After nearly two years of silence, the Shadowgirls are officially back on track for a triumphant return. We have signed veteran writer and Amazon Bestselling author, Mat Nastos to pen the FIRST (in what we hope to be many), official Shadowgirls Novels!
Mat has been a film/tv artist, director and writer since the early 1990′s. His work has been published by Marvel COmics, DC COmics, Warp Graphics, Playboy and Highlights for Kids, and has been seen everywhere from the SyFy Channel to Cinemax and the Disney Channel.
We are thrilled to have him onboard to direct our girls into their bright new future and I hope you will join me in welcoming Mat to the Shadowgirls and Th3rd World family!
You can read the full release here!
It’s been nearly two years since the official end of the Shadowgirls webcomic. Two years and there are still questions at conventions about when the series might return, concerned emails whenever the website is acting up and new readers finding the series in graphic novel form. It’s very gratifying to have helped create something that not only resonated with readers but also stayed with them when the series ended. Charon and Becka are missed and are apparently quite unwilling to surrender their existence. Like Dagon, they have been only resting, waiting for their chance to resurface and reclaim what is rightfully theirs.
And if what we have planned works out, that opportunity is not so far away at all.
I can’t go into specifics just yet, but to quell any chance at disappointment I will make it clear that the webcomic is NOT returning. That part of the Shadowgirls’ life is over for now. But there are other worlds to explore where the girls should feel right at home. Hopefully you’ll get to hear about what that means very soon.
Because it wouldn’t be Shadowgirls without a cliffhanger ending.
I know that we have been silent on this issue for some time, but it was because we wanted to be certain before we made any formal announcements. I’m sure many of you have seen this coming, but despite our best efforts and amazing support from our fans, Shadowgirls the webcomic has come to an end.
This is not an easy thing for us and it was not an easy decision to come to. We have spent the past few months trying to find a way to make it work; trying to find a formula that would make it possible to deliver a quality product on time and without any future interruptions, but nothing really worked. And I am sorry for that.
This doesn’t mean that Shadowgirls is going away entirely, Season 2 will still be completed and collected. There will likely be other projects that involve the world and characters, but the webcomic itself has come to an end.
I want to thank everyone who has supported us over the years and I hope you know that it is not easy to say goodbye to friends and a community as strong as this one. I also hope that some of you will want to stay apprised of any future developments with the property or our other projects. But nothing will ever quite be like Shadowgirls in my heart.
Thank you for taking this journey with us.
D.Rey chiming in here.
Okay, I know a few are you aren’t really all that shocked by this, but for those still around, I feel you’re owed an explanation to what’s going on. The simple truth is, we have a crappy economy. I am 36 years old, and currently unemployed, and I just used up the last of my student loan deferments. My field of study was Graphic Design, but that’s an industry that’s drying up the world over. Graphic design jobs are quite honestly rare, and sure as hell doesn’t pay more than I could get paid working at Wal-Mart. (And the ones that DO pay really well, I’m not qualified for.) Michigan’s unemployment is at 11%, and I’ve gone to several interviews these last few months, and I haven’t had a whole hell of a lot of luck. My future is, to put it bluntly, uncertain. (And of course that 11% just counts unemployment claims made, and doesn’t take into account people like me who are ineligible to claim unemployment or the depressed and nihilistic folks who just gave up… So it’s probably like around 20%.)
Honestly, I was probably in denial here about the comic coming to an end, and I was hoping we’d find a way around it, but the sad simple fact is… My time is going to be a lot less productive. I just simply will not be able to produce the comic on a regular set schedule without running into the same problems again. Right now, I got to get my life in order and I don’t want to be making any more promises I cannot deliver on. I’m frustrated, angry and scared. The only upside is that I know I’m not alone in this boat.
Yeah, this sucks folks, and I’m sorry. I feel like I let you down… But I hope you understand. Like David said, this current story arc will be completed and eventually collected. And there will be other comic projects taking place in this universe and characters. I mean… This is in my goddamned blood. I don’t really know what’s going to happen to the Shadowgirls blog here, but for those still interested in my occasional rants and discussions I’d like to direct you to my other site, Thoughtcrime Inc. where I’ll be continuing to do so.
So this is it for now. But for me personally… (And you Transformers fans know exactly what this phrase means and the legacy that it entails.)
“It never ends.”
We were asked below about our future projects, so I thought I’d post them up here for everyone to read, so you don’t have to scroll through the responses to find it.
D.Rod, he’s got his project ‘Finding Gossamyr’ coming up soon. I got to read the first issue script in March and it’s really, REALLY good. And not to mention, the artist is Sarah Ellerton, who is extremely freakin’ skilled. So that’s probably a winner right there in the making. So you can keep an eye out for it on the Facebook page here. Also the Please Don’t Wake Dagon card game is still going strong, and I believe that receptions to it have been very good.
