The Graveyard

The Lair Of Gary James

Posts Tagged ‘tv tropes’

Important Numbers – 88

Posted by BigWords on August 12, 2011

This has come up a staggering number of times, so it is probably time to explain (in full) my take on significant numbers, because it seems that 88 is more than merely the infinity symbol doubled and placed on their side – it’s my personal arc number. It crops up in the oddest places, and when I’m least expecting it, and making note of the appearances makes the sightings more frequent. I’ve made mention of my fetish for the number four (and multiples thereof) numerous times, and the internet has made the appearances of the number more obvious to me.

This post has been delayed time and time again while I wrestled with the thorny subject of unsavory connections to the number, but I’m going to go ahead and completely ignore the little-minded bigots who have hijacked a perfectly good geek number. Any comments pointing out the omission, or attempting to bring the subject to the fore, will be deleted, and the individuals added to my list. Yes. I have a list.

I’m laying this out in the format of a TV Tropes page. No, I’m not going to apologize for that fact – if you’re dumb enough to spend the rest of the day on an archive binge, that’s entirely your fault…

Manga & Anime

The manga Area88 by Kaoru Shintani, which was then made into OAV’s, an anime series, and computer games.
The ‘Mausoleum of Eighty-Eight Emperors’ in Code Geass.
Kamikaze – Imprisoned for a thousand years, eighty-eight fabled beasts seek resurrection from their world so that they can unleash their wrath upon present-day Japan.

Comic Books

The Dick Tracy comic strip featured a character called 88 Keys, who was (quelle surprise) a piano player. He even hid a corpse in his piano at one point…
Marvel Comics’ supervillain Pandemic, who defeated Rogue’s X-Men squad and infected her with Strain 88, hoping to gain her powers.
The “Alternate 88” universe from Zenith, which is home to the supergroup Black Flag – Acid Android Archie, 93 Mantra, D.J.Chill, Domino and Smiley Sun.
A character named 88 turned up in Marvel Comics’ Nomad #23.


The classic, pop-culture soaked, modern pulp film The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai Across The Eighth Dimension has the number 88 showing up regularly. The band even sings Rocket 88 (see below) during a performance.
In the Back To The Future trilogy, the Doc’s tricked-out DeLorean is required to reach 88mph in order to travel through time.
The Dick Tracy feature film gave some screen time to the aforementioned 88 Keys (played by Mandy Patinkin).
In Kill Bill O-Ren Ishii’s army of katana-wielding, Kato-masked heavies is known as the Crazy 88.
88 is also the name of a gang in the remake of Gridiron Gang starring The Rock. Watch Kill Bill instead…
Assassin droid IG-88 from the The Empire Strikes Back, who also appears in an episode of the animated Droids TV series.
88 Keys To Heartbreak.
88 Minutes – a film (ironically, 108 minutes long) which feels much, much longer than eighty-eight minutes…

Live Action Television

Dialogue from the My Name Is Earl episode The Professor

Randy: Says we need a password. I’ll try carrot.
Earl: Why carrot?
Randy: Who would think of carrot?
Earl: You did.
Randy: You’re right. I’ll try carrot 88… no 89. Dammit! I can only think of things I can think of.


The number eight (and multiples thereof) are scattered throughout Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels. Roundworld, for example, has 88 constellations, while 88% is the passing grade score in a test Ponder Stibbons took. Additionally, an eighth son of an eighth son becomes a wizard, while a wizard’s eighth son (the eighth son of an eighth son of an eighth son) becomes a Sourcerer, a very powerful wizard.
There is a novel called The House on East 88th Street by Bernard Waber.
88: The Narrow Road by Felix Dennis (a get rich quick title)


Rocket 88 by Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats, which is considered to be the first rock ‘n’ roll song.

The 1949 instrumental track Rocket 88 Boogie by Pete Johnson.
In addition to the song, there is also a band named Rocket 88, who play rock and roll standards.
Record producer and rapper 88-Keys.
Sonic Vs. Taste T, and Public Relation have both recorded songs called Eighty-Eight, while Tapesh recorded one called Bring Back 88.
The 88.
The number crops up in a lot of musical references thanks to the number of keys on a piano…
Dizzee Rascal’s video for Bonkers features a clock which reads 88:88.


