Tagged: Hayley Atwell

Mike Gold: Looking Forward

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In these waning days of 2015, our media tends to look backward at all the great stuff that came down during the previous year. That’s because there’s damn little that happens between Christmas Eve and New Year’s morn and people like me are tasked with filling space. This plays nicely with my powerful sense of cynicism. Hey, it’s a living.

But what the hell. For all practical purposes 2015 is already history (and I hope that comment doesn’t come back to bite me in my ass). Instead, in a fit of optimism I’d rather talk about what I’m looking forward to in the new year.

When it comes to the mother medium, I eagerly await the return of Bitch Planet, easily my favorite new series of 2015. Actually, I have yet to stop being pissed at Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro for having the audacity to take a vacation.

The third and final volume of the graphic novel series March, Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell story of the struggle for civil rights, is due out this coming year. If you haven’t read the first two books, you’ve got time to catch-up. This series carries my highest recommendation. By far.

DC and Marvel have retconned and rebooted and reimag

Bitch Planet, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Valentine De Landro, March, John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell, Savage Dragon, Superman v Batman, Deadpool, Doctor Strange, Benedict Cumberbatch, Agent Carter, Hayley Atwell, Civil War, Skottie Young

ined their respective universes to death, so it’s hard for me to show any enthusiasm for their upcoming projects. Why bother? They’ll only be retconned and rebooted and reimagined still again. Give me the stability and pure fun of Savage Dragon any day.

We’ve got lots and lots of comic book based movies and television coming up because Hollywood lives to run stuff into the ground. I can’t say that Superman v Batman or Civil War makes my pulse race – we’ve seen it before, and besides I have no reason to be optimistic about any Warner Bros. superhero flick. While I hope for the best, the comics movies that are putting the salt on my popcorn are Deadpool and Doctor Strange – which are two different movies.

Our pal Emily Whitten talked about the Deadpool flick in this space yesterday afternoon and backed up her enthusiasm with 32 links, so I don’t have to be repetitious. I will say that from the trailers and the hype this appears to be a movie that will either be a lot of fowl-mouthed fun and a much needed satirical jab at the form… or a complete disaster. I like both the character and the lead actor, and the campaign has been very amusing so I have reason to be optimistic. We can always use a good laugh.

Doctor StrangeDoctor Strange has been one of my favorite characters since Lee and Ditko invented the psychedelic superhero way back when I was still (barely) a pre-teen. He’s never really been able to hold onto a title of his own, but he’s been a vital – even critical – part of the MCU for over a half-century. And casting Benedict Cumberbatch as the Sorcerer Supreme (which still sounds to me like a Baskin-Robbins flavor of the month) seems perfect.

As for comics-on-teevee, I’m looking forward to the return of Agent Carter because the first series was my favorite comics-based series on broadcast television. Hayley Atwell will also be reprising Peggy Carter in the Civil War movie, which is set in contemporary time. Peggy will be real old and nobody expects her to make it to the end-credits, but, of course, that doesn’t mean she won’t be in future flicks. It’s comics, folks.

What would I like to see in 2016? Hey, I’m glad you asked. I’d like to see a year of solid storytelling that does not reply upon overworked and overproduced “events” and variant covers (except those by Skottie Young) and phony deaths – in comics, that’s redundant – and astonishing resurrections. Honest, comic books are stories; let’s get back to good stories.

You know, the kind from which they make movies and teevee shows.

Have yourself a safe, productive and amazingly entertaining new year. You deserve it.

Molly Jackson: Huggles to Agent Carter!

With only one episode left (as of this writing), Marvel’s Agent Carter is sadly coming to a close. This exciting, entertaining and funny show is Marvel’s first serious foray into spotlighting a leading female hero.

Yes, that’s right. I called Peggy Carter, brought to life by Hayley Atwell, a hero. Her deductive skills and intuition border on superhuman and her desire to search for the truth. If that doesn’t sell you, her willingness to help another human being should.

So if you haven’t been watching Agent Carter, then you have been doing yourself a serious disservice. Carter brings a whole new look to the SSR and SHIELD while delicately laying ground work and clues for the future. Marvel shows how well they excel at long-term planning in these episodes. They have episodes tying into TV and movie properties and adding backstory to popular characters.

Peggy Carter’s story played second fiddle to Captain America in the movies but Atwell’s portrayal always resonates with me. She is a character who I could see as a strong female role model, as well as a hero. The conviction of this character translates beautifully to an expanded story, adding more depth to the character. We get to see Peggy deal with an unhappy workplace while wanting more from her life and missing her lost love. She spends her days with friends and enemies, and still manages to support those around her. Even though this show takes place over 50 years ago, this is still a character almost everyone could relate to.

This show also acknowledges the misogyny of the times. In last week’s episode, Peggy points out to her colleagues they only see her as the helpless woman in their midst. They all see her as they want to see her rather than as a peer. I admit, sometimes the near constant criticisms of women make me cringe inside. Still, it brings a sense of reality to an otherwise unreal world. Superhero or not, every woman has had to deal with “gender discrepancies.”

Agent Carter took a major step for comic fans by showcasing a female lead. We need to show Marvel our thanks so they and other companies see this is what we want. Strong female characters, not women in refrigerators. Thank you Marvel. Keep Peggy Carter in mind when you write for fans, and you will keep bringing in all types of fans.

