Marvel’s Lovebirds – Elizabeth Ross and The Hulk

Marvel's Lovebirds

Despite the anger issues that have largely consumed the life of the Jolly Green Giant, true love has entered his existence in the form of Elizabeth Ross, the daughter of Air Force General Thaddeus Ross.

The two lovebirds developed a strong attraction for each other after they began working on a top secret Gamma Bomb project in New Mexico. Of course, this project was controlled by Thaddeus, who disliked the fact that a quiet, lanky scientist was falling in love with his daughter. Upon Banner’s exposure to the gamma rays – you know, super hero origin stuff – Betty stuck by his side and supported him in any way she could.

|| THE WEDDING CRASHERS, PART 1 ||

Her affection for Banner was evident and wedding bells were soon to be heard. Surprisingly enough, Betty’s father even provided his blessings. Combine that with the fact that Banner found a way to keep his Hulk persona at bay, things were looking extremely good for the young couple. However, hijinx ensued shortly after. It always does when super heroes and weddings are involved.

An old foe of Banner’s known as The Leader created a machine that had the ability to revert Banner back to his savage Hulk state. He used it on him during the couple’s first shot at a wedding. He then also let loose a stupid villain called the Rhino, who lost against the Hulk in an earlier fight, in hopes of him actually eliminating the Hulk for good.

The Incredible Hulk, 124 | 1970

The Incredible Hulk #124 | 1970

The Hulk defeated Rhino, but only after destroying everything around him and succumbing to the beast inside. Thaddeus got hit in the head too by falling debris. Understandably, Betty was devastated, but things just got worse.

|| GLEN TALBOT AND HARPY ||

Thaddeus’ security chief Glen Talbot became Betty’s rebound guy after Banner fell in love with Jarella, a queen from the sub-atomic world of K’ai. Jarella placed a spell on the Hulk that allowed the Banner personality to rise up and once again take control. Jarella accepted the Hulk for who he was. The two were in love, but Jarella unfortunately died while trying to save a boy from being crushed under a falling building.

hulk sad

Meanwhile, Talbot embarked on rescue mission to save Thaddeus who had been captured by the Gremlin, also known as Titanium Man. It was incorrectly reported that Talbot had died in the rescue. Betty had a nervous breakdown as a result, but the bad news didn’t stop there, as she was kidnapped by that scumbag of an organization known as A.I.M and was infused with an unholy amount of gamma radiation that turned her into the monster known as Harpy. Following several battles with the Hulk, Betty was eventually cured of her Harpyness.

Harpy

Harpy

|| WEDDING CRASHERS, PART 2 ||

The lovebirds tried to get married again, but their wedding was interrupted by Betty’s silly father who showed up with a gun and started terrorizing the place. Banner kept his cool and it was Betty this time, who handled the situation, telling her father how he’s controlled her for most of her life and that it was time for him to not be an idiot. Thaddeus complied, the wedding proceeded and they lived happily ever …

|| BETTY DIES ||

Being in close contact with someone who has a butt load of gamma radiation surging through their body is bad for you. Betty discovered the poisoning was taking its toll, so Banner invented a cure using his own blood. The Hulk’s ultimate nemesis, the Abomination, sneakily swapped Banner’s blood sample with his own before the transfusion. Betty’s condition worsened and soon after, she died.

hulk sad

 || BETTY TURNS INTO RED SHE-HULK ||

Following a complicated series of revitalizations, Betty returned as the mysterious Red She-Hulk. Her true identity wasn’t revealed until a sword pierced her body in the midst of a large-scale battle in New York between several characters closely tied to the Hulk, one of whom was Hulk’s son, Skaar. She unwillingly transformed back into Red She-Hulk before the wounds proved fatal and therefore healed herself in no time.

Hulk and Betty now share a complicated relationship, one that is largely occupied by the fact that both Banner and Betty now have a monstrous half residing within them. Trying to balance their power and responsibilities with their personal lives has proven difficult for the two. Though marriage doesn’t seem to be an option for them anymore, Betty Ross and Bruce Banner continue to be there for each other despite the overwhelming power they struggle to control.

Incredible Hulk #609 | 2009

Incredible Hulk #609 | 2009

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Saskatoon Expo photo gallery

Other Published Work, Photography

Photos from the first annual Saskatoon Comic & Entertainment Expo.

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Apologies for the lack of microphones or intros. I just wanted to catch some of Su’s thoughts on video, but you can check out a much more extensive Q&A with Su here.

I also wrote a story about the the comic book culture in Saskatchewan, a theme that directly ties into the expo.

The entire weekend was a blast. The expo is certainly something I’ll be attending next year.

