Last week's April Fool's "prank" by my co-worker, Ivan got me pretty fired up. So much so that my boss, Edward, sent me home early that day (with pay) to cool off.  Sometimes, Ivan is just the worst.

I'm learning how to channel my feelings into my creative endeavors, so as soon as I got home, I began thinking about the worst sidekicks in the history of fandom for this week's blog post. I found it fitting because let's face it, when it comes to working at Next Page Comics, I'm pretty much Xena and Ivan is Gabrielle. Actually, that's unfair to Gabrielle, Ivan is like a rock that Xena laces up her boots on. Alright, let's dive in. 

10) George 'Mac' McHale from: Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Picture
There are probably a few characters far more useless or annoying from the Indiana Jones universe that could go here, but few mention 'Mac,' probably because they want to forget that the movie he's in ever happened. You'd think that Indy running around with his son and former lover Marian, would be enough sidekicks to satisfy the audience, but apparently we absolutely had to have Mac thrown into the mix, even after he straight up betrays Indy in the beginning of the film. Afterwards, he acts as if nothing happened between the two of them, and continues to be a completely unhelpful liar. His character is about as baffling as The Crystal Skull movie itself.


9) Ruby Rhod from: The Fifth Element

Picture
Chris Tucker is a genius. Why? Because he managed to somehow take every pop star and celebrity from past, present, and quite possibly the future (paging, Nicki Minja) and compress them together to make the terrible masterpiece that is Ruby Rhod. He's full of himself, doesn't know how to fire a gun, and literally screams like a girl. A lot. He's farther down on the list because after re-watching the film I can't help but be impressed by the performance of such a magnificently annoying character. It's beautiful, really.

8) Magikarp from: Pokemon

Picture
Victreebell may affectionately munch on James's head whenever it's released and Psyduck may sit around with a derpy face whenever Misty wants him to fight, but they have nothing on the uselessness that is Magikarp. Not only does it not have any attacks, but it can barely swim! It's a fish Pokemon! How can it not be a strong swimmer?!?! It evolves into the far more useful and frightening Gyarados but the wait for that to happen is barely worth it.


7) Snarf from: Thundercats

Picture
Where to begin? Snarf is fat, and lazy, lending very little to the rest of the Thundercats except by being pessimistic, and afraid of everything. And let's not forget his voice, good Lord. Whomever voiced that thing needs to win an award for creating the most ball grating sound in all of cartoon history! By the way, his name is apparently Osbert. That's like if you all knew my name was Phoebe but insisted on calling me 'Human' and my catch phrase was 'Human! Human!' Even in the world of 80s cartoons that makes no sense. 


6) Flounder from: The Little Mermaid

Picture
I don't like The Little Mermaid. There. I said it. I could talk about how much of a brat Ariel is, but that has nothing to do with sidekicks. Disney usually has an animal sidekick to appeal to younger audiences with a cute factor or for comic relief. Flounder isn't particularly cute OR funny and brings literally nothing to the story except to listen to Ariels' whining with rapt attention and comfort her when she doesn't get her way.


5)  Rob Schneider (or Fergee) from: Judge Dredd

Picture
Judge Dredd is by no means a masterpiece of filmmaking. Some may find it to be a guilty pleasure but no one can be of sound mind and say that it is a good film. So it's quite remarkable that a simple side character manages to be the absolute worst part of it. Fergee has zero bearing on the plot and his attempt at comic relief is about as funny as a kick in the nuts. It actually made me mad when they decided to show us that he was okay at the end of the film. Dammit, movie! Why must you squash what little hope I had left?!

4) Slippy Toad from: The Starfox Games

Picture
Yes, having a mechanic and inventor is an essential part in any game where you fly around in spaceships, but how hard is it to become an even halfway decent pilot? Seriously. He always manages to get cornered by the enemy and needs to be saved time and time again. Then he has to call for help in what has to be the one of the most annoying voices of video game history. Many kids, no matter how gentle or kindhearted, secretly wanted to let Slippy die at enemy hands. This one included.

