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The Female Perspective: August 26, 1920

Welcome! This is a twice-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


I wanted to chat today about Women’s Equality Day, which was actually yesterday,  August 26th. Women’s Equality Day is the anniversary of the 19th Amendment going into effect.

19th_amendment_loc_img

Some of you may be asking, what is the 19th Amendment and why is Jessica talking about it? As a feminist, the 26th of August is a rather important date, the 19th Amendment is what granted women the right to vote. Ninety-Five years ago women were finally allowed to vote, to make their voices heard. It’s important because had those women not fought for this amendment, we ladies wouldn’t be able to voice our opinions at the voter booths! Let’s take a moment to think about what kind of world that  would be … Scary isn’t it?

In July 1848, 200 woman suffragists, organized by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, met in Seneca Falls, New York, to discuss women’s rights. After approving measures asserting the right of women to educational and employment opportunities, they passed a resolution that declared “it is the duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise.” For proclaiming a women’s right to vote, the Seneca Falls Convention was subjected to public ridicule, and some backers of women’s rights withdrew their support. However, the resolution marked the beginning of the woman suffrage movement in America. ~History. com

I have written before about women today making a big deal about saying that they don’t need feminism because they are this or they are that. It makes me angry because they seem to be purposely forgetting about this huge part of the history of women. That before August 26th, 1920, women couldn’t cast a vote in an election, it was all men deciding what was best for the country. The country that women also happen to live in.

img-thing

The current state of Feminism has it’s pocket of man-hating, extremists, as any social movement has it’s share of extremists. That does not mean that all feminism is bad. There are women (and men) like me who see feminism as a fight for equality, a way for all creatures on Earth to be equal to one another. A place where women can breast-feed in public if they want to without fear of being shamed or judged. A place where a woman who is raped isn’t called a slut or shamed because she was clearly “Asking for it.” If you’re wondering how such issues connect to feminism might I remind you of this;

Feminism (as defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

  • the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities

  • organized activity in support of women’s rights and interests

Men aren’t shamed into thinking they “asked” to be raped or beaten. Men aren’t asked to keep their shirts on in public because their breasts are seen as “indecent”. At this moment in time, the fact is that women are not treated equally and it saddens me. We have taken such strides and yet, this imbalance remains. To the point that even when I post this blog I get comments about how I am some kind of angry feminist or I get trolls that want to talk about breasts or how naughty they (the commentator) is, in the hopes of getting me to either yell at them or flirt back.  Now, some of that is the weird society that is the internet but some of that is about a lack of respect for my ideas because I am female.

Suffrage

I sometimes wonder, with all that is going on in the country, if the equality fight is the most important issue and the answer to that, if I am being honest with myself, is an uncertain no. Other movements require attention right away, what with the onslaught of gun violence in our country and the deaths of too many at the hands of the police. Our country is in a state of turmoil and feminism often gets kicked to the bottom of the pile, but that’s also exactly what makes it so important. Feminists cannot become complacent or our rights can easily be stripped away from us (especially if Donald Trump wins election, or even the nomination is too close for comfort for me). The fight for equality, for all of us humans to become the united, is a fight that, while subtle in may respects, deserves as much attention as we can give to it.

What do you think? Did you celebrate Women’s Equality Day yesterday? Tell me your thoughts in the comments!

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Trailer Snark (August 28th Theatrical Releases)

Welcome to Trailer Snark, a weekly column covering trailers for movies that will be released this week with thoughts from our roster of bloggers (Jessica from The Female Perspective, Ken from The Crank File, Jim from The Front Row View, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Last Week:  Without any true strong competition from the new releases, Straight Outta Compton and Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation continued to occupy the top two spots at the box office this past weekend, with $26.7 million and $11.7 million respectively.  Compton has taken in $111.7 million since its debut two weeks ago, while the latest Tom Cruise action sequel has gone to $157.7 million domestically.  The top debut last week was the horror sequel Sinister 2, which took $10.6 million for a third place showing.  Of course, it cost less than $10 million to make, so it is still a success.  Hitman: Agent 47, meanwhile, opened to a disappointing $8.2 million in fourth. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. took in $7.4 million which was good for fifth place, but it has only taken in $26 million against its reported $75 million budget.  The rest of the top ten were as follows:  American Ultra (debut at $5.5M), The Gift ($4.3M/$31M), Ant-Man ($4M/$164.5M), Minions ($3.7M/$319.9M), and Fantastic Four ($3.6M/$49.6M).  And now for this week’s new entries….

We Are Your Friends (Warner Bros) – Drama/Music
Rated R for language throughout, drug use, sexual content and some nudity
Tag Line: None
Starring: Zac Efron, Wes Bentley, Emily Ratajkowski
Plot: Caught between a forbidden romance and the expectations of his friends, aspiring DJ Cole Carter attempts to find the path in life that leads to fame and fortune.
Running Time: 96 minutes

Ken: We live in an age where any clown with a Macbook can  call themself a DJ. Given enough money and minimal talent, all it takes is lights, loud music and lots of pretty people to throw a good party. Can the same be said about movies?
Rob: A movie about a DJ trying to make his mark.  Pass.
Chris: Rave music DJ movie….about the antithesis of my core interests at this age.

No Escape (Weinstein Company) – Action/Drama
Rated R for strong violence including a sexual assault, and for language
Tag Line: Survive together or die together
Starring: Lake Bell, Pierce Brosnan, and Owen Wilson
Plot: In their new overseas home, an American family soon finds themselves caught in the middle of a coup, and they frantically look for a safe escape in an environment where foreigners are being immediately executed.
Running Time: 103 minutes

Chris: I remember being pleasantly surprised by Owen Wilson’s serious acting turn in the action movie Behind Enemy Lines, and I look forward to his return to the genre.
Ken: Well wasn’t that a pleasant surprise? I saw Owen Wilson’s dumb face and my brain automatically thought “rom-com” and went into hibernation mode but that got real, real quick. Rescue copter? Nope, machine gun copter!
Rob: A family in jeopardy trying to escape Asian war and get to the US Embassy. Pass.

