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Though I spend less time on deviantART these days, it is still the place where I feel the most freedom to express myself.

I may have had a major breakthrough in "how I make comics" over this Thanksgiving weekend. It has nothing to do with technique or skills. It has to do with how I think. In my life, what I am thinking when I draw means everything.

What am I thinking?

When I create comics, the "who am I" must be evident. It must. So who am I? I am Taiwanese American.  I lived in Japan for a very very long time. In the study of "who is Ryuzo", this is more important than ever. The pop culture that supported me and nurtured my art for all these years means less and less to me (sorry Transformers, sorry Star Wars, sorry Mortal Kombat, sorry mainstream comics). I still wholly enjoy pop culture, but when it comes to creating, I have no interest in creating anything remotely similar. TFs, SW, MK, mainstream comics do their genres well and have cultivated their audiences over decades. Good for them. For us indie creators, it is an unprecedented time for self expression, with the means to do it. Where's my audience with the same sensibilities as me? It's up to me to find my audience. How long will mass accessibility to freedom of expression last? Nobody knows. The time is now.

I will make no promises about what I will create. You will see what I create when it gets created, the proverbial "it'll be released when it's done". But on this last day of November 2014, I was here shouting from the top of a mountain. I am Ryuzo. I am breaking out of my shell.
Hi everybody and thanks for the great reponses to my comics "Smell A Rat" and "Innovation".

In recent news:
"Smell A Rat" is now available as part of a kickstarter anthology called "Horror of Loon Lake". It was written, edited and masterminded by Carl Smith, and it is 100+ pages of pure classic horror comic book nostalgia (of which 23 pages is the Smell A Rat story). This is a chance to own my art and the art of a host of other artists in print. The story:

A kid goes on a vacation to Loon Lake. Bored out of his mind, he goes fishing at Loon Lake and fishes up 3 comic books from the river. Did he get a good catch...or is HE the catch?!

Head on over now, pledge to get a great comic book if you like, and be sure to come back and finish reading this journal entry! XD --> www.kickstarter.com/projects/3…

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Been Bit Promo by ryuzo
Welcome back! So the next update is that I'm going to send you over somewhere else again, this time to read an 8pg werewolf comic that I drew. It was written by Jeff Rider.  COME BACK! --> www.cloudwranglercomics.com/be…

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Lastly, New York Comicon starts on Thursday. I hope everyone has a great time!
I am proud to announce the release of my first full length comic of 2014 -- "Smell A Rat"! (I know, it takes a little while to get used to that title!) It's a horror comic inspired by the 1979 movie The Warriors (think NYC gangs) and classic horror comics like Tomb of Dracula.

Smell A Rat was written by Carl Smith, whom I met on twitter. (I'm on there a lot these days! artiststan) Carl is making a horror comics anthology called "The Horror of Loon Lake". Smell A Rat will also be included in that anthology, but it is being released first. Check out the going-ons of Horror of Loon Lake here --> www.facebook.com/horrorofloonl…

Smell A Rat preview:
Horror Comic - Smell A Rat - 3pg Preview by ryuzo

Each comic that I do is a monumental crime of passion. It starts with me reading the script. I have to love the script on the first read, there's just no way around that. Don't let that discourage you from sending me scripts. I consider myself a curator of stories, so it simply must get by my "gatekeepers", my "mind", in order to get to my "drawing hand". Then I ask questions about the script. We discuss and we go very organically to a finalized script.

Then the comic layouts / sketches / bluelines happen. It is a very intensive process where I do very rough pencils, but with shading and solid panel work. Lately I'll even do word bubbles, tails, bubble connectors, caption boxes, etc. in this stage! It really helps the writer and I really preview the comic, and if I can get the writer on board to hire me for the letters too, double-win. Then we discuss and finalize the page layouts.

You think we've gotten anywhere yet? Nope. The marathon begins at this stage. Days and weeks pass before the comic is complete.

When the dust settles and the art is finalized, there is still much to do. Covers, graphic design, marketing, promotion, digital release, print release, comicons, etc.