3) Yorda from: Ico

Picture
Escort missions in video games are not fun. I'd even hazard a guess and say that no gamer in history has come across one and thought “Oh Good! I've been waiting for this!” If you're lucky, the person you're escorting can help you in some way by fighting with you, healing you, or being sensible enough to hide away, but that only happens once in a blue moon. Now imagine your entire game as essentially being one big escort mission. That's Ico. You literally spend the game leading a mute and defenseless woman BY THE HAND across puzzles and obstacles where she lends absolutely no help whatsoever. Yorda may as well be a sack of flour that Ico has to carry around.


2) Jar Jar Binks from: The Star Wars Trilogy

Picture
Do I even have to explain this? You know the drill here. He's annoying, offensive, not funny, loud, obnoxious, and did I mention he's responsible for Emperor Palpatine gaining control of the galaxy? When you're a sidekick and you do the exact opposite of what a sidekick is supposed to do, you're the epitome of useless!


1) Wilson from: Castaway

Picture
He's a ball. A ball with a face. Don't you start telling me that he helped Tom Hanks keep his sanity on that island! No one who argues with a volleyball is sane! Wilson was clearly only a way for the audience to know what Tom Hanks was thinking so we wouldn't have 45 minutes of silence. Plus, he can't even hold on to a raft. Useless.


So that about wraps it up. I can honestly say that Ivan encompasses many of the qualities of the sidekicks I've presented. He's lazy, annoying, always needs help, and offensive to pretty much everyone. Stop by sometime to see for yourself.

Who are some of the worst sidekicks in your opinion? Which characters did I forget? Leave a comment below.
 
 
Here we are in the middle of March, and I bet you didn't realize that we were also in the middle of Women's History month. If you did, then major kudos. If I'm being honest, I actually forgot. It only remembered when the topic was brought up by my dear friend, Margaret, during our monthly book club meeting. I was slightly embarrassed by this faux pas when she called me out on it because typically, I never forget things like that. I'm usually the one bringing up such facts. Maybe this turn of warm weather is messing with my internal circuitry.
Picture
Come on, even Leslie Knope drops the ball sometimes...
After the meeting, I tried to forgive myself for this error by thinking about all my favorite female heroes from both real history and fictional history, that have blazed trails in their own times, and inspired me in my own. So, this week, I'd like to reflect on my history in the world of fandom and present to you, my top five women that are responsible for turning yours truly into Geeky Pheebs. 

5) Lisa Simpson

Picture
Since "The Simpsons" and I have been on this earth for almost the same amount of time, I really don't remember a time without it in my realm of fandom. Like most Americans, everyone can relate to at least one of its colorful characters. For me, it was always Lisa. Lisa Simpson was always hungry for knowledge and knew all the icons of feminism. Her willingness to embrace the things she was passionate about no matter the labels by her brother Bart or other school children always inspired me to do the same long before fandom was fashionable.


4) Ursula Le Guin

Picture
When I was in the third grade, I had to do a book report for class. While roaming the bookshelves, the kind librarian, Mrs. Wellington, noticed my proclivity for all things Lisa Frank and suggested I read a book called "Catwings" by her favorite author, Ursula Le Guin.  That's where my love for all things Fantasy began (my love for all things Sci-Fi began sometime before that, but that's a tale yet to come).   It's also when my own fandom for Ursula Le Guin began. I ended up acing the book report, and subsequently read the other books in the series (looking back now, they're much better when you're under 10).  I've gone on to read almost everything Ursula has ever published and admire her not only for being a trailblazer for other female authors in the Fantasy/Sci-Fi genres, but for not imitating the voices of male authors before her. Instead, she crafted her own unique style that inspires many authors today, both male and female. As a special bonus, check out this short film, "The Field of Vision" by my filmmaker friend, Siri Rodnes. It's based on the Ursula Le Guin short story "The Field of Vision."

