Facing The Phantom Menace: In 3D!

February 11th, 2012 by Kyle

Kyle here;

So I saw Phantom Menace 3D today.

Reaction: Yeah, it’s still the Phantom Menace. The only major difference, other than the 3D, is a slightly extended pod race scene. We’ve all had 13 years to dissect what’s wrong with this movie, so there’s no point in going over that again.

The 3D was actually surprisingly good, or at least a lot better than I expected. The only really odd thing about it (other than the fact that 3D in general doesn’t really look three dimensional, but more layered, like a pop-up book) is that the CGI objects in the film fairly consistently pop out of the screen more than the physical objects and actors. This isn’t surprising to me: 3D actually normally looks much better when applied to CGI (the Toy Story movies, for example) than when applied to live-action. In fact, this may really be why TPM looks good in 3D: because so much if it is CGI that redoing the CGI stuff so it looks good in 3D can work pretty well.

But this is, of course, the heart of what’s wrong with the movie in the first place: that George Lucas was so enamored with what computers could allow him to put on the screen that he concentrated on that and made characters, storytelling, pacing, tone, and plot secondary concerns. If Phantom Menace 3D is a tactical success, in that it does actually look good in 3D, it is a strategic failure, in that this just serves to reemphasize Lucas’s misplaced priorities in making the film. Phantom Menace 3D is a better-looking movie, but it is not a better movie.

And this is why it fails.

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Categories: Reviews

The Avengers – Fully Assembled!

October 11th, 2011 by Kyle

The Avengers have made their way online in full HD glory! First thoughts: Whedon’s snappy dialogue is in full  effect, and is perfectly suited to Downey’s quick delivery. Still not enough Hulk for us though. What do you think?

Categories: Movies

APE Photo Extravaganza, Day Two

October 2nd, 2011 by Kyle

Here’s what we saw on day two of APE 2011 in beautiful San Francisco:

They started lining up early for the second day of APE!

Above: One of the areas for panels. Below: Some of the exhibition space.

The action in the galleries.

And the con floor.

You can find comics about anything at APE.

And I do mean anything.

A not-so-encouraging message from the show floor.

This was a bit more cheerful.

A sentiment we certainly can all agree with!

I know what you’re thinking: “That’s all great, but how was the babeage at APE?” Well, let’s look at that:

Mrs. Lower Mainland herself, illustrator Tara Nakano!

Browncoat girls are always winsome.

Ladylike... and mysterious!

Sweetly gothloli!

A harlequin shows off her style.

An exciting con like this will tucker you out! A couple of attendees take a rest between rounds on the floor.

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Categories: Uncategorized

APE Photo Extravaganza, Day One

October 2nd, 2011 by Kyle

Here’s what we saw on our first day of the Alternative Press Expo 2011, at the San Francisco Concourse:

The grand entrance to the San Francisco Concourse

The main hall at APE

More of the main hall.

The NPC Comics table at APE 2011

A long view of the NPC Comics table, and the floor at APE

APE is such a friendly place that you can even add your own art to it!

Sage advice found at one of the tables.

Hmm... perhaps you should consider joining a different denomination

Mom? What have you been doing?!

Not quite Churchillian, but I still appreciate the thought.

Fail Win!

When I said I wanted to find some Chicks at APE, that's not exactly what I meant

Va va voom! Now that's more like it!

And another one - a cute girl in a cute dress patrolling the con floor

Very noticeable - there were a lot of iPads being used as digital artwork displays on the con floor. I spotted at least a couple dozen of them in use this year, whereas last year, I counted exactly one.

Also noticeable - a table offering free cupcakes! That's definitely the right way to attract an audience!

One of the more colorful tables at APE this year!

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Categories: Uncategorized

Summer’s Over And We’re Back!!!

September 23rd, 2011 by Kyle

After a summer hiatus of a few weeks, we’re happy to let you all know that we’ve just taped our latest episode, which should be posted to iTunes in the next couple of days. Tune in and you’ll hear our take on the new Star Wars Blu-rays, Peter Dinklage’s Emmy win, and Tommy Wiseau’s new internet show; our reviews of Burke & Hare, the new Thundercats, the end of Tiger & Bunny’s first season, and the beginning of Clone Wars’s fourth season; our rewind to Hong Kong Phooey; and even our new ending theme music!

Watch this space (and our iTunes feed)!

 

 

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Categories: Announcements, Episodes

The Creative Desert Of Mainstream Comics

August 16th, 2011 by Kyle

Kyle here;

I have an admission to make. I don’t read comics. I haven’t for years.

It wasn’t always that way. I used to read them – a lot. In the 80s, the comics I read were The Nam, GI Joe, and Groo – all of them mainstream Marvel comics, and none of them superhero stories. Later I graduated to Vietnam Journal and Spawn, before finally discovering manga and leaving American comics more or less entirely. I’m one of those readers that the mainstream comics industry lost through its failure to expand the kinds of stories they tell. The circulation figures show that there’s a lot of people like me out there.

