Archive for the 'Parody' Category

Apr 15 2010

Celebrity comics, summarized in a single image

Published by under Comic Books,Parody

I provide advice about how to write novels, comic books and graphic novels. Most of my content applies to fiction-writing in general, but I also provide articles specifically about superhero stories.


16 responses so far

Apr 18 2009

Michael Bay’s stab at a Dark Knight script

Published by under Comedy,Michael Bay,Parody

Spill.com did a mock script showing how Michael Bay (the guy who did Pearl Harbor and Transformers) might have tried The Dark Knight.

I recommend that you read all of it, but this is my favorite part.

BRUCE WAYNE is standing in front of a mirror, flexing his sculpted, shirtless torso.

BRUCE: Let’s do this.

Cue AC/DC’s “Back in Black.”  A series of quick shots show BRUCE gearing up: putting on the boots, slapping on the gloves, a brief glance across those beautiful pecs.  Finally, there is no longer BRUCE WAYNE, but BATMAN standing before us.

BATMAN: Back in black.

Pyrotechnics erupt in the distance.  Wailing guitar solo.

6 responses so far

Apr 13 2009

A blast from the horrid, horrid past

Published by under Blaxploitation,Comedy

I’d like you to watch 3:50-4:05 of this clip. There appears to be a noticeable plot hole here. Can you spot it? (Answer below).

Got it?

Continue Reading »

4 responses so far

Nov 12 2008

Webcomic 23: Don Gato Must Die

Published by under Comedy,Garfield Parody

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No responses yet

Oct 08 2008

Our projected pay has doubled… but minimum wage is still far away

Published by under Comedy,Navel-Gazing,TWPL

We did some calculations on the back of a napkin and concluded that the author of Things White People Like received an advance of 2.33 cents per hit.  Assuming that our advance earned us the same amount of money per hit, our projected pay per hour of website work has doubled to $1.75 over the past three months.   At this rate, we might reach minimum wage by the time I have my degree.  [JACOB ADDS:  Barely.  Won’t your parents be so proud?]

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Aug 27 2008

The Wrath of Farrakhan

Living Color put together this pretty hilarious blend of Star Trek and Louis Farrakhan.

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May 03 2008

Adios, Don Gato

Agent Black and everybody’s favorite mutated alligator, Agent Orange, have a heated argument about one of America’s most popular daily comic-strips, Don Gato.

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Apr 29 2008

A bizarrely amusing fan-made music video

Published by under Blaxploitation,Comedy

Someone used The Sims 2 to make a music video for the Men in Black theme. Normally, I think efforts like this are hackish. But this one was quite funny, particularly from :48-55. If you were writing the script for the music video, it would be like casting IRS agents as dancers and then telling them to improvise Thriller.

I also found the series of bunny hops at around 1:25 perversely amusing.

No responses yet

Apr 25 2008

A hard-learned lesson for superheroes…

Superheroes should never ask “are you thinking what I’m thinking?” The answer is never helpful.

But where could you find that much nitroglycerin at this hour?

Dr. Darpa

Unless your IQ has tripled since we’ve last spoken, probably not.

Catastrophe

You are now.

Mr. Mental

Don’t flatter yourself.

–Paingod

No responses yet

Mar 25 2008

A Hurricane of Coconuts

“I’m not a poker shark.  Did you know that coconuts kill more people than sharks do?  I’m like a hurricane of coconuts.”
–Catastrophe

No responses yet

Jan 06 2008

The Superhero Nation Mission Statement

There are mad scientists. There are political scientists. At Superhero Nation, you get the worst of both worlds.

(Maybe this is why we haven’t had a mission statement up to this point).

No responses yet

Jan 02 2008

Crocodile Terrorism: Tragicomedy, with an Emphasis on the Comedy

Quote of the Day:

Agent Orange: Few things are more pathetic than the crocodile terrorist. Yep. They can’t even do that right.

The Crocodile Intellect

And they talk like thisssssss…

We already knew that mammals > crocodiles, but this also indicates that mammal-insects > crocodiles. But Spiderman foolishly let the crocodile escape, which is further proof that alligators > mammal-insects.

One response so far

Dec 31 2007

Quote of the Day: Mike-Catastrophe Part 4

Mike: You’re positive you’re not an alien?

Catastrophe: Do aliens frequently speak fluent English?

Mike: Decryption programs applied to radio transmissions can do surprising things.

Catastrophe: I was checking football club rankings when you found me. Unless aliens are frequently interested in football…

Mike: You’d be surprised. You follow football?

Catastrophe: Sometimes. There aren’t any good teams around here.

Mike: Name three.

