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Trailer Snark (January 29, 2016 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: The Force Awakens was finally dethroned as Box Office Champion, and it wasn’t even a brand new debut that managed it.  The Revenant with Leonardo DiCaprio took the top spot with $16M in receipts to bring its domestic haul to $119M.  The aforementioned Star Wars sequel placed second with $14.2M added to its astounding $879.2M domestic total.  In third was Ride Along 2 with $12.9M ($59.1M overall).  A trio of new releases occupied the next slots and all came in with very closely matched numbers.  Dirty Grandpa led this group with $11.5M, The Boy with $11.2M in the fifth overall spot, and 5th Wave in sixth with $10.7M.  13 Hours fell to seventh ($9.7M/$33.4M), Daddy’s Home in eighth ($5.2M/$138.7M), Norm of the North tumbling to ninth ($4.1M/$14.2M), and The Big Short closing out the top ten ($3.5M/$56.7M).  This week is a bit light on the release schedule, and here is the lineup.

Kung Fu Panda 3 (Dreamworks) – Animated/Family
Rated PG for martial arts action and some mild rude humor
Tag Line: Grab destiny by the rice dumplings.
Starring:  Jack Black, Bryan Cranston
Plot: Continuing his “legendary adventures of awesomeness”, Po must face two hugely epic, but different threats: one supernatural and the other a little closer to his home.
Running Time: 95 minutes

Jim: My daughter and I love these movies so, sorry, I’m biased. We’re definitely seeing Po this weekend.
Rob: We love this series of films too.  Will probably just wait and buy it digitally in a few months though unless my youngest forces the issue.
Jessica: I loved the first one but never saw the 2nd and so maybe I’ll have a marathon someday to catch up but also, maybe not.
Ken: The adorable meter is off the charts. More of an at home kind of movie.
Chris:  I prefer Hong Kong Phooey.

The Finest Hours (Disney) – Drama/Action
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of peril
Tag Line: 32 survivors.  Room for 12.
Starring: Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster
Plot: The Coast Guard makes a daring rescue attempt off the coast of Cape Cod after a pair of oil tankers are destroyed during a blizzard in 1952.
Running Time: 117 minutes

Chris:  The sea terrifies me, which only ups the dramatic scale.  Count me in!
Jim: If I weren’t from New England, would I have such an issue with Hollywood’s bogus New England accents? Actors must study old tapes of JFK and think they’ve nailed it. Once I get past the annoying accents, the movie might be worth a look.
Rob: Looks pretty decent.  I’d hit up a Red Box for this down the road.
Jessica: Their accents don’t bug me at all. I love a true story like this and I enjoy Chris Pine so I’d watch this at home.
Ken: Could be a fun one to watch on the big screen. Because you know they live.

Fifty Shades of Black (Open Road Films) – Comedy
Rated R for strong crude sexual content including some graphic nudity, and for language throughout.
Tag Line: Way shadier than gray.
Starring: Marlon Wayans, Kali Hawk, Fred Willard, Jane Seymour
Plot: An inexperienced college student meets a wealthy businessman whose sexual practices put a strain on their relationship.
Running Time: 92 minutes

Ken: Should have been called Fifty Shades of White. How many black people do you know with the last name Black?  This movie looks so bad… you’re a cruel overlord for making us watch that trailer.
Chris: The source material was a bad joke to start.  Did we really need a spoof?
Jim: As if Fifty Shades of Gray wasn’t hilarious enough. This looks dumb enough to be enjoyable.
Rob: Pass.  I’d pass twice if that’s an option.
Jessica: Eh. The original movie is funnier than this stuff.

Jane Got a Gun (Weinstein Company) – Action/Drama/Western
Rated R for violence and some language
Tag Line: Strength, justice, power, vengeance.
Starring:  Natalie Portman, Ewan MacGregor, Joel Edgerton
Plot: A woman asks her ex-lover for help in order to save her outlaw husband from a gang out to kill him.
Running Time: 98 minutes
Jessica: Hmmm…intriguing but not movie theater intriguing.
Ken: McGregor channeling Burt Reynolds into that mustache. I’m usually down for a good, old-timey Western, but I’m not sure that Jane is going to qualify. TV, maybe.
Chris: I wanted to like this trailer more than I did.  Hope it pleasantly surprises me on the small screen.
Jim: This touches upon just about every Western cliché in existence, but still looks engrossing. Hopefully this is Black Swan- level Natalie and not Star Wars prequels- level Natalie.
Rob: Natalie Portman!   Ok, I’ll rent this one too down the road.

Tickets Purchased: Two for The Finest Hours (Ken and Chris), two for Kung Fu Panda 3 (Jim and Jessica), and Rob goes to see Star Wars for the tenth time.

Po Panda!
Po Panda!
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The Female Perspective: The F Word…Again

Welcome! This is a 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.

Yep, I’m going to talk about that F word again.

The dreaded Feminism.

I came across a couple things this week that made me see that this discussion is far from over. It both saddens and encourages me. The two videos showcase the best and worst of the mind and what it can do, how words can be powerful and how the person in charge can be a good and fair person.

Stacey Dash, “famous” for her role in Clueless and not much else, has made a point of being an outspoken, anti-person, or whatever it is she claims to be. She has basically gone against her own race along with her own sex. She recently appeared on Meredith Vieira’s show to discuss gender pay inequality.

Take a moment to watch this 2 minute clip and meet me in a minute to discuss.

Okay Stacey, I see some of what you are saying but not all of it. You clearly do not want to accept the fact that women do in fact make less than men, as Vieira said, 78 cents to the dollar. It’s an actual FACT. Sorry lady, you can’t really argue with actual math and stuff.

To say that pay inequality and racism is all an “excuse” and if you want to be extraordinary you should go ahead and do so is simplifying the issue to an extreme degree. There are probably hundreds of thousands of women today who are extraordinary, more so than their male counterparts, and they are still making considerably less than men. By your argument Stacey, you are saying that these women simply are not seizing their greatness or some such crap.


It’s slightly insane how she absolutely refuses to see the truth and instead spouts ignorance and lies and worse than that, blames women being held back on excuses. It saddens me. The fact is, many women work very hard and they deserve pay that reflects that. We have made great strides in the years since suffrage, but we have a lot further to go.

My other video is so much fun I almost squealed with glee watching it. Once again, new Canadian PM Justin Trudeau has made headlines for his no-nonsense truth talking and I gotta say, more than the idea of Donald Trump being elected into office, this guy makes me want to move to Canada. Trudeau talks about how men (and women) need to embrace feminism  to improve decision making in politics.

I could not agree more with this fella.

The fact is, feminism is not a dirty word,  it is a word to be proud of. A movement that both men and women should be honored to be a part of. There is no shame in being a feminist because it is about equality and who could possible be against equality?


Sadly, I think most of us know the answer to that particular query. There is so much opposition to equality in our world today that it makes it seem like an impossible hurdle to jump. The fact that there are still women being lambasted in public for breastfeeding because breasts are apparently offensive unless they’re squashed in a Victoria’s Secret bra is just one example of how the world views women unfairly.

