batman

Rebirth Harley Quinn: The Joker’s Call Review

Allow me to start by making a statement of opinion: I am not a fan of The New 52 Harley Quinn writing team or the work they have done on the series. The review you are reading is a reflection of that opinion, and I understand that there are readers who appreciate this series. I do not wish to put off that audience. While sales suggest this audience is turning away from the series, the readership was strong and committed to the point that. Unlike almost every other DC title, the creative leads on the series were not changed over or stories reset by the Rebirth event. This was a disappointment to me, but there have been suggestions of a shift in story that might occur.

Please be aware that from this point on there will be spoilers for some of the Harley Quinn series, specifically the more recent issues with the return of the Joker. You have been warned.

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I have not read the complete series of The New 52, now Rebirth, the Amanda Connor and Jimmy Palmiotti Harley Quinn, but not for lack of trying. I find their stories inconsequential and shallow, and feel that the character they are working with now, that their continued storytelling has created, has little similarity to the 25-year-old character that shares it’s name. However, this is not to say that Harley Quinn cannot survive on her own without The Joker, a choice that much of these stories works with, or that she cannot hold her own in a title of her own. Her early 2000s series and Gotham City Sirens both demonstrate otherwise. Any reader, fan base included, who claims that stories involving this character needn’t or shouldn’t have depth are simply incorrect. Characters change and evolve, but this character isn’t only dissimilar to what she had been but has been stripped of what one would consider character. Removing her of larger, more worthwhile conflict has created mostly a vehicle for jokes and innuendo that is great for selling products and looking good on covers. Outside of character issues, I find the writing in itself difficult to follow. I won’t make sweeping statements; most of these critiques are reflected in the recent issues that I want to comment on. All of this said, let’s focus on the most recent issues of the series that offer a carrot to fans of the origins of the character and a possible relationship with Joker. I tune-in and read the series when there is a story being told that interests me. Recently, the series has courted fans who want to see Harley in a more consistent relationship that reflects her history, grounding her in her roots between Joker and Poison Ivy that were cemented in Batman: The Animated Series. A few panels went viral and created discussion and debate when Harley seemed to finally answer the will they/won’t they with Joker.

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He attacks her, forcing himself on her, and she bites his lip, leaving him bleeding on the floor and stating she will never follow his demands again. Many fans liked this, as it demonstrated her ability to overcome abuse and gave her growth beyond being a subsidiary character to Joker. Issues followed in which Harley and Ivy are shown solidifying their relationship, with Harley asking to become something consistent. This story was done over several issues, and the answer from Ivy delayed by a story of their vacation adventures. Finally, she states that she can’t commit, because of her responsibility to plants. Really.

Ivy

While I understand the concept that Ivy’s mission is more important than her relationship with Harley, there are no stakes that dictate the need for a choice. There is nothing pressing that keeps Ivy from spending her time with Harley and nothing that kept her from taking a vacation and participating in adventures with Harley any more than she would be creating adventures individually.

At that juncture, I tuned off again. However, it didn’t take the creative team long to create a new relationship option, one that interested me within the confines of this canon: Joker wants her back.

Issue #9 shows Harley returning to the roller derby and once more fighting someone who beat her in an early comic, Bertha. Someone in the audience kills Bertha when she is close to murdering Harley, saving her. The rest of the comic is essentially padding with multiple dream sequences that are cute but have little importance. Yes, we know Harley is weighed by her past with Joker. Yes, we know Harley likely remembers her affection for Ivy sweetly. Outside of reminding us of that, these sequences do little. There is also a small subplot in which Harley buys some pizza, stops a robber, and gets free pizza for life, giving some to a homeless man. These sorts of stories are common in this series, attempts to show Harley as compassionate and human in extremely hammy ways that otherwise aren’t important to the plot. The disjointed subplots and dream segments make for stories that are difficult to follow. These minor plots, attempted to actually convey some form of character, are often more limited in page count than fluff, making them difficult to take with weight. The comic ends with Joker being in Harley’s apartment when she gets home.

