i went a little less segmented and more the idea of 'big' and 'space' for this one


ao3 link

summary: There’s an ampersand glowing on top of their bookshelf and seven years between the two of them. He wants to give Phil everything. Or the cloyingly nostalgic proposal fic.

word count: 2.3k

warnings: swearing?? really this is just pure

notes: hi enjoy the quickest fic i have ever written (i wrote it in a night). i am a sap. that is all.

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Real Talk: What are the writers of Henry Danger even doing?

I have to question whether the show hired new writers or consultants or something. We’ve all noticed that the characters seem to be acting pretty shitty in recent episodes. But the episodes themselves, in terms of plot and plot elements, seem to be going down in quality. I really enjoyed the show before, but now it seems stagnant. I just want to address some of them.

Continuity in World-Building

This is a really annoying thing for me right now. The writers need to make up their mind about the extent of Ray’s powers. Early in the show, I assumed he was only invincible on the outside, and I don’t mean that metaphorically. I assumed his powers were only skin-deep. After all, when he breathed in the tears of the jolly beetle in season 1, it affected him internally since it was going through his respiratory system, which is on the inside.

Following this logic, Captain Man can definitely be harmed if his oxygen supply were cut off or became toxic. So what exactly was going on in Gas or Fail when he went down to fix the gas leak without any protection? (I’m also pissed that he let his sidekick who is decidedly not invincible do the same but that’s for another segment) Also, for some of the more obvious ones - why was it assumed he would survive underwater in Danger & Thunder and how the hell did he survive in Space Invaders riding outside the shuttle? 

And okay, let’s say his internal organs and everything were invincible, too, and breathing something in (or lack of) won’t kill him. How does Gwen’s muffins affect him? He should be resistant to everything internally too, right? How does he get sick in the next episode? He shouldn’t be able to have anything penetrate his skin, and that includes viruses. And nothing airborne can affect him. Writers, what are you doing?

Ray’s powers make less sense with each episode, and are now just being manipulated as the plot demands to make for a convenient plot device. It’s not only lazy writing which becomes boring since no new elements are introduced to build on the world, but the inconsistency makes for an unrealistic story. Not to mention no limitations on his powers makes Ray an overpowered superhero who is, to be frank, boring as he has no conflict, nothing to hold him back.

In addition, in a world where two people were able to get powers by manipulating science, and more people are able to be born with powers (since the world is the same as that of The Thundermans), you’d expect a few villains with powers of their own to show up. It would definitely add a risk factor to the show. But that hasn’t happened, so we’ve really had no villains that were interesting in that respect. The most advanced villains so far were just really good with science, yet were unable to give themselves superhuman abilities. Oh, the logical fallacies. 

Over-arching Story

The story has become pretty stagnant at this point. We have no idea where the show is going. First season was exposition to the main characters and their relationships, the world, and Henry adjusting to becoming Kid Danger. The second season was filler, which was enjoyable and good for getting to know everyone more, and ended with a big change. 

The third season should bring in more.  But now the show’s just continuing along the same track as the second season. It’s just filler. No amount of one hour specials can change the fact that the characters aren’t dealing with more on a world basis. There is internal conflict frequently between the characters and some development in their statuses (i.e. Henry getting powers and learning to fly the helicopter), but there’s nothing on a larger scale. There is no Big Bad, just a number of relatively small time criminals that are consistently beat. The main cast has never faced a loss at the definitive end of an episode, which makes it less interesting. There’s nothing to lose.

My preference for this might just be because of my experience with Lab Rats, which did an amazing job of having the world grow as bigger threats got introduced each season. I was hooked on the show because there was a story line to be followed with lots of suspense, and some episodes ended with a big loss for the main characters. The reason a Big Bad is needed is because it gives the characters a goal, and everyone wants to see whether it gets fulfilled or not, which is where the surprises and subversions of tropes come in to entertain the audience. Without a goal, the show has no purpose. In seasons one and two, Henry’s goal was to be a good sidekick. By season three, he has definitely achieved that. What now?

Gwen getting away made me hope for that at the beginning of the third season. It was the perfect opportunity, as a petty criminal with dark intentions got away with the heroes’ biggest secret. But it hasn’t been expanded on yet, and it doesn’t seem like it will be. Same goes for Drex. Drex gave some backstory that was interesting in getting to know the main characters. He was considered one of the greatest fighters Ray had ever seen, but he easily lost to a 15 year old with little actual martial arts training compared to him, and isn’t slated to return.

