Author Archives: Aaron J. Waltke
Around a year and a half ago, I was out at a local pub with a few friends of mine (Editor’s Note: Just say the writing staff of Nonstop Karate. -Ed.) when we all began reminiscing about the books and movies that truly inspired our childhoods. Most had been adequately represented in today’s culture by reboots, sequels, prequels, and gritty reimaginings; that is to say, the traditional way to honor anything that was remotely successful or “good” in the past.
One franchise that we realized hadn’t really gotten much attention lately (aside from a tepidly received SyFy channel mini-series) was Frank Herbert’s wildly popular 1965 science fiction series, “Dune”.
So we did the only thing we could think of to rectify the situation. We turned it into a drinking game.
The game you are about to learn about can be quite fun, although to be honest it has only been played once amongst my circle of friends, and even then in a very prototypical form (as in we were inventing it as it was played.) If nothing else, you will get drunk pretending to be an alien worm-riding space baron.
Be aware that this is isn’t one of those terrible “games” where you watch the film adaptation and take a shot every time someone says “spice”. This is a true gentlemen’s sport with real, complex rules. A game of strategy and nuance. And beers. Lots of beers.
If you’ve never heard of “Dune” or you don’t like getting wasted with a group of idiots, you should probably just stop reading now.
If you like one or both of those things, read on! Read the rest of this entry
Approximately three weeks ago, the creators of the popular video game webcomic Penny Arcade announced they were forming a partnership with Scott Kurtz, the rival creator of another popular video game webcomic called PvP.
Together, they would be collaborating on an exciting new online project. This experiment promised to break boundaries, rewrite narrative tradition and usher audiences into a new age of art and illustration.
After countless speculation, this undertaking was soon revealed to be… another video game webcomic.
A webcomic called The Trenches.
Thus far, a total of five entries have been released under the Trenches’ relatively young banner. In the following essay, it is my aim to examine and illuminate the profound metadata woven throughout these few digital pages and show the astonishing complexity that this webcomic already challenges us with.
Some of you may balk at this article. You might claim it is too early to provide any formal analysis of a work that’s still in its relative infancy, let alone this one. I respectfully disagree.
I will demonstrate not only that The Trenches stands apart from its predecessors, but that by sheer richness of content, it surpasses all others in the pantheon of webcomics and, I daresay, can stand proudly amongst the grand output of all contemporary human culture.
Let us begin.
Comic #1: “Isaac” (8/9/11)
In “Isaac”, we are given a brief (but telling) first glimpse of our protagonist, Isaac Cox. At a glance, this might appear to be a simple (if somewhat unmemorable) character introduction and nothing more. Man drives up. Man faxes resume. Man gives blithe joke to fulfill requirements of 3-panel structure.
I implore you to look again. Read the rest of this entry
In 1954, a Japanese stuntman by the name of Haruo Nakajima wriggled into a suit made of 270 lbs. of stiff vulcanized rubber. The limbs were inflexible and painful to wear, the body unventilated and stifling, and the tail pulled his spine into an unnatural curve. Under the haze of dozens of halogen studio lamps in a cramped Tokyo soundstage, he paused until the instant he heard the director shout the repeated phrase “Haimemashou!” (“Begin the action!”)
With that, Nakajima began a dangerous game of filmmaking chicken — pushing himself to stay conscious in the extreme discomfort of the poorly-constructed costume and searing film lights… just long enough to destroy as many papier-mâché skyscrapers, cars, tanks, trains and villagers as possible before the overwhelming pain and exhaustion of the scene pushed him into heat stroke.
Several weeks later, in a separate soundstage, an actor by the name of Jiro Mitsuaki turned his gaze to the empty ceiling overhead as the cameras rolled on him, awaiting him to summon every ounce of his strength to shout one, very strange word at the top of his lungs. He was to yell as loud as the condenser microphones could register. One word out of fear for his life. At the time, it was a nonsense word. But a terrifying one.
“GOJIRA!” he screamed. “GOJIRA! GOJIRA!” he shouted again and again. Gojira. Literally translated, “Gorilla-Whale”. Nonsense.
Gojira. Read the rest of this entry