Friday, October 29, 2010

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species #6

Ten more alien species appraised for your reading pleasure.

51. Argazdan. Apparently, the most-defining characteristic of the Argazdans is that they have some kind of religion that they spread around quite a bit. They also had quite a bit of history; there was apparently a movement in their culture with some parallels to Masada (the Old Republic was somewhat equivalent to the Roman Empire), but instead of simply being rebels, this Argazdan subculture's members were also a bunch of slavers. The modern Argazdans apparently tended to react to symbols of that time period the same way many modern Americans react to displays of the Confederate flag (i.e. strongly and negatively).

Rating: 3/5. Argazdans have kind of an interesting history, which makes up for the fact that they basically just look like rather ugly humans.

52. Argullian. Argullians had "broad, flat" noses and yellow irises, but otherwise looked human, and many were victims of battles of the Clone Wars on their homeworld.

Rating: 1/5. Not enough history to be interesting.

53. Arhan. Arhan resemble thinner, frailer humans. All other information about Arhan comes from just two individuals who were a married couple.

Rating: 1/5. Nearly human beings who are only distinguished by build (which human outliers might equal or exceed)? YAWN.

54. Arized. The Arized were good at building starships. Unfortunately for them, they were wiped out by the Vagaari, who then stole all their remaining ships for their own use because they did that kind of thing for giggles.

Rating: 2/5. While their minimal existence and status of only being known as dead victims is kind of... well, it's sad at best... it's a reasonably interesting tidbit of story. Too bad they're all dead...

55. Arkanian. Arkanians apparently are highly skilled genetic engineers who closely resemble humans. They practice so much genetic engineering that nobody's really sure just what "baseline Arkanian" really means. They are apparently responsible for at least a few of the peculiar "races" (such as the previously mentioned Aqualish races) to a greater or lesser degree.

Rating: 3/5. Arkanians tend to be striking in appearance, and the fact that they're essentially a race known for what we might call mad science is kinda cool.

56. Arkudan. Arkudans made Arkudan gaming cubes, which are apparently equivalent to the fuzzy rearview mirror dice.

Rating: 5/5. Do not oppose the fuzzy dice.

57. Armalat. The Armalat are described as "giant," "green-skinned," and "non-humanoid." The most intriguing line of the Wookieepedia entry is as follows: "Each one of their hands only had three fingers." So how many hands do they have? I'm curious.

Rating: 2/5. It's only this high because they sound like they might be dinosaurs.

58. Arpor-Lan. Arpor-Lan were human-like in appearance, but with bone-covered eyebrows and chin horns. They were natives of a planet that had been enslaved some very long time ago by some aristocrats, but had been freed more recently.

Rating: 3/5. Eh, they're not exciting, but they provide a bit of flavor and variety.

59. Aruzan. The Aruzan apparently universally use cybernetic implants designed to let them share memories and emotions. Unfortunately for them, these implants also made them vulnerable to being brainwashed into berserker soldiers by Imperial scientists. The bounty hunter Dengar was hired by Aruzan rebels to kill the project director, but it's unlikely that this stopped the project.

Dengar later married one of them, because who can say no to a sexy blue-skinned lady?

Rating: 3/5. I like them mostly because I remember the story they were in positively.

60. Askajian. The Askajians were the near-human race from which hailed the infamous "fat dancer" from Jabba's palace. The primary reason she looked like that is because Askajians store water similarly to camels because their home planet is arid, and she, erm, looks bigger when fully hydrated-which she usually was while she was Jabba's slave, because Jabba claimed that she "reminded him of his mother."



Rating: 3/5. A lot of people pick on the fat dancer, but she doesn't deserve it.

Hmm, this week was kind of lean pickings again.


That's not what I meant.

-Signing off.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Unicron is Hungry

For your consideration inane enjoyment, two random music videos I found on YouTube with roughly the same title and subject, but radically different tones.

You should be able to tell that there's a difference just looking at the preview image of this one.

I have to admit I chuckled when I found the one on the "related" list of the other.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Space Crazy Comics: The Ganymede Enigma

This story, from Mysteries of Unexplored Worlds #16, starts off quite dully.

It's so dull, in fact, that I'm starting with an image from the second page. Don't worry, the first page was so boring that nothing of importance or significance happened on it.

Some guy has taken a rocket out to the vicinity of Jupiter in hopes of investigating it. Since he can't land on the gas giant, he'll land on Ganymede.