As for me, I just plan to finish up work on this current story arc and trying to find work. Hopefully that’ll all stabilize out sooner than later. I have a side project or two I’ve been thinking about, but nothing concrete. (They’re both in this respective universe, so don’t be surprised if a McKay girl or a green haired cyborg shows up.) I’ll probably be making announcements on future projects on my above mentioned blog. But until that’s all straightened out, I will probably do little short stories and artwork stuff, which I’ll post there. (Google Bloggers… Gotta love ‘em!)
Okay, if you’ve been around the interwebs, I’m sure you’ve noticed the influx of fans, obsessing over the show ‘My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic’. Well, it’s a decent show and occasionally pretty damn funny. It’s enjoyable, and I understand completely why it’s so popular. It’s well written, rather aware of it’s “overly sweet” nature, and compensates by essentially having every main character be utterly insane. I suspect, with shows like this, Transformers: Prime and Dan Vs., that if the Hub network can get some better cable package distributions, they could seriously give Cartoon Network a true run for their money. Because right now, the Hub is like how Cartoon Network used to be, when it was fun and energetic, and not shoving utter garbage like Flapjack, Chowder and that… that… ABOMINATION of a show, Mad. (Seriously, CN’s Mad cartoon is the worst thing I’ve seen on television. I would rather watch a day-long marathon of the Post-Eric Foreman ‘That 70s Show’ than sit through one 15 minute episode of Mad.)
But that aside, as far as ponies go, I understand the show’s popularity. I like it. I even have myself an Applejack toy. It’s on my television, next to my Silver Age Supergirl figure and my Shadowgirl statuette. But I don’t go around, proudly declaring myself a damn brony, like I’m in a parade. “Ooooh, look at me! I watch a cartoon show meant for girls! I’m so ironic! You watch it too? Welcome to the herd! Brohoof!”
*deep sigh* (Okay girls, I’m talking to the guys here.)
Look, I feel the need to inform that this is not new grounds that’s being broken… This isn’t even re-paving an old road. Guys have been watching cartoons meant for girls for years. Back In the 80’s when I was a kid, we watched stuff like ‘She-Ra’ and ‘Jem and the Holograms’. In the 90’s, boys watched Sailor Moon and Powerpuff Girls. But we didn’t go around broadcasting it, and it wasn’t out of fear of ridicule. But out of the simple fact that we ALL watched them. No boy was ashamed to admit it, because we all knew we did. We just didn’t CARE. It’s like Rescue Rangers… We all thought Gadget was hot, but we just didn’t talk about it, because, golly, it was an unspoken truth. We were more afraid that our friends would find out that we liked a lame show more than we were if they found out we liked a girl’s show. As a kid, I was more scared someone would find out I liked ‘Silverhawks’ or ‘C.O.P.S.’ more than I was with She-Ra. Even though I’m in my 30s now, I still hold a bit of humiliation that I seen every episode of Smurfs, including the time travel season… But no one I know holds any embarrassment and ever did for ‘Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs’.
Now no one’s saying you shouldn’t have pride in a show you like. You want to like the ponies? That’s cool and you should. It’s a good show, and it’s deserving of it’s priase. (I mean, it’s not like I’ve ever been all that quiet about my love of shape-shifting robots, right?) It’s always been okay to like girls cartoons. Just like it’s always been okay for girls to like boy shows and toys. Thundercats was meant for boys, but a lot of girls watched it. Hell, it’s even okay to like a show meant for little kids. I’m rather fond of the Little Einsteins. But my question I need to ask the really vocal bronies is this: Are you just trying to be shockingly ironic? Or are you trying to spread the word about how good of a show it is?
If it’s the former, then you’re about as cutting edge as Hannah Montana.
If it’s the latter, then be a fan… But have dignity and remember moderation. Because when you’re really obnoxious, you end up looking like crazed fanboys, and you run the risk of ‘hype backlash’ where someone hears about it so much, that you actually do the exact opposite of what you were trying to do. If it’s truly any good, and if they respect your opinion, a little will go a long way.
Otherwise, you’re just being a dink.
*steps up to the soapbox*
Hey folks. Sorry I’ve been quiet on my end here, as I’ve been a little busy. I was going to talk about some anime this time, but the San Diego Comic Con was this past weekend and a few things popped up that kind of made me have a couple of second thoughts. There was a woman at SDCC dressed as Batgirl who asked a very important question: Why aren’t there more women doing comics for DC? I’ve had this conversation with my girlfriend many times. At first my answer was the same as many male comic readers. ‘Don’t be ridiculous, there’s tons of them.’ And when asked to name them, I start to rattle off Gail Simone, Colleen Doran, Jo Duffy, Devin Grayson, Louise Simonson, Jill Thompson, Nicola Scott, and even one of my favorite artists Amanda Conner. But I started to realize I couldn’t name any others. And a lot of them I did name, I’m not sure are even working in comics anymore. There was a few others who’s done work for Vertigo comics, like Elaine Lee or Alisa Kwitney, or even some of Marvel’s more off-the-wall comics done by Colleen Coover or Kathryn Immonen. (Seriously, I cannot recommend ‘Pasty Walker: Hellcat’ enough!) But really, I started to hit the end of my list there. And I‘m really good at minutiae, and I can name almost hundreds, if not probably thousands or male comic creators. But I couldn’t even name fifteen female ones? It bothers me. (For the sake of discussion, I’m referring to comics and webcomics as two separate entities, though I shouldn’t, it just makes discussion easier.)
