(into a depression hole that’s where, I have all your posts lined up ready to read and comment on I PROMISE it’s just that ye olde depresh then taps on my shoulder and says ‘what if, instead of doing this thing you love, you just dragged yourself to work, then went home and mindlessly clicked around doing nothin and hating yourself? doesn’t that sound BETTER?’ and I am like ‘wow that sounds awful!!! let’s do it!!!’ honestly car dealerships should hire my depression it is the best goddamn sales person ever)
BUT THE POINT IS
we are here, together at the end. It has been a long and winding road filled with lows (we wept with you and raged with you) and enormous highs (we laughed with you, we squealed and clapped our hands to our face in disbelieving joy with you) and some truly weird potholes (YOU FUCKING CASSANDRA YOU, SINGING THOSE JAGGED HOLES INTO BEING AND THEN SLAMMING THE SHIP WITH US ALL ON IT RIGHT INTO THEM)
it is the last season with DS9, but not our last season with you Tarra, not nearly. Legions awaits, and after that many more shows to delight in once again through you. But thank you for this amazing experience. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you
Paul Anderson (Panda) talks about The Revenant, Peaky Blinders, Legend and Tom Hardy. Legend comes out November 20 and The Revenant will be out in limited release on December 25 and wide release January 8, 2016. Season 3 of Peaky Blinders is also due out in 2016.
*Top photo shared by Paul on instagram. Tom and Panda on the set of The Revenant (2014). @biggierayman “Another one!!!”
Paul Anderson and Team Arthur
As the protagonists of Steven Knight’s Birmingham-set television drama Peaky Blinders, the Shelby siblings haven’t had it easy. Tommy (Cillian Murphy), the second brother in age and the first in everything else, drowns his World War One shell shock with opium. His younger brother John (Joe Cole) is trying to raise his young children following the death of his wife. Ada (Sophie Rundle), the only sister, defies her brothers and marries local communist Freddie Thorne only to have him die unceremoniously between seasons. Finn, the last of the lot, is too young to be a part of the Shelby brotherhood yet remains at risk from their enemies. Then there is Arthur, played by Kennington, South London native Paul Anderson. As the eldest sibling, Arthur should be the patriarch, but he’s not, because Tommy got all the family smarts and Arthur got all the family rage. While he might not be smoking opium, he does plenty of self-medicating with whisky, cocaine, and visceral violence. By the end of the show’s first two seasons, Arthur has accidentally killed a young man in the boxing ring, tried to hang himself, and almost been murdered by Jewish gangster Alfie Solomons (Tom Hardy). Occasionally, however, Arthur channels his energy more productively as Tommy’s right-hand man. When he does, it’s infectious; he’s Arthur fooking Shelby, the sort of character that inspires YouTube supercuts. And because you never know quite where he’s going to fall, there is a certain audience affection reserved only for Arthur. As one YouTube commentor writes, "The actor playing Arthur does a great job at making him really likeable even when he’s doing dumb shit.“
Until about seven years ago, Paul Anderson wasn’t an actor at all; he was a ticket scalper. "I loved it. A wealth of experience,” he recalls in his thick South London accent. “I earned a lot of money out of it, but that was all I got out of it. Artistically, there was nothing in that for me, so I’d always wanted to do something else.” Anderson did not, however, want to be an actor; “I always wanted to be a frontman in a band,” he says. “Not a footballer. Not an actor. Certainly not a policeman or a fireman. I wanted to be a lead singer. Nothing else,” he continues.
Detective Comics #956 - A DC Comics review, May 11th 2017
A few missed opportunities lead to a lacklustre ending of an intriguing arc.
Detective Comics #956
The newest issue from the Detective Team picks up from where we left off in the last issue, with the team about to make a last stand against Lady Shiva and her League of Shadows. Batwoman is injured and is escorted out by Clayface, using his powers to trick people into believing they are injured ninjas. At first i was sceptical of Tynion including Basil on this team but he uses him just so incredibly well that you can’t help but think that if they turned him back into the old Clayface it would be a massive waste of character development.
Moving on to the main fight, Tynion and artist Marcio Takara do a great job of illustrating a very visceral fight that ends up coming down to Cass and Shiva. A battle of philosophy as well as skill, Cassandra ends up victorious because she believes that being the better fighter means that you don’t have to kill, a lesson her mother learns very quickly as she is bettered by her invigorated daughter. This story really does begin to bring Cass out of her shell in this post-Flashpoint timeline and hopefully it’s the start of more.
In the end though, Ra’s al Ghul intercedes and mortally wounds Shiva with a gun. This feels a bit anti-climactic on the surface as it doesn’t feel like Ra’s’ style, but you could also make the argument that he just wanted to end her threat to his empire as quickly and cleanly as possible and he scoops up her body too. The really confusing part is that Batman just kinda lets him do this without much of a fight, although i guess they just had a big fight and he probably didn’t have it in him for one against Ra’s and his clan. Before she is taken though, Shiva whispers something in Cassandra’s ear.
