The Three Hundred and Thirty-Seventh Blog: The One Where I Complain Groundlessly About Hollywood, Again!

I was worried that I wouldn’t have a topic for today, and I would have to rely on one of those Hemmingway Cards again…then I saw this.

I’m not very happy about the possibility of this movie getting shelved – especially with the talented cast the studio fielded (not to mention the crush I had on Wolfsbane). Sure – Disneywood Fox Studios killed the X-Man franchise with Dark Phoenix and re-shoots have been ordered for the movie, but none had happened so far. While Feige is eager to pick up mutants and the Fantastic Four from Fox – I don’t think we’re going to see a New Mutants release anytime soon on the big screen.

Why? Well – if Fox had read my earlier post about how I feel about the whole Dark Phoenix saga, they would have avoided a whole lot of woe. I’m not saying that I wanted God Loves, Man Kills in its place. The comparisons to X-Men 2 would be completely justified. I really wanted to see New Mutants – not for the fact that I’d get to see some of my favorite actors and characters, but because of how the movie was set up.

The one thing I like about the MCU is that they’re not superhero films, they’re other genre films that happen to have superheroes in them. I know I’ve talked about this earlier, but in all the superhero movies out there – only one film dared to approach horror and that was Brightburn, which is a massively underrated horror film in its own right. Horror is a genre that is under-represented in movies unless it’s Halloween (the holiday).

The MCU has a lot of horror in their back catalog, and a lot of adaptable properties. The Brood? The Aliens rip-off homage that took over their host, absorbing a mutant’s power until it finished gestating and transformed itself into the alien body. We’ve seen that The Shadow King and Legion can be handled excellently on the small screen (don’t spoil it for me, I know the last episode came on recently), so why not one or the other on the large screen.

And don’t tell me Disney can’t do horror. Jesus Christ – the most frightening movie I’ve ever seen is Something Wicked This Way Comes. Let’s face it, the House of Mouse can be blood-curdling when they set their mind to it. There is some supposition that New Mutants is going to end up on Disney+ (what does the plus mean? +$!). No. No, that will not do. It needs to be on the big screen. I need to be sitting in the darkened theater with pop corn and soda in my lap and waiting for Wolfsbane and Magick and Sam “Cannonball with Ears” Guthrie.

Is that too much to ask? For the MCU to continue to push the art forward and for Disney to stay the hell out of the way?

Well, this isn’t what I was oringally going to talk about, but I thought I had seen something on TV that Dredd was going to be released in 3-D and that put me into a tizzy. Sadly (?), I couldn’t find a trailer or a date of release. I might have been mistaken.

If you’re looking for some original work – on the right side of the page, you can find some well-written books from dear friends, or you can find my stuff. If you’d like, you can also donate to my kofi account. Thanks for stopping by. Have a good day.

The Three Hundred and Thirty-Sixth Blog: The One Where I Glorify Insomnia as the Solution to a Work-Life Imbalance!

Of course not! I have 32 hours of things to do in just 24 (minus at least six hours for sleep if I’m lucky). I don’t think anyone has any semblance of good work-life balance, be you a chemist, mother or scribbling desperately writer. Sure, I do tend to shoot myself in the foot often (like now for example – I’ll reddit later…after this page…really) and I could get more productive if I just applied some discipline.

However…

The ideal work-life balance would be this: I work more in the evenings at my dreaded day job (shout-out for my own work) and do more writing in the mornings and early afternoons when I am awake and firing on all cylinders. I have more energy in the morning and my mind seems a lot clearer then as opposed to the later afternoon and early evening when I finally get home from the mail room and all I want to do is watch Critical Role, irradiate my dinner and go to bed. I know that should get some writing done when I get home, while I have the energy to do so. Instead, I succumb to bad habits.

I know I should break myself of these rusting chains. I’m not going to get anything done the longer I slump on the couch and watch Mercer and Co.  It’s just…the old saying ‘you can lead a horse to water, you just can’t make him drink’ is very spot on with me. Yes, I can come in hear as soon as I walk through the door, plop down in my chair and tell myself that for the next hour, I am not leaving here until I crank out at least five hundred words.

Which makes me cruise the cat pictures on reddit that much harder. Yes, even to myself, I am a contrarian prick.

