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Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Panel Vision - 2001: A Space Odyssey


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Today marks the 50th anniversary of the premiere of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, one of the pinnacles of weird speculative sci-fi films of the late ‘60s alongside the likes of Planet of the Apes and Soylent Green.  The film actually wasn’t a huge success immediately upon release but slowly became a cult classic, allegedly because audiences of stoners would enjoy tripping out to the psychedelic images on display.  

The film proved popular enough to warrant getting a comic book adaptation by the king of comics himself: Jack Kirby.  Kirby liked doing the comic so much and it did so well for Marvel that this led into a new ongoing comic by Kirby exploring his own interpretation of the Monolith and the attendant 2001: A Space Odyssey mythos, which is what I’ll be looking at today. 



Sunday, April 1, 2018

Panel Vision - Foolkiller (2017)


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Happy April Fools everyone, if there can really be such a thing.  I’ve elected to celebrate this most ignominious holiday by delving deep into the “fool” part of the name with a look at one of my favorite superhero G-listers: Foolkiller.  Created in 1974 in the pages of Man-Thing by the incomparable Steve Gerber, Foolkiller is one of the many bizarre no-name characters that tend to pepper the lower tiers of the Marvel echelon.  He’s best described as a more comedic version of the Punisher, largely because Steve Gerber was one of the premiere funnymen of ‘70s Marvel comics (he invented Howard the Duck, after all.) 

From those humble beginnings Foolkiller’s actually been re-imagined about 4 different times, once as a hardcore murder vigilante with a weird bondage gimp costume, once in the Marvel mature readers line MAX Comics, and once as part of Deadpool’s expansive entourage.  I’m going to focus today on the last of those three, the Greg Salinger Foolkiller, and his short-lived five-issue comic from 2016 written by Max Bemis, drawn by Dalibor Talajic, and colored by Miroslav Mrva. 



Friday, February 23, 2018

Panel Vision - 7 Possibilities for Black Panther 2


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So, by now Black Panther is a bona fide hit, one of the biggest films of the year and on track to be one of the biggest films of all time frankly.  As such a sequel is now pretty much all but inevitable.  Indeed, our very idea of the superhero is probably going to have to start adapting to this new post-Black Panther age: it’s a milestone movie much in the same vein as Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Dark Knight, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, or Deadpool.  

I get the unique sense Black Panther is going to basically be Marvel’s license to print money going forward into the 2020s so it’s time to milk this particular topic for all its worth by diving into the next big question for Black Panther: what do you do next?  Obviously, anything is on the table and the events of Infinity War are probably going to reshape things quite a bit as well but I think I’ve got a few ideas for 7 characters we might see in Black Panther 2.



Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Panel Vision - All-Star Squadron #38-40


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As we enter the middle point of January, depictions of racism and marginalized races, especially black people, has become something of a running focus in the popular discourse.  This particular subject has been at the forefront for a while, ever since the Internet-enabled marginalized fans to demand greater representation on panel and behind the scenes in superhero comics, but this is somewhat unique.  

With both Black Lightning and Black Panther poised to remake the superhero genre in their own image, DC Comics has announced plans for screenwriter John Ridley (12 Years A Slave, Let It Fall) to write a new comic chronicling the stories of DC’s marginalized entitled The Other History of the DC Universe.  This is a great idea and it’s got me thinking about the VAST number of DC heroes who fit this dynamic and I settled on one story, in particular, that’s unique even among the annals of DC comics: All-Star Squadron’s Detroit is Dynamite.



Saturday, November 11, 2017

Panel Vision - Human Defense Corp


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As I write this it’s Veterans Day, the day the US has set aside to honor the men, women, and non-binary individuals who’ve served in the nation’s armed forces.  It’s also kind of an odd holiday to try and make topical content around when you’re a comic reviewer as a lot of the military-oriented comic book content is from the ‘40s and ‘60s.  Previously I’ve looked at stuff like the incomparable Enemy Ace as well as the DC military heroes who served during World War 2 but this time around I wanted to dig into something a bit more modern.  

As such, I’ll be taking a look at a peculiar oddity offered by that bizarre time in comics that was the early 2000s.  It’s part of the great DC Comics tradition of sporadically reviving their military comics in hopes of recapturing their massive popularity of past decades, each attempt a unique and curiously compelling attempt in its own right and this one is a real doozy: The Human Defense Corps. 



Friday, November 10, 2017

Doctor Who News Update


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So, we have a new Doctor.  In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, well firstly congratulations on choosing such a fine place to try and wait this whole year out but secondly let me introduce you to Jodie Whittaker, the woman who be the Doctor.  If you’ve been under that rock for more than a year and have no idea what Doctor Who is let me just congratulate you on bravely clicking this link regardless of your own ignorance, have some knowledge.  

