In an effort to teach VRON the true meaning of Christmas, Sean takes her to the North Pole. There they encounter a penguin who claims to be Santa. Then there’s singing, philosophizing, and some adventures in time and space.
Monday, December 22, 2014
Thursday, December 18, 2014
The Meaning of Christmas, Part 4: The True Meaning of Christmas
The Meaning of Christmas, Part Four: The True Meaning of Christmas
As Sean and VRON race to flee the wrath of Santa Penguin, they encounter a mysterious stranger claiming to know the true meaning of Christmas. But even if they learn his secret, how will they make it home from the North Pole?
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
The Meaning of Christmas, Part 3: The Naughty List
When last we saw Sean and VRON, they had traveled to the North Pole to discover the true meaning of Christmas. There they met a penguin claiming to be Santa Claus who told them about Santa and the story of the first Christmas.
Now, the tension rises as Santa Penguin explains some of his darker mythic origins. Will Sean and VRON leave the North Pole with the secret of Christmas? Will they every leave the North Pole at all?
The Meaning of Christmas, Part 2: The Story of Christmas
When last we saw Sean and VRON, they had traveled to the North Pole to discover the true meaning of Christmas. There they met a penguin claiming to be Santa Claus.
In this chapter, Santa Penguin tries to teach VRON and Sean the classic Christmas Story.
Sunday, December 14, 2014
TVAMD Christmas Card 2014, Part 1!
In an effort to teach VRON the true meaning of Christmas, Sean takes her to the North Pole. There they encounter a penguin who claims to be Santa. There's also some singing involved. Part 1 of 4.
Saturday, December 6, 2014
TV Ate My Dinner Episode 236: Halloween, Part 4!
Sean, Gary, and Lynn return to finish their Halloween retrospective by discussing the Rob Zombie films, and you won’t want to miss the shocking twist ending! Who will survive?
Sunday, November 30, 2014
TV Ate My Dinner Episode 235: Halloween, Part 3!
Sean, Gary, and Lynn discuss the evolution of Michael Myers in Halloween H20 and Resurrection.
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
TV Ate My Dinner Episode 234: Halloween, Part 2!
Sean, Andrew, Gary, and Lynn return to discuss The Return, Revenge, and Curse of Michael Myers in Halloween 4, 5, and 6.
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
A few Questions About Interstellar...
Saw Christopher Nolan's Interstellar this weekend. It was amazing and I really like it, but after breaking down the story I have just a few questions (SPOILER ALERT):
How did humanity have so many wars that we no longer need a military? How did that happen? Did the global food shortage prompt this shift in priorities? How? Aren't wars usually caused by shortages of resources?
Are there no police in the future either? Why can they just go around setting fields on fire and stealing people's families with a tire iron?
Why can't they build MRI machines? Because everyone is a farmer now?
If everyone is a farmer, what is college for? Why does anyone go to college?
Where do their taxes go? Secretly funding NASA's program of sending people into other galaxies with no defined parameters for mission success?
Wouldn't a massive government program to fix the Earth or synthesize okra and corn have been more economically feasible than a plan to send the entire human race to another galaxy?
Why did the gravitational anomalies cause Cooper to crash? What was the significance of most of them?
Why did Cooper leave NASA to become a farmer? Because his wife died? If they kept their funding in secret, why didn't NASA just ask him to stay?
Who was going to pilot the Endurance before Cooper showed up?
If Cooper was the best pilot NASA ever had, why didn't they just call him up and ask him to be on the Endurance crew in the first place? Or in the Lazarus missions?
How did Cooper know about the Lazarus missions? Did they start while he was still at NASA or were they public knowledge?
How much preparation was done for the Endurance mission after Cooper showed up? How long after he stumbled into the secret NASA base did they shoot him into outer space?
If the future human race controls time and space to the point where they can create a wormhole to another galaxy, why didn't they send back the gravity equation that would allow the human race to use it and escape?
Why do they all assume an intelligence was behind the construction of the wormhole when no direct contact or communication had been made outside of the binary message Cooper received from himself? If wormholes are not naturally occurring, why are they scientifically assumed to exist in a time where there is no technology remotely capable of creating them?
