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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – January 17, 2017

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. Every Wednesday is new comic book day and on Tuesdays I like to spotlight some of the stuff I’ll be checking out.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile: Avengers #676

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Mark Waid
Art: Pepe Larraz

What it is: NO SURRENDER Part 2 NOW ON SALE WEEKLY! The Black Order. The Lethal Legion. Two teams of powerful villains bent on destroying each other have arrived on Earth, and they don’t care who gets caught in the crossfire. But who’s pulling their strings? And what is the secret of the lost Avenger? Rated T+

Why we love it: At the end of Avenger’s #675, we were teased with a new character who threatens to tear apart the space-time continuum. Valerie Vector aka Voyager, appears to be a new character but for some reason everyone in the book remembers her as one of the founding Avengers. Hence the amazing, fourth wall breaking, inception-like cover by Mark Brooks which shows a comic collector going through long boxes and pigging out a copy of 1963’s Avengers #1 with Voyager on the cover. It’ a concept so bizarre that it would only work in comics. Looking forward to the reveal for this mystery.

The Mainstream One: Batman #39

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Joelle Jones

What it is: SUPERFRIENDS” part three! Batman and Wonder Woman fight together in an epic battle that will define and then redefine their relationship. What bonds these two pillars of the DCU together? What tears them apart? Find out as Batman continues on his quest for the one thing he’s never had, happiness.

Why we like it: Batman continues his quest to convince his friends that he is not crazy for getting engaged to Catwoman. Superfriends part two was a fun, double-date issue that saw Clark & Lois and Bruce & Selina going toe-to-toe at a funfair. This week, he has a much taller task with winning over Wonder Woman. Writer Tom King has really been on top of his game and the Bat/Cat romance angle has been far more interesting than I had expected.

The Indie One: Ice Cream Man #1

Publisher: Image
Words: W. Maxwell Prince
Art: Martin Morazzo, Chris O’Halloran

What it is: Chocolate, vanilla, existential horror, drug addiction, musical fantasy…there’s a flavor for everyone’s misery. ICE CREAM MAN is a genre-defying comic book series featuring disparate ‘one-shot’ tales of sorrow, wonder, and redemption. Each installment features its own cast of strange characters, dealing with their own special sundae of suffering. And on the periphery of all of them, like the twinkly music of his colorful truck, is the Ice Cream Man-a weaver of stories, a purveyor of sweet treats. Friend. Foe. God. Demon. The man who, with a snap of his fingers-lickety split!-can change the course of your life forever.

Why we like it:  Slow week for indies. This is one of those horror anthology books that sounds a bit like Tales From the Crypt, if the Cryptkeeper was a middle-aged ice cream truck driver. I really don’t know what to expect from this series but it sounds so weird that I’m willing to give it a flip through at the stands.

The #1 One: Damage #1

Publisher: DC
Words: Robert Venditti
Art: Tony S. Daniel, Danny Miki

What it is: Tasked as the government’s own living, breathing, ticking time bomb, Ethan retains no control when the monster takes over. Cheaper than a nuclear warhead and twice as effective, Ethan fights to rein in the damage he unleashes when the beast inside him springs free for one hour a day. With everyone around him in danger, Ethan struggles to contain the DAMAGE he inflicts on the DC Universe. RATED T+

Why we like it: It’s the first appearance of DC’s newest anti-hero, a Hulk analog called Damage. Writer Robert Venditti did a great job re-launching X-O Manowar for Valiant and I think there’s some potential here.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Aquaman #32

Publisher: DC
Words: Dan Abnett
Art: Ricardo Federici
Cover Art: Joshua Middleton

What it is: ‘the crown comes down’ part two! As Aquaman’s resistance against King Rath gains momentum, a new kingpin of crime emerges from the Atlantean underworld-King Shark! But whose side is he on? He could be a powerful ally to the Undercurrent…or a dangerous new agent of evil! RATED T

Why we like it: Josh Middleton is just knocking these cover B’s out of the park. As an added bonus, the actual story inside hasn’t been half bad either. I can’t believe that I’m actually saying this, but I’m enjoying Aquaman.

