healyg: (scheming)
Today, September 25, is my birthday. Happy birthday, me! To celebrate, I'm gonna talk Gravity Falls for a minute here.

Last Wednesday, Alex Hirsch teased the possibility of Gravity Falls comics. Most people asked for typical pie-in-the-sky stuff (Ford's adventures in the Portal! Stan O'War II adventures! Dipper and Mabel's next summer at Gravity Falls!). Me, I tried to temper my expectations; I figure we're not getting anything with Ford solo so soon after the Journal, and sequel stuff is probably best left to, like, an actual new cartoon. The most likely scenario is old storylines from the show they considered but never actually did, like the one where Stan and Wendy rob the museum. Not that that's such a bad deal, mind! Just so long as we get more of Stan.

But I've also been considering a different tack they could take with this. Consider, if you will, a Gravity Falls anthology series. Each issue, we'd get a couple stories about various characters from Gravity Falls. Maybe Wendy's mom would be the focus of one, perhaps we'd get Gideon's full origin story in another. It'd be a good chance to look at some underused characters, too, like the Manotaurs, or Wendy's teen friends. Best of all, this approach wouldn't preclude the occasional foray into any of the above-mentioned approaches.

But of course, we all know the truly best way for this to all go down: 12 issue Quentin Trembley maxi-series.
healyg: (Book Reading)
Hey there. Sorry for the delay. I'm not sure what happened there. I've been around, just... distracted.

So! Currently I've been reading a whole bunch of things: some of the earlier Hellboy volumes, Astro City: Family Album and Local Heroes, a few volumes of Batman: Black and White... I've even tried reading an actual, no-pictures type novel, like Moby Dick! It's... slow going, so far. I could do without all the digressions about whales, to be perfectly frank.

But the book I really want to talk about today is Gravity Falls: Journal 3, by Alex Hirsch and Rob Renzetti (diegetically written by Stanford Pines and company). Most of what I have to say about it has already been said before: it's a good book, full of secrets and new info about all your favorite characters, with a touching send-off that emphasizes how far the character of the Author has come by the end of the series. But earlier this week, Alex Hirsch and Rob Renzetti released an interview about the Journal, in which Hirsch had this to say:

The internet never ceases to impress me. For all the talk about how the upcoming generation has a short attention span, the moment you give these kids a riddle they drop everything and suddenly work together in perfect harmony like a military-level SWAT team to crack the code. It’s incredible. That being said, sometimes fans are often so focused on code-cracking they miss what’s in plain sight—the actual text of the journal! There are connections in there that even the savviest fans still have yet to notice.

The fandom's general response to this has been, "Well, clearly he hasn't been paying much attention to us." I mean, we've already figured out that the party Stan throws in Double Dipper was likely in celebration of his own birthday; that when the Oracle tells Ford that he's got the face of the man who'll defeat Bill, she's actually talking about Stan; that the splotches on the two "Dream Hipster" pages suggest that Ford was more scared of his dreams than he'd like to admit; plus more theories about the true nature of the Oracle from Dimension 52 than I care to go into right now. But not me! For, you see, I have made several theories and observations about the Journal that I have kept to myself. Could these be the connections Alex Hirsch is talking about in his interview? Probably not, but eh, it's worth a shot, writing them down here.

1. So hey! How come none of the dates given on the show and in the book seem to match up? Well, in that big text dump of a coded letter Blendin sends the Pines, he mentions that his time-travel device got left out on a railroad track and was hit by a train. My theory is that this messed up the time stream around Gravity Falls real bad, so everything there lives in a kind of hypertime-esque haze. (Aside: Man, Hypertime really needs to make a comeback.)
2. So Dipper's real name is Mason. What I am proposing here is, what if that's Bill's real name, too? I mean, guy did admit that "Bill Cipher" is a nickname (in response to a question about Dipper's real name, no less!); maybe it's something they have in common? (And yes, I know, Bill says his real name's an unspeakable horror that would spell death to any who heard it, but frankly I don't trust him on this; he's a liar, right?)
3. Did you know that Ford's a hypocrite? Okay, so everybody knows that. But did you know about this specific example of his hypocrisy? Early on in the Journal, before he fell in the portal, he mentions using a giant's thumb as a coffee table. Later, after he comes back, he whines about Stan using the T-Rex skull as a coffee table. It's like, dude, he's hardly the first guy to use weird artifacts as furniture, step off. (Aside: Note the "Stan burning" imagery on the same page. Ominous! But not really, since we know he makes it out okay.)
4. The alternate dimension Ford labels a Better World has had people scratching their heads ever since the book came out. Why would Better World-Stan just take the first journal and go? How did Ford manage to work with Fiddleford again after their falling out? But re-reading this section again, I don't think we're supposed to buy Ford's account that the turning point of this timeline is Stanley taking the book and getting out of dodge; it's far more likely that Ford took Fiddleford's offer to stop the portal test, as detailed earlier in the book. As for why Ford didn't realize this, I dunno. Thirty years is a long time, and it's likely that the pages about it were ripped out or ruined, so maybe he just forgot it ever happened.
5. Speaking of Fidds, I just realized that the reason Ford recognized him so quickly in the finale is because he saw Dipper's drawing of him in the Journal. He must've been like, "Eeewsh!" at that part. Also, the reason why Ford's glasses are always cracked is because he keeps breaking 'em! That's why he kept a spare in the first place.
6. Mabel's beloved Dream Boy High series is a sham! It's clearly a foreign production, like from Japan or Eastern Europe maybe, if Mabel's comment about the lipsynching being off is anything to go by.

