Tags: youtube

Cocktopus

Reading Assignment


 

There’s damned few webcomics I actually read regularly these days. This was not always the case; there was a time when there was probably fifteen or thereabouts on my regular reading list. These days though? Maybe five or so.

There’s one I came upon a couple of months ago, and the people I’ve been speaking with outside of this blog will already be familiar with my enthusiasm for it. It’s a fascinating multimedia extraveganza, combining elements of comics, cartoons, and video games into something entirely new and distinct unto itself. Anyone who’s spent any time on 4Chan’s /co/ in the past few months will be well-acquainted with it, as there are, every day, several 200+ comment threads devoted to it. This fact, I hope, tells you something about the passion which it incites in those who have taken the time to immerse themselves in it.

Time is an issue here; I have never before seen any form of entertainment created by a single person with so robust an update schedule. Whereas many webcomics struggle to maintain an update schedule of one page per week, Andrew Hussie, the mad genuis behind this opus, manages multiple updates PER DAY. Many of them animated, many of them with music – music of such quality that soundtracks for this comic are sold at the website, and soundtracks which I have purchased and listen to regularly. On one notable day, a few months ago, indeed, he managed a staggering TWENTY-SIX updates in a single day! I personally visit the page six or seven times a day, just to see what two or three new pages there’s been since my last visit. For free entertainment, there’s a lot to be said for something that’s constantly providing you new and entertaining content!

The comic itself – if we choose to use the word "comic", which is in many senses an inadequate descriptor for this mode of storytelling – is interestingly arranged. There have actually been four "adventures" in the history of the site. They’re similar in their mode of storytelling, mimicking on a surface level old-timey adventure video games such as those that Sierra and LucasArts put out in the late 1980s and 1990s. There is a character on a screen, and he or she is given various prompts to move around his or her environment, dealing with "weird puzzle shit" in order to navigate the adventure they’re in. It’s at once both a satire and a celebration of that mode of gaming, which anybody who has ever played this style of game will find immediately charming.

The first one, "Jailbreak", only ran a hundred pages or so, and you can easily get through it in an hour or so. The art style and the story are both quite simple, serving as a sort of prototype of what was to come. Nevertheless, if you find it funny and entertaining, I think I can say with absolute confidence that you’ll enjoy the rest.

The second, "Bard’s Quest", is something of a failed experiment and is perhaps best-ignored.

The third, "Problem Sleuth," is where things kick into high gear. Lasting precisely one year, it went about 1.700 pages before coming to a conclusion more epic in scope than that of any story I’ve ever seen in my life. The Byzantine logic and tying together of innumerable bizarre and outlandish seemingly-unrelated subplots is a masterwork of storytelling which never ceases to blow my mind.

The fourth, and current adventure is called "Homestuck", which has been going about a year and a half, and is approaching 3,000 pages already. It’s by far the most ambitious of the adventures, and has attracted a fan base of staggering creativity and passion. In the broadest and least-spoilery of terms, the story revolves around a group of kids living around the world, who take part in the beta of a mysterious new video game called "Sburb". This game, it quickly becomes clear, is something far more than it seems, and impacts immediately and directly upon their real lives in often unpredictable ways. Soon, all four of them are drawn into the world of this game, and the apocalyptic threat that it poses to all of mankind. The four characters have never, ever met in person. They interact only through game mechanics and their instant messenger program "Pesterchum", and 99% of the dialogue in the comic is presented as logs of their chatting with one another as they try to coordinate their efforts and keep one another alive.

As time progresses, we’re introduced to other groups of protagonists; a mysterious group of "exiles", humanoid creatures living in a post-apocalyptic wasteland with a direct though mysterious connection with the game these kids are playing. A black-clad gang of mobster anti-heroes called "The Midnight Crew", engaged with their own drama on a strange alien world, whose connection to the main story is by no means obvious for the first couple of hundred strips, but is eventually revealed to be integral. And finally, we meet another group of twelve kids playing the same game on a far-away planet, whose experiences in some way mirror that of the main characters, but whose explosive and distinct personalities, personal triumphs, tragedies, and bizarre, freakish alien drama set them definitively apart, even as their story directly impacts that of the kids on Earth in a manner too outlandish to get into here.

 


(This YouTube tribute video, created by a fan, using art and animation from the current chapter of the comic, which I found yesterday, which features these twelve alien kids will be completely nonsensical to non-readers, but hopefully be compellingly weird enough to grab your attention and make you want to read up to that point and make sense of all of it)

Indeed, for the past couple of months, we’ve been following this final group EXCLUSIVELY, as we learn all about their experience with this game, and they’re such an eclectic, peculiar and fascinating group of psychopaths that they’ve captured the imaginations of a lot of the readers to an extent that even the main cast never has. The second-to-most-recent update as of the time of my posting this (which I’m not going to link to because it would be 100% incomprehensible to anyone who hasn’t read to that point) is basically just a lengthy conversation between two old friends, in chat-log form, which is so poignantly bittersweet as to be heartbreaking.

If you’ve ever trusted my judgement or taste on anything, trust me on this: Give Jailbreak fifteen minutes of your life. If by that point you’re hooked, then you’ll find yourself on a roller-coaster that you’ll never want to get off of. And if you don’t like it, then what the heck. It’s probably just not for you (likely because the pleasure center of your brain is in some way damaged or malfunctioning).


Cocktopus

This music just kicks my ass every time.


On a happier front...