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Issue #10 is a holiday comic. Issue #11 starts with a terse discussion between Harley and Joker where he asks her to meet him the next day in public to show he is a changed man. It then reacquaints readers with Red Tool, a parody character intended as a stand-in to answer the fan question, “what would a relationship between Harley and Deadpool be like?” The answer is “uninteresting.” Deadpool may be intentionally grating and verbose, but this character shares none of that wisecracking brevity or fun. Red Tool is essentially a guy in a suit similar to Deadpool who seeks to protect Harley because of an attraction to her. His dialogue is wordy, yes, but it isn’t written to be fun or clever. It’s lengthy because they haven’t resolved how to show story instead of tell story, an issue I have always had with these comics. That isn’t to say the dialogue reads like exposition drop. Between the accents they awkwardly write into each character and the choices made in speech layout.  It can be difficult to follow what is being said between forced catchphrases and supposed colloquial language. Red Tool makes Joker leave and Harley intends to meet him later. The pair return to an earlier unfinished plot of a door on the carnival lot that is locked. They break the door with grenades and find a monster inside. Similarly, this story is short, depicting it as insignificant, despite there being lots of questions about a huge goo monster. Escaping it, Harley returns home exhausted and sets her clock to meet Joker. Instead, Red Tool meets him.

Issue #12 has Harley sleeping through the meeting because Red Tool changed her alarm, and the two men exchange words. Joker tells him he will not fight. Red Tool then beats him. Harley is woken by the noon bells and realizes her alarm was changed. She hurries to find Red Tool beating Joker, telling him to stop and that, because of the altercation and change of her clock, she will not speak to him for a month. She takes Joker home and ties him to a chair, blindfolding him and taking him into the city. Joker demonstrates he does not intend to harm her. His dialogue is somewhat unusual, little of it seeming like it is coming from the character. He rarely smiles or makes a joke. This can be attributed to his hope to show himself as a “changed person,” but to me, personally, it simply feels out of place. Harley leaves him in the middle of the road with a sign that says “Brooklyn Sucks.” He is beaten and run over by several drivers. While the comic is billed as a conflict between Red Tool and Joker, it really isn’t. Joker takes the beating and Red Tool is shown as a bully. While Joker isn’t depicted as a victim, really, he is more of a mannequin; the reader doesn’t feel bad for him or validated for Harley’s choice to have him harmed. The actions he takes, or lack of, seem so lifeless that it comes across as totally inconsequential, something that has always been the main issue with the series.

In all, the attempt to draw in fans of Harley and Joker as well as fans of Harley who don’t want her to return to Joker is unsatisfying for either. Joker does little, Harley doesn’t make a choice, and the most significant encounter is Red Tool’s leaving the story for what will likely be the duration of this arc, something fans of Red Tool will be frustrated by. The choice to show Joker as less aggressive towards Harley is presumably a response to the reception of Joker as a more compassionate character in Suicide Squad. With the abuse removed from the final film, fans can subscribe to their relationship with limited backlash and DC can sell more merchandise that references their partnership. That said, one of the biggest criticisms of the merchandise is also one of the strangest parts of this story up to issue 11: Mad Love.

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“Mad Love” is the story that summarizes the pair’s union and depicts their backstory that every version since has worked around, up until The New 52. And this issue of Harley Quinn either redraws and re-contextualizes or flat-out blatantly reuses panels or concepts originally presented in Mad Love. These panels are some of the most interesting and engaging pages of these issues, and that’s the problem, because these stories didn’t exist in this canon until now. Harley in her nightie with bleached skin doesn’t seem unusual, but it depicts a version of this character, and her relationship, that carries more depth and subtlety than this series has offered. Not only do these panels serve only as a reminder of what both was and what this series struggles to be, many of them are improbable or impossible in the canon of this series. This is not only a problem in writing, but serves to demonstrate what fans want against what they choose to give us. These panels serve to do little more than to bait readers with a strong reaction to the original stories, with either affection or disdain. If references to other stories, stories that the series has mostly ignored or worked around in unsubtle ways, is the most appealing part of your current series, that series has, no pun intended, issues.

While this arc will likely see Joker warming in Harley’s opinion, the handling of this concept over the current series seems more like a choose your own adventure but not for the reader, rather for the staff. The series will be predicted by responses, each issue ending without resolution and being drawn out similar to the story of Harley and Ivy. At best, they will make a choice that will violate the trust of a group of readers. At worst, there will be little movement in the story, something this series has struggled with for years, and while no one will be entirely put off, no one will be served, either. In other words: please tell us a story.

