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11 Monsters Who Could Totally Take On Godzilla

With the recent Godzilla movie remake in theatres, this is a timely and fun non-scientific analysis is by Janelle Myers from MTV at http://www.mtv.com/news/1825804/11-monsters-who-could-totally-take-on-godzilla/

As Gareth Edwards’ “Godzilla” reboot roars into theaters Friday (May 16), we’re excited for epic action, over-the-top explosions, and of course, the ultimate movie monster in all its magnificent CG glory.For over five decades, Godzilla has terrorized cities and inspired awe in the hearts of movie-goers, but new monsters have been introduced that are stronger, smarter, and faster… making us wonder, does the 60-year-old radioactive giant lizard stand a chance against these newer creatures?We think these monsters could serve up some swift competition against the legendary reptile:
Optimus Prime
The strongest and smartest of the Autobots, Prime also has the advantage of weapons like his energon axe that could do some major damage to the lizard king.


The Incredible Hulk
With unlimited power and strength, a resistance to any weapon and rapid healing powers, it’s clear the president should have Bruce Banner on speed dial in case Godzilla ever attacks.


Basilisk
One look at the giant snake from “Harry Potter” and the lizard king would be turned into an incredibly detailed stone statue you can go see at the Met.


Smaug
The arrogant dragon from “The Hobbit” pitted up against the King of Monsters would result in one ego-filled battle. However, Smaug is also known for being quite indifferent, more likely to taunt Godzilla about his tiny arms and go back to his hoard of gold, calling it a day.


James P. Sullivan
Sulley may look like a giant teddy bear, but don’t forget, he was top scarer at Monster’s Inc for a reason.



Reptar
Two bad-ass mutant reptiles against each other?!… But there’s one thing Godzilla is missing and that’s a chocolate bar that turns your tongue green.


Clover
A fellow Kaiju, the deep-sea monster from “Cloverfield” would put up a good fight (destroying New York City’s famous landmarks in their wake), but probably would easily succumb to Godzilla’s atomic breath.


Big Ass Spider
The super gross looking spider from SyFy channel’s “Big Ass Spider” would have any creature running in the other direction.


Stay Puft
The marshmallow man from “Ghostbusters” was summoned by a Sumerian god of destruction, making him a lot more terrifying than he appears. Ultimately though, one blast of fire breath and we could all make s’mores!


Balrogs
The demons of terror and darkness from “The Lord of The Rings” basically just consume everything with fire and hate- so if Godzilla tried to eat one he’d have some serious indigestion.


Daleks
Don’t let their pepper-shaker shape fool you, these aliens are vicious. The main enemies of “Doctor Who” have been known to wipe out entire planets and civilizations throughout time and space.

Click to Tweet: 11 Monsters Who Could Totally Take On Godzilla at http://wp.me/p31Xf4-Eo via @Nimpentoad


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Robots in Movies

This post was inspired by Doug Gross’s CNN article at http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/19/tech/innovation/robots-pop-culture/index.html. The first nine robot writeups below are from him. Although they don’t have feelings, some important movie robots have been overlooked, so I’ve appended them below.  Enjoy.

01-robots-capek

Rossum’s Universal Robots

“R.U.R.”

“Rossum’s Universal Robots — was a Czech play that premiered in 1921. It is believed to be the first time the term “robots” was used to describe artificial people (who, in the tale, are made in a factory from synthetic material). In Czech, “robota” means forced labor. As happens in these cases, the cyborg-like creations in the play seem perfectly happy to serve humans, until an uprising ends in the extinction of the human race. Can’t win ’em all. The play was a huge success and, by 1923, it had been translated into 30 languages.

02-robots-metropolis

Maschinenmensch

Maschinenmensch

The first movie robot wasn’t far behind. In 1927, Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis” became the first feature-length sci-fi film, painting a picture of a dystopian future that would be echoed decades later in movies like “Blade Runner.” In it, rich industrialists deploy a female robot to impersonate Maria, a woman they fear will organize the workers they oppress. Pop artists from Queen to Nine Inch Nails to Madonna have made music videos either inspired by “Metropolis” or using clips from it. A half-century after “Metropolis,” the appearance of “Star Wars” droid C-3PO would be largely inspired by the robotic Maria.