Thanks for reading through that process. So, back to what this journal entry is all about -- "Smell A Rat" is ready for your eyes! Get it on Amazon here --> amzn.to/1tWwn3p

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And if you have a comic script that is ready, and you are ready to hire me to draw/letter/color it, what are you waiting for? Let's make it happen sooner than later.
The director of a popular video series called "This is HyperX" found me in the dA Job Offers Forum and hired me to do motion comic art for his latest video! (HyperX makes computer memory sticks.) This particular video is a parody on The Walking Dead. All the actors are pro gamers, which makes it all the more hilarious.

Watch it all! If you want to see my art, fast forward to 3:30.



I was drawing "Wild Turtle" and "The Odd One" for like 4 days straight, it was EPIC.
And so it was written that last night a treasured member of my extended family passed away. Everything stops in this moment. Again.

My old friend was ready to go. She was a powerful light, shone so strong, a millipede of movement who did everything and more than she could to make it work for her family.

Before I heard the news, I woke up in the middle of the night last night and felt eyes upon me. My initial reaction was fear. It was strange because I usually do not feel fear in the dark. In our day and time, we fear things we do not understand, we fear things we do not have an explanation for.

I am just a human of old who likes to put meaning to every little detail (people nowadays call it superstition or unscientific), and I will say that that presence was my old friend, coming to say goodbye. I am a human of old who probably danced to create rain, who rattled pebbles gathered by ants, smoked leaves imprinted with the messages of mother nature.

I carry her within me, as do my children, the future and the past rolled into one. Who are we but torch bearers whose sole purpose it is to pass the torch. She dutifully passed the torch and we took it gladly, proudly. We do not mourn, we know you have returned to the speed of light. Travel far, travel wide, let the universe know that once upon a time, you were the brightest light.
On Saturday, May 3, I did my first Google Helpout. It was quite a lot of fun listening to live questions about digital art and diving right in and showing the answers. There doesn't seem to be a way for me to share the Helpout video, but if you want to sign up, it's still totally free.
helpouts.google.com/1174465195…

Today I just did the tutorial video for :iconblackopal: on her question about "coloring linework using alpha channels in Photoshop", you can view that here:


Also, if you're so inclined, I've been doing some metaphysical thinking, so I went and did a vid on astral traveling around the solar system. It's meant to be a way to tune into the unexplored areas of space, but not necessarily outer space, more like "inner space".


Ok, enjoy your May the 4th!
Yesterday I took the first step in what I've meditated on for years -- volunteering time to teach people about art, specifically digital art. I posted my first digital art tutorial on Youtube. You can watch it here:


UPDATE: Today I uploaded another video!


Moving forward, I want to gear my tutorials to the demands of you. Post a reply to this journal entry if you'd like to request a tutorial. I will do my best to record a tutorial for you. Let's keep the questions to Photoshop and Manga Studio for now. Also I know a lot of you out there have questions about drawing anatomy and things like that. That is, of course, very doable, so feel free to post those questions as well.

I will open up 1 tutorial slot for now, and open up more slots when I finish the first.
Slot 1: :iconblackopal: "coloring linework using alpha channels in Photoshop"

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Google Helpout
And in order to stay on the curve of technology, I've set up a Google Helpout. It's a Google experiment that launched late last year and it allows me to teach digital art live over the web! Imagine the video above, but you are realtime in the same call, asking questions and requesting tips. Check out my listing:
helpouts.google.com/1174465195…

***Update First Helpout is set for 5.3.2014, 11am -5GMT! Excited!

Legal stuff: If you are under 18, please get your parents' permission to join a Google Hangouts On Air with me. These videos will not be private and will go on Youtube, so you must consent to my personal & commercial usage of the video, as well as the Youtube license and Google Hangouts on Air license.

Note: The Google Hangouts On Air venture is still in its experimenting stage. Let me see how the first one goes and I will post updates from there!

Thanks for reading (especially the legal stuff, ugh...I hate writing it as much as I know you hate reading it).

