It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s…Supergirl!

Casting has begun for CBS’ Supergirl series.  TVLine reports that CBS has begun searching for actors to play Jimmy Olsen, Cat Grant, Hank Henshaw, and Winslow Schott.  In the comics, Jimmy has traditionally been a young photographer for the Daily Planet, and Superman’s pal (he used to have a special signal watch he could buzz when he needed help…aaaaand as I write that sentence, I’m left wondering why Superman gave Jimmy that signal watch. Don’t get me wrong, I know they’re friends, but Superman never gave a watch to Lois Lane, Lana Lang, Ron Troupe, Cat Grant, Jose Delgado, Perry White, or Pete Ross. Not to mention, it seems odd that Superman would privilege one particular human over the rest of humanity when he’s committed to helping everyone. He doesn’t play favorites). Cat Grant has at times been a gossip columnist and editor of the Entertainment & Arts section of the Daily Planet. Winslow Schott aka the Toyman is a genius toy maker, turned criminal who bedevils Superman with his deadly children’s toys. Hank Henshaw is more widely known as the villainous Cyborg Superman who debuted as one of four “replacements” for Superman following the latter’s temporary death (though the reboot of the DC Universe in 2011 changed this).  Given the details from TVLine, it appears that all four will differ from their comic book versions (to varying degrees):

CAT GRANT | The project is eyeing females in their 40s, open ethnicity, to play the founder of CatCo, a media conglomerate that Cat built from the ground up. Kara (Supergirl’s mild-mannered alter ego) will work as a personal assistant to Cat, who is described as “J.Lo by way of Anna Wintour.”

JAMES OLSEN | In his late 20s/early 30s, open ethnicity, James is a smart, worldly and (duh) attractive photographer for CatCo. Though an alpha male, his salt-of-the-earth nature elicits a huge ol’ crush from Kara.

WINSLOW ‘WYNN’ SCHOTT | This twentysomething tech whiz/Comic-Con stalwart toils for CatCo as a programmer, unaware of his own (toying?) potential. Unware of her secret, he carries a torch for Kara, whom he lives next door to.

HANK HENSHAW | As an upstart CIA agent, Hank grew obsessed with intergalactic intel. Now in his 40s and lording over the DEO (Department of Extra-Normal Operations), he is on high alert when Supergirl reveals herself, worried that her otherworldly abilities pose a threat to humankind.

Here’s a bit more info on the Supergirl series:

For Kara Zor-El aka Kara Danvers, the show is eyeing Caucasian females, age 22 to 26, to play 24. As the series’ mythology goes, Kara at age 12 was sent from her dying home planet of Krypton to Earth, where she was taken in by the Danvers, a foster family who taught her to be careful with her extraordinary powers. After repressing said skills for more than a decade, Kara is forced to bust out her super moves in public during an unexpected disaster. Energized by her heroism for the first time in her life, she begins embracing her abilities in the name of helping the people of her city, earning herself a super moniker along the way.

The other lead role currently being cast is that of 26-year-old Alexandra “Alex” Danvers, Kara’s gorgeous, brilliant, science-minded foster sister. Growing up, Alex was partly jealous of her sibling yet also fascinated by her abilities, prompting Alex to learn as much as she could about alien anthropology, sociology and culture. Today, Alex works for a secret government organization and, alongside her heroic sis, will face many challenges, both mundane and super.

There are obviously a few changes from the portrayal of Supergirl in the comics (no matter what version or which continuity we’re talking about).  There doesn’t appear to be any mention of Superman as her cousin, which prompts me to wonder how they can capitalize on a Super-character that has no ties to Superman.  But then it makes me wonder if the creators are trying to minimize Superman’s role so that Supergirl can stand out from him. Perhaps they’re looking to develop her so that people view her as a hero in her own right rather than ‘Superman’s cousin from Krypton’. Also different is that Kara has never had a sibling, so Alex Danvers is a new character created for the show. There’s not enough information on this show for me to decide anything about it. Supergirl is one of my favorite characters.  I still get teary eyed when reading the death of the original SG in Crisis on Infinite Earth #7.  Peter David’s 1990s run on Supergirl is one of the best series of all time IMO. I wanted to like the Supergirl movie, but couldn’t bring myself to do so. So I have an appreciation for Supergirl. Here’s hoping the writers and directors can do her justice.

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s…Supergirl!
{advertisement}

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's…Supergirl!

