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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 4/27/2016

Hey gang, and welcome back to another episode of the crank file, where we crank harder so that you don’t have to. Busy week this week so we’ll forgo the national anthem and get down to it. RIP Prince, you played a mean guitar.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

 

The Top of the Pile: Batman #51

 

BM51

Publisher: DC
Words: Scott Snyder
Art: Greg Capullo

What it is: Batman has battled everything from the Court of Owls to Mr. Bloom to the Joker, but how does he handle a quiet night in Gotham City…?

Why we love it: I’ll be looking forward to Snyder’s All-Star Batman as well as seeing rising star Tom King carry the torch after Rebirth. But before that, one last issue with Snyder and Capullo as they wrap a bow on their unforgettable run. This was the perfect creative team for Batman and we were so fortunate to have experienced this journey with them. Thanks for all the amazing stories fellas.

 

The Mainstream One: Juistice League #49

 

JL49

Publisher: DC
Words: Geoff Johns
Art: Jason Fabok

What it is: In this, the penultimate chapter of the critically-acclaimed epic ‘Darkseid War,’ the fate of the Justice League and the entire universe is on the line! But can even the combined might of the Justice Gods contend with the secret machinations of Grail, the deadly daughter of Darkseid? Death, rebirth and the life of one of the members of the League changed forever!

Why we like it: Did you notice the wording in the last sentence? I don’t think it is any coincidence that Darkseid Wars is being written by the same man orchestrating DC’s line-wide reboot. I’m only speculating that this will eventually tie in with Rebirth but regardless, Darkseid Wars has been a thrilling read and reminds us just how much fun a DC comic can be.

 

The Indie One: Saga #36

 

S36

Publisher: Image
Words: Brian K Vaughan
Art: Fiona Staples

What it is: Freedom…?

Why we like it: Saga’s been back with this new prison break arc that has been absolutely insane. I say it every month but, best comic on the stands today. Saga only misses out on the top spot because of the milestone importance of Batman #51. If you haven’t read Saga yet, pick up volume #1 the next time you are in a bookstore. Only ten dollars to change your life.

 

The #1: 4 Kids Walk into a Bank

 

4K 1

Publisher: Black Mask
Words: Matt Rosenberg
Art: Tyler Boss

What it is: A fun(ish) crime caper about children! Eleven-year-old Paige and her weirdo friends have a problem: a gang of ex-cons need her dad’s help on a heist… the problem is those ex-cons are morons. If Paige wants to keep her dad out of trouble, she’s going to have to pull off the heist herself. Like Wes Anderson remaking Reservoir Dogs, 4KWIAB is a very dark & moderately humorous story about friendship, growing up, D & D, puking, skinheads, grand larceny, and family.

Why we like it: You may remember seeing this book on here last week. That was because it was solicited for April 20, but the actual release date is on this Wednesday, 4/27. I heard that some shops didn’t receive copies last week. Some shops received them but opted not to put them out until this week. Fortunately for me, one of my local shops did have them out for sale and I had an absolute ball with this first issue. It’s funny and dorky and unquestionably cool. Black Mask is back! Let’s hope they stick around for a while.

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Daredevil #6

 

DD6

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Charles Soule
Art: Ron Garney
Cover Art: Bill Sienkiewicz

What it is: Hell’s Kitchen knows no fury like an assassin scorned. Though Matt Murdock has somehow managed to hide his identity from the entire world, there are parts of his past he cannot escape. Elektra Natchios, is back in the Big Apple and she’s got a score to settle with The Man Without Fear!

Why we like it: Sienkiewicz is one of the great comic books artists and he’s aging like fine wine. His style has evolved over the years but his artwork remains visually striking and instantly recognizable. Love this cover.

 

That’s all I got this week. Until next time, carpe comics!

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Trailer Snark (April 21st, 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: Jungle Book was the run-away winner this week taking in $103.5M in its debut.  Second place belonged to another new entry, Barbershop Next Cut with $20.2M in receipts.  The Boss dropped to third ($10.1M/$40.3M).  Meanwhile, Batman v. Superman winds down in fourth place ($9M/$311.3M).  Zootopia held fifth ($8.2M/$307.4M).  The rest of the top ten went as follows:  Criminal ($5.8M/NEW), My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 ($3.2M/$52M), Miracles from Heaven ($1.9M/$56.9M), Gods Not Dead 2 ($1.7M/$16.9M), and Eye in the Sky ($1.5M/$16.9M).  This week’s new releases are heavy on royalty…..let’s check them out.

The Huntman: Winter’s War (Universal) – Action/Adventure/Drama
Rated PG-13 for fantasy action violence and some sensuality
Tag Line: None
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Jessica Chastain, Charlize Theron
Plot: As a war between rival queen sisters Ravenna and Freya escalates, Eric and fellow warrior Sara, members of the Huntsmen army raised to protect Freya, try to conceal their forbidden love as they combat Ravenna’s wicked intentions.
Running Time: 114 minutes

Ken: The visuals look snazzy and I’m all for returning fairy-tales to their dark origins. But a prequel to Snow White? Snow thanks.
Jessica: Eh. I liked the first one and am very happy that Stewart is not in here, but I’m on the fence. It looks gorgeous but the heavy effects tend to get boring if there isn’t a good story attached. Though Theron was the best part of the first one … Totally on the fence on this one.
Chris:  Does anyone else think Hemsworth would make a great Kristoff?  But I digress…..looks good and I am sure the wife would agree!

