Tag Archives: Comic Books

The Return of Doctor Mysterio! It’s a Doctor Who Christmas Special.

[Promo Image from Wikipedia]

[Some Spoilers. Read at your own risk.]

Well hellllllllooooooooo, shippers! It has been a loooooooooooooong time! I’m serious. Like almost two years, maybe three! Has is really been that long? Wow! I’m sorry that I’ve been gone so long. You may not have noticed but if you did, I missed you too.

Okay, enough with the sentimental stuff.

Doctor Who has returned after a bit of a wait with another fantastic Christmas Special, something that has become somewhat of a Christmas tradition within the fandom. And possibly with some outside of the fandom. Hang the mistletoe, hang your stocking, leave out cookies and milk for Santa, and after unwrapping your presents and gorging yourself on your (hopefully) well-prepared holiday feast, you flip on the “telly” and feast your eyes on some new Doctor Who. And this year’s special is just as much of a classic as all the others before it, only this time it has a classic comic book superhero twist.

The story starts with one of our main characters, Grant, dreaming of when he was a young lad and first met The Doctor (Peter Capaldi). At first, Grant sort of confuses him with Santa Claus and even brings him milk and cookies. He soon learns that he’s not jolly old St. Nick; he’s The Doctor. Which Doctor? The Main one, the First one, all the others are just bandwagon jumpers. He’s also dubbed “Doctor Mysterio” by Grant. The Doctor explains to Grant that he is setting up an energy device that should help fix one of his recent goof-ups and it runs on the power from a special deep space gemstone, which he hands to the boy to hold. However, Grant has a cold and The Doctor handed him a glass of water before he gave him the gem, so he of course thought that it was medicine. That, ladies and gents is where our superhero story begins.

Check it out, guys! It’s Goku! [Dragonball Wiki]

You see, the gems grants wishes essentially and Grant is a young boy who loves superheroes, so obviously he gets super powers. First flight, then x-ray vision, and I’m sure speed and strength came along sometime throughout his adolescent years. Through flashbacks, we see he had a bit of a tough time through his adolescent years. Cut to modern day and our boy Grant (played by Dragonball Evolution‘s Justin Chatwin) lives a typically mundane life with a normal job (he’s a nanny) in New York City (typical superhero locale). The twist is he works as the nanny for Lucy (played by Charity Wakefield), the girl that he’s been in love with for 24 years who happens to be a hard-nosed reporter from The Daily Chronicle (a la Lois Lane). And just like Lois Lane, she can’t see through Grant’s glasses to realize that he is “The Ghost”, his superhero alter-ego. The same superhero that I’m sure she has been investigating since either he came on the scene or she started reporting. Typical comic book reporting – the truth to your greatest mystery is right in front of you and you can’t see it.

This story also has your standard aliens destroying major cities and trying to conquer the Earth storyline that you get with most superhero and Doctor Who storylines. It has nods to the original creators of Superman, Siegel and Shuster. At one point, The Ghost does the classic “Superman costume change spin” before leaping into action. The Doctor even has his own “secret identity.” There are some clever little classic comic book nods throughout the episode. I don’t want to spoil the whole thing for you by taking out all the fun of hunting for them. Hopefully you’re better at investigating than Lucy.

Glad to have you aboard, Nardole. [Wikipedia]

Something I noticed about this episode was that for a Christmas Special, it wasn’t very Christmas-y. There were small elements here and there, mostly in the first scene when The Doctor meets Grant on Christmas but other than that, the most Christmas-esque thing is the return of Nardole (played by Matt Lucas). He was River Song’s companion in the last Christmas Special, “The Husbands of River Song“, who had his head removed by River’s husband at the time, King Hydroflax. Side note: the brain-swapping aliens in this Christmas Special last appeared as servants of King Hydroflax in the last Christmas Special. One of their agents, Scratch, even stated that they represented “the Shoal of the Winter Harmony.” Hence the company name, “Harmony Shoal”. Anyway, The Doctor reattached Nardole’s head to his original body and brought him on as his companion, and by the looks of the trailer for Series 10, he might be around for a while. Which is a good thing because even though he may seem like a goofy lump of comic relief, he’s actually sharp enough to keep The Doctor in check.