The other day at work, I heard this music coming out of my radio that just immediately grabbed my attention and would not let go. Within seconds, I was looking for a pen and paper so I could scribble down some of the lyrics and then search them out online so that I might get the name of the tune and hear more.

As it turns out, the song in question is "Back in Town", by Matt Dusk. I've listened to it maybe ten times and am in no sense close to being sick of it. It has an amazingly punchy rythm to it, and I am tempted to see about purchasing the album from which it comes just on principle. I've been distractedly humming the tune to myself for a couple of days now, and now I pass on that gift to all of you: 


Cocktopus

Share the Wealth Wednesday #7

Good morning to you, friends and readers, and happy Wednesday to you! I’m sure you know full well what this holiest day of the week impends (and those few of you who do not, I suggest you check out previous entries on this topic for the skinny!), and so without further ado, allow me, as they say, to Share the Wealth!

Remember the villain from Silence of the Lambs? No, I’m not talking about Hannibal Lecter. Why would I even ask a question like that? Of course you remember Hannibal Lecter; he’s one of the ten most memorable movie villains of the 20th century. And besides, he wasn’t so much “the villain” of Silence of the Lambs as he was “an incredibly horrible person who appears in Silence of the Lambs, completely outshining the real villain of the movie in the process.” The real villain, of whom I speak, was Buffalo Bill. Remember him? The guy with the house full of clutter and horrors, the pit in the basement he threw girls into, and all of that business?

Yeah, now you remember.

Well, imagine for a moment if he had a YouTube channel. And imagine if, on that channel, he did amazingly insightful reviews of mediocre movies , while at the same time being this nightmarish lunatic in a house of unspeakable horror. But still! Very insightful and providing a sound and reasonable critique of mediocre films! Critiques which are occasionally interrupted by deranged ramblings about his horrible life and many victims?

If you can imagine this, then you’re pretty close to envisioning my contribution this week. It’s gone kind of viral, so you may have heard of it already, but check out this amazing seven-part review of Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Clocking in at seventy minutes, this review is almost half as long as the original film, but differs substantially from it in that this review is actually a far more compelling and entertaining piece of film-making. Not only does the narrator absolutely dissect the entire film in meticulous and brutal detail, he does so hilariously, and with occasional insights into his own warped and diseased mind. There are... asides, shall we say, which are startling and overwhelming, which I won’t spoil beyond saying that if you don’t watch at least up to the end of part two, you’re genuinely cheating yourself.




Apparently, this fellow has done a number of other film reviews as this same character, which I will definitely be checking out as well. For my part, I could seriously stand to see more reviews in this style. It’s almost Hunter S. Thompson-esque: Gonzo film review, if you will. I would like to live in a world in which all film reviews which were not created specifically with brevity in mind were done something like this, but I know that to pin my hopes on a dream as beautiful as this is to invite despair and woe, for we do not live in a world which such visions can long be sustained within. C’est la vie.

Anyways! There’s my contribution this week. What be yours? Let’s see what you’ve got as you Share the Wealth!
Cocktopus

Share the Wealth Wednesday #5

Well my oh me! Could it be Wednesday again so soon? Where DOES the time go?

This week, I've got another oldie but goodie, and one which I THINK is obscure enough that it should be new to a sizable enough portion of the population to whom it would be of interest.

There's this fellow on YouTube, you see. And he creates these amazing short videos by creatively editing footage from episodes of Star Trek : The Next Generation into these absurd, minimalist comedies. He has, creatively, entitled this series "The Next Generation", and there are over thirty of them thus far. While they do stand alone well on their own, there are running gags and whatnot which serve to create an overall violation of the sensibilities of anyone who's ever been a fan of the show which is at times quite breathtaking. I present for your consideration what I consider to be perhaps the best set of four episodes by means of demonstration.








So! What have you got this week, dear friends? What entertaining thing, to be found at the click of a mouse, might we enjoy as you have enjoyed it? It is time, ladies and gentlemen, to Share the Wealth!
Cocktopus

Accomplishment Unlocked!


I have received delightful news: My groundbreaking video, The World's Most Terrifying Penises: The Echidna is now YouTube's #1 search result for the word "Echidna". You cannot know how this delights me, to know that when someone searches that site for information on this repugnant little animal, my cockpunching video, and the horrific mysteries unveiled therein, are the first things that any prospective viewer will be exposed to. This is an honour which I am more than happy to receive, knowing that this is my primary contribution to the great cultural exchange which is YouTube.

And in commemoration of this accomplishment, I re-post this instant classic here for those unfortunate few who have yet to bask in its radiant glory. Because the tens of thousands of viewers whose attention and adulation catapulted it to the much sought-after title of "Top Result in the Search for the Word 'Echidna' on YouTube", cannot possibly be wrong. 


In slightly-related news, there's a bunch of stuff brewing. A tenth The World's Most Terrifying Penises entry (and maybe video, if you're lucky) is in the works. A new NewDog15 re-write is about half-way done. Some new body painting sets are in the offing...

And of course, the saga of Vince, the Parasite King, continues to unfold...

Cocktopus

The World's Most Terrifying Penises, Part 6 - The Echidna


After the warm and enthusiastic response which my previous video offering received, I decided that for this installment I would go straight to video. This presented a few technical problems, primary among them that there wasn't six minutes of echidna dick on video for me to work with. Second of which is that - as usual - my personal standards have risen with this second offing, and as such, this ended up being a significantly more ambitious project.

This having been said... enjoy.