Just why AREN’T there more women working in comics? (Not just DC, but Marvel too.) I mean, there’s a lot of women working in ancillary roles, like inkers and colorists. (I really don’t know if I’ve ever seen a female letterer… Then again, if a letterer does their job, you should never notice them at all.) But why not more writers and artists, the ones that get the fame and acclaim? Look, I’m a perv and we all know this. (You’ve seen what I draw!) But I’m also the furthest thing from a misogynist as well. If the talent is there (and it is) then why isn’t the industry utilizing it more? I thought about the usual excuses I’ve heard for many years:
- It’s been a man’s game for so long, and the women creators just haven’t stormed the field yet.
I’ve heard that before, and yeah, I could accept that, back in the early 90’s, when I was a young lad buying Youngblood. But it’s been almost two decades now. Try again.
- Women just aren’t as interested in superheroes like men are.
You think all those women cosplaying at conventions are just men in drag or there just to make their boyfriends happy? You think girls don’t read and like superheroes? What the hell is this, the 1950s where girls are only supposed to read bad romance comics? That’s a crock of crap if I ever heard it. Tons of girls like many of the same things as guys do.
- There just aren’t as many women comic creators out there as there are men.
So this wide plethora of female webcomic and indy comic creators only came into existence because they’ve only read manga and other webcomics in the past ten years? And many of them I know weren’t exactly influenced by reading girly manga books in high school. They read Batman and X-Men like the rest of us. (And quite a few of them make me look like a high school art student who holds his pencil wrong.)
- Well, what would you consider a good affirmative action for the industry to take?
Christ, this isn’t the Equal Rights Amendment, or some public relations diversity ratio so you can get Rachel Maddow to write the foreword to your comic. It’s simple point. There’s lots of women comic creators, and there’s less than ½% of them working on the “big boy books”. Why? That woman dressed as Batgirl had a very good point and no one can give her a good answer, and when she pressed for one, she was mocked and ridiculed. I think that’s what bugs me more than DC’s response to her, was that the surrounding fans pretty much told her to shut up and sit down. Every time I think comics are on the verge of being taken serious as a respectable creative medium, like novels, movies, and television… Crap like this happens and reminds me there’s a real reason stereotypes like the Simpson’s Comic Book Guy exists.
It’s like women creators are akin to nuclear power. They’re an awesome powerful resource that people aren’t using for reasons that are steeped in traditionalism and fear. Taking it all into consideration, the only reason I can come up with is that ‘girls have cooties’. It has to be that! Because otherwise the only other logical reason is that the industry still has some serious cases of sexism going on, and that would just be insulting, infuriating and just outright depressing. I don’t want to say that, but they’re running out of reasons. And that’s one trait I really got to love about the webcomic community. It’s truly a community where anyone can be a creator, who’s judged on talent and not their gender. (Or race or sexuality.) And as comics start to go digital, blurring the lines between them and webcomics… I hope that this is a trait that they someday will also adopt, in actual practice and not just lip-service.
*Steps off soapbox, and goes back to the art table*
Alright folks, this isn’t the blog entry about anime like I just said I’d have… But it’s something even better! You know how I’ve been saying we’ve got some stuff coming down the line that I’m not able to talk about yet? Well, believe it or not, I wasn’t making it up! And I guess we can talk about a side project we’ve been working on for some time now. Ladies and Gentlefish… Please Don’t Wake Dagon!
Please Don’t Wake Dagon is a fast-paced card game set in the Innsmouth Day Care where you and your preschool playgroup aim to misbehave and commit as many Hijinks as possible and gather the most Goodies without being sent into Time Out. But you have to keep the noise down and avoid disturbing the sleeping monster in the yard next door. Because once Dagon wakes up…the fun is over for everyone. (Because you know… Deep One are party poopers.)
Try to resist the World’s Most Adorable Zombie Attack or succeed at Raiding the Cubbies! Be the first to have the Non-Euclidean Teddy Bear or to wield the power of the Necronomicon Pop-up Book against Hamstur the Unsqueakable with the Shadowbabies and a few friends, who’s tagged along for the fun.
Please Don’t Wake Dagon is a stand-alone, but expandable, card game designed by Jonathan Schwarz and published by Th3rd World Studios for 2 to 4 players. This starter set is priced at $24.99 and comes packaged with 126 full-color cards, a double–sided Dagon card and a rulebook. And you can order it now. No, not pre-order… ORDER! You can buy it HERE now!
Seriously folks, this thing is awesome!
