Category Archives: rants

Diversity in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

First things first: Marvel Comics is doing some great things in terms of diversity in their books. Sam Wilson will soon be the new Captain America, Thor’s hammer will be passed to a woman who will take up the role of Thunderer/Protector of Midgard, and there’s a growing number of titles that focus on women and people of color: Black WidowCaptain Marvel, The Mighty AvengersElektraShe-HulkMs. MarvelAll-New Ghost Rider, etc.

And that’s great. The only problem is that this push for diversity seems to stop right before it reaches the doors of Marvel Studios. Sure, Black Widow has been kick-ass in Iron Man 2Avengers, and Captain American: The Winter Soldier. The Winter Soldier also gave us the aforementioned Sam Wilson. There’s also Sif, who was not only amazing in both Thor movies, but even crossed over to the small screen to appear in an episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. However, to date, all of Marvel’s movies have focused on a white dude or a collection of white dudes with maybe a woman (or raccoon or giant tree monster) thrown in for good measure.

So, what’s the problem? The folks at Marvel Studios has claimed that it’s a question of momentum. They have several plates spinning at once (another Thor movie, another Captain America movie, two more Avengers movies, not to mention the new Guardians of the Galaxy franchise), and they’re worried about breaking the pace of these franchises. I’m not gonna lie, I kind of see their point. But, I see a few golden opportunities on the horizon for, if nothing else, a movie for Black Panther and a movie for Captain Marvel.

Wakanda, Vibranium, and the Black Panther

At this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, the following prop was on display at the Marvel booth–

Now, it’s unclear if Cap’s iconic shield is actually shattered during the events of Age of Ultron, or if it’s some kind of dream/nightmare/illusion. Captain America’s shield has been broken several times in the comics. Sometimes it’s repaired by Doctor Strange’s mystical know-how, sometimes it’s repaired by a cadre of Asgardian dwarfs, and sometimes it’s repaired by the advanced science of Wakanda. So, my hope is that Cap’s shield is broken and the post-credit scene of Avengers 2 involves Steve and Tony traveling to Wakanda in order to ask King T’Challa, who happens to be an old friend of Tony’s, to help them repair the shield. That would open the door for a Black Panther movie. Maybe the plot would involve a battle over Wakanda’s vibranium supply, hopefully including the villainous Ulysses Klaw or some new faction of Hydra or AIM.

The Kree, Mar-Vell, and Captain Marvel

This week’s Guardians of the Galaxy–which is amazing fun, by the way–introduces movie audiences to one of Marvel’s classic alien species, the Kree.

The first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D also included the corpse of something that’s clearly a member of the Kree race–

KREE

So, the Kree have clearly been to Earth. Perhaps they are a continuing presence, lurking in the background. That means that undercover Kree agent, Mar-Vell, could easily appear in the upcoming season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 

And, if the first season finale can include Nick Fury and Maria Hill, the second season finale can include the incident that transfers a portion of Mar-Vell’s Kree powers to kick-ass U.S. Air Force officer Carol Danvers and, BOOM!, a Captain Marvel movie.

Mark Ruffalo, Blood Transfusions, and Sensational Cousins

Everyone agrees that Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner was the breakout character in Avengers. Since then, everyone has been itching for another solo Hulk movie. I say that’s a bad idea. Hulk is an expensive character to have as the lead in a movie, that’s why he usually doesn’t show up until the third act. Instead, I say use Ruffalo’s draw to open a She-Hulk movie. Banner visits his cousin Jennifer Walters, an up-and-coming lawyer in Washington, DC. When the opposition in Jennifer’s biggest case to date tries to kill her, only a blood transfusion from her cousin can save her life (and change it forever)–

Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list. A solo movie for Black Widow has been sort of promised. I’d pay to see a movie about Spider-Woman. Or a solo Sif movie. I’d also do horrible things to your loved ones if it got me a movie about Rikki Barnes and Eli Bradley. And, I know that Marvel may be doing this movie or may be casting that character, but it doesn’t count until I see footage.

Basically, all I’m saying is this: Get on this, Marvel Studios. It ain’t that hard.

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We Interrupt Our Usual Silliness for an Important Message

I’ve seen this list before, but today it popped up on Tumblr again:

As a general rule, I don’t get super-personal on here–the reasons will probably become apparent shortly–but, lately, I’ve been thinking about this a lot. About being an introvert. About social anxiety. About the ways I process and respond to social cues.

I am not looking for sympathy. I am not looking for attention. I’ve just been thinking…

Not everyone needs (or wants) to be the center of attention. Some people enjoy it. Some people really know how to command a room. I have friends like that. Good friends. Friends I adore. This is not me. Attention, even positive attention, can freak me out. Sometimes a lot. I don’t know how to take a compliment. It really takes me off-guard. I’m really private. About a lot of things. About the things that most people are private about and about the stupid little crap that you’d think no one in their right mind would care about keeping private.

I overreact to some things. Underreact to others. Most of the time, I realize that my reactions aren’t the “normal” ones…but, I’d be hard pressed to tell you exactly why. Most of the time I can usually play it off as a joke. Which helps.