Casting has begun for CBS’ Supergirl series.  TVLine reports that CBS has begun searching for actors to play Jimmy Olsen, Cat Grant, Hank Henshaw, and Winslow Schott.  In the comics, Jimmy has traditionally been a young photographer for the Daily Planet, and Superman’s pal (he used to have a special signal watch he could buzz when he needed help…aaaaand as I write that sentence, I’m left wondering why Superman gave Jimmy that signal watch. Don’t get me wrong, I know they’re friends, but Superman never gave a watch to Lois Lane, Lana Lang, Ron Troupe, Cat Grant, Jose Delgado, Perry White, or Pete Ross. Not to mention, it seems odd that Superman would privilege one particular human over the rest of humanity when he’s committed to helping everyone. He doesn’t play favorites). Cat Grant has at times been a gossip columnist and editor of the Entertainment & Arts section of the Daily Planet. Winslow Schott aka the Toyman is a genius toy maker, turned criminal who bedevils Superman with his deadly children’s toys. Hank Henshaw is more widely known as the villainous Cyborg Superman who debuted as one of four “replacements” for Superman following the latter’s temporary death (though the reboot of the DC Universe in 2011 changed this).  Given the details from TVLine, it appears that all four will differ from their comic book versions (to varying degrees):

CAT GRANT | The project is eyeing females in their 40s, open ethnicity, to play the founder of CatCo, a media conglomerate that Cat built from the ground up. Kara (Supergirl’s mild-mannered alter ego) will work as a personal assistant to Cat, who is described as “J.Lo by way of Anna Wintour.”

JAMES OLSEN | In his late 20s/early 30s, open ethnicity, James is a smart, worldly and (duh) attractive photographer for CatCo. Though an alpha male, his salt-of-the-earth nature elicits a huge ol’ crush from Kara.

WINSLOW ‘WYNN’ SCHOTT | This twentysomething tech whiz/Comic-Con stalwart toils for CatCo as a programmer, unaware of his own (toying?) potential. Unware of her secret, he carries a torch for Kara, whom he lives next door to.

HANK HENSHAW | As an upstart CIA agent, Hank grew obsessed with intergalactic intel. Now in his 40s and lording over the DEO (Department of Extra-Normal Operations), he is on high alert when Supergirl reveals herself, worried that her otherworldly abilities pose a threat to humankind.

Here’s a bit more info on the Supergirl series:

For Kara Zor-El aka Kara Danvers, the show is eyeing Caucasian females, age 22 to 26, to play 24. As the series’ mythology goes, Kara at age 12 was sent from her dying home planet of Krypton to Earth, where she was taken in by the Danvers, a foster family who taught her to be careful with her extraordinary powers. After repressing said skills for more than a decade, Kara is forced to bust out her super moves in public during an unexpected disaster. Energized by her heroism for the first time in her life, she begins embracing her abilities in the name of helping the people of her city, earning herself a super moniker along the way.

The other lead role currently being cast is that of 26-year-old Alexandra “Alex” Danvers, Kara’s gorgeous, brilliant, science-minded foster sister. Growing up, Alex was partly jealous of her sibling yet also fascinated by her abilities, prompting Alex to learn as much as she could about alien anthropology, sociology and culture. Today, Alex works for a secret government organization and, alongside her heroic sis, will face many challenges, both mundane and super.

There are obviously a few changes from the portrayal of Supergirl in the comics (no matter what version or which continuity we’re talking about).  There doesn’t appear to be any mention of Superman as her cousin, which prompts me to wonder how they can capitalize on a Super-character that has no ties to Superman.  But then it makes me wonder if the creators are trying to minimize Superman’s role so that Supergirl can stand out from him. Perhaps they’re looking to develop her so that people view her as a hero in her own right rather than ‘Superman’s cousin from Krypton’. Also different is that Kara has never had a sibling, so Alex Danvers is a new character created for the show. There’s not enough information on this show for me to decide anything about it. Supergirl is one of my favorite characters.  I still get teary eyed when reading the death of the original SG in Crisis on Infinite Earth #7.  Peter David’s 1990s run on Supergirl is one of the best series of all time IMO. I wanted to like the Supergirl movie, but couldn’t bring myself to do so. So I have an appreciation for Supergirl. Here’s hoping the writers and directors can do her justice.

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's…Supergirl!

The Fabulous Art of Michael Lee Lunsford

I just discovered this guy over at Comics Alliance, and wow, his art is quite nice!