The episode is definitely a must-watch, whether you’re a Doctor Who fan or a superhero fan or both. Five out of five stars. It also gives you a bit of a glimpse into how well The Doctor is doing after River’s death. It’s a nice little spin on the classic Superman story from back in the day, coming-of-age with super powers and whatnot. It also works to hold you over until the new season begins in April. At least I hope it will. It’s not much of a Christmas story but beggars can’t be choosers, and we all know we have been begging for new Who. Maybe that’s what makes it a Christmas story – we haven’t had any new Doctor Who in a year and won’t have anymore for four more months, so this is Moffat’s gift to us for waiting so patiently, albeit without any choice but to wait.

Thanks, Steven.

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MoS2 is to The Avengers, as GoBots are to Transformers

You could also say “Man of Steel 2 is to The Avengers, as Mega Bloks are to Legos.” Either way, it works. Now I shall explain what I mean.

The Avengers was well made, well assembled, and everyone wanted it, just like Transformers and Legos (I’m referring to the toys in this instance). From the moment Marvel started piecing their gigantic, kick-ass puzzle, all the pieces fell together so nicely and at no point did I worry about their casting choices. Even when Chris Evans went from being the Human Torch to Captain America, I thought it was a good choice. The whole damn thing just felt right. Not to mention, they started off on a damn good foot with Iron Man. From there, they built up to something absolutely spectacular, as they should have.

The same cannot be said for DC and whatever it is they’re doing with Man of Steel 2 (aka the Batman vs Superman movie). To me, the only solid casting choice they’ve made so far is Henry Cavill as Clark Kent/Superman. Actually, their casting choices for characters in the first film was actually pretty damn solid, my favorite being Michael Shannon as General Zod. However, casting for the sequel has left me question the mental stability at Warner Bros.

The new Batman. How ya like dem apples?

The new Batman. How ya like dem apples?

First, there’s Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman. I have not been a fan of this decision from the very beginning… but I’m willing to give him a chance. He’s shown in recent years that he has matured as an actor and is an excellent writer and director. But does he have what it takes to be Batman? I’m still very iffy about that. He could be awesome and rank up there with Keaton and Bale or he could suck like Clooney did and be forever shunned. I have a strong feeling that he’s not taking this task lightly and he’s really going to dedicate himself to the role. As a Batman fan himself, I believe he knows this is not a role one can just phone in. The fanatics will eat him alive. My doubts will remain until the film is released, so I guess only time will tell if this was a good choice or not.

Next is Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. Honestly, I really know nothing of the woman, other than what I’ve read since she was cast. A model/actress who’s big break came from the recent Fast and Furious films. Doesn’t really give much assurance. I mean, it’s not like I’m really in an uproar about this one. I was never a huge Wonder Woman fan anyway. She may surprise the hell outta all of us and be the best damn WW they could’ve cast. She might also be completely awful and end up making Warner Bros regret not casting someone else. But still, don’t care too much on this one.

I just don't see it.

I just don’t see it.

This most recent bit of casting really boggles my mind: Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor and Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth. What the actual eff?! I don’t see it, I just don’t. When Eisenberg was cast, the must have misheard the request for Heisenberg (Bryan Cranston) and cast Jesse instead. That’s the only thing I can figure. I’ve come to terms with the notion of Bryan Cranston being Lex Luthor but I don’t think I’ll ever come to terms with Jesse Eisenberg in the role. There is nothing about him that makes me think he can play the character well. Nothing about the way he looks or acts or anything. He’s gonna need to pull a serious hat trick for this one. For me, he’d be better suited to play the character of Lenny from Superman 4, if they decided to bring him back.

And as for Jeremy Irons, I’ve always seen him as more suited for the villain role. He’s played heroes before but he makes a much better villain. I mean, have you seen Die Hard with a Vengeance?! He’s better suited for Alfred than Eisenberg is for Luthor but I would’ve cast him as Mr. Freeze or Ra’s al Ghul before I cast him as Alfred. He would make an incredible Mr. Freeze, without a doubt. I could even see him as The Riddler. But I guess, his casting is a bit more palatable than Jesse’s.

Like I said before, my doubts will remain until the film is released before I make my final judgement but it would be nice to have the confidence in this film like I did with The Avengers.