Rebirth Harley Quinn: The Joker’s Call Review

SH S2E25: Screen Heroes Awards

Welcome to our 50th Episode of the Screen Heroes podcast! Thank you for all of your support over the last year. We’ve got something very special for you this week, the First Annual Screen Heroes Awards!

We nominated actors, characters, shows, and movies across 17 different categories and you helped us pick the winners by voting on Facebook, Twitter, our website, and even Instagram! Now, join us as we announce our Screen Heroes Awards winners in each category with the help of five special guests that include previous Screen Heroes guests and some new comers. We also give away a voter prize with each category! So listen in and see if you won!

Don’t forget that we have re-branded! The Grid Daily is now the Heroes Podcast Network and we have new homes across the Interwebs. So check out the updated links below and make sure you follow our brand new Twitch Channel at twitch.tv/heroespodcasts.

We’ve also updated all of our podcast feeds so iTunes, Google Play, and Feedburner will be pulling episodes from HeroesPodcasts.com! If you are already subscribed, you shouldn’t have any issues.

Facebook.com/HeroesPodcasts

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Want to join the conversation? Join us live every Tuesday night at 8PM CST on Twitch to chat with us! We’ll answer questions and note comments live on the broadcast! Follow at: twitch.tv/heroespodcasts

Don’t forget to subscribe to Screen Heroes! The links to iTunes, Google Play, and Feedburner are below!

Also, stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

Screen Heroes Awards Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rachel Stewart
Ryan Couture

Special Guests
Austin Brubaker
Allen Jones
Russ Matthews
Jordan Seper
Ian Turner

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Michael Wallace (Flying Killer Robots)

Google Play Subscription Link
https://play.google.com/music/listen#/ps/Iwvfusxqyignwamadhc3viav4qy

iTunes Subscription Link
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SH S2E25: Screen Heroes Awards

Screen Heroes Awards: First Annual

Welcome to the First Annual Screen Heroes Awards!

That’s right! We’re hosting our first awards show, celebrating the most fun in media this year.  And you get to be a part of it! We’ve been releasing new categories for you to vote on so we can choose the winners!

But that’s not all! Every time you’ve voted, you’ve actually been entering yourself in a Screen Heroes Awards Contest too! For every category, a lucky winner will be selected to receive a prize related to that category’s winner!

Prizes Include:

Comic books!
Charms!
Movie Posters!
Grid Daily Apparel!
FUNKO Pops!
And more…!

Have you missed the previous categories? Never fear! Listed below are the released categories with your chance to pick your winners in the comments!

Remember, you must pick from one of the picture nominees. We know not every film or actor was nominated but just like the Academy Awards, we had to narrow things down a bit.

First Annual Screen Heroes Awards Nominees

Best Female Superhero in a Film

Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn), Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Scarlet Johansson (Black Widow)

Best Film (Super)hero FemaleBest Male Superhero in a Film

Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool), Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Henry Cavill (Superman), Chris Evans (Captain America), Will Smith (Deadshot), Ben Affleck (Batman)

Best Film (Super)Hero Male

Best Superhero TV Series

Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Daredevil, Luke Cage

Best Super Hero Show

Best Sci-Fi TV Series

Orphan Black, Stranger Things, Wayward Pines, Mr. Robot, The X-Files

Best SciFi TV Show

Best Fantasy TV Series

Game of Thrones, Outlander, Galavant, Once Upon a Time, The Shannara Chronicles

Best Fantasy TV Show

Best Horror TV Series

Lucifer, Supernatural, American Horror Story, Penny Dreadful, The Walking Dead

Best Horror TV Show

Best TV Villain in a Superhero Series

Cameron Monaghan (Jerome Valeska\Joker),  Casper Crump (Vandal Savage), Teddy Sears (Jay Garrick), Neal McDonough (Damien Darhk), Erik LaRay Harvey (Diamondback), Mahershala Ali (Cottonmouth)

Best TV Villain

Best TV Supporting Character in a Superhero Series

Jon Bertnthal (Frank Castle), Rosario Dawson (Claire Temple), Wentworth Miller (Captain Cold), Carlos Valdes (Cisco Ramon), Simone Missick (Misty Knight)

