The Many Deaths of Neville Longbottom – Episode 3

The Many Deaths of Neville Longbottom – Episode 3

Obliviate

So, while I was making these comics years ago, I had decided not to kill Neville every time.  Sometimes, bad stuff just happens.  Without Ron’s broken wand, Neville ends up in St. Mungo’s.

Also, I’d just like to point out that Lockhart’s robes are fabulous, darling.

Previous Neville Comics:
Episode 1
Episode 2

Bad Ideas to Take Away from Les Misérables

So, I was thinking about Les Misérables, one of my all-time favorite musicals and books, recently adapted to movie-musical format.  (Yes, it has been adapted as a non-musical movie before.  I own the Liam Neeson version and love that one, too, despite some glaring oversights.  But nothing tops the musical.)  Here are the top five worst lessons to learn from it:

1) Break parole.  Your life will be infinitely better.  You could even become mayor!

From this to this

2) Steal from old people.  They may even give you more stuff!

Thief in the night

(Though you might have to convert.)

I have bought your soul copy

3) Do everything you can to die in your unrequited love’s arms.  Then they’ll have to at least pretend to have feelings for you or seem like a total jerk.  Then, die happy.

A little fall of rain copy

4) Don’t fight for any cause.  You’ll just end up losing.

Empty Chairs at Empty Tables copy

5) All of your enemies will eventually just kill themselves.  Then you’ll be in the clear.

Javert's Suicide

 

Bonus:

6) Whatever you’re supposed to learn from them:

Thenardiers wedding

The Many Deaths of Neville Longbottom – Episode 2

Devil's Snare

So, as much as I love this one artistically, I have a problem with it.  It’s established that Neville’s best subject is Herbology (JKR has said that Neville becomes Herbology teacher at Hogwarts), though this doesn’t actually really become settled until Goblet of Fire or so.  So, it is possible that Neville’s skill at Herbology was late-blooming, and he could have met his end in the Devil’s Snare under the trapdoor.  It is far more likely, however, that he would have been beaten to death by a bishop on the chess board or just died of starvation in the room with the keys, but we’ll never know.

Previous Neville Comics:
Episode 1

A Nitpicker’s Guide to Frozen

I don’t want you to get the wrong impression from this post.  I love Frozen.  I’ve been listening to the soundtrack nonstop in the shower.  I will own the movie when it comes out on DVD.  I will memorize it.

This is just a nitpicker voicing concerns about plot holes that me and my friends have talked about and thought of since we saw the movie.  There are probably more, but here are a few:

Reindeers are better than people

Reindeer are better than people.  Reindeer. This bugs the crap out of me.  Seriously, I thought lyricists live and breathe grammar and sleep with both a dictionary and thesaurus under their pillows.  Besides, who hasn’t heard “Twas the Night Before Christmas” and “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer” a thousand times and know all the names of Santa’s reindeer?

Next up, this scene:

Trolls

Seriously? What the crap? This whole part at the beginning makes no sense.  So, apparently getting shot through the heart (and you’re to blame!) with ice is really bad and will slowly turn you into a frozen block of ice, but through the head will also slowly turn you into a block of ice…but if you forget about it then…you won’t? This is all just a ploy to keep Elsa’s secret from Anna throughout the majority of the movie.  Also, the trolls make it very clear that for Anna to ever know about her sister’s gift would be very bad for her.  But Elsa sets off an eternal winter and now Anna knows and…nothing happens? So, basically, Elsa was kept locked away, told her powers were bad and had to be controlled, and it was all for nothing? How many years of her life did she waste being locked in that room?

Then there’s their parents.  Typical knee-jerk reaction.  Elsa didn’t zap Anna with ice because she couldn’t control her powers.  It was an accident, and more so, it was Anna’s fault.  Elsa tried to get her to stop jumping because she couldn’t keep up and (typical little sister), Anna didn’t listen. So, the parents’ reaction was just to lock her away and never let her use her powers again, when even as a child she showed remarkable control over them.  It’s like trying to put a lid on something under pressure; there are pressure release valves for a reason.  If she had just been allowed to practice her powers, she would have learned better control.  Even after ten-plus years of trying to hide her powers away, Elsa emerges on that mountain with complete control over them, just by using them.  Seems to me that if she wasn’t under control, that ice castle she built would have collapsed under its own weight, her ice monster would have killed her, or her own powers would have reflected back at her and turned her own heart into ice.

