MAYHEM OF THE MOUSE Day 7: HADES #mayhemofthemouse

Hi Ho everybody! Christopher Starr here—your emissary of wickedness, your host of hostility—THIS is Mayhem of the Mouse! I know I’m early for American Idol but I felt like channeling a lil Ryan Seacrest. Anywhoo, yes, we’re still behind; yes, I’m still working through some Real Shit; and yes, I fully plan on getting things back to where they belong. As you know, I tend to be pretty honest here at the Crooked Letterz blog so you have to know that when I say it’s “real shit,” I mean it.

But I owe you something and this installment is about our happiest villain ever: Hades—from Greek god infamy and the Hercules movie.

Every culture has some version of the devil and, for the ancient Greeks, Hades is it. You know that’s my thing. The version of the Devil you and I know is banished to Hell for showing his ass in Heaven. Hades, though, is the victim of a trick by his brother, Zeus. Hades, Poseidon and Zeus overthrow their parents, imprison them in the ass-end of Earth and divvy up the spoils, right? Zeus gets the Heavens, Poseidon gets the seas, and Hades gets Detroit.

You’d be pissed too.

So the version of Hades we see in Hercules is a jaded, scheming, James Woods with a flaming pompadour who is determined get his brand of justice. Since he spends eternity surrounded by death, why not share the wealth? The plan is to release the Titans (his parents, who are gonna be little upset) and, as a personal dig at Zeus, kill his son, Hercules

Well, damn, right?

For all his valid rage and justified revenge, Hades fails on execution: he leaves the heavy lifting to Bobcat Goldthwait. I don’t know about you, but my man sounds like he has some kind of syndrome—he’s like a cerebral palsy Jack Bauer (yes, I know I’m going to hell for that). These two clowns, the demons Frenzy and Panic, not only fail to actually kill Hercules, they neglect to tell Hades they fucked up. So what happens? Hades’ 18-year plan becomes unhinged because Hercules is still breathing.

This is the point where the movie stops being a kids’ movie and moves into bow-chicka-wow-wow territory: Hades figures the best way to bring Hercules TO HIS DEATH is by a woman. Do you get that? For 60 years, Disney been telling us that folks live happily ever after if the princess can get her prince, then we get a freaking demigod—an immortal with unlimited strength—and him falling for this woman is gonna kill him?

And then it does!!

Hercules actually sacrifices his soul for this woman—the same chick who dogged him and damn got him killed, Hercules trades his soul for hers. There is a fundamental piece to Hades that makes this dynamic kinda deep: Hades understands humanity. He understands that a man will not resist a willing woman, even to his detriment. And he understands that, at base, we’re all self-centered. Hades exploits these fundamental pieces to the point he nearly succeeds in his plan. The only thing that hampers him is that Hercules decides to be more than human and be self-LESS.

Like Magneto, Hades is not all bad: he got a raw deal and is itching for justice. His machinations, though, are for more devious than anything we’ve seen so far: he uses humanity against itself by exploiting our inherent weakness. That he chooses that approach makes him foul; that he knows them at all is what makes him scary.

So, still trudging along (we are gonna catch up, Promise!) next in the Mayhem is Mother Goethel from Tangled!

MAYHEM OF THE MOUSE Day 6: LADY TREMAINE #mayhemofthemouse

In the aftermath of the first presidential debate and the messed up comment about cutting PBS’ funding (ON PBS, mind you—that’s ballsy) and threatened layoff of Big Bird, a bunch of internet memes proliferated (big word of the day). One of them had a picture of Big Bird with a tie on, looking for a job with a caption that read, “Shit Just Got Real.”

And that’s precisely what happened folks. In my zeal to hit you day in a day out with Mickey Mouse-themed villainy, we had a little bout of “real shit” here on the ranch. And that real shit threw me off my game. So, I’m playing catch up here and somewhere between fighting the Day Job Dragon, working through that real shit, and taking the Honey Badger to a Justin Beiber concert tonight (yes, you read that right), I’m getting back on track. And first, we have Cinderella’s evil Stepmother, Lady Tremaine.

