Another “May the Fourth Be With You” Post

Hello, America! Trying out new greetings during this time, and I admittedly also have reruns of the Bernie Mac show on in the background, so I choose to believe my intro is just me channeling the Return of the Mac (cue comedy rim-shot! *ba-dum-tst*🥴). Today also marks the first day of me officially launching this blog post on my site as a freelancer! So, we’re off to a great start this month as well. Taxes got filed, papers got processed, and the oil in the weird little machine mandating both resistance and compliance is, ya know, running. But it’s time we take another break from the heaviness and denseness, America, because today is a holiday. It’s Star Wars Day!

That’s right, folks, this is for all of the Jedi Padawans, Jedi Masters, or even the few Sith Lords who are “just misunderstood” (looking at y’all, Reylo shippers 🙄). Today, we are observing the impact of a franchise that started off as a sci-fi flick that even George Lucas himself expected to fail. Star Wars, starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and the late Carrie Fisher, was meant to be a one and done deal for Lucas, but fans were enthralled by world that had been built, the conflict that had been struck, and the battles won by the mystic monk-like space wizards known as the Jedi.

Now, I’m an avid sci-fi fan and casual Star Wars fan. I loved the original trilogy, mildly enjoyed the prequel trilogy, and I genuinely liked the sequel trilogy up until everyone became divided over the last film in the saga. At that point, I just didn’t bother watching it, and I had already been spoiled on the ending, and I truly am just impartial to it. In the words of the Han Solo himself-

May the Fourth Be With You, from Harrison Ford and I.

That being said, there is something I would love to highlight and talk about today, on this gloriously wonderful Star Wars Day. Whether or not you were a fan of the films, the extended universe created in novels and comics, or the amazing television shows, one thing fans could agree on is that Star Wars was always strongest when its driving force was family. Luke Skywalker was only able to become a fully powered Jedi, and go on the galactic journey that he did because of his friends and family. They were his support system, so to speak. Han was the strong, yet cynical friend who believed in Luke more than the Force itself. Leia was, well, his long-lost sister who’s Force-sensitivity helped guide the Rebels and the Resistance in the war against the Dark Side. Then you’ve got RD-D2 and C-3PO. They’re just two little robots that, in my head-canon, are in romantic relationship. Star Wars is a love story between these two droids and nobody can tell me otherwise.

Anyway, I digress; Star Wars is a series centered around families that support each other, and as the story branches out, we see how love and kindness, or rather lack of it, can shift an entire dynamic between a mentor and his pupil, like Obi-Wan and Anakin. All Little Ani needed was practice more unconditional love, and he wouldn’t have become the space nazi dark lord that he was, right? Or perhaps we see it in the lack of compassion that his Anakin’s son, Luke, showed for Ben Solo, aka, Kylo Ren of the Knights of Ren and the space neo-nazi dark lord. As the story shows the heroes prevailing on the side of the Jedi and the Force, those who were corrupted by greed, anger, and power, were victims of inherited trauma, essentially. Anakin is shown rejecting unconditional love and kindness in his hear, but finally opens his heart to compassion when he dies in the arms of his son. Fast forward chronologically in the Skywalker Saga, and that very same son, Luke, is now rejecting unconditional love and kindness to Anakin’s grandson, Kylo, who essentially channels the same anger and thirst for power that his grandfather fell victim to. Luke doesn’t find that unconditional love until he meets Rey, the new hero in this story. She also ends up saving Kylo’s soul the same way Luke did for his father, sort of breaking a chain or a cycle in the Skywalker lineage.

But you already knew all of that, didn’t you? Yeah, unless you’re a nerd like me, then this might’ve been a hell of a lot to digest. Fear not though, because this May the 4th can still teach everyone one thing; use the Force! Channel the Force, and reject anger, and greed, and power. Instead, open your heart up to love the same way Jedi open their heart up to the Force, and perhaps then you will find your support system as well.

