Time for bed. Wait! What’s that about a new CW superhero show?!

Image of the CW’s four superhero shows represented by Brandon Routh as the Atom, Grant Gustin as the Flash, Stephen Amell as Green Arrow, and Melissa Benoist as Supergirl.

So there I am. Laying in bed after a 10 hour day at work. Most of that time having been spent on my feet, bc as a server and bartender, I don’t get much in the way of sit down time at work. Thus, when I got home, the tired kinda hit me all at once (the mildly achy feet did too, which reminds me–I need gel insoles). I decided ‘what the heck’, it may be 9:30 at night, but I can go to bed when I’m tired bc I’m an adult and I can do whatever I want to (except launch all white supremacists, MRAs, and TERFs into the sun ). So I crawled into bed, got snug and comfy under the sheets, and grabbed my phone to check news before I fell asleep. After three or four stories, I could feel my body screaming “go to sleep little gay boy”. Juuuuuuuust as I was about to lay my phone down and rest my little gay head, I was forcibly–though pleasantly–wrenched out of my exhaustive state. What could possibly have caused such a 180° change?

The CW has picked up a pilot order for Greg Berlanti’s Black Lightning!

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Time for bed. Wait! What’s that about a new CW superhero show?!
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My faith in the Justice League movie just increased

Here’s yet another trailer released by DC at San Diego Comic-Con: Justice League part 1. One of my biggest gripes with Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice was how oppressively bleak and dour it was. It was as if Zack Snyder sucked all the joy…all the fun…all the excitement out of the characters (and all the color for that matter; just look at the color palette for the film). It was just dark and dreary throughout. I was worried that his Justice League films would follow suit. Well, if this Justice League trailer is any indication, things might be looking up for this film. Dare I hope to actually *enjoy* the movie? We’ll see.

(edit: it would be more accurate to state that this is footage assembled in the fashion of a trailer, rather than the official Justice League trailer)

My faith in the Justice League movie just increased

The Wonder Woman trailer is here!

San Diego Comic-Con is currently going on and USAmerican comic book companies are revealing all manner of information about future material in the comics, as well as discussing casting decisions for ongoing television series, and most importantly for this post, showing trailers for upcoming movies. DC has released the trailer for the 6/23/17 debuting Wonder Woman, which sees Gal Gadot reprise her role as the Amazing Amazon (she first appeared in the dismal Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice flick earlier this year). Watching the trailer, it’s apparent that the filmmakers have gotten down an otherworldly feel to Diana, as well as her fighting skills and great power. The only thing I worry about is whether they will develop her beyond ‘warrior woman’. For me, Wonder Woman is best as a character who is a compassionate, empathetic, diplomatic warrior. Some of that might seem contradictory, but under the pen of writers like Gail Simone and Greg Rucka, Wonder Woman shines as someone with tremendous compassion for living beings (not just humans). She’s also someone who was raised in an all-female culture of immortals who mastered numerous fighting styles, but is also well read and highly intelligent. She’s a skilled diplomat who always strives to resolve conflicts without violence unless absolutely necessary. Which makes sense, bc she respects and values life. She doesn’t want to bring pain to anyone if she doesn’t have to. And at times, she’ll almost bend over backwards to avoid fighting. But when it comes down to it and a battle seems inevitable, the warrior in her will rise, and she becomes a relentless fighting machine. Trained. Skilled. Nearly unstoppable. She’ll fight to resolve the conflict at hand using every tool at her disposal (including diplomacy; she’s been known to continue trying to deescalate a situation in the middle of a fight), up to and including lethal force if her opponent(s) presents sufficient danger to others or herself. It is this combination of character traits that draws me to Wonder Woman, and is the thing I’m most worried about being accurately depicted in the movie. The trailer doesn’t appear to touch on any diplomatic skills, but it does show her as a warrior. Here’s hoping the finished product will present a much more rounded Wonder Woman, as it is time for this character to shine on the big screen and show the world how wonderful she truly is.

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The Wonder Woman trailer is here!

