Steph's Condensed Brain Farts

Apr 13

[video]

Apr 11

High-Jump Stripper Boots! -

huntingformetroids:

stephlaberis:

So, there’s been a stink kicked up over the new design of Samus’s power boots.

image



Responses in favor of this design have ranged from “OMG HOT!” to “Why does anyone even care?” Well, I care. A lot. As a character designer who pays rent designing, well, characters and a…

I like this analysis.

I always thought it was like: Metroid 1: Look she’s a girl let me make that obvious with these graphics

Metroid 2: see above we don’t even have color this time but she’s tough

Super Metroid: This is where I like her the best. It’s still a little bit of fanservice, yes, but look at her. From what I can tell, she’s got a lot of muscles. She stands powerful. Her outfit looks like what someone might work out in. I felt like that was a statement like: “The suit is my regular clothing,” It was also like “Hey, not every good-looking blonde is a ditz, they can kick ass too.” I liked that. I liked her in the player’s guide. Still not quite a realistic representation, but she’s effectively peak human condition with enhanced DNA.

Fusion: Apparently she’s an anime character here? IDK it had good writing and character development and the fusion suit was kickass so

Zero Mission: Here’s where we see the modern design showing up. With the exception of the third image on the top I’d say she still comes off as a really good-looking badass. She’s still pretty muscular. I’d also like to point out that in the concept art they noted not to make her boots have any heel height. The full body suit made a ton of sense to me because I figured wearing the suit with a two-piece and exposed legs seemed inefficient and potentially painful and/or dangerous. A skin tight suit to protect herself from heating up too much in the suit, electical burns from malfunctions, chafing and scraping from the various metal joints… and having in skin-tight prevented it from getting caught. So I felt that hey Samus wears practical things.

Loved her in the prime games. Especially in the very few cutscenes in Prime 2 and 3. Her walk, her stance just exuded confidence and power. She just felt like a powerful woman, and I thought that was really true to her original design. Jennifer Hale made her sound tough (even if it was just grunts and pain), which really added to it.

And I imagine if you’re reading this far you’ve seen both smash bros and Other M images. 

Other M made her shorter, less muscular, and she generally had less agency throughout the game (contrast to everything prior, manga and fusion included). Bleh. Her voice was extremely passive and reflective. She was less sexy than most other incarnations, but she felt weak compared to her powerful and intimidating prior incarnations.

Her voice in Brawl just sounded way more sensual, less rough and tough no nonsense hunter I had perceived her to be. She was less muscular and had larger breasts (for some reason? I didn’t see the reason), and I feel that was much more fanservice-y than other games.

And now we have the newest smash. I don’t like it for the majority of reasons listed, especially the high heels. This analysis is a pretty good representation of how I feel about it. 

I’d also like to note:  There’s nothing wrong with being badass and sexy at the same time. Wearing makeup and having long hair makes a lot of sense for her character (breaking away from military regulations, finding ways to express her womanhood and creativity when she must feel like a weapon or a tool to people a lot of the time). She was never a realistically proportioned character to begin with (Bird DNA - woo), but now its just become more fanservice-y than “peak human condition badass.” Those are just my feelings, nothing really hard data or anything.

This probably won’t be the last I say on this either.

Thank you for adding a visual chronology to the discussion. We’re not just making stuff up or being “overly sensitive”. Samus has become a backwards Lara Croft; Lara went from two-dimensional titty protagonist to being well on her way to multi-faceted badass. Samus, unfortunately, has gone in the other direction. 

High-Jump Stripper Boots! -

sparkylurkdragon:

neillooseeye:

stephlaberis:

So, there’s been a stink kicked up over the new design of Samus’s power boots.

image



Responses in favor of this design have ranged from “OMG HOT!” to “Why does anyone even care?” Well, I care. A lot. As a character designer who pays rent designing, well, characters and a…

This entire post acts like this is samus, which it isnt. It is actually ZERO SUIT SAMUS, which is NOT from metroid, but from SUPER SMASH BROTHERS. Samus has not evolved into anything. The most recent metroid game is other m, where you do not play as zero suit samus, you play as FULL ON, FULLY ARMORED, SAMUS. Samus and zero suit samus are completely different. Samus is the real character to represent the metroid franchise in the super smash bros series, zero suit samus is meant entirely for sex appeal, and nothing else. It doesnt need to prove itself with backstory because thats not its goal, thats samus’s goal, not Zero suit samus’s. I would be angry too if they developed her character into this, but they clearly have not, and wont be doing it anytime soon. You said that they have devolved the character, which isnt true, all the recent games have only added to the lore of the universe (especially fusion and prime games), except for other m, which i pretend doesn’t exist.

