Mike Roukas — Jun. 19th 2013
“He picked a damn lonely place to live, didn’t he?” Police Sergeant Jack McBain finished the last of his coffee – straight black – and tossed the paper cup out the squad car window. He cursed as the vehicle bumped down the stony rural road. “Not exactly the brownstone district. The crazy bastard.”
Major Andrew Quinton, steering with two fingers, was composed on the outskirts of this quiet Montana town just as he was when busting through Manhattan gridlock or weaving through the Lincoln Tunnel. “Can it, McBain.”
A small, halfway-camouflaged house came into view. It was colored with brown and green tones like the earth and the forest around it.
McBain snorted laughter. “Where the hell does this guy live anyway?”
Quinton himself had almost missed the house, but he felt as calm and observant in nature as he did taking the path train and navigating puke-scented concrete terminals. “If you upstate boys learned to pull your heads out of your own asses, maybe you’d see what’s hidden in front of you. Stay in the car.”
McBain’s eyes widened – now he saw the house. “Shit, how do you know he lives here?”
Quinton cut the engine and got out of the car. The subtle breeze tossed his loose tie, and the morning sun glinted off his aviator glasses. “Because I know Roukas.”
A lone figure stood in the shallows of the river, fishing. He casted his fly rod and line forward and backward, methodical as a Tai Chi master, easeful as a Japanese monk using an ink brush to write haiku upon a worn palimpsest. Without turning, he spoke. “Caught up with me at last. Looks like your satellites are useful for something.”
Quinton stood on dry ground not far away. “It’s been a long time, Roukas.”
“Maybe not long enough.”
A whippoorwill coo’d somewhere in the swaying evergreens. It made the silence poignant, earning itself a paragraph of its own.
Quinton swiped off his aviators as quick as he had opened his switchblade when Chico had blown his cover during the sting op of the Corazón gang. “Damn it, Roukas, the force wants you writing for Werewolf News again, but you’ve got to pull it together!”
Roukas shook his head sullenly, the shadow of a nearby tree halfway hiding his face in a mysterious duality. “Reminds me too much of ‘Nam.”
“Damn it, Roukas, you were never in ‘Nam. You’re thinking of the conflict and hardship that arose when you conned me into uploading that feature of yours that had less to do with actual werewolf news than it had to do with Mohammed and his cute sidekick Explodey the Bomb. Since then, I’ve been fighting off angry political bullshit as if I was Roberto Luongo back on Vancouver ice. And then there was the time you went to the secret library basement of Eton where you did research and exposed the fact that the true origin of vampires lies in the ancient Sumerian game of penisball. Vampires United Inc. hacked my site and did a Carrie prom-scene reenactment on it. Took me a week to make the interweb netcode something less than fubar. And then there was the time…”
Roukas raised a hand calmly like a true boss. “I get it. I understand.”
“Roukas, the fact is that sometimes in order to fight monsters, we have to become monsters ourselves. You’re good at that. Maybe too good. But in these mind-splittingly retarded times we live in, ‘too good’ is what we need. There’s a lot of stupid in the world, and it needs to be more than exposed – just like cockroaches or shady politicians. It needs to be mocked and degraded, slammed hard, verbal’d, PWN3D boss-style.” Quinton put his aviators on again – put them on slowly and casually, looking so much like a bad-ass grizzled veteran that this music started playing. “There comes a time when a man’s gotta’ stop running and face what he is. When a man’s gotta’ stand strong and not go afk like a little bitch for once. I offer you that chance.”
The wind swayed the branches overhead, and the shadow departed from Roukas’s brow. He faced the shore of the river and walked, emerging from the waters as if newly baptized. He felt reborn, cleansed, raised out of the horseshit of the world, hosed-down and clean of it all, purified, Videl Sassoon’d the hell up, and Old Spice’d to the max. “What’s the job?”
