Tag Archives: Comics

Journal of the Emerald Specter 56: The Big Roundup

What the green hell is going on? Yeah, things aren’t all that terrible but I wanted to have a chance to talk about a lot of things in small chunks that have been happening so that I can roundup everything that needs to be rounded up before moving forward with other stuff.

So, first of all, if you aren’t listening to the Specter Show, you are missing things and that is something you should be listening to… because I am no longer going to cross pollinate information in multiple locations.

I think.

Anyway, no more preamble, let’s get to the topics!The Aki Basho is underway and this is a wacky one. The Wacky Aki is missing a ton of talent and some of the missing talent started the tournament but have dropped out for one reason or another.

Being out due to injury is known as kyujo and the rikishi out on kyujo are as follows (this is not a complete list, just the heavy hitters): Hakuho, Kakuryu, Kisenosato, Takayasu, Terunofuji, and Ura. That is three Yokozuna (of the four), two Ozeki, and the biggest “up and coming” rikishi in the makuuchi division. Some die hard fans are actually thinking this basho isn’t worth watching anymore, just because the names listed up there aren’t in this one…

But there is still a lot going on.

Ura missing is a big hit in my opinion but I’d rather have these guys sit out instead of showing poorly during the basho and getting more injured in the process. With any luck, everyone is back for the November basho and we can see something remarkable.

Harumafuji, the only remaining Yokozuna, has had a hard go of things this basho, but I’m really hoping that he’s going to perform like he did last time the rumor of his forced retirement came out… that was by devastating the competition for the remainder of the basho. It was epic.

Kotoshogiku is also having a decent basho, starting out 4-0 and (as of this writing) failing to win the next two… I’m hoping he pops back up, too, because a basho with Kotoshogiku running on all cylinders is a fun watch.

Where is the serial fiction, DJ?

Well, I made some progress and then I told you about mind mapping… I hope. I decided to use my mind mapper to work up what needs to happen in the “first season,” mapping the whole thing out (not in intricate detail, but the broad strokes) so that I can start writing again from the beginning with some cohesiveness.

I’m going to tell you a little bit about the story, too. Think Game of Thrones, but with a Chinese/Japanese style of setting. Instead of knights (there are knights), you’ll have Samurai and jianghu warriors running about. There are also “mystical creatures” because I have a planet with multiples of species.

If that doesn’t wet your whistle for the project, I guess I’ll just have to get something out (maybe a teaser) sooner rather than later.

Oh, did I mention that I’m going to try to write the bulk of this thing during NaNoWriMo?

Amanda Nunes is still the Women’s Bantamweight Champion and Ronda Rousey has a “big website reveal” coming up. Why do I include these things together? Because I’m a big “lady fights” fan and these are two of the bigger names in the UFC.

Along with that, the Ultimate Fighter is currently doing for Women’s Flyweight Division that they did for the Women’s Strawweight Division: they are holding a season to crown the first ever UFC Women’s Flyweight Champion. With the introduction of the division, there is now a full (and connected” set of divisions for the women to move up and down in (so we can start getting some of the super fights, like the men do from time to time).

Joanna Jedrzejczyk could now move up to Flyweight, with someone like Holly Holm moving down to have a Flyweight super fight. This may not be high on everyone’s list but the more we have the women able to do the same things as the men the better off the UFC is going to be going into the future.

Do I think there should be even heavier divisions? Not a Heavyweight or Middleweight, but I wouldn’t say no to a Lightweight division.

I talked about a comic called The Resistants on the Greatest Show 137, from a creator I met at the Rose City Comic Con in early September. He is Big Blue Comics and I haven’t read the comic yet, I am very interested in getting started.

I mention this because I’ve got a lot of comics that I’ve gotten from comic cons that I haven’t yet read and I really need to make time for that. I also want to read these comics because of the current state of the comic book industry.

So, to summarize that article I linked to, Marvel is under the impression that the comic book reading public has no interest in diversity. Let that sink in for a minute. No diversity requested.

A meeting Marvel held with retailers gave them this impression. The ACTUAL impression that they should have gotten is that they need to stop changing their established properties to women, minorities, and whatnot but rather create new characters to increase diversity. Marvel’s complete tone deafness to this is unbelievable.