Reboot, Reboot, CG animation and more Reboot | A chat with Jim Su

Uncategorized

I had the chance to speak with Jim Su,  a professional illustrator and CGI artist. After graduating from Sheridan College for Computer Animation, he was hired by Mainframe Entertainment in 1999 as a CGI modeler. As he points out, many recognize him for his work with the popular Reboot series. He is currently the president of Beach Creative Studios Inc. and has worked on some mega block busters including Captain America: Winter Soldier and Wolf of Wallstreet, where he largely performed the role of rigging supervisor.

We talked about a variety of things including the development of CG animation, Reboot in comic book form and the general passion surrounding the beloved series. Though he isn’t involved with any potential revitalization of Reboot, which may or may not be coming from Rainmaker Entertainment Inc., he had some interesting things to say.

He will be at the Saskatoon Comic Expo this weekend, and so will I. Muahaha. More content to come.

Were you at the Saskatoon Comic Expo last year?

 

No I wasn’t. I went to the Regina Fan Expo earlier this year, that was the first time I set foot in Saskatchewan actually. It was great, I was surprised with the turnout. It was the inaugural show in Regina and the show was a success from a financial standpoint, which is partially why I wanted to jump on the expo in Saskatoon. I’m starting to branch off to do these smaller shows outside of Toronto and Montreal because I sell the Reboot art book and posters, and Reboot has this cult following in Canada. It seems like wherever I go to show these books off it’s met with a very positive reaction and good sales. People will come up to me, flip through some of my stuff, glance over pretty much everything but then they see Reboot and go “What?! you worked on Reboot. I love that show!”

 

I understand while you were growing up you were a big fan of Reboot. How did it feel being able to work on something you loved as a kid once you began working in graphic design/modeling?

 

That was pretty exciting because when I started working at Mainframe I think it was pretty much understood that Reboot was finished after Season Three. They were able to however, arrange for what I sometimes call a bonus season, and being assigned as the modeling lead on Reboot Season Four was just an exciting time and an honour. I knew its place in history back then already, but little did I know how much of a cult reaction there was in Canada. I think shortly after Season Four was finished, I pitched a comic book internally at Mainframe for Reboot. I didn’t have any data to gauge how big Reboot was with fans but later on when I left Mainframe I discovered how big it was and that’s why I pitched the art book to Rainmaker.

 

Do you still think there’s potential for a comic book surrounding Reboot?

 

Absolutely. I think – without revealing any plans Rainmaker has – a comic book is always a way we could tie up loose ends from the original series. Budget wise, it’s a lot cheaper than creating an animated show. Also, there’s been some precedence for that. I believe Buffy had its last season in comic book form which was written by Joss Whedon. I think it’s definitely possible in that sense.

 

Aside from the fact that the series is left wide open for more Reboot-related stories to be told, what is it about the source material that makes it an attractive project to tell stories in comic book form?

 

I think the strength of Reboot is no longer about its graphics. Although it still has this quirkiness in its visuals that people seem to still love, it truly is about the story that its creators crafted. Reboot was ahead of its time for North American animation because because of its longer story arcs, which people in Japan were used to. North American animation was generally comprised of episodic stories that wrapped up after each episode, that has changed today, but back then it wasn’t like that. When Reboot started, it stayed very true to North American animation storytelling, but then it started to develop this long story arc in Season Three, which lends itself very well to comic books.

Were you ever frustrated that the show ended on such a cliffhanger? And do you have ideas that you’d like to somehow see implemented within the Reboot universe?

 

I wasn’t frustrated at the time because we were slated to do three movies and we only got to do two – My Two Bobs and Daemon Rising – but even the creators back then Gavin Blair and Ian Pearson thought there was always going to be another season. They never thought that would be the end but there was never any real guarantee that the show would be renewed for another season, and that goes for any TV show really. But in the case of Reboot, these seasons came out years after the previous one, so there was never any regularity or consistency with the seasons of Reboot and so I wasn’t frustrated about that. However, it has been a long time, over 10 years, since Season Four finished up and the amazing thing is the strength of the show. It really shows because people still recall it vividly, and I think it’s reinforced by the fact that it was continually played on reruns after it was cancelled.

 

Is cosplay a big part of that dedication to the series?

 

It absolutely is. During the first convention I brought Gavin Blair to a fan expo, which I believe was in 2007 or 2008, and when fans got word of Gavin appearing, they did an entire cosplay show with pretty much everyone from the Reboot cast. They reenacted the guitar battle at the Fan Expo masquerade on Saturday night. They won best in the show and the cosplay was top notch. I mean, they had Captain Capacitor, Phong. I see a couple fans at every show I go to dressed up as people from Reboot, which is really cool.

 

When you started working with Reboot, what were some of the things you wanted to bring to the table? Do you think you succeeded?

