For readers of “big two” comics, I have one plea for you come this February: Buy She-Hulk. Buy She-Hulk. Buy She-Hulk. Is that clear? Because you really need to be buying She-Hulk when it lands this February. Okay, for those that need help we’re gonna break it down:
– She-Hulk is relaunching in February.
-You are going to buy it.
– End of story.
No really, the return of Jennifer Walters to a solo series is more than just awesome: it’s direly needed. Why? Because in the world of comics she is different. In the world of dark and gritty narratives at Marvel and all over DC; Jen’s forthcoming title may be a becon amongst the dark, one of the ever decreasing number of titles about heroes that are witty, bombastic and above all; fun.
Spider-Man? Eh not Peter…not funny? Batgirl? Gritty moody and she cries nearly every issue or something happens that may as well make her cry and add additional trauma to the poor girl. Nightwing? Whoops…
Jennifer Walters, cousin of Bruce Banner and the lawyer turned giant green muscle-house as She-Hulk has always served as a genre-savvy entity. A tour de force in brawn, brains and wit Jen has outright shouted at her own editors, threatened readers and in all have broken the fourth wall Bugs Bunny style enough times on her covers and in -comic to give modern day Deadpool a run for his money. She did it first; she does it the best. She’ll be doing it again. (Bad girls do it well.)
Her forthcoming series, can and will be the female solo to read. And you will be picking it up. Because Jen will be coming with heavy guns (in more ways than her own two arms). Covers will be done by Kevin Wada known for his artful and edgy fashion reinterpretations of mostly X-Men ladies. Interiors will be done by Javier Pulido (Catwoman, Black Cat, Hawkeye). If that’s not enough to get excited, then get out like come on. They are wanting her to be A-list. And they’re certainly not skimping on talent.
Above all in a world of dark and gritty narratives, writer Charles Soule (Thunderbolts, Swamp Thing) understands the character and the need for a balanced approach to superherodom and above all; tone:
“One of the things I want to work hard to do in this new series is treat her as a real person. She absolutely has problems, just like most of the heroes of the Marvel U, but she chooses to approach them with optimism and good spirit rather than surrendering to the grim and gritty. It takes a lot to bring She-Hulk down, although we’ll throw a lot at her.”
For me, this is amazing as it stands in complete opposition to the current attitudes in a lot of comics particularly DC right now and overall seems to be what many, many, many people online are wishing from a “mainstream” comic let alone a female-led title. The top selling female solo-book last month was Gail Simone’s chronically dark and grim Batgirl reboot title who has been bleeding thousands of readers each month and has put Barbara Gordon so far in a twenty-four month spiral of non-winning wins and a stream of constant angst and little to no character growth. I am biased; I like my heroes being able to take things in stride and overcoming them with optimism no matter how dire. I also appreciate writers that know the difference between dark and dramatic narratives versus grim and gritty and that writing gritty does not mean your story is dramatic or that your story has to be gritty for it to be dark.
I hope the more positive and energetic approach She-Hulk will bring this February will rocket her title as the top-selling female book. It would send a very clear message: “We want more things like this”. I implore those that buy comics: get She-Hulk. Make her book the top selling female solo title. Because she’ll come tear up all your X-Men and Avengers comics if you don’t. Like really you just don’t want to risk it.
It can change things for the better if you do.
Staff Writer/The Doctor
Oh, man, those of you who have not checked out Transformers Prime, I implore you to do so. It’s tons of fun and good ole fashioned Transformers animation (none of this crappy Michael Bay movies crap). I caught it on The Hub here and there, but didn’t get a chance to fully appreciate the series until it showed up on Netflix and while the CG-type animation took me a minute to get used to, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Anyway, the point of this is that season 3 left on a cliffhanger as the Predacons starting gaining intelligence and I’m SO EXCITED that this movie sequel is releasing soon.
Check out the trailer here:
Transformers Prime Beast Hunters: Predacon Rising releases on DVD/Blu-Ray on October 8th (and premieres on The Hub FOUR days earlier!!)
I’m a huge fan of the 90’s Transformers series, but that’s not to say I won’t give new shows/movies a chance! I don’t collect either, but hey, I’m still a fan, dammit. My favorite Autobot is probably Ratchet; he’s so grouchy!!!
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. finally premiered this week–I say finally for many reasons, not the least of which being that Joss Whedon is FINALLY back on TV. Second, of course, is that we’ve been hearing about this show coming out for quite some time now, and it’s no surprise that the pilot set an insanely high new standard for the viewing numbers of television premieres (though to be fair, the show does come equipped with multiple arsenals of built-in fan bases).
A show like “S.H.I.E.L.D.” can’t, and shouldn’t, premiere without expectations, critics, and insta-lovers. As always, I fall somewhere firmly in the middle of the pack, though I have to say that so far my positive thoughts are outweighing the negatives. Perhaps it’s not even fair to call them “negatives” at this point in the game, as we’ve only gotten one episode and there’s no way to know where the show is really going yet.
