There’s a great moment in Blazing Saddles that a lot of people will miss if they aren’t careful. One of my all-time favorite comedy scenes is the closing stretch of that film, as the big fight in Rock Ridge spills off the set and invades other stages and locations on the Warner Bros. backlot (“You’ll be surprised you're doing the French Mistake, Voila!”) It’s a brilliant sequence of comic anarchy, culminating with Bart and The Waco Kid gunning down Hedley Lamarr in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater. It’s meta before meta was invented.
The little, round eye faded to black, and the familiar chirps and beeps went silent as the Star Wars franchise mourned the passing of one of their family members; Kenny Baker, who donned the R2-D2 robotic shell for the first six episodic films, passed away on Saturday, August 13, 2016. Warwick Davis, who acted alongside Baker in Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi and Labyrinth, tweeted, “Sad to say goodbye to a small man with a huge heart and personality. He paved the way for short actors for a generation.”
It’s been a rumor for quite some time, but it was finally made official this past weekend at Comic-Con: The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney California Adventure will close this winter and be re-themed as a ride based on Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. The ride will close in January and then re-open next summer, in time to capitalize on the release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in May. Because Marvel signed a licensing deal with Universal Orlando prior to being purchased by Disney in 2009, Disney can’t use the Marvel characters in its east coast theme parks; however, Disney (who paid $4 billion for them) has been working to prominently feature the Marvel characters in the west coast theme parks, and the rebranding of the Tower of Terror is the first step in adding more rides and attractions in California that are based on Marvel's House of Ideas.
You’ve likely heard of the little phenomenon that is Pokemon GO by now. (I’m going with Pokenomenon.) Whether you’re out walking to catch just one more Clefairy before heading back home or just amazed by the amount of people walking about parks, it’s unlikely that you’ve missed this unprecedented moment in gaming and social media history.
Who you gonna call? Well, if you're one subset of a certain franchise, it'll be the hilarious ladies lining up for their blockbuster release of the new Ghostbusters film. If you're another subset, then you'll be calling said ladies some pretty terrible things, because Ghostbusters are obviously men, because women just aren't funny, right? The whole point of Ghostbusters is that they actually have nuclear accelerated phalluses that they wave about maniacally, throwing plasma everywhere and caring not a whit for the fallout. Obviously, women can't handle this kind of elevated humor, because men are just so much better at it. It’s not that they don’t want to see them in the uniform, of course, just not with all the talky. Like this. That’s fine because women can pretend to be Ghostbusters (Ghostbustiers, perhaps?), but they have no right being Ghostbusters. After all, that’s not how the franchise began, and you can’t change the nature of its identity without consulting the fans. After all, they’re the ones consuming it. You can’t just foist things they don’t want to see into the continuity. That would mean that if they don’t see, it they can’t be its fan anymore.
In this day and age, one must feel lost without the presence of social media. Or maybe they feel relieved? Lord knows, I'll never know the difference. Not a day goes by now where I haven't tweeted, posted, or hashtagged to let others know what happened throughout my day. And, unfortunately, I'm sure I'm not alone...
I am on the record in my support of the all-female Ghostbusters movie we’re getting next month. Some of the reactions to it from fandom communities have been so annoying and offensive that I’ve never in my life wanted a film to be great just to silence its detractors. Multiple blogger have taken to the internet in recent days to write essays in which they are swearing off seeing Ghostbusters, as if not seeing a movie is some kind of impressive gesture of defiance, because their beloved franchise is now being fronted by women. They feel a righteous indignation that the Ghostbusters movie is being ruined, and they’re very vocal about boycotting it.
And now, it’s my turn.
We live in a world inundated with books and movies focusing on dystopias: The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Fifth Wave, The Maze Runner, etc. It’s easy to believe that the economic crises and international political upheavals starting in the late 1990s created a market for stories about corrupt governments and damaged societies, but the genre has much deeper roots. Logan’s Run, based on the 1967 novel of the same name, debuted in theaters on June 23, 1976, and given there’s hardly a dystopian novel or film without my name written all over it, I’m shocked I hadn’t seen it until now.
“Darwyn always made me feel like when he was talking to me, he was 100% focused on me.
It's because he was...he was like this with everyone. It was his superpower.
To live in that moment and give it his all.
His art was a physical version of this. It's why his art reached so many people.
He was speaking directly to you and giving you every bit of himself. I'm going to miss you, man.”
- Shannon Eric Denton (Writer/Artist, Spectrum, Fleshdigger)