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About the Author
Rae is a writer, cosplayer, model, and all around pop culture enthusiast. She's opinionated and stubborn. It makes her nerd that much more powerful.

Batman Beyond: The Series

BATMAN BEYOND: The Series is a fan-made, non profit, live action, film project funded by fans, family, and friends,that will be broken down into an eight episode web series.  We got to sit down with the minds behind the series, Nathan Lyles and  Rick Niedt, to discuss the fan filmed webisodes.  

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Derreck: Why did you pick Batman Beyond, the future?

Nate: It was a blend of Batman and science fiction. Sci-fi is one of my favorite genres.  When the show first came out, I was kind of skeptical because it wasn’t really Batman, but after watching the show, it reminded me of some of my favorite sci-fi like Fifth Element and Blade Runner. So this particular Batman blew my mind and I wondered what it would look like live action.  I got so excited.  This series is the result of the very script that I completed all the way through.  So I would say to myself, ‘well, how am I going to get the budget? I’d have to take out some of the fights to dumb down the script a little bit, but I don’t want to do that for this.’ The fights are staying and we’ll figure that out later.

It’s not really an origin story, just something to remind you of the show and all the love that goes into it. We skipped a lot of that origins stuff.  Once we got the budget and the script, we got really lucky and ran into a lot of people that wanted to help.  When I visited California last year, I was doing a work transfer at Walgreens, and one of the guys working on the project now, he said he got laid off.  I started talking about Batman Beyond and how next year I wanted to start a live action Batman Beyond series, and he got really excited about it, wanted to work on it and told me not to worry about paying him, he’d do it for the love.  I went home and finished my script and then moved out to California.

It’s all about putting Batman and sci-fi together; that’s the reason I did it.

Derreck: Your series is going to be live-action.  How close are you planning for it to be to the original show? Are you doing your own thing or are you going to try and follow some of the stories they put in place?

Nate:  The story takes place a year after the series ended, so we kind of found a balance between that.  And, Rick, that was one of the things he kept in check as the Story Editor.  Once you get the characters down, they still have the same attitudes, they’re still recognizable to the fans, but, you know, you adjust for age.  Terry’s not in high school anymore, he’s doing his own thing, he’s balancing being Batman with everything else.  It’s very similar to the cartoon, but the story itself is new and refreshing.

Rick: I think there’s a really nice balance there, though, because Nate was able to pull off making it seem like a natural extension.  This is where the show left off and we picked up but still having, you know, the characters sound like the characters.  The fans of the old show are going to recognize them on this show too.  And then he was also able to, like you said, add the new slightly darker, more adult element to bring in some new fans who maybe weren’t watching the show but are hardcore Batman fans, or even Beyond fans who came in more from the comic book rather than from watching the show.

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Derreck: This is a fan project, which is a really big deal. How did you go about funding a project like this?  It’s no small task, so how are you guys able to pull this off? You have so many people involved, how are you able to do that?

Nate: Well, Rick, you wanna take that?

Rick: Yeah. You need me to write another check?  That’s what we were trying to imply earlier.  To really do this right, we had a substantial inflow of cash from me, but we also did have a number of significant volunteer efforts, both in terms of acting resources and locations and equipment and crew members and the VFX specialists.  So many things that were just volunteered to us or at least deeply discounted to make our budget stretch a little bit more has made all the difference.  You know, the technology itself, even within the last few years, has exponentially increased in its ability to do great effects that we feel are going to take the neo-Gotham stuff over the top.  Joel and Nate are working together on the visual effects, and we think that will pick up a lot of (what’s lost) because we don’t have the multi-million dollar budget of a big studio.

Nate:  I didn’t write it thinking it was going to have a lot of special effects and action sequences that would take up a lot of the budget.  The story is where it all started.  Every member of the crew who has read the script is 100% behind it and I like to think it’s because of the story.   If it wasn’t for the script, they probably wouldn’t be volunteering their time, equipment, things like that.  I was looking into getting a green screen room, and the actor that plays Curare’, she said her school has that and she volunteered her school’s space, so that saved a lot of the budget.  And Joel took care of a lot of the visual effects. I didn’t have to pay a lot for that.  The things that I couldn’t really get around were the locations, so that took a lot of the budget.  Most of it, though, is people volunteering to be a part of something great, just to have their names be attached to the project, which really helped get us through the budget that we had.  The guy playing Batman, he had a demo reel of him flipping around, doing a lot of Parkour.  When he came around, I said, “I know you’re an actor and able to do stunts.  Would you like to play Batman?” And he said, “Hell yeah.”  So he’s playing Batman, doing all of the fight scenes, when we were going to hire a stunt guy, and then we got him!  He’s just another example of people volunteering their services. I feel blessed.

Rae: In all fairness, if you asked me to play Batman, I, too, would say, “Hell yeah.”

Derreck: Let’s talk a little more about some of the characters. You’re going to have Bruce Wayne in it, the old, old Bruce Wayne.  How much is he going to be featured in it? Are you going to keep the balance that the cartoon had or are you going to step him back a bit?

Nate: No, he’s our second lead, so he’s in it quite a bit.  The series takes place in one week, so a lot is happening.  Terry, of course, consults with Bruce, so now that he’s Batman, he feels he has to listen to the original Batman.

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Derreck: So all the episodes take place over the course of a week?

Nate: Yeah.

Derreck: That’s a lot of characters to fit in during that time frame. Is everyone going to have a little spot or are there a lot of cameos?

Nate: It’s a bit of both.  There will be some cameos.  There’s the main story and then a love story going on in the background.  And we were also trying to get in as much of the fan favorite stuff as we could without cutting anybody short.

Rick: Nate’s very careful with how much he reveals about plot.  So your question has caused him to dance around.  You’ve all seen the type of thing where some behind the scenes force is generating a little more heat for the hero.  Suffice it to say, it’s one of those types of things.

Rae: So aside from Terry and Bruce, who were you most excited about adapting?

Rick: I’d have to say the guy who plays King from the Royal Flush Gang. No, just kidding.  That’s me, actually.  That’s my 90 seconds of fame cameo. Curare’, for me anyway, is one of my favorite villains, I think her look is great.  Nate probably doesn’t want me to mention too many.  I mentioned her because I know she’s already got a teaser out on the site.

Derreck: I know you don’t want to give a lot away, so maybe this is not a good question, but are we going to see multiple villains throughout this? Or is it more of one big bad that takes him multiple days to take down?

Nate: There’s multiple villains.  I got a question over Facebook asking me if I’m going to over saturate the story with a ton of villains.  Quite a few of the characters are just sprinkled in there.  I wish I could put more in there, but I don’t think we have the time.

Rick: In addition to getting a significant amount of the rogues’ gallery into the show, he’s also managed to bring in a lot of characters from Terry’s personal life.  You can’t have Batman Beyond without Nelson Nash, right?  You have to get him in there.  The jerky big man on campus who teased you from high school.  And Maxine Gibson, Terry’s best friend and computer expert, had to be in there.  He’s sprinkled in there everyone you’re expecting to see.  He did a really good job with that.

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Derreck: Since you have so many characters, and you said a lot of them volunteered, what has the routine been like, getting production done? Everyone’s on set for a few weeks? Are you bringing people in as needed? What are you doing?

Rick: Kidnapping and coercion.

Nate:  The scheduling has been the most difficult part about getting this done.  Everyone has to be available the same time, the same hours.  That’s what’s taken up the most time.

Derreck: So now that everything is all said and done, how much time was taken since the first camera clicked?

Nate: It’s probably been about six months now, between filming and editing.

Rae: Did this project turn into what you expected it to be? Was it larger?

Nate: It was definitely bigger than what I expected.  I moved out here from the east coast, I didn’t know anybody.  I didn’t know exactly where I was going to take it, or how it was going to evolve. I originally thought I was going to have to use my own budget, so it was going to be small.  No matter what it was going to happen, but it might have taken longer.   If it was going to take 3 years, I was going to make it happen.

Rick: Nate’s a very ambitious guy. You know, when I got ahold of the first version of the script, I was thinking to myself, “Wow. This is a big project.” But I think we intelligently controlled the number of scenes and locations enough that it was manageable.  When you do this kind of a thing, you can have the seedy side of Gotham and not have a huge high-tech operation in every single scene.  I was still thinking, budget-wise, “how are we going to pull this off? This many moving parts?” I think it’s been amazing.  The creativity of how to get around some of those types of problems, most of which has come from Nate, or his crew (other guys like Dimitri and Joel) was impressive.  Some of the cast members have been helping out as additional crew.  I’m not there every day, like Nate is, but even on the days I was there, watching them interact and pull together, saying, “You know, we’re doing something pretty large scale  here, but we have to do it fast and on budget, so let’s get it done.”

