The Beginning

And herein begins my first ever blog. Named after the heralds, or messengers in the hero mythology who present the hero with his or her quest, I feel “Heraldic Criticism” best encapsulates my passion for the Hero’s Journey as well as my desire to educate and critique. Check out the About and rating scale pages to read more about me and what you’ll have to look forward to on my blog.

Please excuse the crudity of the logo/design for the time being. I’ll be experimenting with new themes and formats soon and I hope to finally settle on something a bit less mind-numbingly dull and slightly more attractive. In the meantime, I’ll be concentrating on the quality of my posts first and foremost.

While I’m certain a mass audience will elude me for the foreseeable future, I very much hope this blog will attract people looking for a guiding voice when deciding what movies, TV shows, etc. they care to spend their precious time and money on. With that in mind, I figured it’d be appropriate to open with a little more about me, so here are my absolute personal favorites of most of the media I’ll be blogging about.

Movie: Star Wars

It’s a bit cliched to say, but few other movies have impacted my upbringing as much as Star Wars. Though I grew up with the 1997 Special Edition, the film I’m referring to is the original, 1977, unaltered, uncut version, and lord knows I’ll be doing quite a bit of blogging on that subject alone. Star Wars actually spoiled me in several ways – I hadn’t seen many films outside of G-rated Disney fare at the time, and I made the mistake of thinking all movies were just as good, or better. There aren’t many films out there that I love every last frame of, but Star Wars is unquestionably one of them.

TV show: Monty Python’s Flying Circus

Rarely has a single show kept me laughing so hard that I am compelled to seek out and purchase the entire series. Flying Circus is the funniest show I have ever, and probably will ever see. After being introduced to the six members in their Holy Grail film, I began to start finding and recording Flying Circus episodes on PBS. The troup’s brand of bizarre, irreverent, often flat-out random British comedy just clicked with me. In the decades since its premiere, the series has influenced comedy in more ways than one can probably imagine, and I suspect there will probably never be anything like it ever again.

Unproduced film script: Green Arrow: Escape from Supermax

To be honest, I haven’t dabbled in too many scripts at present. Only over the past year or two have I taken great interest in unproduced film scripts, especially rare ones based on comic book superheroes. For months, I scoured the internet looking for a copy of Escape from Supermax, a script by Justin Marks about superhero Green Arrow getting thrown in a high-tech, maximum security prison, and breaking out a la Escape from Alcatraz with a group of C-list DC comics supervillains which he sent there in the first place. As a big fan of the character, and with Warner Bros largely ignorant of how to make a proper superhero movie, I knew I had to read what I considered the Holy Grail of unproduced superhero movie scripts. Finally I met someone who graciously sent it to me, and after reading it cover to cover, I can say without hesitation that it is incredibly awesome. Sure, the dialogue isn’t great, and some story elements don’t quite add up, but as a pulp work that does something unique and never-before-seen in the subgenre, it works.

Video Game: Super Smash Bros. Melee

There is little I can say about this game that hasn’t already been said. As a hardcore Nintendo fan, this is, in my mind, the company’s magnum opus. Bringing together the greatest Nintendo characters from most the company’s major franchises and throwing them together in probably the most hardcore game Nintendo has ever, and will ever produce is absolute genius. The original N64 classic, while good, was vastly improved upon with this installment, and I felt that Brawl, while making some improvements, was largely hampered by its more casual gamer-friendly play style, among other things. For me, Melee remains the most intense, fast-paced, almost entirely skill-based game of the series. The character designs, the stages, the bosses…it’s like Nintendo took everything great about the N64 era and turned it into the best possible game they could. Half a decade ago, people bought a Gamecube just so they could have this game, and for good reason. It’s one of Nintendo’s, and gaming in general’s greatest achievements.

Comic Book: Watchmen

Back in 2008, a day before The Dark Knight was scheduled to hit theaters, a former internet acquaintence posted a trailer for a movie called Watchmen, claiming that he was more excited for the film than Dark Knight, and that the original comic was one of the best he’d ever read. I watched the trailer and scoffed at the prospect, citing that not only did it completely baffle me, but that director Zack Snyder was anything but a “visionary” as the trailer hailed him to be. But to his and the film’s credit, I was curious enough to seek out the graphic novel from my library and give it a shot. I became absolutely hooked. In just a few days, not only had I read the comic in its entirety, I became one of its biggest fans. It completely rejuvenated my declining interest in comics, inciting me to start reading about my favorite childhood superheroes again. I’ve been semi-actively reading superhero comics ever since. Watchmen’s story of a group of retired superheroes coming together to seek out a murderer of masks put the entire comic format in a brand new context, and showed me that comics can be an incredibly poignant way of telling a story.

Book: tie – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and The Hobbit

I’ll admit that I haven’t read very many books since I was a young teenager. With the amount of reading I do already in my schooling, recreational reading gets to feeling like a chore. However, these are two of my all-time favorite books from when I used to read more frequently. Both of their plots are probably already well known enough, and I don’t think I need to tell you why you should certainly read them both. I will say that Douglas Adams and JRR Tolkien both create these incredibly engrossing universes, one based on humor and absurdity, the other fantasy and escapism. These are books I can pick up and jump into at any time and still be satisfied in a well-spent investment of time.

That’s about it. Now I post the question to you – what are your favorites? Let me know in the comments.

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