DC Comics

SH S1E2 – Legends of the Flarrow-Verse

SH S1E2 – Legends of the Flarrow-Verse
Screen Heroes

 
 
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This week on Screen Heroes, we switch to the (DCEU) DC Comics Extended Universe to breakdown The CW’s Flarrow crossover for 2015. Since the launch of The Flash, The CW has taken advantage of its connected DC universe to bring us fun crossover events from a single character all the way up to major plot points. This year was no different. The CW brought us our Flarrow crossover last week with The Flash episode “Legends of Today” and Arrow episode “Legends of Yesterday”.  These episodes brought new characters to the Flarrow-verse, which include heroes Hawkgirl (Ciara Renée)  and Hawkman (Falk Hentschel) along with Legends of Tomorrow main villain, Vandal Savage (Casper Crump). Episode 02 of Screen Heroes is focused on breaking down these two episodes along with what we’ve seen in the Legends of Tomorrow trailer. We’ll discuss the overall plot, what we liked, what we didn’t, and what we’d change if The CW handed over the reigns.

UPDATED 01/07/2016: Add iTunes link in the credits. Please subscribe!

Flarrow Crossover Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rae Stewart
Ryan Couture

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Rae Stewart

Music
Michael Wallace (Flying Killer Robots)

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

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

Social Media
@GridTalkTweets

Email
contact@thegridscififrontier.com

SH S1E2 – Legends of the Flarrow-Verse

Grid Talk: 06 – DCEU Rumors

This week, we sit down to talk about all of the rumors circling the various DCEU films. The DCEU, for those who don’t know, is the DC Comics Extended Universe which includes the upcoming films like Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, and Justice League: Part 1 but also The CW shows Arrow, The Flash, and the upcoming Legends of Tomorrow. Various rumors are swirling around the big screen productions including who Lex Luthor actually is, what Zod is doing in the Dawn of Justice trailer, when Wonder Woman will take place, and what might happen with The Justice League Dark. We grab some of the biggest rumors and talk about how much we think the rubber hits the road going all the way up to Shazam and forward to the untitled Flash and Aquaman films.

After listening to our DCEU rumors, hit us up on Twitter @GridTalkTweets to discuss what you think of the DCEU so far and which rumors you think might go a different way.

DCEU Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rae Stewart
Ryan Couture

Executive Producer and Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Michael Wallace (Flying Killer Robots)

iTunes Link
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/grid-talk-sci-fi-frontiers/id1057992963?mt=2

RSS Feed
http://thegridscififrontier.com/feed/podcast/gridtalk

Social Media
@GridTalkTweets

Email
contact@thegridscififrontier.com

Grid Talk: 06 – DCEU Rumors

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.

Cat Tanchaco - Make-Up Artist

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

Grid Talk: 03 – Collectibles and Subscription Boxes

This week, Grid Talk is all about collecting, collectibles, and subscription boxes. We break down what we love to collect. Then, we take a walk down memory lane to discuss what got us started down the collectibles path. After that, we break down the recent surge in subscription box offerings including a dive into LootCrate as well as Funko’s growing line of offerings thanks to the Marvel Collector Corps, upcoming Star Wars themed Smuggler’s Bounty subscription, and the announced but unnamed DC Comics box. With nerd culture becoming so mainstream and major franchises like Marvel, DC, and Star Wars seeing insane amounts of money and success, collectibles are becoming higher quality, harder to come by, and more varied.

What do you like to collect? Do you collect action figures? Comic books? What are your thoughts on subscription boxes? Have you tried any of the non-collectibles services that provide food, clothing, or pet items? Comment below!

Collectibles Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Timothy Jackson
Zachary Story

Special Guests
Rae Stewart

Executive Producer and Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Michael Wallace (Flying Killer Robots)

iTunes Link
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/grid-talk-sci-fi-frontiers/id1057992963?mt=2

RSS Feed
http://thegridscififrontier.com/feed/podcast/gridtalk

Social Media
@GridTalkTweets

Email
contact@thegridscififrontier.com

Grid Talk: 03 – Collectibles and Subscription Boxes

The Rundown: Mort of the Month

As the first of (I hope) a long series of entries, a little history. In the 1990’s, there was a great thing called Wizard Magazine. This magazine was all about comic books and super heroes. At the end of each issue, they had the “Mort of the Month” feature. This was about the lamest superheroes around, who they were, what they did, and how they were lame, with specifics on why they were so lame.