 

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

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – January 10, 2018

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to a late episode of the Crank File. Every Wednesday is new comic book day and on Tuesdays I like to spotlight some of the stuff I’ll be checking out.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile: Mister Miracle #6

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Mitch Gerads

What it is: The hit miniseries reaches the emotional conclusion of its first arc! Scott Free returns to New Genesis to face his punishment, but instead finds the whole world has been flipped upside down. Mister Miracle and Big Barda battle their way through monsters and New Gods to get to the Highfather, but once they reach Orion’s throne room, they learn that the war against Darkseid has taken a bloody turn. MATURE READERS

Why we love it: The secrets out and Mister Miracle is officially a hit. First printings of issue #1 are already selling for $30 on the secondary market. Issue #5 was a love story that ended with a crazy cliffhanger. Now it’s Scott Free and Big Barda vs all of Apokolipse.

The Mainstream One: Avengers #675

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Al Ewing, Mark Waid, Jim Zub
Art: Pepe Larraz

What it is: NO SURRENDER Part 1 AVENGERS goes WEEKLY for the stunning sixteen-part saga that will write the end of an era! The Earth has been STOLEN! The sky burns while mysterious cosmic objects crash down from above, wreaking havoc across the world! The Avengers are the last line of defense between Earth and the mysterious forces threatening to tear it apart. It’s time to ASSEMBLE! The teams you know and love from AVENGERS, UNCANNY AVENGERS, U.S.AVENGERS and OCCUPY AVENGERS come together to face a threat beyond any they’ve faced before in a weekly epic adventure that will define the future of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes!

Why we like it: There are wayyyy too many Avengers books out right now, and it seems like Marvel is getting the message. I’m hoping that this events brings us back to one or max two Avenger series.

The Indie One: Judas #2

Publisher: Boom
Words: Jeff Loveness
Art: Jakub Rebelka

What it is: Judas comes face-to-face with Satan, and the Great Adversary begins to win him over.

Why we like it: If God is omnipotent, then logically he must have known that Judas was going to betray his son. And if all happens in accordance to God’s will, then doesn’t that make God responsible for Judas’ betrayal? And if God was responsible for the betrayal, then does it mean that Judas, the most reviled character in the Christ story, was just a patsy? I was extremely surprised by how well written issue #1 was. It challenges conventional religious thought without being offensive or sacrilegious.

The #1 One: Old Man Hawkeye #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Ethan Sacks
Art: Marco Checchetto

What it is: AN EYE FOR AN EYE Part 1 The super heroes have fallen. The country has been divided into territories controlled by super villains. Among the wastelands lives CLINT BARTON – one of the few Avengers to survive. But it’s been 45 years, and he’s no Avenger. Trying to eke out a living anyway he can, the former HAWKEYE is confronted with a startling discovery: the sharpshooter is going blind. With time running short, Clint realizes there’s one last thing he wants to see: revenge for his fallen comrades-in-arms. Rising-star writer ETHAN SACKS and superstar artist MARCO CHECCHETTO take you back to the Wastelands in a story set five years before the original classic OLD MAN LOGAN. Rated T+

Why we like it: I’m a big fan of the Old Man Logan universe and excited to learn more about Old Man Hawkeye. If there is one thing that I hope this series delves into, it’s Ashley Barton aka Spider-Woman.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: New Superman #19 (Chang variant)

Publisher: DC
Words: Mariko Tamaki
Art: Brent Peeples
Cover Art: Bernard Chang

What it is: ‘A Day in the Life’! The New Super-Man and Justice League of China changed the metahuman landscape of China forever, and Laney Lan has reported on their heroics since day one. But there’s more to Shanghai’s ace reporter than meets the eye, and when faced with turmoil in her own family, Laney’s commitment to reporting the truth will be tested like never before. RATED T

Why we like it: Quite a few good looking covers this week, but I’m loving this cover celebrating Chinese New Year. 2018 is the year of the dog, which also just happens to be my zodiac sign.

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

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The Female Perspective: The Women of the Marvel Netflix Universe

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


It’s no secret that I have a soft spot for superhero films and TV shows. I, like so many others, have been enjoying everything Marvel, including their foray into the world of binge watching on Netflix. Recently my boyfriend and I sat down and watched Luke Cage and I have to say, it was phenomenal. It also got me thinking, how come Marvel, and by extension, Netflix, can get this stuff so right and so many others get it so, so wrong?