I understand that there is a market for Spider-Man. I understand there is a market for Captain America. I understand that there is a market for Thor. What I don’t understand is why Marvel, a giant in the comic book industry owned by a giant conglomerate, can’t realize that simply creating new characters with a more diverse background is the answer to their woes.

The Direct Market has been a terrible thing for the comic book companies. Series are cancelled, relaunched, and rebooted so often that fans have every reason to jump off and never come back. Books like the Walking Dead and Saga are doing great, not because they’re doing anything more complicated than simply pushing forward without trying to “have a new #1” every year.

People don’t want a new #1 so often that they outnumber the highest number of the previous run they collected, they want good ORIGINAL stories with characters that aren’t stale, tied to decades of continuity, and rehashing the same old things.

Get a clue.

I didn’t do what I originally planned to do and make a snippet for every header I currently have… because some of that would be rehashing the same topics I covered in the Specter Show and the Greatest Show.

What I do want to include, though, is that Fire Pro Wrestling World looks so awesome that I may get back into wrestling (at least producing something for the website) because it looks that awesome.

I did some eFeds back in the day, even so far as to compete in eFeds before there was the Internet. Doing a federation using Fire Pro Wrestling World as the engine to tell the stories the way I think that WWE should be doing it: with seasons and more thought put into them.

Time will tell but I think that it is more likely Chikara Pro will be a better business model than the WWE‘s current run.

Thanks for reading.

The Greatest Show 136: The Second Fourth

Welcome to the 2017/2018 Season of the Greatest Show! Return of the audio!

Rose City Comic Con 2017 talk, including talk about Verdacomb (comic), celebrities, fun times, future guests, and much more! Join the talent of DJ, Tricia, and Metal Jesus Kevin Lama as they explore all of the above and more!

Hosts: DJ “Emerald Specter” Allen, Tricia Allen, “Metal Jesus” Kevin Lama

Contact:
Website: www.EmeraldSpecter.com
Email: emeraldspecter.com@gmail.com
Twitter: @LPOKMNJ @MadeByTricia @EmeraldSpecter
Instagram: @MadeByTricia @EmeraldSpecter

Here’s your ticket to the YouTube Channel!

Hashtags: #BuJo #BuJoRPG #BuJoRPG2 #RCCC2017 #PeterCapaldi #ComicCon #RoseCityComicCon2017 #Verdacomb #Cosplay

The Greatest Show 136: The Second Fourth

Welcome to the 2017/2018 Season of the Greatest Show! For the first time ever, on Emerald Specter Channel 1! Subscribe and let’s get this thing built right!

Rose City Comic Con 2017 talk, including talk about Verdacomb (comic), celebrities, fun times, future guests, and much more! Join the talent of DJ, Tricia, and Metal Jesus Kevin Lama as they explore all of the above and more!

Hosts: DJ “Emerald Specter” Allen, Tricia Allen, “Metal Jesus” Kevin Lama

Contact:
Website: www.EmeraldSpecter.com
Email: emeraldspecter.com@gmail.com
Twitter: @LPOKMNJ @MadeByTricia @EmeraldSpecter
Instagram: @MadeByTricia @EmeraldSpecter

Here’s your ticket to the YouTube Channel!

Hashtags: #BuJo #BuJoRPG #BuJoRPG2 #RCCC2017 #PeterCapaldi #ComicCon #RoseCityComicCon2017 #Verdacomb #Cosplay

Journal of the Emerald Specter 54: Discoveries and Doubling Down

There are things happening, all the time, on this website, and with myself, that are in motion… almost everything I do is subject to my self-diagnosed ADD, which means occasionally I get distracted by things and then have to refocus my efforts to get back on track.

Oddly enough, the BuJoRPG was supposed to get me back on track and keep me focused, though I seem to have fallen off the wagon harder than I thought and I can’t seem to squeeze out the next version as easily as I’d hoped I would have been able to, so there is a talk I need to have with myself in this column and you can listen/read along.

I’ve started writing the “tutorial” of setting up the BuJoRPG 2 “Character Sheet.” I’m changing how I did things in B1, as I’ve stated before, and B2 is looking good… the problem I’ve run into is what to fill the Character Sheet with (that won’t require constant, or frequent, updating… meaning erasing and rewriting). This isn’t the only problem I’ve hit but it is the biggest one.