So, without further ado, here is the inaugural Grid “Mort of the Month”.

Ten-Eyed Man
Real Name:
Philip Reardon
Abilities:
360° and limited periscopic vision, Superb hand to hand combatant and marksman

A soldier in the U.S. Special Forces during Vietnam, Philip Reardon took a grenade to the face. After which, he was discharged from the military and began working as a security guard. Mr. Reardon was the guard on duty when thieves knocked him out to plant bombs at a warehouse. When he woke up with blurry vision, he saw Batman and started to fight him, thinking he was a thief. After his vision cleared, he could recognize Batman. Suddenly, the Warehouse exploded, burning Reardon’s retinas, blinding him permanently.

After a visit to a doctor that could only exist in comics, “Dr. Engstrom”, Philip had his optic nerves reconnected to his fingertips. I’m not sure what kind of insurance he had with that security guard job, but, he should try to find a better provider. So, with his sight not only restored, but improved, he decided this miracle of modern science should be celebrated by becoming a Super Villain, intent on revenge against Batman. His major tactic was being able to see in low visibility environments. Being a trained soldier, he had a few good moves up his sleeve, especially if he could sucker punch someone.

The general way he is defeated is by touching something that hurts his “eyes”. I feel the best example of this was from Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode “A Bat Divided”, Bat-Mite was bugging Batman while he was fighting Ten-Eyed Man. A cactus was magically provided and tossed to the villain, who caught it out of instinct and got thorns in his eyes. Incidentally, he was killed in “Crisis On Infinite Earths” after being first on a list of characters to kill off, by writer Marv Wolfman.

Why he’s a “Mort”: To put this into perspective, we have a blind man who has eyes on each of his fingers. What have you touched with your fingers today? I’ll bet that a lot of the time, these are things you wouldn’t want in your eyes at all. Even if he spent his days not touching anything or he somehow learned how to grab things with his toes, he would still need to scratch itches, pick his nose and ears, and wipe after using the bathroom. I would imagine his new found abilities would cause him to be very clean. So, why again was he going out to fight Batman?

Rating: I give this villain 1 out of 10 finger/eyes.

The Rundown: Mort of the Month

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

Fables: 1001_Nights_of_Snowfall_Cover

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 Evolution of Harley Quinn

Hello everyone and happy birthday to the clown princess of crime herself, Harley Quinn! Yes, in honor of Harley’s first debut in Batman: The Animated Series I am going to be doing a look back and review some of her most iconic looks through various animated TV appearances, comics, video games, and live action media. Now obviously I can’t hit on all of these looks so I will just be touching on those that are the major ones throughout the years. So sit back and rev up your Harley’s because here we go!

Harley Quinn Animated Incarnations

Well we first can’t talk about Harley Quinn without first seeing her before The Joker twisted her mind and made her into the lovable clown we all know. We first get to see Harley Quinn as Dr. Harleen Quinzel of Arkham Asylum. Here she has a simple white lab coat, her blonde hair in a bun, thick black rimmed glasses, and a red shirt and black tie. (Classic Harley colors) A simple doctors outfit but still keeping to the color scheme of what the classic Harley look would be with the red and black colors. Very simple and classy.

Dr. Harleen Quinzel - Harley Quinn

Now of course after The Joker twists her mind she ditches the doctors garb along with her real name and takes on the new name of Harley Quinn along with an appropriate matching outfit. This outfit harkens back to the renaissance days with a court jester feel with diamond patters all over the costume. This costume is the classic red and black jester outfit that artist Bruce Timm created in 1992 and that most if not all of the Harley fans have come to know and love. It has the red and black alternating colors along with the white collar and wrist cuffs, red and black gloves, a simple black domino mask, white clown makeup with black lipstick, and red and black diamonds placed on her legs and arms. Her red and black jester hood is accented with two white balls on the ends of them, and one red shoe and one black shoe to alternate. This is what many fans refer to as “the classic look.” This is also one of the most cosplayed and beloved versions of the character out there. This is how many fans were introduced to this now very popular DC character. To me this just screams Harley Quinn…not booty shorts, stockings, a corse,t and mini cape… (I’m looking at you New 52!) She kept that classic look for most of her animated appearances in the original Batman series, Justice League cartoons, and various cartoon spinoffs in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.

