Yes, I met Stan Lee, No It Was Not A Positive Experience #Comics #Marvel #DC #Indie #Fantasy

I actually meant to publish this a month ago on the anniversary of Stan’s death… unfortunately I missed scheduling the publishing date. So… yeah, here it is. Sorry for the delay!

On this anniversary of Stan’s death, I wanted to reflect on the time I met him. I always caution people about meeting celebrities. Too often, they are not everything you think they’re going to be. Often we see them as larger than life individuals and sometimes they are… other times… not so much.

I met Andrew WK when he was at the height of his musical career and despite being completely high off his ass, he was larger than life. This was a man who loved his fans, loved talking to them, engaging with them and literally stayed until everyone got to talk to him.

I met Marc Hudson of Dragonforce at one of their concerts. Nice guy, soft spoken, but was nice enough to wait until my buddy fixed his camera! He was otherwise soft spoken, but the fact that they come into the crowd to meet their fans, I have to give credit there!

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Same with the guys from Kamelot. Awesome folks!

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Philo Barnhart was literally everything you’d expect from a man who loves kids! That’s just how he is.

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But that doesn’t mean that every experience will be positive. Not every celeb is in the right frame of mind when you approach them, others may just not be in a good place. Keep in mind, they are human.

So that brings me to my Stan Lee experience. For starters, I have no pictures. We were banned from taking them.  So what happened? Well… I paid for an autograph, so I was hoping to get a chance to say hi and maybe ask him a question. Then I saw the lines…. Holy… they were long. It was pretty clear I was going to be there a while. Okay, worth it.

So I got in line and waited… and waited… finally, Stan came into view. What I saw… was not what I expected. Even in his old age, Stan had always come off as larger than life. A giant among men. However on this day in 2016… That’s not what I saw.

You get up to the front of the line, Stan is behind a dividers with three people standing on one side of him, two people on the other side and God only knows how many people behind. I go up to the table, they ask me what I’d like to have autographed. I pull out my copy of Uncanny X-Men #16. I place it on the table. They take it and pass it on to the next person. I’m told to wait a moment. The guy in front of my get’s his book autographed before being shooed away. I was told not to ask any questions or anything because Stan couldn’t be distracted.

This was… odd to me, but whatever. I get it. The poor man probably had to do thousands of these autographs. Fine.

Then I get my book to Stan’s pen. As I’m walking up to him, I could not believe what I saw. He was a small man, huddled over to the table, shoulders in, head down, sunglasses on, hands shaking… It pulled at my heart.

As I got up to him, he complained that his hands hurt. I pulled my book back, wanting to give him a moment, but the people with him beckoned me on. So I placed my book on the table for him to autograph. When he finished, the book was handed to me and I was shooed away. I said ‘Thank you!’ and I think he said “yup” or grunted, but… I’m not sure.

I looked back at him one more time before going to one of the nearby Comic Con officials and told them what happened. The woman was polite, but didn’t seem to take me seriously. She kind of waved it off saying, “Oh don’t worry, he can take a break if he needs to.”

I’m not sure I believed her. That didn’t look like a man in charged. It looked like a man with a metaphorical gun to his back and vultures overhead. I shook my head and walked away.

Since then, the book has been mounted and rests on my book case… and each time I look at it, I think about donating it. I’m not proud of the manner in which I got the autograph and I’m not sure I should profit from it either. So maybe I’ll donate, who knows? I haven’t decided.

This was not a good experience. It was sad, and given the allegations of elder abuse that later came out, it placed an even darker mark on the experience. Stan deserved better. A man who brought smiles to so many… who gave people an escape, taught, and entertained… He deserved better than that at the end.

Well that’s my two cents. Just be careful with celeb meets. In MOST cases IMHO, they love meeting their fans and they’ll engage with you, especially lower level celebs, but that’s not always the case. Some are just doing it for more money while others may have other outstanding issues.

Readers, do you have a celeb experience? Let us know about it in the comments!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Spoils of Comic Con… #Comics #Marvel #DC #Indie #Fantasy

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, so I thought I’d share the adventure with my readers.

To be honest, since having kids, we’ve done less and less of the major area cons (Boston Fan Expo, Connecticon, RI Comic Con, NY Comic Con, Pax East, etc.). We’re considering taking our oldest to one of the larger ones because he’s old enough now to handle it.

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So to feed the comic buzz, we’ve been attending some of the smaller cons. I actually have grown quite fond of some of these. Though not as grand or attention-drawing as some of the bigger cons, they’re ones you can go through in a few hours to a few days, depending on what you want to see and how much you want to take in.

