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The Female Perspective: The “Agent Carter” Finale

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. 

I’ve posted a couple times now on the series Agent Carter and it’s no secret that I very much enjoy the show. So you can imagine how excited I was for the finale. I expected big shocks or at least a seriously bad-ass fight between Carter and Dottie but what I got was good but not great. It was a little less than the fantastic episodes we were getting in Agent Carter. Don’t get me wrong, there were some truly amazing moments during the episode. Maybe I’m sad it’s over or maybe it simply wasn’t a perfect episode.

The Agent Carter finale was good, but not great.
The Agent Carter finale was good, but not great.

Even with my disappointment, I disagree with this commenter, Anthony Ocasio on Screenrant, who says that “Marvel failed” with Agent Carter. Is it a failure that Peggy Carter brought a female with stellar fighting skills and a brilliant brain to the forefront of the Marvel Universe? Even for just a little while. I think that all shows have less than stellar episodes sometimes and it’s not a fault of anyone but the writers. The show as a whole is a huge success for comics, Marvel and for women superhero characters.

Ocasio goes on to stay;

Either way, the end result is a product some fans fully support, while others continue to champion its downfall. Ultimately, that means Marvel failed – but there’s always hope that they will return again with a new direction. Agent Carter season 1 isn’t perfect – and it never was going to be, either. It’s also not a triumph for feminism. It’s simply a TV show which failed, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

What the HECK?

Not only is his conclusion condescending, it’s also false. I shouldn’t be overly surprised though, his comments throughout the article are very skewed in one direction. He commends the male characters as being the strongest members of the team and totally ignores the main character, ya know, that Peggy lady. His thoughts are his own and that’s dandy but I find it ignorant and misinformed to say that Marvel failed (but it’s OK, gee whiz guy, I am sure they’re grateful for your approval) and to also state unequivocally that the show failed because some love it and some hate it. I feel as though that is a mark of a show that is well done. It provokes discussion, thought and opinions. To me, that’s a success.

The fact is, the folks at Screenrant clearly don’t care for Agent Carter and they never have. I searched around and found various articles that felt differently about Agent Carter and I was able to get a much fuller picture of the season itself from a critics point of view (I’m always curious what the critics say and often my feelings disagree with their’s).

I love the show and I sure hope it comes back for a second season. Even saying that I can admit that the finale wasn’t all that I hoped for. It felt rushed, it felt uncertain, as if it didn’t quite know where to go and that was not something I had felt in any of the other episodes of Agent Carter. 

Peggy vs. Dottie is an unfinished battle that NEEDS to be finished!
Peggy vs. Dottie is an unfinished battle that NEEDS to be finished!

I refuse to say it was a failure though because ultimately, Agent Carter was a fun romp through another chapter of the Marvel Universe. The attention to detail, with the fun “old-timey” gadgets and amazing fashions were awesome to behold. Not to mention, having a woman of such power as Peggy have to deal with the sexism that ran rampant in that day was a treat to behold. She uses her invisibility to her full advantage during the season. Running around trying to solve the mystery of Howard Starks missing tech without any of her co-workers knowing. She ultimately saves the day by talking Howard Stark down (in the seasons most amazingly written and heartbreaking scene) and then, she gets none of the credit at the end! But this is where Peggy utters one of the best lines of the season;

 “I know my value, everyone else’s opinion really doesn’t matter.”

Oh yes…yes, yes, a million times yes!

Sure, there were parts of the show that didn’t live up to my expectations but there were parts of the episode that made me insanely happy. I was feeling all the feels and to me, that’s a mark of success.

Let’s hope we get to see more of Peggy and the gang in a Season Two!

The great cast helped make "Agent Carter" a great show!
The great cast helped make “Agent Carter” a great show!

What did you think? Did the finale live up to your expectations? Tell me in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: Gay Kissing, Dreadlocks and Racism. Oh My!

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. 

Today I want to address a few different topics that I was made witness to these last few days. I am going to start by saying that this post may not be appropriate for all ages and I heartily apologize for the slur used in #2 listed below. That is the only time I will use it myself because it makes me feel ugly.

  1. The Walking Dead” had a gay kiss, the reactions are predictably (and sadly) off the wall insane.
  2. A FOX TV reporter used the term “jiggaboo” to describe Lady Gaga’s “Sound of Music” performance.
  3. Giuliana Rancic (with an assist from Kelly Osbourne) from E! News Fashion Police decided that singer Zendaya Coleman must smell of “weed or pachouli” because she has dreadlocks. 

