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Trailer Snark (May 27, 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: It may be shocking to some, but Angry Birds took perch at the top of the box office with $39M last weekend.  Captain America: Civil War was bumped to second with $33.1M and now $347.9M overall. Two other debuts occupied the third and fourth slots with Neighbors making $21.7M and The Nice Guys taking in $11.2M.  Jungle Book closed out the top five with $11M and $327.4M overall.  The rest of the top ten went like this:  Money Monster ($7M/$27.1M), The Darkness ($2.3M/$8.4M), Zootopia ($1.7M/$334.4M), The Huntsman ($1.1M/$46.6M), and Mother’s Day ($1.1M/$31.2M).  This week is a light schedule but a very hefty entry……

X-Men:  Apocalypse (Twentieth Century Fox) – Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi
Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence, action and destruction, brief strong language and some suggestive images
Tag Line: Destroy
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult
Plot: With the emergence of the world’s first mutant, Apocalypse, the X-Men must unite to defeat his extinction level plan.
Running Time: 144 minutes

Jim: It’s an X-Men movie. Of COURSE I’m gonna see it. Even the weaker ones (The Last Stand, First Class) are worth seeing.
Ken: I’d never miss an X-Men movie, and my excitement has been growing exponentially with each new trailer. Rumors are the Apocalypse movie will setup my favorite X-Men story of all time, the Dark Phoenix Saga.
Chris: Like I would miss a Marvel-related film?  The only big question for me is, “do we get to see Old Man Logan?”
Jessica: A big pass from me. Not a huge fan of what Singer has done in the X-men universe and this one looks pretty blah to me. Which stinks because you know  I LOVE a Marvel movie! I’ll check this one out at home when it’s cheaper and/or free!

Alice Through the Looking Glass (Disney) – Adventure/Family/Fantasy
Rated PG for fantasy action/peril and some language
Tag Line: This spring, it’s time for a little madness.
Starring:  Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowska, Helena Bonham Carter
Plot: Alice returns to the whimsical world of Wonderland and travels back in time to save the Mad Hatter.
Running Time: 113 minutes

Jessica: I liked the first one, not love, and this one is only okay looking. An at-home viewer for sure.
Jim: The first, Tim-Burton directed Alice in Wonderland was a charmless CGI snooze. He’s not directing this one, but it doesn’t look much different than the first.
Ken: Burton really missed the mark with the Alice remakes. I enjoyed his adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory because it was true to the source material. Not the case with Alice, which only superficially resembles the Lewis Carroll classic, trading in the whimsy and wonder for slapstick and CGI.
Chris: I didn’t see the first, and I am not likely to see this one.  I still prefer Tom Petty’s iteration.

The Ones Below (Magnet) – Thriller
Rated R for language, some sexuality and nudity
Tag Line: How well do you know your neighbors?
Starring: Clemence Poesy, David Morrisey
Plot: A couple expecting their first child discover an an unnerving difference between themselves and the couple living in the flat below them who are also having a baby.
Running Time: 87 minutes

Chris: After seeing The Burbs this week, my appetite for crazy neighbors has suddenly sky-rocketed.  I’ll check it out!
Jessica: Looks interesting!
Jim: Looks good and Roman-Polanski creepy.
Ken: Ick, creepy, There’s something about babies in peril that immediately ramps up the anxiety level to eleven.

Tickets Purchased:  Three for X-Men: Apocalypse (Ken, Jim, and Chris) and Jessica takes in another viewing of Civil War.

Apocalypse...the first mutant...done by the legendary Skotty Young
Apocalypse…the first mutant…done by the legendary Skotty Young
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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week: 5/25/2016

Welcome back to another installment of the Crank File, where the cranks are made up but the problems are real.

Short post this week as I’m preparing for a business trip that will take me halfway across the world for the next week. So I just have two words for you: hold door.

Here’s what I’m reading this week.

 

The Top of the Pile: DC Universe Rebirth #1

 

DCUR1

Publisher: DC

What it is: It all begins here. Do not skip to the last page. Do not let a friend or message board ruin this comic for you. The future (and past) of the DC Universe starts here. Don’t say we didn’t warn you! THEY SAID IT: ‘Rebirth is about focusing in on the core of the character and their respective universe,’ says writer and DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns. ‘It brings back what has been lost, the legacy of the characters, the love and the hope of the DCU!’

Why we love it: It’s DC Rebirth week and the internet is already swirling with rumors and leaks. Who will die? Who will make their first appearance? What secrets will be revealed? Fortunately many of us won’t have to wait until Wednesday to find out the answers, as some local comic shops are holding midnight release parties on Tuesday to mark the occasion.

 

The Mainstream one: Justice League #50 / Superman #52

 

JL50SM52

Publisher: DC
Words: Geoff Johns / Peter Tomasi
Art: Jason Fabok / Mikel Janin

What it is: The epic conclusion to the Darkseid War saga, and the final issue of the New 52 Superman.

Why we like it: It’s all DC this week and I couldn’t choose between these two because both issues will reveal major events in the DC universe. Potential spoilers ahead. It has been hinted that Superman #52 will be the death of the New 52 Superman and Justice League #50 will reveal the Joker’s true identity.

