Friday, October 31, 2014

Disturbing Comics: Dolores

There are stories that go out of their way to shock you, either by using horrifying imagery inspired by the latest sensationalistic movies, or news ripped from the headlines, usually by means of hitting their moralistic themes on your head until you get the point.  Then there are stories that start out relatively mundane, and the actual horrifying implications don't register until it's far too late, leaving you with a feeling of dread, even as you marvel at the workmanship.  Not unlike the legendary Garfield Halloween cartoon (the book title of which I still fondly remember as Garfield in Disguise)  This latter method is much more difficult to pull off, which may be why very few people bother to try emulating it.

Georges Leterrier is a man who obsessess with making his model crafts be scale models of the original with exacting detail.  In fact, he's so much of a perfectionist that by the time he's finally finished designing and compiling a top-secret military plane, the manufacturers have gone under new management multiple times, and they have to refuse taking the model off Georges hands, since his design is now obsolete.  While carrying the rather bulky miniature plane via public transportation (bumping into irate passengers), a boy expresses interest in his design, which was created with materials identical to the original.  George goes into detail, saying that getting parts for the engine was the hard part.  Having no further use for the fancy paperweight, he freely offers his extra-large toy to the boy free of charge.

On the way home, he's surprised to see a chauffeured limo there to pick him up.  Earlier, he saved an actress caught in a downpour with a broken car, who was shown to his model specs by his invalid live-in brother.  On the trip there, Georges admits to being farily ignorant about the movie business, since it's been years he last saw a movie, and is completely unaware of just how much of a household name Dolores Moore is.

When he finally arrives at the villa, Dolores has an unusual request.  She was rather impressed with his attention to detail for the model plane, and would like to have something similar for the house she's living in.
Georges is apprehensive and stunned, saying that a project of such an undertaking would take years to complete.  Dolores reasurres him that time and money is not a factor, since she'll be leaving for months, being involved in filmmaking in America.  As for living, he'll have permission to stay as long as is needed in order to complete the project.  Just go over the details with the staff, and there'll be plenty of room anyways.

Upon leaving, he chances upon a movie theater, and decides to indulge himself a little to familiarize himself with who he's going to be working for now.

When Georges comes home, he gently tells his brother about his new job, who doesn't take the news very well.  For the record, this occurs on September 28th, 1957.  There's nothing terribly significant about that date, but it should give some idea of the time period this story takes place.

After getting a room accommodated for him, Georges gets started by taking measurements of everything in the house, from the dimensions of the floors and walls to the furniture, including the staff itself.  A lovely assistant, Simone, is somewhat taken with his obsession, and is dismayed when her affections aren't reciprocated, since Georges is so infatuated with Dolores.  Georges is grudgingly chauferred around to his old haunts where he can order the necessary crafting material he'll need to get parts small and sturdy enough to accomplish the job.

The staff don't take too kindly to the old man's intrusion of materials spread around, but since their master's not around to hear their complaints, there's nothing they can do.

After a long stretch of absence, Dolores finally comes back to Paris with a Papparazi entourage, and declares that she's relieved to be home again, and is tired of travelling.  She wants to live a less hectic life instead of running around all the time, and doesn't want to leave ever again.  When she runs into Georges, she briefly introduces him to her male co-star and then continues on with her grandstanding.

Georges is despondant at being so casually brushed off, but vows to continue working on the project, forsaking all else.  He barely responds to news of his brother's living conditions, and only pays a cursory visit to the hospital after his suicide attempt.  The house is all he has to live for now.  While being unexpectedly interrupted, Georges drops his exacto knife on the model, causing small but insignificant damage.

Somewhat relieved at her movie becoming a bomb, Georges illogically reasons that this means that Dolores might come back.  Later that night, while getting some more supplies for the model house, Georges almost trips and stumbles on a loose piece of concrete.

Georges curiously notices that there's a similar crack on the stairs.  Not just any particular step, but the exact same spot where his exacto knife fell.

While Georges was labouring over his new model, his brother wound up having a hard time living by himself, and died soon after.  While attending his brother's funeral, dodging accusations that his brother died from lack of loving care, Georges runs into the same boy he gave his model plane to.  He's surprised to hear that the boy was able to make his plane fly just by adding gas to the tank.  Especially since it wasn't meant to be a working model.