3) Amelia Earhart

Picture
Ever since I've been into Sci-Fi, I've always dreamed of flying, and when I first learned there was another woman born a long time ago that also dreamed of being beyond the sky, I knew I had to learn more about her.  Talk about being a bold woman, this aviatrix dove head first into an all boys club and demanded to be a part of it with or without her their blessing. Just think for a moment, if this woman never existed, we wouldn't have had a Sally Ride! Heck, a myriad of fictional female pilots or space captains wouldn't have existed, as I am sure many creators based their characters on the Ms. Earhart.

2) Ellen Ripley

Picture
Speaking of famous, female Space Captains. I saw the original "Alien" way too young. When I was a kid, my babysitter (knowing that I liked Sci-Fi) grabbed the first video on the shelf in the Sci-Fi section of the local Blockbuster, and plopped my little sister, Stella, and myself in front of the TV so she could "hang out" with the boyfriend. While the movie scared Stella for life, I was in awe of this strong sweaty woman named Ripley. There she was, in command of a crew of men and had to lead them against a ferocious monster. She was also the first female character I saw on screen that wasn't pining for the attention of a man. All she was interested in was doing her job. I must admit, Ripley has been the basis for a lot of the characters in my own work and I'm sure I'm not the only one. I'm really looking forward to seeing her in the saddle again for the Neil Blomkamp reboot.

1) Grace Hooper

Picture
The number one spot goes to the MOTHER (^bonus points for "Alien" reference?^) of computer science, Grace Hooper. She worked on Harvard's Mark 1 computer, invented the phrase "debugging" and was a Rear Admiral in the US Navy. So if the "Avengers" were real, I'm pretty darn sure she'd be on the team.
As a Linux lover myself, I owe a big debt of gratitude to this woman for inspiring me to learn just the point and tap aspects of computers. Also, I can almost guarantee that without her, we'd still be using typewriters and pagers.

That about rounds it out. Although I did this list 1-5, the truth is I love all these ladies equally in their own unique way. As a way redeem myself for my forgetfulness I presented this list to my Margaret and asked for hers in return and I'll issue the same challenge to you. So, what women have inspired your fandom?
 
 
So I hosted a game night with the usual suspects the other day and like most of our events, we ended up abandoning what we originally planned to do in exchange for talking endlessly and way too seriously about topics concerning fandom.

Sorry, "Settlers of Catan," but we really needed to get into a heated debate about which hairstyle suited Sikozu from "Farscape" best.

Eventually, the conversation turned to our hopeless crushes on fictional characters. This type of discussion is nothing new, mind you, until someone (who will remain nameless) mentioned that they've had a crush on Abe Sapien for years. You can imagine our confused/slightly grossed out reaction to this piece of information. Especially when this person showed us that they were not alone by producing fan-fiction from a slew of different writers all over the Internet.

There are some things... you shouldn't make someone picture.
Picture
Ewww. Just ew.
Then it was confession time. We became our own psychiatrists and went down a deep, dark rabbit hole of misplaced affection that we normally try to repress or ignore altogether. Turns out that we'd all experienced some kind of attraction to characters that most of us would consider less than savory if they actually existed, usually in more ways than one. So without further ado, here are but a few of the crushes we revealed to each other, and don't worry girls, the crushees will remain nameless.

10) Victor Von Doom from: "Fantastic Four" (2005) portrayed by Julian McMahon

PictureI bet you'll blink first.
I tried to be as open minded with everyone's taste in fictional men, but even after accepting Abe Sapien as a possible babe magnet, Doom was hard to swallow. Yes, he's not bad on the eyes, good bone structure and all that. But he's a villain in a pretty hard to watch superhero movie. And not the intriguing or complex kind of villain, but the mustache twirling, cat stroking, pun spewing, "I expect you to die, Mr. Bond" type of villain. The only way a crush on him would make any sense to me is in the over the top way in which McMahon played him. Like everything else in those movies, it was covered in cheese (usually not the good kind) and even I have to admit that Doom's intense glare felt less threatening and more like an eye "you-know-what-ing." The more evil Doom became the more vaguely sexual all of his growled lines seemed to become. To me, this made him unintentionally hilarious, but some women might have felt differently.