One last thought: I want Stephen Amell’s Green Arrow to be part of the DC Cinematic Universe. No one else should play the part. Back off, Justin Hartley.

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The Doctor’s New Threads, When Loki Was Almost Thor, and Uwe Boll is STILL Getting Work

 

 

1. BBC finally revealed Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor costume….And it’s pretty freakin’ snazzy! It’s a modern take on a retro style that gives Capaldi’s Doctor just an extra touch of class.  A dark blue Crombie coat with red lining, a white shirt with absolutely no tie, dark blue trousers, and black Dr Martens shoes. The look was created by Doctor Who costume designer Howard Burden. Still no image of his Sonic screwdriver has been revealed, nor any image of him using one. Hopefully he’s not going “sans Screwdriver” for his run as the Doctor.

Lookin' sharp, Doc. (image property of BBC)

Lookin’ sharp, Doc. (image property of BBC)

2. Have you seen the gifs of Tom Hiddleston as Thor? Apparently, before he became the Loki that we all know and love, he auditioned for the role of the god of thunder himself, Thor. Although, he looks more like Bodhi from Point Break. The test footage will be one of the extras on the DVD and Blu-ray release of Thor: The Dark World when it releases on Feb. 25th. Also, there’s some footage dressed as Captain America. It’s like he wants to play all of the Avengers or something.

Thor, God of Thunder. And gnarly waves. (image property of Marvel)

Thor, God of Thunder. And gnarly waves. (image property of Marvel)

3. Remember the ghastly film adaptations of the video games BloodRayne, Dungeon Siege, Far Cry, Postal, Alone in the Dark, and House of the Dead that Uwe Boll made? And remember the petition that was started to convince him to stop making films like the aforementioned ones? Well the petition didn’t work (there weren’t enough signatures and the douchebag wouldn’t have honored it anyway) and Boll is still making crappy adaptations.

During one of my internet searches for movies soon to be released, I discovered that a third Dungeon Siege film is set to release next month (In the Name of the King 3) and Boll was at the helm for it. Dammit. Why is this guy still getting work?! Who is funding this schmuck?! Has no one seen any of his previous work?! I just don’t get it. I’ve only seen one film that this guy has done that I actually like (Rampage) and the rest is garbage. Everything he does goes straight to DVD now, so that has to be how he’s squeaking by unnoticed. Thankfully, no major studio has thought, “Ya know, this guy has got some talent. We should hire him.” There would be riots. Large scale riots with fire and explosions and such, followed by the jackass that hired him being forced to commit seppuku.

Anyway, here’s the trailer for Rampage. It’s also getting a sequel but I’m a little unsure about watching it. Lightning doesn’t strike twice, if ya know what I mean.

[Header image property of BBC]

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Superheroes and the Small Screen

With Marvel and Netflix inking a deal to bring “Marvel’s Flawed Heroes of Hell’s Kitchen” to the small screen (Netflix being an internet version of television), there is the potential for even more heroes to follow the same path.

"The Man Without Fear"  [image property of Marvel Comics]

“The Man Without Fear”
[image property of Marvel Comics]

After regaining the rights to Punisher, Ghost Rider, Daredevil, and Blade, fans have been wondering what plans Marvel had for their darker properties. Now we (sort of) have an answer. Starting in 2015, Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Jessica Jones will each have their own 13-episode runs on Netflix, culminating in a “The Defenders” mini-series. Depending on how successful this deal ends up being, it could open a lot of doors for other Marvel characters. And maybe even characters from other comic publishers.

For starters, an unrated Punisher series, made in the same vein of the Marvel MAX imprint, would be phenomenal. An unrelenting, bloody, violent, carnage-filled series showcase how truly badass the Punisher is, is exactly what Marvel needs. The same goes for Blade. It needs to be uncensored, violent and bloody. It’s a story about a half human/half vampire that hunts and kills other vampires. But it should definitely not star Kirk “Sticky Fingaz” Jones. I don’t think Wesley Snipes should reprise the role either. We need a fresh perspective for both Blade and The Punisher.