Elvis and Nixon (Bleecker Street Media) – Comedy/History
Rated R for some language
Tag Line: On December 21st, 1970, two of America’s greatest recording artists met for the first time.
Starring:  Michael Shannon, Kevin Spacey
Plot: The untold true story behind the meeting between the King of Rock ‘n Roll and President Nixon, resulting in this revealing, yet humorous moment immortalized in the most requested photograph in the National Archives.
Running Time: 86 minutes

Chris:  I think this one might be good for a chuckle on a low key night at home.  By the way, I like Ken’s title recommendation below!
Ken: A better title would have been The President and The King. Looks interesting enough, but not enough for a trip to the theater.
Jessica: Oh this looks like a hoot. Great actors, a compelling story. Love it.

A Hologram for the King (Lionsgate) – Drama
Rated R for some sexuality/nudity, language and brief drug use
Tag Line: None
Starring:  Tom Hanks, Sarita Choudhary, Tom Skerritt
Plot: A failed American businessman looks to recoup his losses by traveling to Saudi Arabia and selling his idea to a wealthy monarch.
Running Time: 97 minutes

Jessica: I’m more intrigued after seeing this trailer, but this would be a home viewer, if at all.
Chris: I am having trouble caring at all about the story. 
Ken: It had me with the quirky Talking Heads opening but then lost me shortly after.

Tale of Tales (IFC Films) – Fantasy/Horror/Romance
Not rated
Tag Line:  A feast for the imagination.
Starring:  Salma Hayek, John C Reilly, Vincent Cassel, Toby Jones
Plot: From the bitter quest of the Queen of Longtrellis, to two mysterious sisters who provoke the passion of a king, to the King of Highhills obsessed with a giant Flea, these tales are inspired by the fairytales by Giambattista Basile.
Running Time: 133 minutes

Ken: No idea what I watched, but the music was beautiful and the production design looks both gorgeous and terrifying. Rent it and hope for the best.
Jessica: I don’t … What the Heck? I don’t get it. I don’t know if i WANT to get it and then again, I kind of do. What the heck I say!
Chris:  I, for one, am happy to have not heard this fairy tale as a child.  But as an adult, I may be more willing to open this little Pandora Box.

Compadres (Pantelion Films) – Action/Comedy
Not Rated
Tag Line:  None
Starring: Omar Chaparro, Joey Morgan, Eric Roberts
Plot: As former cop Garza seeks revenge on Santos, the crime lord who framed him, he forms an unlikely team with a young hacker who successfully stole $10 million from Santos.
Running Time: 101 minutes

Chris:  Eric Roberts is the kiss of “B” movie death….pass.
Ken: Dios mio, no.
Jessica: No. No. A thousand times NO.

The Meddler (Sony Picture Classics) – Comedy/Drama
Rated PG-13 for brief drug content
Tag Line: None
Starring: Susan Sarandon, Rose Byrne, J.K. Simmons
Plot: An aging widow from New York City follows her daughter to Los Angeles in hopes of starting a new life after her husband passes away.
Running Time: 100 minutes

Jessica: Eh. Looks cute and that’s about it.
Chris: A movie for moms and daughters everywhere….in other words, pass.
Ken: This is my mother, no exaggeration. Looks charming enough for a stream.

Tickets Purchased: One for Elvis and Nixon (Jessica), One for The Huntsman: Winter’s War (Chris) and Ken “takes the black” to find out what happened to Jon Snow.

While we are at it Treasury Department....
While we are at it Treasury Department….
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The Female Perspective: Who You Gonna Call?

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.


If you’re answer to the title of this blog was, GHOSTBUSTERS! Than you’re my kind of people. Though today I am going to talk about the “reboot” (good lord I detest that word these days) with the all female cast that stars comedy powerhouses Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig. I am SUPER excited about this movie. Even more so now that the trailer has come out and shown us that yeah, this movie could potentially be awesome.

I am a huge fan of the original films (even though the 2nd one wasn’t great, it was still the Ghostbusters so I give it some slack), I even remember going to see the first film in the theater and being scared silly by that ghost in the library at the start. I loved the comedy, the silliness and was only slightly confused (I was a kid) by that scene in the ghost montage with Dan Akroyd and the pants unzipping … That part mystified me until I was much older and “wiser”. The original Ghostbusters film is a classic film, one that many feel is “untouchable” in this world of remake after remake.

ghostbusters2016
I would call these ladies if I had ghosts giving my trouble

The fact is, to try and improve on the Ghostbusters original film is pointless, so to cast a group of men to fill the shoes of Venkman, Stantz, Spengler and Zeddmore is lacking in creativity. The idea of an all-female cast is appealing to me because I used to want to be a Ghostbuster when I kid so this is a serious case of wish fulfillment happening, I admit it. Also, as a woman, it’s really fun to see women in the lead of so many films these days. This is just cool because now little girls can see themselves in the shoes of the “Busters” and see them kicking some otherworldly butt!

I know the all female cast is irritating to many folks and it mystifies me. Is it simply the idea of a reboot that has them annoyed or is it because it’s women? I mean, if it was an all male cast, would people be as up in arms? I seriously wonder about that one. I really hate how in this day and age, women in lead roles once held by men are found to be inferior. The fact is, the women in this film have proven their comedic chops time and time again. So what’s the issue here? Why can’t women be in roles that men held? Why are we still stuck in a world where feminism and female-led casting are held in such low regard?

These are questions I ponder time and time again and I have no good, solid answer for them that doesn’t seriously bum me out.

Thor as the god of paperwork!
Thor as the god of paperwork!

Honestly, you cannot go wrong with this cast. Melissa McCarthy makes me laugh when she does sneezes and Kristen Wiig … Jeez Louise, talk about a huge comedic talent. Add  to that the lesser known but just as funny Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones and I think you have a winner here. I also LOVE that Chris Hemsworth is playing their secretary in a great flipping of the roles. Hemsworth was great in his small role in the recent Vacation so I am pretty certain he has the comedic chops to pull off being around all these strong women.