…wut

Friend, I am deeply sorry, but I don’t know how else to put this: you are so incorrect it is hard to tell where to start.

1.) Do you know why it’s called the Zero Suit out of universe? BECAUSE IT FIRST APPEARED IN METROID: ZERO MISSION. And that’s where it’s at its best, to be honest. The boots were specifically designed to not have too high a heel, it makes sense she’d wear a skintight something or other under the Power Suit, and it’s used to build some delicious tension that bursts into a fiery wall of power and glory when Samus finally gets the Power Suit back and better than ever.

It’s still crappy that it was used for a gratuitous buttshot, but Zero Mission is the Zero Suit’s original context and the best place for it.

2.) You do indeed play in the Zero Suit in Other M. It’s in the postcredits endgame escape sequence.

3.) More importantly, even if you only play in it for a few minutes, the Zero Suit figures really fucking prominently in the Other M narrative and is directly and indirectly a large part of the problem many fans had with the game, with the whole ridiculous ‘the Power Suit is maintained by concentration’ thing that lead to That Ridley Scene and That Adam Scene.

4.) Saying Samus in her Zero Suit isn’t Samus is kind of a lot like saying Link in the Zora Tunic isn’t Link because he’s not wearing the green garb of the Hero and that’s very, very silly. The Power Suit is integral to Samus as a power fantasy and as a character (it’s even a pretty big part of her self-image - in the Fusion intro she says ‘my physical appearance was radically altered’, not ‘the suit’s physical appearance), but, come on. A change of clothes doesn’t make her not Samus. Really now.

I mean, I joke that this is clearly an SA-X, but… Nintendo ain’t joking. This is how they want to portray Samus now. Which leads us to:

5.) I like to pretend Other M didn’t happen, too, believe me, but the thing is? Nintendo doesn’t. This whole thing points to them not learning a damn thing from the backlash Other M caused. They are developing her character in some really nasty ways that fly in the face of everything she stood for before Other M, almost as if OM was a reboot and this is what Samus is all about now. It really is a little thing, but it’s one little thing after another, after another, and this after four years of radio silence on the Metroid front following Other M.

And that’s worth getting worked up about, I think.

^^^ Preach!

Apr 10

High-Jump Stripper Boots!

So, there’s been a stink kicked up over the new design of Samus’s power boots. 

image



Responses in favor of this design have ranged from “OMG HOT!” to “Why does anyone even care?” Well, I care. A lot. As a character designer who pays rent designing, well, characters and a longtime fan of the Metroid series, this has an impact on me and here is why.

First off, I think they’re a ridiculously non-functional design, the next layer of “bikini armor” to her overall design. But oh! Clearly you are just being bitter, don’t I know that these are ROCKET BOOTS that HELP HER KICK ASS?

Show me where, in the current design, you see that they are rocket boots that help her kick ass. Is that you’re first impression with this design? I’m not saying they don’t have that function in-game. I’m saying that the first thing I take away from this 6 inch heel design is that they look like the stripper boots I see in the windows of sex shops and in no way serve her for jumping, running across the ruined wastelands of alien worlds. 

Here are two image searches.

Women’s hiking boots:

image

Stripper Boots: 

image


Of course, I am using two extremes here, but ask yourself, which one looks more like the design she’s sporting and which one would serve a bounty hunter better? I don’t know about you but the second row, 4th image of the stripper boot search is a pretty similar silhouette, eh?

Does she need to be saving the universe in a pair of Crocs and a bathrobe? Nah. Is she going to keep her balance and agility in those ankle-breakers? Nope. Do I believe the current design panders to the lowest common denominator? Yup.

