Ask the Bastards #2: The Inherent Flaws of AT-ATs, Dragon*Con Memories and a Before Watchmen Verdict (Kinda)
Welcome to another edition of Ask the Bastards, the weekly feature where you the readers get to grill us, the Nerd Bastards staff, on any nerdy topic you want. This week we discuss our own inherent nerdiness, Sarah shares some memories of Dragon*Con, we talk about Imperial Walkers and finally get around to the touchy, touchy subject of Before Watchmen.
Why did the Empire design their AT-AT walkers with such a high center of gravity and only a single forward weapons platform? – Elliott
The answer to that is simple: the Empire was all about what’s cool. Walkers look cool despite the fact that they’re easy to trip and their underbellies allow easy access to enough vital systems that the whole thing can be brought down with a hand grenade. Seriously, I know the Trade Federation sucked, but they had hover tanks. Why was the Empire so disastrously behind in hover technology? Think about it. – Adam A. Donaldson
AT-AT stands for “All Terained Armored Transport”. Also called Imperial Walker. Uses its four legs to transport Imperial Troopers into battle. Can kneel down to allow loading. It’s design is as tactically sound as it is intimidating. I mean come on, if any rebel scum saw one of these monstrosities for the first time, they’d run for the hills. Plus, there’s logic in having the high ground. Imperialists can see the whole landscape and dictate the battle from above. Troops and vehicles housed inside are, theoretically, better protected when they are harder to reach. But you’re right, though, shit should have had more guns and maybe some airbags. -Luke Gallagher.
Simple: the AT-ATs are giant robot camels because if they weren’t Luke couldn’t take one down with a tow cable and be awesome. That’s called destiny (Destiny is a registered trademark of LucasFilm). - Matthew Jackson
The Empire most likely did what most governments do and hired a company that happened to have contributed to the Emperor’s political campaign. Thus, quality was assured to be inferior and costs inflated. Not only did the AT-AT design fail, it probably cost them twice what they could have paid if they would have shopped around with some reputable military manufacturing companies. Either that or the Emperor had a dog when he was little that he loved and insisted on the things looking like giant canines. – Jason McAnelly
What a great idea! Which one of you is the biggest nerd? Which one of you is the biggest bastard? – Athena
Well, as I say to all the ladies… “I’m party size”. Oh wait, you were referring to my level of nerdom… how awkward. Uh…I think I’m a work in progress. I constantly have my finger on the pulse of pulp culture. There’s not much I don’t know about. At times, I have the ego of master nerd, but that’s the great thing about nerd culture, it’s always moving, always evolving. There’s always some new/undiscovered movie, comic-book, television series or video game to feed your nerdy sensibilities. To maintain your nerd cred, you gotta consume media 24/7.
If you’re asking if I prance around in tighty whities, a pair of Ugz and hold a loft a power sword (aka broom) pretending to be He-Man, then yea, I’m a pretty big nerd. -Luke Gallagher.
I’m kind of chill so far as being a nerd goes, so I’m probably about as far from fit for the title of “biggest bastard” as you can get. – Adam A. Donaldson
I absolutely cede the title of “biggest nerd” to my colleagues like Matthew Jackson and jeremy r! hudson. Also, special contributor Steven Sautter possesses an amazing mind that makes normies uncomfortable in conversation. With that said, I am doubtlessly the biggest bastard. Ask around, I’m an outright dick… but loveable, I am a loveable di… nevermind. - Jason Tabrys.