Back at the villa, Georges attempts to repair the broken step in the model, but winds up creating an accident involving glue getting over the walls.  Having already had a bad day, Georges doesn't bother to clean up the mess, and goes to bed.  The next day, Georges summons the staff to point out an elaborate prank involving a blotch appearing on the walls that's somehow exactly reminiscent of his little accident.  The staff grudgingly oblige, saying that the composition of the stain is quite sticky and hard to remove, but are satisfied once it's finally gone.  Of course, Georges is no dummy, and is no stranger to cause and effect, and wants to be absolutely certain.

These hands!  Capable of such magnificent feats!  So what does he do once he discovers this newfound use of his talent?

Why, indulge on petty revenge on the staff who'd been increasingly frustrated with his demands.  The chauffeur is plagued with a blueish tint on his face that won't go away.

And that's just for starters.  Georges goes to the trouble of getting rid of a lovely assistant Simone who was dismayed at rejected her advances in favor of the unobtainable ideal of a film star.

Georges goes so far as to create a doll of Dolores who he pays lavish attention to.  He strips the doll naked and puts it in the miniature bathtub with water and scented oils, and mere minutes later, Dolores shows up in a bathrobe.  She still rejects Georges advances, but the fact she showed up like that at all doesn't bode very well for controlling her own actions.

Georges has now taken power of attorney and the part of Dolores' manager and refuses any calls aimed towards her, saying she wishes to be left alone, and wants nothing to do with movies anymore.  Especially since she feels personally threatened by a rising talent named Marilyn Monroe.  Georges reasurres her, saying that she'll always be beautiful in his eyes, but it hardly sounds reassuring to her, coming from him.

Georges is confronted by a policeman who'd heard strange testimony from a hysterical witness, and decided to do some following up, even though the chances of finding a lead is rather unlikely.  If there is a glaring weakness to George's powers, it's that he can't directly influence events that are outside of the house's dimensions.

Of course, if outside elements happen to be within the confines of the house, then he stands more of a chance.

Presumably, he cleaned up the bloodstains in the model later, otherwise they would be impossible to remove entirely.  Inspection of the glue stain on the wall showed that it took some time for any changes in the house itself to become reality, so chances are he could afford to take his time.

Unknowing about this recent descent into murder, Dolores is so upset with her new life that she doesn't even notice the spot of upturned earth on her front lawn.  When she comes in, she sees Georges dancing with the doll version of herself.

Delores is dismayed at all the changes that's taken place.  She's willingly followed Georges demands in order to accommodate his needs for completing the model house, which she sorely regrets now.  The last straw is all these movie posters with his face transplanted in place of the male leads.  Dolores isn't terribly amused by all this, and goes about tearing the posters apart with a pair of scissors.  Georges tells her it's useless, and sure enough, the posters are back to normal, much to her amazement.

Dolores finds it increasingly difficult to think clearly, especially since Georges has gone to the trouble of modifying her past so that he's more of a presence than the other actors she's been with.

Shortly after helping put the final piece together, Dolores notices that there's something strange about the outside now.  There's no clear vanishing point of the horizon.

A closer inspection soon reveals the awful truth:

Georges just calmly walks up to Dolores, singing the theme song from one of her movies and helps carry her back to the house where the two of them will live from now on.

To recap:  after systematically removing her closest servants and friends, including indulging in casual murder
as well as denying her right to pursue her career, Georges is now in a position where he has full power over her every action, and can control her waking thoughts.  If that isn't truly frightening, then I don't know what is.  It's like the bad ending to Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House.  It's also a chilling take on the old adage that if you work long and hard enough on your dream, you'll be rewarded for your efforts.  The skeevy cover doesn't help matters much either.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Men Against Women Against Men

Recently, there's been some kind of nonsense regarding a lover's spat between two people in the gaming industry, one who may or may not have had outside martial relations with a game reviewer who gave a review to an experimental game that was supposed to foster feelings of a suicidal nature.  (The given the review part, not the slept around part)  Not unlike that first episode of The Critic where a Sharon Stone-esque actress pretended to be interested in Jay Sherman so he'd overlook her faults, and give high marks to a movie without ever actually seeing it in the first place.  Sure, plenty of games are frustrating enough to the point where we're biting our controllers in half from constantly running off a cliff or being surprise-attacked by a rogue sniper near the checkpoint flag, but the purpose of the industry is to indulge customers to keep coming back for their next fix.  Having an upspike in the mortality rate would only scare off our more lethargic clients rather than attract daredevil customers who are more likely to brave crowds of rowdy competitors than boring menial tasks like raking leaves.  Those enemies aren't going to die by themselves, you know.  (Unless they play Depression Quest, which I have no interest in, let alone finding out what it's really about)

All this fuss is just taking attention away from their feminist agenda, which is NOT to foster equality and fair pay between sexes, but to undermine Man's role in the universe, and make a laughingstock out of him, demeaning his position as lord and master of the universe.  To get an idea of what having more women in charge is like, just imagine a giant stiletto heel grinding down on your balls... forever.  Now, unless you're a masochist into that kind of thing, this is the kind of agenda that only appeals to wimps and traitors everywhere.  Asking for respect in the gaming industry is only the beginning.

