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#632: Speaking Ill of the Dead

October 10, 2011

Notes from the Manager

Related Strips: #518: Dodged That Bullet

First, some news:

1) The Chapter 6 eBook is NOW AVAILABLE at the Multiplex Store. If you're one of those people eagerly awaiting the second print book, click through to the Deleted Scenes post about it for why you should support the eBook collections.

2) I'll be doing a "Digital Artwork" workshop at Minneapolis Indie Expo on Saturday, November 5th, at 1pm. Obviously, it will be about how I use Illustrator, so if you've ever wanted a behind-the-scenes peek at Multiplex, make sure to add MiX to your calendar.

 

Okay, so as for this strip — I wasn't planning on doing a Steve Jobs strip, and this isn't a "tribute" strip… obviously. It's about a movie (or movie news)! As a Windows guy, mostly, Franklin is a little less sentimental about Steve Jobs than I am, and Jason isn't a techie, so hey. There you go. The characters aren't me!

Deadline has reported that Sony is trying to nail down the film rights to Walter Isaacson's upcoming biography, Steve Jobs.

Since the internet just ate the long-ass post I was going to make, sort of annotating this strip and outlining my personal history with Apple, I'll just leave it at this:

For the first time since Jim Henson, I've been sad about the death of a "celebrity." Jobs didn't invent the personal computer, or the MP3 player, or the smartphone, or the tablet, but he was a big picture guy, and he knew that devices like these are useless unless they get out of your way so you can do things with them, and he surrounded himself with the geniuses who could make that happen.

Apple's products often get dismissed as little more than slick design and savvy marketing, and that's simply delusional. Usability is so much more than just aesthetics. Yes, he was a hell of a salesman, but Jobs's contributions to technology, both direct and indirect, are much more substantial than that and difficult to overstate.

The Mac featured the first graphical user interface on a personal computer (refined from technology licensed from Xerox PARC), which made possible applications like… Adobe Illustrator and QuarkXPress (and later InDesign) that now allow me to make a living out of my house, from a computer that fits in a backpack — and to draw this strip. Again, Jobs didn't have anything to do with Illustrator, Quark, or InDesign. But it's because of Jobs, Jef Raskin and the rest of the original Macintosh development team that they exist.

The first web browser was programmed in NeXTstep (the OS for the business/science-focused workstations made by NeXT, the company Jobs founded after he was fired form Apple in the '80s; NeXTstep later evolved into OSX). The first web server was a NeXTcube — and here we are, twenty years later, on the World Wide Web, readin' comics. Jobs wasn't involved with any of that, but he helped make the tools that made that happen.

And I can't help but like a person who doesn't mince words, who could be a pretty huge, raging asshole at times. Because hey, can't we all?

So anyway. Thanks, Steve.


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Deleted Scenes Blog

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Multiplex Movie Review: The Island (2005)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

multiplex-island

This is  not as accessible to people who haven’t seen the movie as I like these reviews to be, but if you’re not familiar with The Island or Never Let Me Go at all, the premises are that clones are raised and educated as “spare parts” — which is just plain absurd. (The idea that such a thing would be allowed by any reasonable society made the premise impossible for me to swallow, except as a very far-fetched Twilight Zone-style scenario. At least in The Island, it was secret and illegal.)

An absurd premise isn’t a deal-breaker, though, really. But The Island never lets you go past its implausible premise, because it is constantly trying to explain how it all works in equally stupid ways, further compounded by Bay’s typical disregard for logic and continuity:

  • Once Lincoln Six Echo (Ewan McGregor) learns the truth about their lives, he goes to the apartment of Jordan Two Delta (Scarlett Johannson) so they can escape. She greets him at the door by saying, “How sweet! You came to see me off” (I’m paraphrasing some of that)… yet their next scene, moments later, she is surprised and exclaims that he isn’t allowed in the female tower (as it’s called). This might be able to be explained away by some contrived explanation, but… the two moments feel completely incongruous.
  • The massive underground facility the clones are kept in is maintained by presumably hundreds of normal human employees (including Steve Buscemi, Sean Bean, and Yvette Nicole Brown’s characters) — complete with a showroom for ultra-rich potential clients. Yet Lincoln and Jordan emerge from it into desert with nothing around. No helicopter landing pad, no parking lot… nothing. We even see a helicopter landing pad later in the film, yet it is again nowhere to be seen at the very end of the movie.
  • Pursued by mercenaries, Lincoln and Jordan end up in a train station. The mercenaries open fire, killing Steve Buscemi, and a panic ensues inside the station… yet Lincoln and Jordan run onto the train with oblivious workers and passengers milling around calmly — and it then proceeds to leave the station as if no one has just gotten murdered… and arrives some time later in Los Angeles, without incident.

Minor or not, the sheer number of them just keep piling up. sigh

Anyway.

This is the last of the Multiplex Movie Reviews I’ll be sharing here in the Deleted Scenes blog for the near future. I hope you’ve enjoyed them!

Patreon patrons and Kickstarter backers will see more of these in their respective feeds come January — as well as the Multiplex: The Revenge bonus comics, of course. (There may even be a few movie review comics during the semester as time permits, but I can’t really promise anything. I’ve got A LOT of work to do for my thesis!)

EDIT: By the way, I wasn’t familiar with Parts: The Clonus Horror when I did this strip. (I don’t watch MST3K; I can’t bring myself to watch movies that shitty, even if there are incredibly funny motherfuckers talking over them.) But several people have told me about it since. These kinds of things are usually largely coincidental (or unintentional) — different people independently arrive at similar ideas all the time. $130 million movies generally don’t need to rip off obscure B-movie (or book, or comic book) plots when there are thousands of equally good ideas that they can legitimately use for less money than a settlement.

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