BW Programming Note: Getting The Stone Out

2021 continues to do me damage. Friday I went in to get the kidney stone out so that’s dealt with. Tomorrow I’ll be getting the stint out and the healing can resume. It seems all I’ve done this year is heal or be sick and require healing. This week’s Jake & Leon could have done on time (maybe) if I didn’t have some tech issues but considering the state I was in yesterday it probably still wouldn’t have been posted. I expect I’ll still be tired for the next few days and that will limit how well I can work on the site. So more days off in a year where I’ve been forced to take too many days off. When I said I wanted to up my vacation time to keep from burning out THIS WASN’T WHAT I MEANT!

With luck I’ll still get the next Chapter By Chapter installment of Star Trek: Prime Directive but I may not be back until next Monday. I’m partly asleep right now so we’ll see how I feel before Friday. I’m hoping this will be a short hiatus either way. Have a good week plus however long it takes for me to work on stuff again. Sorry for all this but I haven’t had much of a choice this year.

Saturday Night Showcase: Bio-Mech Kayla and the Multiverse Tales

Let’s do something a little different tonight. Lately my Saturday Night Showcase entries have been regular TV shows making an appearance on official YouTube channels owned by the rights holder or licensed by legal parties. I’m happy do so as it allows me to tap into nostalgia and point out these official hosts on YouTube, even if the shows are available on other streaming site or sometimes to promote those sites. However, this series is also about promoting independent work and it’s about time I threw one of those in here. So let’s talk about PopCross Studios.

Self-proclaimed as the “home of the nerdiest art videos on YouTube” (I’m paraphrasing), PopCross Studios is also the home of Chris Pearson, a cartoonist and storyteller from Canada who also wrote a series of novels called Multiverse Tales. His channel is about speed draws and discussion of character designs. He’s drawn classic heroes in unique situations, what happened if other universes like the My Hero Academia school were attacked by a Venom symbiote, what if they were dragons or Transformers, sci-fi characters in fantasy worlds (although I once asked him about doing it the other way around sadly I haven’t seen fantasy characters redesigned for a sci-fi universe…get on that, Chris!), fictional characters as the basis for an armored battlesuit design, and so on. He also does a monthly challenge to draw creations by his viewers into the expanded multiverse.

Recently he designed to give these mash-ups stories, leading to original characters based on his Multiverse Tales novels and building on what he didn’t get to show when the series had a premature ending. Even the mash-ups (except for the PopCross Transformers and Venomized universes currently) have been drawn in, like meeting the chronicler of the dragon world with unique dragons and ones based on superheroes like Captain America, or ones based on the open source SCP Foundation fan project.

This combination of speeddrawing and storytelling in the PopCross Multiverse began with tonight’s adventure. “BioMech Kayla” is about a girl trying to rescue her friend from a forbidden zone in her universe and meets Charlie, a liquid metal “bio-mech”. Can they save her friend? Did someone mix coffee into Charlie’s systems? And how does this start Kayla and Charlie on a trek through the multiverse? Enjoy!

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Watching Nickelodeon’s Smurfs 2021

Can you take a classic show and give it a good remake? Increasingly Hollywood seems to be telling us no, or at least they don’t care to. They like the name, they sort of like the concept, but between the everything for meeeeeeeee crowd, surface viewers looking to push an idea using nostalgia as a cheap marketing ploy while lying to the audience, and studios who don’t care either way so long as they have your money what you see is a poor imitation if not outright mocking of the very property they’re going after only because its famous.

Belgium cartoonist Peyo created the Smurfs as a one-time character in a story for the Johan And Peewit comic but he did such a good job creating them that they became popular enough to get their own comics. Later, American animation studio Hanna-Barbera thought they would be perfect for their Saturday morning offerings and NBC agreed. The show lasted quite a few seasons and still maintained a spot in people’s memories thanks to syndicated reruns and Cartoon Network/Boomerang. Sadly this led to a duo of movies where the Smurf journey to New York, forcing people to ask “why are the Smurfs in New York?” or “why is Hefty suddenly a terrible and insulting Scottish stereotype when the woods they live in are based on forests in Belgium and classic European fantasy stories”?, or my personal favorite “why is this live-action?” and we can’t forget “why the @#$%#$ did they make a sequel?” I have not seen these movies nor do I plan to. Ever.

A recent all CG movie introduced more female Smurfs because understanding how Smurf lore works is too much like work when there are feminists to placate, and yet all the Smurf girls moving to a different tribe (I haven’t seen The Lost Village and that one is on the “finally watch” list) actually makes a sort of sense so I’m of two minds on that one. In the actual fiction all you have are Smurfette (an artificial Smurf created by Gargamel, whose comic story is a bit more misogynistic than the HB version), Sassette the little girl Smurf, and Nanny Smurf. I’m not against more since they’ve been established without Gargamel’s magic but I’m not sure the addition is for the right reasons. Basically I don’t trust the entertainment industry to do something because the story demands it rather than the usual suspects who aren’t going to watch, play, or read it anyway. A topic for the future when I’ve seen the movie?