A good werewolf figurine should meet two basic requirements: it should be ferocious and bad-ass, and it should show the werewolf as misunderstood and conflictedly bad-ass, thus creating an infinitely looping synergy of bad-ass. This figure does not attain that synergy. It’s marketed as a werewolf, but the designers could have pulled a brilliant marketing tactic by labeling it exactly what it appears to be: Jihadist Seth Green, complete with vacant stare, scraggly beard, and Durkastanian scowl. This could be more frightening than werewolves and vampires combined. I figure that if I had to fight a werewolf, I’d at least stand a decent chance of slapping on a guillotine choke while being only half-mauled. And if I had to fight a vampire, well, let’s just say that I know my way around a little place called Castlevania, and I know that shouting “HYDRO-STORM!” is all the quasi-Catholicism I need to beat their pale asses. Weirdly enough, that works far better than screaming things like “The power of Christ compels thee!” That’s because “HYDRO-STORM!” is a reference to that part in the Bible where Jesus and the disciples unite their house-sized robotic cats to form Armored Zeitgeist Seraphim Leozord X before facing Satan in the final desert-level. Regardless, if I had to fight the Durkastan version of Seth Green, and if I wasn’t able to quickly hide behind Captain America’s shield or Michael Moore’s fatness, then I’ll say that I’d karmically learn why I shouldn’t have lobbed M80s at anthills when I was a kid.
Anyway, the reason why this figure sucks is because it’s simply not a werewolf. I determined this by employing the following esoteric lycanthropic knowledge: slapping a beard and pointy ears on a person makes them a werewolf just as much as slapping Fig Newton decals on your car makes you a NASCAR driver. You may have seen this sort of phenomenon happen to meatheads in the mall who buy TapOut and Affliction clothing and suddenly think they’re UFC fighters. Or maybe you’ve seen it happen to hipsters who think that uploading political commentary onto their Facebook pages is equivalent to blogging, and that blogging is an art form equivalent to the novel. Or maybe you’ve seen it happen in the example of upper middle class raver kids who rev their souped-up Volkswagens, roar out of the parking lot, and then fart down the slow lane on the interstate. Back in the day, TLC would describe these kinds of people as “scrubs.” Call me opinionated, but I don’t think werewolves were meant to be always talkin’ about what they want while sitting on their broke asses. Hell, we all have moments where we do that, but those aren’t the moments that should be taken and used to make unflattering action figures of ourselves. That’s why the makers of this figure should have instead showcased Seth Green in a more wolfed-out form. But in that case the figure would have zero Seth Green marketing appeal, and this point leads me to…
…this crazy shit. No, they couldn’t even give Jacob a bit of pointy ear-tippage or a grinning flash of Colgate-white canine teeth. Instead, this is just a little statue of Taylor Lautner, who plays Jacob the werewolf in the Twilight movies. What the hell does it matter if you make a werewolf figurine of a person who shows no signs of being a werewolf? At least the makers of the Oz figurine kinda-sorta lifted their little fingers to make him look kinda-sorta beastly. But selling this Jacob figurine is like Mattel selling an action figure of a businessman, but charging an arm and a leg because supposedly they’re actually selling Bruce Wayne without his Batman-suit on. All of this isn’t really false advertising as much as it is deceptive advertising. Because after all Jacob is a werewolf – it’s just that he’s packaged (hur hurr) in a way so that fangirls can take home an idol of masturbatory fantasy while telling their parents: “Oh, it’s just that werewolf character from the movie! Get with it, dad, lol!”
The problem is that by this logic, you and I are both purveyors of Twilightisms when we buy something from Abercrombie & Fitch or Hollister, then continue our walk through the mall while holding our purchases in those gigantic paper bags that showcase enormous photographs of shirtless young men giving Quagmire-grins to all who pass us by. Now some people are cool with that, but when it’s unavoidable to write about Jacob in this list, or when I have to walk around the mall feeling like a peddler of beefcake porn-in-a-bag, I tend to get a little antsy. Yes, I’ve tried to turn the bag inside out, but Abercrombie & Fitch has constructed their bags with self-destruct mechanisms that rip the paper if you try to do that. Yes, I’ve tried to con myself into thinking that Jacob is just Dirk Diggler 2.0 and thus something for werewolf aficionados to dismiss with a wave of the hand, but sadly this cannot be done.
