This week there are two guests, two artists from the DeviantART scene. One is a friend that I made through Anime Central a little over 6 years ago the other is a good friend of hers. Introducing Jasmine and Red....
Jasmine: Good morning, and in case I don't see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night!" (sorry, I love The Truman Show). 'Ello, I'm Jazz and I will be hosting this edition of CrossTopix--I mean I'll be one of the guests on CrossTopix this week (insert laugh track here). In all seriousness, I want to first thank STVO for his willingness and patience to have me on the site. I think it's really great to have a site out there that cares about the quality of today's pop culture and etc, but also maintains the individual's opinion as something to be treasured. As for myself, I'm a freelance artist and my portfolio can be found at [link] My more personal website is [link] where you can find some of my newer work, sketches, plus convention photos. If you'd like to commission me for a canvas painting - email me at Jazzcatnya@aim.com for details on pricing or any other questions. You can also visit this page for regular commission information - [link] I'm also willing to do Art tutoring for people in my area. Email me for more details! I do Abstract, realistic, portraits, character design, and illustration work. I work in a number of media including but not limited to Pencil, pen and ink, photoshop, charcoal, acrylics, and watercolors. Please check my stuff out and feel free to ask questions!
Red: Top O' the morning to ya, Laddies and Lasses! Or Evening. Or Midnight. My name is Red, which is short for The Red Dahlia. It's a nickname I gave myself after I wrote a series of emotionally inspiring poems with that name, and yes it's inspired partly by The Black Dahlia. Anywho, I'm here as one of the guests for CrossTopix. For some reason, my opinion is desired and that being the case, I will unleash it upon you all like a flood, earthquake...or plague. I will take this time to thank STVO for inviting me for I owe him my thanks and appreciation. Since that is out of the way, I will tell you a bit about myself. I am a writer, artist, and generally a creative person who usually has good ideas. Lately all I do is write poems and stories, but I do have some other kinds of art. I just need to get myself back to drawing again...eventually. My DeviantArt website is: [link] Oh, and for those of you wondering, bbeb are the initials for: bootiful b*****d evil bob. Why? Seemed like a good idea at the time. I get called crazy pretty much every day and I suppose I'm starting to believe it. But yes, if need be, you can contact my DA or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. I don't bite much...when I'm forced to wear a mask. To quote Ace Ventura, "“Oh, All righty then!" Onto the questions!
Thanks you two, now we open with our Top 5!
1.) Top 5 Villains You Want to See in Batman 3:
Before I start the list, I want to say while I LOVE the Dark Knight, I HATE that Two-Face died in it. WHY?!?!?! He was an awesome villain in the comic and animated series, will likely be an awesome villain in the next Arkham Asylum video games and Aaron Eckhart played his role very well. *sigh* Such a waste…
1. Black Mask: This is something that they could have used Two Face for but Black Mask will do just fine and in fact is perfect for the third movie. If they do his background story very closely to the comics it could push for an R-rating. The man murdered his own parents…
2. Hush: This character could go well with the death of Rachel in The Dark Knight. Here is another childhood friend of Bruce Wayne who grows to become an “anti-Barman.” Heck, if the Scarecrow makes a third appearance, he can be an influence on the creation of Hush.
3. Harley Quinn: I don’t know about being the only villain in the movie, but she would provide great support as her obsession with the Joker would create a great story mechanic for her trying to hunt down and kill Batman.
4. Poison Ivy: I’m not big into supernatural villains, but I think a more realistic vision of her could be wonderful (and sexy.) She can keep her plant fascination but her character will be more fascinated with poisoning people she wants dead by putting toxins in air ducts at big events and of course threatened to pollute the city with them creating one giant mass suicide.
5. Bane: I love his story. He’s the man that takes Bruce Wayne out and calls for a replacement. Why is he so low on the list? Personally, I feel this should happen in the 4th movie. Let’s have Batman duke it out with one of my top 4 villains (or ones not on my list.) Whatever they do, just no Clayface, no Man-Bat, no Egghead, but more importantly, NO ROBIN OR BATGIRL!
