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Dexter is Dead… again.

Ok been letting my blogging slip for a while because of this and that excuse, work, travel, romance, all that shit. But that’s all gone now, back to business as usual.
I recently finished the last of the Dexter series, if you don’t know already the blog is a play on the title of the first book ‘Darkly Dreaming Dexter’. And although the series isn’t what inspired me to become a writer myself it has influenced a lot of thematic choices I later came to love.
So needless to say I’m a big fan of the show and then I just got done reading all eight of the books and it’s fair to say I really liked them since I read them back to back, which is pretty is pretty rare for me. I think the last time I did that was when I first discovered pulp and read all the Philip Marlowe books by Raymond Chandler one if not THE godfather of literary pulp/noir, whatever you wanna call it. I personally think he beats the pants off of Dashiell Hammet although I love me some Sam Spade and I really enjoyed the first Parker novel I read by Richard Stark I think it was. I was actually thinking of filling the hole left by Dexter with some Parker.

Parker is like a more amoral version of Philip Marlowe I guess, like half way between Dexter and Sam Spade maybe. He’s just a straight up, hard edge career criminal. I was almost shocked when I read the hunter. There’s a scene where he kills this innocent woman by mistake and that wasn’t really the problem it was the way he just brushes it off, like ‘oops’ and I thought even Dexter would have had a moment of contemplation over that. And that’s why that character is really memorable, someone so focused on what they want that they burn everyone and anything in their way and feel nothing for them. A really powerful character I thought. It’s like you’re reading this like “Am I the baddie?”

Ok so I really enjoyed the Dexter series, I felt it flagged towards the end a little, like Lindsay was just in no mood to continue it so just ended it. I was a little disappointed by the prison sequence (Oh yeah spoilers Dexter goes to prison ha-ha), because I expected him to shank a fool or whatever but it was pretty boring monotonous, nothing really happens.

I liked the change of pace, overall I thought the books were weird because they became less about serial killing and more about Dexter’s life getting in the way of his serial killing but I guess that’s realistic and a great parralel for real life getting in the way of the things you love.
I’m not sure if this actually is the last book because the ending was very and obviously intentionally open ended. And the show also played around with an open ending although mercifully they thought better of that because that show really started to drag. Looking back having read the books I can see it was dragging its heels as soon as it left the starting block of the first season. They really really really shouldn’t have killed off the ice truck killer. He’s a pivotal character in the books, well sort of, but I think that was a mistake. They could have dragged out that familial conflict into later seasons allowing them to not have to rely on really over used tropes and shameless filler.

I liked the show for what it was, it was almost an expanded universe, exploring things around his dad and his mom, they took the books and ran with them and it was very entertaining. it got me through a lot of stressful shit at uni when the new Dexter ep came out. I could sit and watch it and talk to my friends about it

Anyway, enough of that bullshit, what I really wanted to talk about was that I really do feel like there’s a Dexter size hole in my life. So I was thinking of doing a fanfic of sorts, a continuation surrounding Dexter’s grown up daughter Lily-Anne. Essentially I want to get deep in the shit and explore some of the stuff I think Lindsay shied away from and fill in the blanks myself.

Because I think I mentioned in the past that the Dexter lore has some supernatural elements, he essentially #spoiler alert# squares off with a demon or old god or whatever in the third book and then after that it was just dropped like an old guy’s jock strap in the men’s locker room at the gym. I think it must have got panned or received a lot of criticism for taking what was essentially a mystery/crime thriller book into the Dan Brown illuminati/Alex Jones territory. And honestly I have nothing against that sort of shit. I really liked that book, it was such a jarring change of pace I was a little disappointed it wasn’t gone into in more detail or at the very least touched upon at least one more time. It was just sort of side-lined. Just like how in the books he’s promised to train the fledgling killer kids he’s raising. He never gets around to it, so I want my story take on that to be the result of his inaction.

I was thinking of having the ancient society from book three come back and hunt down Dexter’s progeny to harvest their dark passengers. Structure it the same way as the other books, have her as like a crime blogger who investigates murders and gets tangled up in this web of intrigue because of her innate morbid curiosity. Then out of nowhere the murders seem to be spelling out a message to her. I essentially want to make almost a copy of the first book, almost an ‘homage’ force awakens that bitch. That’s about all the spoilers I want to give away. I may turn this into like a fun side project of short novellas or full blown novels maybe if I can get in contact with Jeff Lindsay, I’ve exchanged a total of three words with him on twitter so I’m in like flin motherfucker ;).
I dunno it just seems like there’s so much that could have come from the Dexter mythos, it just feels unfinished, unloved, like Lindsay was just tired of that headspace, which I can totally understand. I think Dexter was a character I related to in a scary way and I was very invested in his struggles and I just think it didn’t end quite right. I mean I never expected him to live happily ever after, but why not? Yeah it’s fiction and bad guys always have to pay but do they? Do they in real life? Not really, so why should fiction have to conform to that standard?