Catastrophe: Good teams? Arsenal, Man U and Newcastle.

Mike: Please. If you ever need to make up sports teams in the future, I recommend going with animal names, not randomly selected adjectives and nouns. “New castle?” “Man you?” That doesn’t even make sense!

Catastrophe: …

Catastrophe: You don’t get out much, do you?

This is the final part of a four part series. You can see part 1 here.

No responses yet

Dec 30 2007

Conversation of the Day: Mike-Catastrophe Part Three

Catastrophe: When I said that I was a cartoon character and not an alien, I meant it.
Mike: A cartoon character?

Catastrophe: Well, a facsimile of a cartoon character. The mutagen is presumably influenced by subconscious mental states like memories and impulses. It was the day of the goddamned Hegemon parade and the effing balloon had come loose and trashed my car. So it was on my mind.

Mike: You expect me to believe—

Catastrophe: —not really, nor do I care. What you believe is completely besides the point. The only thing that matters—the only positive thing, anyway— is that at least it wasn’t Peaceachu.

This is part 3 of a four-part series. You can see part 1 here or part 4 here (after 6 PM US Central on Dec. 31).

No responses yet

Dec 29 2007

Conversation of the Day: Mike-Catastrophe Part 2

Mike: We have a non-optional orientation program for aliens. This is very simple. If anyone asks, say that you’re not an alien.

Catastrophe: I’m a cartoon character.

Mike: That was easy, wasn’t it?

Catastrophe: …

Catastrophe: Wait. There are aliens on Earth?

Mike: Uhh… no?

 

This is part II of a four part conversation. You can see part 1 here or part 3 here.

No responses yet

Dec 28 2007

Amusing Links

Agent Orange presents his link of the day and a related public service announcement for crocodile-Americans.

The Annals of Crocodile Failures, 94th Edition

Lions, buffaloes and crocodiles do battle for control of a Kenyan wildlife refuge. This film is rated PG… Pretty Gruesome. The crocodiles make their inglorious appearance at 3:30, but they’re so ineffective that the (mammalian) commentators only notice them at 3:38. Unless you enjoy watching lions play two crocodiles silly, I recommend skipping ahead to 4:30, which is when things get rowdy on the land. “They’ve got ’em surrounded” (5:45). I also enjoyed the sudden appearance of Superlion– he flies– at 5:45.
6:30 is outlandish and further indicates how completely pathetic the crocodiles were in their brief appearance. Any creature that is unable to cripple a baby buffalo is hereby banished from the reptile class. Experts at Palomar University, one of the world’s leading reptological institutions, have found that:

The class Reptilia [Reptiles*] includes turtles, snakes, lizards, alligators**, and other large reptiles…

Let’s face it, crocodiles: even turtles and snakes*** count as reptiles. But not you*. (Don’t snicker too hard, mammals… the lions did not make a persuasive case for your phylum).

Not to fear, crocodiles: although you are no longer reptiles, you may technically qualify as amphibians****. However, both mammals and reptiles will remain ashamed to share a subphylum with you.

Tailnotes

*clarified for the benefit of crocodiles. Not that I think it will help.

**Unsurprisingly, saving the best for last. Incidentally, 99 % of reptologists agree that alligators > lizards > snakes > amoeba > crocodiles. As for the last 1%, if you are ever so horrifically unfortunate to find one of them, escape quickly. (Even if you’re a mammal—it’s not worth finding out if it can spread across species). Say whatever you need to. “I need to sharpen my claws (fingernails)” or “my scales (skin) require polishing.”

***Crocodile sympathizers may dispute that snakes are more worthy of the reptilian name than crocodiles. And we can speculate about the psychological disorders that might prod them to do so. But the fact remains that snakes can eat hippos (not for the squeamish). And, furthermore, snakes have their own baseball team, with which I am not familiar, and dominate a city with which I am.

****Assuming they’ll have you. Don’t hold your breath.

No responses yet

Dec 28 2007

Conversation of the Day: Dec. 28 (Mike-Catastrophe Part 1)

Setup: Catastrophe is a statistician that has been transformed by a mutagen into something uncannily similar to a character on a hit cartoon show, Hegemon (“Gotta kill ‘em all!”) Mike heads the Office of Special Investigations’ efforts to conceal extraterrestrial life and mistakenly believes Catastrophe is an alien.

Mike: Hello.

Catastrophe: I’m reading.

Mike: This’ll only take a second.

Catastrophe: Time’s up.

Mike: …

Mike: Let’s say five minutes.

Catastrophe: That’s 30000% of your original request. Is talking with you really more important than the club rankings?

Mike: And considerably less likely to get you pushed down the stairs.