 

The Indie One: Squarriors: Summertime #1

 

SQ1

Publisher: Devil’s Due
Words: Ash Maczko
Art: Ashley Witter

What it is: Next from the break-out hit series Squarriors: The saga of warring rodents in a post-human world continues with Squarriors: Summer. There’s little time to nurse wounds as the Tin Kin’s struggle against the Maw and Amoni intensifies. The conflict of woodland creatures boils under the scorching Summer Sun. And the tribes find themselves on the brink of war and the edge of annihilation.

Why we like it: Squarriors volume 1 was a fantastic read and I’ve been looking forward to volume two of this epic fantasy tale. The elevator pitch for this series is Wind in the Willows meets Game of Thrones. Ashley Witter’s gorgeous painted artwork is worth the price of admission alone.

 

The #1 One: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas #1

 

FaL1

Publisher: IDW
Words: Troy Little
Art: Troy Little

What it is: Troy Little’s gonzo adaptation of Hunter Thompson’s Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas is now available in an all-new format. This comic book version is presented in black-and-white and at a slightly larger size than the full-color hardcover edition. Each issue also includes pages from Little’s sketchbook and other behind-the-scenes information. ‘[Little’s] talents make him perfectly comfortable with the elastic expressions required to recreate the exploits of Thompson and his companion, Dr. Gonzo, as they slingshot between mania, paranoia, rage, and despair… the graphic-novel aspect adds layers to Thompson’s prose.’

Why we like it: The Terry Gilliam movie was something of a revelation for me. While I was originally drawn to it for the promise of zany, drug-fueled misadventures, what actually resonated with me deeply was the retrospective of the 60’s generation and its lasting effects on American culture.

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Mockingbird #3

 

MB 3

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Chelsea Cain
Art: Kate Niemczyk
Cover art: Joelle Jones

What it is: Bobbi suits up as Mockingbird to save an adolescent girl driven bonkers by her new powers. Later, a rakish Englishman asks Bobbi to dogsit.

Why we like it: Joelle Jones is an immensely talented artist and has already done a couple of fantastic covers for Mockingbird. This one’s on a whole different level though.

 

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

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Trailer Snark (May 20, 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: Disney continued its box office dominance by taking the top two slots.  Captain America: Civil War racked up another $72.5M for a total of $295.8M in overall domestic receipts.  Jungle Book was able to break $300M with its $17.7M weekend.  Clooney and Roberts’ Money Monster premiered in third place with $15M, while the Kevin Bacon horror, The Darkness, managed only $5.1M in its fourth place debut.  Mother’s Day finished out the top five ($3.2M/$28.7M).  The rest of the top ten were as follows:  Zootopia ($2.8M/$331.8M), Huntsman ($2.5M/$44.5M), Keanu ($1.9M/$18.6M), Barbershop ($1.6M/$51.3M), and The Boss ($1.1M/$61.1M).  Let’s take a look at this week’s new entries into our cineplexes.

Angry Birds (Sony) – Family
Rated PG for rude humor and action
Tag Line: Meet Bomb
Starring:  The voice talents of Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Sean Penn, and more.
Plot: Find out why the birds are so angry. When an island populated by happy, flightless birds is visited by mysterious green piggies, it’s up to three unlikely outcasts – Red, Chuck and Bomb – to figure out what the pigs are up to.
Running Time: 97 minutes

Ken: This movie should have been made years ago, if it should have been made at all.  
Chris: Not a chance.
Jessica: I don’t get it. I played the game, why is there a movie?
Jim: I’ve seen these trailers too many times, but I’ve never needed one to tell me I’m definitely not seeing this movie.

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (Universal) – Comedy
Rated R for crude sexual content including brief graphic nudity, language throughout, drug use and teen partying
Tag Line: New neighbors.
Starring: Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Zac Efron
Plot: After a sorority moves in next door, which is even more debaucherous than the fraternity before it, Mac and Kelly have to ask for help from their former enemy, Teddy.
Running Time: 92 minutes

Jim: The first was only mildly amusing, but…yeeeaaaaah, I think I’m still in for the second.
Ken: I couldn’t sit through the first one, not even going to attempt the sequel.
Chris: I actually thoroughly enjoyed the first.  Hope to laugh my way through a second installment.
Jessica: I love Seth Rogen to pieces but the first one bored me, I turned it off near the end I was so un-amused by it. I think it’s really only funny to folks who have to learn to be parents after being partygoers, etc. Not being a parent, this really just fell flat with me.

The Nice Guys (Warner Bros) – Action/Comedy/Crime
Rated R for violence, sexuality, nudity, language and brief drug use
Tag Line: Nice pair.
Starring: Russel Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice
Plot: A mismatched pair of private eyes investigate the apparent suicide of a fading porn star in 1970s Los Angeles.
Running Time: 116 minutes

Jessica: This movie looks great, I love Gosling and Crowe and this looks like a quirky little comedy that’s smart, but also totally ridiculous.
Jim: Looks like fun, reminds me of Shane Black’s other action comedy Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Love the ’70s-style graphics and voice-over.
Ken: Looks like a fun, buddy cop, action flick in the vein of Lethal Weapon.
Chris: Agree with the crew on this one.  Throwback buddy cop film with a bit of quirkiness thrown in.  Entertainment looks promising.
Weiner (Motto) – Documentary
Rated R for language and some sexual material
Tag Line: None
Starring: Huma Abedin
Plot: An examination of disgraced New York Congressman Anthony Weiner’s mayoral campaign and the landscape of today’s political landscape.
Running Time: 96 minutes

Chris: The only good weiner is a grilled one….who wants some BBQ?
Jim: The current campaign has driven out of me any interest in seeing a documentary about one.
Ken: A hysterical look at how the weiner gets made.

