Category Archives: geek

52 in 52 Story 5 “A Tale of Sergio Malik”

This week’s story is an old idea that has been sitting in my head for years. I think it requires just a little bit of set-up for context. It takes place in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Warhammer 40,000 (or 40k for short) a table top war game that I used to actively play. It has a very rich background and has been the setting for dozens and dozens of best selling paperbacks. When I was in my late twenties I played one of the spin-off games, Inquisitor. Unfortunately this game is no longer supported by Games Workshop so I don’t have a link to it specifically. In that game you get to create a variety of characters and the subject of this week’s story was one of those characters, Sergio Malik. He, along with his boss, Inquisitor Guildenstern, and Judge Regina Burgun would race around the galaxy hunting mutants, aliens and demons. It was a really cool, really geeky game. In fact, here’s a picture of them that I took for a campaign we were running:

Regina’s a bit out of focus, but that’s OK, she’s not in this story.

Anyway, this story is written assuming that you are familiar with the universe. For those who aren’t I’ve included THIS LINK to the 40k wiki so you can look up anything you have questions about. For those of you who just want to get to the story know this: it is the far future, the 41st millennium, humanity is on the downslide and fighting wars on every front. Humanity worships it’s greatest leader, the God Emperor who’s body is kept barely alive by a machine called The Golden Throne. Technology is no longer understood and treated like magic. In the grim darkness of the far future there is only war.