The Sickest Fight in the Entire Saga. Period.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for y’all today, folks. I’m using the theme of family to work on my upcoming story, The Dark Within Us, and in the meantime, I hope everybody enjoys whatever Star Wars fun y’all are having today. May the Fourth Be With You! 💫 Be safe, and stay lovely, folks. Until next time. Peace.✌🏽

Is 2020 the New Age of Renaissance?

Hi folks! It’s ya boy, Sameer. I’m back, kinda, sorta. I kind of have to be, with everything going on right now and all that. The last time I posted, I had was preparing to pace myself between work and my personal life, and fit my writing between all of that. I had ideas for the stories I wanted to write, and I had taken steps to further progress on those projects as well. And then, like, the coronavirus happened.

“2020 is a Steampunk Simulation”

At the very moment that I am writing this, the world is in literal terror as the nation fears what might possibly happen during this epidemic. I’ve had a few days to process everything, with my day job being a restaurant and being drastically affected by this, with half our hours cut and limiting to carry out only, to my sister coming home with a flu and quarantining herself in hopes of keeping my mother from falling ill. With all of this happening around me, I’m doing all that I can to keep myself from falling into complete panic. I’m holding on, though. Music calms me, so I’m wired in and am simmering to Krewella’s newest album, which was a sort of renaissance for the EDM group, with them incorporating their Pakistani roots and heritage into their electronic pop and rock influenced music. It sort of helps ground me, especially at a time like this.

“Closed Until Further Noticed”

It’s important for everyone to continue to get through this day by day, whether you want to consider this a crisis or an inconvenience. Either way, it’s finally time to take advantage of the precautions set into motion for everyone. Whether people are enjoying the lack of traffic, or large crowds, or enjoying the social isolation, there are things that can be done. There is volunteer work happening in the Houston area, with HISD doing their food drive today for the kids who aren’t in school right now. There are positions at groceries stores hiring for cashiers, for those who weren’t able to get that month’s grocery list after the hoarding happened. For those who can work from home, you could try it out at least for the week, just to see how to adapt to that work style if necessary.

“Make the Most of Your Safe-Space”

For me, I’ve just taken the time to decompress with some work. Gail Simone, acclaimed writer for DC’s Wonder Woman and Birds of Prey comic series, went onto Twitter this week and, like a hero busting through the hysteria, welcomed writers and comic fans to take part in a class led by herself in the format of a Twitter thread! Quite awesome stuff, to be honest! She’s over here, giving out amazing advice, help, and tips that can be applied for more than just comic writers-ALL ON TWITTER FOR FREE! In this day and age, where students in universities and kids in school are left wondering what to do, Gail Simone is over here schooling everyone on subject material that can very well be a great jumping point for so many writing careers, all through #comicsschool!

“P.S. Follow my Twitter @syckbeat

And I only come and bring up this mild humble brag (about Gail Simone retweeting me, yes) because it may very well be the start of something really big for artists all over. With self isolation in place, so many things could place. When the bubonic plague was a thing back in the day, artists were influenced by the disease around them. Death was a reoccurring theme in art and music, and it carried out while the economy went to shambles and religion shifted drastically. Then the rebirth came about in the New Age of the Renaissance. Science began to change. We realized that the universe was bigger than you and me. Religion denied that, despite the concept of theology revolving around a higher being. Religion began to change. We found out that they were profiting off of their followers, and society underwent the renaissance. The rebirth brought us sights like The Birth of Venus, and The Creation of Adam. You know, art that is so monumental that we feel the influences today.

I didn’t just leave work early today to come home and worry about the state of my job. I didn’t sit down and get online just to talk about the coronavirus and help start a bigger fire with the mass panic. I most certainly didn’t create this post because I wanted to talk about the Renaissance of all things. I’m not even sure I know what I expect anyone to gain from this piece. No, I guess I wrote this because, despite all that’s happening right now, all we can do is push through, however that may be. For me, the only way to find some sense of normalcy in this wild world has been through art of some sort. I suppose that’s why I’m writing tonight. Just for the sake of writing, you know?

