Pirates of Dark Water is available on DVD!
It's a made-to-order 4-DVD set with episodes 1-21, released by WBShop (Warner Bros's online store). Currently available only in the US.
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Happy spring, Northern Hemisphere citizens! Time to share a couple of recent PoDW Twitter finds:
For those of you familiar with the Sega Genesis PoDW game, somebody put together a great clip of himself performing the Sega game’s Janda Town theme music. The layering of the different sounds and lines is really great and spot-on. Check it out!
Also, Ian has set up a RedBubble site with apparel with the PoDW logo on it! The only thing: he’s using a version of the video game logo that may be a little blurry/artifacted when it’s enlarged. But it still looks great, and RedBubble provides some pretty cool options: varieties of shirt types, colors, and sizes, to fit your taste. At SF conventions I attended in the past, I always made it a point to wear a PoDW shirt and/or bring the up in panel discussions, to get it back on people’s radar one way or another. The more people who do stuff like that, the better the odds are that eventually enough people interested in a reboot of the show will get noticed. So…you never know. :)
And if I haven’t linked to this yet, Nate has done in a few months what I haven’t gotten around to in many years, and ripped a few video clips of the Dark Water miniseries–specifically, 2 clips with Roddy McDowall voicing Niddler (something I know a lot of you have been really curious about), as well as the miniseries opening.
Oh! OH. I DID make an update…to the contact page. (Better than nothing, right…?) It was horribly outdated–I’ve removed my Facebook link (I deleted–not disabled, but fully deleted–my profile last summer), and added links to Twitter and my (pretty outdated) personal website. I’ve also cleaned up the language somewhat, and apologize sincerely if anything on there was a little too blunt or offputting.
That’s it for now. I’m quite busy…preparing to move this summer for the 3rd time since November (I’ve had surprisingly horrible luck with living situations during my 1.5 years in Boston), playing in a lot of orchestra/opera concerts, presenting at a conference in a few weeks, and looking forward to finding some free time in the summer for personal and/or portfolio-padding projects. (Like this site, perhaps?) Now that the sun no longer sets by 4:30pm, life is pretty wonderful again. :)
I hope you’re doing well, too!
Firstly, thank you.
I never say this sort of thing enough. And most of you are strangers–some of you have sent me very kind e-mails (and every single one has been deeply appreciated), some of you have gone on to become social media buddies, online friends, and even close offline friends–but it’s so heartening to see how a shared childhood/young-adult memory from 15-20 years ago has inspired and encouraged people’s imaginations, and I’m really honored and grateful that your comments and energy and support have continued to feed this website along.
This, on the other hand, is something I say repeatedly, and I do mean it–this website is a culmination of the efforts of a lot of friendly, nostalgic fans (as well as former Hanna-Barbera employees!). It isn’t just me–it never has been and it never will be. You guys send in the awesomeness (whether that’s actual info/media/merchandise/etc., or even cheerful reminiscing), or post it here and there online, and it all finds it way here. (Eventually, anyway.)
Why am I waxing nostalgic like this?
This is why.
(click to enlarge.)
This is the breakdown of visitors to Always The Quest over the last three years, when I installed Google Analytics. I just viewed it in full for the first time tonight.
Over 70,000 visits.
Over 150 countries and territories. There are PoDW fans on every continent!
And this is in just the last 3 years. (This site has been online since the summer of 1996–almost 17 years! I was 15 then, and I’m 31 now. Holy moly.)
(The color is the relative number of visitors from each country. The US was the source of over 40,000 of those visitors, hence how dark the shading is. BUT STILL!)
These days the site averages 40-50 visits a day. Not bad, considering the obscurity of the material. Definitely lower than its peak average of 100+ a day, during my undergrad days. I’m not desperate for thousands of views, but I would like to improve the searchability of the site. Nearly 40,000 of the visits were via searches. There were only a handful of searches that didn’t relate to the show, but I still see where I can improve from skimming people’s search terms. (Among the more interesting: “action poses” and “poop deck.” Ha! Also, there were 4 searches for “pirates of dark water tickling.” I don’t think I want to know what that’s about…)
This is still pretty tremendous. At least, it is to me. Though our community isn’t nearly as cohesive as those that have more content to talk about, I’m so glad it’s still around. And I’m especially excited to see where it goes next.
Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart.
* * * * *
Holy fitting segues, Batman. ;)
Next up: I would love to make some big changes to the site this year. (Possibly by gutting it and then rebuilding it piece by piece. Tempting…) And this is where you all come in.
