Sunday, May 10, 2015

Geekdom Madness 2015 - The Real Game: Noses/Multicide

Things continue to heat up in The Real Game, as this week brings steel vs pelt, and claws vs knives.

Let's reacquaint ourselves with the combatants:

MATCH 1: Noses


Beatrix Kiddo (a.k.a. The Bride, a.k.a. Black Mamba, a.k.a. Arlene Machiavelli, a.k.a. Mommy) was created by Quentin Tarantino and Uma Thurman for the 2003/2004 epic duology "Kill Bill." The idea came about during the filming of Tarantino's 1994 film "Pulp Fiction," in which Thurman portrayed Mia Wallace. Tarantino was quite taken with Thurman's abilities and started talking to her about his ideas for his ultimate genre throwback - a mixture of the exploitation films, chop-sockey kung-fu, samurai, and spaghetti westerns he grew up loving. Thurman was impressed with the idea and they collaborated on the main character's story and personality. After Pulp Fiction was finished, the two would go their separate ways for the next five years until Tarantino got the itch to finally make Kill Bill and called Thurman to see if she was still interested.

Originally intended as one film, Kill Bill was split into two due to its length. In Volume 1, The Bride is meant to be seen as a scary force of nature, with Tarantino and Thurman citing Clint Eastwood's "Man with No Name" as inspiration. Volume 2 would contain most of her character development and humanize her when she needed it the most. Altogether, The Bride is considered by many to be one of the greatest female action heroes of our age.

Kill Bill Vol 3 and even Vol 4 have been teased at length in the intervening decade, with Tarantino saying he wanted to wait for the perfect moment for plot's sake (and for certain child actresses from the first to grow up). His last public speech on the subject in 2012 suggested his interest in following through with additional volumes is waning, but he hasn't ruled the idea out completely. For her part, Thurman seems interested in continuing as much or as little as Tarantino wants.

The Bride is naturally portrayed by Thurman in "The Whole Bloody Affair" (as a recent Blu-Ray/limited theatrical rerelease of both films edited back into one called it), and it is rightly considered one of her greatest and most memorable roles.


The Great Gonzo was created by Dave Golez while working with Jim Henson's company. Originally simply the "Cigar Box Frackle" in the 1970 TV special "The Great Santa Claus Switch," his personality later became expanded upon in The Muppet Show and in the years since has become one of the more popular Muppet characters.

The puppet originally had immovable, sad eyes, but the producers felt he worked better as an energetic character and the puppet was changed to feature movable eyelids. His role on The Muppet Show was resident daredevil, performance artist, and stunt double.

After years as being classified as simply a "Whatever" (or even in some cases a "Weirdo"), the 1999 film "Muppets from Space" revealed that he is in fact an alien. This film also marks the first time a Muppet other than Kermit the Frog was the central protagonist. 

In most of his official appearances, Gonzo is performed and voiced by Golez. Jim Henson performed Gonzo once in an unaired Muppet Show pilot, and Brett O'Quinn performed him for a 2006 Disney Cruise show "Muppets Ahoy!". Finally, Gonzo was voiced by Russi Taylor and Laurie O'Brien in the 1984 animated series "Muppet Babies", and by Hal Rayle in the short-lived 1985 sister program "Little Muppet Monsters."


MATCH 2: Multicide


Scar was created by Irene Mecchi, Jonathan Roberts, and Linda Woolverton for the 1994 film "The Lion King." Much like the film itself, which began life as a 1988 Thomas M. Ditch treatment entitled "King of the Jungle", Scar went through some drastic character evolution between the original idea and the finished film. 

Originally the leader of a pack of evil baboons, Scar was changed to a rogue lion attempting to take over the pride, and then finally became Mufasa's brother in order to make the story more compelling. This last change transformed the film into a parallel of Shakespeare's "Hamlet." Scar acted as an analogue for King Claudius, though his personality was more inspired by Iago from "Othello" (with some of the more frighteningly charismatic bits of Adolph Hitler thrown in through his recruitment of the Hyenas).

Scar was designed and his animation supervised by Andreas Deja. Deja had just supervised two villains in a row with Gaston and Jafar, and was reluctant to take on a third until Scar's voice actor was cast and Deja became excited by the possibilities of working with the performance. The character's face shares many similarities with that of the actor because of it.

The film was produced by what was referred to as "The B-Team", as most of Disney's more seasoned artists were working on 1995's "Pocahontas", which was projected to be the big, dramatic moneymaker as opposed to the silly movie with talking lions. "The Lion King" went on to become one of the highest grossing animated films of all time while the all-around reception to "Pocahontas" was lukewarm at best. 

Scar was voiced by Jeremy Irons, who considers it one of his favorite roles. While recording the song "Be Prepared", Irons blew his voice out growling the line "YOU WON'T GET A SNIFF WITHOUT ME" and Jim Cummings, who was voicing Ed the Hyena, was brought in to impersonate Irons for the remainder of the song. Cummings would later voice Scar for his brief scenes in the  direct-to-video sequel "Lion King II" and midquil "Lion King 1 1/2," as well as the video game "Simba's Mighty Adventure." Scar was voiced by James Horan in the video games "Kingdom Hearts II" and "Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom".


Johnny C., a.k.a. Nny, was created by Jhonen Vasquez. His original iteration was drawn during the 1980s, on the back of a rejected contest entry for Vasquez's high school mascot. Drawn as a child, he was "Johnny, the Little Homicidal Maniac."

As Vasquez developed the character, he gradually aged to be simply "Johnny the Homicidal Maniac." He appeared to the public for the first time in the early 1990's as a series of one-page strips for Carpé Noctem Magazine. This caught the attention of Slave Labor Graphics, who gave Vasquez the chance to create a seven-issue comic series of "Johnny the Homicidal Maniac" between 1995 and 1997 - effectively starting Vasquez's full-time artistic career.

Originally an outlet for Vasquez's revenge fantasies, he eventually distanced himself from the character in fear of it being seen as an author avatar. Vasquez also isn't proud of the fact that, as his first full-time artistic job, he was having issues with time management leading to what he felt was increasingly suffering dialogue as a result of having to write as he inked.

The character of Nny remains one of Vasquez's more iconic among fans, however, and has spawned numerous spin-offs including "Squee" and "I Feel Sick."

Nny has made only one official appearance outside of print, and that was as a non-speaking cameo in a Halloween episode of Vasquez's animated children's (?!?) series "Invader ZIM." As such, Nny has never been officially performed by anyone, though he does currently have a Twitter account maintained by Vasquez.


Final Verdict
Gonzo and Scar are more widely popular and recognizable with mainstream audiences, though The Bride and Nny have their smaller but more rabid fanbases. As to who prevails, that depends entirely on the demographics of this blog.

As always, make sure you're viewing the WEB version of the site and vote in the polls (remember, there are two now) on the right-hand side of the screen. Polls close Friday, and results posted on Saturday. Feel free to discuss your picks in the comments below.

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