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Showing posts from 2014

Arrow 3-09: "The Climb"

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Arrow's winter finale was last night. The show's creators promised a shock ending and... well, I suppose that qualified, though does anyone really think that's going to stick?

My illustrated recap is below. As always, click on the link for larger/expandable images.

Arrow 3-08: "The Brave and the Bold"

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After a break for Thanksgiving, Arrow was back with a new episode last night. This was part two of a two-part special that began the previous night on The Flash, which I took great pains to avoid watching, because that Flash pilot was terrible. In a fit of self-amusement, my sister and I instead watched that old episode of Smallville where Justin Hartley's Oliver Queen joins up with Kyle Gallner's Flash and forms the Justice League, and look, nobody's ever going to point to sixth-season Smallville as being any good, but it was giddy cheeseball fun. Which Arrow is most decidedly not.
Having said that, this wasn't a bad episode. Good to see Barry Allen yelling some sense into Oliver.

Fun With Keywords: Thanksgiving 2014

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Happy Thanksgiving, fellow Americanos! 
Just so you all know, all six of my books—Bias Cut, Lonely Satellite, DemonCity, WrongCity, Charlotte Dent, and Preppies of the Apocalypse—are now available in snazzy paperback editions as well as ebook format. Just in time for Christmas! If anybody’s interested in signed copies (perfect for gifting!), email me and we’ll work it out. Otherwise, here's my Amazon author page.
Here are some of the search terms people have used to find this site over the past six months:

duranalysis home This site is your Duranalysis home base. Click here for the full array of my Duranalyses.

Arrow 3-07: "Draw Back Your Bow"

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As much as I try to relax and just accept Arrow for what it is, it'd be awfully nice if the show's views on women weren't so painfully retrograde. This episode was a doozy in that regard (Thea starting to fall for that DJ who acts like a total dick to her! Felicity going weak over diamonds and couture! Cupid's neurotic obsession with Oliver!).
Illustrated recap below. Click the links for larger, expandable images.

Arrow 3-06: "Guilty"

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Fresh new illustrated guide to Arrow! Better episode! Not especially, like, good or anything, but not nearly as soul-shreddingly awful as last week's Felicity weep-fest.

Arrow 3-05: "The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak"

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It was a perfectly loathsome episode of Arrow last night. My unusually vitriolic illustrated recap is after the jump.

Arrow 3-04: "The Magician"

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Hey, that was a pretty good episode of Arrow, right? Fast-paced, good action scenes, funny in parts, Oliver was less self-absorbed and undercaffeinated than usual, and Nyssa and Malcolm were in good form.

Here's this week's illustrated guide.

Demon City

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I've got a new book out. I'd love it if you bought it.

It's good: dark and twisty, and it moves at a fast pace. It's set in the same universe as WRONG CITY, and a few of the characters cross over, and it expands on the supernatural mythology introduced in that earlier book, but it's a standalone. No prior knowledge required.


In her followup to WRONG CITY, Morgan Richter once again takes readers inside a treacherous, alluring version of Los Angeles, where enigmatic supernatural forces manipulate the oblivious inhabitants from behind the scenes. 

Felix Dockweiler—former model, current entertainment reporter, and the star of such films as Frat Party USA—yearns for fame at any cost. A callow young Omaha native struggling to make an impact in image-obsessed, celebrity-driven Hollywood, Felix torments, exhausts, and starves himself while chasing after a goal that always lies just out of his grasp. 

Felix’s fragile status quo is disrupted when a seductive yet violent pair of…

Arrow 3-03: "Corto Maltese"

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Season Three of Arrow is moving right along. Let's take an illustrated look at the third episode, in which plenty of nitwittery happens on the island nation of Corto Maltese.

Arrow 3-02: "Sara"

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There's a new episode of Arrow to dissect, as Oliver and his gang deal with the repercussions of last episode's shocking ending.

Arrow 3-01: "The Calm"

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Arrow is back! I'm doing my recaps in illustrated form this season. Here goes nothing:

Arrow comics: Season Two overview

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The new season of Arrow kicks off next month! To get us all in the mood, I've put together a comic book overview of all of Season Two.