He lands, tests the atmosphere, and if this story wasn't failing some field or another forever, he would have died instantly.

He takes a look around, and...

Don't worry, it gets better... sort of.

He sees some togas on a clothesline, and decides it's time for a disguise.

He's wandering around when...

Not so much hideous as incredibly dorky beings approach.

They find him... curiously exciting.

He decides to escape, seeing as how the beings who have captured him are huge, have incredibly short legs, and probably could be outpaced by a toddler. One of the workers grabs him, and he punches the man out, only to discover...

... This guy must read Arthur C. Clarke or something.

Who built the robots? A good question indeed. But he jumps to yet another conclusion:

Uh, dude?

You explored like two miles of the planet's surface. How do you know that there wasn't a real settlement of less humanlike people over the next ridge? Or that perhaps the big robots were actually life support suits or transportation? Or that they were actually invaders from another solar system?

Just because they're on Jupiter's moon doesn't mean they have a blooming thing to do with Jupiter.

My favorite part of this story has to be the weird can robot/creatures; otherwise, it's kind of forgettable.

-Signing off.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Game Review: Epic Combo

Epic Combo is a game that's all about making epic combos.

Since that's less self-explanatory than it might be, I suppose I'll explain.

In Epic Combo, you start "combos" by hitting turtles with a hammer. The size of the combo is determined by how many times the shell or shells hit something other than the floor before the combo timer runs out; each time a shell does, the timer is renewed. Your goal in regular gameplay is to achieve 10,000 hits in one combo.

This is not actually that hard. In fact, according to the high scores list, some people achieved it in one second, though that should be completely impossible.

Anyway, when I say it's easier to reach 10,000 than it sounds, that's because you've got various tools to help, and each combo earns you money to buy these tools. (You can also buy an increased turtle appearance rate.) It's no harder, in my opinion, to approach numbers like this one...

...than it is to hit 10,000.

In fact, the very next go took me to close to ten times that total.

There are only two limitations (from what I can tell) on how high you can go. One seems to be related to the amount of time you're willing to spend-it took me just over an hour and a half to reach the total below (though a big chunk of that was me doing nothing because somebody else took over for a bit)...

...and of course, things go on autopilot once you reach a certain point, as it's pretty much impossible to break the combo when the floor is completely covered in things that make the turtles keep bouncing forever. The only reason I stopped this particular combo is because there was a thunderstorm rolling through.

The other, as far as I can tell, is an engine cap (if I'm remembering right, it's 2147483647-it's probably a memory-based cap, based on stuff you can read here). It's a bit of a shame, but it's kind of inevitable.

Anyway, if you want to blow a lot of time in pointless fun, Epic Combo is a great game for it.

Although if you dislike cruelty to turtles, you might want to give it a wide berth.

-Signing off.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Golden Age Moment of the Day (52)

From Air Fighters #6 comes this:

Yes, that's Sky Wolf jumping through the wall of last week's "mammoth, invisible flying bag."

-Signing off.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Game Review(s): Shift (and Shift 2)

Shift and Shift 2 are a pair of games that mess with your head on two levels.

First, the central gameplay mechanic is "shifting." Basically, it completely alters the screen in a very simple and predictable (but still difficult to grasp instantly) way.

This wouldn't make much visual sense except in pure black and white, with no grayscaling, and so that's how the game works.

It's simple flipping. When you flip, your color reverses, and the opposite color (black or white) becomes solid. You also stand on the same plane as you would otherwise (i.e. you flip yourself relative to your previous position-you'd fly into the floor and then be standing on the ceiling of another room in a real life equivalent.

The second game expands on this aspect with gravity warping.

This is quite similar to That Gravity Game (one of several games that I've reviewed which take a simple platforming game and twist it into something completely new).

There's more to it than just that, though. This game is messing with your head, a lot like Eversion (linked a bit ago) but possibly even worse.

Yes, the timer is a lie. (Well, perhaps that depends on your point of view, but...)

If you have interest in innovative, unusual games (such as the various ones I linked), you should try these two out... and watch out for the (expletive deleted) spikes. (They WILL kill you.)

-Signing off.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Space Crazy Comics: The Machine Men of Mars

This story, from Outer Space #24 (blah blah Golden Age Comics blah blah public domain blah blah), features some interesting designs and a story with a somewhat surprising ending.