I just thought it would be interesting to keep the series going with a woman at the helm, especially in this current political climate. I could see myself having a lot of fun with that. I’m not sure if I should do it for nanowrimo because I already had some lovecraftian thrillery type stuff lined up for that or maybe something odd and lynchian, completely surreal and off the wall. But we’ll see if I can come up with a synopsis in time. I might just start those other things as soon as I’ve released every chapter of gs.
Anyway my facebook ban should be lifted soon and I’ll be posting more shit on there and on twitter, I have to get my thumb out of my ass and reignite my social media platform, reanimate that sucker.

Peace out my african brothers and have a killer day ;).

 

Chapter 6 Smooth Sailing (Raw)

Apologies for the people that follow this blog religiously (all 2 of you I imagine) my ‘internet girlfriend’ came to visit me over christmas (Yeah I met her online and that makes me a loser but I’m getting laid over christmas so fuck you buddy) so I’ve been busy living life like a fucking happy douche in between episodes of Jessica Jones. So I haven’t had time to dream up any misanthropic rants or do anything really creatively destructive, so I thought I’d just post another raw chapter of my fun zombie novel while the next chapter is being edited.
I hope you enjoy this excerpt of the sixth chapter of Green Sunday and as always you can check out the full chapter and the other chapters on inkitt http://www.inkitt.com/stories/25507/chapters/6
Roy held the camera low trying to be discreet. Creating a shaky cam low shot of TJ’s front door. A doorbell ringing sound; a cool morning mist starting to creep up on them.

“Who’s there?” TJ’s mom said from an upstairs window, the camera panned to the window as she leaned out in her yoga gear.

“Oh hey Mr’s Kincaid, a lovely morning am I right?” Zed said with a tinny laugh at the end like he was selling Jehova.

“Oh you’re those nice neighbour boys. TJ’s not home right now, he’s out getting milk; he can’t come out to play.”

“Err, yeah, you see… TJ kinda said we could come and borrow some of his stuff for our show, for the internet”. Roy stumbled over his words, his frantic nerves stripping all charm from his voice.

“Oh well he didn’t say anything to me about it. But I suppose since you only live next door, and it’s for the internet you said?” Tjs mom ditzilly mused on what that might mean as she leant out the window.

“Err yeah” Roy said a tired indifference climbing into his voice as he realised he’d been up all night. Was he holding up the camera or was it holding him up?

“The door’s open, his room is at the top of the stairs, Hows your mother doing Teddy? You boys want some green tea and rice cakes?”

“Err no, we’re good, thanks, she’s fine” Zed said, surprised how easy that was.

A brief cut and it was a shot of TJ’s stairs as they climbed up towards his room. All we could see was a POV shot of the back of Zed’s legs as he went up the stairs followed by Roy.

Zed stopped on the stairs and turned to Roy with an odd smile on his face, the camera uncomfortably close to his face.

“Dude why’d you stop?” Roy said behind the camera.

“How much you wanna bet the fat fuck’s a bronnie?” Zed sniggered childishly forgetting the blood under his fingernails.

Another brief cut and we’re elbow deep in TJ’s draws “Where the fuck is it?”.

“Dude I found it” The camera panned impatiently to Zed who stood in front of the closet smirking.

“Friendship is fucking magic” Zed chortled as he spoke. Holding open the closet. Parting the clothes, Zed revealed a secret my little pony poster on the back of the wardrobe. “I fucking knew it”.

“Yeah that’s great, the dude’s a fucking faggot who wants to fuck a horse. Can we get back to finding the weapons now, so you know, we can fucking live through the night?” Roy snapped, gripping the camera harder, audibly creaking.  He span the camera around and it fell on the red toy box at the bottom of TJ’s bed. “Here we go”.

“Yeah I’m betting porn and an inflatable pony”. Zed chuckled in the background as Roy lay the camera down on TJ’s bed. From the angle of the bed we could see Roy kneeling in front of the box. Zed going through his action figures and miscellaneous cosplay, giggling fecklessly in the background.

Roy opened the box looking under the hood “Look at this shit, fucking mall crap, gotta bag this shit up”.

“Then what?” Zed said, some ice closing in on his voice.

“We gotta deal with Gil, if he’s bit, we gotta cut his head off, that bitch too, just to make sure.”

“I don’t know-“

“It’s fucked. It’s so different from how I thought it would be”. Roy sighed as he started to pack the weapons into a naruto duffel bag “Fucking otaku pussy”.

He put his hand on his knee and eased himself off the ground.

Zed sighed, the character he created had crumbled and he felt like a kid. His skin sticky and dry from where he washed off Christie’s blood. “I don’t know if I can do it”.

Roy fumbled the camera as he picked it up the bed and turned it off.

Another cut, the camera seemed to be resting on the edge of a sink, turned on by mistake as if placed there in a hurry.

Scuffling sounds, sounds of muffled whimpering. The camera was out of focus, a blurred figure came in and snatched up the camera. Fumbling sounds of plastic creaking. It was still held low around waist height, there was nothing to see just yet.