A Tale of Sergio Malik

The ferrocrete of the partition began to crumble under the punishment of stubber slugs and laser blasts.  The echo of the impacts rattled Sergio’s head and made him dizzy with a staccato repetition of beats as each shot aspired to find a chink in the wall. Each blast wanted to kill Sergio Malik as much as his attackers wanted him dead.  It was not the first time he had faced death, and it was most certainly not the last time he would either.  It was also not the first time he had fought alone, although he never liked to; its so much better to have someone watching your back, or at least someone – anyone – who could take a bullet in your place.  He had managed to hide himself in this little cubby, a small box of ferrocrete that once must have contained some artifact of the Adeptus Mechanicus that could have maintained this section of the hive or heated water or whatever those things do.  Now it was just a four-foot square of wires and empty tubes three feet above the floor and one foot below it, with a dash of Sergio’s blood for color, and while it was providing his only protection it could just as easily become his final resting place.  They knew where he was; that much was plain, and it was only a matter of time before they figured out that he wasn’t shooting back.  Sergio’s stubber was empty, the three clicks he heard, actually felt more than heard, were evidence of that.  His revolver, Tania the Angle of Salvation, had only three full chambers; each one was loaded with a simple slug, none of them were explosive or ‘smart’ or filled with an acid that might cover the whole of the area.  Nope, just a three simple dum dums.  Dum dum, that’s how he felt now.
            The shooting had stopped.  Footfalls and scuffles along the floor; they were moving!  Maybe they thought he was dead?  More likely they were closing in for the kill.  Kill?  More like slaughter.  Instincts honed by decades of running in low circles kicked back in.  Without the distraction of the swarm of bullets he felt much more like himself.
The footsteps stopped and there was some hesitant shuffling. “He might be dead.”
            Another voice called out, “I didn’t see him go down.”
            The first voice, closer than the others, called back, “I got ‘im I know it!”
            Another voice called, it was coming from Sergio’s left, “You never get ‘em!” Laughter erupted from the men he was fighting. It sounded like four altogether.
            “Quiet!” a voice commanded.  That made five of them left, but only one of them sounded like he knew what he was doing. Still, five was two too many for three bullets.  “Gersh, go look; make sure Tygon really did get ‘im!”  Another burst of laughter. Good they were distracted!  The walls of the cubby suddenly felt cavernous as Sergio prepped to leap up.  This was a gamble, a horrible gamble.  There was no way to guarantee he would get out of here alive, but maybe dying was a lot better than definitely dying.  The quilted flack armor that Sergio wore was now tattered and had a few more holes than he was comfortable with; the plate of ablative armor that he had attached that very morning was now dented and useless.  The blue of his vest was now crimson and purple in some places where he was dripping life, although thankfully that was abating.  Everything was sore, even through his rising adrenalin, and Sergio knew that, if he lived, tomorrow he might be sorry that he had. The metal of the hive’s decking betrayed Gersh’s location as he closed in on Sergio’s cube.  Sloppy, just plain sloppy; it was a wonder that any of these weird cults ever got anything done, ‘course usually all they want to do is raise a menace and try to sew the roots of dissent among the populace, things like that were simple with a gun in your hand.  A gun in his hand, that was actually essential to Sergio’s plan.  Surely they wouldn’t send someone with an empty weapon to investigate?  Actually they might, but he needed to believe that they wouldn’t.  He would use one precious shot as Gersh leaned over the rim.  One shot that would kill him and then he would pull the body, and his weapon, into the cubby so that Sergio could use it.  As Gersh got closer, Sergio got ready and the pain that he had been feeling lifted. 
Gersh got closer and confidence seemed to fill each of his steps.  A shadow, both deadly and hopeful, hesitantly peered over the edge into the cubby. First a beefy arm that ended in a gun barrel, which was then followed by a hooded head that eclipsed the light directly above Sergio’s head.  As Sergio’s eye’s adjusted to the new dimness he could see the moment of realization come over Gersh’s face that Sergio wasn’t dead and then the moment of horror as Gersh saw Tania, the Angel of Salvation, pointed at him.  Time rubber banded as the hammer fell in Tania and a chemical explosion pushed a slug of soft, dense metal forward at super sonic speed.  It spun down the barrel of Tania and escaped in a cloud of heat and residue.  Gersh’s face didn’t even have time to change expression before it was cratered and torn apart.  Sergio reached up with his right hand and grabbed the cultist by the robe under his chin. He gave one sharp tug and the body, complete with rifle, fell into the cubby next to him.  Then the rubber band snapped and things felt almost too fast to handle.
Sergio’s hand wrapped around Gersh’s rifle as the sound of yelling and feet came running at his cubby.  A las gun, Guard issue and with a healthy charge; these dissidents were well equipped for a bunch of cultist scum – maybe the boss was right to check them out.  Sergio grabbed it and clicked it to burst fire with his right hand while his left put Tania back in her holster. This wasn’t how he was supposed to spend his day. This wasn’t even how this investigation was supposed to go. The plan was to integrate into the hive, see what the locals could tell him about the dissidents in the Under Hive, and then report back to the boss whether it was worth further investigation. The las gun in his hands was proof enough that there would need to be a full Inquisitorial investigation. Now he just needed to escape.  
Before this all began, before he was seconds away from dying in a hive city thousands of thousands of light years away from where he started, Sergio Malik was enjoying the benefits that went along with being in the personal entourage of an Inquisitor of the Ordo Hereticus. Of all of the people in the God-Emperor’s galaxy no one was granted more respect or freedom than a member of His Inquisition. They lived in lavish homes with full support staffs of servitors and serfs. Sergio had access to some of the most impressive weaponry in the universe, although he preferred his own guns since they had never let him down. He was given medical care that some worlds in the Imperium hadn’t even imagined, much less had ever seen. And the food, oh the food! He had access to things he didn’t even know could be cooked, and they were all delicious! But these kinds of perks don’t come without earning them and as a gunfighter employed by one of the most dangerous men in the galaxy investigating some of the most hostile forces in the galaxy you never knew if the last meal you ate would be your last meal period. The last thing he had eaten in the hive before getting pinning in the cubby was a bowl of noodles with a protein paste broth. Definitely not as nice as the seared Rotan game bird with a lactic bean salad and a bottle of wine that was near impossible to pronounce.  When he got out of here the first thing he was going to do was learn how to pronounce that wine!
