Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Kickstarter Arrival - Bubblegum Crisis Blu-Ray

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Today I received the Bubblegum Crisis Blu-Ray in the mail. It is the first time it has been released on Blu-Ray, and I can't wait to watch it in high-quality. Now, I could go on and on about how much I love this series, or even show you all the different versions and art books I have, but for now I'm just going to show you what the entire package looks like. Please forgive the really poor MSPaint Pasting.
At first, USPS tried to deny me my well deserved reward, and when I first tried to pull the box out of the mailbox, it wouldn't budge. I couldn't squish it either (the back door the mailman uses must be bigger). Well, I grabbed my scissors and for 10 minutes in the dark of the night, stripped the box away to get my precious prize.
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Now, the rewards are really cool, as I'm most excited about the A.D. Police key chain, and the coin with my favorite villain, Largo. You also get 7 postcards. Plus, the back of the cards have character design sketches.
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They also give you the 4-Issues American Comic Book Series in digital format, as well as all 3 RPG books set in the Bubblegum Crisis universe (not pictured). Next, I'll show you the front and back of sleves. Also, note the pictures with names on them. My name is there in Linna's mouth in the picture she is smiling.
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And don't forget the discs. That ends this look at all the items for this Kickstarter. Now that this was a success, AnimEgo might starting doing the same with some of their other properties.
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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Currently Watching - Casshern (1973)

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       I am having a blast watching Casshern (from 1973). It's fun watching him fight robots and seeing one of the early anime titles of that era that was the source for one of my favorite anime titles in middle school. One thing that was surprising for me though, was how both Luna (Casshern's childhood friend) and Casshern's mother both are treated much differently than what I would have expected for not only the girlfriend character, but the dead parent, as well: Luna actively fights by Casshern's side, whereas Casshern's mother is a spy for the robot army.

       In Casshern, lighting strikes the android BK-1, which awakens and decides to destroy humanity. He attacks his creator Azuma, his wife Midori, and their son, Testsuya, who barely escape with their lives. Their dog is critically injured, and is turned into a robot dog with the original's brainwaves (Vision and Wonder Man did the same thing in Avengers in 1970). And this robot can turn into a car, jet, sub, and spaceship. However, BK1 now calls himself Braiking Boss, and creates an army of robots with Azuma's factory and begins taking over the fictional and unnamed country he was born in. Tetsuya, realizing that the UN is no match for Braiking Boss and his robots, merges his body with a robot, becoming an android; neither human nor robot. Now, he fights to defeat Braiking Boss and save humanity.

       Enjoy the theme song:

       One of the themes of the series is that of identity. Casshern hides what he is because all humans hate robots of any kind now, and Casshern frequently finds himself outed, and yet continues to fight for a world that shuns him. However, just by watching Cassherns actions, most people learn to accept him at the end of each episode.

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       Luna has a father who invents a gun which can kill robots with one shot. He is killed when his invention is discovered, and Luna is determined to fight with his weapon no matter what Casshern says. In the beginning, Casshern constantly tells her to leave so she will be safe. Yet time and again, because Casshern can only use so much energy before being helpless, Luna comes to his aid. In the end of the 4th episode (in which she saves Casshern's life, by the way), she actually leaves on a boat, and you think they are writing her out of the series, but then Casshern interrupts her boats path, and realizing he can't win this battle alone, asks her to join him in the battle, no matter what happens. Starting out as the damsel that Casshern needs to rescue (2-3 times), she eventually turns into a warrior to fight Braiking Boss' army.

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       One of the weirder and unsettling moments is when Braiking Boss kidnaps Casshern's parents. He is going to kill Midori to prove a point to Azume, but Azuma (asking his wife's permission first) says he thinks he can save her, but it will come at a price. Braiking Boss thinks she escaped, but what Azuma has done is transplant her brain into their robot pet Swannee (a robot Swan). Braiking Boss takes Swannee as a pet and is never suspicious of what she truly is. Here, Midori gathers intel and reports to Casshern, helping them stop all of Braiking Boss' evil plans. Midori (usually every episode) puts her life on the line constantly to help all of humanity. And though Casshern wishes they could all 3 return to the way they used to be once this is all over, it sometimes seems that Midori knows this can't happen, and only helps him have hope to see the battle through.

       I'm so used to seeing the parent's dead, and the son trying to move on, that I was surprised at how refreshingly different it was to have the parent now be the spy for the villain of the series. Her life is in constant danger (again, she is only a robot swan), and seeing Casshern and Luna save each other on a near equal basis makes it feel more of a team effort. It somehow feels more progressive than most anime titles I watched in the 90sat the time.

       I have never seen this series before. I grew up watching Cassharn (it was re-tittled) on the Sci-Fi channel back in the early 90s, and was always bummed that it was so awesome, and yet only had 4 episodes (or OVAs, as I would later find out). So much so, that watching the original series, I'm seeing similar ideas and themes that are in Mechanaflux that were not in the original 90s show I watched. So far I have only finished the first 12 episodes, but I know that it, too, will end. Oh well, I suppose I can watch Casshern Sins again and cry at the the really bleak and depressing future and character stories in every episode. I will revisit Casshern again, because there is an episode in Casshern Sins that is definitely a modern re-telling of one of the 70s episodes, and I'd like to examine the way the story is told in each one.

       If you are interested, you can check out Casshern's 35 episode original series from 1973, or the 4 part OVA from 1993.

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Why I Should Write For Hollywood - Spider-Man Close Saga Epilogue (I Love Ben)

      So here is the follow-up to my previous Spider-Man Outline; did anyone grieve over the loss of Ben Reilly? Well, someone was missing grieving after his death (what was with me writing two depressing stories about people dealing with the loss of their loved ones? Was it because the comics I was reading didn't appear realistic)?