03-robots-asimov

Asimov’s Three Laws

The short story they come from, “Runaround,” was written in 1942, but would become more widely known when the story appeared in science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov’s 1950 collection, “I, Robot.” Before Asimov, most robot stories followed a similar pattern: Scientists create robot; robot goes haywire and attacks its creators. Bored with that, he set up new rules of the robotic road. His Three Laws are:

A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

• A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

• A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law

It wasn’t that things would always go well from there. Many of Asimov’s stories, and the stories and films that his laws inspired, focus on trouble that arises when robots have trouble knowing how to obey the laws in tricky real-world situations. But they are also credited with helping create the “lovable” robot in science fiction: an archetype popularized in TV and movies, from “Lost in Space” to “Star Wars” to “Short Circuit.”

04-robots-robby

Robby the Robot

Robby made his first appearance in the 1956 movie “Forbidden Planet.” From there, he became arguably the silver screen’s first mecha-celebrity. In old Hollywood’s great tradition of over-the-top, and often misleading, ballyhoo, the movie’s poster showed Robby manhandling a maiden, but he’s actually a helpful robot with a dry wit to boot.

After “Forbidden Planet,” Robby, or sometimes just the vaguely humanoid suit, went on to appear in dozens of movies and television shows, from “The Twilight Zone,” “Lost In Space” and “The Addams Family” to the much later “Mork & Mindy” and “Earth Girls Are Easy”.

05-robots-hal

HAL 9000

“2001: A Space Odyssey” was Stanley Kubrick’s epic, groundbreaking film from 1968, and HAL 9000 was unquestionably its star. Represented by an impassive, disembodied voice but able to mechanically control the spaceship Discovery, which he’s tasked with running, HAL represented our fears of technology gone awry as the Space Age dawned.

Instead of obeying Asimov’s Laws, HAL, first and foremost, is devoted to making sure his ship’s mission is a success. And that command has a deadly, and near-disastrous outcome. Some argue that since he didn’t have a physical form (at least by the strictest standards) HAL is not really a robot. But Carnegie Mellon thought he deserved to go into the Robot Hall of Fame with its inaugural class in 2003.

06-robots-star-wars

R2-D2 and C-3PO

It’s hard to argue anyone did more to propel robots from hardcore science fiction into the wider public consciousness than these two when they hit the screen in 1977. Full of personality, gallant and always helpful, the pair have appeared in all six “Star Wars” films to date. Creator George Lucas has said that R2-D2 is his favorite character from the movies.

07-robots-terminator

Terminator

Mention any major advance of robotics, technology or artificial intelligence and, to this day, you’ll inevitably hear something like this: “Skynet just became self-aware. Skynet is the system that leads to the Terminators, the titular robots of the series of movies (and later TV shows) which began in 1984. A new embodiment of our worst fears, the robots of “Terminator” are time-traveling killing machines — and it’s all because the people in charge let what we can do get ahead of what we should do.

08-robots-star-trek

Data

Call Data the “anti-Terminator.” The android from “Star Trek: The Next Generation” is a creation that science has made so painfully close to human that his hyper-powered mind can’t help but yearn to be one of us. The bad jokes weren’t enough. Ultimately, an “emotion chip” granted Data’s Pinocchio-like wish to become “real.”

09-robots-wall-e

Wall-E

The idea of a friendly robot with a ton of personality was well established by the time “Wall-E” came along in 2008. But the Academy Award-winning film is arguably Pixar’s best, and a huge reason for that was Wall-E’s wordless yet emotionally moving “performance.” Like much great science fiction, “Wall-E” also tackles larger societal issues like rampant consumerism and environmental waste, while still offering up a robot who connected with millions of viewers, young and old, on a personal level.

I’d like to add the following honorable mentions that failed to make Mr. Gross’s list:

Bishopinhalf

Bishop from Aliens

Lance Henriksen plays the creepy “synthetic” Bishop, who is good at mumbly-peg, fixing radios, distracting Alien queens, and speaking after he’s been torn in half by said Alien queen.

