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Get LOST published on 1 Comment on Get LOST

First order of Business, the pages: About, Cast, Archives, and Creator Contact is now up and running so check it out.

FROZEN DONKEY WHEEL!!!
"Destiny is a fickle Bitch"

As many of you may know, LOST is coming to an end. Tonight’s episode “What They Died For” will be the last regular episode before the 2 and a half hour series finale on Sunday. I myself love series finales, sometimes I just watch the finale of show just to see how it ends. I love having a conclusion to the story, I love how the cast a crew give a proper send off and it always annoy me when a show gets canceled before its time. That’s why it’s such a great thing to see a show like LOST make it all the way to the end, ending on the creator’s terms no less. That’s a very rare occurrence in television.

My Halloween costume last year.
Damn I'm Sexy

Over the past few weeks I’ve been thinking about what made LOST so great. Many will say it’s the intriguing mysteries introduced but now I don’t think so. The mysteries and questions are a hook for the audience, but as the finale approaches I’m not thinking about where the food palette came from, why the DHARMA Initiative were studying polar bears, or even who built the four toed statue. And it’s not the sci-fi aspect because there are many shows that have used the same concepts LOST employs. In fact when I think of those science fiction examples I can’t believe they did it. I could sit and tell you about Flash forwards, time travel, and even alternate realities and most of you out there who have never seen LOST probably would get turned off by it. But every time they do one of these potentially shark jumping moments they pull if off. And it was then that I realized what made LOST work, why it was able to survive not only against a studio’s typically way of doing things but also for a large general audience. The creators have always said it but I just realized how right they are. It’s the characters, I actually care about them.

The Island is a cork. There. That's everything you need to know.
I'm Damn proud of this design

Usually shows have characters that are cool and interesting but they almost never really resonate with me that much on an emotional level. And that’s because of the unique structure of the show. Despite the claims that the show is too in depth and hard to get into, each episode is actually… well, episodic. With such a large cast they use each episode to focus on one character. Basically a series of short stories that are strung together by the present plot of survivors on an island. Giving both the writers a chance to really explore the character and the actors to give some of the best performances of their career. This format allows the audience to really understand and care about the character, which makes the ups and lows, the trials and deaths all the more meaningful. It even gets me to care about the love stories. Whether in TV, Films, or even books I always find romantic subplots insincere, unoriginal, predictable, unnecessary, and extremely boring. And I’m not referring to the main Jack/Kate love quadrangle, But Sun and Jin, Claire and Charlie, and most notably Desmond and Penny. I actually have feelings for their scenes, I want them to have happy endings. I hope for the best and get sad when things go bad, that has never happen to me before. I’ve never cried at a TV show before but a few scene throughout LOST brought me as close as I’ve ever been.

What makes the characters work is quality. This show has such great quality on almost every level: writing, directing, editing, acting, the music. They pull in from so many resources: philosophy, religion, science, even geek culture to create this all encompassing mythology. Scale of this show is so large there’s really nothing like it on television. And they pull it off with such great storytelling. I could probably go on forever on how all these things pull together to make such a great series, but this post probably got a bit boring. I’ll just end by saying I’d be stupid to say LOST is the best show on TV, because that’s just opinion. LOST may not be for everyone. Breaking Bad which is now in its third season is a fantastic series, but I just can’t get into it. It’s just not my thing an likewise LOST may not be for you. But if you have free time and looking to get into a show on DVD I highly recommend LOST. And after watching the Pilot episode you’ll know whether or not if it’s for you. So here’s to the LOST finale, a great show entering it’s final hours. To the writers, cast, and crew of at least 1,000 people who all made this show possible:

Good Luck and Namaste.

BUY MY T-SHIRTS!!!
I also make T-shirts of this

UPDATE: I loved the finale. If you learn to Live Together, you’ll never Die Alone.

My First Rant: Spectacular Disappointment

My First Rant: Spectacular Disappointment published on 4 Comments on My First Rant: Spectacular Disappointment

Ahoy hoy.

Spectacular Spider-man Cancelled
He really should have seen it coming

If you’re new here, as you must surely be since no one outside of our friends, family, and Houde (Hey Buddy!) seem to have discovered this site yet, my name is James Mitchell and I’m the co-creator of this burgeoning webcomic. One of the exciting things for me about beginning this project is that I am provided a place to rant like a madman about comic books. Well, another place. I spend a lot of time arguing with folks on various messageboards, but this will be my first ever blog post aside from a test run before we launched. While the strip will tend to hop subjects between comic books, dating, and general life I hope to keep these posts centered on comic books. Today I feel compelled to address the apparent demise of The Spectacular Spider-Man animated series by Greg Weisman. A cartoon about comics. Close enough.

Today Marvel Animation announced the launch of Ultimate Spider-Man: The Animated series. It promises “never before seen stories” and “team ups with other fan favorite Marvel Super Heroes”. Though not explicitly stated, the title certainly seems to indicate some connection to Brian Micheal Bendis’ ongoing series Ultimate Comics Spider-Man, formerly known as Ultimate Spider-Man. With well over a hundred issues to draw from they would certainly have plenty of material to build upon and a loyal fanbase to appeal to, but I wonder just how much influence Bendis’ work will have over these stories. Will I be sitting here a year from now listening to Peter and Mary Jane talking back and forth in Bendis dialogue?