I think. A lot. Not necessarily about big and important fancy things. No. Most of the time I’m thinking about what I’m going to have for dinner, how I’m planning on getting home from my current location, a television show from the ’80s, or a story I’d like to write. I imagine this can make me look like I’m just kind of staring off into space and not “engaging” others. Sorry. I’m just thinking about stuff.

Like the list says: give me time to think. If we’re talking, I am going to start and stop. A lot. I do that. It probably pisses people off and some folks probably think I’m doing it on purpose. I’m not. I don’t even realize I’m doing it until a second or two into the pause. Bear with me while I find the right words to go with my thoughts.

My friends, my wonderful, wonderful friends, will say “Oh, you’re not that bad” or “Don’t be so hard on yourself. Everyone has those moments.” It’s possible they don’t think I’m “that bad” because we were introduced in a small group. Five is my limit. Anything more than five people and I don’t know what to do. There are just too many people for me to get a word in. And that leads to conversational chaos. I don’t like chaos. Or disorder. So, I withdraw, and that makes me look bored or distant. And then I realize that I look bored or distant and I start to feel bad. Which makes me twitchy.

I guess my point is this: If I am there, in a room with you and a dozen (or, gulp, more!) other people, there’s a good chance I would like to engage in conversation. I know lots of stuff. And I’m funny, I promise. I would like to be friendly and pleasant and social. I just don’t really know how to…or, at the very least, I don’t know how to get the ball rolling.

 

I Can't Even…

So, pretty much the worst thing in the entire world has happened…

Who? Fuckin’ Scotsmen. That’s who.

 

Go, Wests! My True Geek Confession

In the grand tradition of Scott & Jean Day, the geeks of the Internet have returned to bring you True Geek Confessions.

Unpopular opinions: we all have them. Sometimes you stand alone in loving a super niche-y run of a popular comic book series. Sometimes you’re the only person on the entire planet to ’ship a certain ’ship. Sometimes you simply Do Not Get a movie the rest of your geeky brethren is falling all over themselves about. And because a lot of fandom is about sharing loves and hates and communing with your fellow geeks, this can feel awfully lonely. But perhaps if we confess our most unpopular opinions for all the internet to see…well, we’ll feel just a little bit better.

This is an interesting topic for me to write about, mostly because I don’t believe in guilty pleasures and I don’t believe in apologizing for things you like or don’t like. A lot of life seems to revolve around concealing the former and a lot of fandom seems to involve the latter.

Anyway…here goes…

I love the Wests.

There, I said it. When I started reading comics, Wally West was The Flash. Sure, I knew who Barry Allen was from the awesome ’90s TV series, but Wally has been (and will always be) my Flash. And what I love most about Wally is that, probably more than any other hero in the DC Universe, he embodies the down-to-earth, blue-collar American dream. Even though Wally’s been a superhero for his entire life, he’s the quintessential everyman. And, what’s more everyman than settling down with a wife and kids? And, Wally’s had to fight for his family, too, whether it’s asking Uncle Hal Jordan/Spectre to magically erase knowledge of his secret identity or whisking his wife and newborn twins off to the safety of an alternate reality.

Normally, I’m anti-relationship. I think relationships between fictional characters prevent them from doing their jobs and that’s why I read books, go to movies, watch TV shows: to see people do things. But, as one of DC’s legacy heroes, the Flash is all about family and heritage, so it makes sense that Wally would eventually get married and have kids. And, if you have to get married, why not get married to a doctor/journalist:

Of course, kids aren’t always such a hot idea for superheroes, either. The biggest problem I had with Superman Returns was Bryan Singer trying to push that little hybrid tight-stain on me. I’m pretty sure the worst possible phrase to say in front of a Spider-Man fan is “Spider-baby.” And, don’t even get me started on that test-tube freak Damian Wayne. But, I’m not gonna lie, I love Iris and Jai West.

Sure, they aren’t perfect. For starters, Jai’s hyper-speed-force muscles were pretty damn creepy–but, I’ve always assumed the decision to give him that power was an attempt by DC Comics to avoid any comparisons between Jai West and Dash from The Incredibles. Also, the hyper-aging sub-plot never really worked for me, other than as a way to get the twins from newborn to pre-teen without signing Wally and Linda up for their AARP cards. However, credit must be given for coming up with the concept of the West twins sharing a link to the Speed Force, explaining all the problems that they’ve experienced since returning to the main DCU. And, while I’m a little fuzzy on what actually happened in Flash: Rebirth*, how goddamn sweet was it when Iris became the new Impulse?

Now, I’m not entirely sure if this counts as a “True Geek Confession.” I have seen quite a bit of negative reaction to the West twins on the Internet (although, the Internet has been known to say bad things about oxygen…so, take that with a grain of salt), but I don’t know if that’s the dominant opinion or just the louder one. Either way, I don’t care. I love the West family.

=====================

*: Here thar be possible SPOIL-ARRS!

