Thursday, May 17, 2018

Top 5 Cartoon Scenes that Messed Me Up


In my book Old School Evil, main character Jayce finally gets a chance to watch Transformers: The Movie after fifteen years. When he finds out Optimus Prime dies, his life literally changes - he realizes that a world of cartoons isn't as simple as he thought as a kid.

Optimus Prime's death is probably considered one of the most traumatic events in kids animation. But it got me wondering what other scenes screwed with my head as a kid when I was watching television and movies.

Secret of NIMH - The Great Owl


Don Bluth had a talent for making ordinary things scary looking, and none were better than Mrs. Bisby's advisor, the Great Owl. Though nothing happened to the cute little mouse, I was worried through that whole scene that she was getting eaten, sage advise be damned.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit - The Shoe


A lot of people will say Judge Doom's reveal is the scariest scene in the movie, the high-pitched voice and the dagger eyes, but for me it was the shear terror the animators were able to imbue into something as innocuous as a shoe that really messed me up. And for us to have to watch this innocent footwear dissolve into nothingness is almost too much to take. Absolutely terrifying.

Oliver and Company - Sykes's Death


Disney movies are full of death, there's no denying that. Plenty of villains will fall off cliffs or die in a pigp of magic dust. But Sykes had a special place in Disney's funeral hall - he dies in a way anyone could for in our world, getting hit by a subway. I think the connection to a real world without dragons or magic made it that much worse. Not to mention his dogs getting electrocuted by the third rail.

Inhumanoids - Gagoyle


Kids movies hold a monopoly on traumatic scenes because television shows are way more regulated. But if there's an exception to that, it's definitely Inhumanoids. In a show that's basically made up of nightmare fuel, one scene, or character really, takes the cake - Gagoyle. Whether it's his transparent stomach, or how it just bit off D'Compose's arm, this blue monster is beyond freaky.

Transformers: The Movie - Ironhide's Death


Yeah, I've said it a few times before, but Ironhide's Death is way harder for me to deal with than Prime's. Optimus had a great fight and honestly should have survived the damages to his abdomen. But Ironhide? The shot from Megatron's cannon directly to his face was SO brutal. And that's after everyone else in the ship is shot through. Even Megatron's line "Such heroic nonsense" line is heartbreaking.

If you want to see exactly how Optimus's death ruins Jayce's life, make sure to pick up Old School Evil, available on Kindle and paperback and for free on Kindle Unlimited.  Click the picture below to find it on Amazon.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Wednesday Wrap-Up - 5/16/18

Old School Evil has officially been on the market just over two weeks and has garnered a bit of attention so far.  I've gotten a couple good reviews on Amazon and Goodreads - including a great one comparing the book very favorably to Ready Player One.  Sales have been sluggish, but I've got a little plan for it that I'll start next week.

I'm in talks to get an audiobook in production.  A voice actor in a lot of Youtube videos has offered to do it and it in the process (hopefully) of making an audition sample for me.  He's been looking into doing audiobooks lately and I've been hoping to get one made so it works out really well.  As soon as I get his sample and sign off on it, I'll be posting a link to his stuff.

Next Tuesday is a huge day for Old School Evil the blog - May 22nd is the 2nd anniversary of starting it, and I'm going to make my 200th post on that day.  I've got a huge plan for it, but will keep most of it to myself until then.  I will be honest, I'm extremely excited about it, so it's hard to keep it secret.  But it is less than a week away, so I'll hang on to it until then.

I've also finally gotten a picture up for my About Brian page on the blog, and created a profile for my Amazon and Goodreads author pages.  Feel free to check them out, and I'll be sharing them all this week as well on Twitter and Facebook.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Bad Guy Beatdown Round 13 - Hun-Dred

After watching the 1984 one-shot Robo Force: The Revenge of Nazgar, I started wondering if I made a mistake including him in this tournament.  It's going to be difficult for any enemy to build up a sort of threat level in a mini-series, but one episode is almost impossible.  Maybe if he got three episodes - the length of time Nemesis got in Robotix, he might have had a chance, but no, Hun-Dred was doomed from the start.

Does Hun-Dred have anything going for him?  Much like the rest of the Robot Force and Cult of Hun-Dred robots, he's capable of hovering around including over liquids (suck it Marty McFly), though he needs a ship to fly anything above a few inches off the ground. For weapons, he's got to face-blasters which are strong enough to slice through a couple huge stalactites, causing them to fall on the Robo Force and trap them in boiling bubblegum.  He also has interchangeable melee weapons, the pointy bits on his back, to use in his clawed hands.  One of them is a drill bit, I'm not sure what the other one is since it's never employed.



