C. G. McGinn


Ramblings about Books and Writing

Filtering by Category: Comic Books

How about I give you the finger...

...and you give me my phone call.

Apple released new emoji's today. Now you can give your friends the finger. Ladies, that jerk from college who to this day manages to drunk-dial you, can now be met with a close-to-real-life retort.

I watched that fanedit of the 2nd and 3rd Matrix movies mentioned in my last post. I liked it. I feel it addressed some of the main complaints Samson and I had about those films. It certainly isn't perfect, but it may be my go-to when the Marathon Matrix bug hits me. For me the only way to watch The Matrix series (not the movie but the entire franchise as a whole) is to watch in this order:

1. The Second Renaissance

2. A Detective Story

3. The Matrix

4. Kid's Story (Optional)

5. Final Flight of the Osiris

6. The Matrix Revolutions: The Epic Edition by GeminiGod

Note: I have another fanedit that incorporates the the live action scenes from the Enter the Matrix video game into the 2nd and 3rd movies. I haven't watched it yet, though the gist of it is similar to the above fanedit. It's possible this version may be better and take the Number 6 spot. Only time will tell, though you should expect a rebuttal to this post either way.

The Editor will have my manuscript for Hidden Mountain by this time tomorrow. It goes without saying that I hope she likes it. But moreover, I hope she beats the hell out of it. I know it needs work. I've done all I can for it. It needs a fresh set of eyes and a head full of ideas.

I started reading, Gail Simone's Batgirl. It's dark and fits in well with Scott Snyder's Batman. Yeah, I know I'm a little late to the party. Sue me.

I'm not proud to admit this, but I never read V for Vendetta. This also goes without saying but it's so much better than the movie.



Welcome to my lair...not that I'm some sort of animal...

...Or maybe I am...

Breaking the format for this entry as it's been a while and I need to get back into the swing of things. 

Books worth reading:

Master of Doom by David Kushner

Skip the audio version. All things nerd-culture have a raging hard-on for Wil Wheaton. I, thankfully, do not. Tips for reading a non-fiction book: No, it's not OK to put on a British accent when quoting something from the Guardian. Yes, I realize it's a British newspaper. It doesn't matter. Would you put on a stereotypical Japanese accent when quoting something out of Yomiuri Shimbun? No, no you wouldn't. Also, don't put on a Joseph Lieberman or Bill Clinton voice when quoting them either. It might also help not to sound like such a damn fanboy when reading the rest of the pros. Just few tips from me to you.

The Gunslinger by Stephen King

It was on sale so I picked it up cheap. I'm a fan of the Dark Tower series, especially the first 4 books. King went back and updated the Gunslinger in 2003 and the end result was a really polished piece of work. I read an interview with him not long ago. Turns out the Dark Tower books were never edited. O.o I know, right! If you're looking for something from King that isn't hard horror, and more dark fantasy/sci-fi, then give this one a solid read.

3 books by JD Robb

Ok, so the Wife got me into this. I didn't think I'd like them, but they're pretty damn good. For those of you who don't know, JD Robb and Nora Roberts are the same person. No, I haven't started reading romance books, at least, not yet. The "In Death" series takes place in a Blade Runner-esk future New York City where drugs and prostitution are both legal and corporations buy planets and build fancy space station resorts. The main character is a detective. The books are mysteries. Since the author got her success in romance, the sex scenes are well done and pull no punches. Where some authors might 'fade to black' or gloss over the sex, Robb/Roberts dives right in, and it makes for both good storytelling and something different in what can be a formulaic genre.


What else is going on:

Got one of the main characters from my novel preserved for posterity. Here's another great piece drawn by Ben Dunn. He did a great job! I really like how the pic came out. He'll have my business for quite a while and if he's up for it, there are 10-plus characters in the novel who would look great next to this one, in my office.

And speaking of my office

Here's mine!

Here's mine!

My Father-In-Law is the best. He realizes that sometime I just need to get away from the Wife, and now I can! (However, what you don't see in the picture is that the wall behind me is only half-finished, so I won't be doing much hiding).