Even today, a friend posted a video on Facebook of a woman doing some amazing acrobatics and the comments from some of the men were sexist and annoying. Jokes about  this is what happens when you accuse a woman of having a “man cold” or some such nonsense. All I could think was, “If that was a man doing it, it would be, wow, look at him,” or, “He’s a badass.” I realize to some it will seem like I’m taking it “too seriously” and I need to “chill” but at the same time, it’s these same little things that when they slip by unnoticed that become big things, that soon become bigger than the world can contain and things explode (or implode). So no, I don’t think it’s a small thing, I think it’s a clear indicator of the inequality all around us.

That same Stacey Dash video was one I snagged from Facebook and the comments from one guy were about how he’d have to research to make sure that women don’t get paid the same as men and then he actually posted a full list of professions and the pay inequality (thus admitting he was wrong and that yes, inequality exists) but it was really annoying for a man to be trying to find a way away from the truth. A truth that is well documented. While I applaud him wanting to make sure the research proved the video, I found it frustrating that today, in 2016, we still have non-believers.

Suffragettes Forever is available on Amazon.
Suffragettes Forever is available on Amazon.

I recently watched a 3-part documentary called Suffragettes Forever: The Story Of Women and Power on Amazon (it is excellent) and it reminded me that I personally am so very, very grateful (and that is still a paltry word) for all the hard-working, brave women that came before me. The women who fought (physically and mentally) to get us to a place where we can work, go to school and vote without persecution, but we and many other parts of the world still have a lot of work to do. This documentary also made me think of the group of anti-feminsts who say they don’t “need” feminism and I want to sit them down and have them see the true cost of their free lives. Had those suffragette not fought for their rights, those young “I don’t need feminism” ladies wouldn’t be able to speak their mind and video tape and photograph themselves with their anti-feminism slogan.

It’s endlessly frustrating to be a woman and to be able to see how far we’ve come and at the same time, how far we still have to go. Nonetheless, I have hope and faith that we’ll get to a place one day where women are seen as equals. If nothing else, the fight rages on and none of us will stop pushing towards a world where all are equal. Where all are one.

Sixteen-year-old British suffragette Dora Thewlis is arrested by two policemen on March 20, 1907 (according to info shared via Wikimedia Commons).
Sixteen-year-old British suffragette Dora Thewlis is arrested by two policemen on March 20, 1907 (according to info shared via Wikimedia Commons).

Are you a feminist and proud of it? Tell me YOUR thoughts in the comments!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 1/25/2016

Hey there guys and dolls, and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. Marvel tried to make headlines this week by announcing the return of Steve Rogers as Captain America in May and teasing the immenent resurrection of another major, deceased character.  But DC stole their thunder with a single word, “Rebirth”. After many of DC’s flagship titles reach their 52nd issue, the DC universe will reboot for the second time in 5 years. And while it’s not being officially being called a reboot, it walks like a reboot and quacks like a reboot. In other DC news, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo are leaving Batman after issue #51, ending a brilliant 5-year run on the series. No news yet on what their dynamic duo will be working on afterwards, but Snyder has mentioned doing some writing on Detective Comics.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:


The Top of the Pile: Saga #33



Publisher: Image

Words: Brian K Vaughan

Art: Fiona Staples

Upsher and Doff are back on the case.

We’re three issues into the latest arc and after months of searching, Marko and Alana are finally close to rescuing Hazel! But the situation is more dangerous than ever.Our favorite war correspondents are back this issue, which means we will be taking a peak at the wider world beyond our main protagonists. Fiona Staples delivers a breathtaking cover, definitely one of the best in the series. Is anyone getting sick of seeing Saga at the top of the pile? Me neither. Sagaaaaaa!!!


The Mainstream One: Extraordinary X-Men #6


Publisher: Marvel

Words: Jeff Lemire

Art: Humberto Ramos

This month, it’s mutants, monsters and…RHINOSAURS?! With the doors of X-Haven thrown open wide to mutantkind, the Extraordinary X-Men continue their mission of providing relief and rescue to any mutant in need. But when they respond to a distress call originating in WEIRDWORLD, are the X-Men in over their heads…or worse, about to lose them?

It’s an X-Men/Weirdworld cross over, and that alone is enough to get me to give this issue a read. Add in the amazing creative talent of Lemire and Ramos and I’m more excited about an X-book than I have been in years. “X-Men… Kick their asses!”


The Independent One: Southern Bastards #13



Publisher: Image

Words: Jason Aaron

Art: Jason Latour

Coach Boss’s Running Rebs face off against their sworn enemy from Wetumpka in the most important game in Craw County history.

I was deliberating long and hard last week between this and Monstress #3. I had written a draft with Monstress #3 penciled in this spot. But after the Patriots loss in Denver on Sunday, the Running Rebs game has become the most important football game of the year for me. Go Rebs! and go Carolina!


The #1 One: Old Man Logan (Mike DeoDato variant)



Publisher: Marvel

Words: Jeff Lemire

Art: Andrea Sorrentino

Fifty years from now, Logan — the man who no longer calls himself Wolverine — will have endured many atrocities: The Marvel Universe’s villains will have banded together and rid the world of its heroes. Logan’s closest friend, Hawkeye, will have been murdered in cold blood right before his eyes. And driven mad by the same radiation that gave him his superhuman strength, Bruce Banner will have fathered a family of hillbilly Hulks…that eventually went on to slaughter Logan’s wife and two children. But now, in the present, Old Man Logan wakes up to discover himself in a world before these atrocities, before the Wasteland. And he’s going to seize this opportunity and change history to ensure that his future never comes to pass.

From the same creative team that rejuvenated the Green Arrow franchise shortly after the New 52 relaunch, Old Man Logan #1 has a lot going for it. The DeoDato variant is awesome. Lemire’s writing is perfectly suited to a tragic hero like Old Man Logan. And Andrea Sorrentino’s artwork is just, well… see for yourself 


The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Grayson #16 (Adult Coloring Book variant)



Publisher: DC

Words: Tim Seeley

Art: Mikel Janin

Armed with new information concerning Spyral’s connections, Dick must seek Tiger’s help to take Spyral down from within. But when Dick’s, his days as a double-agent may soon end in death!

No, that’s not a typo. It’s the actual solicit from DC. I’m pretty sure they omitted something there on purpose, and if you read the shocking ending to Robin War then you already know why. The adult coloring variant cover is a pop-art classic and has a Steranko-S.H.I.E.L.D. vibe to it.


Carpe Comics!

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Who’s Your Daddy? For that matter…Who’s Your Mommy?

spaceballs spoiler

Ok, this is your one and only warning.  It’s time to talk about Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  I don’t care if Chris hasn’t seen it yet as I consider him to be the only person on the planet so afflicted.  We’re going to talk Star Wars.  More specifically we’re going to talk about the heritage of the film’s protagonist; Rey.

