Monday, January 31, 2005


I have been thinking of downloading Lipton Cup A Soup's "Beat the 3 pm Slump," to see what the fuss is all about.

Advertisements merging with video games is not new. I remember playing a 7-Up "Cool Spot" game for the Sega Genesis, as well as "Mick and Mack:Global Gladiators" which seems like it referenced to McDonald's.

Another example: Red Bull billboards appearing in the futuristic cityscapes of the Wipeout racing games for the Playstation. I always thought it was a make-believe beverage.

I started thinking about the World War II-era Warner Brothers cartoons, that embraced America's part in that conflict. For some reason today's animated characters do not lend their visages to any militaristic side-taking. Comic book characters are still major players in world events, though.

Video games tied into current movies are largely embraced (Spider-Man 2, Van Helsing, The Chronicles Of Riddick). This kind of marketing doesn't seem far from the "product placements posing as past-times" at the Lipton website.

Anything ad agencies want us to consume seem to sprout arms, legs and a mouthy attitude. I think I saw Mr. Peanut sporting "bling" on TV the other day. I don't want my M&Ms to have any "last words" before they are snacked on. I prefer not to think of chicken nuggets as sentient.

Ad characters I haven't seen in awhile/
video games they could star in:

Twinkie the Kid--
A first person shooter of some sort. Goal: assassinate King Don

Digum the Frog--
A Frogger-type game, with drivers in SUVS talking on cell phones

The Scrubbing Bubbles--
Your objective: clean major cities, state-by-state-- sequel could be set in Europe

Cavity Creeps--
Player must keep a dammed river of Mountain Dew from bursting and flooding Toothville

Smokey the Bear--

Kool Aid Man--
Tom Clancy-type adventure, involving stealth

Pet Rocks--
Japanese horror movie-influenced puzzle game

Thanks Ron Miller

I have noticed several DVDs showing up at the store recently that take me back about 20 to 30 years, with titles such as "Escape To Witch Mountain," "The Cat From Outer Space," "The Watcher In The Woods" and many others. I was wondering if there might be a string-cheese theory to bind all these cheddary titles together, and I think Ron Miller is the key.

I checked out the Internet Movie Database and found that Ron was the Producer or Executive Producer of all these old Disney movies, and more. He married Walt Disney's daughter too--good thinking!

I am thankful most of all for "TRON" and "The Black Hole," from which the record album versions were produced (superior in their own way?) and listened to endlessly by my brother and I. Without Ron, these movies probably would have never been made.

One misstep he made was not identifying Tim Burton soon enough. Tim was an animator who worked on "The Fox and the Hound" and "The Black Cauldron" in the early 80's, but the Disney corporation didn't take a shine to him until later. It would have been interesting to see Tim's versions of "Condorman" or "The Devil and Max Devlin."

By the way, Tim's directorial efforts for 2005--"Charlie and The Chocolate Factory" and "Corpse Bride"--seem very surreal/creative. I wonder how many childhoods they'll shape, and in what way?

Monday, January 17, 2005

Sad News For Comic Fans

I was looking through a recent Entertainment Weekly, and found
an article revealing bad news--Wil Eisner passed away

This is probably something better covered by The Blog That Goes
Ping; I was able to glimpse just some of Mr. Eisner's work, and was
very impressed.

The EW article spells his first name "Will" but I believe he went
by "Wil" sometimes as well. Interesting.

I have always considered him the "father of graphic novels"--
I will have to look into finding more of Eisner's masterworks.

Vard, do you have a fitting eulogy?