Let's LEARN!
When the body is not 100%, we try to simplify our lives down to essentials. For me, that meant getting away from my computer. In search of something to occupy my mind during these days of recovery, I discovered Japanese animation director Mamoru Hosoda.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mamoru_H…

I first watched Wolf Children, a tale about a mother raising her 2 kids, who have the ability to shape shift into wolves because of their shape shifting father.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolf_Chi…

I really hope you all get to see this movie, it is a brilliant 2 hours of twists and turns as you follow this family through growth, through the seasons, through life. I just love how the movie really takes you away and despite the fantastical main characters, you are very grounded in reality because of the subjects the movie tackles, such as "getting used to school" or "making a garden" or "getting along with neighbors" or "cleaning the house". In fantasy, you don't always have to be saving the world or killing evil bad guys or getting betrayed, etc. This is why I love movies like this, because it gives you that taste of supernatural but you are still getting a slice of life in a meaningful way. I mean, what movie could actually teach you something about making a garden so you can actually feed your family in case that supermarket down the road closes?? And if it matters any, I was brought to tears like 3 times in the movie, haha.

After the ultimate roller coaster high of Wolf Children, and the fact that my body wasn't fully healed yet, I dug into Mamoru Hosoda's filmography and found The Girl Who Leapt Through Time.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Girl…

Immediately after I started watching, I knew I was in for another "grounded in reality with a touch of fantasy" story. I was ecstatic. Two home runs in one weekend?! I am so picky with movies that I really could only count my lucky stars that I could have such pure enjoyment thrown my way. This movie did not let me down. It centers on one main character, a girl, who discovers her ability to jump back in time, and there are 2 secondary male characters. There are quite a few twists and turns and though it is dealing with the oft-used subject of time travel, it still feels fresh throughout. There is one sorta tear jerker scene (I'm really a sucker for tear jerkers, especially when I am sick).

So that said, I feel much better now, and I hope you get to experience these two movies!
My second contribution to the Innovation Comic is up at:
innovationcomic.com/chapter6.h…

And in case you missed my first contribution, it is here:
innovationcomic.com/chapter4.h…

It is gaining momentum, which is something I am happy for. Your eyes on the work makes a big difference!

I like this project because it deals with androids and a heartless corporation that just tramples everything in its way in the name of research and profits (sound familiar in this day and age?). I'm not the writer of the series, but in a way, I am rooting for the underdogs in this story. In this particular story arc, the underdog is an android named Sondra, who is being manipulated...but is beginning to fight back.

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The comic industry is really moving towards anthologies. This is cool for me because it is easier for me to write/draw short stories than do epic 90 page graphic novels, which would probably take 3 years each to produce. I don't know if I ever really want to do a 90pg epic graphic novel, to tell you the truth. Maybe if the fans wanted it, but I think succinct stories that end in 5 to 10 pages are awesome. And once done, you can move right along to the next one. Think Philip K. Dick. Some of his short stories are wildly famous. You can always expand a short story if necessary.

That said, I have more than a few epic 100+ pg stories that I know I will never draw. I realized just today actually that I will most likely keep those stories as prose and just publish them over at Wattpad www.wattpad.com/ or another online story publishing service out there. I'm pretty excited about this, and it will help me move a lot of "weight" off my creative mind and just keep creating more and more new stuff for the few people out there who will stop to take a look.

Thanks for listening!
Frank Herbert's Dune (miniseries from 2000 by John Harrison) was awesome. Go see it here now --> www.youtube.com/watch?v=ueYYVR… before they take it down. It was masterfully done. I've never been exposed to the world of Dune properly except for the RTS games (which I loved back in the day). Now I finally feel like I've been initiated and it feels great. I then watched some clips from the David Lynch Dune from 1984, but it was a bit too artistic for me. I love John Harrison's vision more.

Sorry, just had to spew fandom! Have a great Christmas / Holiday Week people!

***UPDATE: I found out about the 2003 sequel -- Children of Dune! See it here: www.metacafe.com/channels/Kwis…  Again, get it before it gets taken down!

I also read about the sequels to Children of Dune on wiki. Here are the sequel synopses:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_Empe…
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heretics…
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chapterh…
(Note: Frank Herbert died at this point, leaving everything on a huge cliffhanger. His son and another author picked up the where he left off, based on his notes.)
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunters_…
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandworm…
If you have a moment, go on over and check out stanchou.com, my new website! It's now a Wordpress site that works equally well in mobile, tablet and desktop environments, which was something I've been wanting to do for a long time. With Wordpress, I can add plugins (widgets, etc.) which will help me incrementally add things to the site that I'm not good enough to code myself. Then with Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools and Google Adwords, I can go further with the business side of the site.