What did she say? Well, it’s something we’ll have to find out another time, but i hope that she told her that she doesn’t have to call herself Orphan any longer. Not only would it reconcile Shiva’s distancing of her daughter but grant Cass the knowledge that she does, or rather did, have a parent who loved her to some degree. And also, Orphan is an awful codename.
Where does the team go from here? Well in the epilogue, Bruce tells Kate, who is rocking the coolest suit and cane combo this side of the Multiverse, that the puzzle before them involving Ra’s and The Colony are only small parts of a larger picture. In order to get answers, Bruce says he must travel down a path he ventured in his early years of training, by embracing magic as a weapon. At first glance i thought that Bruce was being crazy, he doesn’t do magic, but given how he’s behaving lately in all of his books it shouldn’t come as a shock. He’s assembly an army, we know that thanks to Tim Drake, and magic is another arrow in his quiver so to speak.
The artwork of Marcio Takara feels messy in places but perfectly illustrates the big fight between the team and Shiva. The real winner of the art stakes here though are the colours from Marcello Maiolo, who perfectly uses a mixture of red and orange in order to express the visceral nature of the battle.
TL;DR - Artwork makes up for a story that ends in an anti-climax, but good characterisation is abound in this issue and Cassandra coming out of her shell is worth the admission alone.
1. What OTPs in your fandom(s) do you just not get? I mentioned two here. On the less visceral end of things, I could never really get into Fenris x Hawke. I can see the appeal (Gideon Emery’s voice alone is swoon-worthy), but it just never really clicked for me. Fenris in general just always felt kind of out of place to me in DA2, and I think that probably influences some of it.
2. Are there any popular fandom OTPs you only BroTP? I don’t know if it’s that popular, but I do see Cass x Cullen every now and then, and they are 100000% BROTP for life, my dudes. I can’t see them in a romantic relationship at all.
4. Has fandom ever ruined a pairing for you? In the same vein as my issues with Alistair x Cousland and the whole Cullenite fiasco, Cullen x F!Inquisitor, especially Trevelyans, was kind of on my shitlist for a while. I still had my own ships and supported friends’ shipping, but I realllllly pulled back from a lot of fanworks for a while.
21. What are your thoughts on crack ships? I think they can be a lot of fun, especially from a creative pursuit–Trying to figure out how to make two characters who have little to no feasible canon reason to be together come (huehuehue) together can be a blast. But it’s usually not something I actively seek or browse for.
A mom offered me a ride home with the line, “Not everything has to be hard today.” It kinda broke my heart to hear that, because sometimes everything DOES feel like it has to be hard, and it sounds like she viscerally knows that.
I ended up painting faces with half the young adults support group, and Helpful Mom, whose daughter (an excellent face painter) will probably start the Modified Atkins diet soon. So if y’all want to send over links that a non-vegetarian, no-allergies teenager who’s on MAD will enjoy, I’ll email them her way.
Also, there’s a series of comic books about Medikids, where teenage heroes explain various aspects of disabilities in bright colors and superhero costumes? And they come in Spanish and English?
I am 100% bringing them into work ASAP. They may be hokey as fuck, but they’re better than the alternative- which is nothing.
First off, I wanted to say that I too really love reading your analysis!!! Second,I'd like to know what's your view on Axel's character growth during the course of KH2 (from his attempts to get Roxas back leading to his sacrifice). You can expand it by including his actions from Days if you want. Thank you in advance! :)
The phrase I used in a post the other day for Axel at the end of Days was “about to slide down a rather steep slide into basically suicide.” So uh. Before I continue, this is the trigger warning for suicidal thoughts and actions for those of you who would like to stop reading. Not to mention the, um, general trigger warnings that go along with Axel…
I don’t see Axel as a particularly mentally stable character. I don’t mean for that to sound insulting to anyone - it’s a matter of empathy for me and my long list of DSM conditions. It’s hard, if not impossible to put names of conditions to fictional characters, especially when different metaphysics like hearts are involved, and I don’t plan on doing so in this post.
Axel is a character so driven by passion. Saix says of Axel, after his death “Axel couldn’t stand living without a heart, and was destroyed by getting close to one.” This is more or less a perfect reading of what happened - fitting, coming from his once best friend.
Lea is such a character of the heart - about connecting it to as many people as possible, about living by his ambitions and fiery passions and wills, that the loss of his heart really throws him. In CoM, he is the character who talks constantly about what it means to be a Nobody and how messed up that makes them.
