13th Sep2010

At Long Last – My Comic Origin!

by Will

I’ve been wanting to write lately, but really haven’t had much to write about. I’ve been to a LOT of comic cons and stores lately, and it made me realize that I’ve never really explained *how* I got into comics. This isn’t just a blog thing, as many of my “in real life” friends don’t really know this tale either. So, it got me to thinking, and those memories have brought us here. Let’s go for a little ride, shall we?

People never believe this, but I started rudimentary reading at 18 months old. This, combined with the fact that my parents were older, meant that I skipped a lot of “typical” children’s literature. I never had any fairy tales, and I missed out on Dr. Seuss. I probably sound like I snob, but I realize that I truly missed out on some classics. Later, I went back and tried to read The Cat in the Hat, but it was too late – the damage had already been done. So, what did I read? Mainly, I read the Style section of the Washington Post. Yeah, there were pictures, but I also learned a LOT about the television industry.

My mom and aunts loved to encourage my reading, so they were always willing to buy books for me. They, however, had to approve of the books, so the covers couldn’t show anything demonic, and they couldn’t be something that was a “waste of time”, like “funnybooks”. Anyway, they used to make me go to Alabama for the summer with my grandmother. The thing about those trips was that I HATED going, but ending up loving it once I was there. In any case, I would throw a FIT prior to leaving, so they’d always bribe me with books and toys so that I would “be a good boy for Muddear”. Also, Muddear was given money to keep me pacified while down there.

The first time I was sent to Old Dixie was 1989, and my cousin Cephus (we are from the South!) drove us down in his Winnebago. There wasn’t much to do, but I had a scooter, and our front yard had a ditch. If you do the math, you’ll realize that I had my own Fat Kid X-Games event going on. I’m still amazed that I never fell in and died – this was a DEEP ditch. I remember, though, during one of my ditch-jump lulls, buying my first comic at the local bait shop. Rather, I didn’t pay money for it, but it was bought for me by a cousin during an ice run for a cookout. I can’t remember the issue number, but it was a Star Trek comic published by DC. This was during the Original Cast Movie Era, so those were the uniforms they were wearing.

Now, I’m gonna be real honest here: I don’t think I ever even read that thing. I mainly asked for it just to see if I could get it. Yeah, I was that kid. Since I hadn’t really been allowed to go near “funnybooks”, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Plus, I was as much of a Trekkie as you could be at the age of 8 (I’d been watching TNG since its premiere, and had seen all TOS episodes). Seeing it on the stands, it was familiar to me and that’s what I went for. I think it had Klingons in it, but didn’t they all back then? I know that comic made the trip back to Maryland from Alabama, but I really don’t remember what became of it. I guess it got thrown away during one of Muddear’s cleaning jags. The main point is that, while I remember owning it, comics had yet to make any real impact on me. I think I had it more for its connection to Star Trek than for the fact that it was a “forbidden comic book!”

Over the course of the next year, I had another one of those “I wonder if I can get x to buy this comic for me” moments. One Sunday afternoon, my aunt’s boyfriend took me to 7/11. It’s a long story, but here’s the gist of it: Muddear lived on a street in DC that wasn’t exactly the nicest. The ice cream truck came through, and I really wanted ice cream, but Muddear was always of the opinion that the ice cream truck was really just selling crack. So, she wouldn’t let me near it. I think I cried, and Mr. Jackson (my aunt’s bf), who had been doing some work on the house, volunteered to take me to 7/11 for some non-crack ice cream. So, in addition to my Push-Up, I ended up with a Heathcliff comic. Now, I’m not sure if y’all remember, but Heathcliff was the Flavor Aid to Garfield‘s Kool-Aid. He was not the A-list cartoon cat, but I remembered that his cartoon had a really cool theme song (one that I still find myself singing at times). Plus, the kicker was that he was dressed as Batman on the cover. Now, my whole love of Batman extends back to the Super Powers toy line, as well as syndicated reruns of the ’66 show. Surprisingly enough, I had never thought about seeking out Batman comics. This changed all that, as it was the first time I really thought “Wait, Batman started as a comic character, right?” Anyway, I remember that this comic was just a loose parody of the first Michael Keaton movie. Still, it was the first time a comic actually kinda stuck with me, and I still have that book in my collection today. This was not, however, when the collecting bug bit. No, my friends – that happened on the next installment of Will & Muddear’s Alabama Adventures, which I’ll talk about next time.

Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five

30th Jan2008

My Chat With William Katt and Star Trek Musings

by Will

“Live every week like it’s Shark Week!”

