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  “Fantastic” Fourth-Grade Indoctrination  
 
 
Posted 2005-04-12 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Yahoo! News relays an AP / Hollywood Reporter story on the massive marketing behind the upcoming Fantastic Four movie-adaptation, which ties the comic book (published by Marvel Enterprises), with the game, film, and music industries.

Of particular note is the push to integrate the movie into America's elementary-school classes. At the February Toy Fair in NYC, Marvel's Toy Biz director of marketing Patricia Rinaldi reportedly said that "Marvel created an in-school program with a six-week lesson plan and custom comics sent in March to reach 2 million second to fourth graders in 6,000 schools." As noted here in relation to McDonald's marketing, the American Psychological Association believes that "...children under the age of eight are...prone to accept advertiser messages as truthful, accurate and unbiased." While Marvel's target audience might be aged eight and above, the introduction of marketing in an elementary school setting gives such messaging an undeserved authoritative tone.
 
     
 
   
 
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  Sin City  
 
 
Posted 2005-04-04 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
I didn't read Frank Miller's Sin City graphic novels, but I did read his groundbreaking Dark Knight graphic novels. I mention the latter because, thematically, there are some core similarities between it and the former. Corny monologues, urban ultraviolence, aging warriors, teenage girls... modern pulp fiction predating Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. Miller's work is (obviously) highly cinematic, but I'm not sure a movie version of Sin City was all that necessary.

While highly stylized, textured and atmospheric, the film is just too over the top for its own good: Cheeseball dialog, painfully-deliberate camera shots, nonstop gore and dozens of ass-cheeks. By the end of it all, I was certain that Sin City's remorseless trenchcoat-wearing macho men would make a fine role-model to the future perpetrators of the next Columbine massacre.
 
     
 
   
 
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  Drawn In  
 
 
Posted 2005-03-29 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Drawn! is a collablog (collaborative weblog) aimed at illustrators, artists, and cartoonists. Founded by Toronto resident John Martz, the blog enjoys a strong Canadian influence, counting Jay Stephens (Jetcat), Matt Forsythe (Ojingogo), and Patricia Storms among its contributors. Launched early this month, Drawn! is updated daily for your viewing pleasure.
 
     
 
   
 
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  Seven Steps for Superheroine Success  
 
 
Posted 2005-03-08 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Today's superwomen just can't keep up with first-generation heroines such as Wonder Woman, Buffy and Xena. The formula that works, contends Washington Monthly's managing editor Christina Larson, is contained in seven universal rules. Stray from these, and you'll end up with a Halle Berry Catwoman on your hands:

1. Do fight demons. Don't fight only inner demons.
2. Do play well with others. Don't shun human society.
3. Do exhibit self-control. Don't exhibit mental disorders.
4. Do wear trendy clothes. Don't wear fetish clothes.
5. Do embrace girl power. Don't cling to man hatred.
6. Do help hapless men. Don't try to kill your boyfriend.
7. Do toss off witty remarks. Don't look perpetually sullen.
 
     
 
   
 
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  Manga Mega Merger  
 
 
Posted 2005-01-25 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Two of North America's biggest purveyors of anime, manga and j-pop goodness are combining to form a single giant robot code-named NEWCO. VIZ (graphic novels Yu-Gi-Oh!, Dragon Ball, Ranma 1/2) will merge with ShoPro Entertainment (animated series Hamtaro, Inuyasha, MegaMan NT Warrior) this spring. NEWCO will cut a swath through the world, leaving only happy children and popular licensed characters in its wake.

Kazuhiko Torishima, Executive Director of Shueisha, Inc. (a parent company of VIZ) says the root of the Japanese character business is manga. "The question we face is how to best communicate and introduce the culture of manga to children around the world. We believe the answer lies in NEWCO, which will allow us to unify and manage our business under one roof. In this regard, we will be able to respond much faster to market needs and thus greatly expand the exposure of manga."
 
     
 
   
 
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  Popeye’s Latest Outing  
 
 
Posted 2005-01-24 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
AdAge.com reports that sailor man Popeye hasn't died, he's just gone 3D. The spinach-gobbling star of cartoon history's golden years is getting another kick at the can, in a bid by owner King Features to see to the character last another 25 years. Well beyond the reach of the original copyright, one would think, but ever since Mickey Mouse was saved from the public domain, it seems dated intellectual property may never get released.

In any event, Popeye is back. Expect all kinds of crazy marketing tie-ins and probably some more video games.
 