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Rae: Were your families surprised when you said, “I’m going to make a live-action Batman series,” or were they behind you?

Nate: Well, my family has supported me.  This is very different, though.  I moved to California to make a Batman movie.  I was like, “That’s what I’m doing.” They just said, “Ah, you’re good.” My friends and coworkers and everybody else, they were all very supportive.  A lot of people were reaching out, offering help to put some fires out, everybody was very excited about it, especially my mom.

Rick: My wife has long known that I am a comic book nut and we have a 4-year-old son, who, despite all my best efforts, is a Superman guy, not a Batman guy (but I’m still working on him.) So… when I told her this, she was like, “Oh, really? That’s nice.”  It was just one more thing she knew I was wasting valuable money and time on.  I’m kidding.  She’s totally supportive.  I think Nate alluded to it earlier, but the reason we even met up was because I’ve been focused on writing some screenplays recently.  One of the things I tried was a featue length Batman Beyond. And just surfing around, I stumbled upon Nate’s project and said, “Oh, we’ve got to hook up.” And that’s really how it went from there.

Derreck: So you’ve got the 8 episodes, they’re nearing completion, so what are your plans for it at that point? Are you going to make anymore? Are you waiting to see what the support is after the fact? What’s your plan?

Nate: We’d like to get some attention from the Warner Brothers or D.C. executives. Ideally, I’d like to make a film or have a Netflix series, like Daredevil. But on the lower level, I don’t know if you guys are familiar with Mortal Kombat, but Mortal Kombat has a few series online now, along the same lines as us.  I just want to keep taking this to the next level, and if all else fails, if I’m lucky to do anything else, then that would be great.  I don’t want it to stop here.  I think there’s a lot more that can be done by bringing Batman and sci-fi together.

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Derreck: What are some things you’re most excited to tell people about?

Rick: Just to reiterate what Nate said, we have the second kickstarter campaign, so anything we can squeeze into the quality of this project will be great.  We greatly appreciate any help from the fans.  What I want to express is that I think the unique combination of Nate and I has sort of brought out something that the Batman Beyond fans have been waiting for.  You know, DC hasn’t done it.  There have been a  couple teases where we thought they were going to do it, but if they are, they’re not going to do it any time soon.  And life is just too short. So we basically took it upon ourselves to just make it.  And we’re hoping that we’ve done it with enough quality and enough excitement that it’s not just a reward for Batman Beyond fans, but we’re also going to make some new fans.

Derreck: It sounds awesome.  I’m a huge supporter of that.  As a Trekkie, fan films are huge and to see that in the Batman world, is great.

Rae: Thank you so much for spending your night with us.

If you’d like to pledge to the Batman Beyond: The Series kickstarter, you can go here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/naturnal/batman-beyond-the-series-dvd-pre-order

You can follow all of the Batman Beyond: The Series updates at the following sites: 
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/batmanbeyondtheseries
Instagram – https://instagram.com/batmanbeyondtheseries
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/batmanbeyond…
Twitter – https://www.twitter.com/BatmanBeyondTS

Batman Beyond: The Series

NBC’s Emerald City – A New Oz

There’s never too long before a Wizard of Oz adaptation comes to fruition. Scheduled for an April 2016 release, NBC has begun production on Emerald City, a ten episode mini series. While very little details are known regarding the synopsis, it has been confirmed that the Wizard (recently cast Daredevil villain Vincent D’Onfrio) will rule Oz with an iron (emerald?) fist, outlawing all magic of any kind. Dorothy, played by the up and coming television actress Adria Arjona, will be much older than the book depicted child, which leads audiences to assume she will take a more active hero role in the story. Tarsem Singh (known for directing spectacles such as Mirror, Mirror) is set to direct all ten episodes.

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For those of you that don’t already know, I’m an avid Wizard of Oz fan. It’s been my favorite movie since childhood. You know those hanging monkey toys that were popular for awhile? Yeah, I totally made wings for them. I digress.

I’m going into this being cautiously optimistic. It’s difficult for me to always be excited about new Oz when I’ve been burned by Oz before. The adaptations don’t always capture the magic and danger that Oz brings. They want to make them sexy, futuristic, bloody, cyborg, steampunk, drug addled, etc. When those adaptations are released, they are marketed as an Oz we’ve never seen before, when that’s never what an Oz fan has wanted.

Personally, I love when they tell new stories. Expansions on such a beautiful fantasy world bring new life into the fold, and while they’re not always innovative stories, they at least have my respect. So while I’m not looking forward to an Oz story I’ve already seen a million times, I’m intrigued by the Wizard as a villain (or at least a bully) angle, since that is how I’ve always seem him. I also have a lot of faith in Singh as a director. He’s often panned as one of the worst in the business, but, truthfully, I enjoy the sense of whimsy he brings to all of his work. If there’s one thing Oz should always be, it’s whimsical.The%20Wizard%20of%20Oz

Do you want some Oz recommendations to prepare for the new show? Here’s a small list of my favorite Oz adaptations:

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

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Arguably the most successful and famous continuation of the Oz legacy is the 1995 novel written by Gregory Maguire. A tale of Elphaba, the notorious Wicked Witch, this story predates the time of Dorothy and gives Oz a more realistic look as a country while focusing on a character that helped create the villain trope that we know today. The introduction of politics and religion into a world filled with magic was so exceptional it spawned 3 sequels and a hit show on Broadway that is seeing its 13th year in production. Read the book, see the play, watch the movie again, hate Glinda.

Marvel’s Wizard of Oz comic books

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These are what I consider to be the most faithful adaptations of the books.  They are almost word for word taken from Baum’s first six canonical stories.  Begun during Marvel’s period od adapting classic novels in the late 2000’s, write Eric Shanower and artist Skottie Young’s take on the stories were so well received that the Oz comics were the only ones to continue while all the other classics had been canceled.  They truly capture some of the most difficult aspects of Oz (like how to make it frightening as well as magical) without losing its appeal to children or adults.

I know there are a ton more adaptations out there, and most of them I have seen.  They all have a lot of great qualities to them, but these two are the only ones I feel really continue the legacy of what Oz is and what it means. What are your favorite Oz adaptations?  Are you looking forward to the new series? Do you want to hear the reasons why I dislike so many other Oz…things?

NBC’s Emerald City – A New Oz

Your Halloween Movie Playlist

Every October, I indulge in some of the best Halloween movies I can find. Some are classics that cross my television despite the season while others remain fall exclusives.  Either way, these movies are all must watch for all spooky evenings. The lists begin after the break below:

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For fun, I’ve broken this down based on multiple genres, so there’s a little something for everyone! On with the show!

Animated

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1. Nightmare Before Christmas
2. Frankenweenie
3. Corpse Bride
You have to do the Tim Burton claymation trilogy on the same day. It’s just better that way.
4. Paranorman – absolutely adorable
5. Coraline – fun and creepy to the bone

Slasher

Halloween_cover 1. Halloween – an All Hallow’s Eve staple
2. Nightmare on Elm Street – my favorite slasher film
3. Texas Chainsaw Massacre – despite what everyone says, this was not based on true events
4. Scream – don’t have sex
5. Friday the 13th – nothing better than watching Kevin Bacon getting stabbed in the throat

Sci-Fi

Alien_movie_poster 1. Alien – the ultimate chick flick
2. The Thing – one of the dumbest titles in history; one of the scariest films to date
3. Re-Animator – science sex scenes = nightmare fuel
4. The Fly – tasty Jeff Goldb- annnndd he’s gone
5. Invasion of the Body Snatchers – just try to close your eyes and not see Donald Sutherland make that horrible face

Family

4934 1. Hocus Pocus – not Disney’s best horror film, but it’s the best
2. Ghostbusters (both of them) – who ya gonna call? Bill flippin Murray.
3. Beetlejuice – there’s no evidence saying Michael Keaton won’t appear
4. Young Frankenstein – care for a roll in ze hay?
5. Addams Family (both of them)- Gomez and Morticia are easily the best parents ever

Foreign

MV5BMjE1OTY2MTM5MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzQ5Mjc5MQ@@._V1_SX640_SY720_ 1. Let the Right One In – child vampires and puppy love
2. Pan’s Labyrinth – a fantasy horror film where the reality is more horrific than the fantasy
3. The Babadook – sure, let’s make parenting more frightening
4. A Tale of Two Sisters – AMERICA tried to remake this; we failed miserably
5. The Host – not a Korean love story

Adult Comedy

download (1) 1. Dead Snow –Norway fulfills the world’s ultimate fantasy: zombie Nazis
2. Zombieland – this may be Woody Harrelson’s finest role. It is most certainly Jesse Eisenberg’s most tolerable one.
3. Shaun of the Dead – you’ve got red on you
4. Cabin in the Woods – come for Thor, stay for inevitable Sigourney Weaver
5. Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil – how I see teenagers everywhere: murderous and stupid