Ever since woman offered man a piece of succulent fruit bursting with information, they've been raising a stink about everything ever since.  If Eve wasn't selfish enough to save that apple for herself, she alone would've been cast off, while the rest of paradise would be left in the company of men.  (Of course, we wouldn't be able to memorize baseball scores, so there's kind of a trade-off there)  Women have been responsible for postulating all kinds of ideas that for better or ill, brought grave consequences that would be better off being kept away from the spotlight.  If they didn't raise such a stink about inconsequential things such as child labour, slavery, forced prositution (the best kind!), underage pornography (okay, anything younger than 12 is pushing the ick factor), mental institutions, cigarettes, calories, high carb, sugar, manners and pretty much anything enjoyable in life, the world would be much better off.  It's no secret that constantly casting every bad thing that happens in the world in a bad light is responsible for sucking away the fabric of enjoyment in life.  If we had to pay attention to all that junk, life would become unbearable to the point of insanity.  That must be why women are insufferable - they don't know how to tune out that senseless noise.

This is further exacerbated by their constantly nagging us to get enough money for inconsequential things such as mortgage, rent and food, as well as wasting valuable cash on presentable items for the womenfolk themselves such as makeup, undergarments and shoes instead of essential items like toilet paper and beer.

Whenever the weaker sex have gotten involved with anything they obviously just don't understand, they've wound up ruining it... FOREVER.  When women got involved with Comics, they introduced Manga, a Japanese import once featuring manly men and bloody fistfights, until they wound up effeminating too many male characters, which ruined Graphic Novels... FOREVER.  When women got involved with novels, they released lousy bestsellers such as the Scarlet Pimpernel, Frankenstein and Harry Potter, which wound up ruining literature... FOREVER.

Obviously, if we allowed women to get involved with movies, the resulting backlash would be of such epic proportions that it would wind up casting a shadow over every cinematic accomplishment throughout history, blotting them all out to the point of inexistence, and making Battlefield Earth look like a cinematic masterpiece in comparison.  Sponsoring an experimental low-budget movie that doesn't follow the Hollywood Blake Snyder Save the Cat! model is just asking for trouble.  And even if they somehow managed to release a hit title, it'd obviously be an aberration, that could only happen once in a generation, or it'd be shamelessly marketed to specific audiences based on hype, since there's no way that such a creation could possibly exist.

It's hard to believe, but there was a time not that long ago when the Barbershop was the principal domain of MEN, not women, giving a safe refuge from the toils of everyday life.  (Real men, not the faux-men that exist today)  Then our sanctuary was invaded by women and children, and our bastion of male identity was weakened so as not to scare them off, and our cultural identity was forever lost.  FOR - EVER.

Now, it's hard to imagine anything involving the hairstyle industry as being anything that caters to anything other than women, which has cut us off from something that was singularly ours.  If we allow women to interfere with our lives, they'll continue clenching their harpy claws into every establishment we own until there's nothing left but the dregs of society, and who wants to get stuck with that??  Obviously, the best - nay, the ONLY - recourse against this is to threaten, demean and outright force these women away from getting anywhere close to our valued palaces of worship.

The level of enjoyment of a group of men with women can be condensed into a handy-dandy mathematical chart:

Getogether with a bunch of men: Number of men compounded by the number interested in the same hobby as you X number of men with similar interests

Number of women there: Enjoyment by number of women: 100X
If any of these women are your wives or girlfriends: Discomfort factor: 1000X
If any of these women are someone else's wives or girlfriends: Arousal factor: 1000X
If any of these women are looking for someone: Probable Breakfast time: 50%
If any of these women are currently attached: Probable Lunchtime: 20%
If any of those women are nagging shrews: Discomfort factor: 10,000X
If any of these women are wearing revealing clothing: Catcall factor: 100X
If any of these women are wearing practical clothing: Catcall factor: 1000X
If any woman gives opinions that we agree with: Relief factor: 10X
If any woman voices opinions we don't like, even if we agree with most of those complaints: Aggression factor: 1,000,000X

