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The Female Perspective: Who Ya Gonna Call? The New Lady ‘Busters!

Welcome! This blog is written by author J.L. Metcalf and will chat about comics, movies, garden gnomes, ghosts or even books and daily life. It is a place where I offer my ladylike perspective on anything and everything my brain can think of. 


Ghostbusters is coming back to theaters in 2016!
Ghostbusters is coming back to theaters in 2016!

This week it was announced that the “reboot” (and aren’t we all a bit tired of that term?) of Ghostbusters is actually happening! It’s long overdue, that’s for sure!

What’s exciting about this reboot is the cast announcement. Paul Feig (who did Bridesmaids, a great movie) will be handling this reboot and has decided to make it an all-female cast. OK, color me intrigued, he has a proven track record of being able to write and direct female actors. Add to all of that, the cast, oh my, the cast!

Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon. Nice!

An all-female cast might freshen up the story!
An all-female cast might freshen up the story!

I was very pleased with this announcement, I think that if you are going to do a reboot, then make it something special. Try to make it a little bit different, a little bit fresh. I knew that not everyone would be happy but what shocked me was the response online. On Facebook, the comments under the announcement were vulgar and rude (I won’t bother to reprint them here) and that is unfortunate. There were many sexist comments, weight comments about a couple of the women and an overall tone of disgust and dismay. Seriously? I don’t know about you, but I don’t have time to get this angry about something so trivial as a movie!

I mean, why are we judging so quickly and so harshly? Why do people feel that they can insult and demean women (or anyone, really) online and think it’s funny? I think what troubles me most is that the harsh judgements are allowed on social media as par for the course. Oh sure, some people might put up an argument but we all know it’s futile. You have to have a thick skin to be able to tolerate the abuse that gets fired out of Facebook on a regular basis. A few women attempted to step in on the thread and were instantly called demeaning names and mocked. I think my personal “favorite” was when one of the “men” making the insults start saying things like, “Wait, we have to be careful or these [email protected] will think we’re sexist” – really? REALLY? I have news for you buddy, it’s too late for that. That ship sailed when you called the actresses in the reboot names I can’t repeat in a family friendly blog.

I know that I shouldn’t take it to heart that these trolls are all over the place, hiding behind a computer screen, spewing their venom. It’s obvious that they are unhappy in some fundamental way. I know this and yet, it still bothers me. It bothers me because there is no cure for it. These people will always take to the safety of the internet to spout their disgusting racist and sexist slurs and they’ll think they’re clever and funny. What soothes me is the fact that most likely, in person, these trolls are nowhere near as outspoken. Chances are, they would never say to my face what they say online. Cowards, all of them.

Internet trolls are everywhere and they are sad and mean!
Internet trolls are everywhere and they are sad and mean!

Regardless, I am absolutely excited to see what this crew can do with the idea. Not to mention both Bill Murray and Dan Akroyd are all for the all-female cast and while many are cross with Murray for dragging his feet about doing a new Ghostbusters movie, I think this may end up being the right thing. We all saw Ghostbusters 2 and that was not so good. I think that the original ‘Busters had their time and they created a wonderful movie that makes me laugh to this day. I think it’s OK to bring in a new cast, a new director and see what kind of fun trouble they can get into.

I know there are those “purists” out there that get all wound up when these reboots happen, they want it to be “perfect” and to be exactly what they have imagined it to be. Sadly, that is not usually the case but I prefer to reserve judgement until I have more information. Such is the case with the new Fantastic Four movie coming out. Yes, the trailer that was released makes it look very different form what we’ve seen previously, but again, that gives me hope. The first couple tries didn’t work out so great, so try something different. 

The end result is that we, as consumers, really have no control over what Hollywood does or doesn’t do. We can complain all we want about the lack of creativity and the reboots all over the place but that won’t change the fact that people go to see them, these movies make money and therefore, the studios keep making them. Often, these reboots work out great. Star Trek is a good example of this, the first two in the new Universe are awesome, fun movies that pay homage to the source material but still manage to go their own way, to great success.

Let’s try to stem the hate folks, be kind to each other and to these actresses who did nothing more than accept a part in what could be a fantastic and fun movie. Maybe one day, Hollywood will stop “rebooting” things but until that magical day happens, I’m going to sit back and hope for the best!