Zombie

download (2)1. Night of the Living Dead – the zombie movie to begin all zombie movies and create a horror god
2. Dawn of the Dead (2004) – if you ever get the chance to shoot a baby zombie, would you really turn it down?
3. 28 Days Later – technically a contagion film, but let’s not mince words here
4. World War Z – watch because you loved the book, then let go of the book
5. Evil Dead (every single one of them) – don’t read the Necronomicon

Monster

werewolf1. American Werewolf in London – leagues better than the little known American Werewolf in Canada
2. Bram Stoker’s Dracula – don’t let Keanu Reeves stop you from watching this
3. Salem’s Lot – no sparkly vampires here
4. The Mist – sogoodsogoodsogoodsogood
5. Jaws – da…dun. da dun. dadundadundadundadun, salsa shark

Ghost 

the-sixth-sense-poster1. The Sixth Sense – everyone has spoiled this for you by now
2. Poltergeist – used real skeletons. Real human skeletons.
3. Paranormal Activity – I will never again recommend shaky cam movies
4. 1408 – Can you really go wrong with John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson?
5. Frighteners – recommended by your Grid boss

The Best of the Best

the-shining-1980-poster1. The Shining – heeeeerrrrreee’sss your chance to fear Jack Nicholson forever
2. Silence of the Lambs – if you watch the sequel, Jodi Foster ages backwards
3. Psycho – Anthony Perkins. Never Vince Vaughn.
4. The Exorcist – so many naughty words
5. The Omen – it’s all for you, Damien

 

Did you like what you see? Plan on watching any of these before Halloween?  What did we miss?  Let us know in the comments!

Your Halloween Movie Playlist

The End of Fables – A Tribute, Part 3

In the exciting conclusion, I tell you where to begin and how to end! If you haven’t read Parts 1 and 2 yet, find them here: Part 1 | Part 2

Where To Start With Fables

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A series such as Fables is incredibly daunting. The 150 issues in the main series alone are enough to keep newbies from getting into it. Which is why I recommend that you don’t start with issue #1. Sure, you could, but I want you to love these characters, not feel obligated to them. Instead, pick up 1001 Nights of Snowfall. Snow White regales the murderous sultan from Arabian Nights fame with the true stories of the Fables. The collection of shorts acts as a prequel, not spoiling anything in the future but rather introducing the multi-facets of these beloved characters. The different art in each story helps set tone as well. This way, if you don’t seem to like it, you’re only one book in, only a few hours of your time at the most. And if you do like it, you now know tidbits that will enhance the story as you go along.

The Extras

If you’ve gotten this far, if you’ve read the 1001 Nights of Snowfall and have started the original series, you may be wondering where to go from here. I’ll be happy to tell you!

If you’d like the story to remain spoiler free, then you’ll want to start the video game, A Wolf Among Us, early on in your adventures. Why? Bigby and Snow are still in the government, and so is Ichabod Crane, which dates the series pretty early (Crane has already been removed by the time issue #1 of Fables has started). The game, however, focuses mostly on Bigby, so no matter where you are in your reading, you’ll be getting new information and new characters. While the game lacks action, it takes new turns based on your decisions. You control Bigby, often given multiple choices of what to say or do in a situation, forever altering the game play. I did my best to make Bigby a good guy (it’s not always easy; sometimes, you just have to smack a toad around).

Jack of Fables

Once you hit issue #50, then you’ll want to start on Jack of Fables. From then until its fiftieth issue, the series run side by side with each other, crossing over at one major point. You definitely don’t have to read them in their coinciding order, but it does make the crossover all that more rewarding and intense.

Issue #75 brings about the end of The Adversary and a good point to take a break from the series. May I suggest you read the novel, Peter and Max. The novel stands out as a highlight of the Fables canon for many reasons. It focuses on characters never before seen in Fabletown and expands on the Homelands at the same time. Most of the story takes place centuries ago, which keeps the whole rest of the comics spoiler free.  Afterward, it’s time to pick up Wolves of the Heartland, another Bigby related story.  He travels America, looking for a possible relocation of Fabletown.  On his way, he comes across other wolves a lot less likely to cooperate than he’d like.

Fables: Fairest

Lastly, between issues #100 and #150, is your perfect chance to read the Cinderella stories and Fairest.  I’ve talked in great detail about the Cinderella spin-off, so let me focus all on Fairest right now.  Realizing that most fairy tales focus on a female protagonist, Willingham created another spin-off to his story where he focuses on characters which had before just been referred to in the background.  We get the back story of Rapunzel, the continuation of Sleeping Beauty, the romance of Lumi, and the hidden darkness behind Beauty.  This is largely my favorite part of the series.  All princess stories with adventure, love, magic, tragedy? Please, there’s nothing better for me.

Whatever you do, save issue #150 of Fables for the last thing that you read.  It makes the rest of the journey that much sweeter.

The Finale

Let’s talk about that ending a bit.  Willingham and company did something so special when they ended the series, something that most writers don’t even think to do, whether they write for comics or anything else, that this finale has gone down (in my opinion) as the best finale I’ve ever read/seen/heard/stumbled upon.  That’s a bold declaration, I know.  But it’s true.  They wrote for the fans.  Before you give me “Sandman this, Watchmen that, TV, TV, TV…,” let me explain.  Countless writers and artists worked on this series and its extensions and Willingham included many of them in the finale.   That’s a huge feat when you think about it.  Name the last series you read in which it included more than 50 writers and artists combined. This wasn’t just a comic; it was a neighborhood mural for the comics industry. It also concluded the stories of hundreds of characters, paying tribute to everyone’s favorites, be they main stars or cameos. No one was forgotten.

My Favorites by Far

The Cubs – While most of the prophecy had become obvious after Winter, Therese, and Darien’s parts were revealed, it was fantastic watching the rest unfold. I enjoyed Ambrose’s the most. He was a character easily forgotten, but maybe more important than the other cubs. He grew to marry Lake (more properly known as the Lady of the Lake), together having their own litter of cubs. I am a sucker for happy endings, and to me, his was the happiest.

Jack – They brought Jack back for a three page spread! This was a huge surprise considering his series had met its end. With the ending of the universe passed and Jack being part Literal, he was able to create an entirely new universe for himself and Gary to command. It was completely charming and characteristically Jack.

Snow White and Bigby – Nearly ending with a war of two sisters, Fables had taken a fairly dark turn. It continued to escalate the stakes killing off Bigby, pitting Rose Red against Snow White, and seeing many Fables lose their lives (some for the second time). With Rose figuring out the happiest of all outcomes for herself and her sister, she traveled worlds away, keeping them apart and the rest of the Fables safe from a world-ending war. Flash forward centuries later, and the Wolf clan had grown exponentially. Every Wolf gathered for a family reunion, making this the first time a Rose and Snow had seen each other since their fateful parting. But this isn’t about Rose and Snow. This is about Snow and Bigby maintaining a love for centuries. This is about the two of them being the heads of a family which spread themselves through hundreds of worlds. This is about that final line they share which sums up them, and the whole series quite well.

Fables Finale

There really aren’t any finales I’m disappointed in, to be honest. The characters that died did so fittingly. The ones that lived, lived on in glory. The ones that were resurrected didn’t know how much they had been missed. The finale of Fables itself was befitting of the decade plus time and gave the world what they had been waiting to see.

It’s a difficult thing, to watch something you love so much end. These characters become so familiar to you that you care for them more than some people you’ve met before. To create that kind of passionate following is no easy feat. It comes along once in awhile and it forever enriches the lives of many. So, thank you, Fables, for enriching mine. I hope my story ends with half as much love as yours did.

The End of Fables – A Tribute, Part 3

Fall 2015 TV Show Blurbs

With Fall TV shows starting up, our team takes a look at a few we are most excited about. These shows consist of returning hits from networks like The CW and FOX, new shows coming to premium channels like STARZ, and even one series returning on a different service all together, Hulu. We’ve got superheroes returning and changing, old friends returning from long absences, a guy you love to hate that just might give you feels this season, and Mr. The Frog’s gang. So sit back and read up on what’s returning, what’s news, and what we are most excited for in the Fall 2015 TV season.

Arrow

Arrow

 

Last season wasn’t the best.  I stuck with the show because both previous seasons had proven to me that you can give fans exactly what they want without sacrificing all humor or changing every bit of the source material in the adaptation.  However, Arrow almost lost me.  The entire subplot of Oliver and Felicity was just downright awful.  “Are we going to be together?” “I love you, but I could never hurt you.”  Oh, just shut up and fire some arrows already.  Romance is important. I like a good romance story arc, but give it a rest.  Sorry, Felicity, Oliver’s life does not outweigh the rest of the city’s. Please stop trying to convince your ex-boyfriend of that; it’s uncomfortable for all of us.  The stories with Diggle and Layla were beautiful.  Their wedding and baby girl, Sarah, added a depth to their characters that wasn’t needed, but helped the audience connect even more.  We saw characters that had been previously one dimensional (Laurel, Thea, Roy) really come into their own and lead the show into a new realization: Arrow doesn’t need Oliver to be amazing.  The creative team at The CW has given enough lasting elements to Starling City that makes me want to come back.