My biggest problem is that the premise of the show seems…cliche. There are heroes in the world, and everyone knows about them, and they all have to make decisions about revealing themselves or remaining hidden. Didn’t this already happen? Didn’t this already happen IN THIS FORMAT? Is this a show about superheroes at all? No–and maybe that’s where the difference lies. The show isn’t called “New York Post-Avengers”, it’s not the “Real Housewives of Stark Tower”, it’s “Agents of SHIELD”. This will be a show about HUMANITY and how it is affected by superheroes walking among us. So does that mean we’ve come full-circle on super heroes? After all, we’ve seen science fiction do this cake walk already: start out debating and imagining what could be possible, then find out whether or not it should be. That genre took fifty years to get deep and meta…maybe now it’s time for superheroes to do the same within mass media. Of course Whedon has done this before, shifting the focus from hero to villain and questioning the meaning of “right” and “wrong”, now he shifts the lens entirely from the Supers to the Humans and asks if there’s really any difference at all.
If it wasn’t already clear, I’m talking about 2008’s “Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog”, which is still among my favorite things ever created. While the two “shows” are wildly different, they also have plenty in common, not the least of which is their quotability. “S.H.I.E.L.D.” had some elements that blended in to the superhero genre, but it is definitely going to be loved for its language. The dialogue at once makes the show self-aware of, (“someone really wanted our initials to spell shield”) and a parody of (“I think there’s a bulb out” and “I think it’s a little poop. With knives sticking out of it.”) the superhero genre, and I hope we get to see more of this blend as the series continues. I don’t know that Whedon could do it any other way.
Or better yet, let your British Wonder twins tell me instead. Yes. This thought pleases me.
My view of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is unfortunately that it didn’t meet my expectations. It wasn’t what I really expected. I’m cautiously optimistic, but I can’t shake the feeling that the show was missing something. Not sure what though, but I’ll name what bothered me.
First of all it annoyed me how much screen time the damsel in distress, quite literally saved from a burning building, got.
I’m sure you all saw this shot in the trailer. It appeals to teenage boys hoping to save a cute damsel in distress, and Whedon made sure to frame it so that just enough leg was there to make sure that “sex sells” angle was there. Then this still shot of him saving her became a clue and no opportunity was missed to plaster this image on the background monitors as other characters spoke. Which brings me to my second complaint.
The dialogue. No, no, no, put down your pitchforks. What I mean is that the writing sounded good. Most of the episodes charming moments came from dialogue. But oh sweet lord, the direction and pacing sucked. I was never on the edge of my seat. The dialogue was the shows only strength. I had to double-check that Whedon directed and sure enough, he does. What happened man? This is the first episode and I expected a bit more dazzle. Instead you gave me something akin to an episode six, where the characters meander aimlessly on some small issue. It tried to be big with a secret evil organization and an explosion in the beginning, but it never felt big. Maybe that’s a financial issue like the fact that the whole thing felt….
Cheap. The CGI was far from convincing, the camera angles did nothing to inspire, and the little action there was consisted of eight camera cuts to hide how poorly choreographed it all was. You even stole the ending to Back to the Future and somehow managed to make the flying car look cheaper than visual effects from thirty years ago. We all know The Avengers made more money than religion so why couldn’t you guys invest a few more dollars in the spin-off? Is it because it is an almost guaranteed success and you don’t have to try? Or was that premiere simply the pilot you pitched to get the show greenlit in the first place?
It may be hard to believe, but I didn’t hate the show. I think it has potential and I’m hoping the following episodes change my perspective. Right now I’m not a fan, but a casual onlooker. Come on Whedon, make me care about these characters.
I’ve spent a large portion of my life wanting to be Buffy Summers. While I have Faith Lehane’s tattoo emblazoned on my upper right arm, Buffy was my model. I know I’m not alone in this, I know a good deal of my generation grew up with the same goal: to someday be Buffy Summers.
What most people seem to remember about Buffy Summers: she wins a lot.
What most people seem to forget about Buffy Summers: she lost a lot.
Now, it’s not that people don’t remember these plot points, obviously they do. But they don’t seem to remember what loss means. What it can do to a person. They don’t remember that even as she is winning she is often losing. They forget that, because we are limited to an hour of Buffy each installment, we don’t see the full effect of the loss on her and those around her.
We don’t see Buffy really suffer because it’s not “good TV.” Genuine reality rarely is.
Buffy loses friends and allies and the mourning is brief. Buffy is forced to literally send the man she loves to Hell because, even if he’s good again now, he has been bad. He comes back and the problem is apparently solved (good TV), but Buffy’s pain over all of this is truncated. Buffy is nearly raped by someone she’s come to trust and the backlash against him is unbelievably portrayed (good TV?). Buffy dies, twice, and she comes back.
