Author: Molly Jackson

Molly Jackson: The Magic of Nitpicking

Harry Potter and the Cursed

Like most geeks, I picked up my very own copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child last weekend. It was definitely cheaper than a ticket abroad to see the play live and waiting for the show to make it stateside would take way too long. I eagerly went home to read it immediately and to once again delve into the world created by J.K. Rowling.

In case you aren’t a Potter fan and are still reading, this latest addition to the Potterverse is a play based off an original short story (that as far as I know hasn’t been released to the public) by Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne. The play was actually crafted by Jack Thorne. A quick note about what I thought about the play. It was enjoyable to be back in that world, if even for a short time. Admittedly, I was a little disappointed that due to the play format we lost some of the usual detail I’ve come to expect in a Potter story.

I also thought that the path of the story was a little boring. It just seemed like an imitation of Rowling’s own work rather than imagined by her, which makes me wonder how much involvement she really had. However, I am glad that I read it and did enjoy that another story made it into the Potterverse. I would love to see it live; to see the special effects described in the story would make it worth it.

My biggest pet peeve of the play isn’t the story or the play itself. It’s that there is no listing of characters with a short description at the start of the play. If you have ever read a playscript, a listing of characters is always at the start, usually with a short description. This just jumped right into the play with no thought to the characters. If you read a play, this is how you are initially introduced to characters, versus watching a play where characters are distinguishable by actor, costume, makeup, or acting style. While I was reading, characters whose names that I did not know just popped up with no introduction or reason for being there and I was forced to go along without understanding. Granted, the main characters I know from years of reading but new characters deserve an introduction.

I went on a long, overdone rant about this oversight to my poor roommate, who happened to be within earshot. She agreed with me, partly to shut me up and partly because she studied theater in college. And I don’t think my concerns are unfounded; I’m positive some high school is already planning their own illegal production of Cursed Child with photocopies of the same edition I own. And these students will not learn about theater in the accepted way. The play format was thrown out by Scholastic, a company that, until now, I considered a standard bearer for youth education.

On the other hand, I have to wonder if I am nitpicking just a little too much. We’ve just watched the four actresses from Ghostbusters (and especially Leslie Jones) get verbally attacked for starring in a female-led version that didn’t conform to fan’s vision. Fans attacked Marvel over the Captain America hails Hydra plot rather than see how it played out. The entertainment culture has changed that if I wanted to, I could repeatedly harass Rowling, Thorne, Tiffany, the editors at Scholastic, the executives at Warner Bros., and so on.

It has become a trend to not just share your opinion on the internet but to shove it in anyone’s face/feed repeatedly until they block you or leave social media.

I see the irony in writing a nitpicky post and then complaining about nitpicky fans. The difference is that beyond this post, I won’t do much. I’ll probably just talk about it with friends, family, and random geeks that I meet and converse with. Do I think I’m right about this oversight in publication? Yes, I really do. Do I think that others will agree with me? Yes, I really do. Am I starting an Internet protest about this? Nope, it just isn’t worth it to me.

Molly Jackson Is Preparing For The Future

Wonder Woman & Elmo

This past weekend was the arguably biggest event on the geek calendar, San Diego Comic Con. It is an explosion of headlines, news clips, and video spots that most geeks salivate over. However, I was not one of them. That’s right, I spent the biggest geek weekend of the year creating Sesame Street characters out of fruit. It was awesome.

My niece, Baby Destructo (as I call her), turned three last week and wanted a Sesame Street birthday party. Elmo is kiddie crack, I swear. As she is my very favorite person to spend time with, my family and I spent the weekend trying to make it the best day of her year.

Hanging out with a three-year old is a reminder of how active an imagination can be. She was always pointing to nothing and seeing trains or butterflies coming through the house. She makes force lighting and names everyone after My Little Pony characters. We sat together and she read books to me, and even has her favorite book memorized.  My personal highlight though was when she pointed to Spock on my t-shirt and said “I like him.”