Where is the show going, then? How will it end? With Ray passing down the title of Protector of Swellview to Henry, after having defeated a dangerous threat that plagued them for months? Or after a one hour special with no drastic developments? One would clearly be better writing. 

Character/Relationship Development

Or lack of. I think we can all say that we’re disappointed in our so called heroes.

Lately, episodes have been ending with pretty much no conclusion. For episodes in season 1 and 2, they concluded pretty well, with Henry and Ray defeating the villain of the week and getting the girl of the week. And season 3 episodes with villains end in much the same way. But in general, season 3 seems to be focused on more emotional development and relationship development. However, the writers are completely failing in ending the episodes properly.

Look at Dodging Danger. You’d expect with Henry growing cocky, despite not having full control and knowing the extent of his powers, would be a bad thing. But he never learns his lesson, and walks away with a win that isn’t even his. At the end of License to Fly, it should have been addressed why Ray was so reluctant to teach Henry how to fly. Instead, he falls out of the helicopter and Henry flies away with a bunch of girls. Unless it’s all some build up for something bigger at the end of the season, like Ray not being sure Henry’s ready to succeed him, and not being willing to let Henry go out on his own yet, it just seems like shitty writing at the moment, ruining everyone’s favorites.

To be honest, though, the episodes have been failing to conclude in general, not just the ones with Henry and Ray. Charlotte never won the gizmo show, and instead had everything she worked for destroyed. Piper never got over her anger issues, despite it clearly affecting her relationships and wanting to change (and then there was a grown ass man harassing her so she would snap).

I don’t know if Dan went into writing a more action-filled show to avoid more emotional scenes or whatever, but it doesn’t do his characters well to completely avoid any closure.

“Lowkey” Problematic Approaches

This is a bit more heavy topic, and I did brush on it a bit in the last section. I don’t like to throw this kind of thing around, but I’ve increasingly noticed it, and I think everyone else does to. So let’s get to it.

We’ve all noticed how the one black girl in the group has had zero love interests, despite so many of us begging for it, while the white female lead has, despite being years younger. And, okay, I’m willing to believe the latter was for plot purposes, but there’s no reason for the former, especially since everyone else on the show, and I do mean literally every single other person, has. [Combined with how Dan treated Andre in Victorious in terms of his romantic conclusion, despite the major support for Tori and Andre getting together, you have to wonder what exactly is going through his head?]

And does no one else find it problematic how the only black man is a hyper-masculine guy who takes orders, never speaks but grunts, and eats raw meat? How about how an Asian male character is severely emasculated and made the butt of many jokes?

How about how women are talked about and treated? Everyone remembers fuckbois Henry, Jasper, and Ray in Double Date Danger, and even in Henry and the Three Girls. Also Kid Grounded. Even though it’s consistently called out by Charlotte, the heroes of the show never actually change. Their misogynistic comments are never corrected or realized by the heroes themselves, leaving behind some really damaging ideas about what’s okay. And I get it, it’s a kid’s show, but that’s all the more reason the heroes should realize why they’re wrong at the end of the day.

Also, one “joke” I have never enjoyed is the end of Let’s Make a Deal, when Captain Man said something along the lines of “Well now we can hit them as frequently and as hard as we like” when he snatches the wigs off the showgirls. It was transphobic in itself, and in addition, he shouldn’t have had a problem fighting the women in the first place. Just because they’re women doesn’t mean they’re not criminals, and he shouldn’t go easy on them.

That said, we can still enjoy the show, but we can’t completely ignore the harmful messages and stereotypes portrayed. It’s important to consistently call them out, and hopefully, the writers will realize why it’s wrong and it will stop in future episodes.

So yeah, these are my issues at the moment. I truly did enjoy the show at the start, but now it’s not really progressing in the ways I was hoping to see, and every other episode seems like filler. There’s really no purpose at the moment, and that’s disappointing.

@danschneider, take note.