His boss is Inquisitor Balthazar Guildenstern of the Ordo Hereticus. He is a tall man with sharp features, a lean body and no hair whose mission is to root out and destroy the cancer of political and religious heresy in the God Emperor’s Imperium. It’s a grand job and not for the faint hearted. Sergio had met the Inquisitor when he was employed by one of the navigator houses as a body guard. He had been assigned to one of the children of a prominent house, an adult child with a terrible gambling problem. During a particularly expensive game where the boy had gambled away nearly all he had except for his warp eye, the gambling den was raided by Inquisitorial storm troopers. The den was in a particularly seedy part of a city that was known itself as being particularly seedy on a planet that was thought of as seedy in the first place, so when the troopers burst in the response from the gamblers inside was immediate. Weapons of all types were drawn and used. Tables were over turned to create cover. The den itself wasn’t very large, about the size of an average hab unit with two sleep spaces, so the amount of cross fire was thick and deadly. The boy panicked so Sergio, doing his job, shot and fought his way past three of the troopers, aiming for the few vulnerable spots in their armor, and dodged past and under the shooting. He grabbed the boy and dragged him into a back room where, during his earlier scouting, he had spotted a “rat hole” exit that the proprietors probably expected to use on just this sort of occasion. The proprietors didn’t make it. Sergio tossed the boy through the hole and then followed after. They made it out, he tossed a grenade back down the hole and they were just about home free when they were stopped by a squad of storm troopers lead by Inquisitor Guildenstern. The grenade went off shortly after, only the boy reacted.
Sergio holstered his weapons and the boy pissed himself. “I am Sergio Malik, body guard of the Navigator House Shantoom and this is my charge. I understand, as a citizen of the Imperium, that it is my responsibility to surrender to the will of an Inquisitor, but I am also bound by the laws governing the safety of the Navigator Houses to return this boy to his family before allowing him or myself to be taken by any acknowledged authority.” The speech was practiced and relaxed, almost blasé. Sergio knew they had been caught and wasn’t going to be able to fight his way past a squad of anyone out in the open, much less highly trained storm troopers and an Inquisitor.
Inquisitor Guildenstern smiled a small smile that looked like it almost cracked his face, “You managed to escape a gambling den full of miscreants and criminals as they were being raided by some of the best trained soldiers in the Emperor’s galaxy?”
“I did. It was surprisingly easy.” Sergio made firm eye contact with the Inquisitor, but inside he was nervous. “I should also apologize; I had to shoot a few of your troopers to do it.” The storm troopers grimaced and aimed at Sergio for that.
Inquisitor Guildenstern raised his hand to stop them, “That’s all right; you do have a duty to your house and the boy. Even he, with his degenerate habits, is more valuable than the whole of this storm trooper platoon. My question for you is could you do it again?”
Sergio was surprised, “Yes, provided there was time to scout and prepare.”
The Inquisitor nodded to himself, “Let these men go. See that they make it safely back to their transport. You, boy, curb your habits. I will speak to your elders about how I found you here. And you, Malik, inform the House of Shantoom that Inquisitor Balthazar Guildenstern wishes to retain your services for an indeterminate amount of time. I will send for you once this ruckus is cleaned up.” And then he walked away. Sergio didn’t know at the time, nor would he learn until well after, that the Inquisitor had actually had him under surveillance for over a decade.  During that time he had watched how Sergio had fought his way out of a hive city, much like the one he was trapped in now, as part of the planetary defense force when it was attacked by Eldar pirates. He saw that after his discharge the only jobs he was good at were related to violence. Sergio had been an enforcer, money collector, and gun fighter for whomever could afford his price. What the Inquisitor liked about him was that, even as a mercenary, he had integrity and actually did care about the future of humanity. That was rare, especially in a universe wrought with so much temptation. The House of Shantoom released Sergio and it was immediately apparent that he had traded up.  
That is, until you get stuck in a box with four well-armed cultists of the Dark Gods bearing down on you. Grabbing the body of Gersh as a shield, he stood and shot at the four cultists as they approached. Las shots snapped off sounding like repetitive whip cracks. Sergio had sent short bursts of fire in the general directions of the attackers as he popped up, mostly as cover and for the shock. He didn’t hit anyone, though. Now that he had clear sight, at least as clear as his sight could be around the lolling head of Gersh, he was able to place his shots better. Impacts hit Gersh’s body making sounds like popping over-ripe fruit. The stink of flash burned robes and flesh filled Sergio’s nostrils. His shots, better aimed now, downed three of the cultists quickly, their red robes flapping as they fell looking like flames that were burning out. Sergio felt a burn on his left shoulder, it was the leader. He was a better shot and in a better position. After trading shots back and forth he could feel the wet of Gersh’s viscera starting to spill on his legs. This shield wasn’t going to be good for much longer. He dropped with the body as he heard shots slap into the cubby again. The power pack on the las gun was low, only a few shots left. He was still stuck!
“You’re not getting out of this!” The cultist shouted, “I’m sending you to your corpse god and then feasting on your heart!” Then he laughed a deep guttural laugh. Sergio frowned hard and looked around at what he had: a nearly empty las gun, two slugs left in Tania, a dead shot up body, and a series of hoses and tubes in the cubby hole, none of them big enough for him to slip through…
The leader stopped laughing and noticed that, besides the hum of the machines this deep in the hive, there was no noise. He took a quick peek around the corner, no motion by the cubby hole. He swung around with his rifle and popped off a couple shots. No response. “Hey, gun fighter, lost your nerve?” No response. The leader got brave and dashed to a bit of cover closer to the cubby. No shots were fired. “I’m coming to get you, gun fighter! I won’t go down like Gersh!” No response. He dashed to a bit of cover much closer to the cubby, no shots; no movement at in, in fact. Steeling up his nerve the cult leader popped up and ran yelling at the cubby, shooting blindly over the lip into the center of the box! Nothing, only Gersh’s body and a lot of blood all over the floor, a lot of blood; a body’s worth of blood. The leader rushed to the other side of the cubby, maybe the gun fighter had crawled out while he was hiding behind cover? But there was no blood trail, no body and no real escape route that wouldn’t have been visible. He spun in place, checking all the angles, even above. The gun fighter had vanished! Not sure what had happened, but satisfied that he was no longer in danger, the leader went and checked on the bodies of his fallen team. The three on the deck were dead. He collected the guns and power packs to take back with him. The rats and milipods will take care of the bodies. Then he headed to the cubby, Gersh was still there. He wondered how much of the blood in the cubby was from Gersh and how much was from the gun fighter. The leader jumped into the cubby and grabbed the discarded las gun, leaning it against the side of the cubby. Then he flipped over the body…