“Stars and Monsters: Tales” Announcement

Hiya, folks! I’m finally back! I wanted to post an update about some things on this blog, with how I’m going to organize things here and how regularly I’m going to post. I only realized I needed to do this because I had two weeks where I had started posts for Stars and Monsters, one Arrow related and one Bojack Horseman related, and failed to finish either, and have spent what free time I do have working on these projects that I’ve hardly mentioned. That being said, this post will also address what these projects exactly are and such!

In regards to the weekly post format, I may have to just start posting whenever I’m available instead. I found myself struggling to meet my “post-every-Wednesday” schedule and end up posting, you know, weeks later or something. Also, I don’t always post on Wednesdays either, so posts will just start coming periodically. And with that, I want to share what has been keeping me busy these past few weeks!

The Dark Within Us is my upcoming fantasy sci-fi story on Wattpad. It follows 17 year old Ronnie Reid, a kid from Chaseville, California, as he joins a band of monster slayers on a journey through a hidden dark world. It’s sort of going to be like a novella, one that touches on what it means to find a family, and to discover the truth about your life for the first time ever. This is going to be the first part of a trilogy that follows Ronnie and the rest of his family as they encounter entities of darkness and evil in the world. So far, part one of this trilogy is in its early stages of development, with a prologue available to read on Wattpad for free right now!

Beat Inside My Soul is an upcoming sci-fi animated series that follows a group of teenage ravers who gain the ability to weaponize sound from a new deadly party drug. The teens, led by by thriving DJ Simon Bates, unite their abilities and efforts to stop a drug epidemic. With the story in the final stages of development and in the early draftings of the screenwriting process, I am also reaching out to animation designers, musicians, dancers, and other artists to help develop visuals for the animated series. My hope is to have a finished script for the pilot pitched to animation studios or streaming services like Netflix.

“Anomaly” is an upcoming sci-fi superhero comic series that follows Seth Gibson, along with his best friend Jordan, and his little sister Reina, as he learns to harness his newly discovered ghost-like abilities, and fights to take down a local street gang called Erebus and their leader, Adonis. This crime action series touches upon trauma, sexuality, addiction, and other themes. Once I’ve secured artists to work on at least the first comic issue, I hope to pitch the series to some comic book publishing company, or perhaps just post online as a web comic, maybe on Webtoons.

These stories all take place in different points in time, with The Dark Within Us having early 2000s setting, Beat Inside My Soul taking place in the 2010 era, and Anomaly taking place in the 2020s. At some point, these stories will address their connections with one another.

With these projects being lined up, along with this blog, I’m going to start posting updates on each of these stories through this blog, with the occasional fanboy posts about other stuff being released! One that I’m excited to write about is Harley Quinn – both the new movie AND her animated series in DC Universe. We’ll also talk about other stuff, other music, shows, and Doctor Who too! OH GOSH Doctor Who is so good right now.

Anyway, out of the two projects, I do have one chapter up for The Dark Within Us and a link to music for Beat Inside My Soul, which also just features my music made under SyckBeat. There is one song, a mashup, made for the animated series posted on there as well, so check that out! Will post again soon when I can. Thank you, everyone, for keeping up with my erradict posts and all that jazz! Stay amazing, folks! ✨

So, a Mandalorian and a Witcher Walk into a Bar…

Greetings! Hope everyone had a lovely holiday season. Classes start up again soon, and people are getting back into the work grind, and I have been ITCHING to get through the week and find time to write another post. I was debating what the first post of the year should be about, but after having went through all of The Witcher on Netflix and slowly watching The Mandalorian on Disney+, I realized what I had to talk to you guys about.