There are dozens if not hundreds of theories floating around the interwebs about Rey and various other characters right now, and since Disney just announced that Episode VIII has been pushed back to 12/15/2017 we have plenty of time to mull over our favorite theories.

Let’s start with what we KNOW.

Rey was left on Jakku, most likely -but not definitely- by her parents:
“They wanted to leave.  But Rey had to stay.  At least until they came back for her.  If she left, her parents would have no way of finding her.”  Source:  Star Wars: Before the Awakening

Young Rey is played by Cailey Fleming, age 8.  We see her in the film screaming “No!  Come back!” as a ship departs Jakku.  She is portraying Rey somewhere in the range of 5-8 years of age if I had to put a number on it.  The departing ship doesn’t tell us much – looks like a generic freighter.

Rey has been on Jakku for years.  Just look at all those marks she has made, presumably one per day, inside the belly of an Imperial AT-AT; her makeshift home on Jakku.  The marks number “in the thousands” per the novel.

Rey is portrayed wonderfully by Daisy Ridley, age 23.  Rey is about nineteen.  That lines up with thousands of marks and I’m pretty sure I read the number specifically referenced, but I can’t seem to find it right now.  At any rate it’s a good ballpark number.

Kylo Ren is portrayed by Adam Driver, age 32.  He’s older, but he looks young for his age.  My guess is he is intended to be older than Rey, but he looks young enough for all the twins fans out there that it’s believable.

Rey thinks Luke and the Jedi are just a myth.  This is well covered in the film and the novel.  She believes this to be true until Han tells her and Finn “I used to wonder that myself.  A bunch of mumbo-jumbo is what it sounds like.  Some magical power holding together good and evil, light and dark.  Crazy thing is, it’s all real.  The Jedi, The Force–it’s true.  All (of it).”  Ok, but did someone use The Force to affect young Rey’s memory?  We certainly see plenty of evidence in the film of mind reading and manipulation via The Force and a certain Sith wannabe in particular seem adept at such things…

After all, “The Force can have a strong impact on the weak minded.” ~ Episode IV

Upon touching the Skywalker lightsaber, Rey has visions of both the past and the future.  Rey hears several familiar voices.  She sees the betrayal of the Knights of Ren – this is the key scene in the story to unlocking her past, which is why we are only given fleeting images and scenes.  She sees the ship of whomever left her on Jakku leaving and screams “No!  Come back!”

“Stay here.  I’ll come back for you.”  “I’ll come back sweetheart, I promise.”  These phrases are in the novel.  Sure sounds like something a familiar scoundrel would say, but it’s pretty easy to believe he would call both his daughter or his niece sweetheart so we don’t get any concrete proof here either.  But, it could also be some other familiar figure.  Maybe even the offspring of our favorite scoundrel.

She also hears from both Alec Guinness and Ewan MacGregor as Obi-Wan.  But hey, were not new to the whole Obi-Wan as a blue glowing ghost guiding along the protagonist, are we?  She also hears Master Yoda who has also been studying post-death connections thanks to Qui-Gon Jinn.  This is just them reaching out through The Force to guide her in my opinion.

Maz clearly knows more than we do and she wants Rey to take the Skywalker lightsaber.  She chooses Rey specifically.  When Rey wont take the saber, she tries to make her friend take it along.

Rey has a natural affinity for the Millennium Falcon.  For a girl who has only used a flight simulator she seems to have a natural connection with everyone’s favorite Corellian vessel.  She also worked on it a bit for Plutt, but the connection seems stronger than that.  Then again, Luke and Anakin had a pretty good affinity to piloting too.

Kylo Ren is pretty sure he knows who Rey is:
Upon being informed about BB-8’s escape, Kylo Ren is first told of Rey.  “Kylo Ren’s voice took on a timbre lower and more menacing than any the lieutenant had ever heard.  What –Girl?”

While invading Rey’s mind…”Surprised by what he was finding, Ren lowered his hand.  Relieved of the mental intrusion, she sucked in great, long draughts of air.  His brows drew together and a reluctance to believe his own findings colored his comments.”

“At night, desperate to sleep, you’d imagine an ocean.  I can see it…I can see the island.”  Is this a vision of her home?  Of where Luke has fled to?

“And Han Solo”, Ren continued relentlessly.  “He feels like the father you never had.”  Feelings.  Hmm.  Search your feelings Rey…

Much later, when they do battle on Starkiller Base:
Taken aback, he whirled – to see the weapon land in the hand of a girl standing by a tree.  Rey appeared equally shocked that her reach for the device had exceeded his.  She gazed down at the weapon now resting in her grip.  “It is you.” Ren murmered.

I am almost certain Kylo Ren says, “Han Solo wont save you this time,” in the forest during the finale when he encounters Rey and Finn just before the lightsaber battle.  Clearly I need another viewing to validate this.  I’ll get right on that…

Lastly, when Snoke sends Hux to find Kylo Ren and bring him to him as Starkiller Base is being destroyed.  “It appears that he may have been right about the girl.”

Unless otherwise specified quotes above are from:
Source: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Novel)


So, having thought through the above.  Let’s now cover some of the Theories:

She’s a Skywalker.  Sure, Rey absolutely could be Luke’s daughter.  This is the path of least resistance.  Perhaps after the Empire’s destruction Luke found love; maybe a fiery red-head (wink wink).  Maybe Rey was the only one to survive the Knights of Ren, saved by her Uncle.  Perhaps the loss of his wife, and all his padawans, broke Luke.  Maybe our group of heroes gathered and decided that to best protect Rey, and the galaxy, she needed to hide and their memories needed to be wiped.  Seems unlikely…after all they have faced great adversity and triumphed before.  Maybe Luke thought Rey was dead too.

Maybe young Rey was saved by Kylo Ren himself.  In the flashback, we see adult Rey prone on the ground in the rain at the slaughter.  That’s probably exactly where young Rey was.  We then see what may be a Knight of Ren run through from behind by what appears to be Kylo Ren.  Maybe he couldn’t bring himself to slaughter his own cousin, and so he dumped her on Jakku telling her that her parents would come and get her.  Maybe she had shown no real power in the Force at that point and he considered her to not be a threat.  Kinda makes a lot of sense to me.

Everyone thinks Rey died as a child, if that was even her given name.  Gets rid of the need to wipe minds galore.  Han and Leia wouldn’t recognize her.  Their niece was dead.  As a father, I can certainly tell you that this is the kind of thing that would break me, and make me leave behind the war between the First Order and The Resistance.  Luke would be utterly broken by loss.

Luke and Rey’s reunion on Ahch-To certainly felt like it had the weight of a family reunion and not just a ‘Hey, here’s your lightsaber.  Come save the galaxy again’ vibe.  Did it also have the vibe of ‘You’re Alive!?!?!?’  Maybe, maybe not…

“The Saga films focus on the Skywalker family saga,” Kathleen Kennedy explains. “The stories follow a linear narrative that connects to the previous six films. The Force Awakens follows Return of the Jedi and continues that generational story. The Anthology films offer opportunities to explore fresh characters, new storylines and a variety of genres inside the Star Wars universe.”