A rocket journeying around near Mars is suffering from difficulties.

Generally speaking, unless you need extra materials, if you've got spacesuits you can effect repairs in space pretty easily most of the time... A bit dangerous, perhaps (you don't want to get hit by a micrometeoroid), but less wasteful of fuel and time than landing on a planet or moon and then taking off again.

So naturally, they land on one of Mars' moons.

On the approach, they make a discovery reminiscent of the strange discovery from this tale-the surface is covered in something.

Instead of slab creatures, it's buildings.

Unlike the other story, they happily land on the obstructions.

They make a most peculiar observation:

Somebody built the buildings? SHOCKING.

They see a bunch of robots running around on the ground, and take off right before the robots come up onto the roof to catch them.

Then, they decide to do something really crazy-land on Mars.

So let me get this straight: A bunch of robots tried to catch you on Deimos, and you think they might be from Mars, so you're going to Mars to investigate?

Huh. Does this make you think what it makes me think?

I have to admit, sometimes the breathless narration in this story amuses me.

Especially right here.

Those look like regular speech bubbles to me, pal.

We learn the tragic story of Mars, and then disaster strikes.

There must be some Laws of Stupid Robotics out there somewhere, don't you think? (The Laws of Stupid Robotics would be equivalent to Asimov's Laws, but designed by a bunch of simpering morons from a story like this one.)

Anyway, there was so much stuff on the last page, I just shrugged and decided I'd stick up the whole thing in one piece. (It saved me from an extra picture upload, too.)

The captain decides that, in order to keep the robots from having a chance to invade Earth, he and his crew must make the ultimate sacrifice and tells the Earth fleet to take out the building that the master robot is keeping them in, because the master robot is in it too.

This story is interesting if for no other reason than the fact that it kills off all the protagonists in a simple, pure act of heroism. It's very different from a lot of these stories, anyway.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Oldest Japanese Superhero?

Sometimes, you find things so mind-bending that it's impossible not to share them.

I recently read that there's a character called "Golden Bat" or "Ogon/Ohgon Bat" who is commonly regarded as the "oldest Japanese superhero." When did he first come on the scene?


According to this site, Golden Bat started out something like American pulp heroes, but gradually lost much of his original paraphernalia and appearance. In the 1960s, he had a revival with his own schlocky live action tokusatsu-style film (a snarky but affectionate review of a subtitled version of it can be found here)...

...which was followed up the next year by an anime.

I have to admit, the idea of a heroic character who responds to "we're gonna start killing hostages!!" by starting to blow away the guys who are shoving them off the giant squid drill thing (starting at 4:32) and who also laughs like Dracula amuses me pretty badly.

He's also invincible, can fly, and can shoot lasers from his cane/baton thing.

I also must admit that I find the villain, "Nazo," pretty visually fascinating for being a creature with four eyes and heterochromia (even if he does look like a guy in a cheap hamster suit in the film version).

Amazingly, the character somehow failed to have a revival in 2000, but this failed revival has left behind a tantalizing internet trailer that can still be found on YouTube.

The character is internationally famous in a number of non-English-speaking countries under names such as "Fantaman" and "Phantasma," basically anything that sounds vaguely reminiscent of fphantoms. (You can even find a version of the failed revival trailer with the Fantaman theme replacing the original soundtrack here.)

I don't think I could possibly find this guy more entertaining, really.

-Signing off.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species #5

I suppose I ought to clarify just what my scale really means-I've really just been winging it. My description of the scale is more or less arbitrary, but the scale itself is more or less arbitrary, so it fits.

N/A. If I give something this rating, it's because there's too little information to make an appraisal as far as I'm concerned.

1. A species with a sketchy description and no redeeming features tends to earn a 1.

2. A species with at least one redeeming feature that I otherwise don't like tends to earn a 2.

3. Such a species neither annoys or offends me nor excites me (or possibly offends/annoys me and excites me at the same time); they're largely just there, but are perfectly acceptable.

4. Aliens with a rating of 4 have some feature that makes them stand out from the crowd in a positive way.

5. In some way, shape, or form, a 5 is perfect or nearly so.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled link/list/appraisal post.