Sigh. I am not even sure where to start with the feelings these three incidents bring up within me. I think the biggest feeling is disappointment. I know there is good in the world (this story proves it) but some days it can be very challenging to find the good amidst all the bad.

The Gay Kiss on The Walking Dead

The kiss is less than 1 minute long. Seriously?

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you are aware that I am a huge fan of “The Walking Dead”. I read the comics and enjoy the show. That being said, I was not surprised when two new male characters decided to share a kiss this past Sunday. It was so not a story to me that I admit to being surprised that people were outraged by this one-second kiss. Perhaps that makes me naive. I prefer to think that it makes me more tolerant than some of the trolls online.

From reading some of the tweets and comments after the show aired. You would think that the dang sky was falling down and that “The Walking Dead” had committed the biggest sin ever.

Excerpted from Bleeding Cool, here are some of the responses from some trolls over that one second kiss.

daniel franko @danielfranko5


@WalkingDead_AMC i have been watching the walking dead for years with my kids,then with no warning u throw gays in there, I’m disappointed

10:46 PM – 22 Feb 2015


I’m not sure what to be offended at most, the fact that this guys homophobic tweet got 63 retweets and 9 favorites or that this “man” watches “The Walking Dead” with his KIDS and is only now offended. Never mind that in past episodes we see Zombies eating people; cannibals and other such horrors, the true horror here is that two men kissed. Dear lord. Yes, it’s truly a show for kids. Until now. Can’t have the kids seeing what a loving relationship is like. No, no, that’s too horrific for their sensitive ears and eyes. Yeah, let’s think of the kids for sure because they should be watching a show about zombies and death. Yeah, that’s really stellar.

It continues on with this gem;

I don’t discriminate against gay people. Plenty of my co-workers are gay. I just rather not have young children exposed to the BS on TV

— BJ JONES (@BJizz1e) February 23, 2015

Oh, oh I gotcha…you’re NOT a homophobe yet seeing two people who LOVE EACH OTHER share a quick kiss, that’s offensive. Again with the kids. Seriously?!?!?!? What rocks do these folks live under?

And one of my personal favorites;

I’m not a homophobic but that gay couple just ruined The Walking Dead

— Bri Scott (@bri_scott34) February 23, 2015

I’ve got news for your BJ and Bri Scott, you ARE homophobes. Whenever you have to start a sentence with “I’m not homophobic…” or “I’m not racist, but…” it’s a sure sign that you are, in fact homophobic and/or racist. Don’t try to delude yourself into thinking that you are on the right side of this discussion. I am simply trying to understand why one moment of a show can ruin an entire series??? Someone, please explain that to me.

“Accidental” Racism


Next, we have Kristi Capal, a local newscaster who thinks she can use a racist slang on TV and no one will get angry.

I should note that Capal did apologize later but the damage was done. She used a term that is defined as being offensive in the dictionary to describe Lady Gaga’s “Sound of Music” performance on the Oscars. Now, first off, Lady Gaga killed it at the Oscar’s. She showed a poise and elegance we rarely see from the performer. It was a reminder that not only is she a talented pianist, she is an talented singer as well. Even Julie Freakin Andrews loved it!

All this comment did was reveal Capal to be both racist and ignorant. She later said she didn’t know what the term meant. An explanation many find hard to believe since it is a rarely used word these days. It’s simply not a word you pull out of thin air. I suspect she said it without thinking but all the while knowing exactly what it meant. I am sure it was probably one of those moments where as soon as she said it (in front of her African-American co-anchor no less) she realized she had made a mistake, but it was too late Capal. We heard it.

According to E! News, Dreadlocks Smell of Weed

Finally, we come to the mess that is E! News and their Oscar Fashion Police. When I was younger, I found this show amusing but as I’ve grown, I see it now for the cruel farce it truly is. It’s a group of people putting down others for cheap laughs. It’s not a show I ever watch and I honestly cannot say that I’m surprised that one of the hosts finally got into some trouble for making a somewhat racist and very much cruel, comment.

Fashion Police host Rancic said that Coleman looks like she smells of "pachouli or weed".
Fashion Police host Rancic said that Coleman looks like she smells of “pachouli or weed”.

The story is that host Giuliana Rancic decided to throw a cheap shot at singer Zendaya Coleman, an 18 year old with dread locks. Rancic decided that this young woman (who looked stunning by the way) must either smell like “Pachouli or Weed”. What’s kind of amusing is she got an assist from Kelly Osbourne (of all people!) who added the weed part.