I want to give you a heads-up about this: would you be willing to take a survey for me? About the site, what you value and don’t value, what you’d like to see that isn’t here and what you’d like to have removed or modified/updated, that sort of thing. I still need to put it together. But this site is for you all–it’s a repository of info, but it can be so much more than that.
For example, people (not me, but others) have described this site’s function/purpose in a number of different ways:
- source of plentiful info
- campaigning to finish the show
- community for the fans
- a shrine/time capsule
- digging up the behind-the-scenes view of the show
And more. And some of these were actually quite a surprise to me. What do you all think? I don’t want to put stuff up that many of you really don’t care about.
Do start thinking about it. :)
* * * * *
And, last but not least!
Etsy seller DanielleMeetsWorld is selling two handmade PoDW wallets. They’re upcycled, using pages from PoDW comic #4, “Break-Up” (episode #3, yes, but comic #4, as episode #1 was spread out over 2 comics), and intentionally DIY. Even better: part of the price goes to benefit worthy charities. One, two.
If you’re interested in your own copy of the comics (or even the action figures), they are always, always available on eBay. :)
And that’s all for now! As always, thank you for reading, and for showing your support just through your visit. Much love to you all!
Hey, everyone, long time no see… :) This is still not a website update (sorry…)–I’ve been keeping a little too busy as of late, like to the point that I don’t even turn my home computer on more than a couple of times a week these days. I’m very eager for things to settle down soon.
But I did want to post some fun finds from around the web…
Firstly, a series of international PoDW openings on YouTube: Las Piratas de las Aguas Negras (Spanish), the Swedish intro, A Sötét Víz Kalózai (Hungarian), and ~???????? ???????? (Japanese–this hilarious pop song intro by Hironobu Kageyama that will now be stuck in my head for the rest of the day. By the way, check out the “international” tagged posts to get more info on the Japanese version of the show).
Also, this great comment, from Tumblr user nijireiki -
Man, I really wanna do a rewrite comic of Pirates of Dark Water.
Like, CLEARLY there were some executive meetings to make Ioz nicer, curse less, and stop referencing whorehouses; to make Niddler less of a racial critique and more of a buffoonish stereotype; to make Ren paler, less “femme,” and more competent as a leader (rather than a naïve lighthouse boy who assembles a relatively equal TEAM); and to make Tula sweeter, more helpless/less competent, less creepy (ecomancers have… side effects that come with their skillset), less revolutionary, more “femme”/scantily clad, paler, and all-around healer/mystic/team girl. (AND to make the bad guys less threatening, though, interestingly for a ’90s cartoon, death— even onscreen death— was not phased out of the show entirely.)
I think it would just be awesome to restore some of that stuff, you know? A lot of worldbuilding clearly went into Dark Water, and it’s a damn shame the show never finished and so few people know about it. :/
You know, I did wonder about whether all ecomancers’ legs sprout (or transform into) roots and branches, the way Teron’s did. He didn’t have the incandescent lightning effect that Tula did, so my assumption was that it’s a little different for everyone–kind of an organic manifestation that depends on the person.
But anyway, that bit aside, the rest of the commentary is spot-on: the characters did change rather dramatically throughout the series. I’d even argue that the three main chunks of the series (released in 1991, 1992, and 1993, respectively) show noticeable differences: episodes 1-5 are the most solid and balanced representations, episodes 6-13 are definitely more watered-down and geared towards kids, and episodes 14-21 trend towards the darker and/or more grown-up side with some of their themes and action sequences.
Though, then again, a woman with a 17-year-long obsession over a man (and then that man’s son) who died a horrible death by melting into a pool of Dark Water was in that middle block of episodes, as was a wizard being killed by his own ghastly creations after using his magic to kill many people in order to steal their gold (but yet again, that episode also has the monumentally awful and OBVIOUSLY watered-down line, “You fight like your captain, Swar–not very well!”)…but that whole block of episodes did focus more heavily on moral themes, and you can derive very clear ones from each episode.
But then in those last 8 episodes, Ioz’s temper towards Tula waxed and waned (raging at her one minute, then grudgingly acknowledging that she was capable and worthy of respect, and asking Ren not to tell Tula that he had admitted he was “a greedy fool”), Tula became a bit more badass again (though still watered-down by her obvious interest in Ren and her jealousy over him expressing interest in other women–but tempered by the fact that she really stole the show when she fake-betrayed her friends in order to protect them from the Delpha Warriors and to try to secure the Eighth Treasure of Rule), and Ren made some tough moral decisions (not leaving Bloth to die when he could have, learning greatly from his own experience of being transformed into a dagron) and grew a lot in the process. (Note that I’m not saying a word about Niddler, because I’m really irritated that he was such a great and multi-dimensional character in episodes 1-5–embittered and damaged by his service to Bloth, but a loyal and true friend with deep convictions and moral fiber–and then was relegated to the irritating, selfish, childish comic relief after that.)