Z for Zachariah (Grindstone Entertainment Group) – Drama/SciFi/Thriller
Rated PG – 13 for a scene of sexuality, partial nudity, and brief strong language
Tag Line: After the end of the world she thought she was alone. She was wrong.
Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Chris Pine, Margot Robbie
Plot: In the wake of a disaster that wipes out most of civilization, two men and a young woman find themselves in an emotionally charged love triangle as the last known survivors.
Running Time: 95 minutes

Rob: A Post-Apocalyptic Love Triangle.  Pass.
Chris: I saw apocalyspe movie, and I immediately thought another zombie movie. Thankfully it was not.  And it actually looks like it could be a diamond in the rough.
Ken: Z for zzzzzzzzzzz….

War Room (Sony) – Spiritual Drama
Rated PG for thematic elements throughout
Tag Line: Prayer is a powerful weapon
Starring: Priscilla Shirer, T.C. Stallings, and Karen Abercrombie
Plot: A seemingly perfect family look to fix their problems with the help of Miss Clara, an older, wiser woman.
Running Time: 120 minutes

Ken: Is it just me or did that feel a little bit churchy? Dear lord, deliver me from this movie.
Rob: Religious Schlock.  Pass.
Chris: The trailer does not delve into too much except about the plot except that its about the power of prayer, but if you have seen Courageous, you know that the filmmaker’s can make a truly inspiring movie.

Queen of the Earth (IFC Films) – Drama/Thriller
Not Rated
Tag Line: None
Starring: Elisabeth Moss, Katherine Waterston, and Patrick Fugit
Plot: Two women who grew up together discover they have drifted apart when they retreat to a lake house together.
Running Time: 90 minutes

Chris: With the throw-back 1970’s style trailer, I don’t know if I am supposed to take the subject matter seriously or not.  Creepy, quirky, and exploitive…words that come to mind.
Ken: Holy crap that was so unsettling for so many reasons. Foremost being the narrator’s voice.
Rob: A very crappy looking psychological thriller.  Pass.

Tickets Purchased:  2 for No Escape (Ken and Chris) while Rob stays home to re-enact Billy Madison scenes in his bath tub.

Escape is apparently futile
Escape is apparently futile
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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 8/25/2015

We’re back ladies and gents with another episode of the Crank File. While the stock market tanked this week, collectors have remained bearish and the comics market remains healthy. DC may have something on their hands with this Harley Quinn character. With the hype building around the upcoming Suicide Squad movie, Ms. Quinzel’s never been hotter and her books have been absolute fire. All of her keys have been on a meteoric rise and prices on near mint copies of Batman Adventures 12 are reaching for that rarified, four figured air. And there’s no sign of the ceiling yet.

While her first appearance is now out of the reach of casual collectors, other Harley books to be on the look out for include: Batman: Mad Love one shot (2nd appearance), Batman Adventures Annual 1 (3rd appearance), Batman: Harley Quinn (1999 1st appearance in DC continuity) and Batman 570 (2nd appearance in continuity). Buy! Buy! Buy!

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

 

The top of the pile: We Can Never Go Home #4 Black Mask

 

WCNGH4

 

One of the best new series out this year. Like many other reviewers, I’ve been singing the praises of this indie gem from the start. It feels edgy and cool and just a bit dangerous. But most importantly, it’s a heck of a lot of fun to read. They’re young. They’re in love. They rob banks. And one of them has super powers.

 

The Mainstream One: Lando #3 Marvel

 

Lando3

 

There’s a handful of strong, newly launched titles that I’m excited to check out this week including We Are Robins #3, Cyborg #2 and Old Man Logan #4. But hello, what do we have here? Charles Shoule crafting a fine backstory for our favorite Calrissian. Lando and Lobot hijack a spacecraft that belongs to the Emperor himself and there’s a new Mandalorian bounty hunter in the galaxy. Punch it.

 

 

The Indie One: Low #9 Image

 

L9

 

Saga gets a lot of adoration around here, and deservedly so, but I think Low needs to be in the conversation of best sci-fi series out right now. This title has never failed to impress me with it’s depth and beauty. I’m totally down with Low.

 

 

The #1 One: New MGMT #1 Dark Horse

 

NM1

 

Brilliant and unapologetically weird, Matt Kindt’s Mind MGMT is back this week with a new one shot.

 

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Shield #9 Marvel Kirby/Steranko variant

S    s9

A classic cover paying homage to two legendary artists who defined the Marvel style. To celebrate the 50’th anniversary of S.H.I.E.L.D, issue #9 will be released with a 1:50 color variant and a 1:75 black and white sketch variant.

 

 

Last Week’s Leftover’s: Young Terrorists #1 Black Mask

 

YT1

 

There are indie books and then there’s Black Mask. These guys have been absolutely destroying it and Young Terrorist did not disappoint. Issue #1 was bold and exhilarating, with the signature gritty story telling that we’ve come to expect from Black Mask. It was released last week in prestige format with three gorgeous covers. This book sold out everywhere, so don’t hesitate if you find a copy left on the shelf.

 

Carpe Comics!

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The Female Perspective: Ten Years Of “Six Feet Under”

Welcome! This is a twice-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


The cast of "Six Feet Under"
The cast of “Six Feet Under”

Over ten years ago now I started watching a show called “Six Feet Under.” I had no real expectations for it. I was watching because of two things;

  1. Alan Ball created and wrote it and I simply adored American Beauty.
  2. It was about a funeral home and that sounded morbidly wonderful to me

What I didn’t expect from “Six Feet Under” was to be completely entwined with the lives and disasters of the Fisher Family. I had no idea that it would take me on a five year ride of ups and downs, sadness and happiness. Fear and misery. As an author, this show changed my perspective on what real writing could be. What TV writing could be.

On August 21st, it was the ten year anniversary of the finale of “Six Feet Under” and as usual, that number made me feel old. Where did that ten years go? What have I been doing?

Living my life.