OK, I’m working on a LONG post right now, so this is gonna be a shorter one.

-So, a childhood dream of mine kind of came true today: I got a phone call from The Greatest American Hero! You know, “Believe it or not, I’m walking on air…”. Yeah. William Katt, star of the 80’s hit. He’s working on a top secret project, but he’d been in touch with one of my teammates at work.

I know I’ve written about this before, but that was probably the only show we watched as a family before my dad died. So, I’ve got memories. Anyway, my teammate told William about me and my fanboyness, so he actually gave me a call. I feel so bad because I was having a bad day and totally answered the phone like an a-hole. When he identified himself, I couldn’t believe it. The dude was awesome. I went all fanboy-stupid and couldn’t really tell you all the stuff that fell out of my mouth. I remember telling him that I was Pippin in high school and that I based my interpretation on video of his Broadway run as the character. Anyway, he was such a nice and gracious guy, and he even gave me his cell. Told me to let him know if I ever needed anything and that he’d be swinging through town on the promo circuit and he’d loved to meet with me. I was floored! One down, only Hasselhoff, Adam West, Stan Lee, John Schneider, and Tom Wopat to go!

-Everyone likes to think of Star Trek‘s Uhura as some kind of pioneer in breaking television’s color barrier. In a way, that’s true. On the other hand, she really wasn’t that important of a character. Sure, they call her the ship’s “communications officer”, but she was really just an operator. She worked the switchboards. So, if anything, Uhura started a longstanding tradition of Black women working at the phone company. Next time your bill payment isn’t registered, or you have to log a service complaint, thank Uhura for your fifteen-minute wait time. In the meantime, enjoy that Muzak!

-Speaking of Star Trek, the trailer for the new movie has got me having a Trekkie relapse. I’ve kept it buried inside since the end of DS9, but I’m feelin’ a resurgence. Sadly, I even find myself liking Enterprise. ENTERPRISE! The Scott Bakula thing that wouldn’t even acknowledge it was a Star Trek show until its third season! Anyway, like the critics used to say, it really is a much sexier show than any of the other spin-offs. Plus, I like when my Starfleet officers curse. You’d never hear Jean-Luc or Will Riker yell, “Well, son of a bitch!” You’ll hear that on Jonathan Archer’s ship. Plus, every woman in the Mirror Universe wears a halter top. It’s the little things in life…

-I have a crazy crush on Jane Krakowski right now. As if Tina Fey and her sexy/geeky/cool didn’t make 30 Rock hard enough to watch, seeing Jane as the aloof, self-absorbed starlet takes the cake. Plus, I have to give her credit for only getting more beautiful with age. Anyone who remembers her from Ally McBeal knows she was “the thick one”. There was Calista Flockhart: the skinny one; Courtney Thorne-Smith: the one that every viewer related to, and Jane: the thick, not as pretty as the other two, one. But at 39, she looks amazing these days. For further proof, watch the 30 Rock eps that either feature her Maxim shoot or her “Muffin Top” music video.

-Speaking of music, Jordin Sparks’s “Tattoo” is a horrible debut single. I mean, it’s catchy. I’ll give it that. Just like Chris Brown’s “With You”, it’s a pretty weak song, with weak lyrics, and a basic sound structure. That said, they’re both catchy as Hell. Regardless, it’s not the debut single of an American Idol.

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but Idol debuts tend to be pretty…meta. In other words, the songs are basically the winner singing about how awesome it is to win AI. “A Moment Like This”? Kelly lived a lifetime to win AI. Ruben’s “Flying Without Wings” doesn’t count because it was a song written for Westlife and just reused (Simon was one of Westlife’s managers). Nobody remembers Fantasia’s “I Believe”, which is sad considering AI alum Tamyra Gray wrote it. Carrie Underwood stole the country crowd with “Inside Your Heaven”, which doubles as a love song, but also affirms that she wants to be in the hearts and minds of her fans. “Do I Make You Proud?” Well, Taylor was hoping he did. And then his label dropped him. Technically, “This is My Now” is Jordin’s debut, which follows the Idol formula, but it never stuck. Now, we’ve got this song that sounds like it was written for JoJo or something. Plus, if it truly is following the this-song-is-about Idol formula, she’s basically saying that the experience is something she’s never gonna be able to shake. It’s grafted onto her for-fucking-ever. Unless she has painful surgery. That’s pretty ominous if ya ask me…The longer this show lasts, the more I’m convinced that the well is running dry.

