Alan Moore is Quitting Comics

I'll be honest I was sitting on this one for a while cause I had to fully digest it. Alan Moore is my all time favorite writer of comics, I say it hands down without hesitation. I have other favorites of course, like Geoff Johns, Brian Azzarello, John Byrne, Chris Claremont, Jeph Loeb, J. Michael Straczynski, the list can go on long, but none of them in my mind hold a candle to Moore.  He can evoke so many things in his prose from the elaborate detail of 19th and early 20th Century comics and magazines like Buck Rogers, Tarzan and the Adventures of Tin Tin. He brings complex and nuanced characters to the fore that even after 30 years can still be relevant in any time period. This would include Watchmen, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, V For Vendetta, Miracleman, Swamp Thing, Batman: Killing Joke, Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?, Constantine and From Hell. When I would open League of Extraordinary Gentlemen I often felt transported back to the late 19th Century after being bombarded with the in-between pages of random ads for talcum powder or short stories and essays of the time period. He was certainly the first comic writer to actually make me feel this way while reading his work and now that time is coming to an end.

I get it, he's been doing comics a long time so I understand that he may be burned out. It seems he's focusing his energy on film and literary work. He says that he was getting too comfortable in the medium and he realizes the work suffers if he gets to the point where he's phoning it in. He's done more than his share for comics and I am the first to applaud him for it. I also know that he's had his issues with the comics industry as a whole from creative control to fair wages Alan Moore has made his stamp on these concerns for years before it was popular to do so. So as you can see after a paragraph and a half I'm building to a but. 

Jack Kirby.jpg

In his conversation with the Guardian newspaper he talks of his love of the Kirby era but that is of a 13 year old boy and now that he is older it is time to put childish things away. This is not a direct quote but it is the sentiment and it reveals the reason why I'm a little unhappy with Alan Moore. If you've been reading this site you will have undoubtedly noticed a theme. I make no excuses that I am a late 30 something lover of comic books. Unabashedly so. I hear from some that it is a medium strictly for children and young adults and that somehow I would and should age out of it. Why? Yes there are some comics that are aimed at children, but the comics that Alan Moore, Brian Azarello, Warren Ellis, Brian K. Vaughn, Neil Gaiman, Frank Miller write are not in any way shape or form for younger readers. All of the above writers bring complex stories to the fold that inspire or shape readers minds. I love the visual medium of comics as a unique and special thing. I tell people that comics, in a sense, was the first form of entertainment that humans had to enrich themselves on those dark cavern walls. Art and words combined through storytelling is one of mankind's strongest assets as it is available for all kinds of audiences young or old, male or female. It can entertain through action and adventure or through social issues and the human condition. They are so much more than pretty pictures they are a legacy, a mythology that will live long after our society is dead and buried. Just wanted to remind our dear friend Alan Moore of that, and to tell him good luck in his future endeavors. 

Politics over Feminism: Jessica Jones Season 2

I loved the first season of "Jessica Jones" and I didn't know if it was written by all women. While the fact that it was (or wasn't) is important, it is, in my view, more powerful and meaningful not to frame the season through that fact. By simply presenting the superb product of an all-women directorial team, that team can change the standards of what is considered normal business practice in an authentic way.

That's why, while on the surface a good thing, the newly announced women-centered production for the second season of "Jessica Jones" feels more like a gimmick than substantive change to me. It is imperative in comics, Hollywood, and gaming culture that women have more of a voice. Hiring more women in all fields of production is not only the right thing to do, but allows for a cultural shift to a POV richer and truer than the current, predominantly male perspective. The gimmick part for me in this is the adoption of a "tell" rather than "show" maneuver. The producers of "Jessica Jones" are putting more emphasis on this product being a political act rather than business as usual and letting the work speak for itself.

Will we see a Dr. Strange Villain on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D?

It looks like Agent's of S.H.I.E.L.D. is putting the Inhumans on the backburner for a bit and getting into the mystical arts for the fourth season of the show. So far, after three episodes we've been treated to Robbie Reyes' (Gabriel Luna) Ghost Rider who, I think everyone can agree, has restored the faith in the Spirit of Vengeance after Nicholas Cage. And now it seems they are taking it a step further and delving into Dr. Strange territory by introducing an ancient book of magic called the Darkhold. This book according to the comics is also called the Book of Sins written over a billion years ago by what they call an Elder God named Chthon. Apparently the book is so powerful it took the combined magic of Merlin and St. Brendan to contain it. The Book is supposed to channel the influence of Cthon himself. It is a conduit of black magic that gives the user very dark dimensional powers. Clearly writer Gerry Conway and artist Mike Ploog were sowing their Lovecraft oats with this character. Anyway this book has crossed over to many other Marvel characters including Red Sonja, Conan, Mordred and King Arthur, Blade the Marvel Zombies, Dr. Doom, Dracula and of course Dr. Strange, who according to the good book of Marvel, obtained the Darkhold at a certain point as part of his massive library. I feel fairly confident that we won't actually see Cumberbatch show up on the show as Strange but the book may come into his possession in the movie as a tie in from the show. 

The real question is will we see some Dr. Strange villains on the show this year? Robbie Reyes has already alluded a few times to the demon that he sold his soul to. He didn't mention a name but it has to be Mephisto who has tangled with Strange from time to time. Frankly it would be awesome to see some Mindless Ones come about beacause of misuse of the book which would tie in nicely to Dormammu. But even I can acknowledge that would be an insane tie-in given that Dormammu is Dr. Strange's big bad. But I really have enjoyed this turn to the dark mystical side and I've seen a vast improvement in the script and tone of the show since moving it to the 10 pm slot on Tuesday. So if you haven't started watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. you can catch up on the past 3 seasons Netflix and the current 4th season on ABC.  