This is kind of a long one! If you need larger images, click the below links.

Duran Duran comics: Save a Prayer

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Let's wrap up this series of comic books with the meditative, melancholy vibe of "Save a Prayer."

As always, larger images are after the jump.

Duran Duran comics: Hungry Like the Wolf

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I have a natural distrust of anyone who doesn't like this song. Here's what the video looks like as a comic book.

Larger versions after the jump:

Duran Duran comics: Rio

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Today's Duran Duran comic book: their justly-celebrated "Rio" video.

Since much of this video's totally awesome visual style comes from those geometric frames that Russell Mulcahy kept throwing in there, I wanted to preserve that by not adding frames of my own. Also? It's impossible to extract a coherent linear narrative from the images. Just sit back and look at pretty pictures.

Bigger images after the jump.

Duran Duran comics: New Moon on Monday

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Another Duran Duran comic! This time, their video for "New Moon on Monday" is getting the comic book treatment. Since all I'm really doing is digitally altering screenshots from the video in Photoshop, only a microscopic bit of actual artistry is going into this, but still, I think the end result is neat.

Out of deference to the boys, all of whom apparently despise this video*, I've cut their hilariously overlong climactic dance sequence down to a single panel.

*They have nothing to be embarrassed about. It's a thoroughly charming video, albeit with a few moments--i.e. the aforementioned dance sequence--that could've used some judicious editing. It's still one of my favorites.

Bigger versions after the jump:

Duran Duran comics: Union of the Snake

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I don't think this is going to come as news to anyone, but... Duran Duran's "Union of the Snake" is a weird-ass video.

Here's how it looks as a comic book. Nick and (especially) Andy get the short shrift in this, but... y'know, Andy is baaaaarely in the video, and while Nick gets a decent chunk of screen time, he spends all of it sitting and reading a map, which is the sort of thing that really only deserves a single panel in a comic book.

As usual, larger images after the break.

Duran Duran comics: A View to a Kill

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Got another one of these:


This time, it's Duran Duran's "A View to a Kill" video that's getting the two-page comic book treatment. These are fun. I like seeing the lyrics plastered directly on the images, and if anyone deserves to have his beautiful face emblazoned with "drench your skin with lover's rosy stain", it's Nick Rhodes.

As before, larger (i.e. readable) images are after the jump.

Duran Duran comics: The Wild Boys

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This is really just insanely self-amusing, even for me, but... I was goofing off in Photoshop, and I ended up turning Duran Duran's awesome "Wild Boys" video into a two-page comic book. (You know how I'm always yammering on about wanting to make a weird, glamorous adult-themed cartoon about Duran Duran? This is an obvious baby step in that general direction.) I think I like it -- Simon Le Bon's gloriously bizarre lyrics work really well when emblazoned across Russell Mulcahy's gloriously bizarre images.
A larger, readable version is after the jump:

Here's where I've been hiding lately.

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Side projects! I've been putting in long hours lately building this burgeoning, epic, sprawling wiki for my publishing company, Luft Books. It's still a work-in-progress, and likely will be until the end of time, but it's ready for visitors.
So... welcome to the Luft Books Universe, an interconnected database of plots, characters, places, themes, and everything else that appears in the pages of the novels published by Luft (which is currently comprised of my five books--Bias Cut, Lonely Satellite,Preppies of the Apocalypse, Wrong City, and Charlotte Dent--plus A.K. Adler's Disconnected and Hooked. In addition, my book Demon City will be coming out this fall/winter). It's all cross-indexed for ease of clickability, and it's fun.
As an added bonus, I've gone a little Photoshop-crazy, designing logos and such for all the fake television shows and plays and locations that exist in the Luft Books universe.

We've got logos for fake television shows:

Duranalysis: Do You Believe in Shame?