It wasn’t Gersh, what was left of Gersh after all the shots the body had taken was stuffed down between the pipes and tubes. Sergio had thrown on the robe and laid over the mess to wait for a chance to escape or kill. He said, “The Emperor Protects” and pulled the trigger. Tania spit one of her last two shots right between the cult leader’s eyes and he fell, limp, to the floor of the cubby. Sergio was quick to stand and throw off the robe. The stink of cultist blood was all over him. He grabbed the las guns, used the straps to hold them over his shoulder and made his way to the nearest Adeptus Arbites precinct to report. There were cultists on Muldavia, and the boss was going to have to do something about it.

Leave a Comment

Filed under 52 in 52, 52 stories in 52 weeks, fiction, geek, projects, short story, warhammer 40k

Fun Video Friday! Lego Star Wars Edition!

Lego is in it’s prime right now. As a guy who spent many years building and playing with them it’s exciting to see that the sets have only gotten better! In addition to the bricks themselves there are the videos games and cartoons that are bringing Lego magic to all who play or watch them. Here’s another bit of that magic. There is a new set of Star Wars Lego coming out called Star Wars Microfighters and today’s video is the new commercial for them:

See you next time!

Leave a Comment

Filed under fun video friday, funny, geek, Lego, star wars, toys, video, YouTube

Fun Video Friday! The Mandarin!

Iron Man 3 was one of geekdom’s most polarizing films. There really isn’t any middle ground, you loved it or hated it. I am in the “love it” camp. I like the character arc that Tony went through, I am fine with the symbolism of destroying the armors and I am completely on board with the Mandarin reveal. I think it was a fantastic twist. It was a great way to address a character that, for all the press he’s receiving to the contrary, has been pretty aimless for decades. The Mandarin is one of those villains that, after the Silver Age, went through more re-boots than the DC Universe! Most comic book fans seem to be ignoring this. Hell, even his most recent re-vamp done by Matt Fraction looks like it may get a bit of an overhaul in whatever the hell Kieron Gillen is doing right now. So, all of that being said, having Ben Kingsly turn out to be a phony was probably the most honest and original take on the character in a while!

That’s why I’m excited about the one-shot on “Thor: The Dark World” where we get to see Kingsly’s character of Trevor again. Here’s the teaser clip they released:

Let me know what you think, are you a lover or a hater?

 See you next time.

Leave a Comment

Filed under comic books, comic movies, fun video friday, geek, iron man, video, YouTube

Fun Video Friday – The Night of The Doctor

Yesterday a Doctor Who mini-sode was released featuring the greatly under-used Paul McGann as the 8th Doctor! I won’t spoil it, you should just watch it, but it makes me want more modern era 8th Doctor stories.

He’s very good.

And here’s a link for mobile users: The Night of the Doctor.

This gets me VERY excited for the 50th anniversary! After the 50th airs I may do a full geek out about my theories on the Time War – depending on what they show and explain.

Gah! So many things to geek out about!!!!! It will just have to wait.

See you next time.

Leave a Comment

Filed under doctor who, fun video friday, geek, video, YouTube

D&D – For Real Geekness

If my geek cred was ever in question, let this document serve to prove it as alive and well. 
Right now my party and I are prepping to attack a terrible sorcerer who can travel between our plane and the shadow plane and he’s already kicked our ass before. 
May the dice roll 20’s and all of the saves roll high!
See you next time!