DC Comics aims for more diversity

Mainstream comic books in the U.S. have long featured a sea of white, male faces. From the beginning of the industry back in the Golden Age, through the Silver Age, and into the Bronze and Modern Ages, there has been a lack of diversity in superhero comics. Characters like Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Flash, Spider-Man, Captain America, the Fantastic Four, Thor, Iron Man, Daredevil, and so many more mainstays of Marvel and DC have been white guys. Now, that wouldn’t be such a problem if they didn’t dominate the comic racks. But they have. For the better part of the 20th Century and even into the 21st. It hasn’t been until recent years-the last 5 or 6 by my estimate-that Marvel and DC have made a concerted effort to diversify their output. With pressure mounting from readers, both companies have taken steps to produce content that doesn’t appeal to the same old, same old crowd. Which makes sense, bc GBLT people, women, and PoC read comics too. And in significant numbers. This can be seen by dropping in on any of the numerous comic book conventions around the country. The people showing up aren’t just white men, and they want to see themselves reflected in the comics they read. The pressure exerted on the companies by female readers has led to an  explosion of titles featuring women in starring roles. Where 30 years ago, Wonder Woman, She-Hulk, and Supergirl were pretty much the only women starring in their own titles, the last few years have seen Starfire, Harley Quinn, Black Canary, Batgirl, the new female Thor, Storm, Squirrel Girl, Elektra, Black Widow, She-Hulk, and Captain Marvel (among others) receive their own books. But the request for greater diversity from the Big Two is not limited to fans asking for more books with female leads. Many readers (myself included) want more books headlined by People of Color.

If I’m not mistaken, Marvel leads DC on that front, as the last several years has seen the New York-based publisher produce titles like Ms. Marvel, Black Panther, Captain America (Sam Wilson), Spider-Man (Miles Morales), Nova, Red Wolf, Spider-Man 2099, and Devil Dinosaur & Moon Girl. Meanwhile, over at DC, the company’s only books in recent years with a Person of Color in the starring role are Dr. Fate and Cyborg. The powers that be at DC cannot be ignorant of the demand for more racially diverse titles. In fact, this awareness is probably a significant reason why the company will soon be adding a new title to it’s publishing schedule, New Super-Man. The title will see a Chinese teenager acquiring some of Superman’s powers:

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DC Comics aims for more diversity

What if…?

The pervasive influence of white bias is felt in all corners of society. From musicians to actors, politicians to police officers, firefighters to lawyers, CEO’s to teachers, there is no area of society free from the bias in favor of white people (and, more specifically, heterosexual, cisgender, white men). As a long-time comic book reader, I was long ignorant of this bias in the comic book industry. Growing up as a teen, and later as a young adult, race was never on my radar. It wasn’t until I began to pay attention to matters of race that I began to see the comic book industry through more enlightened eyes. Once I began to view the world with greater clarity and understanding, I began to see that the comic book industry has long been dominated by white men. And that explains why, for the vast majority of the history of USAmerican comic books, white men have been the primary protagonists, villains, and supporting cast members. The same holds true of the film industry. But what if things were different? What if white men were not the sole (or primary) guiding forces behind movies and comic books all these decades? What if people of color were involved as well? What might the result be?

Alijah Villian is an artist who has tried to imagine just such a world. Using African-American celebrities, he re-imagines protagonists and antagonists from comic books and movies. Take a look:

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What if…?

The progressive march of pop culture

Hollywood, aka Tinsel Town, is home to the entertainment industry of the United States. Viewed as the land of the rich and famous, Hollywood has long been the destination for many people seeking to make a name for themselves, whether on the small-screen, the big-screen, or in the music industry. Unfortunately, with so many people looking for fame and fortune, Hollywood is a difficult industry to break into, let alone succeed in. Some groups of people have an advantage in the industry, due to a bias in their favor. This bias-which favors white, heterosexual, cisgender men-has resulted in a Hollywood that is not reflective of our culture at large. Because of this bias, members of marginalized communities-LGBT people, women, and People of Color-have greater difficulty making it in the entertainment industry. Whether in front of the cameras or behind them, on the big screens or the small ones, these groups have long been plagued by unequal treatment in Hollywood. The second annual Hollywood Diversity Report (available for download here) examined more than 1,000 broadcast, cable, and digital tv programs from the 2012-2013 season and its results were not encouraging.
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The progressive march of pop culture