If you used B1 and you think that B2 is going to be a smooth transition over, just updating some terminology and moving forward with some modifications, you’d be wrong. I’ve changed some things and how they work, fundamentally, expanding the operations of what B2 can do. Just writing these words has emboldened me to finish up the tutorial and write up what needs to be done in order to release this in the Beta form (currently Version 0.1).

See what writing things down can do for me?

I’ve wanted to include a battle mechanic since the inception of this effort… B1 was going to eventually morph into a different version of what it was, but rather than slowly morph things over time, B2 is going to jump in with both feet. A set of “To Do Lists” will be the battles and there will be Skills you use in order to alter the “drops” of goods and loot. Yes, there will be goods and loot. I need to build the barest bones of the “Skills tree” in order to release the Beta, because I want my Beta testers to be able to suggest improvements or branches to that tree.

Just like the BuJoRPG: Wuxia template for B1, I’m building B2 as the Wuxia template (essentially). This is built around the idea of you being a wandering martial artist, acting as a hero, in a Chinese inspired “Wild West” (the term for this is Jianghu). Nothing will be so difficult with the terminology, though, that you can’t just modify the terms for your own “template,” because I’m not designing templates for B2.

I’m going to finalize the Beta before the end of next week and I hope to have something ready to go to develop. I hope you’re as excited to Beta test as I am to build the finalized version of B2.

I came across a genre of literature yesterday that really took me by surprise. The genre is known as LitRPG, literally meaning Literature Role Playing Game. The genre is about people who log into virtual reality games (which is the overwhelming basis for these novels) and are not able to log out. There are a few pieces of fiction that I can point to that will illustrate examples of what LitRPG actually is… those being Tron (both the original 1984 movie and the Tron: Legacy sequel), Total Recall (the Arnold Schwarzenegger version, as I haven’t seen the Colin Farrell version), Ready Player One (the whole book is about LitRPG), and Armada (the Ernest Cline second novel, similar to Ready Player One). The manga/anime Sword Art Online is also completely a LitRPG thing, so if you’re into anime you can watch that.

Now, I’m not a huge fan of the “fantasy” genre (elves, dwarves, orcs, goblins, D&D, Pathfinder, etc, etc…) because the genre has literally been done to death. I can’t throw a rock without hitting something or someone that deals with fantasy as a genre. Some will claim that all genres are like this, and they may be right, but I do not personally care for fantasy to the level most others do… unfortunately, the LitRPG genre seems to be dominated by fantasy as the backdrop.

I’ve found a couple of LitRPG audiobooks that I want to listen to, one of them is a fantasy based genre. The other sounds to be more like a “futuristic world” genre. I’m going to give them both a try. I’ll also give them both at least 50% of their content before finalizing a judgment on them.

The reason I bring this up is because when I put together that Tron and Tron: Legacy were essentially LitRPG, I was hit by the realization that a way to resurrect the Tron franchise could be through LitRPG.

Why do you care?

Well, I have a plot mapped out of a world similar to Tron that someone gets involved in, and that world has updated terminology, a similar “visual feel,” and is part of a larger world that would have been in development. The plan was to write this thing up, put it out in the world, and see if Disney wouldn’t be interested in letting people write their franchise as LitRPG (and then taking those stories and adapting a few of them into movies).

I’ve looked into the licensing information for Disney properties and rather than try that route right now, I am toying with the idea of moving forward with my LitRPG idea (adapting my digital world idea into more of a “game” rather than just a vague “world” like Tron).

This is the “distraction” part of my column title.

I’d love to hear some feedback, and yes, I know I’ve got serial fiction in the holding pattern right now, but the idea can be discussed without derailing anything else I’m currently doing. I’d LOVE some discussion on this idea.

Still no game to analyze… I thought I’d have been done with the target game by now but it is still raging on. I also got caught by something I wasn’t expecting in Chess.com’s app, and that is overwhelming me at the moment.

I joined too many tournaments.

In order to play more than a couple of games at a time, I joined a couple of tournaments. Read that to be “2” tournaments. I then went along and found a few tournaments not scheduled to start for months… MONTHS. Well, each and every tournament I joined has started (the ones scheduled way out were started early because all the participants signed up) and I’m currently playing somewhere between 40 and 50 games at the moment. That is way too many.

