A Visit from a Magical Girl (revised)

A poem

The previous version of this was doggerel I whipped out in about ten minutes, but this version (with some fudging) uses the anapestic tetrameter of the original.

T’was the night before Christmas, when all through the town,
Lots of girls were a-stirring, to beat monsters down.
So they stalked all the baddies that threatened mankind,
For to blast them with magic and kick their behinds.

They crouched in the dark by the chimneys with care,
Or slipped across rooftops—villains beware!
One might wear a kerchief, and one has a cap,
But they all got short skirts, what you think about that?

Then at City Hall, there arose such a clatter,
That Plum Fairy Lyssa soon checked out the matter.
A monster showed up with a roar and a flash,
So Lyssa transformed and got ready to bash!

When what to her wondering eyes should appear,
But a slavering, fanged, and bloodthirsty deer?
T’was Rudolph! Whose terrible, powerful nose,
Had at last warped his mind with its horrid bright glow!

Our Lyssa, however, so eager to brawl,
Quick leapt like a gymnast atop of a wall.
“Stop there, evil monster!” she said with a scoff,
“You’ve attacked us on Christmas, and that ticks me off!”

The Moon Princess blest her with power and might,
That she might be quick to kick butt in a fight,
To halt evil crooks in the midst of a crime,
Or to battle vile creatures beyond space and time!

Now punch him, now bludgeon! Now blast him with pow’r!
And yet his eyes glowed with a menacing glow’r!
Now kick him, now stab him, now strangle and blitz ’im!
That deer is no match for this young doe-eyed vixen!

At last Rudolph gasped and lay dead at her feet,
As his bright ruby blood ran out into the street.
“I’ve vanquished the creature,” the Plum Fairy mused,
“But why then do I feel as if I still should lose?”

In leapt Marionette, the famed robot girl,
With her magical pencil, which she gave a twirl.
“Young Lyssa, my dear, you have fought well and brave,
But killed poor Rudolph, whom you know you should save.”

“Well, no one has once taught me any of that,”
Said Lyssa, perplexed. (On the ground she now spat.)
“To fight off the monsters that threaten our world,
Is the constant hard job of a magical girl!”

“We fight for mankind, that is certainly true,”
Said Marionette, whose cold fingers turned blue.
“But always remember that we serve the Light—
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a clean fight!”

The Night before Christmas in Urbanopolis

A Poem

T’was the night before Christmas, when all through the city,
Lots of girls were stirring, and all of them pretty.
They stalked all the baddies that threatened mankind,
To blast them with magic and kick their behinds.

They crouched beside all the dark chimneys with care,
And slipped across rooftops—evildoers beware!
One might wear a kerchief, and one has a cap,
But they all got short skirts, what you think about that?

Then at City Hall, there arose such a clatter,
That Plum Fairy Lyssa went to see what’s the matter.
A monster appeared with a roar and a flash,
Lyssa called up her powers and got ready to bash!

But what to her wondering eyes should appear,
But a slavering, fanged, and bloodthirsty deer?
T’was Rudolph! Whose powerful nose,
Had at last warped his mind with its sinister glow!

Lyssa, however, was ready to brawl,
So she leapt like a gymnast to the top of a wall.
“Halt, evil monster!” she said with a scoff,
“You’ve attacked us on Christmas, and that ticks me off!”

The Moon Princess blest her with power and might,
That she might be quick to kick butt in a fight,
Whether to halt evildoers in the midst of a crime,
Or to battle vile creatures from beyond space and time!

Now punch him, now bludgeon! Now blast him with power!
And yet his eyes glowed with a menacing glower!
Now kick him, now stab him, now strangle and blitz him!
That deer is no match for this doe-eyed vixen!

At last Rudolph gasped and lay dead at her feet,
As his bright ruby blood ran out into the street.
“I’ve vanquished the creature,” the Plum Fairy mused,
“But why do I feel as if I should lose?”