I’ve never been a huge fantasy fan. I mean, sure I seen the Conan movies when I was younger, but the whole swords & sorcery genre never appealed to me all that much, as I was more of a science fiction nerd. And I mean no disrespect to the lovers of the genre. It’s just never been my bag. I mean, I liked to the Lord of the Rings movies, but I just never felt the love for the genre that I know others have, even though technically speaking, most of my favorite franchises would indeed fall under the fantasy categorization. (I mean, seriously Star Wars is more fantasy than it’s Science Fiction. And Star Trek is a communist fantasy.) I can appreciate it, but it was just something that never held my interests as a child. But that doesn’t mean I never liked watching a halfway decent barbarian film, because I did. And mainly because there was a better than average chance, you were gonna see boobies. A couple of friends I’ve been hanging out with lately are big fantasy buffs, and they’ve sorta helped rekindle an interest in the genre for me. I mean, it’s still nowhere near my love for Cybertronians, but I have developed an appreciation for it. And recently, I stumbled across a movie two-pack containing the movies ‘The Warrior and the Sorceress’ and ‘Barbarian Queen’. Now my friends think that Barbarian Queen was a better movie, because it has a better narrative and the story flows better, and they’re probably right. But I prefer the former more, because of just how weird it is.
‘The Warrior and the Sorceress’ is an Argentine fantasy movie made in the early 80’s, during the wake of the Conan the Barbarian movies. It’s essentially a sword and sorcery version of a ‘Fistful of Dollars’ or ‘Yojimbo’, or whatever you prefer. Essentially on a desert planet with two suns, that’s not Tantooine, David Carradine plays a wandering former holy warrior named Kane. (That’s a stretch, right?) Two parties are fighting for control of the only well of water in the region, and he plays each other against one another for gold. Kane looks nothing like he does on the box art above. Where there, he looks like a strapping muscular hero who would be a real challenge to Thundarr the Barbarian, in the movie, he’s clad in a black cloak that covers his small frame… And he looks bored the entire time. Even when he’s in the midst of a battle, he’s going through the motions like he just doesn’t care.
One of the bad guys reminds me of the human version of Jabba the Hutt. (Pre-Return of the Jedi version) complete with a laughing muppet-like sidekick and slave girls. Seriously, all he needed was a creepy looking Twi’lek looking guy to whisper in his ear. There’s an evil slaver (as opposed to a ‘good slaver’ I suppose) who looks like he was inspired by Humungus from the Road Warrior. But the thing that stood out to me as a laugh fest… And sorry ladies. This is where I turn into a total guy here… Is the titular sorceress, who’s name, much like everyone else in this movie, is not important… Other than the fact that, and I kid you not, she spends the entire movie topless. And in the few scenes that she’s got some kind of top on, she either loses it, very quickly… Or she gets a suit of armor that covers her top, except her boobs. It’s like designing armor for Final Fantasy characters. It’s seems that functionality was second in conceptualization. I mean, it’s not even teasing or sensual… It’s just so casually done, it’s almost comical. I mean, later in the movie, she’s reunited with her father. Does her father cover her up with his robes? No. She keeps running around topless. You might say “well, it’s just that planet’s culture.” Yeah, except that some of the other women in the movie are wearing tops. And then we much bring up… The “other woman” in the movie. And if you’ve seen the movie, you know who I’m talking about. If not… You see the box art up there with the lady in it? Yeah. Except her hair is goofier looking. Yeah, I know. Four breasts and I’m talking about hairstyles. Go figure. I mean, both girls are pretty, and I’m not complaining. It’s just… Somewhere it stopped being awesome, and just turned weird. But not weird in a bad way. Just… Weird. (Like Quentin Tarantino’s foot fetishes.)
Okay, ‘nuff about the boobs, let’s get back to the actual movie. Bad guy #2 wants the sorceress, because she has the ability to forge a mystic sword. (Maybe it’ll grant him access to Castle Grayskull.) Kane, being a former holy warrior, manages to free the sorceress in the world’s most uninspired escape scene. (Which involved climbing a wall and climbing back down it. And she promptly gets recaptured again.) There’s a lot of double crossing, and a spider-octopus monster, that’s not as cool as it sounds. In the end, she makes the sword for Kane to use against the bad guys, and stuff happens and then it ends. Yeeeeah… The thing is, it’s not the greatest sword and fantasy movie ever made. Hell, it’s not even in the second tier. (Maybe not even the third!) But I cannot say it’s not watchable. For all it’s stupidity, it’s a highly entertaining piece of crap. (Especially if you got some friends around.) There’s lots of weird stuff going on, and despite the constant nudity going on… Other than a drowning scene, which was just thrown in there to show how evil bad guy #2 is, it’s actually a quite harmless, like the Deathstalker movies. They’re silly and only offensive to people with a stick up their bum.
Join me next time, as I switch the topics up a bit and talk about some anime.
I figured while we’re waiting for the comic to continue, I’d continue my run of “Stupid Awesome” movie reviews. Now remember… These movies are by default “stupid” but they’re watchably awesome in thier stupidity.
