Up Your Game or Else

A new episode of the late Osamu Tezuka’s Give My Regards to Black Jack has been created by a Japanese team with significant AI assistance:

A new episode of Osamu Tezuka’s famous “Black Jack” manga made with the help of artificial intelligence was unveiled Monday, with the creators saying that while the work reflected the spirit of the late legendary manga artist, its ability to depict human feelings remains an issue.

“We are happy that a very Tezuka Osamu-like work has been created,” said Makoto Tezuka, son of the late artist and director at Tezuka Productions Co, one of the organizers of the project, which was launched to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the medical drama about an unlicensed genius surgeon.

The latest 32-page episode will be published Wednesday in the weekly comic magazine Shukan Shonen Champion and will feature a female patient who has had a transplant for what was supposed to have been a “perfect” AI-made artificial heart. The magazine ran the original Black Jack series from 1973 and 1983.

“The new episode contains the sanctity of life as a theme, and raises issues posed by advanced medical technology in modern society,” Makoto Tezuka told a joint press conference alongside project team members in Tokyo.

The team used generative AI models that learned from some 200 episodes of “Black Jack,” another 200 short-form manga works by Osamu Tezuka who died in 1989, and 20,000 pages of his manga characters’ facial image data.

Under the project, which was officially launched in May, the team input plot ideas into the AI and requested it to come up with a full story for a new Black Jack episode. Interacting with the AI model enhanced creativity, and generated text was adjusted to better reflect the team’s vision of the story in a way readers could easily understand, the team said. The AI models used in the project were ChatGPT’s advanced GPT-4, and Stable Diffusion, an image generator.

New Tezuka ‘Black Jack’ manga episode created using AI unveiled, JAPAN TODAY, 16 November 2023

Once it becomes possible to create stable and reliable characters, AI will revolutionize the industry. It’s going to supercharge the abilities of prolific authors like Chuck Dixon and John C. Wright, and give a significant boost to genuinely creative writers like Gene Wolfe and Roger Zelazny. And it’s going to seriously harm the industry gatekeepers, the unoriginal hacks, and the expensive artists.

Most of all, it’s going to reduce the influence of Hollywood, which has utilized its monopoly on distribution and expensive art production, by reducing the cost of what has always been the most expensive part of video production. So, I see it as a very good and literally pro-creative technological development.

Needless to say, Arkhaven is actively embracing the use of AI on Arktoons, although almost entirely on the visual side instead of the written side.



Star Wars is Dead

The Dark Herald checks his watch and calls it.

The second episode of The Mandalorian aired last Wednesday and I have yet to hear a peep out of Fort Mickey. Whenever the streamer studios have one of their exceedingly rare wins they screech it from the rooftops… Today Samba.TV released its numbers for the opening episode of The Mandalorian and they are b-a-a-a-a-d.

Disney+ ate its own seed corn when the Book of Boba Fett was bombing. Tearing off Mando’s admittedly good third-season starter and stuffing it into the Book of Boba Fett was like pouring an entire bottle of expensive perfume on a pile of shit. It wastes the perfume without making the pile smell any better. Favreau had to slap together a replacement season opener out of spare parts and abandoned scripts. It was a weak start when it needed to come out strong.

Obi-Wan Kenobi’s premier was 2.14 million unique views.

The Mandalorian third season opener was 1.5 million unique views.

This is truly dire for Disney because The Mandalorian has lost half of its audience. It only edged The Book of Boba Fett by 2%.

And apparently the Marvel Cinematic Universe is rapidly going the way of the Star Wars Universe.

The Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger signaled that the company plans on cutting back on Marvel franchise films in the wake of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania performing abysmally in the box office.

During an appearance at a Morgan Stanley conference, The Hollywood Reporter’s Alex Weprin reported Iger signaled the company plans on cutting back on how many films they make around certain characters.

Iger said, “What we have to look at at Marvel is not necessarily the volume of Marvel storytelling, but how many times we go back to the well on certain characters.”

