Comics

Star Wars News Catch-Up

Star Wars News Catch-Up
Echo Station

 
 
00:00 / 44:12
 
1X
 

Welcome back to Echo Station Podcast! Kris and Ian are back from their holiday break to talk Star Wars news that broke during the mini hiatus over the past few weeks. A lot of juicy stories and a lot of news are packed into this episode…including when a possible panel for the station will happen at Kansas City’s very own Planet Comicon this year! So strap in and welcome to Echo Station.

Comment below or hit us up @EchoStationCast on Twitter or Facebook!

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

Not ready for that kind of commitment? No problem! Buy us a coffee over at ko-fi.com/heroespodcasts because every dollar truly does help.

Echo Station Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts
Kristina Davis
Ian Turner

Executive Producer & Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

RSS Feed

http://heroespodcasts.com/feed/podcast/echostation

iTunes

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/echo-station-a-star-wars-podcast/id1434248101

Google Play

https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/Ixlalgr5lliy6jt477iqzpwucde

Social Media
@EchoStationCast

SMT05: Garfield Thanksgiving, Pound Puppies, Fruit Loops

Whoops. We are posting episode 6 before episode 5 because Danielle is out of town and the file for episode 5 is trapped on her computer. Shouldn’t really matter, but this episode does reference things we discussed in episode 5. We’re still figuring out this whole podcasting thing, folks. Be patient. This week, Jeremy takes a look at a Garfield Thanksgiving special from the 80s where Jon Arbuckle is a real piece of garbage. We both constantly confuse the names Jon and Jim. Just when you think we’ve gotten it straightened out, we screw it up again. Danielle gets super bummed out because her favorite talking egg from USAcres never showed up.

Danielle then shares an episode of Pound Puppies where an Eastern European puppy is used by Soviet Mobsters to smuggle a mind control gem into the United States. Jeremy found it grating because of how much everyone was screaming. We follow our noses to some Fruit Loops this week and realize very little about the formula has changed in our lifetimes. We also use the fun size boxes as makeshift bowls because Danielle had never tried it.

Are you a fan of Garfield and Friends or Pound Puppies? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @HeroesPodcasts!

Don’t forget to subscribe to Saturday Morning Tooncast! The links to iTunes, Blog Talk Radio, and Google Play 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

Saturday Morning Tooncast Podcast Credits

Hosts
Danielle Yeager
Jeremy Monken

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Jeremy Monken

Music
“Classic Comedy Stroll” – Hakan Eriksson

iTunes Subscription Link
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/saturday-morning-tooncast/id1296329004

Blog Talk Radio
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/satmorningtooncast

Google Play Subscription Link
Click Here, it’s long!

Feedburner Subscription Link
Coming Soon

RSS Feed Link
http://heroespodcasts.com/feed/podcast/satmorningtooncast

Social Media
@HeroesPodcasts

Costume Couture: Men of Marvel

Marvel has dozens of male superheroes. We know several from the major Marvel movies like Iron Man, Deadpool, and Wolverine, but there’s plenty more. This week, we take a look at our favorite and least favorite costumes from the Men of Marvel. We’ll talk comic books and movies, so join us and let us know your favorite looks!

Also, don’t miss our Cosplayer of the Week, Yensid Cosplays who can be found on Facebook at Yensid Cosplays and Twitter @cruzingquinn.

Catch Rae are her new handle SirynRae and Ian at Haus of Turner Cosplay!

Hosted by
Rae of SirynRae Cosplay
Ian of Haus of Turner Cosplay

Cosplayer of the Week
Yensid Cosplays

Don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube and give these videos a thumbs-up!

Are you a cosplayer? Do you want a spotlight on Costume Couture? Don’t forget to submit a Cosplayer of the Week form found right here!