I’ve been critical of James Cameron in the past, to the point that I’m sure many of you probably think I hate his movies. Well, I’m not fond of a lot of them, but his undersea documentaries I think are utterly beautiful, and I consider his 1989 movie ‘The Abyss’ his best movie. I really love it. Now what’s interesting is that in ‘89, the Abyss was not the first, but the SIXTH film in a slew of movies with the premise “Help, I’m trapped underwater and there’s a monster down here with me!” Cameron’s just happens to be the best of them. The others are honestly subpar. ‘DeepStar Six’ had laughably bad special effects, I don’t even remember ‘Lords of the Deep’ and the others I had to check Wikipedia to get the names. But there’s one that stands above those others that truly earns the title… Stupid-Awesome. Ladies and Gentlemen… ‘Leviathan’!
Okay, right of the bat, this movie is one of many rip-offs of Alien. You know the set up. Future setting, seven member crew (five men, two women), a shifty doctor with a questionable past, a corporate guy who’s heart’s in the right place, big cool black guy, ect. They get a call to check out an abandoned derelict on behalf of the company, and end up bringing a monster on board, which proceeds to kill everyone, one by one, until it’s down to one or two people. The monster is a genetic alteration, which after it kills people, it absorbs their memories, so it’s kind of like ‘John Carpenter’s The Thing’ as well. It’s very formulaic in it’s construction. You know who dies and in what order they’re going to die in. It holds no real surprises. You know the alcoholic’s gonna buy it first, and then the doctor’s gonna do something that’ll make escape impossible, and the cool black guy sacrifices his life to save the others, and he’s usually near the last to die. The corporation is ‘eeeeeevil’ and wants to doom them all. By the way, as an aside, how overdone is the evil corporation shtick? How exactly do you package and market evil? “Oooooooh! Big Guns and Big Pharmaceuticals are bad, man!” Because you know, soldiers can use harsh language and antibiotics are bad for you. Just once, for a change of pace, I’d love to see the evil corporation be a major manufacturer of wind turbines or hydroponic wheatgrass. I will give this movie credit though, in that the company didn’t want to retrieve the monster for some ‘bio-weapons’ division. They just wanted it to be destroyed. (They were just willing to sacrifice the crew to do it.)
But here’s the two things that makes Leviathan stand out from the others. It’s production values are pretty decent. Nothing ever really looks like a model or a cheap rubber suit. (With heavy exception of when you finally see the monster at the end. You’re kind of laughing, because you’ve seen more convincing Power Ranger monsters.) And the other is who they got to star in this movie. We have Peter Weller, Richard Crenna, Daniel Stern, Meg Foster (and her cool eyes), and Winston Zeddemore himself, Ernie Hudson! Holy crap, how have more people not heard of this movie! That’s almost a geek battalion right the hell there! We also have Amanda Pays, who played Tina McGee on the old Flash TV show. Her British accent’s so freakin’ hot, the movie could just be an hour and a half of her reading a phone book, and I’d be content. (I could go off for a long period of time about how hot she is, but this would really quickly go from being pathetic to just plain creepy.) Generally the characters are well likable enough, especially Ernie Hudson’s character. However, Meg Foster’s character, as the company spokeswoman is so obviously evil. She’s like secreting underhandedness. It’s almost on a smarmy Doctor Doom level.
Okay granted, Leviathan is not high art. It’s formulaic. There’s built in cap to how good it can actually be. If they had actually broken away from the formula, it might have really been a good film. Simple little things, like had Meg Foster’s character not been a “heartless corporate shill” or if Ernie Hudson’s character could have survived and not die, as per the “black guy always buys it” trope. (Seriously, he’s the coolest character in this movie. But that’s probably because Ernie Hudson may be the coolest person period.) It would not have changed the context or direction of the story. In fact, it might have been somewhat revolutionary for it’s time. But unfortunately, it follows that formula to a tee, and I think it suffers for it too.
But as it is, it’s stupid but kind of fun. I don’t know if I can call it awesome, but I can’t exactly say it’s bad either. It’s a Diet Alien. It’s made with aspartame, so it’s like the original, but tastes kind of funny and not all that filling. But at like just over 90 minutes, it a decent rip-off. Which is more than I can say for the majority of the sequels to Alien. Next time, I’ll go into a wonderful piece of crap barbarian movie, starring Caine from Kung Fu, and not much else.
This past weekend, Transformers: Dark of the Moon opened up to a staggering worldwide gross of $440 million. A couple of people wanted to know my opinion of the movie, since I’m one of those people who openly liked the second movie, Revenge of the Fallen. (For those that weren’t aware of that, go HERE and read my reasons why before bitching to me about it.) Well, my general assumption is that I liked it. It was far better than RotF but not as good as the first one. Did it have it’s flaws? Oh yeah, and it did drag a bit toward the end. I mean, generally… The Transformers movies are like the Twilight movies, in that if you don’t want to like them, then nothing in the world will change your mind. But this was Michael Bay’s last Transformers movie, so this will be good news for the critics, and the films can only go uphill, right? Right?