You might think these weapons are pretty weak and you'd be 100% right. While some of the other robots in the cartoons have lasers blowtorches on their hands, Hund-Dred is stuck just holding one of the clumsy, tiny weapons and charging his enemies.  When Hun-Dred stabs at his heroic counterpart Maxx Steel's shoulder, the drill bit he was using just disintegrates. It's a pretty meager effort and for that Hun-Dred gets the ultimate humiliation.

Considering a lot of shows like these are left at least a little open-ended, I'm surprised that they so completely killed Hun-Dred off.  And right after this, they blow up his resurrected leader, the titular Nazgar.  Like, they shoot the little throne Nazgar was hiding in and it explodes.  This show knew exactly what it was getting and decided to go all out and kill its two main villain within seconds of each other.  

This is hardly a villain that deserves to be in any tournament, but I did do a Villain Retrospect on him and he still does more than Dr. Claw or Emperor Dark.  Barely.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Top 5 Worst Cartoons to Live in

In my book Old School Evil, main character Jayce finds it that his father is a bona fide villain like from the cartoons he loves as a child. Not only that, he finds out the entire world is populated by colorful heroes that use the magic of teamwork to thwart villainous schemes to steal famous landmarks or use mind-control to enslave the human race.

It got me wondering what it would be like living in a world that these cartoons existed in. After thinking about it for a while I realized a lot of them would equal certain death. Here's a list of the worst of the bunch.

Transformers
As a kid, I always wished I lived in this cartoon, riding around in a sentient Volkswagen or vandalizing a building with Rumble. But in reality, you'd be terrible paranoid of every electronic or mechanical device coming to life and trying to kill you. Imagine a world where even a cassette or camera could end your life. Only the Amish would be safe.

Gobots
The same thing as Transformers but you'd be killed by robots with dumber names and more annoying voices.

Inhumanoids
It's bad enough living in a world where electronic devices and vehicles could kill you, but here you'd even have to worry about yestr and rocks becoming sentient and wanting you dead for decades of pollution. They don't have much respect for any humans since the first episode shows them threatening to kill the showss heroes. Or you could just get eaten alive by a giant with a set-through stomach.

Dungeons & Dragons
It's bad enough going through a roller coaster that dragged you into a world full of magic and monsters where someone wants to kill you and steak your mystic weapons. More so, what if the other rides at the park could take you to whatever works they represent? Say you take a ride on a coaster with the Devil on it and you wind up in the 7th circle of Hell?

Spiral Zone
You have a 50-50 chance of being turned into a braindead zombie, that kinda sucks. Most of the time you're standing around doing nothing because you have no free will but then you forced to be a trap without even knowing it. Not that the rest of the world is much better since there's always a threat if the Zone expanding to include everything else.

So there's 5 terrible cartoon works you would never want to live in. But what happens if you're loving in ALL the cartoons at one time? Find out in Old School Evil, for sale on Kindle and print and available for free on Kindle Unlimited.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Old School Evil is LIVE

Today's the day - Old School Evil is available to purchase on Amazon for Kindle or print.  You can click the link here or you can click on the add on the right side of the page.  This book has been the last four years of my life, and I am extremely excited and anxious for you all to see it.  I still have a hard time believing I've actually finished such a massive undertaking as writing a book, going through over ten drafts, making a cover, building a whole world for it, and publishing it with my own imprint.

Enough gushing.  I really hope those of you who are interested in reading it will enjoy it.  Thank you all for the support over the last four years as I worked on the book and posted here at Old School Evil.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Bad Guy Beatdown Round 12 Results

Mumm-Ra stood over his scrying pool and held his hands aloft.  “Spirits of Evil, I sense a great power coming. Show me that which I seek!”
At his command, the cauldron bubbled and swirled, purplish steam filling the air.  The water’s tumultuous surface melted away and deep in the pool a vision formed – a knight adorned in green armor with a glowing snail on his chest, lost in a forest calling out for his companions.
“A Darkling Lord on Third Earth?” Mumm-Ra mused.
“What is a Darling Lord?” Monkeyman asked, peering into the pool.
“Darkling, you idiot,” Slythe said.
“Silence!” Mumm-Ra shouted, causing the mutants in the room to flinch.  “This knight has great powers given to him by the wizard Merklynn.”
Jackal snickered. “And how do you know this stranger?”
“Even though he is not evil, Merklynn’s magic is well-known to the Spirits of Evil.  He has imbued is power to a number of people on his planet of Prysmos, and this Darkstorm was given some of the strongest.”
“But why isss he here?” Slythe asked.  
“It does not matter.” Mumm-Ra flexed his arms and began to chant, “Spirits of Evil transform this decayed form to Mumm-Ra, the Ever-Living!”  In a spinning storm of frayed bandages, the decrepit mummy transformed into a giant monster, blue skinned except for the double-headed snake emblem on his chest.  “As soon as I steal his power,” Mumm-Ra shouted, “I will be powerful enough to defeat Lion-O and claim the Sword of Omens as mine!”