Marc Spector/Moon Knight [image property of Marvel Comics]

Marc Spector/Moon Knight
[image property of Marvel Comics]

From there they could venture into the realm of a character like Moon Knight. He’s essentially Marvel’s version of Batman but with a few differences. He believes he’s the avatar for the Egyptian god of vengeance, so he might be just a tad bit crazy. Where Batman fights crime to avenge the murder of his parents, Moon Knight will kick the crap out of anyone he thinks deserves a butt-kicking because it makes him feel better about all the people he killed as a mercenary. He’s rich and uses gadgets like Batman, but he fights with a different code of ethics, so that could make for some interesting story arcs. After that they could even branch out to Cloak and Dagger, Black Panther, or Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier.

Other comic publishers could take notes from this and bring characters from Hellblazer, The Sandman, B.P.R.D., Preacher, 100 Bullets, Y the Last Man, and so on to life. DC Comics might have some success with this venture, even though they’ve had some recent success with Arrow and possibly even more success with a Flash spin-off, they still had shows for Aquaman and Wonder Woman that never made it past their pilot episodes. This might be the perfect way to set up their Justice League movie. Characters like Aquaman, The Flash, Green Arrow, Wonder Woman, Hawkman, Green Lantern, and Martian Manhunter might not have what it takes to hold their own on the big screen like Batman (and to a lesser extent, Superman) but they would probably do very well (if written, acted, and directed properly) on the small screen. They shouldn’t be discourage by their previous failures, but be encouraged by the success of Smallville and Arrow.

The big screen has been good for Marvel, and I think the small screen will too. They have been able to dominate the competition quite easily and, from the looks of things, will continue to do so. But in order to stay in the game, the other comic book companies need to step up their game and start trying to make things happen in new outlets. Netflix, HULU Plus, iTunes, Amazon Video…something. The fans want to see their favorite characters brought to life, as long as it’s done well. A season or more of one-hour episodes gives you more time to fully develop a characters story than a few two-hour films would.  A leap to the small screen could be just the way to give them what they want.

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Man of Steel 2: Batman, Superman, & the Who and What I Want to See

Over the past few weeks, after DC/WB’s announcement of the MOS sequel, I’ve been thinking about who I would like to see in the film (characters and cast) and what should happen.

I’ve been wondering a lot about how this story is going to go. Are Bats and Supes going to be friends or enemies or enemies then friends once they realize they have a common goal? Who will the villain or villains be? Where will it take place? Metropolis or Gotham City or both? And this film is supposed to be a lead-in to the Justice League film, so will there be any guest appearances or clever references to other DC characters or places in the DC Universe?  There has also been talks of crossing the DC television universe into the cinematic universe, so is there a chance of “The Hood” making an appearance?

The World's Finest playing nice? (image source: WB & DC)

The World’s Finest playing nice? (image source: WB & DC)

First, for the story, I think they should do a combination of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns and the animated feature The Batman Superman Movie: World’s Finest. The Joker (or The Riddler) shows up in Metropolis wreaking havoc, teams up with Lex Luthor for some sinister plot, and Superman has to ask Batman for help since he’s dealt with The Joker before and somewhat knows how he works. When Supes shows up in Gotham, Batman isn’t pleased after seeing the destruction he caused in Metropolis some time back, so at first they’re at odds. There’s a big epic fight but then they realize that they should be working together to thwart a greater threat, so they team up. Which means the film will spend a small amount of time in Gotham but will mostly take place in Metropolis.

Obviously, that means the villains of the film will be Lex Luthor and The Joker, the heroes of course being Batman and Superman. Recasting the Joker after Heath Ledger’s phenomenal performance in The Dark Knight will be difficult and Lex Luthor is never an easy task. There’s also the highly-likely chance that Batman/Bruce Wayne will be recast. However, I thought I’d take a crack at it.

1 – All recurring characters from Man of Steel should be played by the same actors because that was perfect casting.

A perfect choice, I think. (image created by Javier de Mairena)

A perfect choice, I think. (image created by Javier de Mairena)

2 – Batman/Bruce Wayne: Josh Brolin. He’s an incredible actor with great range, he can handle the physicality of the role, and he has the look. Strong jawline, gruff-looking, older, that’s what WB is looking for with this recast. Now I would love to have Christian Bale back, but on the chance that he doesn’t come back, Brolin is my top choice to put on the cowl.

3 – Lex Luthor: Billy Zane. I know many people don’t think much of Mr. Zane, but I find him to be an exceptional actor. He can play smart and sophisticated, as well as cold, calculated, and maniacal. Not to mention, he can pull off the bald look nicely.

