Gunn was fired last July by Disney after alt-right journalists hyped a bunch of decade old social media missives that made light of pedophilia and rape. Persuaded by Gunn’s public apology and his handling of the situation after, Horn decided to reverse course and reinstate Gunn.
Gunn took to Twitter to express his thanks:
Gunn is also slated to do Suicide Squad 2, which is scheduled to be done before Guardians 3.
It’s been a busy week for Marvel Comics! This past weekend new Marvel editor-in-chief CB Cebulski apologized for using the pseudonym Akira Yoshida in a piece for The Atlantic. Since then, many revelations about the future of the Marvel line have come to light.
A wave of cancellation announcements have been made since CB has taken over the reigns as well. Titles including Guardians of the Galaxy, U.S. Avengers, Royals, Uncanny Avengers,Iceman, Jean Grey, Hawkeye, Unbelievable Gwenpool, Like Cage, Secret Warriors and Generation X are all confirmed as canceled. All but confirmed as canceled include America, and Defenders, though Defenders could be on hiatus because of Bendis’ recent health issue. His leaving the company could end up putting the book to bed either way.Another book, Captain Marvel, appears to be going on hiatus for an unconfirmed amount of time as they appear to be changing editorial direction while keeping the creative team in tact.
These are the sort of big changes one may expect from a comics publisher bringing in a new editor-in-chief. It’s hardly the first time we’ve seen major shake ups like this and it will not be the last. While it’s disappointing to see a number of comics cancelled that prominently feature underrepresented communities with creative teams also representing those communities, it is important to note that all of those characters still exist in the Marvel Universe and will hopefully be heavily featured in other titles soon as well as giving other more diverse characters the chance to have the spotlight.
We wish Marvel the best during this transitional phase and most importantly we look forward to reading the new Marvel Comics that will be announced in the New Year.
Like much of the planet, I saw the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie this weekend. Like a smaller percentage of this group, I saw it with a friend who isn’t into super-heroes.
Let me be clear. She isn’t opposed to super-heroes. It’s just that they are not her genre.
Still, she had heard good things about it from people at her job, and she was visiting from out of town and wanted to be a good guest, and it was pouring rain and there weren’t a lot of other activities available to us, so we went.
She loved it. She was completely knocked out by it. The whole experience put her through an emotional wringer.
I don’t think she’s about to become a super-hero fan, but I think there are reasons that super-heroes reach us emotionally in ways that other genre fiction does not (and vice versa). In the process of explaining what I mean, there may be SPOILERS about this particular movie. I don’t think any will ruin your enjoyment, but I don’t know your tolerance. Be warned.
There have been a tremendous number of movies in the last few decades about fathers and sons. I blame Steven Spielberg, but I’m sure you can come up with a list of your own. And I get it. We imprint on our parents for every other relationship we have. With the increase in the divorce rate over the last several decades, as well as the stress on the family caused by income inequality (and loads of other reasons that we don’t have time for right now), lots of people feel estranged from their fathers.
Most movies that play with this issue, especially those by the aforementioned Mr. Spielberg, usually find a way to show that Daddy Really Loved You All The Time. And I hope that’s true, for Steven and for you.
But it isn’t for my friend. She had to leave home at 14, and over the next five decades her parents resisted every attempt she made at reconciliation. The only way they would accept her is if she gave up her own identity and lived the life they expected.
Like Ego, my friend’s father felt that she could do what he wanted or she could be dead.
At the same time, my friend was lucky enough to find a father figure. This man didn’t kidnap her from her home and use her to commit acts of piracy, but he found a place for her and made her feel worthwhile. She didn’t learn to command a spaceship, but she can play a wicked game of poker.
Because Guardians is a super-hero movie, there are epic space battles, exotic aliens, amazing special effects and fantastic scenery and costumes. I think these fantastic elements actually make it easier to find oneself in the story. Our inner infant feels parental abandonment and betrayal as world-destroying events. Watching worlds actually get destroyed is the ultimate catharsis.