Leave a Comment

Filed under DandD, geek, rambling

The Baker-Eccleston Principle – The Two Whos Who Wouldn’t Return

Doctor Who, the cultural phenomenon that has spanned 50 years now, has it’s official 50th Anniversary Episode coming this November. Traditionally this is a chance to bring back actors who have previously played the Doctor and team them up to battle an evil so great that one Doctor simply isn’t enough. Well, I say traditionally, but it’s only happened twice: “The Three Doctors” for the 10th Anniversary and “The Five Doctors” for the 20th Anniversary. (OK, three times, but do we really want to mention “Dimensions in Time?”) But there are two actors who have played the Doctor who have refused to return for these specials, Tom Baker for “The Five Doctors” and Chris Eccleston for The 50th Anniversary. So what’s up? Why would these guys not come back? They have their reasons, but lets look at the history.

The three doctors went off with very few snags, the only major one being that William Hartnell, the first Doctor, was in poor health and couldn’t handle a normal shooting schedule so all of his scenes were made to be done via view screen. They battled an ancient Timelord, Omega, who was responsible providing the energy that supports Timelord civilization. Omega got stuck in an alternate dimension, went crazy, wanted revenge – generally bad news. This story is available on DVD and worth checking out if you’re into classic Who.
Here’s a link to the Special Edition:

And to the original for you purists:

Then came “The Five Doctors” and things were a little different. Not only was William Hartnell replaced due to his unfortunate death, but Tom Baker refused to return. The 20th Anniversary came two years after Tom Baker leaving the show. He had been, and continues to be, the actor to play the Doctor the longest (1974-1981) and, according to many sources, was concerned about returning to the role after having done it so recently. In fact he even backed out of the photo shoot for the show so they used the Madame Tussaud’s wax figure in his place (see image above). While the official word was that he didn’t want to play the role again so soon, there are also plenty of behind-the-scenes reasons that may have affected his decision. Having been the Doctor for as long as he was, there was a certain amount of control that Baker had on the show. With long time producer Graham Williams and writer Douglas Adams, of “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” fame, leaving at the end of the 17th series Baker was the strongest voice to want to maintain the  tone of the show. Then new producer, John Nathan-Turner, came on in 1981. He wanted to move away from the comedic elements and make Doctor Who more of a drama, especially since ratings were dipping due to the American import “Buck Rogers.” The cast, led by Baker, did not agree. It’s likely that this off-air friction had an influence on his decision and the fans suffered for it.  As time has passed Baker has confessed that he regrets not doing the show and is even open to doing something in the 50th anniversary show.

Even without Tom Baker, “The Five Doctors” is regarded as a classic. Here is a link to the 25th Anniversary DVD:

It’s off-air frictions, again, that seem to be getting in the way of the latest Anniversary show as well. When the show was revived in 2005 by Russell T. Davies Chris Eccleston was brought on to be the Doctor. Personally I remember this pretty well. The first episode, “Rose,” was a great transition back into the world of Doctor Who in my opinion. We spent a lot of time with the Rose character first, showing what her life in modern day London was like. We are introduced to the Doctor as an audience the same way she is; suddenly, briskly and bluntly. From that moment on the show just propelled you from adventure to adventure. The re-launch was a hit and the rest is history, but we only got one season of Eccleston’s Doctor. For a long time his departure has been debated. Publicly it was stated that he didn’t want to be typecast and that he was only contracted for a year because they weren’t sure if the show would be a success, but he recently spoke more on his reasons for leaving at an event at the Theater Royal in Haymarket stating:

I left Doctor Who because I could not get along with the senior people. I left because of politics. I did not see eye-to-eye with them. I didn’t agree with the way things were being run. I didn’t like the culture that had grown up around the series. So I left, I felt, over a principle.

I thought to remain, which would have made me a lot of money and given me huge visibility, the price I would have had to pay was to eat a lot of shit. I’m not being funny about that. I didn’t want to do that and it comes to the art of it, in a way. I feel that if you run your career and.. we are vulnerable as actors and we are constantly humiliating ourselves auditioning. But if you allow that to go on, on a grand scale you will lose whatever it is about you and it will be present in your work.”