In fact, I’m starting to feel like those old people who think today’s music is crap. I mean, who thought Keyshia Cole had talent?! Sure, I get the whole she’s-from-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks angle, but damn! She’s a studio artist , at best, as all the live stuff I’ve seen makes her sound like an epileptic rooster.

-If I see another Arthur Suydam zombie cover on a comic, I’m going to track him down and shoot him in the face. This is a gimmick that has gone on about 2 years too long.

-In closing, apparently, I’m an idiot. I hardly ever comment on the stuff in my comments section as it seems that people find my site 3 months after a post, and comment on something ancient. That said, somebody decided to anonymously point out my idiocy, mainly, because I have class. If you remember my last Whose Wedding post, I pretty much crapped all over a planner named Linyette. Well, my view stands. She’s tacky as hell. I don’t want my party favors to be spray-painted shit from the Dollar Store. Like the commentor said, everyone’s entitled to an opinion, and that’s mine. Thanks for stopping by, though.

24th Jul2007

OutBlacked!

by Will

“You’re, like, my Black Spock…like in Voyager.”

OK, I should be asleep, but I had another weird TVLand observation I needed to write about. After the whole Good Times thing, I caught an episode of Star Trek. A lot of people don’t realize that, despite my love for the franchise, I am not that much of a fan of the Original Series; I like The Next Generation onward. Lately, however, TVLand has been showing the classics, like when the crew goes up against Space Lincoln. Well, this morning was the Khan episode, “Space Seed”.

A lot of you may know Khan as “the villain with the bitchin’ pecs from Star Trek II”. Yes, that is Khan, but he first appeared in the series. When they find Khan, he’s on a derelict freighter, with about 70 other people. They’ve been frozen since the 1990s, and the Enterprise crew tries to figure out what their story might be. To me, though, the crux of the episode is that Khan is such a charismatic motherfucker, and he macks one of Kirk’s women off the bat. This is a process that I like to call “Outblacking”. Kirk was essentially outblacked by Khan. How does this work? Well, let me tell you.

The “outblack” concept was something I came up with in college. When you have a frat party, and one Black guy, the odds are in Black guy’s favor because he has a card that he can play at any point. He can remain quiet and enjoy the dip, or he can bust out and become the life of the party, making the other (mainly White) guys insecure. He has, in effect, outblacked them. But here’s where things get hairier. Say, you have a guy like me as “the Black guy”, but in walks a thug. His street cred is stronger than my kung fu. By virtue of his “keepin’ it real”, I’ve been outblacked. He is then entitled to my women and my kick ass party reputation. From that point, I either have to leave the party, or try to act like we’re friends, so that everyone else thinks we know each other (don’t all Black people know each other anyway?), therefore leeching off his blackness chi. You can see this played out every weekend in clubs across America. It’s the most base form of Black on Black crime.

James T. Kirk is the pimp of the Alpha Quadrant. Because pop culture seems to imply that sex appeal and sheer and utter pimpness are “Black concepts” (see Bill Clinton), this makes Kirk Black. Well, here comes Khan and he seems to snatch the one chick on the Enterprise who wouldn’t give Kirk any play. Surprise, Kirk! You’ve been outblacked! And all it took was a Mexican with Jesus hair. She didn’t even get a chance to see that magnificent chest of his.

I’m thinking about contacting some BET people, and seeing if Outblacked! would make a good show. After all, they put Hell Date on the air, so I really don’t think they can find much fault with my idea…

10th Oct2006

Women In Space: The Beer Goggle Effect Of Science Fiction

by Will

“Why am I successful? Because I’m a fucking daredevil!”

So, today we’re going to talk about a topic that’s been on my mind for the past few days: the women of science fiction.

Yes, it has come to my attention that the mouth-breathing, D&D-playing sci-fi fanboy stereotypes will accept ANYTHING as “hot”. What I mean is, any woman in science fiction is considered hot, whether she deserves the title or not. Now, I’m not sure if this is some form of “geek goggles” or simply the fact that these people are happy to be able to mix their 2 favorite interests: sci-fi and boobies they’ll never touch. Case in point: Marina Sirtis A.K.A. Counselor Troi on ST:TNG. For all accounts, she’s just a gypsy with a rack. And not some beautiful exotic woman. No, she’s a dime-a-dozen gypsy with a rack.

