Puff the Magic Dragon

image

by Joshie Jaxon

Jackie Draper, sits in a chair as three of the best psychiatrists in all of medicine, tell his parents that he cannot or will not speak, communicate, nor relate in any way with the world around him. His parents already know that. That’s not what they invited them to consult on. They basically tell the parents to keep Jackie warm and safe from danger. One of them says they can hope for a miracle, but the other two frown on that.

image

Alright, before we continue, I wanna break this down. Jackie, who I assume is an introvert, and probably on the autism spectrum, doesn’t talk to those around him. Rather than leaving the kid to his devices, or trying, at least where we the audience can see, to find a level he can relate at, or engage him in something he’d enjoy, they just leave him to sit in solitude, since he can’t/won’t communicate at their perceived level of normal. We all on the same page here? Ok, back to the cartoon.

Jackie sits in his room, as Puff passes by. He tries talking to Jackie, and invites himself into his room. Puff takes the silence as permission to enter, like any good sexual predator. Having no van, Puff opens his bag to find Jackie some candy. Instead he pulls out a glass slipper, Alice’s mushroom, Peter’s shadow, gold spun from straw, a yellow brick, and then gets out construction paper and scissors. He draws up a picture of Jackie and cuts it out, dubbing it Jackie Paper. He then tells Jackie D, that he’s going to essentially borrow his soul for a while. Cause you know, that’s normal.

image

Jackie Paper asks if he’s all better. Puff says he’ll be all better if he takes a journey with him, and really wishes he’d used his magic to conjure a van. Instead, we need to build a boat to get to Honalee. Puff has a bed there, after all. Sorry, but as an adult this looks really creepy. If Puff weren’t a dragon he’d be hanging out with Mr. Herbert asking the paper boy if he brought any good news today. There’s a snappy musical number as they move Jackie D’s body aside, and build a boat from all his things.

image

As they sail, we hear lyrics from the original Peter, Paul and Mary song. When it mentions pirates, Jackie P gets scared. Kid, just wait until you get to the cave. Ok, I promise, I’ll stop with the Puff the Magic Pedophile jokes. For at least a paragraph. Puff tells him there is no turning back. Man I shouldn’t have made that promise a sentence ago. Damn. We meet the pirate, Very Long John. Yes, that’s his name. Girl is serving pirate realness with his black hat with skull accent, and peg leg. Remember this outfit, Visage will be reading it later.

image

Puff shows Jackie that Very Long is nothing but a baker at heart. He asks our fancy pirate to make him a cherry pie. Taking a chance to not be judged, he fires up the oven and makes several pies for Puff and Jackie. They adore eating their words, but his pies are even better. We see Very Long had a costume change, and is now serving baker eleganza realness, complete with two regular legs. Wow, if Puff can make a second leg grow, imagine what he could do for a third. Either this cartoon is dirty, or I am. Maybe both.

image

Puff and Jackie reach the sea of the starless sky. When Jackie asks why, Puff tells him it’s the clouds. They’re jealous of the stars that can fly higher than them, and like all small-spirited and stupid beings, they feel they can deny beauty by hiding it. Sound familiar? *cough republicans *cough. A star falls, and though it can’t talk, Jackie feels a connection to her. He has Puff paint wings on the boat, and flies up to return the star. She thanks him as she returns to the sky.

image

Puff gives Jackie a medal for bravery, as they crash into a dark and nasty looking island. Puff says this is Honalee. Of course it is. Time to pay for the boat ride, kid. Last one, I swear. They discover the island has been overrun with creatures known as Living Sneezes. Jackie tells Puff to help, but he can’t. Performance issues. He wasn’t counting on an audience. Ok, THAT was the last one. Because the island is spoiled, so are Puff’s powers. He tells Jackie that he needs to go home, since he’s not afraid anymore. That’s great and all, Puff, but how is Paper supposed to return his soul to Draper without you, hmm?

image

Lucky for Puff, Jackie didn’t listen. He brought Very Long with him. The pirate/baker says what the Living Sneezes need is his chicken soup. He then proceeds to ladle it all over them. I know it’s supposed to be soup, but it looks like something else. I won’t even go there. I’m just gonna put this picture right here.

image

With the Sneezes cured, we enter another musical number. “Soup” continues to rain down on Honalee, and everything begins to return to it’s original state. Everyone joins in the song, and happy times are had by all. As the song ends, Puff and Jackie Paper are back in Jackie’s room. Puff tells him he doesn’t need him anymore, and that he’s ready to grow up. Kid too old for you now, Puff? Hey! I had one left after all. They hug, and Puff removes Paper’s soul, and puts it back in his original body.