In Chinese culture 8 is very important.

Western Animation

The short-lived Back To The Future animated spin-off (see above).
Various Dick Tracy animated series over the years, with 88 Keys playing a greater or lesser role depending on the tastes of the writers.
Number 88 in American Dragon Jake Long. All the students are called by their numbers in the Huntsclan training Academy, but 88 is referred to by his number even when he is not in the academy.
Experiment 88, Decrisper, in Leroy & Stitch. He’s a yellow, kangaroo-like experiment designed to make Jumba’s burnt food less crispy.

Computer Games

Aside from IG-88, who appeared in the original film trilogy, there is a droid named 8T88 in Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II.
World of Warcraft guild “The Crazy Eighty Eight of Exodar”.

Web Original

In Arctos Comics‘ universe, The Royal Guard is made up of eighty-eight of the best of all the tir’a warriors.
Panel88, a comic-book company.

Real Life

There are 88 keys on the modern piano (thirty-six black and fifty-two white), and a piano is sometimes referred to as “eighty eight”.
General Motors’ Oldsmobile V8 is commonly known as the Rocket 88
Quavers. Eighty-eight calories of pure genius.
There are 88 constellations in the sky, as defined by the International Astronomical Union.
The traditional bingo call for the number 88 is two fat ladies (not to be confused with the television show)
88 means “bye bye” in Chinese-language chat, text, SMS and IM conversations. “88” is pronounced in Chinese (Mandarin) as “bā bā”, which mimics the English “bye bye”.
Similarly, 88 is used by ham radio operators meaning “hugs and kisses”.
Such is the lure of the number, there is actually a town called Eighty Eight in Kentucky.
The Prayer of Repentance by Reverently Prostrating to Eighty-Eight Buddhas.
Stephen F. Smalley is painting 88 portraits of Henry VIII for an exhibition.
The 88open Consortium was an industry standards group created in 1988 by Motorola to standardize Unix systems on Motorola 88000 RISC processor systems.
’88-level’ is a named condition in the COBOL programming language.
Dale Earnhart Jr’s NASCAR car number
The QBU-88 rifle (often called the ‘Type 88’ rifle) is a Chinese semi-automatic rifle which has appeared in numerous computer games including Battlefield 2, Battlefield: Bad Company, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Battlefield 2: Modern Combat, Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter, Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days, and Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising.
The eighty-eight facet diamond – and it is an eight sided diamond, no less.
The de Havilland DH.88 Comet – a twin-engined British aircraft. ‘Grosvenor House’ was the name of the model which won the 1934 MacRobertson Air Race (for which the plane was initially designed), setting numerous aviation records. The DH.88 became one of the pioneers of airmail.
The 88-Inch Cyclotron which is a K=140 sector-focused cyclotron with both light- and heavy-ion capabilities. Protons and other light-ions are available at high intensities (10-20 pµA) up to maximum energies of 55 MeV (protons), 65 MeV (deuterons), 170 MeV (3He) and 140 MeV (4He). Most heavy ions through uranium can be accelerated to maximum energies which vary with the mass and charge state. I’m sure they are being responsible though
Taco Bell’s television commercials, radio spots and print ads featuring franchisees and employees extolling its taco filling. In one of the ads, an employee says, “Our seasoned beef is 88% premium ground beef and 12% signature recipe. If you want to see that signature recipe, go to It’s right there.”
The 88 is an ongoing project that will consist of 88 different works with a common background and each piece measuring 8″x 8″. “It is one work that will be made in 88 pieces which will be sold for $88 each. The intention is to bring the pieces together at the end of the project and party like it’s 1988 but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. Why 88? I do what the voices in my head tell me to do. This gallery will feature the pieces from this series, check back and see how it all works out…”
The 88 Drive-in Theatre in Colorado
The 88 Butterfly (Diaethria species)
The 88 Plan, which is designed to assist NFL players under the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan and who are determined to have dementia.

