Friday, June 20, 2014

The Marvel-Tarantino Connection: Connecting the Universes.

Once upon a 2 a.m. dreary, as I ponder weak and weary, over many a quaint and curious collection of pop culture lore...

As of late, I have been thinking very much about the nature of how interconnected things are in disparate films, like the fact that E.T. and Star Wars exist in the same universe, and how that applies to the creation of a complete storytelling galaxy.

To be fair, there are two major masters of this, one being Marvel, and the other being Quentin Tarantino. Marvel's contribution is, of course, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which references characters and events in:

  1. Iron Man (2008)
  2. The Incredible Hulk (2008)
  3. Iron Man 2 (2010)
  4. Thor (2011)
  5. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
  6. Marvel's The Avengers (2012)
  7. Iron Man 3 (2013)
  8. Thor: The Dark World (2013)
  9. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
As well as the upcoming films:
  1. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
  2. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
  3. Ant-Man (2015)
  4. Captain America 3 (2016)
Not to mention the Marvel One-Shots:
  1. The Consultant (Referencing Tony Stark, Abomination, and the Incredible Hulk, as well as the Avengers Initiative, 2011)
  2. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor's Hammer (Refers to...Thor... That transition could have been better, 2011)
  3. Item 47 (Which deals with the fallout in from the Battle of New York in The Avengers, 2012) 
  4. Agent Carter (Captain America and the founding of S.H.I.E.L.D., 2013)
  5. All Hail the King (Justin Hammer from Iron Man 2 as well as the Mandarin from Iron Man 3, 2014)
And, of course, the television series, both present:
  1. Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
And upcoming:
  1. Agent Carter
  2. Daredevil
  3. Luke Cage
  4. Jessica Jones
  5. Iron Fist
  6. The Defenders
Bear in mind, these are just the projects that have been completed or announced within a period of eight years, from 2008 to 2016. Cohesively, these form a universe that has a complete origin story, as well as thousands of years of history. 

Quentin Tarantino's filmography connections are much more simple by comparison, but still very well executed.

For example:
  1. Vincent Vega (Pulp Fiction) and Vic Vega (Mr. Blonde, Reservoir Dogs) are brothers.
  2. Mr. White (Reservoir Dogs) talks about his former partner, Alabama, who appears in True Romance.
  3. Mia Wallace (Pulp Fiction) talks about a show pilot which bears an uncanny resemblance to the plot of Kill Bill.
  4. Lee Donowitz (True Romance) is the son of Donnie Donowitz (Inglorious Basterds.)
  5. Red Apple cigarettes (a fictitious brand) appear throughout Tarantino's work.
Therefore, it is fairly easy to see that both the works of Quentin Tarantino form one universe, fairly well defined, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe is an entirely deeper level of origin myth. That being said, I believe the two universes are connected, and here is my proof:

This is the tombstone shown for Nick Fury in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The epitaph read: "The Path of the Righteous Man..." Ezekiel 25:17. This is conclusive proof that the Bible in both the Pulp Fiction and Marvel Universes is the same, as Ezekiel 25:17 in our world reads:

"I will carry out great vengeance on them and punish them in my wrath. Then they will know I am the LORD, when I take vengeance upon them."

This is differentiated from the Marvel/ Tarantino Bible, as in that text, Ezekiel 25:17 reads:

"The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee."

As you can see, in the opening words "The path of the righteous man" only appear withing the Ezekiel passage from the Marvel/ Tarantino Universe, they simply are not anywhere within the scope or context of what is considered the contemporary Bible.

On its own, this is admittedly rather thin evidence for connecting two cinematic universes, but the dialogue concerning Jules' plans at the end of Pulp Fiction also backs up this theory. Specifically, Jules tells Vincent "First, I'm going to deliver this case to Marcellus, then, basically, I'm just going to walk the Earth." He also tells Ringo soon after "I'm trying real hard to be the shepherd" when he upends his own quoting of Ezekiel 25:17. Furthermore, we already know from the beginning of the film that he uses aliases, as he goes by the name of "Pitt" during Brett's interrogation. 

This then leaves us with a trained assassin, who is comfortable both with casual killing as well as a wide variety of spy trade-craft, including the crafting of alias. He also has what he considers a cosmic debt, and intends to become a force for good, as Jules said he planned to be "like Caine in Kung Fu walk from place to place, meet people, have adventures." My theory is that Jules Winnfield left the diner at the end of Pulp Fiction,  and over the course of fourteen years, and losing an eye in the process, transformed himself into the highly unorthodox head of S.H.I.E.L.D., making his first public appearance in Iron Man as Nick Fury.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

How to Raise the Forces of Darkness in 3 Easy Steps

Another recent project that I was finally able to complete and get off my workbench due to a convenient day off.

One ceremonial/ ritual skull, used for raising the forces of darkness and binding them to your will. Caution should be used when working with this, as well as other ritual objects. Side effects may include, but are not limited to phenomenal cosmic power, a growing sense of megalomania, nausea, heartburn, and the occasional bleeding from the nose, ears, and eyes. In some extreme cases, demonic possession or awakening of the Old Gods may occur. If this happens, you are beyond all hope and you should pray for a quick and merciful death immediately. Brought to you by the makers of Dr. Frankenstein's Rejuvenating Elixir and other fine products for the discerning occultist.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Marvel-ous Acquisition.

