The 5 Most Depressing Peanuts Strips of All Time

I AM BACK! Still not dead, just really busy. Anyway, I’ve been reading a ton of Peanuts lately, and I’ve discovered a few things:

  1. Charles Schultz was a ludicrously funny man.
  2. Charles Schultz remained ludicrously funny for 50 years, which is pretty amazing.
  3. Occasionally, Charles Schultz took a break from being ludicrously funny to stomp on our hearts.

To celebrate the Peanuts movie (which I haven’t seen yet, but I’ll post a review when-NOT if-I do), I’ve decided to showcase this part of Charlie Brown history.

5. Snoopy’s doghouse fire

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GUH.

The thing about Snoopy is that he was much harder to depress than any other Peanuts character, which is exactly why this simple strip is so heartbreaking. It’s part of a much longer series where Snoopy’s house burns down (it’s eventually rebuilt), but Snoopy without his doghouse is just SO SAD (to me at least).Still though, it pales before:

5. Olaf.

Guh.

Guh.

Olaf was one of Snoopy’s relatives first introduced when Lucy tried to win an “ugly dog” contest. Snoopy flatly refused to help, and his more famous brother Spike  balked at having to leave his home in the deserts of Needles, California (more on that later), Lucy convinced Snoopy to write to Olaf, the “ugly one” to ask for help. So ugly he wore a sack over his head until forced to take it off, Olaf was so depressed at his victory… that happened. Good news, though: Olaf eventually met up with Snoopy’s other brother Andy, and they set off on a journey with Woodstock, which led to this:

He survived, but I can't find the follow-up strip.

He survived, but I can’t find the follow-up strip.

3. Charlie Brown is lonely

GUHHH.

GUHHH.

This is notable because it marks the exact date where Charlie Brown became so sad (February 1st, 1954, for the record). Before this, Charlie Brown was just one of the rest of the kids; as likely to start something as Violet or Shermy (Lucy, Linus and most of the other more famous characters came later). But after this, Schultz realized the value of having one character to dump on, which gave us this masterpiece of awful.

2. Peppermint Patty

GGGGGUUUUUUHHHHHH.

GGGGGUUUUUUHHHHHH.

I was going to post one of the many instances of Charlie Brown trying, and failing, to work up the courage to talk to the never-shown little red-haired girl, but then I remembered this story from the seventies where Peppermint Patty met the little red-haired girl at summer camp and tried to challenge her to a fight over Charlie Brown, but then… this happened. One of my favorite series, as the next thing that happens is:

Awww.

Awww.

As Linus put it himself, “Every now and then I say the right thing.” But by far the saddest Peanuts strip I have ever seen, which actually inspired this post, is this:

1. Why Spike lives in the desert

GGGGGGUUUUUUUUUUUUUHHHHHHHHHHH.

GGGGGGUUUUUUUUUUUUUHHHHHHHHHHH.

Spike has always been, in my opinion, the second most depressed Peanuts character (after Charlie Brown). He’s always out in the desert, lonely and trying to talk to a cactus. In Snoopy’s WWI fantasies, Spike is in the trenches:

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But to find out that Spike’s in self-imposed exile? For accidentally killing a bunny? Now Schultz is just being mean.

Sorry this has been so late! Hopefully new stuff will be here soon.

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Movie Review: The Martian

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Okay! For once in my life, I saw this movie around the time it came out in theaters, instead of around the time it came out on Netflix (going to theaters is hard). I really only do this for Marvel movies and movies based on books I liked. And I really liked The Martian. Not only did I, as a sci-fi fan, love the book, several people I know who are in no way sci-fi people (one who hasn’t seen Star Wars, in fact, and yes, those people exist) loved it as much as I did. So I had a lot riding on this movie.