I’ve had my own ups and downs, my own misery and fear, my own depression and anxiety. In that time I’ve re-watched “Six Feet Under” more than once and what I realize each time I watch it is that it holds up. This show holds up. Sure the cell phones are old and some of the references antiquated but not in a way that screws up the story, it’s all wonderfully charming. Let’s take a few minutes to chat about the characters that make up the Fisher family.


“We used to say that Nate was Marilyn Munster and that everybody else in the family was much more overtly strange. Nate seemed normal. But as the series went on, that was very clearly not the case.” –Alan Ball


 

Nate & David Fisher (Played by Peter Krause and Michael C. Hall)

Brothers that could not be more alike. That’s the simplest way to describe Nate and David. When we first see the Fisher brothers, they are snippy and at odds with one another. David is clearly artificial, clearly hiding something and clearly unhappy to see his big brother. Of course, the reason Nate is there in the first place is for the funeral of their father, also named Nathaniel Fisher, who was killed in a car wreck.  Nate is only there to be present for the funeral, he has a good life (or so he thinks) for himself back at home in Seattle and he wants nothing to do with his bizarre family.

The Brother's Fisher.
The Brother’s Fisher.

That all changes when his mother Ruth asks him to stay just a little bit longer. Nate’s inability to turn his mother down would change all their lives in the most wonderful way and also leave the audience devastated by the end of the show’s run.

Nate is a free spirit, he seems normal at first but quickly we realize he’s as screwed up and as selfish as the rest of his family. At times I hated his character, other times I loved him and Krause played it all to perfection.

David is another matter, he is reserved, wound tight and cold. Then we start to see the ice chipping away, we start to see the secret underneath that dark suit and cold eyes. David is ashamed of himself, ashamed of his life choices and what bonds these two brothers it the fact that they are actually both ashamed of themselves and neither was as loved or adored by their father as they thought. Both felt slighted by the man they barely knew.


 

The Trailer For The First Season Of “Six Feet Under”


 

Claire & Ruth Fisher (played by Lauren Ambrose and Frances Conroy)

The women of “Six Feet Under” are no less complex and riveting as the men. We first encounter Claire as a screwed up teenager, high on meth, who now has to deal with the fact that her father is dead (she does not do well but luckily for her, Nate helps her out. Being the understanding brother who knows all about drugs himself). Once Claire sobers up we find that she is a confused girl who simply doesn’t have any idea who she is. Nate had left town before she was grown, David remained unattached and both her mother Ruth and her father Nate really didn’t have much to do with her. Claire was left to her own devices and she didn’t do so well. Throughout the series she goes through quite a few ups and downs, picking bad relationships, trying to find her voice as an artist and finally, leaving home to become her own person.

Ruth Fisher … Oh Ruth. Ruth starts out reserved and confused and in mourning for a husband even she didn’t really know. Her life had become a routine, stark, bleak and boring. We find out quickly that Ruth is not all she seems, she’s had been having an affair and when her kids find out, there are fireworks! But Ruth is more than a widow and mother, she is a woman who, after a lifetime of raising kids and tending to her husband, she has to figure out who SHE is (much like her daughter Claire is doing). I love that their search for self parallels so beautifully. I love that by the end of the series, Ruth is strong and capable (after quite a few mishaps) and I always love when Ruth finally snaps and sets her children right.

Mother and Daughter Fisher.
Mother and Daughter.

The Finale

For me, the finale is nothing short of brilliance in TV. Instead of tidying up everyone’s life and presenting us with a finished package, Ball and series writers take it further. Since the show itself is about death, why not kill off everyone? No, it’s not some bloody shootout, it’s life. It’s reality. It’s freakin’ haunting.

I recently re-watched the last 10 minutes of the finale and it still brings me to messy, ugly tears. It’s poignant and it’s truth. It’s a perfect finale for a show that only spoke truth. I mourn it’s passing and the fact that we only got 5 short years with the Fisher family but then I also realize, we got 5 years with the Fisher family and that is a blessing.

RIP "Six Feet Under"
RIP “Six Feet Under”

Did you watch “Six Feet Under”? Did you love it or hate it? Why or why not? Tell me about it in the comments!

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Trailer Snark (August 21 Theatrical Releases)

Welcome to Trailer Snark, a weekly column covering trailers for movies that will be released this week with thoughts from our roster of bloggers (Jessica from The Female Perspective, Ken from The Crank File, Jim from The Front Row View, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Last Week:  Straight Outta Compton busted out of the ghetto and into theaters with a storm taking in $56M.  Tom Cruise slipped to very distant second place with MI: Rogue Nation ($17M/$138M).  The Man from U.N.C.L.E. received some ordinary reviews and only could muster a third place $13.5M opening.  Fantastic Four held fourth place with $8M bringing its total to $42M overall.  It was a log-jam for the rest of the top ten, however as fifth place The Gift ($6.5M/$23.5M) only beat out the tenth place Trainwreck ($3.8M/$97M) by less than $3M.  Ant-Man, Vacation, Minions, and Ricki and the Flash in between in that order.  And now, onto our candidates for cinematic glory this week….

Sinister 2 (Blumhouse) – Horror
Rated R for strong violence, bloody and disturbing images, and language
Tag Line: None
Starring: James Ransone, Shannyn Sossamon, and Robert Daniel Sloan
Plot: A young mother and her twin sons move into a rural house that’s marked for death.
Running Time: 97 minutes

Chris: The first was an OK effort, but not nearly good enough for a visit to the theater. This one provides me the same feeling of mediocrity best left for home theater viewing.
Jessica: I barely remembered the first one until the showed the pic with Ethan Hawke and I don’t feel this needed a sequel. That being said, I know I’ll end up watching it at home when it’s on Netflix or something. Though I had a lot of problems with the first one, the biggest being it was so dark the big reveal at the end was less than interesting to me.
Ken:
The first movie had some insanely creepy moments and the premise was solid, but the story fell apart at the end. I think given a budget and a decent script this could be a good horror film.