 

One cool thing I wanted to work on was an update in the graphics, and that wasn’t just me spearheading it, a lot of people were involved. I got to work on the super viruses, so Daemon and Daecon, and you got to see an upgrade in the modeling, the facial development was more advanced. They were a little more up to date versus the general cast of Reboot. There were other people trying to make the facial developments of the other characters more advanced, but one of the things Gavin didn’t like was, because we were trying to upgrade the facial systems of the characters, they didn’t quite act look like what fans had known to that point. The more advanced they got, the less they felt like the characters from Season One.

 

It’s the same type of argument you can make with Yoda. You had the Jim Henson puppet that everybody loves and then when they had the prequel they had this full CG Yoda in the Phantom Menace. Fans were like, ‘that’s not Yoda’ and in the next two films they regressed it and gave him more of that puppeteer facial system. That’s one of the interesting things about Reboot is that you really saw the CG progression from Season One to Season Four. In Season One, there wasn’t even any shadow casting and by the fourth season there was. Even the rendering, the software we used changed from Season Two to Season Three, so you saw a huge leap in the rendering quality. I’m sure Reboot would have progressed the same way in future seasons, with updates and new graphics. That’s kind of what Mainframe did. It’s also hard to keep the old graphics as well. (Laughs) We can’t just dust off what we used 20 years ago and make it run. Even if Rainmaker were to complete the series today they would have a hard time achieving the same look the show had 10 years ago. Everything would be updated.

 

Was the rapid development of graphics in the Reboot series a reflection of how fast graphics are progressing within the industry in general, or is it more of a testament to Mainframe’s dedication to Reboot at the time?

 

I think its more of a reflection of how quickly things change. I’ve been in the CG industry for 15 years now and it’s just constantly evolving. As an artist and a technician I constantly have to keep up to date with what’s going on in the field. For instance, the stuff that I do now in feature films, is night and day compared to what I did in television years ago.

 

 What’s it been like working on movies with big ties to pop culture?

 

It’s cool, I mean I am working on these movies and contributing to pop culture but I’m just a small cog in the process. It’s still nice to say that I worked on Captain America, Tron Legacy or Resident Evil. It’s fun working on these tent pole movies that nearly everyone walking into a convention has seen.

 

When you watch a movie, would you rather see actors push physical limits as far as they can, or have 3D animation or some kind of special effect step in and be implemented even when the possibility of an actor performing those stunts is still possible?

 

That’s a good question. I think there are a lot of times in this day and age when an actor is not allowed to perform certain stunts. It’s just written in their contracts, the actor can’t do a certain thing. So it’s not necessarily about an actor’s limits, in fact, a lot of the time during our CGI process we’re replacing a stunt actor’s face with the actor’s face. You’re seeing two different people and that happens a lot. Sometimes, they just don’t like the actor’s performance, the actor couldn’t pull it off. We’ll then use CG to enhance the performance either by integrating some CG with the actor’s performance or completely removing the actor entirely with the exception of his or her face. There’s a lot of that going on. A lot of the stunts Mila Jovovich did in Resident Evil, we replaced her entire body so all that was left was her hair or her face. Her face could be projected on an actual CG surface, which is kind of neat. There are several different options.

 

What is your advice for anyone trying to enter the post-production field? Would that advice have been different 10 years ago?

 

I think the most important advice wouldn’t change from a decade ago and today, and that is the fact that it’s still an art form and you need to learn the art fundamentals such as human anatomy, usually for a modeler, animator, or in my position a character TD (technical director). You still need to know your anatomy and you should be strong, or at least disciplined, in illustration and sculpting. There’s usually a lot of competition for any given position, so your artistic talents are still the deciding factors for you getting a job. That hasn’t changed. However, today there seems to be a new epicentre for where you can get these jobs. You can’t just freelance from your home in Saskatoon, unless you’re in pre-production working as a character designer, but if you want to work on the actual post-production on a movie, generally speaking, in this country, these jobs are in Vancouver, Toronto or Montreal so you have to be willing to move to those cities. Even though the work I do is in the digital realm, CG, the traditional skills are still just as important. They form the foundation for any work that you’re going to do digitally.

 

There is also less of a barrier when it comes to entering the software aspect of the work, so while maybe 20 years ago the artists that were working on Pixar or Mainframe projects were more technologically inclined, that’s not the case anymore today. The best CGI modelers today who are going to get those jobs are the ones that are talented in a traditional sense. It’s definitely a competition for natural talent, not just talent when it comes to the operation of software, although, that is still important. You can’t just walk in being an oil painter and not have any exposure to the computer software and think you can be the best in that sense. There’s still a balance, but traditional talent still trumps all.