After all the explosions, we are left with a new family. Unlike my friend’s birth family, these people choose to stay together, to love each other not despite their flaws but because of them. They take care of each other without even thinking about it, because that’s how real families work. Whether the threat is a blob monster, an unplanned pregnancy, divorce or unemployment, we find our real family through these crises. DNA doesn’t matter as much as commitment.
I don’t mean to suggest that Marvel Studios is a substitute for a good therapist, or that we can stop worrying about our kids as long as they can go to the movies. We still need to do the work. Still, I’ll take all the insight I can get, whatever the source.
I’m now waiting to see how well Wonder Woman deals with mothers and daughters. I doubt Hippolyta berates Diana about her weight as much as my mother did to me.
With Guardians of the Galaxy 2 coming out tonight, Maddy had to do some research to figure out just who Mantis is. Learn a little something as she walks Anya through Mantis’ complicated history of being dragged around all kind of comics by her creator Steve Engelhart before showing up with Star-Lord’s dad in the new Guardians of the Galaxy.
This week’s Entertainment Weekly (a “double issue” dated April 29/May 5, 2017) is its big “Summer Movie Preview” release, one that I usually really look forward to reading over my breakfast tea. But after doing that this very morning – which was yesterday by now – I realized that, in all honesty, there’s very little coming out on the big screen that warrants my plunking down my hard-earned dollars.
There’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, in theaters in just 12 days from now as I write this. (Btw, isn’t May 5th a little early to be calling it a “summer movie?”) Maybe I’m not taking much of a leap here when I say it will be the big blockbuster hit of the season. It’s classic “superhero space fantasy” and, of course, there’s Rocky. Not to mention Baby Groot. Then again, im-not-so-ho, there’s not much competition.
Though there is Wonder Woman, premiering June 2. This is the one I’m really rooting for, which should be understandable to anyone who knows my history with the character. Though… I’m baffled as to why the film is set during World War I; a strange choice. I’m a history buff, and I understand the significance of that war and how it birthed the geopolitical landscape in which we live today, but as a backdrop to the Amazonian’s first cinematic venture? I dunno. I just don’t know if it will sell. Though – and I admit this is incredibly sexist of me – Gal Gadot in an armored swimsuit will undoubtedly bring in lots of those coveted male teenage and young adult dollars. But, although Ms. Gadot has legs that don’t stop, will Wonder Woman have legs past the opening weekend? We’ll see.
Let’s see, what else? Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales? It’s been 14 years since last we saw Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, so the hunger just might be there. It could give Guardians a run for its money. It could also tank, big time. Either way, I’ll pass. If I feel like a pirate movie, it’s Errol Flynn in Captain Blood.
Aliens: Covenant? Ridley Scott’s follow-up to Prometheus (which I never saw), takes place a decade after the later, and 20 years before Alien. To be fair, I will have to stream Prometheus before I decide on whether or not I want to go to the movie theater. But I have a feeling – unless word of mouth and critics lure me in – that this one is going to be either a cable watch or a streamer, too.
Baywatch? Never saw the television show, ain’t gonna watch this one. Not even on cable or streaming.
Then there’s Spider-Man: Homecoming (July 7). I really, really, really liked Tom Holland’s Peter Parker/Spidey in Captain America: Civil War – he almost makes me forget Tobey Maguire –and the trailer for Homecoming is incredibly fun and enticing. Plus, my not-so-secret crush, Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man. But I still like Singer’s take on the webslinger’s ability to, uh, sling that web. Sure, it’s not canon, but it always made more sense to me that it was part and parcel of that radioactive spider’s bite’s effect on Peter.
And since I’m a sucker for World War II movies – which may be part of the antipathy I feel towards a Wonder Woman movie set in 1918 – I am looking forward to Dunkirk, out on July 21. The evacuation of the Allied forces – more than 300,000 soldiers – over eight days (May 26 to June 4) in 1940 from the beaches at Dunkirk, France is an event that could have had a very, very different outcome.
All in all, EW covers 110 movies that will premiere over the summer. Quite possibly at least one of them could turn out to be a sleeper hit. But right now the summer entertainment I’m most looking forward to is the adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, starting April 26 on Hulu – okay, it’s not technically a movie – and Neil Gaiman’s American Gods – okay it’s not technically a movie, either – on Starz as of April 30.