And speaking of this whole frozen heart business. Even in the opening song, the ice cutters sing, “Beware the frozen heart.” Ominous, right? I was sitting there thinking, even as Anna’s parents consulted the trolls about her injuries and the luck she had that the ice had missed her heart, that something really bad could happen in that scenario.  “Frozen heart.” To me, that sounds like a total absence of love and warmth, and that the person could actually start to become hateful and perhaps even evil. In the original Hans Christian Andersen story, one of the characters actually does have a frozen heart and stops caring about the people he loves.  Now that’s something that could only be cured by an act of true love. But no, Disney went the literal route.  Boring!

That brings me to my next beef.  Sentient life.  Elsa can make sentient life from nothing.  What if she had been an evil queen, rather than someone misunderstood because of her powers? She could have just made a hundred thousand of those scary-ass snowmonsters to do her bidding, waging war on Arendelle and beyond.  Can you imagine a thousand evil Olafs ready to do the wicked Snow Queen’s bidding?

Evil Olaf copy

Now that’s a story.

The Many Deaths of Neville Longbottom – Episode 1

The Boy Who Lived

I came up with the concept of The Many Deaths of Neville Longbottom several years ago, originally envisioning it to be an alternative universe story set in J.K. Rowling’s world of the Harry Potter books.  Basically, it stems from the Dumbledore’s quote as stated in the comic, that the Chosen One could have been Neville.  However, Voldemort chose Harry and “marked him as his equal” and Neville was spared this fate.  So, using classic multiverse theory, I decided to branch the history as written.  Voldemort chooses Neville instead (with hilarious circumstances).  I don’t recall when exactly I drew this comic (or the ones I will post in future), but surely it must have been before the awesomeness that is Neville during the Battle of Hogwarts, otherwise I don’t think I would have envisioned a comic in which I continually show all the ways Neville could have met his tragic end if he hadn’t had Harry’s luck.

Anyway, this comic is based in the idea that Neville, unlike Harry, might not have been saved by the power of his mother’s love, sacrificing herself for Neville as Lily Potter had done for her son.  That’s not to say Alice Longbottom might not have done the same.  Canon tells us that the Longbottoms weren’t tortured into madness until almost a year after Voldemort’s downfall.  But they were both Aurors and in the Order of the Phoenix.  They might have been out on duty for the Ministry or the Order, and Neville could have been with a nanny or babysitter.  The only reason the Potters had been in hiding was because someone (*cough cough* Snape *cough cough*) warned Dumbledore about the prophesy and Voldemort’s decision to kill Harry.  Of course, Snape only turned traitor because he loved Lily Potter and didn’t want any harm to come to her or her son.  I can’t imagine that would have happened for poor Alice, so there would have been no warning, no Fidelius Charm, no nothing.

Sorry if this explanation kills the humor of the comic.  (They always say if you explain a joke, it loses its humor.  But if I can’t write this on my blog, then where can I write it?) It’s a bit grim, I grant you, but I assure you Neville will  be alive and well in the next installment (whenever that may be).

The Case for American Dad

The Case for American Dad

First off, I realized as I was typing the title for this blog post that it sounds like I’m trying to make a case for Fox not to cancel their animated show, American Dad.  Don’t panic.  As far as I know, they’re not.  (Oh god, I really hope they’re not!!!) Anything with Seth MacFarlane’s name attached seems to have immunity from the indiscriminate Axe of Cancellation.  They’ve learned their lesson from canceling Family Guy (and they have no doubt learned from the Simpsons that fans will still watch a show even over twenty seasons after its inception.)

The case I’m trying to make is for people to actually watch American Dad.  Sure, the first season or two is pretty predictable.  Stan will be intolerant, Haley will bitch about the environment like a played out hippy record, Steve will do something nerdy, etc.  But even as the show continues to play on old tricks and stereotypes, there is something wonderful in the way the show always seems to revitalize itself.  Point in fact: Wheels and the Legman.

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(Cue 70’s cop show theme music)

It was just a B plot, throwaway storyline.  Steve and Roger try to come up with wacky personas for their made-up detective agency.  They argue about who gets to be the guy in the wheelchair (resulting in a slap fight), then split up and get their own sidekicks, then decide in the end that Steve is Wheels and Roger is the legman.  Pretty funny stuff.  But in later episodes, it gets even better.  Steve and Roger both want to play the ‘bad cop’ in good cop/bad cop and end up confusing the hell out of poor, stupid Barry.