Costume Couture: Men of Marvel

SH S3E14: Justice League Member Ranking

With Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman out of the running, we rank the next Top 20 Justice League members! We decided to skip the Trinity and start at #4. We rank DC Comics’ heroes like Aquaman, Hawkgirl, Supergirl, Vixen, Cyborg, and several Green Lanterns. We’re joined by a new guest, Barry Poole, who comes ready to battle it out for the Justice League ranking.

Join us as we talk comic book versions, cartoon appearance, live action, and more!

Head over to our Facebook page to keep up with our latest and stay tuned for our Planet Comicon photo cosplay album, articles, and interviews as we will be part of the press at the main event the last weekend of April.

Also, go to Screen-Heroes.com right now to subscribe to us on iTunes and drop us a review. If you do, we’ll be sure to give you a shout-out in a future episode!

Want to join the conversation? Join us live every Tuesday night at 9PM EST 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 Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rachel Stewart
Ryan Couture

Special Guest
Barry Poole

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
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://heroespodcasts.com/feed/podcast/screenheroes

Social Media
@HeroesPodcasts

SH S3E14: Justice League Member Ranking

SH S3E13: Planet Comicon Who

We’ve got a special preview of Planet Comicon 2017, the largest comic convention in Kansas City! Thanks to special guest, Kirk Chritton, we discuss upcoming plans for this year’s big PCC event including some of the amazing creator guests who are attending like TMNT’s Kevin Eastman and Harley Quinn’s Amanda Conner. Then we talk about the big celebrity guests including the return of Stephen Amell, a hopeful second chance at John Barrowman, Felica Day, Wil Wheaton returns, and Ron Pearlman will be in the house! But that’s not all, Kirk tells us about this year’s new setup that uses even more space at Bartle Hall, plus new features like the Entertainment Space and cosplay group photo stages.

You can check out all the details plus get tickets to Planet Comicon on their website here.

Head over to our Facebook page to keep up with our latest and stay tuned for our Planet Comicon photo cosplay album, articles, and interviews as we will be part of the press at the main event.

Also, go to Screen-Heroes.com right now to subscribe to us on iTunes and drop us a review. If you do, we’ll be sure to give you a shout-out in a future episode!

Want to join the conversation? Join us live every Tuesday night at 9PM EST 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 Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rachel Stewart
Ryan Couture

Special Guest
Kirk Chritton

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
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://heroespodcasts.com/feed/podcast/screenheroes

Social Media
twitch.tv/heroespodcasts
twitter.com/heroespodcasts
instagram.com/heroespodcasts
Facebook.com/HeroesPodcasts
heroespodcasts.tumblr.com

SH S3E13: Planet Comicon Who

Ruth ”Blindfold” Aldine: X-Men

RUTH ALDINE- WHAT MAKES BLINDFOLD UNIQUE

I Don’t know about you but as a recent Marvel enthusiast, I feel that out of all the female X-Men characters, Blindfold does NOT get the respect and credit she deserves. She’s totally overshadowed by Storm. Don’t get me wrong, I love Storm and admire her superpowers; however, Ruth Aldine (Blindfold) can roll with the best of them.

She’s a great contender when it comes to the female X-Men cast. She first appeared in Astonishing X-Men Volume 3 in 2007. She was born in North Carolina to a mother and her father who left the family soon after she was born. Ruth also has a brother, Luca, who she did not get along with. He basically hated her.

During an attempt to kill Ruth with a chainsaw, Luca ended up killing their mother while she was trying to protect Ruth, causing him to be put on Death Row and Ruth being sent to live with her aunt in Prospect Plains. Living there for 6 years was a time she really enjoyed as she was able to perfect her mutant superhero power.

Blindfold

While visiting her brother’s execution however, things took a downward spiral when her Luca Astral projected himself to steal many of Ruth’s powers, leaving her depleted of the young woman she was becoming. These early life traumas really play a big part into why Blindfold is the way she is throughout the X-Men series. Unlike the rest of the X-Men characters, Ruth Aldine was born with her superpowers. To put it simply, she was already badass from the start.