He elaborated, “Sequels typically work well for us, but do you need a third or a fourth, for instance? Or is it time to turn to other characters? There’s nothing in any way inherently off in terms of the Marvel brand. I think we just have to look at what characters and stories we are mining.”

Convergence kills. There is no way back for any of these franchises. They’re not necessarily going to go straight downhill, as there will be overperformances and underperformances, there always are, but the general trend is perfectly clear. And as AI improves, the cost of producing alternative entertainment is going to decline as well, thereby creating new opportunities for Arkhaven and other independents.


The Five Reasons for Failed Fantasy

The Dark Herald reviews the year in fantasy for 2022 and provides an explanation for why it was so disastrous.

First, everyone wanted their own Game of Thrones, (it wasn’t just Jeff Bezos).

Second, none of these producers knew anything about fantasy and they didn’t want to learn. They just wanted to glom on to something and tell their own version of THE MESSAGE.

Third, neither did the people who ran the studios. They were green-lighting anything that could be accused of being a fantasy franchise with an existing fanbase. And they also wanted to use it to spread THE MESSAGE.

Fourth, Woke. All of these shows were much more interested in contemporary politics than they were ancient worlds, eerie wonders, and glories beyond imagining. They cared more about scoring points in Hollywood than they ever could about fantasy.

Fifth, all of these shows were the result of globalism. Oh, it was Hollywood globalism to be sure, so on top of all of their other failings, they were shallow as a mud puddle. But it was all globalist fantasy. It was something too hopelessly bland to be at all interesting.

“The Shadow that bred them can only mock, it cannot make: not real new things of its own. I don’t think it gave life to the orcs, it only ruined them and twisted them; and if they are to live at all, they have to live like other living creatures.”

I can’t help but find it amusing that all of these producers are casting desperately around for the next A GAME OF THRONES and it will never, ever, occur to them to go to the one epic fantasy series that is fully capable of providing them what they are looking for and more.

But it’s just as well. I have zero desire to see ARTS OF DARK AND LIGHT utterly demolished the way that everything from WHEEL OF TIME to SANDMAN have been destroyed.


The Null Factory

The Dark Herald explains why Dem Rangz was always going to be a creative catastrophe:

Amazon just released a making of documentary about Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power like they were proud of it and everything.

I steadfastly maintain that without Tolkien doing the acutal writing, it was never going to be anything other than second rate pastiche. It just isn’t possible to produce anything of similiar quality to the work of J.R.R. Tolkien. If nothing else the modern education system isn’t remotely up to producing a writer with the erudition of the creator of Middle-Earth.

While it was never going to measure up, it didn’t have to be the incompetent parody of Lord of the Rings. It comes across as a TV show that was trying to play Harvard Lampoon’s Bored of Rings straight.

How did it get so bad is the question everyone who isn’t lying about how good it is, keeps asking.

This show was the end product of a process dedicated to failure.

You know they’ve failed when all of the Tolkien fans are not only refusing to watch the television series, but ignoring it to the point that they’re pretending it simply doesn’t exist.


Tolkien Knew

It’s easy to understand why the Prometheans hate Tolkien so much and why they want to destroy his legacy. He knew. He absolutely knew. He knew about them, their evil, and the source of that evil, as evidenced by the Dark Herald’s review of the third episode of The Rangz:

The Men who sided with the Valar during the War of Wrath got a nice off-the-cuffo from the gods. An island kingdom flowing with bounty and whatnot. And the Men were happy. For a while. However, a division rose up; there were those who remained loyal to the Valar and excepted Iluvater’s gift of death, they thought Elves were super cool too. But the vast majority of the Númenorians resented the Elves’ immortality and wanted to be immortal themselves.

Sauron was captured by the Númenororians and was imprisoned but then like an evil Joseph worked his way up to becoming the high advisor to the king. A cult of Morgoth was established complete with human sacrifice of the Elf Faithful humans with the goal of achieving immortality. Finally, the last king of Númenor launched an invasion of Valinor to steal immortality. Iluvatar Himself intervened and destroyed the entire fleet of Men by opening a chasm in the sea. Then Númenor itself was sunk beneath the waves during a night of fire and whatever that will cost a lot to CG. The Elf Faithful escaped under the leadership of Elendil, who became their king and founded Gondor.

