Villian

Lucky And Karate Robot Z

Posted on 2014.04.11 at 10:00
Tags:

Originally published at jaredaxelrod.com. You can comment here or there.

A while back, I wrote some small story bits based upon Josh Jordan’s RPG Heroine. When Josh sent out a call for fiction about his new RPG, Doll, I couldn’t resist. Lucky and Karate Robot Z is in Trust Me: A Doll Anthology, and it’s got one of my favorite openings I’ve written yet:


Karate Robot Z was the reason for all the blood. I get ahead of myself; it is my nature to skip to the climax. But I must begin at the beginning. Let me explain.

Once upon a time, there was a boy named Quentin, who owned an action figure he called Karate Robot Z, based on a television show of the same name.

Karate Robot Z was Quentin’s favorite television show. It was one of those shows ostensibly for children whose premise was both byzantine and simple, and relayed in voice-over over the opening credits: Lucky Kinichi left his life as a cowboy to join Crew ALPHA, a group of scientists and martial-arts enthusiasts trying to create the next great weapon in law-enforcement: a motorcycle that transforms into a robot! But all that changed when the mysterious OMEGA Collective killed Lucky’s father in order to get at his transforming robot secrets. Now, Lucky and Karate Robot Z travel the globe, searching for the heart of the OMEGA Collective, to stop them once and for all!

Karate Robot Z, the television show and Karate Robot Z, the action figure Quentin carried everywhere, were both made with in Japan. The television show Quentin watched Saturday morning had American voice actors replacing the Japanese ones, with the original Japanese action sequences left intact. Karate Robot Z was a surprisingly good fit for this. As transforming robots go, Karate Robot Z was not very autonomous. In order to fight, Karate Robot Z required Lucky to shout commands through the microphone attached to his helmet. A typical fight scene involved cuts to Lucky just to the side of the action, calling out commands to his robot partner. Without Lucky, Karate Robot Z was just a pile of metal.

In the show, Karate Robot Z was a silent partner, and it fell on the actor playing Lucky to speak for the both of them. Often, the television Lucky would say that Karate Robot Z “spoke” to him, but it was always a reference to a sort of mental connection between them rather than actual dialog. Quentin had watched every broadcast episode of Karate Robot Z, and in none of them had Karate Robot Z said a word.

So when the small plastic Karate Robot Z did speak, Quentin was not entirely prepared.

I keep getting ahead of myself. We’ll never get to the blood at this rate.



Quentin had fashioned his own Lucky helmet out of an old baseball cap, cardboard, pipe cleaners, and bright red duct tape. He would run through the house and the yard, being Lucky for his tiny robot. He would shout to the toy in his hand, commanding it to perform a Crimson Kick Cyclone or a Thunder Fist Punch. Quentin took this role seriously, speaking for his toy Karate Robot Z, especially when his sister wanted the robot to join her dolls for tea parties.

Quentin’s father had been a fan of the Cosmicman television show when he was a child, which also came from Japan and also regularly featured battling, rubber-suited monsters. He used to sit with Quentin years ago, watching DVDs of that old show and cheering along as Cosmicman used his Cosmicbeam to destroy yet another giant monster. Quentin watches Karate Robot Z alone, now, but he still cheers as his father would do, when Lucky commanded Karate Robot Z to do a Punisher Pile-Driver or a Roughshod Revolving Roundhouse.

But it was Quentin’s mother is the one who found out that the Japanese Lucky (Shunji Kurobe), the American Lucky (Johnny Thuy Trang) and the creator of Karate Robot Z were going to be at a local science fiction convention. She quickly bought tickets for the family.

There I go, getting ahead of myself once again. For before the science fiction convention, before the blood, there was Thursday...


Read the rest of Lucky and Karate Robot Z in Trust Me: A Doll Anthology


Villian

My Wife Further Expounds On My Preferences

Posted on 2014.04.08 at 11:40
Tags:

Originally published at jaredaxelrod.com. You can comment here or there.

Dude: But what does Jared wear when he’s just sitting around playing video games?

JR: He doesn’t play video games.

Dude:

JR: We don’t have a TV.

Dude:

JR: But I get what you’re saying. If Jared’s just staying at home writing, he usually wears skinny pants by a designer who is dead and t-shirts with a graphic he designed on them.

 

 

I am the hipster hipsters wish they were.


Villian

In Which My Wife Discusses My Proclivities

Posted on 2014.04.03 at 17:03
Tags:

Originally published at jaredaxelrod.com. You can comment here or there.