Why did the 5th dimensional future people create a wormhole that only led to 3 viable planets, 2 of which border a black hole?
If Cooper so easily accepted the binary message that led him to the NASA base, why did he so casually dismiss the Morse Code message urging him to stay?
Why do the Endurance crew decide to investigate Miller's planet first, the planet closest to the black hole, knowing that the time shift would make it almost impossible to transport humanity to that planet? Wouldn't gravitational problems also make it far too problematic to transport the entire human race to this planet?
If Miller was killed only minutes after arriving and all her data destroyed, what useful information could she have possibly sent back to lead the Endurance crew to risk everything to explore her planet first?
Why didn't Brand want to go to Edmunds' planet first? If love was her compass, why did she wait until their initial failure at Miller's planet to decide that going to Edmunds' planet was what she wanted to do best?
Why is Cooper the only member of the crew interested in saving humanity? Is he the only one with actual ties to the human race?
Why is everyone so quick to fall back on Plan B when it could literally be accomplished almost any time and on auto pilot? They could fall back on Plan B after exhausting just about all other resources, so why are they so interested in prioritizing it above a plan that would actually accomplish something?
How could they hope to cultivate an entire colony of human embryos on the target planet? They only sent 1 person and 1 robot to each planet and the Endurance crew consisted of 3 men and 1 woman, plus two robots; How could five people and 2 robots raise 150 babies?
How would a sampling of 150 babies insure genetic diversity enough to create a thriving new off-shoot of humanity? If they're attempting to re-build the human race, why does the crew only consist of English-speaking Americans?
Why is there a Plan B at all? Wouldn't preserving the acquired knowledge and history of the human race be more of a legacy than depositing 150 babies on a planet with 1 astronaut and a robot and expecting them to evolve into an extension of our culture?
Why didn't NASA send a man and a woman to each site with a colony's worth of embryos? Especially in cases where two of their astronauts were in love, wouldn't that be a better foundation for seeding humanity in an alien environment?
Why didn't Romily freeze himself with a timer that would wake him up every five years if he was afraid of sleeping forever? Why did he just stay awake for 23 years because he had given up on the others? Why didn't he ever consider just going home?
Why didn't anybody even mention that they could return for Doyle if the mission were successful, since years of their time would be seconds to him? Why did they assume he drowned when he was wearing a spacesuit?
Their entire reasoning for going to these planets was based on communication they received from them, so why did the Endurance lose the ability to communicate with Earth the second they crossed through the wormhole?
Why did the Lazarus mission send humans on a suicide mission to collect samples and communicate their findings back to Earth? Why couldn't robots do that?
If Murph is so mad about her father leaving, why does she dedicate her life to helping Brand solve the Gravity equation? Why does he let her, knowing it's all a sham?
Why couldn't Cooper tell Murph the world was in danger? Didn't Brand basically tell her anyway? If she worked with him to save the planet, then doesn't that mean someone told her? And didn't Cooper know that, since he saw on the tapes that she was working on the project?
Why does Professor Brand feel like a failure and make a deathbed confession that Plan A was never meant to work? If he finished his equation years before and was confident that Plan A would never work, then why does he feel like he failed? Shouldn't he feel like he succeeded, since his goal of duping astronauts into seeding alien planets with human embryos actually was working?
Why did Brand think that humans wouldn't sacrifice themselves to seed alien planets with human life, when all the members of the Lazarus mission had readily agreed to do just that for basically no reason? And if the Endurance already had everything they needed to succeed at Plan B, why couldn't the Lazarus probes have all been sent with the same resources? Couldn't they have seeded every planet they found with human embryos, if that was the only real objective of their mission? And again, couldn't robots have accomplished that? Wouldn't the astronauts have been even more willing to go on the Lazarus missions if they were all given the same odds of survival, instead of dooming all but one on a plan that was unnecessarily exclusive?
Why weren't the Lazarus astronauts simply instructed to put themselves in cryosleep after finishing their mission and await pickup, which totally could have happened if all went well? And isn't this exactly what happened for Mann?
Why was Mann so lonely? If he learned everything he needed to know about the planet pretty early on, why didn't he just put himself in cryosleep and hope for the best? Why did he remain awake until the temptation to trick the others to rescue him became irresistible?