Back to the ideal work-life balance. I never minded doing my work at night. I am a night owl – as much as I now like being away during a majority of the day, but if I had my druthers, I would like to do my work during the night and have those few precious hours when the world is asleep to really write somewhat undisturbed. As the world begins the long process of waking up, I’m closing my bedroom curtains and settling down. That would be nice.

Too bad the meth-heads and the construction down in the alley would keep me awake for the day. As much as I love the schedule, it would be impractical. So, I guess that I’ll just have to settle down, prioritize things and get back to writing rather than Top 10 weapons you can farm in Borderlands 2 or another YouTube offering.

Well – that’s all for this card. I’ll probably do another one and then chat about the latest wave of the MCU. I heard who the antagonist is going to be for the Black Panther sequel, and some questions I have for the movie.

Thank you for stopping by, and feel free to donate some coffee (speaking of working third shift) to my kofi account or buy one of the books I have on the right-hand side of the screen. They’re good and cheap.

Take, care now.

The Three Hundred and Thirty Fifth Blog: The One Where I Talk Quite a Lot About What I Liked in Black Panther!

Do I have to say *spoilers* for Black Panther? I mean – if you haven’t seen it yet, you’re probably not a Marvel fan and just stumbled onto this blog by accident, but I am going to probably spoil it for you badly.

Wait! Wait! Come back! There’s value here! Really!

First off, I am going to admit that I am a Marvel fan. I am going to try to be objective about this, but I make no promises.

The first time I watched the movie – I had a typical fanboy response. I loved it. I loved that the T’Challa’s main arc was started in an earlier film and what we got from Black Panther was the second act. His first act happened a whole movie ago! The third act was a movie after this one, wrapping up T’Challa’s redemption and forgiveness arc. For the story minded fans (like me), this was a great reward for paying attention to what was going on in the MCU. Even the Black Panther movie itself had three acts (T’Challa’s ascent to the throne, his fall and his subsequent reclamation), like all heroic movies have nowadays. If Joseph Campbell even gets a 1% royalty from the use of his formula, that man is stinking rich.

For those of you who might not know what I am writing about, Joseph Campbell examined myths from different places and different times and came up with what he calls The Monomyth. Every heroic tale from long ago has a pattern to it. While Mr. Campbell uses Hindu mythology in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces, we can see it clearly in that old, old epic Star Wars.

I’m not going into deep, deep detail about the Heroic Cycle. Just go out and buy Hero with a Thousand Faces. If you’re a storyteller, or interested in how stories are told, then this is the book for you. If you can’t get the book, head over to TV Tropes on the Internet and they have a whole subheading dedicated to the Heroic Cycle and all of its variants. For the purposes of this blog, I’m going to use very broad strokes for this.

The first step is always the Call to Adventure. Going with the Black Panther, we had his call to adventure in Captain America: Civil War with the death of T’Chaka. The Call to Adventure is never pretty. It’s not supposed to be. Its purpose is to force us out of our comfort zone into the wide world. Sure – Luke Skywalker’s call to adventure was the hologram, but what got him out the door was the death of his aunt and uncle. T’Challa would have been happy to be the Prince of Wakanda for another ten for fifteen years, but that would have been a bad movie (Black Panther: Breakfast is Cold). He had to be pushed on the path and it took The Winter Soldier to do it.

You know who else had a Call to Adventure?

Killmonger.

Like I said, the Call is ruthless. Erik’s call was the death of his father at the hands of the King T’Chaka. If that hadn’t happened, Erik never would have done all the things he dd to get to the point where he was Killmonger…which brings us to the next big step.

Finding the Mentor.

The Mentor is the one who provides the Hero with the Boon or the Item to be carried with him on the journey. In Star Wars, the Mentor is Obi-Wan and the Item is the lightsaber. With T’Challa, everything is laid out for him easy-peasy. He had Zuri to guide him through the ceremony where he talked to his father in the Ancestral Plain. With Killmonger, the Mentor comes in two parts. The training comes from the biggest mentor of all: The U.S. Government. They give him the warrior’s skillset and the intellectual’s wisdom (Navy SEAL and M.I.T. – literally ‘go hard or go home’). The boon comes from the other half of the Mentor: Ulysses Klaue. The boon, unfortunately for Klaue, is his dead body. This is also where we begin the next part of the Heroic cycle. For Killmonger, this is also Crossing the Threshold. This is a point of no return for the Hero. Everything he’s learned and done has led him to this point. He and T’Challa must now Enter the Underworld.