In leapt Marionette, the famed robot girl,
With her magical pencil, which she soon gave a twirl.
“Young Lyssa, my girl, you’ve fought well and brave,
But you just killed poor Rudolph, whom you should try to save.”

“Well, no one ever taught me any of that,”
Said Lyssa, perplexed, as on the pavement she spat.
“To fight off the monsters that threaten our world,
That’s what it means to be a magical girl!”

“We war for mankind, that much is too true,”
Said Marionette, whose cold fingers turned blue.
“But we must always remember to serve only the Light,
So merry Christmas to all, and to all a clean fight!”

Merry Magical Girl Christmas

“All this fuss over a little fat man in a red suit.”

The time has come to celebrate a holiday that most magical girls observe but know nothing about. Since I gave up alcohol for Advent, after getting back from Christmas Vigil Mass, I poured myself a tumbler of salted caramel-flavored Ole Smoky. Salted caramel, in case you don’t know, is the new pumpkin spice.

All I can say is … too much salt and not enough caramel. Blech. It’s not good in eggnog, either. 2/10 would not recommend.

But aside from that, merry Christmas and all. I’m going to go indulge in my annual tradition of daydreaming about what a remake of Santa Claus Conquers the Martians might look like if Sean Connery played Santa.

Comic Book Review: ‘The Courageous Princess’

The Courageous Princess, written and illustrated by Rod Espinosa. 3 vols. Milwaukee, OR: Dark Horse Books, 2015. ISBN: 978-1-61655-722-5 et al.

I am something of a fan of Rod Espinosa, a Filipino draughtsman, former submissions editor of Antarctic Press, and creator of Amerimanga, who has upwards of fifty titles to his name. Years ago, on my previous blog, I reviewed his Neotopia, Battle Girlz, Chronicles of the Universe, DinoWars, and the first volume of the series we’re about to discuss.

The Courageous Princess was Espinosa’s Eisner-nominated breakout title. He originally created it as a self-published, illustrated storybook, and then he converted it into a comic and released it through Antarctic Press. The series, still incomplete, was collected and published in paperback in 2003, and that’s what I previously reviewed. For a long period, the series remained unfinished as Espinosa worked on other projects, but he at last completed the story and released the entire series through Dark Horse in 2015, now as a trilogy of graphic novels. The original collection, which is now the first volume, has been subtitled Beyond the Hundred Kingdoms, followed by The Unremembered Lands and The Dragon Queen.

I like Espinosa’s work, and this now-complete series is overall satisfying, but I can’t help but think it’s a bad sign. Espinosa showed a lot of promise when Courageous Princess first appeared, but has not shown much development since. He has a tendency to squander his talent on derivative and gimmicky projects such as steampunked fairy tales or a Rule 63 version of A Christmas CarolI’m also beginning to see that even his original work is limited in range … like, I really enjoy that one Espinosa story about the teenage girl who is initially uncertain, but through her pure-heartedness and fortitude leads a motley band of misfits to topple an evil empire. Really, I do.

Anyway, the story of The Courageous Princess is a fractured fairy tale reminiscent of, if less zany than, Patricia C. Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles or the musical Into the Woods. The story takes place in the land of the Hundred Kingdoms, where characters from various fairy tales (and a few modern fantasy works) intermingle, though most have by now grown old and moved on with their lives. Continue reading “Comic Book Review: ‘The Courageous Princess’”

No.

I will not be seeing Star Wars: The Last Mary Sue, just in case anyone might have thought to ask. The special editions deeply wounded my enthusiasm for Star Wars, and the prequels killed it. I don’t expect the House of Child Molestation Mouse to be capable of treating the franchise with any respect, and all the buzz I’ve heard about the sequels and spinoffs has been consistently negative.

The very fact that the sequels’ creators have decided to make Star Wars about Grrrl Power shows that they don’t understand the original films. Taking what is at heart a boys’ adventure serial and girl-powering it up is as tin-eared as redoing Ghostbusters with an all-female cast, or redoing Sailor Moon with an all-male cast.