     
 
   
 
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  Comix Roundup  
 
 
Posted 2005-01-24 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Michael Lalonde took a break from killing Vile Sprites in World of Warcraft long enough to churn out another Orneryboy classic. I don't know about you, but I just can't get enough rapping zombies.

I am still in recycling mode, slapping up last year's Stripfight entry on the Rat Boy LiveJournal page. It's a visual mashup: Rat Boy vs. The Wizard of Id. Everybody loses!

Torontonians take note: Gary Baseman (artist, painter, creator of "Teacher's Pet" TV show) will be appearing at Magic Pony this Wednesday, January 26, between 6-8pm (785 Queen St. W, Toronto). Baseman will be signing stuff and showing off his new Japanese action figure. And no, that's not a euphamism.
 
     
 
   
 
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  Military Robots Await Eager Gamers  
 
 
Posted 2005-01-22 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
The Associated Press reports (via Yahoo! News) that the U.S. Army has upgraded their Talon robots into "SWORDS," remote-controlled death-machines. Eighteen of the deadly-accurate, machine-gunning robots will reportedly be shipped to Iraq this spring, and are controlled using two joysticks, a handful of buttons, and a video screen. AP reports that the cumbersome control-rig may be replaced with something more akin to a game controller, complete with virtual-reality goggles. The Army's official video game now features Talon robots. I'm sure SWORD units will be next up--gotta get those potential human controllers ready.

Ender's Game? Spiders? Yup. I'm all for roboticizing the world's armies. Once we replace human soldiers with robots, we can decide wars solely on the videogame skills of the countries involved: Why clash with physical force if you can demonstrate superior hand-eye coordination on the virtual battlefield?
 
     
 
   
 
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  Spandex, Man!  
 
 
Posted 2005-01-20 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
It's a bird... it's a plane... no, it's... GOOD GOD, NO! SHIELD YOUR EYES!

Spandexman provides all the hot unitard action a budding superhero could desire, including classic Superman, Green Lantern, and Spider-Man duds. Rolled-up sock not included, and don't forget your super boots.

Today's superheroes have clearly forgotten that the first step in fighting evil is getting a good wardrobe. Yes, I'm talking to YOU, Pointy Head Star Boy, Goldface and Xenoclaw, and the Magenta Guzzler.
 
     
 
   
 
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  The Return of Buckaroo Banzai  
 
 
Posted 2005-01-03 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Buckaroo Banzai, the legendary neurosurgeon, rock star, and adventurer introduced in the 1984 movie "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension," is finally making a comeback. Banzai and his intrepid Hong Kong Cavaliers will appear in a new comic book miniseries penned by the character's original creator Earl Mac Rauch and guided by the film's director, W.D. Richter. [source]

It would probably not surprise you to learn that I am a fan of the movie, having seen it during my tragic teenage years. I made my own Buckaroo Banzai t-shirt and clung to choice quotes such as "No matter where you go, there you are." Hey, a 14-year-old has to believe in something.
 
     
 
   
 
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Dinozoiks wrote:
Wow! Thanks for that Tony. Just posted a bunch of other tips here... http://www.dino.co.uk/labs/2008/45-tips-when-designing-online-content-for-kids/ Hope it helps someone... Dino...
in Dino Burbidge's '10 Things To Remember When Designing For Kids Online'


yes, many of the free little games are crappy. but as an artist who has recently published free content on the itunes app store,…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


I vote for popup radial menus. Highlight a bit of text, the push and hold, Sims-style radial menu pops up with Copy, Paste, etc....
in More iPhone Gestures, Please


Hey Tony! A client of mine is looking to hire an internal Flash game dev team to build at a really cool Flash CCG…
in Dipping Into Toronto's Flash Pool


Yeah, there's a lot of weird common sense things I've noticed they've just omitted from the design. No idea why though....
in More iPhone Gestures, Please


It also bears noting there's no mechanism right now for a developer to offer a free trial for the iPhone; the App Store isn't…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


@GeorgeR: It's on my shopping list :) I've heard good things about it as well. And Cro Mag Rally. @andrhia: meh, I don't know…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


...you get what you pay for, you know? I actually bought Trism based on early buzz, and it's truly a novel mechanic. I've been…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


The only one I've heard good things about is Super Monkey Ball. Have you given that a whirl yet?...
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


Advance warning: this frivolent comment is NOT RELATED or even worth your time ... But whenever i hear "Collada", i think of that SCTV…
in Electric Sheep Builds Its Own Flock


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