“I’m Spider-Man.”

“You’re Spider-Man?”

“I’m Spider-man.”

“You’re not Spider-Man.”

“I totally am Spider-Man!”

“No way!”

“Yes way!”

I guess I’m just a little worried about how Ultimate is this show is going to be. I don’t read Ultimate Comics. I stopped reading Ultimate Spider-Man in particular around the time they tried to make a Clone Saga that wouldn’t suck. I have to say, I didn’t feel like they succeeded in that venture. But to be honest my frustration with that series had been simmering for some time before that. Spider-Man never seemed to solve his own problems, established villains were “Ultimized” as jokes and beaten in mere panels, his supporting cast seemed to shrink to just MJ and Aunt May, and the drama in Peter and MJ’s relationship seemed forced at times. I don’t mean to torpedo this project before it even launches. I mean, they’ve only gotten so far as the announcement and here I am nay-saying. I guess I speak from the frustration I feel about this announcement almost certainly putting the final nail in the coffin of Greg Weisman’s fantastic Spider-Man cartoon.

Ultimate Spider-Man’s mission statement was to modernize the Spider-Man mythology for a new, and presumably younger, audience that wouldn’t want to wade through decades of confusing continuity. In many ways I feel that Weisman accomplished this goal better than Bendis ever did. Gwen Stacy acted like Gwen Stacy instead of becoming a streetwise, knife toting instant-orphan. Mary Jane retained her early party girl demeanor with a hint of the deep, compassionate person she would later become rather than being transformed into “brainy Janey” for no apparent reason. Harry Osborn gets to establish himself as Peter’s best friend and a character you empathize with in his own right so that when his life goes horribly awry you actually feel for him, rather than appearing in a handful of issues before being shipped off and returning as a big orange hulk for Peter to melodramatically angst over.

Even minor supporting characters were given an incredible amount of depth for what is ostensibly a children’s cartoon. Flash Thompson was a merciless bully towards Peter most of the time, but he’s brave, proud, and had the integrity to forfeit his prized state championship when he learned that a teammate had cheated to win it. He even goes out of his way to help his favorite punching bag Pete get out of a (symbiote induced) funk when he sees that Peter is going to alienate his friends. Flash from Ultimate Spider-Man was an unrepentant dick who was the butt of a few rather unfunny gay jokes. And that’s about as far as he ever got through 100 issues. Rand Robertson, Sally Avril, Liz Allen, Sha Shan Nguyen, Hobie Brown, and Glory Grant round out Pete’s schoolmates. And each of them (with the exception of poor, running gag Hobie) are fleshed out, unique characters. Betty Brant, Ned Lee (not Leeds in this cartoon), Frederick Foswell, Robbie Robinson, and J. Jonah Jameson are all present, interesting, and in character. Jonah is more entertaining in this cartoon than he’s been in YEARS in any of the comics.

The villains in this show were simply fantastic. Their motives and methods are explored thoroughly. Characters who will become villains are introduced and developed weeks or months before they begin to wreak havoc on Spider-Man’s world in garish costumes. You feel true empathy for some of these characters while feeling the appropriate contempt for others. The Green Goblin subplot in particular takes a full two seasons to draw to a wonderfully satisfying conclusion that answers all the questions and establishes him as a truly frightening arch-nemesis.

Of course, any good Spider-Man story needs a strong portrayal of Peter Parker and Josh Keaton doesn’t disappoint. His voice alternately delivers strength, vulnerability, humor, sadness, desperation, and determination. Spider-Man is written as a fully realized and flawed individual trying his very best to be the hero his Uncle would want him to be. He stumbles from time to time both in the mask and out of it, but has the inner strength to do the right thing even when he’s personally worse off for it. He’s a wonderful protagonist that you can’t help but root for. THIS is the Peter Parker that Sam Raimi in the movies and so many comic writers throughout the years have failed to accurately capture in their attempts to make him into an “everyman”. Everyman apparently meaning total schmuck to most writers.

This show was visually unique, the action scenes were dynamic, and the voice acting was spot on. The writing was funny, clever, and managed to please even die hard Spidey fans by respecting the source material. Every part of this show was clearly crafted by people who care about these characters and wanted to see these classic stories reach a new generation. If Marvel really wants to get more youth interested in their properties then canceling this series was the wrong move. The idea of never seeing the Hobgoblin storyline that they began to put into place for next season towards the end of last season truly saddens me. If you’ve never watched the show, pick it up on DVD (or pirate it off the internet, what the hell do I care). You won’t be disappointed. Those of you who think I’m ranting about the wrong Greg, stay tuned. I’ll get to Rucka’s decision to leave DC soon enough, but right now I just had to get some stuff off my chest. I hope you return work soon, Mr. Weisman. I loved Gargoyles as a kid, I loved Spider-Man as an adult, and I can’t wait to see your next project.

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