In other news, daughter Alixandra has started watching Doctor Who, beginning with Christopher Eccleston.
This week, the gods of the interwebs granted us a look at two dichotomous trailers for a pair of blockbuster comic book films soon to be hitting the mega-multi-plexes. Spider-Man: Homecoming and Justice League gave us somewhere around four-minutes total of titillating three-dimensional text, brief respites of prose, and the best action snippets CG could render. But beyond those stark generalities comes two massive worlds apart.
This should come as no surprise to any of us. Spider-Man is packed with wit, charm, and street-level action amidst the hints at bigger set pieces. Justice League is a dark and sordid affair – not without its own charm and wit, but punctuated with the Synder-trademarked sepia-hued gravitas and angst. At this point, would it be enough to say I was ear-to-ear smiles at one trailer… and terribly nervous about the other?
Two guesses which is which. Then again, if I give you two guesses you’d guess right no matter what.
Spider-Man presents a balanced picture that has me in giddy anticipation. Tom Holland’s Peter Parker is presented as we saw him in Civil War. He is as close to the original source as we may ever get in an adapted character from comic to screen. He’s young, funny, nerdy, and oozes those immortal words of his late Uncle Ben between his not-quite-adult pores.
The story we’re presented seems rote. Following Civil War, Peter returns home to Queens to be the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man as per the direction of his would-be father-figure, Tony Stark. But, in the 616 Cinematic Universe, we already know what evil lurks in the shadows. Enter Birdman. Err, Batman. Err, Michael Keaton. Before the trailer ends we’re given what appears to be the entire plot of the movie. Destruction, loss, redemption, snark. It’s almost too easy; I anticipate several key turns before we resolve to whatever happily-ever-sequel there is to come.
Meanwhile in the DCU, Justice League leaves us with a much murkier picture – not counting the actual cinematography. From what we’ve been given, we can safely assert that Batman is assembling a team (let’s go ahead and call them a league) of super-powered individuals to fight some unseen threat. Diana of Themyscira, Barry Allen, Vic Stone, and Arthur Curry appear to be on board to fight said threat. That aside, we really get nothing else specific. Of the snippets we are given though, a few streams of light pierce the typically dark DCU movieverse. From the sneer-grin of Aquaman as he rides on the exterior of the Batmobile, to Bruce Wayne revealing his super power (“I’m rich”), Justice League seems to at least made some minor commitment to be a slightly more mirthful affair than Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Sadness.
Unlike Spider-Man, Justice League’s trailer leaves me more guarded than enthusiastic. League’s teaser is simply too short to get a feeling if we’re taking a step forward or laterally. While BvS was quite profitable, the fan consensus was one of great disdain. What should have been billed as an Avengers level tour-de-force was more or less a maudlin, middling meh-fest. And far be it from me to throw a stone here, but Suicide Squad was a solid popcorn flick – but not one that moved the needle of fan-appreciation that DC desperately needs. Wonder Woman … you are our only hope.
So here we are. Four minutes of film, and we’re right back to where we started. While Marvel revels in whatever phase they’re in at present, DC seems to still be stuck at the starting block trying to impress everyone with how badass they are. And therein lies the truest sentiment of all.
While Marvel leaned into their inner nerd and gave us straight-faced superb tertiary titles like Ant-Man, and Guardians of the Galaxy, DC can’t get out of its own shadow. Spider-Man already feels like a homerun two minutes and several posters in. Justice League is somewhere between an intentional walk… and a beaned batter.
Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat. Time to frantically decorate your home, buy everyone presents, and pretend you’re going to get your Christmas cards out before the New Year this time. Well, at least that’s the plan if you’re me.
One of the challenges I face every year is what gifts to get for other adult family members, because as a friend pointed out recently, usually if it’s something they really need they’ll just go out and buy it themselves! Which leaves you guessing what they might not need but might like, or going for the more extravagant gifts that they wouldn’t buy on a whim.