Let’s dive a little deeper and remember a quote from Master Yoda, “No. There is another.” Let’s try to tie that into TFA.   Now keep in mind that Obi-Wan was the audience of that particular comment, and Obi-Wan was well aware of Leia’s birth.  However, he may not have known of her connection to The Force.  Then again, perhaps Yoda was not speaking of Leia after all.  Perhaps he had looked to the future.  Perhaps another Skywalker is meant to bring balance to The Force…

“Difficult to see.  Always in motionis the future.” ~ Empire Strikes Back

Ancestrally, Leia is also a Skywalker.  So chances are the Skywalker or the Solo answer is true when it comes to Rey’s lineage.  A lot of people want Rey to be Jaina.  After all, Jaina had her father’s mechanical aptitude and her mother’s connection to The Force.  That would make Ben/Kylo Ren her twin brother.  Sure the actors have an age difference, but it’s not enough to make this outside the realm of possibility.  Plus, she could always just be his younger sister.

But, it would require some serious abuse of The Force on the part of Luke or Kylo Ren though.  One of them would have to have mind wiped the living daylights out of Han, Leia, Chewie, C-3PO, Rey, and more.  But hey, Luke’s broken now (he would kinda have to be for the above for the Skywalker option as well) so maybe he had a lapse to the Dark Side while overwhlmed with grief, anger, and despair.  Maybe this is part of what further broke him and caused him to turn to isolation.

I’m not buying it.  Why?  Because I don’t think that Leia, with her connection to The Force, would not recognize her own damned daughter.  I also can’t see Leia’s belief that there is still good in Ren if he had slaughtered his own sister.  Then again, maybe she just never felt her death and knew she was out there somewhere.  Again, not bloody likely.  Han is not Force-Sensitive and Leia immediately feels his death across the galaxy.

Ok, yeah.  Han and Rey certainly hit it off pretty easily, and sure Rey has that hug with Leia at the end of the film that could speak volumes if the potential mind wipes are breaking up but the whole Solo theory is a long shot in my opinion.

Speaking of hugs…Why didn’t Leia hug the walking carpet with the life debt who just lost his closest friend?  Once again, Chewie gets the shaft!  No medal after The Battle of Yavin – yeah that’s right the BS revisionist history Rucka just published doesn’t count.

Then of course there’s a wacky and very unlikely little theory of mine about a teen pregnancy in a galaxy far, far away….

Kylo Ren gets someone pregnant and the baby is taken away to be raised elsewhere.  He stops thinking about it completely to focus on becoming Grandpa’s Little Boy.  Hey, it would be weird but Kylo Ren gets to say “I am your father” this way or maybe it gets twisted to a “I am your daughter” revelation.  We had another spherical, planet-destroying weapon in TFA, so who’s to say it’s too cliche at this point?  That would make her a Solo, but I really don’t think Disney is going to go here.

The theory that Duchess Satine and Obi-Wan have a mystery child and the Kenobi lineage carries on is pretty weak.  Why would Obi-Wan then think Luke was the last of the Jedi in Empire?  Why would someone so dedicated to guarding the legacy of the Jedi Order not guard his own child as well?  I love Obi-Wan, but his role in the saga is clear to me.  After all his words in TFA were “Rey, these are your first steps.” not ‘Rey, Gradpa wishes he had been alive to see your first steps.’

Anakin Reborn
Please no.  Well if she’s some immaculately conceived reincarnation of Anakin, then why is she waiting for her parents!?  Not bloody likely.  On this note though, I do like the idea that Plagueis could be Great Grandpa Skywalker.  He was just making himself a new apprentice hidden in the Outer Rim….

Darth Plagueis was a Dark Lord of the Sith so powerful and so wise, he could use the Force to influence the midi-chlorians to create life.” ~Episode III

Satele Shan
Rey certainly has the look of Satele Shan, so she could be of her lineage, but I’m pretty sure I’m still scarred over the loss of the entire EU and that includes the history of The Old Republic.  This one’s a long shot at best, and just because she has that look doesn’t make them distantly related.

I’m Nobody
Seems pretty damn unlikely based on all of the above.  Face it Rey, you’re somebody and we’re dying to know who!  Heck, the Prophecy could have been interpreted wrong and you could be The Chosen One!

If only they had spelled it all out for us and we didn’t have to wait almost two more years for some answers… Bet hey, what would be the fun of that.

Mystery Box, right?

p.s.  I wonder who that Snoke guy is….

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Trailer Snark (January 22nd Theatrical Releases)


Hail to the King baby!

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: Star Wars: The Force Awakens racked up another $37.2M in receipts bringing its still growing total domestic haul over $863M.  Internationally it’s a hair under $2B right now.  Yes, that’s two billion dollars!!!  The Revenant was able to edge out Star Wars for the weekly win domestically; the first film to do so since The Force Awakens was released on 12/18/15.  Ride Along 2 came in 3rd followed closely by 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.  The four and five positions were taken by Daddy’s Home & The Big Short.  Things tapered off from there with Sisters, The Hateful Eight, The Forest, and Joy rounding out the Top 10.

This week’s new box office contenders are…

Dirty Grandpa (Lionsgate) – Comedy
Right before his wedding, an uptight guy is tricked into driving his grandfather, a perverted former Army general, to Florida for spring break.

Rated R for crude sexual content throughout, graphic nudity, and for language and drug use.
Runtime 102m

Chris:  I saw the title and immediately thought Johnny Knoxville, but instead got another De Niro cash grab.  Either way, it was a pass for me.
Jess:    Eh
Rob:     Gradma dies, and Grandpa (De Niro) and Grandson (Efron), who is about to get married, hit Daytona Beach to learn about smoking crack and partying. No thanks.
Jim:     Bobby, Bobby, Bobby…from Taxi Driver and Raging Bull to this. Might have a trainwreck appeal as a rental.
Ken:     So an old man and his grandson head down to spring break. He gets his perv on with a group of drunk, young girls while his grandson goes off to smoke crack. It’s like the setup to a bad joke.


The 5th Wave (Sony) – Sci-Fi
Four waves of increasingly deadly attacks have left most of Earth in ruin. Against a backdrop of fear and distrust, Cassie is on the run, desperately trying to save her younger brother. As she prepares for the inevitable and lethal fifth wave, Cassie teams up with a young man who may become her final hope – if she can only trust him.

Rated PG-13 for violence and destruction, some sci-fi thematic elements, language and brief teen partying. (Rob: Brief teen partying?  Oh no!  WTF!?  The MPAA are such morons.)
Runtime 112m

Chris:   Got to say the first half of the trailer had me hooked, but the second half seemed to change in tone, and my interest waned.  Could be this year’s Jupiter Ascending.
Jess:      I had heard about this book awhile back and at first was excited about this movie since the premise of the book sounded pretty good but they lost me by the end. Looks like ground covered by “The Hunger Games” and even “Twilight” to a certain extent, just with aliens.
Rob:     Teenage girl saves Earth from alien invasion.  Totally believable….um no.  Hopefully I am wrong since we need more good sci-fi flicks.
Jim:     another YA novel adaptation, but gotta admit this caught my interest. Could be good or it could be The Slumber Games.
Ken:    They lost me somewhere back around wave 3.