Ghostbusters-2016

I know there has been a lot of talk about how this is not needed and blah, blah, blah and I just want to make the point, what movie is ever really needed?

The idea behind entertainment is that it (you guessed it) entertains us, makes us laugh, cry, think, get angry, etc. Some films are simply there for us to avoid real life for a little while. If something doesn’t appeal to you, don’t watch it. Watch something else, but please, for the love of all that is holy, stop complaining as if you have some choice in the matter. This movie is happening and I, for one, am pretty happy about it.

If you haven’t already, take a few minutes to enjoy the trailer for the upcoming Ghostbusters film.

Ahhh this trailer makes me so HAPPY! The music, the effects, the jokes…It seems like everything I ever loved about the original film is making a fun appearance here and I have high hopes that any one (or all 3) of the living, original Ghostbusters make an appearance in this film, that would be the icing on an already pretty darn exciting ghost-like cake.

So tell me, are you gonna call these Ghostbusters to save the day or are you going to skip it and fend for yourself? Sound off in the comments!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 4/20/2016

Welcome to another episode of the Crank File, where the crank is dark and full of terrors. This week the File’s eye turns westward, or whichever direction Westeros lies. Game of Thrones is back and winter is coming, but not soon enough. Season 5 ended on such a crazy cliffhanger that it hasn’t been off my mind since June. Sunday’s season premiere poses a challenge for me as Wednesday is already looking like a big day for new books. I will be reading a lot of comics this week and writing about some of them, but a part of me just wants to watch trailer breakdowns and read fan theory threads. Oh well, valar dohaeris.

Here’s my five bold predictions for season 6: Lady Sansa Stoneheart, Jon the Ghost Targaryen, Tyrion Targaryen and the red witch gets naked.

And here’s what I’m reading this week:

 

The Top of the Pile: Divinity II #1

 

D2

Publisher: Valiant
Words: Matt Kindt
Art: Trevor Hairsine
Cover Art: Jelena Kevic-Djurdjevic

What it is: At the height of the Cold War, the Soviet Union – determined to win the Space Race at any cost – green lit a dangerously advanced mission. They sent three cosmonauts farther than anyone has gone before or since. Handpicked orphans with no connections to Earth, trained as devout Communists, and restricted from having families, they became lost in the stars and encountered something Unknown. Something that changed them. Long thought lost and erased from the history books, Abram Adams was the first to return. The few that have been able to reach him believe him to be a deity. They say he can bend matter, space, and even time to his will. But, even with limitless powers, he is concerned only with the secret love he hid away from his superiors and the unborn child he never met. Now, Miska, the female co-pilot of the group, has also returned to Earth, but, unlike Abram she had no secret family. Unlike Abram, she still believes in the Communist ideal. And, unlike Abram, she intends to play a very real role in the return of Soviet glory. Earth is about to meet a new god. And she’s a Communist. How long can it be before the nations of Earth bend before DIVINITY?

Why we love it: The highly-cerebral story of a lost, Russian cosmonaut returned to earth introduced the world to a super-powered being unlike any before. Beautifully rendered and deeply poignant, Divinity volume 1 was one of the best series I read in 2015. I’m almost as excited for the return of Divinity as I am about Thrones.

 

The Mainstream One: Action Comics #51

 

AC51

Publisher: DC
Words: Peter J. Tomasi
Art: Fernando Pasarin
Cover Art: Karl Kerschl

What it is:  Superman is shocked to learn that Kara has been missing for some time as part three of ‘Super League’ begins! Now, with Batman’s help, Kal-El is on his cousin’s trail-but he can’t believe where it’s leading him and who she has joined!

Why we like it: I’ve been keeping close tabs on Supes since it was announced that the New 52 Superman was going to die during this “Final Days of Superman” crossover event, and somehow his powers will be transferred to a group of people who will carry on his legacy when he is gone. I smell first appearances and origin stories.

 

The Indie One: 4 Kids Walk into a Bank

 

4K 1

Publisher: Black Mask
Words: Matthew Rosenberg
Art: Tyler Boss

What it is: A fun(ish) crime caper about children! Eleven-year-old Paige and her weirdo friends have a problem: a gang of ex-cons need her dad’s help on a heist… the problem is those ex-cons are morons. If Paige wants to keep her dad out of trouble, she’s going to have to pull off the heist herself. Like Wes Anderson remaking Reservoir Dogs, 4KWIAB is a very dark & moderately humorous story about friendship, growing up, D & D, puking, skinheads, grand larceny, and family.

Why we like it: Black Mask is back and Matt Rosenberg, writer of the outstanding We Can Never Go Home, brings us another comic about kids breaking the law and looking good doing it. If they can keep to a regular release schedule, the sky’s the limit for this indie darling.

 

The #1 One: Dept H #1

 

D1

Publisher: Dark Horse
Words: Matt Kindt
Art: Matt Kindt

What it is: Mia is a special investigator hired to uncover possible sabotage taking place at a deep-sea research station. What she finds is a mind-blowing crime scene filled with suspects with terrible secrets, strange deep-sea creatures, and an impending flood!

Why we like it: Matt Kindt’s artwork is an acquired taste for which I still have yet to acquire. Still, his writing and storytelling abilities are second to none.

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Harley’s Little Black Book #3 (Lisner variant)

 

HBB3

Publisher: DC
Words: Amanda Conner
Art: Joseph Michael Linsner

What it is: The most ghost-filled mansion on Coney Island has been demolished-and unfortunately, every one of its spirits has decided that Harley’s hacienda is the hot new hangout to haunt! It sure is convenient, then, that Zatanna is currently booked at Big Tony’s cabaret show! It’s up to Harley and Zatanna to convince all of those ghosts to move on to the next world…but if you think Harley’s got problems now, just wait until you see the ectoplasmic baggage these specters are packing!

