Mollycoddling Millennials

Herewith carrying on from previous pHantaBlog submission(s) by Jim McPherson, creator/writer of the Phantacea Mythos.

Don’t call him cynical; he’s just sensitive about the unimaginative deterioration of his chosen genre. Perhaps if he played video games or went to the movies more often he might sound more approving.

As a public service, the Free Dictionary defines millennial as “a member of the generation born from the early 1980s to late 1990s, especially in the United States and Canada; a member of Generation Y.”

And if you’re wondering who or what Generation X is, well, from the same source comes this very disturbing definition:

1. (Sociology) members of the generation of people born between the mid-1960s and the mid-1970s who are highly educated and underemployed, reject consumer culture, and have little hope for the future

The Free Dictionary has no definition for grimdark but ‘Know your meme’ does (too bad it doesn’t say what ‘meme’ means):

Grimdark is an adjective used to describe a setting or situation in a fictional work that is considered dark, depressive, violent or edgy” presents a lengthy entry on ‘grimdark’ whereas Wikipedia’s entry is only slightly shorter.  One of the definitions found therein brings to mind Freespirit Nihila and the pHanta-pHavourite term ‘anheroic‘.

“Liz Bourke considered grimdark’s defining characteristic to be “a retreat … into a kind of nihilism that portrays right action (…) as either impossible or futile”. This … has the effect of absolving the protagonists as well as the reader from moral responsibility.”

All in all, very discouraging. At least, as a kind of happy news counterweight, Queen Elizabeth just turned 89.

Too bad, since clearly she’s actually a lizard, Lizzy’s ever so appropriately named.

The Queen of England is secretly a lizard according to Fortean Times in 1999

Slightly altered cover from Fortean Times #129; more covers are here:


Millennial Checklist for Super Grimdark Fantasy TV

  1. OMG variations: minimum 3 times per episode;
  2. Hugs: minimum twice per episode, preferably more; always after a massacre;
  3. Smiles: guys only smile to appear goofy; gals only smile when they greet their guys;

    3 comic book covers incorporated in ad for Phantacea Publications

    Covers for pH-2 (Gordon Parker), pH-3 (Richard Sandoval), and 4-Ever&40 (Ian Fry, Ian Bateson), all of which figure in “Helios on the Moon”

  4. Embrace the stereotype; series can be cancelled at any time so why waste authorial brain cells seeking to rise above the tried and true;
  5. Recall consequential importance of cookie-cutter characters; gals who look good in tight dresses should be interchangeable between action series;
  6. Since scolds are mandatory in suchlike invariably deadly serious affairs, scowls and frowns must be practised endlessly in mirrors; it’s called acting because, OMG knows, the only other thing that counts besides good looks is an ability to give good grunts;
  7. Shirts off: buff men once an episode, fit women as often as possible; bras uplifting, cleavage-enhancing, coloured, but opaque, and reinforced (presumably with Kevlar, given short lifespan of girlfriends in most series), the better for nipple-suppression; suck in those abs, guys, flex them biceps; emphasize the tattoos, the brighter the better;
  8. Heart-to-heart talks essential, at least twice an episode; that’s what motherly and fatherly characters are for, but only if they’re hot; recall, they’re likely to be killed earlier rather than later for purposes melodramatic, as well as budgetary, so make the most of them while you’ve got them;

    Black and white promo ad for The War of the Apocalyptics as part one of the Launch 1980 story cycle

    Black and white promo ad for “The War of the Apocalyptics” as the opening entry in the Launch 1980 story cycle

  9. Best friends can be boy and girl – really (super TV is Fantasyland after all); as such they’re allowed to heart-to-heart, usually after one says to other: “Want to Talk about It?” (hopefully not while texting);
  10. No matter how frequent, heart-to-hearts must be kept short — or not, dependent on budget (despite how lousy they sometimes look, SFX are expensive);
  11. Heart-to-hearts act as important breathers between action sequences, allow opportunity to maintain hugs quota and either aren’t readily available in video games or else get in the way of the next kill-for-points moment; be sure to end with: “I’m always here for you”;
  12. Humour not allowed in actioneers; if attempted, make sure it’s American-style, which by definition isn’t funny anymore (and probably hasn’t been since before Reagan, whoever that was);
  13. Laughter frowned upon, literally — see above point re practising in mirrors; laughing not cool, though occasional chortle permissible; almost always attempts at making jokes must be dismissively deemed as “Lame”;
  14. Kill, yes; best with NRA-approved weaponry; but don’t gloat — only villains gloat (when they’re not sneering, snorting or, OMG-forbid, scorning the good guys guff-awfully); unless it’s after a keyboard-battle, that is, see next point;