4.1 – The Joker: Adrian Brody, Crispin Glover, Damian Lewis, or Robert Carlyle. One of these four actors would make a superb Joker. It’d be difficult for them to top Ledger’s performance but I’m positive they would give it their best, knowing that they have big shoes to fill. Honestly, Crispin Glover has always been a top choice for me but I believe Damian Lewis might actually be a better choice.

Tennant's Riddler.

Tennant’s Riddler.

4.2 – The Riddler: David Tennant or Matthew Gray Gubler. I’m partial to Tennant because he’s my favorite Doctor, a brilliant actor, and can play the conniving genius quite well. Gubler is also an incredible actor and would do well in the part but Tennant is my first choice.

5 – Commissioner Jim Gordon: Gary Oldman. If they bring Gordon into the film, there is no other actor that should play him than Oldman.

As for crossovers and references, I don’t think any crossovers should take place other than Bats and Supes, of course. It would be nice to see Stephen Amell make an appearance as Oliver Queen at least, but not “The Hood” (of course by the time this film is being made, they may actually be referring to him as “Arrow” or “Green Arrow” though). But WB could get by with just making references to other heroes and their respective cities without actually including them in the film. They don’t wanna blunder and pull a Spiderman 3 move and have too many characters in one film. Just stick with the two heavy-hitters and their main arches and don’t overdo it. I’d also like to make a point that Robin should not be involved in this film at all, neither the comic book character or Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character from The Dark Knight Rises.

The way I see it, this film could be the perfect stepping stone for DC/WB to lead them into the Justice League film and helping them to making the DC Cinematic Universe as successful as Marvel’s has become. On the other hand, this film could be a complete disaster and be a huge setback for DC/WB. Either way, I’m willing to give it a chance and see what happens.

Are you? What are your thoughts and predictions for Man of Steel 2?

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The Fate of the Justice League Movie

According to some online sources [here and here], the fate of the upcoming Justice League film (and by upcoming, I mean a few years from now) depends on the success of the new Superman film, Man of Steel. So any DC fans out there who have been eagerly anticipating a Justice League film to compete with Marvel’s The Avengers, whether you believe in a god or not, should probably start praying. Not to mention, plan on seeing Man of Steel whether it sucks or not.

Superman himself doesn't look too sure about the WB's decision.

Superman himself doesn’t look too sure about the WB’s decision.

Now as I’ve said before that I’m looking forward to the new Superman flick. I think it will be phenomenal. Excellent cast, director, producer, and Hans Zimmer. I’m gonna enjoy the hell out of it, but that’s just me. It’s gonna take a lot more than just me for this this to be successful enough to convince Warner Bros to greenlight a JLA film, as well as any other DC superhero films to follow (ahem…Aquaman!). And given the success of past Superman films, the JLA film’s fate seems a bit shaky. I don’t think there’s been a successful one since maybe Superman II. Even Smallville was a bit rocky at times. That whole season with “Doomsday” made me want the CW to cancel the series. So banking on Superman to save the day might be a longshot.

I haven’t really had much faith in a Justice League movie happening in a while anyway. The only successful character on the big screen has been Batman (obviously), no one else can touch him. Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns bombed, Green Lantern flopped, and no one can get a Flash movie going. Wonder Woman can’t even get a pilot on TV, let alone a movie. Green Arrow’s doing alright on the small screen, but the Oliver Queen/Super Max movie is pretty much canned. And Aquaman gets no respect whatsoever in any media, except for maybe the New 52. So yeah, I haven’t really had much hope or anything to give me any hope in a JLA film in a while. Plus, DC and Warner Bros seem to be scrambling to get this film made just because the Avengers and all the other Marvel films did so well and they wanna make money too.

Wait….didn’t Warner have the Harry Potter movies, The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies, and The Dark Knight Trilogy? Those were all done well and time was taken with each of them, so why rush JLA? Geeks and nerds aren’t going anywhere and superheroes aren’t a passing fad. They’ll be around. But if you piss them off by making their heroes look like crap, they won’t be as dedicated and won’t be as will to fork over their money. Think about that.

Could/should JGL be the right Batman for the JLA movie?