Holy Hell (CNN Films) – Documentary
Not Rated
Tag Line: None
Starring: Will Allen, Dimitrius Pulido
Plot: An inside look at a West Hollywood cult formed by a charismatic teacher in the 1980s that eventually imploded.
Running Time: 100 minutes

Ken: Hell no.
Chris: The Age of Aquarius gets a rebirth in the 80’s?  That dude is creepy looking.  Rental.
Jim: Looks interesting, possible rental.

Tickets Purchased:  Three for The Nice Guys (Ken, Jessica, and Jim) and One for Neighbors 2 (Chris)

The original nice guys....Alice Cooper and Dave Mustaine!
The original nice guys….Alice Cooper and Dave Mustaine!
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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 5.18.2016

Welcome to another installment of the Crank File, the only place on the web that cranks without first looking both ways.

I headed out to Poughkeepsie New York over the weekend with the girlfriend. Whenever I’m traveling to a new place, I like visiting a local comic shop in the area. This trip brought us to Alterniverse in Hyde Park. It was a small shop, with only a dozen or so longboxes apart from the current books lining the wall racks. The store owner Anthony greeted us warmly and explained how the store was organized and we got to digging. Asides from an occasional regular popping in and inquiring about a Magic tournament, we were the only customers in the store. We’re getting to the end of the row of boxes when an older gentleman, probably in his 60’s, walks into the shop. He quickly browsed through a couple of short boxes before heading over to the new release rack, where he picks out a copy of ElfQuest: Final Quest. He brings it up to the counter and says to Anthony, “Thank you for carrying my book and for having it displayed prominently on the shelf.” It was Richard freaking Pini, co-creator of Elfquest. For those of you unfamiliar, Elfquest is one of the longest running and most successful independent comics ever published, a high-fantasy tale written and drawn exclusively by husband/wife duo Richard and Wendy Pini since 1978. Richard was super cool and what began as a random visit to a local shop turned into hanging out with a legend; just four nerds in a small shop talking comics and elfs.

Rest in peace Mr. Cooke. Here’s what I’m reading this week:

 

The Top of the Pile: Civil War II #0 (Noto variant)

 

CW20

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Olivier Coipel

What it is: From the creative team that brought you House of M and Siege comes a blistering first chapter in Marvel’s new explosive event. Watch as the players are introduced and the table is set for a storyline that fans will be talking about for years.

Why we love it: I usually am wary of these line-wide events, but I enjoyed with the first Civil War series and felt validated that a comic book was willing to explore larger social issues. After seeing the Civil War movie this weekend, I feel that the underlying argument of security vs freedom is as relevant today as it was ten years ago.

 

The Mainstream one: Spider-man #4

 

SM4

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Sara Pichelli

What it is: Miles is just finding his feet in the all new marvel universe; the media is growing obsessed with his skin color and now he has to share his own book with a hot new mutant who goes by the name of… wait for it… All this and the Queenpin of New York, the Black Cat, has set her sights on this new Spider-Man. She has put out a hit on his head and now no one is safe!

Why we like it: Bendis makes two appearances on this week’s list and there’s no denying that Marvel’s goldenboy is at the top of his game here, writing a contemporary Spider-man story that feels miles more relateable than Slott’s Old Man Parker. If you enjoyed Tom Holland’s take as an adolescent Peter Parker then you know how much fun a young Spider-man can be.

 

The Indie One: Manifest Destiny #19 (James Harren variant)

 

MD19

Publisher: Image
Words: Chris Dingess
Art: Matthew Roberts

What it is: Lewis & Clark didn’t lead the first expedition west? nor were they the first to encounter the biggest mammal in all the land: Sasquatch!

Why we like it: So happy that Manifest Destiny is back. I don’t know if MD is my favorite Image title, but I can’t think of a book that I have more fun reading.

The #1 One: Tank Girl: Two Girls One Tank #1

 

TG1

Publisher: Titan
Words: Alan Martin
Art: Brett Parsons

What it is: Fresh off the back of their latest calamitous chapter comes this shiny new Tank Girl tale from series creator Alan Martin and artist extraordinaire, Brett Parson! Expect a healthy dose of delirium and plenty of ball-crunching action in this high-octane crosscountry skirmish that asks the question: is this world really big enough for two Tank Girls? Strap yourself in, folks; It’s gonna be one helluva ride!

Why we like it: Probably not actually picking this one up, but wanted to point out the best/worst title I’ve heard in a while.