9) Sephiroth from: "Final Fantasy VII" & "Advent Children"

PictureMy hair is so 80s. Jel?
This one I can understand a bit. He's got a nearly perfect face with a classic Anime aesthetic to it, simply glorious hair, and a theme song that you can find in the dictionary under 'epic'. Personally, I've always found him a little too creepy and a thing or 'force' rather than a person, which makes sense in the grand scheme of the story (No I won't say this is a spoiler, the game came out almost 20 years ago for Christ's sake!). Even after he gets some development in Crisis Core, I couldn't get on board the Sephiroth Train. I do have to say that I admire the tenacity of anyone who can still say they like a character who is responsible for one of the most heinous murders in video gaming history, though. Oh, and there's the whole taking over the Planet thing too (Over a decade old, people. Get over it).

8) Jack Skellington from: "The Nightmare Before Christmas"

PictureWhat's this?
This is perhaps the most confusing. The normal physical attractions don't really apply here, except for him having good bone structure. See what I did there? If you're into tall, skinny guys than he may do something for you. He's also a good singer, and hey, all men look good in a suit. Personally, I think this one can be attributed to his love interest, Sally. If you're not familiar with the film, Sally has a thing for Jack, but he is oblivious to her feelings for him as he plans his takeover of Christmas. Every girl can relate to this, especially the teenaged Tim Burton lovers. Perhaps they relate so much with Sally that they develop a crush on Jack through association.

7) Sylar from: "Heroes" portrayed by Zachary Quinto

PictureCan you hear me now?
Now here's a psychotic killer who could give you one hell of a smolder. Sylar has a few things going for him: he's conventionally attractive, has an intensity that can absolutely be sexual, and is essentially trying to find his place in the world (something everyone can empathize with). Plus, dem eyebrows, *swooon*... Of course, none of this makes up for the fact that he cuts open peoples heads to absorb their powers. He also has major mommy issues, a red flag for lots of women, this one included. It's a real shame that the series didn't continue, because the creators were shaping up Sylar to be a sort of anti-hero who might possibly try to make up for the mistakes of his past (even though you can't really make up for being a serial killer who cuts people's heads open).

6) Ayoto from: "Diabolik Lovers"

PictureStay thirsty my friends.
Let me start off by saying that many different anime or manga characters could have ended up on this list. A good quarter of our conversation was spent discussing all of the horrible characters we've fallen for in that medium, but Ayoto was not only a crush we all shared, he was one we all seemed to want to admit the least. He's certainly good looking and he's a vampire, which has somehow become a Kryptonite for women these days. He's sure of himself and really seems to care for the protagonist, Yui, but these things come with some big “buts." He cares about Yui, but is extremely possessive of her and jealous of most interactions she has with others. He is sure himself to such an extreme that he calls himself the Japanese equivalent of "Yours Truly." He can also be flat out mean calling Yui 'Pancake' (in Japanese, it means: breastless) throughout the series. And did I mention the first thing he did when meeting her was sexually assault her? Yes, he has some backstory that makes his behavior more tragic than anything, but that's no excuse for loads of women to daydream of being a toy for him to play around with.

