Quick hits

comics, creators, movies, news No Comments

Friday – 24 February 2017
There’s been a lot of comics-related news in the past couple of weeks… and I’ve had very little time to post anything about it. But, I’m carving out a couple of minutes here to do that very thing.

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Robots!

comics, news No Comments

Monday – 29 February 2016
The New York Post offered up this article today: Robot secretaries are a real thing now.

They’re only 30 years late with this one – the Fantastic Four has had a robot receptionist since 1982:

Roberta

Better late than never, I guess…

Tim Miller + Justice League = Deadpool ?!?

animation, games, movies, news No Comments

Wednesday – 17 February 2016
Today is “New Comics Day” across the land. Amen.

Today is also the day that I learned a bit of news that I found interesting. Over the past week or so, people have been flocking to see Fox’s Deadpool. (Yes, some people have even taken their kids to see it, but that’s story/issue for another time.) Tim Miller, the film’s director, has also gathered accolades for not only bringing Marvel’s “Merc with a Mouth” to the big screen, but also for not pulling the punches (um… sorry) and bringing an R-rated superhero movie to the screen. What I did not know, until earlier today, was that Miller directed a short film featuring the Justice League that attracted the attention of the-powers-that-be at Fox and put him on their radar as a candidate to helm Deadpool.

DCUO-Wallpaper

What was the short film?

This:

That’s right. Miller, during his tenure at Blur Studios, directed the promo trailer/intro cinematic for DC Universe Online, a long-time favorite game of mine.

The Hand of Nefer-Tem in Metropolis

The Hand of Nefer-Tem in Metropolis


 

The Hand of Nefer-Tem in Gotham City

The Hand of Nefer-Tem in Gotham City

For more information on how the Justice League helped Miller get the Deadpool job, check out this article on Comics Alliance.

Faster than a speeding… waitaminute!

news, television No Comments

Wednesday – 03 February 2016
First there was Arrow.

arrow_poster

With this, they gave viewers (and DC Comics fans) a plethora of heroes and villains on the small screen.

Then, they expanded the “Arrowverse” to include The Flash. With this we got even more heroes and villains. (Let’s be honest: I never expected to see Firestorm on TV in anything than an animated form.)

The_Flash_promo_poster

This year, DC’s trenchcoat-wearing occult detective – and con man – John Constantine was officially brought into the Arrowverse.

CONSTANTINE -- Pictured: "Constantine" Key Art -- (Photo by: NBCUniversal)

(Photo by: NBCUniversal)

The powers-that-be even put together a supergroup: Legends of Tomorrow.

legends

As if all of that wasn’t enough, today it was announced that there will be a Flash/Supergirl crossover.

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Yep, that’s right: Supergirl – and I’d take it, by association, Superman (as he’s appeared a couple of times on the show) – is officially part of the Arrowverse.

Supergirl_poster

Congratulations and well done CW and CBS for creating a cohesive, cross-network television universe!

“Yes, Commissioner…?!”

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Wednesday – 23 July 2014 It’s Batman Day.

Batman75

(c) DC Comics

In celebration of Batman’s 75th anniversary, DC Entertainment is partnering with thousands of comic book retailers and bookstores across the nation to celebrate “Batman Day” on Wednesday, July 23. As part of the festivities, fans who visit participating retailers receive a free, special edition of DETECTIVE COMICS #27, featuring a reimagining of Batman’s 1939 comic book debut, designed by Chip Kidd with a script by The New York Times #1 bestselling author Brad Meltzer.

In addition to the comic book, DC Entertainment is providing retailers access to an assortment of other collectibles to help in the celebration of “Batman Day” including a Batman 75thanniversary cape, bookmarks featuring essential Batman graphic novels and four Batman masks designed by comic book artist Ryan Sook spotlighting a variety of the character’s iconic looks from his 75-year history.

For more information, click here.

Passing the torch…

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Monday – 21 July 2014
Last week, after announcing that “Thor == woman,” Marvel dropped another bombshell: Sam Wilson, known in the Marvel Universe as costumed adventurer The Falcon, would be the next Captain America.

Sam Wilson as Captain America (© Marvel Comics)

Falcon and Cap have been allies and partners for many years, so it’s not completely unheard of… you know, other than the whole “Black Captain America” thing.

Wait? What’s that? You say that there was another Captain America who was Black…?! He must have been a bad mother… Shut yo’ mouth!