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Just that lately I’ve been so damn lonely when I think of you…

At long last! More Duranalysis! My original plan was to start tackling the Notorious-era videos—“Skin Trade” and “Meet El Presidente” along with the title track—but… well, look, nothing really happens in any of those videos, which makes them highly resistant to any attempt at in-depth quality Duranalyzing (“And then Christy Turlington wanders around while looking really pretty some more…”). So I’m speeding ahead to “Do You Believe In Shame?” off of the Big Thing album.
The video to “Do You Believe in Shame?” was directed in 1989 by celebrated auteur Chen Kaige, who, four years later, would receive the Palme d’Or at Cannes for Farewell My Concubine. It’s a gorgeous, evocative, melancholy video—a suitable accompaniment to a gorgeous, melancholy song.
It’s also a familiar song: The official writing credits on “Do You Believe in Shame?” were adjusted after Duran Duran lost a legal challenge that claimed it was too musically s…

#MyWritingProcess Blog Hop

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Well, that’s typical. I just got through saying I don't like talking about my creative process, and in my very next post, here I am, yammering on about my creative process.
There’s a meme going around Twitter in which authors tag other authors; tagged authors must then post answers to a few brief questions about their work. You can read their responses by following the #MyWritingProcess hashtag on Twitter. Last week, author Salem Archer tagged me. Salem and I were both in competition for this year’s Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, me for Lonely Satellite, Salem for Moondance in Red. She first appeared on my radar after she delivered a cold, brilliant, discussion-ending smackdown on someone who was being a nitwit on a message board, which made me instantly realize this smart, cool lady was worth knowing. You can visit her author site here.
This is not the sort of thing I usually do here at Preppies. Ergo, to avoid alienating my core readership, my answers will be interspersed wit…

Fun With Keywords: Eternal Pixie Edition

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I suppose I should provide a belated ABNA (Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award) update: After two trips to the semifinals in previous years (Charlotte Dent in 2008, Bias Cut in 2012), I crashed and burned out of the quarterfinals this year with Lonely Satellite, thanks to an unrelentingly, mortifyingly, hilariously scathing Publishers Weekly review. The reviewer made it very clear he/she despised my protagonist, Laurie Sparks, which… I mean, obviously I have a knee-jerk distrust of anyone who dislikes Laurie, because Laurie is a delightful young nitwit, but it’s a valid opinion. Fair enough. Not my year to win ABNA. Best wishes and congratulations to the twenty-five extremely talented semi-finalists, five of whom will be receiving publishing contracts.
Ergh. Moving on. I’m in the middle of writing a new book, which pretty much owns my soul right now. I find nothing more insufferable than authors talking about their creative processes, so I’ll spare the details; suffice it to say I am eat…

G.I. Joe: “Skeletons in the Closet”

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Every summer, content tends to get a little sporadic and sketchy around these parts. I’m going to make a concerted effort to keep up weekly posts until fresh episodes of Arrow return in the fall, though I warn you, the topics are probably going to be pretty random and self-amusing. Since it worked out pretty well last time, let’s take a look at another fabulous episode of the classic mid-eighties G.I. Joe cartoon, shall we? Here we have “Skeletons in the Closet”, a thrilling saga of retribution, espionage, ghosts, ancient cults, mystical creatures, and weird yet heartfelt attempts at Scottish brogues.
During a failed Cobra operation, the Baroness catches Destro canoodling in the bushes with a sexy blonde Cobra underling. Because the Baroness is awesomeness personified, she outwardly shrugs off Destro’s chronic infidelity, preferring instead to quietly plot terrible, elaborate vengeance against him.

Laurie Sparks is a doll.

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More whimsy over at the website for my publishing company, Luft Books: I've designed a series of paper dolls featuring Laurie Sparks, the flashy and stylish young hero of my books BIAS CUT and LONELY SATELLITE, complete with some of his more memorable outfits. Download them, cut them out, mix and match his wardrobe and accessories. Fun for all ages!

The dolls are here. And if you haven't read BIAS CUT (2013 IPPY winner, 2012 ABNA semi-finalist) or LONELY SATELLITE (2014 ABNA quarter-finalist) yet, consider giving them a look. Both are available as trade paperbacks or as Kindle-formatted ebooks.

BIAS CUT at Amazon
LONELY SATELLITE at Amazon

Hey, let's take a quiz!