Best TV Supporting Character

Best Female Superhero in a TV Series

Melissa Benoist (Supergirl), Caity Lotz (Sara Lance\White Canary), Chloe Bennet (Daisy Skye Johnson), Willa Holland (Thea Queen\Speedy), Elodie Yung (Elektra)

Best TV (Super)hero Female

Best Male Superhero in a TV Series

Charlie Cox (Matt Murdock\Daredevil), Mike Colter (Luke Cage), Grant Gustin (Barry Allen\Flash), Brandon Routh (Ray Palmer\The Atom), Stephen Amell (Oliver Queen\Green Arrow)

Best TV (Super)Hero Male

Best Villain in a Superhero Film

Viola Davis (Amanda Waller), Jesse Eisenberg (Lex Luthor Jr.), Oscar Isaac (Apocalypse), Ed Skrein (Ajax\Francis), Cara Delevingne (June Moone\Enchantress)

Best Film Villain

Best Supporting Character in a Superhero Film

Tom Holland (Peter Parker\Spider-Man), Chadwick Boseman (T’Challa\Black Panther), Brianna Hildebrand (Negasonic Teenage Warhead), Jay Hernandez (Diablo), Sophie Turner (Jean Grey)

Best Supporting Film Character

Best Superhero Film

Deadpool, Captain America: Civil War, X-Men: Apocalypse, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Sqaud

Best Comic Book Movie

Best Horror Film

The Purge: Election Year, 10 Cloverfield Lane, The VVitch, Pride Prejudice and Zombies, The Conjuring 2

Best Horror Film

Best Fantasy Film

BFG, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Warcraft, Pete’s Dragon, The Jungle Book

Best Fantasy Film

Best Science Fiction Film

Star Trek Beyond, Independence Day: Resurgence, Ghostbusters: Answer the Call, The 5th Wave

Best Sci-Fi FIlm

Best Animated Film

Pets, Zootopia, Kubo, Finding Dory, Kung Fu Panda 3

Best Animated Film

 

That’s it for now, but stay tuned for more news and don’t forget to join us live for the official awards ceremony! You can catch the Screen Heroes Awards live December 6th at 8:00 pm Central on twitch.tv\heroespodcasts!

Entries into the contest are limited to the number of categories released. Only one winner will be chosen per category. No repeat winners will be chosen.

Questions? Comments? Hit us on on Facebook or Twitter!

Screen Heroes Awards: First Annual

SH S2E21: Ranking the Batman Villains

We return to the DC Comics world of Batman to rank his Top 20 villains including the big names like The Penguin and Catwoman plus some less-iconic characters including Phantasm and Killer Croc. In Episode 47 of the Heroes Podcast Network flagship series, we are joined by special guest and our #1 Patreon contributor, Jordan Seper! This was also his suggested topic, just another perk of being a Patreon contributor. Want to see what other cool stuff you can get? Head over to patreon.com\heroespodcasts to check out the perks.

Don’t forget that we have re-branded! The Grid Daily is now the Heroes Podcast Network and we have new homes across the Interwebs. So check out the updated links below and make sure you follow our brand new Twitch Channel at twitch.tv\heroespodcasts.

Facebook.com\HeroesPodcasts

Twitter.com\HeroesPodcasts

Instagram.com\HeroesPodcasts

Patreon.com\HeroesPodcasts

Twitch.tv\HeroesPodcasts

Want to join the conversation? Join us live every Tuesday night at 8PM CST on Twitch to chat with us! We’ll answer questions and note comments live on the broadcast! Follow at: twitch.tv\heroespodcasts

Don’t forget to subscribe to Screen Heroes! The links to iTunes, Google Play, and Feedburner are below!