      Anyway, Ben Reilly had dated Jessica Carradine right before he died. However, he found out she was the daughter of the burglar that killed Uncle Ben, and she refused to believe he was a real criminal, calling his killing of Uncle Ben an accident, and stating that Spider-Man killed him (a very lose recalling of what actually happened when the criminal returned in Amazing Spider-Man #200). She eventually took photos of Spider-Man unmasking himself to reveal that he was her boyfriend. They argue multiple times, with her refusing to believe her father was a criminal and that Spider-Man was a hero, especially when he was possessed by Carnage. That storyline really pissed me off with her character, because she was glad Spider-Man was suffering with the symbiotic on him, but couldn't see he was resisting it and telling her and everyone else to get away because he might accidentally kill them.

      Eventually, she witnessed Spider-Man nearly die saving people in a burning building, realized she might have not been looking at the situations objectively, ran up to him and handed him the photos, then ran off. Ben is too weak to follow; he called out to her, but she had already vanished, never seen again.

      So, here is my short follow-up story to Jessica reflecting on his death when she reads it in the news, because if there was one thing I never liked about comics, it was the way they abandoned characters. I wrote this my Freshman Year of High School.

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Spider-Man: I Love Ben

      Opens with Jessica on the internet, thinking about Ben Reily, who she used to love. She is tempted, rejects, then ultimately searches for his name online, only to find his obituary; “Ben Reily Falls To Death. Spider-Man Responsible?” Pic of Spidey carrying Ben to the roof. Jessica remembers her father in prison.

      “Listen baby, don’t worry. It wasn’t my fault. Some costume webs me up, and they think I did something wrong.” As a teenager, she cries because she heard he was a killer. “Don’t believe them, Jess. You father is no killer.”

      Next, Jessica watching Spider-Man, then taking her first picture of him. “This one will rival Parker’s.” She sells the picture to Jameson. She sees Spidey swing overhead. “One day Spider-Man, I’ll take so many pictures of your unjust acts that the world will see that my dad was right; you set people up and take the money for yourself.”

      Later, she hears from a cop that her dad is dead. Heart attack. They tell her Spider-Man was there, that he tried to break into the same house again. She blames Spider-Man, even when the cops say it was only a heart attack, it had been building for years.

      Later, Jessica meets Ben Reily, similar to how she did in the 1995 comic books. They dine, dance. They sleep together. They walk in park. “He was perfect because he wasn’t.” He shows her Steward Trainers lab? “But then.”

      Spidey taking of mask, replica of Blood Brothers cover. Her preparing camera, then after taking picture pulling back in shock.

      Jessica’s shocked reaction in three panels.

      She confronts him (like in old comics), then later sees him save some people in a burning building and realizes, that he isn’t like what her father said. He had nothing to gain, and only his life to lose. She gives him the pics and runs away as he screams her name. As she walks off, her right eye has a tear and her eyes are not visable. “Oh god. What does this say about my father?”

      The Present: Jessica on the street where Ben died, looking at the pavement, holding the newspaper printout of the picture away from her, to the side. She just stares at the sidewalk. “I forgave you long ago.”

      Picture of Ben and Jessica doing something fun. “But I never admitted that I still loved you.”

      On way to Ben’s ‘grave’, Spider-Man is a few blocks away fighting criminals. She tries to run and talk to him, but he says, “No, no need to thank me. Just be sure to say I hired them to save my falling percentage in the hero polls.” “Wait,” she says, not yelling, but he has already jumped away. “Who was that anyway? Cousin, doesn’t matter.”

End Story

Umm...was there an ending here High School Shawn? I'm pretty sure I never edited this, and I also see that the real ending should probably he her either at Ben's grave or the sidewalk where he died; both which should have been placed after her encounter with Spider-Man. Oh well. Well, so much for that character, she will most likely never show up ever again in Marvel Comics, but at least she had a good character arc.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Why I Should Write For Hollywood - Spider-Man Clone Saga Epilogue (Lost Child - Outline)

      Spider-Man was THE comic book I read growing up. I remember getting every 30th Anniversary issue from my dad, and that got me interested, but the 4 separate storylines leading up to the Clone Saga got me hooked. After the clone saga hint at the end of each title (Amazing Spider-Man, Spectacular Spider-Man, Web Of Spider-Man, & Spider-Man) I went to Krogers (to the comic book section) and bought the first issue of the Clone Saga Storyline – Power & Responsibility. I could only afford the first issue, but when I got to the counter, I realized that the back of the comic was actually a flip comic (where the comic is reversed and has a new cover on the back) so I DID in fact have all of the story.

      However, the Clone Saga eventually ended. but there was a huge, HUGE, glaring character error that annoyed me when the saga ended. Mary Jane and Peter had a child that died stillborn, and after the next issue, they both forget they ever had a child. “WHAT…THE…HELL! Emotions don’t work that way,” my 15 year old self said out lout to no one. So, as you can guess, I wrote my own epilogue. It was the first time I ever wrote fan fiction, because I wanted to right an injustice.

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They wrote the baby out because she was inconvenient. Next you’ll tell me they’re going to write Mary Jane out of the picture, too, because married people are too hard to write.

      Mary Jane and Peter were going to have a child, but at the same time, Peter was dying of a virus that was killing him. Previously, he had tried to ignore Mary Jane, the Bugle, and his entire Peter Parker existence due to the death of Harry Osborn and his Parents. But, his child allowed him to have something to fight for and caused him to look toward his future. He found his way back from his darkness and returned to the Peter he had become. During the Clone Saga, Mary Jane was pregnant for about 2 years (in real time), giving Peter and Mary Jane many scenes in which they plan their future. At one point, he even gives up being Spider-Man so he can raise his family.

      Then, his baby died and he forgot it even existed. So, what does Peter and Mary Jane need? Why, a graveyard scene, of course. These were something of a recurring theme in the Spider-Man books, yet the baby has never had a single g*d da** grave scene, because the writers want to pretend it never happened. He still finds the Green Goblin and laments Gwen dying, but no, never remembers, THE DEATH OF HIS OWN CHILD! If the writers continue to remember that the Gwen Stacey / Norman Osborn babies are still around, they can remember Peter and Mary Jane’s actual, natural, non-stupid-plot baby. Rant ended.

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Read that last paragraph: Osborn admits to KILLING A BABY.

      Below are adaptations of my hand written notes from high school. All bad dialogue, descriptions, and misspellings are preserved for posterity.