Darkstorm slashed his way through the thick tangles of vegetation.  His axe wasn’t meant for cutting vines and branches and it was exhausting work for the knight.  He wished he could use his totem power to turn this jungle to dust, but refused to use its limited power when he wasn’t sure what dangers this planet offered.
Damn Merklynn for sending him on this quest.  When the wizard requested him go on a mission to retrieve a sword, Darkstorm assumed it would at least still be on Prysmos.  Without his minions, it would be difficult to triumph, but on an unknown world? This would be a challenge, and the reword had better be great.
He reached the edge of the jungle and could finally see the planet’s terrain as it stretched out before him.  In the distance was a castle with a great black cat’s head atop it. Merklynn had told him he would be fighting a group of people called the Thundercats, but Darkstorm couldn’t believe they had modeled their home after a cat.  It was as stupid as if his own castle was shaped like a snail after his spirit animal. He trekked towards the castle, preparing his lost warrior needing help ploy.
Before he could reach the plane at the castle’s base, a gale wind blew into his face, forming a tornado that threatened to blow Darkstorm away.  In the eye of the whirlwind, a figure appeared and when the winds cleared, the Darkling Lord was face-to-face with a floating blue monster wearing a red cape.
“Who are you?” Darkstorm said, holding his totem staff toward the figure.
“I am Mumm-Ra, the Ever-Living!  And I would have your power!”
Darkstorm pulled his totem back.  “My power will stay that mine, foul creature!”
Forming a ball of lightning in his bare hand, Mumm-Ra says, “You have no say in the matter, knight.”  He fired the blast at Darkstorm, deep red bolts of lightning coursing toward the ground.
Darkstorm attempted to deflect the strike with his axe, catching the bolt at the tip and shocking him hard enough to send him flying back.  He screamed as he tumbled to the ground, his armor smoking. He struggled to get to his feet just in time to see Mumm-Ra prepare another blast.  “I hope your shell is strong enough!” he said as the snail on his armor lit up and emerged from his chest. Darkstorm’s physical body disappeared into the shimmering mollusk, barely avoiding another blast.
“You think a slug can save you from me?” Mumm-Ra shouted.  He dropped to the ground and took a mighty swing of his claws at the mollusk’s shell.  His hand bounced off the glowing body leaving no sign of damage to it. Enraged, Mumm-Ra leapt back into the air and blasted lightning from both hands, striking the mollusk directly in the center of its shell.  
The attack didn’t destroy the spirit animal, as Mumm-Ra expected, but the snail reverted to Darkstorm’s human form.  “You thought a spirit slug could save your powers from me?”
“Perhaps not,” Darkstorm says, still disheveled from his transformation.  “Perhaps Decay will do better. By what creeps, what crawls, by what does not; let all that grows recede and rot!”  The dog-faced, winged creature on Darkstorm’s totem escaped from the crest, flying behind Mumm-Ra and latching on to his shoulder.  Decay’s wings wrap around Mumm-Ra and glows bright in green light before disappearing. When revealed, Mumm-Ra’s body was shriveled and tiny, wrapped tight in bandages and draped with the red cape he wore.
Forcibly reverted to his decrepit form, Mumm-Ra staggered and cried out.  “My powers, you’ve drained them,” he wheezed. “I must return to the Black Pyramid to recharge!”  Mumm-Ra levitated into the air, but was struck down with a swing of Darkstorm’s now powerless staff. Crawling back from the Darkling Lord, Mumm-Ra attempts another bolt of lightning, but his waning powers fizzle out.
With a single swing of his axe, Darkstorm plunges the blade deep into Mumm-Ra’s heart.  The mummy’s body turns to dust and scatters to the wind, leaving behind only a whisper. “Where evil exists, Mumm-Ra lives!”
Click here for Mumm-Ra's respect post. Click here for Darkstorm's respect post. 