Entering the Underworld is exactly what it is. The Hero must enter a place of darkness and despair to find and defeat The Dragon – otherwise known as the villain or the protagonist. With T’Challa, this is after his second fight at the waterfall which is a mirror to the first fight. The first fight with M’Baku is at the height of his story. The second fight? Not so much, but the hero must fall before he rises. You can’t fall much farther than death.

In the Ancestral Plane, he meets and defeats his Dragon, and this the strength of this movie. T’Challa’s villain isn’t Killmonger. The Black Panther’s Dragon is him accepting two things: that he is suddenly King (honestly, who among us is ready to deal with the death of a parent?) and that the man and King he revered was at the end of the day just a normal man like the rest of us. A man who made mistakes and never fixed them. That was T’Challa’s Underworld, his decision in trying to make things right and foregoing death was his battle. He could have stayed behind with his father and ancestors, let others clean up the mess. Instead, he makes the right choice and comes back.

For Killmonger, Entering the Underworld is more of a figurative event. You might think it’s when he’s in the mines and fighting T’Challa. That’s the climax. The real descent begins in the throne room and challenges T’Challa for the throne and mantle. His descent, however, almost brings down Wakanda with him. The fight on the Waterfall is him Defeating the Dragon – with T’Challa being the embodiment of Killmonger’s Dragon which is the nobility that killed his father and abandoning him to the United States. The fight in the mine is another fight for T’Challa against his Dragon, again it being embodied in Killmonger. The dragon this time is the sentiment that Wakanda needs to assert itself on the world scene in a violent fashion. The end of this fight is T’Challa Returning Home.

Returning Home is the Hero coming back with wisdom or power to use for the good of his immediate environment. In Star Wars – Luke has gone through the Underworld in the Death Star, witnessed the death of his Mentor and Defeated his Dragon (Darth Vader is indeed the Dragon of the whole series, but the Death Star is the Dragon of his movie. Vader doesn’t really get Dragon status until the second movie) and Returns Home with the power and the knowledge of the Force. With Black Panther, he Returns Home (breaking the civil war and restoring order) with Power (he has the last heart-shaped flower in him, so he is also the last Black Panther, which is also symbolic of the old world that’s left behind) and Wisdom (what Wakanda does has ramifications for the world beyond their borders) to use them for the betterment of the nation of Wakanda, and the world at large.

Killmonger…well…his is a bit more complicated. While his material goal of supplying weapons and sparking a revolution failed, his other goal was far simpler: getting Wakanda to take its place on the world stage. He Returned Home with wisdom of what happens in Wakanda doesn’t always stay in Wakanda. His goal was achieved at the cost of his life, but being a hero means that sometimes you must make a sacrifice. He won, and he got his reward to see a Wakandan sunset. The tragedy is that even in death, he couldn’t let go of the hatred (from imdb.com):

T’Challa: We can still heal you…

Erik Killmonger: Why, so you can lock me up? Nah. Just bury me in the ocean with my ancestors who jumped from ships, ’cause they knew death was better than bondage.

 

Everything gets wrapped up, T’Challa shares his wisdom and his nation. WE watched two heroes – fighting for opposing reasons – reach their goals. Black Panther is a great film, certainly one of the best Marvel films to come out. Its greatness comes from the fact that they changed the conventions of movie story telling and it paid off. Hopefully, this trend will continue, and not just in Marvel.

Wow – I think that’s my longest post ever. Next time, I’ll try not to run off at the mouth. Please consider the books on your right as they were written by friends far more talented than I am or consider getting me a nice cup of coffee with the kofi link. Thank you all for listening and I wish you well.

p.s. – still meeting deadlines! Huzzah for me!

The Three Hundred and Thirty-Fourth Post: The One Where I Discuss Wild Dreams Like Peace and Quiet in My Neighborhood!

What’s one action you could take today that would make your work life easier?

Well…do we mean my 9-to-5 job? If so, the best way to make my work life easier there is to give me my own office space. I don’t need a lot – something with four walls and a lockable door. Let me turn on my music (or podcasts) and open mail in peace. That’s all. I’ve found that I am way more productive when I am pretty much left alone. Example: I opened about 700 pieces of mail and on that day, I responded if talked to (or at in some cases) and carried on conversations. The following day I was left alone, I opened about 1,100 pieces of mail. This wasn’t a one off. When I am left alone, I am more productive. It’s that simple.