From Wikipedia: Aliens is a 1986 American science fiction action film co-written and directed by James Cameron and starring Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, and Lance Henriksen. It is the sequel to the 1979 film Alien and the second installment of the Alien franchise. The film follows Weaver’s character Ellen Ripley as she returns to the planet where her crew encountered the hostile Alien creature, this time accompanied by a unit of Colonial Marines.

gigantor-volume-one-dvd-review-20090428114839410-000

Gigantor

Yeah, sure, it was a TV show, not a movie. But a giant robot!? That could fly!? One of my favorite shows growing up.

From Wikipedia: Gigantor is an American adaptation of the anime version of Tetsujin 28-go, a manga by Mitsuteru Yokoyama released in 1956. It debuted on U.S. television in 1964. As with Speed Racer, the characters’ original names were altered and the original series’ violence was toned down for American viewers.

iron_giant

Iron Giant

You don’t want to get this robot mad. He makes Optimus Prime look like a sissy.

From Wikipedia: The Iron Giant is a 1999 American animated science fiction film using both traditional animation and computer animation, produced by Warner Bros. Animation, and based on the 1968 novel The Iron Man by Ted Hughes. The film was directed by Brad Bird, and stars Jennifer Aniston, Harry Connick, Jr., Vin Diesel.

optimus

Transformers

C’mon, who wouldn’t want a Camaro like Bumblebee? Firepower AND street cred.

From Wikipedia: Transformers is a 2007 American science fiction action film based on the Transformers toy line. The film, which combines computer animation with live-action, is directed by Michael Bay, with Steven Spielberg serving as executive producer. It is the first installment of the live-action Transformers film series. It stars Shia LaBeouf as Sam Witwicky, a teenager who gets caught up in a war between the heroic Autobots and the evil Decepticons, two factions of alien robots who can disguise themselves by transforming into everyday machinery.

austin

Fembots from Austin Powers

C’mon, who wouldn’t want a Fembot or two? And bra-mounted machine guns!?

From Wikipedia: Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery is a 1997 American action comedy film and the first installment of the Austin Powers series. It was written by Mike Myers, who also starred as both Austin Powers and the antagonist Dr. Evil, Powers’ arch-enemy. The film co-stars Elizabeth Hurley, Robert Wagner, Seth Green, and Michael York. Will Ferrell, Mimi Rogers, Carrie Fisher, Tom Arnold, Rob Lowe, Christian Slater, Cheri Oteri, Neil Mullarkey and Burt Bacharach made cameo appearances.

goldenarmy

Golden Army from Hellboy II

Um, yes, I would like an army of indestructible golden steampunk robots, thank you very much. And may I just add that the sword fight in the Elven throne room is the best cinematic fight scene of all time.

From Wikipedia: Hellboy II: The Golden Army is a 2008 American supernatural superhero film based on the fictional character Hellboy created by Mike Mignola, starring Ron Perlman. The movie was written and directed by Guillermo del Toro.

westworld

Westworld

Again with the robots we don’t know are robots? Those are the scariest kind.

From Wikipedia: Westworld is a 1973 science fiction-thriller film written and directed by novelist Michael Crichton and produced by Paul Lazarus III. It stars Yul Brynner as an android in a futuristic Western-themed amusement park, and Richard Benjamin and James Brolin as guests of the park.

BladeRunnerjpg

Blade Runner

No list of movie robots is complete without this film. It has some of the best movie quotes of all time (see my favorites).

From Wikipedia: Blade Runner is a 1982 American dystopian science fiction thriller film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young and Edward James Olmos. The screenplay is loosely based on the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. The film depicts a dystopian Los Angeles in November 2019 in which genetically engineered organic robots called replicants—visually indistinguishable from adult humans—are manufactured by the powerful Tyrell Corporation.


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Infographic: Sci-Fi, Fantasy & Horror Movies Related to The Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings is one of my favorite books, and I was thinking about the movie version. It struck me that many of the actors in “The Lord of the Rings” also appear in other speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy & horror) movies. Hugo Weaving plays Elrond, but he’s also Agent Smith in “The Matrix”. Christopher Lee plays Saruman, but also appears in “Star Wars” and billions of other movies. You get the idea.

Then I recalled the Six Degrees of Separation theory. So, starting from the Tolkien fan epicenter that is “The Lord of the Rings”, I plotted out how tightly connected by their actors speculative fiction movie are. Below is an infographic that shows an initial answer. I intentionally limited the scope of my inquiry. One could easily expand the network to be more inclusive.