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This is fun. I promise!

Over at the website for my publishing company, Luft Books, I've created a quick ten-question Buzzfeedesque quiz designed to help match up readers with Luft titles, based upon personality, predilections, and pop-culture tastes. It is all very, very scientific, and I think I showed admirable restraint in only making a scant one-tenth of the questions about Duran Duran. (Fun fact: Every single Duran Duran fan who has taken the quiz thus far has ended up with Bias Cut. This is probably not a coincidence.)

Give it a try here, and then let me know your results.

Arrow 2-23: “Unthinkable”

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Roy comes out of his coma just as Slade’s super-powered minions storm the clock tower. He promptly gets pummeled by one of the goons, which proves pretty decisively that the cure has worked on him. Nice to have you back, Roy. I’ve missed those giddy pre-mirakuru days when all of his fights would end with him getting his pert Abercrombie-model ass handed to him by miscreants. Oliver, Felicity, Diggle and Roy flee from the tower, just as Lyla Michaels zooms by in an A.R.G.U.S. chopper and blows it to bits with a rocket launcher.
They regroup at the now-destroyed lair beneath Verdant. While Felicity and Roy scrounge for injection arrows to fill with the mirakuru cure, Diggle heads off with Lyla to prevent Amanda Waller from blowing up Starling City with her drones. Roy has no memory of his madcap pre-coma escapades (getting kidnapped by Slade, going on a crazed rampage, killing a cop, beating up Sin, attacking Thea); Felicity lies and assures him he was unconscious the whole time. It’s …

Arrow 2-22: “Streets of Fire”

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Laurel is trapped behind rubble after Oliver caved in the ceiling of Sebastian Blood’s secret lair to escape from Slade’s mirakuru-enhanced goons at the end of last episode. From the other side of the debris, Oliver coaches her through the process of firing one of his exploding arrows to free herself. It works. After Laurel’s rough, unhappy storyline this season, it’s nice to see her rack up some small accomplishments.
A Deathstroke-suited Isabel squares off against Digg. Just as Isabel tells Digg about her fervent desire to shoot Felicity in the face, Felicity zips up in a van and runs her over. Women. Always squabbling with each other, amirite? On the one hand, it’s a well-timed and grimly funny gag; on the other, it brings up the acrid stench of the way the show pitted Felicity and Isabel against each other earlier this season (Felicity acted wounded and betrayed when Oliver slept with Isabel; Isabel accused Felicity of sleeping with Oliver to advance her career). I have no troubl…

Arrow 2-21: “City of Blood”

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Ah, yes. My love-hate relationship with Arrow seems to inevitably drift more toward the “hate” end of the spectrum with every passing episode.
The promo department at The CW has been whipping up a lot of folderal about the three-part Arrow season finale, of which this is the first installment. Problem is, nothing much happens here. Basically, it’s an episode in which Oliver shirks his duties for an hour, then finally decides to get his head back in the game; it’s a grotesquely inessential hour of television. I suspect the Arrow creative minds realized they had a dud on their hands and thus shoehorned this episode in under the season-finale awning so they could have a handy excuse for the lack of forward momentum: “It’s okay that nothing happens! It’s the build-up to the season finale, guys!”

Arrow 2-20: “Seeing Red”

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Well. I’m trying to find just the right phrase to sum up this episode. After giving the matter long and careful consideration, I think I’m going to go with “shit show.”
Yes. Indeed. ‘Twas a shit show.
So Roy’s still in a coma after Slade used a whole lot of his blood to create his army of mirakuru-enhanced super-soldiers last episode. He’s just been lying unconscious on a table in the lair beneath Verdant for, like, days or whatever, while nobody bothers to seek medical attention or at least take his shoes off and throw a warm blanket over him. Roy wakes up and goes utterly berserk. He tears up the lair, scaring the pants off of Felicity and Digg in the process, then embarks upon a citywide rampage.