What did NASA do to vet the information sent back by the probes? Mann only tells them specifics when they get there, so is the entire Endurance mission based on him hitting one button that he could have just as easily hit by accident? What would they have done if all the Lazarus astronauts had hit the button on their planets, as they almost certainly would have done? Shouldn't they have insisted on data transmitted by the mission robots to prevent someone from doing exactly what Mann did?
Why was Mann aware of the futility of Plan A? If Brand thought that the astronauts would be demotivated by the prospect of not being rescued, why would he send the Lazarus astronauts to remote planets to test the atmosphere, then tell them their only chance of survival was to say that their planet was the best candidate to be the New Earth?
Why was Mann's robot rigged to explode if accessed by another human? How did Mann know he wouldn't be in the pod or near it when someone triggered it? What if they had parked the lander in the blast range of the explosion? Why are the robots rigged to explode at all? Is there no way to simply wipe their system memory, like smashing their hard drives with a rock?
Is Romily the blackest guy in scifi? Why was he the one who had to age 20 years while they were on the wave planet and also the one who blew up?
Why doesn't anybody notice that Mann is a creepy sociopath?
Why do they send Cooper, the pilot and engineer, to check out the atmosphere of the planet, something he has no qualifications to judge? Why doesn't anyone notice when his transmitter stops transmitting? Why wouldn't they send one of their two robots to collect samples and analyse the atmosphere?
Given the planet's limited gravity, why was Mann's plan to push Cooper to his death?
Why didn't Mann know how to dock with the Endurance? Why didn't he know that blowing the hatch would kill him? Wasn't he the best of them?
Why isn't there cemetery technology in the future? Is everyone just buried in the back yard?
Where was Murph going to take her brother's family to keep them safe? Why was this the first time anyone had ever heard of dust cough being fatal? Does only NASA have doctors now? Why?
Why is solving the Gravity equation helpful if Professor Brand never actually built a centrifugal space station capable of transplanting the entire human race to another galaxy? Why would he build it if he never thought the Gravity equation would help? What exactly did he build that would accomplish the task of transporting all of humanity through the wormhole?
Why couldn't NASA build a fleet of ships to make the one-way trip to various potential host planets? Or even just a few ships? Why was this an all or nothing proposition?
How did they think TARS would be able to transmit useful data from inside the black hole when not even light can escape a black hole? And if he could get useful data from outside it, couldn't they have done that when they went to Miller's planet? And even if TARS could send data from inside the black hole, wouldn't the time shift cause the data to reach them years too late to use it?
Cooper learns that he used the teseract to communicate with himself and his daughter in the past; if he was the one who sent himself to NASA and provided Murph with the Gravity equation, why didn't the future people from the 5th dimension do any of that? How did they expect NASA to discover the wormhole without telling them what it was or what to do with it? How did NASA discover it?
How is Cooper able to communicate with TARS in the 5th dimensional teseract? If he can't send radio transmissions through any of the points in time he can physically touch through the bookcase, why can he talk across the void to TARS just because they both have walkie talkies?
What the hell happened to TARS? He's speaking like he's in contact with the 5th dimensional future people but he's in radio range of Cooper; why can't they just talk directly to Cooper? If they created the pocket in spacetime for Cooper to access Murph's room, why couldn't they also put TARS there so he could send the equation to the watch instead of having to tediously relay it to Cooper?
If love is what makes it possible for Cooper to connect to the room and to Murph, why is it so hard for him to get through to her or himself or anyone?
Why does Murph not take the "ghost" that sent her father into outer space as encouragement that a greater power is at work? Why did she lose faith so quickly and so completely?
If you controlled the gravity of a room enough to knock books off a shelf in Morse code or make dust fall in lines that spell cryptic messages in binary, couldn't you just write messages in the dust or with a pencil or on a laptop? Murph says she made attempts to communicate with the "ghost"; why didn't Cooper ever visit one of those moments and actually communicate back? In the future he's aware that she discovered the Morse Code, so why not use that to send her more useful messages?