Lets take a moment to examine these mutant superpowers Blindfold has:

  • Blind-Anophthalmic
  • Psionic
  • Telapathic
  • Telekinesis
  • Clairvoyant
  • Retrocognitive
  • Precognitive

COME ON! That’s a pretty impressive list of powers here. That can’t be denied.

blindfoldAn X-Men movie about this awesome character should be made, in my opinion. Can I get an Amen in Agreement? At the very least  she should have a STRONG character feature in upcoming sequel movies. Okay, so she’s not always depicted to be the most sexy female Marvel comic character, but that should not really be a factor here. I can’t stress how much shame and embarrassment I have over the fact there is so little Blindfold mania. When I think of how she can see things without even having eyes, that’s real irony. Her precognitive powers are an excellent add to the recipe in the making of Blindfold too.

It’s seems that with all these superpower responsibility she has, Ruth Aldine seems to be a character that has a lot on her shoulders, what with trying to save the world from the bad guys after all.

I first discovered her only too recently actually. Some Marvel die hards may say I am late to the party, but I am sure glad to have been introduced to such an amazing female Marvel character . To me, she embodies a quiet courage and understated strength. Many episodes emphasize her empathy towards her peers. This quality is what stood out to me as unique. She’s a sheer fighter who has beat a lot of odds, despite her past.  She doesn’t let that hold her back from being of service to others, and we can indeed learn something from that.

Please school me with your opinions on this brilliant female X-Men character.   We at The Grid Daily would like to hear your favourite Blindfold’ moments and which of her superpowers you most admire.  We want to know that we are not alone in our Blindfold appreciation.

(Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blindfold_(comics))

Ruth ”Blindfold” Aldine: X-Men

Team Cap or Team Iron-Man

Recently I was privy to observe a very clever conversation arguing the true depth to what it means to be Team Cap (#TeamCap) or Team Iron Man (TeamIronMan).   Joining in was yours truly, King of The Grid Derreck, the best Black Panther cosplayer Brent Simpson, resident Ghostbuster Ryan, and our knowledgeable nerd Nikki. The conversation took place over multiple hours through a Facebook chat among friends. Some of the conversation has been edited to remove tangents, typos, colloquialisms. Overall, it was an exciting conversation to take part it and I’d like you to be apart of that too.

 

Captain America: Civil War Team Cap and Team Iron Man

Derreck: So why is everyone on Cap’s side? Seriously though, is everyone on Cap’s for personality reasons and now what they are actually doing/standing for?

Brent: I generally feel that Cap is doing the morally right thing. Even if it is unpopular.

Derreck: You don’t think people like this need to have some kind of checks and balances system? Especially after all that destruction?

Nikki: The world has gone to shit and these bamfs are saving most of us. Collateral damage is better than obliteration.

Derreck: I don’t think Iron Man’s side is: let’s all go home.

Ryan: Nope. How are you gonna check and balance a God and a big green radiation monster?

Derreck: He agrees with accountability.  Ryan, so it’s difficult, it shouldn’t be done? No accountability because Hulk? That’s some lame logic.

Ryan: The government doesn’t need their hand in everything. Look what happened when SHIELD was active. They were a government branch the Avengers were supposed to report to. They got infiltrated and caused all the Winter Soldier shit. Just because it’s the government doesn’t mean it’s any more of an infallible entity than the Avengers as a team.

Derreck: Hence the checks and balances. The same problems could arise within the Avengers. So the Hulkf takes out a city block and everyone should just look the other way because accountability “might” bring problems?

Rae: I don’t believe choosing to protect civilians means they have to become employees of any such government. What happens if the UN is corrupted?

Brent: I think internal checks and balances are different than tacit government sanction. Especially as there is no world governing body.

Nikki: The Avengers need to police themselves.

Ryan: Exactly.

Derreck: I don’t think we know that’s what’s happening. The trailer doesn’t say they are employees of the US military. As far as the UN goes, what if the Avengers are corrupted? And police themselves? That hasn’t worked so far, has it?