Today was the benefit for my father, which I think went well. I am not privy to the financial details, but looking over the remaining stocks on both the tables and on the food, I am assuming it was a success. What caught my eye was that one of the vendors there did custom dog tags, so I ran back to the house to pull up some information, and by working on it together, we came up with these:

A set of dog tags for Steve Rogers, better know to most people as Captain America. In particular, the marking were pulled off of the website of the auction house that sold the original screen used prop from Captain America: The First Avenger. Also, it is king of great that you can pull up so much esoteric information on the internet, where a whole community can develop and have a dialogue on the numbers etched on a prop in a film which is seen for about 10 seconds in an 85 minute film. I am extremely pleased with the result, and they are already hanging up on my prop shelf, next to my S.H.I.E.L.D. Id's.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Thrift Shop Finds for June (pt. 2)

While at the thrift shop yesterday (Pittsburgh is kind of blessed with a huge variety of thrift shops) I found another excellent grab bag. This one focused on different medieval and medieval-like...well things. In truth, I bought this bag almost blind. I was pleasantly surprised when I opened up the bag and found this:

A huge range of Papo figures. I remember looking over these figures constantly at various high-end and hobby shops, and debating with myself over and over again about picking some of them up. The other thought I often had was that I was in no way ever  going to do that, as I thought they were much too expensive. My current debate is now actually focusing on what kind of display I want to make for the barded horses.Another interesting piece in the collection is the battering ram, I was fascinated by that for a while. Another nice find in that bag were these figures:

A Cerberus and a Fire-Breathing Dragon. Both of these are definitely going up on display, I just need to figure out where. A few of the other pieces in the bag included these items here:

The cage is a very nicely constructed wooden toy, and actually came off of a wagon that was broken in the bottom of the bag. I am not sure exactly what I am going to do with it, but I imagine it could be used very easily to display something. There are also two LEGO figures there, a DUPLO horse with barding, and a Mutt Williams minifigure from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Finally, I recognized that final figure as soon as I opened the package, Lando Calrissian in the Palace Guard disguise. I think I actually had that figure when I was younger. All in all? Not bad for a single bag.

League Post: Shelf Identity

Having made the decision to travel the dark corners of the Internet, Pop Culture, and General Geekery in a loose knit group (As it is dangerous to go alone...) I have joined the League of Extraordinary Bloggers as their Mad Scientist du Jour. 

This week's assignment was to blog about what is on your shelves, and what it says about you. Frequent readers of the blog (all three of you) know what is going on in my life, so let's just say a lot of what is below the shelves is rather messy. However, due to the magic of careful cropping, here are two of the shelves in the Man Cave. 

First up is the top shelf of the book shelves, of which there are three, all filled with books and scripts. This particular shelf has scripts, a few reference books on theatre, and some additional volumes on prop making. Above it is one of the larger LEGO sets that I own, the Pirate ship from Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings trilogy.) I also have a small collection of Eastern Buddhas and other deities. Finally, my small but hopefully growing collection of Minions. For some reason, I am very attached to the Minions from the Despicable Me movies, and consider them the high points of a pair of excellent films. I am actively looking to build a small army of them, but have only been able to obtain these few Minions so far.

On the next wall, we have my (very) small replica prop collection up on display. In the back is a copy of one of the Sankara Stones from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, which is still one of my favorite films to watch. In front of it is a stack of S.H.I.E.L.D. ID's created for the entire team of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Within the display case is a small LEGO diorama of a chef and butcher in his shop. I constructed this to feature the minifigure of the chef, which I was able to get signed by food celebrity Alton Brown. The extendable fork up on the case matches one that he used repeatedly on his television show Good Eats. Directly in front of that is a copy of the Dagger from Clue, and obviously there is Rex from Toy Story. Rex is wearing my production lanyard from when I worked on Magnus Rex, which was the working title used on the film The Dark Knight Rises. 

Of course, I should also mention a few other members of the League, and these include:

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Thrift Shop Finds for June

Often when we seek something in particular, it is nowhere to be found. On occasion though, we find something else instead. Today's Goodwill finds are an excellent example:

Aside from a common theme of "travel" these objects take me back to a very particular part of my childhood. I remember very clearly watching "Raiders of the Lost Ark" at the age of 7, and that started a very vivid obsession with history and archaeology (even though I still have the occasional difficulty spelling that word.) This also started my fascination with Lucasfilm, a fact that was cemented when my father took me to see the Star Wars re-release in theaters. (Side note: 7 Year Old + Nazis getting their Faces Melted = Traumatic Nightmares for about 6 Months.) 

The planes? Not too much special about them, except for the fact my best friend from high school is in the Air Force, working on planes of the same model that is featured above (The Hercules.) Both planes are high quality metal miniatures, and came together in a grab bag for 99 cents.

Finally, there is a National Geographic with three of the insert maps that used to be featured. That obsession with history that was born when I was young was nurtured by my great-aunt, who insisted there should always be copies of National Geographic and Smithsonian magazines around for me to read and re-read. The issues with the maps were always my favorite, and I would spend hours looking at them, planning and plotting wild adventures. 

In the end, I did not find what I was looking for, but I did find something much more valuable instead.