“If you allow your desire to be successful and visible and financially secure – if you allow that to make you throw shades on your parents, on your upbringing, then you’re knackered. You’ve got to keep something back, for yourself, because it’ll be present in your work”, he added.
He concluded, saying “My face didn’t fit and I’m sure they were glad to see the back of me. The important thing is that I succeeded. It was a great part. I loved playing him. I loved connecting with that audience. Because I’ve always acted for adults and then suddenly you’re acting for children, who are far more tasteful; they will not be bullshitted. It’s either good, or it’s bad. They don’t schmooze at after-show parties, with cocktails.” – From

 This has carried over, somewhat, to the 50th Anniversary show. Even though Russell T. Davies is no longer the showrunner, it seems that the baggage of the past is still too much to over come. Official word came from the BBC that,”Chris met with Steven Moffat a couple of times to talk about Steven’s plans for the Doctor Who 50th anniversary episode. After careful thought, Chris decided not to be in the episode. He wishes the team all the best.” And that, appears, to be that. 

For those of you who may have missed it, I really do think that the 2005 stories are a great way back into the Whoniverse. Check out the first series:

So what do you think? Do actors have a responsibility to the fans on cult shows like Doctor Who to return for events like this? How much do you feel you are owed? I look forward to your comments.

PS – OK, so, yeah, there’s “Dimensions in Time.” It was the 30th Anniversary show that was released after the show had been cancelled back in the late 80’s. It was a crossover with East Enders, a popular English soap opera. It’s not good and it’s not available on DVD so here’s the full video from YouTube:

Also here’s a link to an blog post about the deleted scenes. Watch it at your own risk.

See you next time!

Leave a Comment

Filed under behind the scenes, commentary, doctor who, geek, television

Doctor Who – I Knew It!

This is not to claim that I knew where the story was headed, I didn’t even with my spoiler knowledge of what’s on the way for the 50th anniversary. What I did know was that they would not reveal the doctor’s name.

Of course they won’t! 
I’ve seen so many Whovians freaking out about this and the whole time all I could think was, “Moffat you did it. It worked. You got everyone so worked up everyone is talking about it. Good job.”
And, really, it was a genius move to title an episode “The Name of The Doctor.” Even just using the title! Even now, I just did a search to confirm the episode title and there are STILL loads of articles being written about it. Really, go look!
I really enjoyed the episode, but I’m bummed that it looks like the bad guys won’t be back. I think they had a lot of potential. 
This is just a rant post, no deeper meaning or life lessons learned, with the exception of the lesson that smart marketing that triggers both positive and negative responses has its place and needs to be used appropriately and especially when you have a large event to promote. 
See you next time.

Leave a Comment

Filed under doctor who, geek, rant

Project: Iron Man Issue 23 or Check out the threads on this guy!

Janice Cord is dead!

Dead, dead – not coming back (but don’t hold me to that). And Shellhead goes straight into avenging mode and sinks the ship that brought the Titanium Man into the country.

Straight up sinks it. Sure he says, “The Coast guard will pick them up.” But when you see what damage is done to the ship I think you’ll agree that not everyone made it out unscathed.

But after he visits Janice’s grave this comic makes a hard left into Silver Age storytelling land. I’ve been wavering on my opinions of this issue. It’s one of the issues that I have no memory of ever reading before. When I was originally collecting my Iron Man comics I didn’t get them in order so I didn’t read them in order – except for the issues that were current at the time. From issue 200 on I was solid on continuity. Even the late hundreds before 200 are squared up pretty good in my head, but these early, early books with very short, sometimes only single issue, story arcs just got lost. Before I’d buy what I could find, read it, and bag & board it. I rarely went back to read the early ones – I didn’t want to damage them. To a certain extent that behavior paid off. These books, which are nearly fifty years old(!), look great, aren’t brittle and look like they could stick around for another fifty years. It also means that, with a mature, adult brain I’m reading some of these stories for, essentially, the first time.

With all of this in mind let me introduce you to THE MERCENARY!

It’s ok, get the laughter out now. That outfit isn’t going anywhere.

Early in a superhero’s run lots of shots are taken at creating his rouges gallery. Most of the bad guys a superhero faces in modern comics were actually created decades early in the hero’s career, with a few notable exceptions who aren’t worth mentioning now. But not every villain created in the Silver Age is worth keeping and The Mercenary definitely counts as one of them that can afford to be forgotten.

Outfit aside, he’s a hired killer who has a lot of gadgets and training.

A LOT of gadgets.





And check out how well he lounges in a chair:

Gadgets that are just a shade too convenient and applicable to the situation. It’s like the creative team read a Batman comic of the day and decided this bad guy should have a utility belt too.