Rae: And,if you want to hold them accountable for their destruction you can literally rebuild.

Nikki: They’ve certainly made an effort.

Ryan: If the Avengers are corrupted, having the government involved won’t help anything.

Derreck: I like how the Avengers, a continuously growing group that includes criminals can police itself but the UN can’t.

Brent: If Hulk goes crazy, Hulkbuster and Thor can take him on. If the Security Council decides to clear the way for Hydra, what’s the plan.

Derreck: It’s just like our military today. They don’t have to listen to the President. If the UN becomes corrupt, then the Avengers do something about it. But to claim they can “police themselves” is just not realistic.

Nikki: This movie is coming out at a peak political time. Some people have lost faith in the government, others want to fix it, others think it’s fine as is. We’re just protecting our feelings onto the movie..

Brent: But the moment the Avengers take action, they are terrorists.

Derreck: Brent, I disagree. If our President gives an order that is not constitutional and the military does not obey, that is not a terrorist avct by the military.

Brent: Not obeying an order is not the same as taking an action.

Derreck: Under that logic, it doesn’t matter if the Accords** are signed or not because any corrupt military could just brand the Avengers as terrorists.

Rae: Non corrupt governments have. That’s why they’re there.

Derreck: It’s simple. There are two options: sign the Accords, show the world that you want to make it a better place and protect it. This has the chance to become a problem if the UN (or whatever agency) is taken over. Second option: Don’t sign and you’re automatically a terrorist because you see yourself as above the law and outside rule.

Rae: And that’s the WHOLE plot of the movie.

Derreck: If the UN becomes corrupt, the Avengers have literally the same options whether they’ve signed or not.

Brent: Pretty much.

Derreck: Hence, sign the damn Accords and IF the UN becomes corrupt, deal with it. It’s not like Hulk loses his powers or something if they sign.

Brent: A zero sum argument doesn’t help either argument though.

Derreck: Cap makes it personal and goes after Bucky, who is a terrorist. It’s not a zero sum. One has the possibility of ending badly, the other absolutely will.

Brent: I think it’s an absolute either way. Hydra is still out there and operating. Allowing them oversight of the Avengers means they will be pawns of Hydra. Remaining an independent peace keeping organization means the chance of that is zero.

Derreck: But that’s based on the claim that it is impossible for Hydra to infiltrate a member of the Avengers. That’s not a fair claim. Ant-man was a criminal and Scarlet Witch was a bad guy. Who’s to say Hydra can’t get involved? Add Bucky to the list as a terrorist, programmed or not.

Brent: But then we are back to self policing. If they sign and they are infiltrated, they can do nothing until sanctioned. Especially because Hydra controls the team. If they do not, they are capable of taking action against that individual.

Derreck: That’s just red tape. If Hulk wants to smash, he’ll smash. The Avengers need to be responsible for ensuring Hydra doesn’t take control, yes. But on the flip side, why should they get to dictate what classifies as acceptable destruction and loss of life? Because they have powers or suits?

Brent: I don’t follow the logic that they are able to classify anything. Independent organization doesn’t mean they aren’t required to answer for their actions or explain themselves.

Derreck: But who are they answering to at that point? Is this the whole point of the Accords, accountability? I feel like Iron Man’s whole point is that they should answer to some group. And right now, they don’t. They operate using his money and his technology but on US soil.

Brent: Answer to the government where the loss of life and destruction of property took place. We have international law. You don’t have to be a part of the UN to be tried for a crime or called into a tribunal.

Derreck: So, what the trailer leaves unanswered is, has that happened? Or have they been protected from all of that? It’s not like they can bring Bruce Banner to trial. Or Vision. If they have had to answer to the local governments, then it’s a different conversation because the Accords don’t do much at that point and the scene with the videos seem out of place. It’s a super similar question to what Superman has to answer to after the destruction of Metropolis but at least we know he ends up in court. Should Scarlet Witch be protected after she helped Ultron? And what about Bucky? Does he get a pass because he’s Cap’s old buddy?