Or, while we’re on the topic of Star Trek, let’s look at DS9. I know a lot of guys who loved Dax (Jadzia, not Ezri). While Ezri was adorable, Jadzia was NOT. In all honesty, the pickin’s were slim in the Gamma Quandrant, seeing as how Rom bagged the only hot chick available. I mean, you either go for the militant war brat who looks like a boy, or you take the rather plain chick with the mole problem and the slug in her womb. But, sci-fi fans still found that hot.

Staying on the Star Trek theme, it just gets progressively worst. I mean, who’d have thought they’d have “butterfaces” in the 24th century, but Seven of Nine was certainly one of them. Jeri Ryan is NOT a pretty girl. For futher proof, look to “Boston Public”, “Shark”, or any cameo she’s done in the past few years. Sure, the body’s there, but the face was being put in on Tuesday (Man, I hope someone gets that reference…). Yet, the horny, nacho-munching fanboys still proclaimed her hotness.

Well, I’ve been perplexed by a few new entries into the genre. First off, there’s Claudia Black. Since the beginning of “Farscape”, I have heard and read how “hot” and “gorgeous” she was. She was a “butt-kicking beauty”. Well, I don’t see it. First off, I don’t even understand the appeal of “Farscape”. It’s “Muppets in Space”. And people wonder why it got cancelled. Now, she plays Vala on SG-1. I can say, loving her character, “she’s got a great personality”. I mean, she really brings life to that show after 10 seasons, but is she “hot”? I can give her “cute”, but that’s due to her mannerisms. I mean, let’s go to the viewers at home. This is what we’re talking about:

Kinda mannish, right? I mean, isn’t that the chick who works at the library? Not the hot one, the OTHER one. Yeah, her.

But then we’re given a picture like this one:

Body’s great, beautiful color. But I just can’t get over that face. So, you tell me: Is Claudia Black hot? ‘Cause I really can’t tell.

Which leads us to our next subject: Billie Piper. Now, many of you may not remember this, but back in ’98, our good friends across the pond saw the success that Britney Spears was having and they decided to make their own. The result? Billie. Yes, the one-monikered pop princess had it all, including the obligatory heavily tabloided relationship with Richie, from the boyband 5ive. The UK had their very own Britney & Justin. But all efforts to make her successful outside of England failed. You may have seen her one-hour special on UPN following one of the airings of that Spice Girls special they kept showing. Outside of that, no red, white and blue for Billie. Just like all pop relationships, Rich & Billie broke up amid controversy. She married a 40 yr-old (she was 18 at the time) and Richie was seen studying for the flight attendant’s exam following the breakup of 5ive. Fame is a cruel bitch. Billie’s marriage failed, but she bounced back as an actress, and her current gig is the revival of “Doctor Who”. Now, to most Americans who don’t watch PBS, they’re thinking “Dr. WHO?” No, that’s his name. Some bullshit about a phonebooth that does something and the main character changes his look every few years so they can hire new actors. Don’t ask me; I’m still trying to understand a lot of Monty Python, and can’t be bothered with more highbrow British stuff. I’ll take Eastenders anyday. But I digress…

Billie is The Doctor’s sidekick of sorts. Once again, the sci fi rags have named her some sort of science fiction babe. But I don’t think it’s because she’s hot. I think it’s because she’s the only chick in the show. It’s the same kind of “default factor” I was talking about with DS9. I mean, Exhibit A:

“Blimey! Lay off me fish & chips, luv!” That is not a hot girl. Even holding a gun (a lame ass piece, at that!), this is not an attractive woman. In fact, I think this is the bitch at CVS who keeps messing up my prescription. West Virginia Welfare Queen? Maybe. Sci Fi Babe of 2006? I think not.

I wish I had a better picture, like I did of Claudia, but all I could come up with was this:

Even glammed up, that was the best they could do. Why do I get the feeling that she’s wearing Jordache at this photo shoot?

So, what’s my message here? Fanboys, I need you to step away from the Everquest and stop working on your Battlestar Galactica costume. Listen up: I am one of you, but I am in sheep’s clothing. By attempting to be “normal”, I have learned things about the outside world. And one thing I’ve learned is that not all women in space are hot. Sure, there’s not much to compare them to, what with the aliens with the weird foreheads and the cyborgs walking around. But just because she’s got a rack, and she’s in space, it doesn’t make her hot. I need you to take a deep breath (through your nose; get your inhaler if you must), and just take a look out your window. Yes, you’re going to have to endure sunlight for this one. There are beautiful women out there, on Earth (!), and I need you to get to know them, even if from afar, so that you may develop more discerning tastes. Right now, you are blinded by the spandex and the cerebral implants. Look a woman in the eyes, and NOT her communicator, and you just might find your life changed. Thank you, and live long and prosper.