Fun With Keywords: Zombies of the Apocalypse Version

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My bookLonely Satellitehas reached the quarterfinals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA). As many of you may recall, I’ve been to this dance a couple of times before:Bias Cutwas an ABNA semi-finalist in 2012, whileCharlotte Dentwas a semi-finalist back in the competition’s debut year in 2008. I haven’t won ABNA yet, and I don’t expect that will change this year (Lonely Satellite is meeting with a cool reception, which is weird; it's like readers maybe aren't looking for a post-apocalyptic alternate-timeline gay romance?), though anything's possible.
If you like, you can head over to Amazon and download the first five thousand words for free. If you’re feeling especially inspired and/or pro-Morgan, go ahead and post a review. Be sure to check out some of the excerpts from the other contestants while you’re there; there are a slew of talented writers in the mix. Like Thomas Mays, whose bookA Sword Into Darknessjust might win it all. I’d be okay with that. He seems…

Introducing PREPPIES OF THE APOCALYPSE

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So... I have a new book out.

As many of you know, the name for this site comes from a very old screenplay I wrote in 1999, which I then adapted into a young adult novel in 2001, which I then adapted into another screenplay in 2008. I have now adapted that second screenplay into another novel, which is now available at Amazon. The gorgeous cover is the work of Morgan Dodge.

It's more a novella than a novel, actually--it comes in at just under 44,000 words, which is pretty short. You can read it in a sitting, probably. It's priced accordingly: only $0.99.

It's a young adult fantasy book. Probably a little grim for small kids. Probably just right for adults.

Here's the synopsis:

Still reeling from a devastating tragedy, Kit Garrett struggles to adjust to his fancy new prep school. When his estranged older sister Ivy starts undergoing a frightening physical transformation, Kit embarks upon a quest to save her. He follows Ivy into a cave near his school and finds himself st…

Arrow 2-19: “The Man Under the Hood”

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Thanks to Isabelle’s devious machinations last episodes, the Queens are in imminent danger of losing their vast family fortune. Couldn’t happen to a better bunch of amoral jerkfaces. (Not you, Thea. You’re golden. Oliver and Moira and the late Robert Queen, though? Amoral jerkfaces, all of you). Their lawyer convinces Oliver and Moira to sign over their assets into a new trust that Isabelle can’t touch. They’ll need Thea’s signature to make it legal, which is tricky, seeing as Thea wants nothing more to do with them.
This episode seems to think viewers will feel keenly emotionally invested in Oliver’s looming financial troubles. This episode is dead wrong about that.

Arrow 2-18: “Deathstroke”

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Slade Wilson, everyone. Slade Wilson.
So Slade picks up Thea, who is heartbroken and morose after her breakup with Roy. Slade seems kindly and sympathetic at first, acting like everybody’s favorite uncle and telling her, “Heartbreak is something I know all too well.” Then he stops the car in a dark alley somewhere and orders her out. Shocked, Thea runs for it… and promptly gets nabbed by Sebastian Blood.
Total dick move, Slade. I approve.

Arrow 2-17: “Birds of Prey”

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Best Arrow episode of the season. Nicely done, show.
During a raid to take down a dangerous crimelord, Quentin Lance ends up arresting fugitive Mafioso Frank Bertinelli, father of Oliver’s vengeful, mobster-slaughtering vigilante ex-girlfriend Helena (Jessica De Gouw), who is also known as the Huntress. Knowing Helena is still hell-bent on murdering her father, Oliver figures Frank’s arrest will draw her back to Starling City. Since Helena tends to leave a trail of death and destruction in her wake, Oliver is duly concerned about this.
Newly-sober Laurel is offered her old job back in the DA’s office. Assistant District Attorney Donner waves away the messy ongoing disbarment proceedings against her: “I got a buddy on the disciplinary committee.” Donner is not a very good ADA. Donner asks her to head up the prosecution on the Bertinelli trial, and while prosecuting her ex-boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend’s father sure seems like it’d be a conflict of interest, especially when you consider th…

Arrow 2–16: “Suicide Squad”

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Huh. Arrow sure doesn’t know what to do with special guest stars, does it? Michael Jai White, Sean Maher, Ben Browder, I am a fan of all three of you gentlemen, and I was happy to see you all back… and then you were all left twiddling your thumbs on the sidelines. Sorry about that, guys. Maybe the next time they bring you back, you’ll get more to do. Except for you, Sean Maher, since I guess your brain exploded or whatever.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
It’s a Diggle-centric episode. I like Digg, and he’s been a bit overlooked this season, so it was nice seeing him get a moment in the spotlight. Would it have been nicer if they’d given him a better episode? Egad, yes.