Why we like it: Two of DC’s finest gracing this cover.

 

That’s all I got this week. Until next time, carpe comics!

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Trailer Snark (April 15th, 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 Boss was in charge of last weekend’s box office taking in $23.4M in its debut.  Batman v Superman slipped to second place with an almost identical $23.4M.  It’s total domestic gross is at $296.6M.  Zootopia placed third with $14.3M and $296M overall.  Fourth place belonged to My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 ($6.4M/$46.7M) and Hardcore Henry debuted in fifth with $5M.  The rest of the top ten went as follows:  Miracles from Heaven ($4.8M/$55.8M), God’s Not Dead 2 ($4M/$13.8M), Allegiant ($3.6M/$61.8M), 10 Cloverfield Ln ($3M/$67.9M), and Eye in the Sky ($2.8M/$10.4M).  Taking a look at this week’s new releases we have another Disney film entry, a sequel to a successful comedy, and others….Let’s take a look.

The Jungle Book (Disney) – Family
Rated PG for some sequences of scary action and peril
Tag Line: The legend will never be the same.
Starring: Bill Murray, Ben Kinglsley, Idris Elba, Neel Sethi
Plot: The man-cub Mowgli flees the jungle after a threat from the tiger Shere Khan. Guided by Bagheera the panther and the bear Baloo, Mowgli embarks on a journey of self-discovery, though he also meets creatures who don’t have his best interests at heart.
Running Time: 105 minutes

Chris: I was pleasantly surprised by Maleficent and then disappointed in the live action Cinderella.  This one actually looks promising to me.
Jessica: Eh. I have never been big fan of this story but that being said, this looks interesting enough for me to want to watch at home.
Jim: Looks like a good, solid epic. Always thought the ’67 Disney flick was one of his best. I’m in!
Ken: My favorite Rudyard Kipling book turned animated Disney film makes the jump to live action movie and it looks epic. Wish they didn’t go so heavy on the celebrity voice actors.

Barbershop:  The Next Cut (Warner Bros) – Comedy
Rated PG-13 for sexual material and language
Tag Line:  Everybody’s back for a fresh cut.
Starring:  Ice Cube, Cedric the Entertainer, Regina Hall, Sean Patrick Thomas
Plot: As their surrounding community has taken a turn for the worse, the crew at Calvin’s Barbershop come together to bring some much needed change to their neighborhood.
Running Time: 112 minutes

Ken: Not a big screener. Maybe not even a small screener.
Chris: I never saw the original.  Should I?  I don’t know…meh.
Jessica: Do not care.
Jim: Didn’t see the original, but this looks funny. Rental.

Criminal (Lionsgate) – Action/Crime/Drama
Rated R for strong violence and language throughout
Tag Line: The mission is in the memories.
Starring: Kevin Costner, Ryan Reynolds
Plot: In a last-ditch effort to stop a diabolical plot, a dead CIA operative’s memories, secrets, and skills are implanted into a death-row inmate in hopes the he will complete the operative’s mission.
Running Time: 113 minutes

Jim: Costner does play a good bad guy and Mr. Brooks was great. He’s due for a hit, looks like this deserves to be one.
Ken: All star cast, interesting premise and explosions all over the place. I’m in.
Chris: Costner plays a great bad guy.  Just go see Mr. Brooks for absolute proof.  This could be a diamond in the rough.
Jessica: I’m half and half on this one, I saw an extended trailer before BvS and the story sounded interesting Add to that Mr. Deadpool, Tommy Lee Jones and Gary freakin Oldman, on top of Kevin Costner and Wonder Woman and it does make me want to see it. I also agree Costner as a bad guy is fantastic to watch.

Green Room (Broad Green Pictures) – Crime/Horror/Thriller
Rated R for strong brutal graphic violence, gory images, language and some drug conten
Tag Line: Now. Whatever you saw or did. Is no longer my concern. But let’s be clear. It won’t end well.
Starring: Patrick Stewart, Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots
Plot: After witnessing a murder, a punk rock band is forced into a vicious fight for survival against a group of maniacal skinheads.
Running Time: 94 minutes

Chris: What a departure from type for Patrick Stewart!  Not going to get me to the theater though.
Jim: Ooohhh, scary Picard. Rental.
Ken: I might rent it to see Patrick Stewart playing the villain role, but otherwise totally uninterested.

Sing Street (The Weinstein Company) – Musical/Drama
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements including strong language and some bullying behavior, a suggestive image, drug material and teen smoking
Tag Line: Boy meets girl, girl unimpressed, boy starts band.
Starring: Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Aiden Gillen, Maria Doyle Kennedy
Plot: A boy growing up in Dublin during the 1980s escapes his strained family life by starting a band and moving to London.
Running Time: 106 minutes

Ken: Europeans showing us what a good High School Musical movie looks like.
Chris: This one looks amusing.  I’m in.  Gotta love the 80’s!
Jim: I liked Once and Begin Again, this looks cheerful and tuneful enough to make me want to see it.