The Captains America (Isaiah Bradley and Steve Rogers) and Patriot (Elijah Bradley)

I’m just talking ’bout Cap.
We can dig it.

In a recent interview, Marvel Senior Vice President of Publishing, Tom Brevoort, discussed the upcoming changes and how Sam Wilson will not be the same kind of Captain America that Steve Rogers was.

So now, after the recent adventure with the Iron Nail in Captain America in which the Super-Soldier Serum that’s kept Steve young and virile for so long is now neutralized, shut down and sucked out, Steve has now been restored to sort of the state he would naturally be in had he lived on all those years. The reality is that now he’s got to pass that mantle onto someone else. While he still as mentally acute and just as sharp and battle savvy as he ever was, he’s no longer physically in the condition where he can live up to the demands and duties of being Captain America. That being the case, the person he decides to pass the mantle onto – which, in previous occasions Steve didn’t get to decide – is Sam Wilson, the Falcon.

I think it’s something of a no-brainer of a decision on his part; Steve and Sam go back many years at this point. They’ve fought shoulder to shoulder, and are true comrades and brothers in arms as only guys who have gone out so often and risked their lives and shared dangerous moments can have. Steve realizes that Sam might not have the same approach in every situation, but he is honest, trustworthy, valiant, loyal and worthy to carry the shield and take on the name and position of being Captain America.

Truthfully, I am intrigued by the idea of making Sam the new Cap, but I find myself more looking forward to juxtaposing Sam’s style against that of Bucky (The Winter Soldier) Barnes’ tenure as Captain America, rather than that of Steve Rogers’ time as Cap. It will also be interesting to see how Bucky reacts to the news that Sam will be the new Cap, as Bucky is now dead. (Secret spy dead, anyway.)

I also remembered something I’d read in another article while reading this interview: Apparently, Steve will be acting as Sam’s “silent partner,” assisting in missions from a distance. This reminded me of Bruce Wayne’s roll in relation to Terry McGinnis on Batman Beyond. But, maybe it’s just me. (Maybe it’s Maybelline.)

There appear to be many changes afoot at Marvel. We can only hope that they will use these changes to introduce some fresh concepts – and lasting ramifications, if not permanent changes – into the House of Ideas.

Thor… and the Internet

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Wednesday – 16 July 2014
Yesterday, Marvel made waves on the Internet by announcing that Thor would be a woman.

Thor.

Thor.

Naturally, the Internet went full-blown, bat-shit crazy. One article that I found to be particularly amusing asked “What does this mean for Chris Hemsworth?” Let’s be honest: It doesn’t mean a damn thing. Do people seriously think that Disney/Marvel is going to go that far afield with one of their biggest properties? I think not.

On the issue/non-issue of Thor’s change in status quo, my brother-in-law, John, and I had this conversation:

John: ok, my FB feed is exploding with bitching that the new Thor will be a woman (or something to that effect…). I *think* I saw you either commented or posted a link showing that this was already in the comic/legend storyline. Am I imagining this?
Rob: Nope, you’re not.
Rob: It’s happened before.
Rob: Not so much “Thor as a woman,” but he has been a frog.
Rob: And he has been replaced by at least two other people
Rob: My take on this is people are getting their panties twisted over semantics.
Rob: My thought: Thor Odinson will be deemed no longer worthy to bear Mjolnir.
Rob: Someone else will be given the power of Thor.
Rob: That “someone” will be a woman.
Rob: .eof
John: Feh. I’m amazed at the things over which people freak out

John: HOLY SHIT A FICTIONAL CHARACTER IS DOING SOMETHING DIFFERENT FICTIONALLY
Rob: Wait. You’re surprised by geek/nerd responses on the Interwebs!?
John: No, but I am slightly surprised by the vitriol
John: Sometimes the misogyny shocks me a bit
John: I blame Obama.
This is just another in a long list of reasons why I love and appreciate John.
But, as he correctly pointed out: Fictional character. In a fictional story. Based (loosely) on mythology.
On the flip side, some people are seeing this as part of Marvel’s way to bring in more female readers.  “See!? More female characters! Not only that, we made one of our big guns female! Isn’t that awesome?!” I understand wanting to: A) Increase readership and B) appeal to different demographics, but if “simply” making Thor a woman is one of their ways of achieving that, it just comes off as pandering.
Why not point them, instead, to some of their titles with female leads:
  • Captain Marvel (1, 2),
  • Ms. Marvel (1, 2), and
  • She-Hulk (1, 2), for example.