American Ultra (Lionsgate) – Action/Comedy
Rated R for strong bloody violence, language throughout, drug use and some sexual content
Tag Line: The ultimate secret agent becomes the ultimate target
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Topher Grace, Connie Britton, John Leguizamo, and Bill Pullman.
Plot: A stoner – who is in fact a government agent – is marked as a liability and targeted for extermination. But he’s too well-trained and too high for them to handle.
Running Time: 95 minutes

Ken: That looked like a good amount of fun. Could be a sleeper.  
Chris: I like Jesse Eisenberg, but I absolutely loathe Kristen Stewart.  Stoner comedy was funny to me back when I was in college, but I can only take small doses now…no, not small doses of reefer…I meant the comedy.
Jessica: I like Eisenberg but cannot stand Stewart so I’ll skip this one. I cannot possibly watch another movie where Stewart looks awkward and stutters.

Hitman:  Agent 47 (20th Century Fox) – Action
Rated R for sequences of strong violence, and some language
Tag Line:  None
Starring:  Rupert Friend, Hannah Ware, Zachary Quinto
Plot: An assassin teams up with a woman to help her find her father and uncover the mysteries of her ancestry.
Running Time: 96 minutes

Jessica: Never saw the first one and I don’t care! This looks like fun and I enjoy Quinto quite a bit, especially if he’s the bad guy. I love me a good action movie with totally improbable action sequences. Can I say action more? I CAN! I love action movies with lots of action!
Ken: As a fan of the game franchise, I can tell you honesty that this trailer did nothing for me. Hitman is stealth and precision, not car chases and romantic subplots. It got the CGI right though.
Chris: How many years has it been since the original?  This one looks like a fun theater experience with some great action set pieces and fast-[aced fun.  Some of the key elements to a traditional summer movie….and there aren’t many of those to enjoy remaining on our 2016 calendar.

Grandma (Sony Pictures Classics) – Comedy
Rated R for language and some drug use
Tag Line: None
Starring: Lily Tomlin, Julia Garner
Plot: Self-described misanthrope Elle Reid has her protective bubble burst when her 18-year-old granddaughter, Sage, shows up needing help. The two of them go on a day-long journey that causes Elle to come to terms with her past and Sage to confront her future.
Running Time: 79 minutes

Chris: Lily Tomlin looks to be rocking this role pretty well from the trailer.  I’ll catch it in another medium.
Jessica: Love this. Love this so much I could watch the trailer a few times and still love it. It’s the kind of movie I’d want to see in the theater but will probably forget and see it at home but Lily Tomlin I adore and holy bejesus, Sam Elliot? I am SO ON BOARD
Ken: I love grandmas and I love Lily Tomlin, so it reasons that I would love this movie. But life is full of little surprises.  

6 Years (The Orchard) – Drama/Romance
Not Rated
Tag Line: None
Starring: Taissa Farmiga, Ben Rosenfield, Lindsay Burdge
Plot: A young couple bound by a seemingly ideal love, begins to unravel as unexpected opportunities spin them down a volatile and violent path and threaten the future they had always imagined.
Running Time: 85 minutes

Ken: So angsty.
Chris: Indie movie all the way…..and not the kind I am usually intrigued by,
Jessica: What exactly is the point? I’m too old to watch teenagers deal with their relationship ending or hitting a bump, I’ve been through enough of my own. Big ole pass on this pile of boring.

Digging for Fire (The Orchard) – Drama
Rated R for language including some sexual references, drug use and brief graphic nudity
Tag Line: None
Starring: Jake Johnson, Rosemarie DeWitt, and Orlando Bloom
Plot: The discovery of a bone and a gun send a husband and wife on separate adventures over the course of a weekend.
Running Time: 85 minutes

Jessica: What rock did Orlando Bloom crawl out from? This looks like it could actually be some fun and holy bejesus, Sam Eliott again??? And Sam Rockwell? I am in a heaven of awesome Sam’s. I’d watch this at home for sure, could be totally funny but “with a  message” or something
Ken: “A fascinating character study” Translation – boring,
Chris: Orlando Bloom gets top billing here, but I think I only saw him in one scene in the entire trailer….maybe I just wasn’t focusing?  I must have been digging for some pocket change to get me that second coffee I so desperately need.  Yawn….

She’s Funny That Way (Lionsgate) – Comedy
Rated R for some language including sexual references
Tag Line: Showbiz has always been a little screwball.
Starring: Imogen Poots, Owen Wilson, Scott Campbell, and Jennifer Aniston
Plot: On the set of a playwright’s new project, a love triangle forms between his wife, her ex-lover, and the call girl-turned-actress cast in the production.
Running Time: 93 minutes

Chris:  I was prepared to disregard this one out of hand, but the Own Wilson/Jennifer Aniston comedy actually looks pretty entertaining with its ensemble cast.  Color me surprised.
Jessica: I’m all set with this one, it was just really unappealing.
Ken: She must be funny in that understated, not-funny kind of way.

Learning to Drive (Broad Green Pictures) – Comedy/Drama/Romance
Rated R for language and sexual content
Tag Line: It’s never too late to begin a new adventure.
Starring: Patricia Clarkson, Ben Kingsley, and Jake Weber
Plot: As her marriage dissolves, a Manhattan writer takes driving lessons from a Sikh instructor with marriage troubles of his own. In each other’s company they find the courage to get back on the road and the strength to take the wheel.
Running Time: 90 minutes

Ken: Of all the movies out this week, a movie about an over the hill odd couple feels the freshest.  
Chris: Kingsley plays an Sikh driving instructor whose student, played by Patricia Clarkson, is going through a personal crisis.  Driving skills seem to take a back seat to other life lessons in the process.  Looks charming in its own way, and I may catch it after market eventually.
Jessica: At first I was pretty blah about it but as the trailer went on, I think I kinda dig it. Looks totally charming.