TARS says the future people won't allow Cooper to change the past, but isn't that exactly what they're doing? And if they can control time and space, couldn't they have put him back on the other side of the wormhole moments after he went in it? Why did he come out through the wormhole at all, when it was the black hole he had traveled through?
Is it just lucky that Cooper emerged on the other side of the wormhole where people would find him? If not,why couldn't he have been deposited somewhere safer, like back on Earth?
If we could terraform a Saturn base with Earth conditions, why didn't we just do that to the other planets in our own solar system? Why didn't we just do that to Earth?
Cooper acts like going through the black hole will cost him hundreds of years of time, but he arrives on the other side maybe 80 years later; what is the time differential in the black hole? Why was there any at all, since he spent most of that time in a timeless spaceless teseract unbound by all laws of physics?
Would old Murph really just send her dad away after waiting a lifetime to see him? Wouldn't he want to meet his grandchildren and great grandchildren? And wouldn't they want to meet him, seeing as how his return was apparently public knowledge?
Is Cooper just allowed to take a spaceship and fly it through the wormhole? Wouldn't resources be even more limited now that humanity is spread across the universe and re-building? Why is the wormhole even still there?
What if Edmunds was still alive on the planet and he and Brand were happy there? Wouldn't Cooper have felt like an ass just dropping in on them? Why doesn't he even think about saving Doyle, who's still only been on Miller's planet for a couple of days?
Friday, October 31, 2014
TV Ate My Dinner Episode 233: Halloween, Part 1!
In this year’s Halloween retrospective, Sean, Andrew, Gary, and Lynn dissect the franchise that started the silent stalker phenomenon! In the first part of this in-depth series they discuss the first three Halloween films.
Sunday, September 7, 2014
TV Ate My Dinner Episode 232: Comic Con!
After Comic Con, Sean, Greg, Andrew, and Lynn took some time to talk about news that came out of San Diego. It’s a little late now, but it doesn’t make a whole lot of difference. This one’s pretty all over the place anyway.
Sunday, August 24, 2014
TV Ate My Dinner Episode 231: Guardians of the Galaxy, Part 2!
Sean, Brooks, Greg, Andrew, Gary, and Lynn conclude their discussion of Guardians of the Galaxy!
Sunday, August 17, 2014
TVAMD Episode 230: Guardians of the Galaxy, Part 1!
Sean, Brooks, Greg, Andrew, Gary, and Lynn team up to talk about the feel-good hit of the summer, Guardians of the Galaxy!
Sunday, August 10, 2014
Friday, August 8, 2014
TV Ate My Dinner Episode 229: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Part 2!
Sean, Andrew, Gary, and Lynn finish their discussion of “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”, with a little talk at the end about other summer movies and TV shows.
Sunday, August 3, 2014
TV on the Throne: A Game of Thrones Podcast - S4E10A - EPILOGUE
In what is absolutely, definitely the last episode we’ll do based on Season 4 of Game of Thrones, Sean, Greg, and Andrew take a few minutes to re-cap the end of this season and how Greg feels about it.
Sunday, July 27, 2014
TV Ate My Dinner Episode 228: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Part 1!
Sean, Andrew, Gary, and Lynn take some time to talk about “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”.
Monday, July 21, 2014
TV Ate My Dinner Episode 227: Transformers 4!
On July 21, 2007, the very first episode of TV Ate My Dinner was published. In their inaugural broadcast, Sean, Brooks, and Greg discussed the very first Transformers movie.
Now, seven years later, Sean, Greg, and Andrew celebrate that anniversary by talking about the latest Transformers movie. And a little Star Wars.
So not that much has changed, really.
Sunday, July 20, 2014
TV on the Throne: A Game of Thrones Podcast - S4E10 - "The Children"
Sean, Andrew, and Gary finally wrap Season 4 with a discussion of the tenth and final episode of the season.
Monday, July 14, 2014
TV on the Throne: A Game of Thrones Podcast - S4E09 - "The Watchers on the Wall"
Sean, Andrew, and Gary finally put episode 8 to rest so the can cover the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones Season 4.
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
TV Ate My Dinner Episode 226: Edge of Tomorrow!
Sean, Greg, and Andrew discuss the new Tom Cruise scifi adventure, Edge of Tomorrow.
