Franchises Part 2: When It Works

bridge forest trees

So previously I went on why I’m suspicious of franchises, my thoughts codified by seeing the novel “Tarkin” where the Grandest Moff of Star Wars got his own book. It’s not “Porkins: Apocalypse” but then again maybe that exists. I’d rather not find out.

As noted I’m not entirely down on franchises, those extended, unified sets of media and product and more. In fact, I think there’s positive sides to them, especially in the world of literature and media. So for the sake of those of us involved in creating franchises, what I consider the positives.

Yes. Positives.

Here’s where I think franchises can be good.

Read more

Why Archie Is Hip

Best summary I heard “In Riverdale Anything Can Happen.”

I think there’s something to that. Archie in concept is tethered to certain ideas and characters who are archetypical. This in some ways is limiting, but as the characters are about very human situations, it is a human tether.  Archie’s situations are human ones – love, school, life, death, food (especially in the case of Jughead).

But because Archie has this tether, you can then go hog wild with it in a way. It always has a ground, so go nuts.  Team Archie up with the Punisher, have him fight Predator, explore alternate timelines, create the Legion of Archie.  Whatever works – Archie and company are still themselves.

In turn the series own limited focus – wholesome teams in their rather nice town – provides a limitation.  In some ways the best thing to do is go a bit nuts – and you can, as you have themes to work with and return to.

Finally the human-humorous grounding gives you fertile ground to experiment. The message of Riverdale is “Everyone belongs,” as we’ve seen with the groundbreaking Kevin Keller.  Everyone is a pretty wide berth to experiment with.

Glad to meet the new Archie, same as the old Archie, a difference we can all be glad is the same.


– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at, publishes books on career and culture at, and does a site of creative tools at He can be reached at

Cooking Freak

It’s no secret I love cooking. I’m charting my own voyages into making Japanese Curry here. I cook for friends and co-workers. I enjoy it.

Now not everyone has to like cooking, though I suggest you give it a shot to see if you can at least make it an enjoyable task. But I’m starting to feel like someone who likes cooking and enjoys cooking is extremely rare. It’s a little odd, truth be told, and a little unsettling.

For instance, right now I’m trying to date. My cooking seems to inevitably come up when people contact me, making me think it must be a rare trait especially in men. In Silicon Valley. In their 40’s.

OK, it probably is, but still.

It’s also remarkable among people I meet. I know people are busy, but between health concerns, the price of food, the fun of cooking and the fact you can make some kickass meals in a short time, I wonder why more people don’t cook. Hell, I lost 23 pounds almost entirely due to diet changes, you’d think people would want a piece of that. Also my curried split pea soup entirely rules.*

It’s to the point where I feel a little WEIRD cooking like I do. And this is when there’s all sorts of food-related reality show like ‘Hell Cupcakes” or “Diner Mud Wrestling” or whatever. I don’t know, most reality TV without Tim Gunn gives me hives.**

I guess what bugs me is that it shouldn’t seem odd. Cooking is one of those skills that’s good for us, that’s part of our history, that’s part of good health, and that’s fun when taught right (or at least fun when you’re done). I’d like to see it more appreciated and applied. Maybe there’s some kind of “Cooking is Cool” thing we could do for kids, or get Hipsters on board “I cook because it’s not mainstream.”***

Also cooking is how we understand our bodies, our environment, and how we live. To cook and understand is to understand what keeps us going in the first place. To not understand that is risky.

Ironically, I don’t think everyone needs to cook all the time. I think that it would probably be more resource efficient to create more restaurant, store, and delivery services doing same-day-prepared healthy meals. But cooking at least gives you some knowledge of what to look for.

It just feels weird to like it, do it, and have it be regarded as noteworthy.

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at, nerd and geek culture at, and does a site of creative tools at He can be reached at

* Really, it does.
** Tim Gunn just makes me think “Damn I wish I looked that good.”
*** OK maybe not.