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The Battle: G.I. Joe Tribute Shirt from Nerduo

July 30th, 2009 by D.Billy

Those of us who grew up watching the G.I. Joe cartoon series and its associated public service announcements in the 1980s — many of whom are dying a little on the inside every time we see another preview trailer for G.I Joe: The Rise of Cobra — are well aware that “Knowing Is Half The Battle”.  But what about the other half?  Well, design team Nerduo (my pal Mike Essl and his pal Robb Irrgang) have taken the liberty of breaking down “The Battle” for us in its statistical entirety with this easy-to read pie chart, and slapped that nugget of knowledge on a limited edition t-shirt, which is available on their website:

The Battle

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Ten Spider-Man Appearances That Will Never Hit Hollywood

May 2nd, 2007 by Jeff Simmermon

Long after humans succumb to self-induced extinction, alien anthropologists are going to visit Earth and come to an obvious conclusion: Spider-Man was our God. Even if you discount the unholy rotten truckloads of Slurpee cups and action figures used to market the films, Spider-Man’s so much a part of our collective consciousness that he may as well be a God — we use the story to tell moral fables and … forget it. Just forget it.

I was trying to put an intellectual spin on everything here, but the fact is that I’m a nerd and way more stoked about Spider-Man 3 than an adult should be. The whole point of life is to be excited about stuff, as excited as you can be, and I’m trying my damnedest to access the passion I felt for Spider-Man as a kid. It’s working pretty well, too. So instead of inflating this post with a bunch of pseudo-intellectual nonsense, I’ll get to the nerdy fun.

Here’s ten incarnations of Spider-Man that will never, ever make it into a movie:

Japanese Spider Man

The Japanese Spider-Man TV show aired in the late 70′s and did what Japanese culture does best: took a pre-existing idea and made it completely insane. Check out the opening credits:

In the following clip, several samurai led by a man with a beer can for a face have captured Spider-man and are menacing him with their swords. A Japanese mariachi appears on the hillside, strums a few chords and hoses the bad guys down with a stream of bullets emanating from his guitar, which naturally doubles as a machine gun. Spider-man escapes to thrilling music, using his spider-like abilities to strike some poses and rapidly climb a large dirt pile. Our hero bests several bad guys with a few well-timed kicks and calls for his sports car over his wrist radio. The man with the beer can face grows to Godzilla size and since this is 70′s Japan, low-budget Voltron shows up to save the day.

Check it out.

Spider-Man in the Bible

spiderbible2

It’s not really Christianity that’s so bad, it’s just that Pat Robertson and Ned Flanders have pretty much given it a bad rap. I found a couple folks on Flickr that are using Spider-Man to tell Bible stories. One of them’s definitely making fun of Ned Flanders Christians … the other guy isn’t.

Spider-Man Ganesh

Why is it weak when Christians co-opt Spider-Man to tell Bible stories, but when Hindu folks make a Spider-Man Ganesh it’s cool? I’m not 100 percent on this, but I think it’s because white people are just kinda lame.

Spiderman Ganesh

Bollywood Spider-Woman, Superman

In this clip from a Bollywood classic, Superman and a woman in a Spider-Man costume fly over the city kissing, pausing to break funky dance moves in a city park, fight bad guys and celebrate their victory with more funky dance moves and in-flight smooching.

Spider-Man Latte

First the Virgin Mary on a grilled cheese sandwich, now it’s

Spider-Man Tag Teams With Lou Albano

Spiderman, Superman, Batman, Lou Albano

Spider-Man’s fought alongside some pretty colorful people in his day, but none quite so colorful as WWE Superstar Lou Albano. In this Indian comic, Spidey teams up with Lou Albano, Superman, Batman and large wizard who looks like Moses to save the day. Unfortunately, an evil wizard turns Lou Albano into an violent giant and an Indian superhero is forced to kill him by force-feeding him some deadly snakes.

My Son Sean, on his 7th Birthday, with “Spiderman”

I found this story really touching:

I met up with lady who use to work in the costume department at whichever movie studio did Spiderman stuff. She was able to get hold of some Spiderman films and made a costume for her son to wear. It was pretty good, except his glasses showed underneath the eye cut outs … As a single mom at the time, a spiderman Birthday Party for that many kids was a big deal for my wallet, and I was so hoping Sean would like it.

Jay Pinkerton’s Spider-Man Comic Remix
Pinkerton Spiderman Comics

Pinkerton writes for Cracked Magazine, among other publications. His remixed Spider-Man newspaper strips are really funny .. or funny enough for fifteen minutes or so, anyway.