Towards the end of the weekend, when she was all passed out from playing her favorite game of me chasing her through a museum, I finally got to check out some of the highlights from SDCC. I was particularly disappointed to see some news pieces. A male con staffer decided to hijack a Women in Film Production panel to teach the panelists about the film industry. I can’t quite understand why, but he thought that he needed to help the female panelists explain their careers and run their panel for them. Then I checked out the reviews of The Killing Joke. I admit, I haven’t seen the film yet but the descriptions I have read are not promising. They took Batgirl, whose part in this comic is small in itself, and added a storyline that made her a lovesick child who only seems motivated by a man.

I was excited to see the Wonder Woman trailer; it was a surprising breath of fresh air after reading some of the others. It was a strong woman standing up and being an equal partner with a man while fighting for the equality of others. I would love to see more of strong female characters in all media, but what really hurt was seeing that a strong female character was dragged down. Mostly though, I think about the world that my tiny, imaginative, smart niece is growing up in.

Media will shape her more than any generation before her. She will grow up in a world where equality is an active topic, where in her formative years a woman is the first presidential nominee for a major American political party. But in the same breath, entertainment has dragged its feet in making changes. Every time we get a Ghostbusters or Buffy, another demeaning instance seems to rear its ugly head.

We have a responsibility to the future to make sure that our entertainment is diverse and equal. And in some ways it seems silly. After everything that has happened, this fight should be over but the current climate of this country has proven otherwise.

I want my niece to grow up in a world where she is treated equally along with everyone else. So the next time you read something that is not quite right or hear a joke that uses a minority group as the punchline, think about the future you want for the next generation.

Molly Jackson: Roaming Free

Pokemon Sleeping


This past Sunday afternoon, I was exhausted. I had been traveling for two days and had finally been reunited with my bed. Alas, I discovered that I needed to go back out to get some toilet paper from the corner store so I grabbed my phone and purse to head out. I got home over two hours later. No real emergency happened; I found a diverse group of Pokémon hunters on my way back and decided to join up with them to roam my local neighborhood.

Now if you’ve read my columns on a regular basis, you aren’t surprised that I’m playing Pokémon Go. I’m predictable that way. However, even I didn’t predict the all-ages response that Pokémon Go would receive. If you’ve read any article this week, then you’ve seen someone extolling the virtues of this game. And every article talks about the surprise social community that has sprung up overnight. Personally, I didn’t believe it until that day. But when I was walking home from the store, with my phone out in the correct hunting position, it was like I was part of this new community. All walks of life were out doing the exact same thing as me. We were sharing tips on the street and before long, I was joking and cursing with these people whose names I never really learned. Names didn’t matter; we were fellow hunters.

nyc city streetFor the record, teams do matter. #TeamValor!

And the benefits don’t stop there for me. I’ve probably spent more time outside in the past week then I have since back when I was a camp counselor. And I’ve walked a helluva lot more as well. And all of this hasn’t cost me an in-game dime so far. I’ve probably spent a little more than usual on cold beverage during long walks.

With the good comes the bad though. I agree, there are spots where this game just isn’t appropriate. Pokémon Go doesn’t belong in memorial locations, museums or cemeteries. Anyone playing the game in the 9/11 museum or the Holocaust museum needs to rethink their priorities. Not to mention the poor guy up in Massachusetts whose home because a Pokémon Gym. Locations should have an option to remove themselves from the game without any issue but people also need to remain conscientious human beings. Don’t block the sidewalk or a storefront because you need to stop for a catch. Don’t invade people’s privacy to chase a Pokémon down. And whatever you do, do not drive while playing!

The other big concern brought up is the real world implications of playing this game. With the country’s need to presume African American males are doing something wrong, holding a phone out could get another person killed. It’s a disturbing thought that a game as simple as Pokémon Go could do that but, sadly, the events of last week prove that it is possible. Other criminal activity includes a Pokémon Go lure being used to entice hunters to a spot to rob them rather than collect Pokémon. And I won’t deny that as a woman, I have an innate fear of walking too far (especially in an unknown area) by myself, especially at night. This global game provides an excellent opportunity for sexual assault in remote areas that might have a Pokéspot or gym.