Pop Culture Link Round-Up: Superhero Edition

Superheroes have been near and dear to me for most of my life. Growing up, the hero I most loved was Spider-Man. I used to run around the house, pretending I could stick to walls or shoot webs from my wrists. So much fun. Well except for the time I threw the rope from my bathrobe around a metal coat rack and thought I could swing from it. It fell. Hit my head. I was a young little one…maybe five or so. The rack looked similar to this:

It wouldn’t have been so bad if I didn’t have the habit of removing the plastic coverings that fit over the ends of the hooks. So yeah, when it fell, I fell, and one of the hooks hit my head. I’m sure it’s just my brain filling in the details from my mother telling me about this, but I “remember” walking into the bathroom where my mom was doing something and she looked at me and freaked out. I had blood coming from my forehead. Parents out there can just imagine how they’d react if they saw blood dripping from the head of their child. Total [justified] freak-out mode. Turns out it wasn’t anything serious, thankfully, but boy did I scare my mom. As I got older, I branched out (though never away) from Spider-Man. I loved the X-Men, Fantastic Four, Avengers, Alpha Flight, Justice League, Justice Society, Wonder Woman, the Authority, Flash, Thor, the Legion of Super-Heroes, every iteration of the Titans, Captain America, She-Hulk and so many more books. Even though I’m nearing 40, my love of superheroes has not changed. What has changed is the appreciation of superheroes in the world around me. No longer are comic books and superheroes treated solely as “kids’ things”. Today, superheroes are found all across the pop culture landscape, from movies to television to video games. They’ve even spread into non-conventional areas, and here are five examples:

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Pop Culture Link Round-Up: Superhero Edition

Texting with the superheroes

Enjoy some texts from superheroes! Yes, I know Deadpool is in there. Yes, I know he’s not a superhero-I didn’t come up with the name of that blog. Believe me I can’t stand the guy. He was interesting for a while, but now he’s gone the way of 90s Wolverine, Cable, Ghost Rider, and Punisher–appearing everywhere, even when it makes not a lick of sense.

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Texting with the superheroes

The Fabulous Art Of: Mike Wieringo

Born on this day in 1963, Michael Lance “Mike” Wieringo (often referred to as ‘Ringo) was a USAmerican comic book artist. He broke into the comic book industry in 1992, with an issue of Justice League Quarterly. From there, he worked on other DC titles including the Flash (where he co-created Bart Allen, aka Impulse, with writer Mark Waid) and Robin, as well as several Marvel Comics titles, including Sensational Spider-Man, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, and perhaps his best known work for the company, Fantastic Four (where he was paired with his former Flash writer, Mark Waid). Along with writer Todd Dezago, ‘Ringo created the popular creator-owned fantasy series Tellos for Image Comics. Sadly, Mike Wieringo passed away on August 12, 2007 of a sudden heart attack. He would have been 52 years old today.

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The Fabulous Art Of: Mike Wieringo

A Million Hundred Thousand Moms are angry

In a recent Facebook post, the conservative, retrograde, fundamentalist group One Million Moms (whose membership doesn’t seem to have a tenth of that number; of course that link is 3 years old, so maybe they’ve seen a tremendous surge in membership over the years) expressed their concern over an upcoming show from FOX, Lucifer:

FOX has plans in 2016 to air “Lucifer,” a new series which will glorify Satan as a caring, likable person in human flesh.

The series will focus on Lucifer portrayed as a good guy, “who is bored and unhappy as the Lord of Hell.” He resigns his throne, abandons his kingdom and retires to Los Angeles, where he gets his kicks helping the LAPD punish criminals.