Read this sentence again: A cult of Morgoth was established complete with human sacrifice of the Elf Faithful humans with the goal of achieving immortality.

Fascinating, is it not, that a high fantasy writer could foresee today’s transhuman global technocrats in the 1940s? It’s because their goals are no different than they were back before the dawn of recorded human history: to be like God.


A Masterpiece of Progress

The Woke Critic explains that we’ve all got it wrong, that THE RINGS OF POWER are actually better than THE LORD OF THE RINGS, and that it is a defining moment in the history of the world.

Every generation there comes along a work of cinema or television that transcends the medium. It is no longer a movie or TV show: it is a work of art. A masterpiece. A production so profound that you wonder if it should be displayed in the galleries at the Louvre.

That magnificent day has arrived, ladies and gentlemen.

Amazon’s The Rings of Power is not only a television gift from the gods, it is better than the original cinematic The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Peter Jackson, step aside, and welcome the true heir to the Lord of the Rings throne.

Here’s why The Rings of Power is a masterpiece.

The cinemascape of the Peter Jackson trilogy was littered with strong, white males. Frodo and Sam, the ringbearers, entrusted with destroying the one ring ahead of a female, even though they were three feet tall. Aragorn, the king everyone had been waiting for, when a Queen would have sufficed. Gandalf, the magical old white male, in eternal battle with… other magical old white males. The Rings of Power has brought Middle Earth into the 21st Century. No longer is this a world of men. Indeed, it is a world of women. All the main characters have estrogen in abundance.

Take Galadriel, for instance, a side character in the trilogy. Now she is the driving force through the whole saga. Strong, independent, and utterly brilliant. Where men err, she is right. Always right. Every idea, every solution works. Men who do not follow her lead… lead themselves to the grave. She can cut through oceans like an ocean liner, climb mountains like Sly Stallone and dunk more shots than Michael Jordan.

Frodo and Sam. No. Now we have Nori Brandyfoot and Poppy Proudfellow. All the same characteristics, quirks and mannerisms as the iconic duo, but now completely female. Why have male characters when we can have female characters? This is 2022, after all. It is much more progressive to have two women in such roles. Like Galadrial, they are never wrong and never weak. A true inspiration for humankind.

Bronwyn, another female character brutally ignored by the men in the village. Not for long, however. When all the males laugh at her expense, she is the one who has the last laugh. She quickly shows them that she was right about the orcs all along and assumes the leadership role. Another inspiring moment for everyone watching.

Fear not, dear viewer. There are white male characters. Such as this one. He arrives on the screen in a burning scrapheap and his prospects do not improve much from there. He screams gibberish at young ladies and looks like he just walked out a homeless shelter. A true lesson in progression.

White males, your time is up. This not a world of men. It is a world of women.

The Rings of Power is not just a television production, but a message to the world that racism is over. Future generations will look back and say this was the defining moment where everything changed.

It’s hard to argue with that. Impossible, really. Sadly, it appears that most of us are missing this masterpiece of progress, as I took a pair of polls, on both SocialGalactic and Gab, in order to see how many people in the greater community are watching this triump of post-racist consciousness. Now, given that I am arguably one of the top-five living epic fantasy writers – which isn’t that impressive given how few novelists are capable of writing epic-length works – one would expect that my readers would be far more inclined to watch The Rings of Power than the norm. This is especially true given that we have a strong Tolkien contingent that obsessively reads the published notes, visits Hobbit museums, and subscribes to the Forge of Tolkien.

  • SG: 237 did not watch, 6 watched, in part or in full
  • GAB: 1,339 did not watch, 35 watched in part, 37 watched both episodes.