Additions to the list are welcomed. 🙂

Posted in comics, Misc., Over The Line | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Some Thoughts Not Directly Related To The Sparticle Mystery

Posted by BigWords on February 23, 2011

As BBC News poses the question of what a world without adults would be like (in anticipation of the CBBC series The Sparticle Mystery), I find myself wondering if such a premise hasn’t been tackled in enough forms to give an educated guess. It would be easy – and overly simplistic – to sneer that Hobbes was right (or, inversely, that Rousseau had a point) as the argument would hinge on the overall number of survivors and their alignments, which ignores individual choices and actions. So far, and without bothering to search for the material I haven’t yet encountered, there has been at least a dozen attempts to show how children would behave if adult supervision was removed. The most controversial may be Big Brother-esque Boys And Girls Alone, but of more interest is the classic novel Lord Of The Flies

With the necessary removal of the adults taken care of, Lord Of The Flies sets out to show how cliques and antagonisms can arise amongst a group of British schoolchildren (all, tellingly, male), which quickly descends into anarchy and murder. That schools across the world are now installing metal detectors at entrances is enough for anyone to see that such behavior is not merely in the realms of fiction, but is a danger which is taken very seriously by authorities. It should also be noted that the subsequent attempts to outline such an eventuality have managed, by and large, to steer as far from the darker elements as much as possible. William Golding knew better than to expect civilization to remain when all traces of civilization had ceased to be…

The specifics of the novel have been chewed over by so many people before, and in some cases very, very well, that there is little point in reiterating the plot or the themes, so I will leave this introduction to the book by Mr. Goldman lingering in your mind as I move on to an altogether less refined example of the sub-genre.


You may have heard of ACTION!, the late-seventies IPC/Fleetway comic which caused so much trouble that questions about its’ influence were raised in parliament (the resulting fuss leading to its’ cancellation), though the historical impact of those early issues were much wider than merely upsetting the same people who would go on to blame Child’s Play 3 and Grand Theft Auto for all the world’s ills. There were some fairly typical entries amongst the early strips – Dredger was a Dirty Harry clone, while Hook Jaw was… Well, Hook Jaw was Jaws ramped up to 11, and even had a couple of color pages every few issues. Appearing in the September 11th, 1976 issue (#32), with the unassuming title “Kids Rule O.K.!” (typical of the humor), we had our first look at how a comic-book would handle the situation…

The first appearance:

You can read the rest of the strip here.

For a weekly comic, there was little restraint in the depiction of the violence which would be unleashed if adults disappeared for whatever reason. Interestingly, the strip forgoes the usual hypothesizing and reels off a bunch of possible answer before moving on to the real reason of the strip’s existence – the uncontrolled anarchy. Setting the action in the far future of 1986 was a marvelous joke which was lost on most readers – with everyone over 16 in the strip dying dramatically, the kids who were reading it as it appeared on the shelves of their local newsagent would have been over sixteen by that point. Such subtlety was not evident elsewhere in the strip, and the excessive violence would eventually be the downfall of the comic itself.

The comic was, of course, pulled before the characters’ adventures had been resolved, and any lingering hope at learning the fates of the gangs was utterly vanquished when the title merged with Battle. Two entirely different scenarios, and one common theme prevails – children, left to their own devices, will end up killing, maiming and destroying property. And probably stealing sweets from shops as well… I haven’t even mentioned The Tribe yet.

The Tribe (not the series with Anna Friel) is basically Mad Max with children, as seen through the aesthetic values of Baz Luhrmann. It really is one of the most ridiculous television shows ever made, and has all the hallmarks of truly cult viewing. If it is remarkable for its’ gaudy visuals, it is truly groundbreaking in its’ tenacity. With seasons running to 52 episodes apiece, it is one of the longest sustained examples of the trope, though whether you think this is a good thing or not depends entirely upon your tolerance of child actors, warpaint as an everyday accessory, awful FX and dialogue so cheesy even George Hamilton would balk at delivering some of the lines.