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Superman American Alien #7 (Jock variant)

 

SMAA7

Publisher: DC
Words: Max Landis
Art: Jock
Cover art: Jock

What it is: After a massive explosion rocks downtown Metropolis, Clark finds himself face-to-face with a white-skinned alien riding a flying motorcycle-and the eyes of the world are all on this so-called Superman! But when Clark’s attempt at reason fails and the bounty hunter reveals some unpleasant truths about Clark’s own alien origin, a brutal showdown begins! Superstar artist Jock reteams with Max Landis for the epic series finale to SUPERMAN: AMERICAN ALIEN!

Why we like it: Jock created an iconic Batman cover with his chilling joker portrait on the final issue of Detective Comics #880. He may have just done it again with the final issue of Superman American Alien #7. An instant classic.

 

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

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Trailer Snark (May 13th, 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: Captain America:  Civil War ruled all with a whopping $181.7M in receipts.  Jungle Book was a very distant second at $21.8 bringing its total to $284.9M domestic.  Third place Mother’s Day did not crack double digits at $9M and $20.7M overall.  Botttom line is a Disney Box Office wipeout.  The rest of the top ten shook out like this:  Huntsman:  Winter’s War ($3.5M/$40.3M), Keanu ($3M/$15.1M), Barbershop ($2.7M/$48.7M), Zootopia ($2.6M/$327.6M), The Boss ($$1.7M/$59.1M), and Batman vs Superman ($1M/$327.2M).  Now, on to this week’s new releases, sure to be crushed by Civil War.

Money Monster (Sony) – Drama
Rated R for language throughout, some sexuality and brief violence
Tag Line: #FollowTheMoney
Starring: George Clooney, Julia Roberts
Plot: Financial TV host Lee Gates and his producer Patty are put in an extreme situation when an irate investor takes over their studio.
Running Time: 98 minutes

Jessica: Snooze fest.
Jim: Love these Dog Day Afternoon set-ups. A strong cast helps.
Chris:  Some days I’d like to punch George Clooney in his perfect teeth.

The Darkness (High Top) – Horror/Thriller
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, some disturbing violence, brief sensuality and language
Tag Line: Evil comes home.
Starring:  Kevin Bacon, Jennifer Morrison
Plot:  A family returns from a Grand Canyon vacation, haunted by an ancient supernatural entity they unknowingly awakened and engages them in a fight for their survival.
Running Time: 92 minutes

Chris:  Kevin Bacon and Jennifer Morrison last starred together in Stir of Echoes….good flick.  Not sure if I feel the stir with this trailer, however.
Jessica: Great choice to put it out on Friday the 13th and I love Kevin Bacon. The kid makes me nuts on “Gotham” but this could be a good home viewer.
Jim: Despite the presence of the great Kevin Bacon, looks like a by-the numbers modern horror movie.

Love and Friendship (Roadside Attractions) – Drama/Romance
Rated PG for some thematic elements
Tag Line: A lady never reveals her tactics.
Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Chloe Sevigny
Plot: Lady Susan Vernon takes up temporary residence at her in-laws’ estate and, while there, is determined to be a matchmaker for her daughter Frederica — and herself too, naturally.
Running Time: 92 minutes

Jim: Costume pictures are always a risk. They can be great (Dangerous Liasons), but most of the time it always looks too much like what it is—modern-day actors playing dress-up.
Chris: My mom would love this…yes, that was a back-handed compliment. 😉
Jessica: I got bored during the trailer. Skip!

The Lobster (A24) – Comedy/Drama/Romance
Rated R for sexual content including dialogue, and some violence
Tag Line: An unconventional love story by Yorgos Lanthimos.
Starring:  Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz
Plot: In a dystopian near future, single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into The Woods.
Running Time: 118 minutes

Jessica: I love quirky films and this looks just on the right side of quirky.
Jim: Looks bizarre enough to be interesting.
Chris:  Man, Collin packed on some weight for this lobster roll!

High Rise (Magnolia Pictures) – Drama
Rated R for violence, disturbing images, strong sexual content/graphic nudity, language and some drug use
Tag Line: Leave the real world behind.
Starring:  Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller
Plot: Life for the residents of a tower block begins to run out of control.
Running Time:  119 minutes

Chris:  Looks like Snowpiercer in an apartment building.  Meh.
Jessica: Another one that intrigues me and I do so love Loki! I would watch this at home.
Jim: It must be Brit Week here on Trailer Snark—another strange, interesting- looking movie.

Last Days in the Desert (Broad Green Pictures) – Adventure/History/Drama
Rated PG-13 for some disturbing images and brief partial nudity
Tag Line: None
Starring:  Ewan MacGregor, Ciaran Hinds
Plot: An imagined chapter from Jesus’ forty days of fasting and praying in the desert. On his way out of the wilderness, Jesus struggles with the Devil over the fate of a family in crisis.
Running Time: 98 minutes

Jim: Sorry, No.
Chris: I love Ewan MacGregor and this one looks interesting to me.  Small screen viewing for sure.
Jessica: Not my cup of tea.

Search Party (Focus World) – Comedy
Rated R for language throughout, drug use, graphic nudity, and sexual content
Tag Line: This is not a vacation.  It’s a rescue mission.
Starring:  Adam Pally, T.J. Miller, Alison Brie
Plot: A pair of friends embark on a mission to reunite their pal with the woman he was going to marry.
Running Time: 93 minutes

Jessica: A poor mans Hangover. No thanks.
Jim: Scraping the last dregs of The Hangover. The vomiting donkey doesn’t help.
Chris: From the “I didn’t need to see that” files comes donkey puke!  The trailer was enough for me.  Pass.