Doctor Who is a British sci-fi TV show from the ‘60s that persisted through into the late ‘80s before going on a 10-year hiatus and re-emerging in 2005.  Since then, the show has slowly increased in popularity, peaking around 2012-2013 during the show’s 50th anniversary/height of the 2010s’ British Cultural Invasion.  

The premise of the show is about a time-traveling alien named the Doctor who meanders through time and space with some human companions having various adventures.  The show’s cleverest wrinkle has always been that the Doctor will, at times of extreme injury, regenerate into a new person, which is used as an excuse to swap lead actors.  Jodie Whittaker is the 13th such actor to take up the role and first woman to play the character yet and she’s bringing some interesting changes to the show with her. 



Monday, November 6, 2017

Panel Vision - 7 Possibilities for Thor 4


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Well, this was unexpected.  I don’t mean that Thor: Ragnarok was good or successful, at this point a Marvel movie being pretty good and making money is extremely par for the course.  I mean just HOW good and HOW successful Thor: Ragnarok actually was, effectively bringing this franchise back from the edge almost.  The Thor films have had a very odd trajectory, back in 2011 Thor was a breath of fresh air, a “Shakespeare in Space” adventure movie that was easily the most family friendly of the Phase 1 Marvel films.  

Since then, however, Thor lost a lot of its potential when the 2nd entry, The Dark World, suffered director problems and got creamed by Hunger Games: Catching Fire and then Guardians of the Galaxy became the new cosmic kid on the block & Ant-Man took over the family-friendly mantel.  

But now with Ragnarok Marvel’s finally got a Thor film with a renewed mass appeal that finally figures out how to use Chris Hemsworth right AND delivered on the large-scale action and mythos the character always promised.  Suddenly, out of nowhere, Thor 4 doesn’t seem like such a crazy possibility, especially with how transient the mantle of Thor is.  So with that said here are 7 possibilities for Thor 4. 



Saturday, November 4, 2017

WB/Amazon Consider Lord of the Rings Show


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As the decade dwindles, it’s becoming increasingly clear that WB is finding themselves more and more left by the wayside in the age of global franchising.  The hard truth of the matter is that times change and more in more having a popular series of films matters less than having a film series that can stick around as part of the pop culture atmosphere.  The peculiar alchemy of turning online interest into hype into engagement has become the order of the day and that is a game WB really doesn’t seem to know how to play.  That’s why, despite the twin success of The Conjuring film series and the Kaiju-verse, WB is still chasing a return of their older franchise stalwarts- Batman, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings. 

We already saw their attempts at branding a Batman for the new decade in last year’s disastrous Batman v. Superman while their attempts at a Harry Potter prequel in Fantastic Beasts were met with a resounding “meh,” which was at least a better response than the loud cry of “BOO!” the Hobbit films engendered.  Now, WB looks to the world of streaming to reverse its fortunes as they’re reportedly inching towards a deal with Amazon for a Lord of the Rings streaming series. 



Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Chantal Thuy Cast as Grace Choi


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As we continue the slow crawl toward Black Lightning, we’ve started to get a trickle of information about the additional superheroes that will pepper the show.  That’s basically just par for the course of CW superhero shows at this point- single hero shows are out the window and everything now will have a rotating cast of supporting heroes.  Now I'm in favor of this practice, it helps keep things interesting and at an appreciably grand level now that single hero stories have become the bread and butter of the Hollywood hit machine.  

In an age of The Avenger and Justice League selling a whole superhero show on 1 masked crime fighter has become kind of passe.   In the case of Black Lightning, the show already had 2 additional superheroes at the starting track in the form of Black Lightning’s daughters Thunder and Lightning.  Now, the show has reached out to add its first additional hero outside of that immediate family unit with Grace Choi, who will be played by Chantal Thuy. 





















Friday, October 27, 2017

Zach Levi Cast As Shazam


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I have to say: I don’t think there’s been a bigger curveball production in the superhero game lately than Shazam!  For years I, like most people, figured this was one of those DC movie projects that were on the schedule but probably not going to actually happen, more of an announcement to get something on the board than anything else.  Then, out of nowhere, WB announced David F. Sandberg to direct, which seemed odd given he was known largely for the 2016 horror film Lights Out, the latest in WB’s newfound cash cow of low-budget/high-return horror offerings for the summer season. 

Some thought that perhaps Sandberg’s presence meant Shazam! would have a horror aesthetic, sort of in the vein of James Wan’s Aquaman, but as the interviews rolled in and we crept towards the start of production it seemed like it was going to be light-hearted and funny.  Now, finally, we have a star to attach to the vehicle: Zachary Levi will be playing the titular Shazam in the 2019 film.