As a result of this, my rating has been trampolining all over the place as I win and lose in grand fashion to people I should and should not be losing to, as well as defeating a few that I have no business beating. As soon as this levels out, I’m going to make sure that no more tournaments start and the time controls for the ones I sign up for a long (because I have a tournament that I’m in where the time control is 48 hours, and I don’t like making moves that fast).

When things slow down, I’ll be a lot happier, but DAMN… there is way too much at once and that shouldn’t be the case, because I made a plan and that plan was trashed when tournaments started early.

My serial fiction, and a few of my other ideas, keep coming back to one important point about all of them: damn these would look good visually. Yeah, I can’t make full on “movies” with these things but I can damn sure make comics out of them.

I’ve wanted to write/produce comics for as long as I can remember. I originally thought I’d be doing the drawing of someone else’s writing, then I thought I’d be writing someone else’s drawing… and now I realize I’m going to be drawing my own writing.

The serial fiction I’ve created requires a few large pieces of visual information. I have already run into a couple of points in the early stages that inform me that I should have chosen the comics medium in order to tell this story. I think visually and I should have been writing this visually.

This makes me mad.

I’m a self proclaimed “starter,” failing to finish lots of things. The BuJoRPG has been seen through to a plateau and I’m developing that, but other than the odd “small job” here and there, I’ve really been a flake in finishing things. I’d like to turn my serial fiction into comics and I’m afraid for my own sanity that if I do that I’ll have that idea “die on the vine” as well, leaving me with yet another unfinished project. I’m also worried that if I don’t convert the information into comics, the idea will suffer the same fate from the other end.

Decisions.

At the moment, I’m trying very hard to leave things as they are so that I can finish something. I am also very anxious to start making comics, because at the age of 41, if I don’t start this soon, I’ll never make a comic book or graphic novel… ever.

How about this: what if I take a “section” of my serial fiction and create the comic page(s) that would tell the same part of that tale for comparison?

I’ve covered a few things above, some of them relate directly to other ones. I try to do everything I can in a timely and determined manner but life gets in the way.

Two weeks ago, work was my issue in getting things done. I’ve been hurt all this past week and now I’ve got too much damn time on my hands. Wouldn’t this be a benefit to everything else?

My mind works in a weird way. I do things best when I’m under pressure. If my wife leaves the house for a few hours and expects me to clean, I do the best job if I save that cleaning for the last 45 to 60 minutes of her absence. I think she’d agree with you on that, too. Now that I’ve got all kinds of time on my hands, I’ve fell into the other problem that I normally run into: distractions.

My mind wanders, a lot. My attention span can easily be taken from what I need to do by things I find slightly interesting. I don’t let people show me YouTube videos because one turns into two and two turns into seven… by myself, I do that to myself. That happens with webpages, videos, ideas, comics, food, etc.

I need to focus and hopefully I get the B2 thing out of the way to move on to the next project.

The Specter Show 030: March of the Pigs

Foot in a boot from injury? Check. Caught up on all the things that need to be talked about? Check. DJ runs you through some BuJoRPG 2 talk, being injured at work, writing progress, comic books, Specter of the Galaxy, and even more than I’ve already listed. Won’t you join us?

Host: DJ Allen
Intro Music: The Idea of You by Nine Inch Nails (from Not the Actual Events)
Outtro Music: The Perfect Drug by Nine Inch Nails
Intro Lead in: Theo Rossi

Contact:
Email: EmeraldSpecter.com@Gmail.com
Twitter: @EmeraldSpecter
Instagram: @EmeraldSpecter

Support Emerald Specter at Patreon!

Thanks for checking this out, you can find more at EmeraldSpecter.com!

Hashtags: #TheGreatestShow #Podcasting #TheSpecterShow #chess @TheoRossi #BuJoRPG #BuJoRPG2 #bulletjournal #NoMansSky #writing #PROChessLeague #SerialFiction #Comicbooks

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.

Emerald Specter 25: Round Up

coveremeraldspecter

I embark on the 25th Emerald Specter column without a specific topic, but I’ll be doing a lot of writing… so strap yourself in, this ride is going to be all over the place.

I’ve been giving a lot of thought, lately, to covering topics on a regular basis on the site. I have seriously toyed with doing a political column/show on the site and it was only this morning that I have decided that would consume an enormous amount of my time to produce, so I’ve decided not to cover that. However, I will be posting a political thing here before Trump’s inauguration… specifically dealing with the promises he made on the campaign trail and we’ll revisit those when his term as President is over. Everyone who supported him supported those things, as well as his misogyny, bigotry, xenophobia, and racism… we’ll see if the ultimate liar holds up to his promises or buckles under the weight of actually being the President.

