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.


Dec 01 2016

Marvel Cartoons Even I Haven’t Heard Of

As a Geek Gold Gold member and Marvel dork, I was surprised to find out that there are Marvel cartoons even I haven’t heard of. Note that I didn’t say Marvel cartoons I haven’t seen. I haven’t seen every animated work the House of Ideas has produced (usually with partners). That said, I figured I had heard of all of them.

I was wrong. Wrong! So very wrong.

Below is a link to a fun article from CBR, aka Comic Book Resources, discussing 15 “forgotten” Marvel cartoons. (Not to split hairs, but they clearly aren’t forgotten if you wrote an article about them!)

Since I love me some superhero animation, and I know you do too, here is a quick rundown of the shows I’ve seen and the ones I haven’t.

SEEN BY ME

Spider-Man Unlimited: Very odd show. Spidey goes to “Counter-Earth” to save John Jameson and winds up staying there because reasons. Kind of hard to search for because there is now a game with the same title. Here’s the series on Amazon.

Silver Surfer: The animation in this series is absolutely beautiful, and the rest of it is good too. Very epic and features a clever mix of traditional and computer animation. Worth seeking out. Here’s episode 1 on YouTube.

Black Panther: Very very good series that probably was doomed from the start because it’s a “motion comic”. However, as the CBR article points out, the voice talent is stellar (Djimon Hounsou, Kerry Washington, and Alfre freaking Woodard, along with a very dramatic Stan Lee cameo), and the material (based on Reginald Hudlin and John Romita Jr.’s excellent comics) is strong enough that it worked for me. Check it out on Amazon.

Spider-Man: The New Animated Series: I have a soft spot for this 2003 series because it aired just after the 2002 Spider-Man movie and was kindasorta a continuation of it. Also, here’s your main cast: Neil Patrick Harris as Peter Parker, Lisa Loeb as Mary Jane Watson, and Ian Ziering as Harry Osborn. Name another cartoon with Lisa Loeb. You can’t. (That doesn’t mean she’s never done another cartoon, it just means you can’t name one.) And Ian Ziering? Is this “Spider-Man: 90210”? It was 2003, we wore onions on our belts, and the writing was pretty good. Free on Amazon with a Prime Subscription, which you can try for 30 days FREE right here.

Fred And Barney Meet The Thing: Apparently there is an episode where The Thing meets Bigfoot. I need to see that. Thing Ring, do your thing!

Iron Man: Armored Adventures: Solid story-telling overcomes a premise that shouldn’t work but totally does, which is Iron Man as a teenager. Amazon link here.

Spider-Woman: I’ve seen a couple of episodes of this series. I think the same creative team moved on to do a Spider-Man series which eventually became the ever-awesome Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. Don’t quote me on that, though. The animation style and overall look/feel are very similar.

Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes: Not good. Just didn’t work.

Avengers: United They Stand: Very odd series. Most of the better known characters (Iron Man, et al) aren’t there. As for oddness, all of the characters have “Avengers flight belts”… including Falcon. Falcon’s whole thing is that HE CAN FLY. Why does he need a flight belt? Not one of the better Marvel cartoons. Of course, I watched it anyway.

UNSEEN BY ME:

Dracula: Sovereign Of The Damned: Sounds weird enough that I might check it out. I also really like Marvel’s version of Dracula.

Marvel Anime: Not my thing. All I can find online are clips here.

Monster Of Frankenstein: Doesn’t sound much like a Marvel movie but as with Dracula above, it sounds entertainingly weird.

Pryde Of The X-Men: How I’ve never seen this, I have no idea. I’ve heard so much about it that I feel like I’ve seen it. Wolverine is inexplicably Australian. Someone told me that they kept airing the pilot over and over again, teasing viewers that a series would eventually show up. Technically it did — X-Men: The Animated Series. Can we get an Honest Trailer? We can!

 

Solarman: Who?

Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers: Apparently this was some unholy mashup of Avengers and Pokemon. Sure, why not.

Everybody remembers the ’90s X-Men and Spider-Man cartoons, but do you remember these ones?

