Posts Tagged ‘disney’

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Believing in even the possibility of a happy ending is a very powerful thing

May 18, 2011

Comic books and fairy tales.  Stories we revere from childhood that fired our imaginations and at the same time slipped in some principles on how to live our lives, what we can become, what we can achieve.  Some of our parents thought we had to put that aside when we grew up, but since the Baby Boomers came of age, we’ve embraced the idea that this doesn’t have to be kid’s stuff.  From Disney’s Beauty and the Beast to Star Wars, Lord of the Rings to Nolan’s The Dark Knight, we’ve seen that fantasy, science fiction, and comic book stories can be told for adults.  Of course, every good story is grounded in a battle between Good and Evil.  There’s a reason for that.  We tell these stories to prepare us for life, and in real life, that battle between Light and Darkness rages.

ABC’s Once Upon a Time has the potential to bring that battle elegantly and beautifully into the mainstream.  From the writers of Lost, the world begins as we might expect: with a tantalizing mystery.  28-year old Emma Swan finds herself in Storybrook, a mysterious place where some strange rules seem to apply – rules that don’t quite seem to jibe with the laws of nature. In the First Look video…


Okay, a young boy tells Emma it’s all the work of a wicked queen, “She sent everyone from the Enchanted Forest here” and they don’t know that they’re characters from fairy tales.  Sounds kinda cool, I liked The Sixth Sense and Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods.  But none of that is what made me sit up and take notice.  What did it was that moment after the screen went black  and those 4 gleaming words appeared:

THERE ARE
TWO SIDES

And so there are in every genre that touches on those cherished childhood memories.  From comic books to movies, there are those who claim writing for an adult audience means a nihilist and cynical world in which there are no real heroes and no real hope.  Those who cannot dream will always try to destroy yours.  They have been trying to poison our childhood memories and destroy our heroes for years.  Until Geoff Johns’s Infinite Crisis and Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, that divide in the comics world was confined to the non-fictional arenas.  Nolan’s Dark Knight fictionalized it in a battle for Gotham’s soul.  Joker’s view being the cynic’s “When the chips are down, all these civilized people will eat each other”  and Batman believing in the people of Gotham City.  When his faith is proven right, when the people of Gotham decine to “eat each other” as Joker predicted, he asks pointedly “What was your point, that everyone is as ugly as you?”

Will Once Upon a Time take that battle to the next level?  Is this a tale of Darkness and Cynicism versus Light and Hope?

I give you two moments from that FIRST LOOK: 

Trollish man in a cage:
Everything we love will be ripped from
us while we suffer for all eternity.

v.

Girl:
Believing in even the possibility of a
happy ending is a very powerful thing

FIGHT!

Once upon a time Hope fought Despair.  Once upon a time Light fought Darkness.  Once upon a time Good fought Evil.

Once upon a time…  Damn, I’m there.

Chris Dee
www.catwoman-cattales.com

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Why Do We Fall?

January 25, 2011

Remember this moment? Remember this question? “Why
do we fall, Bruce?”

So we can lie on the floor stubbornly insisting we haven’t?

So we can sit with our aching ass on the cold terrazzo insisting that gravity is a myth?

How about repeating like a politico’s talking points that it’s not the floor at all and we are, in actuality, on Dancing With the Stars foxtrotting with Jennifer Gray?

No. Why do we fall? So we learn how to get up.

I recently saw a piece on the 10 biggest WTF moments in comics. Not surprising which company took home the trophy for the big #1.

In 1998, DC made the mother of all WTF decisions when they opted to change the character of Superman. This character that had stood for 60 years, and had just been killed off a few years prior to show his utter importance not only to comics but to the world, was out the door…

A change of costume or marriage status is one thing, but completely altering everything that established the character as an American icon in the first place is something else entirely.

Several readers marked this as the first pock of the disease which has now consumed just about all the DC characters, the first warning sign that those entrusted to write these characters have no understanding of what defines them or of their iconic significance in the greater world outside their Thursday To-Do list.

But not me. For once, I’m going to stand between DC and the ones throwing stones, because here’s the thing: as soon as they realized the ground had given way under their feet and they were falling into a deep pit with a bunch of angry bats baring their teeth and hissing bat-spittle into their faces, they changed him back. The article itself admits “the explanation to get him back to normal was quite vague, probably a result of the severe backlash of comic book fans and (DC’s) desire to fix the problem as quickly as possible.”