Arrow 2-15: "The Promise"

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So at the very end of last episode, Slade Wilson popped up in the Queen mansion, all handsome and menacing, charming Moira and horrifying Oliver. Great! Outstanding! There’s no possible way this storyline can go awry, right?

Right. All of the scenes set in the mansion are fantastic. They’re some of the most fun and gripping stuff this show has ever done. Top marks all around. Unfortunately, though, the vast bulk of this episode is devoted to the island flashbacks, and… well, some parts work better than others. Overall, it’s a strong episode, but the present-day scenes with Slade are so, so much more interesting than the draggy island crap.

Arrow 2-14: “Time of Death”

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Well. Let's dive into this overcooked mess of gluey instant oatmeal that The CW is trying to pass off as an Arrow episode, shall we?
The villain du jour is William Tockman (Robert Knepper), a criminal mastermind with a clock fetish who orchestrates high-profile robberies with clockwork precision; he’s the type of baddie who quotes War and Peace for gravitas and stabs insubordinate henchmen with novelty-sized clock hands. I'm always happy to see Knepper—I dug the sordid brand of villainy he brought to Prison Break—but his appearance on a show is never the mark of quality. He played a villain on an alarmingly ghastly episode of Criminal Minds, he played a villain on an alarmingly ghastly season of Heroes, and here... well, it's certainly not the worst-ever episode of Arrow, but it sure isn’t good. This continues Arrow’s hot streak of squandering name actors in crummy one-shot villain roles; I’m thinking of Battlestar Galactica’s James Callis, Farscape’s Ben Browder, and Fir…

G.I. Joe: “The Gamemaster”

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Just in case anyone’s trying to make sense of all the pieces I’ve been posting here lately, there’s no cohesive theme, unless it’s all under a nebulous umbrella of “Random Crap I Like.” Ergo, today we’ve got a recap of a 1985 episode of the syndicated G.I. Joe cartoon.
Not just any episode, though: “The Gamemaster” is probably the very best G.I. Joe episode, though I’m willing to hear arguments in support of “Skeletons in the Closet”, in which a negligee-clad Lady Jaye storms around her haunted Scottish castle wielding a golf club while hunting ghosts before getting offered up by a Druidic cult as a sacrifice to the multi-tentacled alien creature living in her basement. Oh, and she discovers Destro is her cousin or something. It’s an amazing episode. Still, I give a slight edge to “The Gamemaster” because the Joes and Cobra end up setting aside their differences and working together against a common enemy and, gosh darn it, I’m a sucker for that sort of thing.

Firstborn

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Aside from those pesky Arrow recaps, there’s been nothing but reviews of old Christopher Collet-Corey Haim movies around these parts lately. Weird, right?
Reviewing Prayer of the Rollerboys last month got me thinking about Michael Apted’s tense family drama Firstborn (1984), which, like Rollerboys, also stars Collet and Haim. Tense family dramas weren’t my genre of choice in 1984 (I was ten; Ghostbusters and The Karate Kid were more my speed. Come to think of it, Ghostbusters and The Karate Kid are still more my speed), but I remembered liking Firstborn anyway. So I took another look to see how it holds up.