All of that should make me want to shut down my account and ignore this game. But instead I’m going to focus on how much fun I had on Sunday. Yea, I was aware of all of these bad possibilities and I was always conscious of my surroundings. I never went anywhere where I would feel uncomfortable. But outside with these people, I connected not just with them, but with the entire community. Now I see my fellow hunters, all ages and genders, catching Pokémon everywhere. And yesterday, when I ended my 1.5 mile overly complicated walk from the subway, I felt really good and happy about the time I spent playing and the people I had met that day.

Will this game still be this popular in six months? Probably not. Right now it is the hot new thing, and that will change. But right now, this country’s favorite pastime is going outside and taking a walk. Who would have thought that would ever happen?

Molly Jackson: Looking Past The Big Two


It’s fully summer now, with all the heat, sunburns and humidity that the earth can muster up.  As a summer tradition, I like to hide indoors by an air conditioner and read.  It’s much better than outside, where the big orange ball scorches me.

I signed up for the Comixology Unlimited app, mostly to check it out and see how it is.  Its biggest strength and weakness is the amount of older material on there.  A lot of volume ones but lacking in more recent materials.  However, it has given me an opportunity to catch up on some titles that I was always interested in but didn’t start; either due to lack of funds or lack of stock at the library.  Luckily, this has lead me back to Valiant.

Before this app, I had only read a few issues of Valiant titles, barely testing the waters in their universe.  When Faith came out, I did jump in wholeheartedly because her story really does speak to me and is beautifully created by Jody Houser, Francis Portela and Marguerite Sauvage.  I agree with my fellow columnist Martha Thomases that it is a must read. Despite this amazing, eye-catching title, I feel like Valiant series are usually underrated or ignored.  So with this app, I finally have the chance to go back to the beginning of the new Valiant universe and start from scratch.  (As a side note, the current Valiant universe is based on the original Valiant universe created in the 1990’s.  A group of investors/Valiant fans restarted the company and the universe came back in 2012. I’m strictly talking about the newest iteration of this universe.)

Well, I’m loving my journey through Valiant.  It’s been an interesting ride, reading what I can from the various series.  This entire Valiant universe is weaved so well, it’s almost perfect in its structure.  Characters can float from book to book, including overarching villain plans and origin stories.  I can finally read Faith’s origin in Harbingers, while also getting introduced to Gilad the Eternal Warrior, Ninjak, Toyo Harada and so many others who show up throughout the universe.  For humor I’ve got Archer and Armstrong, and for a taste of true honor I’ve got X-O Manowar.

What I like best is that this is better for me than the big two.  I don’t feel the weight of the overtold stories or muddled past.  This universe is laid out and still new enough that stories don’t feel repetitive or overdone.  When I feel like I’ve missed something, it’s just because I haven’t gotten to that series yet, not because it is a reference to an older story from 5 reboots ago.  It’s a fresh, different take on superheroes, mutants (aka psiots in Valiant), aliens, and mythology.  With all of our complaining about DC and Marvel constant resets, we had another worthwhile option this whole time.

If you need another opinion than mine, the fact that Valiant received 50 Harvey award nominations this year (as in more than every other publisher) should sell you on checking out this universe.  If you haven’t read anything from Valiant, I still think the Faith mini-series is a great place to start, followed by the upcoming Faith ongoing series that starts in a couple weeks.  Just remember, Faith is a gateway to a whole new universe of superheroes.  Once you get started, I think you’ll want to continue.

Molly Jackson: Editing Strength!



I’ve beaten back the technological revolt happening in my apartment! It’s a time for celebration and joy. So two days ago, I saw the Batman Vs. Superman Ultimate Edition at a special event in theaters. On purpose. Seriously.

Batman v Superman BRI purposefully dragged my fellow ComicMix columnist Joe Corallo because I couldn’t suffer through it a second time alone. For the record, he agreed to go and then was confused as to why he agreed. Also, I purposefully did not tell Mike, our fearless editor, that we were doing this since he tried to talk us out of seeing it the first go-around. (I only wish I could see his face when he reads this.)

A little backstory, I hated it the first time. I remember stumbling out of the theater wondering how the studio executives could have let that happen. How? Why?! Still, for reasons unbeknownst to me, I wanted to see it again. Perhaps to reconcile the movie in my mind.

I feel obligated to say spoiler alert. So hey, if you keep reading, you may be spoiled on the Ultimate Edition. Just sayin’.

