Posts Tagged ‘blog: things you should check out’.

Check out: Vader and Obi-Wan Duel, Reimagined

Back when the original Star Wars movies got a remastering for DVD in the mid-2000s, one of the things I wondered if they’d change or update was the lightsaber fight between Vader and Obi-Wan on the Death Star.

By that point, the prequels had firmly established a balletic lightsaber combat style that in comparison, made the original duel from 1977 look pretty dull.

The original has its own sort of tension, to be sure — but I still couldn’t help but wonder what a version of that scene shot in the fighting style of the later movies (or even the higher intensity of Empire or Return of the Jedi) might look like.

Well, now someone’s gone and made just that! Check out this fan film:

It feels much more like the Vader of any other movie Vader is in.

BONUS LINK: There are a million Star Wars fan films out there. I haven’t seen the vast majority of them. But one that I have, and that I think is well done, is VADER: SHARDS OF THE PAST.

BONUS LINK 2: This is a pretty deep rabbit hole to fall down, but one Czech fan’s passion project for years has been hand-reassembling a perfect version of the three original Star Wars movies.

Perfection is defined in this case as:

  • the highest resolution possible
  • containing the desirable fixes from the various remasters
  • eliminating the undesirable changes from the various remasters
  • as well as fixing additional things that none of the remasters bothered to.

Petr “Harmy” Harmáček’s quixotic quest to composite, remaster, and integrate scenes, shots, and even individual frames from various DVDs, laserdiscs, Blu-rays, film prints, deleted scenes, and the like has resulted in The Despecialized Edition.

(You can also read about it on Wikipedia.)

Check out: Examining Victorian styles of humor

I’ve enjoyed following historian Bob Nicholson on Twitter, @DigiVictorian.

He often posts examples of interesting things he finds in old newspapers, which as longtime readers know is also an interest of mine.

These two particular examples are even on similar themes to my own areas of fascination, that is, modernity and beards:

A full, bushy thread on beards begins here.

A bit ago, he went viral with his diatribe against inaccurate Victorian-era newspapers in film & television:

You can read the whole (constantly-being-added-to) thread beginning here.

He’s also working on a survey of Victorian jokes and humor in particular. In this article he describes the prevalence of Victorian puns and groaners:

It turns out the Victorians joked about much the same topics as we do: cutthroat lawyers, quack doctors, mothers-in-law, foreigners (particularly the French), celebrities, political news, romantic misadventures, family squabbles, fashion faux pas, cheeky children, and other amusing situations drawn from everyday life. For a historian like me, these gags offer valuable insights into the inner workings of Victorian society. Laughter, after all, is a powerful thing – as anybody who’s ever been the butt of a cruel joke can attest. […]

Entire books of puns were also published, including Puniana (1867) and More Puniana (1875), which contained hundreds of pages of exquisitely tortured wordplay. Consider this appropriately festive example:

If you were to kill a conversational goose, what vegetable would she allude to?
Ah-spare-a-goose! (asparagus)

Or this bizarre bit of wit:

When do we possess a vegetable time-piece?
When we get-a-potato-clock (get up at 8 o’clock).

Jokes and puns in particular he regulalry posts to the Twitter account @VictorianHumour.

And here are some other good threads to read!

It’s all good stuff, and he’s doing the Lord’s work out there.

Check out: 826LA’s Time Scouts book

My friends at the literacy nonprofit 826LA have just launched a Kickstarter campaign for a new book called Time Scouts!

Here is their video (starring Marc Evan Jackson, whom you may recognize from various of the teevee):

My other friend Beth illustrated the book & designed the merch, and her husband Stephen wrote it, which I guess is important too!

It is a handbook for time travelers.

You can get the book, and other Time Scouts stuff like merit badges too.

Check out: 826LA's Time Scouts book

You can back the Kickstarter for a copy of the book here, or read more about TIME SCOUTS here.

Check out: 826LA's Time Scouts book


Check out: Vintage artwork from Rawpixel

Today’s comic “The Master, and his Piece” was made using images from the Rawpixel Design Resource Library!

Specifically, the main two figures are from the curated Vintage Valentine’s collection:

Check out: Vintage artwork from Rawpixel

There are a lot of stock image libraries out there, but Rawpixel is the first commercial one I’ve seen that actually acknowledges when certain images are in the public domain and makes them available for free.

Rawpixel’s collection is associated with The Public Domain Review, which is a great site with essays about topics related to vintage works of art and literature.

The P.D.R. essay Frankenstein, the Baroness, and the Climate Refugees of 1816″ by Gillen D’Arcy Wood completely changed my understanding of that very well-known book.

I recommend that site highly for lots of thought-provoking reading! And Rawpixel for pictures seems pretty cool so far too!

OBLIGATORY REMINDER: Thank you so much to all the new patrons on the Wondermark Patreon page! I just posted a new 2 Minutes to Wondermark video for patrons.

This Friday, February 15, is the last day of our Special Offer, in which all patrons at the $5 tier or higher will get three different downloadable Wondermark desk calendars! As well as my undying gratitude, OF COURSE.

Six things I just learned about Inspector Gadget

Six things I just learned about Inspector GadgetInspector Gadget costume available from

Last week at Gen Con I had the pleasure of learning a bunch of dumb stuff I didn’t know about Inspector Gadget! And now I will share it all with you.