Regardless of who the cast was going to be, they had BIG shoes to fill.
Regardless of who the cast was going to be, they had BIG shoes to fill.

What do YOU think? Did Hollywood get it right with the all-female cast?

Tell me in the comments (but be nice)!

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The Female Perspective: Where Are My Dang Toys?!?!?

Welcome! This blog is written by author J.L. Metcalf and will chat about comics, movies, garden gnomes, ghosts or even books and daily life. It is a place where I offer my ladylike perspective on anything and everything my brain can think of. 


As with all my blog posts, they are born from reading I do on the internet (a magical tool for writers, let me tell ya). Today, as I was alternately staring out at the blizzard and perusing Facebook, I came across an article that sparked my inspiration and I had to share with my peeps. It’s about the distinct lack of female character toys. Say what, you ask? I am talking about Black Widow, Gamora, even Agent Carter to a certain extent. They barely exist in the collector world and it annoys the heck out of me.

Black Widow has been in more movies than The Hulk and yet, her action figure came out after his.
Black Widow has been in more movies than The Hulk and yet, her action figure came out after his.

I am sure there are those who will argue with me about the fact that, there have been Black Widow toys, and yes, there have…sort of….

Despite being introduced in Iron Man 2, it would take until The Avengers for Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow to get an action figure: even then, she was shortpacked in the third wave of figures that came out months after the movie hit, with the prime first wave spots going to Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and The Hulk. It took until The Winter Soldier last year for Widow to show up in both Hasbro’s Marvel Legends Infinite 6-inch line and Funko’s wildly popular range of Marvel Pop Vinyls for the first time, a whopping four years after the character first appeared. Fast forward to Age of Ultron today and she’s once again seemingly missing — she doesn’t show up at all in the new action figure playsets. She’s not in the first set of Pop Vinyls, and neither is Scarlet Witch, another prominent female member of the cast. She appears in one of the six new Lego sets for the film (Cap’s in three, Iron Man is in four). She doesn’t appear in the team shots on the boxes of merchandise (to be fair, neither does Hawkeye. Poor Hawkeye.). Hell, the first action figure we’ve seen for her for AoU specifically is Diamond Select. ~ James Whitbrook for iO9

So, you see, they do create the toys, they simply wait EONS to ship them out and they never ship them out with the so-called, “main-cast”. This highlights an issue within the movie comic world (ironically the toys are released quick as bunnies for the comic books), they still think they are marketing these movies to BOYS only. Come on guys, WAKE THE HECK UP! The audience for Guardians of the Galaxy was largely female. San Diego Comic Con had a 40% female attendee rate. WOMEN ARE WATCHING & ENJOYING THIS STUFF TOO and what’s more, people’s daughters are watching these movies. They are seeing these phenomenal, kick-butt women characters and yet, they don’t get them as toys. They have the option of the male cast but these girls don’t want that, they want to play with the toy of the character they identify with. The one they want to be.

Peggy Carter may not be a household name, but she's been in a couple movies now AND has her own show, maybe a figure will be on it's way soon.
Peggy Carter may not be a household name, but she’s been in a couple movies now AND has her own show, maybe a figure will be on it’s way soon.

I remember, when I was young comic book, Star Wars nerd, I had about ten different Princess Leia toys at my disposal. I would get every Leia they made as they came out. I always noticed though that my brother got all sorts of different characters, Luke, Han, Chewy and yet, I only received Leia (and one memorable year, I received Boba Fett). That was a weird thing my folks did and I don’t blame them, they were conforming to gender rules in the 70’s and 80’s, I loved my Leia figures. I wish I still had them! At least I was lucky enough to be able to GET the toy of the one female character in Star Wars. Today, young girls have tons of female characters to look up to and yet, they get no toys. What the heck!?!?! It’s an unfair disparity that needs to change and the guys who handle these decisions (should they ever read my blog) need to know that women dig this stuff too. A LOT of women. It’s time to start acting like it.

I loved my Princess Leia action figures, this was one of my all-time personal faves.
I loved my Princess Leia action figures, this was one of my all-time personal faves.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: The Men of “Walking Dead”

Welcome! This blog is written by author J.L. Metcalf and will chat about comics, movies, garden gnomes, ghosts or even books and daily life. It is a place where I offer my ladylike perspective on anything and everything my brain can think of. 