Saying that Sparticle Mystery doesn’t inspire confidence is probably misleading, as the basic concept isn’t a bad one. The lack of bold programming for children is slowly being remedied – returning Doctor Who to television was the start of a trend which should see The Tripods recommissioned any day now… Any day… Hey, TV peeps, why the hell am I still waiting on season 3? C’mon already. Um. Yeah. I was talking about the Sparticle thingy, wasn’t I? Aside from the dumb name, I’m gonna make sure to record this, so a proper review, or mockery of, or dismissal (or whatever) is probably going to blight my blog at some point. I really would rather be watching the third series of The Tripods though…

There are more classic British strips at The Full Strip, which (especially for those outside of the UK) should be a great education in just how far the British market had come from the days of Miller’s Fawcett and Boardman’s Quality reprints.

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Batman & Willpower = Green Lantern Batman?

Posted by BigWords on February 7, 2010

I’ve gotten bored waiting on the Comic World News forum sending me posting privileges, so I’ll post my response to Kurt Busiek’s answer to The Hooded Utilitarian’s question of why Batman (with all the willpower and intellect he displays) hasn’t been tapped by the Corps for a Green Lantern gig. The various answers about why he hasn’t received the ring are all valid, though there is perhaps a little too much “outside looking in” going on, with people justifying the non-ring status by way of saying that the books work better with Green Lantern (who is always Hal Jordan to me, no matter who else wears the ring) wielding the alien tech while Bats skulks around in alleyways and rooftops. True. But also true is the fact that the ring, when looking for a suitable replacement, would have the smarts to avoid those who would spur its’ offer.

I’ll play ‘What If…’ for a moment (even though the House Of Ideas lays claim to that particular title) and say that Batman is up against a foe who not only outguns him, but potentially outsmarts him: He’s on the rooftop, doing whatever he does between breaking the teeth of goons and mooks… Eating a sandwich perhaps, or checking Wonder Woman’s Twitter updates even. Then he hears the sound of a bank’s alarm ringing through the night, the wail of police sirens rushing to the scene, and faint screams in the distance. This is when he gets to do his stuff, rushing to the scene. But what if it isn’t just The Penguin, or some other rogue from his assembled list of walking, talking punching bags? Lets say there is a maniacal genius who has closed each end of the road with tanks. And there are a bunch of ex-military types brandishing FBG’s.

This is the point where Nightwing, or Green Arrow, or The Question, or any number of similarly non-powered characters would decide that making a call to the JLA for some serious back-up would be a good idea – 1-800-SAVEMYASS please. Not “Bats”, because he likes to like up to that nickname. He would see it as a challenge. He’s played the archetypal Badass Normal for so long that even thinking of wimping out would be completely unacceptable. Now, as he’s checking out the enemy he’ll probably spot the one critical weakness in the plan (because that is what he does), and he might let the merest trace of a grin flicker over his features for a second. But only ever in the shadows, because ‘Batman’ doesn’t smile.

Right at this moment, if it were in a P.J. Farmer novel, we would be gifted to a nice little description of a stretching of his underpants, nudging his utility belt into his stomach. Point being – Batman gets off on beating the shit out of his enemies without resorting to anything more than his brains and his fists. It is the defining aspect of the dark knight detective. And even if he did get tapped by the ring to bear the mantle of an intergalactic police force, he wouldn’t go flying off to some other planet to save little six-armed purple aliens, or talking horses, or… y’know, whatever…  when there are still pimps and drug dealers on the streets of Gotham waiting to get seven shades of shit kicked out of them. He would refuse the call to arms. C’mon, honestly – can you imagine him reciting the “In brightest day” schtick without dying a little inside.

So the ring wouldn’t approach him because he would refuse it.

And if it did reach him, he would refuse it anyway.