On the surface, your girl isn’t all bad: she looks okay (she ain’t the Evil Queen), she’s taking care of her two butt-ugly daughters and child that ain’t hers, Cinderella. That’s noble, right? She didn’t make Cinderella a ward of the state—she just treats her foul and kicks back and collects that SSI. Cinderella becomes more Natalie and less Blair, life isn’t fair, yada yada yada.

That’s actually not what makes Lady Tremaine foul to me. I have 2 issues with this chick: first, they have a cat and still have QUITE the rodent problem. Second, seriously can you not see how whopped AND untalented the daughters are? Come on, man!

I don’t know what Disney’s affinity is for rodents—one mouse is fine. Mickey’s a bucktoothed redneck who walks around with no shirt and just pants. I can deal with that. But when you make a whole movie about a rat cooking 5 star meals IN A RESTAURANT, I want to vomit. Ratatouille was freaking disgusting! And there are rodents everywhere in Disney but notably in Cinderella. What is the value of the cat? The cat’s name is LUCIFER and he is shittiest mouser ever! Even Tom made a valiant effort—this clown is so poor the mice can come and go, take sewing lessons at JoAnn Fabrics and manufacture an ENTIRE DRESS under his nose. My problem with Lady Tremaine is, she HAS to know she got mice and is oblivious. And it is this oblivousness that leads me to my second issue.

Her daughters are shook! I mean seriously! SHOOK! They look and sound ugly, cannot sing nor play their instruments, dress like a LaBelle’s catalog threw up on them. And your girl cannot see it. Look, as a parent, you know your kids. When I turn on the news and see something blow up I immediately do an internal account of the Honey Badger’s whereabouts. If I hear screams in the middle of the day, it’s entirely possible The Boy has seen his shadow. You know your kids. And this woman sticks these whopped ass women in front of the prince like they are some kind of catch. She knows they’re all gonna live together with a bunch of cats. She knows the best future for her daughters is the Sisters of Saint Something or Other.

You know what’s really foul about Lady Tremaine? She’s a cockblocker. Seriously. She knows Cinderella is the hot one. She does. So she keeps her dirty and in Kmart clothes. She knows who Cinderella is at the ball and hates on her, throwing them boogerwolves at the prince. And when the dude comes by looking for the other shoe, she knows damn well her sugar-foot daughters can’t fit the shoe AND she knows who can. And sends Cinderella to her room. Cockblocking! Cinderella got one chance to get out that rat-infested house and Lady Tremaine tries to block.

Foul, man. Foul.

Next up, God of the Underworld: HADES!!

MAYHEM OF THE MOUSE Day 5: CAPTAIN BARBOSSA #mayhemofthemouse

But Chris! You just did a pirate! Yeah yeah yeah, shaddap! Hook doesn’t count as a pirate; he was the Pedobear with a prosthesis chasing little kids. But today’s masterful meanie, now he changes the game. So welcome, boys and girls, to the second installment of our 3-part Saturday! If you ain’t catch it (and yes, my grammar sucks), Barbossa is our sadistic subject.

Once upon a time, back when slavery was still legal and quality dental care was the “wave of the future,” a group of opportunists in a flagging economy decided to make their fortunes “redistributing” the goods moving from North America to Europe in the transatlantic trade. Like how that sounds huh? What can I say, it’s election season—I can spin anything. “Opportunists” is a stretch. So is redistribution. These were criminals hijacking shit in boats. These were pirates.

Long before Johnny Depp made them cool, I was a fan of pirates. I liked the boats, the eyepatches, the swords, saying Arggh! I thought Jerry Seinfled in that puffy shirt was funny. Even my Facebook page is in pirate. So I was a little excited when I saw Pirates of the Caribbean the first time. And what do I get? Pirates that are cursed and can’t die and WALK ON THE BOTTOM OF THE OCEAN!! What?