There are lots of holiday gift guides out there, even for geeks and nerds like us (well I assume you’re a geek or nerd too, if you’re reading this). And for fandom convention-goers. But if you’re going for the bigger-ticket holiday gift, here’s a suggestion for something you couldn’t have bought in past years because it didn’t actually exist; but could totally get now for your con-going friends (or for yourself, because let’s be honest, sometimes we buy ourselves Christmas gifts too. Because we’re worth it!) And that is, dun dun duuuuun: a ticket to a comic-con cruise!
Yep, that’s right! I’m talking about Fan2Sea, the cruise ship comic-con that’s sailing out of port this January 19-23! I’ve talked about the cruise before with one of the team who created it, as well as interviewing one of the cool cosplay ambassadors who will be featured, but if you missed all of that: Fan2Sea is a four-day cruise on a Royal Caribbean ship, leaving out of Tampa, Florida before hitting Key West and Cozumel, Mexico as well. It has been designed and created by an amazing team of folks who generally spend their days designing the coolest theme parks out there; and it features a metric ton of excellent guests and panel programming from some of the hottest geek properties out there: The Walking Dead, Stranger Things, and Guardians of the Galaxy on the TV and movie side, and Deadpool and Batman on the comics side. The guest list is super exciting; and just from previous interactions or interviews I’ve had with some of these guests, I know the programs are going to be fun, interesting, educational, unpredictable (I’m looking at you, Michael Rooker), or all of the above.
Now that the full schedule for the con is out, I can see just how many unique and cool things are going to be happening, including a ton of stuff that goes beyond the usual panels – from themed cocktail or pool parties, DJ nights, and pub quizzes to comics masterclasses, cosplay tutorials, and gaming panels. And they’re even offering some super-special things I’ve never seen done at another con, like dinner and a movie with Sin City creator Frank Miller. Not only that, but the main panels themselves are scheduled in such a way that if you have to miss one because you’re out and about enjoying the cruise or shore excursions, you’ll have the opportunity to catch it at another time. That soothes my FOMO a little bit; and is also a very savvy programming move given how much is going to be on offer here.
Of course, all of that doesn’t even count the part where you’re going to be on a cruise! Themed around all the stuff we like best and populated entirely by Our People – guests and other fans of this stuff. Imagine doing all the things you’d usually do on a cruise – hanging by the pool, rock-climbing (yep, there’s a rock-climbing wall!), relaxing at the spa, playing mini-golf (they’ve got that too!), shooting hoops, going to the casino, chilling at the bar, catching a movie…but doing it all in a genre con atmosphere themed just for you. Just…wow. This cruise is going to be so cool. Not to mention it also gives people the opportunity to, e.g., visit Mexico, something I’ve never done, and maybe even explore some Mayan ruins (or zipline through the forest. Not going to lie, I totally want to try that)! Plus chill on the beach in Key West, explore the Cuban district of Tampa… Man: this is going to be the best thing ever! I am so excited to be going. And you could be, too!
So if you want to make your geeky con-going friends (or yourselves!) super happy with their holiday gifts, give a think to buying a ticket to the best con adventure you could possibly have. Ticket pricing begins at $399, and includes meals, taxes, port fees, panels, parties, and more. And if you use the code “IRONMAN” on your purchase, right now you can also get 10% off! You heard it here, folks.
Now get out there and book your adventure so we can sail away together.
And until next time, Happy Holidays and Servo Lectio!
My friend Paul Guinan put an interesting post up on his Facebook page yesterday. It sparked an equally interesting discussion, and, evidently, you can have discussions on Facebook that are not all salvos of rants.
Paul wrote: “I grew up with Superman being a character of pure good. Every once in a while something like Red Kryptonite would cause him to do some bad things – nothing too bad – and he would be forgiven and once again beloved. He wasn’t a morose, frowning, reluctant hero, he enjoyed his life and mission.
“Batman was a victim of gun violence. Bob Kane flirted with the idea of Batman carrying twin pistols for a very brief moment (a holdover from Batman’s inspiration, The Shadow), but seminal writers like Bill Finger solidified the code of Batman not carrying firearms. It made great thematic sense. Batman would sock a villain on the jaw, or throw his Batarang at a them – not beat them to a pulp and wind up with bloodied gloves. Batman is a scientist, detective, and martial arts expert. Such training develops character that’s in contradiction to being a rageaholic.