Lost Child – Outline

Mary Jane awakens to the rain. She says Peter’s name, then turns and finds he is not there. She lays her head on her pillow, then hears a babies voice. “Mommy, mommy.” The baby tugs at MJ’s blankets and asks for breakfast, but when she turns to look at her child, she instead sees Peter bruised, in costume, his mask off. Says he fought someone that wasn’t in his rogues gallery. Peter looks at MJ and sees her face, “Is something wrong?” She say no. He goes to bed and passes out. MJ sits in her bed for a few panels, then grabs her coat and heads outside.

She walks around, only to have a little girl tug at her. “Did you forget me mommy.” MJ pats the little girl then holds her hand along the sidewalk. They head over to a park, despite it being dark. “Yay, the swings.” The little girl runs over to the swings. Then MJ’s face when she watches her try the monkey bars. The girl tries the monkey bars, then falls into dirt below. MJ’s expression in one of concern, but not danger. Girl gets up and MJ half-smiles. Girl dusts herself off and runs up a slide.

Peter wakes up, only to find MJ gone. “Strange, isn’t this suppose to work the other way?” He looks at MJ open the door. Peter looks at MJ as she sits on the bed. She looks down at the sheets. Peter asks her what’s wrong. Next panel same as before only with Peter’s shocked face as he realizes what day it is. “Oh my god. I’m so sorry.”

“There’s a reason you forget her, I think. As long as you pretend you never saw her, she never existed. She was real Peter, she was inside of me.” MJ’s tears. Peter embraces her. “I wanted her so bad, Peter. Our little May.” Peter: “I did, too.”

MJ wipes her tears away. “It’s never going to happen again, is it?” Peter: “I want it to.”

MJ, “But? What if someone takes her away from us?” Combine with image of Green Goblin taking their girl away. Then, Chamelon disguised as Peter taking a boy away.

“They could raise him against me, kill him, torture him.” Green Goblin dunks girl into Goblin formular tank, while one rogue who knows him just points a gun directly at a boy’s head.

Peter looks down. “I still remember his words.”

Flashback – Green Goblin with Peter beaten, showcasing his scar. Green Goblin: “What I did to you girl was to make up for what you did to my Harry.” (Nice sentence, Shawn)

Peter leans on head, “It’s all my fault.”

“Peter, it’s not. You aren’t the one who did any of these things.”

“What’s going to happen when he grows up? Will he put himself in danger all the time, like I did?”

MJ: “If she’s like you, could you really blame her.”

Peter ponders that question for a moment with his hands closed together. “No, because I’d understand her reasoning for everything.”

MJ – “It’s always going to be like this, isn’t it?”

“Maybe, when I retire, or…”

“Retire?” Yells MJ, looking at him. “You have the world on your shoulders for everything. You would never retire, until…”

She leans into his chest. “I don’t ever want to lose you.”

“I wish we could, knowing he would be safe.”

MJ smiles through the tears, and pinches his cheecks. “How do you know it won’t be a girl?”

Peter: “Well, I have a sixth sense about these things.”

MJ: “Don’t you mean a seventh sense?”

They put their heads together and smile, holding each other’s face in their hands.

The Next Day

They stand over a grave that says: May Parker: Beloved Daughter. MJ and Peter both place a flower at the grave. MJ looks up to see little May sitting on her tombstone. “Don’t be sad, we just need some ice cream?” MJ smiles then Peter lifts May onto his back. May holds his back. “Look, I’m crawling on you like a wall. I’m Mrs. Spider-Man.” Peter turns to MJ, and kisses her. “I believe that already applies to one lady.”

Little May says, “Gross. I don’t ever wanna kiss anything.” MJ and Peter laugh, with the panel showing the back of all three people, with Peter and MJ with Peter holding May’s left hand, and MJ holding her right hand. The next panel, however, is MJ and Peter close together, holding each other at the waist. They hold each other as if they will fall down without the other, imagining the life their child could have had as they leave the graveyard.

End Lost Child Outline

      So, there you have my totally-not-depressing story about Peter and Mary Jane dealing with the loss of their child one year later.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

My Nintendo Scrapbook From My 10 Year Old Self Is A Blast From The Past

      So I was going through my comic books and realized that under them I had a few things I had forgotten existed until I actually saw them. Aside from boring Mutual Fund magazines that I thought were investments of the future, and the very first Digimon Magazine ever [hell yes], I found my Nintendo Scrapbook I did when I was 9 and 10 years old.

      I would frequently cut up my Nintendo and Game Boy boxes [gasp!] and put them in my 3 ring binder scrapbook along with other miscellaneous advertisements inside the games. I even remember cutting apart the Dr. Mario instructional manual to make a birthday card for my dad [you know, BECAUSE HE'S A DOCTOR; 10 year old me was a genius].

      So let's take one last look at this scrapbook before I toss it into the trash with PopBot and some random 2000 AD magazine.

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      Attack of the random assortment of games. Look at this masterful arrangement! Battle Tank brings back memories; I always enjoyed it in small doses, but it's the only game along with Battletoads that I could never beat.

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      I remember every game came with a minimum of 3 advertisements (with the 3rd always being a subscription to Nintendo Power telling you how awesome you'll be if you get their magazine). These large fold-out ads were how I first discovered all the games out there that weren't Super Mario, Duck Hunt, World Classic Track Meet, & Tetris.

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      One of these is not like the others. Metal Gear Solid 2 always looked cool, but I never got to play it. I do remember Little Mermaid being the easiest Nintendo Game we owned (yes, even Kirby's Adventure was more challenging), so I guess it's only natural it go right next to the hardest game we ever owned: Battletoads (yet somehow was also one of my favorite Nintendo games).

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      Everyone I know had both of these games, but Luigi was always the superior choice to me in Super Mario Brothers 2. Controlling his slowly descending (and frantically wiggling feet) from the sky was fun, and I remember liking the bosses since there were so many of them to fight instead of the same guy 9 different times.

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      This is clearly from a Nintendo Power ad. I remember really enjoying the comic books in Nintendo Power, because they had really good Legend Of Zelda & Super Mario World comics, and the next 2 years after that brought Star Fox and Super Metroid. I only wish they released that last two in a graphic novel. I bought the Super Mario World one long ago with stamps they gave you every issue to use in their store, and am kicking myself for never having gotten the Legend Of Zelda one, because it costs over $300.00 if I ever want to own it now.