Now, if were talking about my other job (The Unknown Writer) …surprisingly, there is little in the way of change as to what I need. I just need an office space with a lockable door that is at least a fifteen-minute drive from my house. Preferably a room on a high floor with a sturdy oak door.

While, yes – it is a dream of mine to work from home as an author, but there are so many distractions. Between the motorcycles, hot-rod wannabes and the drifting meth-aficionados there is little in the way of peace and quiet. I do listen to music while I write, but that’s just to keep me in the mood and to keep my mind focused on the words and not on what’s that strange sound (no, seriously – is that an opossum? Freaky little things!).

I also have people here that will traipse in and out – asking questions and favors while I’m working. Even when I’ve told them: Hey – I’m going to be getting writing done, so…I need privacy, it will be twenty minutes before someone comes in and asks for something to be looked up, or a question about what happened today. Things like that get under my skin because I must stop, answer the question and get back into the mindset. Sometimes it’s easy. Other times, it’s not and I lose another productive session. (not that I have a lot of those).

If I sound like I’m whining or bitching…well, I am. However, this is within my realm to change it. I either:

  1. Hammer out a schedule where I can have solitude enough to write.
  2. Become a mega-successful author and buy office space in downtown.

 

I would to like to get option b, but I might have to settle for a. I’ve had a lot of other distractions both here and elsewhere, and I have handled them with making small changes: buying a small laptop that is only for writing and certainly not video game playing. Getting the Hemingway cards so that if I can’t think of what to write, I fall back on those so I can get in the habit of blogging on a regular basis. I have to realize that there are some changes I can make (writing in the morning as it’s peaceful) and others that are impossible currently (stringing taut piano wire to behead the motorcycle riders who insist on zooming down the short block). This is going to be an exercise is stoic philosophy, but it will be fruitful in the end.

On a very different note, I watched Midsommer and thought it was a decent flick. Written and directed by the same guy who did Hereditary, the movie is a deep study in how a person deals with loss. I’ll put up my thoughts next time.

Well, thank you for letting me bend your digital ear. I’ll try to write something far more smart sounding for next time. Until then – to your right are some of my works, and the works of dear friends, so check them out. Also, consider buying me a cup of coffee with the Kofi app, or just throw money at me. I’m cool with that.

So long and have a good day.

The Three Hundred and Thirty-Third Post: The One Where I Point Out the Obvious!

I know this is going to be a bit late, but I really had no idea what to write until this morning while I was in the shower. So – in trying to make the self-imposed deadline of Thursday, this might appear a bit scattered. All I really have to go by is a hastily scribbled outline and a crack-pot idea.  Y’know…Thursday afternoon.

I was in the process of showering up and thinking about going to go see a movie on Friday when two ideas hit me. One is for the novel I am (perpetually) working on, and the other explains how the Marvel Cinematic Universe got so prominent as it is today, and why the DC Cinematic Universe seems to be lagging way far behind.

When the MCU was getting put together, Marvel had a bit of a problem: their two big properties for the movies: Spider-Man and the X-Men series were not Marvel properties. They were owned by Sony and Fox respectively. Remember those days when Fox was its own entity and not in the tightly gripped paw of the House of Mouse? Well, apparently Marvel had some problems keeping the lights on. If you watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., they’re never referred to as ‘mutants’ (Fox owned that word…seriously) but ‘enhanced individuals’.

With their big money makers tucked away in the arms of others, Marvel had to do something, so they got creative. They reached way back in the back of the catalogue. They had the makings of the Avengers, which was something they could work towards, but they needed filler. This was a huge gamble for Marvel. While Iron Man isn’t a third-tier character like Mantis from Guardians of the Galaxy, he wasn’t Wolverine either.

This set-up forced Marvel to work on the world and the storylines that would become the Phases. It was a gamble to be sure, but it was one that would pay off spectacularly. Big enough for Sony to loosen its grip on Spider-Man to allow him to have a place in the MCU.

We have the exact opposite problem with the DCU. They have the heavy hitters: Superman and Batman. Like Marvel, they have an extensive world already put together. This should have been as easy as plugging in a lamp. Why did it collapse in two films? Why is the DCU seemingly now getting their feet back under them.