Plot wise, this issue does a lot to close some loopholes.

  • Janice Cord is confirmed dead.
  • The pirates who brought the Titanium Man to the U.S. are dealt with.
  • And the Vincent Sandhurst (brother to Basil “The Controller” Sandhurst and former attorney to Cord Industries) storyline is completed with his death.
All of this made possible by a damsel in distress – the wife of one of the pirates. Really, that’s not important, but this splash panel is:
It’s the one time The Mercenary looks cool.
When all is said and done the girl is saved, the bad guys are both dead (which doesn’t bode well for The Mercenary coming back – but that’s probably for the best),
and Iron Man walks off with her into the sunset.
Next time Iron Man fights a Minotaur.
Seriously. This is what was happening in Silver Age Marvel comics.
See you next time!


Leave a Comment

Filed under comic books, geek, iron man, Project: Iron Man, projects

The People vs. George Lucas, Cultural Ownership & Questioning What All This Means As A Content Creator


I recently watched the documentary “The People vs. George Lucas” on Netflix. In it the filmmakers explore the rise and fall of the public’s perception of George Lucas especially through the eyes of Star Wars fans and their reaction to the prequels. I could identify with the people shown in the film. For a long time I was a die hard Star Wars fanboy. If you knew me from the years of 1977 until the release of the prequels in 1999 you would have seen my shrine to Yoda, whose teachings were very important to me even though I knew that he was a fictional character spouting phrases that were highly influenced by Eastern philosophy. The original trilogy was memorized and could be quoted on demand. I knew obscure facts that couldn’t even be referenced directly by only watching the movies, it required research into the development of the films and the original drafts of the screen play. I have read the “Journal of the Whills” that is now getting a comic book adaptation – and I did it in 1993 BEFORE THE INTERNET! The expanded universe, novels, toys, video games, toys, the Christmas Special, toys, posters, concept art and toys. I was committed and baptized in the church of Star Wars and, as Rene likes to point out whenever my geek cred is challenged, held court in public on the subject. There wasn’t much wool more dyed in the universe of Star Wars than I and so when the prequels came out it and they ended up being what they were…

The fall was hard and the disappointment was… I can’t even think of a word.

But I was willing to give it another shot. This universe had been a backbone of my childhood fantasy life and I couldn’t give up just because one film was terrible.

Episode 2 came out and, even though Yoda kicked a lot of ass, I was, again, very disappointed. Seriously, is any wonder the Jedi were killed off? They didn’t know their ass from their elbow.

By the time Episode 3 came out I was far from enthusiastic. I really only saw the movie to complete the story. But then Darth Vader screamed, “No” and I was out.

I’m not even going to mention the whole “Han shot first” thing. But he did and my children will not grow up in a world where Greedo shot first. Check out this video where I embarrass myself by mixing up the whole Han/Greedo thing. So embarrassing!

Anyway, I have friends who are still committed. A director friend of mine runs a Star Wars RPG with select members of young Hollywood. Others still collect the merchandise. Most fellow geeks I know own a light saber or two.

I completely gave it up.

I felt betrayed, and so did so many of the people interviewed in the film. The Special Editions are supposed to be the new definitive versions of the original trilogy and, while I actually like many of the adjustments and additions, this is also the same set of movies that have the abysmal Han/Greedo problem and the terrible extra Jabba the Hutt scene. Lets not even mention the fact that two key songs were cut: Yub Nub and the Sy Snoodles song. For me, personally, I could even rationalize all this with my inner raging fanboy if the original version were somehow available somewhere. Somewhere! Here’s hoping that Disney does a little market research and sees that there is a whole lot of niche money in releasing the originals *fingers crossed

These are the ravings of a lost fanboy, but these feelings, and the film, both raise a very valid question: where does private ownership end and communal cultural ownership begin? When do we as the public, who have loved something and made our own contributions to it’s mythos, get to claim a piece of the entertainment we consume? I’m not even talking about a monetary piece – that’s a whole different can of worms – but a little corner of the universe that fans can claim as their own.

It’s not like fans are kept from doing things. Fan films are practically their own genre, some are even famous on their own right (see Troops and Batman: Dead End). Novels are the printed fan-fiction of recognized authors and if you’re a Whovian you have a whole set of radio dramas to help build the list of Doctor Who adventures with a variety of different Doctors to choose from. Will and passion become the fuel that generates whole new chapters to the stories that we love. Whether you’re a Lord of the Rings fan, Potter-maniac, Whovian, Trekkie, Star Wars geek or Bronie, the Internet now connects you to like-minded individuals, many of whom may have a podcast or enough amateur film equipment to create new content.