Even then, in his first appearance, we see him as throwing himself at feeling. It’s actually really creepy in this game. It seems like, due to his interaction with Sora (and possibly Sora’s connection with Ven and Lea’s connection with Ven, who knows) along with his interactions with Roxas in the first 20 or so days of Days, he has really started to regrow his heart. The first emotion he seems to really feel in a long time? Enjoyment at the manipulation and downfall of the C.O. crew.
In his secret reports, he spends a lot of the early game commenting on how everything seemingly human Roxas and Xion do not only confuses him, but gets to him on a deeper level. Again, I do not want to venture into more clinical terms here. But compare Axel’s entries like this:
Talking to Roxas and Xion always brings back memories of my human life, back when I was a kid. It’s a weird sensation.
Watching them, it’s like they’re human. It’s messing with my head.
I find myself envying the children. Perhaps some fundamental difference exists between those who become Nobodies as adults and otherwise. The longer you have lived, the more you are positioned to lose with such a gamble. But a child can look forward, unafraid even in the face of immeasurable odds. I doubt they even see life as a gamble the way we do.
There is the same sort of longing in the latter, but it is resigned, distant, and despite the mention of a feeling, it is somehow less visceral. By the end of the game, Axel’s entries are pretty frantic and mention emotion all over the place.
But my point is, is that these interactions with humanity are really intense and important and psychologically powerful for Axel. And, in effect, we learn that they have made him no longer a true Nobody. When he says as he dies “he made me feel like I had a heart”, he is speaking more truth then he knows - Axel by the end of Days indeed had a heart, or part of one, that was hurt and broken and torn.
I have said several times on this blog that Axel/Lea is characterized by fire and passion and drive. And that in its pure form in will run wild and just burn everything in it’s path. What we are seeing in KH2 is basically that. It is the last shred of control, of reign Axel has over his wildfire, over his fury and passion and pain slipping.
In the beginning of the game, he is trying to scheme, still. Trying to use tactics, to hide, to be sarcastic. In the end of Roxas’s section, he breaks for a moment. The Novels, which I am on record as having mixed feelings about, state that when Axel sets fire to the entire room when he is fighting Roxas, it is because he is content to die there with Roxas, if only to have that final moment. While you don’t have to read it at that extreme, there is only one other time Axel sets fire to everything, and that is his death. Axel’s fire is a metaphor - when it is targeted, controlled, so is he. When it is wild and everywhere, so is he. Think of how precise it had to be when he burned Vexen from the inside.
When we see Axel on Destiny Islands, he seems tired. Someone can actually compare the frames, and this could just be Mr. Flynn’s fantastic voice acting, but it seems to me that Axel is… off. Like he is trying hard to keep himself composed. There is a kind of mad desperation in the way he confronts Kairi. If you watch, the Camera doesn’t film much of that scene straight - there are a lot of strange tilted angles. This is, by the way, masterful scene work.
And it’s a stupid, stupid idea. I mean, think about it. Axel plans on kidnapping Kairi while on the run from the Organization, through dark corridors. He then plans on what? confronting Sora and demanding that he let the heartless take his heart or Axel will kill Kairi? I mean, he is forgetting about Riku, he is forgetting about the Organization, about Sora’s hundreds of allies… It’s not a very good plan. I mean, Sora would probably go along with it - he did in KHone. But still. From the level of schemer we saw in CoM this is a seriously concerning idea.
And if you were not convinced, the game shows you Kairi getting away with Riku’s help. Then it takes Axel a while to find her. By the time he gets to Twilight Town, she’s made friends with Hayner, Pence and Olette. And by that point, Saix has caught up to him. It’s a big mess.
And intentionally so. This was the last ditch effort. This was Axel, an Axel with some of a heart, going “I will kill this girl, and whoever else I have to, to get the hero of the worlds - the one who is going to save everyone, to let himself die because all i care about is seeing my friend and feeling again.” And he failed.
By the time he confronts Sora, his body language is almost drunk tired. He’s trying to put back up his mask, but Sora gets to him with all that humanity, with his pleas. It’s at this point that it seems that Axel is just running, striking where he can. Why is he telling Sora this? What does he have to gain from Sora knowing this? Nothing - this is him not wanting Sora, and by extension Roxas to be used as a tool of the Organization. This is him trying to undermine them now. His plan has failed. All he can do now is make amends. That exasperated sigh when he says “look, about Kairi, I’m sorry.” He means that. He is sorry. He even makes time to say it again as he’s dying.
I think at his point, Axel has given up. He knows he is going to die one way or another and he isn’t fighting it. Hell, part of him wants to. What’s left for him? I have a lot of feelings about Axel as the poisonous friend. Everyone he befriends gets hurt. I don’t think this is something lost on Axel. I think that he realizes this. Some of this is probably more headcanon than analysis, but I think at this point he’s pretty disgusted with himself.