(This is part of a four part series). After 6:00 PM on 12/29, you can read part 2 here.

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Dec 24 2007

Character Quotes: Catastrophe/Dr. Berkeley

Dr. Berkeley is a mathematician that Jacob Mallow hires to complete a project that relies heavily on numbers theory. Unfortunately for Berkeley, the project is actually an attempt to build a weapons-grade mutagen. Whoops. Several accidents later, he is mutated into a dead ringer for Katastrophy, the supervillain in a popular Japanese cartoon show.  In the aftermath of his mutation, he has to escape capture from his former employer and devise a serum to restore his humanity.

WRITERS’ NOTES

When designing a character, it’s critical that your audience discern key characteristics about each character.  Did the quotes help you associate Catastrophe with any particular characteristics?  Which ones?  Some variation of self-assured, eccentric and calculating probably made your list.  Did you get discontented as well?  

16 responses so far

Dec 21 2007

Quote of the Day: Dec. 21

Evil-Corp Publishing Presents: So You Want to be a Supervillain!

1. If you ever capture your opponents, kill them immediately. If possible, execute them yourself—leave nothing to chance. “But how will my most hated enemies see my glorious schemes come to fruition?” They won’t—they’ll be dead. That’s the point. Have their descendants serve as slaves and/or witnesses to your undying greatness.

2.  As attractive as doomsday devices are, they don’t provide a very credible threat. Would you really destroy the world you live on? Even the UN will laugh at you rather than recognize the magnificence of your doomsday device. For a nominal fee, however, you can buy EvilCorp’s InstaWorld Kit*. Then the only question is this: would you rather have a billion dollars or the chance to get rid of the UN?

3. Villainous devices will work only once. You will only be able to shrink/zap/body-swap with a cabbage/etc. to a hero once. Any subsequent attempt to use the device will end in disaster. If the hero survives the first use, switch to conventional weaponry and ready your escape pods.

4. If any minion suggests any plan that involves monkeys—simian minions, devolution rays, etc.—shoot him immediately. If possible, feed him to real minions, like sharks or animated trash compactors. On the list of most mind-boggingly inept supervillain schemes, “monkey business” ranks right around invading the US with Amazons and killer bees.

*Life not included.

No responses yet

Dec 15 2007

Black Ops

TO:  HUMAN RESOURCES

FROM:  RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

The viability of meeting federal diversity requirements with inorganic means

Situation recap: Staffing issues unique to the Office of Special Investigations, like a strong base of nonhuman applicants, render it difficult to meet congressional standards on (human) minority employment.

Furthermore, it displeases Congress greatly that recruiters (apparently regardless of their race) appear to pass over African-American candidates. The Civil Rights Commission guidelines has ruled that avoiding life insurance claims is not a valid reason to discriminate on the basis of race…

In the 1980s, Research and Development had been working on PROJECT ROBOT, a series of combat-androids. We discontinued the program after field tests in Nicaragua revealed that our prototype was a sociopathic Sandinista that had been plotting to escape for years, but we have resolved that bug. As a temporary solution to contemporary issues, we can resume production of the androids with several specs relevant to HR’s goals.

  1. Variant skin-tones
  2. Variant dialects– including “Will Smith” and “Bernie Mac” (However, OSHA regulations have forced us to suspend testing of “Chris Tucker”).

I present to you PROJECT BROBOT. Let me suggest a few guidelines about using the androids.

  1. We hosted several European scientists last week. One of the prototypes heard several of them speaking in Spanish. He became very… odd. I would highly recommend not putting them in a Spanish-heavy environment. In fact, I would recommend not letting them out of the office at all.
  2. Leaving them within easy access of scissors or staplers could be problematic. (Or coffee-pots. They are remarkably resourceful).
  3. If at all possible, I would recommend giving each robot a bodyguard unit, ideally armed with electromagnetic weaponry (in case other robots attack?).

Additionally, we have noticed that Brobots have a considerably shorter lifespan than the control group. Researchers on the floor above us are conducting acoustical research. We learned that when their piano crashed through the ceiling, discontinuing work on Prototype 7-B. In another incident, a guard adjusted his belt and accidentally knocked off his holster, causing his pistol to hit the ground and discharge a bullet. Prototype 4-C will be missed.

No responses yet

Dec 13 2007

Quote of the Day

AGENT ORANGE: “Hello, you’ve reached the Office of Special Investigations Human Resources switchboard. If you are an OSI employee looking to make a benefits claim, please press one to learn how we stay under budget. If you are interested in serving a long and fruitful life and keeping America safe, I recommend the FBI or the military. If you are interested in an extremely fruitful and less than extremely long life keeping America safe, please press two. If you need to speak to me about other matters, please press three.”