image

The parents come in, and Jackie talks to them. Since on Earth it’s only been I’d imagine minutes, or hours, the parents are happy, rather than stunned, that their kid is talking to them. Parental hug of celebrated normalcy. They can love him now that he’s “cured”. We end with Puff breaking the fourth wall, asking where our fancy stuff is.

image

-JJ

Advertisements

Character Crush – Nate Grey

by Joshie Jaxon

image

Did you ever wonder what would happen if Mr. Sinister succeeded in his mission to create a genetically perfect mutant? Well, in the Age of Apocalypse, he did. The product of a cross between Scott Summers and Jean Grey, the X-Man, Nate Grey, was created to be a weapon against Apocalypse himself. It wasn’t until Nate was a child that Sinister even bothered to give him a name.

image

Wanting more for himself, Nate broke out into the world, and found friends that actually cared for him. He allied himself with Forge, who taught him to be a hero, and how to use his powers. Under his care, Nate not only gained control of his incredible psionic powers, he harnessed them to the point of being able to fly. His happiness was short lived, when Sinister killed Forge, and told Nate of the purpose he was created for. Avenging his friend and mentor, Nate surprised Sinister by mortally wounding him, and leaving him to die.

image

I didn’t follow the Age of Apocalypse when it originally ran, so I missed the initial appearance of our dear X-Man. I was involved in the life of Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man. However, during the Onslaught storyline, I got exposed to Nate. I know he’s a comic book character, but Nate is gorgeous. Blue/gray eyes, depending on the publication, short to medium brown hair, with white streaks in the front, and that classic hero physique swimmer’s build. Plus he’s powerful. It was stated that he’s the most powerful psionic in any reality, and I’d believe it.

image

Nate can read minds and it’s a good thing he’s fictional, cause my teenage thoughts were less than platonic. No, I never whacked it to his comics. Couldn’t risk damaging them. I kid, of course. Or do I? You’ll never know. Ok, here’s the T, he was cute, but not I’m about to ruin a perfectly good book for him cute. Besides, I was still in the closet back then, and knew I liked Nate but not fully understanding why.

image

Like Nate, I too grew up without a lot of friends. Where I felt like a stranger in the world around me, Nate actually was. He was brought from his reality to Earth 616, where he eventually crossed paths with Peter Parker. Being a telepath, Nate was able to know Spider-Man out of costume. In fact, he got Peter out of his clothes faster than anyone. Lucky bastard. The two became friends, and had an adventure or two. They’re two of my favorite, and most crush worthy people in the Marvel universe.

image

As the early 2000’s hit, so did adult hood. Comic book money was applied to things like bills, and rent. Slowly, I lost touch with most of my colorful tights wearing friends. I still retained my childlike love of fictional worlds, but it wasn’t until my life stabilized, as well as my finances, that I was able to play catchup on the stories I’d missed. I’m glad that the internet is what it is, and that trade paperbacks are as readily available as they are. While most adults forget the things that used to bring them joy, and resign themselves to the doldrums of life, I plan on retaining the sense wonder that helps make adulthood better. Though he may no longer be the subject of fantasy or daydreams, the X-Man will always be one of my first character crushes.

image

-JJ

Howard the Duck – Duckworld

image

An Introduction to Duckworld: A Howie Series Special Presentation
-by Bevianna Bones

The thought of discussing the 1986 cinematic gem that is Howard the Duck, excites me more than words can even describe.  This movie is so near and dear to me, I love it more than I would love my own offspring. It’s my happy place and has been for nearly 30 years. I knew that I wanted to share my love of this with you all, but was at a loss at how I could properly honor it in a single post. Therefore, in the spirit of our recurring Glorious Girls of Gaming series, I give you, The Howie Series. This series will allow us to encompass all areas of the epic greatness that Howie has to offer. Not just a straightforward boring review, but in depth investigations into all aspects.

For the opening entry in the series, I find it best that we start at Howie’s beginnings back in Duckworld. The opening moments of the film are often remembered as most folks favorite scenes, primarily for one snippet in particular. Duckboobs.

image

The duckboobs are so essential to the prologue of this film, these feathery twins nearly deserve their very own entry. But we’ll save them for another day. 

