Dec 10 2016

Spider-Man: Homecoming Trailer

Here is the Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer. If you are a Geek Gold Card member, prepare to make little nerdy noises.


Where to begin? So much to like.

  • He’s young. This is the first on-screen Peter Parker we’ve had that is actually the age of the original character, which is 15. Yes. 15. Even if one were to dicker over the exact age, it was clear that he was in high school, making him, at best, 16, 17, whatever. While both Tobey Maquire and Andrew Garfield’s portrayal of the character had him in high school, neither actor was as young as the current Peter/Spidey, one Tom Holland, seen already in Captain America: Civil War. It is SO MUCH FUN to see a kid playing Peter Parker as a kid. (Holland is 20 but looks younger.) Next summer (July 2017) we get a whole movie of this. Yay! (No disrespect to Mr. Maquire or Mr. Garfield, both of whom were very good.)
  • Iron ManRobert Downey Jr. is in the movie. In one of the many versions of Spidey in Marvel Comics, Tony Stark plays the role of mentor to Peter Parker. We got a taste of this in Civil War. We get another taste in the trailer. The movie will have more. There is even a peek of the two fighting side-by-side. Eee. (That’s a little nerdy noise.)
  • It looks like Ganke but it’s not. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who thought that Peter’s friend in the trailer was Ganke. Ganke was/is (I can’t keep track) Miles Morales’ friend in the Ultimate Spider-Man comics. Miles Morales is a different version of Spider-Man who was in a different universe but now isn’t. Because comics.
  • Web wings. Spider-Man sometimes has webbing on his arms, or as Peter once referred to himself in the comics, “ol’ web pits.” In the movie, these apparently give Spider-Man the ability to glide. Not fly. Glide. Love it.

What can I say? I’m a sucker for this stuff. I’ve been fully into the Marvel Cinematic Universe from the beginning. I never thought Spider-Man would be a part of it. Now he is. I am happy.


Apr 15 2016

Doctor Strange Trailer (And Some Thoughts on The Comics)

By the hoary hosts of Hoggoth, they actually did it. Here is the new Doctor Strange trailer.

Doctor Strange movie

Looks like fun, yeah? I’ll give you a few thoughts of my own; if you want a moment by moment Doctor Strange trailer breakdown check out this video at IGN.

(Note: Marvel/Comixology/Amazon is having a sale on Doctor Strange digital comics — 99 cents each. Check ’em out here.)

So. Doctor Strange. What’s his deal? He’s got magic powers, lots of nifty mystical items that he uses to protect Earth from inter-dimensional nasties, and… I don’t know, he’s cool. Not a traditional superhero like Iron Man, Spider-Man and the rest.

Splash page for the "Doctor Strange"...

Splash page for the “Doctor Strange” story in Strange Tales #110 (July 1963). Art by Steve Ditko. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On a personal note, the first “real” comic book I ever read was an issue of Doctor Strange. I’d been reading Richie Rich, Casper, Archie, that kind of stuff. One day my dad said, “It’s time for you to read some real comics,” and handed me a copy of Doctor Strange. My little boy mind was blown. The first thing I remember is how much smaller the lettering was. That was true for all “real” comics (read: Marvel and DC); Richie Rich, et al, were aimed at very young readers and had simpler dialogue and storylines… and larger lettering. The next thing I remember is the splash page. One big image, full of colorful details, with Doctor Strange himself looming large over it all. I think he was looking out of a window, but it’s possible he was sitting in a chair with stuff drawn around him. I’ve been looking for that issue for years and I think I’ve found it, although I can’t remember what number it is at the moment. I also don’t remember the story. But I do remember how I felt. It was basically my comic book Bar Mitzvah. No more little kid comics for me. Now I could read the good stuff.

And I did. I have a nice collection of books that I bought at the local candy store/newsstand, because you could buy comics there when I was a kid. (You still kind of can, it just isn’t as common.) I didn’t keep those comics in very good shape, which in some cases is a bummer — my Frank Miller and Klaus Janson Daredevils would be worth a few bucks, as would my copy of the original Wolverine mini-series (which you can get for less than six dollars via Comixology). But instead of bagging and boarding everything, I read the hell out of my comics, because they were awesome. (Those Daredevils in particular are probably my favorite comic books ever.)

Back to Doctor Strange. His book went in and out, and I didn’t buy it that often. It’s possible that the local candy store didn’t always have it in stock even when it was being published. In addition to not being a traditional superhero, I don’t think he was as popular as the big names. He did found one of my sneaky super teams, The Defenders. The original core group of Defenders was Doctor Strange, Namor the Sub-Mariner, and The Incredible Hulk, quickly followed by The Silver Surfer. Basically a bunch of really powerful dudes who don’t play well with others, hence the term “non-team”. Later Defenders mainstays included such popular characters as Hellcat, Gargoyle, and Nighthawk. Also Valkyrie. Never heard of them? Join the club. (Marvel is doing a Netflix series called The Defenders, which I’m sure will be fun but doesn’t have much, if anything, to do with The Defenders’ comic books.) The Defenders hung out at Doctor Strange’s Greenwich Village mansion, known as The Sanctum Santorum, while constantly making a point of telling readers that they were NOT a super-team like The Avengers. I liked those comics a lot. Something about the idea of a group of semi-outcasts and/or angry people and/or loners teaming up only when it suited them really appealed to me.