If I posted a picture of my Batman-Mario Cosplay for this year’s DragonCon, would that shoot me to the top of the list? -Mark Poynter
I am Canadian, and therefore bound to the metric system. I suck at conversion so I can’t really say. – Jeremy r! Hudson
Yup, Tabrys is definitely the biggest bastard. - Matthew Jackson
I would have to admit, much to my shame, that I am much less of a nerd than most. I began my life a very devoted nerd, reading comics since age 4, playing D&D since age 8 and having massive collections of original G.I. Joes, Star Wars figures and the original (made of fkn METAL) Transformers toys. Over time, I began to like girl parts and drinking more and from age 20 I had gone into a sort of nerd-limbo. My only nerd-exposure during this period of my life was my steady devotion to movies. Thus, I have only recently returned to the fold and embraced my full nerd heritage (thanks in part to the folks at Nerdbastards). I AM, however, one huge bastard, as anyone who knows me personally can attest to (though they usually prefer to use the word “asshole”). – Jason McAnelly
Why does the Red Skull in the 1990’s Captain America so closely resemble Jigsaw from the most recent Punisher movie? And yes, I know that that Captain America movie is amazingly horrible. – Jason
Well, some looks are just timeless. – Matthew Jackson
Shaun Smith did the makeup effects for the 1990 Captain America Movie and Serge Laviguer did the same for Punisher Warzone. After Captain America and before Warzone they worked together on 300, perhaps they shared some effects tricks at that time that later led to the same style of look. – Mark Poynter
Who would win in a fight: DALEKS, Terminator, Robocop, or Inspector Gadget??? – Adam
Kanye West: “Yo Daleks, Terminator and Robocop, I’m really happy for you, I’mma Let you finish, but Mega Man is one of the best Cyborgs of all time!” -Luke Gallagher.
A girl named River. No matter the fight, the answer to that question is always “A girl named River”. – Jason Tabrys.
Batman. The answer is always Batman (Jason T. knows NOTHING!). -Jeremy r! Hudson
Jeremy is right, but I’m going to go ahead and actually answer the question. Daleks win, because none of the other three can quip like the Doctor. Also, the absence of a sonic screwdriver. Also, Daleks are Daleks. SHUT UP I am good at argue! – Matthew Jackson
If the DALEKS were allowed to use their numbers, they would dominate, hands-down. If it was just one DALEK and all the others, Inspector Gadget would be victorious. He has that all-powerful ability known as “luck.” It overrides the killing potential of the other candidates in this hypothetical cage match. – Jason McAnelly
If you were going to Deep Space Nine for six months to fill in for Commander Sisko, which Oracle reference books would you take for some light reading in Quark’s bar? – Mariana
None. Sorry, but I’d just be in the Holodeck, much like Firefly‘s Jane Cobb was always in his bunk. – Mark Poynter
Before Watchmen: Intriguing expansion of a beloved but underused property or blasphemous desecration of a masterpiece? – Jan
That depends. Does Grease 2 demean the existence of the original Grease? Does the prequel trilogy make the original Star Wars films less enjoyable? Does Kingdom of the Crystal Skull make Raiders of the Lost Ark less of a movie? Probably not. Actually, the real wonder is that it took DC nearly 25 years to exploit the success of Watchmen. The comic industry, like a lot of mainstream media, feeds on its own success. They believe – no, they know with absolute certainty – what was popular once will be popular again. Lightning can strike twice. Maybe more.
But to go back to your original question, I’d have to answer no, Before Watchmen does not blaspheme against Watchmen. If, for you, the story of Watchmen is solely Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ original text, then don’t read Before Watchmen. But if you like that world, and you like those characters, and you want more stories about them, then there’s nothing wrong with that either. Think of it this way: What if they had stopped making Spider-Man comics when Stan Lee stopped writing them? What if they stopped making Batman comics when Bob Kane stopped making them? To me, one of the great things about comics is that anyone can pick up the character of Spider-Man, or Batman, and help shape them for a new generation of readers (and in many instances, the old generation too). Sure, there’s convoluted legality and copyright issues, some of which shine a not to so good light on Marvel and DC editors of the past, but to me, having grown up reading comic books, there’s an idea there that these characters, in a sense, belong to everyone. Maybe that’s the key: if you hate Before Watchmen, think of it as fan fiction. – Adam A. Donaldson