Monday, July 7, 2014
TV on the Throne: A Game of Thrones Podcast - S4E08 - "The Mountain and the Viper", Part 3
Sean, Brooks, Andrew, and Gary conclude their discussion of the troubling eighth episode of Game of Thrones Season Four just so we can all get through this season and get on with our lives.
You know it all now, since you’ve probably seen the way this season ends, but listen to how many spot-on predictions Andrew makes as to how it will all turn out. The boy might just be a wizard.
Monday, June 30, 2014
TVAMD Episode 225: Star Wars, Marvel, and More!
Sean, Greg, Andrew, and Gary talk about the new Star Wars, the Marvel cinematic universe and how Ant-man fits into it, DC’s plans for Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and the Justice League movie, the Dark Dungeons adaptation, the Stargate reboot, Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, Quentin Tarantino movies like Django, Kill Bill, and Jackie Brown, Idris Elba as Batman or possibly Green Lantern, Drew Godard’s Daredevil and Sinister Six, Cabin in the Woods, the Cliffhanger remake, CHUD, a possible Shocker remake, an R rated Wolverine movie, Man of Steel, Star Trek, Superman V Capt America, Transformers, and a Kolchak update with Johnny Depp.
Thursday, June 19, 2014
TV on the Throne: A Game of Thrones Podcast - S4E08 – “The Mountain and the Viper”, Part 2
Sean, Andrew, and Lynn take some time to continue the discussion of Oberyn’s fate in the eighth episode of Game of Thrones Season 4.
This is pure therapy. With a bit more harsh language than is usually heard on this program.
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
TVAMD Episode 224: X-men - Days of Future Past!
Sean, Andrew, and Lynn talk time traveling mutants in this discussion that remains more or less centered on X-men: Days of Future Past!
Sunday, June 8, 2014
TV on the Throne: A Game of Thrones Podcast - S4E08 - "The Mountain and the Viper", Part 1!
Sean, Brooks, Andrew, and Gary begin the healing process with the first of a series of discussions deconstructing the 8th episode of Game of Thrones Season 4.
Thursday, June 5, 2014
TVAMD Episode 223: Godzilla!
Sean, Greg, Andrew, and Gary talk Godzilla, comparing this latest incarnation of the classic monster to other American Godzilla productions as well as the original classic. They also contrast it with Gareth Edwards’ lower budget film, Monsters.
Monday, May 26, 2014
TV on the Throne: A Game of Thrones Podcast - S4E07 - "Mockingbird"
Sean, Andrew, and Gary discuss the seventh episode of Game of Thrones Season 4.
Saturday, May 24, 2014
TVAMD Episode 222: Things We learned on the Internet!
Sean, Greg, Andrew, and Lynn discuss things they read on the internet about the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, the latest Battlestar galactica reboot, Bradley Cooper playing Indiana Jones, a Serenity reunion, The New Fantastic Four, and Ghostbusters 3.
With all the time they have left over they talk about the Knights of Badassdom, Star Wars 7, the Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Community, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, Chronicle, How I Met Your Mother, Riddick, and the importance of proper grammar in internet articles.
Monday, May 19, 2014
Star Wars Expanded Universe: Doomworld!
Luke Skywalker put in cameo appearances for the first few issues of the Marvel Star Wars comic that followed the adaptation of the film, finally returning for his first full comic adventure in issue 12, Doomworld! 
But even with all the characters in play, there was still the question of what to do with them. The Empire was obviously the main threat, but they couldn’t feature Darth Vader as the main villain. Vader popped in and out for a while, usually by way of chasing after the Star Warriors in near miss encounters. It took a while for Vader to learn the names of the rebels who blew up the Death Star and shot down his TIE fighter, so at first he was more of a peripheral villain.
Even after Vader is specifically dedicated to chasing down Luke and to a lesser degree Han, he still is mostly a political threat, rarely facing off against our heroes in direct encounters. That leaves them a lot of time to wander around finding new trouble to get into. In the early days of the Marvel comic they mostly squared off against generic smuggler types and found themselves fighting aliens in gladiator pits (which happens so often in science fiction that it’s become a staple of the genre). Han and Chewie were put in a space gladiator pit in both the comic and later on in the newspaper comic strip, so they know more than anybody how often that sort of thing can happen.