41. Anx. The Anx are a vaguely dinosaur-like species. They were represented in the Old Republic's Senate at one point by Horox Ryder, whose name is almost too cool to be allowed to exist. Their native language is apparently a subsonic rumble, and their huge stature and tendency to be knowledgeable about anatomy (I am not making this up) make them powerful unarmed fighters. We also know that their population took a hit during the time of the Empire because of heavy weapons testing on its surface.

And their heads are simply awe-inspiring.

Rating: 4/5. They'd have scored well without all that background, because I just like how they look that much. I kind of have a hard time believing that they're good at unarmed combat, though, because their massive heads and fairly short arms probably interfere with each other.

42. Anzat. The Anzati are sometimes known as "snot vampires" because they feed on "soup," the brain juices of sapient beings, through their noses. And that's all I really have to say.

Rating: 4/5. The fact that the vampire concept was cleverly twisted from one kind of vital fluid to another that actually makes sense (if it was blood, it'd only make sense that they were forced to feed on sapient beings if they couldn't find anything else, which is improbable-feeding on brain juices is actually pretty logical in an internal universe logic kind of way) and then also made ridiculous by giving them the "snot vampire" label is absolutely hilarious and just generally great. My only problem with them is that they look like humans with weird noses. (And of course, the female ones get to have "normal" noses.)

43. Aplocaph. "The Aplocaph were a sentient species preoccupied with finding love."

Rating: 1/5. NEXT. (I hate super-one-dimensional species, and don't much care for species whose members are all assumed to be identical to the first example of them.)

44. Aqualish. Aqualish are the species sometimes called "walrus faces" or "walrus heads." Their best-known member was that guy whose hand was cut off by Obi-Wan Kenobi in A New Hope.

The problem with the species is that they've suffered a huge amount of continuity creep that has made things very weird for them. They come in three "races," the Aquala, who have finned hands and feet, the Quara, who have unfinned, human-like (with clawed fingernails) hands and feet, and the Ualaq, who are built like the Quara but have an extra set of eyes for no good reason. (The fins/no fins thing is because of a continuity error in A New Hope-Ponda Baba's costume had finned hands, but when his arm was on the floor, it had a clawed/fingered hand. The extra eyes apparently come from somebody in the design group wanting to up the detail in the masks a bit, and all Aqualish characters in the prequels themselves have four eyes.)

And they have a tendency to be described as thugs.

Rating: 3/5. Meh, I can handle the stupidity of the continuity stuff (and at least they have clearly distinct races, which is nice), and the whole "they're often thugs" thing is more complex and layered than in most such aliens.

And how can you not love those stupid walrus faces?

45. Aquar. "The Aquar were an offshoot of Humans who colonized Velusia thousands of years ago and evolved into their present [water-breathing] form." Gee, that was quick.

Rating: 1/5. While water-breathing almost-humans is an interesting idea, whoever came up with the explanation for them fails something or another forever on at least two major counts.

46. Arachnoid. Click the link, and look at the picture. And then try to tell me that that's not adorable with a straight face.



Rating: 3/5. It'd be nice to have a little more info than one solitary individual provides, but the fact that he's just a giant spiderish thing wearing a helmet and clothes is awesome. Shame about the hyper-generic name, though.

47. Aramandi. The Aramandi are four-eyed, four-armed individuals who developed on a high-gravity world. They had a complicated caste system tied into a religion, and this religion was messed up by contact with other sapient species, because one of the religion's tenets was that there were no other intelligent beings in the universe.

Rating: 3/5. These source book aliens sound interesting generally to work with, and it's amusing that they gave them extra eyes to go with the extra arms.

48. Araquia. The Araquia are huge pacifistic spiders, and that's pretty much it.

Although a crime lord from a species known for being insectivores set up camp on their homeworld... Creepy.

Rating: 3/5. It's lazy, it's cheesy, and it's silly, but I like this instance of "aliens that are just regular animals that have been made smart and human-sized." They get extra points for describing them as pacifists.

49. Arbran. Like the Alashans, all we know about the Arbrans comes from one of their creations, and like the Alashans, that creation is a monster. It's possible that the monster in question had a similar physical makeup to them, because the creature was made up of all their negative emotions combined. Yes.

Rating: 3/5. Whether they look like the Darker or not, I am amused by the claim that they were able to purge themselves of their dark side emotions and put them all in a guy.