Duckworld is seen in only the intro of the movie, but those 5 minutes are 5 minutes of genius.  The effort that was put into the details to recreate an entirely parallel universe to that of our Earth is astounding when you consider ALL of this effort was made for the introduction to the movie. It sets up the plot and let’s the viewer know two very important things.  Firstly, this walking, talking, duck-man is very much like us and we therefore will identify with his anguish and his triumph. He has pictures of his duck family and all of his favorite duck movies on the wall.

image

His apartment is clean, but lived in. He comes home to his duck apartment from a long day at his duck job, goes to his duck kitchen and gets in the duck fridge, grabs a duck beer, sits in his duck chair in what I assume is his duck living room, he reaches for the duck zinger (zinger is a proper term for an item also known as a remote) and switches on the duck television. 

image

Here we are treated to all kinds of horribly duck punned related programming. Duck Dance Frenzy!!! Duck soap operas! Duck jock itch!! Duck game shows!!! Duck electronics blowout sales!!! This duck must be crazy!! He’s slashing prices and beating up duck VCRs and wearing a very tiny duck crown! Yes he IS the KING of discounts! Crazy Webby is indeed insane with these prices!!

image

Secondly, not only do we all identify with the protagonist, but the minds behind this movie put so much joy, so much effort into the first few minutes alone must mean that we the viewers are in for a truly epic 2 hour movie event.

So there Howard sits relaxing, sipping away on the duck beer, bored with the television’s programming choices, he reaches for a brown bag and pulls out the latest issue of Playduck and sees what Miss October has to offer. Yep. More duckboobs. Not just duckboobs, ducksideboob! We just can’t get enough!

image

image

Howard must’ve gotten worked up during that jock itch commercial, because not only does he look at his duck crotch, he gives his duck package a little shake. It’s subtle, but it’s there. Trust me. Look for it.

While admiring this center-fowl’d beauty in all of her feathery delight, Howard suspects that there is an earthquake as everything starts shaking and rumbling.  This is our sign that its time to say goodbye to Duckworld.

Howard is flung from the comforts of his home and hurled towards earth via the Spaceray Armchair Express. On his way out of town, he goes careening through hi slumlord apartments, and we see even more midgets in duck suits portraying all kinds of apartment slum stereotypes. The old couple so miserable in each others existence that they aren’t even certain if anything had just occurred. Had the armchair express actually crashed through the wall, or had the duck wife simply been so hopeful for a small piece of excitement that she imagined the whole thing.

image

From one apartment to the next, we see the infamous duckboobs as she bathes away in her bubblebath sipping one too many cocktails. We see the elevator where the duck construction worker has brought home what I have to assume is a duck prostitute.

image

Then out onto the streets, we see the funky bunch give a collective “DA fuck?!” up towards the sky. Note the blackface duck. Duckworld is a progressive place.

image

Howard is ejected from the stratosphere and an ominous voice narrates an abbreviated version of the beginning of life. By the way, did I mention Duckworld is shaped like an egg?
Yep. It is. So creative the minds behind this.  More on this another time. But for now, all we really need to know is that it begins with, “COSMOS!…”

image

And ends with “HOWARD the DUCK!” as Howie is catapulted through the universe, perhaps million and billions of light years away through a giant funnel straight down to a rape alley somewhere in what we later discover to be Cleveland.
What will happen to our feathered friend? What “fowl” plan is afoot?? Tune in next time. Same ducktime. Same duckchannel.

image

Care Bears in the Land Without Feelings

image

Care Bears in the Land Without Feelings
-by Joshie Jaxon

We open on a street in Anytown, USA. Donna is sad cause her bestie has to move. Kevin angrily kicks a ball around, proclaiming he won’t do it. He doesn’t care. Cause, childhood issues are all consuming. Forget mortgages, taxes, bills, etc. This is it. We pan up to see god, I mean the cloud keeper, watching from on high. He introduces us to Care-a-Lot.

image

We get an upbeat song that tells us the Care Bears care about us. It also allows them to share the fact that their personalities are based off their names. Funshine spreads a little sunshine. There’s Grumpy Bear for when you feel blue. *pause Hold up, there’s a bear for when you’re sad, even though the Care Bears primary job is to cheer you up and show they care? Alright, I’ll play along. *unpause

image

Back in Care-a-Lot, Kevin’s bitching is so loud and continuous, that it draws the bears attention. They squabble over who will go help, and Tenderheart & Friend Bear win. The go to Earth in their cloud car, and try to tell the little brat, I mean troubled child, that he’ll always have a friend with them. Who cares? Not Kevin. He doesn’t care about anything. I’m finding it hard to sympathize with this kid. Realizing what a hot mess Kevin is, Tenderheart says they’re gonna need some help. They hop into the air, and their cloud car forms around them. Remember that, it’ll be relevant later.

image

Hall of Hearts. All the bears decide to help. They figure if Kevin sees all his new friends, he’ll cheer up. Cause all angsty boys want is colorful bears. Well, I did. I still have three Cheer Bears from over the years. Alright, I withdraw that last bit of snark. Donna tells the group Kevin ran away, cause of course he did. There’s no verbal or logic skills in place yet. Poor Kevin. Life is gonna eat you alive.

The godly cloud keeper tells us Kevin is wandering out of his neighborhood. Oh no! He wanders near a park that happens to have a talking fountain outside. Apparently this version of Earth has talking inanimate objects in it. I checked. No involvement by Disney. The fountain doesn’t care what Kevin does, and I’m inclined to agree with it. Kevin doesn’t listen, and goes into the park. He bitches his way through the whole thing, and winds up in a mysterious land. Someone’s been listening to him. It’s called everyone. Shut up, Kevin!

image

Coldheart Castle. We see the heartless Professor Coldheart. He listens to Kevin’s yammering, and likes it. He has his bipedal frog-like minions get his car, and he follows the sound of Kevin’s self-absorption. Kevin asks about the minions, to which the Professor says they could be his friends, but he doesn’t care about them, so they’re not.

image

We get a snappy musical number telling us all about Prof Frosty Britches. He offers Kevin a ride, and sets him on his lap. I’m getting mixed feelings about which lesson exactly we’re supposed to be learning here. I’m thinking there should be some stranger danger involved, but Kevin can’t get past himself to realize he’s in trouble, and off they go.

image

The Care Bears reach the park, and the fountain doesn’t care what happened to Kevin, but points them in the direction he traveled. The Bears ask the rocks, trees, and flowers about Kevin. They don’t like little boys, or little bears either. Donna tells the tale of a land ruined by a dark man, that became The Land Without Feelings. The Bears can fix that, with an upbeat musical number.  A verse or two in and everything remembers about the feelings they used to have, and tell the group what happens when children meet the Professor.

image

At Coldheart Castle, the Professor offers Kevin a drink, that looks like a fizzy green beer. Time to grow up, Kevin! Today, you become a man. Mazal Tov! That would be pretty dark for 1983. Luckily, Kevin only turns into one of the frog minions, as the professor calls him a slave. In the park, the tree says that the children are never seen or heard from again. A pack of bears split off to go find Kevin, leaving Donna to state that she hopes the professor doesn’t know they’re coming.

image

Very next scene, telescopic POV view of the park exit with none other than Coldheart watching. He comments on the Bears’ cuteness, then breaks the fourth wall to say, “disgusting, isn’t it?” Yes, professor. Yes, it is. Our fuzzy wuzzies start to make their way through Coldheart’s kingdom, using their special tummy powers; Including, but not limited to, heart shaped lily pads, a rainbow bridge, a heart balloon, and heart spikes to scale the walls. Why they didn’t just summon their cloud cars to avoid the terrain is beyond me. Seriously, I can’t think of a single reason they didn’t use what was at their disposal for traveling great distances. Oh well.

Conveniently, the professor has defenses for each one of them. I do love a well prepared villain. The one thing he wasn’t prepared for was Wish Bear. She wishes all of them to the castle. If only they’d let her do that at the beginning, but they didn’t. If only she’d wished Kevin wasn’t such a snot, but he was. Hey, even Care Bear magic has limits. It does manage to teleport them all to the castle. Time for a showdown! Tenderheart tells Coldheart that he needs a lesson in caring. It’s time for, cue epic music, the Care Bear Stare! Rainbow love, stars, flowers, and clovers change all of the frogs back into children. Kevin, finally realizing things can always be worse, hugs Donna, as the professor slinks away.

image

-JJ

Glorious Girls of Gaming – Tifa Lockhart

-by Bevianna Bones

image

Bartender. Martial Artist. Anarchist. Ametuer Photographer. Babysitter of the year. Professional Piner. Glorious Tatas. Pin-up girl of the cyber generation. I’m talking of course about my favorites lady of the Final Fantasy universe, Tifa Lockhart. 