If you have any questions about site building or any of the tools I mentioned, let me know!

Here are a few other pages I set up as well:
www.facebook.com/artiststan
about.me/stanchou

Thanks for looking!
Hi all, just wanted to let you know that a mini comic I drew, written by Wes Locher, has been released! Check it out at:
innovationcomic.com/chapter4.h…

Let me know what you think!

It's one thing to just draw a mini comic, but another thing to see how a mini comic can propagate out to comic review sites and get a person just a little bit of recognition. I owe a lot to Wes for being a really great writer that is also an equally phenomenal marketer and promoter. Check out his site at:
westonlocher.wordpress.com/

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In other news, I bought Lego Star Wars The Complete Saga for my kids, and I've been playing a bit. For the first time in a LONG time, I actually sat down and played a game for like 3 hours straight. Not a bad game at all!

I'm also really digging a little android app I got, which is called Russian Gypsy Fortune Cards, 99 cents in the Google Play Store. It's a great take on fortune telling, check it out! play.google.com/store/apps/det…

You can also buy real cards with beautiful art on Amazon at www.amazon.com/Russian-Gypsy-F…

Last but not least, Comet ISON reaches Perihelion (closest point to the Sun) tomorrow, so keep your cosmic consciousness aware! There are celestial visitors to our neighborhood. Let's welcome them and let them know about our higher states of consciousness and awareness.
How is everyone? I hope you are well, drop me a line here or via note. I'm checking dA a lot more nowadays, getting back to the roots of what made me what I am today, which was only possible with the community and support network here on dA.

The more time passes, the more spiritual / metaphysical I am getting. Recently, I have been enjoying revisiting my old Tarot cards, and learning to do readings again. This is helped immensely by the app Galaxy Tarot, which I recommend you check out if you have an android smartphone or tablet.

I am also keeping an eye on the stars that appear first each night (here in NY, those stars are usually Vega, Arcturus, Capella) and the planets in the sky that reflect transformed sunlight on us each night. Yes, they absorb rays from the sun and reflect a different "kind" of sunlight back on us, almost a signature light that you could almost call the planet's "own". I also use the software SkyGazer 4.5 (for PC) and the app Star Chart by Escapist Games for android.

Also everyone keep an eye on Comet ISON. It will be massively affecting the Earth, Moon and Sun over the course of November through to mid-December. Then we have a pretty spectacular planetary alignment between Jan 1 to 5, 2014, so be cosmically aware of that.

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NYCC was amazing! I had the privilege of meeting fellow dAers :iconkevmond: and :iconrodcom1000:, and passed out my Ryuzo.dA business card to unsuspecting Mortal Kombat cosplayers all over the venue, so if you're a MK cosplayer, super nice to meet you again here on dA!

And last but definitely not least, I'm working with :iconpjm74: on a brilliant comic mini-story that will debut here when it's ready.

Stay true, stay safe, stay loving and loved. And keep making and creating comics!
So if you have not already, go and watch Mortal Kombat Legacy Season 2, on Machinema.

Then, tell me about your favorite Mortal Kombat character and why (doesn't have to be a character from Legacy).

I love talking Mortal Kombat. I don't usually do requests and I can't promise anything, but if we strike up a cool conversation with some cool ideas, I will consider doing a few more Mortal Kombat pics, because they are clearly my most popular pics lately (next to G1 Transformers).

FYI, my favorite character back in the 90s was Mileena. I played her in the MKII arcade game all the time. Nowadays, my favorites tend to be any kind of ninja, robotic or outworld or human. There are just endless possibilities and storylines that can be created with these guys. I loved the palette swaps of old, and the more customized skins of today.

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In other news, I will be at New York Comicon, crowdsurfing thousands of geeks to try and stand out in the crowd. I'll be talking a mile a minute, annoying the hell out of anybody who will lend an ear. I will probably spend a crazy amount of time in Artist's Alley, because being able to talk to and see all these creators engaging in the act of self-promotion and home-business-running is just AHHH the spice of life. People come alive when they are running their home business, and nothing is cooler than when it is done in the comic book business. Are ya with me?!