Also, it’s interesting, but I guess not that surprising, that pretty much the entirety of the character development happened with the protagonists. It was still a show from the era of wanting to proper delineate good and evil, so the bad guys were simply that. They had backstories and motivations and personalities that were uniquely theirs (especially in episodes 1-5–Mantus’s cool “Of course, sir. When you let the enemy think he’s in charge, it’s easy.” line still is pretty freaking cool), but at the end of the day, they were The Bad Guys. Period.
Okay, enough of that for now. It’s nice to reflect on the show in terms of the era in which it was conceived, and in terms of more “grown-up” sensibilities (I’m now older than Ioz! haha). And it’s great to have conversations with people who continue to rediscover and reflect on the show in their own ways. I do appreciate how enthusiastic you all are–the e-mails and comments have been wonderful and I’ve seriously enjoyed the discussions we’ve had over the years. Thank you for your lasting support over all this time. :) Hopefully I’ll actually update the site one of these days (weeks? months? years? sigh), clean it up, and integrate the bulk of the info from the blog, and make it up to you!
For the ~15 people who still read this site ;), this may or may not stir up a hornet’s nest of trouble, as it has done in other places. But it’s a fairly active topic of discussion in other circles, and thanks to the Racebending movement and fascinating and apt blogs like Racialicious and Sociological Images, I’ve become more aware of these issues, and really feel the need to say something.
On several recent occasions, I’ve noticed PoDW fanart (illustrated or created with doll-making software or through other means) where the characters were depicted with light, or lighter, skin.
This is problematic.
The show’s protagonists, as well as many of the antagonists and supporting characters, are dark-skinned. This is one of the many things that has made the show so unique: a serious animated show aimed at teenagers and adults, with real plot and character development, not to mention a cast of characters that is not white or a stereotypical image of a minority.
Pretty much every single character has a subtly different skin tone, and (with the exception of Jenna and an occasional background character) all those skin tones are unmistakably brown! How cool is that? As a result, PoDW brilliantly avoids the horrid “light=good, dark=bad” stereotypes that have pervaded popular media. (If you haven’t noticed it, just look at your average action-adventure/fantasy flick, and pay attention to what roles the dark-skinned characters play. Really egregious examples: the live-action “The Last Airbender,” “Prince of Persia,” even “Back to the Future” (the Libyans, who are Hispanic and spouting gibberish instead of Arabic), and the “Indiana Jones” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies and others that feature random shots of dark-skinned “untamed savages” randomly attacking the good (and typically white) heroes. Once you start seeing it, you can’t unsee it…and that’s a good thing, because awareness is the first step in making lasting change happen.)
The biggest counterargument, especially in these “racebending/whitewashing” arguments around fantasy series, is that you can’t claim that the characters actually are Asian or Middle-Eastern, because the races and ethnicities in our world don’t exist in theirs.
Yes, races as they exist in our world do not exist in the PoDW universe. However, you can’t deny the ethnic influences throughout the PoDW universe, put there by the people who created this world. Fans I’ve talked to over the years, and fans attempting to match up actors with the characters, have referred to them as Latin, Jamaican, East Asian, Indian/South Asian, Turkish/Middle Eastern, and more. And there’s a reason for that–they have recognizable features and character/clothing designs that derive directly from those cultures. Even the conceptual artist behind the show, Floro Dery, attested that Tula’s clothing design was derived from Turkish influences.
In our society, whiteness has come to be the “default” skin tone. While whites are the majority population in the west, that’s an unfortunate mentality. I mean, I’m American, and I’m brown: a 100% Indian-American female, but I’ll often see “nude” and “natural” as labels for a default skin tone that’s markedly lighter than what is physically the “nude” and “natural” skin tone that describes my coffee-colored skin.
Also, how cool is it to have strong, relatable characters in a world where skin tone not only does not matter, but is unmistakably diverse? I really related to Tula growing up, because she bore a pretty strong resemblance to me and was a fantastic role model for me (well, minus the whole “double-crossing you guys for my own cause” thing, but it all worked out in the end!). And while I also related to light-skinned characters, I definitely noticed when there were characters that Looked Like Me.