Okay lemme back up. Everybody’s all “Jack Sparrow is awesome,” right? Jack Sparrow sucks as a pirate—he is amazing as a criminal. Got his ship taken in EVERY movie, sunk in the last one, is captured in every single movie, had two mutinies. Jack Sparrow sucks as a pirate. Barbossa, though, led a mutiny, actually stranded Jack on a desert island with one bullet, and stole a casket of Aztec gold. And this is BEFORE the movie starts.

Then he gets better. Fine, they got the curse, right? Can’t die, right? So he has to go across the seven seas to reclaim the gold. And he does it for damn near 20 years. And he does it in style! When the pirates show up at Port Royale, they just bomb the fort and walk on into the town. There is no planning phase or hand-wringing—Barbossa makes it happen. Like Megatron.

But then my man can’t die. He spends the bulk of the first movie immortal and when the curse is finally lifted and he gets shot, Barbossa is resurrected at the end of Dead Man’s Chest. And where is he going? To Davy Jones’ locker to get Jack Sparrow. He knows the way to the end of the world. You’re talking about a man, a pirate, who literally steals life from death. He knows his way around immortality and purgatory but can’t find a decent dental plan to save his life. That’s pretty impressive for a pirate.

Hector’s awesome (we’re on a first name basis now—we’re BFFs) because he commits. For all the hoopla around Jack Sparrow and the multiple attempts on his life, Barbossa’s the only one to actually put a sword through him. And made him walk the plank. Twice. And his shit is solely about apples.

I’m not a fan for what happened to him in On Stranger Tides—I felt like they took a pretty awesome character and toned him down so he wouldn’t make Blackbeard look like a chump. Watch the other movies: Barbossa’s a pimp with a monkey on his shoulder and hat with a feather in it.

And that’s my word! And that puts me back on schedule! Take that!

Also, if you like what’s happening here, remember to join the giveaway over at amandabellestarr.com.

MAYHEM OF THE MOUSE Day 3: CAPTAIN HOOK #mayhemofthemouse

Number three in our line up of Disney’s usual suspects is the big-hatted, blouse-y shirted, fisherman-friendly prosthetic-wearing original Disney pirate: Captain Hook.

I usually go into movies either strongly in the hero’s column (like Rocky or Spidey or Iron Man) or at least hero-neutral: rarely do I have strong negative feelings about a hero. Except for Peter Fucking Pan. I hate the fairy, I really do, and I’m not entirely certain why. He’s just kinda creepy to me and when a yellow sweater vest-wearing, ET-loving, Macaulay Culkin-hugging Michael Jackson said ol Petey was his favorite, that was the nail in the coffin. And I love Michael Jackson but…I just didn’t feel right.

So knowing that I HATE Peter Pan, you can imagine I was pretty excited about Captain Hook. Oh, you hate his lil ass too? Great! I’ve only seen this movie once and it was a long time ago and I hope I never see it again. Yes, it was that fantastic. Captain Hook spends the movie chasing Peter Pan and his band of Bebe kids because Peter cut off his hand. Now, Hook has his own issues: aside from his infatuation with a group of perpetually 8-year-old boys, Hook lives in terror of a crocodile that thinks he’s a two-piece dinner and stalks him because he tastes good.

Now, I’m a little concerned about the man’s obsession with a Justin Beiber lookalike in green tights. I get the kid cut off his hand and everything but does it not strike anyone as a lil disconcerting Hook’s perpetual focus on a group of small boys? This obsession leads him to attempted murder, kidnapping, imprisonment—and none of his focus on adults. Captain Hook is a poor pirate; he’s an angry schoolbus driver in frilly clothes. And, the truth is, the foulest villain in the whole movie was Tinkerbell. That chick got so jealous of Wendy, she tried to get Hook to kill her.