It’s no secret that these two shows started to take the world by storm, really. With Disney+ being a big step as far as streaming services go, getting all of the content that Disney now owns onto one platform for families was exciting. That being said, majority of the content really is just for families. Like, The Simpsons are there, and it might be the only FOX property as far as I know (which is weird because they don’t even have FOX’s X-Men movies or anything, just their old cartoons), but majority of the content really is tailored for family oriented viewers and, like, a stupid amount of unscripted series and documentaries. Like, this might very well be a streaming service for your grandparents. That being said, Jon Favreau’s The Mandalorian fits in that demographic and then some, seeing as it’s an expansion of Star Wars lore (your grandparents’ franchise), while also creating a solid and enjoyable series for fans who pretty much know nothing about Star Wars. I’ve considered myself a casual fan of the series, having seen all of the movies excluding the latest (just haven’t had time), and I absolutely adored The Mandalorian.

“It’s easier to lie with this helmet on.”

There are really two kinds of viewers watching the show who know nothing about Star Wars. You’ve got people who start the series because of the hype it’s gained and go in entirely blind and find that they really can enjoy it without all of the context of the Star Wars universe, because what’s needed to be understood is in the series anyway. You’ve also got the people who want to watch the series, but believe that watching the Star Wars movies will enhance the experience and is almost required. That being said, I don’t think that’s the case, and I think that’s what made this series a real treat.

“This isn’t much of a Star Wars easter egg but rather more of an E.T. reference.”

On the other side of the nerd spectrum, you have fans raving about Netflix’s The Witcher. Now, not much needs to be said about Netflix at this point, it’s been around, it might always be around, and right now it’s Disney+’s biggest contender (sorry DC Universe, maybe just market your service a little better, because I’ve only ever seen ads for Harley Quinn on Adult Swim, and that’s after the platform has been out for over a year), and most of their credit goes to Lauren Hissrich’s The Witcher being one of the most streamed shows to date. That title also went to The Mandalorian for a while, both of which topped Stranger Things, which is a pretty big accolade to earn. Now, when it comes to viewing The Witcher, which is based off of a video game series that is based off of the book series, it kind of feels difficult to encourage anyone to say that they need to go to the source material to enjoy the series, because that’s not the case. I didn’t play the games, even though they seem super rad, and I haven’t read the books either, but this show was REALLY neat.

“I just think it’s neat!”

That could have something to do with the queer subtext I got to enjoy between Geralt, the titular character of the series, and Jaskier, the bard who would GLADLY toss a coin to the Witcher’s taut ass, or just seeing Henry Cavill shirtless that many times (as opposed to a dude who literally never removes his armor). It could have also been seeing these female characters completely owning the series, more so than Geralt himself sometimes, especially when there’s SO MANY OF THEM! I didn’t know who I desired to kick my ass more, the Princess Ciri, her dope (but arguably racist) grandmother and Queen Calanthe, Yennifer the Witch, or Renfri, the chick from the first episode that never come back (she might’ve been my favorite, hot take!)

“Well, I can’t think of any reasons why we SHOULDN’T have sex…so there’s that.”

There was a lot to enjoy in both of these series. A lot of which the shows have in common (sexy angsty freelance dads earnin’ big bucks while becoming adoptive fathers), but that isn’t to say that these shows don’t have critical differences (like one being in space and the other being in a fantasy realm).

Both The Mandalorian and The Witcher both feature protagonists who embody the warrior archetype; they both are seemingly the last of their kind, and carry the weight of that with them, which leaves these two with walls built between them and other people. They have been betrayed, and have had their trust broken, and now live their lives as nomads who kill for coin and credits, leaving a trail of bodies in their wake and tales of their endeavors told in rumors and songs. That is, until their journeys go from simply taking jobs in self-contained anecdotes to bringing children into Mando and Geralt’s arms. Mando is tasked with killing the child, but he’s not a heartless monster, so he decides to save the child! Geralt has no intention of having a child, but he sort of stumbles his way into becoming a godfather of a princess in comedic Stooge fashion.