50. Arcona. The Arcona are most infamous for being easily addicted to common salt. They are also rather interesting in appearance-an Arcona was the alien that first bursts into view at the Mos Eisley Cantina in the original cut of A New Hope. Supposedly, male Arcona were the ones responsible for raising children while the females roamed, because females were more free-spirited-not a revolutionary idea, but a nice little detail.

Rating: 3/5. The addiction thing is weird, but it's inevitable that such things will pop up in fiction from time to time.

Fascinating that three of the "Cantina aliens" would come up in one post. (There's an Anzat smoking a hookah in the foreground of one of the reaction shots to Ponda Baba and Obi-Wan's tussle.)

-Signing off.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Golden Age Moment of the Day (51)

From Air Fighters #6, we finally see what's been going on in the last few Golden Age Moments...

A "mammoth, invisible flying bag." I seriously don't think I could top that description of an invisible airship if I took hours of thinking about nothing else.

At least one more from this story next week.

-Signing off.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Space Crazy Comics: Unwanted World (in 30 Seconds)

From Outer Space #24 (public domain junk), Unwanted World is a story about some rather jerky and self-important Atlanteans.

They're being attacked by machine-gun and warplane-wielding Native Americans and similarly armed Viking-like barbarians from North America and Europe... (I'd have shown those panels, because yeah, but I'm quite low on time.)

So what's Xelox's solution?

He blew it up.

Of course, I'm placing this panel out of context-he had everybody evacuated into the flying saucer first, and then blew it up.

They lived on the Moon, whose original inhabitable environment they just might have accidentally destroyed, until they were discovered by space explorers orbiting the Moon.

And then, if the inhabitants of modern Earth didn't conform to their standards, they promised to "infect" (their words) them with the "newly invented cure to greed." Yes. Seriously.

Creepy, weird, and evil, guys. Cut it out.

-Signing off.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Golden Age Moment of the Day (50)

(Normally, I wouldn't post two of these in a week, but I ran out of time. Ah, well.)

From Air Fighters #6, we have this:

Sky Wolf wearing "infra-Z" glasses (whatever the heck that means), which have revealed a startling secret to him.

A secret which explains the previous oddball images of guys walking out of thin air.

A secret which you'll have to wait until next week to learn.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Smell Like a Monster?

I'm not really familiar with the thing that this is parodying (though my sister has seen it), but I don't think you need to be familiar with the source material to find this amusing.

On the site I found this on, somebody commented to the effect of "Grover > Elmo." Granted, but "Cookie Monster >> Grover + Elmo." Seriously, the only other dude on Sesame Street who rivals Cookie Monster is the Count.

-Signing off.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species #4

One of the "species" that would have entered the list this time 'round are the Amorphiians, one of whom was played by the late Harvey Korman in the Star Wars Holiday Special, but I'm not going to feature them here, by virtue of them striking me as not being "aliens" (even if they had a homeworld[?!]). This is nothing against the Holiday Special, though, which was often hilarious.

31. Amphi-Hydrus. Natives of Dac (the homeworld of the Mon Calamari and Admiral "It's a trap!" Ackbar), the Amphi-Hydrus are mind-controlling Dark Side force users who used imported rancors to wreak havoc for a while, until the Empire showed up and put a stop to them. They resemble semi-bipedal frogs.

If you're wondering about that bit of rampant weirdness, it's because the Amphi-Hydrus were created in a "Design an Alien" contest, and while they weren't the winning entry, they were given an honorable mention, and later canonized.

Yes, really.

Rating: 3/5. Their backstory is difficult to swallow and their name makes me cringe, but they're mind-controlling evil frogs. How cool is that?

32. Anarrian. The Anarrians are a near-human race at least somewhat similar to the previously mentioned Altiri, with whom they share a planet. Unlike the Altiri, they don't have any wacky internal contradictions culturally, but instead believe in honing fitness and strength, for which their eternal war with the Altiri is the perfect testing ground. They're also furry and have long ears and little ridges of horns.

Rating: 3/5. A nice strong backstory, a pleasantly internally consistent cultural framework, and what sounds like an interesting appearance. I like 'em.

33. Andalese. These "near-humans" have pointed horns and "symbiotic tissue grafts" but can still, if they're clever, pass for humans.

Rating: 1/5. If this is the whole of their characteristics that are worth mentioning, it's pretty pathetic.

34. Anguilla. The Anguilla are fish/eel creatures with arms. A whole bunch of them were slaughtered without provocation on first contact by Imperial troops. They then, after help from the Rebellion let them drive the Empire out, mediated a treaty with the Rebellion to aid mining operations there.