“Wonder Woman is the Princess of Peace, an ambassador for justice. Yes, she’s descended from Amazon warriors – but who had come to live a life of peace and tranquility on a secluded island. The Wonder Woman I grew up with wouldn’t carry a sword or shield, as that would be a sign of using men’s instruments of war to resolve conflicts. Her weapon? A Lasso of Truth! The villain would be socked on the jaw, tied up with the magic lasso, and be calmed.
“If the evolution over generations of an iconic character reflects society, then such indicators reveal we are becoming way too cynical and mean. Shouldn’t that be an opportunity to provide role models who inspire us to be greater, rather than reinforce our negative natures?
“I write this after seeing the second trailer for Batman v Superman, in which the DC trio is constantly angry – even Clark Kent! The trailer climaxes in a shot of the DC trio. Superman is wearing a suit more dark and sinister than the outfit worn by “evil” Christopher Reeve in SupermanIII. Wonder Woman is dressed in a dark monochrome knockoff of the outfit worn by Xena, brandishing a sword. Batman looks as he should be is carrying a rifle. WTF? Sigh.”
I’m a founding member of the dark “grim ‘n’ gritty” hero (or anti-hero) club. GrimJack, Amanda Waller, my remaking of some established heroes – if I can find some tarnish to put on a hero’s armor, I’m known to apply it. However, I’m also not without sympathy for Paul’s point of view. The notion appears to be that if it’s darker, the story is more “realistic,” it’s more relatable to the reader/audience. That notion pervades not only comics but the movie and television adaptations of them.
And yet, what is my favorite superhero adaptation right now on TV? It’s not Gotham, it’s not Arrow – it’s The Flash. The main reason is that Barry Allen is presented as a hero, that he wants to be a hero, and that people respond to him as a hero. The show doesn‘t pretend it’s easy but that it is worthwhile. The show also really honors its roots and is often very funny. It’s well written and acted. It’s also very much in the tradition of the character as published by DC for the past few decades.
One of the issues raised is that many of the movies (Man of Steel was cited and, potentially, Suicide Squad might be another) are not meant to be for all ages. The attitude of some appears to be that superhero movies should be, at best, all ages or even kid centric, that superheroes are essentially a child’s fantasy, but this flies in the face of what movies are about commercially: studios want to put as many butts in the seats and eyes on the screens that they can. The movies that have been made so far have reaped tons of money and that tells the studios this is what the audiences want. If a little of this is good, more is better. Don’t fool yourself; plenty of kids went to see them as well and bought lots of the paraphernalia connected with it (and that’s where the real money is made).
Kids are not all that sheltered, either. Take a look at some of the video games that are popular. Kids know more than when I was a kid; take a look at the world around us. ISIL, climate change, the very real possibility the seas are dying (and with it all of life) – when I was growing up, we only had the specter of World War III to cope with. If movies are darker it’s because the world that the kids must cope with is also getting darker.
However, it’s not simply the dark and the grim that makes money. Guardians Of TheGalaxy and Ant-Man were very successful at the box office and they were for a more general audience. They were brighter and more fun and more hopeful. Meaning what? That, as usual, it’s not all one thing or the other.
I believe that all characters and concepts cannot stay stuck in one time or era. To remain viable, they must be re-interpreted for the time in which they are in. They have to be part of the world that the reader/audience inhabits. That world, our world, has grown darker in the past few decades. The comics and the movies did not cause that; they reflect it.
That said, there also has to be hope. There desperately needs to be hope today. That also should be reflected in our movies and our superheroes.
If that sounds like I’m conflicted, I am. I see both sides’ views and sympathize with all of them. I’m looking forward to the Suicide Squad movie; the trailer suggests to me that they got what I was doing and it will be part of the movie. That said, I’d also like Superman to be a bit brighter than they seem to be making him, to represent the best in us. That was my Superman.
Oh, and he should wear red trunks. Definitely they should bring back the red trunks.