“You’ve got to do it”

“Why do I have to do it”

“Because I’m holding the camera” Roy said, a cold smile in his voice as he spoke what he knew was the truth.

Roy raised the camera like a shield in front of his face to put the spotlight on Zed’s pale and drawn face. He sat on the bed in his room, he knew it had to be him. His swallowed hard. Took TJ’s crappy mall sword in both his hands and unsheathed it a little to check it didn’t stick. He hesitated a little “Oh fuck it” he said as he unsheathed the sword all the way. He threw the cheap scabbard across the room and held the handle like it was a machete. The sword wasn’t quite a katana, it was one of those cheap ninja swords with a straight blade and no guard. He grabbed at his knee a little and rose with a jerky jolt of energy and began to march out of his room. Roy struggling to follow him out into the hall.

“Wait up dude”

They got to the inner door of the garage and Zed stood sullen with his hand on the doorknob.

“I thought he locked himself in?”

“He did, but I’ll try the door and then we can go around the front and open the garage door. He might be ok, garage door makes a lot of noise” Zed said, a little steel clacked in his voice.

“Yeah, best episode of zombie stump fuckers yet”.

Zed sneered and a sickly smirked passed over his face. He swallowed hard again and twisted the nob and the door popped opened a crack, with a an uneasy jerk. Zed froze. He stopped breathing and then breathed out. Then in again with a low shallow silent breath.

He began to open the door wider inch by inch, praying for it not to creak. it did, he took a deep breath and almost launched himself into the garage. Roy followed him three or four seconds behind. The camera fell on zed as he swung the sword awkwardly. Nerves and adrenaline making the sword shake in his hands. Creating an annoying rattling sound.

“What the fuck?” Roy said as he panned the camera up with a tense close up on the garage lined with black bin bags. He zoomed out and saw nothing but Zed in his uneven warrior stance, a small pool of congealed blood on the floor. “Where’d he go?”

Just at that moment a clichéd woman’s scream rang out and they both knew where he was.

“Mom?” Zed’s voice broke a he spoke, the sword shaking in his loose grip.

The camera cut again, he must have pressed the button by mistake. He saw that it was on and picked it up with one hand. His grip loose and shaking, Roy breathed in, his breath ragged and forced.

“It didn’t go well, err, he, err, well it’s fucked. It got bit, I took it off”. His voice was quiet and his words fell over each other in a lightheaded daze. The camera jerked to his arm which was missing from the elbow, hacked off unevenly by a blunt knife. “I did it myself with one of those turkey carvers. I think it turned out ok, well I guess if anyone finds this tape I err, oh fuck it-“

The video ended and TJ took the view finder away from his eye and felt naked. Like he was watching a movie and now he he’d woken up on set. All the monsters sleeping in the next room for another big day.

He paused and put the camera down on the side table in the hall. A shiver ran up his spine and he licked his lips swallowing a little warm bile. He inhaled through his nose and began to sheepishly move around and check the lower level of the house. Everything seemed still, the lounge was empty. A little lived in but otherwise normal. A big tv on the wall, a leather couch, pretty minimalist, glass and wood coffee table.

The dining room looked unused, a slight film of dust on everything and the room was cold. The room was sealed off with flimsy glass and wood doors that looked like they’d make a noise if he opened them. So he didn’t. He moved on towards the kitchen.

The kitchen was a different story. The back door was wide open and the wind banged the door ominously like an old horror movie. The wind was cool, the day was getting a little brighter. A warm light coming in from the east, touching the linoleum floor of the kitchen. It stretched over the semi-dry blood stains and turned them a noxious orange colour.

TJ followed the blood, cold fingers crawling up his spine. He saw the turkey carver Roy mentioned placed neatly on the counter. Bits of ragged flesh still clinging to the flimsy blade.

He approached it slow, picking it up like it was a strange artefact from a day time tv show. He looked it over and thought about it, he swallowed hard and depressed the button. It jolted into life making a vicious whirring sound. TJ jumped out of his skin and pulled the plug out of the wall. He tossed it back onto the counter and edged out of the kitchen.

In the hall again he heard movement upstairs. Feet creaking a wood floor. Slow then quick thudding footsteps. An odd scraping metal sound that went right through him like nails on a chalk board. Then the pressure came off the floor boards with a slight inflection and TJ’s heart stopped in the hall. A crash of glass rang out like in an old 1940’s monster movie and the sounds stopped. TJ paused a good five minutes keeping his breath shallow to make sure the sounds stopped. Then exhaled as soon as the coast seemed clear.

Since he hadn’t found any of his weapons and the turkey carver didn’t turn out that well. TJ knew his only option was to investigate the next level. That or take his chances with found garden implements and ramshackle sportswear. No, he’d prepared too long to have all his shit taken at the last minute and it be for nothing. All those mowed lawns and all those chores for were going to mean something. He was going to get it back and put his personal apocalypse back on track. It hadn’t gone to plan so far but it wasn’t over just yet.