    Collage and covers indicative of action recounted in "Nuclear Dragons"

    Mr No Name collage prepared by Jim McPherson, 2014; pH-7 cover, incomplete, by Ian Bateson, 1980; pHz1 #1 cover, the Mighty Eye-Mouth in the Sky by Ian Bateson, 1985

  15. Cell phones, yes; tablets, yes; computers, of course, but concentrate on how fast fingers flash across keyboards; never show what’s on screen because numbers are boring;
  16. Hacking’s dead easy – but any yob can hack, N Korea proved that, so don’t overdo it;
  17. When fighting by electronic proxy, ball fists and pump often; say “Yes” & “Gotcha” a lot; when win, stand up, point trigger finger at screen and spout “You lose, dirt bag!” like big macho bully you are when it comes to ’puters;
  18. Use sparingly, though, as even ad-target Millennials find keyboard battles, when filmed, tedious; never forget: in real world keyboards are meant to be played; they’re not shot, let alone used to write anything (men and, occasionally, women of action never write anything anyhow; don’t read, either, unless it’s about “celebrity celery”);
  19. Sex, good; pregnancy, impossible; condoms, who needs ’em? – hence why “dirt bag” always preferred to “scum bag”; bare backs, sexy; only for Millennials, though; over thirties having sex is yucky, over forties positively obscene, cause for cancellation;
  20. Ridiculousness never ridiculed, given whole situation is likely ridiculous to start;

    Covers and/or splash panels reflecting action recounted in "Helios on the Moon"

    Front covers for pH-2 and pH- 4Ever&40 graphic novel bracketing splash panel from pH3; artwork by Gordon Parker, 1978; Peter Lynde, 1978; and the two Ians, Fry and Bateson, 1990

  21. “America!”, must be said with pride, chest-thumping optional, once or twice an episode (lest anyone think show’s filmed anywhere else, even if it is); never the US or the States; only use USA lightly, as in “good old U S of A”;
  22. Never acknowledge Canada or Mexico, implicitly they’re part of America!; when not entry points for drug dealers, super villains or terrorists, that is;
  23. Secondary characters are cannon fodder; don’t get too attached to them; minorities die first, that’s what they’re there for; blacks get done away with straightaway but don’t single them out overly much, plenty of Hispanics and Asians available; native Indians not allowed, except as supplemental bad guys;
  24. Heroes never real heroes until after first kill; always make a big deal about not wanting to kill but, you know, sometimes it can’t be avoided since heroes never walk away from a fight for fear of having their series cancelled too quickly;
  25. For heroes, killing should appear to be in self-defence, me or them, didn’t have a choice — but that’s mostly so you don’t have to agonize about it for too many minutes, let alone episodes, afterwards;
  26. Heroes can never be brought to justice because they are just that, Justice; anyone can get away with murder so long as they’re recurring characters; villains should always be referred to not as evil (too religious?), but by that truly offensive Americanism ‘the bad guys’;
  27. Just to be doubly confirmatory, make sure that’s how they’re depicted: as unequivocally, over-the-top, irredeemable;
  28. Recall, the only time the US wins a war on anything is on TV, in the movies or in the occasional book (which Millennials don’t read anyhow, perhaps due to writers using too many syllables), so don’t disappoint.

    Phantacea Publications logo utilizing a Sun-Moon wooden Carving spotted and shot by Jim McPherson, 2014

    Phantacea Publications logo utilizing a Sun-Moon wood carving spotted and shot by Jim McPherson, 2014; taken to represent the Dual Entities during happy times

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