Several decades ago the American comics medium in general – and Marvel Comics in specific – were criticized by some in fandom for being overly formulaic. I realize it is possible for a few fannish souls to overreact, but I have to admit there was an element of truthiness in their concern.
Today we can clearly see a contemporary incarnation of this issue. Not that plotlines are being rubber-stamped; slavish adherence to ever-shifting continuity undermines such creative shortcuts. No, today we are suffering from a different sort of redundancy: overexposure to such a degree that most truly successful superhero characters have become akin to amoebas.
I was just thumbing through the sundry Diamond catalogs announcing comics and related effluvia ostensibly set to ship this coming February. Out of convenience and a desire to meet my deadline, I am going to focus on Marvel’s output – but DC, and to a lesser extent other superhero publishers, are also guilty of sequential overexposure.
This coming February, Marvel is supposed to be shipping (in the unlikely event that my math is correct) no less than three Captain Marvel books, seven Avengers titles, four Deadpools, seven X-Men, three Inhumans titles, six featuring the Guardians of the Galaxy…
… and no less than fifteen titles featuring Spider-Man and his Spiderverse. Fifteen. Back when people were criticizing Marvel for recycling plots, they didn’t publish fifteen different titles a month! I guess that’s pretty damn good for a character that can’t even hold onto a major movie franchise.
Of course, the sundry Spideys also appear in various Avengers titles, as do most if not all of the aforementioned properties. And many of the other Avengers like Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor, and Captain America have their own titles as well.
It is true that this sort of thing has been going on for a long, long time. Maybe not quite as long as it may seem to geriatric fans who recall Superman appearing in seven different titles in the late 1950s (Superman, Action Comics, Superboy, Adventure Comics, World’s Finest, Lois Lane, and Jimmy Olsen), but only two of those were published monthly. The rest were published bi-monthly or every six weeks. Still, five titles a month is a lot. Fortunately, continuity was weak at best and if you had an aversion to pill-box hats you could safely avoid Lois Lane (and her omnipresent scissors) and still understand what was going on in the other titles.
However, we have not previously seen such character redundancy to this degree. Not even when the original Captain Marvel and his family were featured in eight different titles back in the 1940s. Not all were monthlies, although the Big Red Cheese did see his own book go out every three weeks for a spell. Then again, in February at least two Spider-Man titles double-ship, and, for the record, February 2016 only has four ship weeks. It’s pretty rare that Leap Year Day falls on a Wednesday.
So, why is this a problem? Well, if you’re a massive Spider-Man fan, it might not be. However, ComicMix columnist Emily S. Whitten is a proud Deadpool fan, but having a job, a life, and a commitment to writing one of the best comics and pop culture columns on the Interwebs, so even Emily has a hard time keeping up with the nutty merc.
This is a problem because it undermines the uniqueness of the character. It’s called overexposure. We used to have three or four Punisher titles; in February 2016 Marvel won’t be releasing a single one.
Sure, as I said, all this goes for DC as well. They’ve been pushing Batman titles out as though they were Cheerios, and they out-X-Men the X-Men by having several thousand different characters all named Green Lantern.
At least Image only produces one Bitch Planet a month… and that’s on a good month. A very good month, in my opinion, but your mileage may vary.
Yesterday in the mail I was excited to receive Entertainment Earth’s exclusive Guardians of the Galaxy action figure set by Hasbro. As you may have noted from previous columns, I’m a big fan of the Guardians of the Galaxy movie and have always liked what I’ve seen of the team in the comics as well, so I was super-excited to get such a cool item!
There are some times when a picture is worth a thousand words, so most of my review is best seen in my video unboxing of the set and here on my Instagramwhere I’ve got individual photos of Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket Raccoon, and Groot. But here I will say that I was very impressed with the detail, articulation, and accessories (particularly baby Groot and the Tesseract/Cosmic Cube!) of this set. I really love both the design and detail.
This is definitely a quality set of figures with fun accessories and cool comic-book-accurate designs for any fan of Guardians of the Galaxy. I recommend you check out my videofor my full review, and then pick up a set for yourself!