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American Dad plays with parody and genre homage just like fan favorite show Community.  There’s “Tearjerker,” a James Bond-themed episode set entirely outside of the American Dad universe (though I’d stay away from the lackluster sequel episode), a Goodfellas tribute about life as a meter maid, a heist flick homage set in a bar mitzvah, and my personal favorite, “In Country…Club,” where Steve and Stan take part in a Vietnam War reenactment taking place in a country club.  It’s got pinecone grenades, red markers as knives, spray paint as flamethrowers, golf cart helicopters…you name it.  It is the wackiest, zaniest, yet truest tribute to the war movie genre, right down to Credence Clearwater Revival blasting to the sight of grown men chasing each other across a golf course and arguing about whether they actually killed one another or not.

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Whereas Family Guy has become all-too preachy and sometimes tremendously dark without any sort of comedy to it (how about the episode where Peter and the gang decide to kill Quagmire’s sister’s abusive husband?), American Dad continues to entertain.  The show also takes great advantage of MacFarlane’s amazing singing talents and his love of smart jokes that often go over the heads of the average viewer.  (Who else would make a Schoolhouse Rock parody about the Iran-Contra scandal and Oliver North trials? Or a parody of “Tits and Ass” from A Chorus Line and made it about Francine’s Chinese adopt-a-parents?)

But the strongest argument I could make for the show’s overall fantastitude (yes, I’m making that a word) is the fact that the other MacFarlane shows actively mock American Dad, even going so far as to pretend as if no one watches or cares about it.

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Whereas Family Guy and The Cleveland Show continually refer to each other (which, granted, is natural, considering one’s a spinoff of the other), the two shows go out of their way to distance themselves from American Dad.  In the well-coordinated three-series crossover episodes, each show encounters a hurricane, which is announced at the start of the Cleveland show, saying, “The storm’s gonna be here for a while, then in Quahog about in, like, a half-hour, then supposedly after that, it’ll go to American Dad town.”  I don’t mind the hate, however, because if MacFarlane and the gang thought dissing American Dad was a detriment, then they’d probably have stopped by now.  I don’t see them openly making fun of The Cleveland Show (which I do watch, but I think is mediocre at best.  The only saving grace is Rallo and Junior as a pair, just as the only saving grace for Family Guy is Stewie and Brian as a pair.)

For those convinced by my plea, or feeling pity for such a long post for a show no one apparently watches, here’s my top picks for episodes.  They’re on Netflix (I think), so catch yourself up:

Tears of a Clooney
The Best Christmas Story Never Told
Black Mystery Month
Joint Custody
The Vacation Goo
Meter Made
The Most Adequate Christmas Ever
Tearjerker
Escape from Pearl Bailey
Phantom of the Telethon
Bar Mitzvah Shuffle
In Country…Club
Return of the Bling
Bully for Steve
100 A.D.
For Whom the Sleighbell Tolls
Fartbreak Hotel
Hot Water
Hurricane!
Season’s Beatings

Rapunzel Gender Swap

Felt like posting my other Disney gender swap test that I did with Flynn and Rapunzel from Tangled.  Not as happy with the quality on this one.  It was just a concept test, so I didn’t bother trying to find an angry Flynn face to match Rapunzel’s original one (instead of the smolder).  I decided to keep the female-ified Flynn with Rapunzel’s long hair because the swap wouldn’t have made sense otherwise.  Thus, to differentiate, I used Rapunzel’s hair from the end of the movie, which is brown like Flynn’s, so it works.  The Photoshopping was a lot harder on this one because of the CGI.  (It’s so much easier to alter things original drawn/painted on animation cells instead of the infinite detail of computer animation).

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Gave the new Rapunzel a little cleavage, took away Flynn’s.  Gave Flynn a few more muscles, made Rapunzel a little less broad-shouldered… I tried to make Flynn’s facial hair more blonde but I just gave up in the end.  (This was only supposed to be a concept test, after all).  But I ended up having the same problem as I did for Aurora.  Rapunzel is tiny, not just her waist but her entire body.  Anyone who’s good with Photoshop can take one look at the bodice and see that it’s just a texture mess from all the cloning I did.  Anyway.  This is why I posted the Sleeping Beauty one first.  Hopefully more to come.

Bonus: Side-by-side comparison.

Tangled copy

Update: I know some of you are looking at this and planning some sort of gender swapped Disney bondage.  Please don’t tell me about it.  But isn’t it interesting that, with that thought in mind, the two different poses (Rapunzel or Flynn being tied up) elicits two completely different reactions? Someone write a thesis about it.  (And put me in the acknowledgements. *wink*)