Women as wallpaper, Prince of Persia, and Duke Nukem | A disappointed lover of video games speaks his mind

Thoughts on Everything Video Games, Uncategorized

Tropes vs. Women in Video Games released a video recently and highlighted – effectively I might add, with blatant examples that are impossible to disagree with and ignore – the way non-playable women are used in games. Not only was it met with the most sexist, hateful responses you could possibly imagine, but mindbogglingly argued against, with some saying a game world without the sexual abuse and appalling treatment of women would result in an “unbelievable game world.”

I’ve played video games for the majority of my life, and not once did I ever play a game and think, “You know what this is missing? A woman getting abused, then swept under the rug and forgotten. Because without that, I wouldn’t understand how cruel this fictional game world really is.”

In hindsight I’ve realized even the first games I ever played fell victim to the damsel in distress cliche or an even greater form of misogyny.

The following spiel looks at two of the games I played early on as a kid and how the women represented in those games evolved over time in their respected franchises.

Prince of Persia and the damsel in distress

Much like the Mario games, a game that represented the start of many people’s path to gaming, Prince of Persia fell victim to one of the oldest gender-related cliches in the book; the damsel in distress. It was essentially the first thing that introduced me to the overused story-telling tactic.

And I loved it. The game, of course.

It was beautifully animated, the combat was fast and fluid and the puzzles were a joy to resolve. The colour palette was gritty and helped add to the overall sense of despair. I was a lonely wanderer in a dungeon trying to get out, and I had to fight a bunch of guys armed with swords. Every time I entered a new location, my heart would skip a beat as I discovered a baddie standing confidently on the other side of the screen, waiting for me to approach him. Other times, I would find a series of bizarre blades shaped like razor sharp teeth chomping at anything that dared to pass through. Then near the end, seeing my doppelganger materialize out of the magic mirror was one of the most intense moments I ever experienced while playing a game. These emotions flourished as a result of a game that used an ancient form of animation, some gritty colours and occasionally, a perfectly timed “duuuuun.”

As noted by Anita Sarkeesian, who talked about this in another video, the princess I’m rescuing is at least “a pawn in someone else’s game.” This is no reason to celebrate, of course, and is just as bit of the systemic problem that has resulted in today’s normalization of women being represented as sexual playthings or victims to violence.

However, Prince of Persia was the first of its kind, and though the princess that needed rescuing was there as a result of the patriarchy that has been in place in society for far too long, the game was still charming, fun, and had atmosphere. The latest reiteration of the long-running franchise created by Ubisoft in 2008 is an approachable and fun action/adventure title that successfully ditched this cliche. Nothing about it is ground breaking, but interesting alterations were made to its main pillars of gameplay – platforming, puzzle-solving and combat – which resulted in a fresh experience. The princess this time around tagged along while wielding some impressive magic and was also an integral part of the story. As mentioned before, nothing ground breaking here, but the game evolved and left behind the idea of having a princess that needed to be rescued (a concept that still lingered in previous entries of the Prince of Persia series) and replaced it with something unique and interesting.

Prince_and_Elika

Duke Nukem can last forever, but not like this

The Duke Nukem 3D demo was another title I played until my eyes were crossed. When compared to Prince of Persia, its gameplay elements were elevated in every imaginable way. It had a new perspective, vis-a-vis first-person, better graphics, better sound, guns, monsters, explosions, puzzles, secret rooms, and strippers, strippers and more strippers. I don’t fully remember how I obtained the demo, but believe it or not, I knew nothing of the dancing women prior to obtaining the game, and they interested me very little once I discovered them. Finding the secret locations, especially the ones that had a hidden weapon, were what I craved. Oh, and blowing the enemies up with an RPG was amazing. The game delivered some shock value, but to me, is ultimately remembered for its fast-paced action that was perfectly balanced with puzzle-solving moments and hilarious one-liners.

I remember entering the strip club on the second stage for the first time, and immediately assuming the dancers were some form of actual wallpaper. Largely because of their lack of movement, but even more so because they were in the MIDDLE OF A WAR ZONE. They can’t be real can they, I had thought to myself. Get out ladies! What the hell are you doing?? I walked up to one, hit the space bar, and handed over some cash. I was old enough at this point to understand they were strippers, that I was giving them money for their services, and even though I wasn’t aware of the fact I was living in a male dominated society, this part of the game felt mighty unnecessary. The dancers just stood there and took the money or an unlucky hail of gun fire. I got over this awkwardness pretty quickly however, and proceeded to the next level, (the demo allowed me to play until level three I believe).

DN3d_strip-bar

I totally understand that Duke Nukem is the epitome of testosterone-fueled penis attracting action, which is why I partially think Duke Nukem Forever failed so hard when “The King” made his supposed triumphant return in 2011. No, we cannot forget the technical atrocities that plagued that game from start to finish, the fact that Duke was suddenly limited to two weapons and not 10, and how the uniqueness that was Duke Nukem was now some piss-poor cookie-cutter first-person shooter. However, we also can’t ignore the fact that DNF had wall boobs.