Man, crazy to think that I am already thinking about NYCC 2014, but I'll save that rant for another time. If you will be at NYCC this year, NOTE me and maybe we can meet up among the insanity!

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And to tie it all together, when I was at NYCC 2012, I met so many Mortal Kombat fans, and they recommended these three characters to draw:

KABAL..........

BARAKA..........

SMOKE..........

FIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Here is a quick shoutout to all of you that I am open for commissions to draw comic book sequential art. See my gallery for my comic artwork: ryuzo.deviantart.com/gallery/2…

Also, I have a huge backlog of stories that I wanted to draw myself, but now my mindset is to hire others to draw these stories for me. So if you are a comic book penciller, inker, or color flatter, send me links to your portfolio and let's see if we can do something together!

LAST note: I am interested in learning the ins and outs of comic lettering, so if you are willing to help tutor me about your methods, I'd love to return the favor with tutoring for comic book art / photoshop / manga studio in return.

Talk to me on Twitter artiststan twitter.com/artiststan
It's go time! So last year, I ran a kickstarter campaign. This year, I'm not running the campaign but I'm an artist for a comic book that is currently running a campaign, this time on indiegogo! Here's the link:
www.indiegogo.com/projects/int…

I would be super-grateful if you would take a look and consider making a pledge! The comic blows the lid off of the whole magic genre, and my art has grown exponentially with this project. It was right on the dA forums that I linked up with the amazing writers, how fitting (thanks dA, I've said it a million times). The 3 writers have weaved an amazing coming of age story. Each script gives me loads of new locations to draw with action scenes, intense dialogue and new characters. Best of all, they give me so much freedom to express my art to the max and they take really really good care of me. You can find them at :iconthinkalikeproduction: , tell 'em I sent ya!

And the colorist on the comic is Ross Hughes :iconrosshughes: , of Youngblood fame, Hawk & Dove, Hi-Fi Studios (Justice League International, Booster Gold, Adventure Comics, Legion of Superheroes, Justice League Generation Lost, Titans, True Blood Tainted Love, and the Pirates of the Caribbean anthology). He really takes my art to the next level and beyond, it is such a treat seeing the color pages coming back, it is almost like getting brand new pages that I have never seen before.

So, long story short, I feel blessed to be part of this team and I wouldn't have it any other way, just as I won't have any other result than...a fully funded indiegogo campaign! XD  Preview pages and International Agency of Magic art to come!
I was thinking about how people nowadays write off a lot of occurrences as "coincidence".

I had the thought to look up the origin of the word "coincidence" and the result did not surprise me. Take a look, from online etymology dic:

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1715, from French coincider (14c.), from Medieval Latin coincidere (in astrological use), literally "to fall upon together," from Latin com- "together" (see co-) + incidere "to fall upon" (in- "upon + cadere "to fall;" see case (n.1)). Related: Coincided; coinciding.
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I love that phrase that pops out -- "in astrological use". So basically "coincidence" used to be a word that talked about the stars, and how they "fall upon together". Gee, the last time I read, the stars move pretty predictably. So WHY oh WHY do we use the word "coincidence" to mean "bah, just ignore it, it didn't happen for any special reason you nut"???

See the smoke and mirrors in society and language for what they are, wake up please. "Coincidence" is much more if you just remember that the stars "coincide" on preset paths over tens of trillions of years. You "coincide" with other light beings on your path through the terrestrial galaxy.

Don't be afraid of the rabbit hole. Sure it's nice and sunny and you want to live in that strange bliss that is not a bliss. Sure, pass by the rabbit hole a few times, a hundred times even. But heed the call to adventure. Go in the rabbit hole and leave all fear at the door.

Wake. Up.

artiststan on Twitter
I just want to say thank you to all you dAers out there who fav my pics. I really appreciate it.

On my list of things to do are more Transformers pics and more Mortal Kombat pics, first and foremost. It's clear that color pics get SOOOO much more love, but my true passion is in black and white art.

Also I wish I could share more of my contracted comic art on here, but rest assured, some amazing things are in the works and there will be some announcements this year!