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      Even more Battletoads. And if you look closely, you can see 2 of their games on the right.

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      Bart Vs The World. Because nothing says good controls like making A both the 'Jump' and the 'Run' button. However, lots of the mini-games in if were pretty cool. The Punisher picture on the right reminds me I rented the Punisher Nintendo game once at a video rental store (Before Blockbuster) and it's one of those rentals that, even though I only played one weekend, I still remember it because it left that much of an impression on me (i.e., it was fun).

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      Dear Santa. I know I can only get one game for Christmas, so I am going to ask for ... You know, I don't remember what games I ever wanted at that young of an age. I remember getting games, but most of the Nintendo & Game Boy games I got were all random presents from my parents. I was pretty much happy with just about every game we got, so I guess that means I only ever played good games? Legend Of Zelda: Link's Awakening was the first game I remember actively asking my parents to buy, and that was because of the commercial. It wasn't until I was older (and in the Super Nintendo Age) that I actively told them games I wanted for Christmas and Birthdays.

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      I played every TMNT game, because not only did I have some of them, but my neighbors had the rest, and the TMNT Arcade (both The Arcade Game & Turtles In Time) were on the ship that took us to Canada.

      Seeing these Game Boy cut-ups makes me realize that Link's Awakening and Battle Arena Toshinden are the only Game Boy games I DIDN'T destroy. The same can't be said of the Nintendo games, BECAUSE I DESTROYED THEM ALL. Though when cleaning out my parent's house this past holiday, I found every single Instructional Manual for every single one of our Nintendo Games. So, I guess I can consider them half-destroyed?

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      Oh god, now I've seen Paperboy, and I CAN'T GET THE TUNE OUT OF MY HEAD. There was a time when my house was under construction and I had to live in the dining room on a cot for 6 months. But hey, the TV, Nintendo, & Super Nintendo were right in front of me, and having just borrowed Paperboy 2 from my friends (for SNES), I remember playing that every Saturday morning while I waited for my room to be built.

      And Bad Dudes? I remember my sister and I making fun of how they said "I'm Bad." All I remember is that when I finally beat it some years later, I never played it ever again. That is, until I played the real arcade game from beginning to end with my girlfriend at MagFest and realized that the Arcade is actually pretty awesome.

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      Gremlins 2 is hands-down in my top 5 Nintendo games ever. In fact, it was the first video game where I loved the music so much that I could hum and sing all the tunes from every single level. Hell, I even remember where I bought it at the video rental store next to the Kings Grocery Store and the soccer field, and across the street was a Husson's Pizza (though the video rental store was later turned into the Teays Valley Christan School right next to a Save A Lot and housing complex, now across the street from the Interstate Ramp and the Sheetz). Though I do wonder why my mom bought it for me with that scary-looking monster on the cover.

      Super Mario Land 2. Definitely the Game Boy game I played the most. I remember playing this on virtually every trip along with Link's Awakening. Looking at this makes me want to play it again, because now I find that I can't remember much of the level layout or even any of the bosses except something about bunny ears and jumping through protoplasm.

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      Well, I hope you've enjoyed my trip down memory lane.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Why I Should Write For Hollywood: A Shakespeare Shared Universe

      What if all the characters in Shakespeare shared the same universe, like the world of Marvel comics. Can you imagine it? You could have Hamlet interact with Henry V and go to war. You could have Romeo and Juliet somehow crossover with Much Ado About Nothing and f*** the story up into a dark comedy. But wait, didn't most characters die at the end? Well, just pretend they didn't and undermine the original stories. Or, have them take place in the middle like the way Kingdom Hearts games deal with their Disney crossover canon.

      Oh, but my brain didn't stop there. You see, the premise of this story would be that the actual characters in history (i.e., the real Henry V, the real MacBeth) would somehow invade the Shakespeare universe for...reasons (I can't find a reason they did this anywhere in my notes). One of them says the real Hamlet wants to resurrect the fake Hamlet just so he can kill him. What the hell young Shawn! That is a really stupid idea. And there is no real Hamlet! Do some research!

      This was before I knew how to limit myself instead of putting everything I possible could into a story.

      But, come on. I was in high school. People would get confused if every Shakespeare character was in the same universe. I once saw a comic at a convention that made me think I had seen something like this before, not realizing until I wrote this blog series and went through my journals that it was because I had thought of a somewhat similar idea. It was inside the journal until I opened it again for this blog series, that should show you much I thought this idea would work. I mean, hundreds of characters throughout literature all interacting with each other and expecting people to be knowledgeable of every play written by Shakespeare? That idea would never work.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The End Kickstarter Artists: Kathleen Parker, Sonia Liao, Tina Lee, & Lauren Sparks

My Kickstarter for my comic book series 'The End' is to fund issues 4 & 5. The artists for those issues are Kathleen Parker, Sonia Liao, Tina Lee, & Lauren Sparks.

Please view my Kickstarter to see their art. Their pages are available to view after the Kickstarter description, and lots of their art is within the video (so please watch).

Also, check the Updates tab to see the page’s transformation from Pencils to fully finished Inks.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The End #1 Now On Comixology!

The End #1 is now available on Comixology (

If the world was going to end in seven days, how would you spend your last week alive? This is the question everyone must answer in my anthology series which examines how different people react to the coming end of their world.

Issue one is illustrated by Stefano Cardoselli and Brad Bowersox. d – Charley Wymer worked a boring office job most of his life, and now he seeks to make up for lost time, by killing as many people as possible. With the world’s rules no longer relevant, the mind’s moral fabric unravels. Meanwhile, in our 2nd story, one man seeks redemption for his past, but is he already too late to make a difference?

The End is currently going through a Kickstarter as well. Check it out:

Monday, May 5, 2014

The End Comic Book Kickstarter Update - Artist Spotlight: Stefano Cardoselli & Ava Berman

Please see the recent Kickstarter Updates for preview art of The End from artist Stefano Cardoselli (Update #1) and Ava Berman (Update #3). I have also updated a new prize, a comic Ava and I work on together currently, as an add-on or stand-alone prize.