The whole movie is a hot mess and the catalyst for everything is that Wendy has gotten too old to be sleeping in the same room with her brothers. I’m a parent: the end of this story is Wendy gets her own freaking room and everybody grows the fuck up. The End, right? But no, we get Peter teaching people how to fly, evading Captain Hook, leading an expedition against the “Indians” that live on the island (one of which Captain Hook kidnapped). Peter Pan refuses to grow up, Captain Hook is both jealous of Peter and eager to see him dead, Tinkerbell is in love enough with Peter that she’s willing to kill. And the crux of the movie is the kids really want parents and structure and Peter Pan wants to deny them what they need.

In the end, Captain Hook has one redeeming quality: he is so vehemently opposed to not growing up. Peter Pan is his enemy because Peter Pan represents a level of immaturity that the movie seems to reject—ever Peter’s own people reject it. The entire movie is about time and maturity and growing up: Peter’s immaturity hampers Hook by cutting off his hand and the inevitability of Hooks eventual death is chronicled by the ticking clock in the crocodile. Geez, I got deeper than I wanted. I’m still not a fan but Hook’s a winner because he hates Peter Pan more than I do. And I HATE Peter Pan.

And that’s the deal! I will catch you guys tomorrow! And, don’t forget, join the giveaway! Swing by amandabellestarr.com and submit your entry!

MAYHEM OF THE MOUSE Day 2: URSULA #mayhemofthemouse

And you came back! Look at you got a little streak going and everything! I’m so proud! So welcome back, friends and foes, to another FAN-tastic episode of Mayhem of the Mouse—the place where we look at some of our favorite Disney villains and then talk about what’s wrong with them.

Now, I fully planned on talking about Captain Hook today and, if you’ve been paying attention, you know I am no fan of Peter Pan. But that sounded too much like right so I decided to switch things up to Ursula from the Little Mermaid. Why the switch? In the litany of disturbing Disney deaths there are some doozies: Mufasa getting trampled by wildebeests in The Lion King; the boy having to shoot his own dog in Old Yeller; Clayton getting hung by vines in Tarzan. But I have to say Ursula’s death in the Little Mermaid takes the cake.

That chick got stabbed. By a boat.

Go back and read that again. Stabbed. By. A. Boat. I’ve seen some big MFs in the movies in my day—you know I’m a Godzilla fan. I love some Jaws. I’ve even read Moby Dick (see! I can read!) In exactly none of those instances was the gigantic beast impaled by a nautical vehicle. That’s a Jenny Craig ad for your ass. Stabbed by a boat.

Anyway, I figured since I was so stuck by her death, I might as well explore her living years too, huh? So, if you’ve never seen the Little Mermaid, you’ve missed the cutest lil thing in a clam bra since Mary Ann danced a hula on Gilligan’s Island. This is the classic “the grass is always greener” story, right? Ariel’s a mermaid who wants to be human and, after watching some fireworks, pulls a Baywatch and ends up saving a dude named Eric from drowning and sings to him. He falls in love with her voice and vows to find this girl. Ariel vows to be human. Her father disapproves and, like a teenager, runs off into the arms of the chunky chick down the street: Ursula.

Ursula has eyes on the throne and makes a deal with Ariel: she’ll make her human in exchange for Ariel’s voice.  Now this is the beginning of the bait-and-switch all men have fallen victims to at some point in their lives: you meet someone and they sound real good, only to meet them in person and be horribly disappointed. Keep in mind, Ursula now has Ariel’s pretty ass voice but no neck (it’s all chin and chest). Ariel still makes it happen with Eric anyway and just as they fall in love, Ursula comes back to ruin the party.

Ursula comes back as this sexy-ass woman named Vanessa with the voice Eric fell in love with and gets him all hot and bothered enough that he wants to marry her. Like the next day! My PSA: when you do meet that special someone, let it marinate: symptoms of crazy can take up to the 3 weeks to manifest. Ariel’s all heart broken (but she can’t tell nobody cuz she has no voice), the creatures of the sea break up the wedding and part 2 of the bait-and-switch happens: when things go awry, Ursula transforms from the sexy girl in the club who said “no, it’s ok, I like watching you play that game” into a REALLY big girl (still with no neck) who’s ragging on him and ruining everything (“you never pay attention to me anymore! All you do is play that game!”) and screwing up the family and shit.  And then he stabs her with the boat.