Also, stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com\HeroesPodcasts

Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rachel Stewart
Ryan Couture

Special Guest
Jordan Seper

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Michael Wallace (Flying Killer Robots)

Google Play Subscription Link
https://play.google.com/music/listen#/ps/Iwvfusxqyignwamadhc3viav4qy

iTunes Subscription Link
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/screen-heroes-grid-dailys/id1071922623

Feedburner Subscription Link
http://feeds.feedburner.com/griddaily/screenheroes

RSS Feed Link
http://griddaily.com/feed/podcast/screenheroes

Social Media
@HeroesPodcasts
Facebook Page

SH S2E21: Ranking the Batman Villains

SH S2E17: Pitching a DC Comics CW Series

This week, each of our three hosts pitch their own TV series for The CW that exists in the DC Comics and DC Entertainment universe. The show can include any DC Comics character, but hopefully some that The CW could actually get their hands on. That’s about it for the rules. The shows can exist on Earth 1 with Flash and Arrow, Earth 2 or 3, or even whichever Earth (maybe 4) that Supergirl lives in. One thing we do is take the whole DCEU into account. While Barry Allen’s Flash exists in both The Flash TV show and in the movies, with different actors, we tried not to take advantage of that too much and focus on more DC Comics characters.

So, sit back, listen in, and let us know what you think of our DC Comics TV series pitches for The CW!

Want to join the conversation? Join us live every Tuesday night at 8PM CST on Twitch to chat with us! We’ll answer questions and note comments live on the broadcast! Follow at: twitch.tv\griddaily

Don’t forget to subscribe to the Screen Heroes podcast! The links to iTunes, Google Play, andFeedburner are below!

Also, stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com\griddaily

Pitching a DC Comics CW Series Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rachel Stewart
Ryan Couture

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Michael Wallace (Flying Killer Robots)

Google Play Subscription Link
https://play.google.com/music/listen#/ps/Iwvfusxqyignwamadhc3viav4qy

iTunes Subscription Link
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/screen-heroes-grid-dailys/id1071922623

Feedburner Subscription Link
http://feeds.feedburner.com/griddaily/screenheroes

RSS Feed Link
http://griddaily.com/feed/podcast/screenheroes

Social Media
@GridDaily
Facebook Page

Email
contact@griddaily.com

SH S2E17: Pitching a DC Comics CW Series

Why Your Fandom Isn’t Better Than Mine (and Admittedly Vice-Versa)

Welcome to 2016. A year that feels as if it has been written by some of the greatest and most disliked fiction writers of our time.

If you haven’t been paying attention, 2016 has taken some of our most beloved media treasures from us. It has given us countless important news stories and opportunities that have been ignored by the media while they further drive their agendas on top of a division between classes and race. The year is actually giving us an election that features a billionaire evil villain against an emotionless un-convicted criminal that everybody seems to be settling with. We even have killer (maybe) clowns roaming the streets all across the country. And of course, an unlikely hero in a gorilla named Harambe who, well, really did nothing but die to earn this awkward heroic status.

When Nick Diener tweeted this is the year we desperately need Batman, he wasn’t lying:

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So, as like in every election year, 2016 presents us everything as either Side-A or Side-B, black or white, 0 or 1, gorilla or no gorilla. And if you’re getting ahead of me and starting to guess where I’m going with this article, I’m going to have to ask you to take a step back and not assume my gender… I mean direction.

My point? With all of this pick-a-side controversy, why is a community that once stood so firm together now arguing over whose fandom is better?

For me, I’ve made no secrets in my fandom choices. Although I’ll take an independent or small press comic over the big  guys any day, Batman has always been my hero of choice. Alan Moore could not, and probably still cannot, write no wrong, DC or Marvel, the book over the movie when it came to A History of Violence, and the movie over the book when it comes to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and so forth and so forth.

But before I carry on sharing my opinion, I am certain many of you reading this are ready to tell me that you disagree and more importantly the very reasons why.

But what makes my fandoms superior in my mind are the very same things that make your fandoms superior in yours. Mostly, it’s what we were raised on or maybe it was how we experienced it for the first or best time. Having a friend pop your Doctor Who cherry is amazing, no matter if it was decades ago or more recently when the ever-popular David Tennant was caught up in that wibbily-wobbly timey-wimey ball of a series.

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Most of all, our fandoms are our favorites because they are what helps us escape some realities and have allowed us to unite with others that have a deep love for something. Why do we turn to science fiction? Because even the grimmest of tales is less scary then what is really happening to the planet. Why do we continue to watch that same series over and over again? Most likely because you’re introducing it to a new friend the same way you were, or you’re sharing it over and over again with somebody important in your life.

