Supergirl Revisited: Darkness and Light in Storytelling

SupergirlLikesDonutsIn October of 2015, CBS launched “Supergirl” for a 13-episode order. I even published an article about it. Maybe it was a bid by the network to lure in younger viewers or maybe an appeal to older ones, but one thing was certain: this Supergirl was going to be a force for hope, good, and all that stuff. In a television and movie landscape now dominated by dark and sometimes murdering superheroes, this one was going to remain incorruptible in spite of many temptations.

You know — the way Superman used to be.

Actor Christopher Reeve was quoted with saying, “Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.” It isn’t clear if he was saying that in-character or not, but it was probably both.

SupergirlAndAlexHappy so far, CBS bumped the show to a full-series order: a total of 20 episodes. The show hasn’t been perfect; from a front-loaded overstuffed pilot to a world where science seems to serve the weekly plot and physics be damned, the one consistency has been Melissa Benoist. The “Glee” actress has so completely embodied the character of Supergirl and brought so much of her A-game, you’d think she was going for an Oscar in a feature film if she didn’t look so honest doing it. Considering that two other actresses on the show — Helen Slater and Laura Vandervoort — have both played the character, it’s hard now to imagine anyone better for the role than Melissa Benoist (yeah, she’s that good).
Continue reading “Supergirl Revisited: Darkness and Light in Storytelling”

The Matriarch, Harry Potter, and Native Appropriations

There’s been a bit of flack surrounding the previews on JK Rowling’s Pottermore website regarding “magical” North American history, specifically in the way it includes Native American culture. If you weren’t aware, this is all advertisement for the new Harry Potter film entitled Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them arriving in theaters November 2016; the Pottermore website has published four installments of the abbreviated “History of Magic in North America.” While there are many issues pointed out by various news outlets, this is the one that hurts the most and that I’m most familiar with.

The Problem With Magic Folk

“So what?” people post online. “It’s fiction. She can make up whatever she wants.” None of this is real, so who does it hurt? The actual people, for one thing. Native Americans are real people with a real culture; they haven’t died out or ceased to exist. It’s not just one culture, either; there are currently 562 federally recognized Indian Nations (source: ncai.org), and their uniqueness is hanging on in spite of centuries spent actively destroying it. No, not just the English colonists; the French and Spanish both had equal hands in it.

LoneRangerJohnnyeppTontoIn Hollywood, there has long existed a trope of “the helpful Indian who appears from nowhere,” so clearly they must be magical. Think Peter Pan and The Lone Ranger; help is needed, the indigenous mystics appear, do their thing, then conveniently disappear. It’s a plot device: deus ex shamana. Like faeries, trolls, and goblins, the truth can be lost to legend. Using Britain’s own fables as an example, there were reportedly a dozen Robin Hoods who all became one man, and King Arthur’s stories can be traced to several individuals who were embellishment through oral tradition.

Native Americans do exist and want to keep their cultures and traditions alive. Learn about it all you like and tell others, but embellishing the facts — changing them — and attributing details to all tribes as a whole dilutes its uniqueness. Like a game of telephone, the truth is being lost because the details are wrong.

Continue reading “The Matriarch, Harry Potter, and Native Appropriations”

The Darkness and the Light in Storytelling: Contrast and Supergirl

I’m a horror writer. I prefer weird fiction. But not everything has to be blood, guts, and gore all the time; not everything has to be evil. In fact, the beauty of the Dark is that it balances the Light. Without the Light, there is no contrast.

So today I champion the Light.

Yes, I’m talking about general concepts. The Light is seen as being bright, positive, and giving of itself while the Dark is supposed to brood, call attention to the flaws of the world, and celebrate the non-conformist standards that feel a world away from childhood innocence. Ever notice how “good” is spoken of in simple terms while “bad” contains an inherit complexity, ideas that come with experience: life isn’t fair, good guys don’t always win, and not everyone gets the boy or girl?