Because they relied on the aforementioned heavy hitters. They rushed where Marvel took their time. Thinking that they could throw up a film that treats us to another origin story and everyone would run to it unthinking, and then giving us what should have been the midpoint movie in the first arc to prelude the movie that should have ended it is a face palming offense. I’m not saying the movies are bad, but just not well placed.

However – the DCU has shown that they can learn. Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Shazam get it right. We get to meet characters that were rarely given time elsewhere. Remember when Aquaman was the butt of many jokes? I do. Heck – thanks to Jason Momoa’s performance, Marvel can’t release a Sub-Mariner movie without getting the inevitable comparisons (and the Sub-Mariner is two years older!).

I must admit that I don’t know a whole lot about Shazam, but that didn’t keep me from enjoying a film about a boy finding both family and purpose. I can’t wait to see how they treat other properties. Could Cyborg be the DCU’s body horror tale – injecting some much appropriate terror into the series? Can we Jordan Peele to direct? Can the Flash be as humorous, I hope? Having Barry and Leonard trading quips while hashing out a gentleman’s agreement while in the middle of a bank heist would give a little humor to a universe that seems to take itself a little too seriously at times. As much as I am a Marvel fan…I like what they DCU has given us so far. I just hope they can keep it up.

Well – that’s my opinion. Maybe next time I’ll delve a little further into how I would have worked the DCU’s first phase.

If you’ve liked what you’ve read and if your last name rhymes with Schmigey – hit me up on e-mail. I work cheap and fast (and I know that I can be afforded. I mean – what’s a few hundred grand between friends, right?). Also please consider checking out the book links on the right.

Have a good day, and I’ll see you next Thursday.

The Three Hundred and Thirty-Second Post: The One Where I Complain About Post-Modernism (again!)

Maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m getting old and set in my ways. Of course, I’m getting crotchety over all the wrong things. 

I am a Marvel fan going far back, and I am happy to see the heroes I grew up with on the big screen and done right. The effects, the story, the casting (somewhat…I would rather watch Robert Downey, Jr. as Dr. Strange, but that’s just me) are magnificent. I love the continuity and the “phases” that start and begin an arc. I’m as gleeful as a four year-old in a room full of puppies.  

However… 

I have an issue with the Skrulls, but the root of this is post-modernist villains. 

Here come the spoilers. If you have not seen Captain Marvel and/or Spider-Man: Far from Home, leave now and see those films. Right now. The blog will still be here, I promise – mostly because I’m paid through to November. I can entertain myself while you’re gone. 

Back? Cool. Here we go. 

When I was reading comics – Claremont was writing X-Men, including my favorite God Loves, Man Kills, and the Skrulls were utterly merciless. They were black hatted, dark hearted villains who thirsted after the enslavement of Earth and the utter destruction of the Kree. They were shapeshifters, cunning and perfect. The old man staring you down? Skrull. That over-friendly cashier? Skrull. Your parents? One of them could be a Skrull. You’d never know.  

I think I might have found the root of my cheerful paranoia. Moving on. 

The Skrulls in the movies are…squishy, soda-drinking, post-modern villains and I hate it. 

Let me explain. 

One hallmark of post-modern villainy is the humanizing of the villain. We meet the Skrulls in Captain Marvel and we’re told that the Skrulls are cunning, amoral and savage infiltrators. They aren’t dropping through the atmosphere with guns a-blazin‘. They steal in, take your face, uniform, memories and your life. Their first appearance was in 1962, so you can make the case that the Skrulls were the sci-fi face of the Red Menace. 

The scene with Talos calmly sipping on a soda (a subtle shout-out to Tarantino) and explaining what they were about: 

[Vers walks out of Maria’s office after listening to the Black Box recording and realizing that Yon-Rogg abducted her in 1989] 

Carol Danvers: He lied to me. Everything that I knew was a lie. 

Talos: Now, you understand. 

Carol Danvers: What? What do I understand now? 

Talos: Yon-Rogg killed Mar-Vell. He killed her… ’cause she found out that she was on the wrong side of an unjust war. 

Carol Danvers: No. Your people are terrorists. They kill innocents. I saw the ruins on Torfa. 