Tickets Purchased:  Two for a re-visit with Civil War (Jessica and Chris) and one for Money Monster (Jim)

Box Office Champ?  Civil War's second week will be very telling!
Box Office Champ? Civil War’s second week will be very telling!

 

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The Female Perspective: It’s About Dang Time!

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


I’ve made no secret of my annoyance and frustration that it seems to take forever for companies like Marvel and DC Comics to come out with female-centered superhero movies, or more accurately, the fact that they don’t have any right now.

In fact, I’ve written about Wonder Woman many times now, along with Black Widow and others that are not in the comic world. The lack of merchandise is also a problem, but ladies and gents, all that is changing because of one biggish announcement by Kevin Feige recently.

The fact is, our society is changing, women are taking up the comic book action hero mantle and other woman, i.e. ME, want to see those women kick butt in their own movies, not as a sidekick to a bunch of dudes.

Black Widow is ready for her own movie...
Black Widow is ready for her own movie…

It is a happy day when you see the seeds of your wishing coming to fruition. With the Wonder Woman movie on its way to theaters soon (woohoo!), it was awesome to hear Kevin Feige say recently that they are fully committed to a standalone Black Widow movie!

“We’ve announced the next nine movies, ten counting Civil War, through the end of 2019. Where we go beyond that are ongoing discussions that we’ll focus on in the next few years because we have a lot to do before then. Of the characters that you’ve just mentioned I would say certainly the one creatively and emotionally that we are most committing to doing is Black Widow.” –Den of Geek

Sure, that means we’ll still have to wait a few years to see Black Widow kick ass all on her own on screen, but the very fact that Marvel has realized she should have her own movie is a huge win for fans everywhere and it’s clear that it’s what fans actually want.

In fact, a recent poll amongst Captain America: Civil War advance ticketholders asking which Avenger should get a solo film saw Black Widow with a dominant 48 percent victory out of the six choices. –Den of Geek

48 percent is a pretty good number! I for one am tickled red and black that Black Widow is finally going to get her own film. For a bunch of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that she’s a really cool female character. There’s a lot of cool female characters in both the DC and Marvel universes so there is literally no real end to the amount of movies they could make telling their stories, but the fact is, since her debut in Iron Man 2, Scarlett Johansson has been doing an absolutely amazing job portraying a complex female character surrounded by and constantly fighting alongside her male counterparts. She is no less powerful in Captain America: Civil War where she attempts to be diplomatic when torn between two of her respected and loved friends, Iron Man and Captain America. In fact, Black Widow is at her best in Civil War because she is troubled by having to “pick a side” in the argument, when essentially all she wants is her friends to get along and do what’s right for the world they protect. In Civil War things are not that easy though, and Natasha finds herself battling her own sense of what is wrong and right and ultimately doing what she think’s is best, even if it’s going against her own “team”.

will-marvel-never-give-scarlett-johansson-a-solo-black-widow-movie-scarlett-johansson-in-477047

Also, after seeing Avengers: Age of Ultron, I was most certainly interested in hearing more of the story of Black Widow. We were given a small taste, ala Scarlett Witches powers, of what Natasha’s life had been like as she trained (and became brainwashed) to become the super bad ass spy/assassin/superhero she is today. Not only that, but we were teased with some more of what the training was like for Black Widow’s on the TV show Agent Carter when we got to see what “life” was like for Dottie Greenwood (spoiler alert: it’s bad to be trained as  a Black Widow spy). The fact is, there is a rich, complicated and brutal backstory to tell when it comes to Natasha and her other women spy comrades, one that deserves to be told on screen.

Wonder Woman may have her movie out first, but I have no doubt Black Widow's film will be kick-ass.
Wonder Woman may have her movie out first, but I have no doubt Black Widow’s film will be kick-ass.

Not to mention, it’s about dang time that a woman superhero gets her own movie. Yes, I’m greedy for it, we have seen men ruling over the superhero franchises forever now, I mean, for pete’s sake, Batman gets a new movie every couple of years, but only after decades do we finally get to see Wonder Woman up on the big screen, fighting toe-to-toe with the guys in some of the best scenes of Superman v. Batman: Dawn of Justice. Seeing WW up there got me all sorts of jazzed up for her movie and I am very excited and hopeful that she will be the start of some really awesome female-led superhero films.

It’s time folks. It’s way past time.

How do you feel about Black Widow? Do you think she’s ready for a standalone film? Why or why not? Share in the comments!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 5/11/2016

Greetings comic book fans and welcome back to another installment of the Crank File, where the crank you take is equal to the crank you make. How was your Free Comic Book Day? I hope you made it out to your local comic shop and picked up some free swag. My personal highlight from Saturday was meeting one of my favorite comic book artists, Sean Gordon Murphy. Sean was the coolest. We chatted about his independent titles, future projects with DC and he even let me get a look at some of his early concept sketches for a bad-ass new Batmobile. Picture the Nolan Dark Knight tumbler front-end with Tim Burton Batmobile rear-wheels and hot-rod exhaust pipes running along the side. Nerdgasm.