Um. What?

What’s interesting is that the outrage was instantaneous. People were stunned that Rancic would make such a comment without thinking. The show isn’t about what you smell like, it’s about what you are wearing. This was a low blow even by E!’s somewhat questionable standards.  What it made it more interesting wasn’t Rancic’s pathetic apology but Coleman’s classy response to this nonsesnse.

You can read the full text of Coleman’s response but my favorite part was this;

“To me, locs are a symbol of strength and beauty, almost like a lion’s mane,” the singer wrote. “I suggest some people should listen to India Arie’s ‘I Am Not My Hair’ and contemplate a little before opening your mouth so quickly to judge.”

I want to note that it was after Coleman issued her articulate and classy response to Rancic’s comments that Rancic apologized.

ADDITION as of 2/25: Rancic has since issued a very sincere and articulate apology – you can read/watch it here. While I again appreciate her efforts, for her to say she has “learned a lot”saddens me. Didn’t she already know this lesson?

My Thoughts On it All

Yeah, yeah, yeah, you might be reading this and think, well Rancic and Capal both apologized for the slights and that should be enough but it simply isn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I am glad that they either found the presence of mind to apologize (or they were made to)but it doesn’t matter because the words were put out there. The fact that these thoughts were expressed on live TV saddens me.

I know I suffer from acting before I think occasionally. Sometimes that causes issues, sometimes it’s not a big deal. But never once have I issued hatred for another human being in public. I work hard at practicing non-judgement (and on days like this, it’s REALLY hard and I know I’ve failed a bit) but I am human, I fail. They are human and they fail. But it has to stop. If you are in the public eye you need to think before you speak. You need to realize that getting a cheap laugh for making fun of someone is never OK. You mocked a beautiful young woman for wearing her hair naturally and you praise her when she straightens her hair and looks “normal” – to you, anyway. Shame on the homophobes and shame on people like Rancic and Capal.

I wish I was a big enough person not to judge them for their actions but I am not. This type of hatred cannot stand. We have to learn to love each other, to be respectful of one another in order to find peace.


What do you think of these topics? What can we do to stop these types of “slips” from happening?

Let me know in the comments!

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The Crank File: The Spectacular Dan Slott

Welcome back for The Crank File #7. The Crank File is an open forum where I will offer speculations, reviews and ravings on all things comics. Today I salute Dan Slott, current writer of Marvel’s Amazing Spider-man, for being an amazing human being.

Two recent events in comic culture have spewed waves of unfounded bigotry and hate across social media: a gay kiss on Walking Dead and rumors of a Black/Latino lead in the next Spider-man movie.

Someone remind me what year it is again?

Comic books have always provided a safe place for me. Like many of us growing up, I got picked on by other children for being different. It wasn’t vicious, just the typical meanness of ignorant youth. Not big enough, not tall enough, not fast enough, not Caucasian enough. Comic books were an escape from the harsh realities of the chalkboard jungle, a fantastic world where being a freak also meant that you could be a hero. Those comic book panels were the great equalizer. Regardless of your age, gender, race, species or whatever, if you were righteous and you defended the weak then that’s all that mattered, I would cheer for you. I still do.

And in that vein, I want to express my gratitude towards Dan Slott who has taken a stand against the rising tide of intolerance. Not only is he currently penning the adventures of Peter Parker for Marvel, he’s defending the case for a Black/Hispanic Spider-man and reminding us all why comic books are so frikkin awesome in the first place:

Dan Slott Lays Down The Case For A Non-White Spider-Man

I am Spider-man.

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The Front Row View: It Happened One Night

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.