Source: Marvel Superheroes: The Most Forgotten Comics Cartoons (CBR)


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:


Oct 31 2013

Captain Ultimate Halloween Spooktacular (Comics)

We’ve written before about Captain Ultimate, a kid-friendly comic written by Joey Esposito and Benjamin Bailey, with art by Boykoesh, colors by Ed Ryzowski, lettering and production by Adam O. Pruett, published by Monkeybrain Comics. Guess what? They’re already up to issue #4, and it’s a Halloween Spooktacular!

Captain Ultimate 04 Preview - Cover

According to the official Captain Ultimate blog, issue #4 features “an evil punk rock band, Shakespeare, hot rods, and, of course, buckets and buckets of candy.” The band is called The Pumpkills, which is Spooktacularly awesome. As someone who played in a band many moons ago (click this link to listen to me playing at CBGBs but not when the kids are around because there’s probably some cussing), I was psyched to see music, especially a band who finishes their show by shouting “We hate you! Goodnight!”, feature prominently in the story. And yes, they even quote Shakespeare, something many Marvel Comics writers have done often over the years, beginning with Stan the Man Lee himself. (Spider-Man in particular seems to inspire quite a bit of Shakespeare espousing, but that’s a tale for another time, True Believer.)

As a tremendous cheapskate, I’m very psyched to tell you that Captain Ultimate #4 is only 99 cents over at Comixology. 99 cents! That’s change from your digital dollar.

Still not convinced? Here are some preview pages from Captain Ultimate #4, generously provided to us by the authors.

Captain Ultimate #4 is listed as being appropriate for ages 9 and up. That sounds about right to us, although there is a letter from a parent on this issue’s Ulti-Mail page saying that he shares the comic with his offspring, ages 3 and 5.  As always, use your own judgment about what level of entertainment your kids will tolerate.

Personally we think Captain Ultimate is a good one for the young’uns. The art alone is a huge draw… no pun intended. (Seriously, that was an accident.) The story in issue #4 is good clean fun, with barely anything one would call violence, and not a drop of blood gets spilled. There may be some injured candy, but to say anything more would be a spoiler.

With so many entertainment options vying for your wallet, we think it’s important to support independent publishers and creators. Don’t get us wrong. Spider-Man is awesome. We’re 1000% ready for the new Thor movie. We’ve seen every episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. at least three times. The Avengers movie… we might have watched it 15 times so far. And we will watch it again. But it’s important to make room for other stuff as well. After all, Spider-Man was once the new hero on the block.

Buy Captain Ultimate #4 at Comixology

More info at the Captain Ultimate Blog:

Captain Ultimate #4 On Sale Now! | Captain Ultimate


Jul 30 2013

Fear Of Not Waking Up On Time

Does anyone else have this? A fear of not waking up on time? I do.

At the moment I’m setting three alarms to ensure I get the hell out of bed in time to get people ready to go where they need to go. For some reason I’ve been more neurotic about waking up this summer than I have in previous years. Read more »


Dec 24 2012

Kid-Friendly Android Apps On Sale (DaddyDeals)

Quick holiday DaddyDeal for Android — the Google Play Store has a bunch of apps on sale, many of them kid-friendly.

For example, Kids ABC Letters and Kids ABC Phonics and only $1.99 each.

Even cheaper is The Amazing Spider-Man, on sale for just 99 cents.

The game is a space hog, and no, we don’t mean it features Peter Porker, The Spectacular Spider-Ham. We mean it needs 2GB of memory. But it’s Spider-Man and usually costs $7 instead of 99 cents. So there’s that.

Also worth mentioning is the ever-popular Where’s My Water? That too is only 99 cents.

Full list of sales at TalkAndroid. Link below. These prices are correct as of this moment but may be for a limited time only so they may go up when you go to buy them. Happy holidays!

Roundup of Google Play app and game deals for the Holidays | TalkAndroid.com.


Jul 09 2012

Peter Parker’s Parents in Spider-Man Comics

The Amazing Spider-Man made millions of dollars opening weekend. But what about Peter Parker’s parents? The movie didn’t offer a lot of answers. If you want to know, as I did, what the origins of Spider-Man’s parents are in the original comics, never fear, True Believer! I have researched this topic and discovered… the truth.

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Read more »