Last week I explored three of the female characters on The Walking Dead and discussed their roles as feminists. Today, I want to revisit the show but discuss the men this time because it’s fun to see where they have come from and what they have become as the show has gone on.  So let’s take a look at three guys from Walking Dead and see what we end up with!

Hugs, they all need hugs!
Hugs, they all need hugs!

I want to remind everyone that I’ll be speaking only in terms of the TV show and not the comic, I am also trying to leave out any possible spoilers for the current season!

You don't want to make Rick angry.
You don’t want to make Rick angry.

First off, my personal favorite and the leader of our merry gang of misfits, we have Rick Grimes (played by Andrew Lincoln). Rick is the first character we see on Walking Dead as he chats with his partner Shane about the marital troubles he’s been having with his wife Lori. Rick is quiet and seems honestly confused as to what his wife wants from him. Not to mention, he couldn’t believe the things she was saying to him in front of their young son Carl. You can see right away that he is a guy who cares about his family and is trying to do his best by them. You know though that there is more to him than that. Once Rick awakens from a coma to a world stricken by a zombie apocalypse he quickly takes action (after some time being heartbroken and scared) to locate his family. As the show progresses, he takes the role of leader (albeit, reluctantly) and does his best to keep them safe. Does he always make the right choices? No. Does he suffer when he makes the wrong ones? Yes, he does. Does he always have to make the hard choices? Yeah, he sure as heck does. Rick is a man built to survive, he won’t die because he has to protect his family, his people. He will kill everyone and everything that gets in his way but recently, he’s made peace with his violent side and his “Dad” side. He seems to have found an uneasy balance between the two by trying to be the man he needs to be in order to keep his family safe. For all intents and purposes, he is the hero of this piece.

Hershel Greene = The Moral Center of the Group
Hershel Greene = The Moral Center of the Group

Next, let’s talk about Hershel Greene, poor, sweet, doomed Hershel (played brilliantly by Scott Wilson). At first, I thought Hershel was a creepy old man who couldn’t come to terms with the apocalypse. Some of that was true, he was keeping zombies in his barn in case there happened to be a cure. He is a recovering alcoholic and a spiritual man. He turns into the groups spiritual, moral center. The one they go to when they need counsel and more importantly, Rick would often turn to him for advice (even if he didn’t always agree with it). Hershel was trying to be human in a world that was killing humanity off (both spiritually and physically) and he was not meant to survive for very long. He couldn’t and watch the world burn all around him. He was a lot like Rick in many ways, though he was able to hold off from becoming a killing machine whereas Rick could tap into that when needed.

Daryl & Beth, a great team.
Daryl & Beth, a great team.

Finally, I want to talk about Daryl Dixon (played by Norman Reedus). Daryl is a character created for the TV show and is sadly not in the comic. He is a man who before the apocalypse was a troubled, racist, redneck with the potential to become a drug addict and was most likely a murderer. After the apocalypse, he becomes a hero. He finds his true purpose and is able to deal with the apocalypse with an ease that many of the characters are unable to find. He holds his emotions in check most of the time but recently, we’ve started to see chinks in his armor. He has befriended Carol and Beth (oh Beth) and has become a trusted friend to Rick and the others. He is like Rick in a lot of ways too in that he makes the hard decisions (Sophia comes to mind) and is able to tap into his killer side while also maintaining connections and friendships.

What I’ve found in looking into both the male and female characters of The Walking Dead is that they are all painted with the same brush. Some of them step into their roles in the apocalypse with more grace than others. You see characters like Carol who have really come into their own but at the same time, who also know that some part of their humanity has died and characters like Daryl who become better because of the apocalypse. His humanity hasn’t died, it has flourished in these years after the apocalypse. What’s great from a female perspective too is that none of these men have time to be sexist, they don’t treat the women as wash maids or cooks, they treat them as equals. Rick often takes Michonne on patrols or dangerous missions. Or, more importantly, he often keeps her to look out for Carl and Judith. Daryl treats Carol not as a potential plaything, but as a friend, as an equal. Plus, we rarely have to be subjected to a “damsel in distress” situation, heck, sometimes the guy’s in distress and has to be saved by a woman!  The beauty of Walking Dead is that the writers (and actors) do an amazing job of making us want to see these characters transform and it makes us like them (even when we dislike them), and it makes me wonder, who (or what) would you become in the apocalypse?

Tell me what YOU think of the Men of Walking Dead!