In Flash: Rebirth, we learn that the West twins share a connection to the Speed Force. And, since they’re basically both feeding off the same tether, each sibling only has a 50% connection, which explains why they’ve had issues with their powers and all that crazy hyper-aging. Anyway, to save both twins, one of them had to accept the full connection. As I read it, Iris gave up her half of the connection to take away her brother’s pain, but the Speed Force decided to give her the whole enchilada, instead. Now, others have read it as Iris making the conscious choice to take her brother’s half of the connection for herself. Guess we’ll find out what really happened when the mini-series (eventually) concludes.

I'm With CoCo!

BITE ME, LENO!

SUCK IT, NBC!

I’M WITH COCO!

Art courtesy of Mike Mitchell.

I May Be Delusional…But, At Least I'm Happy

This new Sherlock Holmes movie is a bad idea.* There. I’ve said it. It just looks horrible on so many levels. Holmes doesn’t jump out of windows. He doesn’t get chained to a bed naked. He doesn’t toss about double entendres.

Anyway…despite the fact that the very thought of this movie causes me to vomit forth fiery gouts of scarlet rage, the universe sees fit to bombard me with posters, trailers, and (if I’m not mistaken) some bizarre Tac0 Bell promotion. There’s really only one way to handle this. Deception.

In the interest of my own sanity, whenever I see Robert Downey, Jr. (aka Mr. Awesome) and Jude Law (aka that pansy-ass cowardly deserter from that Mountain movie)…

…I will simply replace them with two actors who could actually do Holmes and Watson justice:

Jeremy Irons:

And David Thewlis:

*: Though, to be fair, any Holmes other than Jeremy Brett’s Holmes is a bad idea.

"Hi, My Name Is Mary Sue, and I'm a Vampire."

There’s really no good way for me to ease into this, so I’m just going to come out and say it: Vampires, at least many modern interpretations of vampires, are little more than Mary Sues.

anne-rice-vampiresUntil recently, I wasn’t familiar with the concept of the Mary Sue, even though  it’s fairly common in the world of fanfiction, a corner of fandom that I have never really had any interest in visiting. Anyway, in brief, a Mary Sue is an overly idealized, hackneyed character who functions as a kind of wish-fulfillment for the author or the reader. A Mary Sue can be either male or female and, despite originating in the realm of fanfiction, several canonical characters can be considered Mary Sues (Wesley Crusher from Star Trek: The Next Generation and The X-Men‘s Kitty Pryde have both been classified as Mary Sues in the past). There’s a pretty good explanation of the Mary Sue phenomenon here.

So, where do I get off calling vampires the Mary Sues of film, TV, and literature? Well, I think the prevailing depiction of vampires in fiction leans heavily on the “overly idealized” and “wish-fulfillment”parts of the definition. When I was growing up, vampires were monsters. They were evil, bad. They hung out in castles and abandoned crypts, killing and feeding on people. Then, somewhere along the line, an author by the name of Anne Rice showed up (perhaps you’ve heard of her?), and vampires experienced a thematic shift. (Disclaimer: I’m not saying Rice was the one who created the new, Mary Sue-ish vampires–in fact, I’m pretty sure she isn’t–but, she’s probably the writer who is most associated with the Sue-pires.) No longer were they monsters to be feared, hunted, and killed in the name of humanity. No. Now, they were to be pitied. And, in most cases, fucked. This is where the Mary Sue bit comes in. These new vampires were bad boys…but, bad boys who felt soooooo tortured by what they’ve done, that all they need is the love of the right mortal woman to put them on the path to righteousness and redemption. In the real world–y’know, the place we all live; the place we keep our stuff–guys who spend their time killing people probably don’t give a shit about redemption. No, they’re more likely to beat the crap out of you or throw you down a flight of stairs.

Now, I’m not knocking the whole “bad boy” thing. I get it. Bad boys can be wicked cool. Clint Eastwood, Charles Bronson, Lee Marvin, John Wayne: they all played a variation of the bad boy. Wolverine? Jayne Cobb? Logan Echolls? Yeah…they’re all awesome. I also understand because I suffer from the male version of the Bad Boy Fixation–the Crazy Girl Dilemma. River? Parker? Kara? Faith? Yes, please. I understand the draw, the excitement of never knowing what’s going to happen next. The truth is, in real life, both the bad boy and the crazy girl would fuck your shit up as soon as look at you. However, in the world of Mary Sue-pires, the tortured, immortal bad boy is easily tamed by the mortal woman, thereby providing the reader (and, possibly, the writer) with the best of both worlds: they get their bad boy who is dark, mysterious, and brooding, but all of the danger that would come with a real bad boy has been safely removed: “He may be a vampire, but he’ll never hurt me. He feels bad about all the killing and will never do it again.”

In closing, while I may not like the current crop of emo, metrosexual vampires plaguing modern fiction (don’t even get me started on the sparkly ones), that doesn’t mean I think you shouldn’t. In fact, I insist. If you like something, by all means enjoy it…drink from the well of entertainment ’til your thirst is slaked. But, I think you should realize (and accept) that the tortured vampire bad boy is complete and total wish-fulfillment. In reality, this guy would be the abusive boyfriend, the rapist, or the wife beater.