It’s quite obvious DNF scrapes the bottom of the shit barrel largely because of its shortcomings in the presentation and gameplay department. It isn’t considered to be a terrible title because of the wall boobs or the Holson twins who get “fucked” by aliens seconds before being blown up into giblets. I’d be interested to see if the game faced angry protest or low review scores if those highly-offensive scenes were still present, but the rest of the game knocked it out of the park when it came to actually feeling like a game and being fun. DN 3D managed to get away with it because there actually wasn’t much emphasis on those “shocking moments,” they were instead sprinkled throughout the game, which played a helluva lot better than DNF, and tried to reinforce Duke’s mission to save the women of this world. Women weren’t being blown up, and when they were, it’s because you shot them, in which case shame on you. DNF could have kept that strip bar scene to establish his manliness, but beyond that things would have had to change big time because women being blown up is no longer even considered shocking today, it’s normal, and there’s no need to push that normalization further.

If you take a look at the comments under DNF reviews, you will notice a disturbing trend that includes praise being given to a game which some believe is still quirky and unique, despite the abysmal treatment of women. They often counteract any argument that says these parts of the game overwhelmingly contribute to the normalization of women being abused, and believe DNF is some type of blast from the past, something we should accept as quirky and funny.

Duke-Review-Comments

They also hilariously get upset about the fact that YouTube is trying to censor breasts.

YouTube_DNF

It’s also disheartening, though not surprising, to see people searching for the Holson Twins’ death scene more than anything else that has to do with them.

YouTube Search_Holson Twins

I think there’s room for any character to grow and adapt, even Duke. What if he was eventually partnered up with a woman halfway through the game who was just as much of a badass as he was? He would try and hit on her every chance he had, but she would tell him off. Duke Nukem would realize that he isn’t the god he thought he was, and what he was missing in his life up to this point was a powerful woman who would show him the error of his ways. Sure, hardcore Duke Nukem fans will want my head on a spike for saying something like this, but after 12 years of waiting, why not make something that’s different and unexpected. Keep Duke’s one-liners and the ultra-violence in there, you can certainly remind us at times what he thinks of women and how much they mean to him, but then surprise us with my aforementioned award-winning story line. I’m not saying Duke Nukem is the worst of the worst when it comes to women being treated like wallpaper, but it’s pretty damn close, and people saying, “that’s the point of this franchise,” is missing the point entirely. Those women trapped on the alien ships in DN 3D in the late nineties was shocking imagery back then, but it wasn’t a focal point of the game, nor was it constantly shoved in our faces. They were there, we then gasped, and moved on. It was wallpaper material unfortunately, but like Prince of Persia, the game was the first of its kind, and there was a noticeable amount of effort put into the rest of the game that had genuinely fun action, platforming, and puzzle-solving sequences.

Gearbox, and whoever else worked on this game, (the list of developers is lengthy) obviously tried to showcase that same shock in DNF. It failed. It failed so hard. No one was shocked by wall boobs or aliens impregnating women, we were instead sitting on our couches with mouths wide open because everything from the gameplay to the attempted “oh my god” moments were done so distastefully.

Final thoughts

Needless to say, Prince of Persia and Duke Nukem are franchises on entirely different wavelengths, but I brought them up because they were a couple of the first games I ever played and on the heels of the backlash Sarkeesian received this week, it made me realize the problems she talked about go far back. The more disturbing part is very little has changed. In fact, it has gotten worse. Each of these games had an element of the patriarchy – one obviously slightly more extreme – but where one game successfully removed it and did something interesting with the cemented princess in distress cliche, the other just embraced it, made it even more awkward, and released it upon us like some untrained dog that knows it’s in the wrong house but poops on your carpet anyway. DNF is so blatantly offensive and degrading to women, and any argument that tries to push this obvious fact is too often counteracted with, “oh you’re just trying to censor everything.” No, it’s not about censorship. It’s just a mighty shame that the sight of women being battered and slaughtered without any context is required to convey a sense of hopelessness in a game world. Games should be treated as opportunities to move away from what society unfortunately considers normal, and should channel talented people’s creativity when it comes to designing a game world that is asked to portray a sense of despair.

It baffles me that games today use women’s pain and suffering as a way to essentially set the mood within a game world. Technology has come so far. It can be utilized to create amazing things. I know it can. I’ve walked through the eerie camps off the coast of Peru in Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, I scoured the wastelands of Washington in Fallout 3, an experience that conveyed terror and hopelessness in countless ways. Toppled buildings and abandoned shelters, mutants, raiders, abandoned children. Those things made me feel. My friends and I were sort of scared as we walked through the woods in Slender (really though, if you turn the lights out and the mood is just right, that game can be creepy). There are so many ways a game world can deliver a disturbing atmosphere, and its been successfully done in the past.