81 years ago yesterday, Frank Capra’s It Happened One Night premiered. Nobody expected much from it. Clark Gable was assigned to the movie by MGM, the studio that he was contracted to, as penance for being “uppity.” They loaned him out to Columbia Pictures, at the time a not too reputable studio derisively referred to by the industry as Poverty Row. He wasn’t happy with being assigned to it (as you can guess, stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age lacked the freedom that they have today) as was his co-star, Claudette Colbert (on loan from Paramount). A previous movie about a night bus had failed and It Happened One Night’s young director, Capra, hadn’t had a hit movie in some time. It was expected to pull in a few stray dollars at the box office and nothing more. Yet something wonderful happened. Depression-era America took immediately to it’s oddball mix of wise guy humor, cracker barrel philosophy and heavenly romance. Colbert was a sassy treat, Riskin’s script was crammed with unforgettable characters and situations, Capra directed at a brisk and flavorful pace, and Gable….well. Let’s just say that if ever I had an idol growing up, it was Gable in this movie…smart, resourceful, always on top of the situation and appealing even when he makes a fool of himself. The movie swept the 1934 Academy Awards and took the top 5 Oscars—Best Picture, Actor (Gable), Actress (Colbert), Director (Capra) and Screenplay Adaptation (Riskin). It’s a feat that’s only been duplicated twice more—in 1975, for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and in 1991 for The Silence of the Lambs. It Happened One Night is an American Classic that will never lose it’s appeal. Anyone who’s looking for a Golden Age dose of wit, sophistication and Hollywood Magic need look no further. Hope you enjoyed the Oscars!

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The Female Perspective: Why The Oscars Matter

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. 

I know, it seems like a ridiculous idea, that the Oscars matter. Here’s why I think it’s not as ridiculous as it sounds.

  • There was one acceptance speech about calling your parents, if they are alive, and telling them you love them.
  • There was one acceptance speech that talked about suicide.
  • The performance of “Glory” by Common and John Legend.
  • Patricia Arquette talked about equality for women.

Still not convinced? Let’s take a look at all of these. Point by point.

J.K. Simmons, star of the movie “Whiplash” won an Oscar and said the following:

And if I may, call your mom. Everybody — I’m told there’s like a billion people or so. Call your mom, call your dad. If you are lucky enough to have a parent or two alive on this planet, call them.

Don’t text, don’t e-mail.

Call them on the phone. Tell them you love them and thank them.

A simple, beautiful and truthful message of love. Don’t hesitate to tell the ones you love that you love them. Right now. Not later. Not when it’s too late. Now. A simple, but important message. So many of us wait until later. We always think there is enough time. The fact is, we have no idea how much time there is and newsflash, there will never be “enough” time.


Graham Moore won an Oscar and gave probably the bravest acceptance speech of the night. He talked about how, when he was 16, he tried to kill himself because he felt “different” from everyone else. He went on to say to all those kids who feel different or that they don’t belong that they do belong and that they need to “stay weird”. A perfect, beautiful sentiment that got expressed to billions of people last night, adults and kids who may feel different, lost or unwanted. There is always a place for them. I know how that feels. When I was young, I felt “different” and I was deeply confused and scared. I half-heartedly attempted suicide more than once. Luckily it never worked because I wouldn’t be where I am today. So I second Moore’s sentiments. Be patient, it gets better.

In case you're wondering, this is what bravery looks like.
In case you’re wondering, this is what bravery looks like.

John Legend and Common. I don’t even have the right words for how amazing they are. Watching their performance gave me chills. It brought Oscar audience members to tears and it reminded us all that the fight rages on. In Ferguson. In New York. Around the world. The fight for equality hasn’t ended simply because we have a black president. If anything, the fight has gotten fiercer and needs to be given voice in this way. Eloquently. Beautifully and honestly.

Click this link for the performance and their acceptance speeches.

Finally, we come to Patricia Arquette. She won an Oscar and gave a speech that brought Meryl Streep to her feet (among others). She made a point of saying that we need equality in he sexes. Women deserve equal rights, everywhere. Rock on Patricia. ROCK ON.


As silly and overblown as the Oscars are, it’s heart-warming to know that there are artists out there that take the opportunity to really speak from the heart and get important messages out there. Maybe they changed someone’s mind about equality or race or suicide. Maybe not. What matters is that their messages are all over the internet today and people who may not have seen the Oscars are seeing these words, spoken by admired celebs, and maybe it inspires them. Maybe it cheers them up or maybe it makes them see someone in a different way.

Maybe I’m putting too much hope into it all. I didn’t personally watch the Oscars last night, I prefer to catch the highlights the next day, but reading these stories today warmed my heart. Watching Common and John Legend perform “Glory” warmed my heart and gave me chills. This is what celebrity should be used for, to spread messages of love and peace. Of equality.

BONUS: And then there’s Lady Gaga singing a medley from “Sound of Music” – because, why not?

Did you watch The Oscars last night? What did you think? Tell me in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: Space Barbie vs. Muscle Barbie

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. 