Oooooooooh no. If history repeats itself here, as it has for other franchises like this one… This is where it gets BAD. And for those of you who really didn’t like the Bay-helmed movies? You’re not going to like what’s coming. But if it makes you feel better, neither will anyone else. You see, with Transformers, a lot of the complaints I’m hearing about it today, I’ve heard before. First time I heard it was in 1988 and then in 1992. With Batman. Complaints of the character being changed, the visuals not being right, Batman being more brutal than he is supposed to be, sexualization of Catwoman (seriously!), deforming Penguin into whatever he was in Returns, making Harvey Dent black, stupid jokes like the penguin army, and what not. You see, Transformers is a franchise, much like Batman, X-Men and even the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Those of you who were around back then, remember that the average person who didn’t read comics still thought of Batman as pudgy Adam West, trying to get rid of a bomb. When it was announced that they were going to make a live action movie of Batman, the big question wasn’t “Can they make a faithful movie?” No, the question was “Can they make a movie that wasn’t a laughing joke?”
Brace yourself… We got ourselves one LOOOOONG ass post here!
I love cartoons. Hell, it’s no mystery to anyone here. The art of making a series of lines and colors pieced together in sequential motion to create the illusion of life, is something that I truly respect beyond like you wouldn’t believe. (Hopefully my art style shows that.) Recently, Time.com made a list of the top 25 best animated films of all time.
And this list is bullshit.
Let’s get it out of the way right now. This is a list made up by a dork who has no idea what makes great animated movie. ‘The Fantastic Mr. Fox’ makes that list, but ‘The Incredibles’ or ‘Monsters Inc.‘ does not? The piece of shit ‘Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who’ makes the list, but ‘Fantasia’ or ’Peter Pan’ can‘t make the cut? The ONLY movie by Hayao Miyazaki that makes the list is ‘Spirited Away’ with nary a mention of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind or Princess Mononoke… But oh, we gotta give props to the environmentalist dancing penguin movie! (What? Was Ferngully not preachy enough? What about Wall-E? Oh wait… That’s #2. I’m shocked speechless. Really, I am.) I was going to go off on a tangent insulting the article writer and his mother… But I decided to let it go, and present my alternative list. Unlike the writer of that article, you all have a brain and are completely capable of making your own list of great cartoon movies. So I’ll let you go ahead and do so. By all means, you’re more than welcome to add your opinions and additions below. (In fact, I welcome it.) In the meanwhile, I present to you my top 25 badass animated movies of all time! Why are they badass? Because I’m biased. There are better movies made than those on this list, and while you may not agree with my choices… At least I won’t tell you it’s good because I’m kissing up to someone famous. (Fuck you, Happy Feet.)
25. The Road to El Dorado- I‘ve written an entire blog entry about this one before, so let’s move onto the next one.
24. Rock & Rule- The name is Rock & Rule… What about it isn‘t obviously badass? It’s one of those early 80’s movies made in the spirit of Heavy Metal or Wizards. Like Heavy Metal, it’s got an awesome soundtrack. Unlike Heavy Metal, it’s a badass and fun movie to watch. Oh sure, you can nitpick the movie apart from here to the ends of the Earth with it’s plotholes, but it’s highly watchable, and funkatastic with it’s soundtrack. Besides, you find me another movie that involves drug use, devil worship and mild sexuality. Well, besides…
23. Fantasia- This movie is an acid trip without taking the acid. It’s beautifully animated (despite being over 70 years old) and it’s a wonder to watch. But let’s be honest… We all know the badass part of it is Night on Bald Mountain, which gives us the Chernabog, who may be Disney’s most evil and badass villain ever made. (Except for #12.) And for many of us, it was the first time we ever saw cartoon boobs.
22. Transformers: The Movie- Oh really? You’re sitting there surprised I put this one on the list? Come on. 1980’s power rock soundtrack, a giant planet eating robot, Sharkticons, “One shal stand, one shall fall”? Please, it inspired an entire generation of Transformers fans, of which you know I am one of. It goes on the list, but at least I put it the higher numbers.
21. Ducktales: Treasure of the Lost Lamp- This movie is actually a really underrated gem of Disney’s movies. It’s not been released to DVD yet, but you can rent it on iTunes, and I do recommend doing so. If you remember how awesome the cartoon show was… This movie is more of the same, but bigger and better. I really didn’t understand why it’s not more popular. It was a really great animated movie. It might have been the short run time though.
20. Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: Solid State Society- Okay, here’s the thing. I love Masamune Shirow (even if in his later years he has been turning out some really pornographic material) and GitS was my first major exposure to manga and anime. And to be honest… I have a warm spot in my heart for it.However, as beautifully animated the first two animated movies were, they were boring as shit. When the series Stand Alone Complex came out, it took all the elements that was good about GitS, and made up some new stuff that was also good, and got rid of the boring stuff. I consider GitS: SAC the best anime series ever made, with beautiful animation, extremely interesting characters, and some really solid forward-thinking about a post-cyberpunk society. And the animated movie, Solid State Society was basically one giant wonderful story, stand alone story. I loved it. It was, to me, the GitS movie I was waiting for.