All of these books are early in their runs, which makes it easy for new readers to get in on the ground floor, so to speak. And, to be honest, they are great books

This has been a long-winded way of saying: “Don’t believe everything you read” and “Hey, Marvel, if you want more readers – and more female readers, to boot – why not introduce people to some of the great female characters already in your stable and/or create new ones who aren’t caricatures, but are fully-developed characters?”
And that’s my 2¢ worth.

A Few Articles About Women in Comics and Fandom

comics, conventions, news 3 Comments

28 April 2014
There have been some excellent articles about women in comics/fandom over the past couple of weeks. Below are some of the items that I’ve come across. There’s a link to each article, followed by a brief excerpt. Check them out.

Comics Alliance: Ask Chris #193 – Let’s Pitch a Wonder Woman Movie
Q: I am sick of hearing that a Wonder Woman movie is too hard. I know how I would do it, but what’s your pitch for a Wonder Woman film? — @Bibphile78

A: A few weeks ago, I probably would’ve backed off of this question, for two simple reasons. The first is that I was pretty sure my specific tastes don’t really match up with what goes into a big-budget Hollywood film, but that was before we knew Marvel was spending a ton of money on a live-action arena show involving dirtbikes and skateboard tricks, and that they’d cast someone who once played Velma in a Scooby-Doo movie to play Aja in a big-budget Jem and the Holograms picture. At this point? I’m pretty sure I’ve somehow ended up being the target market for mass media, and believe me, I’m as surprised about that as you are. So what the hell, let’s pitch a Wonder Woman movie.

The Mary Sue: Greg Rucka Has Something Important to Say About Your Gatekeeping of Women in Geek Culture
[Editor’s Note: With creator Greg Rucka’s permission, we’re republishing a piece he wrote on his personal blog in its entirety. Some strong language to follow from a husband and father who’s fed up. The topic of conversation? The above t-shirt design spotted at WonderCon this past weekend.]

I rarely use this to just blog. I’m going to just blog now, so you can all just ignore this if it’s not to your liking.

Warning. Contents under pressure.  

The Daily Dot: Every Review of Black Widow in ‘Captain America’ Is Wrong
As a pop culture fan, you get used to the fact that mainstream critics are rarely going to share your glowing adoration of trashy entertainment. Justin Bieber albums may sell like hotcakes, but that’s not because they get good reviews.

For me, it’s superhero movies. The genre may have come a long way over the past decade or so, but most film critics are still less than thrilled to evaluate the latest installment of Wolverine Punches the Bad Guy. Luckily, it’s no skin off my back if some middle-aged dude at the New York Times can’t tell the difference between Quicksilver and The Flash.

The divide between fans and critics only becomes a problem when I notice professional reviewers making judgments based on their own preconceptions, rather than what actually took place onscreen. There is no better example of this than the ongoing coverage of Scarlett Johansson’s role as Black Widow in The Avengers franchise. Regardless of what ScarJo says, does, or wears while playing this character, countless well-respected film critics continue to mistake her for a vacuous 1960s Bond Girl.

Comics Alliance: Lady She-Woman: Female Superhero Codenames and Identity
Monica Rambeau is on her fourth superhero codename. In the pages of Mighty Avengers she’s Spectrum, having previously gone by Captain Marvel, Photon and Pulsar. The Captain Marvel identity now belongs to Carol Danvers, also on her fourth codename after Ms. Marvel, Binary and Warbird. Her first codename now belongs to Kamala Khan, the fourth Ms. Marvel after Danvers, Sharon Ventura and Karla Sofen.

But Carol is actually the third woman (and seventh character) to call herself Captain Marvel in the Marvel Universe. The second woman was Phyla-Vell, who was the fourth Captain Marvel after she was the second Quasar, before she was the first Martyr, before she saved herself the trouble of another codename by dying. Oh, those women! They never know who they are!

I’m being facetious, of course. These characters don’t choose their identities; they’re given them by writers and editors. If there’s a problem here, it’s not the women, but how they’re treated.

 

 

Superman and the Clan of the Fiery Cross

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Wednesday – 16 April 2014
Four-Color Coverage is back. Finally.

Sara!, of SaraVictorious, sent me a link to an article from Dangerous Minds titled “How Superman Singlehandedly Thwarted the Ku Klux Klan.”