Post-apocalypse what survives? Your life or your humanity?
Post-apocalypse what survives? Your life or your humanity?
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The Crank File: The Fantastic Fourplay

Welcome back for the fourth installment of The Crank File. The Crank File is an open forum where I will offer speculations, reviews and ravings on all things comics. In today’s episode of the Crank File we discuss the end of a Marvel icon and the beginnings of a new era. And a familiar face makes an unexpected appearance.

Fantastic Four issue #642 kicks off The End is Fourever story arc. The End is Fourever will be the final chapter in the seminal Marvel series The Fantastic Four, which will lead us into Marvel’s big 2015 event, Secret Wars. You heard that right true believers. The Fantastic Four has been cancelled.

Created in 1961 by legends Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Marvel Comic’s The Fantastic Four was the title that launched the Marvel Universe. Just a few years after The Fantastic Four exploded onto the comic book scene, Marvel had created some of the most recognizable heroes in pop culture history, including Spider-man, Thor, the Hulk, the Avengers, Iron Man, the X-Men, the Dare Devil and the Silver Surfer.

But while other characters rose to stardom and beyond, fame was not as kind to the group once known as the world’s greatest heroes. While the Fantastic Four team was unique and diverse by Silver Age standards, as comics grew up the Fantastic Four sort of stayed the same. Their old school persona and mediocre movies didn’t endear the group to a new generation of comic book readers. And with lower popularity leading to sagging sales, I guess they just couldn’t afford to keep the lights on at the Baxter Building.

I have a soft spot for FF personally because of the “Marvel Secret Story of ” series of books. Does anyone else remember this?

The Secret Story of the World's Greatest Superheroes

A set of four hardcovers, I discovered “The Secret Story” books as a child at my public library. Each book highlighted a different Marvel superhero. There was The Hulk, Spider-man, Captain America and The Fantastic Four. I’d check out any of these books whenever I could. The Fantastic Four might not have been my favorites but they were always there on the shelf, waiting just for me.

I haven’t seen much of the FF since then, outside of their obligatory cross-over appearances. So what better place to start getting reacquainted than at the end? If issue #642 is representative of the series, then Fantastic Four certainly isn’t being cancelled for a lack of quality. Writer James Robinson puts a lot of heart into this story, where we find Marvel’s first family vulnerable, separated and under assault.The artwork is outstanding throughout the issue and I absolutely love the Jim Cheung variant cover, a beautiful homage to the genesis of the Fantastic Four.

FF 642 variant cover

There’s also a great line swipe from Allen Moore’s Watchmen; a nod to a series that in many ways revolutionized comics for its own generation.

Watchmen Swipe    FF watchemn swipe

It is almost poetic that the end of the Fantastic Four would also bring about the start of a new era in Marvel comics. For months now Marvel has been teasing 2015’s upcoming Secret Wars, and The End is Fourever story arc should lead us into this monumental event. From the press releases, we know that in Secret Wars the Marvel Universe and Ultimate Universe will be destroyed with the remaining fragments forming a patchwork planet called BattleWorld. This event is set to shatter the 616 universe as we know it and promises to have profound effects on almost every Marvel title. Although it is not officially being called a franchise reboot, Marvel is promising that Secret Wars will mark a completely new direction for the company.

And we can expect that the members of the Fantastic Four will be involved in Secret Wars. After all, cancelled doesn’t mean dead. Although they might not have their own name on a book for a while, don’t expect it to last forever. Comic books don’t die. They are undead. Sometimes they even come back better and wiser than before. All the best ones do.

Minor spoiler ahead.

On the last page of Fantastic Four #642 we are reintroduced to the SleepWalker. Published for only three years during the early 90’s, SleepWalker was supposed to be Marvel’s response to Vertigo’s popular Sandman series (lol!). Sleepy hasn’t been relevant in comics for decades, if ever, but his sudden appearance at the end of issue #642 indicates that he could play an important role in the Marvel Universe’s transition into Secret Wars. This news has caused prices for the first appearance of Sleep Walker to soar. A recent dollar-bin book is now regularly moving on eBay for $10, with some BIN auctions surpassing $15.

Sleepwalker cover

I can’t find an estimated print run number for this issue, but considering that it came out during the height the first comic book boom… I would guess hundreds of thousands. Check your long boxes and your LCS’s dollar bins and flip them while the flipping is good. It might finally live up to it’s promised “Collector’s item!” status.