The awesome women on "Luke Cage" on Netflix now!
The awesome women on “Luke Cage” on Netflix now!

What am I talking about? Not the content necessarily, though they nail that, but more specifically I’m talking about the women. The female characters are well thought out, they’re developed in fascinating and engaging ways and they walk around fully clothed and act like the grown ups they are.  It particularly struck me during Luke Cage as something that is a pleasure to see. Women who are powerful and smart, not just sex objects.

Take Rosario Dawson’s character for example, Claire, she its he connecting character between Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage and in all the shows she’s tough, she’s no-nonsense and she’s brave as all get out, especially when surrounded by larger than life enhanced people. She doesn’t wuss out when things get tough, she grabs the closest weapon she can find and she fights, or she used her words, which she’s more than capable of stringing into full sentences and fights that way. The women of the Netflix Marvel Universe are so much more than just women, they’re partners to the crime fighters they stand by. They’re equals. 

"Jessica Jones" on Netflix.
“Jessica Jones” on Netflix.

Of course, it’s not just in the Netflix programming either, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is equally as impressive in its female roles. No quiet wallflowers here, they’re all out to protect those that they love, keep themselves safe and fight toe-to-toe with some of Earth’s greatest hero’s. It’s something that strikes me as at odds in today’s world of angry anti-feminist rhetoric. It’s amazing when you look at the toy lines and the fight that it’s been to get the female characters represented alongside the male characters. How can Marvel and the studios get it so right on the screen, but so wrong in other places?

Now I can’t pretend to be knowledgeable about comic books since I haven’t read most of the ones that are the basis of these shows, but the comics I have read have struggled with representing women as equals to their male counterparts. I will never, ever understand why someone thinks it makes sense to draw a woman who is in a life or death fight as wearing a strapless top and a skirt. I know comics aren’t meant to be realistic and I love being sunk into  fantasy world of super hero’s and super villains, but still, I want my super ladies to wear pants, is that so much of a stretch? And shirts with sleeves and stuff would be good too, but one thing at at time. Pants would be great.

Elektra stands on her own (and apart) from her male counterparts in "Daredevil" season 2.
Elektra stands on her own (and apart) from her male counterparts in “Daredevil” season 2.

Anyway … What do you think? Have you watched any of these shows? What do you think about the portrayal of women in the Marvel universe? Sound off in the comments! Tell me what you think!

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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 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 11/11/2015

Hey there comic book fans, good to have you back for another piece off the Crank File. How many of you out there went to the Rhode Island Comic Con last weekend? After last year’s debacle I still wasn’t ready to make the drive down, so instead I spent my Sunday over at a small convention being held at a local elks lodge. I was able to snag some really nice books at a bargain, including a Harbinger #1, and first appearances of Gamora and the Winter Soldier. But the word from people who went to RICC on Saturday was that the event organizers did a much better job managing the nerd herd this year. Attendance was high as expected, but crowd density was kept under control by spreading the event out across two convention halls and implementing scan badges. The only real complaints I heard were about $40 parking and Carrie Fisher being a later scratch due to illness. Fisher promised that she would return next year, and you know what? You just might see me there next year as well.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

 

The Top of the Pile: All-New All-Different Avengers #1 Marvel

 

AV12  AV1

Writer: Mark Waid
Art: Adam Kubert

The Avengers are dead–long live the Avengers! Earth’s Mightiest Heroes–Captain America, Thor, Vision, and Iron Man–are living separate lives, not tied to any team–but when a threat from beyond the stars targets our world, fate draws them together once more, alongside Nova, Ms. Marvel, and Miles Morales a.k.a. Spider-Man!

My two favorite new Marvel heroes, Miles Morales and Kamala Khan are leading a new team of earth’s mightiest heroes. Written by the indispensable Mark Waid, the only hard part about picking up this issue is choosing between the Ross regular cover and the hip-hop variant.

 

The Mainstream One: Secret Wars #7 Marvel

 

SW7

Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Esad Ribic

THE GREATEST SACRIFICE!

Don’t get me wrong, the constant delays with the main Secret Wars story are completely inexcusable. It’s the second week of November, Marvel’s all-new, all-different universe has been in existence for a solid month now and we STILL have no idea how we got here. All of this would make it easy to disregard Secret Wars and just move on, since apparently it doesn’t matter in the new Marvel universe anyways, but the quality of storytelling has been so high that I feel compelled see it through to the end regardless. Just please try to wrap it up before 2016 Marvel.