He took the first step on the flight of stairs. And of course it made a tremulous creaking sound. One which forced TJ to tense his sphincter like he was trying to create nuclear fusion in his underwear. He stopped to make sure he hadn’t created any dark matter. When he was sure nothing was reacting to the noise he took another step. And then another and then another and he thought he was getting the hang of it. He reached the top and looked back and got a little dizzy, braced himself against the wall. He put his hand against the dry wall and felt something slimy. He put his hand out and he could see it was blood and there was a trail on the wall he hadn’t noticed leading up the stairs.

TJ held his breathe again. He was becoming accustomed to the sight of blood now but this was different. This was still warm.

~

 

First impressions of Fallout 4 (totally not a review)

I’m a little ashamed to say I’m on my second play through. Not because I have no life but because when I got into work, one of my friends told me he was on his fourth and I was dismayed.

I’m gonna try and refrain from fangirling too hard because that makes me sick and it just isn’t me. And this is by far a perfect game but its pretty freaking close.

The game itself didn’t take too long to install and load up although I wished I would have just downloaded it so I could have had my own private mini midnight launch instead of waiting feverishly for the post and deluding myself that it might have come a day earlier like that one time ages ago I may have imagined. Although obviously I fucked it up and had to reinstall it because I let it download the update mid installation so it was all installing from the net and I couldn’t see the entire loading bar which drove me nuts so I had to reinstall for sanities sake.

But when it was finally loaded, I started and found myself oddly gripped by the opening live action cinematic and then created my character of which I based on David Morrissey’s depiction of the Governor from Walking Dead. And before you jump down my throat calling me a philistine for using that version and not the fu manchu moustachioed comic and novel version (all of which I’ve read exhaustively, except the latest novel I think), I say fuck you David Morrissey is better looking, face it.
I think his face and his depiction of the Governor is also a lot more rounded and likeable and I was actually sad to see the show stick with the comic storyline and his death, when they went off the rails mid season and used the books a little I thought he might have been remodelled into an ongoing character and that would have been more interesting than just sticking to the source material with a few deviations.
I think his character was perfect for the character displayed by the voice actor for the male protagonist in fallout 3 Brian Delaney. I was initially sceptical about the voiced protagonist as the previous games had silent protagonists and voiced protagonists in rpgs like mass effect can get a little annoying and break immersion slightly because it feels less like you are the main character and more like you’re watching the main character do stuff.
But I have to say it really sold the immersion and the emotion at the start of the game, the game didn’t kid me and expect me to care about the main characters wife or kid (like in fallout 3 where you’re supposed to care about your fictional dad played by Liam Neeson) but I was very aware purely through the voice actor’s acting that the main character did care about his wife and child and that sort of sold the emotion of the game.
And when the ‘event’ happens, I really felt like someone who had been tossed into this hostile landscape, whose home and everything he’s known had been destroyed and had to sleep on the floor of truck stops office while it rained and radiation clouds blew through with only a dog to keep him company. It really felt morose and beautiful and that you had to live another day to get revenge and to rebuild a life for yourself and make something beautiful out of all the ugliness that surrounded you and I really loved it.
Despite that, I was proved right about the downsides of the voiced protagonists, mainly and I see a lot of chatter about this, it’s almost impossible to be evil.
Now I suppose you could just kill everyone but its hardly enslaving people and eating babies a la Fallout 3 is it. And the evil dialogue options just sound angsty and mean in Brian’s voice, he just seems too nice a guy to do all that fucked up shit. So twinned with my David Morrissey Governor smooth talking gunslinger character, he came off less monstrously evil and more misunderstood monster. Less Count Dracula more Frankenstein’s monster.
And to be honest I really dug that, good and evil are so subjective so losing the karma system and making good and evil more ambiguous seemed like a step in the right direction. If anything the karma system just evolved into the companion approval system, so depending on which character you pick to come with you, determines what you want to say or do to impress them. But again not one companion is Hannibal fucking lector, where would be the practicality of that? Every character, evil, cruel, vindictive or not has to be in some way likeable or redeemable so that you enjoy their character and want to follow their progression and I think Bethesda delivers on that well.
The factions are also really interesting and have their own sort of style; on my first play through I sided with the minutemen and set about uniting the settlements of the commonwealth, basically creating a people’s army. I don’t know what it is about this game that’s different from elder scrolls, in Skyrim and Oblivion I really didn’t see a problem with joining the mages guild and using the magic I learned for a little bit of thieving on the side. Or joining the fighter’s guild and then turning those talents to assassination, but in F4 the factions are a little more involved, a little more compelling. I couldn’t swear allegiance to the minutemen and then swear an oath of service to the Brotherhood of steel, it really feels like you’re either one or other and each faction is heavily tied into the main plot of the game unlike in Elder scrolls where each faction is its own quest line in a way. I can’t say which I like more to be honest; I think they both have merit.
The game play is great, the exploration (which is always the crux of rpgs like this) is top notch, the anal crafting is minecraft levels of addictive, I literally had to pull myself away from it just to actually play the game main game it’s so intoxicatingly addictive.
I think they really nailed the levelling and perk system too; it’s perfect for someone like me that likes to create a lot of distinct characters and loathes everyman grinders who spend ages making a character that’s good at literally everything. I’m sitting her playing my talker, small guns character and I can’t wait to start a big guns character who swings bats at people, now I’m playing that character and I can’t wait to play my slashy stealthy character who uses silenced weapons and crafts his own explosive traps.
But the game as a lot of people have said; is not really an rpg, the dialogue wheel is a little stunted and the voice actor does make it seem like you’re further away from the actions than you’d like.
Overall, I’m enthralled by it, I want to get lost in it, I almost feel like I rush it just to try and absorb everything I can get, I want to experience everything and I can’t wait for dlc.