Arrow 2-13: “Heir to the Demon”

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There might be worse episodes of Arrow out there, but there are none I’ve hated with the fiery white-hot wrath I feel for this one. Arrow, you’ve got to stop turning your female characters—particularly the female characters who either are currently superheroes (Sara), are predestined to become superheroes (Laurel), or are the brains behind superheroes (Felicity)—into neurotic messes. It’s offensive. If you wouldn’t make Oliver, Digg, and Roy act in neurotic ways, don’t do it to Sara, Laurel and Felicity, or you’ll end up with people like me calling you out on your overreliance on crappy gender stereotypes.
We open, promisingly, with Nyssa (Katrina Law), deadly assassin and high-powered daughter of Ra’s al Ghul, making her way through the immigration checkpoint at the Starling City airport. When armed officers try to apprehend her, she calmly slaughters them and saunters off. No complaints about Nyssa. She’s competent, and, even though she has an emotionally-fraught plotline, at no po…

Arrow 2-12: “Tremors”

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Some dude gets himself arrested and thrown in prison, where, conveniently for his purposes, he ends up sharing a cell with Bronze Tiger (Michael Jai White). Turns out a mysterious benefactor has paid him a great deal of money, to be used to provide for his son after his death, to smuggle in Bronze Tiger’s metal claws. The dude extracts the claws from inside his body and dies.
Bronze Tiger promptly uses the claws to kill a whole bunch of guards, then escapes. He meets up with his mysterious benefactor, who turns out to be a black-market arms dealer. The arms dealer offers to pay him ten million dollars to break into Malcolm Merlyn’s repossessed mansion and steal the prototype of the earthquake machine used to destroy the Glades last season.

Prayer of the Rollerboys

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There are dystopic B-movies about roller-skating teens that are so bad they’re good (Solarbabies, represent!), and there are dystopic B-movies about roller-skating teens that are just plain good. Defying all reasonable expectations, 1990’s Prayer of the Rollerboys falls into the latter category.
Prayer of the Rollerboys, which was directed by Rick King, takes place in Los Angeles in the near future, following a epic market crash that left the United States financially crippled and deeply in debt to various foreign powers. The job market’s been gutted, homelessness is rampant, the top universities have been transplanted overseas, brick by ivy-covered brick, and violent gangs rule the streets. Chief among the gangs are the Rollerboys, a gaggle of fresh-scrubbed rollerblading teens with automatic weapons and insidious white-supremacist leanings. Led by charismatic psychopath Gary Lee (Christopher Collet), the Rollerboys are both influential and hyper-organized; for crying out loud, they’…

Arrow 2-11: “Blind Spot”

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Hey! You know what? This is a really fun episode! All kinds of interesting things happen: Roy and Sin team up and create havoc, Slade debuts his cool new costume, and Laurel—Laurel, of all people—saves the day, sort of. Or maybe she makes things worse. It’s hard to tell. But in any case, Laurel gets to do stuff for the first time in a very long while, and that alone makes this episode noteworthy.
Sebastian Blood visits his mother, Maya, in the asylum to grill her about Laurel’s recent visit. He then dons his skull mask and murders her in some never-detailed way; since her death will later be attributed to her preexisting heart condition, it’s possible he scared the life clean out of her. Upon hearing of Maya’s death, Laurel, who is still popping stolen pain pills, asks Quentin to arrange a rooftop meeting with the Arrow. Laurel and Oliver are both bristly and bitchy to each other at first—Laurel because he showed up late, Oliver because she sicced a SWAT team on him at their last mee…

Arrow 2-10: “Blast Radius”

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Arrow is back from its winter hiatus. Good news first: This is the strongest episode for Laurel in a very long time. She’s lively and sneaky and fun to watch, and her storyline actually—wait for it—helps advance the main plot. Congratulations, Arrow writers. Job well done. Please keep it up.
Bad news: Well, pretty much everything else, but chiefly this: Oliver, you are such a dick.

Happy 2014! Here's some more Bias Cut!

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Happy New Year, everyone. May 2014 bring everyone health and happiness.

So... the two main characters in my book Bias Cut, Laurie Sparks and Nicola, have Twitter accounts, and since their Twitter handles are named in the book, I did the sensible thing and made sure to claim those handles before the book was published. Laurie is here and Nicola is here.  And, y'know, I've had ideas, but I haven't really done much with either account (Laurie mostly tweets drivel, which seems about right, and Nicola really doesn't tweet at all, which... also seems about right). I've been using Nicola's account, half-heartedly, as the official Twitter account for my company, Luft Books. It's all been a little... well, lame, frankly.

But! That all changes tonight!