Colonia (Screen Media Films) – Drama/History/Romance
Not Rated
Tag Line: None
Starring:  Emma Watson, Daniel Bruhl, Michael Nyqvist
Plot: A young woman’s desperate search for her abducted boyfriend that draws her into the infamous Colonia Dignidad, a sect nobody ever escaped from.
Running Time: 110 minutes

Jessica: I…I am honestly not even sure what i just watched, but it has Hermoine and I love Hermoine…
Ken: Apparently the leaders of this Christian cult were none too pleased about Hermoine transferring over from Hogwarts school of witchcraft.
Jim: nothing I haven’t seen before, but Hermione’s always worth watching.
Chris: Am I the only one that is not typecasting Emma Watson at Trailer Snark?  😉

Tickets Purchased:  Two for The Jungle Book (Ken and Jim), One for Sing Street (Chris), and Jessica stays at home reading her Stephen King book.

The original Jungle Book movie came out 74 years ago!
The original Jungle Book movie came out 74 years ago!
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The Female Perspective: The Mary Sue Stuff Must Stop

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.


Have you heard the term Mary Sue lately? If not, let me offer up the definition:

Mary Sue for female characters and Gary Stu or Marty Stu for male characters is an idealized and seemingly perfect fictional character, a young or low-rank person who saves the day through unrealistic abilities. Often this character is recognized as an author insert or wish-fulfillment. ~Wikipedia

One of the more recent uses of this term is towards Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens and it annoyed the wholy heck out of me because not only has no one ever used the term “Gary Stu” or “Marty Stu” for a man (I’d never heard of it before today), but because saying a woman that is strong, smart and powerful is “unrealistic” is really, REALLY annoying. The double standard of not using it towards male characters is what really sticks in my craw and my annoyance has been revitalized due to the release of the Star Wars: Rogue One trailer.

crylead
Our newest “Star Wars” protagonist…Jyn Erso

All the ugly anti-feminist argument trolls are out in force people. In FORCE.

In the trailer, we are introduced to a new, female, character named Jyn Erso who has been dubbed a Mary Sue even before anyone has seen the movie. Simply because of the following:

  1. She’s a woman.
  2. She is the lead character.
  3. She clearly kicks ass.

That’s it folks. Let’s take a moment to unravel this a bit. All of these people claiming she’s a Mary Sue and that Star Wars never gets to have powerful male leads, (seriously, that was a Tweet I saw…I can’t even begin to talk about that either it made me so mad) as if there is something wrong with a woman being in control in the Star Wars universe. Have none of these people ever actually seen Star Wars???? Seriously, have you never heard of Princess Leia?

For pete’s sake.  I can’t even, the stupidity is overwhelming me people. Why are there so many stupids all around? Why do they have internet access and computers and, you know, fingers with which to type??? It boggles my mind that people would get so up in arms over a woman being shown as not only capable, but brave and tough too.

Lucas has admitted that Luke is his character wish fulfillment on film.
Lucas has admitted that Luke is his character wish fulfillment on film.

The fact is, the term Mary Sue needs to be retired, expunged from our lexicon. Deleted forever from the world. It is sexist, subjective and completely insulting to the female characters it has been attached to. The fact is, if you really look at it, Luke Skywalker (known to be George Lucas’ wish fulfillment character) is a Mary Sue himself! He’s “too” perfect in unrealistic ways. Even wee little Anakin is “too” perfect and yet, no one complains about that. No one cries out “Gary Stu!” (or whatever it is). No. No one does, because Mary Sue is a sexist, anti-feminism term meant to belittle and subjugate the female lead. To make her feel less than, to bring down her potential and to, once again, take a woman’s power and crush it into dust.

Actual Tweets by actual people...Or something resembling people...
Actual Tweets by actual people…Or something resembling people…

Sorry (totally not sorry) to all those who are running around crying foul that “yet another” woman is a lead in a Star Wars film, you’re going to have to get used to seeing the ladies in charge because clearly that’s the way that Disney is going here and clearly it’s well received by those of us who aren’t neanderthal misogynistic morons.

My brain hurts...
My brain hurts…I can’t even deal with this much stupid.

Welcome to the new Star Wars world, it has women in it who do things, important things. Get used to it, and while you’re at it, stop using the Mary Sue terminology. It’s antiquated and lame, not to mention entirely insulting to the female gender who desperately want women to be role models for the younger generation. Feminists don’t want to take down the menfolk, now listen carefully, feminists want to be equal with them.

Why is that so difficult?

What do YOU think of the term Mary Sue? Is it time to retire the term? Why or why not? Sound off in the comments!

P.S. If you haven’t seen the trailer, watch below, it looks AMAZING.

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 4/13/2016

Welcome to another episode of the Crank File, where with great crank there must also come great responsibility. It’s tax week which means my refund will be funding some new comic purchases. I opted to skip the long lines at Super Megafest this weekend and hit up a local convention held at the Franklin Elks lodge. I can enjoy the carnival atmosphere of large cons but I’ve never felt comfortable digging through longboxes in a crowded convention hall. So when I’m looking for big bargains, I go small. I came home from the micro-con with a nice haul of gems found for under $60 total, including a first appearance of Misty Knight, a first appearance of Azrael, a first appearance of Huntress Helina Bertinelli, two Guardians of Knowhere #1 Gwenom variants, Locke and Key: Headgames #1-3 and Capes #1 featuring the first previews of a little Image series called The Walking Dead. I believe that qualifies as a score, at least from a technical standpoint.

That’s what I bought last week, here’s what I’m reading this week:

 

The Top of the Pile: Batman Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

 

BMTMNT5

Publisher: DC, Co-published by IDW
Words: James Tynion IV
Art: Freddie Williams II

What it is: While Shredder enters an uneasy alliance with a deadly new partner, Casey Jones is arrested by the GCPD. At the same time, a crisis breaks out at Arkham Asylum, which is bound to keep both Batman and the Turtles busy. Meanwhile, a certain young resident of Wayne Manor returns home to find a new, green occupant in his room.