Dude: Oh my God, Jared is your husband?
JR: Yep!
Dude: Oh, uh, well, please don’t take this the wrong way, but I always thought he was gay.
JR: Well, we are queer. Both of us are, actually.
Dude: it’s just… He dresses so well!
JR: Well, you weren’t completely off, as we are both queer.
Dude: what does he wear at home?
Other dude: I bet it’s a bow tie.
JR: He does wear bow ties.
Dude: So you’re really married.
JR: Yes.
Dude: I thought you were best friends.
JR: We are. (Queer, married, best friends)

Those curious about what I wear on a day-to-day basis can of course check out the little window off to the side, the “Today’s Style” tag on my Tumblr, look to the gallery on Flickr, the one onFacebook, or go straight to source, my Instagram.

 

 

 

The Battle of Blood and Ink: A Fable of Flying City Purchase available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BooksaMillion, Powells Books, IndieBound, Walmart, Overstock and your local bookseller.

Villian

Jewelry, Coffee, And Other Precious Things

Posted on 2014.02.19 at 15:16
Tags:

Originally published at jaredaxelrod.com. You can comment here or there.

CHoP ID

Today is a good day for for people who want to read things I write.

To start off with, there’s my latest Made New column, about the jewelers at Bario-Neal:

What makes jewelry precious? My first thought is usually What it’s made of, of course: precious stones. Precious metals. But—what if it’s not made of these things?

I was thinking on this as Anna Bario of the South Philly shop Bario-Neal showed me a bracelet she was working on. The piece was bronze, but the original it was cast from had been sculpted from a homemade paper-clay made of toilet tissue. Then another member of Bario-Neal’s team of jewelers, Aliyah Gold, showed me an intricate necklace she’d made of riveted stingray skin. A third, Stacey Lee Webber, makes cufflinks and pendants out of old coins; her supplies literally cost pennies, because they are pennies.

There’s also a piece about the dark comfort of serving coffee at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia:

One mother came to the counter and ordered a latte. While I was fixing her drink, she spoke to two new parents in the group. They needed directions around the hospital, and she had been here long enough to have a mental map of the place. She was clearly not proud of this knowledge; envy burned in her eyes as the other parents walked away. What must it have been like to not know every location in this hospital—every nurse’s station, every restroom, every alcove where you could sit apart from everyone. But she was a moon in orbit. She had circled this path many times.

On top of all that,  THE BATTLE OF BLOOD & INK, my graphic novel I did with the great Steve Walker, is current available in Kindle format. So if you’ve been waiting for an e-reader friendly format, wait no longer!

Yes, indeed. Today is a good day.

 

 

 

The Battle of Blood and Ink: A Fable of Flying City Purchase available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BooksaMillion, Powells Books, IndieBound, Walmart, Overstock and your local bookseller.

Villian

I Am A Serious Comics Academic

Posted on 2014.02.08 at 18:42
Tags:

Originally published at jaredaxelrod.com. You can comment here or there.

Awhile back, I wrote an academic paper on Grant Morrison and Simone Bianchi’s SHINING KNIGHT. On a lark, I submitted it to“Buffy to Batgirl” a conference at Rutgers this May. The odds were against me, but I figured I’d give it a go.

Apparently, I should have thought higher of my academic writing about Arthurian funnybooks, because my paper got accepted! Which means I’m going to Rutgers to talk about comics in Serious Academic Way!

So looking forward to this!

The Battle of Blood and Ink: A Fable of Flying City Purchase available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BooksaMillion, Powells Books, IndieBound, Walmart, Overstock and your local bookseller.

Villian

The Story Of The Working Title

Posted on 2014.02.07 at 08:00
Tags:

Originally published at jaredaxelrod.com. You can comment here or there.

I have been working on a new novel, with the working title of “Merely Players.” This made a great deal of sense when the novel was an ensemble piece, but one particular character has set himself front and center, and so the story now revolves around him. “Merely Player” doesn’t quite work. And I honestly never liked it anyway.

I was listening to Hisham Matar read Borges’s short story Shakespeare’s Memory on the New Yorker Fiction podcast, an he read a line that stuck with me: “The wish of all things, Spinoza says, is to continue to be what they are. The stone wishes to be a stone, the tiger, a tiger.” That perfectly encapsulated everything I was looking for. “The wish of all things.” How evocative.

Trouble is, Spinoza didn’t say that. Borges didn’t even say that. Spinoza, you see, wrote in Latin, Borges in Spanish. Spinoza’s original quote was:

PROPOSITIO VI. Unaquaeque res, quantum in se est, in suo esse perseverare conatur.

According to this Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Spinoza, that translates to:

IIIP6: Each thing, as far as it can by its own power, strives to persevere in being.

