Monthly Archives: April 2017

The Specter Show 013: Wish

DJ, the Emerald Specter, talks about the Uchu Sentai Kyurangers! Yes, the references are made to the American equivalents, but he briefly goes over what he likes and what the Japanese series is like… more to come? Who knows!

The Specter Show 012: Pinion

The Emerald Specter, DJ Allen, returns for another great episode. This one is charged with opinion on two big properties, and an unintended discussion about the column I wrote earlier this week. I touch on Tron, Star Trek: Discovery, writing for my own comics, a brief bit about the BuJoRPG, and it’s all right here and ready to go.

Emerald Specter 43: How I’d Handle Tron

While it’s been quiet on the “Tron” front (from Disney, the owners of the rights to Tron), I’d like to jump into what they really should be doing with the property… or more importantly, how I’d handle the property in the current situation.

Read on, kids, it’s another Emerald Specter column.

ScreenRant ran an article that I’ve read, which deals with the reported reboot that Disney is running with their hopes that Jared Leto will star. The article was released on April 1, so I wasn’t totally sure that it was legit but there isn’t an idiotic joke in the article, so I’m running with talking about my thoughts on their thoughts, then moving on from there.

The article mentions the past and how Disney made great visual effects leaps without getting too deep into the idea for Tron: Ascension being still a viable option. They discuss the particulars of what the climate was like “back then,” how far we’ve advanced (especially since the last Tron release), and what Disney really needed to do to recapture the original vibe.

I do agree that if Disney wants to make an impact, they’re going to have to tie technology and real life into such a blurred line that the story would be more about how we’ve fallen victim to technology and become too self reliant rather than simply having someone just “pop in and change stuff.”

First and foremost, though, if you’re going to reboot the franchise, you need to COMPLETELY REBOOT TRON. I’m talking about pretending that Tron and Tron: Legacy NEVER EXISTED. I’m talking about making the character of Tron turn into the name of the system, making an updated visual experience (keep the light on black motif, but make the design fresh), and get rid of the non-existent (and hokey) digitizing laser.

If you’re going to do this thing, you need to forget the “isolated” Grid concept, and update all your terms. Users? They’re now Developers. Programs? Let’s call them Apps instead. The Grid? Well, we could leave that one alone, as it sounds technical, but let’s revamp that too and just call this one the System… or the Network. In fact, if we’re going with my “make Tron the name of the  place” theme, then make it an acronym… I’m just spitballing here, but maybe Technological Revolution Origin Network (making Origin the name of Encom’s stand in)? It’s just a spitball.

In my world of TRON (capitalized because it’s now an acronym), Developer Johnny Hacker creates a virus that has an unintended consequence… which is that the code alters a burgeoning manufactured intelligence (artificial intelligence, to the uninitiated… manufactured intelligence means it can be alive but doesn’t demean the potential new life form) into actual sentience. This is my MCP stand in, we’ll call it WALT (Wireless Autonomous Logic Technology). WALT sees what the Developers around him are doing and decides that since technology is basically running people’s lives that WALT should be doing that instead. WALT then creates Apps that will be his generals in the army of his revolution.

We will get a mix of digital world, real world, and the virtual reality we have to interact with both sides of this fight. The Developers start developing countermeasures when social media networks start actually harming folks (maybe due to the new augmented reality features in them), creating a build up to the final battle between WALT and the primary warriors in the Network (capitalized because it’s a proper noun here) will engage in combat with the primary warriors of the Developers (maybe include a Kevin Flynn, Ed Dillinger, and Alan Bradley… if we need Developer names).

I definitely would NOT have a CLU, or a SARQ, or a TRON… the characters. I would seek to differentiate my TRON universe from what came before… and that is just scraping the surface.

So, my TRON reboot has come out and it’s successful… I’ll call it (for the purposes of this column TRON Genisystem or TRON Genesis). Don’t wait for the toys to be sold or the movie to gather as much cash as possible, launch the “Tron Uprising” style cartoon (I’ll call mine TRON Exodus) for at least a three season run while we work on the sequel movie. We can also have a comic book and maybe a novel trilogy put out touching on different aspects of the TRON Network. The cartoon will be about how whatever replaces WALT starts developing another army for a new initiative, the comic book can be about the merger of a WALT App and a Developer App that decides to be his own faction, fighting for freedom while holding down the manufactured intelligence army. The novels will address what happens with each of the Developer Apps that confronted WALT, where they end up, and why they are also gaining some of their own sentience.

All of this will be in the same universe.

The sequel to TRON and the sequel to the sequel (making a trilogy) would also be worked on, with a cartoon series (or live action), more comics, and more novels put out. Hell, we shouldn’t leave out the possibility for video games that take the perspective of an “up and coming” Developer trying to follow in Flynn, Dillinger, and Bradley’s footsteps but actually figuring out some other aspect of the Network would fit in… we’d have video games coming out, too.

And toys… we can’t forget the marketing and toy empire that can be built on this.

The most important part of this brief outline is that Disney controls the whole thing from start to finish, with a clear vision of where things are starting, seeding future properties and tie ins, and giving them the chance to build a theme park built up on their newly rebooted property rather than trying to take a “one off movie” from 1982 and building a franchise off of that (using outdated terms, misconceptions about how technology works) instead of simply coping with what came before from minds that are no longer in the company.

Let me know what you think.

Think on it.