 

Breakdown of the first issue of Three Ring and some Reviews.

I wanted to blog about the first issue of Three Ring Samurai and Bat Country in more detail but I think I’ll tackle them separately and talk more broadly on how I feel about first issues because I find I feel quite strongly about them.

To me the first issue of a comic is like an introduction to an essay or a film or anything of that nature, it sets up the plot but it also has to stand almost on its own. I read so many indie comics who see the first issue as almost a hurdle to be jumped as swiftly and as neatly as possible to get to the ‘good bits’ but if you have ‘good bits’ why aren’t they in the first issue people will see?
You have to give people a reason to want to get to the ‘good bits’, I’m not going to read your entire graphic novel and then decide whether or not it was worth my time at the end. I’m going to see what the first issue is telling me and decide from that moment whether to keep reading or not.

So in my mind the first issue should almost encapsulate everything you want to say or achieve throughout the entire comic. It’s not the start of a story, it IS the whole story. I read quite a few comics that start at the beginning despite nothing really happening, and slowly building to that point.

A comic is not like a novel, you have to grab people’s attention as soon as possible or you’ll never have it. I’d structure it so it started at or after the inciting incident and work backwards, it’s a common device but that’s because it works and if you think you can’t make a common device work for you or you can’t make something like that fresh and exciting or scoff at cliché’s you really shouldn’t be a writer. Because that’s all we do, nothing is original, nothing is new, everything is a cliché, we’ve been on this planet for thousands of years as a species, we have to keep recycling and keep mixing things up to keep… LIFE interesting. It’s not what you write about, its how you write about it that makes what you do interesting.
Now my post apocalyptic diesel punk samurai clown epic, Three Ring Samurai, if I may be so modest has an oddly modest first issue in comparison from where the story goes. I see the premise, and the elevator pitch alone is incredibly flamboyant and done by anyone else it would too silly, too wacky and just wouldn’t work. I wanted to go for a more anime like feel, where there can be silliness and there can be wackiness but you always understand that there are real world consequences and life and death and it’ll be at its core a serious story because in my opinion those are the stories I like and want to tell.

I think seriousness and sadness and humour work off each other well and in some instances deepen eachother. It’s like twin peaks, again; you have all this wackiness going on in the episode but by the end you have to remember that Laura is dead and that’s what the show is about, it’s a comedy surrounding a tragedy and only the end can truly define where the pointer lands.

So with the first issue I really wanted to undersell it and be as subtle as I possibly could so that I could contain the bombastic title and concept and really blue ball the reader, as well as giving them a little something that would make them want to read the next issue (which is still being drawn) and give them a feel for the tone of entire series.

I really had to restrain myself because the concept is so rich and so fucking explosive, it’s almost too tempting to take it and run and just burn yourself out. But I wanted a really plodding and structured approach. And I know I said I hated comics that took a long time to get going but I think this comic had enough momentum behind it in terms of interest with the unique subject matter to cut me a little slack if just for the first issue. To be a little mysterious, a little enigmatic even in a comic that is so tongue in cheek at its core as this.

So the first page, I read that and I hear Ron Perlman’s voice saying ‘War, war never changes’, and I just can’t resist, the zoom out on the post apocalyptic setting, I really wanted to give a feel of scope and loss with the idea that people were still clinging on to something which is Fallout at its heart.

We’re introduced to these two kids, like the wastelands answer to tin tin, two innocents bounding onto some dark strange discovery and this is how we’re introduced to our hero. I tried to use this to set the tone in terms of the fact the kids didn’t find it strange to find a dead body, the light normality of death being so prevalent in a harsh wasteland.

Pookie is almost like an alien or a baby or a fish wacked on the head and brought back to life. With the scenes of the shack, I almost wanted a sleepy feel, a sort of cool peace that fell on the wasteland at dusk in contrast to the chaos of the day.

I had a lot of fun with the kids, sneaking in exposition and building up to the character of Pookie by essentially mocking him in this cartoony anime sort of way. I want him to be this figure of fun, a silly character that can fall on his ass and make a fool of himself because he’s not afraid of being a fool because he knows when it comes down to it, he’ll have the last laugh.