Real life for those of us who walk the path of Buffy does not have the convenience of “the network wants another season.” We have to live the fight in real time.
Maybe all you see from us is the equivalent of an hour a week. So when we cry or when we show pain, it’s unusual for you. Maybe it’s unbelievable. Strong women don’t DO that, Buffy cried in montages, why can’t you cry in montages?
We get told we’re “strong enough to handle this.” And we are. Trust me, we are. But even strong girls are defeated. Even strong girls hurt and cry and we need to be allowed to do it, no matter how uncomfortable that thought might make you. We need to suffer our losses, and we will.
This is our fight. Buffy never fought because she wanted to, in several cases she tries to stop fighting only to find out she can’t. Buffy fights because she has to. And we fight because there isn’t an alternative.
The dark things out there will always out number us. They will sometimes win. There will be cases where there is nothing we can really do, we don’t have the power to do it (Season 5 reminder: Buffy doesn’t kill the Big Bad that season. Giles has to do it for her because Buffy has limits imposed on her that he doesn’t). We can’t always just roundhouse kick the problem and pun and walk away. Not just because this is the real world, but because even within Buffy’s world that’s not always possible.
Allies are hugely important. But they’re ALLIES, they’re not directly in the fight, and sometimes they need to back off and let us fight. Sometimes they have to let us cry and be weak and not belittle the very, very real shit we live with every day. Xander was sometimes a total asshole and needed to shut his fucking mouth, okay? He was important, sure. However, while it was a fight he profited from, it WASN’T. HIS. FIGHT.
I have done my best to be Buffy Summers. Even in that I know I’ve failed. But I’ve learned as I’ve gone along, about my power, about power in general, that having power isn’t the same as being able to use it wisely, that it’s not about strength or weakness but about humanity and all the things that come with it.
I am strong. I know how to be strong. I have to keep fighting. Don’t you tell me what strength is.
Hot on the heels of Syfy’s Heroes of Cosplay comes a new show titled Fangasm, which follows seven super fans who move to LA and intern for Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo. One of the best things about the show is that it’s non-elimination, so these seven are here to stay (gods willing of course!).
I was hesitant to watch it, even though I adore Regina Carpinelli, one of the brains behind the convention, simply because I was worried it would be drama filled and exploitative of geek culture. Hell, it’s even marketed as “From the minds behind Jersey Shore,” and if that doesn’t scream trainwreck, well, I’m unsure what does. Anyway, the first episode brought in a staggering amount of opinions, but fan response seems to be fairly positive, with #Fangasm becoming the top trending topic on Twitter and fan response caused the Comikaze Expo website to completely crash for a few minutes!
The first episode, “Beam Me Up, Stan,” introduced us to the seven ridiculously geeky interns:
Molly McIsaac: Red-headed cosplayer with a husky voice
Paul Perkins: Adorable dude that lives in parent’s basement
Sal Fringo: Curly haired comic book enthusiast
Andrew Duvall: Tall, lanky guy who just wants to captain the Enterprise
Kristen Hackett: Blonde fashion designer from New York
Mike Reed: Relatively normal looking guy who digs everything
Dani Bullis: Petite red-head and special effects make-up artist
So who is the favorite intern? Regina says:
“They are all great kids, but Andrew has made me cry like 10 times already. However, I never play favorites; I abuse them all equally.”
Immediately, a conversation revolving around who publishes better comics, Marvel or DC, smashes geek myth that we’re quiet, timid creatures of old before Regina Skypes in a call from our Lord and Savior, Stan Lee. Each intern immediately squees and immediately sobers up with the first test from Regina for the following day: gather as many signatures as possible to establish an official holiday, Geek Pride Day. The interns retire to their swanky new digs, experience a challenge in lighting a grill, and start getting to know each other with relative ease. The next day, Dani locates a Geek Pride Party at a local bar and the group invites all their friends to the event in the hopes of snagging an ass ton of signatures. I felt my heart warm at the sight of my fellow geeks in full costume. Once the work was done and the group settled down at the bar for the cosplay show and dinner, the faces of the girls went from excited to complete disgust/disinterest as the cosplay show featured scantily clad woman dancing. Molly was particularly vocal about the performance not focusing on a celebration of geekiness, but instead exploitative of it. Andrew pointed out Molly was in a tight outfit, in essence doing the same thing, but missed the point of her frustration. Black Widow is drawn to have a skin-tight suit, so if she is to be cosplayed accurately, we’d have to don that same skin-tight suit. Iron Man doesn’t have his perfect ass cheeks hanging out, but I definitely felt that the girls got their point across effectively without sparking a huge debate or slut shaming as this is a big issue in the geek world at the moment.