The teasers for season 4 have been incredibly impressive.  As in the previous mentioned Arrow article, they’re not being shy about adding in new faces.  We’ll be seeing new big bads and little bads, new heroes, new sidekicks.  We’re also getting a taste of what NBC lost.  Matt Ryan has been seen reprising his Constantine role which was canceled earlier this spring after being shoved in an unsuccessful time slot.  Thanks to the campaigns of both fans and Stephen Amell, the incarnation of the character will not be lost forever.

Ultimately, the season has the most potential than any before.  Aside from the great character foundation that Arrow has built, it also has sister shows The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow to draw from.  Keeping all three shows cyclical and connected is to sure to bring all of them success over the years.

Written by: Rae Stewart

Ash vs Evil Dead

Ash vs Evil Dead

I think this show is the one I am most excited about due to the return of Bruce Campbell to my favorite of his roles, Ash. Our chainsaw-armed “hero” is set to return after a 30 years. The series is set to take place three decades after Army of Darkness, the sequel to Evil Dead II. Based on the premise and interviews, we can safely assume it does not follow the Director’s Cut ending where Ash oversleeps for hundreds of years and wakes up in the future. Instead, Ash sleeps the correct amount and wakes up in his own time to work again at S-Mart. The show is to air on the premium channel, STARZ and is being led by Bruce Campbell with Sam Raimi (Evil Dead, Drag Me to Hell) as Executive Producer. The series is set for 10 half-hour episodes, giving up nearly 5 hours of content, which is definitely more exciting than a single two hour film. The series kicked things into high gear with the addition of female action badass, Lucy Lawless (Xena: Warrior Princess, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.). The new Evil Dead universe series, Ash vs Evil Dead airs its first episode on Halloween. So stay groovy and break out your old boomsticks. Oh and don’t forget to shop smart. Shop S-Mart.

Written by: Derreck Mayer

The Flash

The Flash

The multiverse is here. For those DC fans out there, you know what this can mean. For those who don’t, let me bring you up to speed. The DC Universe included something called the multiverse. Until The Flash, this concept existed mainly in comic books and a few cartoons but never in the live action adaptions either on the big or small screens. The multiverse is the concept that there are multiple universes with multiple Earths that each vary, sometimes slightly, sometimes in very large ways. Earth 2, for example, includes the Val Zod Superman and Alan Scott Green Lantern while “our” universe is Clark and Hal or Jon or Guy…. or Simon… or Kyle (yes there are a lot of Lanterns)… anyway, the idea is that many Earths exist, providing nearly endless possibilities.

Last season on The Flash, we caught a glimpse of this in two major ways. First, Mark Hamill reprising his role as The Trickster. This was a role he played in the original Flash TV series back in the day along side John Wesley Shipp who played Flash. Now, Shipp plays Barry Allen’s father. Was Mark Hamill’s casting a simple ode to fans or was there a possible connection to the 1990 series? Well, we now have rumors that one of the other universes might star Shipp back in his rubber suit as Flash! I’m beyond excited about this opportunity. The second way the multiverse showed itself to us was a little more obvious and is basically confirmed, Jay Garrick Flash. Who? Well, the name Flash has been used by several people over the years. Barry is just the most popular due to recent comic books and the fantastic cartoon Justice League. Did you catch that weird metal helmet with the lightning bolts at the end of season 1? That’s Jay’s helmet, from another universe. Did you catch the weird wormhole Barry ran through? All of those strange things we saw, statues at the Flash museum, Caitlin Snow as possibly (Killer) Frost, and so much more.

Additionally, Warner Bros does not wish to directly connect their movie and TV universes. So how can we have two Flashes? Easy, the multiverse. I am very excited about this possibility and the options that The CW now have to play with. We can see incredible characters and crossover stories us comic book fans could only dream of.

The Flash is so much more though. It’s bright, funny, exciting, thrilling, and just an enjoyable show that is part of The CW’s DC Universe alongside Arrow, Vixen (which is available on CW Seed online), and Legends of Tomorrow (coming soon to The CW).

If you haven’t seen season 1, you should definitely try to catch up with the fastest man alive. Season 2 premieres October 6th on The CW.

Written by: Derreck Mayer

Gotham

Gotham

Gotham, having premiered last week, gave us a very different direction for its second season as opposed to its first. Several things have changed that have made this show, in several ways, unlike its predecessor. The cast has been switched around with some characters bumped up from reoccurring to main and some main characters removed entirely. Several characters are also following arcs entirely different from the first season. While much of this I approve of since I don’t particularly mind when shows try new things, the one thing I take issue with is this season’s supposed focus on villains. The second season, subtitled “Rise of the Villains,” teased that several familiar villains, presumably taken from Batman’s rogue’s gallery, will appear to plague Gordon’s quest to purify Gotham. However, given that several villains have already been introduced, including Penguin, Catwoman, Scarecrow, along with others, it seems unnecessary to sudden start adding in a ton of other villains. It really depends on how much depth they are willingly to put into each episode’s story as well as the season long arc since, if done correctly, this could make for some very interesting character driven drama but it could also simply be a ploy as getting ratings by teasing Batman villain fan service without going into any real depth. So while I am excited for this upcoming season, I am skeptical of how it will be done. Here’s hoping.

Written by: 

The Last Man on Earth

The Last Man on Earth

Did you see season 1? No? Then stop reading and go watch it. This show is different, to be sure. I mean, how often do you get a comedy that you actually want to watch where you hate, and I mean hate, the man “protagonist”. I put that in quotations because I am not sure we can call Phil Miller a good guy. Anyway, the show is fresh and funny. It puts a humorous and, at times, realistic spin on the post-apocalyptic world. Will Forte pulls of a character you love to hate and hate that you might just love. Meanwhile, Kristen Schaal is hilarious, quirky, and smart. The additional cast supports well, though I’m not a huge fan of January Jones’ character Melissa Shart. Not her fault, I just don’t find the character interesting.

Season 1 ends with Phil and Carol off on their own, leaving their new little community behind, Carol definitely regretting the decision almost immediately. What will happen to them? Well, I’m sure they will stumble across more people and Phil will continue to get in his own way with his dishonest and selfish behavior. Hopefully, Carol can finally get through to him.

The only way to find out if Phil gets what’s coming to him is by tuning in on FOX. Episode 1 is out now!

Written by: Derreck Mayer

The Mindy Project

The Mindy Project

I am so pumped this show was rescued.  While it had been canceled by Fox (what isn’t?), Hulu swooped in to see it continue.  The show’s ratings had drooped and, as a need to push for viewers’ interest, they introduced a pregnancy story line used to hook people from season 3 to 4.  It wasn’t the best thing they could have done, but I understand why they needed to do it.  What’s so special is that while she is pregnant, Mindy is not stuck with that being her only place on the show.  She’s also opening her own practice, which as a professional, would be fodder for an entire season of episodes if the main character was male (how often do they use the pregnant story line for a male-lead sitcom?) The fact that the show is wanting to show multiple facets of a character, both as a mother and a professional, could be groundbreaking.  For some reason it’s considered a super power when a woman is both a parent and working professional.  If this upcoming season manages to balance both major aspects of the character’s life without losing Mindy’s wit and charm in the process, then I’m in for life.  I will watch The Mindy Project until it is no more and probably some more after that.

Written by: Rae Stewart

The Muppets

The Muppets

It’s time to start the music, light the lights, and put the kids to bed because these Muppets are for you, adults. The Muppets are back on the air in their new adult-themed series. The show centers around the Muppets producing a late night talk show starring Miss Piggy and produced by Kermit. The rest of our friends, and most of them at least make a small appearance in the first episode, support the show as cast and crew. The style of the series is similar to The Office or other interview style shows.

The jokes are adult. The themes are adult. The Muppets are adult. The Muppets is a show for adults, specifically, those who grew up with and loved The Muppets. We get to finally watch these characters deal with real adult problems like relationships, jobs, and social issues.

Many are disappointed at the adult nature of the jokes and themes but I am excited about the possibilities. I can’t wait to see how the series evolves, how the characters grow, and what ends up happening between Miss Piggy, Kermit, and his new love interest.

So, go get things started by catching up on the first episode of The Muppets on ABC before tonight’s episode airs.