Like everyone in the world, I watched the television program as a kid, and chuckled along to the antics of the terrible lawman and his orphan ward and cryptid dog. I knew about the two live-action movies as well, though I’ve never actually watched them all the way through. And I vaguely knew that there were some various other Gadget adaptations out there.

NOW, however, I know all that AND these six other things, which I will share with you now:

THING ONE: Inspector Gadget had a moustache in the original pilot, but DiC (the production company) was sued by MGM because he too closely resembled their own Inspector Clouseau.

Rather than re-animating the pilot, a line of dialogue was added to later showings, in which Penny comments on the moustache and Gadget says: “It’s so that nobody will recognize me. I’m on vacation, absolutely, totally and completely off duty.”

Here’s the original version of the opening theme with the moustache present: [On YouTube]

THING TWO: In the 1999 live-action movie, there is a scene in which Inspector Gadget covers a lady with 100 gallons of toothpaste. It’s just as terrible as it sounds:

I agree with one of the YouTube commenters: “Why would they even put that much toothpaste in him anyway? How often is he gonna come across a situation that requires a crap load of toothpaste like that?”

THING THREE: There have been THREE spinoff television shows since the original:

Gadget & the Gadgetinis (2002–2003), in which the Inspector has been promoted to Lieutenant and Penny has built him two miniature robot sidekicks. [On YouTube]

Gadget Boy & Heather (1995–1998), in which the brain of an adult policeman has been placed into the body of a child for some reason, and the child given all the typical crimefighting gadgets. The villain is an 8-armed spider-lady named Spydra. [On YouTube]

A current CGI version of Inspector Gadget (2015–present), a “sequel” to the original, presently available on Netflix in the US. In this version, Dr. Claw has a teenaged nephew, whom Penny has a crush on. [On YouTube]

There have also been two animated movies: 2002’s Inspector Gadget’s Last Case [wiki/YouTube], which features Jaleel White (Urkel) as Gadget’s car, and 2005’s Inspector Gadget’s Biggest Caper Ever [wiki/YouTube], which features Bernie Mac as Gadget’s car.

THING FOUR: Inspector Gadget once met the Mario Brothers:

For this live-action segment, Gadget was played by Maurice LaMarche, who would go on to voice Gadget in several of his other animated incarnations once Don Adams had retired from the character (and from this world).

If anyone can make it through the entire thing, let me know what happens.

THING FIVE: There are, surprisingly, not that many interesting covers of the Inspector Gadget theme song on YouTube, but this one done in Mario Paint is rather charming:

I particularly like its judicious use of the Yoshi sound effect.

THING SIX: Speaking of the Inspector Gadget theme song, it turns out that the one we in the English-speaking world all know so well is merely a VASTLY INFERIOR ITERATION when you learn that in other languages, IT HAS MORE LYRICS.

Here’s the French version:

It doesn’t have the “Go, Gadget, go” breakdown in the middle, but oh là là, DOES IT EVER HAVE LYRICS.

Our friendly local Francophone at Gen Con broke them down for us. There is a lot of repetition, but in summary and with some idiomatic translation, it goes something like this:

Eh la qui va là // Hey there who is that
Inspecteur Gadget // Inspector Gadget
Eh la ça va pas // It’s not going well
Ouh Ouh! // Ooh ooh!
Oh la je suis là // Hey there I am here
Inspecteur Gadget // Inspector Gadget

C’est moi que voilà // It’s me, I am here
Inspecteur Gadget // Inspector Gadget
Ca va être la joie // It’s going to be fun
Ouh Ouh! // Ooh ooh!
Au nom de la loi // In the name of the law
Moi je vous arrête // I will arrest you
Je vous arrête là! // I’m gonna stop you there!

Go Go, Gadget à main // Go Go Gadget hand
Flash, Gadget au chapeau // Flash! Gadget in hat
Hé ho, Gadget au poing // Hey ho, Gadget fist
Oh la, Elastico-Gadget // Oh that’s Elastico-Gadget

Les bandits sont là // There the villains are
Inspecteur Gadget // Inspector Gadget
Ils n’échapperont pas // They will not escape
Ouh Ouh! // Ooh ooh!
Si l’inspecteur fait gaffe // If the Inspector watches out
Fait gaffe aux gadgets // Watches out for his gadgets
Qui marchent ou marchent pas // Which may or may not work

Go Go, Gadget à main // Go Go Gadget hand
Là-haut, Gadget au chapeau // Up there, Gadget in hat
Go Go, Gadget au poing // Go Go Gadget fist
Qui c’est? // Who is that?
C’est Elastico-Gadget // That’s Elastico-Gadget

Et puis patatrac // And then, bang!
Inspecteur Gadget // Inspector Gadget
Voilà le chef qu’est là // Look, here is the Chief
Ouh Ouh! // Ooh ooh!
Salut chef c’est moi // Hello, Chief, it’s me
Inspecteur Gadget // Inspector Gadget
Ça n’en finit pas // It just never ends!

I’m super charmed by the mention of both Gadget “hand” and “fist” (they’re different?), and then the mysterious “Elastico-Gadget.” It sounds like it could be his springy legs, but the video shows his helicopter hat at that point! WHAT IS EVEN GOING ON.

If anyone can advise if either the Spanish version or German version communicates any new insight, please leave a comment on this post…

Until then, I’ll be humming “C’est moi que voilà, Inspecteur Gadget” for the foreseeable future.


Edited to add: Lots of good comments on the Twitter thread for this post, too!