Along with that topic, I’ve also been considering covering the sports that I enjoy watching as a reporter… specifically the UFC, One Championship, the NFL, sumo, the Barclays Premier League, MLS, and professional chess. Once again, that would eat up an enormous amount of my time but that is still on the table. I don’t need to report all the injuries, the play by play, or anything like that… covering sports is different than, say, politics, but I’m still not committed to doing that, yet. Starting out small would be the preferred way to do that, obviously.

Dude, you’ve talked a lot about nothing so far and you’re already almost 300 words into this column. 

Yes, I am, but I’m far from done.

My SpecterFit column went into the 40s for numbering and then just suddenly stopped. There are a couple of reasons for that but I’ll concentrate on the real barrier first: free time. SpecterFit requires that I put a little more effort into it than just a regular column and since I’ve gone back to delivering mail rather than supervising, I am finding it hard to squeeze all the things in I want to do in a day. This column, the Emerald Specter column, has been written ahead of time for the past month or so and as I write this I’m only a single column ahead (where I was four ahead when I initially got this thing back up and running). The other thing that stalled out the SpecterFit was my attempt to resurrect WAFFLE in the SpecterFit form… something I just don’t have time to organize and run like I did before. SpecterFit will return with less soul crushing “dictating from on high” and will morph more into a “tips and tricks” type thing. I’m also probably going to go with the “Nerd Fitness” type thing where I relate fitness to something you can geek out about in the process. Time will tell.

In the world of comics, I collect myself some titles. Spider-Man (the Miles Morales one), Moon Knight, Harbinger: Renegades, and I’m looking into a few others. Yes, that’s two Marvel comics and a Valiant. I really, really want to review comics and whatnot but with me only having three titles, and DC not really having anything that interests me at the moment, I don’t think I’d be doing the medium a service. I also don’t believe that many people would follow that, so I’m going to hold that on the back burner… the WAY back burner.

Where does all that “I’m not doing this” leave us? Well, it lets me cover the items I am doing and explain what is probably coming down the pipe in the near future.

Obviously, the Emerald Specter column is living and still breathing, so I’m going to go ahead and say this is safe to stick around for the future. This would be the only column that is currently running regularly and I’ll surpass the SpecterFit column in numbering before I pick that one back up. I think the self titled stuff should all be higher numbered than the other stuff, don’t you?

The three year running Greatest Show is doing just fine, too. We’ve just finished episode 102 as I write this and we’re going to be entering some non-typical shows into the mix so that we aren’t exhausting our discussion topics weekly. Episode 103 will be a Greatest Show Fight Series event (GSFS), which will be all of us in the UFC 2 game simulating a fighting event. I’m talking about this in the “coming soon” tense but you’ll have already seen it because we needed to take a week off for Thanksgiving. We will have more shows like that, some that are different in nature, some that will happen between discussion episodes, and then there is what we discussed on our last episode that will be likely helping us through the next 100-150 episodes (at least).

We are going to start roleplaying on the air.

In episode 102, I ran Bob and Metal Jesus through character creation for a game called Green Team, which is utilizing the White Wolf Storyteller system and is a story of my own design. Metal Jesus and Bob will also be running stories but mine will be the first one. The likely format of this bad boy is probably going to be a three hour show, beginning with a half hour (or solid hour) or witty banter, followed by two hours of roleplaying, then either just ending the show or finishing with another half hour of witty banter as a “wrap up.” While my story will be the one pushing the first few episodes like this, I’m hoping a rotation of games will fall into line so that if I don’t feel like running the game, I can certainly play instead.

Moving right along… the Specter Show.

I’ve been talking about doing this damn show for over a year now. I was going to launch the show in January of 2016 and as I write this in late November of 2016, you can see not one episode has been produced. I am going to launch this show, I am just trying to figure out when would be a good time. The topic will be whatever the hell I want to talk about, some will be longer, some will be shorter, but I’m aiming for a 30-60 minute weekly show to start things off, with the intention of running five episodes a week (Monday through Friday) as if I was on the actual radio. I’d like to be on the actual radio, too, so that is part of why I’m angling the show to be what I’ve just said. Wouldn’t that be fun?