It's getting really late over here, so that's about all I feel like writing for now, but I will continue to scour the Journal for whatever secrets it may continue to hold. This is M Healy G., signing off.
healyg: (apology)
So! It's been a while since I've done this.

I actually finished this book a while ago (in fact, I first checked it out in February), but... currently I'm rereading Full of Secrets: Critical Approaches to Twin Peaks (edited by David Lavery), a book of essays on Twin Peaks, published a few years after its first run in the 90s. I first got it because I was making a Twin Peaks-inspired game for the Veeder Expo, and reading some books on the show would have been faster than actually watching all 30-something episodes of it. It's sort of a dry book; most of it is made up of essays on psycho-analytical and post-modern readings of the series. But there is one article that I keep coming back to: "'Do You Enjoy Making the Rest of Us Feel Stupid?': alt.tv.twinpeaks, the Trickster Author, and Viewer Mastery" by Henry Jenkins, a rough overview of the Twin Peaks fandom on Usenet. Theories of literary criticism, it seems, may come and go, but fandom ethnography is forever.

Click here to see me blab about Gravity Falls )

I'm also reading The Simon and Kirby Library: Horror! (By Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, natch.) It's a bunch of horror stories written before the Comics Code kicked the industry in the keister. They're all weird and nightmarish in a way that kinda bridges the gap between the Golden and Silver Ages. It makes for an interesting contrast between the stories in The Jack Kirby Omnibus Volume One: Starring Green Arrow, which were all written post-Code. The stories in the former get to be gritty and rough in a way the latter never attempts to match. I think my favorite of the collection is a story called "The Head of the Family", which is... well, I'll try not to spoil it for you, but let's just say it's about one of those Kirby-esque weird families that really deserves their own ongoing series. Highly recommended.
healyg: (Frown)
So some of you might be wondering where that make-up review I promised by Sunday at the latest went. Well, the truth is, I lost track of time this weekend and spent most of today writing Gravity Falls fanfiction. (Technically I also wrote a fairy tale fanfic, but, well.) So! For this Monday, I think what I'll try to do is get two reviews in today. If I can't swing that, I'll try to get in an extra on on Tuesday or Thursday. My goal is to get at least 4 reviews done this week, maybe 5. We'll see if I can swing that.

Hey, I wanna read the Gravity Falls fanfic you did! Somehow I doubt that anyone's thinking this, but just in case, these two fics are the ones I feel can be best enjoyed with minimal knowledge of the show. All you need to know is that Dipper and Mabel are staying at their Great Uncle (or Grunkle) Stan's Mystery Shack for the summer, there's a lot of weird crap in their town, and Dipper has a mysterious journal that is sometimes helpful. Here goes:

Glam Cookies, starring Mabel and Stan )

******


Werwolf Date, starring Dipper and Mabel )

******


And there you have it! Of course, while you don't have to watch the show to enjoy them, I think there's a certain richness and-- dare I say it-- character that's added if you've watched the whole series through. Anyway, I'll see you guys later, hopefully with a review or two.
healyg: (Healslime)
First things first, I'm sorry I've been away for so long. It's been kind of a hectic past few months (including a death in the family early in the month, although everything's back to normal around here), and updating this blog hasn't been a big priority. So, I bet all (most (some)) of you are wondering, "Healy, whatcha been up to since then?"

Well, as it turns out, not much, but there was something I was working on in the meantime: a drabble series for the Gravity Falls fandom called With Friends Like These, Who Needs Anomalies? It stars two characters who are very spoilery, each in their own different ways, so I'm reluctant to recommend it to folks who haven't seen the show yet, or even tell you who those characters are. (Seriously, don't click that link if you're not caught up on Gravity Falls.) But I can tell you it was pretty fun to work on! I wrote all twenty drabbles for the [livejournal.com profile] 31_days comm, and it was a lot of fun thinking up stories for the prompts. I had a lot of trouble in the later days of the project, though, when it seemed like I had used every single one of my good ideas. Like, originally I was planning on doing a story where character A makes fun of character B's comic book collection, but then I thought, "Wait, isn't this just like the one I did where A makes fun of B's record collection?" Even so, I wish I did more of them; you miss all of the one-shots you don't take, after all.

"So what are you doing next?" Well, the XYZZY Awards just put out the nominees for 2015. Looking at the list, I count about 15 games I haven't gotten to yet, and I think I can knock that number down before voting ends on the 14th. I'll be playing some of those games and writing them up on my blog for the next two weeks; let's give myself a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule to start out, and see if I can increase it the next week.