Why we love it: We love Batman. We love Ninja Turtles. We love crossovers. And we really loved the end of issue #4 which showed Shredder heading towards Arkham Asylum with a canister full of pure mutagen. Hold on to your booty, Gotham’s about to get mutie.

 

The Mainstream One: Moon Kinght #1

MK1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Jeff Lemire
Art: Greg Smallwood

What it is: THE BOOK YOU’D BE INSANE TO MISS! Marc Spector (a.k.a. Moon Knight/Jake Lockley/Steven Grant) has been fighting criminals and keeping New York City safe for years, or has he? When he wakes up in an insane asylum with no powers and a lifetime’s worth of medical records, his whole identity (indentities) are called into question. Something is wrong, but is that something Marc Spector himself?

Why we like it: Jeff Lemire made the jump from indie to mainstream without missing a beat. Extrodinary X-Men and Old Man Logan have been two of my favorite post-Secret Wars Marvel titles and my expectations for his Moon Knight series are sky high. This is Moon Knight’s time to shine.

 

The Indie One: Monstress #5

 

M5

Publisher: Image
Words: Marjoire Liu
Art: Sana Takeda

What it is: Maika struggles with the monster inside.

Why we like it: Monstress’ first arc closes this week and we’re just starting to get a sense of the big picture. I’m really digging this book and the artwork, Takeda’s colorful, manga inspired pages are worth a look. The story feels enormous in scope, which can be difficult to wrap your head around on the first pass. A slew of factions, races, characters and mythology are introduced with little exposition, but the writing is strong enough to keep the reader invested without knowing what is going on. Be sure to snag any copies of #1 that you come across. All covers are selling well on the secondary market, especially the second and third printings.

 

The #1 One: Gwenpool #1 (Stacy Lee variant)

 

GP1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Christopher Hastings
Art: Gurihiru

What it is: Gwen Poole used to be a comic book reader just like you…until she woke up in a world where the characters she read about seemed to be real! But they can’t be, right? This must all be fake, or a dream or something, right? And you know what that means…NO CONSEQUENCES! Could Gwenpool truly be Marvel’s least responsible and least role-modely character to date? She can if she tries!

Why we like it: Somewhere along the way, the girl who died became the girl who was resurrected as everyone else. I will admit that the Gewnpool character makes zero sense, and that these Gewn Stacy derivations of other established Marvel characters is a fad. Neither of those reasons will stop me from picking this up on Wednesday because it looks like crazy, senseless fun. I’m going for the Stacy Lee variant if I find it at a good price.

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Batman Superman #31 (Paquette variant)

 

BSM31

Publisher: DC
Words: Peter J. Tomasi
Art: Doug Mahnke

What it is: In part two of ‘Super League,’ Superman enlists Batman’s aid in seeking out people that can help form his new super-league. A shocking discovery is made about a new super-being no one knew existed, and something is beginning to stalk Superman…

Why we like it: In Chinese mythology, the dragon and tiger represent two parts of a whole; the yin and the yang, two unstoppable forces forever locked in eternal conflict. I feel Batman fights more Dragon style and Superman fights Tiger style, but otherwise I can’t think of a better analogy for Supes and Bats.

 

That’s all I got this week. So until next time, carpe comics!

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Trailer Snark (April 8th, 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:  DC owned the box office again this past week in spite of a massive drop in ticket sales for Batman v Superman.  The dueling duo took in another $52.3M for a total domestic haul of $261.4M in its second week of release.  Zootopia placed second with $20M and $275.9M overall.  My Big fat Greek Wedding 2 placed third ($11.1M/$36.4M).  The highest debut came from fourth place God’s Not Dead 2, which managed $8.1M.  Miracles from Heaven was right behind in fifth ($7.5M/$46.8M).  The rest of the top ten went as follows:  Allegiant ($5.7M/$56.3M), 10 Cloverfield Ln ($4.7M/$63.5M), Meet the Blacks ($4M/NEW), Eye in the Sky ($4M/$6.1M), and Deadpool ($3.5M/$355.1M).  Let’s take a look at what is rolling into theaters this weekend….

Hardcore Henry (STX Entertainment) – Action/Sci-Fi
Rated R for non-stop bloody brutal violence and mayhem, language throughout, sexual content/nudity and drug use
Tag Line: First they made him dangerous.  Then they made him mad.
Starring:  Sharlto Copley, Tim Roth, Haley Bennett
Plot: A first-person action film from the eyes of Henry, who’s resurrected from death with no memory. He must discover his identity and save his wife from a warlord with a plan to bio-engineer soldiers.
Running Time: 96 minutes

Chris: Gosh, the first person camera movies are getting about as old as “reality” TV.
Jim: I swear that some people who make trailers try to figure out the best way to keep people like me away. Case in point.
Jessica: I can’t deal with this. It makes me seasick. Big pass.

The Boss (Universal Pictures) – Comedy
Rated R for sexual content, language and brief drug use
Tag Line: Watch your assets.
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Bell
Plot: A titan of industry is sent to prison after she’s caught for insider trading. When she emerges ready to rebrand herself as America’s latest sweetheart, not everyone she screwed over is so quick to forgive and forget.
Running Time: 99 minutes

Jessica: I adore McCarthy so I would totally see this at home. Not a theater flick but she does tickle me.
Chris: Please fire me!
Jim: There might be a good movie in here, but you wouldn’t know it from this idiotic trailer.