I handed out around 200 or more Kickstarter flyers at AwesomeCon. We shall see if these have proven helpful.

The End Comic Book Kickstarter Update - Artist Spotlight: Brad Bowersox, Rand Arrington, & Wu-Gene Hong.

See my Kickstarter Updates to see samples of the art these artists have created for The End from artists Brad Bowersox (Update #4), Rand Arrington (Update #5), and Wu-Gene Hong (Update #6).

Brad's story is a short tale about a man who tries to make up for his past deeds. In Rand's story, Lester has been neglecting his wife for a promotion at work, but when he finds out the wold is going to end, he is determined to make his way home and spend the rest of his time with her. Then, in Wu-Gene's tale, I have posted the first 3 pages, so give it a look.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Why I Should Write For Hollywood - My Superman Movie (with Conduit)

      Superman. Back in high school I read his adventures right as he died. Yes, I read the Death of Superman with millions of other people. However, unlike most, I stuck around the comics for almost 2 more years after he returned. Most of the stories were pretty bland, causing me to give up the title. However, one particular villain and story stood out and has remained in my head as an essential Superman villain – Conduit (created by Dan Jurgens), who I think would be the perfect Movie Villain (this is the only middle/high school notes I made that I believe would still work today regarding my ‘Hollywood’ column).

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      Unfortunately, Conduit appeared in 2 stories, but they were both rather long and really, really good. He is THE perfect movie screen villain to counter Superman. Why? He is someone Superman can’t get close to due to his kryptonite body and energy-draining metal tentacles (he can take Superman’s punch because they are only normal punches to him). He was Clark Kent’s athletic rival in school, and was always 2nd place and has an inferiority complex. And, he knows Superman’s secret identity and has a close and jealous relationship with him, making the stakes more personal and dramatic between the two. Beside, regardless of who it is, the villain always has to get personal in movies, and here the work is already done for you.

      The only Superman movies I had seen at the time were Superman II and the comics adaptation of Superman IV, so let’s head back to that time period and check out my old notes for the way MY Superman movie should have gone down.

First, Conduit’s comic back story.

      Kenny Braverman’s parents were giving birth to him on the side of the road because their car crashed on the way to the hospital. Meanwhile, Superman’s spaceship (carrying baby Kal-El/Superman/Clark Kent) landed at the same time. It emitted radiation that, while unharmful to normal people, WAS harmful to human beings that were not fully developed (aka Baby Kenny Braverman).

      Despite his handicap of radiation poisoning, he became an accomplished athlete, but it wasn’t good enough for his father, who only wanted him to be the best, and constantly wanted him to be like Clark Kent, who was the best in academics and sports (and who always beat Kenny at sports). Scenes of Clark and Kenny at high school are interspliced along with Kenny’s thoughts about how jealous he was at Clark, despite the fact they were also friends.

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      Kenny gives himself up at experimentation to help his failing condition, and develops kryptonite based powers. On his first mission, he is thwarted by Clark Kent doing journalism somehow (it’s been a long time since I read this). His anger seething, he plots to escape his government experimenters and kill Clark Kent once and for all.

      Years later, Superman fights the villain Conduit at the same time Kenny is traveling in Metropolis. At the end, Superman discovers who he is. In the 2nd storyline, Clark’s family house explodes, as Conduit has discovered who he is, his parents and Lois are presumed dead, and a Superman with nothing to lose and on the run has to fight his desire for revenge that conflicts with everything he believes about justice.

Now, my movie version.

      The main villain would be Brainiac. Why? Because he hadn’t been in a movie and I didn’t know anything about him in 1994. Kenny Braverman trying to kill Clark Kent would be the subplot of the movie, trying to kill him and frequently finding him gone, interspliced with scenes of Kenny and Clark becoming friends from Clarks point of view (basically everything I summed up above) then slowly revealing Kenny’s resentment, and Clark just assuming he moved on to other friends. As Conduit, Kenny and Superman have one brief fight halfway through the film. Conduit escapes because he isn’t interested in fighting him, he only wants to find and kill Clark Kent, and Superman can’t see who it is because kryptonite blocks his x-ray vision (whatever, this is MY movie universe). If he found out it was Kenny now, it would interfere with his struggle for the main movie plot.

      At the end, Braniac is defeated, and Lois and Clark have a wedding at Clark’s family home. But then, someone blows up his home with his parent’s inside, creating a cliffhanger that leads into the 2nd movie.

      And yes, I wrote an entire outline about the subplot, but didn’t write anything about the ‘main’ movie plot, because what I was really trying to write was the 2nd Superman movie in my two-part series and make it serialized.

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      So, in Superman 2: Superman finds the burnt bodies of two people (but doesn’t realize that they are fakes). Kenny has kidnapped his parent’s because he needs someone to vent to throughout the movie, but also because he wants to keep Superman in check with hostages. A distraught Clark gets a message to meet and he runs away as Superman. Here, Conduit reveals he is Kenny, and he and Superman fight, setting the stage for the rest of the movie about what the villain wants. Also, we see the flashback sequences from the first movie, only now they are in Kenny’s point of view, which dramatically changes the way Clark (and the audience) thought about them. Superman tires to reason with him, and we get home events about Kenny’s verbal abuse (he’s not a physical abuser) that Clark never knew about. He asks Kenny why he never told him anything, and that he was his friend and would have helped him, but Kenny is beyond reason or listening, and says he lured him in the open for one reason, to kill Lois. And says ‘Clark has everything, and I want to take it all away’. Lois is almost killed, but escapes.

      Using the remains of Braniac from the first movie, Conduit is able to interface and take over his systems and robots to scout for Lois, who goes into hiding. She should appear throughout trying to contact Superman, and investigate the Government (and call up her contacts) who gave Kenny his powers so she can find a weakness for Superman to exploit. It also gives Superman things he can destroy and fight throughout the movie (that get harder and harder as the movie goes on, as shown why below).