As you can see, the mere insertion of women into the fragile fabric of male society places their social standing in severe jeopardy.  Why else would we be so virulently opposed to a change in the staus quo?  If we had to take the opposite sex's feelings in question, our enjoyment factor would dip down into the negative figures, well below the boolean line, plunging our existential crisis into a circular spiral of depression, ultimately culminating in suicidal thoughts, vengeance fantasies and binge eating.  Do you women want to be responsible for the deaths of thousands of men on your hands?  Now, you may not have pulled the trigger, but you certainly cultivated the passive-aggressive stance that made it nigh impossible for any of us to voice our displeasement without the need for violent opposition.  Fighting back is the only sensible choice any of us have in preserving our natural way of life, and being party animals the way God intended.


What is the proper place for a woman?  Check all that apply:

  • Bursting out of a cake
  • Dancing on a phallic pole
  • Leaning under a lamp post
  • In the maternity wing
  • On a bearskin rug
  • At a nudist resort
  • In a cheerleader outfit
  • In a maid outfit
  • In a nurse outfit
  • In a latex outfit
  • In a miniskirt
  • In an apron
  • In a bikini
  • In Jeans
  • In suspenders
  • In a shirt (no pants)
  • In the bedroom
  • In the trophy room

What is the worst place for a woman?

  • Anywhere that is best suited for men

There has been call for larger representation of the fairer sex in Video Games, such as instead of showing lovingly crafted revealing costumes like those in Queen's Blade, Code of Princess and Dragon's Crown, to create sensible clothing for (hah-hah) female assassins, as if female assassins ever existed.  Attempts to appease these insatiable women for sensible clothing has resulted in the Hawkeye Initiative, which is frankly, ridiculous, since no man would wear willingly wear such flimsy clothing in the first place.  The whole appeal of Lara Croft was that because of the first-person camera perspective, we got to admire her most remarkable traits without ever having to see her polygraphic face.  And these modern women would want to deprive us of what is generally considered a strong female protagonist.  If it were up to them, the only acceptable action figures would be dull matronly figures devoid of humor and personality, or pink sparkling vampire unicorns.  Don't ask us how we know this - it's basic internal knowledge gleamed from numerous failed attempts to appeal to their demographic.
These women's arguments would be more convincing if they weren't distracting us from our duties by constantly flaunting their frontal assets and cabooses for the world to see.  They knew the risks of being part of a world that's larger than their tiny minds can possibly convey.  There's not enough room in the industry for two genders, and only one can be allowed to dominate.  If we rant and scream against them, it's only to see if they can pass our initiation rituals, free of the telephone booth-cramming, raw egg-eating, ass-paddling that would be extremely off-putting for weaker fans not fully devoted to their cause.  It's only because we love our hobbies so much that it looks like hate when taken out of context from the outside.  If they didn't want to be constantly harassed, they should've known their place in the first place.  As the old saying goes, if they can't stand the heat, they should get back in the kitchen.

Therefore, I've started up a new organization with its catchy title of The Outraged Outlaw Thesis United Founded Formation Biased Against Women (or TOOTUFFBAW for short).  My organization is devoted to making sure that everything good and wholesome remains as awesome as they were in the good old days, and that everything stays the same as it's always been.  It's also designed to call out women for the crimes of having brass ovaries, being too bossy, and not being born male.  There's no need to shake the status quo, unless we don't like it.  Otherwise, why make a fuss?
The host managers would like to remark that the views and opinions expressed on this site reflect those of the company and management, and proudly stand by this writer for telling it like it is.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pet Peeves - Misaligned Balloons

This is something of a continuation of my previous entry which focused on panels, but this is something of a subsection in itself, and I felt that entry was getting long enough on its own.  This refers to pages where there's someone talking, but the dialogue is focused in the wrong balloon.

In these cases, these kinds of mistakes are most heavily prevalent in Manga, where the text is more vertically based than horizontal.  In most instances, when deciding to place text down, it's done so in a numerical order, left to right, but depending on the composition of the layout, it may not always be obvious, which can lead to unintended results.

As you can see, the sideway panels in the bottom half screwed the composition up somewhat, because it was slightly different from the norm, and seemed almost normal.  Even so, all the extra space should've been something of a clue, since you typically reserve that for the most dramatic keywords.  This is why I always make a note of having the original page on hand when doing my scanlations so I don't wind up screwing things up.