But escaping in fandom doesn’t mean we’re running away from our problems. It doesn’t mean we’ve buried our head in the sand and pretended nothing is happening. In fact, the nerds and geeks of the world are the ones that have been saving it for generations, the ones that have given us not only all these fandoms, but all these technological channels to enjoy them. But as we try to share our enjoyment, or even sometimes our dislike, as geekdom grows so does the chance for an argument. The arguments grow louder and louder and a once united front of individuals that so often stood on the outside looking in now stand divided even though we hold the key to the entertainment universe. We quit introducing our friends to a fandom in such an intimate way and now just enjoy these things alone and share our strong willed opinions over the internet.

Let’s stop arguing about David Tennant or Matt Smith. Let’s stop arguing about DC Expanded Universe vs the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Rather, let’s rejoice in the fact that Doctor Who came back and has given us four amazing and different actors to portray the lovable Time Lord. Let’s be pleased in the fact we have comic book movies coming out every quarter, if not more frequently. Let’s not complain about race when watching an amazing series Netflix recently released.

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Who cares if you know Jessica Jones and Luke Cage eventually get to the baby making stage of the relationship or not. Let’s welcome our different opinions and new members of the nerd alliance with open arms.

More importantly, let’s enjoy those now argument free times with loved ones, whether new or old. Let’s introduce a new generation to Wolverine, even if only through Hugh Jackman’s portrayal. Let’s walk away from something and appreciate the fact it was there giving us time away from this crazy world and a short window of time shared with somebody we care about.

In fact, next time somebody speaks positively about a fandom you dislike, why don’t you enjoy the fact that there are so many geeky things out there for people to enjoy that there’s no way every individual will like every single one.

Let’s stop fighting over trivial geeky things. Besides, we have more important things to argue about…. You know, like what’s for dinner?

Why Your Fandom Isn’t Better Than Mine (and Admittedly Vice-Versa)

SH S2E15: The Rise and Fall of Tim Burton

Happy October, everyone! We kick off the month of Halloween with one of our most well-known directors, Tim Burton. His latest film, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children hit theaters this past weekend, so we sat down to talk about the Eva Green film while also touching Tim Burton’s most famous works, the good and the bad. We discuss what we love about his films and where we think he has gone wrong in the past and with his latest, Miss Peregrine.

We had some wonderful people join us for the live stream this week! They posed questions, comments, made jokes, and helped

Want to join the conversation? Join us live every Tuesday night at 8PM CST on Twitch to chat with us! We’ll answer questions and note comments live on the broadcast! Follow at: twitch.tv\griddaily

Don’t forget to subscribe to the Screen Heroes podcast! The links to iTunes, Google Play, and Feedburner are below!

Also, stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com\griddaily

The Rise and Fall of Tim Burton Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rachel Stewart
Ryan Couture

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Michael Wallace (Flying Killer Robots)

Google Play Subscription Link
https://play.google.com/music/listen#/ps/Iwvfusxqyignwamadhc3viav4qy

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contact@griddaily.com

SH S2E15: The Rise and Fall of Tim Burton

SH S2E13: Ranking the Batman Family

Batman has a lot of sidekicks. In fact, there are several different versions of Robin not to mention Batgirl, Batwoman, his trusty butler, and Commissioner Gordon, among others. We sit down to rank the Top 14 Batman Sidekicks and then we each throw in our wildcard to round out the 15. We look over each version of Robin plus many other characters who have stood along side the Dark Knight, some even wearing the cowl. Listen in for our ranking and then let us know what your list looks like. Did we leave anyone off? Did we rank someone too high or too low? Let us know in the comments below.

Want to join the conversation? Join us live every Tuesday night at 8PM CST on Twitch to chat with us! We’ll answer questions and note comments live on the broadcast! Follow at: twitch.tv\griddaily

Don’t forget to subscribe to the Screen Heroes podcast! The links to iTunes, Google Play, and Feedburner are below!