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The Female Perspective: Feminism on “The Walking Dead”

Welcome! This blog is written by author J.L. Metcalf and will chat about comics, movies, garden gnomes, ghosts or even books and daily life. It is a place where I offer my ladylike perspective on anything and everything my brain can think of. 


Can there be equal rights during the zombie apocalypse?
Can there be equal rights during the zombie apocalypse?

I want to start by being totally honest, I love The Walking Dead. It is one of my favorite TV shows. I read the comic and love it as well although this article is going to focus on the TV show only (the comic is an entire other kettle of monkeys). I have a Rick Grimes action figure somewhere. So when I write this article, I admit to maybe being slightly biased, but in the name of blog integrity I am going to be as fair as I can.

I was researching a few things on the internet and came across a few articles discussing feminism in the Walking Dead universe. Some of the articles are like, “yeah! go ladies!” and others poo-poo the writing of the show and say that it portrays women as weak and nagging. It made me think, how do the writers on Walking Dead portray women? Do they portray them as weak, annoying, nagging women or do they portray them as strong, intelligent and brave?

Let’s take a look at some of the ladies in Walking Dead and see what we come up with.

Michonne and her "pets"
Michonne and her “pets”

First off, we have Michonne (played by Danai Gurira). In the comics, Michonne is a bad ass with a sword and some killer fighting skills. When we first see her, she has two zombie “pets” to keep herself safe from other zombies, which is both a disgusting and brilliant way to keep yourself from being eaten. She starts off quiet, cold, and unsure of the people she has met. On the show, she first meets Andrea and they become fast friends. When the group is eventually reunited and Michonne is accepted as a part of that group (it takes awhile) she becomes both an integral and trusted member of the group. Eventually we get to see her back story and see that not only is she a warrior, she was a Mom, she was a woman with love in her heart but, as with everyone, the zombie apocalypse changes all of that. It hardens her after her child is killed. It creates a wall around her that takes quite a while for anyone to break through. But once she trusts Rick and the group, she is open and all-around awesome. She is portrayed as intelligent, tough and damn sexy without being overtly so.  So far, I’d say that the Walking Dead writers are doing pretty well.

Oh Lori...
Oh Lori…

Next, let’s take a look at Lori (played by Sarah Wayne Callies). Oh, Lori. Lori was never one of my favorites. I always found her whiney and weak in a weird sort of way (I mean, for pete’s sake, she flipped a car on an empty road!). I never faulted her for having a relationship with Shane, in that type of situation, you cling to the familiar wherever you can. She thought Rick was dead, so I always understood her choice. The problem came when she was reunited with Rick and she was constantly berating and judging him for his choices and even though his choices weren’t always right, they were as right as they could be given the situation they were in. When Rick finally has to kill Shane, she shuns Rick like he’s a monster. Even though, she had been telling him he needed to kill Shane! To me, Lori was always acting like they weren’t in the midst of the zombie apocalypse and that frustrated me. At the same time, she added a wonderful level of complexity to Ricks character while also frustrating the holy heck out of you so I’d have to say that the Walking Dead did a good job there. Any writing (and acting) that causes you to feel passion for it (one way or another) is good writing, in my opinion.

The marvelous Carol.
The marvelous Carol.

Finally, let’s take a look at my favorite character out of the women, Carol (played awesomely by Melissa McBride). Carol started off as the wife of an abusive jerk. Then he was killed and her life began to turn around. After her daughter is killed, she begins to befriend Daryl and you start to see a change in Carol. She isn’t always perfect.  She’s as flawed as any of the other characters, but she begins to grow stronger. She starts helping to make decisions, she can fight off zombies as well (or better) than the men and becomes a valued member of the group. By the time the current season rolls around, she has been kicked out of the group, survived on her own for months and then she goes and saves the bunch from cannibals. The reason I like Carol is that she can take care of herself, rescue others (including the menfolk, hello!) and contribute to the group. Sure, she murders two sick people because she doesn’t want a deadly virus to spread and while she should have brought it up with the group, she ultimately did the right thing. Carol has been through a lot of tough stuff and she comes out damaged, but stronger than ever.