Just like black-on-black crime has tainted rap music, Jacob’s douchy studliness has tainted werewolf fandom, and frankly we just have to live with that. This is the same moment of truth that moral Republicans faced when they pulled their heads out of their asses long enough to see that their leaders are corrupt oilmen, and the same moment of truth that moral Democrats faced when they pulled their heads out of their asses long enough to see that Obama was haxoring ur pronz for teh American securities lol. Thus the overwhelming presence of Jacob within the werewolf subculture, while being exposed as being monumentally retarded, is nevertheless dishonoring enough to warrant us drawing our katanas and slicing off our topknots in dishonor. And what else can we do as the iconic and enduring lycanthrope travels in time from its glorious Ming Dynasty into its Abercrombie Dynasty? So let us devote this one moment of silence to lament the beefcake corruption that has associated itself with us all.
Special guest review by Benny Moto, videogame ad icon of the early 2000’s! Get ready to go kicky fast!
With its owning of so many design problems, what would this figure deserve? Benny will rip a new ass in it! Put your seatbelt buckled as I rev up the high octane, you feel the freedom of the speed and the scent of burned rubber with my cologne. It’s time to go kicky fast okay?
But first there was a necessity for the figure’s backstory: it was morning, this calm and crusty morning, dry earth’s hopelessness. The terrorist organization SHOCKER (Sacred Hegemony Of Cycle Kindred Evolutional Realm) aimed hard to take over the world through terrorist activities, but never had ever they expected one of their own bio-cyber-humanioid animal-man test subjects escaped the facility to turn against them and fight for the justice. His name is Kamen Rider …no no no you silly American, not Power Rangers. Whats up homeboy, you can not tell apart a Power Ranger from Neo Gouken X: Schoolgirl Borderworld Defenders? Wake up and smell coffee, get with a program!
But anyway, take your look at Colonel Zol, a strong werewolf colonel enemy of Kamen Rider. I think he has inspiration for Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” song:
Whatcha know bout rockin the wolf on your nogin
Whatcha knowin about wearin a fur fox skin
The point is obvious: he fails at being the werewolf just as much as Elvis Presley failed at being truly sexually large when he put the thick rubber hose in his crotch pants before his concert. Do you know why he did that? Because to make it seem like he had a huge penis! This was a deception, just as Colonel Zol with a fail of werewolf-swag. What are you trying for us to believe, Zol? That you are a werewolf, or more like Cookie Monster’s rapist uncle? I am glad I drive my moped through Tokyo and not your Sesame Street, OH SNAP! OH SNAP CRACKLE POP! ONCE BENNY STARTS THE PARTY YOU CANT STOP THE BODY-ROCK!
By-the-way Zol, your moms frustrated she cannot find her blue tights, I know this as she lights up her cigarettes across from me like the suave “California dreamin’” hooker and asks where her leotard and tights could be. I tell her you stole them to terrorist the world. We laugh, you are only the knockoff version of Osama bin Laden. You penis is like the bud of a cherry blossom, you are a Unabomber with no bomb. You are Sodom Husaine without a WMD, “son,” your insane in the membrane and like Scarface without piles of cocaine. Benny makes it rain like Little Wayne and the girls throwing up their Hennessey in the air like they really don’t care. Isn’t that a “SHOCKER” to you? See how I learned American puns hard like Babe Ruth’s fist pounding down on the bar to order wine? How is it like to be troll-slammed free of a charge from Benny Moto? Blow me!
But I digress. Buy the Colonel Zol action figure if you need to prove your virginity to the Supreme Court. I know I sure don’t, but don’t take my words for it, ask my woman. Theres only one action figure in my house and it is Sakura. The stars allined in a portent on the internet when we met in the Sailor Moon chatroom (im a moderator). I tell her to be dressed as Sailor Moon by the time I roll my moped to the garage, revving and swinging down the kickstand like a smooth jazzman in the misty smoke and dusk. When I enter the foyer she is ready for me. Will we even make it to the bedroom? There is the mystery!