Ninjak vs. the Valiant Universe Web Series

We are entering a new age of viral marketing and content as Valiant Comics has taken one giant step forward to challenging the status quo of DC and Marvel with it's first foray into a digital series promoting their comic book characters. I'll be honest with you I do not know as much as I feel like I should about Valiant comics. Formed in 1989 by ex-Marvel editor-in-chief Jim Shooter and lawyer businessman Steven Massarsky. Jim Shooter attempted to buy Marvel Entertainment but was unsuccessful so he turned around and created a new universe in which to play with. One that has vibrant characters like Faith (Zephyr)Toyo Harada (Harbinger)Bloodshot, X-O Manofwar, Shadowman and Ninjak. Valiant comics always seemed darker and edgier, more adult than Marvel and DC and perhaps, due to the strong influx of comic properties, and properties that skew older, that is why they are getting a somewhat late Renaissance.

Ninjak, a character created by former editor in chief of Marvel and artist Joe Quesada and writer Mark Moretti in 1994 about an British Playboy who moonlights as a Ninja who serves for Queen and country. Apparently he's been rebooted and re-issued a number of times but seems to be one of Valiant's most profitable series along with Bloodshot and Harbinger. Which incidentally, the latter is being worked on currently at Sony Pictures. Harbinger was formally at Paramount pictures as early as 2008 but was put into turnaround until April of 2015 when Sony acquired the rights to Harbinger and Bloodshot that was supposed to be this year but has been pushed back for the time being.

So it looks like Valiant is tired of waiting for Hollywood to introduce their comic characters to the masses and has developed a web series by Producer and CCO Dinesh Shamdasani with Bat in the Sun Productions to bring Ninjak to the web fighting against Valiant's stream of popular heroes. Could be interesting indeed. I thought the trailer was ok, the action looked pretty good but I'm not sure about the acting. You have some high level B actors in there including former Power Ranger Jason David Frank as Bloodshot.  I hated Power Rangers so I admit I'm a bit biased although I did enjoy watching his amped up White Ranger take on Mortal Kombat's Scorpion in Bat in Sun Productions Super Power Beat Down series. Where some of your favorite heroes and Villains duke it out and you vote for the winner. I highly recommend checking these out, they are fun and creative but strictly upscale fan service. The question is can Bat in the Sun Productions put out something of strong quality to get fans excited about Valiant's upcoming film slate? It's too early to tell but I think they are off to a strong start.  I'm looking forward to checking out the web series and picking up a few Valiant books to see what I've been missing all of these years. 

Are Super Hero Movies/TV DOA?

This is a question that has come up frequently over the last few years as the Super Hero genre has grown considerably from one or two a year, if you were lucky, to an amazing six this year. Complaints about the strength and fortitude of this genre has been scrutinized as a passing fad like the Western or too dumb and silly for the norms because they wear costumes and do magic. From big time respected Hollywood directors like Steven Spielberg to the show runner of Gotham, Bruno Heller on Fox. This criticism has not abated. My question is why all the hate? Like most things I think that the peak of Super Hero movies might have met it's zenith this year but it doesn't mean that studios are going to slow down or stop altogether any time soon. Why should they even at their worst the mainstream blockbusters have always found a way to make comfortably over 100 million dollars at the least and at most over a billion dollars or more world wide. Would you stop making these types of movies with that kind of money? 

I get it, there are some people who love superheroes and others who do not but what I want to focus on, the question people keep asking, are Comic Book movies ruining the industry? The answer to this question is simple, no. In fact it has streamlined the movie industry in a way that it will never be the same again whether you love these movies or not. Studios from Sony, Warner Brothers, Paramount, Disney, Universal and even some of the mid-majors like Lionsgate are all interested in franchises with their own universe so they can create more movies, video games, tv shows and the list goes on and on. They started this process with mostly just comic book properties, Marvel/Disney doing it the best and now every studio is trying to do this at some level or another and now it's not just comic book characters it's with everything. So in a sense the comic book industry has left a permanent mark on film whether you love them or not. You are always going to have bad movies whether it be an unnecessary sequel, a shitty remake, a terrible book/comic/game adaptation. Personally I would love it if all the studios got back to the art of making movies for profit rather than only looking at profit for movies. There is a distinction. 

Also just a note in closing to Bruno Heller, it's your right to call Super Heroes silly and stupid but you look like a horses ass when you say these things while working on a Super Hero show. Gotham, the show you created, is dumb and silly and doesn't feel remotely realistic and I stopped watching it mostly because you are teasing Batman on a Batman show without actually showing Batman and that just doesn't work for me. No matter how many of his villains origins you want to show. The reason comic book movies and TV work is they are faithful in spirit to their original design. It doesn't have to be paint by numbers but it has to make sense. It's that simple. 

Casting Call: The Boys

It looks like Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and Neal Moritz are set to tackle the comic adaptation of the Boys for Cinemax sometime over the next few years. I assume they are deep into the scripting stage of the show which gives us a chance to break down our top choices for the 5 leads a villain and a supporting cast member for good measure. I guess they are feeling confident after team Rogen successfully adapted the first season of Preacher for AMC. 

The Boys was written by Garth Ennis (Preacher) and drawn by Darick Robertson (Space Beaver) it ran for 72 issues between 2008 - 2012 it started at Wildstorm and switched over to Dynamite comics. The Boys is a very adult, subversive satire of the Super Hero genre. It follows the tough Brit Butcher and his team of nobodies to take down the well protected Super Hero class that is beholden to a corporate system that markets and cashes in on their fame while cleaning up their very deadly mistakes. No Superhero that you have read or heard of between Marvel and DC are spared in this series. They don't have the same names but you know exactly who Ennis is parodying.  He is not a fan of the capes and this series is proof of that. It's fun it's dark and it's not at all ready for prime time which makes perfect sense that it will now be on Cinemax.