5) Draco Malfoy from: "Harry Potter" portrayed by Tom Felton

PictureBoo.
This is a crush that I'm against mostly out of principle rather than anything else. I can see that he's attractive, he's rich, and as the series progressed he became a character women probably thought they could 'fix.' This is all fine except for the fact that he's a giant d-bag. He's a spoiled brat who whines and complains when things don't go his way. He brags about how rich he is and how many people his father knows. Let's not forget that he makes fun of people for being poor, their bloodline status, and for having dead parents. Who does that? He does finally show some empathy by feeling bad about killing Dumbledore (Oh yeah, spoilers and stuff) but slinks away afterwards, deciding to not take action against Voldemort even though it's clear that he wants to. How I can still find OC fan-fiction of him after all these years is beyond my understanding.

4) Jamie Lannister from: "Game of Thrones" portrayed by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

PictureHold my sword?
I can't fault most of Jaime's fans for this one. He's introduced in the show as being witty, charming, and having a slight bad boy streak. He's a freaking knight in shining armor, for pete's sake! He may have killed the last king, but he sounded like an a-hole so who cares. Then BOOM! Incest. And shortly afterwards, BOOM! Attempted Child Murder. But we had already accepted him as our newest obsession! You can't just do that, "Game of Thrones!" He has sort of redeemed himself as the series has progressed, but then he keeps backsliding by sleeping with his sister, Cersei. This is especially frustrating as she becomes more and more psychotic and evil with each episode. Why do guys always go for the crazy ones? Especially when it's your crazy sister.

3) Khan from: "Star Trek: Into Darkness" portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch

PicturePopin' my collar.
Here's a simple truth: If you are a heterosexual female geek/nerd then you are obligated to crush on EVERY character Benedict portrays without question. Sorry, I don't make the rules. Besides the strangely inherent likeability that BC seems to bring to most of his roles, Khan has a lot going for him on his own. He's extremely intelligent, a natural leader, and if you're in his crew he will do everything in his power to keep you safe. But all of this means wreaking vengeance on Starfleet, most of whom are innocent people trying to make the universe a better place. Don't forget that getting what he wants for his crew apparently means, breaking helpless women's legs and crushing a man's skull with his bare hands. We also can't forget that he's responsible for the death of Spo-- I mean Kirk, albeit only for a short time.

2) Loki from: Marvel's "The Avengers" & "Thor" portrayed by Tom Hiddleston

PictureI'm reading fan-fiction about YOU!
Where should I start with this one? If you're privy to the events that occurred at San Diego Comic Con 2013, then you have an inkling of just how popular this guy is with the ladies. Personally, I do see the physical attractiveness here and having an affinity for leather outfits can subconsciously say a lot. He's a character that you can see becoming good again, but he never makes the decision to be. He'll ride the line forever and string you along for each and every moment of it. Despite all of the times that we've seen his sensitive side, we can't forget that he's done some messed up stuff. He almost got Thor killed many times and nearly destroyed New York City, probably killing hundreds, if not thousands, of people in the process. He's the God Of Mischief, if that's any indication that he's not trustworthy then I don't know what is.

1) Hannibal Lecter from: "Silence of the Lambs," "Hannibal Rising" & "Hannibal" portrayed by Anthony Hopkins, Gaspard Ulliel, & Mads Mikkelsen

Picture
Bad at every age.
You'll want a thorough explanation, I'm sure. Hannibal is one of the most intriguing and disturbing characters of popular culture. He's a cannibalistic serial killer that shows absolutely no remorse for his actions. He plays and toys with people well beyond the point of too far for his own gain and sometimes amusement. Even the most recent actor to play him (Mikkelsen) , said that he plays him as a 'satanic figure.' Yet, despite all of this, we can't help but like him. He's sophisticated, refined in his interests, and he's stuck it to many people we definitely think deserved it (the original Dexter). If we were to meet him in person we would want him to like us, want him to think we're worthy of his time and attention. He's somehow both repulsive and alluring at the same time, definitely reminiscent of the Devil. Yeah, saying you have a thing for a character that is basically Satan makes him Number One on this list.
Well, can you guys top Hannibal freaking Lecter? What are some of the crushes you know you shouldn't have? Leave your comments below.