Here’s a promotional poster for a faux Spider-Man comic:

Here is a great image of Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel:

Next up is a shot of the Darkchylde herself, Magik:

MODOK is such a silly comic book character, but I’d love to see him on the big screen (incidentally, his name is an acronym for Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing):

The Fabulous Art of Michael Lee Lunsford

Marvel releases their Phase 3 movie plans, which include Black Panther and Captain Marvel

Guess what? Marvel’s cinematic universe is about get to get an infusion of some much, much, much needed diversity!

They’re planning on Captain Marvel!

And Black Panther!

Woo-fucking-Hoo!

During a “secret” event for fans and press today in Los Angeles at Disney’s El Capitan theater, Marvel Studios melted fans’ brains when it revealed titles and release dates for all nine Marvel Phase 3 films.

Following Avengers 2, the studio will be releasing:

  • Captain America: Civil War (May 6th, 2016);
  • Dr. Strange (Nov. 4th, 2016);
  • Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (May 5th, 2017);
  • Thor: Ragnarok (July 18th, 2017);
  • Black Panther (November 3, 2017);
  • Avengers: Infinity War, Part 1 (May 4th, 2018);
  • Captain Marvel (July 6th, 2018);
  • Inhumans (November 2nd, 2018);
  • Avengers: Infinty War, Part 2 (May 3rd, 2019).

The presentation began with a deliberate and hilarious bit of misdirection, as it was first announced thatCaptain America 3 would be subtitled “Serpent Society.” Obviously, that would have contradicted all recent rumors suggesting a battle between Tony Stark and Steve Rogers influenced by Marvel’s Civil War crossover event. However, midway through the presentation, Marvel corrected itself, revealing “Civil War” as Robert Downey, Jr. and Chris Evans were brought out on stage for the announcement.

Meanwhile, 42 actor Chadwick Boseman was announced as the lead in Black Panther, introduced to fans formally by Robert Downey, Jr. and Chris Evans during a skit in which Downey, Jr. and Evans pretended to fight, then demanded Boseman pick sides. Cue wild speculation on how Black Panther will* officially debut in the MCU during Cap 3. It’s worth noting, by the way, that in the comics, Black Panther is from the fictional African nation of Wakanda, notable among other things for being the source of the Vibranium used to make Captain America’s shield.

YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I wasn’t familiar with Chadwick Boseman, and I imagine others might be similarly in the dark, so here he is:

IMDB has a list of his movie and tv appearances to date.

Oh, and of course this means that Marvel will be putting one of its biggest black heroes on the screen before DC’s Cyborg in 2020. Yes, the fanboy in me is squeaming right now!

Marvel releases their Phase 3 movie plans, which include Black Panther and Captain Marvel

NSFW video of nude cosplayer as Spiderwoman

Remember the sexist alternate cover to Spiderwoman #1 drawn by Milo Manara? One woman decided to cosplay as Spiderwoman-nude. Using body paint, Shelle Chii posed for pictures as Spiderwoman.  Here’s the video:

NSFW video of nude cosplayer as Spiderwoman

Pop Culture Link Round Up 10.9.14

Any Star Trek fans out there?

Any fans of Star Trek bling?

Thanks to The Mary Sue, I give you: Star Trek jewelry from indie jewelry designers RockLove!

    

* * * *

Archie (yes, that Archie) meets the Predator (yes, that Predator)

 That has to be one of the oddest oddball ideas ever.  I mean, it might be workable, but still…seriously?

* * * *

Fake documentary shows terrifying war against the Martians in 1913

I feel the need to copy Seriously Cat from above.

On its 100th anniversary, The Great Martian War tells the story of the catastrophic events and unimaginable horrors of 1913-17, when Humankind was pitted against a savage Alien invasion.

With powerful and detailed First World War parallels, The Great Martian War fuses sci-fi fantasy with specialist factual history to explore the real-world tragedies and unique horror of World War One.

* * * *

What does your skeleton look like when you’re doing yoga? Watch this video and find out!