Also, stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com\griddaily

Ranking the Batman Family Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rachel Stewart
Ryan Couture

Special Guest
Russ Matthews

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Michael Wallace (Flying Killer Robots)

Google Play Subscription Link
https://play.google.com/music/listen#/ps/Iwvfusxqyignwamadhc3viav4qy

Feedburner Subscription Link
http://feeds.feedburner.com/griddaily/screenheroes

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Facebook Page

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contact@griddaily.com

SH S2E13: Ranking the Batman Family

Psycho Killers and the Women Who Love Them: Harley Quinn, Abuse, and Cosplay Pt 1

Suicide Squad is the most successful August movie in history and it brought many characters unfamiliar to non-comic audiences to the front of pop culture conversation. In the wake of all the buzz, more people than ever are asking “who is Harley Quinn?” Almost anyone with a little geek knowledge can tell you she’s the Joker’s moll, but it’s a much more complicated question than that, fraught with questions of morality, violence, romanticization, sexualization, and perhaps most of all, love. We took the time out to really analyze these issues by viewing them through the lens of what turned out to be a surprisingly large section of comics audiences: Harley Quinn fans who also identified as victims of abuse.

Few characters capture the imagination of on-screen and comic audiences quite like the Joker. He is the longest-standing comic villain and has the most iterations of any of Batman’s rogue gallery, from the big screen to the small. Since the popularity of Batman: The Animated Series, fans have found pleasure in pairing the Clown Prince of Crime with a partner: Harley Quinn. Originally intended to be a one-off henchwoman, Harley was written by Paul Dini and designed by Bruce Timm in 1992. Quinn only appeared in nine episodes to her beau’s 15, but her iconic appearance, personality, and voice has lived on for over 20 years. Quinn has found herself the star of multiple spin-off comics and found further success in the New 52. For comic fans, Harley may be DC’s brightest star. For cosplayers, the Joker and Harley Quinn have found themselves to be two of the most-imitated characters in the Batverse. This success, however, isn’t without it’s critics.

The characters do not have what anyone in their right mind would call a healthy relationship. Harleen Quinzel became Harley Quinn to appease the man she loved, a love most would agree is built around Joker’s manipulation and Harley’s attraction to the psychologically extreme. In 1994’s “Mad Love”, their relationship was explored and given both a back story and a bottom line: love is not always kind, or sane. Harley was a young, capable doctor with no history of crime or mental issues prior to meeting Mr. J. Joker throws Harley out a window, and all it takes is a note attached to some flowers sent to her hospital room to take Harley from “never again” to “whenever he wants.”

Harley Quinn I1

Harley’s standalone comics have seen her pairing up (read: sometimes shacking up) with other DC characters, with Poison Ivy often stepping in to fill the clown’s squeaky shoes. Ivy occasionally perpetuates her own brand of manipulation, but she is definitely more of a straight shooter, and is shown to both outwardly care for and reciprocate the feelings of Quinn. In other words, since her inception, Harley has been familiar with abuse, mental, emotional, and physical.

Harley Quinn I2

That isn’t to say that Harley doesn’t do her own share of violent things to the ones she cares for. Joker may often take the prize at “most manipulative,” but Harley was a gymnast, and has shown herself to be a capable foe physically. She is also  powered up by Ivy in both the Batman: The Animated Series episode “Harley and Ivy” and during “No Man’s Land”, gaining extra strength and agility as well as an immunity to poisons. When the Joker sets her off, it isn’t the Dark Knight she is taking out her aggression on.

Harley Quinn I3

So, who would find these two appealing? Apparently, a lot of DC’s audience. Harley and Joker as a pair are some of the most sought after DC collectibles, and Alex Ross’ recent work, titled “Mind If I Cut In?” depicts the couple seconds after the Caped Crusader steps in on their now-classic pose. The print goes for upwards of $900 dollars and fans seem willing to spend it. Retail stores like Hot Topic sell merchandise of both “Mad Love” and Alex Ross’ work, as well as other products that depict the particularly toxic duo’s relationship as something to be admired.

Harley Quinn I4

This depiction, as well as countless works of fan art and fiction, has drawn criticism from those who feel that the relationship and it’s romanticization is a detriment to readers. Opposing remarks can be found about couples who cosplay as the grinning lovers. Detractors say that romanticizing the two is a detriment to those who have had abusive relationships, and that cosplay is idolization of a dangerous, problematic pairing. Some have went as far as to say that, if you do not have a history of abuse, you can’t enjoy them.