And now for something completely different: the ESPL. I’m going to run the ESPL, expanding the depth of the league, for at least 10 years. That will be 10 seasons of the characters gaining specifically assigned positions, the league growing to be at least the two tiers I’ve already announced, and hopefully attracting others that want to be involved. Ideally, I am interested in knowing if anyone out there wants to jump in and take the reigns at some point in the future. I’m not depending on this, I’ll certainly just close the place down when I’m done running the thing, but I am enjoying the logo design (kits are coming in the future, too, kids) and running the simulations. Running this has also encouraged me to run something else I’ve been interested in running for some time…

An MMA simulated league. Unlike the ESPL, though, which is designed to basically be a simulation of realistic teams in a realistic scenario that is completely plausible… and the ESPL was specifically designed to be a way for me to create logos and practice my graphic design skills, the MMA league would be different. I’m going to change the MMA simulation to be more embracing of the digital nature of what I’m doing. That means instead of Heavyweight, Middleweight, Lightweight, etc for weight classes, I’m going to base them more off of digital denotations like Gigaweight, Megaweight, and Kiloweight. These will be “digital fighters” and I’ve already been setting up the framework for what is about to blast onto the scene here at Emerald Specter.com. As with the ESPL, the digital MMA will be an outlet for my graphic designing in the form of the “fight posters” for the events. The ESPL limits me to logos for specific clubs, where the MMA league will be about drawing attention to a more general design for posters and whatnot. If you saw some of my WAFFLE posters, you saw that I was heading into a beautiful era of graphic design… unfortunately, I’ve not had the outlet that I did before.

I want to simulate sumo, too, though I don’t have a graphically specific reason for doing so. As I write this, I realize that the other two leagues were for a specific reason (as would an American Football league, if I decided to launch one of those). I’ve also toyed with another racing league (NASCAR-esq, I have the groundwork laid but I haven’t been driven to design anything for it yet) but that is on the back burner.

Finally (what, finally?), I’d like to talk about the writing that I’ve been trying to get to forever. I really want to write novels, short stories, comic scripts, movie scripts, television scripts, and whatever else but I’ve stalled out consistently and that has left me in a bit of a scenario where I’m not really sure how to accomplish what I’m after.

NaNoWriMo is almost over and I’ve written a grand total of just under 6,000 words, which is 44,000 short of the 50,000 word goal. I need to set up a time and place to write and I need to write a specific amount of words or pages in that time in order to be allowed to move on. If I took a Sunday, for example, and woke up at 8 AM, wrote until I got 5,000 words done and then shifted into the Specter Show, after which I went into simulating the ESPL and the MMA leagues (or designing that which needs to be designed, as that is mostly the point of why I’m doing them), and then finished the day with whatever else I wanted to do, that would be a nice schedule. It shoots one entire day out of the water for doing much of anything else, but with NFL season running right now I’ve not really got a lot planned on a Sunday other than watching a game or two and staying home. No harm, no foul… I just schedule a bunch of other stuff in there and make it a productive day.

If you’ve read this far, then you’re a trooper or you really wanted to know what the hell I was going to write about. Thanks for sticking with this as long as you have and I’d like to tell you that I’m almost double my normal column word count… I try to write about 1,000 words and this sentence is in the 1,800 range, which is pretty sweet. I won’t keep writing, though, I’ve got more to do and writing isn’t going to help get that done.

Until next time, think on it.

The Greatest Show 79: FCBD Special!

GreatestShow570_FireThe good news: the Greatest Show is BACK! The bad news: we have 100% less Bob this week due to him watching a friend’s band at a bar. Boo!

We have Tricia! We have Kevin Couick! We have METAL JESUS! We have DJ! Join us!

A Commentary on DC Universes

I’ve posted twice before about how the DC Cinematic Universe can rise or fail… and I still think that they will fail, overall, to achieve anywhere near the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but I wanted to comment on another DC Universe: the DC Television Universe. DCTV for short.

When the CW launched the new Arrow series so soon after the Smallville finale stating they were going to “reboot the Green Arrow,” I was highly skeptical. Once I saw the show, though, I was overtaken by the awesomeness of what I was watching. The series got better with almost every episode that first season and I was all about seeing more. Season two came around and things were getting even better… and then they announced the Flash would be created and get his own show… I was worried.