Every day I find something new to write about. Some are good, some are bad and some are just plain weird. I think today’s blog topic is firmly rooted in the “just plain weird” category. I stumbled across a video by the real life Russian Barbie Doll named Valeria Lukyanova. Valeria is a Moldovan-Ukrainian model who has made a name (sort of) for herself by looking like a living, breathing Barbie doll. That’s her choice and that’s great as long as she is happy but what I stumbled across today is…well, it’s something alright. It’s further proof to me that everybody’s gotta be doing something.

Here’s the full-length video:

Now that you’ve watched it, what do you think? Do you think that this woman is truly a space alien from Venus? Is she here to preach the gospel of…um…aliens?

My thoughts on aliens is that sure, they most likely do exist but do I think they are planting people like this on Earth to observe us and teach us their ways? Not so much. For one, I like to think that alien beings are smarter than that. They would never plant someone so…obvious. Not to mention, they wouldn’t choose to make so little sense. I have to hope that aliens would make sense when they speak!

We have Valeria at times going on and on about her mission and her purpose here and how she has left her body at times. All of this could very well be true but my doubts stem from comments like this, “when a nun starts talking nobody listens but a woman who is looking like this…” Ok, so she is using her eye-catching looks to garner attention for her cause. I can believe that and be OK with it except for the fact that great figures in religious history didn’t do this so much. True spiritual people with a message don’t care about their looks, they are merely part of their earthly packaging.

Yep. She looks like Barbie.
Yep. She looks like Barbie.

What truly amused me is how they’d be filming a segment, she’d be talking about her spirituality and then all of a sudden she’d say something like, “There are people over there, our stuff is there…I can’t do this…” and she’d be frustrated. Or, at the very end when she was upset that she forgot to put on her belt and she almost had a “stroke” because people would think she didn’t have a nice waist without her belt.

To me, she is very clearly a flawed human being like the rest of us. She is beautiful, sure. She has some smarts in there and I truly believe that she believes what she is saying. I don’t want to sound like I am judging her or condemning her in any way. I am merely fascinated by her beliefs and her video (what’s with the beard and the voice?). I suppose my only real concern is that near the end of the piece, she talks about how she once killed herself to move onto another existence. I sure hope she doesn’t decide to do that again.

She really favors the head tilt when she is filming herself.
She really favors the head tilt when she is filming herself.

On the other side of the spectrum is a woman named Julia Vins, from Engels, Russia. She is eighteen years old and she lifts weights. She is referred to in this article as the “Incredible Hulk” which isn’t very flattering or fair. She has won numerous competitions and as she states in the piece, she finally found her “true life calling”.

Muscle Barbie. Pretty, strong and smart. A deadly combination.
Muscle Barbie. Pretty, strong and smart. A deadly combination.

‘I’m no ordinary doll. I hope everyone finds their true calling in life like I did.” -Julia Vins

This is a young girl who was lost, then one day she started going to the gym and found a passion for something that is driving her to be better and stronger every day. Is she taking it too far? I don’t believe so. She seems quite smart and she seems happy. What seems to disturb so many is that she is also very beautiful. She has big, giant eyes that resemble a Barbie dolls (without fake lenses in them) and a very pretty face.

‘I have these big, beautiful eyes and wear make-up. But at the same time, I’m strong.

‘I can deadlift 180kg in training. I want to become as big as possible.’ – Julia Vins

She is very clear about who she is and what she wants. I admire that about both women actually, they know who they are and they know what face they want to show to the world and they work hard towards establishing themselves. How can I judge or deride them for that? Simply because their choices are not the ones I would make? Nah. Their choices are their own and while I may not agree, I certainly respect them for it.

Both women receive a lot of opinions about their chosen looks. Valeria gets criticized for too much plastic surgery and for being too small. Julia gets a lot of attention as well. She is told she is ugly, too big and unnatural. What makes up an unnatural look? If it’s a look that makes the person feel comfortable does that make it OK? I just don’t know. There has to be limits on this type of stuff or people will go too far. At the same time, people should be allowed to be comfortable in their own skin. I guess what I’m asking is, are these ladies going too far?


What do you think? Are these women going to far? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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The Crank File: Spec-tacular Spider-man Movie News

Thanks for joining me for The Crank File #6. Today I speculate on a couple of Spider-man related back issues that have jumped up in price due to a recent movie announcement

Happy lunar new year! In the Chinese zodiac 2015 is the year of the goat. inexplicably the Mandarin word for goat, yang, also translates as sheep or ram. So technically, 2015 is the year of the goat/sheep/ram. Don’t be confused by the conflicting imagery floating out there, it’s all good. OK, enough cultural education. To the comics!