 

The Indie One: Airboy #4 Image

 

AB4

Writer: James Robinson
Art: Greg Hinkle

Is this a dream, reality, or somewhere in between? All James Robinson and Greg Hinkle know is that now that they’re in Airboy’s world and not the bars of San Francisco, they have to put down the bottle, put away the drugs, zip up their flies-and actually act like heroes. Except they don’t know how to be heroes. And if they die, will they just wake up…or really perish?

The booze and drug fueled adventure reaches its explosive conclusion in the final issue of what has been one of my favorite mini-series this year. Definitely not one for the kids, Airboy is a bombastic blend of humor, vulgarity and existential insight. Led by the pure hearted Airboy, our heroes have traveled back in time to fight history’s evils and to battle their own inner demons. A metaphysical masterpiece, I cannot wait to see how it all ends on Wednesday.

 

The #1 One: The Goddamned #1 Image

 

GD1

Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: R.M. Guera

‘And the earth was filled with violence.’ Genesis 6:11. It’s 1655 years after Eden, and life on Earth has already gone to hell. The world of man is a place of wanton cruelty and wickedness. Prehistoric monsters and stone-age marauders roam the land. Murder and destruction are the rule of the day. Humankind is a failed experiment. This is life before the Flood. The story of man on the verge of his first apocalypse. Welcome to the world of THE GODDAMNED.

The creators of the seminal crime series Scalped, reunite for a new ongoing series of stark and brutal biblical noir, and it sounds like an absolute winner. This one’s easy to jump on board with a special over-sized debut issue featuring thirty pages of story for only $3.99.

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: All-New All-Different Wolverine #1 Marvel (Marquez Variant)

W1

Writer: Tom Taylor
Art: David Lopez

X-23 was created to be a weapon and for a time, that’s all she was. But with the help of her mentor, Logan-the original Wolverine-she escaped that dark past. Tragically, Logan has fallen, but Laura will continue in his footsteps as a hero. Recent events have her doing everything in her power to keep those around her alive, as violent forces are hell-bent on mutual destruction. If anyone can stop them, it’s Laura. She is the best there is at what she does. She is THE ALL-NEW WOLVERINE.

I’m not completely sold on Laura Kinney taking up the mantle of her father/clone yet and I’m skeptical about how Ms. Wolverine will be received by fans. I think most Wolverine fans will gravitate towards Old Man Logan, but this cover is just too good to pass on. The Marquez variant is a beautiful homage to the original Wolverine’s first appearance at the end of The Incredible Hulk #180. Nuff said.

 

Last Week’s Leftovers: Klaus #1 Boom

 

K1

Writer: Grant Morrison
Art: Dan Mora

Set in a dark fantastic past of myth and magic, Klaus tells the story of how Santa Claus really came to be. Where did he begin? What was he like when he was young? Why does he do what he does? How does he do what he does? And what happens when he faces his greatest challenge? Drawing on Santa Claus’ wilder roots in Viking lore and Siberian shamanism-taking in the creepier side of Christmas, and characters like the sinister Krampus-Klaus is a ‘Santa Claus: Year One.’

I loved that description, “A Santa Claus Year One”. Morrison is the master of deconstructing classic characters and stories and then re-imagining them in a new light. It’s Santa, and Santa’s a bad ass. Klaus #1 was all sorts of awesome. It was violent, trippy and weird, par for the course on a Morrison title, but it was comprehensibly weird. With Christmas just around the corner, you can start getting into the spirit with the first issue of this 6 part mini-series from Boom studios.

 

Carpe Comics!

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The Female Perspective: Ant-Man!

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

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

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


Last week I promised to give you all a review on the movie Ant-Man and I did not tell a lie. What follows are my thoughts on the movie and its female character. Before I get into that though, I must warn, there are SPOILERS! If you haven’t seen the movie and WANT to see the movie then stop reading. Like, now.

Still with me? Cool.

Ant-Man, in Theaters Now!
Ant-Man, in Theaters Now!

