Comics have an issue with portraying many of their villains as mentally disabled. This is especially true in DC Comics, where many of the villains have mental illnesses, but almost none of the heroes are portrayed as also having mental illnesses. Furthermore, the heroes punish the villains for their illness and in no way attempt to help them with the treatment they need. The statement this ends up making is that people who suffer from mental illnesses are evil and deserve to be hurt and locked up. This obviously creates a lot of problems with how people are then taught to view mental illness in real life—especially when our heroes respond to mental illness with violence and a lack of care and concern.
It’s the new year, and I feel excited about video games. I am excited about the mountain of games I acquired as presents and with gift cards, as well as games coming out later this year. For as much as I love good games, I am sad over how many of my friends and family just don’t enjoy them the way I do. Whether they lack interest or skill, it’s always difficult to share this part of my life with them. That’s why I’m trying to think of new ways for me to try and share my gaming experience with them.
There are of course the games that are fun to play with a group despite the challenges of the game. Games like New Super Mario Bros. U, Call of Duty, and Tekken Tag Tournament 2 are great because, due to their tendency toward bullshit difficulty spikes, the whole group enjoys the accomplishments of even two players finally beating a level. Plus, the shared suffering leads to lively conversation. Other games which have narrative arcs which tend to appeal to those outside of the medium are always fun to pass and play, even if some people are terrible. These games include Alice: Madness Returns, Batman: Arkham Asylum, and Resident Evil 5, and they tend to be just as fun to watch as to play if you are already invested in the subject matter. Hell, some games are such a spectacle that it’s fun to pass and play without any narrative context. Call of Duty and Halo attract droves of casual players who only play in groups. Any of these are fine, but I feel my repertoire lacks a certain “universally appealing” punch. So imagine my delight and excitement as I realize a way to better involve more people in the same games I already love. Continue reading
Read the first part of the interview here.
MadameAce: I know you said that you experienced some disappointment when you did that role, but in the early days what were your thoughts on doing voice overs?
Dino Andrade: At the time most of what I wanted to do in voice over was basically to [have it] work as a stepping stone. I really wanted to get into doing on-camera. I started doing a lot of commercials at the time. I was doing commercials for McDonalds, Delta Airlines, various things like that kind of working my way up. I was also doing a lot of training with The Groundlings comedy / improv. I’m a very physical actor, physical comedian. This was something that I felt might be the future for me, but it was very disappointing: unfortunately it seemed that 90% of what I was being sent out for was one Mexican, cholo gangster after another. It is so not me! That was very discouraging and I decided that, “you know what, if I’m going to get into these projects I might as well make them myself.” So I decided to leave acting for about ten years and spent the 90’s being involved in independent filmmaking, writing screenplays—I sold six screenplays, none of which were produced. [laughter]
Stewi: You still got paid
Dino Andrade: I still got paid. I think it was Kurt Vonnegut who said that the best thing that could ever happen is to sell a screenplay and have it never get actually made so your work isn’t screwed up. [laughter] So my work has not been screwed up six times, but it was kind of cool that I sold them. I also produced one independent film called Bob’s Video that ran the film festival circuit for a year and got me to travel around the country which was really fun. In the end, in the 00’s, I decided to go back to acting and to my original love, which was animation and fantasy, which then meant voice over. Even that was somewhat accidental.
There was a director who was working on an anime show called Vampire Princess and I was being told about that. And I thought, “well maybe I can get in on that as a writer. I’ve never done anime writing, but maybe I could give that a shot.” It turned out that he was also working on another show called Saint Tail and his wife was casting it and when I was contacting him I wound up contacting his wife and his wife thought I was an actor calling in for a scheduled telephone audition. I said, “…sure! Yes, that’s me,” and so I wound up auditioning completely cold, had no copy at all, so I just had to make up something about, “oh yeah, I didn’t get it. The courier didn’t make it. The fax machine died,” or something. I don’t remember. So they fed me the lines and I auditioned and they said great and I got a small part on Saint Tail. I took that as a sign and said, “okay! I guess this is what I’m supposed to be doing.” I returned to voice over at that point.
So today I have a special surprise for everyone. Thanks to my friend Stewi, I had the privilege to interview Dino Andrade, a famous voice actor who did one of my all-time favorite characters, Scarecrow from Batman: Arkham Asylum. He’s been in numerous other things as well, such as Wolf’s Rain, World of Warcraft, so on and so forth. On top of all that, he’s the founder of a geek dating site called Soul Geek, and all of you can check out his own website here. Furthermore, you may notice on his website that he does voice-acting lessons, so if any of you are interested in that, make sure to head on over there.
Additionally, I’d like to thank Dino once again for agreeing to do this interview and I would also like to thank Stewi for helping me with the interview process.
I hope all of you enjoy it. Unfortunately, what I have transcribed as of current is not the full interview, and I will be posting it in numerous installments—so most of my other reviews will be on hold until I get all this up, maybe—and I am also trying to figure out how to edit and post the recording of the interview for everyone, so you can all look forward to that eventually too. There are some things Dino said that are a little hard to transcribe; he did do the Scarecrow voice for us, after all.
Welcome back, fanboys and geek girls: this is the series where I instruct new readers on how to get into comic books. Hopefully, you have been reading my past couple of posts and are now diving into the world of comic books with gusto and hopefully a little more confidence than you had before.
Today we are going to talk about video games and the fandom as they relate to comic books.
The reason I paired these two together is that for me they are both sort of wild cards when understanding comics, especially for new comic book fans.