Highlander

A Kind of Magic: Highlander

Highlander. I love it, even though it has caused me so much pain.

Like many fans of the Highlander franchise, I keep coming back for terrible movie after terrible movie, each time hoping that those in control of the franchise somehow catch lightning in a bottle as they did with the first film.

As the powers-that-be struggle to find footing for a Highlander reboot which seems doomed to meet the same disastrous fate that befell the franchise’s many sequels, let’s take a look at the original film. A box office flop but a cult classic, 1986’s Highlander proved strong enough to create a devoted fan base that has remained throughout the years, despite a plethora of sequels that rank among the worst films of all time.

How did this off-beat urban fantasy turn into a hit? In truth, Highlander was about as fortuitous a series of accidents you will ever see in the film industry.

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All Star Superman

My Favorite Panels: Lex’s Realization

Comics are a visual medium, and one panel can leave an impression that lasts a lifetime. With that in mind, I thought I would run through some of my favorite comic book panels of all time.

I begin the journey with one of my favorite comics ever, All Star Superman. I think it’s the best Superman story ever written, and it may be one of the best comics ever. Any given page of this 12-issue series is a work of art, but my favorite panel is rather understated.

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Deck of Many Things

Gaming Stories: Pick a Card

Every once in a while, I like to send the PCs against a monster that’s just out of their league. When you’re low-level, encountering an adult dragon or a lich can still be fun. The only difference is that the goal stops being killing the other guy and taking his stuff and becomes a matter of survival. After all, sometimes the monsters want to kill some adventurers and take their stuff.

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Blacksad Rose

My Favorite Comics, sans Superheroes

I spend a lot of time ranting about superhero comics, especially the ones from Marvel and DC. Mainstream comics usually hold the most intrigue for me. They not only serve as a rare example of serial fiction that has lasted for decades on end, but also provide a good cultural snapshot of American society. Characters like Captain America and Wonder Woman are as ingrained in our popular consciousness as folklore legends like Paul Bunyan.

When it comes to sheer quality of storytelling in comics, though, superhero comics usually aren’t the way to go. Not that they are inherently inferior or anything, but they are so continuity-laden, riddled with conflicting interpretations, and driven by corporate agendas that the very best storytelling in comics tends to be divorced from that genre. Luckily, comics are a versatile medium with lots to offer beyond flights and tights. Here’s a look at some of my favorite non-superhero comics. I don’t mention them a lot in rants, but that’s largely because they’re so good that I don’t often have anything to say but, “This is awesome.”

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Superman's Secret Identity

Superman’s Secret Identity

Clark Kent’s glasses are both the most iconic and most ridiculed superhero disguise in comic book history. The disguise has been parodied in Saturday Night Live, called out as ridiculous in The Adventures of Lois and Clark, and called “the ludicrous glasses disguise” by David Goyer, one of the writers behind Man of Steel. How far can a pair of glasses and a changed hair style really get a person?

Well, actually, pretty far.

When confronted with this question in the Silver Age, Superman writers came up with a goofy explanation involving super-hypnosis and Kryptonian glasses. They didn’t have to try that hard. There are legitimate and believable reasons that people don’t immediately recognize Clark Kent as Superman.

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The MCU’s Incredible Character Arc for the Hulk (That We Never Got to See)

The Marvel Cinematic Universe marks a remarkable cinematic achievement. Despite a few missteps, the movies accomplished some amazingly in-depth storytelling, stringing together almost two dozen films to tell the stories of dozens of different characters. And for the most part, those characters got a reasonably satisfying conclusion by the end of Avengers: Endgame.

Of course, with so many different characters, the films couldn’t present everybody’s story in a satisfying manner. For example, let’s look at the Hulk. He has one of the longest characters arcs of all the Avengers and changes more than anybody…but none of the interesting stuff happens on-screen.

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