Brent: He ends up in a congressional hearing, but it’s a fair point. Bucky is such a unique criminal case to me. You have his initial disappearance, which could be construed as kidnapping. Which makes his later actions justifiable as he was under duress, in addition to the psychological trauma he suffered in his conditioning process.

Rae: Should everyone in the MCU who has been tortured and brainwashed immediately demonized without rehabilitation?

Brent: I can’t answer to that point. There are a lot of issues with his case for a direct answer.

Derreck: I don’t disagree with that but what Cap does to get him is illegal. He is operating outside of the law. The Avengers don’t get to be the judges. I’m not demonizing anyone. I’m simply saying if the UN can be so easily corrupted, why can’t the Avengers when it’s actually happened to some of the members? I don’t fault Cap on a personal level but his actions are still illegal.

Brent: Which brings us back to moral vs. legal.

Derreck: Looking at just the existing MCU before Civil War: Hawkeye was brainwashed, Scarlet Witch helped Ultron, Ant-Man was a criminal, and Bucky was a terrorist. That’s not good odds. The issue isn’t about whether or not we understand Cap’s personal feelings, it’s about whether or not the Avengers should operate within international law. I understand Cap’s dilemma and I feel for him but that does not justify acting outside of the law. A law that was, at the time, not a covert Hydra corruption situation.

Brent: Which is very gray. Extradition and detainment varies by country.

Derreck: Agreed. It’s complicated which is exactly why Cap doesn’t get to act as Judge Dredd here without serious reprecussions. Even in the trailer, Cap says you can’t always save everyone. Maybe Bucky is one of those people the Avengers can’t save.

Brent: Which I’m sure he’s willing to face.

Derreck: Does it suck? Yes. Is it sad? Absolutely. But it doesn’t erase the rest of the world the Avengers have to operate in.

Brent: Can we just appreciate how much more nuanced this Civil War is?

Derreck: Oh, absolutely. This is definitely not a punch/smash/bad guy down movie.

Brent: As an independent organization, I think they will be called to ask for their actions. However, I can’t agree that they need to be directly responsible to one organization doesn’t cover everywhere. Strike responsible. Sub accountable. Cap’s “issue” is that he will look at this as a soldier. He will accomplish  his mission, then turn himself in for a court martial. He can explain himself the and accept whatever punishment is proper. As an outsider looking in, his character and morals mean that he will do what is good and right. Even if it isn’t legal. Guns pointed at civilians 24/7 was legal after all.

**In reference to the Sokovia Accords, the fictional documented contract that the Avengers are being asked to sign in the upcoming film.

So what did you think? Did any of this change your mind? Whose team are you on: Team Cap? Team Iron Man? Let us know!

Team Cap or Team Iron-Man

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

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

DC v. Marvel – Merchandise Wars

With all the superhero movies, television shows, and comic books out there, finding merchandise that is geared to women is still absolutely a struggle in 2015. And it really shouldn’t be. I think it’s fair to say that as a woman and a geek all in one, I should be able to pick up an Avengers shirt with a female on it. Maybe a Guardians of the Galaxy poster featuring Gamora? Or how about a Justice League anything with Wonder Woman? Honestly, it’s a little insulting.
Lack of female-centric comic book merchandise

While Marvel has all but written off their leading ladies, DC is doing whatever they can to rectify that situation. By teaming up with Mattel, DC has rebranded some of their most iconic female characters, both heroes and villains, into accessible characterizations for both young and teenage girls. Beginning in Fall 2015, DC and Mattel will be launching DC Super Hero Girls, a multi-product effort to expand both on the characters themselves and the growing female market.