First things first: when I mentioned this movie to a friend, his response was “Damn, how many movies revolve around people losing Matt Damon?” This hadn’t occurred to me yet, but actually, wow, Matt Damon is apparently really easy to lose, as this image demonstrates:

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What is that? Anyway, the movie, like the book, is about Mark Watney, astronaut and botanist (in the book he’s also a mechanic, but that honestly isn’t important) who gets separated from his crew on a mission to Mars. Alone on an entire planet, he has to stay alive while back on Earth scientists scramble to find a way to bring him home. Like I said, I loved that book, and somehow, this movie failed to disappoint me. I absolutely expected it to fail to live up to the book in some way or other, but… it basically didn’t. Let’s get into specifics:

The script was the book brought to life. There were certain things scaled down, like the romance between 2 of Watney’s shipmates, and several of my favorite lines from the book were cut, but there were also lines I loved in the movie that weren’t in the book. The Martian is interesting because there’s no antagonist. None. Just Mars, and Mars isn’t even really evil. It just… is, and there’s nothing anybody can do about it, but maybe we can help this one guy survive a little bit longer. The movie, I think, might have captured that sense better than the book.

The reason the movie can do this so well is that Mars looks amazing. Check this out:

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The visual effects are stellar. They just took my breath away. I really don’t know what else to say.

When you don't know what to say, hit 'em with a picture of Matt Damon.

When you don’t know what to say, hit ’em with a picture of Matt Damon.

Aside from Mars, the only player in much of the movie is Matt Damon. Who is excellent, thank God. Mark Watney isn’t exactly the most fleshed-out character: we don’t know much about his life on Earth or what he does when not battling for his life. But it still felt like Damon could have told you all about that, had you asked. He was funny, endearing, and indomitable, and I think Damon could have carried the whole movie if he had to,

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But he totally didn’t have to. The ensemble cast, both back on Earth and on the ship that left Watney behind, was spectacular-I didn’t expect this at all, I thought they’d be minimized, but I’m not complaining! Jessica Chastain was great as the captain who made the call to leave Watney behind, Sean Bean was weirdly good as the mission director and the only person advocating to tell the crew of Watney’s ship that he survived (they thought he was dead), and Donald Glover was briefly excellent as Rich Purnell, astrophysicist. Jeff Daniels and Chiwetel Ejiofor (yes, in the book his character was Indian, and yes, it’s kind of dumb that they changed that, but I still thought he was good) were also worth mentioning, as well as many others that I am just too lazy to name. Sorry. Watch this movie.

Incidentally, this is how I found out the movie was happening:

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Okay, I hope I conveyed my love for this movie enough. Back soon (this time for real)!

I Am Flipping BACK!

Hi! It’s been a bit of a while, as apparently I cannot write between May and October (the opposite of Calvin, actually.)

Man, this comic strip was great.

Man, this comic strip was great.

Anyhow, now that I am confirming that I still exist (which I do! Yay!), I decided to post just a series of upcoming things I’m going to do. Starting tomorrow, barring horrible accident.

MOVIES: I’m going to review The Martian, hopefully tomorrow. Other than that, I’ve pretty much exclusively watched old movies like Blazing Saddles for the past few months, so not much worth reviewing.

COMICS: I’m probably going to review The Wicked and the Divine, by Kieron Gillen and James McKelvie, and I might also write about Annihilation and Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning’s Guardians of the Galaxy (I just read it because of the movie, but it was actually really good!)

TV: I don’t have a TV (yeah), and I don’t watch a lot anyway, so TV reviews might be difficult. I might post some really behind reviews of Doctor Who season 9 (which I haven’t even STARTED yet). I don’t know.

BOOKS: I read a METRIC FRIGGIN’ TON of science fiction and fantasy this summer. On the table are, among other things. Philip K. Dick’s UBIK, several things by Terry Pratchett, Libba Bray’s Lair of Dreams, and John Scalzi’s Redshirts (my current favorite book of all time. spoilers).

OTHER: For some reason, I’ve been reading/watching a lot of things involving time travel recently, so I’m probably going to write something about that. Also, I’ve been watching some old Star Trek, and I’ve noticed that Captain Kirk will deliver impassioned soliloquies over some really random crap, so I might compile some of that together. I also have this really weird idea of writing a parody of Ed Sheeran’s Photograph from the perspective of Scott Summers, but that might end up going nowhere.

Okay, I think that’s everything. Sorry I disappeared again, but I! Have! Returned!