Remember, Samus is not here by accident. Everything she is, does, wears and thinks comes from the imaginations of designers, writers, animators, marketers… thousands of hours of research are put into her costume design. That design is calculated with specific goals and audiences in mind, how could it not be, she is a major branded character for a huge company. As a freshly-minted 34 year old old woman, I am no longer Metroid’s target demo, but that doesn’t make me happy with where Samus has been evolving.

Back on topic. So her heels aren’t suited for the type of work an intergalactic bounty hunter does, you say. So what? If SAMUS can save the universe in 6-inch heels, it MAKES HER EVEN MORE BADASS, right?

No. And that’s just a lazy excuse for a lazy design. If you’re going to place physical restraints and challenges on your hero/heroine, don’t be lazy and do it for the sake of sex appeal, work it into the story or give it context. Such as…

image

A much better example of being badass despite the odds would be in Fusion when Samus was on the brink of death and compromised throughout most of the game - the level of desperation and panic of being chased by your evil clone was intensified, at least for me, by that extra level of vulnerability. Terminal illness doesn’t get teenage boys hard though (at least, not the ones I’ve ever known…!) so great plot devices like that get thrown away. 

"But you’re being mean! Being sexy isn’t bad! Why do you hate being sexy?!"

Sexy is not bad. Stripping is not bad. Wearing sexy boots is not bad. You know what is bad? Pandering is. Being a lazy designer at the cost of catching a wider audience is. A bounty hunter who runs over rugged terrain does not need stripper boots, she needs something with treads and function that can *gasp* still be sexy. I can picture a hybrid boot design that is feminine but rugged, functional but badass. You know what conveys things like “boosters” and “power” and “high jump”? Springs, coils, energy cells, treads, jets… you don’t have to be literal but you also might want to show, not tell, what a prop does.

image


And now the elephant in the room. "But you get to see Samus in a bikini at the end of like every game! She’s ALWAYS been a sex object! How can you like the other games but hate this design?!"

I’ve know that there’s always been fanservice in the Metroid series, and fanservice doesn’t always rub me the wrong way. It serves as a little reward for beating the game in record time or having found more hidden power-ups before beating it. But that’s what it is, a reward. It isn’t baked into the functional, playable design of Samus, at least, it hasn’t been until the catsuit (which I think makes perfect sense for her to be wearing under her Varia suit, but let’s be fair, wearing the blue catsuit is way she is portrayed the vast majority of the time in promotional material) and now, the stripper boots showed up. Hence why I think this current design is crap. 

I am not calling for Samus to be devoid of being a sexual being. She is not an asexual character by any means. It’s just when I see such an obvious design choice of boner-over-function that I get nettled.

Also, understand this. I came from a generation where there were not very many playable female protagonists in video games. Hell, up until I discovered Samus was a girl like me, I only had this to work with:

image



image 

Though honestly, 6-year old Steph was happy with Toadstool in Mario 2. She had a pretty sweet floaty jump. "AHA! But she did everything in heels too, and you’re ok with her? HYPOCRITE!" Well, maybe? Mario 2 was a level of fantasy and stylization a few notches above Metroid, so I guess I gave it a pass. I suppose too that since Toadstool went from a role of damsel in distress to playable protagonist in Mario 2 that she was at least headed in a more positive direction. It’s still better than her using crying as a weapon in the other Princess Peach game.  

Poor design choices and selling out aside, I’ve just been sad in general to see how Samus has devolved over the decades. For me, Samus was the silent protagonist, a relatable heroine because only so much of her was defined and the rest left to your own projection. That was me in that Varia Suit. In Metroid, Metroid II, Super Metroid, Metroid Fusion, hell even in Metroid Prime we learned more about her history and developed her character but there was still enough left to the imagination that I could still relate, invest and enjoy her and her plight.

Remember this wonderful comic?

image

Even though artists were getting more specific with her human design, that was still a relatable heroine for me. In no way is this a sexless, woman-posing-as-a-man depiction of Samus, that’s a woman out to kick ass without balloon tits or spike heels. They even made her hair purple, a color not ocurring in nature, which doesn’t alienate as much as a natural color might.

As time went on we saw more of her outside of her suit, but she still felt relatable for me, right up until she developed the angsty backstory with Adam and became the blonde-haired, D-cup heroine she is today. It’s just too obvious and too transparent. This is not my Samus. 