AquarianValentine’s Glorious Troll Horn Fabrication Guide

so hey i could get  all fancy with a ridiculous and self aggrandizing intro, but frankly its already pretty late and this will take long enough as it is. Basically most ways to make troll horns either don’t turn out good enough, are way too expensive, or are the plush monstrosities at the what pumpkin store. So using whatever i could find lying around the house, i crafted a pair of amporas i used for cosplaying, and i must say they came out better than expected. The rest of this post will be explaining how you can make a pair yourself. So you’re welcome

Step One: Materials

You’ll require 

1 Wire coat hangar, the more malleable the better

1 roll of aluminum foil, you want use all of it, dont worry

an unspecified amount of regular glue, not a lot, as well as access to some water and a washable cup 

1 paintbrush, doesnt have to be fancy

Several sheets of colored tissue paper, in the horn colors. Alternatively you could use plain white paper and then just paint/marker the colors on instead, which would certainly work; however this requires fewer steps. 

i mean this is pretty cheap stuff, right? none of that weird polymer clay stuff, which is bound to cost you

optional: i would suggest finding a hammer or pair of pliers, it makes bending the wire a lot easier, it will save you a lot of pain in your fingers. but maybe dont take my advice. what is art without suffering after all?

Step 2: basic head shape

this is for the basic shape that the head band part will take, pretty much regardless of whatever troll you are doing. A pair of full on Nitrams might require some more support, but idfc, its your problem for cosplayin a lowwblood like them, not mine. anyways

first youll need to bend out the wire, untwisting the top hook, and into this basket shape. its your starting point, and it should be pretty easy

then, youll need to bend the bottom piece of wire into this headband shape, making sure to keep the remaining spans of wire perpendicular to the plane created by the loop. doesnt have to be perfect, but it helps for later on.

now bend the two ends back onto themselves, so that they are parallel with the headband, but not touching! if you were to put it on your head, you should lightly feel it curving over the top of your head with the small horseshoes on both sides sitting directly BEHIND your ears (the Do Not loop under your ears, if they get snagged i would place my bets on the horns over your ear skin), and the end pieces hovering over your temples. now if you have a smaller head than i do, which is likely you poor poor saps, youll probably need to bend the wire a bit higher on the headband piece, making it so theres less of the headband and more of the end pieces. this will help it fit better, and not rub against your ears unpleasantly. if you scroll down a bit there is a picture of how it rests on my head, and roughly how it should on yours. 

now, you need to bend the end pieces towards each other, which translates to bending them into your temples. not uncomfortably, but enough so you can feel them.

Here you can see ive bent the endpieces out again, about where you want the base of the horns to sit. i prefer the idea that the horns sit just behind the temples, but you have the capability to make it as you please.

this is the start of a more tricky maneuver, but its rather vital for the horns stability. i call it the lock bend. first you need to straighten out the very end of the wire, without bending the work youve done so far. then, youll put the indent pictured into it. its important that its shaped like this, with the spiral at the end still in line with the main portion of it. 

now, bend that key like segment back onto itself, so its parallel with the main section of wire. its okay if they are touching now, its supposed to be rather compact.

not pictured: removing that hook by repeatedly bending it back and forth in the place where i wanted it to break. yeah basically do what you just did to the other side, they dont have to visually match, as long as a pattern is present on both sides. you are probably wondering AV, that was complex and painful, why did you make me do it? to which i respond i am but a humble space player, your thoughtless actions are on your own head bud. however, there is intent to my rambling. i hope. but it is called a lock bend because when the tinfoil is wrapped around it, it stops it from moving about, thus locking the horns in place. 

and thats what it should look like so far! that is also the end of the basic shape, everything from now on will be based on what specific pair i am making.

but before we move on

this is roughly where they sit on my head. eventually the front will be moved up a bit, but its close enough. 

IMPORTANT, DO NOT SKIP   for how it should feel to your head, you should only be able to really feel it in four places, where the horseshoes touch your head behind your ear, and where the base of the horns will be on your temple. thats it! the headband should be hardly noticeable. also, the places that touvh your head should have a firm presence there, but they should NOT hurt. dont worry, the whole thing is so light they dont need to be tight, and they will still stay on all day. Seriously, these things hold so well i went to a rave with them on and they held just fine. only thing they cant handle is headbanging. i was a little disappointed at that, but oh well. anyways, if your horns are too loose, just bend them in at the the four places, the temples and behind the ears on both sides. but they should not get so tight as to immediately cause discomfort. after a whole day of con going they can get a bit uncomfortable, but just moving them a bit fixes that.