And if he really, really wanted a green ring (ignoring the current BN storyline) he would only have to ask GL for a loan of the damn thing. No, scratch that. He would have a plan in place whereby he would get it, even if he had to do pull some really nasty and amoral moves to get his hands on the ring, because he has plans for everything. That is who Batman is. He exists for the dank, horrible side streets of a city where you’re as likely to get gassed by the Joker, or eaten by Killer Croc, as you are to make it through the rush hour traffic in time for work. He is part of the city in ways that other heroes just… aren’t. Beyond the connection to Lois, Superman could be based anywhere on the planet. Same with Wonder Woman. Batman’s family is part of Gotham history, tying his existence as Batman to the place.

Those are the reasons why Batman wouldn’t become a Green Lantern in regular continuity.


You’re still thinking of Batman’s boner though, right? All my points, laid out in logical fashion, and the Bat-stiffy is all that sunk in?

Posted in comics, Over The Line | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

It’s Just A Question Of Self-Restraint…

Posted by BigWords on October 22, 2009

As NaNo lasts an entire month, I figure that I’ll have to drastically alter my internet habits. The forum activities will be hard to give up, but if I stick to two or three rather than my usual round of three-to-four hour surfing then I’ll be able to give more attention to my writing. The NaNo forum is going to be one of my main haunts, but I can’t give up AW for any novel. Hell, I’ll probably need some of the advice therein to get my story fixed up nice ‘n’ presentable.

Film and game forums will be banned from my computer for the foreseeable future though, as those are distractions, and I probably shouldn’t be browsing 4chan in the first place… TV Tropes might have to be given a miss as well, despite being one of the most useful Wiki’s on the net – yes, it is much better than the one you’ve all heard of. The one which pops up at the top of every single fucking Google search. I have spent longer on TV Tropes than Wikipedia these last few months, and not a single minute has been wasted time.

Can I stay away from ‘Quote Of The Day’ sites? Hmmm. Might need to ponder that. I certainly won’t be bothering with online dictionaries or thesauruses, seeing as how the NaNo WIP will be posted here anyway. I do so love the spellcheck WordPress has, even if it isn’t filled with as many obscure and wonderful words as I would like. There will be no reason to mess around on music sites because I have enough CDs to listen to different songs all the way through November, and I’m not going to need any browser games.

Am I missing anything?

Oh yeah… Torrents. Downloadable goodness. I might as well fill up some of the space on my hard drive while I’m busy writing, and the entertainments which will be ready for me at the end of the month can count as my little reward to myself for keeping focused. The idea of staying in for a month is beginning to appeal to me, especially when I take into account the money I will save by not going out. I might even end the month with some money to spare – not likely, but I can dream, can’t I?

It’s lucky that I don’t have any ongoing subscriptions to sites, so I’m not gonna lose money by not visiting anything, and there’s nothing I particularly need to subscribe to anyway. My book blog (not abandoned, simply neglected) won’t be getting any attention during the writing frenzy, but neither will my Triond account – which I still haven’t written anything for due to all my running around these last few months. I guess I ought to check in on my mail every day, even if only to delete the spam…

This NaNo thing is a really good idea for people who spend too much time online.

Seriously, I can really imagine it being suggested to people who have big problems with constant web activity, and it’s benefits aren’t limited to keeping people off chatrooms and forums. There are lots of therapeutic reasons why writing for a month can be beneficial. All hail The Office Of Letters And Light, saviors of the human race. If it wasn’t for an enforced break from my usual routine I would have the urge to see what is going on around the internet…

I won’t be buying DVDs, games or books. There are some magazines I might pick up, because life without at least a few little luxuries would be intolerable. That is a lot of free time I’ll be making for myself. Other blogs are a big temptation, and I’ll do my best to steer clear of the more engrossing ones, otherwise I’ll end up spending the better part of a day engrossed in someone else’s life. Which, interesting as that may be, isn’t gonna be the most productive use of my time.

The biggest difference the lack of downtime will bring is in my ability to find weird stuff, which I seem to have a knack for. So that means I won’t be bringing you stuff like, uh… Well, this:

Disneyland Memorial OrgyMy words will have to be compelling enough on their own…

I’m getting rather nervous about this idea now.

Posted in Over The Line, writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »