Tagged: Cyborg

SHUT UP, SIT DOWN, GET OUT
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SHUT UP, SIT DOWN, GET OUT

SHUT UP, SIT DOWN, GET OUT

Ray Fisher is out at Warner Bros.

From what I take from his writings, he loved playing Cyborg, and it showed. But Ray called attention to what he claimed was at times discriminatory treatment on the Justice League sets.

From the start, this was no-win for Ray. He knew the risk and still went on. He’s taken a lot of, ” let it go, don’t rock the boat, shut up, sit down.” The comments about how he’s going to lose millions because of his big mouth are partially harsh. Those remarks come with attacks on his intelligence and race.

The “dumb darkie” stereotype is always a reason when a Black person draws attention to an injustice that may stop all that money coming in.

Orlando Jones knew the risk when he shined a light on an American Gods director. He was “rocking the boat, and better stop” was a typical post across all social networks.

Ray Fisher knew the risk, and yeah, it may be a dumb move to put at risk your seven-figure income for a purpose for some— but what Ray and Orlando did wasn’t stupid, dumb, or crazy.

Yeah, the “crazy” tag is likewise standard when Black people put their bank on the line. The perfect example is Dave Chappelle. When he walked away from $50 million, he was called crazy and stupid.

Dave, Ray, and Orlando are only doing what the great men and women who died to give us what freedoms Black people have today did.

They are calling attention to the discriminatory behavior of those in power. They did so at significant risk to their careers and bank accounts.

The entertainment industry produces thousands of underdog stories annually. The business is built on good beating evil. Reading some of the negative comments, perhaps there is a market we are missing:

CYBORG: BATMAN!! SUPERMAN CALLED ME A NIG….!

BATMAN: SHUT UP & SIT DOWN! 

CYBORG: He called you a Democrat. 

BATMAN: OH, HELL, NO! WHERE’S MY KRYPTONITE!?


I believe Ray; I know a guy in a similar albeit lesser-known situation with a comic company.

Let’s do some conjecture.

Assume there is no claim of wrongdoing by Ray; he hasn’t said anything to anyone. But two WB employees claimed Ray was loud and rowdy and called the company racist during the Emmy Awards. So bad was the outburst, the two WB representatives signed affidavits swearing to this explosion of racist hate from the actor.

If that happened, he SHOULD lose the Cyborg gig. WB would have every right to let him go. Having that kind of energy around is toxic and will most certainly lead to a bigger disaster.

Let’s change it up a bit.

Suppose Ray created Cyborg and wasn’t a relatively new actor but a well-established actor and producer. Oh heck, let us say Ray also founded the Actors Studio and the WB made millions off his students who honed their skills under Ray.

Hey, let’s go ALL OUT, shall we?

For shits and giggles, let’s imagine Ray created Cyborg, was a well-established actor and producer who founded the Actors Studio and the WB made millions off his students.

Let’s pretend he’s so accomplished his independent productions are in markets not even the WB or any other major studio is in, leading to an honor no one else in Hollywood has ever achieved.

A Nobel Peace Prize, plus his name on a school, and he rescues kittens!

Should Ray be still be fired if he accomplished all of the above?

Yes.  

Hating a giant corporation is the right of every American. It is not a “do what you want” card. Being loud at one of the industry’s quintessential events, calling prominent studio racist— yes, he should be terminated and banned from working with said company and their related companies and subsidiaries. Whatever he achieved in life, no matter how much money he may have, offensive conduct has consequences.

Now, let’s say Ray had IRON CLAD proof he was 2000 miles away. To save themselves from a PR nightmare, WB would move quickly to issue an apology, hire him to be Cyborg again, and the two liars would be fired, perhaps even arrested.

Now imagine if WB knew the truth but BANNED HIM ANYWAY.

That’s what happened to Ray.

He raised an issue that everyone is aware of now. Joss Whedon was fired after an investigation, and people will now tread lightly.

But why punish Ray?

There’s no way Whedon, who made Hollywood MILLIONS, was let go unless something dreadful happened. Why was Ray punished for bringing light to dark deeds?

It doesn’t matter if Ray was an entry-level actor (he’s not) or had won the Nobel Peace Prize, founded the Actors Studio, etc.— he was wronged, and at significant risk to himself, he fought to do the right thing.

The right thing cost him millions, as it did Joss Whedon.


Some think both careers are over. I hope both can return to their craft, but I’m certain Joss will make a comeback, absolutely.  Not so sure Ray will, and you know why.

Hollywood takes their power to treat people like shit seriously. As evidenced by the following true story:

A major studio is aware of a director who intentionally set out to destroy a actor’s career. A career that mimics the fictional one created above, no Nobel Peace Prize but a similar resume.

Would you care that someone with power decided your fate as if you were Eddie Murphy in Trading Places?

Is there a statute of limitations on evil? Would your advice be to let the devil have his due? Would your opinion be ‘move on?’

The director let criminal treatment go, and for years he took the hit. His peers offer no help because they still have a relationship with the studio—their advice; move on, shut up, sit down. He tries, then the studio calls, they want to make his dream project!

They make it without him after giving him false hope.

He’s got a damning paper trail proving that’s his work, but they ignore him.

How DARE he call them out on their theft!

What should he do?

What would you do?

 

Marc Alan Fishman: Just A League of Their Own

Somewhere around the mid-point of one of the chaotic action sequences in Justice League, a thought echoed in my head. “Avengers was better. I know it was. But why?” Put a pin in that.

And while we’re at it, consider this the blanket SPOILER ALERT. I’m not going to be holding back on plot points and such.

Justice League was a solid effort to continue DC’s course correction. Full stop. The flick tries hard to shake itself of its sullen feeder-films – save for Wonder Woman, which wasn’t downtrodden at all – and ultimately sticks the landing by final credit roll. Over the course of two hours (and change), Zach Snyder, Joss Whedon, and Chris Terrio assemble their (kinda) Lanternless league efficiently. The threat is worthy of the big bangers of the DC(E)U. The quips and sardonic looks feel well-worn and dare I say earned.

So why did the entire movie leave me feeling an uneasy mélange of contentedness balanced equally with ennui? I mean, Rao-be-damned, the movie just made me use the word ennui!

When I noted the efficient assemblage of the titular superteam, it comes couched with a cacophony of caveats. Our introduction to Barry Allen / The Flash seems to speed through his origin in a manner sans-irony given his power set. While he’d been on the fringes of Batman v Superman, we’ve been granted no real anchor to his character by the time he’s donning his car-wreck of a costume. It’s all flashes of awkward Big Bang Theory Sheldonisms smashed on top of tearful angst over the incarceration of Henry Allen. Late in the film, he shares a moment (one of the better exchanges, I should add) with Victor Stone / Cyborg, declaring they are the accidents. But because it comes so late – during the predictable recuperation of the nearly-defeated team scene (that all superhero team movies need, I guess) – it just feels like a tacked-on bon mot, instead of a necessary moment of respite.

And what of the aforementioned Mr. Stone? He’s Deus Ex Machina – ironically, figuratively, and literally. He’s given what might best be described as the affirmative action gift of the longest origin of the group, but never are we invited in the mind of the part-man-part-machine. Stone is stone-faced essentially for the length of Justice League, removing every ounce of characterization Khary Payton has been investing into Cyborg since 2003. When Cyborg of Justice League mutters a soft-spoken Booyah, it comes with the tenacity of a wet fart – meant only as lip-service, not fan-service.

And then we have Aquaman by way of the Abercrombie shirtless collection. WWE’s Roman Reigns, err, Jason Momoa exists as multiverse variant of Arthur Curry so devoid of the traits I’d long associated with the character, I all but abandoned any known factoids of the comic book original minutes into his first scene opposite Bruce Wayne – who himself was enjoying his take on the Fall Hugo Boss collection. Their shared scene, the one you no doubt saw in the trailers and commercials, sets us up for the League’s water-based warrior. He’s a hard-drinking, hard-fighting, surfer-lone-wolf with a pitchfork and a chip on his shoulder. His origin isn’t really told so much as it is scribbled, child-like, on a bar wall, and then half-dialogue-vomited in an appropriately confusing underwater scene. Verily.

Reading through my last few paragraphs may make you believe I utterly loathed Justice League. But you’d be wrong. For every dour note I left the theater with, came an equal smirk of joy overseeing the goodness that Snyder actually captured. Superman, after two incredibly dark films finally is presented the way we want him to be. Full of hope, love, and swagger. Wonder Woman continues to be the best female protagonist in comic book films by several levels of magnitude. And Batman? He’s rich. He’s funny when he wants to be. Believably human. And hilariously voice-modulated. All that, and we didn’t get any meaningless self-sacrifices, or fighting a giant blue sky-beam. Heck, the stinger at the end of the film even got me to clap.

So, why then, did I inevitably wind up in an Avengers conundrum? It stands to note that there’s no way to ignore that Marvel assembled their uber-team successfully a full five-years ago. And by the time it made its way to the movieplex, had given the general teeming masses of newly minted fanboys (and girls) time to live with the main members of their cast (Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor primarily). Because the feeder films (Iron Man, Captain America: The First Avenger, and Thor) had all been well-received, there was a feeling of earned glee when the Avengers coalesced to punch mindless CGI aliens for forty minutes. In contrast, Justice League carries with it the weight of mismanaged and darkly derided prequels (minus Wonder Woman), and oozes desperation from its pores. It’s cut-to-shreds-by-committee, and feels as such. Avengers was lived in. Justice League came across like a wrongly-coined #MeToo.

But perhaps, there exists a silver lining amidst my kvetching. Justice League did leave me excited for what was to come. And it’s that feeling above any others that leaves my eyes on the horizon for the pantheon of DC superheroes… rather than the floor in collective shame.

The Law Is A Ass # 423: Cyborg Clunks The Parole Evidence Rule

I have a mutant power. (One mutant power; don’t believe any lies Tony Isabella tells about a different power and the silly codename Shattertoy.) I have one power; I get things right for the wrong reason.

And, it seems, my power is catching. Because in Cyborg vol. 2, number 1, the book’s eponymous hero showed the same power. (Sure, the guy’s a half-human/half-robot super hero with gadgets and gizmos aplenty, and you’ve got to go and give him my power, too?)

In the comic in question, Cyborg was stopping an armored car hijacking. The hijackers were speeding their wannabe tank through downtown Detroit with a full cadre of police cars in hot pursuit. That’s when Cyborg used his robotic strength to stop the armored car with a force so masterfully applied that it crumpled the car’s front end without even registering a sound effect in the panel. Now that’s skill! As part of his Spider-Man-approved catch-the-crooks banter, Cyborg explained that the hijackers were likely to hurt someone with their reckless driving and he couldn’t allow that.

Cyborg shook the armored car like he was in a low-budget Mariachi band that could only afford one maraca. The two criminals came tumbling out of the car and immediately started shooting AR-15s. Uh, Cyborg, if you’re really interested in not letting the bad guys hurt anyone, you might try disarming them before you dump them out of the nice car with nice armored sides that bullets can’t get through.

Cyborg used his on-board internet connection to scan the hijackers’ cell phones and learned one was a parolee named Dante Morris. So he continued his banter with, “Dante, Dante, Dante… You do realize that each one of these shots is a violation of your parole, don’t you? You’re probably looking at a year behind bars for each bullet.”

Then Cyborg disarmed and subdued the hijackers, which ended his involvement in the matter. And started mine. Cause now I get to explain that while Cyborg’s ultimate conclusion might have been correct, his reasoning was dead wrong. Er, considering how much lead was flying around, I guess we should be glad Cyborg wasn’t dead wrong. But he was wrong nonetheless.

Not about the part that hijacking an armored car would violate Dante’s parole. Cyborg was wrong in saying that each separate bullet that Dante and his co-conspirator fired was a separate parole violation that would add a year to Dante’s sentence. That’s not how parole violations work.

Parole is an early release from prison. When inmates are granted parole, they are released before serving their entire sentence. Parole comes with conditions attached. Some of these conditions vary, but the ones that are almost always imposed include: a stable place to live, steady employment, reporting to the parole officer, and not consorting with other criminals. Oh yeah, and the biggie; while you’re on parole, don’t break the law.

If a parolee violates parole, the parolee’s parole officer files a notice listing all of the reasons why the officer believes the parolee has violated parole. Then someone, either the parole authority or a judge, holds a hearing which will determine whether the parolee has violated parole. If the person presiding over the hearing rules that the parolee did violate parole, the parolee’s parole can be revoked and the parolee sent back to prison to serve the remainder the original sentence. If a parolee commits armed robbery, not to mention armored car robbery, I can pretty much guarantee the parolee will be going back to prison.