19. An American Tail- One of the biggest influences in my art and life is Don Bluth, and his movie about Fievel Mousekewitz and his journey into the new world, was not just an amazing animated masterpiece, but probably the real reason that launched the Disney Renaissance. (You see, it made a lot of money and was a critical success, and the then-new CEO Michael Eisner was like “We’re Disney. We make cartoons! How the hell did this beat us at our own game?!” Next thing you know, Roger Rabbit and the Little Mermaid was made.
18. Metropolis- A wonderfully fun, and sometimes rather dark anime from 2001, based on the manga from Omasu Tezuka. And after watching it, you’ll probably never think of the song “I Can’t Stop Loving You” the same way again.
17. Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths- You know what I love? Super-heroes. You know what I love about super-heroes? The fact that only with super-heroes can you do a story where evil alternate universe versions of those heroes are trying to build a quantum bomb that will end up destroying the entire multiverse, and it’s up to the good heroes to traverse across dimensions to stop them. This stuff ONLY happens with super-heroes. (And maybe Star Trek.) Flawed? Totally. But it’s so utterly fun, I love it. Besides, that line with Batman telling Owlman: “There is a difference between you and me. We both looked into the abyss, but when it looked back as us… You blinked.” Hell to the yeah.
16. Batman vs. Dracula- Honestly, I know what you’re saying. You’re like “Wait, but that’s THE Batman. The stupid Batman show?” Look, whatever your opinion of the show was, the Dracula movie here… It’s a complete and total homage to the Hammer Dracula films. Dude is drawn like Christopher Lee, the music plays up the violin chords like the Hammer films, and even Gotham looks a little more gothic in design than usual. Plus the fight with the vampire Joker and Batman in the blood bath was a little unsettling. It’s got a couple of holes, and they totally do that Alucard thing, which by now is like the world’s worst kept secret identity… But it’s a fun horror flick that’s not pretentious at all. (And in today’s world of horror, that’s saying a lot.)
15. Cowboy Bebop: Knockin’ on Heaven‘s Door- One of the greatest animes of all time, and this is it’s movie. Really, not much more to say than that. They did such a good job on the show, that when the early rumors were abound that the DVD release wasn’t going to have a dub job, and be subtitled only… Fans bitched. It was one of the first times anime fans finally acknowledged that the English dub jobs can actually be good!
14. Tarzan- Really, out of all the traditional 2D animated movies, I think this one of them all, has the greatest animation. It’s fluid, the character designs are wonderful, and the rescue scene with Tarzan, Jane and the Baboons is just one of the greatest minutes and a half of animation ever done. The only reason it’s not higher on this list is because of that annoying gorilla. But it does contain probably the most horrible Disney villain death of all time… Yikes!
13. Dragonball Z: Super Android 13!- I admit it. I loved DBZ. I mean, it was a great show, and what I liked the most about it… Was the dubbing of it. I’ve seen the subtitles and the like, and you know what? It’s not as fun. The cheesy rock soundtrack, the screaming about sending people to another dimension, and really… Who doesn’t love that it’s over 9000? It’s a stupid fight show, that never took itself too seriously in the slightest. And the dubbing, there was a certain logic to it, that really showed through with this movie. (Like non of the heroes would swear, they’d always say “darn it!” and the like. The villains would, but not the heroes. They’d never say kill, they’d say destroy. It’s a funny logic to it that’s hilarious.) That said, this one was one of the more self-contained of the movies, made a little later, so the animation was better, the dubbing was smoother, and it had all the characters we liked. (Hey, at least it’s better than the live action movie!)
12. The Emperor’s New Groove- Watch THIS and try and tell me that Yzma is not the greatest Disney villain of all time? This movie is like a big budget version of a Chuck Jones cartoon. It’s witty, funny, and just a joy to watch. And even more amazingly, the spin-off cartoon, The Emperor’s New School was also a great cartoon in it’s own right.
11. Beauty and the Beast- The follow up to the Little Mermaid, this was a great animated movie. Also, it was the first animated film to be nominated for the best picture Oscar, which caused a huge stir at the time, because it’s a cartoon and shouldn’t be taken seriously. So they made the best animated movie Oscar category, which of course goes to whatever movie Pixar is doing. Anyway, movie’s great, songs are wonderful and Gaston is hilarious.
10. Batman: Under the Red Hood- You know, it’s a really good Batman story. I had my skepticism, because the story of how Jason Todd survived his death, always… Well, it wasn’t that good. (Superboy-Prime punching the universe?) But they re-wrote it, got rid of that horrible Superboy-Prime crap and actually made it a good movie. There’s a few moments in the movie that really takes me out of it, because it was probably left in from the original comic script. (Amazo, cyber ninjas, ect.) And if they had more time to flesh out the story, it really could have been extraordinary, as opposed to just great. And it asks the question I’ve always wondered: Why is the Joker still alive? And Batman’s answer… Just wasn’t that good of an answer. You actually started thinking that Batman was wrong.