BUTCHER is the leader of the team, he's tough, he's ruthless and he really hates super heroes. Whoever Rogen and Goldberg chooses has a very difficult job ahead he needs to have a strong presence but he also shouldn't overshadow the other team members too much. So for starters this guy needs to be British or at least can pull off street level Cockney otherwise this doesn't work at all. A Tom Hardy or an Idris Elba would kill this role in a movie but you aren't going to get them for Cinemax so we have to dig a little bit deeper. Ray Stevenson would also crush this role as he brought strong turns to his roles in Rome as Titus Pullo and he's played a Garth Ennis favorite already, the Punisher in Punisher: War Zone, but he may be a bit old to play Butcher now. Now I'm going to start with one that may get some push back but you need to really think about this choice first. Nickolaj Coster-Waldau, Jamie Lannister from Game of ThronesYes I know he is already on a show he is a blonde pretty boy, but darken his hair and allow him to grit it out he could be a very good and formidable Butcher. He certainly has the chops and he can easily play a character that does deeply terrible things and still have the audience eating out of his hand which a good Butcher would need. Although a better choice may be another Game of Thrones alum Rory McCann who played the Hound. This guy certainly has the look and the physical build right out of the gate to be Butcher and he is equally as good as a character who does terrible things but the audience loves him anyway. I think in the end he may be the best choice. 

WEE HUGHIE is the  soul of the Boys and he's Simon Pegg, I mean seriously that's who he was modeled after and who he kind of acts like so it would be important for team Rogen to get him on board as the character. Hughie is innocent and joins the Boys after a tragedy when a Flash like Superhero kills his girlfriend, literally traumatizing him. 

I can't fathom it would be that hard for Pegg unless his schedule doesn't work out. If that is the case there are a few others that might be able to play the character behind him. Hughie isn't a fighter so he shouldn't be imposing and he's also the comic relief. Which in my mind leaves someone interesting Daniel Radcliffe. Yes Harry Potter, the guy can actually act and he is surprisingly funny and I think he could bring something interesting to the role. I still think that Simon Pegg will ultimately do it but if he doesn't Radcliffe would work in a pinch.

THE FRENCHMAN is certifiable, he is the Murdock to this A-Team. He also may not actually be French but he is extremely violent and unpredictable. This one is going to be difficult, this is the time for a breakout star probably someone unknown.

Vincent Cassel could do this role in his sleep but he may be a bit old for it although he looked very spry for the recent Jason Bourne film. He's 49 which is skirting it just a bit I think I'm going to go with Jean Dujardin he was the star of the silent film the Artist and brought something truly interesting to the screen. He seems to be able to bring a wide spectrum to the table not to mention this guy was a stand up comic in Paris so he knows how to be funny and I think he could bring something fresh to the role. It may be tough getting him out of Paris but it's worth a shot.

MOTHER'S MILK is one of the first members of the Boys and friend of Butcher's. He's tough but he's got a good heart, a pure soul, hence the name. He is raising his daughter on his own away from an unfit mother. Initially he has reservations about re-joining the Boys but eventually comes back in. He is a pretty big guy very imposing, meticulous, but has a dry sense of humor.

There are a couple people that could pull off this character maybe Boris Kodjoe, he's not a bad actor he could pull off the look but is he imposing enough? I always think of Mother's Milk as a gentle giant. There is also Common who could be interesting or even Mike Colter who is killing it as Luke Cage right now. No, I think someone who can be apart of the absurdity that is the Boys while keeping his smarts and looking damn imposing is Terry Crews. He's one of the best parts of Brooklyn 99  and the Expendables series he can play silly he can play serious and he is almost always a lot of fun. I think he could bring a lot to the role.


THE FEMALE is an interesting one, she is mute but obviously she can be expressive in other ways. She is also incredibly violent and extremely gifted fighter. She has a lot of emotional issues as her violence is triggered by touch due to a past trauma. The only one she seems to have a connection with is the Frenchman and with Butcher's dog Terror. 

Rinko Kikuchi has played her part in a few fanboy-centric films like Pacific Rim and 47 Ronin.  Bingbing Fan has a unique look and could probably take the role somewhere she also has shown up in a few comic book movies as Blink in X-Men Days of Future Past and she showed up as a doctor in the Chinese version of Iron Man 3. Honestly though the best choice here who can be expressive, playful, dangerous and clearly posesses the fighting ability is Rila Fukushima. She played kick ass warrior Yukio in the Wolverine. She originated the role of Tatsu/Katana on Arrow which she nailed, and frankly it's a shame she didn't get more airtime. She's got the perfect screen presence for the Female and she would be damn good on this bloody violent TV show on Cinemax.

There are a few of the supers we can take a look at that make sense as a protagonist but I'm going solely with HOMELANDER. This guy is the leader of the 7, a group of Super Heroes with a pristine public record but deeply troubled real life. Homelander is a real dick he is a cross between Superman and Captain America and publicly he is seen as morally righteous. Behind the scenes however he's a rapist scumbag who thinks he's untouchable. 

So whoever plays this guy has to look like your typical superhero, square jaw nice face, built like a tank. He also has to be able to play a calm but terrifying tyrant, almost as an alter ego. An interesting choice could be Brandon Routh. He is clearly no stranger to superheroes as he's played Superman on the big screen and Ray Palmer's the Atom on Arrow. He's clearly got the physicality and the ability to play to the appearance of a white hat super hero. What makes him interesting is his psycho turn in Chuck and Scott Pilgrim vs the World. Honestly the more I type the more I like this choice as he can truly represent the ascetic that Garth Ennis is going for with the character. 

