had a great time. Of course, I didn't simply have fun. Though a lot of fun was certainly had that day as well. The con was also a chance for me to try to meet some fellow writers, which I did. I don't think words can describe how many people were even at the con proper. Had to be at least ten thousand convention, and so many writers and their publishers were present at the event. To this day, part of me is surprised at the fact that publishers like Del Ray, Tor, Random House, and Quirk Books and so many others show up at this event. Another part of me wonders why that surprises me, because some of those companies have manga and other graphic novel imprints or else have books out that are right up the alley of the conventioneers. Del Ray has been the publisher for Star Wars for the last few years (and might still be despite Lucas selling his company and all the IPs attached to Disney. Time will tell on  that matter. But I wouldn't be surprised to hear Disney Hyperion getting the publishing rights once whatever contract Del Ray has with Lucasfilm expires.)

One of my favorite parts of the convention was meeting Jim Dunn and Sam Ernst, the creators of Haven, the Syfy channel show based on Stephen King's story The Colorado Kid. I was actually very lucky in that regard, as there was a bit of confusion as to whether or not anyone from the cast and crew would be signing autographs at the event. It turned out it was only Jim and Sam, but that was more than enough for me. The two of them were very open with their time and could not have been more gracious even if they tried, I think. If you ever talk to them about the show, I think you'll find them very keen to hear from fans about it. Given that they donate their time to conventions when possible, I'd say it's almost a given. While I don't recommend swarming the guys, I do recommend trying to get a few minutes to talk with them if they're at a con and open to the fans.  They gave me the impression that they enjoy the chance to talk to the fans, because it gives them a chance to hear what fans think of the show and respond to those thoughts directly. You don't see many creators who either get the chance to do so, or want to make the time to do so. This was, so near as I can tell, their second appearance at the convention. That says a lot that they not only make the time for shows like this for panels, but then make extra time to sign items at the booth for the company that produces Haven.

Well, I didn't get as much business done as I would have liked at the con, but I did meet some new friends and found out how much I keep paying as a simple attendee instead of registering as a professional since I did put out a book  back in 2006. Something to remember this coming year for the 2013 show.

On the subject of books, I'm working on a new series, in addition to working on an old project t hat I've been working on since late '05-early '06. The first book is done, and now I'm just hoping to get an agent for that book while I work on the second book in the set. I finally got an agent's interest. Only time will tell if they want to represent the book though. Keep your fingers crossed!

Hmmm. I think that's all I have for tonight. Later all!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A few thoughts on Cinderella.

Anyone who knows me, knows I have quite a collection of films, both live action and animated and everywhere in between. I also collect a number of TV shows, and anime series. And I have to wonder about some of the odd things I sometimes notice in the shows I watch. As I sat back today and watched an advertisement for the release of Cinderella on DVD, it occurs to me that I never realized until now that physically speaking, glass does not make for a good material for footwear. I mean sure, I get that it's a folk tale and it's a cartoon and all, but at the same time, I find myself having a disconnect intellectually at the idea that Cinderella's body weight alone doesn't just shatter the slippers altogether. To say nothing of the physical damage she would incur. I guess it's only explainable by the old adage of 'it's magic', but at the same time, I have a hard time figuring out the rules by which that magic actually works. Particularly since it's supposed to wear off at midnight. Shouldn't the slipper left behind have vanished?