9. Ninja Scroll- I saw this movie in college during the summer of 1996. At this time, we were used to our anime being essentially robots, magical fireballs, fuzzy animation and the occasional boob shots for no reason. Then we rented this one on a whim. Holy crap, we were blown away. Now bear in mind, this movie is stupid. It’s like goes so far into the ‘stupid’, it creeps up the other side, into ‘awesome’. One of the opening sequence pretty much set the entire tone of the movie, with the Koga Ninja getting slaughtered by Tessai the stone giant, is just insane the first time you see it. And the whole conflict with him and Jubei just continues the insanity. But there’s a few things in there, like pretty much how the character Kagero gets treated by some of the villains that make me feel a little squicky.
8. Justice League: New Frontier- This was one of the earliest DC Animated movies, and it’s one of the best. A period piece set after the Korean War, at the dawn of the Silver Age of comics. It’s mostly a Green Lantern story, but it’s quite clever and incorporates quite a few of the DC heroes in it. There’s some truncation, from the great comic story it’s based on. (The bit with Aquaman and Superman at the end.) But I’m a big sucker for awesome, epic super-hero stories, and I’m also a sucker for period pieces too. Combine the two together, and it’s quite great. In fact, if they had fleshed out the truncated parts a bit more, they could have easily released this theatrically. (The animation not quite up there, but the story makes it work.) Seriously though, with the success of X-Men: First Class, and the less than stellar success of Green Lantern… Maybe Warner Bros. should consider a live action version of it?
7. Kung Fu Panda- As of this time, I have not seen Kung Fu Panda 2, but I intend to soon. You see, when Kung Fu Panda came out, it was around the same time that Wall-E came out. And everyone was like “Oh, Wall-E is great! Eve is so cute!” And I was like, Wall-E is pretty good, but I liked Kung Fu Panda more. At least KFP was about kung fu fighting. Wall-E… I think the message in the movie was that if we pollute the Earth enough, Wal-Mart will send us on a Galactic Cruise for a few centuries, and then the Earth will fix itself. Or something like that. But seriously, Kung Fu Panda is awesome to watch, especially that opening dream sequence. (I was actually disappointed the entire movie wasn’t done like that!)
6. Princess Mononoke- Hayao Miyazaki’s environmental movie here was the perfect way to do it. It’s not preachy, the people of Iron Town and Lady Eboshi are not depicted as soulless monsters, the forest spirits are not all pure and good… It’s a very level and honest movie about industry vs. nature, with the character of Ashitaka as our eyes into this conflict. It tells the same story, that movies like Happy Feet tries to tell… Minus all the pandering and pretentiousness. It’s honest, haunting and beautiful. I think it’s Miyazaki’s greatest film he’s ever done. I truly admire this film.
5. The Incredibles- This movie proved to the rest of the world that super-heroes CAN be taken seriously, and be a financial success. This movie is near prefection, and of all the sequels that Pixar seems to be making with Toy Story last year, Cars this year and Monsters Inc. coming up soon… The one I want the movie, is the one they won’t give me. I want a second Incredibles movies. The scene where Dash is running away from the scissor ships, and he discovers he can run on water? Good God, that scene STILL just totally gives me goosebumps. It’s just so freakin’ super, I loved it. If I have only complain, it’s that because of this movie, we now see what the Fantastic Four movies SHOULD have been and weren’t.
4. Mulan- I love Mulan. It was intelligently written, and beautiful to behold. It was also Disney’s last musical movie until the Princess and the Frog from ‘08. Yeah, they took some liberties (like a lot) from the original poem, but I can totally forgive it. They took the message of women and men being equal, and did not get preachy or pandering in that ‘After-School Special’ sort of way that we were all expecting. You felt for Mulan. You understood where she was coming from, even if you were a guy… You understood. It’s a beautiful movie. In almost every way. And the animation and coloring styles in the movie is so damn influential on my and my art, that I can’t even begin to explain it. This to me, is everything I love about Disney movies. The only reason it’s not higher than this, is because of how important the other three are to me.
3. The Secret of Nimh- This is one of the first animated movies I ever saw, and it was probably one of the biggest influences on me ever. Don Bluth showed me what adventures can await, with a little mouse. To a six year old kid who was so wrapped up in Star Wars at the time… It was eye opening. I just remember seeing it (and still do) and thinking “that is so beautiful.” And I’ve spent years trying to recapture that same feeling. So yeah, you ever wonder why I try to emulate an animated look with the comic? Blame Don Bluth. He got me when I was six years old. (And then Mulan got me again later!)
2. Tangled- I believe I went off on how great it was last November here. No need to repeat myself, right?
Yeah, those are my choices. I probably would have added a few more in there too, but anime like Read or Die, or Talespin: Plunder and Lightning are really a compilation of episodes and not really films. I could fill an entire list out of just animated series that kicks rocks. I could give honorable mentions to stuff like ‘Aladdin’ and ‘Ponyo’… But I‘ll leave it at that for now. What about yours?