Confronting the racial stereotypes of Cloak & Dagger (plus the trailer)

Tandy Bowen (Dagger) and Tyrone Johnson (Cloak) in a piece by (I think) Jae Lee)

Tandy Bowen and Tyrone Johnson were teen runaways who–individually–left their hometowns for the streets of New York. Encountering one another by chance, Bowen’s purse was stolen by a thief, and was recovered by Johnson. Bonding over this encounter, the two were captured soon after their arrival and subjected to your typical scientific experiment carried out by a morally deficient scientist. The experiment granted the pair “light” and “dark” powers, which I’ll get into in a minute. For much of their young career, the pair specifically fought drug dealers and worked to ensure the safety of other teen runaways.

Now, about those powers…

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Confronting the racial stereotypes of Cloak & Dagger (plus the trailer)
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We have a release date for the Defenders!

Cringeworthy. Boring. Unfaithful. Ho-hum.

Those are the words that spring to mind when I think of the television adaptations of comic book properties that existed when I was growing up. Not the cartoons mind you, but the live-action shows. I know these tv shows and made for tv movies have their fans.  I am not now, nor have I ever been, one of them. As a kid, I tolerated television movies like The Amazing Spider-Man in which the title character engaged in some truly yawn inducing adventures. Or the Bill Bixby starring Incredible Hulk, who bore little resemblance in appearance or power (seriously, he struggled to lift telephone poles) to his comic book counterpart. Plus, he didn’t leap. he jogged at a brisk pace (I think I’ve seen mall joggers move faster than he did). And while shows like Superboy were more faithful to the source material and featured a character that I recognized, there was still a cringe-factor. Perhaps it was the cheesiness or the fact that many of the villains were mundane rather than spectacular, but watching such shows often left me wanting more.  More adventure. More excitement. More fun. Faithful adaptations. And there was something else I wanted from these shows. Something that I considered fundamental to comic books, and that was missing from the other tv adaptations: I wanted a shared universe. I wanted to see supporting characters interacting with one another. I wanted to see characters from show reference events in another show. And of course I wanted to see superheroes teaming up.

If 16 yo. me had a time machine, and used it to peer into the twentyteens, he’d be shell shocked. To see the fastest man alive zooming across the screen at Mach speeds would be exciting to him. Watching the last daughter of Krypton make a name for herself both as a reporter and a superhero would be thrilling. And I just know he’d have gotten goosebumps upon learning that the streaming service Netflix has teamed up with Marvel and given him exactly what he wanted.

Action.

Adventure.

Excitement.

Fun.

A shared universe.

Oh, and superheroes teaming up on the small screen.

Now, 16 yo me would probably be at school on August 18, 2017, anxiously anticipating the end of the school day. But me? I’ll be planted in front of a television watching the debut of the Defenders.  Check out the teaser.

We have a release date for the Defenders!

Woo-hoo! Home runs for both Marvel Netflix shows

They say it is best to arrive to a party fashionably late. How late that is can vary from person to person, but I’ve often heard 15-20 minutes is a reasonable time. If that’s the case, then I arrived UNfashionably late to the Marvel Cinematic Netflix series Daredevil and Jessica Jones. Over the last 5 days, I’ve binge-watched all 26 episodes of each series (in-between catching up on Season 1 of Flash, a few episodes of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, the first three episodes of Young Justice Season 2, and a couple of episodes from Season 1 of Arrow), and I’ve got to say those 26 hours were some of the best television I’ve ever seen and definitely in the ranks of “best cinematic adaptations of comic book properties”. From the characters, to the stories, to the atmosphere, Daredevil and Jessica Jones hit near-perfect notes. If you haven’t seen either (and plan to at some point), I’ll be discussing plot points of both shows ahead. So read on only if you don’t mind spoilers:

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Woo-hoo! Home runs for both Marvel Netflix shows

Pop Culture Link Round Up 1.22.16

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Pop Culture Link Round Up 1.22.16

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…?

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

The Fabulous Art of: Kris Anka

Kris Anka is a wonderfully talented comic book artist (his blog is here).

Robot 6 reports that he is selling prints of this fantabulous (a portmanteau of ‘fabulous’ and ‘fantastic’ for those inquiring minds who want to know) piece:

Marvel’s X-Men titles have by far the highest number of iconic female characters in all of comics — whether it be the superhero genre or elsewhere. It’s thanks in no small part to the work of writer Chris Claremont and artists like John Byrne and Paul Smith, but man others followed, and added to the ensemble, including Joss Whedon and John Cassaday, who created Abigail Brand. And now artist Kris Anka is paying tribute to these X-Men in an expansive, limited-edition print called “Ladies of X 2.”
The title isn’t a nod to the second X-Men film, but rather a reference to a less-populated version of this piece created last summer. Both pieces were inspired by Adam Hughes’ “Women of DC” from 2008, but Anka takes the cake in this new illustration by featuring 19 women affiliated with the X-Men titles, all wearing haute-couture fashions reflecting their personalities.
Going beyond Anka’s illustration, it’s interesting to try to name all of the characters listed here without googling — but also to note the number of female X-Men not featured here, showing just how large Marvel’s mutant bench is.
Anka produced just 39 prints of “Ladies of X 2,” but says online that if he sells out, he’ll consider making more. See the full image blow, and visit his blog for ordering details.

Here are a few more examples of his wonderful art:

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The Fabulous Art of: Kris Anka

Marvel’s all-new Giant-Man is another win for diversity

I began reading comic books around the age of 7 or 8, and began to seriously collect them when I was old enough to get a job. Some of the earliest comics I had were Marvel’s Avengers. Earth’s Mightiest Heroes was (and still is) the tagline. Captain America, Thor, Wasp, Hercules, Sub-Mariner, She-Hulk, Black Knight-they were awesome. But there was someone else I really liked reading about. Someone who I appreciated for different reasons-Monica Rambeau-Captain Marvel at the time. She was special to me because she was unique among the Avengers: she was black. Like me.

The second hero to bear the name Captain Marvel, Monica Rambeau debuted in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #16, by Roger Stern and John Romita Jr.

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Marvel’s all-new Giant-Man is another win for diversity

Marvel's all-new Giant-Man is another win for diversity

I began reading comic books around the age of 7 or 8, and began to seriously collect them when I was old enough to get a job. Some of the earliest comics I had were Marvel’s Avengers. Earth’s Mightiest Heroes was (and still is) the tagline. Captain America, Thor, Wasp, Hercules, Sub-Mariner, She-Hulk, Black Knight-they were awesome. But there was someone else I really liked reading about. Someone who I appreciated for different reasons-Monica Rambeau-Captain Marvel at the time. She was special to me because she was unique among the Avengers: she was black. Like me.

The second hero to bear the name Captain Marvel, Monica Rambeau debuted in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #16, by Roger Stern and John Romita Jr.

Continue reading “Marvel's all-new Giant-Man is another win for diversity”

Marvel's all-new Giant-Man is another win for diversity

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