This leads to the new Smurf cartoon, which in the US is airing on Nickelodeon. Two stories (though not from the same episode) are currently available on the Nickelodeon Cartoon Universe channel (which at least appears to be legit) so consider this a sort of Friday Night Showcase with review as I give my thoughts on “Smurf-Fu” and “Clumsy Not Clumsy”.

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BW’s Daily Article Link: Spider-Man’s “Sins Past” Storyline Retconned

image source: Marvel Database (wiki)

It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who cares that a story Gwen Stacy having a one night stand with Norman Osborn and giving birth to twin sons didn’t sit well with her fans, basically having her cheat on Peter during their time apart with his arch enemy. So here’s an example of the retcon bomb being dropped on something that deserved it as Nick Spencer has just changed the story.

The writer is hoping that One More Day can be retcon bombed next but as I’ve written I just don’t see it happening, especially with Joe Quesada still Marvel’s chief creative officer, and this was all his doing to not “age the character”, plus that just means ticking off fans of the new continuity. Fans of the Spider-Marriage (or just those who don’t like Peter making a deal with the figurative devil shut up yes he is) have gotten their hopes up in the past but I’ll be surprised if that ever happens even if Quesada leaves.

My Favorite Intros: Foofur

In previous installments of this series I’ve looked at intros for shows I don’t really watch. It’s not called “My Favorite Intros Of Shows I Watched”. A good intro can at least keep me around to see the intro, though I know these shows probably did have fans. Heck, there were installments of My Not-So-Favorite Intros that were about shows I did watch. I still pick on Conan The Adventurer. Tonight I bring an intro to one of those shows I didn’t really watch a lot, or at least I don’t remember watching this one as a kid.

By 1986 I’m pretty sure my preference for action shows had locked into place, even by Saturday morning cartoon standards. (The networks having to deal with parent groups and the studios having to deal with the standards and practices folks led to stuff you only got away with in syndication and later cable channels.) Even the few shows that involved the characters hanging out were stuff like The Smurfs or Shirt Tales where they also fought bad guys, especially after Johan and Peewee were added to the Smurfs cartoon. (Yes, I know why.) So Hanna-Barbera’s Foofur, which like the other two aired on NBC for two seasons, was not on my Saturday morning watch list. The series follows the title character, a blue dog, and his friends living together, getting along, and having fun together. I wasn’t a fan, but something about the intro keeps it popping up in my head from time to time.

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BW’s Daily Video: Revisiting “The Secret Power Of The Kent Glasses”

Catch more Casually Comics on Sasha’s YouTube channel

For comparison here’s my own review of the comic. Sorry about the typos.

BW Vs. Professor Geek: Why We Should Review Bad Media

Usually when you see a video by modern mythology teacher and comic creator Michael “Professor Geek” Critzer here at the Spotlight it’s something we agree or mostly agree on. However, no two people agree on every matter and here’s one we don’t agree on. (I’m sure that will make one recurring commenter happy since he’s posted how much he lost interest in Professor Geek in two of the last three videos I’ve posted from his channel.)

For example, as much as I’m not a fan of the Star Wars sequel trilogy (I still haven’t seen Rise Of Skywalker as of this writing but it’s the one movie classic era and Kathleen Kennedy era fans agree on…that it was terrible, but for different reasons) I don’t want a reboot and ignoring the movies means ignoring the last performance we can get from the late Carrie Fisher as well as Peter Mayhew in at least one of the films. Also, I’m rather sick of reboots and re-imaginings in general, but Star Trek got along just fine without a reboot until J.J. Abrams came along, DC has both soft and hard reboots of their universe every few years to the point where I know one guy who figures “if they don’t care, why should I”, and Marvel recently did it with their nth comic called Secret Wars. So far the only classics not rebooted but still putting material out officially are Doctor Who, Sesame Street, and the four remaining soap operas on television. Anything not rebooted probably hasn’t put out new material in years or starts with NCIS, Law & Order, or CSI. Killing continuity is already an issue, why make it worse?

However, the subject we’re disagreeing on for this article is a recent commentary, “Stop Watching And Reviewing Garbage”. In it he makes a good case for not giving these shows more exposure. It did convince me not to go over the live-action She-Ra that Amazon just announced (though they’ve been talking live-action He-Man for the past few years) despite being a culmination of two different commentaries I posted last week. However, to say we in the reviewing circles should never discuss this I don’t quite agree with…and it’s not to promote hate clicks. My host is the only one making money off of this site so it doesn’t help me at all. On the other hand he’s not completely wrong about what he says in the video either. Watch it below, and then I’ll explain.

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