Rating: 3/5. They get most of this for looking cool and scary; I'd like to see them developed further.

35. Annoo-dat Blue. The Annoo-dat "Blue" are one of two species that inhabit the second planet called Annoo. (The first was abandoned after total ecological destruction; the second was renamed after it.) They were the original natives. The best-known members of the species were the Fromm gang, major antagonists of the Droids cartoon, who are notable for having been captured by Boba Fett and turned over to Jabba the Hutt, who presumably had them executed as rivals. (And, oyah, the gang also built a weapon that supposedly could have destroyed a planet. It was never used.) As a species, they're big, ugly chubbyish guys.

Rating: 3/5. While future appearances of the species would probably continue to be crime lords, they're interesting looking as extra-cartoony aliens go, and the fact that they apparently had access to enough resources to build something that might have had enough firepower to destroy a planet suggests that, at least at the time, they must have been successful and influential. This despite apparently being their planet's second class citizens. Who can claim to be the first-class citizens?

36. Annoo-dat Prime. The Annoo-dat "Prime" originally traveled from their homeworld, the first Annoo, to the homeworld of the Ret, later known as the "Annoo-dat 'Blue.'" The Annoo-dat Prime were called such because, while the natives made no distinction between the two species, off-world anthropologists labeled the two groups "blue" and "prime" to distinguish them.

Incidentally, while the Annoo-dat Blue are large, corpulent humanoids, the Annoo-dat Prime are four-eyed, scaly, monstrously frightening reptilians who sometimes have four arms.

Yeah, I'm sure they don't make any distinction at all.

Rating: 3/5. While the blue/prime designation is almost certainly intended to cover up some kind of continuity snarl, it creates a very interesting implication. The Annoo-dat Blue seen in story were wealthy crime lords, while the Annoo-dat Prime seen in story were bounty hunters, i.e. probably not so wealthy. Does this mean that the conquering Annoo-dat Prime were eventually overrun by the Annoo-dat Blue culturally? (It was noted that Annoo-dat Blue can live for hundreds of years, but there is no such note on Annoo-dat Prime; if there is a divide between the two, this might be the root cause.)

37. Anointed People. The Anointed People are rather big reptilian creatures who follow a feudal societal structure. They had been conned by a space-going con man at some point in the past, and thus were mistrustful of "space guys." Yes, they actually called them that. They apparently also had a tendency to talk in a way that was really silly.

Rating: 4/5. Goofy-talking feudalistic lizard men? Yes please.

38. Anomid. Anomids are humanoids who have six fingers per hand and wear what look like breath masks. They are actually voiceboxes, however, because Anomids have no vocal chords and are naturally mute; their six-fingered hands also make it impossible for others to learn their sign language. They apparently tend to be reclusive and pacifistic, and most of their trade with offworlders involves food and agriculture. They also have an oddball legal system which doesn't repeal laws (instead building an ever-increasing selection of counterlaws to get rid of bad ones), which sounds like a terrible idea.

Rating: 4/5. For a species about whom little is supposedly known, they're pretty well developed. I like the touch of their odd sign language, though I think that its effect is probably too exaggerated.

39. Anselmi. The Anselmi coexisted as natives of Glee Anselm with the Nautolans (i.e. Kit Fisto's species). The Anselmi were natives of the few land masses, while Nautolans developed under the oceans. Because the land was so limited, the Anselmi became very warlike. Then, the Nautolans came onto land with the intent of living there, and because they presumably outnumbered the Anselmi, and apparently were tougher than they were, the Nautolan pretty much took primary possession of the land then. The Anselmi apparently now fight amongst themselves, and are on the brink of extinction.

Rating: 2/5. While it's kind of annoying to get a summary like that but no visuals, it does put the jovial Nautolans in a very different light. Whether that's a good thing or not is questionable.

40. Ansionian. They're ugly.

Rating: 1/5. They sound annoying (e.g. supposedly they laugh loudly), and they look more humanish than they need to.

Hm, a rather sub-par lot this time, it seems.

-Signing off.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Golden Age Moment of the Day (49)

From Air Fighters #6, following last week's GAMotD in fairly short order:

You can always count on Sky Wolf stories to be the most patently absurd thing in any given issue. The story about the Japanese radio wave controlling brain in the Flying Dutchman feature of the same issue seems downright plausible by comparison.