Tickets Purchased:  1 ticket for Hitman:  Agent 47 (Chris), 1 ticket for Grandma (Jessica), and 1 ticket for Sinister 2 (Ken).  With no one to break a Trailer Snark first three-way tie, you be the judge!

dancing-with-the-stars-judges-holding-tens

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The Female Perspective: IT, The Movie

Welcome! This is a twice-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


Even though I didn't read "IT" until I was an adult, it scared the bejesus out of me.
Even though I didn’t read “IT” until I was an adult, it scared the bejesus out of me.

I am a huge Stephen King fan but I wasn’t able to summon the mental fortitude to read his book IT until a couple years ago. After having seen the Tim Curry TV movie I was honestly too terrified to crack the book. I have always been an avid reader and I know that books are almost always scarier than TV or movies. Our minds can go places no one else can and my mind can be a very scary place indeed.

That being said, I was over the moon excited about the film adaptation. They were going to split it into two films AND it was to be directed by True Detective genius Cary Fukunaga. The only sticking point was the actor they cast as Pennywise the clown, a relative newcomer named Will Poulter who was in the Jason Sudeikis comedy, We’re The Millers. I was intrigued though because Poulter, while relatively unknown, might be a good choice simply because he is unknown. I have wracked my brain trying to think who could possibly fill Tim Curry’s amazingly twisted shoes as Pennywise and could not really come up with anyone. I think a newcomer would be a welcome addition because expectations are low and therefore, the hope is that Poulter can only meet them and then some.


“We all float down here.”


 

You can imagine my disappointment when Fukunaga walked recently from being the director. He has since been replaced by  Andy Muschietti, the director behind the Guillermo Del Toro-produced Mama. 

Sigh.

Did you see Mama? It did nothing for me and I have to wonder, does this guy have the chops to take on something as huge as IT? Will the same theory about Poulter hold true for Muschietti? Maybe someone relatively unknown is better. I’m not sure because the reasons that Fukunaga left are because he and the studio could not agree on the direction of the film. Fukunaga had a “vision” people and Muschietti will do what he is told. I’m not sure how to feel about this. I know that no matter what, I will be seeing IT but until I see an actual trailer for the film, I won’t be able to decide if it’s worth my time or not.


Poulter in “We’re The Millers” – Funny, sure, but can he be Pennywise?


 

Not to mention, what about Beverly? Who is going to play what is essentially one of the most important roles in the film? Certainly, the most important female role in the film. It needs to be someone with chops, with a soft toughness that translates well for the character. If you’ve read IT you also know the bizarro ending King put in there that involves Beverly and all the boys in their group. I’m not sure if that ending would translate all that well onto film. It was strange to me in the book, though I think I understand why it was there, but it would be even stranger (and maybe even disturbing) for the film. There’s a lot about Stephen King’s IT that might be weird on film and I’m VERY curious to see how someone would bring such a strange, mystical and horrific book to life in a  way that would both terrify and intrigue audiences.

I blame Tim Curry for my hatred of clowns.
I blame Tim Curry for my hatred of clowns.

As a writer myself, I would be lying if I didn’t say that I sometimes wonder how my books would translate into film and I wonder what someone would do to adapt them. Stephen King is no stranger to adaptations of his work and some of them have even been really good (The Green Mile, Shawshank Redemption, Carrie and Pet Cemetery are just a few) and some of them have been really pretty bad (sadly The Stand (my favorite King book ever) did not stand up after all these years and the TV adaptation of The Shining was pure crap) but I think with someone like King, he has such a HUGE body of work that there’s bound to be a few flops in the mix. I just really hope that IT isn’t one of them.

What do YOU think? Did you read IT? Do you love it? Hate it? Who would you want to see play the main characters and Pennywise? Who would be your dream director? Tell me in the comments!


P.S. Come see ME and 19 other Rhode Island Authors this Saturday at Barnes & Noble on Bald Hill Rd in Warwick, RI. We’ll be there from 1-3pm signing and selling our books!

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The Female Perspective: Being Offended By A Sorority Video, Too Sensitive?

Welcome! This is a twice-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


This week a sorority at the University of Alabama released a recruitment video that has stoked some ire amongst various groups. I watched the video today and after almost six minutes of blond co-eds running around, frolicking, blowing glitter and other such nonsense I have to say this about it.

I am not offended. Bored, yes. Offended, no.

The video has been deleted by the University but other’s may be able to locate it (I could not for this story).

If you saw it, did you make it through the entire thing? I kept waiting for them to start sacrificing puppies or throwing blood at each other, anything to make sense of why it has upset people and I’m sorry but I can’t find a darn thing in here that is overly offensive. Is it dis-empowering to women? Maybe, but honestly, I don’t see the girls doing anything except what girls in Sororities do, which is have fun, be blond and smile (don’t get me wrong, I am sure they do other stuff too but it’s hard to tell from the video what other stuff they actually do. I assume at some point they actually go to classes and stuff).

Opinion writer A.L. Bailey has latched onto this video and deemed it, “worse for women than Donald Trump,” now, that seems to be a bit hyperbolic to me but let’s see what else Bailey has to say about the video.

“It’s a parade of white girls and blonde hair dye, coordinated clothing, bikinis and daisy dukes, glitter and kisses, bouncing bodies, euphoric hand-holding and hugging, gratuitous booty shots, and matching aviator sunglasses.It’s all so racially and aesthetically homogeneous and forced, so hyper-feminine, so reductive and objectifying, so Stepford Wives: College Edition. It’s all so … unempowering.” ~A.L. Bailey

Interesting. I have to say that I do agree with Baileys point here, it is extremely homogeneous and uninteresting. It doesn’t in any way reflect the diversity of a college campus. Then again, I don’t know a whole lot about sororities, are they typically very diverse? They seem to attract the same kind of people, people like the women in this video. There is nothing wrong with that, it’s boring to someone like me, sure, but it’s not against the law and until I know something different, it’s not racist either.

While I see what Bailey is trying to say (and I admit that I have tried to say similar things on my blog) this kind of thing makes me stop and wonder, are we getting too sensitive? Are we avoiding the things that really, truly matter in order to focus on trivial items like a sorority recruitment video (which, if you ask me is supposed to look like this, they want to get people thinking, “Damn, these girls look like fun! I have to join!”)? I have to wonder if this type of focus is worth the anger.