First off I’ll admit that I had never heard of Ant-man before this movie. I read comics, sure, but Ant-Man, lost on me. The name is lackluster and ants have a tendency to creep me out a tad. But then I saw the trailer for the movie and I started to get excited, this movie looked fun. The kind of fun that Guardians of the Galaxy had. The kind of fun that I have come to expect from Marvel movies.

It did not disappoint.

Let’s start off with the fact that the lead character, Scott Lang, is played by one of my personal favorites, Paul Rudd. I remember Rudd back from his days in the movie Clueless  and I thought he was both hysterical and cute back then. I have since come to enjoy his dry humor in movies and on TV. I was interested to see someone like Rudd take on a Marvel superhero (it worked for Chris Pratt right?). I am also a huge of Micheal Douglas (as Hank Pym) and Evangeline Lilly (as Pym’s daughter Hope). I’ve liked Lilly since her days on Lost so this flick was shaping up nicely.

Evangeline Lilly as Hope.
Evangeline Lilly as Hope.

The story is a simple one, Lang is an ex-con trying to set his life in order (and befriended by a ridiculously funny cast of misfits) to be a better dad to his daughter. He hooks up with Pym who convinces him to help with a heist. The heist is to get the Pym Particle technology away from Darren Cross. Hank sees it as too dangerous for wide use (he himself has kept it a secret and used the Ant-Man suit to save lives these many years), he is right.

Ant-Man manages to take the best of the Marvel-verse and add in some surprises, we see an Avenger and we also get to see Agent Carter and a few other familiar faces. I have to say, the way that Marvel is weaving all these stories together makes it an even better experience for moviegoers.

Rudd does a really good job of being the down on his luck Lang while also infusing the character with his trademark wit and dry delivery. It’s a perfect fit for a guy who stumbled upon the superhero life. Douglas is solid as Pym and it’s really nice to see him having some fun a few times in the movie as he tries to teach Lang how to handle the suit.

Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man.
Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man.

The only hitch (for me) was Hank’s daughter Hope. When first you meet her she is the typical, call your dad by his first name because he ignored you while you were growing up female cast member. Then we dig in a little deeper and we see that she actually does get along with her father, sort of, and wants to be in charge of the heist herself because she already knows how to harness the powers of Ant-Man. Which begs the question, why bring Lang in if Hope already knows how to do it?

The answer comes simply and beautifully, because Hank can’t stomach the idea of putting his daughter into the line of fire whereas Lang is expendable. It’s a really well-done and well thought out scene when Lang himself explains this to an angry Hope. Is it believable? Sure. In the context of the Marvel Universe I bought it. Especially when we realize that Hank’s wife was killed because he let her suit up and join him on missions. It makes sense.

I read an article that had a very confused argument about the whole situation between Hank and Hope. At one point it asks why she isn’t the star of the movie and cries sexism and then goes on to say that Hank’s reasoning is actually pretty sensible.

Huh?

Make up your mind Daily Dot article. Is it sexism or is not?

I have to go with not.

The fact is, this movie isn’t just about Ant-Man and his adventures. It’s about superheroes and saving the world from factions of Hydra but it’s also about Fatherss and Daughters. Lang is motivated to do all that he does in order to make his daughter proud of him and Hank wants nothing more than to keep Hope safe from harm. What Hank begins to realize is that after a certain point, you can’t do that anymore. He realizes by the end of the movie that the best way to keep his daughter safe AND have a relationship with her is to give her what she wants (no, she doesn’t don the Ant-Man suit but if you stay for the credits scene, you’ll see what happens!)

Ant-Man versus Yellowjacket
Ant-Man versus Yellowjacket

I love that this movie was about more than just a fancy suit and ant charming, I love that it was about relationships and family as well as being about saving the world from Hydra getting Pym Particles to wreak havoc. It’s why I enjoy these Marvel movies so much, they constantly surprise me.

Not to mention, the special effects were phenomenal! The scene with Lang and the villainous Cross duking it out in Lang’s daughter’s bedroom is hysterical and amazingly well done.

Darren Cross, aka Yellowjacket versus Thomas the Tank Engine
Darren Cross, aka Yellowjacket versus Thomas the Tank Engine

All-in-all, two thumbs up from this lady. Ant-Man is a great addition to the Marvel Universe and I can’t wait to see more of Rudd as Scott Lang!

