Is Buster Moon Still A Monster?

Years ago, I went on a rant about Buster Moon and his villainous antics in Sing. At the time, I had no intention of ever seeing Sing 2, as I didn’t need more of that awful koala in my life. But I have children, and I tend to be a permissive parent. Thus, against my will and better judgment, I found myself sitting down for a viewing of Sing 2 as part of a family movie night.

So, Buster Moon has had an entire film to grow and develop as a character. In the sequel, is he still a monster? The long answer follows, but the short answer is: YES.

Continue reading “Is Buster Moon Still A Monster?”

On Character Death

Character death is a touchy subject in RPGs. Some people think the PCs should always be at risk, and that an adventure is an outright failure if at least one character doesn’t get killed off during the action. Others never have PCs bite the dust, using house rules that cause a hero to go unconscious but not die when the rules as written would have them pushing up daisies. And, as with any divisive topic with extreme opposite stances, the majority of players fall somewhere in the middle of that scale.

Continue reading “On Character Death”

Fairy Tale Protagonists are the Real Monsters

Classic fairy tales usually involve a plucky young child taking on something dark and dangerous that represents the unknown and coming out on top. Those tales have been told, retold, and ultimately sanitized over the generations. When you go back to the source, however, a disturbing pattern emerges. While the horrors they face are immense, the fairy tale protagonists turn into horrifying monsters themselves when the tale reaches its conclusion and they embark upon the most satisfying part of their journey: revenge.

Continue reading “Fairy Tale Protagonists are the Real Monsters”

A Kind of Magic: Highlander 1994

Even when the Highlander franchise met with limited success, nobody in charge of it seemed to know how to handle it. Case in point: Highlander: The Animated Series and Highlander III. Both came about in 1994, when the TV series had hit its stride and made the franchise popular again. The logical thing to do would have been to produce films based on the series and establish some continuity in the property. Instead, we got the exact opposite.

I’m analyzing the animated series and the third movie at the same time for two reasons. First, they were both released in 1994, right around the time Highlander: The Series was in its awesome third season. Second, there’s not a lot to say about them. Yes, they are bad (well, as far as I can tell…more about that in a bit), but they aren’t catastrophically bad. Mention the animated series to a Highlander fan and they might not even know it exists. Mention Highlander III and you might get a laugh at how bad the film is, but nowhere near the seething hatred you’d find from the other sequels. These additions to the franchise aren’t good by any means, but they also aren’t terrible.

Continue reading “A Kind of Magic: Highlander 1994”

Superhero Evolutions: Renee Montoya

As the Question, Renee Montoya isn’t a character who has seen a lot of costume changes, but she has gone through many other developments over her time in comics. To date, she has spent more time as a police officer than a superhero, beginning as a supporting character and working her way up. This long development has also left her as one of the more interesting characters in DC Comics.

Continue reading “Superhero Evolutions: Renee Montoya”

Where Memory Lane and Rejection Road Meet

My house has too much stuff in it, so I went through my possessions to decide what needs to go. Finally, I came across my Big Box o’ Rejections.

When I first started writing, I decided to save all my rejection letters as a way to keep myself motivated. But now that rejections come electronically and are almost exclusively form letters – and now that I have a lengthy publications list – I don’t feel that I need it anymore. So this box has got to go.

The box itself contains rejections, old drafts of stories from writing workshops, and a few magazines and newspapers where I got my first publishing credits. As I sorted through old letters, I got the most enjoyment out of reading some old rejection letters from my high school days, when I wrote articles for Dragon Magazine.

Continue reading “Where Memory Lane and Rejection Road Meet”

Lessons Learned from the Silver Age Green Lantern

Silver Age comics care more about fun than common sense. While storytelling has evolved significantly since the 1960s, the sheer goofiness of classic comics has a certain charm that can’t be replicated. And there is perhaps no character with more potential for goofiness than Hal Jordan, the Silver Age Green Lantern. With a magic ring that can allow him to do anything, he is only limited by his common sense…or lack thereof.

As a kid, I loved Hal Jordan because he had a cool costume. As an adult, I love him because he is such a nimrod. Brave, noble, and dumb as a post, he is perhaps the perfect Silver Age superhero.

Continue reading “Lessons Learned from the Silver Age Green Lantern”

Doctor Who and the Skye Boat Song

Spoilers for “The Power of the Doctor” follow.

Patrick Troughton had one of the hardest jobs of any actor to play the Doctor; he had to follow the original. Had he failed, Season Four of Doctor Who would have gone down as a forgettable failed experiment. The science fiction series would have died in the 1960s after the lead actor, William Hartnell, was forced out due to his health issues. But Troughton, an amazing character actor, succeeded by all measures, proving that the show could regenerate and renew itself as needed.

Troughton created a Second Doctor who was most unlike his predecessor, delving into silliness and acting the fool where the First Doctor almost always remained dignified and serious. At the same time, Hartnell had imbued the character with a sense of humor and a streak of childlike curiosity that came to serve as the Doctor’s core across many iterations. Playing a younger and re-energized Doctor, Troughton ran with that sense of fun. To cement this, one of the first things he did was to pick up a recorder and start playing tunes. That instrument became the Second Doctor’s signature, even more so than his use of the sonic screwdriver and the tendency of offering people Jelly Babies (something that Troughton did first before Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor adopted it as his own).

Troughton played many tunes on his recorder, but I’m going to focus on one specifically here: “The Skye Boat Song,” which he first played in “The Web of Fear.” That performance is recognizable enough that it got a reprise in 2022’s “The Power of the Doctor,” and it carries more significance than meets the eye.

Continue reading “Doctor Who and the Skye Boat Song”