All contracts and testy interviews and years of bad blood aside, calling it “blasphemous” is always going to be an over-the-top description of something that doesn’t deserve it. I haven’t read a single issue yet, but it’s not because I’m standing behind Alan Moore in solidarity or because I’m raging against the DC Comics machine (I buy at least 5 DC books a month, for the record). I’m just not interested. For me, Watchmen is a self-contained wonderful book-length experience, and I’m just not interested in reading more from that world. Maybe one day I will be. Maybe when the trades come out I’ll give these books a go. But for now, it’s just not something I care about at all. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Nor does it mean that a bunch of creators who had nothing to do with whatever legal maneuvering led to DC’s ownership of these characters shouldn’t get the chance to write about them. I don’t like these argument that “George Lucas raped my childhood with the prequels” or “Frank Miller ruined Batman when he did All-Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder” or “Michael Bay ruined Transformers.” That’s not how it works. We still have the original trilogy (though we could make an argument against Lucas’ constant revisionism). We still have The Dark Knight Returns and Year One. We still have our beloved Transformers cartoon. And yes, we still have Watchmen. Even if you think they’re the biggest pieces of trash to come out of the comic book world since Rob Liefield gave Captain America boob-pecs, having the Before Watchmen books around doesn’t take anything away from the work Alan Moore did. - Matthew Jackson
As a writer of fiction, my opinions on this particular subject are rather strong. I hold the view that no great literary world should remain buried and untouched simply because the creator thinks that the story already told is enough. When you create something, it becomes the property of your fans. If they want to hear more about that world, they should have that right. When your fans are other writers and artists, they should be able to continue and expand upon things that they are interested in, as long as they do the property justice. Personally, if I published something that everyone loved and others wanted to create more of it, I would feel honored. I am pissed that Moore doesn’t have his rights and at least the ability to say “No” and have it be law, but I think he’s being selfish in assuming that what he brought to life is complete. To be selfish on that account is to deny the world some potential masterpieces of art in the name of your own ego. No story is ever truly ended. – Jason McAnelly
Do any of you go to Dragon*Con, and if so, what are some of your favorite moments when attending? – Alex
Last year I popped my Dragon*Con cherry and it was such a pleasurable experience I’m heading down to HOT-lanta again this year. Gosh, favorite moments of D*C? I guess I can’t simply say the ENTIRE CONVENTION. That’d be cheap and lazy, and while us Bastards are all about the cheap and lazy, I’ll tell ya a few of my best memories.
To quickly bring those not familiar with D*C up to speed, imagine a four day nerdvana spreading throughout downtown Atlanta. Sure, we’ve all been to conventions held in massive centers and hotels but D*C is hosted in five hotels. FIVE. Even more impressive, while the magnitude of the convention is overwhelming the volunteers and staff have everything organized down to a science. I got into every panel I wanted to see, didn’t have to fight through impossible crowds, and generally avoided all the usual headaches associated with such giant cons. Serious props to the organizers of D*C, they’re the number one reason the con is such a blast.
If you’re a cosplay fan – and who isn’t? – D*C is a mecha of unbelievable costuming. There’s Saturday morning’s parade where the best costumers strut their stuff. I’ve never seen so many Stormtroopers in my life, plus last year, someone recreated that giant motor-bike thing from Mad Max. There were even people attached to the front being whipped by the driver, it was nuts! Best place to cosplay watch is the Marriot’s lobby, it’s where great cosplay congregates. For comic book fans try and find out when the DC and Marvel photoshoots are, there will be dozens upon dozens of superheroes and villains in a wide breadth of skill and variations.
While the con itself will have plenty of awesome things to keep you busy, the night life is even better. After hours that 4×4 city block area of Atlanta basically turns into one giant party. You can’t go 25ft without hitting a mobile bar. Seriously, the hotels set them up everywhere ‘cause they know what we want. TO DRINK. And not only to drink, but to drink with the stars! After only one year it became very apparent to me that D*C is where our nerd-lebrities come to chill out and party down. The best place for star-spotting is the karaoke in the Hilton. Last year I hung out Robin Thorsen and Amy Okuda from The Guild. Then Colin Ferguson, Chris Gauthier, and Jordan Hinson from Eureka showed up and all five of them sang. But the highlight had to be Sylvestor McCoy rockin’ out in the audience. He used his cane for air guitar and went all Pete Townsend with it, swinging his arm like a windmill. IT. WAS. AWESOME.
And those are only the few things I can remember off the top of my head! Oh, and I danced with a robot. -Sarah Moran