3 Dev Adam

Loosely translated to “3 Mighty Men,” this Turkish film delivers the stange, alright. El Santo and Captain America team up against a villainous Spider-man with glasses and giant fluffy eyebrows. He instructs some gangsters to bury a woman up to her neck in sand, puts rodents into a tube aimed at some guy’s face (a la 1984) and has a neglected physique that makes your IT guy look like Hercules.

This review from I-Mockery sums it up best.

That about wraps it up … if you have anything else, leave it in the comments.

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That Saddle, It Feels Mighty Fine

February 22nd, 2007 by Jeff Simmermon

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I flew to LA with my writing partner a while back to pitch an idea for a Web-based TV show. More about that here, but suffice it to say that despite it being politely rejected almost immediately, we got some good advice and I had probably one of the most exhilarating experiences I’ve had in my career as a writer.

My partner and I vowed to get back on the horse, and saddle up we have.

We’ve spent the past few weeks tearing out virtual hair out to re-craft a treatment for our story, one that reads “funny” immediately, as opposed to one that relies on gobs of wacky backstory to explain itself.

Or, in our case, gobs of wacky backstory delivered by me in a nervous monotone, too scared to look at the development exec but too proud to look at the floor. This results in a flat delivery from a bald guy in a necktie with a thousand-yard stare that would make the Son of Sam say “C’mon man, lighten up, jeez.”

So yeah, the two things I learned were: you got to SELL the funny, right there on the paper. And during the pitch, lighten up a bit your damn self.

That’s what a story treatment is, as I understand it: a two-page document that encapsulates the spirit of the show and all its characters, written magnetically and simply for people who are, in all actuality, too busy to read it themselves. Here’s one for “Freaks and Geeks,” a doomed and fantastic TV show that was also too smart for its audience. We’ve been pretty much using this as a Bible, really. The series Bible itself is pretty fascinating, too.

And that “as I understand it,” that’s the doozy right there. I didn’t even THINK about any of this stuff before January. January, 2007. So yeah, I have no idea what I’m doing. We’re just winging it here. Totally making it up as we go along. It’s terrifying and frustrating when there’s nobody to turn to, but sometimes, just sometimes, it’s jsut awesome enough to make everything turn four inches tall except us and this towering pile of golden copy … which will become compost in 24 hours. You gotta kill your darlings, man, and today’s golden egg is tomorrow’s shit-smeared goose fetus.

People have been saying to us “Why don’t you guys just make it yourselves and put the thing on YouTube? You know, generate some buzz?” And those people, they have a solid point. But I mean, look. I’m not an actor or a director. Yet. I just got into this in January, and my partner, he’s not a seasoned pro, either. We don’t have a camera, editing software, any of that stuff. But we got laptops and meager enough connections to pitch through. So to our way of thinking, why work for free when you can try to get paid along the way to developing it yourself?

I mean, shit. YouTube and the rest of Web 2.0 is making a lot of money off the great mirage of user-generated content. And to some extent, that’s fine. I mean, I don’t get a dime for this blog. But one day people are gonna realize it and say “man, we’re a bunch of suckers.” And how awesome would it be to get paid for writing now, rather than later?

That mindset, I think has been my greatest helper AND hindrance in my writing career. On the one hand, I get paid. Sometimes. On the other, I might not go out on limbs that I should.

Anyway. After working as an extra for my friend Meredith’s stellar Web-based TV show ‘Defenders of Stan’ this last weekend, my beat got turned right around. Please, if you have a few minutes, go check out the shows. They’re only 5 minutes apiece and they’re AWESOME. And you know what? These guys are just DOING it, for real, seat of the pants, not holding their breath for a damn thing, and it’s working out well for them.

That’s right: they’re becoming very successful by simply doing the exact opposite of what my partner and I think is a good idea.

So we started writing scripts this week. We’re moving forward again, and CHRIST is it ever cool. I forget, on a weekly basis, how much I love writing. Maybe blogging makes me a little tired sometimes. It’s a freaking treadmill. But just WRITING, creating stuff, making jokes, telling stories … there’s nothing like it in the world. One of my writing partners and I cranked out two 5-minute scripts this week. They’re rough. They might not be funny, and they probably completely suck. Just pixels on the hard drive, knowing you put in a solid couple days and made yourself laugh doing it … again, nothing like it in the world.

Now I’m exhausted and giddy. I’ve been consuming bourbon and coffee in a 1:1 ratio all night and it’s time to lie down and let them fight it out. Tomorrow, we’re going to talk. We’ve yet to cram these tattered little rags with stories on them into a real story structure, but I feel awesome all the same.

Now if I could just get PAID to feel like this …

This link will take you to a pretty awesome tutorial on the basics of story structure for Web video. It’s a fascinating read, and goes a long way toward explaining why some short films are worth re-watching and forwarding to your friends, and why a LOT of “user-generated content” in the video-sharing world completely blows.

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