At the same time, God’s emissary, the angel Amenadiel, has been sent to Los Angeles to convince Lucifer to return to the underworld. 

Previews of the pilot episode depict graphic acts of violence, a nightclub featuring scantily-clad women and a demon.

Based (loosely, some might say) on characters from DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint, Lucifer follows the titular character (played by Tom Ellis) who decides he is tired of running hell and sets up shop in Los Angeles as a nightclub owner who wants to combat his millenia-old bad publicity:

Rush actor Tom Ellis plays the title role in the series, which explores what happens when the Lord of Hell decides to quit his job and move to Los Angeles. While that aspect of the series remains true to the comic book series, the television character’s decision to help the Los Angeles Police Department catch criminals is a pretty major departure from the more heady subject matter tackled by his comics counterpart.

Ellis is joined in the cast by Chicago Fire actress Lauren German as the LAPD detective who’s strangely immune to Lucifer’s charms, as well as Spartacus actress Lesley-Ann Brandt as a demon in human form who’s allied with Lucifer. D.B. Woodside (24) plays the angel Amenadiel, who’s tasked with convincing Lucifer to return to his realm in the underworld that he abandoned.

While Gaiman introduced the DC Comics version of Lucifer that inspired the series, it was writer Mike Carey who authored the popular, self-titled Lucifer series that ran for 75 issues and was published from 2000 to 2006.

Here’s the preview:

The idea of presenting Lucifer as a character who wants to combat his bad image and even being ::gasp:: likable? Well that’s just plain appalling to groups like One Million Moms (who love them some petitions). Given the theme of redemption inherent to Christianity, you’d think a group of religious people would support the most Evil Being® in all existence (OMG!!!) working to become a better person. After all, if Satan can become good (or at least not as evil), that says something about the power of redemption. If the Lord of Evil* can become a better person (or at least try) despite all the evil he’s done**, then us lowly humans born into sin***, definitely have a chance to bask in the presence of the Lord for all eternity. Your mileage may vary, but for me, that doesn’t sound like a good way to spend all eternity. It sounds rather like torture. In any case, the theme of redemption appears to be prominent in this show, so OMM ought to quit their complaining.

But they won’t.

Because Satan/Lucifer/The Lord of Evil can’t be nice. He can’t be likable. He can’t be anything approaching a decent person. And good golly gosh, he can’t be redeemed****! Attempts to paint Satan in a positive light are wrong because they mischaracterize Satan, who is an Evil Being®. As an Evil Being® we all know that Lucifer does not have good qualities. Depicted properly, Evil Beings® endorse, support, and condone slavery, rape, and infanticide. Evil Beings® are possessed of a bloodlust that must be sated with the ritual sacrifice of animals. They’re also petty tyrants who demand that their followers worship them, or else! Eternal Torment! Lake of Fire! Cut off From Being With Them For All Eternity! They create laws and commandments that prohibit people from engaging in completely innocuous activities like eating shellfish, wearing clothing with mixed fibers, dancing, consensual sexy funtimes, gambling, and more. Oh, and Evil Beings® will go on genocidal temper tantrums when their creations don’t act as they should (so glad that most human parents dpn’t kill their kids when they act up).

Whew. I guess that means Satan is safe. He hasn’t done any of those things. Good thing too, because then he’d be an Evil Being®. So my advice to One Million Moms-aside from “you ought to call yourselves Tens of Thousands of Moms” or “Moms who believe in religious nonsense” or my favorite “Moms who start petitions over harmless things”-you ought to start petitioning churches to quit worshiping that God guy. Between Him and Satan, it’s pretty clear which one is Evil-and it isn’t the guy with an upcoming tv show on FOX.

*Man, I love randomly capitalizing letters

**Or said to have done, bc honestly, I think Satan gets a bad rap

***Remember kids, sin is a fictional concept inherent to one particular strain of religion (out of thousands). Like other religious concepts, there is no basis in reality for this concept, so don’t get all confused thinking it applies to real world actions

****So sayeth One Million Hundred Thousand Moms

A Million Hundred Thousand Moms are angry