I thought I would end it with another Superhero, but one who has a different view from Homlander, ANNIE JANUARY AKA STARLIGHT. She's innocent and very naive she's been under the impression that the heroes of the 7 along with all of the prime superheroes are righteous and moral and share her conservative religious values. She learns rather quickly that none of that is the case. Annie can fly and project a blinding light. Her character may be the toughest to cast yet as she probably has the most growth of any of the characters in the books. She starts out as a wide-eyed young woman looking to do good and as her morals are constantly challenged, as she is exposed to overt misogyny and sexism she becomes a very strong capable character, albeit a bit more cynical. She also has an on again off again relationship with Hughie.

Now finding the right actress will be difficult, .but I assume it'll be only 10 or 13 episodes a season so it should be doable for some of Hollywood's top actors and actresses.  Keeping that in mind I have a couple of women that might fit the bill nicely. Emmy Rossum can play both sweet and innocent and balls out tough given her role on Showtimes Shameless. There is also Alexandra Daddario who has played a super heroine in the Percy Jackson movies and has also worked on the seedy darker side in the first season of True Detective on HBO. In the end I want someone who could be an every woman but has the ability to grow into her superhero role and eventually embrace her darker urges. Ultimately as the story goes she evolves through this and comes out clean on the other side, I'm thinking of Emily VanCamp. She has played hero on the big screen as Sharon Carter in the Captain America movies and she played up her dark manipulative and rather destructive side on the show Revenge for four seasons. It also helps that she actually looks the closest to Annie of any actress on my list. 

So these are my picks, if you are reading Seth Rogen, I hope that helps you pick the best cast available. I have to admit I don't envy you this is going to be a much harder production to pull off than Preacher and it is far sillier, raunchier and downright disturbing and that is if you do it right. 




Bat Family sketches by Alex Yi


My boy Alex Yi has been hard at work sketching and drawing new pieces. I wanted to show a few here and they are also on his Art Gallery page if you want to check them out there. He has a combination of pencil sketches and rubber mat sketches done only with a sharpie. Unfortunately they don't scan well so there is a bit of a glare on the photo but it doesn't take away from the awesome. Please enjoy and if you are interested in buying any of these drop Alex a line on Instagram @alexyiart.

Suicide Squad Wasn't Quite as Bad as Critics Said

Sketch by Alex Yi

I Just got out of Suicide Squad and I came away liking much more than the critics said I would. Is the film perfect, absolutely not. I will agree that the Enchantress (Cara Delevingne), while interesting, was not the best choice for this band of rogues to go to war with. Her powers are weird and very hard to define and they didn't have enough time to establish her or her relationship with hero Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman). That being said the Dirty Dozen meets the DCU is a fair comparison of what we saw on screen and the character moments are strong with certain members of the team. Diablo (Jay Hernandez), doesn't get as much time as Harley, Flag and Deadshot but what he does have is a solid arc and one of the most tragic backstory of this ragtag group of anti-heroes. Deadshot (Will Smith) probably gets the most airtime and they allow his humanity and humor to shine through the bad that he's done, and even though it was a bit forced at first, showed the compatibility with Rick Flag at the end of the movie. This is honestly a return to form for Will Smith and it cannot be ignored. Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie)  was electric as expected and truly captured the gonzo insanity of the Joker's girlfriend. Jared Leto was good but I admit I didn't care about his character that much, he did his job in the movie and played the role admirably, maybe in future installments he'll show me something truly interesting but for now he was just serviceable. It was nice seeing Batman show up at times and Affleck continued to show why he belongs in the cowl. But the real standout here is Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), you don't get any colder or calculated than this woman and she nailed it. This was the Waller from the comics who could completely be the villain or the hero of this tale as she weaves the line throughout. Suicide Squad doesn't work without her and it makes it clear to you why. You also get some nice surprises from Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) and Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) who brought some of the humor and a little heart in unexpected places.

Overall I think the critics were right to trash the story a bit but they just can't ignore how great many of these characters are and how they are depicted on screen. Yes it plays like an episode directly ripped from a comic book, but that is kinda the point I think.  Ayer deserves a lot of credit and it shows how much better a filmmaker he is compared to Zach Snyder and the contrast between this and Batman v Superman couldn't be any more stark. What do you think?

Sketch by Alex Yi

Sketch by Alex Yi

The Legacy of Captain America

The above sketch is drawn by our illustrious artist extraordinaire Alex Yi, were about to put up a whole bunch more of his work as he has diligently been slamming out these new prints every week.

Captain America, the First Avenger, he's meant so many things to so many people over the past 75 years and this year seems the most precarious since he's finally made it to the  A-list at the movies due to Captain America: Civil War and apparently to a Hydra sleeper agent in the comic books.  I'll keep this short and sweet Steve Rogers is and will always be the moral leadership of the MCU it's not what makes him boring or predictable it's what makes him inspirational. It is why someone made a bronze statue of him which is going to remain until the end of time in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY. This current story line has made some people mad, I get it, I didn't really appreciate it either but if you've read Captain America since his inception in 1941 he's been through a lot worse and is still kicking around. This new plot line, by Nick Spencer, is I think meant to show the inverse of patriotism, for love of country. The dangers of Nationalism and blind loyalty to a symbol that was once the ultimate in trust. Thus in turn pushing the reader to understand truly what Captain America has been fighting for all of these years and why his trust actually matters. I strongly believe that Steve Rogers' morality will be restored eventually and when that happens perhaps he will have inspired another generation of Americans to always ask questions about your leaders and remind them their trust must be earned and never given. Happy Birthday, Cap! Hoping for 75 more!