DC Super Hero Girls merchandise

Following in the footsteps of renowned young girls franchises as Monster High and My Little Pony, popular characters such as Wonder Woman and Batgirl will be featured at an adolescent age, discovering their individual identities and how their super powers grow. Each character will have her own story line, shedding light on both major and minor characters. While 2015 will see the release of a web series, dolls, and the first set of DC female only action figures, 2016 is already planned for the release of TV specials, books, apparel, and other merchandise. LEGO has also been brought in on the deal to create super heroine-centric building sets in order to help its brand also reach out to the widely ignored demographic: girls.

This, however, isn’t the only effort that DC is attempting in the next year to market to women. The new Gal Gadot incarnation of Wonder Woman, scheduled to make her first appearance in March’s Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice has been front and center in the last few weeks. We got to see her in action, finally, in the trailer, she was the focal point of the new Entertainment Weekly issue, and coming Spring 2016 will be her likeness in the form of a classic Barbie doll.

DC Comics Wonder Woman Barbie merchandise

Barbie has been attacked for many years because of her body, her professions, her outfits as being a poor role model for young girls. However, many neglect to remember just how important Barbie dolls have actually been to pop culture and women’s history in total. They were some of the first dolls to feature non-white women, incarnations of athletes, and social crusaders. For the new Wonder Woman to get the Barbie treatment is a huge step for DC, proving that they value the female market and can adapt to products that were already geared to them. I know I’ll be buying at least one.

Even more, DC is rolling out a new companion web series to their CW universe including Arrow, Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow featuring their first female lead: Vixen. A Justice League favorite among fans but mostly unrecognizable character to the public, Vixen is an African hero in possession of the Tantu totem, giving her the ability to call on various animal traits in battle. Megalyn Echikunwoke will voice the leading character and will be joined by CW favorites Stephen Amell and Grant Gustin. The series has yet to be given a definitive start date, but will most likely debut in the fall on CW Seed. Check out the trailer here.

DC CW Seed Vixen merchandise

They may still be quite behind in film numbers, but DC is dominating Marvel when it comes to marketing and merchandise. You can’t forget an entire half of the population! Where’s the Black Widow Barbie? Where’s the Gamora web series? DC’s efforts may not all be successful, but at least they’re trying. Get it together, Marvel.

 

DC v. Marvel – Merchandise Wars

DC vs. Marvel

Comparing the commercial and popular successes and failures of Marvel and DC is not new topic of discussion. The prevailing opinion, which I happen to agree with, is that Marvel is winning in the movies, while DC is winning (barely) on TV. But today I’m not talking about the movie or television adaptations. Today I’m talking about the actual comic books.

My first comic book was Superman, in the story line that originally introduced the time traveling Linear Men. It was my first introduction to DC comics, and it wasn’t until several years later that I first began to explore Marvel comics, so I’ve always had a preference for DC. And while I enjoyed Superman, there was a different character that quickly became my favorite: Captain Atom.

captain_atomA big part of the reason for that is because of how his solo series was built, especially during the earlier years of the series.

Origin

Nathaniel Adam was a Captain in the US Air Force during the Vietnam War.  He was framed for a crime he didn’t commit, and sentenced to death.  Under the purview of Colonel Wade Eiling, he was given an alternative: participate in a top secret project and receive a Presidential pardon. The experiment involved sealing him in a shell of alien metal…and then detonating a nuclear weapon underneath him. The detonation appeared to have obliterated the shell and its occupant, but in reality Nathaniel Adam had been sent hurtling though time. He reappeared in 1986, and was now connected to the alien metal which provided him with a fairly standard powerset: super strength, flight, and energy blasts.

Sounds like pretty standard comic book fare so far, doesn’t it? So why was this my favorite character?

Because it felt like his adventures as a super hero only took up about half of the space in each issue.  The rest of the space was dedicated to Nathaniel Adam, typically outside of his Captain Atom persona, struggling to put his life back together. While it was true that he received a pardon for the crime of which he had been accused, there were still those that felt he was guilty and deserved to be punished. Even more seriously, the man that oversaw the project that nearly killed him, now General Wade Eiling, had married Nathaniel’s wife and raised his children as his own. Nathaniel spent a lot of time trying to reconnect with his son and daughter, which proved incredibly difficult given that Eiling raised Nathaniel’s kids to hate him.