20th Aug2005

Truck Turner Is HILARIOUS!

by Will

“She’s gratuitously hot. Like ‘even if she was a parapalegic I wouldn’t care’ hot.”

You’ve never seen an All-Star Pimp Funeral until you’ve seen Isaac Hayes’ “Truck Turner”. One of the lesser-known Blaxploitation flicks, it’s probably the only place you’ll see cocaine sprinkled on a finely dressed corpse and, and here’s the clincher, Lt. Uhura as a hardass Hollywood Madame.

Let’s see…you’ve got the one-eyed White cowboy pimp. You’ve got the standard issue street corner pimp. But my personal fave is the Yafhet Kotto-from-Homicide pimp. “What could be wrong? I’m rich. I have money. I’m cute. I’m handsome.” He steals the show!

And who knew prostitutes would grieve so over their fallen daddy? It truly is an enlightening thing to watch. And I leave you with this nugget of wittiness from Lt. Uhooker:

“She’s called ‘Turnpike’ ’cause you’ve gotta pay to get on and pay to get off.”

18th Aug2005

So, Trekkies Are Pedophiles, Eh?

by Will

“My parents aren’t gonna do anything to you! It’s not like they’re gonna spear you…What? We’re African. That’s all people think of Africa: elephants, spears, and monkeys!”

Lawdy, lawdy, they’s comin’ fo’ us! There’s this report floating around, in which the LAPD make an interesting confession: apparently, there’s a correlation between love of Star Trek and pedophilia. Actually, it’s reported that out of 100 arrests over the past four years for child molestation, all but one of them were “hardcore Trekkies”. Let the profiling begin! “Excuse me sir, I’m gonna have to ask you to put down that phaser, and open up your attic.” Or

“Excuse me sir, do you know how fast you were going back there?”

“No, officer, I don’t. I was just trying to get home. I forgot to TiVo Star….Search. Yeah, love that Ed McMahon!”

“Star Search, eh? Well, while we’re here…does the term “Kobayashi Maru” mean anything to you?”

“Sure It’s the test given to all cadets at Starfleet Academy. The trick of the test is that it cannot be passed. But James Tiberius Kirk was the first person to beat the test because he cheated…SHIT!”

“Well, looky here! We’re gonna have to take you downtown, pervert! You’re gonna live long and prosper behind bars!”

“NOoooo! There…are…four…lights!”

End Scene

Wow, I really got carried away there.

The sad thing is that I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I mean, this hits close to home, but it’s SUCH BULLSHIT. Then again, have you BEEN to a Trek convention? You know that cousin that the rest of the family’s ashamed of? Now, multiply him by about 5,000, and you’ve got a Trek convention. Sure, everyone comes with their own level of commitment, but I was more afraid at a Trek convention than I was in Russia when all of the kids were trying to touch my hair, like the zombies in “Shaun of the Dead” or something…

Some people have tried to explain how it’s all Kirk’s fault because he taught us all to seek risky, instant gratification in his quest to screw any green chick in a miniskirt. Somehow, that translates into making every Kirk-admiring Trekkie a pedophile ’cause, since there are no green chicks (yet), the next worse thing is kids. It’s the whole “exotic becomes erotic” theory (Any Bem fans out there? Man, were they one colossally screwed up family!) But, if you wanna read up on the report, try these links:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ellen-ladowsky/pedophilia-and-star-trek_b_5857.html

http://www.corante.com/importance/archives/2005/05/04/star_trek_and_pedophilia_claim_followup.php

03rd Aug2005

In Space, Only The Exploding Consoles Can Hear You Scream

by Will

Trekkie Gripe
The following is from a convo I had with Brian:

WESTMAN2K: they didn’t like to focus on it much, but by the time they made it home, the only crew left were basically the senior officers. the pesky maquis were cannon fodder. the few, loyal, starfleet officers onboard were victims of enemies or the freak overloading panel

WESTMAN2K: what is it about those panels? we can build a ship that travels faster than light, but we can’t revolutionize surge protection technology?

Shit, if I were on a starship, I’d be nervous just walking down the hallway! You never know when one of those panels is gonna overload and BOOM! There goes Ensign Jenkins!