Jasmine: Well this is a tough call for me since 2 of my favorite villains have already been covered (The Joker and Two-Face), but here goes!
- Harley Quinn - She's such a card, and was always one of my favorite humorous, yet deadly villians next to Joker. Though I'm not sure how they would work her in this one, I thought her background of being the Joker's psychiatrist-turned-psychotic girlfriend was rather clever, and who could resist her hyena pets?
- Killer Croc - Come on - we need a creepy mutant villain in there somewhere.
- Catwoman - Classic, Batman needs a new love interest.
- Poison Ivy - Harley needs a best friend.
- Bane - Depending on how long the story will be going on, I think that he probably should be included in the storyline for the movies at some point.
Red: I am still sad that Heath Ledger is dead and that Two-Face is also dead. They were both great villains and some of my favorite. It's such a shame to have them gone. IF they cast another person as The Joker, the new guy will have some heavy shoes to fill.
1.) Catwoman: In The Dark Knight, they killed off Bruce's love interest and child-hood friend, Rachel Dawes. As you all know, all superhero movies have to have some girl or love interest involved or it's not complete. I think Catwoman aka Selena Kyle would be great for Batman 3. She's not a good or a bad guy, per se but she would pose as a love interest and villain at the same time. In Batman: The Animated Series and the Batman DC comics, it is obvious that Batman has feelings for her and is troubled by her criminal ways. There is conflict between the two and would take care of the love problem. It seems Nolan is going for the true Batman theme, so I believe Catwoman would be a good approach.
2.) Penguin: Gotta love The Penguin aka Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot. He's all sophisticated and classy. Out of all the Batman villains, he seems to be one of the sanest ones. Of course, that doesn't mean he's sane. Anywho, I would like to see him in Batman 3 partly because I would like to see him portrayed as he is in the comics/animated series. Even though it was amusing in itself, Tim Burton kind of took Penguin's image and distorted the Penguin's character. I believe Nolan would be able to darken The Penguin considerably more and it would be interesting to see what he comes up with.
3.) Poison Ivy: I suppose I just like the red hair and the inhuman way Poison Ivy aka Pamela Isley presents herself. She's not really a big favorite, but I think she would make a good villain candidate for the 3rd movie. What's interesting about her is that she is a plant nut and believes plants should be treated better. She's like the plant version of PETA. So in all honestly, she is an insane woman who believes what she is doing is right, that her cause is a just one. Yeah, let’s kill all the people and animals because the plants are obviously threatened. I bet she'd love the movie The Happening. Therefore, I think she should also be in Batman 3. She'd make for an interesting twist.
4.) The Riddler: He is another oddball that is quite eccentric, yet very intelligent. He is a mastermind who calls himself The Riddler and strikingly enough, his real name is Edward Nigma. His own real name is a riddle in itself, it would appear. He enjoys challenging Batman with all sorts of complicated riddles. I think he would be good for Batman 3 because while the Joker challenges Batman's beliefs and sanity, the Riddler challenges Batman's intelligence and wit.
5.) Harley Quinn: She is someone I like and dislike at times because her voice and personality can be a bit irritating, yet it's hard not to like her. Harley Quinn aka Harleen Quinnzel, is a rather colorful, deluded character who believes herself to be in love with The Joker. I would like to see her in Batman 3, but the problem is she is a side villain and if there is no Joker in the movie, it would be pointless to have her involved. That is why I am hesitant to include her as one of the candidates. But still, if they do find someone good enough to play the Joker, then I am sure they can include her into the story, too
2. In Batman there have been multiple actors and media portraying his arch-rival: The Joker. In the 1989 Batman film, Jack Nicholson played the role while in the 2008 movie “The Dark Knight” it was Heath Ledger. For some time in the 1990s, Mark Hamill did the voice of Joker for Batman: The Animated series and would later reprise that role for the 2009 video game: Bataman Arkham Asylum. What has been your favorite representation of The Joker?