It’s so easy for people to play this all off as just being fantasy, as just being random crap on TV and magazines…but when it’s everywhere, when it’s all you see, a part of you can’t help but grasp onto it and start believing and internalizing it. And it is everywhere–again, check out the above blogs for example after damning example. The subtle racism that plays into people subconsciously favoring light skin is really dangerous, in part because it’s just not questioned and it’s accepted blindly, and it leads to a lot of subconscious perceptions and actions that people don’t even realize are fueled by societally-induced racist tendencies.
Anyway, long story short: detail is important. And it’s not cool to default “ambiguous” (or even unambiguous) characters to white, or even to assume that light-skinned characters look “better” than dark-skinned ones. It doesn’t matter if they’re real or fictitious, live-action or animated: that still perpetuates a “light skin is better than dark skin” mentality that is not acceptable.
So, yeah. The characters have dark skin. Please respect that trait as being part of who they are, and please depict them appropriately.
Thanks for reading. :)
- Smitha, your cheerful female brown crusader for equality and goodwill for all
Hi! Long time, apologies, keeping really busy…the usual spiel. :( I promise I haven’t given up on the site, even though an actual update is unfortunately nowhere in sight. Maybe one of these days…
But anyway, at last, I’ve got a couple of cool things to share.
FIRST: Floro Dery, conceptual and storyboard artist for the Dark Water miniseries, posted a gorgeous set of storyboards for the final scenes of episode 5, Victory (arguably one of my favorite parts of the entire series–how dark and intense it is!). They’re all on Facebook, so you do need to have a Facebook profile to view them.
SECOND: There have been rumors of unreleased PoDW action figures that Hasbro was planning, and there’s finally a photo of a few of them online, courtesy of an eBay auction:
This is one of two pages devoted to PoDW from the 1992 Hasbro Toy Fair catalog. (I’ve e-mailed the seller to ask for a photo of the other page.) Listed are:
- Ioz: with Push-out Arm-Sword and Removable Battle Armor!
- Swar: with Color Changing Tattoo!
- Ren: with Sea Sled with Working Squid Shooter!
- Grimrot: with Glow in the Dark Features!
- Strand: with Twin Spinning Arms Feature!
- Bloth: with Removable Battle Armor!
- Nimbo: with Real Working Bow-and-Arrows Weapon!
- Kiroptus: with Multiple Rotating Wings!
- Scorian: with Rotating Head-mask Feature!
- Octoquid: with Spin-around Tentacles Action!
So there are the three obvious ones: Ren, Ioz, and Bloth are all major characters.
There are some interesting minor/one-off character inclusions in here: Scorian and Swar (from episode 11, The Collection–Ioz’s old pirate rivals), Kiroptus (from episode 8, The Beast and the Bell), and Strand (had a brief cameo in Zoolie’s gaming house in episode 4, Betrayal, and a bigger role in episode 13, The Darkdweller).
And there are a number of unknowns. “Grimrot” bears an odd resemblance to Joat, but we’ve never seen him/it. I feel like “Nimbo,” or some variant on his character design, was in the background in a couple of episodes, but with no real importance. And “Octoquid”…yeah, definitely not, haha. It makes me wonder if these are characters that would have had more prominent roles in future episodes, or if they were created from early concept artwork, or if they really only existed as merchandise.
There are already 3 bids on the catalog or I’d have tried to win it myself–I’ll bet there are other collectors who want it more than I do, since I’m really only interested in seeing the PoDW content in there.
In other news…the Warner Archive may indeed be interested in releasing the Dark Water miniseries to DVD, if they can find high-quality versions of the episodes. I’ve only got 1-4 (in English, anyway)…do any of you out there happen to have the episodes on some old but untouched VHS tape somewhere?
Hope you all are doing well, and enjoying the spring/fall (for northern/southern hemisphere visitors, respectively)!
Wow, this has to be some kind of record for me. Sorry for going so long without an update…but thank you very much to those of you who sent me kind messages in the interim! I will catch up on those correspondences eventually…
If you haven’t guessed, life has been really eventful over these last five (eek…) months. For those who care, this summer I have done the following:
- completed my master’s degree (WOOO!)
- spent a week in June hiking around the Santorini volcanic caldera (off the coast of Greece, with some lovely folks from South Africa and Germany, via VolcanoDiscovery–highly, highly recommended!)
- intentionally took the summer off, and spent most of it looking for a job and exploring Pittsburgh (probably the most underrated city in the US–it is truly a gem and I miss it dearly.)