I always loved how the conn and ops consoles would overload as a result of an attack. You see the sparks and whatnot, and Nameless Crewman would be dead. But seconds later, Nameless Crewman II has to take his place. And you just know that Nameless Crewman II is hoping the surges hold off until his shift is over, ’cause he’s got shore leave on Risa coming up, and he’s always wanted to make it with a green chick. At this point, he’s kicking himself for not taking that assignment on the trash barge, and he truly hopes to find out if it IS easy being green…

19th Jul2005

The One Where I Talk About Cornell’s Secret Societies

by Will

“MOM! MEATLOAF! NOW!”

Captain’s Log: Stardate 052019.7
So, I’ve been doing this dance since 2003, and I typically post anything I want. But it has finally happened. I’m having a Woodward moment. I’ve got a post I’d REALLY like to write, but I’m afraid. You see, I know I’d be biting off more than I can chew, and I don’t want to open that box (MMmm…mixed metaphor?). What, pray tell, am I afraid of? Secret societies.

That’s right. I want to write about collegiate secret socities. But I’ve learned that many of these are tied to more powerful, non-collegiate secret societies. What may start as an examination of Quill & Dagger, one of Cornell’s secret societies, would then lead to an examination of Skull & Bones, which would then lead to an examination of that fact that George W. appointed 2 Q&D and 11 Skull & Bones members during his first term. Then, I would have to address the fact that Skull & Bones is considered a branch of the Illuminati. I’m talking real Section 31 kinds of stuff. No, I can’t have that. That simply will not do.

I would, then, write about the fact that Quill & Dagger’s rival society, Sphinx Head, has been recently revived on campus after 30 yrs of dormancy. I might even discuss the fact that one person cannot accept membership in both. It’s actually quite the controversy when someone is “double-tapped”. I’d write about the fact that Sphinx Head is older, yet Q&D has more prestige. Then, I might even dangle the tidbit that Cornell’s oldest secret society is actually Chancery, which was started when law was still an undergraduate major. When the law school was established, Chancery disappeared. But recent rumors suggest that it has been resurrected.

I would discuss the fact that Sphinx Head take credit for both the pumpkin and disco ball being placed atop McGraw Tower, despite the fact that there is no proof. In fact, it seems that they’re taking credit simply to give themselves more clout on a campus that is in drooling awe of Quill & Dagger and its secret rituals.

I might even venture into that other Ivy school (you know, the one that sucks), and its secret societies. Bet you didn’t know that Skull & Bones had an island, did you? Well, they do. And both John Kerry & W were in the society. Wonder what kind of fun times they had…

But I’ve said too much already. I must go, for my life may be in danger. I may be blackballed for this. I suppose I won’t even get to write about my own Q&D experience. Yes, I DO have one. But that is for another day. If that other day is to come.

Wait!

Someone is at the door…

Never forget me and make sure my story is told….

*muffled sounds of struggle*

-End Transmission-

29th Jun2005

Preparing To Say Goodbye To Kids WB and Weekday Children’s Programming

by Will

So, this Fall marks a dark era for daytime television. Why? Because Kids WB, the last survivor in the weekday afternoon cartoon programming act, is pulling out of the game.

For over 30 yrs, children could look forward to coming home from school, plopping down in front of the TV, and watching their favorite shows. In the beginning, the shows were all syndicated. Eventually, the Saban-Fox powerhouse known as Fox Kids entered the playing field, and gave us 10 yrs of quality toons (and some crappy imported shit, too) before going to that network in the sky back in 2002.

But the kids still had Kids WB to entertain them. Of course, they had to have an appreciation for Jackie Chan and Pokemon out of the ass! Actually, Kids WB became the official Otaku Poseur Network. It was a showcase for the latest gotta-catch-em-all-collectible-card-game shit being peddled to us from the East. That shit gave kids seizures! (Yes, I DO realize that episode of Pokemon never aired in the US, but oh how we were willing to forget). But did we learn our lesson? No! Kids WB became the little shitty anime store behind the mall, and the viewers fled to cable. So now, Nicktoons is sweeping the ratings board, while Kids WB is still hoping someone cares about Ash & Misty.

No, this isn’t an anime-bashing post. I love me some Cowboy Bebop and Sailor Moon. My issue is that networks never seem to stick to what they know, and it’s hurting them.

To me, I never really understood the practicality of a studio owning a network. I mean, I get it, but it never worked out like I had envisioned it in my head. I remember when UPN was about to debut,and there were all of these commercials listing every show Paramount had contributed to society. The list rattled through “Star Trek”, “Family Ties”, etc. Now, a studio-owned network was a strange, unfamiliar beast at this time. GE owned NBC. Capital Cities owned ABC. Westinghouse owned CBS. And Fox…well, it was a bastard orphan.