STVO: There were so many great Jokers (yes including Caesar Romano’s goofy Joker from the 1960s show.) The only one I disliked was the Joker from the animated series “The Batman” played by Kevin Michael Richardson (aka the voice of Cleveland Brown Jr. and The Glorft Commander on Megas XLR.) If you look to the left, you will see why I dislike this Joker, it looks like a henchman not The Joker!! Speaking of animated programming, the voice for The Joker stands out the most to me is done by none other than Mark Hamill! His goofy cartoonish voice and his demonic laugh are iconic! The way he’s portrayed on the animated series perfectly exemplifies the classic rivalry of Batman vs. The Joker as both voice actors work together with such great chemistry.
My favorite live action one has to be Heath Ledger’s portrayal in the Dark Knight although Jack Nicholson also did an excellent job in the 1989 Batman. Ledger portrays a unique version of Joker as he has a twisted personality and an amazing look that has created many new visions of The Joker. The 1989 Joker is intriguing as he portrays a classic Joker well complete with wacky contraptions made to kill the citizens of Gotham and has the “world is my playground” like attitude.
Jasmine: I have to say that my favorite Joker by far was Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight and it's not because of the whole 'actor passed away, let's show some respect' thing. I truly believe that he brought something new to the role as an actor, and the writers involved are definitely to be commended here. When you watch that film, it's almost like The Joker is the main character, and not Batman. This whole aspect of chaos and how things are both planned and unplanned was very interesting to me. Watch his specific mannerisms, the way that the story of how he got his scars changed every time, not to mention the fact that he could actually be considered SCARY, which in just about every other Batman that I've ever watched or seen there was never anything to be scared of when it came to the Joker, just a bunch of jokes, laughing gas, and parlor tricks.
Red: Heath Ledger's Joker was quite impressive and I will always find him amusing, but I believe that the best Joker ever created was Mark Hamill's Joker in Batman: The Animated Series. If you have ever watched the series, which is based off the comics, you will get the distinct impression that Christopher Nolan wrote and directed his movies after the comic/animated series. Not only is Hamill's Joker chaotic and murderous, he is a hilarious riot. The Animated Series didn't show too much blood, gore, or anything R-Rated, so of course Hamill's Joker wasn't portrayed as cruel as Ledger's. In truth, if you watch The Animated Series, it’s as clear as day that The Joker embodies the opposite of Batman: Chaos, Crime, and Insanity. I see a lot of Hamill's Joker in Ledger's Joker. I think that's one of the reasons why I enjoyed Ledger's Joker so much. Ledger's Joker is basically the Rated R version of Hamill's Joker. While I love both Jokers, I will claim that Hamill's Joker is still the best Joker. "But hey, that's the downside of comedy; you're always taking shots from people who don't get the joke. Like my dad or Batman."-The Joker
3. Metroid: The Other M is scheduled for this summer to come out on Nintendo Wii. Many interesting aspects are going to be in this game: Team Ninja (the makers of Ninja Gaiden 1 and 2 for Xbox/Xbox 360) are making the game, it will be the first Metroid title that is a third-person shooter as opposed to first-person controls of Metroid Prime, and you will be controlling Samus with the D-Pad instead of a control stick. It has classic 2D side scrolling action elements and even a first person mode yet doesn't utilize the nunchuck? Will this game be good? Check out the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EftgHQGHQI
STVO: For most part, I enjoy when Nintendo collaborates with other companies on their franchises. I.e. Nintendo/Capcom making Zelda: Oracle series for Gameboy Color and Nintendo/Sega making F-Zero GX for the Gamecube, I had a blast with those titles. Metroid games are very difficult for me as the only one I have ever completed was Metroid Prime 1 on Gamecube. The Prime series is a great and challenging series but I feel it is time that Retro Studios starts working on a title(s) that aren’t connected to Metroid and I feel it will be great that Team Ninja will take their hands on this title as they are known for their challenging difficulty.