I also always dug the good Doctor on his own. His job, Sorcerer Supreme, was to defend Earth from mystical threats. Sometimes he gets help from other Marvel heroes, but usually he doesn’t, because he’s the only one who can do what needs to be done. This led to some wonderfully trippy artwork, first by the legendary Steve Ditko (written by the even more legendary Stan Lee) and later by lots of other people.

The thing that made me the happiest in the trailer was seeing Doctor Strange’s Astral Form. (When Tilda Swinton punches him and it looks like a ghost pops out of his body.) It works like this: Doc leaves his body behind, defenseless, and his spirit floats around and does stuff. He can travel faster this way, but he can’t touch anyone and most people can’t see him. (One notable exception, if memory serves, is The Hulk. Because comic books. UPDATE: I just read some Doctor Strange comics from the 80s, and in those stories Doc can allow people to see his astral form if he wants them to. Again, because comic books.) It’s something that for various reasons I always found fascinating, so to see them do it in a live action movie had me making little nerdy noises.

So there you go. The Doctor Strange trailer. Looks like Marvel might get it right again, taking a character that isn’t well-known and putting said character into a big-budget blockbuster movie that doesn’t suck. Here’s hoping.

Read some comics:


Feb 12 2016

Deadpool Good. Don’t Take The Kids.

You may have heard that there is a movie based on the comic book character known as Deadpool. I have seen it. It is good. It is not for children. Don’t take the kids. Leave the kids at home. Can we be more clear?

Deadpool Infographic - Douchebags and Heroes

That’s not to say the Deadpool movie isn’t childish. It’s totally childish, in the best way. (See this Nerdist review for more.) I’ve often said that video games should have an “IM” rating for “Immature” instead of “M” for “Mature”, because often “Mature” means dirty jokes and boobies. The Deadpool movie has both of those, but it also does a nice job of showing the darker side of the title character, showing that it would kind of suck to be Wade Wilson.

More importantly for ‘Pool fans (of which I am one), the movie hits a lot of things from the comic books from which DP spawned (including the whole “it would suck to be Wade Wilson” part). That’s something that a lot of the reviews I’ve been reading seem to forget, or perhaps the critics simply don’t know the source material. (“Use the Source, Luke.”) Deadpool doesn’t break the fourth wall because the filmmakers thought it would be “cute” or “subversive”, he does it because that’s how the character is written. He knows he’s in a comic book, therefore he knows he’s in a movie. It’s a fairly simple concept that has huge potential, some of which was realized in this movie.

Also worth mentioning is that the Deadpool movie is not excessively long. It’s under two hours, which these days feels like a gift. We all know I loved The Avengers movie, and that was a long flick. But there’s something to be said for leaving people wanting more instead of dragging on for too long.

Something else: can we get some love for Leslie Uggams? She makes a great Blind Al, and the filmmakers manage to work her into the movie seamlessly, which was a pleasant surprise. I’m a little annoyed that she isn’t getting more attention. Here’s a classic video of her from a long time ago when she messed up the lyrics to a song but kept going anyway. I like Leslie. Always have.

The entire cast is solid, but Ryan Reynolds and T.J. Miller are getting enough press. Let’s hear it for Leslie Uggams!

Bottom line: the Deadpool movie is fun, violent, and not for young kids. You could do worse for a Valentine’s Day date film, depending upon who your date is.

If you want to pick up a good Deadpool comic, this one, the start of a fantastic run by Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn, with art by Tony Moore (at least for awhile), is a good place to start: Deadpool Vol.1: Dead Presidents, currently available for only $3.99 on Comixology/Kindle, which is a freakin’ bargain. You can read the entire run via Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited, which I’ve gone on and on about and is still a great deal.

I leave you with this image. It has nothing to do with Deadpool, it is a public domain image of a comic book featuring characters that are unlikely to ever get any screen time at all. Although Magno & Davey does have a certain ring to it…

FourFavorites0801

FourFavorites0801 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Sep 09 2015

Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron 2-Disc BD Combo Pack Pre-Order

Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. You saw it. (At least you did if you live in my house.) You loved it. Maybe not as much as you loved The Avengers (the first one), but that’s not a big shocker because the first one was awesome and tough to top. Now the 2-Disc Blu-Ray Combo Pack is available from Amazon for pre-order. I’m going to pre-order it, because, well, I love me some comic book movies.

English: Cast of The Avengers at the 2010 San ...

