Author Archives: Micah Rodney

The Quest For Kickass: Episode 1

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Summer will be upon us soon, and your evenings will soon be bombarded by the usual late night scene.  Picture this:  You are sitting at a bar with your friends which has been playing the Top 40 on the radio all night long, and yet somehow seems to play the same six songs every time you’re there.  You see a giggling group of fresh graduates heading over to the jukebox and know you’re about to be subjected to about a half hour’s worth of Justin Bieber.  That’s about the time you decide it is time to hit the old dusty trail.    What I’m saying is sometimes you have to make your own night, and sometimes to that end you need your own handy playlist of music; your “kick ass” mix.  But Kickass comes in many different flavors and they don’t always mesh.

So, during the month of May, I will be giving you my suggestions for a variety of songs to fit any mood in what I have dubbed my “Quest For Kickass”.  

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The Triforce of Nintendo Power

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What’s this? I’m actually doing a proper article this week instead of some self-aggrandizing op-ed piece?  Well aren’t you just a lucky duck.  But to be fair it’s still a bit of a fluff piece, talking about one of my favorite comics as a young lad and a piece of video game history to boot.  Surely those of us who grew up in my generation recall the constant televised plugs urging us with an almost hypnotic chant to “get the power, Nintendo Power“.  Well I never got “the power” myself.  I just got stuck a lot.  I didn’t have a subscription to any game magazine until I was a teenager toting my several year long subscription to PSM.  But thanks to a friend I did discover a piece of what I’d been missing out on.  It was upon visiting him for a sleepover one night when I was about twelve years old that I discovered a trade paperback featuring a collection of comics, all piled into one neat tome.

And what was this grand comic adventure? A graphic novelization of The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past.  (Note:  Spoilers ahead.)  

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Cultural Osmosis: Movie Melodies

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Well, here we are again with my second look at the tunes that have permeated our modern society; sticking in our ears like so much wax.  But unlike video games, where the industry has only just matured within the past decade to the point of a truly mainstream activity, films have had about a century to wow us, albeit we didn’t have “talkies” until Al Jolson’s 1927 film The Jazz Singer.  (That, incidentally, is a film you’re probably better off only watching in a film studies context, much like Birth of a Nation.)  Well… as I backpedal away from the lingering edge of controversy allow me to bring up my main premise.  Films are diverse and a relatively mature medium.  And as films in general are far more “mainstream” than games, it can be a little tricky to pick out what themes are truly part of the culture and which only exist in your own bubble.   I find that the ones that I can immediately pick out have some key characteristics:  the themes are catchy, the source material is beloved – and often parodied, and the films are meant for general audiences.  All of these are fairly obvious reasons why something might become a part of our worlds individually, but combined create a wonderful triple threat.

So let’s take a look at some classic movie themes that have stuck with us – yes this is not as good a hook as I usually write.  

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Flair Loops #13 Review

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Titis A. Shires only recently released his masterpiece of comedic genre-bending gold last year.  Despite being privately funded and creating the work almost completely solo, he has already managed to publish his 13th issue!  For those of you unfamiliar with this indie darling, Flair Loops, I don’t want to spoil too much but suffice to say it is a seamless blend of wacky superhero antics, Car-Fu and teenage love drama all rolled into one.  The main hero, Jake Sito, is top of his class by day, and king of an underground street racing circuit.  The guys wanna be him, the girls wanna be with him, and everything in his life is going great!  Until he loses his first race.  Distraught over his loss, he makes a deal with the devil which gives him superhuman reflexes, but with one unfortunate side effect:  he has to act as over-the-top as possible.  Ridiculous stunt jump? He has to take it?  Walls between him and his enemy?  Oh you know he has to flip over them Matrix-style.  And with the ladies? Well let’s just say Tuxedo Mask would tell him he’s being too dramatic.  So with twelve stylized adventures already out and our hero being pushed to his absolute limit in the last one, how has Shires managed to capture our attention with the latest issue?

Well, by revealing that the protagonist is about to die.  

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Cultural Osmosis: The Ubiquity of Video Game Music

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Well this week I decided to take a break and rather than do something which required a whole lot of research, I’d rather just spew my opinion at you for a few hundred words.  Except I’m calling it an “Editorial” to give it a vague sense of authority.  After all if you say “I read some dude word vomit his opinion online” it sounds like you wasted your time, but if you say “I read this fascinating Editorial” it sounds like you’re an intellectual and discerning person who drinks the finest coffee and is a delight at parties.  But of course, as you’re on this site, we already know you have good taste!  So what is my Editorial about? Well it’s part of a potentially recurring series of Editorials I’d like to do examining how certain music has become part of our culture.  Music (and perhaps some comics) that have become a staple of our human existence.

And as a treat to myself, this week I’m looking at how certain video game music has become a part of our society.  Continue reading

The Last Temptation of Cooper – An Analysis of the Album and Comic

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Another week, another story from my high school day.  Sure we ran out of comic books with the collapse of CrossGen Comics (for more on that see my previous article) but we still had plenty of graphic novels and manga.  I’ll never understand why my school library carried so many of these, including the first two Akira volumes, but I am glad they did.  One particular graphic novel that caught my interest was a story called The Last Temptation, another recommendation by Mr. Walton.  I’m a little embarrassed to admit that it wasn’t until several years later that I realized this was based upon an album of the same name.  Now, when you write for a website called Music and Comics, there can be no bigger boon than an album that inspired a graphic novel.

Especially when the album is by the legendary Alice Cooper and the novel is penned by the counterculture icon Neil Gaiman.

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The Curious Case of CrossGen Comics

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In my high school years I was lucky enough to know a man named Bradley Walton, my high school library secretary, who had some background in the comics industry, having worked as a writer and artist on the Cavewoman series, published by Basement Comics. During our friendship he turned my attention towards a series of comics all sharing a common mythos known as CrossGen comics. While not all of these comics were carried by our school, due to mature themes or simply availability, I was able to read through the vast majority of Sojourn, Way of the Rat, and Negation. However as I hungrily clamored for more, Mr. Walton kindly informed me that there might not be anymore coming out as the comic publisher was having some “issues” of their own.

The kind of issues where their freelancers hadn’t been paid for their work.

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