But sometimes, space isn't always an indicator for important passages.  Even minor casual conversations can wind up falling prey to this kind of thing.  An example comes from Dorohedoro where during an exchange between two kidnappers, the guy who's asking the question about the hostage winds up answering it himself.

In another instance, when the Crosseyes gang come across a man whose curse reflects any and all assaults back on the attacker, the blonde guy throwing the knives is Ton, which must be terribly confusing, when everybody else calls him that name elsewhere in other books.

Due to the narrow space for balloons, it's easy to see how the decision to put the text where there would be more room to fit, rather than dividing them up.  On the other end of this spectrum is splitting words to the point where they're impossible to understand.

Another minor instance from Battle Royale that always bugged me is where Sho Tsukiya (the blatantly gay student who was left out of the popularity poll in the English version) checking his watch.  The time is divided into two, instead of the natural manner of 4:54.

So far, the most blatant offender of this sin was for The Legend of Zelda: 4 Swords Manga, which had TWO instances of this very mistake on the same page.

Compared to the earlier scanlation, despite the poor quality, this exchange makes much more sense.

But not all scanlations are considered flawless, and can too fall prey to the same mistakes.  A recent Toriko scanlation wound up being too faithful to its source material, which resulted in confusion, since two of the balloons were closer than the one below.

You'd think this kind of thing would only happen in Manga, but other translated titles can be infected with this symptom just as well.  The wonderfully insane Technopriests is a good example.  After passing one of many testing procedures to judge the hacking ability of potential new entries, Albino is being ferried around on his new friend's shoulders.  Yet the balloon cheering Albo on has only one tail, while the questioning balloon has multiple tails, connoting that they're from multiple voices.

That was a minor example, viable only to the keenest observers, so here's a more overt case.  On a planet where Albino's suffering family is having their madcap adventures of changes to their classes and status quo, usually regulating in one or more members being forced to clean the toilets, they've landed on a barbaric world ruled by a lion-man who makes sport of fighting any potential opposition to his rule and winds up cannibalizing their bodies for food.  This leads to an unintentionally amusing exchange where the ruler, Mongoroy winds up saying his name while biting off a piece of arm meat, while his appreciative audience says YUM! among the cheering crowd.
PROPHET!  CHAMPION!  YUM!  One of these is not like the others.
As long as we're talking about balloons in the wrong place, we might as well talk about another cardinal sin - where words are on the page, but they're not in the right place.  Some comics work off of a text sheet proof that is then later overlayed over the artwork.  And when that proof gets moved around, sometimes, it can lead to amusing instances such as the X-men issue where Wolverine said,

If the page is especially busy, these kinds of slipshod mistakes can be easily found out and complained at length, which can prompt the publisher to do a corrected printing, which based on demand, can cause the previous mistaken printing to rise in potential value.  (This is all deductive reasoning - I take no stock for the validity of these auctions)  Stagger Lee is a great historical retelling of the story behind the origin of a song that, depending on who sung it, was about either a white, or black man.  The black history involved just makes it that more interesting.

For some reason, the man at the top of the stairs in the 3rd panel is making a threat, while the lamp appears to be screaming out in pain.  According to the publisher, the page looked fine in the letterer's proofs, but somehow all the text slipped down and to the left in the print files.  At the time, it was lucky that it happened to a page with so little dialogue.  If it had happened to a page with more dialogue, it's more likely it would have been spotted.

Another instance is where words are bunched together, rather than spaced apart.  This panel from Aria where a soldier responds should've been "Well... OK...", split into two balloons instead of squeezed into one.   This is a good indicator for testing the quality of a release.  If all the text on a balloon is heavily slanted to the left or right, instead of being centered, that's a sure sign of laziness.

Then there are instances where you're lucky if the words manage to fit within the confines of the extra-large balloon.  You can barely make it out, but if you look alongside the roof above the balloon, Shuya Nanahara is trying to say "Don't..." to the classmate pointing a gun at him.  It's a wonder the rest of the text managed to stay legible on the same page.

Sometimes overlapping text can be the result of reusing a pre-existing script that wasn't entirely wiped clean.
Here's the last panel of page 97 from the 8th Dorohedoro volume.

Nothing terribly wrong there, right?  What's there to complain about?  Now, here's the same numbered page for the 9th volume.  If you take a close look at Asu's leg (the wounded skinless guy), you'll see "Epic Poverty Fail" visible there.

As you can see, the placement and decision on where to put your words can make all the difference.