A couple of interesting stories to note would be issue 17: Crucible, by Archie Goodwin and Chris Claremont, and issue 24: Silent Drifting by Mary Jo Duffy. No matter what context can be applied in retrospect, these stories were awesome when I was a kid because any opportunity to get a glimpse of the Star Wars back story was exciting. Crucible was just a story about Luke’s past on Tatooine, which we already glimpsed in the comics adaptation and the novelization, so it wasn’t that new and different. Honestly speaking, Luke’s life on Tatooine was intended to be boring and uneventful, so it didn’t make for a riveting yarn.
Silent Drifting was much more exciting, especially if you’re like me and Obi-Wan Kenobi was your favorite Star Wars character. Because if Kenobi was your favorite character, you were dying to know what he was like back when he was a Jedi Knight. And that’s exactly what this story promised to deliver.
I was really excited about this story when I was a kid. Obi-Wan Kenobi was the first Star Wars action figure I can remember owning. My brother recently reminded me that I actually had Chewbacca first, but there’s a reason I don’t remember him as well. We lost him very early on to our universe’s version of the Death Star: My Dad’s lawnmower.
In the later days of the EU, stories like that were forbidden by Lucas Licensing so as not to interfere with the upcoming prequels, but in those days no one knew where Star Wars was headed. Stories could take you anywhere, and with no other properties to fill that void, the Marvel Star Wars comic was usually where those stories got told.
One interesting thing to note about Star Wars in those days is not just how limited the stories were because of how little was actually known about the saga and its future, but also how strictly they adhered to the visual archetypes of the characters. Leia always wore white (mostly the same white gown as in the movie) with her hair in those awkward buns, Luke was either in his Tatooine farm boy outfit or an X-wing flight suit, Han always in a white shirt and black vest. The stories may as well have been acted out with Kenner action figures, because the characters almost never deviated from the costumes they had been given in the film. It wasn’t until The Empire Strikes Back later demonstrated that the characters did indeed make different hair and costume choices that the artists took license to stray from the iconic representations of the characters and give them a little more flexibility.
The strict adherence to the imagery of the first film wasn’t limited to the way the characters were drawn. Writer Archie Goodwin did his best to create stories that were new to the Star Wars universe but familiar within its framework. The rebel base on Yavin was a consistent backdrop for stories even though logic suggested the rebels would be forced to flee once the Empire had learned of its location at the end of the film. Many of the early stories revolved around the Empire’s efforts to blockade and eventually attack the fourth moon of Yavin, leading up to a final showdown in issue 25: The Siege at Yavin.
Besides being the final impetus for the rebels’ flight from Yavin, this story is important because it introduces one of the prominent villains of the frontier era: Baron Orman Tagge. Obsessed with avenging himself against Darth Vader for blinding him, Baron Tagge has a plan to use his company’s resources to end the rebellion and shame Vader, thus swaying the Emperor’s favor and leaving Vader out in the cold. This plan mostly revolved around freeze rays developed and tested on Tatooine, forcing Luke and Han to return to the desert world to stop them, but we'll go into that stuff a little bit later.
 Doomworld was also the name given to the first collected trade paperback that Dark Horse put out when they began reprinting the original series in the 90’s.
 Both of those stories were penned by comic series/comic strip scribe Archie Goodwin, so blame him.
Friday, May 16, 2014
TVAMD Episode 221: Breaking Bad, Part 4!
Sean, Andrew, and Gary finally finish breaking bad, and they’re so excited they go on to talk about other shows like Dexter, Lost, and True Detective.
The Greatest Space Fantasy of All!
Among the most prominent of the classic contributions to the early Star Wars Expanded Universe are the stories that were written by the likes of Roy Thomas and Archie Goodwin for the Star Wars series produced by Marvel Comics.
“ENTER: LUKE SKYWALKER!” the caption on the cover of Marvel’s first issue exclaims. “WILL HE SAVE THE GALAXY OR DESTROY IT?”
No one has ever mastered mindless hyperbole with the skill and artistry of the Marvel Comics editorial staff.