      After the 1st battle against Conduit, Superman feels weakened, and then comes to a realization that he can’t use one of his powers anymore, and that the more he fights Conduit, the less powerful he becomes. Conduit is trying to weaken him until he becomes just a ‘normal, worthless man like I used to be’ and then kill him. This also gives the movie heightened drama, as Superman slowly loses his powers, while Conduit gets harder and harder to beat with each confrontation. There should only be 4 confrontations MAX so the audience doesn’t get bored.

      Eventually Lois gives Superman the info he needs to defeat Conduit, but he sees an explosion behind her on the video monitor and assumes she died. Angry, at the lost of his parents and Lois, Superman is determined to kill Conduit, but as he fights him for the final time, he has flashbacks to his parent’s raising him as an honest, good, and moral individual; especially since he has so much power.

      Finally, he defeats Conduit, and refuses to kill him, because that’s not who he is. He would be betraying his parents, Lois, and himself.

      I never actually wrote Conduit’s final outcome. Would he vow revenge? Would he die of his own devices like in the comic storyline? Or maybe he finds redemption and accepts Superman and Clark as his friend somehow and lets his parent’s go as a last act of good will? Who knows why I never wrote this final part. Also, I didn’t seem to write any notes about doing anything useful with his parent’s and Kenny’s scenes talking to them. Way to write effective stories there 12 year old Shawn).

      Also, after this battle, Superman finds he will never be as powerful as he once once was because he was exposed to so much kryptonite in such a short time, but he will adjust, for he is still committed to fighting for truth, justice, and the American way.

      DC made a serious mistake in never bringing this character back from the dead. In my mind, Conduit is the quintessential Superman villain.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My "The End" Comic Book Kickstarter

Please check out my Kickstarter for my comic book series, The End:

If the world was going to end in one week, how would you spend your last seven days alive?

The link above contains a short video with tons of art from the series as well as more info on how you can help.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Why I Should Write For Hollywood: Detective Beowulf (Outline)

      Ok, so almost all of these posts for Why I Should Write For Hollywood are bad ideas from high school, but this is one I created in grad school. And I think it could really work as a movie, just take out all the magic and supernatural elements. Whoa…put down the blade fanboy. Now I know most people think ‘mainstreaming’ something is removing the interesting parts, but hear me out.

I want to turn audible history’s first superman…

Into this.

      When in high school, I loved the Beowulf story. While at grad school I was always trying to write new ideas, but one of those wasn’t new at all; it was a retelling of the Beowulf story as if Beowulf was a celebrity detective, and altering the story to fit into a traditional 3 act structure so all 3 stories connected instead of being 3 separate stories.

      Now, here is the initial concept in one page from my old discontinued Microsoft Works file from 2004.

Detective Beowulf Concept

      A mighty celebrity detective (who has cameras follow him everywhere) is sent to stop the serial killer known as The Beast (Grendal). Beowulf boasts how easy it is for him to track anyone. The mayor holds a feast for him since the detective that has never lost a case is coming to help him. He tricks Grendal into attacking the mayor’s house, and rather than cuff him, finds Grendal’s arms too big for regular cuffs. Beowulf fights him and takes his arm, but The Beast gets away. Though he is not caught, they know Grendal will never return, but his mother does, and she brings a lawsuit against Detective Beowulf for the violence against her son.

      In the courtroom, it look like Grendal’s mother will win against the physical infliction that killed her boy, citing Beowulf used entrapment and didn’t attempt to arrest him and had intentions to kill her son. Later, Beowulf finds letters that show the mother actually taught her son how to kill, and finds a letter of The Beast, thanking her mother for traching him the thrill of killing others. Using this evidence, as well as a gun he found in her house that matched what Grendal had used to kill a few people on occasion. (However, Grendal wouldn’t use a gun, and what would the mother need it for, think so the gun can be the sword, or should the letters be the sword?) Grendal’s mother pounces at Beowulf and tries to cut him with a knife. Holding the evidence gun in his hand, it goes off and kills her.

      On the night of Beowulf’s retirement, the rising major crime kingpin has one of his front businesses robbed by a thief, and he declares war in the streets to find him. (This Kingpin also killed Beowulfs brother and was never brought to justice for it; thereby making an emotional investment in the story, and give Beuwolf some regret at not ever being able to take him down). Beowulf then leads a batch of new cops and detectives and trains them in crime prevention (some paid off by the kingpin which eventually leave or turn on him). He has a meeting with the kingpin at the beginning and is poisoned by him unknowingly. He kills the kingpin near the end of the story, but not before the kingpin tells him he poisoned him with a slow poison, that now takes effect. Now, many rival would be crime bosses will try to fill his position. With the death of their greatest officer, the city is left open for a giant crime wave/gang war.

      That is just the outline. I actually wrote the first chapter, as this was originally an idea for a book in my (I forgot) class, and I will put it up here when I am done with this blog series.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Murphy's Media Memories - Transformers: Battle For Earth (Kid's Book)

Murphy's Media Memories returns. Now, I will be making sure to get 8 episodes out each year, preferably every March through October, with any Top 10 lists or small bonus episodes in-between.

Now, see my gateway into the Transformers Universe, a children's book from 1984 that does a horrible job of connecting text to art, in what should be an important factor in a picture book. I do a brief run-down of all the Transformer characters in the TV show to show you just how off the book is when it comes to it's characters. Also, I look at the 2nd Marvel Hardcover book to see just what my younger self missed out on.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Why I Should Write For Hollywood: Marvel's Cloak & Dagger

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While reading Spider-Man comics, I came across the duo of Cloak & Dagger. Though I never came across their comic adventures, like Deathlok, I thought that this was one of Marvel's properties that could make the easiest transition to film. Below are my 2 (yes, 2!) Cloak & Dagger movie ideas from high school.

Cloak (Tyrone Johnson) is a teenage runaway with a speech impediment, who ran away when he felt guilty that his impediment prevented him from warning someone of danger that led to their death. Dagger (Tandy Bowen) had a neglectful mom and ran away from home as well. They initially meet each other, learn to survive on the streets together, but then become involved with a shady 'friend' who kidnaps and experiments on them with drugs. Said drugs at first kills them, then gives them powers.