The End.

I guess I took Ursula a lil more personal than I should (hey, highschool was tough!) and it is just the Little Mermaid. I’ll add that to my therapy group discussion topics. Tomorrow, tomorrow, we’ll do Hook tomorrow, you’ll have to swing by and see! But before you do, if you haven’t joined the Amanda Belle Starr giveaway, click HERE and get on it!

See ya!

MAYHEM OF THE MOUSE Day 1: JAFAR #mayhemofthemouse

Well, Hellooooo Boys and Girls (you have to imagine this in the Mickey Mouse voice)!

Welcome to Day One of the Mayhem of the Mouse damn-Disney-makes-some-messed-up-villains extravaganza. If you’ve been here before, Welcome Back! You know the deal: take off your coat, kick your feet up and get your giggle on. If you’re brand new and are thinking, “well, he said Disney, it must be family-friendly,” heh heh heh, you are in for a surprise. What we do here is hold our favorite villains up to the light, shake them real hard and hope something gooey falls out.

And our first Mouse-y miscreant is Jafar.

You guys remember Jafar, right? Tall, skinny dude, supeeeerrrr-slim goatee, had the Aflac duck on his shoulder? Jafar is the adviser to a fat little king who isn’t smart enough to question why the parrot is named after one the most deceitful characters in literary history; and the disgruntled protector of a big-eyed, big-haired, Tiny Dancer, Jasmine. Folks, Jafar is CLEARLY the smartest kid in school: the sultan can’t figure out a) that the parrot can hold complete conversations; and b) he is NOT interested in any of those dry-ass crackers.

Anyway, Jafar gets the line on a genie’s lamp and that it’s buried in the gullet of a huge, man-eating tiger cave. So what does Jafar do? Does he brave the cave himself? Does he send the freaking bird? Nope. Remember when the city of Austin got all that flack for turning homeless people in hotspots? Yeah, that shit came from Jafar: he has an entire racket of grabbing homeless people and bribing them to go into this cave that looks like a giant stone tiger mouth. AND THEN THEY DIE!! And this is a Disney movie! This is how it starts!

Jafar gets Aladdin and that greedy-ass monkey to go into the tiger cave to get the genie lamp. It ain’t enough that he’s endangering the lives of the boy and the monkey—no, when they finally do bring back the lamp and need a leg up to get out, he tries to kill them instead. Jafar doesn’t get nicer: he’s a power-hungry megalomaniac who escalates from wanting to be king to wanting to be the most powerful thing in the world. This makes him do stuff like make a deal with the king to marry his daughter and conspire to kill him at the same time. Or toss Aladdin into the bottom of the ocean for trying to woo Jasmine. And he sent him to freeze to death in the Himalayas in that lil vest and puffy pants.

Before the movie is over, Jafar has the lamp and is using his wishes to become king and then a sorcerer. Jasmine tries to use her feminine wiles to lure Jafar away with a sexy lil dance number and, in response, he puts her in an hourglass and tries to smother her, then turns into a cobra and tries to squeeze her to death. Perhaps she should get on that Yoga Booty Ballet.

Jafar ends the movie as a slave to the lamp, trapped with the damn bird, both awesomely powerful and powerless. He’s an incredible testament to the power of a good Disney villain and a great way to start the festivities: he’s power-hungry for no reason, takes full advantage of every opportunity to try to kill both the hero and the princess, and he has some killer one liners—“You’re speechless, I see. A fine quality in a wife.” Classic! Though Iago (the parrot) had the best line when he called Jasmine a “chump.”