A whole lot of matching outfits.
A whole lot of matching outfits.

Even as I type this I wonder which side is the “right” side of this argument. Is there even a “right” side? I mean, these girls put together a fairly tasteful video that, to them, sums up their lives at the sorority house. There is no nudity, no drinking, nothing overtly sexual even. Sure, they prance about in bikini’s and blow glitter into the air but honestly, Baywatch was more gratuitous than this video is.

Then, when you look deeper you start to really see the pretty blonds in bikini’s, the matching outfits, the … whiteness of it all and you have to wonder, is this video a true portrayal of their lives or is it only a fantasy meant to get the sorority girls attention from both men and women, to up their numbers? Is this sorority excluding women of color, homosexuals and girls with curves or imperfections?

These are all issues that I simply don’t know the answers to since we don’t know these girls personally.

Look how much fun they're having!
Look how much fun they’re having!

In the end, there really is no good, solid answer to these questions but I’m curious, what do you, my readers, think of this video? Is it too much? Is it offensive or un-empowering to women?

Is it worse than Donald Trump?

On that last one I have to say no, there truly isn’t much worse than Donald Trump but do these girls deserve to be slammed by someone like Bailey simply for promoting their sorority?

Tell me what YOU think! Sound off in the comments below!

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The Female Perspective: The Twitter Hissy Fit Of Josh Trank

Welcome! This is a twice-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


The Not So Fantastic Four.
The Not So Fantastic Four.

DISCLAIMER: I have not seen Fantastic Four yet and to be honest, with all the terrible reviews, I am not rushing out to spend my hard-earned money on what sounds like total crap. I’ll wait for the DVD most likely. Which stinks because I was really excited to see this “reboot” (God how I detest that term) of a story I find enjoyable. I’ll admit that I actually enjoyed the other two, with Chris Evans and Jessica Alba, I thought they were campy, sure, but in a way that was fun. Either way, I was okay with a studio doing a harder-edged, dark version of the Fantastic Four. It seems like it was a monumental failure, only taking in 26 million at the box office this past weekend (I never thought in my life I’d use failure and 26 million dollars in the same sentence).

So what am  I writing a blog about if I haven’t seen the movie? I’m writing it about the director, Josh Trank. He published  a tweet this week that caused a fair amount of controversy.

“A year ago I had a fantastic version of this. And it would’ve received great reviews. You’ll probably never see it. That’s the reality, though.” – Josh Trank

Seriously dude? Are you 12 or something? I read that tweet and shook my head. Here’s a young guy making his first really big studio movie and because people don’t like it, he feels the need to publish a Tweet that makes him sound like a petulant child. Totally unprofessional. He removed the Tweet as fast as he could (I imagine someone like his dad told him he sounded like a baby) but the damage is done. The fact is Trank, directors make lousy movies once in awhile, it happens. I actually read a pretty okay review of the movie from a friend of mine who said it was … good. That’s nice to hear but still, not a rave review.

"Batman & Robin"
“Batman & Robin”

I read something today about Joel Schumacher and his thoughts on his failed (and often mocked) Batman & Robin film. He recently said;

“They immediately wanted a sequel, but I said yes. There’s nobody else to blame but me. I could have said, ‘No, I’m not going to do it.’

“Val [Kilmer] left at eleventh hour to do The Island of Dr. Moreau. It changed everything. George [Clooney] made a noble effort. I was the problem with Batman& Robin. I never did a sequel to any of my movies, and sequels are only made for one reason: to make more money and sell more toys. I did my job. But I never got my ass in the seat right.

“I just hope whenever I see a list of the worst movies ever made, we’re not on it. I didn’t do a good job. George did. Chris [O’Donnell] did. Uma [Thurman] is brilliant in it. Arnold is Arnold.” – Geek Tyrant

Now this guy is a class act. Not only does he not blame his actors, he openly blames himself for the failure of the movie.  That is how you gracefully accept blame. Then again, Shumacher has been around for awhile and he knows the Hollywood machine. Not to mention, it’s been years since the debacle that was Batman & Robin. I should also add that Twitter and all this “glorious” social media also did not exist during the time of Batman & Robin so who knows how things would have played out had Twitter existed back then.

fantastic-four-poster-800x533-137754

The fact remains that Trank is a talented guy, I recently saw his movie Chronicle, a small budget flick about kids who accidentally gain superpowers and what then happens. It’s a great, simple story, low budget and a lot of fun. It’s real world superhero stuff, which I adore. It’s well-directed, well acted and all around really good. So what went wrong with Fantastic Four? I can’t say for sure since I haven’t yet seen the movie but I can guess, Fox Studios. And maybe, just maybe, Josh Trank acted like a baby over some things. Maybe he didn’t speak up when changes were made. Maybe he folded under the pressure that is the superhero genre. Hard to say and it’s not really my job to discover the answer to the mystery.

"Chronicle" the tag line reads, "Boys will be boys," and boy will they ever...
“Chronicle” the tag line reads, “Boys will be boys,” and boy will they ever…

Social media is both a blessing and a curse these days, so many people take to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other sites to show off what they ate for dinner, talk about their latest read, or completely barf out their emotions/feelings/thoughts/etc. I’ll admit that up until a few years ago, I was guilty of expressing my innermost thoughts and feelings online but I’ve started to realize a couple of things.

1. I do not want everyone on my friends list to know my every issue, problem, etc. If I need to talk to someone about something private, I email, text message or call the people I love and trust more than anything else. I do not tweet about it.

2. Vaguebooking is annoying as Hell. Don’t post something on Facebook that says, “Life Sucks” or “I think I’m dying” or “Squirrels have attacked, run for the bunkers,” without giving some kind of context or explanation. Social media is NOT therapy people. Trank thought it would be a good idea to explain himself using 140 characters or less and guess what, everyone took it the wrong way and he’s gotten a lot of crap for it this week.