More [EDIT] next later this week.

-Signing off.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Can't Defeat Airman?

Not really a fan of the Mega Man games, but I found this absolutely hilarious, partly because it brings across how frustrating video games can be.

If you're wondering what in the world the guy is singing about (and have never played Mega Man 2, in which case, I am led to believe, you'll understand instantly), you could probably look it up (Googling "can't defeat Air Man/Airman" will get you about a bazillion hits), but the gist of it is that he wants an item that will let him cross a lava area that's nearly impossible to get through; unfortunately, the item is guarded by Air Man. He can't beat Air Man. He tries to beat Wood Man, because if he beats Wood Man, he can use Wood Man's weapon to beat Air Man. But he can't beat Wood Man either. How to defeat Wood Man? Get past the lava area that he can't cross to defeat Heat Man, who has the weapon Wood Man's weak to.

Yes, really. That's how the actual game apparently works.

-Signing off.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Space Crazy Comics: Fluke!

This story, from Mysteries of Unexplored Worlds #9, is not about a whale's tail. Neither is it about a parasite, a fish, or anything else mentioned on this disambiguation page.

It is also not about the various things you're likely to see in a Google search.

But that's neither here nor there. Let's get going.

The story opens with the launch of a huge satellite, the Titania, purportedly the biggest satellite ever put into orbit.

The satellite is separated from its rocket in this rather amusing image.

The images Titania sends back are also rather comical-look closely at this panel for a rather dated (at best) rendering of the Earth's surface.

Then, something alarming happens.

(Reminder: Meteors are the flashes made by objects falling through the Earth's atmosphere.) It seems that the satellite is in trouble, until...

Instead of destroying Titania, the meteoroids cling to it, creating an ever-growing object in orbit.

(Reminder: Meteorites are the debris left on the surface by objects that have fallen through the Earth's atmosphere from space.) While nobody is sure what will happen next, the head scientist decides that action must be taken.

Note the statement is somewhat ambiguous-is he saying "We can't wait to see what Titania will do next?" or "We can't wait to see that H-bomb blow some (expletive deleted) up!!"?

Sadly, I messed up the next image a bit, but we can still see what's going on:

I find it hilarious that the crazy space rocks are still flaming (of course, they shouldn't really have been flaming in the first place...).

They're still working on the missile.

Unfortunately, the missle missile misses, due to a misscalculation.

Fortunately, there is a deus ex machina, though sadly it makes no sense.

It moves out to a vaguely more Moonlike orbit.

I just have to ask, where the heck did all the space rocks come from, anyway? It's hecka weird.

But there's one last moment in the story: The titular fluke. (What, a satellite going all Borg and assimilating everything in Earth's orbit wasn't enough of one for ya?)

Yes, they really just did that.

It's kind of an interesting story for historical reasons if nothing else.

I mean, doesn't this sound like the kind of story that would be spawned as a direct response to the way people felt about Sputnik launching? It does to me.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

An Animation That Will Probably Get Emotional Response

Don't have a lot of time to blog (and other computer users would like their turn), so you might watch this video.

Though you might not want to if you tend to have strong responses to things. (If you were upset by this video, for instance, then this video will probably also upset you.

It's kind of halfway uplifting, too, though.

-Signing off.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species #3

It's time for another round of me making fun of chattering pointlessly making observations with my unique insights about stuff from Star Wars.

One of my favorite alien species ever is on this particular section. Let's get into it.

21. Akwin. The Akwin are a seal-like aquatic mammal species, who are fairly sophisticated and believe that the humans they have encountered on the surface are stupid and inferior, because they think the Akwin are mere legends.

Rating: 2/5. While the Akwin have a charming design, there's nothing charming about their attitude. If there was evidence they were playful about their legendary status, I might give them a score as high as 4/5, but it sounds mostly like they're kind of jerky about it.

22. Alashan. Ooh, boy, this one's kind of a doozy.

We know next to nothing about the Alashans. All we know is that they built a city called Forever. This city had an immensely powerful guardian, naturally called the Guardian of Forever. It was a giant, seemingly reptilian monster thing that apparently could destroy spacecraft in orbit from the ground (and so only its name is ripping off Star Trek).

Rating: 3/5. Oh, Chris Claremont, whatever shall we do with you? Bringing the name of a famous Star Trek entity into Star Wars? How could you?