Part 3: Magnificent Maryams

who i think would appreciate some pleasant alliteration every once and a while. specifically i am doing Porrim’s, so they will be slightly bigger than kanaya’s.

here, rip a sheet of aluminum foil off the roll, about the length that you think you will need for the height of the horns. dont fret over this part, its very malleable.

put the edge of the tinfoil between the lock bend and the main piece of wire, and proceed to start wrapping foil around the wire. you will want to compact it down to the wire as much as you can, this is the base of the horn, and will be used to determine the length.

look at how big that is, and straight! it wouldnt do at all for our darling porrim. so i bent that one (also, remember kids, images in the mirror are flipped, so for non symmetrical horns make sure you have the right side where its supposed to be, because i almost didnt) and pushed down and bent the wire itself a bit, to give it the slow graceful curve i was looking for.

see? much better! now all it needs is a few more layers of tinfoil 

dont those babies look swell? make sure to have them be thicker at the base, and i would compact them at the top so they are stronger. and although you cant see it in this picture, the very bottoms of them are flat and at an angle so they are flush with my skull, which looks very nice. if youve gotten this far, you aught congratulate yourself, for you are very courageous! and dont worry, its almost over.

Part 4: applying the colors

now it seems i erred and did not take any pictures of this process. oh well, its all rather self explanatory. first mix a bit of glue and water together in the container, it doesnt really matter concentration wise, just get your finger tips wet and if they are a bit sticky you are good. 

then, take the paint brush, dip it in the slimy solution, and paint a bit of it onto the horns, and put a little piece of the colored tissue paper onto the horns. obviously, make sure the colors go where they are supposed to, there should be no tinfoil left when you are done, actually eeach color should have several layers. since my yellow was a bit too pale for my tastes, i put a layer of the orange underneath it, and that worked for me, but you might not need to do this. 

a couple hours later, and they are all dry! they are ready to go to your convention now, or maybe just around the house. idk, do whatever you want with them.Good job! you made it to the end of this large and rather incoherent crafts guide on how to make an aliens horns. this whole post took as long as actually making the horns, so around 2.5 hours. i am so tired right now. its 4 am. id be more than happy to answer any questions you may have in the comments. heres a picture of me wearing them

thanks for reading and hopefully learning something, and if you like them please reblog for visibility, thank you kindly,


ComiXology Conversations

At SDCC this year, Tia & Matt interviewed New York Times bestselling cartoonist and comiXology favorite Simon Hanselmann @girlmountain (Megahex, Megg & Mogg In Amsterdam, both from @fantagraphics):

Matt:    Tia welcome back.

Tia:    Thank you.

Matt:    We’re here, we made it again.

Tia:    It’s another day.

Matt:    It’s another day in the wilderness, the sweaty wilderness that is San Diego Comic Con, and we have a colossal guest with us today.

Tia:    10 feet tall.

Simon:    well that’s flattering.

Matt:    Megg and Mogg in Amsterdam is probably maybe more recently what people might know Simon’s work from, but Simon Hanselmann, welcome to the show.

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Use of Leitmotifs in Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards

Hi everyone. I thought I might write a few words about what goes into the process of making a Gloryhammer album, from my perspective as arranger/orchestrator, and also point out a few of the little details that might have passed you by when listening casually. This is just an introduction but if you find it interesting, then maybe I’ll write a few more little posts about it. If you don’t find it interesting, I probably will anyway.

Anyway, one of the many fun aspects of having a narrative underlying Gloryhammer’s music is the opportunity to use musical themes to link the lyrical subject matter with the rest of the composition. When I came to the band, ‘Tales from the Kingdom of Fife’ was half written already, and although I ended up contributing most of the orchestral arrangements, a second album gave me a chance to explore the idea further since we already had some thematic material to work with.

The only proper attempt at using leitmotifs I had made on ‘Tales…’ was in  ‘The Epic Rage of Furious Thunder’, which made sense as it was the climax of the story so far and also contained references to previous songs:

Swiftly across the sapphire sky
The magic dragon flies

As Tom sings ‘magic dragon’, the first few notes of the chorus melody are heard - ‘ma-gic dra-gon’

Angus McFife is atop his back
Hear the battlecry!

‘is atop his back’ is accompanied by the melody from ‘of the land of Fife’ from ‘Angus McFife’

Down below, the Knights of Crail
Have rallied to the cause

The mention of the Knights of Crail is immediately followed by parallel fifths going down a tone and back again, just as it is at the end of the chorus of ‘Hail to Crail’

The hammer of glory is their guide
A great majestic force

Finally, in the second half of this phrase, the melody that would be sung ‘for the Hammer of Glory’ from the chorus of ‘Quest for the Hammer of Glory’ is heard in the background.