I sincerely hope that Trank learned his lesson on this. If he wants to work in Hollywood, he’s going to have to get tougher skin and he’s also going to have to learn to make a movie he likes within the constraints of a studio. Otherwise, he’s not going to be getting much work.

For the rest of us, let’s hope that Fantastic Four dies a quick death and we can move on to being excited about other things, like cotton candy grapes (yeah, they’re a real thing).

Did you see Fantastic Four? What did you think? Tell me in the comments!

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Trailer Snark (August 14 Theatrical Trailers)

Welcome to Trailer Snark, a weekly column covering trailers for movies that will be released this week with thoughts from our roster of bloggers (Jessica from The Female Perspective, Ken from The Crank File, Jim from The Front Row View, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Last Week: Marvel’s supremacy at the box office has proven to only reach so far, as the debuting Fantastic Four reboot only managed a runner-up finish with only $26 million in receipts.  One can only hope that this kind of box office disappointment opens the door to Disney reacquiring the film rights to the franchise from Fox, so Marvel’s first comic heroes can be brought into the story lines being woven throughout TV, Netflix, and cinema by the parent company.  So, who landed on top?  Look no further than last week’s box office champion, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation whose $30 million dollar haul jettisoned the fifth in the franchise film over $100 million domestic.  Jason Bateman’s thriller The Gift captured third place with $12 million.  Vacation added $9 million for fourth ($37 million overall), Ant-Man stayed in the top five with another $8 million ($147 million overall), Minions in sixth breaking the $300 million mark with its $7 million weekend, and the only other top ten debut, Ricki and the Flash, earning $7 million in seventh.  Trainwreck, Pixels, and Southpaw rounded out the rest of the list.  And now onto this week’s contenders…..

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (Warner Bros) – Action/Adventure/Comedy
Rated PG-13 for action violence, some suggestive content, and partial nudity
Tag Line: Saving the world never goes out of style.
Starring:  Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, and Hugh Grant
Plot: In the early 1960s, CIA agent Napoleon Solo and KGB operative Illya Kuryakin participate in a joint mission against a mysterious criminal organization, which is working to proliferate nuclear weapons.
Running Time: 116 minutes

Rob: Looks fun.  Since the TV show in the 60’s predates my existence I dont know much about the show.  so perhaps I’ll check out the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement.
Ken: Guy Ritchie lost me after Snatch. A revamp of a TV show that aired decades ago back when we were still fighting the Rooskies. I wonder if the US / Soviet team-up angle loses some of its societal impact. How crazy would this movie have been if they cast an Afghani soldier?
Jessica: This looks like a lot of fun. I’ve never seen the original material but I like Cavill and Guy Ritchie.
Chris: I just saw Kingsman the other day, and it has set my mind afire for espionage spy fare, and this movie looks like it may fit that bill to a T.

Straight Outta Compton (Legendary) – Bio/Drama/Music
Rated R for language throughout, strong sexuality/nudity, violence, and drug use
Tag Line: The world’s most dangerous times created the world’s most dangerous group.
Starring: O’Shea Jackson Jr, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, and Paul Giamatti
Plot: The group NWA emerges from the streets of Compton, California in the mid-1980s and revolutionizes Hip Hop culture with their music and tales about life in the hood.
Running Time: 147 minutes

Chris: I can see the appeal for a film that details what may have been the most notorious gangsta rap act of their time, and I’d probably catch it on Netflix, but no way is this theater visit for me.
Rob: “Our art is a reflection of our reality”.  An interesting look at the story of NWA and a reality that sorely needs change even today.
Ken: Helllllll yeah…. West coast rap, specifically Dre’s masterpiece The Chronic, was the soundtrack to a large chunk of my teenage years. This movie looks great. I hope they don’t bail on the fallout between NWA.
Jessica: Not a big fan of NWA but these guys definitely have a story to tell, I would watch this in the comfort of my home.

Underdogs (Gkids) – Animation/Family
Rated PG for mild thematic elements
Tag Line:  N/A
Starring: The vocal talents of Michael Broadbridge and Juan Jose Campanella
Plot: A young man named Amadeo sets off on an unexpected adventure with the players of his beloved Foosball game.
Running Time: 106 minutes

Jessica: No. Just. NO.
Chris: Welcome to the Children’s Bargain Bin!
Rob: Animated flick about fusbol players coming to life and a geeky fusbol champ standing up to a bully on a real soccer field.  Is it me or are the lips all out of synch?
Ken: Foosball is more fun than pool or air hockey but not nearly fun enough to make me watch a feature film about soccer that doesn’t involve Shaolin monks. I’m guessing this is a foreign import, it has European funk all over it.  I’m sure the animators will have the mouth flaps synced up for the US release.

Mistress America (Fox Searchlight) – Comedy
Rated R for language including some sexual references
Tag Line: N/A
Starring: Greta Gerwig and Lola Kirk
Plot: A lonely college freshman’s life is turned upside down by her impetuous, adventurous soon-to-be stepsister.
Running Time: 84 minutes

Ken: Looks extremely cute and charming but only mildly funny.
Jessica: Again no. No. No.
Chris: You couldn’t find the funny with Fox’s searchlight….see what I did there?
Rob: A comedy in which the trailer didn’t even make me crack a smile.  Probably not the best omen…

People Places Things (The Film Arcade) – Comedy
Rated R for language including some sexual references, and brief nudity
Tag Line: His next chapter is up in the air.
Starring: Jemaine Clement, Regina Hall
Plot: Will Henry is a newly single graphic novelist balancing parenting his young twin daughters and a classroom full of students while exploring and navigating the rich complexities of new love and letting go of the woman who left him.
Running Time: 85 minutes

Rob: This one’s a rental.  Seems to have character and soul, just not of big screen caliber.
Ken: Rats, I was hoping for a song. It will be interesting to see Jermaine’s serious side, which looks surprisingly genuine.
Jessica: I adore Clement since “Flight of the Concords” and he had me at “Im a sassy little hobbit.”
Chris: I wasn’t expecting much from the description, but looks like a real winner.