But parole violations don’t involve multiple sentences. Even if the parolee did several different things and each separate act constituted a different parole violation, each act does not add additional time to the parolee’s sentence. Parole violators serve out the remainder of the original sentence. They don’t get additional time for violating their parole.

Dante violated his parole by obtaining a firearm, hijacking an armored car, consorting with another criminal, participating in a high-speed chase with the police, and shooting at Cyborg and the police. Each act was a separate parole violation, but, despite what Cyborg said, each bullet will not add more years to Dante’s time in prison.

However, a parole violation does not end the story of Dante’s problems with the law. You see, by buying the guns, hijacking the armored car, participating in the high-speed chase, and shooting at the police and Cyborg, Dante wasn’t just violating his parole; he was also committing new crimes. Crimes for which he could – no, would – be put on trial. And after he was convicted of those crimes he would be sentenced to new prison terms for his new crimes.

Many jurisdictions have laws requiring that if a parolee violates parole by committing new crimes, not only will the parolee be required to finish the original sentence, but any sentence the parolee receives for the new crimes must be imposed consecutively to the parolee’s original sentence. In addition, if the judge was in a particularly “tough on crime” mood, the judge can order the sentence on each new count to be served consecutively.

If that happened to Dante, he would serve out the remainder of his original sentence, then start serving the sentences for his new crimes. And if the judge ran everything consecutively, Dante would serve out the original sentence followed by his sentence for having a weapon while under the disability of being a convicted felon on parole, followed by his sentence for hijacking the armored car, followed by his sentence for fleeing and eluding while in the high-speed chase, followed by his convictions for attempted murder for shooting at Cyborg and the police officers.

Note I said attempted murder convictions. While each individual shot would not constitute a separate count of attempted murder, each person that Dante was shooting at would be a separate victim. And each victim would be the subject of a different attempted murder count. There were three police cars in the chase, each probably had two officers. That’s six police officers and one Cyborg, or seven attempted murder victims. That’s seven counts of attempted murder and seven more consecutive sentences that would be stacked on top of all the other sentences.

Dante will get a long sentence. Maybe not as long as some of Charles Dickens’s more-famous run-on constructions, but a long sentence. So Cyborg was right in thinking Dante would get a long sentence, but wrong in thinking it would be for multiple parole violations. It will be for his multiple new crimes.

And that leaves us with just one more question: how long a sentence will Dante receive? I don’t know. But I am pretty sure that to Mr. Morris it will look like Dante’s eternal.

Marc Alan Fishman: Fatherhood 2.0

Marc Fishman ArtIn light of all the morbid news flying around these days, sometimes you have to take a deep breath and remember where your joy is. Mine is up two short flights of stairs, attempting to figure out a way to extend his bedtime. He asks for juice. No. Water? No. Storytime? No. Play game? Go to sleep. And after his cat-timer has counted down from ten minutes to a sharp ding, my son retires to his toddler bed for the evening. As the Barenaked Ladies might ask

When you dream
What do you dream about?
Are they color or black and white, Yiddish or English
Or languages not yet conceived?
Are they silent or boisterous?
Do you hear noises just loud enough to be perceived?

These questions nip at me now because my wife and I are expecting our second child. We announced with my typical over-the-top bluster – see the art this week – not long ago via social media.

The decision to become a Fantastic Foursome instead of remaining a terrific trio was made without much trepidation or actual conversation. Put simply, even amidst all the calamity that exists with a three-and-a-half-year-old sharknado, there was an empty space in our hearts where another wee-one would fit. It stands to be said that both my wife and I are only children; both of us lamented for many years that we’d always pondered a life lived in a family unit versus being the lone soul of attention. And while my boy is the apple of my eye and the spoils of all my time and affection, it’s disgustingly true that I somehow have even more love to give. Pardon the unicorn vomiting rainbows in the corner.

But, truly, what a time to raise a family! I speak not of the modern luxuries of technology, or the immense libraries of literature allowing for picture-perfect childrearing mind you. I speak selfishly of the golden age of nerds into which I now bring my doomspawn. The other afternoon, I took my son and wife to Toys R’ Us. Why? So dad could buy a new Nerf gun, of course. And my son walked up and down the aisle, pointing out every single character he knew, proved to me he is living in a wonderland I could only have dreamt of when I was his age. Come to think of it, at his age I’d have no idea that Marvel and DC would own whole aisles of the toy store. And while most of the toys are movie or TV related, at their core there are pulpy roots.