Of course a company needs to stay current and evolve as its target demo changes. I’ve designed characters for video games and toys for brands that have been around for decades, so I do, I get that. It doesn’t make me feel better about where Samus is headed and really makes me sad to see her go.

On a final note, I find it ironic that the current design of her booster boots serves neither purpose of stripper or bounty hunter. I want to see some gifs of Samus breaking her ankle while trying to lock on to a space pirate and gifs of her swinging on a pole at a strip club with one of the boots activating and launching her around the pole at breakneck speed. ;)

Apr 08

(Source: therealmartymouse)

Apr 07

npr:

Illustration by Steph Laberis.
Boat restrictions are ramping up in Florida to protect "the state’s favorite sea mammal." Warm weather means more boat traffic, which is a potential hazard for the approximately 5,000 manatees starting to migrate to open waters from their hibernation spots in warmer, inland waters. 
Eight hundred and thirty manatees died in Florida last year, according to the state and the Save the Manatee Club. That’s the highest number of manatee deaths recorded since the state started keeping records. Boat-collision injuries caused 72 of those deaths. 
As the seasonal laws go into effect, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers are out to enforce the restrictions that run until the middle of November. 
"We like to call them manatee protection zones, not speed zones," commission Capt. Gary Klein told The Tampa Tribune. ”They are moving through or starting to occupy those areas for the summer.”
— Lauren (via Keith Morelli/The Tampa Tribune)

Whoah, hey thar NPR! 

npr:

Illustration by Steph Laberis.

Boat restrictions are ramping up in Florida to protect "the state’s favorite sea mammal." Warm weather means more boat traffic, which is a potential hazard for the approximately 5,000 manatees starting to migrate to open waters from their hibernation spots in warmer, inland waters. 

Eight hundred and thirty manatees died in Florida last year, according to the state and the Save the Manatee Club. That’s the highest number of manatee deaths recorded since the state started keeping records. Boat-collision injuries caused 72 of those deaths

As the seasonal laws go into effect, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers are out to enforce the restrictions that run until the middle of November. 

"We like to call them manatee protection zones, not speed zones," commission Capt. Gary Klein told The Tampa Tribune. ”They are moving through or starting to occupy those areas for the summer.”

— Lauren (via Keith Morelli/The Tampa Tribune)

Whoah, hey thar NPR! 

Apr 03

[video]

Apr 01

hayoubi:

I want to make more mini comics!

All the Sailor Moon hype going on right now had me thinking about the good ol’ days discovering anime with my little sister.

hayoubi:

I want to make more mini comics!

All the Sailor Moon hype going on right now had me thinking about the good ol’ days discovering anime with my little sister.

aronjshay:

This is for the wonderful Steph Laberis, who has always been so amazing to me (and my hamster Betty!). I drew it yesterday for her birfday!
When Betty was sick, Steph offered assistance, and also told me to give Betty Pedialyte/Water to rehydrate her. It helped save Betty when she was so very ill, and I am most certain that Steph is nothing short of a hero to the little ones <3
She’s kind, sweet, and helpful to no end. She gave me her 
old sewing machine which was such a wonderful gift! I love to sew and now I can make all sorts of awesome things!
Steph, you are the amazing, and the happiest of birfdays to you!



Omigosh Aron, I was so elated when I saw this drawing! Thank you so much. I adore you, your art and your dedication to your beady-eyed baby. I am so happy I could help the both of you and I know Betty has many more days of being Spider-ham ahead of her now.

aronjshay:

This is for the wonderful Steph Laberis, who has always been so amazing to me (and my hamster Betty!). I drew it yesterday for her birfday!

When Betty was sick, Steph offered assistance, and also told me to give Betty Pedialyte/Water to rehydrate her. It helped save Betty when she was so very ill, and I am most certain that Steph is nothing short of a hero to the little ones <3

She’s kind, sweet, and helpful to no end. She gave me her old sewing machine which was such a wonderful gift! I love to sew and now I can make all sorts of awesome things!

Steph, you are the amazing, and the happiest of birfdays to you!

Omigosh Aron, I was so elated when I saw this drawing! Thank you so much. I adore you, your art and your dedication to your beady-eyed baby. I am so happy I could help the both of you and I know Betty has many more days of being Spider-ham ahead of her now.

[video]