Purveyor of Tifa’s 7th Heaven, the hippest tavern in the Sector 7 Slums of Midgar, Tifa is always there to open a door to your rebel faction. She will babysit your children, and even allow them to run the bar while you attend to your business of anarchy. She will hold you to any and all promises you made in your childhood. She also works part-time as tour guide and souvenir photographer in Nibleheim.

image

Although she was once beaten out of becoming the newest bride of Don Corneo by a homely blonde girl, she still can be found poking around the Honey Bee Inn from time to time. Or so they say. She will smash and grind things if one is not careful. No need for speculation.

image

All joking aside, I sincerely do heart our dear miss Lockhart. She is one of the first females we find in the role-playing genre that not only can keep up with the boys when taken to full limit break status, she can open up a can of whoop-ass. No longer were female characters doomed to be the weakling healer you were forced to keep in your party!! That job was saved for Aerith.

image

She is one of the most popular FF characters amongst angsty teenage girls, inspiring loads and loads of bad fanfic. Not since the last time a teenage girl sat in her bedroom quietly listening to Taylor Swift songs by candlelight and drawing pictures of Marius and Eponine together at last has there been such inspiration. 

image

Tifa/Cloud/Zack, Tifa/Aerith, Tifa/Barret, and may the gods help us, even Tifa/Nanaki and  Tifa/Pussypuff (otherwise known by the given names Red XIII and Cait Sith respectivly.) Examples of such found below.

image

Alternatively, she is equally as popular with the male gaming sector, because she has awesome combat skills.

image

Eat your Lockhart out Lara Croft!!

*I would have inserted another horrible fanfic picture here, unfortunately doing and image search involving the aforementioned grouping of words lead to things unsuited to be published on this website*

Tifa has appeared in numerous games outside of FF7. She had appearance in the FF7 prequels Crisis Core, and Before Crisis; as well as briefly in Dirge of Cerebus.  She is an unlockable fighter in Ehrgeiz, Kingdom Hearts II, and even has DLC as a character model for Little Big Planet 2.

Next time you fire up your PHS and are thinking about taking a party out to the Gold Saucer for the Chocobo races, ditch the bitch in the pink dress and take my girl Tifa along; one of the strongest, hottest, independent chicks in gaming.

image

-BB

Glorious Girls of Gaming – Eiko Carol

by Joshie Jaxon

Glorious Girls of Gaming – Eiko Carol

image

Now, before I even start, I know what you’re thinking; Joshie, Eiko isn’t glorious, she’s just a stupid kid. Give me a few moments of your time, and I’m sure I can make a believer out of you. If not, I apologize in advance for wasting your time. We good? Alrighty then.

It’s true that Eiko doesn’t have the leading lady appeal of Aerith, Rinoa, or Garnet. She doesn’t have a royal title like Peach or Zelda. Eiko most likely will never hold her own series spanning three decades like Samus. Why then am I devoting my post, and your valuable time, to her, instead of one of the ladies listed above? The answer is simple, I feel for her.

image

When we meet Eiko, she is the only citizen of Madain Sari, the lost village of summoners. She lives alone, with only moogles to keep her company. Kupo! Sorry, had to. Eiko is only six years old, and is living on her own. She knows how to cook, and take care of others, despite her young age. Yes, she’s a bit clingy, and kind of a brat, but she’s had to rely on herself. She has no parents, or grandparents to teach her right from wrong. Again, it’s just the moogles.

image

She steals from the citizens on Conde Petie, and you can’t really blame her. She has no way to earn money, as the Outer Continent has no real job market for a six year old. At least I assume there are child labor laws, I could be wrong, although the shopkeepers of FF IX all seemed to be adults. When she meats Zidane and the others, she is so starved for human contact, wait, is Zidane human, he has a tail, is he saiyan, never mind, she takes the party to her village and tries to make friends, and even get a boyfriend. Again, raised by moogles. Not exactly her fault. All she knows is their love, kupo!

image

Even though she is only six, the kid has power. She’s able to summon four different Eidolons on her own. Not only that, but when she combined her power with Garnet’s, they were able to call Alexander, which was strong enough to stand up against Bahamut. She gladly stands with her newfound friends to defend the world from Kuja. Not just power, she’s got guts.

image

As I mentioned, Eiko speaks to me, as I’m sure she does to a part of all of us. Look past the surface, and there is a scared child that just wants somewhere to belong. A person or a place to make us feel safe, and to call home. Even when we find a group of friends, are we ever able to truly connect, or do we wander, alone in a crowd, the sole member of our kind? Longing to find another like us, but knowing we never might. As Eiko says, “I don’t wanna be alone anymore.” She has the strength to keep looking, and finds friends greater than what she could have imagined, and to me, that’s pretty glorious.

image

-JJ