 

The Top of the Pile: Batman Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #6

 

BMTMNT6

Publisher: DC/IDW
Words: James Tynion IV
Art: Freddie Williams II

What it is: The crossover event of the year comes to its thrilling conclusion. The Turtles have one last, desperate shot at going home. But will they take it, knowing what nefarious plans Shredder has for Gotham City? It’s full-on ninja warfare as our heroes go up against the combined forces of the Foot Clan and the League of Assassins.

Why we love it: Last issue we got a glimpse at what the Shredder could do with a can of pure mutagen and the inmates of Arkham Asylum, setting up what will undoubtedly be an epic showdown. I can’t think of a crossover series that I have enjoyed more than Batman TMNT. I’m sad to see this series come to an end, but I can’t wait to see how it finishes.

 

The Mainstream one: Action Comics #52 (Oliver variant)

 

AC52

Publisher: DC
Words: Peter J. Tomasi
Art: Fernando Pasarin

What it is: ‘Super League’ continues-as two Supermen meet at last: pre-New 52 Superman meets the current Clark. A force seeking to end both Men of Steel brings them together, but divided they may fall as one Superman must choose the safety of his family before himself.

Why we like it: The ‘Super League’ story arc has been running across the various Superman titles and is providing a peak at what the post-Rebirth DC will look like. Last week’s Batman Superman #32 gave us our first look at the new Chinese Superman, Kenan Kong and quickly sold out. Rumors around the interwebs are that this week’s issue of Action Comics will reveal the fate of the New 52 Superman. Don’t miss out.

 

The Indie One: Southern Bastards #14

 

SB14

Publisher: Image
Words: Jason Aaron
Art: Jason Latour

What it is: The big game is over. But the troubles have only just begun. The return of Roberta Tubb.

Why we like it: Team Jay-squared return with a brand new arc of Southern Basterdly goodness. It’s been almost five months since we witnessed Coach Boss’ humiliating loss to the Rebels’ hated rivals, the Wetumpka Warriors. There’s going to be hell to pay in Craw County, and I have the feeling that Earl Tubbs’ daughter is coming back to exact some revenge of her own.

 

The #1 One: All New All Different Avengers #9

 

ANADA9

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Mark Waid
Art: Adam Kubert

What it is: Introducing the all-new Wasp! Who is she? What is she? And what does she intend to do about Earth’s Mightiest Heroes?

Why we like it: So technically it’s not a #1 but there is a first appearance of a new character here, so I’m counting it. Ok, so technically it’s not an entirely new character either, it’s Janet Van Dyne’s step daughter taking up the Wasp mantle. Slow week for #1’s, so I’m still counting it.

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Black Panther #2 (Cho variant)

 

BP2

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Art: Brian Stelfreeze
Cover art: Frank Cho

What it is: The darkest chapter of the Black Panther mythos continues as Wakanda crumbles from within. Enter: The Midnight Angels! Two mysterious women leading the citizen revolt against the current regime of Wakanda, challenging not only T’Challa’s politics but also his resolve. But will their rage provide more for the people than the royal family has thus far?

Why we like it: There’s been all sorts of Black Panther love after T’Challa made his MCU debut in Captain America 3. With a solo movie already confirmed, everything Black Panther is a hot commodity right now. I expect fans will be seeking out this rare 1:25 variant, so keep your eyes peeled for this cover when you’re making your rounds. Check out the article from Bleeding Cool where Frank Cho goes over his creative process in making this cover.

http://www.bleedingcool.com/2016/02/24/frank-cho-explains-the-making-of-black-panther-2-cover-to-bleeding-cool/

 

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

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Trailer Snark (Captain America: Civil War Edition)

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!

Editor’s Note: We are foregoing the usual format of this week’s blog, because by and large most movie studios have wisely cleared their release calendar for what could very well be the year’s biggest film. Captain America:  Civil War, the third installment in the Steve Rogers series, and really what amounts to Avengers 3 in terms of the ensemble cast showcases the characters we have come to know and love, under the expert tutelage of the Russo Brothers, who take the reins from Joss Whedon.  The team gives their thoughts below, along with their pledge of allegiance to either Team Cap or Team Iron Man.  Enjoy!

Captain America:  Civil War (Disney) – Action/Adventure
PG-13 for violence and thematic situations
Tag Line:  Whose side are you on?
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Scarlet Johansson, Don Cheadle, Sebastian Stan, Paul Rudd, Paul Bettany, Chadwick Boseman, and more.
Plot: Political interference in the Avengers’ activities causes a rift between former allies Captain America and Iron Man.
Running Time:  146 minutes

Thoughts on the trailer…..
Jessica: I am SUPER EXCITED about “Captain America: Civil War”, I think the trailer looks like yet another hit for Marvel and I do really enjoy the Captain’s story as he finds his place in the “new world” after being asleep so long
Chris: The only thing that exceeds the trepidation of watching to of Marvel’s most famous icons draw the battle lines is to see how they can pull it off effectively and leave fans of both sides satisfied.  And from all accounts, this is one for the ages!