English: Cast of The Avengers at the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con International featuring Robert Downey Jr., Clark Gregg, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Joss Whedon and Kevin Feige. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BUT! I won’t get it until October 2, 2015. #FirstWorldProblems

I can’t quite tell, but I think if I want to pay $19.99 NOW I can get the movie in HD *immediately*; SD (standard definition) is available on October 2, like the discs.

Can I wait a month? Of course. Do I *want* to wait a month? No. I want to watch the movie again NOW.

Call the wahhhhbulance. Read more »


May 08 2015

Avengers: Age of Ultron Link Roundup (Ongoing) – UPDATED

Now that Avengers: Age of Ultron is finally here, and I’ve seen it (twice), I can start reading about it until my eyeballs fall out. This page will have an an ongoing list of links to some of what I’ve read that I found interesting.

Me and The Avengers movie.

Personally I prefer The Avengers. Have I mentioned that lately?

UPDATED 5/11/15 (new links after the break; you can tell they’re new because they say NEW LINK.)

As you know, I frickin’ LOVED The Avengers, the first one. To say that Avengers: Age of Ultron isn’t quite as good as the first film is like saying I’m shorter than Shaquille O’Neal. Or, to ever-so-slightly borrow a joke from the movie, that this blog post will be shorter than a Eugene O’Neill play. Bottom line: it was a lot of fun, Joss Whedon did a nice job of balancing all of the myriad demands of a film with a ton of characters and future Marvel Cinematic Universe movies to promote, and I’ve already seen the movie twice and would gladly see it again.

As expected with a summer blockbuster, especially a follow-up to a film as great as The Avengers, the Interwebs are filled with articles and blog posts and charts and click-bait about all things Ultron. I went on Rotten Tomatoes planning to read a few reviews. I got as far as one before being sucked into a rabbit hole (maybe I should say tesseract instead) of Age of Ultron related topics.

Oh, the obligatory Spoiler Alert from this point forward. I’m not going to bother watching what I say about the movie, although this isn’t a review and odds are I won’t reveal anything particularly important. But if you haven’t seen the movie yet and prefer to do so without knowing anything about what happens, stop reading now. Then come back. Don’t worry. We’ll wait. Read more »


May 04 2015

Age of Ultron Hard on Joss Whedon Because He Has a Family

Avengers: Age of Ultron ruled the box office this weekend. And before that, it ruled director Joss Whedon‘s life. This was, according to the director, difficult on him because he has a family. Here’s what he said in an interview:

English: Joss Whedon at the 2010 Comic Con in ...

English: Joss Whedon at the 2010 Comic Con in San Diego (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“When I watch it, I just see ‘flaw, flaw, flaw, compromise, laziness, mistake,’” said Whedon. “The reason I set out to make another film is because I wanted to make one that was better, and I wanted to up my game as a shooter and work harder on every aspect of it and sort of give myself up to it in a way that’s hard for me, because I have a family. I started as a writer in low-budget TV, and there was always this element of, ‘This is good enough.’ And with this movie, I never wanted to say, ‘This is good enough.’” (emphasis added)

And now the explanation. Read more »


Apr 17 2015

The Black Widow and Daredevil TV Show We Could Have Gotten

Ah, the 70s. Rich with history. Bell bottoms. Missed opportunities.

This is not one of them.

This photo is from Comic Book Resources (aka CBR), via The Mary Sue, both excellent websites for all things nerdy. Maybe I should say “all things formerly considered nerdy”, since when The Avengers movie makes $1.5 billion, it’s an Avengers world now, which kind of means there are a lot more nerds out there, and therefore how nerdy is it really to be into this stuff?

Answering my own question, caring at all about the fact that David Bowie’s ex-wife Angela Bowie (about whom The Rolling Stones’ song “Angie” may or may not be about, although that’s what most people think, including me until I just Googled it — trivia!) at one time “owned the TV rights to Daredevil and Black Widow”, according to CBR, is pretty nerdy.

This is a picture of the costumes. It is very 70s.

Daredevil and Black Widow That Never Happened

Considering how good the Netflix Daredevil series is, it’s probably for the best that this show never happened. Then again, there was 1988’s The Incredible Hulk Returns, which featured Hulk, Thor and Daredevil. That wasn’t particularly good (although of course I watched it), but it didn’t ruin the current incarnation. (Which really is quite good. You should check it out. Not with your kids, though, unless you have older kids. I’ll write more about it at some point.)

Perhaps it would have been interesting to see what Angela Bowie would have done with the role of Black Widow, since as a CBR commenter points out, “Bowie’s not really the problem in those DD/BW shots, though. That Daredevil costume is ridiculous.”

Indeed it is. But… the 70s. Even the entertainment that never happened was fun.

Comic Book Legends Revealed #440 – Page 3 of 3 – Comics Should Be Good! @ Comic Book ResourcesComics Should Be Good! @ Comic Book Resources.

via The Mary Sue