- did a bunch of traveling, mostly for job interviews (Denver, Washington DC, New York, Boston…whew), but met friends and had fun in the process
- dated a pretty wonderful guy for a couple of months :)
- moved back to Atlanta (my hometown), upon my Pittsburgh lease ending
- turned 30 years old
- accepted a job in mid-September in the greater Boston area (yaaaay!), and, within the next 2 weeks, packed up all my things and relocated from Atlanta to Boston a couple of weeks ago
- started my new job last week!
I’m still in temporary housing for at least the next week or so, but hope to move into more permanent digs fairly soon (and have all my stuff delivered from Atlanta shortly after; I’m currently living with 2 suitcases, a backpack, and my violin). And work is going pretty well so far, too–I’m working as a user experience designer for an engineering software company. it’s always wonderful working with people who treat each other as people and not just cogs in the system, and this company has some great personal and professional practices.
Hopefully you all have had a good summer! I can’t believe it’s been this long since posting here–even if I don’t have much in the way of updates to post (though to be honest, I actually do have some great images and content to add, thanks to the efforts of some talented and dedicated folks), it’s just nice to reach out and say hello to you all. You’re a great, chill, friendly group, and it’s always a pleasure chatting with you all.
Anyway, in more PoDW-centric news…heh, really, not much to report, as usual. August 30th marked the 1-year anniversary of the DVD release, and sales seem to still be going strong as word continues to get out there that the show is out on DVD. I still am entertaining notions of re-architecting and redesigning the site from the ground up, but this design will probably persist for a while longer. Hopefully once the rest of my stuff arrives, I can get back to scanning in the rest of the RPG creature pages. I hereby am setting a goal of finishing them by year’s end–you all can hold me to that. :)
And with that, time to sign off for the night…it’s a work night! (Such a weird feeling. Getting used to contiguous 8-hour days has been surprisingly tough, after two years of a much more open-ended schedule.) Take care and have a good night, everyone!
If you have e-mailed me in the past and get any erroneous or spam e-mails from me, I do apologize. At some point in the last week, a spambot got access to my PoDW site’s e-mail address and started sending out junk mails (right now I have no clue how many have gone out). I’ve changed my mail password and will see what else I can do later this week.
Thanks for your understanding!
Secondly, please don’t judge me too harshly. I think I designed this site back in 2006, and have not had any time to redesign it since then, despite trying to work on rearchitecting it from the ground up. I hope to finally update it this summer.
Thanks, and have a great day. :)
(As for PoDW fans, hello to you all, too! I’m three weeks away from completing my master’s degree (yaaaaay!). Hopefully an update will be on the horizon shortly after! And I hope you all have a great day as well.)
Firstly, congratulations to Rachael Thomas for winning the RPG set! (Amazingly, I still have not mailed it to her, but totally will this week. :P) I apologize for taking so long to announce the winner.
Also, according to Twitter, PoDW is back on Boomerang as of last night (unsure of the time–check your listings!). This looks to be roughly at the same time it aired before: it seems like they’re rotating a few early-90s shows in that same time slot, which actually kind of makes sense, since nothing is stagnant this way and multiple shows get exposure a few times a year.
Also, hi! It’s been a while–I hope February was kind to you all! I am halfway through my final semester of grad school, and currently buried under thesis/school/final-semester/job-search hell right now, so updates will be scarce till I graduate in mid-May. (If you happen to actually be interested in my rather mundane life, I do post occasionally to my blog and am also on Twitter. Be warned: I geek out over stuff most people don’t care at all about. Like volcanoes.)
Happy New Year, everyone! I hope your winter (or summer, for Southern Hemisphere folks) holidays were relaxing and warm in spirit, if not in temperature. :)
After long last, the RPG contest IS CLOSED.
I am very, very sorry for taking so long to get back to this–I meant to close this a couple of weeks back. Entries have still been coming in, though, so it’s probably for the best that this was open a little while longer, to let more interested people enter! Thank you all so much for the tremendous response–there have been dozens of entries. I’ll post the winner in the next couple of days.
In other news, a random find…occasionally I’ll check eBay to see if there’s any new and interesting PoDW merchandise there. There has been an autograph by Julie McWhirter Dees there for quite a while now. Not recognizing the name immediately, I looked further into it…she’s listed as having done a number of small roles in the last 8 episodes of PoDW, but beyond that, she’s far better known as the voice actress of Betty Rubble from the Flintstones! I’m definitely curious about what roles she voiced in those episodes now.