And that ends our first installment of October’s Mayhem of the Mouse (brought to you by Amanda Belle Starr–while you’re at it, go and enter her giveaway!). There’s plenty more where that came from so tune in tomorrow, same Bat time, same Bat channel. And for you Type-As out there who hafta know what’s coming next, here’s the whole list:

Captain Hook Ratcliffe Hades
Madame Mim Chernabog Judge Frollo
Yzma Madame Medusa Sykes
Gaston Big Bad Wolf Hopper
Ursula Clayton Sykes
Queen of Hearts Stromboli Sabor
Shere Khan Prince John Davy Jones
Syndrome Shan Yu Sid Phillips
Barbosa Ratigan Randall Boggs
Mother Gothel Lady Tremaine Maleficent

Coming this October: Mayhem of the Mouse!

You might remember a year ago I was chomping on my nails, fretting about the coming October. For those of you who skip that lil Archive link on left, my wife LOVES horror movies. I do not. I do not like them Sam I Am. So every October I gird my loins for 31 days of blood and guts, ghosts and goblins, hack and slash supernatural nonsense.

Until this year.

This year, I got smart. See, in addition to horror movies, and the Lifetime Channel, my wife LOVES Disney. Disney movies, Disney parks, Disney body spray—you name it, if it has the Mouse on it, she’s all over it. So this year, I figured I’d balance the horror with some hilarity and Disney-up October with MAYHEM OF THE MOUSE (imagine that with booming echoes and stuff)!

What is Mayhem of the Mouse, you ask? Great question. We’ve spent the last 6 months looking at all kinds of villains, haven’t we? Supervillains, galactic terrors, giant monsters, soap opera baddies, Kardashians—okay, no Kardashians (yet) but you get it. Disney has an awesome array of bad guys waiting for the Crooked Letterz treatment—we’ve already had Scar, the Evil Queen, and Cruella DeVille grace these lovely pages. So for the 31 days in October, it’s all Disney villains.

But wait, there’s more! As an added bonus/incentive, hop on over to amandabellestarr.com and join the giveaway. She’s got a BEAUTIFUL Limited Edition Maleficent statue and a Haunted Mansion Hitchhiking Ghost Figurine for you Disney lovers—all for the low, low cost of some Facebook Likes and some Twitter Follows. And if you book a vacation with her, you get some extra entries.

So swing by amandabellestarr.com, join the giveaway, and hang out with me throughout the month of October to get my take on your favorite Disney villains. It’ll be a scream! (You know I am legally obligated to say that for any Halloween-related post, right?) It all starts Monday, October 1st!

Festival of Fiendishness: THE VAMPIRE LESTAT

In the midst of this heavy promo season, I’ve come to a realization: as awesome as I am (and I am awesome), you’re not actually interested in all that. I know it; you can admit it: you want your villains, right? Still liking the darker stuff, are we? Well, as your Master of Malevolence, I am here to serve. And to get donuts—didn’t know donuts were part of the gig, did you? That’s why I’m in charge.

Anyways, today’s marvelous miscreant is the vampire who put emotion in the emotionless, who showed us being a vampire is not all blood and bad news—it can actually be powdered wigs and puffy sleeves: Lestat.

Now, I am admittedly not a vampire fan. I know, I know, I did a whole post on Dracula but truth is, I’ve never really been into the whole slightly-effeminate, let-me-bite-you-on-the-neck, turn into a bat bullshit. What you always got was a pale, gangly white dude with a funny accent who couldn’t figure out how to run when the townsfolk came. Note: when you see a mob with torches, RUN. It never, ever ends well.

Not that Lestat doesn’t meet that stereotype—he absolutely does: he is a gangly white guy with blond hair from France. What makes Lestat interesting or even relevant is his grander purpose. We are introduced to Lestat and Louis—a terribly effeminate Brad Pitt and a Tom Cruise in a horrible wig—on a New Orleans slave plantation in Interview With The Vampire and we see Lestat turn Louis into a vampire in a discussion over the value of life. Louis wants to die; Lestat gives him an eternal life that is dependent on killing others instead.

Kinda fucked up, huh?