The Boy (Zero Media) – Horror
Greta is a young American woman who takes a job as a nanny in a remote English village, only to discover that the family’s 8-year-old is a life-sized doll that the parents care for just like a real boy, as a way to cope with the death of their actual son 20 years prior. After violating a list of strict rules, a series of disturbing and inexplicable events bring Greta’s worst nightmare to life, leading her to believe that the doll is actually alive.

Rated PG-13 for violence and terror, and for some thematic material
Runtime 97m

Chris:  Dolls are always sinister figures in horror cinema.  But this trailer may have shown too much.  I’ll check it out on the small screen for sure.
Jess:    Looks delightfully creepy!
Rob:     Genre=Horror.  Usually that would stop me there, except this time I saw Lauren Cohan’s smile (Maggie from Walking Dead).  So I decided I’d watch the whole trailer.  Then I saw the doll.  Lame factor went through the roof.  I was just about done, but then Lauren Cohan was in the shower.  Even that wasn’t enough to make me watch the whole trailer.  But hey, good try.  Pass.
Jim:     too much of it’s shown in the trailer, but man, I could literally feel the chills going through my spine ’cause o’ that doll! (No, not Lauren Cohan.)
Ken:     I hate when movies give away jump scares in the trailer. My sister in law loves scary doll movies and Lauren Cohan was in the shower so yeah I’ll probably watch this at some point.


Synchronicity (Magnolia) – Sci-Fi
A physicist who invents a time machine must travel back to the past to uncover the truth about his creation and the woman who is trying to steal it.

Rated R for language including some sexual references (Rob: So a few bad words and references to sex get an R but violence and destruction get a PG-13. Can you say Bass Ackwards MPAA? Thankfully there’s no teen partying in this so we didn’t have to go NC-17 though.)
Runtime 101m

Chris:  The Police should sue.
Jess:     I got a headache from this trailer, I can’t imagine the movie will do me any better. Skipping away happily ….
Rob:     Cool looking, time-travel flick.  Not a big screen kind of movie, at least based on this trailer.  Rental for sure though.  More Sci-Fi!
Jim:     another brain twister where I’ll be saying “Now wait a minute” every few minutes  with a puzzled look on my face.
Ken:    I usually pass on time-traveling movies but I like this premise. Time traveling in movies is a cool plot device but usually way overpowered. However, if time travel had a harmful side effect, and it reasons that ripping apart space/time would be dangerous, it wouldn’t be the most obvious solution to every problem, every time.


Mojave (Atlas) – Thriller
A suicidal artist goes into the desert, where he finds his doppelgänger, a homicidal drifter.

Rated R for language and some violence
Runtime 93m

Chris: Effective enough trailer.  But not effective enough to get me all in with the tub of popcorn.
Jess:   No, so much no. This looks bad in every way.
Rob:    Pretty generic looking thriller.  Pass.
Jim:    nah.
Ken:    Can’t tell if this movie is for serious or a dark comedy.


Chris:   I have to hand it to Keanu.  I have bagged on him for his monotone and one dimensional acting for a long time, but he has chosen some roles lately that have been well-suited for his style.  No different here.
Jess:    I really like Keanu the more I see what he chooses to to be in. I’d see this at home but it looks interesting and Keanu looks like he’s pretty solid in it.
Rob:    Looks pretty bad.  Cop’s partner hunts his killer.  Meh.
Jim:    I’m still hurting from the waste of time that was John Wick, but I might forgive Keanu—this one looks like it might be Ok, despite the tired plot. Would also be nice if Mira Sorvina had another role worthy of Mighty Aphrodite or Romy and Michelle.
Ken:    Whenever I see Keanu in a movie I think to myself, “this is what life would have been like if Neo took the blue pill.”

Tickets Purchased:  
One each for Synchronicity (Ken), The Boy (Jim), and Exposed (Chris).  
Two for Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Rob & Jess).



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The Female Perspective: Why I’m Disappointed in “Supergirl”

Welcome! This is a 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.

Oh Supergirl, I had such high hopes for you. I was so excited during the first episode when you seemed smart and capable. When you seemed unsure of your power and how to use it for good. When it seemed like you were going to be a good show.

Now, however many episodes in, I’m bored.

Here is why I’m disappointed in Supergirl.

  1. She’s trite. With all the power and responsibility now at her feet, she carries a torch for Jimmy Olsen and obsesses about what Cat needs. She also spends a lot of time convincing those around her that she is smart and capable and that they are super duper people with great personalities. Gag.
  2. Her friends are boring and needy and I find Jimmy Olson boring as heck.
  3. I feel that the feminist angle is being literally shoved down my throat rather than just placed gently in front of me (ala Agent Carter). We DO NOT need to be reminded multiple times in an episode that Supergirl is a woman. It’s built right into her title, SuperGIRL. Leaves nothing to the imagination. Stop telling us that she’s a woman and that women have to be strong and powerful. What I mean by stop telling is to start SHOWING us. Give us a Supergirl that IS strong instead of her talking about it all the dang time.
  4. The fact that they can’t have Superman on the show is lame and her sharing cute little IM’s with him is just stupid. They need to figure that out STAT.
  5. The writing stinks. It’s trite and it’s extraordinarily lazy. When you have someone with super hearing that doesn’t hear her best friend being kidnapped in the hallway outside your apartment, that’s an issue.

The fact is, Supergirl is a show that has a lot of potential. I still have hope that they’ll figure out who they are before Season 2 because right now Supergirl is in the midst of an identity crisis. It wants to be a show about a kick-ass heroine but it also wants to appeal to teenagers and young girls.


Let me tell you something CBS, you can have a show about a woman that is both smart, fun AND appealing to young girls without making it suck for the adults who watch it. My boyfriend loves all the little nugget of Supergirl coolness that they add in for fans. We both detest the “love triangle” between Kara, Jimmy and her geeky friend who’s name I can’t even be bothered to remember. It’s boring. As a grown woman,  I find the fact that another grown woman (and SUPERGIRL no less) is clearly pining away for Jimmy. He has a woman, get over it Kara and do something with all your power, you know, save some people instead of eating pizza with your sister or getting food for Cat.

I know that Supergirl has to have human qualities, especially since she’s lived as a human most of her life but … Does she have to be so childish? So … bubble-headed? I long for the Supergirl created by Helen Slater, she was young and naive but she was also strong, smart and more than capable of saving her friends from the witchy Selena. I think Supergirl is having issues because it is on CBS and not the CW like it’s brother shows, Arrow and The Flash. Both shows are killing it on the CW. Both shows are about hero’s who are flawed, confused and longing for a normal life but also fighting bad guys and being smart. They have the formula down (but, to be fair, it took a season for Arrow to get really good), Supergirl needs some help and I hope she finds it before she gets the axe.