* * * *

Read This Teen Girl’s Perfect Response to Rape-Promoting Sex Ed Class

Agatha Tan is a Singaporean teenager who was recently subjected to a sexual education workshop. While sex ed workshops can often be informative and educational, this one was nothing of the sort. It reinforced sexist stereotypes, promoted Rape Culture, and failed to acknowledge the existence of LGBT people.  Tan decided to give her principal a piece of her mind in a lengthy letter posted on Facebook.  Among the many things Tan had to say:

“While I do have many concerns with regards to this workshop and its content which I consider to be pressing, the most pressing is perhaps that the workshop and booklet actively serve to promote rape culture in school.” On the cover page of the booklet itself, it is written, ‘no means yes?’ and ‘yes means no?’ The facilitators from FotF neglected to mention that thinking a girl means ‘yes’ when she says ‘no’ is actually completely wrong. Rather, they spent their four hours with us discussing things such as what a girl ‘really means’ when she says something else, as opposed to guys who are ‘direct’ and “always mean what they say.’ By telling the student population this, FotF sends a dangerous message: that you should always assume that a girl means something else (like ‘yes’) when really she just means ‘no’.”

Incidentally, that FotF that she’s referring to is Focus on the Family, an extremely socially conservative organization that has no place offering sexual education workshops:

Focus on the Family’s stated mission is “nurturing and defending the God-ordained institution of the family and promoting biblical truths worldwide.” It promotes abstinence-only sexual education; adoption by married, opposite-sex parents; creationism; school prayer; and traditional gender roles. It opposes abortion; divorce; gambling; LGBT rights, particularly LGBT adoption and same-sex marriage;pornography; pre-marital sex; and substance abuse.Psychologists, psychiatrists, and social scientists have criticized Focus on the Family for misrepresenting their research to bolster FOTF’s political agenda and ideology.

Thankfully, the workshop will stop by the end of the year. Oh, and just to provide the icing on top of the cake:

However the best actual worst part of this story is that Focus on the Family, the group who conducted this workshop, plagiarized quite a lot of the content. Not just from any old equally terrible sex ed booklet, though — from a humor site. Rape and homophobia, LOL! This makes that birthing video I had to watch in 8th grade look like a cinematic masterpiece.

Pop Culture Link Round Up 10.9.14

The Fabulous Art Of: Nuno Alves

Deviant Art can be a fun timesink.  Just looking through page after page of art, you can discover a wealth of talented people.  One such person is Nuno Alves.  Here is a sample of their work:

Continue reading “The Fabulous Art Of: Nuno Alves”

The Fabulous Art Of: Nuno Alves

The Fabulous art of: Amanda Conner

Amanda Conner is an American comic bookartist and commercial artillustrator. She began her career in the late 1980s forArchie Comics and Marvel Comics, before moving on to contribute work for Claypool Comics’ Soulsearchers and Company andHarris Comics’ Vampirella in the 1990s. Her 2000s work includes Mad magazine, and such DC Comics characters as Power Girland Atlee.

Her other published work includes illustrations for The New York Times andRevolver magazine, advertising work for products such as Arm & Hammer,Playskool, and design work for ABC’sNightline, commercials for A&E.’s Biographymagazine. (Wiki)

(source)

The Fabulous art of: Amanda Conner

University of Baltimore to offer course on Marvel’s cinematic films

I’m a fan of comic books.  That’s no surprise to anyone that knows me to any great degree.  At the age of 38 (I’ll be 39 in December), I’ve been reading comic books since I was ~5 years old. I’ve been collecting them since I was a teenager who rode his bicycle several miles from our home at Redstone Arsenal (in Huntsville, AL) to the comic book store.  As a teen, I was drawn to the Uncanny X-Men though at the time I didn’t know why (looking back, it makes sense as mutants were a metaphor for the disadvantaged, oppressed, and marginalized members of society, and between my ethnicity and sexuality, well let’s just say I’m part of those groups in more ways than one, so mutants likely resonated with me on some level). As I got older, my interests expanded; I read all manner of books, from the Amazing Spider-Man to the Incredible Hulk, from the Avengers to the Fantastic Four.  I even branched out and started reading DC titles like Action Comics, Justice League America, and Wonder Woman.  I remember reading comics and thinking how cool it would be, if not virtually impossible, to see my favorite characters on the big screen, and despite my affection for DC Comics, my favorite characters have always been Marvel heroes.  Specifically, the Avengers, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