Avengers: Age of Ultron Movie Review

What more do you need to watch this movie?

What more do you need to watch this movie?

Oh dear God, I stopped posting for like a month. I’ve been really busy and stuff, but I really wish I’d done something. Anyway, this is my review of the new Avengers movie!

Spoilers follow.

So the Avengers are back. That needs to be addressed in itself. The story was a logical continuation of the last movie, with the team fully formed from the very first scene (no frickin’ origin story this time!) taking down Hydra bases. Eventually, Tony Stark and Bruce Banner make and awaken an artificial intelligence powered by the Mind Gem (which was hidden in Loki’s scepter, explaining the mind control thing from the last movie), which proceeds to take some bodies and attack, borrowing some Nazi experiments (Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch weren’t Inhumans after all!) as assistants.

Okay, the plot totally worked for me. It mostly made sense, and scenes flowed smoothly. I thought the action sequences were excellent (especially the first and last ones!), but there were just too many eventually, especially when the non-violent scenes are so incredible-Joss Whedon, man. That dialogue. The best scenes are where he just lets 2 or more characters play off each other and make use of his banter-writing skills.

Speaking of which, the cast is incredible! Robert Downey Jr. kicked customary ass, Mark Ruffalo was fantastic, both Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner got to flesh out their characters more (especially Renner, which made me very happy), Chrisses Hemsworth and Evans were both as good as ever, Don Cheadle was the funniest character in the whole movie… I could go on. Paul Bettany, having moved into an actual body from JARVIS, was great, but so underused! His powers randomly showed up without warning and we only saw any of them once or twice. However, the fact that he can lift Thor’s hammer, and that scene in general, sold me on the character, combined with his really cool levitation thing. Cool guy. Quicksilver was also good but underused. His few lines were good (the accent was kind of meh, Taylor-Johnson), and his physicality was fantastic-I honestly believed that he believed he was faster than anything ever to come his way. And the scene where he gets grazed with a bullet from the army made me laugh out loud (not rare in this movie, but always appreciated). I honestly wish he lived, though-not because I didn’t like the death, which was amazing, but I want to see more of him! I wouldn’t even care if they resurrected this guy again just so see more of him and Hawkeye. (“No one would know… “) Elizabeth Olsen, however, really sold her every moment. Nailed almost every second on screen. Man, those Maximoffs.

Okay, Ultron gets his own paragraph. The special effects for his body were great, and James Spader effectively channeled “evil robot Tony Stark” while making his own person out of it (although the God stuff got old after a while, but I suffered through it).  My main complaint: are his cheeks speakers? What’s up with that?

My favorite moments were: everything with Hawkeye, when Tony Stark finds a secret door at the beginning of  the movie, and the Thor hammer scene. (If you put the hammer in a cardboard box, can you pick up the box? How about if you put the hammer on something in space and move that? Confusing… )

I loved the ending, and I kind of want a movie or TV show before Infinity War showing us how this new team works (Korvac seems unused… ), and resurrecting Quicksilver, obviously. (Pleeeeeeease… I just want to see him more… )

Okay, as soon as I post this, I’ll think of a thousand things I didn’t say, but to be honest, I want to stop. I’m not a fan of writing movie reviews.

Ciao!

The ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’ Chronological Timeline

This is clear, informative, and looks sooooo friction’ good. But now I need to watch/rewatch all of this before May First, a Day Unlike Any Other, arrives.

Geekritique

[Last edit – April 15, 2015]

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So, I’ve changed my Chronological timeline again. This time I’ve decided to just go ahead and make an infographic. Thought it would be easier to manage. Well let me tell you, making an infographic on an iPad this size was a nightmare.

Some recent changes are as follows:
The Marvel One-Shot: Agent Carter is now placed after the television series.
Added more episode titles to both Daredevil and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Daredevil is now placed before Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2.
Removed everything after Ant-Man – to be added at a later date. Was just too messy.