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If you’re looking for an artist or celeb who’s really big and well-known right now, this may not be the place to look. Also, if you’re looking for specific comics that are really rare… you may or may not find them. A lot of dealers only bring limited stock as they don’t typically get a lot of space.  However, if you’re looking to browse or perhaps see an artist you liked as a child, this is the place for you.

Northeast Comic Con had the pleasure of hosting everyone from Marvel/DC veterans, to Jim Henson Productions artists, to actual Disney animators! Ergo, there was plenty to see and do.

My first stop when I got there was to see Mark Mckenna. Known for his work across the comic board, he did quite a few of the Old Republic Star Wars books back in the day, so I knew I wanted a piece done by him.

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I found him to be a very friendly, talkative individual who knew the material and really seemed to appreciate his fans. I’ve met a lot of artists and they don’t always appreciate talking shop, but he certainly did. I had him do one of my favorites; Ahsoka Tano. I was not disappointed by the results.

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(I still maintain to this day that whomever came up with the idea for sketch covers was a genius!!!)

For years, I’ve had a list of characters that I wanted to get done. I could now cross Ahsoka Tano off that list.

However, one of the other characters I’d wanted to get done was a tough one… Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a HUGE fan of Avatar (The Last Airbender, not the James Cameron movie!). While there are some graphic novels, the Avatar library is comparatively limited and the artists don’t seem to do conventions around here. So it seemed like one of the commissions I wanted; Katara, would likely never get done.

Then I spot one particularly jolly individual sitting in the corner…

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You all know the man. Yes, you do. No I’m serious. Even if you don’t recognize him, you know his work. Look up his IMDB page. He’s worked on several major Disney and Don Bluth works, as well as several other animated productions. He was one of the people who created Gaston’s character in Beauty and the Beast, he worked on the Little Mermaid, and a little known Disney film that happens to be one of my favorites; The Black Cauldron.

Let me just say that this man is a larger than life character with a LOT of heart. He really has an aura about him, an affinity for kids, and really seems to love what he does. I spent a lot of time at his booth chatting about his work and looking through his offerings.

At that point, there was no way I could walk away without having him do a commission for me. I was tempted to have him do a Disney piece, but that’s not really my thing, and while I liked Don Bluth’s work, I wasn’t really huge on any of them. Still I wanted to get a sketch done by him… but what? What could I have him do?

He’d done Disney and Bluth films, but I didn’t see any Nickelodeon productions… would he really be willing to do it? Well… not only was he willing, he was happy to. He asked me if I wanted a specific pose or anything in particular. I told him no. Typically, I let the artists figure that one out. The less direction, the better the piece.

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The end result speaks for itself! He went with her Fire Nation disguise and the whole thing came out really amazing! This actually might be my most valuable piece. I’m currently looking to get it preserved and framed.

Because our kids tired easily, we only spent one day there instead of the three it was open for. However, we got a lot done, got to check out a lot of the puppet work and peruse the comic/collectibles areas. We spent way more money than we should have, but can’t complain! It was a fun time and I’m definitely going back next year.


Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Today I have a special feature here for your enjoyment. This has been a long journey that took inside a year to accomplish. I have this showcased over on my design blog along with this one. The purpose of this spotlight isn’t to ramble on forever like I do occasionally. My friend Alfredo Pachicano and […]

via #Christian #Fantasy Author Spotlight: #Cover #Reveal — K.M. Jenkins

#Christian #Fantasy Author Spotlight: #Cover #Reveal — K.M. Jenkins

The Great Studio Ghibli Hunt: A Review!

 

If it’s not plainly obvious at this point, I love Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli’s work. There’s a sense of adventure and excitement in the stories they produce, and even when it’s a dark story, the animation is always colorful and fun.

After watching Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (Yes, I know, not Ghibli, but made by many of the same people, so it counts), Laputa: Castle in the Sky, and Howl’s Moving Castle to the point of memorization, and enjoying Kiki’s Delivery Service with my kids, I decided I wanted to branch out and bring some of the lesser known Ghibli movies into my house for my family to enjoy. Hense I started the Great Studio Ghibli Hunt. During this time, I will be buying one movie a month, and I will review it here for you.

This doesn’t mean they’re all getting a review. I already own about 10 of them and IMHO, they are the more well-known ones that really need no review.

So today I’m going to start off with a family favorite… one that my wife and kids absolutely love, but honestly… is fairly low on my list of beloved Studio Ghibli movies.

Ponyo:

Yes, I know… while technically not one of the lesser known Ghibli movies, I did kind of want to address this one as a way to start off.

So the story is basically about a little boy who lives near the ocean with his mom in Japan. The boy loves playing down by the water and one day stumbles across a tiny fish with an almost human face. This fish is Brinhylda, a daughter of… what I can only describe as an underwater alchemist. He keeps her safe in his lab, but eventually, she finds a way to escape and finds her way to the little boy.