That aside, the Guardian of Forever is amusingly totally unlike its Star Trek name twin, and while the information on actual Alashans is nonexistent as such, if they created that guy, they had to be at least sort of awesome.

23. Aldereenian. The Aldereenians are insectoids. Their most notable known feature is that, when Luke Skywalker was trying to travel to the Alderaanian embassy for Leia's wedding to Han Solo, he was mistakenly taken to the none-too-proximate Aldereenian embassy.

Rating: 3/5. While I tend to be annoyed by such sketchy details, the fact that it was mostly a gag makes up for it a bit. Also, according to at least one source, there are a million different sapient species in the Star Wars galaxy, so the fact that this kind of thing didn't actually happen more often is really a bit mystifying-it's nice that at least one author acknowledged that it was a possibility.

24. Aleena. The Aleena are a diminutive species whose best-known member is probably the podracer who screamed just before smashing into a low-hanging stalactite. (Another rather well-known Aleena would be the somewhat insane Jedi Kazdan Paratus, who was a boss in the video game The Force Unleashed.) Supposedly, Aleena have a tendency to travel the galaxy in sight-seeing family groups. In effect? A species of tourists.

Rating: 3/5. While the whole "species of tourists" designation is a bit weird, and while I don't much care for tourists, I do like their charming design, and the fact that there has been a fairly diverse array of Aleena characters is to the various writers' credit.

25. Alpheridian. We know two things about the Alpheridians. First, they were outnumbered on their own homeworld by a ratio of more than ten to one by immigrant refugees. Second, Greedo saw some go into the Mos Eisley cantina once.

Yeah, that's a pretty sketchy amount of information.

Rating: 1/5. There's potential there, I'm sure of it. But they're too neglected to be very interesting, since we apparently don't even know what they look like.

26. Altiri. The Altiri are a "near-human" species (i.e. they might resemble humans enough that they essentially could be considered a human subspecies) who are deeply spiritual and want to expand their knowledge of the universe through "peaceful, scientific means." They are also locked in perpetual warfare with their planet's other native species. Uh...

Rating: 3/5. While they're not that interesting, they get a point for having blatantly silly and contradictory cultural aspects.

27. Altorian. "Altorian" can refer to one of two intelligent species.

Rating: N/A. Sigh, stupid disambiguation pages.

28. Alzarian. Just... Go read Prince Plooz's bio. Seriously. You'll learn a few hundred times more than you would from reading about the Alzarians.

Rating: 3/5, if only for this image. Otherwise, as a group they appear to be rather amusingly egg-shaped.

29. Amani. The Amanin (the "n" is the plural signifier) are sapient planarians, which is the coolest underused alien design idea ever. They are warlike primitives with the ability, like many creatures of the particular animal orders they are from, to regenerate from almost anything. They can also roll into wheel shapes and roll around to get around the fact that they can't walk very quickly.

Rating: 5/5. They're sapient flatworms, and that's all you really need to know.

30. Amaran. The Amarans are a species of fox people who are noted traders. Their primary appearance is in the book The Wildlife of Star Wars: A Field Guide, as incidental characters in the book's illustrations.

Rating: 2/5. Animal aliens are too common, although they get points for specifically being fox aliens (in fact, they are the only "fox aliens" in Star Wars at the moment).

I might be worried that I'm not making much progress, but that's kind of the point-if I could go through all the species quickly, it would both be less fun and it'd provide a lot less blogging fodder, now wouldn't it?

-Signing off.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Golden Age Moment of the Day (48)

From Air Fighters #6 comes... Mary Poppins' brothers?

Actually, they're walking down, not floating down with their umbrellas. But you'll have to wait until next time to see the proof of that.

-Signing off.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Kid Eternity and Dynamite

So in the lead story in Kid Eternity #7 (you ought to be able to find it at Golden Age Comics blah blah blah), the Kid wants to stop an armored car that has been hijacked. As established in the past, he can make some interesting choices. So who does he choose for this job?

Alfred Nobel? Really? He must have some arm if he can hit that high-speed fleeing vehicle.

Also, did you know why Alfred Nobel became such a philanthropist?

It's because he regretted the destructive potential of his one successful invention and the harm he believed it would wreak on the world.

Yeah, I doubt that he would be chucking dynamite at random trucks for anybody, even Kid Eternity, even if he could.