Thursday, February 28, 2013

Misconceptions on Secret Identity

Something that most people assume about superheroes is the general idea that if a hero's mask were pulled off and his/her face were seen, the hero's identity would be irrevocably revealed. This is pretty far from the truth. Watch this clip from an episode of Justice League Unlimited, in which, by freak accident, the minds of Lex Luthor and The Flash were switched.

In reality, the fact is that seeing someone's face means almost nothing unless you literally know the person, and even then, it's not a guarantee. "Everybody looks like somebody" applies. If someone saw Clark Kent without his glasses, they wouldn't say "OH MY GOSH IT'S SUPERMAN;" they'd probably say, "Hey, mister, without your glasses on, you sort of look like Superman. That's kinda funny."

The Spider-Man films have dealt with this repeatedly. Sure, people like Mary Jane and Norman Osborn  would recognize him under the mask, but dozens of average New Yorkers see him unmasked and don't know anything about who he is other than "he's an average-height white guy with brown hair."

The only people in horrible danger of being recognized would be celebrities, like Oliver Queen and Bruce Wayne. However, even they have the "everybody looks like somebody" rule to protect them to an extent. And since they both largely stick to the shadows, darkness can help cloak them.

So, before you cry foul at Clark losing his glasses or Spider-Man pulling off his mask AGAIN, remember this and calm yourself.

Monday, February 25, 2013


One of the things that's always irked me about the Spider-Man films is the oddly-designed and proportioned costumes. Here's an overview of Spider-Man's look from the comics over the years:

Spider-Man's physical proportions vary somewhat, but generally it's agreed that he's quite a bit thinner than most other superheroes, relying more on speed and spider-like technique than strength. The alt-universe reboot series Ultimate Spider-Man, which put the character back in high school, did this to the extreme.

Ultimate Spidey is short, skinny, and incredibly agile-looking, with huge round white eyes. This is easily my favorite version of Spider-Man. It's goofy, but it completely fits the teenage story that Ultimate told.

The 2002 Sam Raimi-directed movie version is both incredible and disappointing. On one hand, it's a gloriously-accurate version of the classic comics' suit, with nice features like raised textured webbing. On the other hand, that version of Spider-Man is mostly normally-proportioned; there's nothing about his body that screams "Spider-Man." The eyes are a little small, too, only adding to the feeling that this Spider-Man isn't necessarily all that specific to the character. Fortunately, they put him in a ton of super-iconic Spider-Man poses, somewhat offsetting the problems.

Overall, the movie suit just isn't spider-like enough. That's one thing that the reboot film, The Amazing Spider-Man, mostly fixed.

There, finally, we have a skinny, teenage-looking Spider-Man, complete with web shooters. There's other problems with this suit, however. This image of a collectors' figure based on the ASM suit illustrates it rather well.

The suit is predominantly blue, and the blue shines very, very bright. This is a big no-no for Spider-Man design; the red is always supposed to stand out against the darker blue or black. Furthermore, the ASM suit has blue creeping into normally-red areas, like the "belt" and the suit's fingers. What's almost worse is that the eyes are dark yellow. Why are they dark yellow? It makes little-to-no sense.

If one could combine the Raimi and ASM costumes (and perhaps make the eyes a little bigger?) the perfect Spider-Man costume would likely emerge. And, by happenstance, that's exactly what The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is doing with its new-and-improved costume.


Finally, twelve-year-old Aaron's dreams of seeing the perfect Spider-Man costume on-screen are being realized. Twenty-three-year-old Aaron is pleased.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

2013 So Far

I haven't been here in a while. Whoops. For someone who's "a writer," I don't do that much actual writing. I should probably change that. In any case, here's what's been going on with me thus far in 2013.

I transferred to the University of North Texas this semester. I'm doing really well, and I'm really enjoying it. I'm very optimistic about the entire school "thing."

So. Back in mid-December, I hear a slight rattling/tapping noise in my car's engine. Not quite concerning, just a "what is that?" kind of deal. Considering it's a 1999 Sonata that's been totaled before, it might be something innocent and harmless, not necessarily serious. Cut to a month later, when I'm driving home and the thing sounds like it's going to rattle apart. It's pretty obvious that it's something tied to either a belt or a cylinder, since it has a very precise rhythm tied to the RPMs. Also, my car suddenly seems to have an upper limit on how much it can rev, so I can't gun the engine and expect much performance. It's like I'm driving on ice, but the ice is somehow inside the engine and preventing it from getting "traction." Even though I know little-to-nothing about this specific problem, it "feels" like one of the cylinders isn't firing correctly, and research tells me it may be a timing belt problem, which might make my engine basically implode if I drive it. But I don't have any guarantee that that's the problem, and I don't have time to find out because the next morning I have to drive 30 miles to a new school to start orientation.

So, the next day, I set out for school, make it about 20 miles, then the rattling goes insane, the engine heat goes way up (despite 70MPH worth of 40-degree wind blasting through it), and my speed gets bizarrely inconsistent. Sometimes I can barely make 60 MPH, the next moment I can reach 70. Then my engine basically explodes. I feel/hear a THUNK, the engine dies, and steam starts pouring out my tailpipe and from tiny cracks in the radiator (which were already there from an incident three years ago). So my car is basically dead.

On the plus side, from there things got better. I was able to call my mom, who drove from her work to pick me up and take me to my orientation (which I was only ten minutes late for). She handled the towing of my car as well. Orientation went really well; I got a lot of things done. I'm taking out a student loan to help pay for a new car, and I should probably have my new wheels in a week or two. Truth be told, that Sonata has given me little else but trouble since I got it, so if all trouble this means I get a new car, it'll all have been worth it.

I'm pretty psyched for a couple of movies this year.

Star Trek Into Darkness

That trailer is pretty slick, for a number of reasons. For one, it looks like the the movie is going to be a good bit more "serious" than the last one, with some good character-focused storytelling. For another, it looks like the Trek universe, normally restricted to voyages in space, is actually taking a fair amount of time on Earth. It's a very important aspect of the Trek universe that's oddly rarely touched on. It helps the audience to have a connection to Trek's future, making it all feel a little more real. This also looks like a Trek film where all the boundaries are being broken. The Enterprise, along with likely the entire fleet, comes crashing from the skies, while panicked civilians run for their lives in the streets. Add in some depth of character to make it personal and poignant and you've got a crazy level of awesome.

Man of Steel

Although the marketing for this movie seems to be pushing the "dark, tortured, and alienated" angle, what's actually been said by the cast and crew about the film makes me very optimistic. We might actually get the Superman movie we've been waiting for.

That's it, for the most part. I don't really have much else going on. School, car complications, and geek things. I'll do my best to keep up with the blog and write more when there's more to write.