Instructions:
1. Click on the image below to expand the infographic. If it’s still too small, use the View-Zoom In feature of your web browser.
2. Start in the center at “The Lord of the Rings” & “The Hobbit”. Move either right or left to the actor of your choice. Then keep moving horizontally right (or left) to see how these actors link to other speculative fiction movies, and so on.
For example, Karl Urban played Eomer in “The Lord of the Rings”. He was also in “Star Trek”, as was Zoe Saldana. She was in “Avatar”, as was Sam Worthington.  And Sam was in “Clash of the Titans”.

Caveats:
1. I don’t doubt that there are mistakes or omissions. There is no need to email me and remind me of my fallibility. There is no money-back guarantee. Well, since this is free, I guess I can offer a full refund if you’re not fully satisfied.
2. A single asterisk denotes that I couldn’t help myself, and included a few select TV shows. Whatcha gonna do?
3. A double asterisk denotes that I couldn’t help myself, and included a few non-speculative fiction movies. So sue me.
4. As in any network, there can be more than one path to get from one node (movie) to another. I’ve just shown single paths.
5. This infographic is in NO way represented as exhaustive, although creating it was exhausting.
6. If you enjoy it, kindly Retweet (@Nimpentoad) or otherwise share the link with friends you think would appreciate it (or send it to enemies who would not appreciate it, but who you wish to annoy).

Click on the image below to expand it.

LOTRinfographic


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Pre-SDCC interview with IDW graphic novel publisher Chris Ryall

Chris Ryall is a comic book writer and Chief Creative Officer/Editor-in-Chief of IDW Publishing. Despite being swamped with preparations for IDW’s participation in the upcoming San Diego Comic-Con, he has graciously agreed to talk with us about writing and publishing.

RyallChris

IDW Publishing currently publishes a wide range of comic books and graphic novels including titles based on Angel, Doctor Who, GI Joe, Star Trek, Terminator: Salvation, and Transformers. Creator-driven titles include ‘Fallen Angel’ by Peter David and JK Woodward, ‘Locke & Key’ by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez, and a variety of titles by writer Steve Niles including ‘Wake the Dead’, ‘Epilogue’, and ‘Dead, She Said’.

Artists Ashley Wood and Ben Templesmith are both exclusive to the company, and their titles include ‘Lore’, ‘Popbot’, ‘Sparrow’, ‘Swallow’, ‘Zombies vs. Robots’ (Wood) and ‘Groom Lake’, ‘Singularity 7’, ‘Welcome to Hoxford’, and ‘Wormwood’ (Templesmith). Both Wood and Templesmith have been nominated for multiple Eisner Awards.

For what age audience does IDW publish?
Pretty much all at this point–comics like My Little Pony have brought us younger readers, down to 6-8 or so, and we do a wide array for the 15+ crowd, too. We don’t do many superhero books, but cover horror, fantasy, action/adventure, and have dabbled in sci fi, crime, westerns and others.

Henry: I’m looking forward to seeing Ashley Wood’s interpretation of My Little Pony vs. Zombies…

Tell us about your latest publication
I just sent the final issue of my series ‘The Colonized’ (zombies vs aliens) to press, and am co-writing a Kiss Kids comic aimed at all-ages readers, too.

Henry: Zombies AND Aliens – what’s not to like?

What do you hope readers will get from that?
An enjoyable read, which is all I ask of any of our comics.

What aspect of publishing do you find most challenging?
The non-stop aspect of it. Deadlines never let up, and the fact that there’s so much good material out there, but limited space makes it a challenge. I hate to say “no” to good projects, but you have to at times.

What is a powerful lesson you’ve learned from being a publisher?
Don’t be afraid to say “no”. Stringing people along because I don’t want to make them feel bad is never a good thing, whereas sometimes “no” can serve as impetus to prove me wrong. At least, I hope that’s the case.

Henry: So, sometimes your mouth says “no”, but your heart say “yes”. 🙂 So, my idea for My Little Pony vs. Zombies…

What is a memorable experience you’ve had?
Hard to cite one example, but they happen almost daily. My first week on the job, I was on a panel with Will Eisner. I’ve developed incredible friendships with some of the most creative and inspiring people I could ever hope to meet, and had many chances to work with childhood heroes. All of that makes this incredibly gratifying and enriching, even on the more challenging days.