My son, and future child are being raised in a world where nearly every movie or TV show of any value to them now streams into my home on demand. The video game systems in my home – both of which now old by current standards – have a library deeper than the entirety of the Nintendo catalog over the entirety of my childhood. There are a dozen comic book shops within 25 miles of my home, and a comic convention nearly every month. And that doesn’t take into consideration the online offerings of pulp fiction. Simply put, my children will have access to more content than I can honestly comprehend.

As they mature and begin to find their own paths, they will curate the trove of material to find themselves. My youth was spent finding a single outlet at a time, drilling it dry, and moving on to the next. Cape and cowl books begat the grim and gritty worlds of Image and Vertigo. Pop was pushed aside for punk, then ska, then metal, then receded back to alternative pop. In every case, I’d honestly reached a saturation point (where the available content to me in suburban Chicagoland was limited to the chain stores or knowing someone’s older brother willing to drive you to the cool part of town to find new material), then had to make the conscious choice to either seek the roots of the material I loved, or find something new instead. Now, should my children find an admiration for Batman, well, they could spend years soaking in every panel on a page, or every frame of film involving the Dark Knight, with a flick of the finger. Whereas their old man was once limited to the single shelf of full price graphic novels or pricier archived reprints and the picked-over remnants at the local Blockbuster. And that was well before the time where reviews readily existed to warn said old man of a not-great read. But I, as usual, digress.

At the beginning of this article, I’d mentioned the notion of finding my joy. Amidst all the stresses that adulting brings me – bills, not-yet-fully-funded-Kickstarters, a full time day job, a full time night job, and the whole “being a dad and a husband and a son and a friend” thing – having the ability to melt all of that away is key to my sanity. And when I see my son’s face light up over the silliest of things (a new Batman toy in a Happy Meal, or daddy getting first place in Mario Kart 64), the weight of the world is lifted off my sore shoulders. His joy is my joy. The nerdy world around him beckons every waking hour, with some comic-connected bit of entertainment ready to set his imagination on fire. And right behind him as he exclaims “Cyborg and Beast Boy fight Raven’s dad!” is me, with a smile from ear to ear.

How could I not want to bring another bundle of joy into a world like that?

 

Martha Thomases: What’s Up With The Future?

adam strangeComic books and science fiction shaped my hopes for the future. I want to be able to live under the ocean, like Aquaman and I want to have a flying car, like George Jetson.

It never ends, the things I want. Just this week, I started to want a personal jetpack with missile launchers, like I saw over the weekend in this.

The future, to me, was about technology. Technology that would make cool things for me.

In some ways, that’s working. I mean, I carry around more computing power in my pocket than they had on the Starship Enterprise. Television sets turn on and off, change channels and more with voice commands.

And now, technology is making life ever so much cooler for kids with certain disabilities.

This story describes how it is now possible to make inexpensive prosthetic hands for kids with missing fingers. These are not state-of-the-art instruments, in the sense that they don’t completely mimic human hands. Those cost tens of thousands of dollars, and a growing child would need a new one every year or so. Instead, these cost under $50, and can be made on a 3-D printer.

That is so cool I can barely stand it.

Instead of being teased for being physically different, these kids are now awesome, like superheroes they see in the movies — Iron Man, say, or Cyborg. They can get new hands in whatever colors they like, whenever they need them.

I got to see an enormous 3-D printer at the Youngstown Business Incubator a few months ago. They weren’t, at the time, making cyborg hands, but it was cool to see how a big model worked, and how much more the machine did than I imagined when I heard the term. One pass through the printer, and multiple pieces could be made and connected, which I would not have believed if I hadn’t seen it.

Perhaps it’s a limit of our imaginative fiction, whether in comics or in prose, that the first thing we think about when we imagine future tech is weapons or personal pleasure. I understand that these make entertaining story elements, with conflict and maybe explosions. I’m an adrenaline junkie. I like conflict and explosions in my fiction.

But we don’t, as a society, think about future tech and kids in need.

At least, not in the books I’ve been reading. If you know some that do, please suggest them in the comments. It’s winter and I could use a reading experience that feels good.