And that’s when I start to question what that might mean for the future and for the content I like to create. There are movies and narrative film ideas that the team and I have been working on, but I’m only really getting to a point where I’ve stated to develop the ideas for new characters, worlds and stories that I hope to publish and capture on some sort of video media. While it would be hubris to think that anything that I write would become anything as big or as beloved as any of the universes I mentioned above, I have hopes that it might. And you kind of need to think of the “the morning after the night before” to be prepared for the “just in case” scenario.

With crowd sourcing and Internet community becoming not only common but typical and growing and more and more a part of our lives, it’s interesting to think about how that can integrate into content creation. I want fan support (I mean, duh, that’s kind of a given) but I also want participation. Sometimes fan ideas take your ideas in places you can’t imagine on your own and they challenge the preconceptions that you develop for yourself. It’s exciting and it’s scary and its the future.

What do you think? How did you feel about the Special Editions and the prequels? What are you a geek for? Tell me in the comments. Let’s keep this conversation going!

See you next time.

By the way, want to own the movie on DVD? You can find it by clicking on the picture below.

Leave a Comment

Filed under business, Disney, doctor who, fanboy, geek, Han shot first, history, Hollywood, random facts, rant, star wars, videos, YouTube

On Moving & April Fools Day & Geek Rants

April Fools! This post has nothing to do with Doctor Who.

After a week off from moving I’m back to writing, and settling into our new surroundings.

I’m not a big fan of moving.

I like the experience of being in a new place and exploring new neighborhoods and seeing new things, but the act of actually moving my stuff in not high on the list, in fact it doesn’t even make the list, of ways that I like top spend my time.

Picking up boxes, putting down boxes. Making things fit in the trunk of a car. Renting a truck, and having to bug your friends to help you move – even if you offer them food and booze for their trouble – it just isn’t any fun. Rene and I are very fortunate to have friends and family that were willing to give us a hand. And we were much better prepared for this move than we have been for moves in the past. I felt pretty good about that and it seemed that it was appreciated by those who helped us.

It figures that the day that we are officially out of the old house is April Fool’s Day. I am waiting for the other shoe to drop and find out this was all a prank and now we have to move again (ugh, that hurts to even think about).

I’ve never been a huge fan of April Fool’s Day, it just seems like a day where the unimaginative get mean and, with the advent of social media, you find out that all of your friends are “engaged” or “pregnant.”

There is one particular AFD story that did get me pretty good and appeals to my geek side.

Many years ago when the Star Trek show Enterprise was first released Wil Wheaton posted on WilWheaton.Net that he would be returning as Wesley Crusher, all grown up and time travelling to visit the NX-01. Here’s a link to the original post: Good News, Bad News

For me this was great news! I had some real problems with Enterprise. I am not a huge Trek fan, but I like it and if there’s a new show I like to check it out. Right off the bat the continuity nerd in me was upset that they even called the first ship Enterprise. In the canon of the series we have seen in many places “all” of the ships that bore the name Enterprise – from the sailing vessel, to the aircraft carrier, to the shuttle and then all the fictional star ships of the future. Never, not once until the new series, was there an experimental ship called Enterprise. Suddenly here it is. And it’s supposed to be a historic ship?! Something people remember!? Yet somehow it hasn’t been mentioned ever before? Sure, ok. Strike 1.

Then we see time travel become a major plot point in episode one, but not just normal Star Trek time travel; a whole race of time travelers being directed by a mysterious person from the future!


So the only way this series ends well for me is if there’s some kind of chronological breakdown that erases the ship from history and we get a tragic story of a great ship and crew that never was as far as the timeline is concerned. You’d have the drama of these people performing valiant acts of courage and duty with the knowledge of knowing that eventually they would be erased from history. I thought that was a great idea, but I figured it would never come to pass… then I saw Wil’s post and my heart grew hopeful.

I’m very bad at checking the days. I barely know what day it is today without looking at the calendar and so I neglected to see that this post was made on April first.

Apparently I wasn’t the only one, here’s the followup he made on April 2, 2001: Sorry Mom & Dad.

So that’s my April Fool’s Day story, do you have one? Share it in the comments!

See you next time!

Leave a Comment

Filed under geek, holidays, moving, rene, star trek