The grandpa character is a sort of wily comic relief, someone to bounce weird jokes off the kids (fuck just noticed a spelling mistake haha). Someone who plays dumb to lull people into a false sense of security but secretly knows more than he lets on. And then we can have this hushed voices real talk between him and Pookie, nods and gestures of two people in tune in some way.

The dream sequences are something I plucked directly from the opening sequence of David Lynch’s Elephantman. I wanted something surreal but also very silly, and I really can’t get away with genuine serious surrealism. I’ve always been more drawn to comedy surrealism like Luis Bunuel and to some extent David Lynch, I find he takes his surrealism (besides possibly Eraserhead, that movie freaks a lot of people out but I found it quite silly and funny in a way) very lightly and with many pinches of salt.

I think if I remember correctly, the reason I made it elephants is mainly because I loved the way Ike (The artist) drew the elephant on the opening page and then I took the opening sequence from David Lynch’s Elephantman, which is a pretty fucking weird intro and ran with it. I’m pretty sure it’s an elephant rape scene, or that’s at least what he’s hinting at, I wouldn’t put that past him to be fair, he’s done weirder shit than that.

I shamelessly stole the Musashi joke from Champloo. I have no shame, it’s just too funny and I read the book of the five rings before I started writing this, so why the fuck not?

We’re introduced to Pookie in earnest, I always like characters with silly names, it almost makes it twice as amazing when they do something incredible, I almost wish I came up with it but I think that was all Ike as is the original concept.

Only 11 pages in do we get to the meat of the story. Pookie has been robbed and the natural imperative of gramps is just to let it go, some stuff isn’t worth your life and Pookie is injured, but Pookie is not like them. Someone takes something from him, he gets it back. He is almost an alien, dropped into a dog eat dog world with an inordinately large set of teeth. This is where I like to think I injected some of the Cain in Kung Fu elements I wanted to bring forward. A lone wanderer, from a strange culture, a warrior with incredible skill plucked out of a fantasy; an almost mockery to human potential, an anime character walking Deus Ex Machina.

The main purpose of this issue is that Pookie was essentially destroyed, his life, his past. He was killed, reborn and everything he knew stripped away from him. So now he has to find himself, he has to decide who he is in this new world, without the world he’d come to know. The first thing he’s drawn to is his sword and violence because that’s all he’d known all his life.

In a lot of ways this is a coming of age story, someone thrown out of their old life like Kung Fu and thrust into a strange new world, forced to make sense of who he has to become to survive.

This whole issue is essentially about Pookie’s rebirth (fuck that’s pretentious), he’s trying to establish who he really is, because for so long he was one thing (no spoilers); it was his whole world, his identity and in one moment it’s taken from him and now he has to re-establish his identity and who he is as a character. As a writer it was and is a tricky character to write for because he’s almost forming himself with every page, piecing himself together like Doctor Manhattan.

I’m oddly proud of the sword, a sword with a handle like one of those cheesy laughing boxes Jack Nicholson joker has at the end of Batman. He always gets the last laugh even if he dies. I sort of wanted to mock the idea of swords in general.

A katana is as clichéd as you can get these days, so saturated in popular culture. I wanted to make his sword out to be some ridiculous piece of joke shop crap, a silly show piece, a gimmick for laughs, a sword that laughs for a man that doesn’t need to.

It’s also sort of homage to my early knife collection. I bought this crappy machete from Doncaster market when I was like 13 I think. It had a dragon or lions head handle with glowing led’s for eyes that lit up when you pressed a button, jesus what the fuck was I thinking?

The combat I wanted to keep as theatrical as possible, death is a show, it had to be fairly flash but also brutally inefficient. He’s a monster, a vicious killer, who expects applause for his butchery, someone shaped by the brutality of the vicious curiosity of a bloodthirsty crowd egging him on to further heights of gut-wrenching violence. To him violence and killing is a parlour trick, it’s almost a joke, like hitting someone in the face with a custard pie.

That’s how I wanted to capture this element of silliness in this very grotesque and ultra-violent package. I really wanted to hone that feeling of 80’s action movie ultra-violence, like Robocop. Someone is torn apart in this ridiculously over the top death sequence but it’s wrapped up in this really silly camp vibe that makes it all the more sinister and weird.

Ok maybe the ending with the cheesy ‘see ya around kid’ was a little too much but I couldn’t resist. I wanted to end it in a way that made it uncertain where he was going, he was just going somewhere, anywhere to forge a new Pookie, one that followed his own rules and didn’t need no stinkin’ circus.

Well how did I do? haha. Fuck I waffled on like a man possessed, if you read this far through I commend you.

All in all not a lot happens but I think it’s a tight and tidy package, I’ve got a handful of positive reviews for it under my belt already and I feel confident it was a solid first issue. but it gives enough, succinctly I think, to grab the attention for another issue or two.