He’s on the run from his first best friend, trying to save the last shread of his other best friend, watching everything go to shit, and he’s failing again, and he’s just kidnapped a girl for, it turns out no reason, and he’s exhausted and what does he have to show for himself but pain and death and fire?
So when we see him again, where is he? He is between the fake Twilight Town and The World that Never Was. At this point, he is so exhausted that a single dusk catches him off guard and knocks him over, leaving him struggling to get up. He has no reason to be here other than to help Sora make it to the other side. It’s outright suicide to get this close to the Organization at this point, but you need someone to open the portal on both ends. If the Dusks hadn’t swarmed him here, Axel would have done the same thing somewhere else in TWTNW. I mean, we don’t even know how necessary the attack was - can a portal not be opened while there are dusks in the in between? No - I think he was just so tired of running and the next stop was TWTNW. If he did go through there, he’d be taken to the Castle. Maybe “the maximum punishment” isn’t death, but worse. Maybe he didn’t want to die while Saix looked on. Maybe he just wanted to die on his own terms. Maybe he just was tired of holding in all the fire and passion and rage and hurt inside.
Fan BoneMen: Decapitador , inspired by Spaghettibastard’s Bone Men art series @spaghettibastard
I imagine the Decapitador as a war priestess of sorts, improving her allies through boon and chant.
An oily fluid pools in her hips that can she can form into a incredibly strong, silk like material. With this she forms her visceral threads, each ending in horrid meat hooks, meant to drag opponents to a violent demise.
The fluid can also help seal wounds or act as an armor if smothered upon an ally. Her dress is made of the same fluid, hiding extra weapons and protecting her legs.
#5 Best Songs of the 1980s - London Calling - The Clash
Immediate. Visceral. It’s the end of the fucking world, but thank god The Clash is here to drive you through the bullshit. There were a ton of protest songs in the eighties and many of them were clever enough that the masses remained unaware. Born in the USA, 99 Red Balloons, Electric Avenue, Vamos a la Playa, Blue Sky Mine. Other songs like London Calling or Rocking the Free World were not so subtle.
That was the beautiful thing about them though. Shining bright hot. A giant “fuck you” to the system.
The wonderful thing about punk was how anyone with enough confidence could get onstage with their anger. You didn’t have to know how to play. Just be real. Be fucking real and let your frustration, rage, and sadness, let your emotion flow. Many of the great artists you worship started out unable to write, draw, or play an instrument. But by the sheer force of anger, by sheer will, they got good at it and honed their anger into a surgeons scalpel. They cut up everything and every one. Sometimes even themselves.
“But I have no fear cause London is drowning and I live by river.”
A last stand. All three fucking glorious minutes and twenty seconds of it.
A lotta songs kinda drag on, lulling you into a nodding trance. But this one is over before you’re able to stretch out and unpack the full load of your fucking frustration at all of it. It’s a three act play full of humanity. All you can do is just hit repeat again and again. While you work on something. While you build a fire somewhere in the raining dark.
Remember in season 10, how FRUSTRATING it was that we would watch episode after episode where Sam and Cas talked all desolately on the phone, like, “Dean’s getting worse,” or “The Mark is really affecting him now,” but we never got to see tangible evidence of Dean breaking down?
All they needed was ONE episode like “Red Meat” to really hammer it in. That’s all it would have taken. One episode with real, actual tension that made me legitimately afraid for the characters and that readily demonstrated their complex mental states. One episode that defied their standard plot formula, didn’t rely on tired action sequences, and presented me with a real, gritty, snapshot of who Sam and Dean are as people at this moment in their lives. All I needed was a SNAPSHOT of that desperation.
“Red Meat” was a fucking textbook lesson in the effectiveness of show vs. tell. I don’t know if someone gave the writing team remedial composition lessons between season 10 and 11 or what, but whatever they’re doing, it’s fucking working. I hope they keep it up.
“Frontier(s) is underrated. I expected a mediocre film with some gritty gore scenes to keep me entertained, but it far exceeded my expectations, and I was thoroughly impressed by the quality of the writing and the actors’ performances. Great characterization + gnarly violence = one of the most satisfying, adrenaline-pumping, downright visceral endings to a film that I’ve ever seen. I wish more people knew about it!”
Josh Gad’s performance in Frozen was largely improvised. So was Meryl Streep’s performance in The Devil Wears Prada. And Marlon Brando’s in A Streetcar Named Desire. In fact, concepts such as actors reading scripts, going to rehearsals and giving prior thought to their performances are common misconceptions, and have rarely actually cropped up in Western culture. The genius of playwrights such as Shakespeare is that they can tap into how people work so viscerally that somehow everyone ends up saying the exact same thing every time.