I asked Regina what she thought about it and she had this to say:
“As a woman who is an executive in a male dominated world, I know a lot about being a tough chick. With that being said, there was NOTHING wrong with those dancers. Unless you can read minds, you can’t judge someones geekiness by looks and high kicks alone. That’s wrong. Anyone can be a fan, and even if those girls are not real fans, who cares. They were not saying they were some geek dance troupe, they were just girls dancing trying to make a living.”
Back at the apartment, Kristen suggest the group record a no holds barred podcast which devolved into a state of giggling and fun times, before they decide to try out the hot tub. The interns have another run in with technology as they struggle to get it working before calling it an early night. Regina is not thrilled with how the signatures are turned in but congratulated them on their effort before delegating several menial tasks for the group to complete, one of which brings them upon a flyer for a contest to meet George Takei (you guys, it’s pronounced Ta-kay). I found myself cheering for Andrew, possibly the geekiest of them all, as he fails the endurance test in order to meet one of his idols. In a surprise twist, George Takei asks to meet his roommates and I can honestly say this is the first time I’ve cried openly because of reality television. Andrew’s story was so honest and heart touching, and his reaction was so GENUINE…I wasn’t even jealous he got to meet him. I’m definitely glad this show is representing us pretty honestly so far and I don’t doubt there’ll be drama here and there, but I’m hopeful in its potential.
What did you think about the first episode? Tweet me your thoughts @ladyvader99 and you know what, you can tweet them to Regina herself @dialrforreggie AND at Comikaze too @stanleecomikaze.
Imagine a place where everything is beautiful and nothing hurts. In this place, you can dress however you want. You can wear a fake mustache, you can don a bunny suit–hell, you could wear a Bart Simpson mask and fake an American accent if you so chose.
Here is a place where the things you care about are actually a big deal. Here, you have to wait in a three hour line to sit in a sweaty room full of people just to hear the melodious sounds of Chris Evans talking about the tiny muscle on a specific part of his bicep, and how much time he spent beefing it up. Here is where books turn to movies, where movies turn to video games, where video games turn to real life–the fictional worlds in which you spend your free time spring into action before your very eyes. No one can tell you to calm down, that these are the things that don’t matter, that you’ve gone a little overboard with your wardrobe. No one can say jack shit, because they’re sitting in the exact same lines and dressed exactly as elaborately as you are.
This is (an admittedly idealized) comic-con. Wouldn’t it be nice if every day were like this? Every time I attend a convention, I come home thinking about how nice it was that my whole day was about nerdy things, and that the next day is going to be more of the same. I think about this a lot, especially when I haven’t been to a convention in a while and I miss the warm afterglow in which it inevitably leaves me.
I realized recently that that afterglow has a lot to do with the acceptance one may find at a place such as comic-con–a level of acceptance not typically found in our regular lives. And I wondered why this acceptance is such an exclusive thing.
My regular job is working at a shoe store, and our clientele is mostly teenagers and young adults. The other day, three kids rolled up in full out regalia. One was in a fez, a bow tie, and a tweed jacket. Another was in what looked like an anime costume, complete with wig–though admittedly I didn’t recognize the specific character she was dressed as if she was in a costume at all. Finally, there was a gent dressed head to toe in typical black and dark blue “goth” gear, wielding one of the prettiest fans I have ever seen . My first thought, rather embarassingly, was that these kids were fucking weird and should stop taking up space in my store.
Then I stopped for a second and glanced at my reflection in the mirror. I was wearing a Harry Potter shirt. I had matched combat boots with my jeans. My hair was in pigtail buns I learned about from Sailor Moon. I considered for a moment that convention afterglow, and how much I’d been missing it lately. I didn’t hate these kids–I was mildly jealous that they had no qualms walking around on a random Wednesday in September as though it were something to be celebrated.
This was weeks ago, and it has honestly taken me this long to think about this article, and whether or not I wanted to share it, because quite frankly I’m ashamed of my initial reaction. My secondary reaction, after staring into that mirror, was to walk around the counter and treat the kids like any other customers. The guy with the fan, when welcomed to the store, bowed and made a huge gesture as he said “Why THANK you”. I gave them a tour of the store, and finished it off with “by the way, love the fez. Fezzes are cool.” The girl in tweed smiled, straightened her bow tie, and responded: “as are bow ties.” I couldn’t hold back a smile of my own.
This is the kind of stuff that happens at comic-con all the time. It happens in panels, on the show floor, even in line waiting for the bathroom. It should happen everywhere, all the time. We should be embracing our fellow nerds, or geeks, or dweebs or whatever, no matter where we are, no matter what the time of year. I wish I hadn’t had to think twice about it… and I’m hoping that I’ll be quicker to the draw next time. I’m encouraging the rest of you to do the same. Let your freak flag fly, even if you’re the only flagpole around.