Harley Quinn

Now jump ahead to the mid 2000’s and we have a new Batman animated series. With all new character designs and look to the series it was natural for Harley to get a new look to fit the tone and look of this new animated series. Season 4 introduced us to the new Harley Quinn. This marked the first time in an animated series that Harley looked and sounded different. Her outfit kept the red and black color scheme but drastically altered the head piece, mask, and body suit. Her jester hood was now much larger and seemed to swoop back and then come out to the sides. Also attached were one red ball and one black on corresponding ends. Her mask also concealed her eyes fully so we couldn’t see her blue eyes anymore, just big white circles and had a thin black rim around the mask. Her white collar was lengthened so it would droop down to her chest, and taken from three points to just two. Also noticeable were the lack of diamonds anywhere on her body and finger-less gloves. Her form was slimmed down a lot and the suit seemed to be one big piece, instead of several pieces like before. For a reboot of the character I actually enjoyed this look. It was the first time anyone had seen a different animated Harley and fans reacted strongly with positive praise for the design. Sadly the show only lasted one more season after they introduced her so we didn’t get to see all that much of Harley after that. But what we did get to see I liked.

Harley Quinn Jester

 

Jump ahead four more years and we have yet another Batman animated series titled Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Harley Quinn only appeared once in this series towards the end of its run with a drastic change to her appearance. She became black and white! Her design for this series harkened back to the silent film days with her not being in color and wearing a black flapper dress and pearls. Honestly my least favorite look of hers in any of the animated series. Not too sure what the creative team were doing for this look but it just didn’t hit any of the classic Harley looks or feels to me. But since it was such a drastic change I thought i’d at least give it a small mention.

Harley Quinn - Brave and the Bold

Her most recent animated appearance would be in the 2014 animated feature Batman: Assault on Arkham. A movie tie-in to the Arkham game franchise. Here Harley has her black and red jester outfit yet again but this time she bares a mid drift (like most of her outfits in the Arkham games). She has one black arm sleeve, combat boots, and instead of a white collar it’s in all black along with the two white balls on her jester cap changed to black as well. This outfit is a mix between her classic and the Arkhamverse outfits. I can see why they didn’t go with the full classic look as it wouldn’t have fit in the universe and would have looked off. This also proves that you can still retain a good portion of Harley’s original look and have her be in the Suicide Squad and not look like a slutted up clown. (Can ya tell which outfit I hate the most yet?)

Harley Quinn - Assault on Arkham

 

Harley Quinn Video Game Incarnations

Harley has appeared in many Batman and DC video games. Most of them consisted of her in her classic look or a look from a different animated series. That is until the 2009 game Batman: Arkham Asylum. This was the first time fans have seen a design of Harley Quinn that was this drastic and a complete 180 of what she normally looks like. I am of course talking about her nurses outfit! In this game Harley wears nurses attire while helping The Joker take over Arkham and make Batman’s night a living hell. In this any hint of her jesters outfit or original look are out the window. She has free flowing blonde pigtails, a purple domino mask, a nurses hat, a white nurses shirt with an exposed red and purple bra, a corset that is cinched down tight to show off her figure, a red and purple color scheme instead of red and black, a white mini skirt that is stained with blood, fishnets, and knee high red and purple boots. This was the first time we ever saw Harley in any thing like this, and for fans of the classic look this came to a complete shock to us. Even with the original voice actress Arleen Sorkin coming back to voice her, this didn’t seem like Harley at all. However this outfit grew on me and I came to realize that perhaps its one of her main themed outfits, as in, her and The Joker pull off many crimes and some have themes so she would dress of the part. So thats how I see this as she is dressing for the part of the asylum nurse.

Harley Quinn - Arkham Asylum

 

2011 marked the release to the sequel to Arkham Asylum titled Batman: Arkham City.