I cannot possibly go through all the female characters that have come and gone on Walking Dead but what I can say is that I don’t see a weak group of females. Sure, some start out that way, some make bad decisions (can we say Andrea! She could have killed the Governor and saved everyone a lot of grief but she couldn’t/wouldn’t do it) but they all adapt to their surroundings with strength, beauty and intelligence. As a feminist, I cannot see an issue with this, all I see are strong, powerful women standing shoulder-to-shoulder with strong, powerful men. I say bravo Walking Dead writers, way to go and keep the powerful women coming.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments!

The Walking Dead, saison 1

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The Front Row View: Sunrise

The Front Row View is a regular column by Great Stories contributor Jim Cannizzaro.  He is a veteran community theater leading man, seasoned blogger, movie enthusiast, and family man.

sunrise

{Editor’s Note:  Originally published in a different forum on January 1, 2015)

It’s New Year’s Day, and what better way to start the new year than with a viewing of German director F.W. Murnau’s 1928 silent masterpiece Sunrise? A young farmer is tempted by a visiting woman from the city to murder his wife and run off with her. He almost does it, then has a change of heart and realizes how much he loves his wife. They end up taking a trip into the nearby city. Both are astounded by the marvels that the city has to offer. The simple story isn’t the attraction. What is is the style in which the movie was made. Murnau was a student of German Expressionism, and much of the movie is designed in this fashion. Bizarre camera angles, off-kilter and dramatic lighting, as well as wondrous imagery give the movie a fairy tale quality that makes it one of the most beautiful black and white films ever made. The young farmer’s seduction under a full moon, as well as the young couple’s journey to the city are marvels to behold. Janet Gaynor took the very first Academy Award for Best Actress for this film. The movie itself won a special Academy Award for most “Unique and Artistic Picture.” A highly recommended journey into one of the great dream worlds that the movies have given us.

-Jim

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The Front Row View: Batman

The Front Row View is a regular column by Great Stories contributor Jim Cannizzaro.  He is a veteran community theater leading man, seasoned blogger, movie enthusiast, and family man.

bm

If you were breathing during the summer of 1989, you might have fond or not-so-fond memories of Batmania. Theaters, TV, radio, billboards, merchandising (the Internet hadn’t yet reared it’s Batshadow)—you couldn’t get away from it. A pleasant surprise that the resulting movie turned out to be well worth the hype. Tim Burton’s 1989 spectacle Batman still remains a splendid comic book noir (and it looks great on Blu-ray). Everyone knew before they even walked into the theater that Jack Nicholson was born to play the Joker, but Michael Keaton silenced the naysayers with his low-key and thoughtful performance. Bruce Wayne’s romance with Vicki Vale is a tad on the dull side, but it’s redeemed somewhat by Kim Basinger’s appealing presence. Robert Wuhl, Michael Gough and, all-too-briefly, Jack Palance offer memorable support. What carries much of it, though, is Burton’s inspired direction. The cinematography, art direction and editing all combine to make the Dark Knight’s Gotham City come alive with blocks of corroded buildings shooting up into filthy skies. Everything is decayed and cankered. Burton’s production team keeps it from looking too depressing through a glorious palette of blacks, whites and purples (there are wonderful deep pockets of shadow throughout). It’s all held together by Danny Elfman’s dynamic score. The hype machine ensured that Batman would make a ton of money, but Burton and Co. decided to push their passions to make it an artistic triumph as well. Be sure to check out Burton’s underrated 1992 sequel, Batman Returns, but avoid like the Batplague Joel Schumacher’s 1995 Batman Forever and 1997 Batman and Robin. I’m less of a fan than most of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy (except for Heath Ledger’s Joker and Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman, I felt that the series drained the fun out of it), but at least it restored dignity to the character.

-Jim

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The Female Perspective: From No One to Prom King, A Tale of Bullying

Welcome! This blog is written by author J.L. Metcalf and will chat about comics, movies, garden gnomes, ghosts or even books and daily life. It is a place where I offer my ladylike perspective on anything and everything my brain can think of. 


True Story.
True Story.

Bullying. I chose this topic for my blog today because I watched a video.

This doesn’t sound all that impressive, I mean, we all watch video’s all the time on the internet. It’s one of my favorite ways to waste time! Today was different though, I started watching this video about this boy who was bullied but then, he somehow turned everything around by doing one simple act of kindness. I’ll get to what his response was in a moment, but first I want to address the topic of bullying.