Sigh.

What a week. It was marred by a series of events that highlighted the worst the culture of video games has to offer. An industry, that for the longest time, has been this awkward, dysfunctional entity that many people have smeared with misogyny and outer-worldly behavior. This hobby that many crazies believe is being ruined by people like Sarkeesian who bring important issues to light are sadly engulfing it in so much negativity, and if it wasn’t necessarily elevated to another level recently, it was simply showcased in one massive wave of hatred that I don’t remember seeing before.

As mentioned in the article by Chris Plante in the previous link, video games are no longer designed for a “niche group of young men,” and despite the mistakes games occasionally make that further counteract this truth, I hope this week spearheads a turning point in gaming. I know wall boobs happened years ago, but we still have games like Watch Dogs forcing us to watch domestic disputes play out before we can intervene, while forgetting to implement any type of preventative measures players would want to use in these situations.

Time to make myself feel better. Time to play Pokemon for a while.

 

Saskatchewan native gets to play Rob Ford in musical | Estevan Mercury

Other Published Work

Regina-based actor/comedian Sheldon Bergstrom recently obtained the role of Toronto mayor Rob Ford in the musical comedy called Rob Ford The Musical: The Birth of a Ford Nation, and much like the media frenzy that has surrounded the infamous mayor over the past year, the 42-year-old actor finds himself in a similar situation.

I interviewed Bergstrom, who talked a lot about his time in Estevan and the numerous performances he had at the Souris Valley Theatre in town.

Marvel’s Lovebirds – Shiklah and Deadpool

Marvel's Lovebirds

Okay Deadpool, what’s going on here? You and Death were so perfect for each other!

||The mission||

One day, Dracula decided to hire someone to bring Shiklah, Queen of the Undead, to him so he could marry her and unite his faction with her underground monsters. You see, before humans came to be, Shiklah and her family ruled over the monster world. This ticked off the neighbouring vampires who sought to dominate them, and so, a war ensued that lasted centuries. The monster family got overwhelmed and as a result, Shiklah’s father sealed her away in a coffin until the war ended, or until someone took her hand in marriage. Mmmkay that’s quite extreme.

Anyway, Dracula decided he would be the one to marry Shiklah. So, who do you call when you need to retrieve a several thousand-or-more-year-old coffin containing the Queen of the Undead? DEADPOOOOL!

In a timely matter, Deadpool travelled to Arabian Peninsula and retrieved the coffin before a faction of teleporting vampires – mmkay that is quite extreme – managed to destroy it.

||The magic starts||

The Merc with a Mouth brought the coffin to Greece and got into a fight with the Minotaur, a weird creature that rears its head in the Marvel Universe from time to time. This however, resulted in the coffin shattering in mid-battle, awaking Shiklah and her pet, Bug.

The Queen then decided to repay Deadpool’s heroic service by kissing him and absorbing his life force. Deadpool died and joined Death in lovebird heaven where they lived happily ever after.

No?

Oh, okay.

Deadpool kisses Shiklah after defeating the Minotaur |  Deadpool: The Gauntlet #5

Deadpool kisses Shiklah after defeating the Minotaur | Deadpool: The Gauntlet #5

Well, after Deadpool failed to die, (he can heal himself ladies and gentlemen) Shiklah looked upon him with renewed interest, and together they hopped on a train to Paris. On the way, Blade the Vampire Hunter was like, “Nuh uh mister, you have to give her up because she’s a monster,” and Deadpool responded with, “but I dig that.” The two fought, and with the help of Shiklah, they defeated Blade.

The two then, sigh, start falling head over heels for each other. They take to the streets of Paris, visit museums, while Deadpool explains to her what a smartphone is, and even goes as far as saying he hasn’t enjoyed someone else’s company this much without killing a person. They discuss immortality, and Shiklah explains how difficult it is to watch loved ones around her age. Deadpool responds by saying he can’t die. He even gets jealous when she incapacitates an A.I.M agent by kissing him. She, however, loves the fact that he gets jealous, and becomes increasingly enamoured with him. They got married didn’t they?

||The wedding||

Gosh darn it. Yes, the two get married, resulting in one of the largest gatherings of super heroes and super villains, ever.

Deadpool gets married | Deadpool #27

Deadpool gets married | Deadpool #27

All right, Shiklah isn’t all that bad, but … but, Deadpool and Death were beautiful together. This is just temporary right? Like Ross marrying another woman here and there but ultimately discovering Rachel is his soul mate? Right? RIGHT?

Entry #21, July 22

Eleanor's Blog

Ellie-getting-bigger

I’ve been very distracted the past several weeks.