Demolition (Fox Searchlight) – Comedy/Drama
Rated R for language, some sexual references, drug use and disturbing behavior
Tag Line: LIFE: Some Disassembly Required.
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts, Chris Cooper
Plot: As an investment banker struggles after losing his wife in a tragic car crash, his increasingly confessional series of letters to a vending machine company catch the attention of a customer service rep with whom he forms an unlikely connection.
Running Time: 100 minutes

Jim: Jake Gyllenhaal is amazing, might be worth a look.
Jessica: Good actors, interesting premise. Not a theater viewing but I would watch this at home.
Chris: Intriguing method of channeling hurt.  Not sure my desire for the melancholy is high enough with spring dawning, but I’ll certainly give this a look down the road.

The Invitation (Drafthouse Films) – Horror/Thriller
Not Rated
Tag Line: There is nothing to be afraid of.
Starring: Logan Marshall-Green, Michiel Huisman
Plot: While attending a dinner party at his former home, a man thinks his ex-wife and her new husband have sinister intentions for their guests.
Running Time: 100 minutes

Chris: You had me at “hello, and welcome to my absolutely sinister home”!
Jim: Love house party movies, especially creepy ones like this.
Jessica: Interesting. I’d watch this at home, I like a good psychological thriller and this could be one.

Louder Than Bombs (The Orchard) – Drama
Rated R for language, some sexual content, nudity and violent images
Tag Line: Break the silence.
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Gabriel Byrne, Isabelle Huppert
Plot: The fractious family of a father and his two sons confront their different feelings and memories of their deceased wife and mother, a famed war photographer.
Running Time: 109 minutes

Jessica: Eh. That’s about all I felt, eh.
Chris: Jesse Eisenberg is really turning out to be a treat to watch on film.  While I wouldn’t say his presence commands an audience, his delivery sure as heck makes up for it!
Jim: Looks like an intriguing rental. Jesse Eisenberg helps, maybe he’ll redeem himself for his overacting in Batman Vs. Superman (yes, overacted even for an over-the-top villain).

Mr. Right (Focus World) – Action/Comedy/Romance
Rated R for violence and language throughout
Tag Line: They make a killer couple.
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Sam Rockewell
Plot: A girl falls for the “perfect” guy, who happens to have a very fatal flaw: he’s a hitman on the run from the crime cartels who employ him.
Running Time: 90 minutes

Jim: Wrong. Sorry, couldn’t resist.
Jessica: I simply adore Rockwell so I was sold right away.
Chris: Not a chance, even if it were called Mrs. Right.

Tickets Purchased: Two for The Invitation (Jim and Chris) and Jessica stays at home with a good book!

I think he is a glass half full kind of guy.
I think he is a glass half full kind of guy.
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The Female Perspective: Why The “Walking Dead” Cliffhanger Is Awesome

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.


** SPOILERS AHEAD **

If you haven’t seen the season finale of Walking Dead by now, don’t read this. That is your only warning.

walking-dead-season-5-comic-con-poster-image-widewallpapershd-20-114967

I am a huge Walking Dead fan, both of the comics and the TV show (though I started watching the show first in all honesty) and I think it has consistently been one of the smartest, grossest and funnest shows on TV for many years now.  I also love/hate a good cliffhanger. This season, Walking Dead delivered on both keeping it’s quality at the highest level while also giving us one killer (pun intended) of a cliffhanger.

So why are people so peeved about it?

It is simply amazing to me how many people are upset that the show ended in a cliffhanger. First off, this is not the first time in TV history that there has been a cliffhanger ending for a season so why are people acting all shocked and/or angry that Walking Dead chose that route? All season they have been playing with us, making us wait for the final 10 minutes of the season to finally see one of the biggest bads in all of Walking Dead history, Negan. Not to mention, they teased us with Glenn’s death earlier in the season, only to take it away with a sly wink and a nod, “Don’t worry folks, we’ll get to the death soon…Just be patient,” and then, when death is imminent for one of our mighty zombie killers, the screen fades to black, screams are heard and the credits roll. Leaving us no idea as to who just got their head bashed in by Lucille while also leaving us angry, confused and wanting more.

It’s freaking brilliant TV show writing.

What’s the best way to ensure a huge audience when your show premiers in October? Tease a major characters death and then end the show before telling us who it is. End the show with the bone cracking, blood squelching sounds of a bat (wrapped in barbed wire) being smashed repeatedly into someone’s head, in front of people who love them, but don’t tell the audience who just died. It’s amazing. It’s brilliant and yeah, it’s a little infuriating but I can’t even count at this point how many times I’ve yelled, “I hate this show!” at my TV as the credits roll. But really, that’s code for, “I love this show!”

The fact is, I refuse to give up and/or complain about a show that has given me years of entertainment, taking the zombie survival scenario to a whole other level and who delivers some of the best performances in acting I’ve seen on TV. I mean, the fear in Rick’s eyes as he realizes just how screwed they are when they finally meet Negan after weeks and weeks of him prancing around all cocky, “We’ve done it before,” kind of nonsense. Rick thought Negan was a simple man doing bad things that they could defeat easily.

He is very, very wrong.

Yep. Pee-pee pants city, all aboard!
Yep. Pee-pee pants city, all aboard!

For those who read the comics, we spent the season anxiously awaiting the arrival of Negan, knowing what it means for the survivors, knowing how bloody and brutal things are about to get. Knowing just how diabolical (and damn charming) Negan is. I can say for me that it’s been maddening. Imagine my relief then when Negan steps out of the RV with all his swagger, all his smiles, and Lucille, the bat from Hell. Well, I thought I’d feel relief, but really all I felt was heart pounding fear. I knew what was coming (as so many did) and the anticipation as Negan stalked his prey, toyed with it and made a grand speech that I only heard a little of (it’s hard to hear when you have your shirt over your face and you’re going “Oh God, oh God, oh God,” over and over again) was maddening.