Written by: Derreck Mayer

Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time

Get ready all you Oncers! Sunday, September 27th marked the season 5 premiere of Once Upon A Time. This season has been teased to be the darkest the show has gone to date. That’s explainable seeing as how the savior Emma Swan has now been consumed by darkness and has become the new “Dark One” replacing Rumplestilstskin in the process. Now dubbed the Dark Swan by the creators of the show and fans around the world Snow White, Prince Charming, Belle, Henry, Regina (The Evil Queen), Robin Hood, and Hook must all band together to try and break Emma free from this darkness and return her to the light. With a quest for Camelot and to find the powerful sorcerer Merlin on the agenda, along with returning fan favorite characters such as Zelena, Mulan, and Ruby (Red Riding Hood) with also adding in Princess Merida from Disney Pixar’s Brave in the mix of it all. You can bet a whole new batch of characters, stories, and locations will be explored for this season. So don’t forget to tune in Sundays on ABC Family to see all your favorite fairytale characters and more fight the forces of good and evil.

Written by: Ian T.

Well, that’s our list for our Fall 2015 TV show blurbs. What are you most excited for this season? Comment below!

Fall 2015 TV Show Blurbs

The End of Fables – A Celebration, Part 2

Last time, I talked about the power and magic Fables had over me and just how sad it is to see it go.  In Part 2, I want to tell you some of my favorites and not so favorites of the series.  Check out Part 1 here.  And like before, remember there are some spoilers!

FablesComic

Story Arcs

Favorite – “Storybook Love” – Fables had definitely already proven its intelligence by now but this was the first story from them that I thought brought the charm into the series.  It was defined as a series, so introducing new faces was getting easier for them and expanding on the limited lore became effortless.  The most special part of this arc is the complete game changer this has on the rest of the series.  This isn’t some ripple in the pond; this is a full blown explosion of story! Bluebeard, a renowned villain to us and Fabletown, is sick of Snow White and Bigby always getting in his way.  Instead of hatching some outlandish plan to kill them, he calculates their removal. We see his true cunning.  We also see the first flirtations between Snow and Bigby.

“Jack Be Nimble” – This story line is what created the very first spin-off of FablesJack of Fables.  It’s without a doubt the best Jack story of them all.  Fables are long lasting, living for hundreds of years, but to do that, they must stay fresh in the minds of Mundies (mundanes, or, you know, normal human, us people).  The more famous the Fable, the more immortal they are.  Jack, fully recognizing that he needs to secure his place in the world, moves to Hollywood and convinces studios to make an epic trilogy about Jack’s adventures.  His selfish mindset is both annoying and impressive.  As you’re reading it, you can’t believe that people are falling for his bull, but it’s just so well done that you fall for it too.

Mister_dark

Not so Favorite – “The Dark Ages” – The first story arc after the wrap up of the war against The Adversary was not that impressive.  It’s all because of the villain, Mister Dark (not his original name, he had many over the centuries, but his current alias was just a little silly for me).  He was powerful and terrifying and drawn spectacularly…but, he wasn’t The Adversary.  I’m recalling the story, really trying to figure out if that is my fault for not being able to move on just yet, or if writing about one villain for 75 issues could easily create this problem for a lot of readers.  I refuse to choose between the two and calling it a muddled gray area for the time being.  Mister Dark’s story definitely improved  as it continued, his character being expanded on and more intense, making his exit much more likable than his entrance.

Heroes

Cinderella_From_Fabletown_with_LoveCinderella – I love her character.  Cinderella is an outright, in your face, no apologies badass. She’s the type of hero that you want to read about.  Early in the series, you find out her frivolous life style is merely a front for her level of intelligence and skills.  She’s actually a secret Fabletown spy, carrying out covert missions when the town needs her the most.  Her character was so popular, they gave her a spin-off story detailing one of these crazy adventures, Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love.  Then, when that was selling out, they made a sequel which was equally as great, Cinderella: Fables are Forever.  Being the only female Fable to get her own book was a huge deal and the two stories are some of the few I reread.

MowgliMowgli – This incarnation of the little jungle boy was greatly compelling.  He was one of three men called The Tourists, a small group tasked by Bigby to watch over Fables that chose not to live in Fabletown or the Farm (for context, the Farm is a large area in upstate New York where non-human looking Fables can live.)  His main story is one where Prince Charming tasks him with hunting down Bigby since his departure from Fabletown.  While he’s not a prominent character, this story sticks out in my head because of the perfect dialogue and characterization Mowgli had.  I would have loved to see more of him.

Pinocchio – I really disliked this guy.  He was supposed to be hilarious and a little tragic (not going to say why; deal with it), but he came off as an irritating nuisance to the stories.  The gimmick of him remaining a “real boy” and never growing into a “real man” ran thin for me.  I was very happy when his character wasn’t as necessary to the plot beginning somewhere around issue 80.  I will say that he did receive a charming finale.

Villains

fableskindleMax Piper – You’ll never find Max Piper in the actual Fables comic, but you have heard of him. More famously, Max is the Pied Piper who lead all the children of Hamelin to their deaths.  He is the main villain in the novel Peter and Max: A Fables Novel and he’s fantastic.  He has the strong  motivation of being the jilted eldest Piper brother,  slowly tearing a family apart after being denied his inheritance.  I loved the concept so much because, quite often, villains get more and more separated from the protagonists, and this keeps the conflict directly related to the entire Piper family. It’s creates the complexities of loving the villain so much because of how evil he is.  You don’t want him to succeed, but at the same time, you don’t want to see him go either.

Hansel – Did you sit through that awful Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters film?  I’m so sorry.  To wash that taste out of your mouth, read about Hansel in Fables.  When he arrives with Gretel in Fabletown, he becomes vehemently angry with some of the population (you see, Fabletown allowed anyone in that signed the Amnesty Pact; how else do you explain the big bad wolf being a sheriff?); he immediately left Gretel behind and partook in the mundane world’s witch trials.  Globally, he was revered for his cruelty and unforgiving nature towards “witches.”  When he returns to Fabletown, he cements his role as villain among the Fables as well, leaving everyone in Fabletown leery of his presence in the world.

I65_FrauFrau Totenkinder – She’s frightening, I will give her that.  But she’s in everything.  The writers used this character as every bad witch, sorceress, evil doer in every story.  We get it, she’s bad.  I can’t really blame the Fabletown citizens for fearing someone that terrorized such a large chunk of the population at some point.  They built her up with ultimate power and wide connections and an ambiguous sense of loyalty.  In the beginning, it made for an interesting addition to the ensemble, but her shtick played out fast.  She wasn’t as compelling as the other villains, and was never convicted enough to be your favorite hero.  If she had been dialed back a bit, I’d love her.

Life and Death

The most major of the spoilers follow, so just keep scrolling if you’d like to be surprised.

The Cubs –  One of the most interesting parts of the story altogether were the children of Bigby and Snow, better known as the cubs.  Usually a sign of low ratings and a last minute effort to make something successful, the introduction of children generally mean the death of the project.  Instead, the cubs brought a new facet to both Bigby and Snow’s characters.  Their personalities and positions in the comic didn’t change, but merely grew from this new experience.  It was like the writers actually knew that children in real life don’t destroy your previous self, but merely add a different dimension to them. Each of them equally developed into interesting characters to watch as well.  There was one moment in particular that kept me reading to find out what becomes of them, and that, was the prophecy Ozma gives to little Ambrose.  It stuck with me so much that each book I opened, I wanted one of the questions to be answered.  I’ll just leave it here so it can intrigue you enough to read it as well!

713221-167971_191326_wolf_cubs

The first child will be a king
The second child a pauper
The third child will do an evil thing
The fourth will die to stop her
The fifth will be a hero bold
The sixth will judge the rest
The seventh lives to ages old, and is by heaven blessed

AHH! Now it’s in your head and you have to know who is who! Don’t google it; just read the books!Boy_blue12

Boy Blue – Out of all the deaths in the comic, Boy Blue’s is by far the saddest.  Why? Because he’s completely noble throughout the book. Because he’s never smug or arrogant, he’s never too perfect for you to trust; Boy Blue is from the start, the kind of person you want in your life.  He is everyone’s best friend, including the readers.  He’s beautifully flawed, so you want him to succeed.  And when he takes it upon himself to face The Adversary’s forces, sacrificing himself, your heart breaks in two.  The absolute worst part about it: he doesn’t come back like the others.  He’s no Prince Charming, no Jack of all Fables.  He dies and he stays dead and both the Fables and readers mourn.

Cameos

Santa – This was just a cute nod to the readers.  It is an American tradition to believe in Santa Claus and then come to the realization that he doesn’t exist and it’s the hopeful spirit in the legend that is important, not the existence of the man himself.  So throwing this character into the mix, appearing maybe 3 or 4 times throughout the entire series, was, for lack of better terms, cute.  He was even included as one of the paladins for Hope (a Fable herself), giving his character just a little more substance.