Henry: I totally agree. I’ve gotten to meet authors and illustrators (and publishers!) I admire.

What advice would you give to aspiring graphic novel authors or illustrators?
You’ve got to love this business. It’s frustrating, humbling, and requires great patience and great love. Overnight success stories are very hard to come by, and often even the most successful “breakout” creators spent years in obscurity, proving they had what it took and honing their craft.

Do you have any favorite quotes?
I’ve always been partial to the line from that song from Willy Wonka, “There is no life I know to compare with pure imagination.”

Henry: Nice. Gene Wilder all the way. I also like, “So shines a good deed in a weary world.”

Do you have any strange work rituals?
I notice that in order to keep up with the daily onslaught, I tend to reply to all e-mails as I’m reading them. So, at times, I’ll end up contradicting myself in a reply because I hadn’t read the whole message before starting to reply.

Henry: Or as Willy Wonka would say, “So much time and so little to do. Wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it.” It just struck me Chris. You ARE the Willy Wonka of graphic novels.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
The ability to stop time so I could actually catch up on things.

If you could have three authors over for dinner, who would it be?
Rod Serling, Harlan Ellison, and Neil Gaiman. Their body of work and varied interests are answer enough, and all were/are strong personalities. I’m lucky enough to be friends with Harlan, and he is always interesting to talk to over a meal.

Henry: Jealous!

What is your favorite creature that exists only in literature?
The Hulk. Because Hulk smash. Always good to have someone ready to smash your enemies for you.

Henry: Yes, The Hulk is the correct answer because Hulk smash. Just ask Loki.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?
Write… which means I’m really never not working. But since I enjoy it, it never feels like work. That and spend time with my daughter, who is also a big reader already, even at age 7.

Henry: My sons and I will have a new book out for your daughter (and others) soon. 🙂

What would you like it to say on your tombstone?
“Sorry, I’m not accepting any more pitches.”

Henry: You’ll still figure out a way. Dropbox?

Where can readers find out more about IDW?
IDW’s website. I’m also on Twitter at @chris_ryall and I post a lot of artwork at a Tumblr page called Ryall’s Files, too. This year, IDW is at SDCC booth 2643.

Here are some sample IDW publications:

Fallen Angel by Peter David and JK Woodward

FallenAngel

One of the most critically acclaimed series of 2004 makes the jump to IDW, as new artist J.K. Woodward introduces readers to the enigmatic city of Bete Noire.

Locke & Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez

LockeAndKey
Acclaimed suspense novelist and New York Times best-selling author Joe Hill(Heart-Shaped Box) creates an all-new story of dark fantasy and wonder

Wake the Dead by writer Steve Niles

WakeTheDead
Modern master of horror Steve Niles (30 Days of Night, Dark Days) teams with art sensations Chee and Milx to present a tale guaranteed to terrify!

Popbot by Ashley Wood

Popbot

Popbot is an award-winning prestige format comic book written & illustrated by Ashley Wood. It features an eclectic cast of characters starring a talking rock star cat, his robot bodyguard, sexy women, robot-ninja assassins & more.

Angel

Angel
The continuing adventures of Joss Whedon’s classic vampire character, Angel.

Doctor Who

DoctorWho
The Doctor, the last of the Time Lords, survivor of the Great Time War, and along with his loyal companions, he stops oppression, darkness, and evil from spreading throughout the galaxies.

G.I. Joe

GIJoe
G.I. JOE is the world’s last defense against nefarious forces bigger than any one nation.

Star Trek

StarTrek
The five-year voyage of the Starship Enterprise was just the beginning of a rich mythology envisioned by Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, one filled with a myriad of stories and characters.

Terminator: Salvation

Terminator
The year is 2018. With John Connor as the voice of the resistance, the scattered remnants of humanity find themselves united against their common enemy—Skynet and its Terminators.

Transformers

Tranformers
TRANSFORMERS comics pit Optimus Prime and his heroic Autobots against Megatron and the evil Decepticons!

This article is also posted to the San Diego Children’s Books Examiner.