Nowhere near as evocative as “The Wish Of All Things,” is it? Borges did little to change it. The line in the original Spanish is:

Todas las cosas quieren perseverar en su ser, ha escrito Spinoza

Which literally translates to “All things want to persist in to being, wrote Spinoza.” I like Borges, but I think he short-changes Spinoza, here. To persevere into being implies struggle and effort. You cannot wish oneself into being. You must persevere. Borges takes a more matter-of-fact view. You are what you are. There is no struggle. Just you.

And yet, Andrew Hurley, who translated Borges–and, by extension, Spinoza–is too much of a romantic to allow either. It is he who put in the “wish” in there, he who removed the struggle and put, it place of it, hope. Desire. Longing.

So even though “The wish of all things” is a misquote of a translation of a misquote of a translation, I still like it. If anything, finding this academic game of “Telephone” makes me love the poor phrase more. It was never meant to exist.

And yet, there it is, continuing to be.
 

 

The Battle of Blood and Ink: A Fable of Flying City Purchase available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BooksaMillion, Powells Books, IndieBound, Walmart, Overstock and your local bookseller.

Villian

The Lesson of 2013

Posted on 2014.01.27 at 08:00
Tags:

Originally published at jaredaxelrod.com. You can comment here or there.

I had to have the Lesson of 2013 spelled out for me this year, and even then, I didn’t “get it” until a couple days ago. I could blame the bronchitis, I guess. Shall we blame the bronchitis? Let’s.

Today's Style

I take a lot pictures of myself–and living with a photographer, have many pictures of myself taken–and 2013 was no exception. I like this one the best. I’m wearing a fantastic tie. It looks like I’m laughing,  and that I’m going someplace.

(I’m not, of course. I’m posing for a picture. But I like the illusion photography creates in general, and this illusion in particular. Some illusions are true in spite of themselves.)

I’ve just got done reading John Green’s THE FAULT OF OUR STARS. I’m familiar with Green through his videos, not his fiction, so it was nice to see actually what people were raving about besides the articulate and slightly nervous bespectacled individual on YouTube. The novel is great, and I’ll get to talking about in this space eventually, but I want to talk about Green first, because in order to understand the Lesson of 2013 you need to understand that I always thought of John Green and my friend Will as very much alike.

The Q&A at the back of my copy of THE FAULT OF OUR STARS where Green talks about his love of intellectual puzzles and David Foster Wallace’s INFINITE JEST do not disabuse me of this notion.

Green is very much Will, and Will, Green, though Will does not write novels (yet) and Green does not make out with my friend Alison (…yet?). All through THE FAULT OF OUR STARS, I am making all sorts of mental notes of what Green is doing as writer and what I can, should and won’t get away with stealing. And while some of those note are valid for everyone (Green has a brilliant way to get around the “how does the narrator describe themselves?” question) the fact remains that I’m not Green. Will is more Green than I am, and he doesn’t even write novels (yet).

If anything, I am more of a Paul F. Tompkins. But Paul F. Tompkins is doing his own thing, as are Green, and Will, and Alison.

(You may be able to see where the Lesson of 2013 is going, here)

I received an email in November in which a person referred to my writing having, and I quote,  “changed my life in the most wonderful way possible.” It is something I treasure. And yet, even after I have received such a wonderful validation of who I am and what I do, I still find myself clawing for the recognition of others. “I don’t win awards,” I bitterly said to my wife recently (who does win awards, because she brilliant and also doing her own thing), ignoring the fact that who cares about awards when you’ve changed someone’s life? Augustus, one of the main character of THE FAULT OF OUR STARS, rails against the heavens for the chance to save someone’s life, and here I am, not only not dying of cancer and not fictional, but have done it. Without even trying, at that. Just me, doing my own thing.

Go me.

So here we are, nearly a month into 2014 and I am just now understanding what the Lesson of 2013 was. I have to do my own thing. I need to not care about being recognized, about what goes on this site, about whether my internet persona is appealing to enough to people and what I need to do to get noticed. That stuff, all of that stuff, comes after. What’s important, what changes peoples lives in the most wonderful way possible, is the writing.

I gotta do my own thing. Part of that is laughing. Another part is going places. And wearing fantastic ties.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Battle of Blood and Ink: A Fable of Flying City
Purchase available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BooksaMillion, Powells Books, IndieBound, Walmart, Overstock and your local bookseller.

Villian

Scoesby Drops The Science

Posted on 2014.01.23 at 18:53
Tags:

Originally published at jaredaxelrod.com. You can comment here or there.

Note: I know coffee comes from Yemen & Ethiopia. Scoesby doesn’t, though.

Originally published at jaredaxelrod.com. You can comment here or there.


Villian

Evelyn, assistant to Dr. van Cleef

Posted on 2014.01.20 at 19:40
Tags:

Originally published at jaredaxelrod.com. You can comment here or there.


Previous 10