Reviewses!

http://comicsgrinder.com/2015/08/26/webcomic-review-three-ring-samurai/

http://www.comiccrusaders.com/webcomic-wednesday-review-three-ring-samurai/

Well I hope you like it anyway, I’ve rambled enough for a lifetime, as always you can check it out for free at; http://tapastic.com/series/Three-Ring-Samurai

Thanks for reading, peace out.

Blue Velvet

It sounds more and more pretentious every time I say it but one of my biggest influences when I write right now and in the creative process in general is David Lynch.

Which is odd to say it’s pretentious because Lynch’s work, I find remarkably unpretentious, so distinctly odd without necessarily trying to be, just unrestrainedly uncommon and intriguing. Every one of his films and Twin Peaks is almost like someone took the idea of film making or a tv show and handed it to an Alien and he made his own interpretation that was like what had come before but so drastically but indescribably different. Something you just couldn’t put your finger on but it was rolling around in your brain itching in the corners of your eyes and just couldn’t get it.

I’m not a lifelong fan, I had seen the Elephantman and Dune but I think I was too young to have been caught up in Twin Peaks at the time of its release and those two movies are probably the worst ones to watch in retrospect. Both films are constrained by one being true and the other being based on a sci-fi novel.

So he slipped through the cracks, while I was quite happy with my Tarantino’s and my Scorcese’s and whomever else grazed my adolescent movie palate.

Until I saw a film that really struck an odd note with me that sticks with me even now and no it wasn’t actually by David Lynch *plot twist* it was by Jennifer Lynch, his talented daughter. The movie was called Surveillance, a really haunting off kilter thriller, I love even to this day. But what really stuck with me was the sound track.

The music was haunting and jarring and really something else, I couldn’t help tracking down the soundtrack and finding my favourite song from the film which was called ‘Speed Roadster’ written and performed by… David Lynch.
Who was this alternative/electro/country sounding singer I’d never heard of but couldn’t get enough of; oh what he’s the director’s father? And he’s a writer/director (/among other things, painter/actor) as well? Wow.

Then rather ashamedly I started to put together the dots and I had heard a lot of talk about I think True Detective and how it was ‘like twin peaks’ which in some respects is true. It does capture that haunting sorrow of the unavoidable nature of life and the boundless horror of the unknown (a little Lovecraftian in that respect too, despite it being based on the Yellow King mythos). I may be rewriting my own history here, I can’t be sure, so instead of watching True Detective I watched Twin Peaks (And then eventually True detective) and I was captivated, a little bored/confused at times but I had to keep watching.

There was just something about it, something that made me want to laugh but also cry bitterly and it held me in this state between sorrow and a drunk sort of happiness and each emotion seemed to feed off the other and deepen, the depths of the humour dug larger holes for the sorrow to hide and when the credits rolled over Laura’s face you remembered why you were here.

Frankly I was amazed that such a compelling show could be written about one murder, I can hardly concentrate long enough through an episode of csi or the walking dead where the cast drops like flies.

It was amazing that one fictional person’s life could touch so many people in so many different ways and although she wasn’t technically a character, Laura was the show.

So I initially got into David Lynch not even knowing he made films or tv shows, I just thought he was a weird old guy that made cool music. I loved introducing my brother to Lynch because we watched all his films together and I can’t remember if we watched the Twin Peaks movie Fire walk with me first or not but he hadn’t seen the show before watching. There’s this bit where some weird shit happens and my brother turns to me expecting me to know what the fuck it means because I watched the show and I was like; ‘Dude, I don’t fucking know’ and it was pretty funny.
I was told it didn’t matter if you watched the movie or the show first but I’m glad I watched the show first because it completely depicts Laura’s murder, something I think should never have been done.

In the classic Poe style mystery, the greatest mysteries are the ones that go unsolved.

But producers and ratings and money and bing bang boom, they ruined the whole mystery and then the show limped on after until it eventually keeled over with the help of Billy Zane??

Season 2 in my opinion is a complete clusterfuck, I hold out hope for the reboot, but I intend to keep my expectations as low as possible and coddle myself in the warm embrace of my favourite Lynch films, Blue Velvet being one.

The thing that separates Lynch from any other of my influences is that I not only learnt a lot about story telling from him but also about the creative process in general. I think it’s in a Tom Waits song (Of which the name escapes me) where he says David Lynch told him that he had to sit in a comfy chair and close his eyes and wait for the big one to come along.

Although he may have been alluding to his transcendental meditation woo of which I am not subscribed (I can sit in a chair with my eyes closed without paying like ten quid a month to some swami or whatever) as a fan of Lovecraft this struck a chord with me.

There’s a part of me that is deeply sceptical of woo, all things woo but there’s another part that believes that stories are located in a river in a different dimension and when we close our eyes and concentrate we can catch the odd big fish.
All stories are essentially the same in structure but the core principals of the story come from somewhere else, they’re pieced together from dreams and movies and conversations and some ultra-terrestrial other or just plain pulled out of your ass.