I need Supergirl to be...well, SUPER.
I need Supergirl to be…well, SUPER.

I also know that a show about a female heroine can be good. Agent Carter is the perfect example of that. Peggy Carter is smart, kind, strong and capable. All the things a woman should be who is used to taking care of herself. Supergirl seems like she’s never taken care of a houseplant, let alone herself, though we’re supposed to believe she’s lived on Earth most of her life, has an apartment and a job and yet, she’s still so … blah. I want more from my Supergirl and I’m willing to be patient because I’m a patient woman, but if Season 2 is anything like Season 1, this woman is going to start skipping Supergirl and go straight for Agent Carter.

What do you think of Supergirl? Is she “super” or is she boring? Sound off in the comments?

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What I’m Reading This Week 1/20/2016

The Top of the Pile: Batman #48


Publisher: DC

Words: Scott Snyder

Art: Greg Capullo

Mr. Bloom’s seeds have grown into an army that may turn all of Gotham City against its new Batman. Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne meets a mysterious stranger who could start a chain of events no one can stop

The last issue of Batman ended on an insane cliffhanger. Bat Gordon was being ambushed by a group of Mr. Bloom’s horrifying monsters when we abruptly cut to an amnesiac Bruce Wayne, who is just beginning to remember a deep dark secret. As Bruce sits on a park bench, pondering the conflict raging within his heart, a man takes a seat next to him and strikes up a philosophical conversation. A man who looks and acts very much like an amnesiac Joker. Snyder and Capullo are building up to something huge as their memorable run on Batman approaches issue #50.

The Mainstream One: Star Wars #15



Publisher: Marvel

Words: Jason Aaron

Art: Mike Mayhew

FROM THE JOURNALS OF OBI-WAN KENOBI Another tale of Obi-Wan’s exile on Tatooine! Owen Lars took Luke in…but he refused to let Ben be part of his life. Why? What trouble could have been stirred up by Ben protecting Luke?

I had planned on dropping my Star Wars books from my pull list after Vader Down concluded and trade waiting the rest of the series, but looks like Star Wars Jedi mind tricked me into at least one more. These tales from Obi-wan’s journal provide insight into Luke’s early life and I’ve been desperately hoping that they will also reveal how Luke receives the training that takes him from just feeling the force to using it.


The Indie One: Nowhere Men #7



Publisher: Image

Words: Eric Stephenson

Art:  Jordie Bellaire

The Eisner-nominated series returns with the first of six all-new issues. Featuring thirty-two pages of story and no ads for $2.99, the second story arc picks up right where the volume one trade paperback left off and will ship monthly through May 2016.

Nowhere Men was a comic book series that originally came out in 2012. It centers on a fictional world where a group of four of the world’s top scientists make discoveries which have huge cultural influences on the world, creating a society where science is the new Rock-N-Roll. A smart and cool sci-fi story, Nowhere Men was an immediate hit and was nominated for 4 Eisners during it’s first run. Then artist Nate Bellegarde’s personal life hit a rough patch, and disruptions with his work caused the series to eventually be put on long term hiatus. After almost 4 years away, Nowhere Men is making its triumphant return and I couldn’t be more excited. Let’s hope the band sticks together for more than one arc this time.


The #1 One:  Devolution #1



Publisher: Dynamite

Words: Rick Remender

Art: Jonathan Wayshak

Every living creature on Earth has been devolved – the evolutionary clock turned back, reverting all life to odd mutations and prehistoric incarnations. The cities of man are little more than bloody territories ruthlessly dominated by tribal Neanderthals ruling from the backs of mammoths, packs of saber-toothed tigers, and giant man-eating insects. Writer Rick Remender (Black Science, Fear Agent), artist Jon Wayshak (The Authority), and colorist Jordan Boyd (Ant-Man, Planet Hulk) take you on a journey with the last band of ‘Still Sapien’ humans in the hope of locating an antidote and re-evolving the human race.

I’m currently enjoying almost all of Remender’s independent series, and I love quite a few of them. Slated for a 5 issue mini-series, Devolution sounds like a solid premise to showcase his grim criticisms of modern society and meditations on the value of suffering and hope. There’s a preview available on Comic Book Resources and the artwork looks absolutely dope.


The One I’m Buying for the Cover:  Captain Marvel #1 (Adam Hughes Variant)



Publisher: Marvel

Words: Tara Butters

Art: Kris Anka

Face front, true believers! The Captain has made her return and oh, how mighty it is. It’s a bold new frontier for Carol Danvers as she soars to new heights in her greatest mission yet–leader of the all-new Alpha Flight space program. Yup, Alpha Flight. As earth’s first line of defense, Carol and her team aim to protect the planet from extraterrestrial threats. But can Carol be a soldier and a diplomat? Especially when an unknown enemy emerges that Carol can’t quite punch. The superstar team behind Marvel’s Agent Carter television series, Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas, make their comics debut alongside the awesomely-talented Kris Anka

Personally I don’t think that it’s AH!’s best work, but it’s a 1:25 variant and Hughes #1 variants typically do well in the secondary market. If Marvel sticks to its movie development plans and actually make a Captain Marvel movie starring Carol Danvers, this cover will be highly sought after. You’re better off trying to grab one now at a reasonable price.


Last Week’s Leftovers: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #0



Publisher: Boom

Words: Kyle Higgins

Art:  Daniel Bayliss

It’s Morphin Time! The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers make their BOOM! Studios comic debut in this kick-off #0 issue that sets the stage for the rest of the series. After escaping Rita Repulsa’s mind control, Tommy Oliver, the Green Ranger, joins up with the rest of the Power Rangers to combat her never-ending evil plans. Any semblance of a normal life is gone for Tommy now, but with his newfound family there lies hope for a brighter path. Includes the short story from the San Diego Comic-Con exclusive Mighty Morphin Power Rangers comics!

While everyone was busy hunting down Walking Dead and Silk variants, Power Rangers #0 came out of nowhere and ended up being the hottest book of the week. The 1:50 Green Ranger variant is selling for over $150 and the 1:100 White Ranger variant has a few completed sales of $300. While it is unlikely that you will find either of the ratio variants left on your local comic shop shelves, sets of all 5 regular covers are selling steadily for $50 and the Red Ranger cover alone is moving at $15. Probably not a good bet as a long-term hold, but there’s definitely flip potential here if you can find them at cover price.


Carpe Comics!

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Trailer Snark (January 15 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: All hail Star Wars!  The Force Awakens racked up another $41.6M in receipts bringing its total domestic haul to $812M.  Incredible.  The Revenant came in second in its first wide release week with $38M.  Daddy’s Home brought the laughs to the tune of $15M ($116M overall) for third place.  And The Forest debuted at number four with $13M.  The rest of the top ten played out like this:  Sisters ($7.1/$74.8M), The Hateful Eight ($6.3M/$41.4), The Big Short ($6.3M/$42.8M), Alvin and the Chipmunks ($5.5M/$75.6M), Joy ($4.5M/$46.5M), and Concussion ($3M/$$30.9M).  This week’s new box office contenders are…..