In this game Harley’s red and black look are back but fully reimagined and revamped in the form of a leather ensemble. Her blonde hair is now dipped with red and black tips, she looses the domino mask in favor of heavy dark smokey eyes, bright red lips, red and black arm sleeves, her bra shows again behind a red and black sleeveless shirt, silver and black wrist bands with studs, fingerless gloves with a diamond design, tattoos on her left arm and right hip, the same corset from the first game just red and black now, red and black leather pants with diamonds on them and the same boots as well from the first game but just changed to fir the red and black colors. In the DLC Harley’s Revenge her outfit changes yet again. After mourning the death of The Joker (whoops, spoilers) her outfit changes to primarily black with a black veil, black hair, darkened lips and makeup, and white ruffles on her wrist cuffs. Both of these outfits saw a drastic change in Harley with her taking on more responsibilities in the gang as Joker got sicker and eventually leading Jokers men after his death. Both of these outfits are considered the darkest out of the series because of those reasons. She still retains the classic Harley mannerisms and personality from before, but these outfits are considered more militant than her themed outfit from Arkham Asylum.

Harley Quinn - Arkham City

 

In 2013 the game Injustice: Gods among Us was released with critical praise. This game was developed by the team behind Mortal Kombat. So naturally certain characters would look totally different. As was the case for Harley Quinn. Her look was very in that “Mortal Kombat” style of thinking, with a red and purple color scheme and red and purple dyed hair with a green streak added assuming in honor of the Joker, she had one of those looks that made fans go huh? Luckily she had another costume called the Insurgency costume that fans took to liking more than her base outfit. Also released for DLC were costume packs that showcased some of Harley’s looks through other games or comics. Released were her classic look, the Arkham City outfit, and her look in the Ame-Comi comic series. 2013 also debuted Harley’s first time in a video game as Dr. Harleen Quinzel in the game Batman: Arkham Origins. Though in there briefly she does have her classic look from the Animated Series when she was a doctor. A nice nod to Harley fans to put in the game, just with a little Christmas twist.Harley Quinn - Injustice: Gods Among Us

 

2015 debuted the presumably final time we would see Harley in the Arkham games with the release of Arkham Knight. In this she keeps her red and black dyed hair and makeup from Arkham City but yet again the outfit changes. Her outfit is comprised of what look’s like a french maid skirt, a white blouse that is reminiscent from the first game, a black corset that covers her mid drift from the previous two games, her red and black bra shows with harness straps that go around her waist and chest and up to a connecting piece on a neck collar, red and black sleeves with white lace around the wrists, red and black leather pants with the diamonds on the thighs, and red and black boots with metal studs in the back of them. This outfit seems to take a little piece from the first two games and combine them into one thing. They also seemed to have added some unused concept art from previous games and incorporated it into her final design. I actually really do like this outfit. It is cute but not overly sexed up like the previous ones. She is covering up her waist and seems to be a little bit more conservative with this look seeing as how she is the full leader of Jokers gang. In a recent DLC released for the game she is finally shown in her classic jester look as her and Joker kidnap the commissioner and Batgirl and Robin must go and save him.

Arkham Knight - Harley Quinn

Harley Quinn Comic Book Incarnations

In the comics Harley has had many outfits, most keep to the traditional outfit from the 90’s or variations on them, but none more drastic and changing than in  2011’s debut with the New 52’s version of The Suicide Squad. This look has gotten the most controversy with Harley fans and DC fans alike. In this universe Harley has permanently dyed red and blue hair and chalk white skin. Curtesy of The Joker throwing her into the same vat of chemicals he was thrown into during his fight with Batman. She wears an extremely tight red and blue corset that shows off her waist and pushes up her breasts and makes them look fuller. The corset also has a set of throwing knives on each side, a mini cape that is attached to a white victorian era collar, red and blue arm gauntlets with diamond patterns on them, black eye makeup that makes her look like a member of the band KISS, red and blue booty shorts, and red and blue knee high stockings and boots to match. When I first saw this outfit I was flabbergasted and confused. I kept asking where the harlequin style came into play. After all thats what her name is, a play on word of harlequin. That’s who she was, Harley Quinn dressed as a harlequin. This outfit got rid of it all, the playfulness of it, the cute, the funny. This made her look ruthless, very slutty, and like a cold blooded killer. I was so angry for what they did to my favorite character out of the whole DC universe, not only with her outfit but her personality and backstory as well I stopped reading The Suicide Squad after her new origin story debut. I just couldn’t read anymore, or look at what they did to her.