After the first time around, I remember thinking that script and direction were the biggest issues with the film. That hasn’t changed much but I did discover a bigger issue was editing the film. The first release cut out parts that made the film coherent. Whole explanations were removed, which contributed to a lot of the complaints. You don’t have to guess as much at the characters’ motivations or decision making. Some, but not all, plot holes are closed and the scene transitions are better for it.

About those critical scenes. There was a naked Bruce taking a shower. There were a few scenes showing Clark investigating Batman and his actions against the people of Gotham. He talked with mom and Bruce had a really nice extra few lines with Alfred (who also chops wood, because…). Those really helped flesh out small parts of the film, adding connections to disjointed scenes. Now, from what I remembered from the original release, it appeared that the most significant extra (a.k.a. deleted) scenes were female-led storylines.

I wish I was surprised, but I’m not. Why should companies focus on Lois Lane being a fearless investigator when Batman can have an extra-long fight scene with a truck? She spends a whole story arc to find the pathway to Lex’s maneuverings. We watch Lois push back against Perry White and Clark Kent in her desire to find the truth. She works with lab tech Jenet Klyburn (as played by Jena Malone in her unreleased role) to realize the metal bullet is experimental. She investigates the suicide bomber’s apartment, only to realize that he wasn’t planning on killing himself. And then she connects the pieces when she finds out from Jenet that the wheelchair was lined with lead. Look at the plot holes cleaned up with one paragraph.

The other storyline covered up was lead by Kahira Ziri, played by Wunmi Mosaku. Do you remember the woman who testified against Superman in the beginning of the film? She actually carries a storyline that humanizes Clark more while dehumizing Lex and still shows her finding her strength. She reveals to Holly Hunter’s Senator Finch that she was being threatened by Lex to denounce Superman. In the meantime, Clark tries to search her out and instead gets pointed towards the misdeeds of Batman. It added a crucial human connection to his story while showing a woman stand against corruption. All of this was cut, despite adding a compelling connection to multiple characters and storylines.

Upon seeing the Ultimate Edition, I realized that women were used to tie the story together completely but when it came down to a coherent story or a big fight scene, action won. And in a movie with two male leads, they will take center stage. Still, when your entire story movement hinges on women, maybe they should actually be included.

DC is trying with diversity, I won’t deny that. But for every male superhero, there is a traditional support system in place. For Batman, it’s Alfred. For Superman, it’s Lois Lane. But just like Alfred, Lois is a strong character independent of the hero. She has proven herself in the comics time and again, as a woman who doesn’t rely on a man to carry from place to place. Lois, as a realistic hero of the people, is a role model for girls and women everywhere. Sadly, she will never get her own solo film, so her chance to shine is in these films. Superman deserves a strong partner who can fight in her own way, not just at his side but on her own.
After seeing this, I still am not a fan of Batman v Superman. However, the extra scenes took the trainwreck of random scenes and made it a coherent, if not bad, story. With every successful superhero film, it works because the support characters are given the chance to develop and grow. Their story only serves to make the hero, and the film as a whole a triumph. Regulating the women to the DVD extras makes the story weak and the superhero star suffer because of it.

Molly Jackson’s Toast

BUrning ToasterGeriatric Boy Editor here. Molly Jackson, not here.

It’s not as if Molly didn’t prepare her column this week. Sometime between her first draft and her second, she walked away from her computer and, evidently, the computer read over her work. Even evidentlier, we gather the computer didn’t appreciate the subtleties therein. 

Whatever. Said computer read over her column and committed cuiside. 

Now, I’m dying to read it. 

Lucky Strike GreenIn Molly’s own words, “it’s toasted.” I doubt she was referencing Lucky Strike Green, the cigarette that went to war. I believe she was talking about her computer, which seems to be acting like a Cylon with an aggressive stutter.

Her computer is being fixed (no, not in the Bob Barker sense). Molly’s off at a luxurious spa known to restore writers who lost their fight with their computers. We’re left with Geriatric Boy Editor vamping, as well as a hope we return to national sanity.