But sometimes I can’t help feeling that I’m not creating stories, I’m just uncovering something that was already there or giving life to something long dead and that makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, despite it most likely being bullshit it gives me a nice Lovecraft boner, like I’m in my own story and some ungodly horror is going to burst into the room and tentacle rape me.. what was that noise? On the stairs, it can’t be…*gasp* my eyes, my ey..*indiscernible screaming*.

Check out more strips at Jeffrey Dahmer and Greg the comic strip
And my Lynchian mystery comic here Bat Country

Walk the Earth like Pookie in Three Ring Samurai.

Forgive me in advance for the rambling nature of this blog, I really don’t have a plan, I just have two words ‘Kung fu’.

For those not familiar with it, Kung Fu is a tv show with David Carradine playing a half Chinese half American boy raised in a shaolin temple after both his parents are killed by a tyrannical Emperor.
The story is based around his travels to seek out his family in America after his master is killed he must flee china wanted for killing the emperors son in an act of hot on the spot vengeance for the unwarranted killing.

He travels America looking for his family, evading the snare of the emperor and getting into scrapes and adventures, meeting interesting people along the way. With each new adventure a piece of his teachings is called upon to assist him and make sense of a world he’s only just coming face to face with.
Secluded all his life Caine is as a child with the fighting skills of a shaolin priest, through a series of flashback his past is brought to light to help him overcome and decide on certain courses of action to aid him in his adventures.

~

I initially watched the show out of the blue, maybe as some form of research for 3 Ring, I know I definitely shamelessly ripped a lot off for the issue plan, I borrowed a lot of ideas and I in an upcoming arc and I decided to completely parody the montage of Caine’s training in the shaolin temple and make it Pookie’s ridiculous clown training, I just couldn’t resist.

I really, really loved the style; the way the story was structured in the first season was perfect, calling on back-story applying it to current plot. It worked really well because you learned more about him every episode in a way that felt very consistent. And every episode you learnt a valuable and somewhat touching lesson.

It padded the main plot nicely as we learned about Caine throughout his various adventures and then kept us interested in the search for his brother and the threat of the Emperor on his heels and for a guy that had never done kung fu before kung fu David Carradine isn’t half bad as an actor or a fighter coming from someone who knows kung fu. He wasn’t amazing and he did use a stunt double in season one I believe but ditched that for his own stunts in later seasons.

Long story short I loved the show and I wanted the same feel for 3 Ring Samurai, I wanted every arc to be a self contained movie, something that engaged people and had action and drama and suspense and just enough thread of main plot to keep people reading but not enough to overwhelm them.

Sadly the second two seasons of Kung fu really fell short for me and I must admit I almost breathed a sigh of relief, I’m not proud to admit I take pleasure in the downfall of other but I think a lot of people feel shadenfreud a lot more than they’d like to admit. I was relieved to see the show fall because to live up to that, for it to continue at that level of quality would have rendered my endeavours to emulate it seem futile.

I don’t blame the show for this, I blame the times and the idea that writing staff are disposable, they chose to change the writers for season two and with the nature of television in the seventies I feel like they had to make it more consumable for people to watch as re-runs.

Tv wasn’t like how it is now with netflix and the internet, you couldn’t choose to watch a tv show whenever you wanted, and watch them in order, you watched them when they were on, in the order they were on and if you missed an episode you had to watch it in a rerun. You couldn’t just buy the boxset on dvd.
So each episode had to be standalone and almost interchangeable in terms of the timeline of the story so someone could watch any episode in any order and still keep up and enjoy the show.
This change of writers and restructuring of the show is a noticeable decline in cogent plot and although I watched each season through it didn’t measure up in any shape or form to season one.

I don’t know why but my mind keeps drawing back to Twin Peaks and the dire mistake of revealing the mystery around the death of Laura Palmer half way between season two which without a doubt killed the show. Lynch himself said he never wanted to reveal the mystery and I and Edgar Allen Poe would have agreed that the greatest mystery is one that goes unsolved. It was the fault of the producers of the show that forced him to reveal the mystery and then have the show limp on to the end without much a hook to keep the show going.
It’s almost amazing to even think that an entire tv show could be framed around one murder or one person’s life like Kung Fu. But it can because people themselves can be unsolvable mysteries.
And every time the credits rolled over Laura Palmer’s picture I would feel a pang of sorrow for the mystery of her life and even more so for the tawdry reveal of that perfect mystery and then the shop bought replacement mystery awkwardly wedged in its place.

I think if Kung Fu were re-made today it would be an incredibly feat but also a really rewarding one, (Note to self, call Keanu Reeves ;)). This is the golden age of television where the possibilities for stories and budgets and scope and acting talent are virtually limitless and at a time where there is so much pressure on the structure of films and now games it’s really necessary.

So please forgive the faux fanboy ranting, I just wanted to give some perspective to the narrative structure and style of 3 Ring, think Kung Fu meets Fallout 4 haha.

Peace out people.

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