What about you? Did you see Ant-Man? Did you love it, hate it, have nightmares about ants? Sound off in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: Female Dinosaur Toys? Dear God NO!!!!!

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

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

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


How many of you have seen the Jurassic Park movies? Okay, that’s like a bazillion-trillion of you, good. Now, how many of you recall that all the dinosaurs on the island are female? No? Watch this for a quick refresher.

Okay, now that we are all on the same page let’s take a moment and check out these wonderful new Jurassic World toys! Oh boy, dinosaurs and raptors to play with, what fun! Wait…huh? These dino’s are described as being boys. Well that’s quite odd…

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Oh wait, it’s not all that odd because girls can’t have toys unless they are gender approved. God forbid your son gets a GIRL dinosaur to play with. I am sure that will instantly make him like…what exactly? Girl dinosaurs? Will it make him gay? Can we please just call this for what it actually is? Sexism. The fact is, we see it over and over again, does anyone have any Black Widow toys? Not really right? Because they are so against selling women figures or female toys that they will actually go to the lengths of actually erasing a woman off her own toy or changing the entire mythos of the story by making the dino’s boys instead of girls.

Does this make me angry? A little bit, yes because the whole thing about Jurassic Park is that they manufacture the dinosaur’s to be all female all the time so that they don’t breed (but, as we all know, that fails in spectacular fashion). So why make the change? Why decide to write-up the dino’s as male instead of female? What’s the thought process on this? I am actually curious to know because I cannot think of one, single reason why you would take characters that are very much female and decide that they’re male because maybe the powers that be that make those kinds of decisions think that boy dino’s will sell better than girl dino’s? Newsflash, whoever you are decision making guy, you should get fired for being so dumb it actually hurts me. Why give the dino’s a sex at all? If you are so offended by the idea that they are female in ALL OF THE MOVIES why bother with a he or she pronoun? Oh that’s right, sexism.

All girls, all the time.
All girls, all the time.

It’s a tough world out there folks and while I realize that dinosaur toys as a movie tie-in is the smallest nugget of annoyance there can possibly be, it’s still frustrating that female’s get so little respect that there can’t even be a proper toy that represents them. Don’t even get me started on the Furiosa comic book that completely negates the beauty of Mad Max: Fury Road. 

Come on, sing it with me! "Girls, girls, girls!"
Come on, sing it with me! “Girls, girls, girls!”

It’s these “little” things that make up the bigger whole. It’s these things that remind me (and so many others) that feminism is important, that it is necessary. Equality will never be a thing of the real world until we are all actually equal and no one decides that a female dinosaur has to be male because it won’t sell otherwise. I can PROMISE you, even if you put a pink frilly hat on ole’ Blue up there, it would still sell because Jurassic World is a HUGE hit.

Come on decision makers, stop screwing us ladies over in the toy department, we like toys too and not just Barbie dolls.

What do YOU think? Sound off in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: Mark Ruffalo and Feminism – Joy!

Welcome! This is a Tri-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 been a fan of Ruffalo’s since “The Kids Are Alright,” it’s a good movie and he’s fun to watch in it. Then he played the Hulk in “The Avengers” movies and I liked him even more.  Yesterday was the day that my casual like of the actor turned to adoration.

All because of a simple Tumblr post.

Ruffalo is no stranger to standing up to feminism, he’s made comments here and there about the fact that girls need superhero toys too (having daughters, this is of particular interest to him) but just lately, it’s come to light that he is more than annoyed at the lack of equality, he’s downright pissed off.

Why is he pissed off you ask? Because of the “I’m not a feminist,” movement that has swept the nation. The way that the word feminist seems to evoke feelings of  ridicule, division and anger in both men and women. What makes me mad about the “I don’t need feminism…” movement? The fact that 98% of the reasoning is coming from an uneducated source. From people who only see the bad side of the movement and who do not see all the good it has done and nothing pisses me off more than an uneducated argument.

Sigh.
Sigh.
This is also known as being uneducated about what feminism really is.
This is also known as being uneducated about what feminism really is.

My voice does not carry as far as Ruffalo’s, so today, I want to thank him for his words:

My response to the ‘I am not a feminist’ internet phenomenon….

First of all, it’s clear you don’t know what feminism is. But I’m not going to explain it to you. You can google it. To quote an old friend, ‘I’m not the feminist babysitter.’ But here is what I think you should know.