Ok, so all that stuff aside, thank you again for all the favs, they do not go unnoticed and I am overwhelmed with gratitude with each one.

I'll post my reviews of Iron Man 3 and Star Trek Into Darkness soon! Loved them both, but you'll hear my nitpicks as well.

Find me on twitter at artiststan. Drop me a hello--
Hey so I'm a latecomer to all this Twitter stuff but...I LOVE Twitter.

I see it as several things:

#1. A news place to gather up-to-the-minute information in various fields

#2. A place to converse with famous people, especially in the comics industry (Rob Liefeld, Erik Larsen, etc.)

#3. A little friend that sits with me as I draw. It constantly updates with little things to read during my micro-breaks from art

That said, you can find me at twitter.com/artiststan or just plain artiststan

See you there!

PS - If you decide to follow me, great! However I may or may not follow you back, it's a personal decision which I hope you respect.
***When I posted this yesterday, it wasn't appearing on my frontpage, so I deleted and reposted it.***

Geesh. Ok so in Clone Wars season 5, Darth Maul (with his silly looking animal legs) meets up with Darth Sidious finally and they fight.

MAJOR GRIPE TIME:
Can somebody pleases educate these Star Wars cartoon people (and most of everybody else who makes any Star Wars stuff these days, including Bioware):

Stop doing fight scenes that consist of: lightsaber acrobatics, kick, lightsaber swishing, punch, lightsaber fighting, kick, lightsaber, force pull/push, lightsaber, kick, lightsaber, force pull/push, repeat ad infinitum.

Just think about it -- if you have the time to land a kick or punch, you actually have the time to instead SABER the person. So why?

Nick Gilliard (stunt/fight choreographer) started it with Episode I. The Darth Maul 3-way-fight was good for its time, yes, but that was 1999. They are STILL doing that same fight scene today in 2013.

Just think about the end lightsaber fights in ANH, ESB and ROTJ. I don't even need to explain why they rank far and away higher than any fight recorded since.

If JJ does the Nick Gilliard fight style...I swear...SW is DEAD.

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UPDATE #1:
:iconchameleonbot: posted that he disagreed with me. My answer:
What do you disagree about? Isn't it ridiculous to kick someone (or punch) when you can just stab them? And what about rampant use of force push/pull? Why don't you just enter the fight, and start pushing and pulling at will? That will be hilarious (and that's what happened when I used to play Jedi Knight online). Nowadays, all fight scenes in Clone Wars look like that side splitting jokefest that was Jedi Knight online sparring.

UPDATE #2:
To clarify, my feeling that ANH, ESB and ROTJ saber fight scenes are better is because:
1) they show an artistic representation of "Japanese kendo style fighting"
2) they show a build-up of character development
3) they put two characters together that are playing a mind game

To further clarify:
ANH: Two old fogies going at it! Awesome. You really see the Japanese kendo inspiration here. Darth tries to play a mind game but Obi-Wan will have nothing of it. Obi-Wan wins the mind game EASILY, Darth is confused, Luke is shocked.

ESB: Darth wins on all fronts -- physical, skill, mind, and the bombshsell "I am your father" -- the terror / empathy we feel for Luke is thick like quicksand. Another thing I really like -- the deft sabermove to disarm ("dis-hand") Luke is an actual sword trick, and it makes sense why it worked. Even better, the powerplay Luke used to commit suicide is another big big shocker.

ROTJ: Luke tries to play the mind game and not fight. Darth plays back -- the sister comment -- and it sends Luke into a rage. Coupled with the musical score, this is an AMAZING scene that still gives me chills when I watch it. Luke downs Darth, is almost on the brink of the dark side, but comes back to his senses...he is now a Jedi Knight. He has defeated the emperor's mind game. The emperor, completely realizing his own failure, resorts to brute force lightening, but Luke has won and he knows it. Darth kills the Emperor but only because the Emperor allows it (ok I kinda made that up at the last moment, but think about it, the Emperor committed suicide with Darth's help, the Emperor was defeated in his best skill, his MIND GAME, thus he commits assisted suicide! ahhhh that aspect of ROTJ is soooo brilliant to this day).