Haryley Quinn - New 52 Suicide Squad

After her stint in The Suicide Squad Harley got her own series in 2013. In this she looses the red and blue colors and reverts to the red and black colors. Her skin is still bleached and hair dyed. But she no longer wears her getup from the Suicide Squad comics. On the debut cover she is wearing a roller derby outfit. Red and black color scheme with diamonds, cute roller skates, dark eye makeup (not nearly as drastic as the Suicide Squad style), and various knee and elbow pads. Now to be fair I haven’t really read a whole lot of her new series. I have heard mixed reviews. but what I have heard is that its a nice departure from the Suicide Squad stuff and it gets to showcase Harley on her own and doing what she does best. Be Harley Quinn. I have seen a few outfits from the series and what I’ve seen I’ve liked a hell of a lot better that the stuff before. Now is it perfect and what I truly wanna see? Of course not. But for now its better than nothing I guess.

 

Harley Quinn Solo Comic Series

Harley Quinn Live Action Incarnations

Now as for live action stuff. Harley Quinn as only ever appeared in two forms of live action media. One being the short lived show in 2002 called The Birds of Prey where she was played by Mia Sara, and in the 2016 movie Suicide Squad played by Margot Robbie. In the TV show Birds of Prey we don’t actually get to see Harley Quinn in all her glory until the final episode of the series. Here she is shown to have a long sleeved red sweater with black diamonds cut out on the chest, red gloves, a black skirt and red and black shoes. Absent are her mask, clown makeup, and jester hood. For her first live action debut I wish they would have done a little more to her, but it was an OK outfit for the first time on a campy TV show like that.

Birds of Prey - Harley Quinn

Now on to the new Suicide Squad movie. This is the first time we get to see Harley Quinn on the big screen so of course they choose to do the Suicide Squad version of her. In this she has the red and blue colors back yet again (although her hair is dyed pink and blue for the tips) booty shorts, a red and blue jacket, fishnets, high heel sneakers, tattoos everywhere, a t-shirt, and “puddin” choker. This version seems to borrow little bits and pieces from many of the previous looks that Harley has had in the past. Now rumors did surface online that she would be getting multiple costumes in the film and from the recent trailer that dropped that rumor seems to be confirmed. People have asked me if I am still going to see the film. Of course I am! It’s Harley’s first big screen debut!! I may not like the look as a whole, but I love the actress Margot Robbie and I think she will do a fantastic job as Harley Quinn. And I am sure as with a majority of her outfits this one will grown on me too. Just gotta give it time is all.

Suicide Squad - Harley Quinn

 

So which version of Harley Quinn do you like the most or least? Was there an outfit or look I missed that should have been mentioned? Sound off on the comments below and let us know which Harley you absolutely love.

Harley Quinn - Batman: The Animated Series

The Evolution of Harley Quinn

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

Batman Vs Superman: Breaking Down the New Set Photos

Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice is less than a year away.  Little by little new information gets released to us.  The nerds are awaiting patiently. But we want more. We’re all on the edge of our seats for the next tidbit. The tension is palpable.

Well, we got more than our little geek hearts could handle.  Warner Bros. and Entertainment Weekly released these photos earlier.  And I’m going to break them down for you.

Batman vs Superman - Henry CavillLet’s start with my favorite one.  Just by the environment, we can tell it’s taking place in a Latino neighborhood on Day of the Dead.  Superman is striking a very classic pose, however his face is filled with concern.  The people are practically falling over themselves trying to touch him (I’d do it too, but probably for other reasons not related to the pictured situation.)  He’s clearly a god to them, to all of us.  Just one touch would change them.  Maybe it would be the proof they needed of the impossible.  Maybe it would fulfill an unbelievable desire to hope.  For whatever reason they want to touch him, he’s not resisting or fighting them off; he’s letting them do it.

