A few weeks ago, a speech by the Marvel character Havok in UNCANNY AVENGERS stirred up a lot of animosity for it’s seemingly downplaying of cultural/ethnic pride in favor of homogeneity. The scene, written by Rick Remender, could be taken as a Havok wanting the general public to see mutants as humans first instead of some outside species, but he refers to the word “mutant’ as “the m-word,” drawing obvious comparisons to “the n-word” as a stand-in for “nigger.”
It started with Rick Remender’s UNCANNY AVENGERS #3. A clone of the Red Skull is using the power of Professor X to turn humans against mutants. As the Skull turned his power onto Thor to use the Thunder God’s Aryan features to inspire his new Reich, I realized that there were two other members of the Avengers with Aryan appeal: Havok and Captain America. Then remembered the rest of the team (Wolverine, Rogue, and Scarlet Witch) wouldn’t get kicked out of a country club either.
The Uncanny Avengers were all white, a dynamic not seen in an Avengers or X-Men comic since the 70’s.
The Fake Geek Girl, long suspected to exist but never seen, was photographed by an amateur cryptozoologist as the elusive Girl was leaving a Simon Helberg signing at Gold K Comics. Clad in what some witnesses believe was a Target Batman tee shirt and others a Wal-mart Avengers hoodie (though most agreed she had no idea when those were created), the mysterious community interloper allegedly gushed over Helberg’s show and how much she “appreciated it for making geek cool.” The Girl was said to have been “such a geek in school” and “really liked books and stuff.”
Max Rittlin, the cyrptozoologist who took the picture, did not speak to the Girl in question but had her pointed out to him by a friend who overheard other people talking about her. “I was like, “Yeah, right, no way she’s faking,” but my bro was all, “Man, she didn’t even know who Flash is.” So I took out my phone and copped the shot as fast as I could.”
Sharif Atwater, the manager at Gold K thinks the girl in the picture wasn’t the Fake Nerd Girl at all. “That looks like one of my regulars, but it’s too blurry. Anyway, everyone was having a good time. I don’t know why people are worried if she was really into comics.”
Whether the girl in the photograph was really the infamous Fake Nerd Girl can’t be 100% proven. But if she does exist, maybe she can answer the most important question her existence poses: How does her level of interest affect anyone else’s enjoyment?
Recently, DC released his image of Geoff Johns and David Finch’s JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA:
This is the U.S. government version of the Justice League, not to be confused with the U.N. version, Justice League International. The first thing that becomes one likely notices is that half of this team are non-powered weapon-wielding human beings. Also Catwoman can’t work a zipper. Brought together by some combination of individual need and/or blackmail, this is a team bought together to get results and represent America. Kind of like a parody of the Justice League written by the guy who writes JUSTICE LEAGUE which has become almost parody. Whoo, head rush.
Seeing this most uninteresting League has inspired Head Nerdcenary Herr to issue an assignment: put together a Justice League team.
Masks And Mobsters #2
Written by Joshua Williamson
Art by Mike Henderson
The second offering of Masks and Mobsters, the crime anthology series from Monkeybrain Inc. sees the return of Bobby Silver, the killer of Doctor Daylight in the first issue. Bobby has been laying low since every masked hero is searching for him when he runs into two old buddies, Tony and Marco. The pair are staking out jewelry store the mob extorts protection money from because someone has been on a robbery spree with the heroes preoccupied. The culprit: a robotic automaton.
Convention season is a showcase of fan creativity, of costumes often made from scratch to represent an individual’s favorite character or personal adaptation. Hundreds of men, women, and children parade around in colorful garb to not only display their skill but also their love of characters and cosplay. This year, however, one dedicated fan has made it his mission to not only show off his costume making skill but also to embody the spirit of the character he’s cosplaying. That fan is known as D-Piddy.
D-Piddy has been on the con circuit, making irrelevant videos of himself interacting with the multitudes of attendees. His Deadpool cosplay has been the highlight of this con season, his playful attitude downright infectious. Hitting Anime Expo in Los Angeles, Fanime in San Jose, Anime Manga Music (AM2) in Anaheim, and the grand daddy of them all, San Diego Comic Con, D-Piddy is truly the 2012 MVP of Cosplay and the most spot-on real life Deadpool we are ever likely to see.