(FYI: Jeffrey Dean Morgan was made to play Negan. I couldn’t be more happy with his performance. He makes Negan confusing, just like in the comics, he’s insane but handsome. True evil, but charming. A sexist , but … Nope, he’s just a jerk)

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan - The Walking Dead - Season 6/Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan – The Walking Dead – Season 6/Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Then when the screen fades away with the sounds of screaming and skull crushing, I wanted to faint a little bit. It was perfect. It was everything I hoped it would be, even if it was insanity-inducing. To all those people who are creating petitions to find out the ending of WD, or who are complaining that the show was “lame” or “badly written”, you all need to take a step back, survey what else is on TV and realize, this is one of the best shows out there and if you see anything other than total brilliance, you are missing the point and should just stop watching … Oh, but you won’t, because you want to find out who Negan killed. Uh oh!

Seriously though, everyone has their opinion and I respect that, the fact is that cliffhangers happen. They happen quite a bit and they are both a lot of fun as well as being smart TV making and marketing. What better way to get your audience to come back than to leave them wanting more? In this case Walking Dead killed off a major character but left us wondering who that was. Unusual for them as they like to show us who died, leave us in the aftermath and make us wait 6-7 months for the revenge. This time, they left us mid-kill and invite us back for the death, the aftermath and the revenge. I for one cannot wait!

We shall see Rick, we shall see..
We shall see Rick, we shall see..

It’s funny, almost everyone I’ve talked to has a different opinion as to who died in the finale. I say Glenn (I’m sticking with the comics here), others say Daryl, Aaron, Eugene or even Maggie. Which is exactly what those jerks at the writers table of Walking Dead want us to think. They want us sitting in limbo until October so that when that 9pm rolls around we are glued to our TV, just waiting, and then they’ll give us a “filler” episode about Carol and Morgan and we won’t know who died until episode 2 – because the writers of the Walking Dead are mean people, but I love them just the same.

Who do you think died? Tell me in the comments!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 4/6/2016

Greetings comic book fans and welcome back to the Crank File, the crankiest place on earth. It’s shaping up to be a big week for new comics so let’s dive right in, Louganis style.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile: Vision #6

V6

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Tom King
Art: Gabriel Hernandez Walta

What it is: The book everyone is talking about. The first arc of this acclaimed series comes to its frightening climax. The bodies will not stay buried. The truth will not remain hidden. And The Vision will never be the same.

Why we love it:  The Vision builds himself a wife and two kids and tries to assimilate them into a quiet suburban town, just like a normal human family, but he can’t escape his violent past or the neighborhood’s fear of his family. Dark, intelligent and idiosyncratic, the Vision is like no other superhero story you’ve seen before.

The Mainstream One: Spider-man #3

SM3

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Brian Bendis
Art: Sarah Pichelli

What it is: Miles finds himself face-to-face with his toughest villain yet- HIS GRANDMOTHER!!! And an Avengers-study session (date?) with Ms. Marvel goes horribly wrong!

Why we like it: Miles Morales allows Marvel to tell contemporary, teen-aged Spider-man stories without having Peter Parker in an alternate universe or making deals with devil. This week Miles teams up with fellow All-New, All-Different Avenger Ms. Marvel to tackle his most frightening foe, homework.

 

The Indie One: Bruce Lee Dragon Rises #1 (Cho variant)

BL1

Publisher: Darby Pop
Words: Jeff Kline
Art: Brandon McKinney

What it is: Bruce Lee never died. And he hasn’t aged. But, Bruce has no idea who he is or why so many ‘thugs’ want a piece of him. Co-written by Bruce’s daughter, Shannon Lee, and ‘Jackie Chan Adventures’ EP Jeff Kline.

Why we like it: Martial artist, philosopher and all-around bad-ass, Bruce Lee has been my hero since grade school. I’ve never cos-played as a superhero but I’ve dressed up as Bruce on three separate Halloweens. He’s as close to a super human as I’ve seen in real life. A double sized issue for only $3.99 and a Frank Cho cover makes this one an easy pick.

 

The #1 One: Black Panther #1 (Ross variant)

BP1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Art: Brian Stelfreeze

What it is: A new era for the Black Panther starts here! Written by MacArthur Genius and National Book Award winner TA-NEHISI COATES (Between the World and Me) and illustrated by living legend BRIAN STELFREEZE, ‘A Nation Under Our Feet’ is a story about dramatic upheaval in Wakanda and the Black Panther’s struggle to do right by his people as their ruler. The indomitable will of Wakanda — the famed African nation known for its vast wealth, advanced technology and warrior traditions — has long been reflected in the will of its monarchs, the Black Panthers. But now the current Black Panther, T’Challa, finds that will tested by a superhuman terrorist group called The People that has sparked a violent uprising among the citizens of Wakanda. T’Challa knows the country must change to survive — the question is, will the Black Panther survive the change?

Why we like it: Black Panther’s popularity has been on the upswing since he began appearing in the Captain America 3: Civil War trailers. Marvel capitalizes on his meteoric rise by giving him his own series with an all-star creative team. A classic Alex Ross cover makes this #1 a must pull.

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Scarlet Witch #5

SW5

Publisher: Marvel
Words: James Robinson
Art: Marguerite Sauvage

What it is: Wanda’s journey takes her to Spain! There she finds an old vineyard converted from a haunted church where witches used to be burned at the stake. But to unravel the mystery of the hauntings, she must first fight off the ghosts of the SPANISH INQUISITION!

Why we like it: Cover artist David Aja has been doing amazing, minimalist artwork for the current Scarlet Witch run. This week’s cover is especially dramatic with silhouettes of witches burning at the stake forming Wanda’s cloak. A stunning reminder that sometimes less is actually more.

 

That’s all I got this week. Until next time, carpe comics!