Mike Gold: Time Flies When You’re Saving The World

Last week we comics fans were treated to a nice treat that, had other circumstances prevailed, would have been the big buzz in our donut shop. Instead, events mandated – properly – that we turn our attention to the Charlie Hebdo matter. That situation remains unresolved and part of a much bigger and even more disquieting picture, but if we can’t stop to smell the flowers we will surely go insane. That’s why I’m going to talk about Marvel’s Agent Carter this week.

The mini-series – it runs eight episodes, and the first two ran last week – goes a long way towards answering the question “Hey, why won’t Marvel Studios pay more attention to the female characters?” It doesn’t answer the question “Hey, why won’t Marvel Studios do a Black Widow movie?” but I suspect if the executives at Marvel understand what they’re doing on Agent Carter, there well might be.

So, what’s going on in Agent Carter that’s so special? I think the two-hour debut did more to educate people as to the inequities in the workplace than any other single event in perhaps three decades. If things are going to change, illumination through entertainment is an important part of the mix.

Seeing as the series is set in the mid-1940s post-war period – after all, it is a sequel to the first real Captain America movie – it’s all too easy to look at it and say “well, yeah, but that was 1946.” This is true, but as George Santayana said, “when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

(Actually, Santayana said a lot of interesting things, my favorite being “Skepticism, like chastity, should not be relinquished too readily.” Check him out at http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/George_Santayana.)

Okay, back to 1946. That was a time when nobody gave a second thought about women being paid a lot less then men. That’s because nobody gave a second thought about women being given much responsibility – Santayana, I suspect, probably thought we should have remembered how women held our nation together during the world war that just ended. That was a time when newspapers carried separate want ad listings: “Help Wanted – Men,” for laborers and executives, and “Help Wanted – Women,” for secretaries, maids and cooks. This was a practice that continued until some time in the 1970s; the possibility that such segregation was illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act wasn’t even discussed until 1965. Women were fired for getting married, and society looked down upon those women who chose a career over pounding out babies every year or so.

Agent Carter is set squarely in this environment. Peggy Carter, as last seen in Marvel media, is an extremely competent field agent to say the least, but despite her wartime record she is relegated to secretarial duties at S.H.I.E.L.D’s precursor organization, the Strategic Scientific Reserve. In order to save the day and to fulfill her commitment to Howard Stark (let’s hear it for Marvel continuity!) she starts out by hiding her activities and condescending to the men who order her to do the filing.

Despite this, Agent Carter is not a political screed. It is a solid action show set in the well-defined Marvel Cinematic Universe, complete with time-appropriate established characters such as a comparatively young Edwin Jarvis and a typically burly Dum-Dum Dugan (let’s hear it again for Marvel continuity!), and the actors whose characters appeared in the movies reprise their roles here, including Dominic Cooper as the senior Stark. Marvel’s evil corporate empire, Roxxon, plays a prominent role in this series.

Agent Carter is a very stylish, fast-acting and clever series built around the strengths of its star, Hayley Atwell. We’ll be seeing a lot of her in the future, in the second Avengers movie and in future episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Crom knows where else. But I really hope that Disney/Marvel/ABC (different floors of the same company) has the budget and the audience to take this program to a weekly series.

And then do that Black Widow movie.

 

The Point Radio: 12 MONKEYS Twisting Time Again

Two decades after it hit theaters and became an SF classic, 12 MONKEYS is being retooled as a new TV series, but does it still have the DNA to survive? Stars Amanda Schull and Aaron Stanford talk about the transition and why it works. Plus it’s the first big industry move of 2015 as IDW acquires Top Shelf Comix.

Tweeks: ABC’s New Musical Mini Galavant & Marvel’s Agent Carter

tumblr_n5ayj43UhU1r4bvu5o1_1399631441_coverThough we still haven’t forgiven ABC for canceling Selfie, we are very encouraged by the shows filling in for Once Upon A Time (8pm, Sundays) and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (9pm, Tuesdays) during their winter breaks.  This week we review Galavant, a comedy/musical fairytale series that reminds us a lot of Monty Python’s Spamalot and talk about how super cool it is for Marvel’s Agent Carter to be about a female hero.  And of course, Maddy goes on a rant about there not being a Black Widow movie —- because come on, all the boy superheroes seem to need special powers, but girls like Peggy Carter and Natasha Romanoff are just as awesome without them!

The Point Radio: AGENT CARTER Slides Into The Marvel Universe

All eyes are on Marvel this week with the debut of AGENT CARTER, and our first full look at The Marvel Universe post CAP and pre AVENGERS. Series star Hayley Atwell talks about her feelings on playing what has become a key part of the mythos. Then, we sit down with the cast of TNT’s THE LIBRARIANS who give a lot of solid reasons why if you aren’t watching, you might just be missing something good here.

The Point Radio: Hunting Monsters In The Real World

He’s no comic book character, but the real deal when it comes to hunting monsters. Trapper Tice and his team from AIMS (Appalachin Investigators of Mysterious Sightings) tackle creatures that look like Kirby creations on the hit show MOUNTAIN MONSTERS and he stops here long enough to reveal his secret origin. Plus we share our ComicCon memories and SHARKNADO breaks The Internet – again.

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