It’s something we are all familiar with, either it’s something we lived through in school or, if you are a parent, you have to deal with currently. Whether you are the bully or the one being bullied, it is, to me, a crime. When I was a kid, bullying meant people called you horrible names, maybe scrawled something on your locker (or, in one particularly memorable case, the bullies stole money out of my locker) and they definitely harassed you at every given opportunity. I was bullied constantly when I was a kid, Junior High was the worst for me. I was lonely, sad and even though I had friends who did their best to support me, the bullying crushed me every single day. It exhausted me and I remember crying every night that I had to go back there. Eventually, it did taper off but it never vanished completely. High School was only marginally better. Or, at least, I began to be proud of who I was, so the bullying didn’t bother me as much.

The fact is, kids today have it way harder than we ever did. Kids today don’t just get bullied at school. They get bullied on social media; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc, the bullying goes home with them. There are constant reports of kids, KIDS, killing themselves because the bullying is just too much for them. It breaks my heart to hear it because if only they could see the future, they’d see that outside of school, bullying means nothing. Your life will get better. Mine did.

It’s also true that women get bullied in the comic book and gamer world. It’s defined as sexism but it’s bullying just the same. Women (and the men who support them) are taunted online, called cruel and unfair names. The most recent example of this is of course, Gamergate, where a woman was harassed to the point of having to leave her home out of fear for her well-being. The sad fact is that bullying does continue into adulthood, but as adults we have better tools to handle it (hopefully). Kids simply don’t. They do not have the perspective to realized that this moment in time is only a moment, that it too shall pass.

But I digress, what started this post was a simple, but powerful, video (that you can watch at the end of this post). A young man was being bullied. He had recently lost his father and moved to a new town. He was quiet, reserved, in mourning and different. The kids ripped pictures out of his locker of his deceased father. The boy felt invisible and realized he didn’t want to be anymore. He finally couldn’t take it anymore. Instead of fighting back with anger or cynicism he did the most simple thing you can think of. He began holding doors for other students. Yep. You read that right, he became a doorman. He also became Prom King.

What amazes me is that at first, the other students mocked him, made fun of him and were confused by this act of simple kindness but, as the voiceover in the video suggests, soon the kids began to look forward to seeing this young man in the morning. A big smile, a hello and an open door for them. The other kids enjoyed it so much and were so grateful for his kindness, they voted him Prom King as a way to say thank you. It’s an amazing and uplifting story on how sometimes, you can combat hatred with kindness and come out on top.

It’s so simple, yet so powerful. It inspired other acts of kindness throughout the school and it turned this young man onto the idea of public speaking, to advocate for the bullied, the sad, the loners. To help them see that being courageous doesn’t mean screaming to be heard, being courageous can simply mean doing a small act of kindness for someone else. Holding a door open, smiling or even just making eye contact. It’s a powerful message. It is also one that everyone needs to hear and it is why I share it here today.

Share the love, share the kindness. We adults have a thing or two we can still learn from kids.

StopBullyingSign

Fight Back With Kindness

What about you? Have you been the victim of bullying (when you were a kid or an adult)?

How did you handle it?

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The Female Perspective: Wonder Woman 2011

Welcome! This blog is written by author J.L. Metcalf and will chat about comics, movies, garden gnomes, ghosts or even books and daily life. It is a place where I offer my ladylike perspective on anything and everything my brain can think of. 


Adrianne Palicki as Wonder Woman.
Adrianne Palicki as Wonder Woman.

If you read my blog on a regular basis, you know I am a big fan of Wonder Woman. I am nervous, yet excited for the upcoming Superman vs. Batman movie that will include Wonder Woman. Well, today I was made aware of a 2011 Wonder Woman TV pilot episode. Now, this may not be news to many of you but I had no idea it existed. I thought, cool, I’ll give it a watch and see how they did WW in 2011! It starred Adrianne Palicki (who I very much enjoy on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D amongst other stuff) along with Cary Elwes and Elizabeth Hurley, I thought, cool, they have some decent star power.

Then I got into the show and I was struck dumb because…what? Where was my Island of Amazon Women? Where was my awesome WW mythology? Her first experiences with our world? Where was all that really great stuff?!?!?

It was gone. Gone like it never even happened.