Fans are still rejoicing after last week’s announcement that our friendly neighborhood Spider-man is thwipping his way into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Thwip thwip!

Spider-man is the bacon of the comic book world, he makes anything better. Expectedly, the deal struck between Marvel and Sony Pictures has fans buzzing with anticipation. Where will Spider-man appear next? We already know that next year’s Captain America movie is titled “Civil War”, and Peter Parker played a pivotal role in the comic book series by the same name. And can you imagine how jaw-droppingly awesome an Avengers movie guest-starring Spider-man would be?

Shut up and take my money!

As speculation about the next Spidey movie runs riot, so has speculation on several key Spider-man books. But unlike the Civil War series which has been hot for some time now, these books have just started to tick upwards. So scrounge those back issue bins at your local honey holes, they could be holding gold.

Avengers 316

Written by superstar John Byrne in 1990, this is the issue when Spider-man officially becomes a member of the Avengers. It seems a lot of people are betting on a future Spider-man/Avengers movie. This was a $2 issue just days before the movie news hit. Every affordable copy has since been snapped up and are now popping up on online auctions asking $15-$20 for NM raw copies. And they are getting it. The craziest thing about the recent price jump is that there hasn’t been any news that a Spider-man/Avengers movie is actually happening. But if that movie ever is announced, watch out because this book could explode.

Ultimate Fallout #4


I’ve had this book pegged as undervalued for a while now. It features the first appearance of a very popular character, Miles Morales the Ultimate Spider-man. Our last decade of Spider-man movies have all kicked off with Peter Parker’s origin story. And as much as I love classic Spider-man, i just don’t think I can stand watching Uncle Ben get murdered for another time. I think a new take on Spider-man could be refreshing and equally amazing. Marvel movies have been borrowing from both the Classic 616 and Ultimate 1610 universes, so although a movie featuring Miles Morales as Spider-man would be a bold and unlikely move, it’s not unthinkable. Marvel has already been pushing diversity hard in their comic titles, why not in their movies? The Avengers could use a little color in their ranks. Once a $5 book, Ultimate Fallout #4 is consistently fetching $15-$20 with a scorching hot 1:25 variant. The first printing with Miles’ face hidden behind the title is the cover to look out for.

Happy hunting!

Oh, hey Fox? Do the world a solid and give us back the X Men and Fantastic Four already.

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The Female Perspective: Women, Horror and Hags

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. 

Today I came across a blog about how a woman was lambasted for being in costume during one of her book signings. She was insulted by a fellow writer. Both are horror writers and he apparently felt she was trying to garner more attention by being in costume. Duh! That’s what we try to do! We WANT attention, we WANT people to come up and talk to us and buy our books! But what this guy was insulted by was the fact that she was in costume and…a woman? Hard to say really.

He said women were especially bad at trying to grab attention (“claiming” we’re horror writers when we aren’t) and most of us are hags anyway. ~Mercedes M. Yardley

Yeah, hags, women horror writers are hags. I shudder to think what he calls other female writers of other genres. This is simply yet another example of the division between the sexes. It’s why we have to have a Women In Horror Month (February in case you didn’t know) and it’s why feminism is so important. Because there will always be a man out there that thinks that women can’t write horror – um, hello, we bleed every month. We know a thing or two about horror my friend. We also give birth and if you’ve ever heard a birth story, you know it’s horrific (and beautiful). The annoying fact is, there will always be men who simply see women as “the fairer sex” and nothing more. They’ll see women as fragile and weak. Which is their failing, not ours as women even though we pay the price for it.

Women in Horror Month is more important than you think.
Women in Horror Month is more important than you think.

I can say for a fact that women kick some serious butt in both horror movies and in writing horror stories. Serious. Butt. We’ve all see Sigourney Weaver in the Alien movies or Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween. They don’t need a man to “save” them, they take care of business themselves. Women are far tougher than some men believe.

Jamie Lee Curtis in "Halloween" - a true bad ass lady in horror.
Jamie Lee Curtis in “Halloween” – a true bad ass lady in horror.

The fact is, why does anyone feel as though they get to degrade and judge another person? Why do we feel like we can assume to know what’s going on in a persons head and then judge them based upon that assumption?

