Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

Oh c’mon- like I’m really going to write about something other than Tron: Legacy this week!?

I’ve been waiting for this sequel since I was four. I was born ’79, the movie came out in ’82...Huh, guess I gave you guys some math on that one. Said too much. But anyway- yeah, what can I say? There’s a lesson here for all the Dark Crystal, Labyrinth and Black Hole fans out there…DON’T GIVE UP. It’s NEVER TOO LATE. Oh- and for God’s sakes, don’t settle for some bad, Sunday afternoon Xena/Hercules-type slocky television show? (That’s right- I’m looking at YOU Conan the Barbarian).

Now- is this movie going to be any good? Maybe. Maybe not. All I know is the sets, costumes and special effects look like a 1980’s Light-Bright on crack (anyone remember those? With the little pegs that light up?). I’m blown away at how much it LOOKS like Tron (1982). Only- you know- COOL. The reason I always kind of fretted that Tron would be lost in the annals of science-fiction obscurity had to do with its look. At the time Tron came out there was this certain IDEA, I think, about what the computer age was going to be/look like.

I am, of course, not referring to the big, glow-in-the-dark computer world that exists inside the Tron universe.

I mean the ideas ABOUT computers weren’t quite there, yet. Hell, there were movies where the computers were those big vending-machine-ticker-tape deals? You remember those? There was no Windows, no operating platforms that were household names. Just big, blocky, greenish things, with dark screens that you typed data into. So I guess, I kind of think Tron was a little ‘off’. It was taking a stab at what things were going to be like, but that ‘vision’ of the computer world didn’t quite pan out, I think?

But than, I guess, something happened.

Somebody, somewhere, started to decide that retro- especially science fiction retro- was cool. And that’s BIG these days, in case you haven’t noticed. I’m not quite sure how they pulled this off but somehow -somehow- it’s looking like this Tron: Legacy is going to sort of merge all the current ideas in video game, computer, and nerd-is-the-new-cool culture into that OLD vision of what Tron looked like. I’m not quite sure how they pulled this off and granted, I haven’t seen this film yet. But I’m already just like ‘Huh. They did it.’

Now, the Tron ‘revival’ has actually got a little bit of unappreciated history behind it.

Tron 2.0 was an under-rated, very cool video game earlier this decade that came and quietly moved out of the spotlight. And it was already playing around with this idea, the kind of Tron/Windows computers ‘merger’. After all in the original Tron there was no email, no computer virus. 2.0 started to play around with that was going to look like, Tron style. A fun twist on the ever-popular zombie-outbreak mania the kids are into these days, virus stricken, or ‘corrupt’, programs pour at you in Tron 2.0, leaving you with only your wits, identity disc and light cycle to defend yourself with.

Now let's not lose sight of what this article is about. Comics.

This is all just a roundabout way of giving a shout-out to Slave Labor Graphics six issue limited series, Tron: Ghost in the Machine. A follow-up to Tron 2.0 (and, I’m expecting, nothing to do with the movie), I really think this comic masterfully blends exactly what I’m talking about. Somehow it’s everything that you knew and loved back in 1982. But I think this series not only pulls the modern into the Tron vision, it starts to play around with some of the more surreal aspects of the franchise. I’m scared to write more because I suspect some of the ideas in these books might get touched upon in the film itself.

Here’s a freaky piece of something to mull over though. You can make backup copies on a computer. But if you entered the Tron world and someone saved a copy of you before you left would there be two of you, suddenly? Anyway. Good series and I think it’s actually collected in trade paperback by now. Will the movie deliver? I don’t know. But I’m just happy to be back here, you know?