For those who don’t understand why I placed Daredevil before AoS s2, here is my reasoning: we know that Daredevil takes place after the events of Avengers, because the Battle of NY helped create the landscape in which this aspect of the universe exists: Hell’s…

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Comic Review: Batman-Hush

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Jesus, the gaps between my posts are getting miserably long. Hopefully it won’t extend to another 4-month hiatus for no reason. Anyway, just read Batman:Hush and wanted to give an opinion on it.

Batman. Ohhhhhhh Batman. You need to stay the hell away from Catwoman, she is unhealthy for you. This comic progressed their relationship to the point where he told her his secret identity (flippin’ MORON, Bruce!). So… that happens. Beyond that, the plot involves a plethora of Batman villains crawling out of the woodwork randomly to attack Batman, which is normally known as “Tuesday” for this guy. But! Being the World’s Greatest Detective can leave you fairly paranoid, as Bruce deduces (heh!) a connection between the crimes. And yes, there’s a mystery villain. And no, I’m not telling you who it is. I hate reviews with spoilers with a burning passion.

This comic blew me away. Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee really have something here. Like the rest of the human race, I’m a huge Jim Lee fan, and his work on this was as good as I’ve ever seen him. As a Batman story, this was phenomenal.

But… as well as a Batman guy, I’m a big mystery fan. And the actual mystery part wasn’t fantastic. That’s the thing-World’s Greatest Detective or no, Bat-mysteries are often fairly transparent. The guy in the bandages was always going to be… who he was. The final twist I did not see coming, though. I quite literally fell off my chair when I found out who had orchestrated the thing (my favorite Bat-villain, no less!). It was a bit rushed, though. Not quite up to par, but close.

Final jab: no Penguin? I like him!

See? Now the Penguin is angry.

See? Now the Penguin is angry.

Okay, I have a crapton of stuff to review, so I’ll probably (hopefully) be back soon!

Book Review: Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline

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OKAY! Back to the blogging! I recently read, and am reviewing, Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One. Hopefully it’ll kick off more reviews over the next few weeks: I’ve read a a lot of good stuff and I look forward to ranting about it. Anyway:

So Ready Player One is set in a future that isn’t quite apocalyptic or dystopian, but is well on its way. (That in itself was unnerving as hell: it just seemed about 5 years away, and it’s really the only novel I can think of that was that plausible. Shiver.) Society is slipping into “hellish” territory, and everyone escapes from that by jacking into a virtual reality game called the OASIS. The OASIS is, as far as I can tell, a virtual universe full of more or less every fantasy, sci-fi or video game universe imaginable. The plot centers around the death of the inventor of the OASIS. For some unimaginable but probably stupid reason, he decided to will his entire  (megabillion-dollar) fortune to whoever solved this massive, 80s-themed nerd puzzle in the OASIS. This is the story of one sixteen-year-old’s quest to complete that puzzle.

Things I liked about this book were many: the characters didn’t suck, the 80s pop culture was fun, and there were times when I literally could not put the book down. Also, like I said, it’s one of the only sic-fi novels in my brain at the moment (there are probably others) that feels like it could literally happen in a month, given the right push. The main antagonist, a corporation desperate to gain control over the OASIS (another prize for solving the puzzle), also seems vaguely linked to net neutrality. Because I really, really hate to blog about politics (I see the value, but I just don’t know what I’m talking about), I’m passing over the issue as much as I can, but it did feel like it could happen.

That said: who taught this guy to plot a story? He’ll just leave his character weak after a major event and then jump back in, a few months later, with the character explaining how he spent the last few months developing his avatar. We understand that you want your character powerful without the intermediate (another Spider-Man origin story, anyone?), and we understand why he has to start out weak, but you can’t just jump us out of his life. It’s a conundrum: the explanation is boring, but the lack of one would confuse the hell out of the readers. It wasn’t great. Also, Ernest Cline, like the rest of the world, can’t inject suspense into a description of an 80s video game. Valiant effort, Mr. Cline, but no go.

James and Brendan Dwyer read this book and were mad because it was in the 80s instead of the 90s. The result, Cult Fiction, which I reviewed elsewhere, isn’t quite as good as this. But I’d read it first: if you can survive those characters and that writing (all the same problems, but chose easier-to-dramatize video games), you can deal with this.

Okay, that was really long. Arrivederci!