First off, congratulations for pulling off a successful, both critically and commercially, trilogy. I wholeheartedly recommend Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies to everyone. Linked together, they are a masterpiece of storytelling that not many creators could pull off.
Which brings us to the point of this article, following up that work. You must be thinking about it. Marvel is raking up profits with not only their own studio but with their licensed properties as well. THE AVENGERS is the biggest movie of the year. Third of all time. And if any DC character can match that success, it’s Batman. Everyone loves Batman. How to start over though? Another dramatic take that could very well be hurt by people’s fondness for Nolan’s? A more “superhero” take to lead to a Justice League movie? All an out homage to Batman ’66? I’m suggesting the unconventional option. An Elseworlds movie.
Red Rain. Gotham By Gaslight. In Darkest Knight. All great stories that would make incredible movies. Batman’s origin can basically happen the same way in any time period without losing an ounce of resonance. With only a few frames of screentime and the public awareness of Batman his origin can be alluded to quickly and not obtrusively. Placing Batman in a different setting gives you a way to separate the new film from the trilogy. It’d be hard for someone to think about the Nolanverse while seeing Batman facing vampires or racing though cobblestone streets in a horse-drawn carriage. And the most important factor: you can do these movies almost concurrently. Why wait three, five years between movies when you can have a whole different cast and crew working on the next while the first is still being filmed?
What my suggestion boils down to is to not let convention dictate what your next step should be. You’ll get a lot of people saying “audiences will be confused” and “everyone is expecting blah blah,” but that’s the old way. There are three viable interpretations of Sherlock Holmes active on TV and in theaters. You have a character that can function on so many levels and you control every way it could be presented. Why not exploit it?
Let Batman fly.
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
- Director: Christopher Nolan
- Starring: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway
This is not a traditional review of The Dark Knight Rises. Bottom line: I loved this movie. I thought I would use this time to kind of focus on the why I thought it was brilliant.
Having scored three hits with The Vow, 21 Jump Street, and Magic Mike, Channing Tatum is riding an unforeseeable wave of success. His recent box office draw is the reason G.I Joe: Retaliation was pushed back a year so new scenes of Tatum could be added to the film. Tatum took the initiative to renegotiate for an extra stipulation to be added to his contract. The 32 year old has been given the opportunity to write and choreograph G.I. Joe: A Sexy American Hero, the first Broadway male exotic dancer revue based on a cartoon series based on a toy line.
Loosely based on the “Arise, Serpentor, Arise!” five-part episode of the 80’s G.I. Joe cartoon series, the most high profile male dancers will perform as either Joes or members of Cobra. Their dance routines will evoke the conflicts to prevent Cobra from acquiring the DNA necessary to create a superior warlord, Serpentor, who will be played by Tatum. He will also be playing the historical figures used to create Serpentor in the prologue of the revue.
Incidentally, Tatum had the idea for a G.I. Joe themed dance routine long before he was cast in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. “I’ve been working on this since before I started modeling. When the music [of the cartoon] would start up, and the red and blue lasers would start flying across the screen, I immediately thought, “I can twerk to this.””
Club favorite DJ Girl Talk is in talks to create the music for revue. “I wanted someone who could blend the rousing patriotism of the series with the hip shaking, heart thumping of the club. Girl Talk was the first to come to mind, but we may go with Idris Elba, since he’ll be playing Roadblock in the revue.”
A tentative date of June 12, 2013 has been set for opening night. Ten gallons of baby oil have been pre-ordered.
Directed by Marc Webb. Starring Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans
Up front, I should tell you I was prepared to dislike this movie. I’m a big fan of the Raimi movies, even though SPIDER-MAN 3 was mostly subpar. Going back to the origin story seemed like a waste of time. The dramatically reduced budget made it seem like this movie would be a rush job so Sony could keep the rights. After seeing the movie, I am impressed at what Webb was able to accomplish. The special effects are incredible. This Spider-Man moves more fluidly and dynamically than Raimi’s ever did. The cast didn’t just play their parts, they immersed themselves in them. As much as Denis Leary plays Denis Leary as.., his interaction as Captain Stacy with Stone and Garfield feels natural. Martin Sheen and Sally Field as Ben and May Parker act as if they have been together for years. Andrew Garfield for the most part is more of a Spider-Man that I’m familiar with. Having Spider-Man so jokey and irritating was like the best thing about this movie. And Emma Stone, oh Emma Stone. Her Gwen Stacy kind of blows Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane out of the water. Making her an intellectual equal (even if it’s just to set up the climactic final fight scene) and having her so heroic in her own right beats out being a damsel in distress for three movies.