I appear to have been permanently relocated to the other pen I frequently visited last year, and now that I’m here, I’ve got lots to keep me distracted. Mr. No Claws, who delightedly likes to pretend he’s a tenacious little brute, is still here and clawless. I will never get over that, and I will never stop making fun of him for it. That brain dead dog is still here too, but she’s not as brain dead as before. Maybe it’s the hair cut she got. Makes her look skinnier too, which is a freakin’ miracle.

Yes, I am being mean, and if you thought that changed since the last time I wrote you’re hilariously mistaken. I will say this, I appreciate the dog’s willingness to let me sleep in her bed, because sleeping on that bed is like sleeping on a pile of cables. Don’t think too hard about that simile, I sure didn’t. The dog is conveniently stupid, she doesn’t bother me, we’re getting along, let’s move on.

I also found my little fuzz ball the other day – I lose it every hour, so it’s a fantastic little surprise when I re-find – and I realized something was amiss; Tree Number Two. He used to throw the ball, which I would then run after and bring back to him. It was a charming little game we played, and for the longest time now he’s no where to be seen. I occasionally play this game with Tree One, but it was nice having both of them around. I miss that fellow. Even when I scratched him to the point where he was leaking blood across the floor, he still patted me on the head and played with me.

I think I’m going to try and keep up with these entries more often. There’s much to be pointed out. It mostly revolves around Mr. No Claws, did I mention he has no claws? I can’t believe how lucky I am.

Marvel’s Lovebirds – Mockingbird and Hawkeye

Marvel's Lovebirds

Orphan turned hothead Avenger sharpshooter, Clint Barton, and super-secret spy Mockingbird, have been to hell and back together. Literally.

 

|| The squabble before marriage ||

After exposing corrupt S.H.I.E.L.D agents for breakfast one morning, Mockingbird was hired by Nick Fury to investigate Cross Technological Enterprise (CTE). Meanwhile, Hawkeye, who was placed on the Avenger’s bench warmer list upon being temporarily replaced by Falcon, of course, found employment with CTE as its security director. The two clashed, fell head over heels for each other, and then teamed up to take down the criminal mastermind known as Crossfire, who turned out, was controlling the CTE to further his plans for EVIIILLLL. More specifically, he was trying to implement his plans within the agency, which involved brainwashing super heroes into killing each other. With the adrenaline running through them as if they had just taken down a criminal enterprise, Mockingbird and Hawkeye got married. When Barton was appointed head of the West Coast branch of the Avengers, Mockingbird became the team’s first new recruit. She played an integral part in developing the then up-and-coming super hero group, and helped hone Hawkeye’s occasional incendiary personality with her professionalism.

|| Taking it too far ||

During one of the Avengers’ time traveling adventures, which sent them back to 1876, Mockingbird was abducted, drugged and abused by the Phantom Rider, a vigilante who didn’t learn that great power, meant great responsibili  – yeaaaaah you get it, he was bad. After a failed attempt to make her his bride, the Rider fought Mockingbird to the edge of a cliff, but unfortunately, plunged to his death after the Avenger refused to save him. Soon after, the Rider’s ghost appeared at the Avenger’s Mansion – it happens – and told the super heroes Mockingbird was responsible for his death. Hawkeye, troubled by the thought his wife had allowed someone to die, decided the two should take a break.

Hawkeye confronts Mockingbird after he learns she was responsible for the Rider's death | West Coast Avengers #2, 1984

Hawkeye confronts Mockingbird after he learns she was responsible for the Rider’s death | West Coast Avengers #20, 1987

The break didn’t last long however, and the two were back together to save their teammate, the Vision, and shortly after, they even helped train the Great Lakes Avengers together.

|| The swap, and the death of an Avenger ||

An alien race known as the Skrull, known for their shape-shifting abilities and lust for conquest, kidnapped Mockingbird when she returned to the West Coast Avengers. The Skrull are really good at this, and therefore managed to avoided setting off any alarm bells with the Avengers. They replaced her with a Skrull duplicate, who acted out the part so well, she even sacrificed herself to save Hawkeye during one of the most dangerous missions the West Coast Avengers’ had ever embarked on; a trip to the demon Mephisto’s realm.

Mockingbird dies in Hawkeye's arms, after she takes a fireball to the back in Mephisto's realm | Avengers West Coast #100

Mockingbird dies in Hawkeye’s arms, after she takes a fireball to the back in Mephisto’s realm | Avengers West Coast #100, 1994

Three years later, during which Hawkeye became the leader of the Thunderbolts, an up-and-coming group of reformed villains, Hawkeye struggled to remain with the Avengers. That is until, he started to have some interest in Avenger Janet Van Dyne, also known as the Wasp. Their dallying romance didn’t last long, as Mockingbird suddenly returned one day after the Skrull invasion nearly succeeded, and reunited with Barton, who at this point traveled under the Ronin alias. The two founded the World Counter-terrorism Agency with defected S.H.I.E.L.D agents, because S.H.I.E.L.D is just too dicey for some people, and returned to the Avengers.