Now, the only reason I’m not writing about how these shows are pretty much the same thing as one another and giving them shit for it is because, well, these shows really aren’t the same at all, despite the warrior-dads thing. And yes, it goes beyond the surface and is more than just the sci-fi and fantasy aesthetics. In terms of what the shows do, they have episodes that each focus on a singular event occurring, like, “The One About The Prison Break In Space”, or “The One Where I Join A Quest To Slay A Dragon”, which makes it feel as though each of their eight episodes truly are a single chapter, or a peek into these character’s lives in a journal of sorts. The structures of these shows are what really get me. In The Mandalorian, Mando doesn’t meet the child until the end of the first episode, which is sort of the inciting incident, but from there, the story progresses forward in a way where time isn’t necessarily tracked, but we know that everything is occurring sequentially. It doesn’t feel as though there are big gaps or time jumps between scenes or episodes aside from, but we don’t really get much detail as to how much time has passed. This doesn’t make for a jarring experience, though.

However, when one is viewing The Witcher, we are watching Geralt’s story occur, along with Ciri and Yennifer, two of the wonderful female characters I mentioned earlier. Now, each of these three characters’ stories all start at a certain point. Geralt’s story starts with him meeting Renfri in a village. Yennifer’s story starts with her as a hunchback being sold to witches and inducted in their academy of sorts. Ciri’s story starts with her fleeing her kingdom after it is conquered by an enemy kingdom (who don spooky black armor that couldn’t scream “we’re the bad guys” any louder). Now, as these stories progress throughout the episodes, there’s a lack of an overlap until a certain point. Like, we’re seeing things happening to Geralt, and to Yennifer, and to Ciri, and they all go places and do things, and for a while, we’re like “huh, when do they…?” and then we start to get to points where certain characters that, say, died in certain episodes reappear later, and interact with Geralt, or Yennifer, or Ciri (the Big Three, so to speak), and then it starts to dawn on us…the show’s structure isn’t linear at all.

See, that’s what got me. The Witcher is told from three perspectives, all of which pretty much start at different points in time, and only one of which is actually taking place in the present. This isn’t explicitly clear right off the bat, which might’ve confused some viewers, and would’ve upset me if it hadn’t all come together by the finale. It isn’t until the last episode that we see these three characters make it to the same point and place in time (and no, I don’t mean TIME TRAVEL, that’s another post I’m writing soon). The last episode is also when we finally get a child in Geralt’s arms, which is a wild contrast to Mando’s parental journey. One gains a child by the start of the show, while one gains a child by the end. One follows a linear plot, and the other jumps between years in the story. Favreau and Hissrich both follow drastically different writing structures, but somehow utilize wildly similar formulas in how their protagonist’s arcs progress, which in turn has created the new archetype we all love and appreciate now: grumpy warrior dad!

“Bonus eye candy: Aunt Cara shows us her GUNS!”

Anyway, that’s all I really have. I’m not over here writing essays, so this might be the cleanest wrap-ups I will write for a while. If you’re wondering which of the two my favorite was, it’s pretty close, but I’d have to go with the show with the dude who was naked more often (Sorry, Disney, your family-oriented marketing is wholesome, but that’s all it is). But in all seriousness, The Witcher is a series I went in completely blind for, which might of left me with a lot less expectations than I did for The Mandalorian. I knew Star Wars, so I might’ve expected a certain type of show, and despite thoroughly enjoying the series, The Mandalorian never made me go WOW (except scenes showing off Cara’s guns…as she holds her rifles and stuff). I did go “aw” a couple of times, but that’s what I’m talking about. It wasn’t saucy like I had hoped. The Witcher scratched that naughty itch for me, while also having me go “WAIT A MINUTE” when the plot lines converged, leaving me pleasantly more entertained than the former. That’s just my hot take, and anyone else’s take is just as valid! Let me know some of your thoughts. Stay lovely, folks!

(Sorry, I don’t have a punchline for the title. Maybe comment some if y’all think of one.)