Batman vs Superman - Bat SignalThis one is also pretty cool.  The beautiful blues that fill the scene perfectly set the mood.  Even without the bat signal shining, we would know that’s Gotham. Why? Because it’s always night time in Gotham, and rarely has clear skies.  Duh.  There Batman stands, in what appears to be his Superman-battle-ready-mechsuit.  But it doesn’t look like the bat signal was for him.  I think it’s an easy assumption that the light was meant for someone else, maybe the man the mechsuit was made to take down.  I will say that even though I’m on board with both the batsuits we’ve seen so far, I am not loving that bat logo.  It’s just not as imposing as ones of the past.  It doesn’t have that darkness and terror to it. What do you think?

Batman vs Superman - face off

 

Oooh! I was right. I’d be totally okay if they kissed right now.  I can tell that’s not the mood, they just don’t have the ‘kiss me’ eyes, but still. I digress.  Stare down between the knight and the god!

Batman vs Superman - Affleck behind the scenesFinally a behind the scenes shot!  Of course it’s our Batman, Ben Affleck, and director, Zack Snyder, but look closer.  That vehicle behind them is absolutely destroyed!  This is the remains of a battle scene.  That’s not car wreck wrecked! That’s Zod and Kal duking it out in Metropolis wrecked!  And there’s an older, worn out Bruce Wayne (see you can tell because he’s not wearing the cowl).  He is sporting some graying temples that put Mr. Fantastic to shame.  We’ve never seen this Batman, or Bruce, before.  They keep saying that he’s going to be weary of the world and of Superman, but I’m still not sure if the audience will be fully prepared to the extent they’re planning on taking that story line.

Batman vs Superman - Bruce Wayne and Wonder WomanWhat a gorgeous shot of Gal and Ben.  There’s always an occasion for Mr. Wayne to get dashingly fancy, but why Wonder Woman?  How does she play into this?  Is she an unsuspecting bystander, just another victim of the Bruce Wayne charm?  Very doubtful.  Whatever kind of party this is, be it charity event or what have you, she is there for a purpose.  She could be just as suspicious of Superman as Bruce Wayne is.  She could be the link they need to quell their feud.  She could be there to get down with her bad self.  We don’t know! I do know, however, that she is giving Bruce the cold shoulder.  You go, girl.

Batman vs Superman - Entertainment Weekly coverAnd there they are!  Your Batman vs Superman stars!  And Wonder Woman is front and center! Believe it or not, that is both intentional and meaningful.  Even if her part in the film isn’t as large as one might hope, she will be important to this story and the people behind the movie know it.  Also, this is a huge merchandising jab at Marvel.  While the Avengers tend to forget about the ass-kicking Black Widow, DC is assuring you that Wonder Woman is just as necessary as the boys behind her.  What would the sacred Trinity be without her to hold them up?

Batman vs Superman - Lex LuthorAnd then there’s this. Why? Why? Can we have one Lex Luthor without a hair plot line?  They’ve done it various animated incarnations and it works just fine. Just…stop. Nope, nope, nope.

 

What do you think about the new images from Batman vs Superman? Any of them get you excited? Or disappointed?  Let us know in the comments!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Batman Vs Superman: Breaking Down the New Set Photos

Batfleck to Direct & Multiple Green Lanterns

There’s been a decent amount of DC Cinematic Universe news today. First, Untitled Batman film is slated for 2018 and will allegedly be directed by the Dark Knight himself, Ben Affleck. This will be a big job for the director since he will also be wearing the cowl as Batman. This film is still very early on in development, so we don’t know exactly when it takes place, before Batman v. Superman or after Justice League. We’ll have to wait.

Then, there’s Green Lantern, my personal favorite superhero. Rumor has it that the solo filmed scheduled for 2020 will star multiple Lanterns, most likely Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner, and Jonathan Stewart. This would be a lot of fun for GL fans since these three get together from time to time when a big enough bad guy is afoot. Additionally, Chris Pine might be up for the role of Hal Jordan since this would be long after Star Trek Beyond.

What do you think about Batfleck directing his own Batman film? What about the possibility of multiple Green Lanterns in one film? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Batfleck to Direct & Multiple Green Lanterns