Wizard of Oz – The Golden Boughs Retirement home was a prison for Fables and had quite the assortment of characters.  My favorite of them all was the majority of the Wizard of Oz cast.  Kidnapped and memory wiped, Tin Man, Lion, Toto, and Dorothy all lived in this horrific place for literary characters.  While most of her cohorts are seemingly forgotten, Dorothy’s character gets expanded on in the Cinderella book, Fables are Forever, proving to everyone that she was never the innocent little girl from Kansas.

That’s it for now; stay tuned next week for the exciting conclusion to the Fables dedication, when I talk even more about a comic you’ve never read!

Continue to Part 3.

 

The End of Fables – A Celebration, Part 2

The End of Fables – A Eulogy, Part 1

Fables has ended.  The 13 year run of the Vertigo imprint, the multiple Eisner award winning comic is over.  And I’m heartbroken.

Fables

When I first picked up Fables, my life was a little lost.  I had recently been dumped, which in turn left me homeless, jobless, car-less…you get the picture; it wasn’t a fun time.  Now, I won’t  lie by saying the books alone turned everything around for me.  No one thing can do that for anyone.  However, I will not discount the significance it had on me.  At that time, I had stopped writing, stopped singing, stopped doing just about anything that provided me with a shred of happiness. So I walked into an incredibly small comic book store in Springfield, MO and the clerk recommended Fables.  Fairy tales have always spoken to me.  I’ve constantly been inspired by the romance, the magic, the underlying darkness. It was an obvious match.  I picked up the first trade and read it in an hour. And I’ve been reading it ever since.

I was reading the comic when I uprooted my life and traveled the country.  I was reading the comic when my nieces were born.  I was reading the comic when I got married.  I read the comic during my divorce.  I connected with the characters the way you connect with family. It’s been an incredibly large part of my pop culture life and I am truly grateful for its existence.  The profound imprint that it has left upon me will never be forgotten.

Do you think I’m being a little too emotional over a comic book? That’s fair. That’s just, like, your opinion, man.  But what started as a comic book erupted into a revolutionary run in comics.  I remember in 2003 that the comics I wanted to collect were few and far between.  I picked up Neil Gaiman’s 1602 and started The Walking Dead like everyone else, but, honestly, that was about it.  Comics was this huge boys club that thought they were being inclusive when really they were making tacky sex jokes and killing off characters without any poignancy. If it wasn’t for Gail Simone, the 2000’s would have been a dark time indeed.  Then Fables came along. It featured a well-rounded ensemble cast of familiar faces with what can only be (poorly) described as twists.  It also featured a woman as its main character and that is incredibly important to a female reader.

I connected immediately with Snow White.  Why? Because I am Snow White.  That is me.  You may never meet me, but if you’ve read Fables, then you’ve met me.  All of her strengths and flaws I see in myself.  She’s a woman hardened by her past but a leader in her community.  She’s trusted, loyal, over protective, scared of letting go and loving others, accomplished… She’s the one in that town that gets shit done.  I wasn’t the only one that connected to her.  Despite valiant efforts to focus on other characters, Fables creator Bill Willingham and his second in command, Mark Buckingham, kept going back to Snow White, and subsequently, Bigby and Rose Red.  She didn’t by any means carry the comic, but she lead it, just like she lead Fabletown.  She was the foundation for hundreds of fairy tale characters to grow.  But more on them later.

This comic was so highly regarded and successful that it spawned two more ongoing series (Jack of Fables and Fairest), three limited spin-offs (Cinderella, which also had a sequel, 1001 Nights of Snowfall, and Wolves of the Heartland), one novel (Peter and Max), one art book dedicated to the beautiful covers produced over the years, and one video game (Telltale Games’ A Wolf Among Us).  At one point, both NBC and ABC held the rights to a television adaptation, and instead of producing the superior Fables, we were given the crude Grimm and the contrived Once Upon a Time, both easily inspired by Fables.  While it may seem that my dedication to this comic book is both extreme and obsessive, I clearly wasn’t the only one.  Without further ado, here is my ode to Fables. Caution: there be spoilers ahead.

fables

The Beginning

Fables starts us off with a small mystery story that gets us familiar with the main players.  It’s opening revolves around Rose Red’s murder, wrapping her sister, Snow White, and the town’s sheriff, Bigby Wolf, into the fold.  The whole story line takes place in the first six issues, what is possibly the shortest story revolving around those characters.

We were also introduced, very subtly, to the characters that would play larger roles in the series: Jack, Flycatcher, Boy Blue, Prince Charming, Beauty, Beast, King Cole. The Manhattan settlement of Fabletown was established as a safe haven for Fables fleeing the Homelands, various magical worlds in which these characters originated. We also got some brief hints at why they came over, but nothing too detailed yet.

To be honest, the story was rough, as most origin stories are.  If I had based my opinion solely on those first six issues, I never would have continued.  It’s brash and clumsy writing, over flowing with curse words and nudity (I’m no prude, but, like everything, moderation is the key to writing).  We have to get the who and what and when and where because otherwise no one will continue.  The problem is, that stuff is boring and reads more like a text book than a comic.  However, I kept going because if there’s one thing Bill Willingham knows how to do it’s create subtext.  Every face in the background was intriguing.  Every side comment from side character from side panel was going to come into play and I knew that.  I wanted to watch where it was going.  From then on, it all just got better.

The Main Characters

Fables Snow White and BigbySnow White – Her origin was peppered over numerous stories, the audience getting a small piece every collection or so.  We saw her early life unfold, the one from the fairy tale which we know and love, beginning with her life as a twin, to her marriage with Prince Charming, and her fight against her former oppressors.  Each part was filled with twists to the familiar story that gave the character more depth than any other incarnation of her has been given to date.  It made watching her grow as Deputy Mayor of Fabletown, leader of the Fables against The Adversary, becoming a wife and a mother, to moving on outside of Fabletown even better because we knew she had to fight for it.

Bigby Wolf – He was constantly misunderstood.  Haunted by his past as one of the most notorious villains in all of Fables’ history, Bigby had to fight for a place in Fabletown.  After signing the Fabletown pact (an agreement of a truce that every Fable had to sign once admitted to the New York neighborhood), he was placed as the town’s sheriff, mainly because of his ability to be both big and bad if needed.   He worked for the trust he gained, and he worked for the love of Snow White.  The overall growth of his character was probably the most satisfying of any out of the whole book.  His roles as devoted son, town hero, fearsome villain, immortal god, father, husband, savage, spy, mercenary, etc., gave each of his fans reason to love him over and over.  I hold a special place in my heart for Bigby since he is my boyfriend incarnate (which he would recognize as high praise if he would read the comic).

Fables Rose RedRose Red – She was never my favorite, which was always part of her charm.  She isn’t supposed to be anyone’s favorite, but as a reader, you root for Red because she’s trying so hard.  She’s impetuous and foolhardy and never fully aware of the whole story.  But her level of passion always got me excited.  I wanted her to succeed. I hoped that each new relationship she threw herself into was going to be fulfilling.  I hoped she would have seen her privilege and grow from it. I hoped she would see herself as an ambitious and determined woman instead of the family screw up.  And the moment she did, all of this relief swept over me as a reader and loved her even more.

Flycatcher – You don’t think too much about him. He’s the janitor of The Woodlands apartments you see off to the side. It’s not until later you see just how much more to him there really is. He was once a king, inflicted with an inconvenient curse to turn into a frog whenever his anxiety levels rise. When The Adversary’s army attacked his home, leaving him without family, he fled his homeland and blocked the tragedy from his memory. When The Adversary turned his sites toward Fabletown, Flycatcher is the first to sign up to fight for his new home. He created the first kingdom in the Homelands post The Adversary, rightfully named Haven. No matter what Fly faced, he was always better than the problem. He remained moral and fair, never wavering.

Fables JackJack Horner – Jack is the antithesis Flycatcher. He’s out for himself, full of get laid, get rich schemes. But you know, somehow that he’s inherently good. Maybe it’s because The Adversary was his enemy too. Maybe because you can see that he truly cares about Gary, the Pathetic Fallacy (his sidekick). Maybe it’s because he gets his comeuppance more than once. For whatever reason we sit through his story lines (and spin off), we can at least all agree that he’s entertaining as hell. Fun fact: main artist Mark Buckingham hated drawing Jack and was thrilled to pass him off to a new artist when he got his own series.