Star Wars: Rebels and Disney Finally Dip into Alt-Canon

For the first time since Disney bought LucasFilm and subsequently eradicated the expanded Star Wars Universe we might finally be seeing the slow thaw on that initial action. Many fans of Star Wars have been deeply disappointed that Disney made a decision to declare that over 20 years worth of Star Wars stories, that were originally canon, are now no better than fan-fiction. Clearly if you've seen Force Awakens it is extremely clear that they veered pretty far from what early Star Wars writers Timothy Zahn, Kevin J. Anderson, Michael Stackpole, Kathy Tyers and many others who basically held the Star Wars fandom together between Return of the Jedi in 1983 and the prequels starting in 1999. If you've read Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire trilogy then you know what I'm talking about. The books were fantastic, better than any novelization about Star Wars up to that point in 1991. It spawned a whole new era in Star Wars stories when we thought we would never get a sequel to Return of the Jedi. So yeah it kind of stings to see great characters like Talon Karrde, Mara Jade, Corran Horn and Grand Admiral Thrawn get thrown to the wayside.

Now if you've seen the newest trailer for Season 3 of Star Wars: Rebels you might have noticed a blue faced scary operator tasked as the big bad for the season to hunt and destroy Ezra, Kanan and the rest of the rag-tag Rebels crew. That's right none other than the main man himself Grand Admiral Thrawn. Maybe this means he might make an appearance in the new films, which would be a great choice as he is not a typical Empirical villain. This guy is smart, calm and calculated and he can wait you out till you make a mistake. If done right he will be quite the formidable foe for the crew and I can't wait to see how this unfolds. I'm hoping that they don't just stop with Thrawn and we maybe get to see some of the other really popular canon- non-canon characters in the future. Mara Jade your solo shot awaits you!

Season 3 aires on Disney XD this fall.

Celebrating 50 Years of Star Trek

I've been thinking about what I could do to honor 50 years of Trek and I'm sure I'll be posting something again soon, especially before the new Trek sequel comes out but for now revel in this awesome print by artist Dusty Abell that spans the 3 seasons of the original series from 1965-1969. From the ditched pilot the Cage with Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Pike all the way to Turnabout Intruder. It's a pretty amazing piece to see something from every single episode. Hell if I look hard enough I may even see some of the animated series in here. It's a smorgasbord of Trek lore so take it in and enjoy.

Right now I'm reading the current line of Star Trek comics that follows the new movie crew and it has been pretty stellar published by IDW comics and currently written by the very talented Mike Johnson and drawn beautifully by Tony Shasteen. He really captures the look of the characters that honestly in many ways makes the movies better than they should be. They have the un-enviable task of filling in the crap holes built into the last two films and personally without their skilled work I'm not even sure I would be that interested in what happens on screen if not for their fantastic world building. Especially the most recent issues Legacy of Spock, if you are a fan you'll find it hard to keep a dry eye.  It is a fantastic tribute to late Leonard Nimoy. 

Super Hero Death: Does it Support the Story or Betray the Character?

As the summer creeps up we're captivated by this year's TV show finales, keeping us wanting more in the fall. As an avid watcher of superhero shows, I've noticed there is a lot of death this year, maybe more than in previous seasons. Or maybe this year I'm beginning to notice how many super shows there are at any given time. Including the Netflix shows, I'm watching about eight at this point; by the end of the year I swear it'll be in double digits. This provides an opportunity to draw comparisons within the burgeoning genre. The question I'm wondering about, specifically, is: do these deaths further the story? Do these deaths build up the protagonist or others around them? Two shows that aired recently stick most in my mind: The Flash and Agent's of S.H.I.E.L.D. Be aware below there be spoilers here!!!

The Flash has been a bit of a lackluster season compared to last year. The writers have clearly run into some walls this season. The big bad this year is Jay Garrick as Zoom, another speedster, who turns out to be, once again, an ally in sheep's clothing. The beats are very similar to last season and Barry even lost his speed again this time around--slightly different circumstances, but the question has to be asked, is this going to happen every season? I'm hoping going forward that they evolve the villains and some of these plots a little bit better. Which brings me to the big shocker: this past week on The Flash when Zoom kills Barry's dad in the same house where Reverse Flash murdered Barry's mother. This didn't surprise me because ever since they freed Barry's dad from prison the writers on the show seemed to struggle mightily in figuring out what to do with Dr. Allen. When he first got out, rather than stick around after missing his kid's entire childhood, he effectively says "I gotta get out of town" and proceeds to disappear for the remainder of the season until the last few episodes. It's so obvious when Zoom kills Barry's dad, I could honestly feel the collected relief from the writers because they clearly had no idea what to do with him. They aren't completely wrong, I mean, how many dad-like figures can Barry have alive on this show? Between Earth 2 Wells and adoptive father Joe West, it's getting a bit crowded and as great as it was to have original Flash John Wesley Shipp as Henry Allen on the show, he really didn't make sense there so they decided to make him the sacrificial lamb to amp Barry up even more against Zoom. This is where I think they made their mistake. Zoom has already sufficiently teed Barry up to defeat him. They didn't need to fall into Gwen Stacy territory to further Barry's story. Also because they telegraphed the whole thing it felt even more forced and overly plotty. The show will certainly recover from this but I hope this doesn't become a trend on the show. Arrow does this kind of thing all of the time and it gets old. It took them four years to finally do away with Laurel Lance (Black Canary) who was constantly being used for shitty plot devices, plus the actress really didn't bring much to what I believe was a solid character. Death is always a part of superhero stories--some are more memorable than others--but when they are used to maximum effect it's usually an out-of-nowhere surprise in a way to raise the stakes for the story and to provide a stronger arc for the main protagonist. I fear that Henry Allen's does neither.