They didn’t tap Wizard to call it a giant step forward in comics, they didn’t embark on a PR campaign to try and convince the terminally stupid that unsweetened lemon juice tastes just like water, they didn’t figure there would be a new crop of gullible half-wits who would be coming along any minute to replace the 80% of their readership heading out the door. They didn’t think up even worse things to do to Superman to punish the fans for not accepting the fiasco. They got up. That’s why we fall. And if we can’t get our asses out of that hole on our own, we scream for help before the rest of the ground gives and we fall farther.

Remember a few weeks ago I said The Reaper is out there, and DC’s attitude that it’s okay to mess things up further/they’ll fix it (or not) next year was horrifically out of touch with the reality that there may not BE a next year? Anyone who thought I was being melodramatic, please turn and wave goodbye to Wizard. It’s gone, as of yesterday. All staff let go. If a new online magazine transpires to replace it, the focus is to be on pop culture generally and the non-comics media where these characters still thrive. Not  print comics.

Do I have your attention now, boys?

Fantastic Four is snuffing a major character today. What makes this different from past fan-inflaming stunts is that it’s the first under Disney. That means if it doesn’t work out (and by “work out” I don’t mean by the comics definition ‘everyone hate it’ but the definition of everyone else on the planet), then those responsible are going to be introduced to a concept that is new to them but familiar to everyone else who works for a living: consequences. You make a bad decision, you piss off customers, you materially damage a company’s assets, there are consequences. I don’t think it’s a bad thing. It’s not going to be a pleasant adjustment. Growing up often isn’t. But it’s pretty much the only choice the medium has if it wants to survive.

Why do fall?  Well, eventually to learn how to get up.  For some though, there is an intermediary step: to learn to recognize the hole, and then to accept that the hole is not the place to be.

On a lighter note, it’s a big week for Cat-Tales. The Dracula spinoff Capes and Bats releases its penultimate chapter today, and there’s a plot twist that absolutely nobody saw coming–but which was right in front of us the entire time. I have to admit, I was floored when I read it. Scared the cat with my gasps of surprise. We’re also less than 48 hours from the launch of a new feature to make life easier for our mobile friends. Work is underway on the new chapter of Trophies, while reviews continue to come in on À Bon Chat, Bon Rat.

Chris Dee
www.catwoman-cattales.com

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Monday Again. Time for The Week in Cat-Tales

May 3, 2010

Chapter’s done! It should go up later today. Still waiting on a beta who is, in all probability, still hungover from a wild Beltane weekend. So we’ll see. It’s coming soon.

There’s also still lots going on behind the scenes, stuff I can’t talk about yet, unfortunately, but I can say it’s going to be a wild and wacky summer for Cat-Tales. The heavy lifting IS over, however, so it shouldn’t be taking time away from the writing for a good long while. But as long as we’re on the subject of my crazy schedule, I did receive one suggestion which I’d like to open up to the forum regulars and blog followers. It doesn’t happen often, but I do occasionally go into these very busy periods where several weeks may pass between chapter updates. It was whispered in my ear that we could have some kind of entertainment in that hiatus, like reposting a favorite scene from the early tales. Given the incredible reception to the flashback tale Do No Harm, that seems like a very good idea. There is certainly a lot of interest in and affection for those early stories.

Now, I’d like to do something more than just pull a scene and say “Here. Summer rerun!” I’d like to make it an event, an opening for current readers to roll up their sleeves and get creative like we all did for the 5th Anniversary contests. So what if I pulled a scene as an invitation for fan material based on it? “Here’s the set-up. Make a faux motivation poster, write a drabble intersecting it from a minor character’s POV, make an animated icon or even a youtube video if you’ve got the equipment and expertise.” Anything you can think of, whatever occurs to you, and at the end of, say, two weeks, we’ll take all the submissions and have a big chat party or something. Anyone interested?

On an unrelated matter, a new era has begun at Marvel Comics. We all knew the most interesting aspect of the Disney buy (other than Karma catching up to someone we don’t care for) was the union of Marvel heroes with the Juggernaut that is Disney Marketing and Merchandising. If you’re on the right mailing lists, you’ll already have seen their arrival in Disney Stores nation(world?)wide.

Income Stream, this is Marvel. Marvel, this is…. Ooo, you look scared. Okay, Marvel, just stay calm. Breathe into this paper bag for a few. Now, you see that big green tidal wave coming at you? Don’t be alarmed, it’s just the untapped potential which has been there all along, snuggled inside the love people have for these characters–which your old overlords didn’t know how to harness because, apparently, they think that love is something to trample and mock rather than cultivate.