Could/should JGL be the right Batman for the JLA movie?

Take the time and build the back-stories on some of the characters that people don’t know as much about. You’ve done enough with Batman for now, let him rest. You can’t have Bale, but you’ve got Joseph Gordon-Levitt and he’ll do pretty damn well, even though I really want him to be Nightwing or Batman Beyond. Fix Green Lantern – recast, let Ryan Reynolds be Deadpool and find someone else. Give Aquaman and Flash their due and find someone that can make Green Arrow, Wonder Woman, and Martian Manhunter work on the big screen. Honestly, I’d save Wonder Woman and Martian Manhunter’s films for after the JLA movie.

Again, I have faith that Man of Steel will be huge. Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan have never let me down, and I’m really hoping for a super-sweet Superman/General Zod fight. I’m sure they’ll deliver it. But banking everything on a Superman film is like shooting fish in a barrel. Batman did do well because it’s easier for people to connect with Batman. Yes, he’s a millionaire, but underneath it all, he’s still human. Superman just acts human. Deep down, he’s essentially a god and people have a tough time connecting with that…unless you’re egotistical like Kanye West.

I may have said the majority of this before, but it needs to be reiterated as Warner Bros gets closer to making the final decision. Pull your heads from your collective asses and things properly. It’ll pay off more in the end.

But anyway, here’s the Man of Steel trailer. You should go see it. Not to up the chances of JLA being made but because it looks frickin’ awesome!

 

[featured image source: Alex Ross]

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Is Marvel Trying to “Shock” Their Fans?

I made a pun. Did you get it? If not, you will. Read on.

It was recently announced that Oscar winner Jamie Foxx will be playing the role of the villain Electro (get the pun now?) in the as-yet-untitled sequel to The Amazing Spiderman . To some folks, like myself, this is great news. I think Jamie Foxx is an incredible actor, and I would like to see him play more villainous roles. But, just like with the first (and I’m sure the second) Thor film, there are sure to be people in an uproar over this casting decision.

If you remember back a couple years, there were some so-called fans that were enraged by Idris Elba being cast as Heimdall in Thor. Some were upset because they felt that Marvel wasn’t staying true to the source material. Others were upset because it was a black man playing the role of a character that, in their opinion, should be played by a white man. Because heaven forbid that happen! [sarcasm]

It’s one thing to piss off a regular ol’ run-of-the-mill fanboy, but to piss off a racist fanboy… Oh no noes!

Pffffft! Who cares?

It shouldn’t matter the color of the actor’s skin and matter only the quality of the actor’s performance. (You can quote me!) And Idris Elba is a superb actor. Have you seen him in Thor, The Losers, Luther, or really anything he’s been in? He even made the Ghost Rider sequel seem like a quality film.

Now, that’s talent.

Jamie Foxx is no exception. I can’t think of role that he was awful in, and he’s one of the reasons I’m looking forward to Django Unchained. I can’t wait to see what he’s does with a Tarantino-created role, and now I have his portrayal of Electro to look forward to. Not because he’s a black man playing a character who is white in the comics and that’s gonna “shake things up,” but because he’s a great actor, and he’ll do great things.

Just like in every other aspect of life, race shouldn’t play any part in the casting of this film. If the casting director is worried more about making sure the actor’s skin match the character’s than his ability to act, there’s a problem.

There are certain situations where worrying about an actor’s race makes sense, like if the film is a historical piece that deals with slavery or a biopic about an Asian dictator or something of that nature. But, this is comic book film with some room to experiment with the source material. As long as the story is well-written, the acting is top notch, and the effects and stunts look wicked, why get all butt-hurt if one of the character’s race (or gender, for that matter) gets changed?

Grow up!

Some people might say that fanboys will be fanboys, and there’s no pleasing them. But, like I said, these aren’t the typical fanboys. If you’re gonna be a racist douchebag, you have no right to call yourself a fan, a geek, a nerd, a fanboy/fangirl, or a human. You’re an idiot!

Let actors play their roles and  enjoy the performance if their acting was good, or dislike it if their acting was bad. That’s it. Don’t judge based on race; judge based on ability.

Otherwise, keep your mouth shut and fall off the face of the Earth. Stop ruining movies (and life) for everyone else.