This is pretty astonishing for a very high fantasy-friendly crowd. Yes, the polls are unscientific and self-reported, but even so, the numbers are less than one-quarter of what I would have assumed. And it tends to support the Samba.tv numbers that indicate the public rejection of the production is going to be a catastrophe for Amazon Studios. I would not be at all surprised if the second season is cancelled, or if it isn’t, a complete reboot is ordered for Season Three.


Black Doctor Who

The 14th Doctor is confirmed to be black and is generally assumed to be gay.

Ncuti Gatwa will take over from Jodie Whittaker as the Time Lord in Doctor Who, the BBC has announced. The 29-year-old will become the 14th Doctor on the popular BBC show, after Whittaker announced last July she will be leaving the role.

Queer As Folk and It’s A Sin writer Russell T Davies is returning as the programme’s showrunner after departing the show in 2009.

The only real surprise is that the BBC didn’t go with a blind black lesbian in a wheelchair as the Doctor, just to make absolutely sure that no one will watch it. But a gay black “Rwandan-Scottish” lead should suffice to kill it off.


The Hate is Real

“Evil cannot create anything new, they can only corrupt and ruin good forces have invented or made.”

JRR Tolkien

This is the response – entirely justified – with which Tolkien fans have greeted the trailer for The Rings of Amazon. The trailer is bad. It’s so bad that I tapped out after only 36 seconds, which will most likely be the only 36 seconds of this wicked, ill-conceived desecration of a literary treasure that I ever see.


And Morgoth Smiled

The Dark Herald explains why there is no chance that the Amazon demolition of The Silmarillion is not going to make the execrable Disney Wars trilogy, the abysmal Godfather III, and the tedious final season of A Game of Thrones all look like entertaining cinematic masterpieces in comparison:

Christopher Tolkien was the good son of a great man; he steadfastly protected his father’s legacy and works. But he is gone now. The estate now belongs to Tolkien’s grandchildren and ALL of them are trust fund babies who act like trust fund babies. They want their other friends with money to stroke their asses and tell them how brave they are being for letting Bezos bastardize and soil their grandfather’s work. They are completely blind to the fact that this pile of fetid garbage is going to stain people’s memories of his masterpiece.

This whole catastrophe started with Jeff Bezos saying he was determined to have his own Game of Thrones. Which means that this abortion is going to be a derivative work of George R.R. Martin, not JRR Tolkien. The producers are denying this with tears and oaths but the fact that they hired an Intimacy Coordinator (AKA Sex Arranger) tells you what books this show is based on.

The truth is, this show isn’t based on any of Tolkien’s books. What Amazon has the rights to are the background notes. No joke, that is what they own the rights to and that is what Bezos has spent hundreds of millions on.

While the contract they had with Christopher Tolkien had some very strict limits with regards to what they couldn’t do with regards to JRR Tolkien’s overall story arc, it had a major loophole in that they could create new characters. And boy, did they ever.

In addition, they have undeniably altered established characters significantly. Galadriel, Commander of the Northern Fucking Armies. No, I’m not kidding they got her that wrong.

It’s not just the SJW wokery. It’s the complete disrespect for the source material and the author.


The Woke of the Rings

As bad as the converged The Wheel of Time has been, Amazon’s upcoming abuse of The Silmarillion promises to be even worse:

First, the Tolkien Estate did not do this willingly. They got hurt in arbitration with Warner Brothers and part of the settlement is that they had to allow a Lord of the Rings. Although, they did get to maintain a right of absolute veto over everything. And when Amazon was up against Christopher Tolkein, he used it. He kept this hideous abortion in development hell for years, probably with the hope that Amazon would give up and the rights would revert.

But then he died and the horrifying travesty moved forward.

The creators that have been handed this project have no experience as being the guys in charge but they have years in the business working for… Bad Reboot.

Whatever hope you might have had can be abandoned now.

Inclusivity, diversity, new characters, and LGBT representation. It’s all going to be there. And it’s all going to be awful.

On the plus side, ARTS OF DARK AND LIGHT remains completely unconverged.