So that earns my attention. But what I like about this character is that he makes us explore the darker side from the darker side. You never think about if it is good or evil to take a man who wants to commit suicide and turn him into a vampire. Or if vampires even consider good and evil. And I’m not talking about the current spate of eco-friendly, “vegetarian,” sparkly-ass vampires (you know what raggedy shit I’m referring to); I’m talking about the goodness or evil of saving a child from death, only to give her an immortal life as a murderous child. Lestat ponders these things, wonders if he has a soul, wonders if God exists and, if so, what He must think about vampires.

I’ll ignore his penchant for high fashion and the ludicrousness of a vampire heading up an 80s hair band (seriously? Nobody said, “Um, Miss Rice, this idea, um, SUCKS?”). I’ll just focus instead on his investigation of life itself. When you consume humanity, when you live off of it, you begin to look at it differently. There’s discussion of his sexual preference (highlighted by the abovementioned penchant for high fashion—in the books, Lestat is considers himself bisexual). From our perspective, this matters; from his, life is life. When you are eternal, you are able to look at things from a much larger context. From a more external perspective. I think that’s what Lestat gives us.

I’m still not a fan. I think Lestat is a cruel “prince” of a character who neither understands the full implications of his powers on others nor really cares about them. I think he’s awfully self-centered for something that has existed for so long. But Lestat gave me, as a writer, the ability to see from another’s perspective. I write angels from their perspective—I couldn’t have without his blueprint. For that, I rank him AWESOME.

That’s my word! Up next, the reigning champion of the Mother Of The Year award: Joan Crawford AKA Mommie Dearest!

30 Days of Madness – The Recap

Well, friends and foes, April has drawn to a close. And with it, we bring down the curtain on Volume 1 of the Celebration of Wickedness, our delightful look at some of my favorite baddies in movies, books, and comic books (cuz they’re different, dammit!).

I learned a few things over the last 30 days and I think you did too. I learned that you guys really like the darker stuff; you learned that I have some issues I should probably talk to someone about. And that I’m not getting enough sleep. And that I’m still bitter about Teddy Ruxpin more than 25 years after the fact (freaky fucking bear!)

But the last 30 days was about more than bad guys; it was about a boy with a dream, a big dream—ok it was about me trying to prove that I could complete a literary triathlon and keep my day job, see my children, hug my wife, and take a shower. The goal was to write a 50,000 word novel, a 100 page script, and 30 days of 500-word blogs. That was the goal. So how did I do?

I, uh, well, um, see what had happened was…I failed. Kinda. I didn’t hit my 50,000 word goal for a novel—I hit 13,041 words and got a great beginning for a new story. I didn’t reach my 100 page goal for the script either—I got about 37 pages and it got waaaaayyy too personal for me to share with you guys right now. I gotta protect the innocent. But it is a story that certainly is going to be told. I did hit my 30 days of blogging, completed the A to Z Blog Challenge (and then some) and got to get into the psyche of some incredible villains along the way.

Did I win my own challenge? Nope. But I got something greater: you. You guys love your bad guys! You came out in droves for the Amityville Horror, argued with me about the Hulk, shared my sentiments about Darth Vader. I had someone say I was jealous of Robin because I could appreciate how the Joker killed him (yeah right—I never wanted to be Robin: I can’t be only one who thought Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson were fighting more than crime together, can I?). But you guys LOVE this stuff! Who knew?

And so, I’m gonna give you more.

Coming this summer, Celebration of Wickedness VOLUME TWO! (VOLUME TWO! echo…) I have new slate of dastardly deviants, of monsters and miscreants to explore. We’re gonna talk about Norman Bates, the original psycho; Chucky, the serial killer trapped in a damn doll; Wile E. Coyote, the most ingenious, persistent canine ever (and one of the few black cartoon characters in Looney Tunes. Y’all do know he was black, right? Like Daffy and Tom from Tom and Jerry, right?). For you sci-fi addicts, we got the Borg, the Terminator and HAL 9000 (I’m afraid I can’t do that, Dave). We’ll have Bill Lumbergh, Michael Corleone, and Ed Rooney. And from the comics come Green Goblin—the criminal that turned Spiderman into a killer; and Doomsday, the guy who stomped a mudhole in Superman’s ass. Literally. We got his daddy in Volume One; the Antichrist, Damien Thorn, will be part the Celebration in Volume Two. It’s gonna be fun.