Talos: Ruins that the Accusers are responsible for. My people lived as refugees on Torfa. Homeless, ever since we resisted Kree rule and they destroyed our planet. And the handful of us that are left… will be slaughtered next, unless you help me finish what Mar-Vell started. The core that she found would have powered a light-speed ship capable of carrying us to safety. A new home… where the Kree can’t reach us. 

Maria Rambeau: Lawson always told us that our work at Pegasus wasn’t to fight wars, but to end them. 

Talos: She wanted you to help us find the core. 

Carol Danvers: Well, I already destroyed it. 

Talos: No, you destroyed the engine. The core that powered it is in a remote location. If you help us decode those coordinates, we can find it. 

Carol Danvers: You’ll use it to destroy us. 

Talos: [sighing] We just want a home. You and I lost everything at the hands of the Kree. Can’t you see it now? You’re not one of them. 

 

See? It’s not the Skrull’s fault. They’re just victims of the Kree antagonism. How are the Kree portrayed? Cold, emotionless and unified – marching in lockstep towards a bright, blue destiny. I wonder if they’re going to bring in the Kree Civil War? The original Captain Marvel (or Mar-Vell if you want to be accurate) was a pink-skinned Kree, which was the minority on the planet. I don’t see that being brought up, since MCU is heading in a certain direction as far as the Kree. 

 

Supreme Intelligence: You did good, Ace. 

[Supreme Intelligence grabs the Tesseract] 

Supreme Intelligence: Thanks to you, those insidious shapeshifters will threaten our borders no more. 

Carol Danvers: I used to believe your lies, but the Skrulls are just fighting for a home. You’re talking about destroying them because they won’t submit to your rule. And neither will I. 

Supreme Intelligence: We found you. We embraced you as our own. 

Carol Danvers: You stole me. From my home, my family, my friends. 

[Supreme Intelligence sighs. Carol charges and punches her in the face, but her fist is stuck in her face before she is thrown to an invisible wall] 

Supreme Intelligence: It’s cute how hard you try. But remember, without us… 

[Carol is absorbed through the wall, which projects images of her memories] 

Supreme Intelligence: …You’re weak. 

[Carol continues to watches flashbacks of her crashing in races and failing in physical activities] 

Supreme Intelligence: You’re flawed. Helpless. We saved you. 

[Carol falls back in the room] 

Supreme Intelligence: Without us, you’re only human. 

Carol Danvers: You’re right. I’m only human. 

[Carol starts remembering every time she got up from a fall] 

Supreme Intelligence: On Hala, you were reborn. Vers. 

[Carol holds a fragment of her dog tag that reads “Vers] 

Carol Danvers: My name is Carol. 

 

Post-modernism looks to muddy the waters, making the villain a little more tolerable, but at the cost of making the heroes a little less sterling. The Skrulls (at least these) are weary, fellow travelers just looking for a home free from Kree tyranny. The Kree take what they want because they are unchallenged by an unsuspecting Earth, but they do these things for their greater good.  My problem is not with the representation of Skrulls, nor with the Kree or Captain Marvel – who I can’t wait to see how they treat her run-in with Rogue now that Disney owns Fox, which owns the X-Men. My problem is with post-modernist villains. 

It was good ten years, or even twenty years ago. Not now. Not for comic book movies. Not for movies. It’s not daring, hip, new storytelling. It’s safe. It’s cliched. It’s tired. We need something new in villainy. What is it? I have no idea. Maybe we can go back to the white hat / black hat. Let’s dust that concept off. I’m not advocating moustache twirling villainy, but I’m no longer a fan of telling myself, “He’s got a point”. 

“But, Mr. Apathy!” I can hear you screaming at the screen. “The world isn’t like that!” 

I know. I know that people are complicated little things. That’s why I love writing about them. Maybe in my inky fumblings I can figure them out. I know that people do things for reasons that only makes sense to them. I’m just saying that your villain can be complex and engaging, but we don’t have to sympathize with them. 

As I write this, I know I am going to have to try to clarify my argument as I speed towards the deadline of before Thursday night. This might be as good as it gets. I’m going to try to expand on it later on. Right now, I am not completely caffeinated. More than likely I’m going to read this and wonder what was I thinking. 

Feel free to chime in through the comments, also check out the books on the right written by talented, good and charming people. Have a good day, and just remember: your boss is a Skrull.