The Pizzazz strips followed Luke and Leia’s adventures right out of the gate, but the monthly comic followed some stricter guidelines in how it approached telling the continuing story of Star Wars. Roy Thomas, writer and editor of the Marvel Comics series, prefaced the letters column of Star Wars #7 with a statement that explained they would concentrate more on Han Solo and Chewbacca in order to give George Lucas “breathing space” to decide what he wanted to do with the film sequel.
In an interview in Back Issue magazine # 9, Thomas clarified that in the beginning he was not allowed to use Darth Vader as a villain or do anything related to the Clone Wars. He also couldn’t explore the relationship between Luke and Leia. That didn’t bother him as much. Despite the fact that he had written a story featuring Luke and Leia for the Pizzazz serial, he admitted in the Back Issue article that he didn’t care for Luke very much. He thought Han was more of a traditional space adventurer type of character, so stories starring Han and Chewie came more naturally.
As an aside, I encourage you to pick up Back Issue # 9 and read that entire ariticle. They do a very nice retrospective of the Marvel comic. I'm including links to the TwoMorrows Publishing web site because trying to find a back issue of a magazine called Back Issue magazine can be a little tricky.
It’s possible (but seems unlikely) that Lucas discouraged the comics creators from producing original stories about Luke and Leia to keep the comic stories from stepping on the release of Splinter of the Mind’s Eye. The Pizazz stories, which were thematically and structurally identical to Alan Dean Foster’s novel, suggest that this was not the case. Even so, I do not believe this restriction had anything to do with the fact that Luke and Leia were siblings, as I do not believe that was a part of the story until they came up with it in Return of the Jedi.
Whatever the reason, the first original arc of the monthly comic series featured Han Solo and Chewbacca in a story of their own. This worked out rather nicely, considering their exclusion from Foster’s book and the Pizzazz serial.
The comics tie-in coincided almost exactly with the release of the first film, debuting in July 1977. The first six issues of the series adapted the story of the film, so it wasn’t until early 1978 that the creative team began telling original stories featuring the Star Wars characters. The first of these, as I mentioned earlier, revolved around Han Solo and Chewbacca. This four issue arc was more or less a goofy sci-fi take on The Magnificent Seven (or, if you want to pay homage to Lucas’ original influences, Kurasawa’s Seven Samurai).
This first foray into telling original EU Star Wars stories was definitely a bit awkward. In the second issue of the story, Eight For Aduba-3, Han recruits a crew of misfits to help him defend moisture farmers from the outlaw Arrogantus and his gang of Cloud-Riders. Among them are a familiar-looking farm boy named Jimm the Starkiller kid and his less than faithful droid companion, FE-9Q, a human hedgehog named Hedji, a sassy space babe named Amaiza, a quixotic Jedi wanna-be absurdly named Don-Wan Kihotay, and a giant green rabbit man named Jaxxon.
Stories like this one invite derision from purists who are only concerned with more legitimate EU works produced since 1991, but it’s a lot easier to contribute to an already rich mythology. At the time these stories were written Star Wars was still being fleshed out, even by Lucas, and no one knew where they could take it, even if they had creative license to do whatever they liked. Whatever the reason, the Marvel Star Wars series is often dismissed and is considered by Lucas Licensing to be secondary canon.
Lucas Licensing uses a pre-defined scale when determining the degree to which a Star Wars work counts as canon. To give you an idea as to the degrees of gradation used to classify various works, consider that G-canon is the absolute canon, including all works created by George Lucas and considered by him to be a part of the actual core story of Star Wars. This obviously would include the final theatrical film trilogies, but generally accepts the radio dramas and novelizations as absolute canon as well.
C-canon is the continuity established by works created for the Star Wars EU, almost exclusively applying to EU works created after the Expanded Universe was officially established in 1991. Because they were created before some of the formal boundaries of the EU continuity were established, a lot of early EU works, such as the Marvel Comics series, are classified as S-canon. S-canon is secondary canon, which includes pretty much any work created in the Star Wars universe that doesn’t necessarily have a place there. The concepts established in these stories are not off limits to other EU contributors, but the works themselves do not hold as high a station in the Star Wars canon as newer contributions to the Expanded Universe. It’s not as bad as it could be. There is also N-canon, a distinction reserved for works that are considered completely non-canonical.