And by the way, there is, in fact, a version of Sailor Moon with an all-male cast, but it’s done as a self-aware joke. That’s one of the differences between America and Japan: in Japan, they say, “Ha! We took your beloved franchise and gender-swapped it! Isn’t that FUNNY?” But in America, they say, “Ha! We took your beloved franchise and gender-swapped it! And if you don’t like it, you’re a BIGOT!”

I am reminded of an interview with Patrick Rothfuss from a few years back, in which he said he found it, and I quote, “fucking creepy” (these writers are so eloquent) that The Hobbit has no female characters in it. That’s where we’re at now; we have a generation that doesn’t simply dislike boys’ adventure fiction, but actually can’t comprehend it. He doesn’t merely say that he finds The Hobbit not to be his cup of tea; he finds it creepy. It’s an adventure story for boys about a group of boys who go on an adventure, and Rothfuss can’t wrap his head around it.

Similarly, I remember an argument I had a few years back with some bronies who were grousing that My Little Pony doesn’t have enough male characters in it. I patiently explained to them that it was a cartoon for little girls. They didn’t get it.

The original Star Wars trilogy is about a farmboy who discovers he’s a prince (of sorts) with a great destiny, and who rescues a princess and saves the galaxy. It’s a boys’ adventure story in space. Those who’ve tackled the franchise since then (Lucas himself included) don’t understand that, and they may be incapable of understanding that.

That’s where we’re at. Just look at this comment:

I especially love the part where he says the movie “backs love over hate” after saying it “mocks and burns down.” Note also that he says nothing about whether the film is well-written or well-directed or entertaining. All he cares about is whether he sees his politics in it.

Note also that he speaks of mocking and burning down traditions with the assumption that this must be a good thing. He doesn’t pause to ask, or describe, exactly what traditions it mocks or burns down, nor does he ask, or describe, why those traditions deserve to be burned down. He simply assumes that mocking and burning are good, and traditions are bad, and if you think otherwise, why, you must have voted for Trump.

This too reminds me of something. Some years ago, I saw Luc Besson’s pro-pedophilia movie The Professional, starring a skin-crawlingly sexualized twelve-year-old Natalie Portman. Afterwards, I went looking for movie reviews. I don’t remember how many I read, but I read only one that condemned the film for glamorizing child-molestation. The rest praised the movie for being “subversive”—assuming, again, that subversion is good in and of itself, without pausing to ask what is being subverted, or whether that thing should be subverted.

So that’s where we’re at. But at least we are seeing greater honesty now than we did ten or more years ago: they are openly admitting that they want to burn it all down. Men like Baz McAlister didn’t used to state their intent so plainly.

‘Battle Angel Alita’ and Yet Another Internet Meltdown

Since the live-action Ghost in the Shell didn’t completely bomb, it should probably come as no surprise that a live-action Battle Angel Alita is now in the works, based on another manga from the same era.

For whatever reason, the movie will run under the less elegant title Alita: Battle Angel.

Sigh. Continue reading “‘Battle Angel Alita’ and Yet Another Internet Meltdown”

‘Cleopatra in Space,’ Volume 4

The Golden Lion (Cleopatra in Space, Book 4), written and illustrated by Mike Maihack. New York, NY: Scholastic, 2017. Full color. ISBN 978-0-5425-83871-9.

I previously discussed the first three volumes of Mike Maihack’s Cleopatra in Space, a space opera aimed at younger readers. Maihack originally began the series as a web comic. The web version stopped abruptly after bogging down, but Maihack rebooted the title as a series of graphic novels through Scholastic’s Graphix imprint. The web comic is not in continuity with the graphic novels, but Maihack suggests to parents that they could check it out anyway to get a good idea of the kind of material that’s likely to appear in the print version. Continue reading “‘Cleopatra in Space,’ Volume 4”