Ride Along 2 (Universal) – Comedy
Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence, sexual content, language and some drug material
Tag Line: The brother in-law are back.
Starring: Kevin Hart, Ice Cube, Olivia Munn, Benjamin Bratt
Plot: As his wedding day approaches, Ben heads to Miami with his soon-to-be brother-in-law James to bring down a drug dealer who’s supplying the dealers of Atlanta with product.
Running Time: 101 minutes

Chris: I still have not seen the first.  That said, it looks like a fun flick.
Ken: Ha, brothers in “law”. Anyone else see the irony in Ice Cube playing a police officer?
Jim: Haven’t seen the first one, but this looks funny. I’ll go along for the “Ride”…hee hee yuk yuk.
Rob: Um no.
Jessica: Ugh. P A S S.

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (Paramount) – Drama/Action
Rated R for strong combat violence throughout, bloody images, and language
Tag Line: In 2012, the threat level in Benghazi, Libya was deemed “critical”. When everything went wrong, six men had the courage to do what was right.
Starring: John Krasinski, James Badge Dale, Pablo Schreiber
Plot: An American Ambassador is killed during an attack at a U.S. compound in Libya as a security team struggles to make sense out of the chaos.
Running Time: 144 minutes

Jessica: When I saw Michael Bay’s name I gave up all hope of it being anywhere near realistic but hey, there will be great action and things will go boom.
Chris: My clear winner this week.  Gripping look at a tragedy the government does not want you to know too much about.
Ken: It’s a Michael Bay war adaptation, which is why most of the movie will focus on an incomprehensible love triangle and not the real story behind the 2012 attacks.
Jim: It looked like Zero Dark Thirty 2 until I saw Michael Bay’s name. This can’t possibly be good.
Rob: I’m curious to see how close this picture comes to painting the truth.  But is it too soon for a film on this somewhat recent event?

Norm of the North (Lionsgate) – Animation/Family
Rated PG for mild rude humor and action
Tag Line: Before he can save the Arctic… he’ll need a little help.
Starring: Rob Schneider, Heather Graham
Plot: Displaced from their Arctic home, a polar bear named Norm and his three lemming friends wind up in New York City, where Norm becomes the mascot of a corporation he soon learns is tied to the fate of his homeland.
Running Time: 86 minutes

Rob: Animation looks pretty good, but not really interested.  Will maybe catch it on Netflix down the road.
Jessica: No thank you! I like dancing animals but this did nothing for me.
Chris: Cookie cutter kid fare.  I am sure 3 out 4 kids will approve.
Ken: Unbearable.  Come on, you were all thinking it.
Jim: I was subjected to this trailer in a movie theater. Couldn’t do it again.

Band of Robbers (Gravitas Ventures) – Adventure/Crime
Not Rated
Tag Line: From Mark Twain’s iconic books.
Starring: Kyle Gallner, Adam Nee, Matthew Gray Gubler
Plot: Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn are grown men, still searching for the hidden treasure that has eluded them since childhood.
Running Time: 95 minutes
Ken: I like the idea of doing a modern retelling of Mark Twain, but the trailer didn’t do much for me. I might give it a watch when it comes out on demand.
Jim: As Ken said, a modern retelling of Twain would be nice, but the trailer was pretty bland and uninteresting. Oh well, I think we have our kind-of modern Twain retelling in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off—am I right? 🙂
Rob: Mildly interesting premise, but no thanks.
Jessica: I want to say I’ll watch this but that’s like saying I’ll one day tap dance for the Pope so yeah, nope.
Chris: I agree with Ken on this one.  The premise exceeds the delivery it would seem from the trailer.  Perhaps a pleasant small screen surprise?

The Benefactor (Samuel Goldwyn Films) – Drama
Not Rated
Tag Line: His helps comes at a price.
Starring: Richard Gere, Dakota Fanning
Plot: A philanthropist meddles in the lives of newly-married couples in an attempt to relive his past.
Running Time: 90 minutes

Jim: Looks interesting, possible rental.
Chris: Wow….it reminded me of Mr. Brooks with a more tragic beginning.  Unsettling.
Ken: Gere’s been taking on some very dark roles recently and it seems to be paying off. Not my type of movie but the trailer was plenty disturbing. Could be fun if you are into thrillers.
Rob: Gere and Fanning are talented, but this is a rental at best.
Jessica: Interesting but an at home viewer if ever.

Tickets Purchased: One for Ride Along 2 (Jim) and One for 13 Hours (Chris).  Ken and Rob go see Star Wars again to make sure it breaks all the records, and Jessica sits at home with a repeat viewing of The Martian.

Not really a Force Awakens spoiler.  Emails show who ordered the destruction of Alderaan.
Not really a Force Awakens spoiler. Emails show who ordered the destruction of Alderaan.
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The Female Perspective: David Bowie

Welcome! This is a 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.

January 10th, 2016.  David Bowie died Sunday. He had just turned 69 two days earlier.


I am not someone who gets emotional when celebrities die, they’re human like everyone else and if I didn’t know them, why would I get sad? This one is different. This one feels so personal. David Bowie changed my musical life, along with Nine Inch Nails and Pearl Jam and Nirvana I stepped into a whole world of music that was unlike anything I had been listening to up until that point.

I can go back farther than my teenage-hood music. Truth be told I had loved Bowie since I was a kid watching “Labyrinth” over and over and OVER again. He was the owner of the “Bowie Bulge” (an inappropriate joke but one that I think most of you get) and he was so beautiful I wanted him to be coming after me, I wouldn’t want to escape like Sarah did in the movie, I would stay with him forever at the marvelous ball and we would dance and he would sing to me. I thought he was magical. I thought he was beautiful.

Reise ins Labyrinth, Die USA 1986 Regie: Jim Henson Darsteller: David Bowie Rollen: Koboldkoenig Jareth
Labyrinth, 1986

Then I heard Ziggy Stardust and I KNEW he was magical.

These last few days have seen a deluge of Bowie videos and memories from all sides. Some are funny (like a skit Bowie did on Ricky Gervais’ show Extra), some are awe-inspiring (like the acapella version of “Under Pressure” with Freddie Mercury, I got chills, listen to that one here) and some are just plain fun to watch again (his Christmas duet with Bing Crosby is the best). David Bowie was an actor, a musician and an artistic genius who cared nothing for boundaries like gender or sexuality. He paved the way for Madonna, Lady Gaga and so many others.

I got the pleasure of seeing Bowie live once many years ago. He played some random music festival that featured Moby and Busta Rhymes. I was there for Bowie really and he did not disappoint, though he did go on stage almost an hour early because Busta couldn’t make it, so I actually almost missed seeing Bowie if not for my friend and I’s intense desire to see Busta Rhymes in concert for no other reason than we thought it would be pretty dang amusing.