Which brings us to one of my problems with this movie. Building up Gwen as this relentlessly compatible love interest is really weird when we all know what’s going to happen to her. When she is inevitably killed, are they going to make Mary Jane into a professional crime scene photographer who’s studying forensics? How do you follow up a character made to have so much in common with Spider-Man? But that’s a future instance problem, much like the credits scene. Spoiler alert: I have no idea who shadowy prison prowler is supposed to be. It can’t be Norman Osborn, the employer of Rhys Ifans’ Dr. Curt Connors, the geneticist who becomes the Lizard. Osborn is so close to death, he has to have an underling make veiled threats and allude to previous crimes. The special scene the end of IRON MAN worked because fans know who Nick Fury is and what his mentioning the Avengers Initiative was going to lead to. Shadow ghost Deep Throat? I got nothing. Speaking of the Lizard, maybe a scientist accidentally turning himself into a super-villain isn’t the best approach to rebooting a property when the best of the previous well-received movies were about exactly that. I know it’s a fairly common occurrence in comics, but there are many other Spider-Man villains who aren’t scientists that knew Peter from before they went insane.
One of my major gripes with this movie is how diluted Webb makes the importance of Ben Parker’s death. Ben is no longer Peter’s father figure, just his uncle who took him in. Ben doesn’t even get to have credit for teaching Peter that “with great power comes great responsibility.” Mainly becomes the line is nowhere in the movie (despite being a famous quote most non comics people don’t realize was created by Stan Lee when he wrote Spidey’s first appearance) and also because the reworked moral lesson is now Richard Parker’s life creed. Ben just relates it during an argument with Peter, minutes before he gets killed by a convenience store robber Peter doesn’t try to stop. Ben’s death and Peter’s culpability in it isn’t even the catalyst for Peter choosing to become a hero. Peter finds out almost immediately that the robber is the guy who killed Ben, but just goes out hunting down blonde small time crooks so he can beat down the guy who killed his uncle. It’s only when Captain Stacy points out that randomly attacking crooks who look alike seems like revenge that Peter realizes his mistake. A mistake Ben had already pointed out when Peter uses his power to embarrass the bully Flash Thompson. What once was a role reserved for one person has been unnecessarily divided among three: Ben, Richard, and Captain Stacy.
Also been done a disservice is Mary Parker, Peter’s mother who is apparently of little consequence to her son’s life. Despite losing both parent’s in a plane crash, only Peter’s relationship with his father is being mourned. When Richard and Mary have to leave Peter with Ben and May, Mary is shown in tears telling Ben and May what Peter likes. She has to be almost dragged away by Richard. This is a woman who clearly loved and cared for her boy yet even Ben says “I know it’s been difficult for you without your father.” If you’re going to bring up Peter’s parents as a secret component of Spider-Man, why is Mary Parker not important?
The movie also drops an appeal of Spider-Man many feel draws them to the character. Peter Parker was a shy, bullied nerd who gains this incredible power by a freak accident and it changes his life. In the movie, it kind of isn’t a freak accident. It plays out like Peter is destined to become Spider-Man. The spider whose bite gives Peter his power was bio-engineered using Richard Parker’s work. Peter is bitten while trying to gain clues about his father’s research instead of being one of many random students in a tour group. Even his status as a nerd is lessened. He gets slightly teased by Flash and takes a beating only when Peter stands up for another kid. With his old camera, multiple shirts and skateboard, he’s more of a hipster and since it’s set in New York, I don’t see how that makes him an outcast. Just making his parents absence so important further takes him away from that classic appeal. How many can relate to having their parents killed because of a scientific discovery that a dangerous industrialist needed to save his own life?
To sum up, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN is a movie that does a fantastic job bringing Spider-Man to the screen, but goes way off track trying to make an old story new.
(One last thing: why the hell was Flash Thompson enrolled in Midtown Science High School?)