I can hear all the Thundercats fan boys crying out!  I know Mumm-ra was the favored one here, but he's got the same weakness as Darkstorm - limited powers.  Both Mumm-Ra and Darkstorm have limits to how long or often they can use their powers - Darkstorm's might be a little more by the numbers than Mumm-Ra's, but they both can summons their powers for a certain amount of time or uses.  The only problem is that once Mumm-Ra's powers are used up, he's a frail mummy, while Darkstorm is still in his prime.

The Winner

To see who Darkstorm will be facing off against in the next tier, click here.  To see the rest of Bad Guy Beatdown's fighters, click here.  

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Bad Guy Beatdown Round 12 - Darkstorm

Today's fighter is leader of the Darling Lords from the Visionaries - Darkstorm!  It's interesting to me that so many of the characters from the cartoon, all of them but Darkstorm, actually, had names that sound like Arthurian legends or Lord of the Rings.  Instead, he gets a name that sounds like it should be in the Transformers.

On to the analysis.  Given magical powers by Merklynn, Darkstorm is imbued with totemic abilities, but before we look at them, we need to look at what the man can do to see why he received his specific powers.  When Merklynn invites the Spectral Knights and Darkling Lords to come to his temple with the promise of powers, the 14 warriors went in without any real leadership.  It wasn't until entering the shrine and discovering it was full of traps did Darkstorm show his talents.  After falling into a pit, he is able to stop the descent and climb back out, and upon finding the rest of the Darkling lords hanging from a ceiling in a different room, he forced them to swear loyalty to him before he released them.  Oh yeah, and he uses a stupid Y-shaped axe thing.  It's not even worth a picture since he doesn't do anything with it.  In fact, I don't think he has any fighting ability to speak of.

Merklynn praises both acts, "For your incomparable climbing skill and overall sliminess," and grants him the powers of the Mollusk.  Having survived the travels while using a staff, he's given the totem power of Decay.  Both of these are incredibly powerful tools, but unfortunately for the tournament, they're not used very often.  Let's take a look at each of these totems.

First, the Mollusk, which is his spirit animal.  Each of the Visionaries has their animal on their chest and when summoning them, the spirit shoots out from their armor, taking the place of the knight.  Darkstorm of course works the same way, and he turns into a giant snail with a spiked shell and spindly little arms that do nothing. I just realized it looks like it's wearing a witch's hat.  Anyway, the Mollusk isn't really befitting of the leading villain until you see that it has one of the only powers of all the spirit animals - it shoots acid.  There's no real demonstration of how strong the acid is since all it does is smoke the few times he uses it, but I'd probably compare it to Miles Mayhem's Viper mask.  the Mollusk can also climb practically any surface up to a 90'degree angle, and its shell was impervious to other Visionaries' attacks.

Second is his totem, Decay.  The Visionaries with staves were given an extra power that they could call upon, which would summon a creature to fight for them.  Unlike the spirit animals, these creatures did not take the place of their knight, but would follow their orders.  Each of them would have a specific magical ability, and would need to be summoned through a rhyming incantation, which were all awesome to hear.  They could only be used once before needing to be recharged by Merklynn.  Darkstorm's totem creature was a weird winged creature, summoned by "By what creeps and crawls and by what does not, let all that grows recede and rot!" 

It only had to touch another creature to wither it, turning a young man into a geriatric.  Darkstorm was able to return the victim's youth with a second incantation, "Power of rot obscuring truth, what once was old, restore to youth."  Just like the other totem creatures, the Decay-beast was only able to use its power once per appearance, which usually allowed it to turn something old, then revert it (touching the target for both parts).  Once, it was able to touch three giant plants in a row, withering each of them, before being struck and disappearing - which meant it wouldn't have been able to return their youth. 

That's actually a common limitation to the spirit animals and totem creatures - one hit from just about anything would either return the knight to their human body or banish them.  Even the biggest one - the Destroyer, a giant beast with a blazing sword - would disappear after one strike.  There doesn't seem to be a time limit to the shape-changing power though.

So let's go over his abilites again:
1. Mollusk spirit animal lets him spit acid, climb any surface, and has an impervious shell, it's just not fast.
2. Decay summon can age something with a touch, and can revert it, but is a one-shot ability.
3. Has a stupid axe.  Seriously, it's so dumb looking.

To see Darkstorm's opponent Mumm-Ra, click here. If you want to see the rest of the fighters so far, click here.