Really, don’t be scared. I know this is a new idea for most of you. All it means is that the excitement and energy and good will generated by something like a major motion picture about one of your characters will now FUNNEL RIGHT INTO YOU!

Now then, if there is another comics executive out there who, just speaking hypothetically, was unable to ride the wave of a record-breaking viral followed by a record-breaking box office… who, so far from capitalizing on a flagship character’s popularity soaring to unprecedented heights, actually LOST MARKET in that critical period… that individual should be scared. Because Disney is about to school his parent company as well as his peers about this thing called The Customer.

(It helps if you imagine the following in that Mickey Mouse voice)

The customer is not the enemy. The customer is the one with the money. Trying to think up ways to piss the customer off even more than last time, that isn’t what we do here. Ha-ha. That KEEPS the money in their pocket, y’see, and that’s not the idea. Seriously guys, you should have had this in class.

A cat person probably shouldn’t say this, but some days, I just love that little mouse.

Chris Dee
www.catwoman-cattales.com
cattales.yuku.com
cattales.wikispaces.com

Thank you for reading. If you are viewing this post anywhere other than The Catitat you are reading a mirror. Please visit the original posting in The Catitat to leave a comment.

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Happy Anniversary Cat-Tales

March 8, 2010

9 years ago today, Reputation hit the cyber stands.  So Happy Anniversary to our favorite feline, and long may she purr.

As followers of this blog know, there is no big rollout of a new feature to mark the day.  Something is in the pipe, but it won’t be ready for another month or two.  Real life rearing its ugly, which is why this wasn’t the most productive week for CT.  However, I did finish the proofing edits on Vault, which means CT 52 is now available for Kindle & mobi.

(Incidentally, Kindle folks who still want to test the compilation docs, that project will resume in a few months also.  PM or email me to get on the list, but be aware that nothing is happening until May – same real life/real work reason as above.)

Corporate Sugardaddy Watch:  DC, it’s official: Spiderman’s dad can beat up your dad, big time.  New York viewers missed the red carpet and 13 minutes of the Oscars telecast last night because ABC didn’t blink in the negotiations with Cablevision as the 8 o’clock deadline came and went.  One of the great advantages to being a sentient lifeform with higher reasoning skills, you have the capacity to learn from other people’s mistakes.  There’s a lesson here:  do not get into a pissing contest with the alpha mouse. Seriously.  Just don’t.
Have a good week, everybody.

Chris Dee
www.catwoman-cattales.com
cattales.yuku.com
cattales.wikispaces.com

Thank you for reading. If you are viewing this post anywhere other than The Catitat you are reading a mirror. Please visit the original posting in The Catitat to leave a comment.

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When you wish upon a star…

January 27, 2010

I was once a little girl who went to the movies and saw that big, gilded storybook opening at the start of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.  I grew up with all those classics where, political correctness be damned, a Prince Charming arrives in the final reel to right the wrong, slay the dragon, save the princess and generally bring about the Happily Ever After.

As I grew up, I’ve become as cynical as most adults about those childhood tales, but every few years the godspark of great storytellers weaving great stories worked their magic.  The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Toy Story (Yes, I knew it was more Pixar than Disney), Wall-E (Ditto)… I was pixie-dusted all over again.  But losing myself in a great story is different from still believing in the fairy tale rescue of a Prince Charming.  Until today.  Prince Charming is wearing mouse ears…

First look: Marvel Comics’ ‘heroes will be heroes again’
Marvel superheroes are leaving the dark side.

After seven years of grim and grimmer story lines, including a superhero “civil war” that pitted Iron Man against Spider-Man and the death of Captain America, Marvel Comics will usher in a more optimistic “Heroic Age” approach in May.

“Heroes will be heroes again,” says Marvel editor in chief Joe Quesada. “They’ve gone through hell and they’re back to being good guys — a throwback to the early days of the Marvel Universe, with more of a swashbuckling feel.”  –Full story, USA Today

Anyone who wishes to believe Joe Quesada, the man who mandated the Peter Parker/MJ split (since y’know, happiness isn’t realistic), that this sudden appearance of a storytelling sensibility in a medium where it has been lacking for more than a decade has nothing at all to do with the new player in town, have I got a deal for you.

Chris Dee
www.catwoman-cattales.com
cattales.yuku.com
cattales.wikispaces.com

Thank you for reading. If you are viewing this post anywhere other than The Catitat you are reading a mirror. Please visit the original posting in The Catitat to leave a comment.

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