Seriously though, it's good to have my own space, for writing, for gaming, to just chill. When the computer was in the living room, it was easy for both me and the Wife to zone out on the computer/tv. With the office, it helps us appreciate the time we spend together, in-part, because there's a clearly defined border for the time spent apart. I don't know if I'm making much sense, but, bottom line: it's a good thing.

Ninja High School #176

Reading Books:

I've written about Ninja High School before. I think it's awesome that it holds the Number 1 slot in the Top 5 Influences to my Writing. It's in a category shared with Stephen King's Dark Tower Series, Kurt Vonnegut Jr.'s Cat's Cradle, The Matrix, and Big Trouble in Little China ("We really shook the pillars of Heaven, didn't we, Wang?")

There's something awesome about the 'high school kids with exceptional strengths/powers' genre. TV Tropes calls this the, Academy of Adventure and it's a genre with significant appeal and seems to work across many different mediums. The focus tends to be on the institution, however were the students in attendance of said institution normal disillusioned youth, the story would be over on page 1, issue 1, episode 1. No, what goes hand-in-hand with the school for wizards, gifted youngsters, and sailor-girls blessed with moon power is that they are, by their own right, exceptional.

The original run of Ninja High School has this in seemingly every character with the exception of the main character, who is an average American teenage boy. He plays the part of 'damsel in distress' to two striking female leads, one with exceptional skills in martial arts, raised in a family of ninjas, while the other is the princess to an alien race of skunk people. As the series progresses, this normal teen encounters other, larger-than-life characters, both friend and foe, and eventually shows both bravery and courage despite a lack of superhuman ability. 

Possible Spoilers lay ahead. The series has been rebooted. And it's been rebooted in similar fashion to the more recent Star Trek films, staring Chris Pine, and Sylar. When the first film came out, I was not a fan because they literally erased everything that happened before, with a major disruption to the space-time continuum. And who, who I ask you would want to live in a world without Captain Picard!?!?! But I understand why they went in this direction though, and I think it's the same path Ben Dunn and Steven Ross are taking Ninja High School.

In both cases what is gained is creative freedom. When a familiar world is made new again, one has the ability to create without having to worry about the years of past continuity. What NHS has over Star Trek is this idea of multiple dimensions that are accessible through both magical and scientific means. This allows for stories to not only exist within the context of the rebooted universe, but can also pull from other dimensional plains that the long time reader will find familiar, and perhaps even a little nostalgic.

This first issue had a Sliders vibe to it. Remember Sliders? Great show. The whole premise was about 4 lost interdenominational travelers trying to get back to their version of Earth. Along the way they met their doppelgangers and some very cool 'what if' scenarios. The rules of continuity were fast and loose because each episode rebooted the gaming console that was the known universe.

I see very good things ahead for Ninja High School: Reloaded (that's what I'm calling it anyway). The potential is there for fresh new stories while maintaining the would-be hero and superhuman heroines that brought so much appeal to the original series run. I'm really looking forward to where Dunn and Ross take us.

On Writing:

Writing for Ninja High School!

Just kidding. I wish.

Seriously though, I'm writing a lot of new scenes for my novel. I'm not paying too much attention to writing chronologically (which is how I tend to write). I'm finding that I have a lot of possibilities open to me and seem to be stressing about how and if I should change some major plot points in the story that will deviate significantly from the First Draft.

Here's what I do know:

There will be one central character in this story and the story will be told from her perspective. The development and thoughts of the 2nd main character will be revealed in a series of letters/journal entries that he dictates as audio recordings. 

Like in The Rook, even my minor characters are somewhat larger than life. They all have compelling stories that should be told. I'm thinking that each subsequent story in this series will be told/viewed through the eyes of one of these characters. Everyone gets a book!

I've started proofreading Part 1. Even if I'm changing the perspective, I have a lot of solid writing here that could possibly be used in other stories, or sections of this story. It's also a good way for me to gain some perspective, as I lost a lot of that during the extra busy month of June.

Also, without getting into all the details, as it would sound like bragging, I'm currently in possession of a Surface Pro 3, so I've been able to proof the Word doc of Part 1, using the Inking feature. So I've been able to write in red digital pen all over my document. It's working out really well.