Eventually, her father locates her and steals her back. However, she gets into his potions, sets off… some kind of a chain reaction that’s never well-explained, and throws nature out of balance.

At this point, Ponyo’s mother shows up. It’s revealed that… I guess she’s the Goddess of the Ocean. Apparently, the only way for the balance of nature to be restored is for the little boy to agree to love and care for Ponyo as she lives between to worlds. At the end, she transforms permanently into a human and… everything is back to normal.

Scratching your head yet? I’d be surprised if you weren’t. The major problem with Ponyo is the story telling. It’s definitely the weakest of the Ghibli movies thus far. Too little is explained and as a result, not a whole lot makes sense. It can be a little tough to follow and… well… let’s address the Elephant in the room.

It’s the Little Mermaid!!!

Pretty much. It’s a modern re-telling of the Little Mermaid. Honestly, that’s not a bad thing. I actually prefer this version to the bastardization of the original as told by Disney.

Let me just be clear on this, I don’t dislike this movie at all. I think it’s a great movie, but a great movie placed with legends. In essence, it’s so far the least great of a library of amazing movies.

Up Next will be When Marnie Was There.

The list of movies to recieve reviews are as follows:

Grave of the Fireflies
Only Yesterday
Porco Rosso
Pom Poko
Whisper of the Heart
My Neighbors the Yamadas
The Cat Returns
Tales from Earthsea
From Up on Poppy Hill
The Wind Rises
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
When Marnie Was There
Ronja, the Robber’s Daughter
Ocean Waves

I’ve already ordered When Marnie Was There and plan on watching it in short order. So if there’s one in particular you’d like to see out of the above list next month, let me know. I was planning on doing Porco Rosso, but I can change that! 



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

A little shoutout to some great Fantasy Work!

. Enchantment Rules the Game Where the Game Rules Enchantment Seeking One Finding None Hide and Seek Predicament . ~Morgan~ . . . Beautiful Artwork found on: Fairies, dragons and other mythological creatures Facebook. Credit Gratefully Acknowledged to the Original Artist. Thank You~

via #FridayFantasy – Hide and Seek – #Fantasy #Poetry — Booknvolume

The Problem with Anime Live Action Portrayals

 

(Okay full disclosure before we get going, I know a lot of people don’t consider Avatar to be Anime, however in many aspects, I think it is close enough in many aspects. Stylistically, it is very similar to things like Studio Ghibli and other mediums.)

If it wasn’t plainly obvious, I love anime! Cowboy Beebop, Battleship Yamato, Trigun, Naruto, Ruroni Kenshin, Fairy Tail, the list goes on. However there seems to be a major problem when transitioning these stories from animation to live action. For some reason, everyone assumes that the entire cast should be Asian. Any time a character that is perceived to be Asian or any other race  is portrayed by someone who is white, is often referred to as being ‘white washed’.

Frankly, given that the same standard does not apply in the other direction (Nick Fury, Dark Tower, etc.) I will not use that term as I consider it racist. Personally, I’ve always been of the mindset that if someone is a good fit for a role, can accurately portray the character’s personality, and respect the original source, then I really don’t care what race the actor is.

If someone came to me saying that they wanted to do a live-action Drakin, and portray Raiya as Japanese, I be excited to see what they come up with.

Anyway, onto the topic at hand…

So why do people, ironically mostly western audiences, expect live action movies based on anime to be portrayed by all Asians? Well often times it’s because Anime is such a huge part of Japanese culture, other times because people believe that Asian actors are under represented, and so on.

The argument on the other side is that a lot of anime characters actually look very Eurocentric and… that’s arguable. Put into context, part of the reason anime characters look fair-skinned with large eyes can be traced back to Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy. The original series helped bring anime into global recognition. Tezuka was a fan of, and highly inspired by the style and designs of Walt Disney. He liked the large eyes and incorporated them into his character designs. Because so many series draw their style from this original work, large eyes became predominant over many series to come. However, where western audiences see western characters, those same characters are seen as Japanese by their audiences from Japan. To me, this isn’t a failure of the design, it’s actually a plus. That these characters are designed in such a way where their race is left ambiguous, people can see them however they want.

Now, does that mean that many of these roles should be portrayed by more Asian people? In some cases… yes I agree if you’re going for visual accuracy, but I think in these need to be taken on a case by case basis and analyzed instead of just painting with a broad brush. Let’s take a look at two examples…

Example 1 M. Night Shyamalan’s (Sigh) The Last Airbender…

Here we see an absolute mess of characters that are arguably miscast. Let’s go down the list one by one of the various portrayals.