Now, imagine my surprise at this new development. I was under the impression that this UPN would be a place where I could find all of the great shows of the past. It was to be a network of “class and tradition”. After all, they were sitting on a vast library of shows that they’d already produced, and surely they’d crank out new shows at the same level of quality. Right? Right? WRONG. People love to think of UPN as “that Black channel”, but if we go back to the beginning, we’ll find a different story. After all, WB was the Black network in its infancy. UPN, on the other hand, just gave us a lot of bad shit across the color spectrum. Anybody remember these shows: “Marker”, “Nowhere Man”, “Platypus Man”, “Diresta”? I’ll bet you don’t, but check IMDB; they all exist. These fools tried to build a network on the shoulders of Richard Greico, Bruce Greenwood, and Richard Jeni. Who? Exactly. For much of that network’s life, “Voyager” was its lifeblood. Why? Because it was the only show that understood what it meant to be “Paramount”. The rest was just a couple of bad phases in a 10 yr-long identity crisis.

“But Will, I thought we were talking about The WB.” Oh, I’m getting there. You see, the WB started not only at the same time, but also on the same foot, as UPN. Only WB was on the other side of the railroad tracks. They wanted that “urban market”, which consisted of picking up every Black show that had been canceled from the previous season of TGIF. Namely, “Sister, Sister.” Man, did they get some mileage off of those twins! The only speck of White on that network was “Savannah” (anybody remember that show? Mmm…Jamie Luner). Warner Bros, one of the biggest studios in Hollywood, sitting on a celluloid dynasty, insisted on going out on a limb to be a “niche network”. Well, turn on WB50 and let me know how well that worked out for them.

Anyway, when they launched Kids WB, it started just as half-assed as the prime-time half of the network. There they were, trying to compete with Fox Kids, being beaten in the ratings by Fox Kids shows….which happened to be produced BY Warner Bros! Did anybody get that? “Animaniacs”, “Tiny Toons”, “Taz-Mania”, “Batman: The Animated Series”… Fox Kids’ most popular shows were produced by Warner Bros, and WB didn’t have the rights to show them. Who was flying this plane? Why was I working a year in retail, while “network executives” made stupid decisions like these? It wasn’t until Kids WB acquired Pokemon that it gained footing, but that was also when the sound of the approaching Horsemen could be heard in the distance. It was all downhill from there…

It’s been said that the demise of Kids WB is not due to ratings, but rather FCC regulations. You see, the FCC considers any “on-air self-promotion” to be commercial time. And there ain’t a network out there more narcissistic & self-promoting than the WB. That’s been it’s claim to fame since it began. Sure, the shows might suck, but they all seemed to be having a blast on the backlot singing Dubba-dubba-WB with Michigan J. Frog. I always said that if I had a show, I wanted it on the WB ’cause it looked like they were having so much fun, and I could party with the kids from “7th Heaven”. You know how preachers’ kids can be! (Yeah, I have a tendency to blur fantasy with reality). Well, there are HELLA regulations for childrens’ programming ’cause it has to be clear where the show ends and where the commercial begins. Otherwise, it looks like you’re trying to deceive the child viewer (Yay, HD Degree!) So, in essence, Kids WB is one big commercial, with some shows interstitially worked in. For a while, that formula worked. It made it seem like they had a lot of programming, when they were actually getting by on the cheap. They’d recycle old Batman footage to make it look like he was hanging out with the Powerpuff Girls. Man, that shit made me mad…It’s not like they HAD to do this. After all, this is the network that owns frickin’ Bugs Bunny. They’ve got 60 yrs worth or animation, but they forget where they came from. They got experimental, and didn’t keep it real. It’s been said that Turner (majority owner of Warner Bros) keeps the library close to his vest, and doesn’t let Kids WB or Cartoon Network have free reign of the archives. OK…but if you care enough to invest in a NETWORK, you’re gonna have to loosen your grip a bit.