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Comic Book Movies: Marvel’s Future Looks Bright, DC’s Looks Dim

Pardon me whilst I rant for a moment.

So what does DC have now that Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy is done? Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel? A Justice League movie? That seems to be about it. What does Marvel have? Sequels to Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Avengers, plus a Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Advantage: Marvel.

Even though I’m hopeful for the new Superman film (due to Snyder directing, Nolan producing, and the amazing cast it has), I’m still quite fearful for DC. Their Wonder Woman show didn’t even make it off the ground, their Flash movie is constantly stuck in limbo, and Green Arrow: Escape from Super Max is never going to happen. And let’s not forget the bomb that was Green Lantern. Yeah, they’re not exactly knocking ’em outta the park. They have plans for Hawkman and Aquaman movies, and there are even rumors that they may even reboot Batman AGAIN, but they probably won’t happen until the Justice League movie gets released, which may or may not ever happen. Other than Man of Steel, the only thing they really have going for them is Arrow on the CW, and honestly that’s only there to fill the void that Smallville left when it ended its 10-season run. Not that I think it will or anything.

DC has really got to step-up their game in order to catch up with Marvel. Now, I know that Nolan’s Batman trilogy has made billions of dollars, and those movies are pretty much three of the greatest comic book adaptations ever made, but seriously, that’s only one character. Marvel is having major success with multiple characters. The Avengers (in solo and joint films) are kicking ass and taking names in the box office and there’s only more success to come. As I mentioned, all the sequels, as well as an Ant-Man film, and a Daredevil reboot should be in the works sometime soon thanks to film rights reverting back to Marvel from FOX. There’s even a new Hulk television series in the works, as well as AKA Jessica Jones, Mockingbird, Cloak and Dagger, and The Punisher. Advantage: Marvel.

I know some of you reading this are gonna say, “Well Marvel has made some crappy films! Ever heard of Ghost Rider?” Yes I have. But Ghost Rider, as well as its sequel, came from FOX. As did X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men: Wolverine Origins. Spider-man 3 came from Sony and I believe Blade: The Series came from New Line. See what I’m saying here. Marvel Studios makes the good stuff, that’s who I’m talking about. The actual crap-tastic films have come from other studios. Once Marvel decided to go into the film production business for themselves, things got better. And it didn’t hurt that they were bought by Disney and now have their backing. But I’m not saying DC should step away from Warner Bros. and start producing their own stuff, although it is an idea.

What I’m saying (and I realize that I haven’t actually pointed this out yet) is that DC needs to stop trying to do things the Marvel way. They don’t need to make a Justice League film right now, they just need to make better movies. Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises were all steps in the right direction. Man of Steel might be as well. And a few solid steps are all you need to get off and running, but don’t rush and trip up. Start working with better directors and writers, cast your characters properly, keep things smart and realistic (or as realistic as you possibly can),  and stay true to the comics (solid stories have already been written, you just have to look for them). This is all DC has to do and [most] fans will be happy. [Editor’s note: Die-hard fans can never be pleased. NEVER.] Get to work on The Flash, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman movies. Don’t worry about rebooting Batman for a long time. And if Christian Bale won’t play him in the Justice League movie, get someone else who will do him justice [pun intended]. But don’t worry about his backstory, I think by now we’ve got that part figured out.

I mean c’mon, who wouldn’t want to see a movie about these two? [image property: DC Comics]

Stop worrying about quantity and start worrying about quality, DC. Once you do that, the money will just roll in. Sure Marvel has a good lead on you, but that’ll happen when your only opposition is sitting with their heads up their butts, waiting for a miracle to happen. Well your miracle happened, his name is Christopher Nolan. Follow his example, make better comic book movies, and stop screwing around.

And would it kill you to make a Booster Gold/Blue Beetle flick?

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The Best Time to be a Dork

I’m pushing 30, and I can’t think of a better time than now to be a geek, a nerd, a dork, or whatever you want to call it.

Seriously, right now, the dorks are winning.

NERDS!!!

I remember a time, around 15 years ago, where I couldn’t really proclaim my love for Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: The Gathering, or comic books. Of course, I went to a Christian school where things like that (magic, wizards, etc.) were frowned upon. I actually got in trouble once for having the manual to Civilization II in my backpack.