Superman

I’m pretty much a life-long Superman fan; needless to say, I was intrigued.  He might not be my #1 favorite, but he is on the list. In his seventy-five-plus year career, Superman has taken on many threats, but I can’t recall having heard him take on a group like the Klan before. I read the article, thinking that it was simply a comic story that I had somehow missed… and discovered that the storyline was an account of one man’s actual undercover investigation – and exposé – of the Klan and how it became part of the Superman radio program of the mid-1940s.

Click here to read the article.

Salt Lake Comic Con: The Recap

comics, conventions, news, reviews No Comments

Tuesday – 10 September 2013
This past weekend, Salt Lake City hosted its first Comic Con, the aptly named Salt Lake Comic Con:

saturday-only3

The event was originally scheduled to take place at the South Towne Exposition Center in Sandy, Utah. When the organizers realized that tickets for the event were selling faster than they anticipated, they expanded to another hall in the Expo Center. When sales continued to exceed expectations, the venue changed from Sandy to the Salt Palace Convention Center in downtown Salt Lake City. I haven’t seen official final numbers, but I have heard that over 70,000 tickets were sold for the event:

slcc-numbers

This places Salt Lake Comic Con in the top five cons of 2012-2013* in its inaugural year.

After a good deal of deliberation, schedule planning and adjustment, I decided to attend the convention. It would be the first Comic Con – or any other non-train or car show, for that matter – that I attended. I went for two of the convention’s three days: Thursday and Friday.

Thursday, I left work early and spent a little more than three hours at Comic Con. The hall was full of attendees, guests and vendors, all of whom were there to share in their common love of comics, science fiction and… just plain fun. The crowds weren’t bad Thursday evening. There were a lot of people in costume, which is to be expected at a convention catering to a comic-centric crowd. This young lady was quite possibly my favorite cosplayer of the day:

IMG_1208

She was passing by in a wheelchair, when I noticed her. I asked her if she’d mind if I took a picture of her and her costume. She gave a quick look at her father, who was pushing her chair. He gave her a smiling nod of approval. She gave a quick smile, stood up and posed… sans smile, just as you’d expect from Raven, especially from the Teen Titans and/or Teen Titans Go! cartoons.

After talking with the guys from Dr. Volt’s Comic Connection for a while, I walked around and looked at various exhibitors’ booths and displays, including a great The Hobbit-themed booth from WETA:

IMG_1212

Friday, I was only able to attend for a few hours, but I decided to go in costume, in my Nick Fury outfit:

IMG_1239

Attending in costume was a slightly different experience than going in street clothes. I was approached by people – including a number of young children (or their parents, in the case of shy kids) – asking if they could take my picture. When I was trying to decide whether or not to go in costume, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about that. After the fact, I can say: It was actually quite a bit of fun, especially when I saw the kids’ faces light up when I said that I’d take a picture with them.  And let’s face it, when a trio of S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents and Captain America ask if they can get a picture with you, you say “Yes.”

IMG_1241

I wasn’t able to attend on Saturday, but heard about the chaos of the day from a few people. It seems that the bulk of the con attendees came on Saturday. This wasn’t surprising, as it was the only day that surprise guest Stan Lee was going to be at the Con. The number of people attempting to enter the convention center was so great that the Salt Lake Fire Marshall came and limited the number of people able to enter at one time. As people left, they had to get back into the growing line if they wished to get back in.

There were a few points of contention, from what I’ve learned. Most of the complaints seem to stem from a lack of communication and dissemination of information between staff members on Thursday. This led to some confusion about things like where panels were being held and who would be available for guest signings at what time. I also heard that the lines of communication were greatly improved on Friday and Saturday. I’d chalk most of the issues up to “first year growing pains.”

All told, I had a fun – though abbreviated – time at the first Salt Lake Comic Con. As my time was limited, I didn’t attend any panel discussions or stand in line for any autographs/photographs from the celebrity guests. With a bit more advance planning, perhaps I’ll do those things next year. From the attendee point of view, I thought that Salt Lake Comic Con was a good event. If the bumps and scrapes from this year are addressed and corrected for next year’s Comic Con, I expect that it will be even better.

The gallery of pictures I took can be seen here. I wasn’t able to get many pictures on Friday, due to both time constraints and being stopped by people wanting to take my picture. Hopefully, next year, I’ll be able to get more.

* – As of 08 September 2013

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