The Adversary – For 75 issues, this character was the biggest bad of them all. He put to shame any other villain who had appeared or would appear in the comic. His goblin and orc decimated homeland after homeland until eventually he came for Fabletown. Once the reveal hit of who was behind the massive attacks on the Fables, the story grew that much more. The fearless wooden army made sense. The true horrors of his crimes were more intense. The cabal of villains he had in his pocket were more frightening. And when he was finally defeated, the victory was sweeter. The best part was the character wasn’t forgotten. Willingham kept him in the mix of things from then on, letting his story evolve like everyone else’s. Most importantly, the story didn’t die afterward, either. To have one villain for so long made me as a reader nervous for what they would do next, but it turned out, I had no reason to be. Fun fact: the Adversary was originally planned to be Peter Pan, however, the character is not free to use so that idea was scrapped when Willingham could not secure the rights.

Look for Part 2 coming soon where we see the highs, lows, and those moments in between from Fables!

Continue to Part 2.

The End of Fables – A Eulogy, Part 1

MCU Civil War Sides are Chosen

Two months ago, we brought to you our picks for how we thought the Civil War sides would fall.  Recently, Jeremy Renner (better known to you all as Hawkeye) posted on Twitter some very interesting concept art that clearly divides our favorite heroes.  Before we show you that, let’s remind you where we had our heroes stand:

Pro-anti 2

Now, here’s Renner’s post:

https://twitter.com/Renner4Real/status/636950538777702400/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

As you can see, we weren’t far off at all!  The major difference between the two lists is obviously Hawkeye himself.  We had him slotted for Team Iron Man, along with the rest of the S.H.I.E.L.D. members.  It would seem that whatever is about to go down between the Avengers, Hawkeye has been deeply affected by the events in Avengers: Age of Ultron and will be suspicious of Tony for the time being.

Now, there’s another aspect of this poster that we have to talk about:  there’s a blonde woman siding with Captain, and consequently, there’s no Scarlet Witch.  Being as it is  just concept art at this point, it definitely doesn’t mean we won’t see Scarlet Witch at all (she was cast in the movie already.)  However, there is a Sharon Carter in the poster.  She had a small, but important role in the comics version of Civil War that would cause so many spoiler issues we dare not even write it.  Her part, though, in both Captain America:  Winter Soldier and the comics, should in no way constitute an image on the poster.  We already have many issues with Marvel’s current treatment of their female characters; this does nothing but make it worse.

A huge surprise is the addition of Black Panther fighting for Team Iron Man.  Rumors, and even allusions in Avengers: Age of Ultron, lead us to believe that Black Panther would be sitting this fight out, avoiding all of the American superhero politics.  How he will be introduced and developed in this film will be a huge plot point and one that we’re all interested in  seeing.  On the bright side, it does mean his character isn’t completely being phased out by Marvel’s introduction of Spider-Man into the MCU.

Lastly, there’s no Hulk.  He was cast and yet he’s not here.  Well, there could be several reasons behind that.  He may still be on the lam, not willing to join the fray and take a side any time soon.  He may not be ready to stand with or against Natasha in another battle. Despite their feelings, she did end up forcing him back into Hulk mode, which he was clearly unwilling to do at the time.  His part may be so small that he’s merely there to set up something in the future.  While Planet Hulk is still a pipe dream (thanks, Universal), the possibilities of Hulk’s future aren’t as limited as they seem.  Marvel can get pretty creative when they want to be.

Did your predictions get it right?  What do you think of all the new costumes?  Be sure to comment below with how you think the Civil War will change the MCU! Whose side are you on?

 

MCU Civil War Sides are Chosen

Who Should Be Captain Marvel?

A lot of rumors have been swirling around the casting for Captain Marvel since a solo movie in her honor was announced late 2014.  While some are absolutely brilliant, others are just downright weird.  Take a look at these ten actresses that might snag the part.

Captain Marvel

 

10.  Ronda Rousey

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Known as the best female MMA fighter, Rousey has been recently campaigning for this role via all sorts of social media, including commissioning and posting fan art.  In the last few months, she has truly let her geek flag fly, revealing in her reddit AMA just how much of a comic book fan she really is.  The only downside to seeing Rousey in this role is the level of acting it’s going to entail.  She’ll be up against long time veterans of the craft and any slips could stick out much more than they’d like.  Sadly, a nerd and badass woman doesn’t always translate into great acting.

9. Katee Sackoff

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For at least a year now, this rumor has been in place.  Sackoff has even reportedly met with Marvel executives for a possible role.  Since her Battlestar Galactica days, she hasn’t done much, but a role as one of Marvel’s leading ladies can put any career back in the limelight.  Her cult acting status has her placed as one of the favorite contenders for the role among fans.

8. Charlize Theron

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This rumor is relatively new, following her brilliant take as Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road. It’s like we all remembered that she could act, or something?  Theron is beyond talented.  On screen, she is a force to be reckoned with and she could easily stand her ground with the amazing Marvel lineup thus far.  She’s even the same age as most of her male counterparts (she just turned 40 this month), making the women of Marvel a more well-rounded group as opposed to being decades younger than the men.  While this rumor may be one of the best, it’s also one of the least likely to happen.

7. Natalie Dormer

nataliedromer

I’m not sure how this rumor started or when I first heard it, but I’m completely okay with this.  Dormer has seen a lot of popularity lately thanks to both Game of Thrones and Mockingjay: Part 1 and it would be a smart business decision to have her jump on the Marvel train sometime soon.  Fans aren’t the only ones to think so, either.  Her recent half shaved head hairstyle has been reflected in the “Captain Marvel” comics lately with Carol Danvers herself sporting the same look.  Coincidence, or foreshadowing?

6.  Katheryn Winnick

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A solid part of Vikings, Winnick has proven herself to be an upcoming star.  She’s also ready for just about any kind of action Marvel could throw at her.  While this rumor is mostly fan-based, Winnick has been approached in multiple interviews asking if she would ever consider a role with Marvel.  Fortunately, she seemed to be completely up for the idea and would be eager to fill the role of Captain Marvel, or almost anyone else for that matter.

5. Jessica Chastain

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The Interstellar star has been rumored since late 2014.  She had been up for the role of Maya Hanson in Iron Man 3 before having to drop out due to scheduling issues. Since then, she’s met again with Marvel about a possible different role, which means they have to like her, right?  Chastain even joined the campaign trail to play a superhero, any superhero for a while.  This rumor, sadly enough, seems to have fizzled out recently with Chastain even quoted “There was one thing. I don’t want to say too much – but there was one thing, there was a possibility in the future of the character becoming… And I was like, ‘I understand that, but I want to do it now.’ ”

4. Jennifer Lawrence

jennifer-lawrence

This rumor is 100% fan driven.  Lawrence is beyond a capable actress and would fit right into the Marvel lineup, of that there isn’t a doubt in my mind.  However, Lawrence gets giant franchise after giant franchise, which may be a turn off to some.  Her popularity may not add anything that Marvel couldn’t bring in without her and her larger than life Hollywood profile may stand out more than Marvel would want at this time.  Plus, we know Fox and Marvel can’t cross the streams yet! Maybe if she’s ever officially done playing Mystique…

3. Yvonne Stahovsky

Yvonne4

 

Her role on Chuck proved to many fans that she could take on a superhero role any day, which has left her being a strong contender for the mass audience.  While her work since the show’s finale hasn’t reached the same popularity, her name still keeps popping up when Captain Marvel is mentioned.  She may not be the most obvious choice, she definitely isn’t out of the running yet.

2. Alice Eve

alice eve

 

Marvel enjoys seeing their actresses pull off other major franchise roles before they cast them in the hero spot.  Evangeline Lilly had The Hobbit films, Elizabeth Olsen had Godzilla, and Johansson has had a string of successes since she was a kid.  Alice Eve has that too, now.  Don’t think Marvel will overlook her take on Carol Markus from Star Trek Into Darkness (there’s no punctuation there, I promise).  It certainly worked for Zoe Saldana.  If Eve wants a role in the Marvel franchise bad enough, she most likely will be offered it immediately.

1. Emily Blunt

30/01/2011 PA File Photo of Emily Blunt, arriving for the premiere of Gnomeo and Juliet, an animated film produced by Sir Elton John and David Furnish, at the Odeon Leicester Square, London. See PA Feature SHOWBIZ Insider. Picture credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA Photos. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature SHOWBIZ Insider.

Here it is, your top contender for the Captain Marvel role.  Blunt has proven herself to be one of Hollywood’s most well-rounded actresses, leading dramas, action films, and even musicals.  She can bring the star power without overpowering a role.  Her characters, no matter how tough or resilient, she portrays them with a softness that doesn’t take away from any of their qualities.  She’s also the only that has been in touch with Marvel for years.  She was one of the original actresses up for Black Widow.  I’d expect to see Blunt in a Marvel role before Phase 3 is over.

Well, that’s it. Ten awesome women rumored to don the Captain Marvel uniform.  Who’s your favorite? Who do you want to stay away from the project? Who would you like to have a rousing conversation over some ice cream? Comment below!