Return to Sender (Image Entertainment) – Thriller
Rated R for brutal graphic violence and profanity
Tag Line: N/A
Starring: Rosamund Pike, Shiloh Fernandez, and Nick Nolte
Plot: A nurse living in small town goes on a blind date with a man who is not the person he says he is.
Running Time: 95 minutes

Chris: This one looks like a tough one to watch, content-wise.  In a summer state of mind, and not really up for something so dark in a real world way.  Rosamund Pike is a favorite of mine though.
Rob: Weird freaky rape movie.  No thanks.
Ken: After watching that trailer I need a long, hot shower, a brain enema and my faith in humanity restored.
Jessica: I have to say that at first I didn’t really think much of this but Pike was fantastic in “Gone Girl” and this looks interesting. I’d definitely check it out.

Fort Tilden (Orion) – Comedy
Rated R for language, sexual content, some graphic nudity and brief drug use
Tag Line: N/A
Starring: Bridey Elliot and Clare McNulty
Plot: A comedy about Allie and Harper and their needlessly difficult journey to the beach.
Running Time: 98 minutes

Jessica: Looks like it could be really funny and quirky or really stupid.
Chris: Strikes me as the female version of Dude, Where’s My Car.  Might be an entertaining rental.
Rob: Not my cup of tea.  Not sure it is anyone’s cup of tea actually…
Ken: A bromance for women, a womance? Ok I’ll admit it, I thought that looked damn entertaining.

Final Girl (Cinedigm) – Action/Drama/Thriller
Rated R for disturbing violent content, and some language
Tag Line: The hunted becomes the hunter.
Starring: Abigail Breslin, Wes Bentley, Logan Huffman, and Cameron Bright
Plot: A man teaches a young woman how to become a complete weapon. 13 years later, at 18 she will approach a group of sadistic teens who killed blonde women for unknown reasons. The hunting season begins.
Running Time: 90 minutes

Ken: The trailer was terrible, but I think it was because of the way it was edited together. The movie itself looked terrible as well. No excuses there. That looked awful.
Jessica: Totally in. I like the twist. At first I was prepared to give it a big ole no but I like the idea of Breslin being a bad-ass so I’d check this out.
Chris: It started off like a group American Psychopath rip-off, and then took a quite different turn.  Count me in!
Rob: Horror movie in which a group of four scumbags hunt girls and kill them until someone is trained to take them down.  Yep,  they’re defeated by Kit Kitteredge.  No thanks.

Tickets Purchased:  2 for Straight Outta Compton (Rob and Ken), 1 for The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (Chris) and Jessica stays home with a good book.

Who else is kickin' it old school this weekend?
Who else is kickin’ it old school this weekend?

 

What will you be seeing in theaters this weekend?
-The Great Stories Team

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 8/12/2015

Hey comic book nerds. The Connecticut Comic Con is going down at the Mohegan Sun casino this weekend. Some legends of the comic industry will be in attendance: Roy Thomas, Steve McNiven, Neal Adams, Mike Zeck, Tim Seeley, John Beatty, Greg Pak, Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, Jerry Ordway, Louise Simonson just to name a few. Great Stories will be representing as well. So stop by, win a boatload at the tables and then blow it all on collectibles.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

 

The top of the pile: Batman #43 DC

 

BM43

 

Last month’s Batman teased the new big-bad in Gotham, Bat-Gordon’s first super-villain. This week Mr. Bloom takes center stage, featured prominently on this gorgeous white cover. I’m so excited to see what Snyder and Capullo have planned for Bruce Wayne. They have proven time and time again that they are unafraid to break uncharted ground with the Batman series and these are deep, murky waters that we’ve waded into.

 

The Mainstream One: Secret Wars #5 Marvel

 

SW5

 

It’s a little bit late but good things are worth waiting for. The Secret Wars tie-ins have been hit or miss but the main title has been an absolute thrill. We’re now five issues into the eight issue series, the stage has been set and the players put in their place. We are approaching the apex of our story and #5 should set off events that will lead us into the new Marvel Universe.

 

The Indie One: Harrow County #4 Dark Horse

HC4

 

Creepy, haunting and filled with nightmares. Instead of relying heavily on graphic depictions of blood and gore (though there is plenty of blood and gore) this book mixes moody atmospheres and deliberate pacing to build the sense of terror. Cullen Bunn is crafting a classic, old-school, woods-in-the-dark horror story with Harrow County.

 

The #1 One: Bombshell’s #1 DC

 

BS1

 

The fans demanded it so DC stepped up and delivered. DC’s Bombshells started out as a ragtag group of super-heroine statues modeled with a retro pinup girl style. They leaped onto DC’s covers with their own variant themed month. Now writer Marguerite Bennett, who already launched Marvel’s all-female A-Force series this year, leads the DC Bombshell’s to war in their own series.

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Beauty #1 Image

 

B1     B12

 

During an age in which physical beauty is worshiped this book has the opportunity to say something culturally significant. What if there was a way to guarantee you could become more and more beautiful every day? What if it was a sexually transmitted disease? In the world of The Beauty, physical perfection is attainable. The vast majority of the population has taken advantage of it, but Detectives Foster and Vaughn will soon discover it comes at a terrible price. Just look at that regular cover. And then look at the Frisson variant cover!

 

The Speculation One: We Can Never Go Home #3 Black Mask 2nd Printing

 

WCNGH3

 

Turns out not every store received their copies last week. Guess I was one of the lucky ones to get a sneak peak. There was a bit of controversy over a couple pages in the first printing of issue #3 that have been changed in the second printing. Check out the details over here and make sure to pick up a copy on Wednesday.

 

Last Week’s Leftovers: Wicked + Divine #13 Image

 

TWD13

 

I was fairly impressed with Wicked + Divine’s first arc. The second arc absolutely blew me away. We get a new artist with the exceptionally talented Tula Lotay filling in for Jamie McKelvie while he focuses on his work at his other Image book, Phonogram The Immaterial Girl. Issue #13 also marks several other key moments in the series:  the death of a god and the surprising introduction of another.

 

Carpe Comics!