Fast forward more than a decade to the year 2008, and the debut of Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man, a movie that was a risky move for the fledgling Marvel studios.  Despite the success of Fox’s X-Men franchise, and Sony’s Spider-Man movies, the new studio (which is not affiliated with Fox or Sony, which is why you won’t see Spider-Man crossing over with the Hulk, or the X-Men and Avengers together on the big screen), there was no guarantee that an Iron Man movie would be profitable. Following an opening weekend that saw the movie bring in $100.7 million at the box office, and buckets of praise for Downey Jr’s performance, Marvel realized they had a hit on their hands.  Over the years, audiences have been treated to two Iron Man sequels, two Captain America movies, two Thor movies, and as far fetched as it once sounded to me, a movie with a talking tree and a raccoon.  As of this writing Guardians of the Galaxy boasts box office sales (in the US) of >$313 million.  All of this is fantastic of course.  For this comic book fan, seeing characters I love and grew up with on the big screen is like a dream come true.  Nowhere, and I mean nowhere is this dream more exciting, thrilling, amazing, fantastic, and fanboigasm inducing than the spectacle that was 2012’s The Avengers.

Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and the Hulk were brought to the big screen under the direction of Joss Whedon (who’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of my absolute favorite pop culture creations and one of the best tv shows I’ve ever seen).  Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johanssen, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Samuel L Jackson, and Tom Hiddleston came together (along with many other actors) to create a blockbuster film that took in domestic sales of over $623 million dollars (it grossed more than $1 billion worldwide).  The success of that movie paved the way for Guardians of the Galaxy, and showed that Marvel Studios was here to stay.  I’ll never forget walking out of that theater after watching the movie and being shell shocked. Dumbfounded.  Boggled.  Gast was flabbered.

That movie rocked my world.  In all the right ways.  Going by the sales, it seems like I wasn’t alone in that.

The Marvel movies have become a phenomenon that hold up a mirror to our culture.  In a press release from the University of Baltimore, it was revealed that a new course is going to be offered in 2015:  “Media Genres: Media Marvels”.

The course, “Media Genres: Media Marvels,” will examine how Marvel’s series of interconnected films and television shows, plus related media and comic book sources and Joseph Campbell’s monomyth of the “hero’s journey,” offer important insights into modern culture. The course is believed to be the first of its kind in the country.

Taught by Arnold T. Blumberg, D.C.D. ’04, an adjunct faculty member in UB’s Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences, the class will uncover the unprecedented efforts by Marvel to establish a viable universe of plotlines, characters, and backstories that leave no question unanswered, no story or character abandoned or otherwise unexplained. Blumberg says this critical look will encourage students to better understand the culture’s fixation on superheroes, fictional global threats, and other “widescreen” novelistic tales that have pushed the comic book-to-film ethos into new territory.

Yes please.  I’ll take that class.  Why are we, as a culture, fixated on superheroes?  Are we obsessed with fictional global threats?  As I thought about these questions, I realized that these movies-especially The Avengers-reflect our cultural zeitgeist.  We live in a post-911 culture where many view the enemy as being nameless, faceless, unknowable, unreasonable forces bent on eradicating our Western civilization.  These forces, led by a charismatic man of tremendous power, and near godlike levels of disdain and apathy toward those he deems less than him present a grave threat that we want our heroes to overcome.  No, I don’t think that Joss Whedon wrote the Chitauri as being Islamic terrorists and Loki as Osama bin Laden, but you can see the cultural influences.  Those influences continue when you recognize that the Avengers represent America’s military might and the heroes we wish truly existed who could protect us from outside threats. There looks to be plenty of material from Marvel’s Cinematic movies to discuss and deconstruct, enough perhaps, to feature in a second course.

What would such a second course look like? It would need to be one that while drawing from the same material, analyzed it in a unique manner.  What else can Marvel’s Cinematic Universe tell us about our culture? Does the MCU reflect more than our cultural values?  Does it also reflect our cultural attitudes? What does the MCU say about institutionalized sexism or racism?  What does the MCU say about our attitudes towards LBGT people?  The fact that the main cast of The Avengers featured only one woman and one black person, while featuring no LGBT people does indeed reflect our culture. As in the comic book industry or the video game industry, LGBT people, women, and People of Color have become increasingly vocal about their lack of representation.  They want to be heard. They want to be seen.  The message is clear-white, male, cisgender, and heterosexual has been the default for pretty much the whole of human history, and it’s time to change that. It’s time to recognize that there is no default gender, race, or sexuality for humanity, and that if our popular culture is going to reflect our values, perhaps it ought to reflect more than a narrow slice of the humanity pie.

Yeah, I think that would be a decent foundation for a 202 level course. Don’t you?

University of Baltimore to offer course on Marvel’s cinematic films