The Waterbenders (Katara and Sokka)…

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This is arguably one of the worst portrayals in the movie, if we’re going by the rules that people should be portrayed by a perceived race… I would say that Katara and Sokka should be portrayed by someone who could pass as an Inuit if not by an actual Inuit, respectively:

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Next let’s look at the Earth Benders…

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vs.

(Hehe, sorry… the Devil made me do it!)

So I think most people argue that in this case, the portrayal is accurate. Though… I don’t know, you could make the case for Siberian Russian here as well, if not strictly going by their clothing and buildings. However, this one was fine for more people, so we’ll leave it at that.

The Fire Benders…

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vs.

Airbender.jpg

Okay, obviously these characters are poorly portrayed all around, but I would argue that doesn’t have… as much to do with their races as it does the actual people chosen. I’m sorry, but he looks NOTHING like Uncle Iroh and didn’t even come close to getting his personality right…

As for the racial issue… yes the architecture of the Fire Kingdom does look… arguably Chinese, you could make the case that, given the climate of India and the Middle East, they would be closer to what a ‘Fire Nation’ would look like. So while the portrayal is terrible, I think using people of Middle Eastern descent for the Fire Nation is a… fairly interesting take. I could see it working… just not like this.

Finally… Aang…

(See the Title Image)

Arguably this is the best portrayal in the movie. I have no issue with Aang being a white kid and I really think, visually, Noah Ringer was actually a really good choice for the role. Feel free to disagree, but you can’t deny that he looks the part.


Example 2:

The Controversial Casting from Ghost in the Shell:

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I know a lot of people took issue with this, saying that she clearly was supposed to be portrayed by an Asian woman… however… I don’t think so. Scarlett Johansson looks the part and I think did an amazing job in the role.

I also have to note that most of the criticism above comes from… ironically enough, western audiences. Yeah, odd though it may sound… Asian audiences, as well as the creators, actually liked Johansson’s portrayal.

So when it comes to mediums where one character appears as… or is implied by some, to be a certain race, do you need to find an actor to portray them properly?

Well… the answer is, it depends. If we’re talking about an Anime that actually takes place in an Asian country like Ruroni Kenshin, then every effort should be made to find a suitable Japanese actor… or at least an Asian who looks convincingly Japanese. Kenshin is a Japanese Samurai, thus it really wouldn’t make sense to have anyone else portray them.

However, when we’re talking about fantasy worlds, I think as long as the creator and the culture being portrayed largely doesn’t have an issue with it, then it’s not up to the audience at all.  As long as neither of those parties are offended, I really don’t see an issue. What’s more, they don’t need people to be offended on their behalf. They can speak up and object if they have a problem with it.

So… what does everyone think? Am I correct in saying that, excepting in specific examples, race shouldn’t be a determining factor in any role as long as the character can be accurately portrayed, or should it be taken more into consideration? Let me know in the comments.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Total Drama: The Ridonculous Review

Oh… what does one say about this little gem of Canadian programming?

Imagine pairing Jay and Silent Bob,
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Chris Farley and David Spade:
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Bill and Ted
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part of the cast of Police Academy:
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Your wise-cracking father and his tennis partner:
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and

The Stars of Beauty and the Bitch:
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into teams and having them race for a prize of one million dollars…

You’d have about as hilarious a show as you could come up with!

I watched Total Dram Island/Action, the show this was spun from, when it was released on the Cartoon network so many years ago. It was funny and good for a laugh… and then I decided to let my kids watch it because I was getting annoyed with the stuff they typically had on. (Seriously, there’s only so many times you can watch ‘My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic’ before it starts messing with your sanity!)

The plan backfired and my wife and I wound up watching it more than they did. Anyway, I had no idea that this show made it into a fourth or fifth season… let alone a spinoff.

Well we made it through the comical yet somewhat repetitive Total Drama series and then saw the Ridonculous Race. We’d really had enough and were ready to move on to something else, but decided to at least give the first episode a watch.

… It’s been a long time since I laughed that hard. Seriously, this is just one of those shows where once it starts, it just doesn’t stop! There is literally no relief of low point throughout the show. Whoever the writers were, they deserve a lot of credit. Creating a show that just constantly lands jokes over and over again until you’re laughing so hard that you can’t breathe… and then does it again with the next episode, cannot be easy.

Animation-wise, the show is stylized like its predecessor and somewhat basic, but I give that a pass as you can’t have it all. We weren’t going to get 3-D animation when clearly the show spent the majority of its money on writers, of which I have no complaints about.

Every team has their quirks, you wind up rooting for more then one (Unless its the skaters… did anyone really want to see them win?) and are saddened when they’re eliminated, but then there is always a team to replace them.

So honestly, if you are in need of a laugh, this show will GUARANTEED give you just what you need!!!

Here’s a little clip of one of my favorite episodes:

Enjoy and happy laughing!!!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim