There are some things that happen to exist in a perpetual state of rumor and possibility. Ghostbusters 3 was rumored to be happening for 20 years before a reboot came down the pipeline. A sequel to Independence Day was whispered about for almost as long. The possibility of a Star Wars Episode 7 has been rumored for as long as there’s been an episode 6. And as of the last couple years, Men and Black was supposedly going to cross over with 21 Jump Street.
For the longest time I thought it was a joke, especially since rumors of it always happen around April. No one in the industry would be so bankrupt of common sense as to shove these two franchises together, force them to hold, and then fuse them in some freakish science experiment. Hollywood defies all reason and logic but they usually have to have a reason to do something like this. Freddie vs Jason was a no-brainer that people were wanting to happen since the 80s. Alien vs. Predator was also just something that made sense and had a successful series of video games. And Batman vs Superman? That’s been something every kid’s been doing with their action figures since action figures were a thing!
But 21 Jump Street and Men In Black? Who asked for this? What fevered dream did this thing emerge from? Were people just throwing darts at a board and picking franchises at random while dressed in a Captain America costume? This can’t be real! This is one of the most ridiculous concepts to have come out of the rumor mill ever and it has to have been an April Fools joke. Why does it keep getting repeated? Why do people keep citing insiders in the rumors of it? Why is there a writer? Why does this thing have a director now?!
W. T. F?! Continue reading WTF? Jump Street In Black?
(I hate that I have to say this, but this is a fictional account of the history of a fictional world. I do not believe these things, nor should you, as I am making them up. If I receive any comments that I did not do my research into these events, you will be mocked.)
In the Agent of Argyre series of books, there is an organization called the Alter Control Task Force. Though ostensibly an organization for policing activities of the Alter race, an attempt to prevent an eventual race war, they are actually representatives of a city-state on the ocean: The Republic of Argyre.
The Republic of Argyre, an artificial island anchored to an oceanic ridge in the pacific, is a city-state established by Alters for the sake of harboring their kind and establishing a relationship with the mainstream human population. Despite being an artificial island and attached to no primary landmass, the city’s structure is capable of potentially supporting all 12 to 15 million active Alters on the planet.
How did a race of people who’ve lived in hiding for centuries manage to construct such a city? Why would they build their city in the middle of the ocean? Where did they get the resources for such a task? In the Alterpedia Historia, we will answer these questions and discover the history of the Alters. Today we address…
Continue reading Alterpedia Historia: The “Dark” Ages
Ah, holiday traditions. As has been pointed out many times before, even here, a lot of the traditions we hold for holidays are rooted back to unrelated but similarly timed events. Yule logs root back to Yuletide, lucky clovers were a Celtic charm throughout history, and the Easter bunny was part of Eostre’s posse. But sometimes you have to ask – why were the Christians so eager to adopt it across the board?
The answer changes depending on the element in question. Some traditions were adopted over time because of the proximity between different groups. Some traditions remain regional forever, some start to get adopted over time as neighbors share their traditions together. But others are just so ubiquitous that you’d have to wonder how they spread so fast. For those the answer is convenience – sometimes traditions had a parallel across both, and rather than one side adopting traditions from the other, both brought a similar tradition to the table and gradually merged them together.
Need an example? Easter Eggs.
As of this writing, St. Patrick’s Day is once again on the horizon. A festive but rarely understood holiday, St. Patrick’s Day is a colorful combination of the Catholic faith, Celtic traditions, and American love for an excuse to drink. Truly the child of multiculturalism, the American version of St. Patty’s is generally full of traditions no one understands but will eagerly follow regardless.
Most people have no idea who St. Patrick actually was aside from a story where he drove the snakes out of Ireland (an island which never had a native snake population in the first place). No one’s particularly sure why they have to wear green, or why you’re required to pinch someone who doesn’t. Very few people who follow it have any idea what the actual Catholic traditions are for the day. And other elements are just generally a complete mystery.
For instance: why the hell are shamrocks and their four leaf cousins lucky? And, for that matter, why would they represent the… Continue reading Lucky Clovers
Not very long ago, as part of my Alternative Mythologies series, I talked about how Egyptian lore was actually a fairly good resource to be used for the fantasy genre. Lo and behold, not long after I posted it, there were suddenly multiple projects being set in Egypt and a lot of them turned out to be… horrible. A lot of reasons have been suggested over time but what I’ve started to realize is that there’s a reason overlooked heavily by most people because most people just don’t know the source material very well. By knowing the source material, you start to realize that people aren’t catching the real reason why these projects suck, and the most recent attempt really drove it home for me.
Gods of Egypt, to almost no one’s surprise, turned out to be a critical failure and a box office bomb. The trailers were poorly received, the promotional material was left wanting, the casting drew criticism from almost square one, and nothing they really did from then on out really made it any better. In the several months since this movie’s promotion started I have yet to see a single positive article about the thing. But even there, I don’t think any of them actually noticed the reason why this thing was doomed to fail.
Most people quickly jumped on the skin-tone of the actors (and quite rightly, given the majority of the cast looked more pseudo-Greek than anything). But I’ve already covered the white washing of Egypt in the past and the fact that Egyptians could have, in part, featured a diverse range of skin-tones (…though clearly not the North European ones that apparently dominate casting calls). Others jumped on the fact that it didn’t seem to fit the mythology, what with Ra having a ship in space that flew over the planet during the daytime. Just, one problem for those guys, Ra totally did.
So while these are valid concerns to be had, they weren’t the thing that immediately jumped out at me as the reason this thing was doomed from the start. No, the thing that jumped out at me and started to make me really question whether I was right to recommend Horus’ story as a great source of fantasy adaptations, was the fact that I came to realize that this:
Was pretty much built on the same model as this:
And that’s kind of the root of all their problems…
Continue reading Overlooked Lesson of “Gods of Egypt”
The Fantasy Genre has long been dominated by the religions and customs of countries touched on by the Crusades. While this makes sense, with the familiar image of a knight wandering foreign lands being key to the genre itself, there has been stagnation in recent times. As such, I’ve taken it upon myself to look into the cultures of the world and find fascinating details about other mythologies often overlooked by the genre we so love, going on a bit of a tour of world mythologies.
Long controlling the land in the floodplains of the Zambezi river, the Lozi people are a group with close ties to the religions of the religions of West Africa. Many of their beliefs, some of the creatures, and several of their stories are shared with those living north west of them, and they even share some of the same gods. In fact, because of these traits, the most defining element of Lozi mythology is that their stories focus less on the actual creation of the world and more on how it is that their creator god (either directly or indirectly) founded their nation in their ancestral homelands.
Why would this be the focus of their unique tales? Well it’s because their creator god is Nyambe, also known as Nyame, the god of the Akan and Ashanti – and the story of the Lozi is the story of how he led them to their home by the river. More accurately, the story of the Lozi is how Nyambe fled to the river in an attempt to escape his most dreaded creation…. man. Continue reading Mythology World Tour: The Lozi
In the Alters’ World (and the series of books found here), creatures of legend reveal themselves to the world. Born through genetic abnormalities, defects and mutations, the Alters have lived for centuries as outcasts of human society, hiding their true nature from the world while colorful stories have been written by many to describe what they’ve seen. How are these creatures different from what was described in the stories? What relationship do they have with humanity? Every entry of the Alterpedia will delve into a new creature from around the world. This week we cover:
Ethereal voices haunting the Irish countryside, ever present reminder of mortality, the wail of the Banshee has long been known by those of Gaelic ancestry as a sign of someone’s passing. Tied to the oldest and most important of Irish families, this “fairy” woman stands as the first to mourn the departed – sometimes even before their death.
Long tied to the tradition of keening held in Gaelic culture, is the Banshee truly mourning the dead, or is it merely a coincidence? Do they know the coming of someone’s passing, or is it all happenstance? Few dare to ask the question and many fear the answers. But could it all just be an elaborate ruse, or something much greater?
What secrets do these wailing women hold?