*Three.*

ORANGE: “Hello, you’ve reached the Office of Special Investigations Human Resources switchboard. You have indicated that you wish to speak to me. If that is correct, please press one. If you wish to have a productive evening, please press two.”

*One.*

ORANGE: “Hello, you have reached the Office of Special Investigations Human Resources switchboard. You have indicated that you do wish to speak to me. I suspect you don’t mean that. But, in case you do, you will only have to press 98 more keys before you can page me. If you are sure that your message is worth your time and mine, please press five. (I couldn’t let you hit one every time, right?)”

*Eighty-five minutes later.*

ORANGE: Hello, this is Agent Orange…

Journalist: …

Agent Orange: Hello? … I’m hanging up now.

Journalist: NOoooooOOooo! The Files. I need… The Files!

Agent Orange: What the hell are you talking about?

Journalist: The vast treasure troves of data you’ve got on everyone.

Agent Orange: Oh. Those files.

No responses yet

Dec 09 2007

Quote of the Day: Dec. 9

Agent Orange: Contrary to popular belief, the New York Times is not actually the most anti-American news outlet. CSPAN is far more dangerous, and not just because it is more accurate than the average comic book. You couldn’t design anti-American propaganda more effective than around-the-clock Congressional coverage.

No responses yet

Dec 08 2007

Quote of the Day

“You don’t change the world by whispering.” — NY Governor Eliot Spitzer

“Only a New Yorker could think that volume can change the world.”– Jacob Mallow

One response so far

Dec 07 2007

Quote of the Day

I reject the cynical view that politics is a dirty business.”– Richard Nixon

Sorry, I can’t think of any way to make that any funnier.

No responses yet

Dec 02 2007

Another Poorly Slapped Together Piece of Art

This next one is dedicated to a certain fictional counterterrorist we all know and love, rather than anything in real-life.

My last fake card was done like a Magic: The Gathering card. It’s come to my attention that there are superhero card games (!). One of my Australian (!!!) readers says that he has actually played one, OverPower.

He says: “Your art [expletive]s but I bet Hegemon will be funner to play than” Overpower.

In honor of this alleged card game that has apparently made its way to Australia already, I give you your second Hegemon card, There’s No Time!

(Please click to see the full image if it’s cut off).

There’s No Time!

To the extent that the art is not painfully bad, I made use of Dali’s classic Persistence of Memory.

No responses yet

Nov 28 2007

The truth about “superheroes”

The International Society of Supervillains has the dirt on “superheroes” that are really tools. Reed Richards, Namor and Superman take the cake.

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Nov 27 2007

Black Superheroes and Writing Fiction About Racism

ABC did a story called Why Black Superheroes Succeed– and Fail. That’s interesting for whites writing black characters (or vice versa) or those wondering why some characters are popular and others aren’t.

I think black superheroes tend to fail because they get typecast as persecuted heroes. Even the article confuses two very separate ideas.

  1. The article’s first sentence: “Would Spider-Man be the box-office juggernaut he is today if he had been created as an African-American character?” All other things being equal, would a successful hero become unsuccessful if he is made black?
  2. The article’s second sentence: “What if Peter Parker had had to deal with the problems of being black in America in addition to adjusting to his powers when he was first introduced in 1962?” Would a successful hero become unsuccessful if white-on-black persecution were inserted into his plotline?

These two questions are very different! The second implicitly assumes that a black hero must face white-on-black persecution, which probably makes less sense now than it did in 1962. And, regardless of whether it is plausible that every black is persecuted by whites, persecution stories are usually depressing (particularly when the persecution is based on real-life events, rather than hating mutants or Muggles). Making the hero the victim of persecution changes the tone of the plot far more than just making him black.

Do black heroes have to be persecuted? I don’t think so. Most young people, especially, haven’t lived with the intense and highly visible racism of the 1960s, but the comics industry doesn’t seem to have caught on to that. Plot elements that were commonplace (or at least plausible) fifty years ago, like racial violence and particularly caustic racist remarks, often seem outlandishly cynical now.

If you do focus on racism, I recommend using elements of racism that are likelier to resonate with your readers circa now. People might step away in hallways and elevators or sit at different tables in cafeterias—I think that most readers would agree that’s how racism manifests right now more than, say, burning crosses and even racial slurs. More provocatively, someone might suggest that a minority has gotten where he is because of affirmative action or that affirmative action hires as a whole are less qualified than other employees. Bank guards might get antsy. Etc. (For some more manifestations of modern racism, please see the footnotes).