Whose Side are They On?
Ken: Team Rogers, no question.  I agree with Chris that these are beings of unimaginable power, capable of massive destruction and as such should be be held accountable. However, I don’t believe the responsibility of policing the gods should be left in the hands of a few, un-elected individuals. Who died and made Iron Man the sheriff of the MCU?  It’s a question of personal freedom vs conformity. Cap is the ultimate soldier, and like a good soldier he fights to protect his country and the government it represents, but he also fights for the guy next to him in the foxhole. He’s fighting for his brother when he believes that his brother is being treated unjustly. Is there a more noble cause? Like Jess, I sincerely doubt that Tony’s motivations for heading up the superhero registration act are entirely altruistic. What eccentric, billionaire wouldn’t want a position of power with near-unlimited resources at his disposal?
Jim: I don’t know what side I’m on. I just want to be entertained.  I just hope that this isn’t the slog that Age of Ultron was and the squalid excuse for a movie that Batman vs. Superman was. If Hollywood’s going to spend truckloads of money on superhero movies, they can at least make them fun and well-made. Here’s hoping.
Jessica: I am completely torn as to what side I want to be on. I see both sides of it but in the end, I think Tony Stark’s militaristic approach is a bit too much and would have to side with the Captain in the end. His heart is in the right place and I think he has the moral compass to do the right thing, whereas Tony Stark’s moral compass is nonexistent and I simply don’t trust him to make a decision that benefits mankind if it gets in the way of his own ambition and brain powers. I think Stark’s biggest fault is thinking he’s always the smartest man in the room. Whether he is or not, he never takes into account the emotional toll his decisions take and that is a big problem in the long run. So yeah, I’m Team Captain America!
Chris: I love Captain America, and I love the idea of Captain America.  In an ideal world, I would be in his camp, and beating my libertarian drum to the max, but the simple fact is that this is an unreal fantasy world where individuals hold more power than one can imagine.  That power unchecked is a threat to all.  As for who they should answer to is a whole other question, but I find myself aligning with Tony Stark on this one.  This is the movies folks and real world politics do not apply.  Team Iron Man

Added to the Ranks of Team Cap:  Ken and Jessica
Added to the Ranks of Team Iron Man:  Chris
Jumping in on the Winning Side at the Last Possible Moment?  Jim

The debate rages on!
The debate rages on!
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The Female Perspective: What Is Civil War?

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 like me and you love superhero’s but haven’t fully delved into all the comics then you might also be a bit confused by the story of Captain America: Civil War. I’ve been asked a couple times what “side” I’m on and I have found myself struggling with an answer. When I did some research around the books, I realized that the answer is hard. It’s not as simple as picking one side and sitting comfortably with it. The sides of anti and pro-superhero registration are fraught with wrong and right. Good and bad.

portrait_incredible

The Beginning

Civil War starts simply enough (as all wars do, right?). After a series of events that cause world-wide damage there are those who seek to register all people with powers in order to keep them in check. To make sure that they receive proper training with their powers and how to fight in a more urban setting so as to minimize casualties. Understandably there are heroes who are for and against such registration and the sides begin to form. At the head of each side is Captain American (on the anti-registration side) and Iron Man (on the pro-registration side).

Iron Man, with Mr. Fantastic and Hank Pym, argued that the changing political landscape meant that resisting the law was pointless, and that it is reasonable for heroes to have proper training and oversight, whereas Captain America, alongside Luke Cage and Falcon argued that heroes required secrecy in order to protect aspects of their ‘normal’ life, such as spouses and children, and to allow them to act in whatever means are needed against threats which the ordinary emergency services couldn’t cope with.  – Wikipedia

The War

Once the war began it seems as if it was fairly brutal in terms of backstabbing and subterfuge on both sides. You can learn more about it on the Wikipedia page I linked to above, but it appears that in the comics Captain American was eventually captured when it became apparent that not surrendering would cause more damage and loss of life and he was imprisoned by Iron Man and his cohorts in the Negative Zone.

It's super sad when your friends start fighting...
It’s super sad when your friends start fighting…

What Side Are You On?

It’s not easy for me to pick a side, on one hand I see what the pro-registration movement is trying to say. They want people with powers to be in control, not rampaging out in the world destroying property and accidentally killing those they are sworn to protect. On the other hand, it seems extremely discriminatory to make all those with powers register, it also seems like a lame attempt to try and control people who are ultimately uncontrollable. People with powers are scary to those of us without them because we cannot control them even if we do know they exist. Besides that, having a registry like that puts those that love and live with these heroes at risk for capture or worse.

It’s a tricky question and one that is extremely poignant in our politically hyper-charged climate right now. How do we pick a side? How do we make a choice when we have no idea what the repercussions of that choice will be until they actually occur? Do we force people to register, to be known, when being unknown is part of what keeps people safe? Do we let them run rampant, doing whatever they want without any consequences for their actions?

I definitely have to think on this one…It’s not so easy as, “hey I love Iron Man, let me choose him!” In truth, I do love Iron Man, but his lack of a moral compass and his insistence that the is always right make him extremely dangerous. One man does not know it all. On the other hand, Captain America is super cool and good and extremely moral, but he was frozen in ice for a few hundred years and therefore, does he really understand the current world and climate? It’s definitely a tough choice for me…

If you’re curious about what side I choose, check out the Trailer Snark blog this Thursday! I will reveal my choice then!