Who Should Be Captain Marvel?

D23 News: Disney and Pixar

This last weekend was the annual D23 convention, which, if you are not familiar with, is a magical time filled with everything Disney. It’s truly the best time of the year.

Now, we’ve already brought to you all the amazing Star Wars news (which you can find here). Today, we’re on all of the remaining Disney animation and Pixar news.

zootopia

First off, Disney gave us updates on Zootopia, a film featuring cute anthropomorphic animals in a modern civilization slated for 2016.  Ginnifer Goodwin, known as Snow White on ABC’s Once Upon a Time, helped introduce us to her character, an adorable little bunny named Judy who is trying really hard to be a cop (a position normally reserved for larger animals like rhinos). While fighting her way to the top, she comes across Nick, a con artist fox, voiced by Jason Bateman.  The combination between con and cop, fox and rabbit will undoubtedly bring some light-hearted fun to the Disney cannon.  Look for this film out March 2016.

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Also slated for a 2016 release is Moana, the epic story of a strong young girl from the South Pacific.  Already on board as voice cast is Dwayne Johnson as a demi-god Moana meets on her travels, and Alan Tudyk, a Disney favorite, in a unnamed role.  D23 released multiple concept pictures as well as one beautiful image of Johnson’s character in full (pictured above).  Expect to see Moana join the popular Disney Princess franchise in 2017.

giganticheader

Lastly, D23 was the place to announce new projects this year, including the latest addition to the Disney cannon, Gigantic, what is promised to be a Disney reworking of the classic tale Jack and the Beanstalk.  The 2018 release plans to be set in Spain during the “Age of Exploration” where the titular Jack meets a young girl giant and promises to help get her home.  With Nathan Greno helming and the Lopez couple responsible for the popular Frozen soundtrack behind the score, the film is already set for massive success.

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On the Pixar side of things, we got loads of announcements!  The teaser posters for four new sequels were revealed.  While movies like Finding Dory and The Incredibles 2 had been previously announced, they also confirmed Toy Story 4 and Cars 3.  Toy Story 4, written by Will McCormack and Rashida Jones, was said to be focused on a romance between Woody and Bo Peep.  Hopefully they’ll explain her absence during Toy Story 3. Joining comedian Ellen DeGeneres in Finding Dory is a wide variety of stars including Always Sunny in Philadelphia actress Kaitlin Olson, and Modern Family alum Ed O’Neill and Ty Burrell.  This sequel has long been championed by DeGeneres through her daytime talk show.

coco-teaser-poster

Pixar also released information regarding an original story in the works entitled Coco, a film inspired by Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) holiday. The brief synopsis for the film follows a 12 year old boy named Miguel in Mexico who sets off a chain of events that will change him forever on Day of the Dead.  The artists claim to be inspired by the gorgeous visualizations of the holiday.  While the film has not been slotted for a release date, Pixar has dates in November 2017 and 2018 reserved.

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Lastly, D23 celebrate the anticipated return of Kingdom Hearts with related announcements for Kingdom Hearts 3 and Disney Infinity, 3.0.  Kingdom Hearts 3 will feature the transformable keyblade, available for every keyblade in the game. Each will have its own unique transformation(s) that should enhance both the weapon and the gameplay.  Some featured transformations included keyblades to projectiles, larger attacks, or more power.  The big news for KH3, however, were the reveals of two new worlds to visit: Tangled and San Fransokyo from Big Hero 6.  The keyblade will also be available as the newest weapon in Disney Infinity, 3.0 along with a special edition King Mickey figure.

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Disney Infinity, 3.0 focused on many of their newest additions, including upcoming figures from The Good Dinosaur and Zootopia. They’re introducing a completely new Marvel Playset entitled “Marvel Battlegrounds” featuring the brand new playable characters of Ultron and Hulkbuster Iron Man.  While most news regarding the Star Wars figures had already been announced, they did get all the fanboys in a twist by revealing that there would be limited special edition figures with light-up light saber capability once placed on the game pad.  Star Wars: The Force Awakens actors John Boyega and Daisy Ridley were presented with their own playable figures of their characters’ likenesses, the first from the new anthology of films.

Obviously there are tons of reasons to be pumped for the next few years at Disney.  Between Star Wars parks, and 5 Pixar films, and Kingdom Hearts 3, and so many new figures for Disney Infinity…I’m going to be so broke.

How about you? What are you most looking forward to from Disney? Comment below!

 

D23 News: Disney and Pixar

Arrow Casting for Season 4

There’s no argument that the CW’s Arrow has been one of the most prolific shows in the last 5 years.  To date, it has spawned a dedicated fan base that have stuck through the highs and lows of the seasons, creative merchandise, and now two spinoff series that include the very successful The Flash and the highly anticipated Legends of Tomorrow.  It’s no surprise that the wide spectrum of fans are chomping at the bit for hints of what’s to come.

Arrow - New Green Arrow Suit

We’ve compiled all of the recent Arrow news into one handy location for it right here.  Enjoy!

Between all of the hints that Mr. Amell has dropped and the beautiful picture above, it’s safe to say that the rumor of him being called Green Arrow is accurate.  While the costume is cool, you have to feel bad for all those Arrow cosplayers.

Neil McDonough has been tapped to play Damien Darhk, a character briefly mentioned in the last few episodes of season 3.  You may remember McDonough in his brief, but underrated, turn as DumDum Dugan in Captain America: The First Avenger. Darhk is rumored to be this season’s “Big Bad.”

Anarky to appear on Arrow Season 4

Alexander Calvert is lined up to play Anarky, a character primarily featured in Batman comics, he’s focused on using anarchism as a means to improve society.  One of those misguided youth types.  This character should create a small thorn in Team Arrow’s side, but ultimately, working with each other.

Echo Kellum, an upcoming television actor, has been cast as Mr. Terrific, a lesser-known member of the Justice Society of America.  The Michael Holt incarnation of the character holds 14 PhDs, an Olympic gold medal, and is a self-made millionaire.

Mister Terrific to appear on Arrow Season 4

Jeri Ryan has also been added to the Arrow cast as Jessica Danforth.  The CW describes the character as ” a friend of the Queen family…(her) political ambitions will place her in the crosshairs of a menacing antagonist.”  You may recognize Ryan from her popular stint on Star Trek: Voyager.

Lastly, Elysia Rotaru (the girl from the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies) has been cast has an unnamed love interest for Oliver Queen.  Sorry, Olicity shippers!

We’ll be back with more Arrow, and all the other fun CW shows as the news comes rolling in!  Be sure to catch the season 4 premiere on October 4th.

What are you most looking forward to on Arrow? How about The Flash or Legends of Tomorrow? Comment below!

Arrow Casting for Season 4

MCU Ranking – Where Does Ant-Man Land?

Marvel_Cinematic_Universe_logo

A few weeks ago, we ranked all the films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  We had some people agree and disagree with us, but have stuck by our rankings.  Since then, the release of Ant-Man has come and gone (you can check out our Ant-Man review here) and now the time has come for it to take its place among our ranked films.

Ant-Man Poster

For those of you who have missed it, our list prior to Ant-Man was as follows (you can see the full article here):

11. Iron Man 2
10. Incredible Hulk
9. Iron Man 3
8. Thor: The Dark World
7. Captain America: The First Avenger
6. Thor
5. Avengers: Age of Ultron
4. Iron Man
3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
2. Guardians of the Galaxy
1. Avengers

Ant-Man Poster

It was a close call, but Ant-Man has officially taken the number 5 spot!

The film was a solid addition the MCU as a whole and brought to the table what Avengers: Age of Ultron just couldn’t, heart.  Paul Rudd brought such an endearing humor to the character, Scott Lang, that should cause both positive and negative ripples in the Avengers as a whole. The parallels between Hank Pym and Scott Lang were well done without being in your face.  The romance between Hope and Scott wasn’t necessarily inevitable, but it worked.  How great was Corey Stoll’s Yellowjacket? The man was out of his mind! And Michael Pena stole the show as Luis. The film was missing some of the charm that the made Guardians of the Galaxy and Iron Man such big hits (I blame it on them not letting Hope suit up too), but Ant-Man’s future in the MUC is looking bright!

Overall rating: 5 brave trips to the Quantum Realm

MCU Ranking, Now with more Ant-Man

ant-man-bullet-poster12. Iron Man 2
11. Incredible Hulk
10. Iron Man 3
9. Thor: The Dark World
8. Captain America: The First Avenger
7. Thor
6. Avengers: Age of Ultron
5. Ant-Man
4. Iron Man
3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
2. Guardians of the Galaxy
1. Avengers

What do you think of our placement of Ant-Man? Should it be higher? Lower? Let us know!

 

MCU Ranking – Where Does Ant-Man Land?