Stories I’ve written for The Mercury, and some other feels

Other Published Work

Here are a few stories I wrote recently for the Estevan Mercury since I began working there three weeks ago. I’ve been busy writing a lot of stories, and I’ve enjoyed every second of it so far, but these are some of the ones I’ve had a lot of fun with. These were the community-oriented stories I was hoping to do once I arrived to the small market environment, and the following fit that description perfectly.

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1. This is the first feature story I wrote during my first week. It’s about the higher than normal trihalomethane levels in surface waters across Saskatchewan. THM’s are a chemical byproduct of the our water’s disinfection process, and when exposed to it over time at higher levels, they can potentially cause negative health effects.

2. The Souris Valley Theatre in Estevan holds several performances throughout the year. To kick off the summer, the Marvelous Wonderettes will be playing from July 3 to July 19. You can read the full story here.

3. Estevan’s inaugural Energy Expo was held at the city’s rec centre, and I had the chance to write a general overview of the event. The crowds weren’t huge, and that was something I focused on in this story, and whether the event itself met the city’s expectations. Read more about it here.

4. Patt Lenover-Adams, who was the Envision Counselling And Support Centre’s executive director for 19 years retired a few weeks ago, and her office held a retirement party. It was a pretty emotional gathering, and dozens of people crammed into the small building to say goodbye. She accomplished a great deal during her time there, and it’s been one of my favourite stories so far.

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The newspaper out here seems to be thriving. It’s something that the community embraces, and there’s no indication that it’s fizzling out. It’s interesting to note, because during college, the death of the newspaper was always on the tip of everyone’s tongue.

I’m super lucky to be able to interact with a community that is so tightly knit, and is thriving with stories to tell through a newspaper that is still going strong after 100 years.

I look forward in helping them further establish their online presence, but it’s just nice to know that there’s reason to still believe in print.

 

Marvel’s Lovebirds – Rogue and Gambit

Marvel's Lovebirds

Anna Marie and Remy LeBeau were latched on to a life of crime early on in their lives, until Professor Xavier welcomed the two youngsters onto the X-Men. When the two mutants finally met, it was practically love at first sight, until corruption consumed one of them.

Gambit, abandoned as a child because of his burning red eyes, was kidnapped from the hospital by the New Orleans Thieves’ Guild, who referred to him as the White Devil, the one who would unite the warring thieves guilds in the city. He quickly became a master thief, and soon took part in an arranged marriage organized between the Thieves’ Guild and their rivals, the Assassin’s Guild. Gambit and Bella Donna Boudreaux, the granddaughter of the head of the Assassin’s Guild, were on the verge of marriage, when Donna’s brother Julien objected and challenged Gambit to a duel. Gambit killed Julien in self-defense, but was then banished from New Orleans in an attempt to maintain the peace between the two guilds.

Rogue was raised by her Aunt Carrie after tragedy befell her parents, but she eventually ran away from home when she discovered the true nature of her powers, which included the ability to absorb the memories, abilities, personality, and outward physical characteristics of other beings through skin-to-skin contact. When the recipient of her first kiss fell into a permanent coma, she was taken in by Mystique and Destiny (Irene Adler), whom Rogue came to regard as her surrogate parents. Mystique, who was also a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants terrorist group, convinced Rogue to take part in their criminal activities. It was during her first assignment when she absorbed Ms. Marvel’s powers permanently, and gained the ability to fly and beat baddies to a pulp with her fists.

The two young mutants over time however, decided to start anew, and turned to the X-Men for help. Despite the obvious problem involving the inability to safely touch each other, they fell madly in love. Of course, their stubborn and competitive personalities resulted in frequent clashes.

Rogue gets a tad upset at Gambit who appears to be using his powers to get an upper hand during a pick up game of basketball | X-Men #13

Rogue gets a tad upset at Gambit who appears to be using his powers to get an upper hand during a pick up game of basketball | X-Men #13

Even when Mystique, disguised as a student, tried to seduce Rogue in an attempt to break up her relationship with Gambit, Rogue responded with an overwhelming no.

Unfortunately, Gambit joined the evil super mutant Apocalypse in hopes of saving all mutants in the face of inevitable annihilation, something he thought could only be prevented with the power offered to him by Apocalypse. Gambit became one of Apocalypse’s four Horsemen, and took on the identity of Death. Rogue wouldn’t believe the news, until Gambit actually attacked her during battle. Devastated by the path he choose, she painstakingly let go of him, and continues to fight the good fight with her family, the X-Men.

Gambit taking on his new form of Death | X-Men: Hellbound #2

Gambit taking on his new form of Death | X-Men: Hellbound #2