Thursday, May 15, 2014
TV on the Throne: A Game of Thrones Podcast - S4E06 - "The Laws of Gods and Men"
Sean, Andrew, and Gary discuss the sixth episode of Game of Thrones Season 4.
Plus, near the end, they talk about Star Wars VII for just a couple of minutes. Couldn’t be helped.
Saturday, May 10, 2014
TVAMD minisode: The Amazing Spider-man 2!
Sean, Andrew, and Gary briefly discuss the Amazing Spider-man sequel and how it measures against other superhero misfires like Dark Knight Rises and even Batman and Robin.
Friday, May 9, 2014
Star Wars Expanded Universe: "Keeper's World"
While it was certainly the first Expanded Universe work to be produced, Splinter of the Mind’s Eye just barely missed out on the distinction of being the first original EU story ever to see print. It actually wasn’t even the second. The Marvel comic beat it out by about a month with the January 1978 printing of Star Wars #7: New Planets, New Perils!
But both of those stories were preceded by a serial that ran in Marvel’s pop culture magazine, Pizzazz. Pizzazz was Marvel’s short-lived effort to broker their Star Wars tie-in into an effort to corner the youth magazine market. That market was dominated at the time by similar periodicals like Dynamite magazine. Pizzazz lasted only 16 issues and then disappeared. The Star Wars stories published in the magazine have only been sparingly reprinted and mostly went unnoticed by everyone but super-fans and guys doing research to write a book about the Star Wars Expanded Universe.
The Keeper’s World serial was the first of these stories. It follows a similar storyline as Splinter of the Mind’s Eye (although I think the similarity is coincidental): Luke and Leia take the droids on an important mission, get jumped by Imperials, then are forced to land on a mysterious planet where they have mystical hijinks in an ancient ruin.
The imagery of the Massassi ruins on Yavin 4 was a big influence on the early EU. Not only did the rebels spend a lot of time there in the comic and comic strip, but in stories like Keeper’s World and Splinter of the Mind’s Eye they ended up exploring similar ruins on other planets. Even Lando Calrissian will end up exploring an ancient pyramid as he searches for the Mindharp of Sharu, but I’m getting ahead of myself here.
Despite those plot similarities, the story of Keeper’s World plays out more like a Jack Kirby comic than Foster’s novel. A living super computer builds a bunch of android children with elemental superpowers and they all end up helping Luke and Leia escape the Imperials.
The important thing to remember about Keeper’s World is that it’s the first original Star Wars story to appear outside the movie. The monthly comic was in publication first, but its first six issues were spent adapting the film. By the time Star Wars #7 was published, the Pizzazz serial had already begun.
Technically all of these stories ran concurrently. The Keeper’s World serial started first, but didn’t complete its run until the Summer of 1978. New Planets, New Perils! was published in January 1978, but it was the start of a storyline in the Marvel Star Wars comic that didn’t conclude until April of that year with the publication of Star Wars #10: The Behemoth from the World Below! While Splinter of the Mind’s Eye was published in February 1978, after both of those stories began their run, it was the first original Star Wars story to appear in its entirety. So the first writers to create Star Wars EU were Alan Dean Foster, Roy Thomas, Howard Chaykin, Donald F. Glut and Archie Goodwin. Foster has the singular credit of writing Splinter of the Mind’s Eye while Roy Thomas wrote most of the Keeper’s World serial and most of the story arc that ran from Star Wars #7 – 10. Howard Chaykin co-wrote many of the issues in that story arc and Donald F. Glut co-wrote the final issue of the story. Archie Goodwin gets a nod for writing the final chapter of the Keeper’s World serial. It should also be mentioned that Chaykin did most of the artwork for both the Marvel comic story and the Pizazz serial.
Keeper’s World also ran as a serial in the UK Star Wars Weekly magazine. Dark Horse reprinted the story as a Star Wars # 0 one-shot and then later in the Wild Space Omnibus. But beyond that it remains a fun footnote in the history of the Star Wars Expanded Universe.
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