DoctorHorribleCaptainHammerThe flip side of that coin is what those who embrace the Darkness often understand better than their counterparts: the Light is acceptance and being accepted, those who gain attention. Beautiful, strong, privileged, and loved…never mind it can all be a mask. “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” may be the best-ever example of showing heroes and villains in the simplest terms of how backwards things can get when our expectations are taught rather than learned. The hero is villain; the villain is the hero. We are meant to relate to being the loser who is destined to lose.

Storytelling is drama; it creates meaning to all of life’s randomness. Fate, Destiny, Kismet, and all that. But the Darkness is a place that the Light fears to tread, and rightly so. When love and affection is taken away; when the means to support yourself within the established system can’t be meant; when life must be lived on the fringe and fought for every day both within and without.
Continue reading “The Darkness and the Light in Storytelling: Contrast and Supergirl”

My Spooky Empire 2014 Appearance Schedule

Friday October 24th

  • 6p – Panel: Keeping the Bodies Fresh – Sarasota
  • 9p – Panel: Sick & Twisted (21 & up ONLY) – Sarasota

Saturday October 25th

  • 12p – Author’s Network – Sarasota
  • 2p – Panel: Writing the Fight – Sarasota
  • 4:30p – Ultimate Occult Showdown! – Lake Ballroom
  • 7p – Author Signing Table
  • 8p – Panel: Choose your Own Adventure – Sarasota

Sunday October 26th

  • 11a – Panel: Sympathy for the Devil – Sarasota
  • 12p – Author Signing Table

Can’t wait to see everyone at Spooky Empire’s Ultimate Halloween Weekend!
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Spooky Empire Appearance and Showdown Update!

SpookyAuthorImageOctober 24-26, 2014: Author guest (confirmed) at Spooky Empire Ultimate Horror Weekend in Orlando, Florida.

We’re also presenting what may be the BIGGEST Ultimate Occult Showdown we’ve ever done: Saturday, October 25th at 4:30p in the LAKE BALLROOM – be there!

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How HBO’s “True Blood” Should Have Ended

BillSookieFor seven seasons, the HBO series “True Blood” – based on the Charlaine Harris Sookie Stackhouse books – deviated almost unrecognizably away from the source material. Every character not killed off managed to pair up with someone, but similar to the final Harris novel that reportedly left fans unsatisfied, HBO botched a chance to one-up the author on the final outcome of Sookie and Bill.

Here’s three suggested treatments for a better ending; this is just off the top of my head, but I prefer number three.

***SPOILERS IF YOU STILL CARE!***

  1. Sookie and Bill die together in the graveyard: Unable to watch Bill’s suffering, Sookie offers herself to feed him before he dies, a willingly sacrificing to provide one last comfort before he pops; it ends with friends and family attending Sookie’s funeral revealing a headstone next to Bill’s family.
  2. Sookie begs Bill to make her into a vampire: Finally admitting to herself she would stay with him forever, Bill finally accepts Sarah’s cure before turning Sookie and burying themselves together. Sookie’s blood enables them both to survive the daylight and join in the Thanksgiving celebration: the premiere vampire couple of Bon Temps.
  3. Sookie makes Bill human again with a little help from Grampa: After hearing Bill’s thoughts, she suspects the faerie-mixed Hep-V cocktail she infected him with is turning him mortal but not fast enough to prevent his true death as a vampire. Sacrificing the last of her power and hoping it’s enough, faerie grandfather Niall secretly lends a hand to restore Bill to life. With Sookie no longer a faerie and Bill no longer a vampire, they live happily as mortals raising the family they always wanted and growing old together.

Pick one…they’re all better than what crawled out of the writer’s room.

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Ultimate Occult Showdown 2014 Highlights!

As promised: highlights from the 2014 Ultimate Occult Showdown shot at Ancient City Con. If you don’t yet know what we do, this is a good example.

A game show with no prizes and audience participation is mandatory! Vote up your favorites in a contest of characters, movies, and TV programs but be ready to tell us why. Rules are made up as we go along by your opinionated a**hole hosts Kevin A. Ranson and Brett J. Link. Presented by MovieCrypt.com and Grim D. Reaper!

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