I like the change for this title as it will have classic side-scrolling elements and will have a “Crash Bandicoot/Jumping Flash” element to the game by making it isometric 3D exploration and battling. I’d rather have a joystick, but I trust Team Ninja with their decision on how to use the Wii remote. As I have stated many times before, most of my favorite Wii games end up using the motion controls to a minimum or are void of them. With that said, the art-style and the gameplay look fantastic, I can’t wait to give it a try.
Jasmine: I have played a couple of the Metroid games, and I have to say, I'm impressed that they're gutsy enough to change the type of controls that are used, as well as the perspective you'll be playing at, especially if you go by the saying "if it's not broke, then don't fix it?" Maybe that's what they were going for? Fresh play? If that's the case, then I'm all for it. I'll admit that I get bored easily, and most of us have a touch of ADHD to boot, so I welcome changes. I would expect some of the same types of gameplay from this new Metroid as in Ninja Gaiden, and I can't complain about that aspect either. I am slightly confused as to why they aren't utilizing all of the Nintendo Wii's capabilities, which might be considered one of the downfalls, but then again, don't we all miss the classic d-pad gameplay? At least a little? All in all, I'd definitely give it a chance.
Red: To be honest, I'm not much of a gamer, although I do have some games and I don't believe I've ever played any Metroid games. But I am all for change and if it makes more people interested and is more challenging this way, then I'm all for it.
4. Two weeks ago, the Anime Central convention took place in Rosemont, IL. An event that has been around for over 10 years. As the years progress, there are more costumes representing more icons from other media besides Japanese animation including American cartoons, movies, video games such as Halo, etc. Have you ever been into the Anime scene and what do you think of it right now? Are there any newer titles that interest you or are you shying away?
STVO: I posted a review of Anime Central last week; if you haven’t read it please do right here (http://bit.ly/9c32uN). Done reading? Great! I wasn’t into anime until the end of middle school as a good friend (Rhodrick of Little Brass Bird) told me more about it. I was a 14-year old geek who got his fill at first enjoying Pokemon on Kids WB and playing the GameBoy games. Thankfully I moved on to Dragon Ball Z on Toonami and then far better titles such as the movies: Ninja Scroll, Akira, and Perfect Blue and series such as Cowboy Bebop, Rurouni Kenshin, Yu Yu Hakusho, Big O, and Outlaw Star.
It’s 2010 now I’m going to be 27 in a few months, but I still like anime. I’m not into it as much as I used to be but I do enjoy it very much. Anime Central is a great place to find out more about the current scene by interacting with people and asking them what they’re watching. Also the 24-hour rooms are giving me inspiration to check out series through Netflix (Nerima Daikon Bros., Devil May Cry, Hell Girl, etc.) Before I got Netflix, my only real access to anime was watching whatever Adult Swim played (got weak later on with disappointments like Witch Hunter Robin and Wolf’s Rain) or buying the anime I wanted to check out ($30 for 4 episodes?!?! $100 for 13 episode boxsets?!?!?!) I don’t follow the trends as much as I did back then but love to hear recommendations on newer shows or go back to older shows I may have missed. I love all animation be it American or Japanese.
Jasmine: The reason why all of these other types of animated and live action fandoms appear at Anime Central and other conventions is for this simple reason- They have no other specific convention to go. There is no widespread Johnny Depp or Tim Burton conventions to speak of, for instance. There are other reasons, too. One being that you stick out more at an Anime convention if you're wearing some other random costume. I mean look at it this way, it's a way for attention whores to seek more attention. It's also a place for people to advertise and show their original characters off. I welcome this because not only does it bring fandoms together, but it also brings friends together, so regardless of whether you're still up to date on the anime scene or into some other fandom, or just 'getting too old for this sort of thing' you can't argue with a weekend out with friends and possibly meeting new ones.