I’m a writer, I’ve published two books, one a fiction fantasy novel and the other a personal memoir. I cannot speak to the world of horror except for one thing, I posted a piece of flash fiction I wrote on the wrong page on Facebook one day, I didn’t realize my mistake until I got unpleasant comments from two men on the page. It was a horror writers page. Neither man commented on my writing except to be rude about it. I was lucky in that they only insulted my writing and not me. Not a big deal but I wanted to say something about their rudeness. I decided the better and less stressful course of action would be to delete the post entirely (as I didn’t mean to post it there in the first place).

I’ve learned now that “fighting” on Facebook is a waste of my time and my braincells. As I’ve written before, trolls are out there and they LIVE for insults and starting arguments.

One of the aspects I liked most about Yardley’s post is that she doesn’t name the male horror writer who insulted her friend.  She says simply, “he doesn’t deserve the attention.” Yes! Exactly right on!

That’s the best way to combat these trolls (because yes, they are all trolls to me), IGNORE THEM.

I'd like to see these trolls say these things to my face...
I’d like to see these trolls say these things to my face…

Yardley then goes on to say something that truly struck a cord with me.

Why spend your time attacking women that are of no concern to you?

You don’t have the right.

We are here. We are beautiful. We are strong. We’re going to write what we want and how we want. If we want to do readings in libraries, good. If we want to do booksignings on a lawn, more power to us. Our path to success doesn’t concern you. It doesn’t impede yours. You don’t like what we write, where we hold signings, or what we’re wearing?

Nobody asked you. And more importantly?

You don’t get to tell us what to do.

I think she hit the nail on the head here. This is the problem with the male patriarchy. THIS is why feminists become so angry. Go ahead, call us hags or other rude names. Mock our outfits, our looks or our size. But stop telling us what to do. Stop thinking that you are even allowed to tell us what to do. This is 2015.

Women are beautiful, smart, talented, strong and complex beings.

Men are beautiful, smart, talented, strong and complex beings.

Why can’t we simply all be human?

What do you think? Tell me in the comments section!

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The Female Perspective: Women of The Walking Dead, Part II

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. 

A few weeks ago, I did a post about feminism on The Walking Dead. After last nights powerful and female-centric-ish episode, I wanted to take a look at that a little bit more, focusing once again on Carol but also looking at Maggie and Sasha as two other powerful women on the show.

It was one of those episodes of The Walking Dead that is quiet, nothing really happens and yet, it’s amazingly powerful. It was an episode about finding your way after so much death. About trying to figure out if you had it in you anymore to simply survive in this new, horrible world. It was an episode about family.

You don’t get to choose your family and in this episode, it’s made clear that while they weren’t able to choose each other (for the most part), they fell in together because of shared ideals and needs. They work well together because they all want to survive. They are unable to simply give up and die. They won’t give up the hope that some day, they’ll find a place to finally call home.


Last nights episode focused a lot on Maggie and Sasha and their struggles with the loss of Beth and Tyrese. For Maggie, it was a devastating blow to think her sister dead in the chaos that followed the Governor’s siege on the prison, then to find out that her sister is actually alive and that she was going to get her back. To her then arriving at the hospital only to see her dead sister being carried out by Daryl. It was too much for her to be able to shake off and move on. She had to figure out a way to grieve, she had to figure out a way to see the point of all this pain.

She's tough AND fragile. A wonderful combination.
She’s tough AND fragile. A wonderful combination.

I wasn’t sure about Maggie when she first came onto the show and often, I’m still not sure about her. I find her to be a bit irritating but I also enjoy her toughness, her inability to give up or give in. She is almost raped by the Governor but it doesn’t break her, she keeps going, she keeps fighting and she keeps surviving. She watches her father get beheaded (again by that dang, pesky Governor) and yet, she keeps going.

In last nights episode, we see Maggie sitting in the forest, sobbing, a zombie comes up behind her and she slowly gets up, stabs it and sits back down to cry. This has the effect of showing us how desensitized they are to zombies being around them and how deep Maggie’s sadness really is.  She isn’t yet depressed to the point of not doing anything to save herself, but she could be…oh yes, one day, she could be.

Sasha, Oh Sasha...
Sasha, Oh Sasha…

Then we have Sasha, oh Sasha, I don’t know what to think about you! I liked you, then I didn’t like you, then liked you and now, you’re just being a pain. When everyone has a plan to knock zombies into a hole so they don’t have to fight (because they are so weak from lack of food and thirst) she decides it’s time for her to stab some zombies with wild and reckless abandon. Sound like anyone to you? Yep. She is mimicking her brothers grief after the death of Karen (I think his lady was Karen) when he became so self-destructive that all he wanted to do was FIGHT dammit. While this is admirable in a situation that warrants it, it was a horrible idea here. She jeopardizes not only herself, but her entire “family” who now have to help her fight them off. Everyone is weak, tired and slowly dying of thirst and it is a horrible thing to watch them fight as though they are moving through a bowl of molasses.