Harley Quinn I5

Negative representations of relationships skewed to be romantic aren’t new. Romeo and Juliet have been criticized for pushing dangerous versions of love since long before New York accents and definitely prior to Paul Dini giving one to a girl dressed like a harlequin. “There is tons of violence in Shakespeare, there is nothing wrong with enjoying/appreciating it because it is  just art. Just like comics are art,” said Andrew Arkham Cosplay.

So, who are these fans? How do these people deal with the idea that their beloved couple might be a poor example for relationships? We spoke to Joker and Harley cosplayers about their interest in the characters, their history with relationships, and if, and where, the two meet. Trigger warning for anyone reading who might find discussions of abuse, both mental and physical difficult, as this is a discussion with abuse victims about their experience and the ways in which they have found to deal with their past.

Next week, we continue our series of interviews with cosplayers and dive into the world of fictional abuse and it’s significance in real world affinity for characterization. Tune in Monday for more.

Psycho Killers and the Women Who Love Them: Harley Quinn, Abuse, and Cosplay Pt 1

SH S2E8: What if Batman v Superman was Made in the 90s

We’re back after a week off to discuss how Batman v Superman would have been different if it was done 25 years ago in the early 90s! Your three hosts each provide their own take on their version of the film including who would portray Batman and Superman, what other Justice League members would be included and how the plot would be different back during the height of the Michael Keaton Batman.

Before we kick off this week’s What If scenario, we talk about our experiences at Kansas City Comic Con this past weekend. Ryan with Buster Props had an artist alley table and Rae with the Super Sirens had a cosplay booth while I (Derreck) enjoyed a nice press pass.

Want to join the conversation? Join us live every Tuesday night at 8PM CST on Twitch to chat with us! We’ll answer questions and note comments live on the broadcast! Follow at: twitch.tv\griddaily

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Batman v Superman in the 90s Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rachel Stewart
Ryan Couture

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Michael Wallace (Flying Killer Robots)

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SH S2E8: What if Batman v Superman was Made in the 90s

SH S2E7: Suicide Squad Enters the DCEU

The next movie in the DC Expanded Universe hits theaters this weekend but the Screen Heroes crew was lucky enough to get an early screening. In this episode we spend the first portion providing some spoiler-free thoughts on Suicide Squad! Then, we’ll break before entering into extreme spoiler territory! So, if you haven’t seen it yet, join us for a bit, then see the movie and listen to the rest. If you’ve seen it, listen in and let us know your thoughts on Suicide Squad. We talk characters, casting, plot, special effects, and how it fits into the overall DCEU plans with Batman v Superman and Wonder Woman.

This episode, due to the timing of the topic, was not recorded live.

Want to join the conversation? Join us live every Tuesday night at 8PM CST on Twitch to chat with us! We’ll answer questions and note comments live on the broadcast! Follow at: twitch.tv\griddaily

Don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast at our new Feedburner location here: http://feeds.feedburner.com/griddaily/QXPd

Also, stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com\griddaily

 Suicide Squad Review Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rachel Stewart
Ryan Couture

Special Guest
Jon Czerwinski

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Michael Wallace (Flying Killer Robots)

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SH S2E7: Suicide Squad Enters the DCEU

SH S2E2: Suicide Squad – What You Need to Know

The next big DC Comics movie, Suicide Squad, is just under a month away! The live action anti-hero film stars Will Smith as Deadshot, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, and Jared Leto as The Joker. The movie takes place in the same universe as Batman v Superman, with Ben Affleck reprising his role as Batman in Suicide Squad.

To prep for the film, we sit down to talk about everything you need to know before you see it. We discuss how the group came to be, some of its previous members, how the Suicide Squad played out in The CW’s Arrow, and our thoughts on the casting. We talk about which characters we’re most excited to see plus those we might be a little nervous about.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast at our new Feedburner location here: http://feeds.feedburner.com/griddaily/QXPd

Also, stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com\griddaily

Suicide Squad – What You Need to Know Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rachel Stewart
Ryan Couture

Special Guest
Ian Turner

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Michael Wallace (Flying Killer Robots)

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SH S2E2: Suicide Squad – What You Need to Know