In the meantime…

What Side Are YOU On?

Marvel-Civil-War-alternate-poster

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading this Week 5/4/2016

Welcome ladies and gents, to another episode of the Crank File, where we strive to make America crank again. Saturday is Free Comic Book Day, a day when everybody is a little nerdish. Who doesn’t love free stuff? There will be a whole bunch of goodies to be got this weekend, but while you’re getting your grab on, try not to be the greedy idiot who ruins it for everyone else. FCBD etiquette is 5 free comics per person on Saturday. But if it’s still at your local comic shop a week from now, then it’s fare game. Have a safe and super Free Comic Book Day everyone. We really need to come up with a catchier name for this holiday.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

 

The Top of the Pile: Sheriff of Babylon #6

 

SOB6

Publisher: Vertigo
Words: Tom King
Art: Mitch Gerads

What it is: It’s always hard to know for sure who is winning in a war, but for Christopher and his allies, they sure don’t see a clear victory coming anytime soon. While Chris and Sofia try to deal with a personal tragedy falling out from the attack on her convoy, Nassir’s enemies make another move on him and his wife-and this time the couple won’t get away so easily. This all began with two dead bodies, but it’s anyone’s guess how many more there will be before everything is finished.

Why we love it: It’s an intimate human drama set in the aftermath of the Iraq War, where the war was won but the battles never stopped. Author slash ex-CIA agent Tom King is making quite a name for himself as a comic book writer. His current run on Vision has been, in my opinion, the best series in the post-Secret Wars Marvel Universe. He’s writing Batman for DC post-Rebirth. Sheriff of Babylon is just more evidence that he is in fact the real mutha-flippin deal.  Originally slated as a 6-issue mini, S.o.B. has already been extended to 12 and for good reason. It’s one of the best independent books on the stands these days.

 

The Mainstream One: Moon Knight #2 (Tedesco variant)

 

MK2

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Jeff Lemire
Art: Greg Smallwood

What it is: THE ONLY WAY OUT IS DOWN! Marc Spector is in an asylum full of faces: haughty doctor, hostile orderlies, vacant-eyed patients. Or maybe those faces are actually just masks? If some of those masks hide friends, others may hide enemies, or worse, GODS and MONSTERS. The moon is out, the mask is on: it’s time to escape-will Marc find a city full of sand, or something truly horrifying?

Why we like it: I had high hopes for Moon Knight when I found out that Lemire was writing it. I’m happy to report that issue #1 absolutely demolished all my expectations. It was an awesome, reality bending tale that shattered the thin line separating brilliance and insanity. Dark, violent and a bucket full of crazy. Check this series out if you’re a fan of Lemire, or a fan of Moon Knight or if you just enjoy reading good comics. Either way, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

 

The Indie One: Bruce Lee: The Dragon Rises

 

BL2

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

What it is: Alive and… well… alive in North Hollywood. Bruce Lee remains both a fish out of water – and a man on the run. As Bruce and Joe try to unravel the mystery of Bruce’s previous imprisonment, villainous alliances shift, and the stakes only rise. Of course, there’s also the small matter of Jax and Wren and their missing father. Is there a connection? Is Bruce still wearing Joe’s boxers, circa 1973?

Why we like it: While it was definitely geared towards a younger audience, I found enough to like from Dragon Rises issue #1 to pick up another issue. I was pleasantly surprised by how solid the first issue was. There was loads of Kung Fu action, engaging characters, hilarious man-out-of-time moments and just enough mystery to keep me hooked. Bonus points for the sweet cover art.

 

The #1: The Punisher #1 (Maleev variant)

 

P1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Becky Cloonan
Art: Steve Dillon

What it is: FRANK CASTLE LOSES CONTROL! A by-the-numbers drug bust is about to take Frank Castle by surprise,and he HATES surprises. The horrible fallout threatens to send The Punisher into the heart of darkness, but Castle won’t make that journey alone: A DEA agent is on his trail and attempting to get into his head, but what horrors will she find there, and will she survive the experience? Parental Advisory

Why we like it: If you watched Jon Bernthal’s performance as Fank Castle on Netflix’s DareDevil show, you knew it was only a matter of time before he got his own spin-off. Last week the news was confirmed and Marvel’s looking to capitalize on increased interest in the Punisher by assembling an all-star creative team for his new solo series. That Maleev variant is baaaaaad ass, will definitely be tracking down this cover.

 

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

 

SW6

Publisher: Marvel
Words: James Robinson
Art: Javier Pulido
Cover Art: David Aja

What it is: PARIS, JE T’AIME Wanda’s next magical mystery takes her to the streets of Paris, France! There she teams up with broken-hearted hero LE PEREGRINE, who has lost his ability to fly. In order to make him whole again, the SCARLET WITCH will have to risk life and limb visit ghosts of the past…

Why we like it: M.C. Escher that’s my favorite M.C. David Aja’s cover work on Scarlet Witch has been so good that he’s already taken this spot twice during the first 6 issues of the series. I’ve picked up enough issues just for the cover art alone that I’ve found out that Robison’s story is actually pretty darn good as well.

 

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