You’re insulting every woman who was forcibly restrained in a jail cell with a feeding tube down her throat for your right to vote, less than 100 years ago.

Oh yes, thank you for that…hey, all those women (yes, I am targeting women) who think being a feminist is a bad thing, LISTEN UP.

You’re degrading every woman who has accessed a rape crisis centre, which wouldn’t exist without the feminist movement.

You’re undermining every woman who fought to make marital rape a crime (it was legal until 1993).

You’re spitting on the legacy of every woman who fought for women to be allowed to own property (1848). For the abolition of slavery and the rise of the labor union. For the right to divorce. For women to be allowed to have access to birth control (Comstock laws). For middle and upper class women to be allowed to work outside the home (poor women have always worked outside the home). To make domestic violence a crime in the US (It is very much legal in many parts of the world). To make workplace sexual harassment a crime.

In short, you know not what you speak of. You reap the rewards of these women’s sacrifices every day of your life. When you grin with your cutsey sign about how you’re not a feminist, you ignorantly spit on the sacred struggle of the past 200 years. You bite the hand that has fed you freedom, safety, and a voice.

In short, kiss my ass, you ignorant little jerks. ~ News.com.au.

Thank you Mark for saying exactly what I have been saying for years. What I continue to say on a regular basis and for what I continue to hear on a regular basis.

There is no shame in being a feminist. There is, however, shame in not knowing what was done FOR you to be in the position to complain about the word feminist. Learn your history ladies and stop stepping on feminism as if it’s a bad thing. Look back and see what women were force-fed in jails, women were raped and beaten and no one was held accountable.

UNTIL FEMINISM.

Instead of being spoiled little brats that whine about the feminists who go too far (and please, every movement has extremists, get over it), how about YOU stand up and YOU remind the world what feminism really is.

It’s the fight for equality.

BuzzFeed/ India/ Feminism/ Actress Kalki Koechlin
BuzzFeed/ India/ Feminism/ Actress Kalki Koechlin

I am a proud feminist who stands up for herself and what she believes in and it makes me frustrated and a little bit angry when people CHOOSE to be uneducated about what the movement means. Don’t choose ignorance, choose knowledge, choose education and realize that feminism has saved women, millions of women, from death, from abuse, from inequality.

So for all of this I thank someone like Ruffalo (and not just Ruffalo, there are MANY that fight the good fight for feminism and their words are heard loud and clear and I am grateful for them beyond words) for being able to articulate just what feminism should mean to so many people.

Amy Poehler on Feminism.
Amy Poehler on Feminism.

Don’t be afraid of feminism ladies and gents, be proud of its long and powerful history and be proud to call yourself a feminist because we are lucky to be here today. We are lucky to be following in the footsteps of men and women who are full of strength, integrity and a bravery I cannot even fully comprehend.

Remember, feminism is equality and equality is a great thing.

What do YOU think about feminism? Are you afraid of it? Do you want to know more about it? Tell me in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: Supergirl, Then and Now

Welcome! This is a Tri-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 was originally going to write about the new “Mad Max: Fury Road” controversy of men being angry about the movie being “feminist propaganda” but instead, I want to talk a little bit more about Supergirl – both the 1984 movie and the upcoming TV series on CBS.

1984 Supergirl. Rock on Supergirl, ROCK. ON.
1984 Supergirl. Rock on Supergirl, ROCK. ON.

First, we’ll start with the 1984 movie. I am going to state right up front that I LOVE this movie. It was the very first superhero movie I ever watched (that I recall) and not only that, it starred a female hero. My budding little feminist heart was thrilled beyond measure to see a woman kicking butt and getting stuff done with grace, ease and amazing strength and without looking like a hooker. I watched this movie a lot as a girl and I recently re-watched it as “research” for this piece. Though, to be fair, I didn’t need to re-watch it since I pretty much have it memorized.

Faye Dunaway as Selena? She pretty much ate up the screen in her scenes.
Faye Dunaway as Selena? She pretty much ate up the screen in her scenes.