Instead, we are shown a WW who is the head of a multi-million dollar company called, Themyscira, and she not only goes by WW, she also goes by Diane Themyscira (the head of her company) and Diana Price? WTF? I’m sorry but why does she have to have so many personas? To confuse people? Because that is all I got out of it. Not to mention Diane Themyscira is known by the world to be Wonder Woman so yeah, there’s that too. Also, her “secret-secret” identity, Diana Price wears glasses and a ponytail. Well, I’d never recognize her, not with glasses and a ponytail!

Who is this person? Oh why, it's Diana Prince! Clearly she is not Wonder Woman because of the glasses and ponytail.
Who is this person? Oh why, it’s Diana Prince! Clearly she is not Wonder Woman because of the glasses and ponytail.

OK. OK…I’m taking deep breaths and remembering two things, this was never picked up because, yeah, it stinks and it was made way back in 2011 before we had shows like Arrow, The Flash, Constantine and even Gotham. We had only just seen Scarlett Johansson kick butt as Black Widow in Iron Man 2, so we were only beginning to love and obsess over the Marvel Cinematic Universe and all the awesome they would soon delivery in terms of fight scenes, strong women characters, etc.

The fact is, watching even twenty minutes of this show makes you see how awful it is. The music is campy, the dialogue is worse than anything even George Lucas could write and the fight scenes are…well, boring. I have high standards for Wonder Woman specifically and action scenes in general. After watching a show like Arrow really rock the fight scenes, I expect all TV shows to follow suit. Not to mention, this show seems to suffer with an identity crises. It didn’t seem to know if it wanted to be like a comic book or a TV drama, leaving the viewers confused.

I did enjoy her outfit in this version. Though, inexplicably, she busted out the full leotard at the end...
I did enjoy her outfit in this version. Though, inexplicably, she busted out the full leotard at the end…

The other thing that really bugged me was how they showed WW trying to have a normal life (in her glasses and ponytail) by hanging at home alone with her cat and learning Facebook and watching The Notebook. Really? That was disappointing to see her acting so…normal (superhero don’t act so normal at night, they do…superhero stuff!). By ignoring the WW mythos we give her no depth, no real personality. All we see is this empty shell of a woman who also happens to fight crime and argue with her staff. She’s tall, beautiful and smart but she’s also all alone in the world. I get why she broke things off with Steve, yeah, she didn’t want him to be in danger but in all that time, she has made no real connections? No friends? Even Batman had friends!

Overall, I was clearly disappointed in this pilot and have hopes that since there have been major leaps in portraying super hero on film that not only will Gal Gadot be better at WW, she will be treated as hero, not as some otherworldly creature without a soul.

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman...looking pretty fierce...
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman…looking pretty fierce…

Oh yeah, please make sure she does not have a group of girls who run around after her calling “We Love You Wonder Woman!” It also really bothered me that when she finally took down the baddies, she goes back to her office and the ENTIRE OFFICE is waiting to applaud her efforts. It seemed off, wrong, the antithesis of what a super hero is. They don’t do it for the glory, they do it because it’s the right thing to do. With the exception of a few hero’s who love the glory (Tony Stark comes to mind) it seems like the exact opposite of what I would expect WW to do. I would expect her sneak back in to change and talk with staff, not march through the office!

One last thing, what’s up with her saying, “Do you like my outfit? This outfit opens doors for me…” Seriously?

Anyway, have you seen it? Click the link below to check it out and tell me what you think in the comments!

Wonder Woman 2011 Pilot Episode

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The Front Row View: Planet of the Apes (1968)

The Front Row View is a regular column by Great Stories contributor Jim Cannizzaro.  He is a veteran community theater leading man, seasoned blogger, movie enthusiast, and family man.

Planet

Nothing says New Year’s Eve to me more than lobotomies, caged human beings and kissing chimpanzees. All are represented in Franklin J. Schaffner’s landmark 1968 Planet of the Apes. Skip Tim Burton’s pointless 2001 “reimagining” (but not the more recent imaginative Rise of the Planet of the Apes. I haven’t yet seen the sequel “Dawn of…”, but I’ve heard it was very good as well). This is the original that started it all, with great (non-digitized) action, some wild plot twists and turns and a million dollars worth of John Chambers’ Oscar-winning makeup. Charlton Heston, in one of his strongest performances, makes us admire a very cynical and foul-tempered fellow. And that ending—still a shocker! Sit back with your favorite primate and enjoy it!

-Jim

{Editor’s Note:  Originally published by Jim at another forum on December 31, 2014}