Molly Jackson: The Future of Enlightenment

patterns of forceA good friend and writing partner is tired of me talking about Star Trek. She was never a Trek watcher but since it is the 50th Anniversary, she has decided to give it a try. Persistence really does pay off! Since she was finally watching Star Trek: The Original Series, I figured I would jump in too. It’s been a while since I watched any of TOS. Plus, I just finished rewatching Next Generation.

The original series was Gene Roddenberry’s true vision of a future where humans have evolved to become more enlightened, working for the betterment of humanity. So when I started to watch, I just jumped in where I had previously left off during another binge. (Thanks, Netflix, for holding my spot!) I jumped on Season 2 episode Patterns of Force.

If you haven’t seen this episode, it is when Kirk and Spock go looking for a missing Federation researcher John Gill and discover a planet full of Nazis. The planets of the system have been in a conflict, with the Zeons being hunted just as the Jews were. Kirk is forced to take action to save lives because the Prime Directive (which prohibits interference with developing cultures) was already broken by Gill restarting Nazi Germany.

It is a profound episode, showcasing the horrors of the holocaust. Even so, in 1968 when this episode aired Jews were still banned from clubs and businesses in America, still denied jobs and opportunities just because of their faith. By using this horrific event, Roddenberry was able, along with prominent Jewish actors, to remind the public that Jews were people just like them. Did it work? On a large scale, probably not. However, if it stuck with only a few people, those people could have grown to help end the cycle of hate.

This is the power of science fiction. It uses entertainment to teach us about the mistakes of the past and shows us the potential of the future. I can only wonder how Roddenberry would have reacted to our recent events. Mass shootings on the rise, with more groups targeted for religious affiliation, the color of their skin, or their sexual/gender orientation. I want to believe that he would have looked to take a stand against this ongoing cycle of hate.

It’s true that Star Trek never had a regular cast member that was considered LGBTQ at the time, but there were storylines throughout different seasons invoking those themes. I hope that the writers of the new show can continue Roddenberry’s practice of social commentary and have a LGBTQ character be a part of the show’s cast. We need to use the horrific act of violence in Orlando to change the image and social understanding of how any human, regardless of their sexual/gender orientation, should be treated.

In the episode I watched, the missing researcher tells Kirk “Even historians fail to learn from history and repeat the same mistakes.” It is a quote to think about. We, as a culture, are failing to learn from history. The attack against Pulse, an LGBTQ nightclub, sadly proves that. Unlike the TV show, we have no heroes beaming down to save the day. We need to learn to save ourselves. As a world community, we need to declare that ending the cycle of hate is our top priority. Our Prime Directive. This attack on the LGBT community isn’t the first attack but together, maybe we can make it the last.

If you are a member of the LGBTQ community, then you have my support. If you are an ally like me, then make sure you show your support. The world needs to know that this problem affects everyone, not just this small group of people. Together is the only way we can make the world a better place, and bring us one step closer to a utopian world of enlightenment.

Molly Jackson: Just an Average Fan


I was having a nice, leisurely Sunday morning when fellow ComicMix columnist Joe Corallo sent me an article about Marvel Now! In it Marvel Executive Editor Tom Brevoort talks about how their constant reboots are really there to serve the readers and to attract new readers. So basically, Joe ruined my leisurely Sunday morning. I think he did that on purpose.

Brevoort’s reasoning for all the regular reboots? The fans.

I’m convinced – utterly convinced – that virtually every comic book reader cannot afford to buy all the comics they’d like to be buying and reading. There are too many good books out there, across all publishers. The average fan just can’t afford everything.

Honestly, I don’t disagree with that. It’s true, fans can’t afford everything. That would be insanity. However, I don’t really see how that is ground-breaking news. It can’t be new information that readers can’t buy every issues of every book. What has really changed is how the books are presented to the reader. As stories became ongoing rather than in a single issue, fans looked for more excitement to keep reading. It used to be that reading the issues when they could afford them wasn’t going to work anymore. So fans, knowing they needed to save all their change to support their bi-monthly [insert random superhero here] habit, maybe didn’t go on a buying spree.