Moving over to Agent's of S.H.I.E.L.D. and their season finale, they too provide plenty of death and destruction. For the past two weeks they pushed the advertisement that one of these S.H.I.E.L.D. agents is going to buy the farm and it will apparently shock us all. They don't say that per se, but it is implied. So who is it going to be, original team members like Coulson, Daisy, Fitz, Simmons, May? Will alien-host Ward be the one to finally get dead? My wife called Lincoln, Daisy's electrified Inhuman boyfriend, to take the fall. How did she guess this? Well, Lincoln was an okay character but he was the weak link on the show and I'm sure the writers knew that. Like Henry Allen, a lot of his plot lines felt forced and he was constantly being torn away from the group to do his own thing cause he doesn't quite work with the S.H.I.E.L.D. crew. I will say though that even though this death was extremely predictable they gave him a pretty great death, as well as a quiet moment with Ward as they basically waited to die. It was a good scene, well written and thoughtful and allowed Lincoln to make his sacrifice matter and it clearly has influenced where we go into the next season. 

I think both of these were a wash. I still enjoy both shows and will continue to watch them in the future but I hope the writers of both shows build some awareness of this problem and work to make these shows as continually awesome as I know they should be. 


The Last Son of Krypton Illustration

I had to post about this once I saw it, a recreation of the final teachings of Jor-El to his son Kal-El just before he reveals himself to the world as Superman. It almost feels like a screen shot from the first movie with Christopher Reeves from 1978. This image completely captures the heart of Superman and what drives him to be the most selfless, honest and forthright superhero on the planet. Drawn by illustrator JC Richard, click on his name and you can buy a print for yourself. Which is mighty tempting. 

What's Next for the Punisher on Netflix?

I'm one episode away from finishing Season 2 of Daredevil and so far it's been outstanding. Yes, some of the same tropes about what makes a hero and should the hero kill are present here but they are told extraordinary well through the eyes of these characters. Most importantly this is by the far the most fleshed out and human Punisher we have ever seen on screen. He is not just a one-man, one dimensional killing machine. He feels a wide range of emotion throughout the series; anger, pain, fear and a whole lot of regret. If you look back at the previous 3 Punisher films, I think the Thomas Jane version comes close to capturing all the nuance of Frank Castle but together they are all merely cardboard cutouts compared to Jon Bernthal's take. He brings a very scary, intense and real counterpoint to Daredevil's no kill policy. It is so good when eventually Daredevil begins to question his own morality because of what he sees and what the Punisher inspires the Punisher won't allow him to be like him he respects his conviction and in a way despite the murderous qualities of Frank Castle clearly shows his nobility. I can't wait to see where they take this Frank Castle and I had some thoughts about what his show might look like. Spoilers Below for Daredevil Season 2 Be warned.....

Now since I haven't seen the last episode of Season 2 I'm not entirely sure where they leave Frank but after witnessing the excellent and brutal fight sequences in prison with Wilson Fisk and a whole slew of bad ass inmates I think it would be awesome for Frank to take on that plot that Warner Bros. was floating around for a while for Oliver Queen, a Super Max prison with the worst of the worst against Frank Castle with just his wits and whatever weapon he can find laying around. Perhaps Frank is there looking for a high value target that is operating from jail much like the Kingpin in this season of Daredevil. You can bring on some allies for him like Microchip and Detective Soap to round out the cast.  It would be brutal and intense and if they stay true to the Punisher they created here very interesting and entertaining. So let's get 'er done Marvel. Punisher season 1 2018!

I can definitely see this happening and it would be hilarious and perfect!

How to make Supergirl Better

I've been watching Supergirl this season with a pretty mixed impression the whole thing. As a Superhero story it's not bad and I really like Melissa Benoist's version of Supergirl but the thing that bugs me the most about the show is that no matter what they do she can't seem to get out of the shadow of her cousin, Superman. Kara Zor-el also Kara Danvers is determined to live up to her more famous relative and the show constantly fails her because the creators of the show have boxed themselves into a very narrow corner. In their wisdom Superman's shadow looms large over the show but he's never on it and it's really becoming a problem. Not to mention the fact that Kara is fighting a whole bunch of angry Kryptonians one of them was her Aunt and Superman is no where to be found. Why wouldn't he be there to help her, because the writers don't want him there because they are afraid he'll overshadow her and he might but we'll never know. Also as a fan of the comic I am very aware of the long history of Superman and again the writers have decided to just co-op his stories onto hers. Like Bizarro and the Black Mercy from one of the best Superman stories ever written by Alan Moore and drawn by Dave Gibbons called For the Man Who Has Everything.  Also other than Martian Manhunter her Scooby gang is pretty lame, Toy Man's good hearted hacker son Wynn, Jimmy Olson who is played well by Mechad Brooks but he everything about him is plot service, he isn't able to be his own man here. Either the show is trying to force him to be a love interest for Kara when I don't see much chemistry between them or he's spouting wisdom at her like a fortune cookie at key moments. Otherwise poor Mechad doesn't have much to work with. Maxwell Lord is such a poor man's Lex Luthor it's becoming criminal on the show. Also Cat Grant played by Calista Flockhart just sucks, she's vapid and annoying and I hate that the show tries so hard to make her deep or something. She's gotta go which is why I think they need to do something drastic. Something unexpected, take Kara even further out of her comfort zone and maroon her in the 31st Century, with a new Scooby gang that's right comic fans, The Legion of Superheroes.

So this would breathe new life into the show and really raise the stakes. Also it solves the Superman problem. He isn't there he can't be this is the future and he's already long gone. The creators can have some fun with the new setting and slowly bringing the Legion of Superheroes together: Brainiac 5, Lightening Lad, Phantom Girl, etc etc. The list goes on, it could cost a bit more but it would be completely different and she could end up having her own original storylines and they wouldn't feel obligated to ape Superman's all of the time. Not to mention you have plenty of Legion of Superhero comics to pour through for ideas. This is what needs to happen to keep the show fresh and interesting. But in the meantime they need to ditch the rogue Kryptonians, bring on some other heroes into the mix and get her a better support team, stat!