And you can weigh in. Shoot me an email, send me a private message, chat me up, shit, send a smoke signal—tell me who you’d like to see in the Celebration. Wanna talk about those bad-ass kids in Village of the Damned? Say so. Did Se7en mess you up like it did me? We can do that. Who do you wanna see?

Finally, I also have to thank each and every one of you who took the time to read my little soliloquys over the last 30 days, or commented on my take on some of our favorite villains, who simply spread the word to your friends. I sincerely appreciate it. And…scene. That’s enough sap for one day.

Thanks again, everybody. Tomorrow, I’m taking the day off. Catch ya in a couple!

Celebration of Wickedness Day 30B: GENERAL ZOD

I already told you that I’m no fan of DC Comics (they have continuity issues I cannot wrap my head around) and everybody is named Something-Man, This-Power-Girl. There’s even a Something-Lad—Lad? Seriously? In 2012? Can’t do it. But that’s beside the point. I am a fan of General Zod as portrayed in the magnificent Superman II by Terence MF Stamp.

No matter how you slice it, Zod’s been pissed for a while: whether you go with the comic version of him leading Krypton’s military and committing atrocities; or him having issues with how the Council did Non…and then committing atrocities; or Smallville’s genetically engineered, then sent back in time nonsensical portrayal—it all ends with Zod doing foul stuff on Krypton, getting imprisoned in the Phantom Zone (which is like the cornfield for you Twilight Zone aficionados—ha! I got to use the word aficionado), escaping the Phantom Zone, making his way to Earth where he gets Superman’s powers with none of the truth, justice and American Way jazz. And then he wrecks shop.

Now, I already told you, I’m looking at the Zod who screamed at Marlon Brando, “You will bow down before me! Both you, and one day, your heirs!” and then made good on it. I’m talking about the Zod who came to Earth and walked on water in front of Buford T. Justice (“Did that son’bitch just give me an order?”) I’m talking about the Zod who got on the news and called Superman out and then proceeded to whoop his ass through downtown Metropolis—which looks an awful lot like Gotham City. And New York. That Zod. He was an awesome Zod.

Here’s why he’s impressive: Zod is the most horrid version of Superman we can consider. He was even too bad for Lex Luthor—and Lex wants to kill Superman. He’s a direct affront to everything that makes us love Superman: Zod has all the powers with none of the humanity. See, that’s what Zod is really about: taking away that thing that makes Kal-El into Clark Kent, into one of us. Because beneath the cape, behind the S, is an individual who was orphaned, different and alone. Alone. There’s nothing else like Superman, not on Earth. Not in the universe. His planet is gone. His people are gone. He clings to the closest thing he can: us. And then only vestige of who he might be, what he could be, is a bulletproof megalomaniac clad in deep V’s and puffy sleeves. It’s only a matter of time before people—human beings—put two and two together and turn on Superman.

Zod isn’t about power (but he uses his so effectively); he’s about alienation. He’s about attacking the core of the Man of Steel. Think about it. He brings out the worst in Superman. Zod makes the world think Superman has abandoned them (when he was just getting some nookie); he beats the living shit outta Superman with powers humans worship him for having; there are instances in the comics where Superman has killed Zod (and the movie implies it). Zod takes this superhero and shows him a horrible mirror—turns a savior into a killer at worst, an apathetic god at best. Anything but human. Anything but one of us. When the dust settles, Superman is still different and alone. And now we all know it.

And one more thing, Zod had this amazing line: “Why do you say these things to me, when you know I will kill you for it?” That’s always been my favorite.

That’s it for the Celebration, at least for this volume. Its been a blast, ladies and gents, Sith and Jedi, wizards and muggles.

Catch ya later!