The most frustrating aspect of the series is that it was heavily implied that Eiling himself was the person that framed Captain Adam (get it?). Regardless of if that was specifically to have a test subject for his special project, to have a chance at his wife, or some combination of the two, Captain Atom never comes to a full realization of how much the course of his life has been altered by Eiling. The series was canceled before any kind of true resolution was made between the characters. And while Eiling did eventually become a full-blown supervillain, Captain Atom was not involved in those conflicts.

But that’s why I loved this series: the focus of the storytelling was about this character, who despite the fantastic powers now at his disposal was primarily focused on trying to put his life back together, while still trying to serve the country he had sworn to protect, even though the system in which he originally served had betrayed him. He was a flawed human being and a very interesting character, with a fantastic and gradually expanding cast of supporting characters in the series that was really fun to read about.

So what does this have to do with DC vs. Marvel?

Given the example above, it should be fairly clear the kind of comics and stories that I prefer: the ones with a strong emphasis on characters, their flaws, and how they change and grow.

So let’s look at what the two big comic book companies have been doing lately. They both have put together a (fairly standard) big summer crossover event, where multiple realities have clashed for whatever reason. The big difference is in how those events conclude.

With DC, at the end of Convergence, the Multiverse is (once again) re-established. So there are multiple universes out there, each universe potentially having a different version of a ‘standard’ character. So any version of any character can now be used in a story.

With Marvel, on the other hand, Secret Wars sees their multiple universes appearing to be collapsed down into a single universe, so that the only characters are the ones from the ‘mainline’ universe. There’s no more Iron Man and Ultimate Iron Man as two separate characters from two different universes, there’s just the one Iron Man.

I love Marvel for making that decision, and I loathe the decision that DC has made. Why? Because it’s all about character.

Marvel is committing, at least as much as any comic book company can, to tell stories about these characters. The conflicts and decisions they face will have consequences down the line.

DC is essentially saying they don’t really care about telling consistent stories about their characters. They just want the freedom to tell whatever story they want, with whatever character they want, regardless of if there’s any reason for the audience to actually care.

Spiderman

I can’t say that this is actually a surprise. DC has a long-standing habit of running a big event that resetd their official continuity in some way every couple of years. I don’t always agree with the storytelling decisions that Marvel makes (hello Spiderman & One More Day), but at least I can respect their desire to do what they think is best for the continued development of the character, even if I disagree with what actually is best for the character.

And the winner is…

According to Diamond Comic Distributors, I think it’s fairly obvious that Marvel is winning, not only in the movie adaptations, but in the original comic book medium as well. From January 2015 to May 2015, Marvel dominated the top 10 comic titles sold every month except for 1. We generally give Marvel a lot of credit for their movies, and their ability to tell very entertaining and impactful stories about relatively normal people with extraordinary abilities. Meanwhile, DC (via Warner Bros.) continues to catch a lot of flak for their inability to produce a really good superhero movie.

I used to think that was because Marvel (the comic book company) has oversight over the movie studios that makes the movies, where DC is a subsidiary of Warner Bros, and therefore has very little power to control how the movies are made. But the more I look at this situation, the more I wonder if the problem runs deeper than that.

Booster Gold

Maybe the people at Marvel are actually doing a much better job at telling interesting stories with the characters and rules they have established for themselves. As much as I love the DC pantheon of superheroes, I’m finding it harder and harder to really care about any of them, knowing that everything I like about a given character could be undone in the next upcoming reboot (or the character could disappear entirely).  In addition to everything else, I’m still mad about the awesome character development that Booster Gold was getting before the Flashpoint/New 52 monstrosity just erased it.

What do you think?  Do you prefer either DC or Marvel over the other? Are there any characters, or aspects of a character, that has been lost due to a reboot or retcon that you really miss? Let us know in the comments!

DC vs. Marvel