Arrow was grounded in a reality but not so much that there wasn’t a taste of the fantastic. Having a completely “fantastic” character like the Flash burst into this universe would tilt things and I was skeptical, far more so than Arrow had me before I saw it, and I was worried that Flash would drag things down.

Then I saw the Flash. I now like Flash more than Arrow. I still like Arrow, I just like Flash better.

Since the Flash came on the screen, we’ve seen the shared universe of the DCTV expand. We now have the “team Arrow” crew: Black Canary and Arsenal. There is also the Atom with that evolving suit, and Brandon Routh is a great choice for the character. On Flash we’ve got Firestorm, a character I never thought I’d like and certainly one I never thought would work on TV. DC isn’t stopping there, either. Supergirl is on the way, though over on CBS, and I’m hoping that the new “team up show” centered around the Atom will bring about more characters I’d like to see expanded. I’ve heard of Hawkgirl on the show, and someone called Rip Hunter… I don’t know who Rip Hunter is but I know who is playing him and I’m interested.

What I’m saying here is that DC’s Cinematic Universe won’t be successful in the way Marvel’s is… but DC’s TV Universe is rocking in ways that Marvel’s is having an issue achieving. If DC could just take the training wheels off and allow some of the “big seven” to start gracing the small screen (beyond Flash), I think they could really do something special. Why not allow Aquaman to come on down? Cyborg, not a big seven, but still a heavy hitter… what about bringing in Martian Manhunter? Hell, DC, take the wheels off and shoot for a grounded version of the Green Lantern… Ryan Reynolds, while decent in the movie, was a terrible choice for the character. Terrible.

All in all, I think the DCTV will go much farther, and be much better in the end, than the DCCU.

I just wanted to throw that out there.

Storytelling Specter 9 – Building From Scratch

StorytellingSpecter300

I have several superheroes rolling around in my head that were going to be the basis for a big launch of an epic universe which everyone would love and adore. After my last column on this subject, though, I come to understand more deeply that the epic-ness of, let’s say the “Marvel Cinematic Universe,” is due to the fact that there are 75 years of backstory to these characters that everyone wants to see on the big screen. No one cares about Captain Schmuckatelly and the Infinite Nobodies. That is on me to create those characters and MAKE them that epic.

I’ve mentioned that I’ve been working on my own shared universe for a long time. I have also mentioned that some of my characters started out as blatant rip offs of other characters and have either since become their own character or have been moved to the wayside. What I need to do now is take what’s left, combine ideas to make them more unique, and start writing SOMETHING in order to actually prepare to publish my own series.

Yeah, I’m going to concentrate on writing a single, monthly comic that will be distributed digitally… and probably initially free. I’ve got a name for this title, which I won’t reveal at the moment, but I do have a name for the company that I’ll be publishing this as… you guessed it, Emerald Specter Comics.

This single monthly is either going to be an anthology of smaller stories (i.e. four 6-page stories) or will concentrate on a single character (or team) for a specific number of issues for an arc (let’s say 6 to 8 issue arcs). That will allow me not to be roped into a single character and to develop a larger world (which is what I’d like to be doing). Unlike writers out there who claim they’ve always wanted to write a single book all their lives, I want to write all kinds of stuff. I’m not married to any single character, team, or book. Hell, these days, I can’t even say I’d like to write Action Comics because the damn thing reboots every few years. What the hell?

My idea is simple: tell stories in a pseudo-linear fashion with the characters I have created and then actually start producing an end product. I think my own personal art style isn’t good enough to accomplish what I would like to see the book to be but if I’m going to do this I don’t really have a choice. I can’t afford to hire an artist for between $300-$1000 to draw my book without any guarantee of making money in the end. I know, I’m told that this is how comics are made… but if I do this all myself then I’m not spending anything to produce (essentially) a PDF of a finished product. Maybe that will eventually attract an artist to want to work with me.

This means I need a schedule. If I’m doing this monthly then that means I need to be able to draw so many pages in a month. I can write here and there, fitting that in with all the Pages apps and whatnot when I have a chance, but actually sitting down and drawing is another story. That is something I’ll have to figure out as I go.

Maybe it’s time I changed the cover art for this column to be more “comic style”?

Write on.