The point is that modern racism has become subconscious—I suspect that most racists genuinely believe that they aren’t— and that portraying racism as in-your-face, 1960s slurs will likely feel out of touch and preachy to your readers.

When I watched Crash, I laughed so hard when a car crash caused people to immediately start screaming slurs. Wouldn’t you, uhh, want to get their insurance information first? NO CUZ KKKALIFORNIA IZ RACIST. Crash wants to Make A Point and comes off as totally cartoonish.

Freedom Writers portrays a racially balkanized community much more plausibly.

If you feel the need to include intense racism in your work—something that will significantly affect the tone and marketability of your piece—Freedom Writers offers a pretty good model. It treats racism more seriously.

  1. FW is set in a school district with some really poor areas. Meeting basic, everyday needs is a struggle.
  2. Gangs and ghettos form as an attempt to form communities to meet those needs.
  3. Intense, Hobbesian struggles and racism arise as the communities clash.

FW suggests that racism arises from economics*. That offers FW’s world a sort of grim, perverse logic. FW’s world is deep—you see where the racism came from and why it is so damn hard to overcome. Readers understand economic motives and how much money matters, especially if you have very little. Readers won’t sympathize with race-based gangs, but they will appreciate that tolerance is a harder choice than they thought. That raises the stakes and makes the heroes larger-than-life.

In Crash, racism just sprouted from nowhere and persists despite economic concerns. Insulting someone rather than getting their insurance information is irrational. Furthermore, the story offers no explanation why the characters would think it’s rational. Why are characters intolerant? Because they’re emotional, maybe. That seems flimsy and unsatisfying. It also gives the story an arbitrary feel– the characters couldn’t overcome racism at the story’s start, so how are they able to at the end? It would feel much more logical if we knew why racism was a problem at the start.

Footnotes

*Although some sociologists do agree with Freedom Writers that racism is primarily rooted in economics, they’re in the minority. But that doesn’t matter– Freedom Writers feels coherent and plausible anyway.  99% of your audience has no idea what most sociologists think, so it’s the feeling that matters.

More modern racism

For the purposes of helping you write, I’ll broadly define racism as anything that might create discomfort or division along racial lines.

1) Affirmative action. I actually already mentioned this before, but I think it’s particularly useful because blacks and whites often strongly disagree not only about AA but about which statements/opinions about AA are socially acceptable. For example, in one class a white student discussing AA made the (not extremely controversial?) assertion that race influences faculty hiring decisions. This offended the black professor, who may have thought that the white was insinuating he was less qualified. The professor asked, “do you think I was hired because I’m black?” The white was taken aback by that point-black, personal question about what he probably perceived to be an impersonal, general statement. He said that he thinks that the professor’s being black was a factor.

As the author, you could paint this a few ways. Maybe the student is wrong to treat the issue impersonally, maybe the professor was being oversensitive, or that there’s just a gap in understanding between the white and the black that doesn’t suggest anything negative about either.

2) Whites saying “sup” to black peers. In terms of awkward hilarity, this is one of my favorites. Whites often feel pressured to act differently with blacks. You might chalk this up to insensitivity and/or oversensitivity. Saying “sup” probably isn’t sinister, but it may create tension because the black knows that the white is acting differently because he’s talking to a black. In a related example (one I can hopefully offer without making a political point), Hillary Clinton once adopted a painfully bad drawl when speaking before a black audience.

3) Subways, trains and buses. I’ve noticed that people (including nonwhites) strongly prefer to sit by people of the same race. Visual media, like comic books, have some fantastic opportunities for some grim humor by showing a black (or white?) sitting alone in a crowded bus like he has leprosy or something. However, I’ve never seen anyone change seats to specifically move away from someone of a different race.

4) The assumption that whites and blacks have substantially different skills, traits or tastes.

14 responses so far

Nov 21 2007

Quote of the Day: Wednesday

Bartender: New Hegemon movie’s coming out.

Catastrophe: I heard.

Bartender: …

Bartender: How much do they pay you to wear that?

Catastrophe: Not enough.

No responses yet

Nov 18 2007

Quote of the Day

Jacob Mallow: I’ve finally perfected the concoction. It will–

Paingod: No.

Jacob Mallow: What?

Paingod: I don’t want to know what it does, how it does it, or your vast and no doubt eminently disruptable deployment strategy. Telling me can only guarantee that your plan does not come to fruition.

Jacob: What? How would that matter?

Paingod: …

Paingod: You’re new here, aren’t you?

2 responses so far

Nov 15 2007

A moment that will live in comic book infamy

Pass me down the shark repellent, Robin!”

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