I'm also thinking of making a game for the Tiny Utopias game jam, so look forward to that as well.
healyg: (Book Reading)
Here's a neat little curiosity: A short animated film adapting Cinderella from Lotte Reiniger, the creator of the Adventures of Prince Achmed film. (No soundtrack, sadly.)
healyg: (apology)
Well, it seems the wifi on my computer stopped working; I'm connected to the internet right now through a wire connected to the router. Looks like we're about to reach Computermageddon slowly but surely. Least it's taking it's sweet time. I figure I can wait it out until the newer model laptops come in. In the meantime, here's what I've been reading the past couple weeks:

Infinity Gauntlet, by Jim Starlin and George Perez: I'm not a big Marvel fan, but after seeing this in the library one day I thought, why not? It turns out it taps into all the weird, off-the-wall ballistics I love superheroes for. It got a bit repetitive, though, and I couldn't help but be amused by the fact that almost the whole plot is about Thanos trying to impress some lady with his god-like powers, with Mephisto egging him on ("you should totally fight that group of superheroes at like half strength! chicks'll dig it!").

Snarked, by Roger Langridge: I got the first and second volumes of this out of the library a few years ago, but only recently was I able to find the final volume. This is a delightful romp through the world of Lewis Carroll, starring the walrus and the carpenter as two con-men who team-up with the young queen Scarlett (about 8) and her little brother, Rusty, in order to save the Red King from his untrustworthy advisors. It's a very funny series that's poignant in places, especially near the end; I highly recommend it.

Adventure Time: Sweet Shorts v. 2, by various: This is a collection of short comics featuring the Adventure Time cast by a wide variety of comic writers and artists (Frazer Irving draws a story!). I particularly liked the cute little comic by Kory Bing about the Earls of Lemongrab having a picnic at the beach. Most of the stories are of pretty good quality, but I'm not sure how much a reader who isn't already familiar with Adventure Time would like them.
healyg: (Frown)
You might be wondering when that one post I promised at the end of my last review is coming up. Well, for whatever reason, I can't seem to find my writing mojo this week; I'm also trying to get my Shufflecomp game done before the April 25th deadline (I've already greatly simplified the concept for it). Given this I can't expect that I will get around to writing it before Sunday, April 26th; in the meantime, let me review the books I've been reading this week:

Uncle Scrooge: The Seven Cities of Gold by Carl Barks: This is a solid collection of adventure and humor comics by the master of the Disney Duck comics, Carl Barks. Like most people nowadays I got into Barks through Don Rosa's superb The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck; Barks' comics are generally more old-fashioned, for lack of a better term, than Life and Times, but no less good. Not all of the stories are big hits, and some of them are a little... racially sketchy, let's call it, but they're all cracking entertainment.

Alice's Adventures: Lewis Carroll in Popular Culture by Will Brooker (re-read): A rather fussy book about the myths and motifs we carry about Alice in Wonderland and her writer, Lewis Carroll. Goes into a bit of detail about the pedophilia allegations that have cropped up around Lewis Carroll over the past century, although it's far from the only subject discussed. There's a chapter that's devoted to the then-recent video game American McGee's Alice; as someone who is only familiar with it through the Old Man Murray Review, I found it rather amusing. There are also chapters about Alice adaptations, Lewis Carroll societies, and a rather touching one at the end about sites associated with Lewis Carroll and the Alice books. The author also wrote a book about Batman, which I'd like to read.
healyg: (Frown)
Due to some difficulties getting my pep in gear, my weekly feature Currently Reading Wednesdays is being postponed to this Friday. Fortunately, I plan to make up for my lateness by reviewing not one, not two, but three different books! One of them is the book about adventure games I mentioned last time, but the other two are a mystery. In the meantime, you can watch this video:

(I've watched this so many times today, you have no idea.)
healyg: (Healslime)
It was another July scorcher down in Free Country, USA. Strong Bad and The Cheat had commandeered Strong Sad’s Easy-To-Go-Tent, and were now using it for shade.

“I dunno, The Cheat,” said Strong Bad as he cracked open a Cold One, “how are we gonna pull a caper on Homestar? I mean we’ve tried everything! Fire, gasoline, rotten eggs, spoiled milk, day-old hamburger, the ol’ ‘tuna fish daily special’, more fire… We could fill a whole novel with all our attempts to prank the crap outta that guy! But nothing phases him.”

The Cheat groaned.

“Yeah, I don’t think we’ll ever get Homestar if we put a crack team of scientists-slash-detectives-slash-reporters on the case.”

“Hey guys, you talking ‘bout me?” asked Homestar, peeping his head in the tent.

“Go away, Homestar! It’s none of your business.”

“Well why’d you guys say my name a whole bunch if it’s none of my concern? What, you think a guy can’t come into his own conversation?”

“It’s not your conversation, we’re just talking about you!”

“Oh, so that’s how you gonna play me, is it?” sobbed Homestar. “Well, fine! I never realized before how selfish you guys are! Selfish, selfish selfish!” He ran away from the tent in tears.

“Whoa!” said Strong Bad. “I’m willing to call that a win if you are!” The Cheat agreed.


(A [livejournal.com profile] comment_fic fill. Special thanks to [livejournal.com profile] leni_ba for the original prompt.)

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