Supergirl aires on CBS on Monday's at 8PM



Deadpool's Seven Year Itch

Just wanted to showcase the extraordinary talents of Alex Yi with this fantastic panel of Deadpool feeling his inner Marilyn in a scene from The Seven Year Itch (1955). I added a few word balloons and viola.  You can check out the rest of Alex Yi's  artwork right here on his artist page just click on his name above. 

Has Diversity in Comics Improved?

Over the past two years the national conversation in the U.S. about diversity and social justice has been taking place at home, the workplace, politics and entertainment, and even influencing the Comic Book industry. We as a nation are confronting those social norms head on after recent events that have challenged the status quo and forced these raw feelings to the surface to ask the hard truths of everyone living in our society today.  

That conversation is also being held in public regarding our heroes in capes and cowls. My question, is mainstream comics, like Marvel and DC,  attempting to honestly address the issue of diversity? Or is the industry just reacting to this issue from fans while only paying lip service and therefore creating a new more complex problem? It's no secret that for a long time comic books have been very slow to bring these issues to the forefront.

You have had characters like Luke Cage,  Black Panther, The Falcon, Cyborg, Wonder Woman and Black Widow for quite a long time now and they are unique with their own titles. The problem is many of them have struggled to make it to what one would say A list characters.  Why? I think Luke Cage, Falcon and Black Panther have been getting the Renaissance they deserve lately due in part to Netflix and the Marvel films and because they are also great characters and I think people want to see more of them. Luke Cage, a black man from Harlem, who was falsely accused of a crime and sent to prison, was experimented on and developed unbreakable skin. If there is anyone in comic books at the moment that embodies the Black Lives Matter movement it is Luke Cage. This is exactly where comic books succeed in telling a narrative that reflects the time and allows readers to find empathy in the struggles of others who they may not initially identify with. Over at DC Wonder Woman is also attempting to shed her sexist past by trying to find a balance between her iconic yet ridiculous  bathing suit armor to a more 21st Century battle design. It's still a work in progress but Wonder Woman is finally getting her own movie and is standing strong next to Superman and Batman in the upcoming Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice next month.   

Now I'm mostly focusing on Marvel comics because they have been a bit more controversial in their current slate after the past few Earth shaking events like Fear Itself, Avengers vs. X-Men and now the new Secret Wars that have rocked the Marvel U. Marvel is appearing to approach diversity as a rallying cry, as a way to address past sins. On a few occasions in the past I believe they have been successful, Iron Man and War Machine, Miles Morales and Peter Parker but I'm going to use a newer example,  Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel. Originally Captain Mar-vell an alien from the Kree empire became a champion for Earth and accidentally gave some of his powers to an Air Force pilot named Carol Danvers. Carol became Ms. Marvel in 1977, which sparked a bit of a revolution as one of Carol's primary storylines was equal pay for women, which I guess puts Ms. Marvel on the map for her Feminist history.  Recently Marvel made the wise decision to make Carol Captain Marvel and this has allowed her character to grow to a solid A list character. Where she is now pitted against Tony Stark in the upcoming Civil War 2 event. Marvel then made another important change by creating a new character, with new powers, a Pakistani American teen named Kamala Khan to be the new Ms. Marvel. This is an important point of growth for Marvel as Carol will never need to be Ms. Marvel again which allows Kamala to own the character and create a new path of her own. 

Which brings me to the mis-steps in Marvel's strategy. Let's start with Sam Wilson, aka the Falcon, created in 1969 by Stan Lee and Gene Colan has been a vital member of the Avengers and a rock of loyalty for his best friend Steve Rogers, Captain America. Recently due to certain events Captain America is now aging normally which puts him in his 90s and he's forced to hang up the shield. Falcon is now given a new identity as Captain America with the addition of his flying wings. Normally this shouldn't be too much of a problem, in fact it could be similar to what happened with Carol the only problem is Captain America is a much bigger deal than Mar-vel. Which is why, earlier this year it was announced that the original Star Spangled man Steve Rogers will be returning to the mantle later this year and Falcon will remain as Captain America. Two Captain America's will now exist. So how exactly is Sam Wilson expected to hold up with the original Captain America now that they are both fighting crime with the same name at the same time? What was wrong with the Falcon and why couldn't he have remained the Falcon maybe just with Cap's Shield? Sam Wilson, like Luke Cage, has a very relevant history that takes him down various paths. After his parents are murdered at different stages of his life he becomes bitter and angry. His character has been on both sides of the law and through his hardship and adversity he learns to fight from Captain America and Black Panther and finds an expert skill in training birds. He was a member of the Defenders and later a member of the Avengers. It seems unfair to have boxed him in this corner just so Marvel could keep a brand name going until they could figure out what to do with the original character. 

Another character whom I feel has also taken an unnecessary path is Thor. Recently Thor has found himself unworthy of his hammer, Mjolnir, yet again. Meanwhile a mysterious woman picks it up and is now calling herself Thor. We discover later that this mystery woman is Jane Foster former lover of original Thor. Now original Thor has not as of yet made himself worthy of his hammer again but, like Captain America before him I'm sure it's coming soon. Does he just take the hammer back then? What happens to Jane? Thor is not a brand name, he's not the Green Lantern Corps. His name is Thor so why couldn't Jane Foster pick up the hammer and have a new super hero name?  Other heroes in the Marvel Universe have held the hammer at one time or another but they didn't think to call themselves Thor. This is not something I think that helps Jane Foster who like many others is co-opted to a signature character because the parent company doesn't want to have a break in circulation for the title but they want to show that they are diverse in making such a decision. So they do something like this rather than allow Jane Foster to make up her own super hero identity with her own name. 