Then Brevoort said this. “You can have your great master plan where you slowly set your dominos and then in year two, you’re gonna wow everybody, but your book is gonna be dead in six issues, well before you get to that. People just don’t have the patience to wait a year and a half to get to the good stuff. You have to get to the good stuff immediately. And you have to all be good stuff. Every issue has to be giving readers what they want, or they start to move onto other stories.

Ok, I’m not quoting Brevoort anymore. I promise. But it is the average fan’s fault they can’t buy everything and the average fan’s fault they can’t tell good stories. What is the publisher actually responsible for then?

This statement really irks me because a slow burn done right won’t necessarily lose readers. Admittedly it’s hard in comics right now. I won’t deny it. But there are books that are consistent best sellers. Instead of constantly rebooting and reminding your fans you aren’t consistent, maybe work on the stories more. Look at what’s working.

At this point, I’d prefer if they did limited runs on books. Let me know the start and end date. Let me know how many issues total. If fans are so torn on what comics to buy, give them an incentive by letting them know there will be a payoff for their money. Having a guaranteed end might do that. It doesn’t need to me a short run, despite that being the trend. Let it be fifteen or twenty issues! Get the creative team together, tell them they’ve got x amount of issues, and tell the best damn story they can.

Joe did mention a good point to me in our no-longer leisurely Sunday morning conversation that maybe they should start transitioning into more direct to graphic novel stories. Which I countered with that DC already does to an extent. (I’m a big fan of the Earth 2 line.) He is right. If you want to tell a slow burn story, maybe the graphic novels are the way to go.

Comics is always changing, that fact will not go away. Publishing costs have raised single issue prices through the roof and the digital age is nipping at their heels. But both DC and Marvel seem to have this pathological need to consistently reboot, despite the fact it hasn’t helped them. Rebooting isn’t the answer. Blaming the fans isn’t the answer. Taking a hard, long look inward at your practices might just do it.

But what do I know? I’m just an average fan.


Molly Jackson: City Love

Cover Photo Strange Attractors

I’m tired of the big two. Frankly, the latest controversies have burned me out on them. I’d rather talk about the exciting news happening in indie comics, which is such an interesting and varied world unto itself. A favorite graphic novel of mine, Strange Attractors by Charles Soule, is getting new life as a limited series run (available today!) thanks to Boom! Studios. You make recognize him from his work on Daredevil, Star Wars, Death of Wolverine, or even She-Hulk, but before all of that, he was doing amazing creator-owned work.

The very basic premise of Strange Attractors is how chaos math can predict events over a period of time. Main characters Dr. Brownfield and Heller Wilson use this math to help keep New York City running. It’s a regularly used trope that New York City runs on its own clock. This story proves that true with mathematical equations and complexity maps.

StrangeAttractors_001_A_MainOriginally released as a graphic novel in 2013 by Archaia, Strange Attractors is being broken up and rereleased as a limited series event. Since there are plenty of fans like myself who read it on the first go-around, they have enticed us back with an additional story about Dr. Brownfield in his youth, titled Antithesis. I know that a big reason this was released is Soule’s skyward climb in popularity. But to see his indie, and in my opinion best, works getting attention is wonderful.

Almost three years to the day, I attended the Strange Attractors release party with fellow ComicMix columnist Joe Corallo. By this time I had seen the complexity maps grow and change over the past two years at conventions and had the story pitched to me a couple times. Excitement couldn’t stop me, and I had made a point to share that enthusiasm with Joe and any friends I could show it too.

By now, you might be wondering why Strange Attractors deserves your attention. In a nutshell, this is such a unique story. The use of math (that normal goes of most people’s heads) should be a negative but it works so seamlessly that it may almost reinvigorate your interest in math! But the real draw to this story is how at its core, this is really a love story with New York City.

In most stories involving New York City, the city is just a backdrop for the story or gets destroyed. But in this tale, New York City is a character in itself. While the city doesn’t have any actual lines, the character development is there through the motions of the protagonists. Soule doesn’t breathe life into New York City; he just uncovers how it was alive all along. To see the city that I love given life is so touching and wonderful.

This is a story that feels great to read. If you like math, New York City, amazing art, the coolest looking maps you would ever see, or just want something new to read, check out Strange Attractors. I believe anyone would find this story as wonderful as I do.