My friend to this day says I started crying when Bowie came on stage. I don’t remember crying but I do remember being completely in awe of this man I had thus far only heard through speakers. He sounded exactly the same in person as he did on his records. He was beautiful, he was art, he was everything I had hoped for and more.

One of the best gifts I’ve ever received is a mirror that same friend made me with pictures of David Bowie all over it. That mirror has moved numerous places with me and I have repaired it more times than I can count. It hangs in my bedroom as I type this. It is a perfect homage to the man that I always thought was immortal and I guess, in that cliche way, he is. His music lives on. His beautiful, beautiful music. His legacy.


I read an update from author Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook and it helped me clear my own thoughts about why I was so sad about this mans passing, it’s not even sadness so much as being completely in awe, overwhelmed at the legacy he’s left behind. As an artist you dream about leaving behind a memory that thousands (if not millions) of people have. I’m sure not everyone has a David Bowie memory but I can say pretty assuredly that most people know either what song they love or what song they hate by him. They know who he is.

For the last 18 months (we learn only today) David Bowie has known that he was dying. He kept that information private, while spending his final months doing what he’d done his whole life — making outrageously original, beautiful, complicated art. He made a gorgeous album. He created a show, playing right now in New York. And then he released this, his final video, just a few days before he died — on his 69th birthday.

“Look up here,” he sings, “I’m in heaven.”

Can you imagine, to be making art like this (fearless art that both comforts and challenges) right up to the moment of your death? How do you do that? How do you BE that? To work with your death so imaginatively, in order to perfectly time out the last beats of your life? What a magnificent creature of creation, right to the end. 

I am sad today, but mostly I am overwhelmed by awe. This is what it means to be a great artist.

From the beginning, this was a man who showed us how to do life differently than anyone had ever done it before, and now look how he has done death.

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

Inspiration, to me, is THIS.

Goodbye to the master, and onward for the rest of us.

~Elizabeth Gilbert

For me, David Bowie opened up my mind to a different type of music. He, along with Nine Inch Nails and Pearl Jam, made me see that there was more music in the world than Debbie Gibson and Tiffany. There were people like The Beatles and The Doors, people who may not always sound “pitch perfect” but who’s weirdness was a part of their music, it’s what made them shine so brightly. I remember hearing “Hearts Filthy Lesson” and just about having my brain explosion. The discordant, jangled song still to this day haunts me.

One of the best-worded responses to David Bowie’s death was from actress Carrie Brownstein on her Twitter page, it perfectly summed up the grief that I am feeling.

“It feels like we lost something elemental, as if an entire color is gone.”

If you haven’t had  chance to hear some of his newest work, released as the perfect farewell to his fans just 2 days before his death, take a moment and listen to what’s being called “classic Bowie”, and you’ll find that these songs take on an added dimension when you realize that he knew he was dying and he was still as weird, as off-kilter, still as beautiful and revolutionary as he had always been.

Thank you David Bowie for all that you have given this world and thank you for making my musical world broader and better.

“Goodnight, sweet prince/and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest”

Hamlet by Shakespeare

What’s your favorite Bowie song? “Rock and Roll Suicide” is one of mine. Tell me yours in the comments.


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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 01/11/2015

The Top of the Pile: Batman Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Eastman variant)



Publisher: DC/IDW

Words: James Tynion IV

Art: Freddie Williams II

Trapped in a world where they can scarcely tell friend from foe, the Turtles’ first encounter with the Dark Knight puts their fighting skills to the ultimate test. And while Batman and scientist Lucius Fox search for any clue as to where these strange ninjas come from, Shredder strikes a deal with The Penguin!

The first issue of this unconventional crossover felt very natural. Using Killer Croc to segue into a universe shared by both series was brilliant. I was surprised by how well the distinct styles of the two worlds meshed together. I can’t wait to see more and especially look forward to when Batman gets a load of Krang. Bats has seen some strange stuff in Gotham, but a brain being from another dimension…  Love Eastman’s swipe of his iconic TMNT #1 cover.


The Mainstream One: Secret Wars #9



Publisher: Marvel

Words: Jonathan Hickman

Art: Esad Ribic

Prepare for GENESIS and witness the birth of All-New, All-Different Marvel.

In reality it is three months after Genesis and we are finally finding out how the current Marvel Universe came to be. There will be answers and hopefully some will be enriching, but since Marvel rebooted in October the secrets of Secret Wars have lost a lot of their intrigue.  The series has actually been amazingly good, but it was disappointing not knowing the conclusion before Marvel rebooted.


The Indie One: Walking Dead #150 (Moore variant)



Publisher: Image

Words: Robert Kirkman

Art: Charlie Adlard

In our 150th issue, Rick Grimes finds himself… BETRAYED.

Issue 100 was a huge milestone issue for the series and it was marked by the brutal murder of a major character. What will #150 bring? With the way things have been shaking out for Rick’s crew, probably someone important is dying. There are a handful of covers coming out with #150 and they are all pretty awesome. The Tony Moore swipe of Walking Dead #1 is going to be popular, but the jewel will be the black and white, regular cover. Not a ratio incentive variant, every comic book shop will be sent one copy and only one copy of the retailer appreciation variant. Already pre-selling for more than $200, the black and white variant is going to be a ghost on Wednesday.


The #1 One: Legend of Wonder Woman #1



Publisher: DC

Words and Art: Renae De Liz

In the beginning there was only chaos. But Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, saw a better future-and eventually, her daughter would be destined to bring that new world to life! Before her ultimate fate unfolds, though, Diana of Themyscira must learn the important lessons of an Amazonian childhood!

This series has already been released digitally and it is a gorgeous, modern retelling of Wonder Woman’s origin story. One of the best things that DC has done with Wonder Woman’s character is allowing women to write her. The most talented female writers in comics have graced the pages of Wonder Woman, which shows how much faith DC has in newcomer De Liz, an artist to keep an eye on.


The One I’m Buying for the Cover: All New Wolverine #4 (Sook variant)



Publisher: Marvel

Writer: Tom Taylor

Art: David Lopez

THE DOCTOR IS IN! Things get truly STRANGE when Wolverine turns to the Sorcerer Supreme in the next mystical chapter of the mystery of the three sisters. But will the supernatural efforts of Stephen Strange combined with the raw power of THE WOLVERINE be enough to combat the evils of Alchemax? Parental Advisory

Best Wolverina cover yet. A lot of people are making the case that Ryan Sook’s covers are on the same level as Adam Hughes. I think a more accurate comparison is with Dodson, but there’s no denying that the guy’s got serious talent.


The Speculation One: Silk #3


Publisher: Marvel

Words: Robbie Thompson

Art: Stacey Lee


Looks like Silk’s got her hands full this week. I know I say it every month, but I am loving this series. In issue two we were briefly introduced to a mysterious, goblin looking dude with sweet phasing abilities. Is he an ally? Who is he working for? And how does he know Silk’s secret identity?  Will we get a full introduction this week? The 1:25 Campbell variant cover is already creeping up to triple digits on the Bay and should be on your radar on Wednesday.


Carpe Comics!