Sasha is suffering, but she is so self-centered in her grief that it becomes irritating. Everyone in that group has lost people. EVERYONE. They are all grieving and she knows this. But when Abraham tries to extend an olive branch (or whiskey bottle as it were) she snarls at him and states, “We are not friends.” – OK then. Be that way! So I’m still troubled by Sasha. BUT, that being said, she is still an awesome shot with that rifle and I actually enjoy the way I can’t decide if I like her or not, it’s proof of a great actress doing great work.

I simply adore the friendship between Carol and Daryl. They really are a dynamic duo.
I simply adore the friendship between Carol and Daryl. They really are a dynamic duo.

Finally we get to Carol (and Daryl), Carol has been through a lot recently. First she was kicked out of the group, then she saved the group, then she was hit by a car and then watches Beth die. Yeesh. This is all after being married to an abusive jerk and seeing her daughter lost and turned into a zombie. Yeah, Carol’s been through a lot. Even with all that, she is there to mother Daryl through his own grief. She is there to remind him that “she knows him better than anyone” and gives him a kiss on the forehead. She reminds him that he has to grieve, he has to cry or else he’ll take them all down with him. She is the voice that keeps him going and I love her dearly for that. Then later, we see Daryl weep alone in the woods and you know that he heard her, that she gave him a permission he was never going to give himself.

So what does this all mean? It means that The Walking Dead is doing an amazing job of writing complicated, powerful and fragile women that I want to see survive more than anything because they are fighting so damn hard for it. Bravo Walking Dead, bravo.

I also want to quickly add (I know, this post has turned into a BEAST) that Glen really shined last night. He reminded Maggie that she had to stay alive, that she was needed and loved and then he tried to do the same for Daryl. He really stepped up and tried to be there for his people, showing a beautifully kind and even feminine side to his personality that made me so joyful. We are seeing men portrayed as both strong and fragile on this show and it’s wonderful.

What did YOU think of last nights episode? Did you feel differently? Let me know in the comments!!

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The Crank File: Wild’s End – Wild Endings and New Beginnings

Welcome back for the fifth installment of The Crank File. The Crank File is an open forum where I will offer speculations, reviews and ravings on all things comics. Today we review the Boom! comics’ scifi mini series Wild’s End and look forward to what the future holds for the title.

Wild's End #6

Issue six of Boom!’s six part miniseries Wild’s End descended upon comic shop everywhere this past Wednesday. The genre bending alien invasion story delivered a pulse pounding finale that left the audience (me) screaming for more (more!).

I picked up the first issue of Wild’s End because it had been pitched to me as War of the Worlds happens to the Wind in the Willows. Sold. Wild’s End immediately drew me in with it’s cartoonish art style and 1930’s British charm. I loved the anthropomorphic character designs and how the aliens looked like art deco lamp posts.

It would be easy to mistake Wild’s End for a children’s book due to it’s inherent cuteness. But it doesn’t take long for Wild’s End to turn into a dark, psychological tale of horror and survival.

Wilds End

What kept me picking this book off the shelf each month were the neurotic characters. They are nervous, agoraphobic, roguish, chain smoking, drunken, brash and suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. They are a group of flawed and conflicting personalities forced together due to impossible circumstances, a tried and true recipe for good drama.

Unusual Suspects
The Unusual Suspects

I had some concerns going into issue six, mainly because I thought that this was the final chapter in the series. Wild’s End was advertised as a six issue mini series and after five issues I felt like there was a lot of ground still to cover if this thing was going to come to a satisfactory resolution. And although issue six serves up plenty of thrills on the way to a violent and fiery crescendo, it ends somewhat abruptly and frustratingly with a cliffhanger.

Much to my relief, writer Dan Abnett tweeted last Thursday confirming that a second series is on the way. Hu-zzah!

Wilds End tweet

Realizing that this was not actually the end to Wild’s End but just to the first arc, I went back and reread the series and found myself enjoying the pacing of the final few issues more than I had originally.

Wild’s End exceeded all of my expectations and I highly recommend it to any fan of science fiction horror. No details yet on when the second series will invade bookstores, but I’ll be there when it does.