So what happened? Total artistic and creative stagnation at the Big Two. The base of the problem is that for many reasons, the Big Two have come to believe that they can skate by by continuing to to write the same basic stories about the same set of a couple dozen or so half-century-old characters forever.

Part of this is the fault of the companies for refusing to take chances and because of their fear of dealing with with creator-owned characters – but part is the fault of the fans. Well, not all of the fans – but a certain segment of the fans that is becoming an increasingly large percentage of a shrinking market. This is a segment that wants comics to be, better art aside, basically exactly the same as they were when these (now early middle-aged) fans were kids, and to never, ever change. Look, for example, at the negative reaction many fans had to Peter Parker and Mary Jane finally getting married after – what – 40 years? Plenty of people bitched and groaned that “Peter Parker should always be the lovable loser!”. In other words, that the character should never grow, change, mature, or even find himself in different circumstances. That’s the kind of attitude you’ll find in a lot of the hardcore base of comics fans.

The thing is, this becomes a vicious cycle. The more that comics sales shrink, the more that the comics companies listen to their remaining fans, and the more the comics they produce are written to appeal to – and often only to – those hardcore fans. Thus comics goes from an industry (and I’m talking about the comics themselves, not the related movies) with broad appeal to a large audience to increasingly being a niche market that appeals to a small but loud group of hardcore fans.

At very least, this feeds into the mentality of the current crop of editors at the Big Two, who simply can’t get over their own personal Silver Age fetish. You’d think that they might have taken a hint from the rise of manga (at least before that market got destroyed by piracy). If you want to attract new readers, you need to appeal to more people than simply your base of hardcore fans. You need to get new characters in new situations, and to expand the kinds of stories you do. I mean, when was the last time there was even a noteworthy war comic from the Big Two, or a science fiction story that wasn’t based on an already-existing property (Star Wars, Star Trek, Firefly, etc.)? The Nam, maybe?

In the end, deciding never to take any risks is in itself taking a risk. Yes, the Big Two can coast for a long time on their hardcore fans and on being intellectual property outlets for movies and animated TV shows. But they can never really grow or be what they were like that.

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Categories: comics

Delays and Congratualtions

July 31st, 2011 by Dave

Dave here with some updates,

 

Kyle and I have been keeping busy, watching movies, tv shows, and other such things, getting ready to bring you all more Geek Tragedy. Right now, though, we’re in a delay as we’re getting things set up for a new recording area. While we’re getting things squared away here, you can get a little dose of our geekery on the Knightwsie videocast at http://vimeo.com/27080036.

The reason why we’re setting up new digs in the wake of opening up the brand spanking new NPC Broadcast Studios has to deal with the congratulations that are in order. As those of you following us on Twitter know, Editor In Chief Jaimel Hemphil and his wife Emily welcomed their daughter into the world yesterday. Ilori Sarang Hemphil was delivered happy and healty, much to the relief of her mother, who was quite convinced by that the baby wasn’t going to emerge until it was ready for college. So, in order to let Jaimel and Emily be new parents, Kyle and I are letting them have the run of the new NPC Base.

 

So, without further delay, here’s the first picture of the latest addition to the NPC family.

She has her father's eyes...

 

Welcome to the world, kid. And good luck; you’re going to need it :)

 

PS: We’ve secretly replaced Ilori with Voldemort, let’s see if the parents notice before she heads off to Hogwarts.

Categories: Announcements

Geek Tragedy #89: The Legendary Aenys

July 19th, 2011 by Kyle

[podcast]http://npccomics.com/podcast/gt/GT_ep89.mp3[/podcast]

Geek Tragedy is back in action! after an extended break Kyle and Dave are back with a full show! Review of the new Looney Toons show, an all new Pick of the Week, some Stuff You Should Know About, and even a Saturday Morning Rewind with Galaxy Rangers! It’s Geek Tragedy, now with 11 vitamins and minerals!

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Categories: Episodes

Geek Tragedy #88: LotR vs. aSoIaF?!? OMFG!!

July 12th, 2011 by Kyle

[podcast]http://npccomics.com/podcast/gt/GT_ep88.mp3[/podcast]

Kyle and Dave face off in the ultimate battle! Who’s better: Martin or Tolkien? A Song of Ice and Fire or Lord of the Rings? It’s a batter two centuries in the making! Also, Spider-man is sued, Heyman reveals a master plan, and Kyle loves Thankskilling! Yeah, we don’t get the last one, either….

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Categories: Episodes

Geek Tragedy #87: Someone Stop Ahmed Best!

July 5th, 2011 by Kyle

[podcast]http://npccomics.com/podcast/gt/GT_ep87.mp3[/podcast]

Another week chock full of news, ans the Geeks review all that’s fit to print in the Worlds of Comic, Games, Movies, and of course… the cellar, where people who cursed us with Jar Jar beg for more roles… At night, we can still hear the screaming…

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Categories: Episodes