Aside from the producers of Japanese children’s programming, what kind of people would design an action figure of a werewolf in a leotard? American cartoon animators from the 1980s, of course. Now some of you may be unfamiliar with the alternate dimension of aesthetics and politics that constituted the 80s, so to make a long story short, you are equal parts culturally deprived and fortunate to have escaped an era where this sort of madness happened on a regular basis. Just like contemporary scholars don’t know exactly how Shakespeare’s plays panned out, or what exactly the traditional Greek dramatic chorus sounded like, people today are still trying to figure out just what the fuck happened during that singular decade that produced such awesome retardedness.
In the 80s, you could always feel better about yourself by watching Madonna whore herself out to anything that walked. You could be cool with only a minimal effort, and there was actually a point at which everyone was cool by default. Movies sucked less because there were less of them, and your neighborhood was your internet. It was a simpler time, but even if you could do a perfect ollie on your skateboard while wearing Blues Brothers sunglasses, you still wouldn’t be as cool as a werewolf in a Flash Gordon leotard. Don’t ask me how this magical era worked – I’m not Ronald Reagan, and I only have vague recollections of how he Master Splinter’d the living shit out of my now-out-of-shape American homeland. What I do know is that bad-asses like Fangster could only be born out of the 80s …and only the 80s could paradoxically make such a shitty action figure out of him.
Even today, There’s a strange disconnect between the quality of a fictional character and his or her action figure incarnation. In the case of Fangster, we’ve got 2 kool 4 school lycanthrope that somehow got action-figurized by Hurk-A-Durk Inc., who made him top-heavy and gave him the ability to count to potato. Nowadays, Mattel could have upped the production value to make Fangster like this or this while simultaneously preserving his distinctive vibe which asserts that Billie Jean was not his lover; she was just a girl who claimed he was the one (but the kid was not his son). However, this was just not meant to be. But chin up – I’d rather have Fangster standing sentinel on my post-it notes than any of the previously reviewed atrocities.
Mark Twain said that truth is stranger than fiction, but he never met Dick Satisfaction. Part Bruce Willis, part Austin Powers, part Patrick Swayze from Roadhouse, and part Deadpool, Dick Satisfaction is a pipe-smoking, crime-stopping lycanthrope from the future. He can even be hired via his own website.
The increasing craziness and diversity of comic book and videogame culture has been paving the way for Dick Satisfaction, but even that wasn’t enough. Many of us are nerdcore enough to look at the progression from the Mickey Mouse Show to Adult Swim and take it all in stride. But even though our aesthetics are evolved and more tolerant of all things batshit crazy, we still don’t even have the proper scale or vocabulary to analyze Dick Satisfaction. Watching this episode of his adventures made one half of my brain howl in the throes of hilarity. However, the other half grew confused like it did when I tried to discuss eschatology with Harold Camping’s automoton-followers on the streets of San Francisco while grown men in Hello Kitty underpants walked past and tried to hit on us.
In all honesty, Dick Satisfaction almost didn’t make the list because, unlike the other werewolf figures, he was designed to be stupid. But the reason he’s here is because he has the courage to plumb the depths of pop-culture stupidity with the audacity of Lieutenant Ripley taking the elevator down to the core of an evil alien hive to rescue a little lost girl. Just how courageous does a non-combatant woman have to be to single-handedly fight the queen of a legion of aliens that had just decimated an entire unit of space marines? Answer: Courageous enough to border on stupid. Just how stupid does Dick Satisfaction have to be just to keep being Dick Satisfaction? Answer: Stupid enough to border on courageous. Therefore Dick Satisfaction earns the #1 spot my list as the Georges St. Pierre of stupid werewolf action figures. And like St. Pierre, he will probably defend his title for 300 more years.