A lot of folks don’t like this movie for various reasons I simply don’t understand. Sure, it’s 80’s cheese in some degrees but it has an all-star cast, I mean, seriously, FAYE DUNAWAY as the villain Selena, how can you go wrong? Not to mention Peter O’Toole as Supergirl’s mentor and friend, Zalfar. It’s a pretty stellar cast if you ask me. Helen Slater nails the innocent power that is both Supergirl and Kara Zor-El from Argo City.

Kara, after an unfortunate accident that is equal parts Zalfar and her faults, finds herself on Earth. She has powers and can fly for cripes sake! She is also on a mission to find the Omega Hedron and save her city from certain death (by suffocation no less). She spends a few moments (during some really awesome wire work) flying around and getting used to her new strength and her new world before she gets back to work looking for the Omega.

What gets me most about this movie is the utter strength of the women in this film. Dunaway’s Selena is crazy as all good villains should be, but she is also powerful and confident in her power (with the exception of a few amusing fumbles), she doesn’t need a man and continuously tricks them to get what she wants. Slater’s Supergirl brings out the appropriate amount of gravitas and fun that Supergirl should have. Honestly, for me, it’s like watching a comic on-screen.

If you are a regular reader of my blog than you know that my favorite part of this movie is the ending sequences. When Supergirl has to escape the Phantom Zone with Zalfar, she loses her friend and has to go on alone. That moment is precious to me. It is Kara realizing her true power and strength. She has to keep moving and DARN-IT, that scene gives me chills every time I watch it.

To me, this is a perfect movie for young girls to see if they want to see a female superhero or even before they start watching the CBS show to get a feel for Kara Zor-El and the Supergirl universe. Not only is Supergirl not treated like a sex object, she is actually treated like an equal to the men around her (to be fair, the male characters are pretty much reduced to stumbling buffoons, funny but not my favorite part of the film). This is a feminist movie that isn’t trying to be a feminist movie. That’s what I love about it.

Oh Zalfar. "On Girl!"
Oh Zalfar. “On Girl!”

Sadly, it flopped in theaters and we never saw another Supergirl film. Lucky for us, the recent rise in the love of all things comics (Green Arrow, The Flash, The Avengers, etc) has brought Supergirl back to us. Later this year, CBS will launch their version of Supergirl for TV audiences. They recently released a 6 minute preview of the show and I have to admit, I am pretty psyched. Check it out if you haven’t seen it already.

https://youtu.be/Lm46-envrHo

It’s a long preview and it shows a lot of good stuff. It also gives us a lighter, more fun superhero show. it comes from the mind of the creators of The Arrow and The Flash which only makes me more excited. On Arrow the women are as strong as the men, they fight side by side with them. Not to mention, the action/fight sequences should prove to be beautifully choreographed. Besides all of that I have to say that I’m pleased with her costume, her attitude and oh, everything about it. It looks fun and kick-ass, a winning combination – if you ask me. I have the hope that it will be a proof to all those Execs out there that think a female-centric superhero show/movie can’t work, that lady hero’s are just as watchable as male hero’s. I mean seriously, look at Agent Carter! She was step one, let’s hope Supergirl will be step two to us finally seeing a female hero movie on the big screen.

Our new Supergirl. She looks very promising.
Our new Supergirl. She looks very promising.

I’ve read varying degrees of happiness and unhappiness about the trailer which is to be expected. I mean, you can’t please everyone, right? What irritates me is when people nit pick. For example, I saw one complaint that the guy playing Jimmy Olson isn’t wimpy or unattractive and is (gasp) being played by a black man and not a pale-faced ginger. Listen folks, it’s OKAY to change things up every once in a while if the story stays relatively true to the characters. I don’t care what color Olsen is as long as he’s a good actor. I’ve also seen complaints that they mention Superman too much. Sigh. Really? The 1984 movie talks about him a lot, they even go so far as to show a poster of him in Linda Lee’s dorm room. It’s allowed people, Superman IS her cousin and they share super powers! Seems to me that it would only be natural, as Kara finds her power, that she talks about her cousin who knows of what she speaks.

I personally am ready to check out this new Supergirl and I have high hopes for it, Lord knows I needed a win this week after the debacle that was the Jem and The Holograms trailer!

Time will tell and hopefully I won’t be writing another blog in a few months complaining about our new Supergirl.

So tell me, what do YOU think? Did you love the 1984 version of Supergirl? Did you love the comics? Are you excited for the new show? Why or why not? Sound off in the comments!