The orchestral parts aren’t as clear on the first album as on Space 1992, but you may be able to make a few of these out.
The other obvious thematic reference is the very end of the song, where the melody of Angus McFife is heard on acoustic guitar as the track fades.

That was more or less as far as it went on the first album. The idea of having orchestral arrangements was a last-minute addition, so there wasn’t much time to put that kind of thought into it, or much material to draw on. When the time came to write the follow-up, I was determined to incorporate more of this idea to create a more immersive experience…my feeling is that even if people don’t consciously notice, it will register on some level. Even if not, it’s another level of detail to reward the attentive listener, and I can have some fun pretending I’m a real composer.

Infernus Ad Astra’ features a lot of themes from the first album, as well as introducing new ones that will appear later on. I thought an intro track was a good place to explore this concept to the fullest, and one aspect of this was how it works in a live context. I had found that ‘Anstruther’s Dark Prophecy’ had a structure that worked very well in a live setting…after a mysterious opening few bars, followed by the big loud part to get everyone’s attention, the section where the pace picks up was divided into groups of eight bars, with a key change at the beginning of each one. This meant that if a band member walked onstage at the beginning of each 8-bar segment, everyone would be onstage by the time ‘The Unicorn Invasion of Dundee’ started. It felt like a little announcement for each character’s arrival, and this soon settled into a regular order - Jim, Paul, Chris, and Tom at the end.

With this in mind, I decided to use a similar structure for the new intro, but actively work relevant themes into each section, using relevant material from both albums to herald the arrival of each character.

Section 1: Ralathor & Setting the Scene

 0.00 - The track opens with Ralathor’s theme, since I am first onstage.
First heard in Beneath Cowdenbeath (beginning at 1.03) I never actually intended as a theme when I first wrote it. Since Ralathor is the Mysterious Hermit of Cowdenbeath, and he helps the heroes find their way through the dwarven tunnels, I thought it made sense to associate his character with this simple 5-note motif.
In this intro, since we’re in space, it appears in the style of the opening of the Star Trek theme, followed by a nod to the famous timpani part from Richard Strauss’s ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra’, as heard in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Section 2: Main Theme

0.18 - the main body of the track begins in earnest, with the theme that later reappears in the introduction to ‘Apocalypse 1992. The rhythmic ostinato that forms the basis of this section was inspired in part by the famous battle music from Final Fantasy VII, and also partly by Bal Sagoth’s ‘The Awakening of the Stars’ both of which use a similar repeating dotted rhythm as a starting point.
At 0.30 a reference to the chorus melody from ‘Heroes (Of Dundee)’ is played by woodwinds and solo horn.

Section 3: The Hootsman

0.40 - The Hootsman section begins with the melody from the National Anthem of Unst played by the horns and trombones, immediately followed at 0.45 by trumpets and xylophone playing a fragment from the Hollywood Hootsman. The section culminates in a reference to the character’s introduction in ‘The Epic Rage of Furious Thunder’ at 0.48.

Section 4: Ser Proletius

0.51 - The chorus melody from ‘Victorious Eagle Warfare’ heralds the arrival of Ser Proletius. The brash brass-heavy melody of the previous section is replaced with strings and flutes here, to highlight the nobler character of Ser Proletius and to maintain the momentum with contrasting textures. The end of the chorus from ‘Hail To Crail’ concludes the section at 0.56.

Section 5: Zargothrax & Angus McFife

1.02 - The melody returns to the brass to announce the arrival of Zargothrax with a reference to the main theme from ‘Anstruther’s Dark Prophecy’, which is also the Zargothrax motif and is actually an evil version of the melody from ‘Wood’ by Splen. Sort of. The second repeat is slightly less chromatic which I imagined as representing Zargothrax’s triumph at being resurrected (and also hinting at the success of his plan later), which leads into a tentative, broken-up statement of the Angus McFife theme at 1.12. Angus McFife doesn’t get a proper fanfare for the simple reason that Tom often runs onstage right at the end as the song starts, so I wanted to hint at his approach rather than announce his arrival. Then finally there’s a little bridging section into Rise of the Chaos Wizards.

So as you can see, I attempted to encode quite a lot of information in the music about the forthcoming narrative in the intro alone, almost a bit like an overture.

Hope someone finds this interesting, if I can be bothered I’ll write some more about the rest of the album in the future! Have a nice day!