Cloak found he had access to a dark dimension that increase his hunger for...souls? lives? The Darkness in men's hearts? Ok, that probably needs clarification for an audience. Anyway, Dagger's presence of intense light-powers she gained prevents him from acting on his impulses, so now he actually needs Dagger to survive. Dagger has the potential to explode with too much light over time, and Cloak can use his darkness to absorb it, preventing her from hurting people around her. However, Dagger does not need him as much as Cloak needs her, but helps him anyway because they are friends. This is where an interesting dynamic could be explored in a 2nd movie, especially a sequel where he develops an unrequited love for her (like in the comics), but in doing so might push her away.

The theme of drug-addiction should not be dumbed down. Cloak represents a drug-addict that needs help, and Dagger is the friend that tries to put him on the path of recovery and control. In fact, Dagger can not only shoot light-daggers that attack people, but they also remove physical and mental additions in drug users, which Cloak would, over the course of the movie, become really angry about since he doesn't have such an easy solution to all his problems.

Also, you can't do this movie without showing a family facing drug addition that Dagger helps them overcome and become a family again. Not just superheros punching each other here.

I always imagined a movie would be very simple; you see how their home like sucks, they run away, meet each other, become friends, then get experimented on, are thoughts to be dead, only to rise up with new powers that work well in tandem together, though only Cloak needs Daggers powers to remain in check. You have a dynamic where only one of them needs the other, which would be very interesting to work with, especially if Dagger contemplates turning home.

In the first movie (yes, 1 of 2), they should be friends only. And this isn't because Tyron is black and Tandy is white, but because they would need to be established as putting faith and trust in each other first to work together and have revenge on the drug dealers that killed. In addition, every movie is about a guy and a girl falling in love, and they originally start off as friends in the comic, so do that in the movie, which NEVER HAPPENS in Hollywood movies when there is a guy and girl character. Also, they should attempt to travel together to their parent's home and try to live a normal life, but find they cannot with their powers.

Also, I don't know any villains they fight, but it should also be a teen run-away (the one that betrayed them) who became the drug dealer that experimented on them but has developed a huge cartel and empire through it. He then uses the experimental drug on himself to become some villain and fight them at the end, Tyrone wants to kill him, and Dagger has to talk him down from his darkness.

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In a 2nd movie, you could have Tyron start to develop feelings for Tandy, but she does not return them. In fact, she could start to meet a fellow superhero and fall in love with him, and also learn to control her powers without Cloak, leading Cloak to feel hopeless and alone, and attempt to give more into the darkness. Maybe even evolve his powers somewhat to reflect an ex-drug user who relapse. Dagger, of course, will feel guilty, but Cloak will have to learn that he can't always rely on her for everything and bring her down with him all the time. In fact, her lover at the time should be slightly accepting of Cloak, but also a little jealous of how much Cloak needs her to survive. Drama! I don't have more than the first act for this film in my head, though.

So that is my high school Cloak & Dagger movies (before the year 2000)

Recently, in a Spider-Man crossover, Cloak and Dagger switched powers. That would make for an interesting premise, but you would need the foundation of a regular move )or 2!) for it to work. Also, Cloak and Dagger were supposed to have each other;'s powers in the first place, which made them previously weaker, so now, with Cloak having light power, and Dagger with Darkness, they are more powerful, but also more addictive, and now Dagger would need Cloak's help with the darkness that threatens to want her to consume people's...souls (or whatever it is his powers do;'s not very well established what it is, which is necessary for a film to work). Unfortunately, since this happened in the comics 2 years ago, Cloak & Dagger have yet to be seen anywhere to see how they deal with this new development.

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Why I Should Write For Hollywood: Sliders (TV Show)

      I normally only watched about 2-3 shows a year when in middle & high school, so most of the shows I did watch I usually remember very well. One of those exciting shows I had to watch every week was Sliders. And the death of one of those characters made me want to see a story about his return.

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      Quinn Mallory invents a portal to another dimension, but you must set a time limit to go to the other dimension on a device called a timer. He brings along his Professor (Arturo) and his friend (Wade Wells), but their first test run accidentally brings along an R&B singer driving by their house (Rembrant Brown). They land in a world of intense cold, where they will all die, so Quinn forces the timer to return home. However, by forcing the timer to go somewhere, instead of letting it count down to the return portal to home, they all find themselves in an alternate world where the Nazi’s took over the world. From episode to episode, they enter worlds that are unusual, exciting, and sometimes try to make a point about our society to the extreme. Also, every character was intersting in some way.       Then, at the end of Season 2, they introduced the 5th Slider: Maggie Becket.

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Maggie Beckett, Solider; probably something necessary when traveling to alternate worlds

      She was a soldier that loses her world and her husband, and joins the others Sliders on their quest to find their way home, and hopefully find a home of her own. However, not before Professor Aturo makes a sacrifice and takes a bullet meant for Quinn before they jump into a portal. And with that, Professor Arturo dies, and the Sliders have a Season 3 recurring enemy they want revenge on.

      But wait a second, the set-up for his return was already in place.

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Yes, this is the guy I wanted back.

      You see, in Season 2, Episode 18, the Sliders return home, or so they think. The world is exactly like theirs in almost every way (but later they will find slight differences so minor to prove it isn’t theirs), so they decide to stay for what I think is at least a month. Wade publishes a book on their adventures, and the Professor, Quinn, and Rembrant all get national acclaim. but, then the Professor starts to act very strange. It seems a group of Sliders exactly like them had already been there, and a duplicate of the Professor kidnaps their Professor and tries to be him so he can go Sliding with them and find his way home. However, the set-up is exposed, the two Professor Arturo’s fight, and one of them jumps through the portal. The one left behind has a shock on his face, as if to say, “Oh my god, they just got the wrong Professor!” This was not a “Curses, my evil plan is foiled.” face.

      I’m not alone here. Rembrant sees a psychologist and narrates this episode, stating at the end he doesn’t know if they have the right Professor or not. And I must not be the only one who wanted him back, because in the last episode of Season 5, a world that worships the Sliders has the Professor brought back from the dead on their version of the Sliders TV show.