In conclusion I think it wise for Marvel and DC to take a step back and examine the field. I think it's important to have characters to catch up with the times which means more African American characters, LGBT, Asian, Latino, Muslim, the list goes on. With that said it's time for a new group of Stan Lee's, Steve Ditko's and Jack Kirby's.   They should be tasked with creating a whole new batch of characters. I mean let's face it we haven't had very many since the 60s and 70s, so think outside the box. It would also help to continue to push diversity on the other side of the page. Some of these artists and writers have been in the industry already for over 20 years, people like Gail Simone, Dwayne McDuffie, Joe Quionnes, Reginald Hudlin, Frank Cho, Sara Pichelli,  Khoi Pham, Ryan Benjamin, Jim Lee and Amanda Connor and new comer Alex Yi. What I'm saying is Brian Bendis & Geoff Johns can't do it all and frankly they shouldn't. So as fans let's keep encouraging the guys at the top of the chain to create new mythologies, with new diverse creators and new adventures that project our future in order to preserve the art of comic storytelling for generations to come. 

Deadpool likes Grave Soldiers

Hello everyone, gonna do a little shameless plugging here but I had the photo and the opportunity so I thought why not.  I did see Deadpool today and I will be doing a separate post on that later but for now I will leave you with this photo and an urging to go to Amazon, download this incredible graphic novel Grave Soldiers on your Kindle and enjoy every wonderful moment of it. Deadpool would probably approve, at least this guy up top would. So if you do buy a book drop us a line let us know what you thought especially if it is a supreme happy thought. 

Deadpool (not really could be)


Netflix's Marvel Universe: Road to the Defenders

Some really exciting news has been surfacing as of late about the budding world of Marvel's street level super heroes on Netflix. First it looks like they can't seem to move fast enough to get another season of Jessica Jones back for next year. Luke Cage is shaping up to be interesting with a solid return from Claire Temple/Night Nurse (Rosario Dawson) who is officially the Coulson of the Netflix Marvel U since she keeps showing up on every new show.  Also it looks like Luke Cage will be pulling some old school heroes and villains from the 70's with a retro makeover. Hero Misty Knight is showing up as hopefully part of Hero for Hire which was the agency Luke and Danny Rand (Iron Fist) set up to right wrongs..for a price in the comics. It would be awesome to see it in full force in his show. I don't see Danny Rand on the cast list on IMDB but we know for sure he's going to have his own tv show or at least a Netflix movie in the next year or so. Mike Colter who plays Luke Cage is telling the comic sites that Danny Rand has already been cast but they just haven't revealed it yet. They seem to be having a little trouble getting Iron Fist off the ground perhaps they are having difficulty balancing the mystical aspect of his powers and mission versus the street level heroes they have created already in Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. Still,  can't wait to see who Marvel has picked to throw fire punches.  Daredevil is also coming back in March for it's 2nd season this time featuring Elektra and the Punisher. Apparently Marvel was so thrilled with Jon Bernthal's take on Frank Castle that they are ordering up a solo show for him down the road.

What's most intriguing about this upcoming season is that the Punisher is playing more of an antagonist to Charlie Cox's Daredevil. Which is really exciting. Not to mention we are going to get a good look at Daredevil's on and off girlfriend Elektra this season and possibly a glimpse of the baddest of Daredevil baddies, Bullseye. All roads are leading toward the Defenders, which is why I wrote this article in the first place. So the question is what is the Defenders and what shape will it take on Netflix. In the comics the Defenders were created in 1971 and they were kind of like the spiritual version of the Avengers. They consisted of Dr. Strange, the Hulk, Silver Surfer and Namor. They primarily fought supernatural and magical foes but they did rotate the roster throughout it's run with heroes like Luke Cage, Valkyrie, Night Hawk, Iron Fist and Beast from the X-Men. I'm going to take a wild leap and say that these new Defenders probably won't be fighting too many people with magical powers which means the Mandarin, Fing Fang Foom and Dormmamu are certainly out. Doctor Strange is clearly out since he is hitting the big screen Nov. 4 this year. This looks to be really only taking the Defenders name and making them a street level Avengers team. This team is pretty clearly Luke Cage, Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Iron Fist and there are rumors that the Punisher and or Blade may be one too. Not sure what I think about this as Punisher is truly a loner and does not work well with others but it could be interesting as long as he isn't just shoe horned in. Blade however could be very cool especially if they somehow find a way to connect it to the Wesley Snipes films. The rumor is that Snipes is looking to reprise the role as an older worn out Blade and his daughter is taking up the mantle. It's an exciting time to be a comics fan with the Marvel Universe expanding further into more connected projects. The next big question, will anyone from these series transfer to what's going on in Avengers: Infinity War in 2018?  

Netflix - Road to the Defenders

Daredevil Season 2: 3/18/16

Luke Cage Season 1: 11/16 ???

Jessica Jones Season 2: 2017 ??

Iron Fist Season 1: 2017 ??

Punisher Season 1 2017 ???

Blade Season 1 2018 ???? (This one is still very much a rumor but it's an intriguing one.)

Defenders Season 1 No date set 


Suicide Squad Team

Hey everybody, so wanted to share with you one of Titan Vs. Titan's featured artists Alex Yi and his awesome team sketch of the Suicide Squad that hits theatres on August 5th of this year. Alex, I think really captured the diversity and in turn some of the weirdness of this team. It's gonna be awesome to watch when it comes out but until then enjoy this piece of some of the Suicide Squad: Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Killer Croc,  Captain BoomerangRick Flag and Katana