Am I personally still interested in anime? You bet I am. Am I choosier as to the specific anime or genre that I watch? Yes, I've fine tuned it a bit, and I watch a great deal less. A couple of the newer titles that I've checked out and enjoyed are Detroit Metal City (love anime that poke fun at things) and of course the famous Death Note. I think the animation is becoming more advanced and they're coming up with even more outrageous titles and genres, but pretty much I believe the anime industry has infiltrated into our culture and everyday life. So I don't see it going away, but at the same time, I also don't see it coming out with anything spectacular as of late. I would hope to think that there will be something new that stands out from all the Shounen (anime aimed for young boys) they have been translating, but the one I've been most impressed with recently has been Death Note - and that's been out for a few years now. You need to also be aware that these titles are coming from Japan, and without actually living there, it's a bit hard to tell what's actually coming out when because we only usually see what American representatives choose to translate. Who knows, perhaps I'll come out with something new and innovative? Here's to hoping that someone does.
In addition, you see, because of my attachment to anime as an art, and being an artist, anime will always be a part of my world. I have even passed down some of the age appropriate anime paraphernalia to my four-year-old daughter, who has seen and enjoyed Pokemon, Miyazaki films, and watched an occasional episode of Angelic Layer (of CLAMP fame). The fantastic part of all of this is: It's Art! It's entertainment! It's Part of Popular Culture and History! It encourages people to learn about another place, and other times, and opens your imagination! And you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way.
Red: I have been into the anime scene since pretty much 6th grade, I think. I used to be more obsessed with it because it was different and amusing, but now it has dulled with time. A lot of the anime today are generic and boring. The same can be said for American cartoons and movies. Now the reason anime doesn't make me gaga that much anymore is because school girls with huge eyes and wearing short skirts, robots, and samurai tend to get increasingly boring and overdone. I am very picky when it comes to anime/manga and will only watch/read it if it’s different and interests me.
My first anime was Sailor Moon and I enjoyed it despite the flashy femininity. Not too long after Sailor Moon aired, Dragon Ball Z came into the picture and I fell in love with it. It was different than anything I had ever seen and it was hilarious. I still believe this classic is one of the most original and best anime ever created. One of the anime I started liking was InuYasha but as time went on, the show disappointed me because instead of being a feudal fairy tale, it turned into a nonsensical love/lust triangle that's no better than Twilight. Of course, I still hold love for Naraku and Sesshoumaru in spite of the many flaws in that show. One anime that I came to love and still enjoy is Blood+. It was refreshingly different and all the characters...looked different. A lot of times in anime the characters all have the same eyes, face shape, and body build. So essentially a lot of anime basically draw the same character over and over again and just change the hair. Blood+ was not like that, though. Another anime I still love is called Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust. The art is beautiful and so is the story. The character of D was captured almost perfectly. The reason I can say this is because I have read almost all the VHD novels. In fact, I prefer the animated movie's story to that of the novel's, and yes, the novel and anime differ in several ways.
I have also noticed that I tend to favor anime that have strong, assertive females. Some examples: Blood+ (Saya), Blood: The Last Vampire(Saya),Gokusen (Kumiko Yamaguchi), Moribito: Spirit of the Guardian (Balsa), Ergo Proxy (Re-l Mayer) and I'm sure there's others out there. I have noticed in a lot of anime that most females are portrayed as goody-goody-I'm-so-innocent-and-submissive which actually grinds my gears. I guess I like some diversity and not the same overrated sludge that some people create. In truth of all truths, I still like and enjoy anime, but it doesn't hold the same appeal to me that it once did.
That is it for this week's CrossTopix! Thanks again to both Jasmine and Red for coming by, great answers by everyone! Return with us next Wednesday as the guest will be aspiring musician David Jones. We will be discussing the best video games from the N64/PlayStation 1 era, 2D animated Disney movies, and more! In the mean time, follow CrossTopix on Twitter, MySpace, or Facebook and leave comments on this week's edition in the comment section! Have a great week!