      What should have happened, was that the fake Professor died (5 episode after he appeared, by the way), because he became a better person as he got to know the regular cast. At some point in Season 3, an episode should have ended with a portal opening, and Professor Arturo being the only one jumping out of it. The Cliffhanger would cause people to go, “What?”. You could even do this for 3-5 episodes, with him being too late in tracking his friends, or even not show him at all and just show someone tracking them to build mystery. Just say he copied Quinn’s timer designs and designed a way to follow their Sliding trail; it’s not too much of a stretch. Then, one episode would deal with the Professor finally catching up to his friends, and having to explain that he was the real one, and that a fake died in his place. Drama and dis-trust follows, but the Professor saves all their lives, knows their Season 1 & 2 adventures down to the detail, and proves he is one of them. He then joins them for the rest of the show.

      Instead, we got dumbed-down episodes because Fox wanted to be safe, recurring Kro-Mag episodes that overstayed their welcome in Seasons 3 & 4, and a Quinn that didn’t look like Quinn because the actor didn’t have time to be on the show. However, I did like Quinn’s brother and Doctor Diana Davis.

      However, I’m sure I’m not the only kid to think this theory, nor was I the only one to wish for future episodes that were in my head. I wanted them to go into a world where their doubles had actually used their Sliding technology to conquer the world, and in that world Wade was now a vampire, Quinn was a cyborg, Rembrant used magic (come on, I was in high school), and the Professor had the largest army in the world at his command. They would have to fight doubles that were more powerful than them in every conceivable way, with each of their doubles reflecting something within themselves that they either were afraid of or were afraid of becoming. Yeah, not really a budget for that episode. Oh well, that’s what the Sliders comic books are for (which is a thing that exists and the stories are actually very good).

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Collect all 10!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Why I Should Write For Hollywood: He-Man / She-Ra Movie

      Sometimes you have ideas, look back at them, and wonder how in the bloody hell you could have written something so stupid. Growing up, I watched the He-Man and She-Ra movie, and had the movie story on Cassette, too, so I remember almost everything about it. I also had many of the action figures as well, including this awesome 3 building playset, and one of the buildings was an awesome snake tower. Interestingly, I never saw a single He-Man or She-Ra episode, only the animated movie.

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      One night in college, I watched the He-Man movie, and I was just like, "What the hell. I could write a better movie than this." So, sleep deprived around 2am I wrote a quick summary, filed it away, and never saw it again...until now. Let's see just what I wrote. All grammar errors are kept intact from my stream of consciousness. I make comments on my notes in parenthesis and bold.


      “Main villain Hordak (I always preferred Hordak's design and character to Skeletor). Kidnaps She-Ra when she is a baby, leaving note he could have taken either baby. King’s wife interferes and Hordak kills her. Leaves to other dimension (This is a really dark opening).

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For those that don't know, this is Hordak.

      "Hordak trying to merge both worlds by draining the life essence out of people (What the hell? Where did this come from?). He-Man finds out about the other dimension in the final assault on Skeletor’s castle. He finds documents about it inside (So, screw origin stories, let’s get right to the battle). Skeletor falls into a pit and seemingly dies. Defender of Castle Greyskull says there is a device to enter other dimension in the basement of Castle Greyskull, guarded by a guardian and puzzles (because of course).

      "Perhaps have He-Man learn of other dimensions through his animal because they are connected –Battlecat/Horse – and they create portals (No…Just no).

      "Once in the other dimension, finds She-Ra leading her own army against Hordak. She was apparently raised by Hordak and revolted against him (Hey, in the movie, He-Man had to convince her Hordak was evil, but apparently in my draft she was smart enough to find out on her own). She had found a sword that turned her into this and she escaped.

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For those who don't know, this is She-Ra

      "Final Battle: He-Man battles Hordak while he sends She-Ra to stop the merger of worlds which will kill millions (was I watching Sliders or something around this time?). He-Man wins, barely. Then red Skeletor appears. Has a rotating room with spikes they fight on (what, am I putting Mortal Kombat in here now?). Skeletor more powerful (I think I made his bones red to indicate this), and he explains why; he has mastered reincarnation spells (sure, why not, this is just a hodgepodge of ideas at this point, why not toss Ninja Scroll into it, too). Skeletor announces he lured He-Man played everyone (go grammer). Outside, it looks like Hordak’s forces defeated, but Skeletor army was waiting for He-Man and Hordak's army to thin out. He-Man cannot win because Skeletor cannot die. Skeletor kills He-Man (so this isn’t a kid’s movie?).

      "Defender of Greyskull, the girl with wings (I guess I couldn’t remember her name) says she can merge He-Man’s power with hers. She-Ra gains twice the power and defeats Skeletor (so, I guess my preference for hero was She-Ra, even though I called my movie He-Man).

      "Skeletor will reincarnate somewhere else and no one will be able to stop him because He-Man and She-Ra will be too old. She-Ra must decide to let Skeletor possibly win in the future, or kill herself (Shawn, this is supposed to be for kids!) and have her and He-Man be resurrected later to stop him. She must act before He-Man’s powers cannot be returned. Defender of Greyskull casts the spell and She-Ra stabs and kills herself (Jesus Christ!).

      "Show twins being born. Show a man born elsewhere with a skull birthmark, but man raises him anyway (how nice of him).”


You can tell I didn’t bother to ever edit my ideas ever, and just put it down and forgot about it forever. Reincarnating in a different body as a baby is not the same as falling off a cliff and not dying, by the way. Also, how is Skeletor not able to die, but somehow She-Ra kills him. And what the hell is wrong with me by having their mother murdered, He-Man killed by his main villain, and having She-Ra kill herself? Anyway, this is probably why I shouldn’t be writing fan fiction, and maybe this is one time I shouldn’t be writing for Hollywood.

FINAL WORDS: So, I had the Battle Damaged He-Man and Skeletor as a kid, and they had 3 chest options: regular, one sword slash, or two sword slashes. You could flip through them to imitate them cutting each other. Maybe subconsciously I brought that aspect of them cutting people with swords into my movie.

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Also, apparently blood doesn't exist in your body until you turn 18.