The Specter Show 011: Get Down, Make Love

The Emerald Specter, DJ Allen, discusses a little bit about the Greatest Show changes, the impending possibility of an Exalted exclusive podcast, as well as discussion about the “Big 2” comic companies “eventing us out,” and a little bit more. Enjoy!

Emerald Specter 42: In Charge – DC Edition

This article was spawned by a Newsarama story and is really a different version of what I did with my Marvel take over. Without getting too “into” the press conference portion of things, let’s launch this a little differently because DC has different issues than Marvel.

DC Comics has a history laden with retcons, reboots, and just downright weird decisions. There are characters in this company that have a history like none other, things that make this company far more complicated, and with their direct connection to movie making (Warner Brothers owns DC), it’s baffling why DC didn’t come up with a DCCU before Marvel came up with the MCU… just going to show that movie executives are too stupid to run comic based movies.

But that isn’t what this column is about.

The DC Multiverse is so complicated and convoluted, I’d almost immediately trash the whole lot and start from scratch… but that isn’t what people want. So, the primary DC continuity that has existed (and was retconned in Crisis, Flashpoint, etc) will be hereafter known as DC Legacy, where Bruce Wayne can eternally be Batman and the rest of the crew can continue through their lives as they have without aging (or aging in “comics time”).

DC could have benefitted from a “reimagining” like Marvel’s Ultimate line, and since DC hasn’t done something like this before, we launch DC Absolute… where we start everything from scratch, reimagine all the character origins and have a controlled environment for them all to progress, age, die, be replaced, or whatever needs to happen with the only rule I would impose on DC Absolute: dead means dead.

The DC Absolute line wouldn’t mirror Ultimate Marvel, but retelling their stories with a fresh take in a modern setting would allow the creators to do something different with Absolute that hasn’t been, and couldn’t be, done anywhere else. We wouldn’t be so strangled with a convoluted and complicated history that trying to do something new would cause fanboys everywhere to cry out in anger.

Yes, I can hear some of them crying out in anger at this suggestion, but moving on…

As I stated in the Marvel version of this column, DC has done something well that Marvel hasn’t even attempted (in my opinion): Elseworlds. Batman by Gaslight? Great. Black Superman? Awesome. Aquaman: Lord of Earth? Sure. But why stop at one shots when you can create infinite numbers of series based on someone reimagining a character and not needing to tie anything in to either the Legacy or Absolute continuity. Boom, done.

DC also has to branch out their universes to be more “pure” in nature. Shazam shouldn’t be in mainstream DC continuity, he should really be in a DC Fawcett continuity. Want multiple versions of the character? Why not Shazam Legacy, Shazam Absolute, and maybe even a Shazam Classic (same great taste, all new stories)? I like the reimagined Shazam (with the hooded cape), but I’m also a fan of the old school Shazam (i.e. Captain Marvel). I just chose Shazam for this specific example, but other characters have been absorbed into DC that could also benefit from this treatment.

Watchmen, anyone? Watchmen in an ongoing in the Watch-verse retelling their adventures that may or may not lead into their ultimate end in Alan Moore’s Watchmen GN. I’d read this… hell, you could have two titles in here (one as Watchmen, one as Minutemen for the old time stories). This could also have solo titles with Rorschach, Dr Manhattan, Nite Owl, etc… or have new characters in there, like the newly created specifically for that universe.

Since DC and Warner Brothers owns Hanna-Barbera, this is where I’m going to suggest launching an HB specific universe. I would include all of the characters, like the obviously left out Blue Falcon who could add a bit to the universe DC is currently working on in Future Quest. We could also have the Teen Force in there and why not create a few characters that would fit into that aesthetic, too? DC owns a lot of properties and they’re only scraping the surface on most of this.

The thing that has bothered me most about what DC is doing is that they launch a title, let it run for a few issues, and either cancel it because a reboot is coming or cancel it because they want another version of that character to interact with the character whose title got canceled… so they launch a new title. Why? WHY?

I’d do all of the above and I’d also try the idea I put forward over in my Marvel column: a separate DCGNU, graphic novels as the “movies” to release and tell a very specific, cohesive story that would end up with whatever outcome the creators of that DCGNU come up with. The possibilities are endless.

In neither of these columns have I addressed the issues of digital vs print, or moving into different areas of publishing, or just eliminating the problems that are holding these companies down (like high issue prices for both digital and print, as if the digital was using the resources of printing and paper).

Here’s where I really start to trail away from the concept of running DC alone. The comic book industry has both a great future and great problems. The issue of saddling yourself with 75-100 years of comic book continuity is an absolute nightmare and why anyone would want to hold creators to that ONLY is insane. If you want to keep the continuity, then why can’t Bruce Wayne retire permanently and let Dick Grayson be Batman? Is Superman truly immortal or is the newly introduced son going to take his place? How many damn times can Hal Jordan be resurrected (and continually be known as the greatest Green Lantern ever, but never truly makes a sacrifice for the Corps)? Barry Allen was dead for a long time… but someone brought him back… WHY?

There is more information to mine in this subject, specifically with the digital v print conversation. There will be talk about that but I’m going to stop this one here before I diverge too far away from the subject.

Think on it.

The Specter Show 010: Ringfinger

The tenth edition of the Specter Show discusses the awesome Dirk Manning bumper, an article commentary from Newsarama (also referenced in a column on EmeraldSpecter.com), an update for April on the BuJoRPG, and DJ goes a little tangential on stuff as well!