So, due to these developments, the afternoon version of Kids WB will be no more. Yes, they will try to carry on with the Saturday morning block, but Fox tried this and failed. You see, without the weekday block, you have nowhere to promote the weekend block. You can’t promote “Yu-gi-oh” during a “Very Special Episode of Gilmore Girls”. And with kids, it’s virtual peekaboo: out of sight, out of mind. Eventually, Disney will swoop in and buy whatever’s left over, so that they can wallpaper Hell so that it looks familiar when we all get there. Disney will be the death of us all. And it’s partly because a few dumb businessmen didn’t know what they were doing, therefore making it a cakewalk for Disney to become our new overlords. Yes, I give Disney AND the entertainment industry THAT much credit. They bought the Fox Kids library for close to $1 billion and all that did was give Haim Saban more money to shuttle into the Hilary Clinton campaign fund. Interesting side note there: Haim Saban, creator of the “Power Rangers” is a BIG Clinton donor, even though Hilary spent much of the first term trying to get that show cancelled. And it’s not like he’s paying them hush money; he’s supposedly a close personal friend of the family. Guess nobody told Hilary…

So, rest in peace Kids WB, you Pokemon-breeding bastard. Oh, and…Hail, Disney!

06th Feb2005

Will Answers Your Questions!

by Will

WILL ANSWERS I

  • If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have one CD, one food, and one tv character with you for three years…. what would they be?

    If I only had one CD, it would have to be “Journey: Greatest Hits”. Laugh if you wish, but this CD has EVERYTHING. Plus, as cheesy as people like to remember Journey, they inspired every major pop/soft star today. Now, you may not exactly like these styles of music, but greats such as Mariah Carey (the Good Mariah, not the hooch Mariah) list them among their top influences.

    Plus, you’ve got any style you want on one disc. For a romantic slow song, you’ve got “Faithfully” or “Open Arms”. For the pensive, brooding song, you’ve got “Send Her My Love.” And the sheer bombast of “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” would motivate me to construct my Raft To Freedom.

    One food? That would have to be Monogolian BBQ from Cornell Dining. There’s a reason it was voted #1 dining hall in the country. Plus, I DID live off of it for an entire year. I ate it everyday, sometimes twice. Ask anyone. It’s how I got my Sophomore 30!

    One TV character? The Adam West Batman. Come on, is there ANYONE more entertaining? This guy was the George W. of Superheroes; just looking at him, you knew he had NO BUSINESS in that role, wearing that suit, but he overacted hard enough that it was SO bad it was good.

    Plus, it’d be hilarious to spend 3 yrs with him, as he kept pulling stuff out of his utility belt, such as Bat-Shark repellant, which would inevitably fail to provide rescue or safety. It’d kind of be like an experiment to see how far a man must fall before he cracks. ‘Cause I get the feeling that, for the 1st yr, he won’t even take off his mask. He’d take off the cape, maybe even the suit. But I feel like he’d be stark-ass naked on that island just wearing a cowl, and you can’t PAY for that kind of stranded entertainment.

  • For the sake of posing a more original question:

    Have you ever written any songs of your own?

    -Karlos

“More original question”…I smell a catfight! Anyway, no, I haven’t written any songs of my own. Why? Because that part of my brain doesn’t work. It’s true!

You see, I’m a smart kid. I’m at a place in my life where I can honestly say that. BUT,
don’t get “abstract”. I can think outside of the box, but the creative, like lyrics and poetry, eludes me. You have to hit me in the face with a dead cat to understand poetry.

I get the themes, such as Winter is Death, yadda yadda, but when someone is trying to
convey their feelings, I get lost. That’s why I hate when people are like, “Listen to this
song -the lyrics mean so much to me.” And the song turns out to be “Glycerine” or something, and all I can say is, ‘Wow, I love this song. It’s awesome!” And they respond with, “It’s not awesome; in fact, it made me consider taking my life.” No joke, I’ve been in these situations.

I tried to write songs, but they all ended up as those country-esque “I’m so lonely” songs, and there are really only so many times that it should be legal to rhyme “heart” & apart” or “alone & phone”. Hell, what did people rhyme with “alone” prior to Bell’s nefarious, yet convenient, invention?

I have, however, composed songs. You see, prior to the a cappella, I played piano for 10
yrs. When I started singing, I had to use the piano part of my brain. Now, when i was
playing, I was “classically trained” (am I the only person who hates how pretentious tha
sounds?) , but I only used that to play all of the cliche parlor songs, such as Fur Elise an
Moonlight Sonata. My true passion was New Age. Laugh if you want, but nothing calms
me down like Enya & “Pure Moods”. So, I started composing New Age music. I had a
Music Technology class in high school with synthesizers and stuff, so by graduation, I had a good album’s worth of material. But, get this, the school went under, and they have no idea where my disc is. If that shit resurfaces…

But my New Age claims to fame are “Silver”, named after my mother, and ‘Ellie’s Mirage”, written for my grandmother, who loved to hear me play.

Oh, and I play a MEAN rendition of the Star Trek: Voyager Theme!