But really, I only had a couple of friends that would admit that they were into geeky things.

Fast forward to today.

Batman and a collection of Marvel superheroes are sitting at the top of the box office.  The San Diego Comic Convention is bigger than ever. Gen Con drew in over 41,000 people. You can’t go out without seeing someone wearing a Spider-Man t-shirt. Comic book characters on are TV. Major networks are taking chances of fantasy and sci-fi shows. Game of Thrones is one of the best shows on TV. Doctor Who is back and more popular than ever!

When I read a comic book in public, I RARELY get scoffed at. In fact, more often I get asked  if it is any good. People generally aren’t afraid to try roleplaying games. Video games are a booming medium. Everyone plays Call of Duty, Battlefield, Halo, or World of Warcraft.

This is a far cry from when I had to huddle in friends’ basements, rolling dice in the lonely, dreary shadows. Now, someone can put a good idea for a tabletop RPG on Kickstarter, and it can make 12 times its funding goal. There are so many cool geeky things out there, and there’s no way I have the disposable income to buy even a quarter of their awesome-ness. And that doesn’t even include the different geeky events around the country that I want to attend!

Viva la Dorka!

There are some even greater things that are coming out of this dork boom. People in general are getting more interested in science and math. Going to space is cool again. Comic book and video game art are inspiring younger  generations to create awesome things. Movie and video game music has never been better, and I bet you’ll see kids picking up instruments because of Halo, Skyrim, or Rock Band.

So, enjoy this geek boom while it lasts! It’s a good time to dork out.

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Comic Book Wednesday – Distribution

I’m going to generate some controversy today.

I was originally going to just publish a list of comic book releases, but I realized that other places did it better than I could, and I didn’t think a list would be very interesting.

So, instead, let’s have a discussion. You and me. You love comics. I love comics. Maybe you love them more. Maybe less. However, I think that you and I can both agree that the industry has problems. Some big, some small. Some require tweaks, some require a complete change in how the comics business is run.

Let me get this out of the way. I love comic shops. I LOVE THEM.

See that? I used capitals to show you how much I love them. However, I’m not convinced that they are entirely good for the industry.

When I was a kid (really, I’m not that old), comic books could be found in grocery stores, drugstores, and, sometimes, gas stations. Comics are a great impulse buy, but many people aren’t going to buy on impulse if the comics aren’t visible. If I saw comic books in the checkout lane at the grocery store, I would totally pick up one while I was buying milk. And I don’t think I’m the only one.

I don’t want comic shops to go away, but I want comics to expand into other stores. I really don’t think that it would hurt comic shops all that much. Although, it might make some of them work on customer service more…that might be a plus. I’ve been in some unfriendly comic stores (until you prove yourself as “one of them,” anyway).

Next problem: Diamond Comic Distributors. That name shakes every comic publisher to the core. The current business model is that the publishers write, pencil, ink, color, and print the comics, and Diamond is basically the only company that distributes comics. They have had exclusive rights with all major publishers since 1997.  The Justice Department investigated and concluded that Diamond has a monopoly on comic books, but (and here’s where it gets tricky) nothing could be done because the monopoly didn’t include books. See, Diamond is officially a book distributor, not a comics distributor. Bada-bing, bada-boom. The Justice Department couldn’t do anything.

Diamond is the Dr. Doom of comic books.

Diamond charges 60 percent of the cover price for their part in distributing comics. The retailers charge 25 percent to stock. This leaves the publisher with 15 percent of the cover price to pay its creative people and print costs. Do you wonder why comics are up to $4 now? Diamond is effectively driving the prices up. This also makes it nearly impossible for small start-up publishers to recoup their costs.

Unfortunately, I think the only thing that is going to break Diamond’s grip on the comics industry is digital distribution.

Seriously, though. Diamond’s logo looks like a LexCorp reject.

I love books; I love the feel, the smell, the turning of the pages. But, let’s face it, books are probably on the way out. E-readers are becoming too affordable, publishers don’t have to pay for printing and shipping costs, and it’s becoming more economically and environmentally sound. Comic publishers have already signed deals with Amazon and Barnes & Noble for exclusive rights on their tablet devices.

I really don’t think this is change that comic book shops deserve. I don’t want them to go away. Unfortunately, this might be the change that the comic industry needs.

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