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The Female Perspective: The Walking Dead – Here’s Negan!

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! Or find me on Facebook at @JLMetcalfAuthorArtisan!

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


We waited for season 7 and we were not disappointed...Well most of us anyway.
We waited for season 7 and we were not disappointed…Well most of us anyway.

This post isn’t so much about feminism in The Walking Dead because I have touched on that before, but more it’s about me being a total nerd for this show and I wanted to chat a bit about the Season 7 premiere that happened last Sunday and the reaction thus far.

Do you watch The Walking Dead? Did you see it yet? No? Then stop reading, there be SPOILERS AHEAD! Why are you reading a blog instead of watching the show? Yeesh, go, go now!

Okay. Onward and upward.

If you watch the show then you  know that season 6 left us all in a quandary. We had just met Negan (if you didn’t read the comics you had been hearing about him ad naseum for quite a while I assume) and I can say that for me, I had a hard time remember to breathe the entire episode as we waited the big reveal and what it meant for our hearty band of survivors.

If you read the comics, then you know that someone is about to die, and Negan is going to be the one who does it. With Lucille, his vampire bat.

I started watching Walking Dead before I read the comics and I instantly loved the show and very quickly thereafter began to devour the comics as well. I am now currently caught up with the comics but won’t spoil those here.  Sufficed it to say, Negan is still alive and kicking and he is still a very, very, VERY bad man. Can you be a man when you’re a horrible monster in a world of horrible monsters?

Many people knew that someone was about to die, we didn’t know who and season 6 was not about to end telling us who dies, they left us all wondering, as the screen went black and the horrific crunching of bat on head echoed all around us. We waited and we guessed and we worried, and finally, we know. It wasn’t just one character, it was two. TWO! Walking Dead you’re getting greedy now.

Winner of best facial hair on "The Walking Dead" has to be Abraham.
Winner of best facial hair on “The Walking Dead” has to be Abraham.

It was a brutal episode, first Abraham got killed, but not before he got in one last, “Such my b—s” as he collapsed. It was a death worthy of the character and it was sad to see. It was actually really grotesque, but this is a show full of grotesque imagery, I mean, for pete’s sake, the dead and decaying are walking around la-dee-dah like. It’s pretty gross.

What came next was a surprise and a pretty good shock, Daryl gets a good, solid punch in on Negan’s handsome face and voila! We have our second death of the evening, Glenn. Poor Glenn, he got it via Lucille in the comics so he’s who I had my money on to be murdered on the episode. I admit to jumping and yelling when it happened. I admit to crying a tear or two when he finally cries out to Maggie and tells her he’ll find her.

Ugh.

It’s a brutal episode. Not only do we see characters we love get butchered in front of our faces, we see some pretty gnarly zombie death as well. But besides all of that is the emotional toll the show took. We watch as Negan beats Rick down emotionally, brutally, gleefully. After so many years with these characters, it’s hard to see someone as strong, as capable, as kind of cuckoo-pants crazy, as Rick get beaten down to the point of weeping and begging.

I say it again, it was a brutal episode.

Sadness...RIP Glenn Rhee.
Sadness…RIP Glenn Rhee.

So why am I so surprised that people are mad? We live in an age where people can accept gratuitous sex and foul language as par for the course, but violence on a show known for being gory and violent shocks us. People cry out, “My kids were watching!” And I ask, “What the heck were you doing let kids watch this show?” People cry out, “It’s too much,” and I ask, “So why doesn’t the violence on the news get you this upset? Why are half naked women okay, but violence is not?”

To me it’s a mark of a show doing something right. If people have such a strong and emotional reaction that they vow to stop watching the show, then the writers, the actors, everyone is doing something right. It means it’s effecting people (either positively or negatively) and that is what any entertainer wants to do. As a writer, I would LOVE to effect people with my words so much so that they have an emotional reaction so strong as to be angry, sad, happy, etc.

Is the show too violent? I don’t think so, not in the context of everything else that surrounds us. Not to mention the show is on at 9 AND has multiple warnings about violent content. They’ve done their job in warning people, if parents are letting their kids watch the show and the kids have nightmares, that’s on them. I’m sorry, but it’s true. It’s not AMC or The Walking Dead’s responsibility to censor itself because parents don’t make good decisions. I also think that if you don’t read the comics, then this weekends premier was probably a shocker for you, I get that. For those of us who have seen it, we know that Negan is horrible, violent and sadistic. We know what he does. If it was a surprise how violent things got and you are angry, that’s okay, but take a breather and think about the show you’re watching. It’s a show where the dead walk. Where people have been killing each other, sometimes there’s cannibals, always there’s death, and you’re surprised it got violent?

I do agree though that it was still brutal. And brilliant. That was some of the finest TV I’ve seen in awhile. Not because it was violent, but for the quiet moments after the violence was past us. When Rick and Negan are having alone time, when Rick is going through what’s just happened again and again. When we see the look on Daryl’s face when Glenn is killed. It’s those little moments that make it brilliant. The violence is just wrapped into that, it’s the catalyst for those little moments of true brilliance.

I personally cannot wait to see where Season 7 goes. If it’s anything like the comic book, we are in for quite the horrifically brutal treat.

Oh Negan...
Oh Negan…

What did you think of the premier? Too violent? Are you going to keep watching the show?
Yes or no?
Why or why not?
Sound off in the comments!

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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: Character Drama In Adaptations

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


This week there have been a few bits of information regarding the re-casting of comic book characters. One is that the new female Iron Man will be called Ironheart and the other is that Zendaya will supposedly be playing Mary Jane in Spiderman: Homecoming. In all honestly, I am not overly concerned with the re-casting of characters in terms of race of sex. If they can portray or tell good story, then their skin color and sex shouldn’t matter one bit.

The sad thing is, it seems to matter to quite a few people, I’m sorry, trolls.

When I was checking out the story about Zendaya playing Mary Jane the comments that ran along with the story were what interested me more than the actual story (I really have no clue who Zendaya is, nor do I care to find out and I am not a Spiderman fan in the least). The fact is that Zendaya is the daughter of an African-American father and a white mother, and she is playing a character that has always been portrayed as pale skinned with red hair. So you can imagine the derogatory comments and accusations of racism that have abounded alongside the announcement, many of them I cannot print here.

Where it gets murky is when people start covering their racism by saying they want these characters to be “portrayed in their true form” on screen.

Comparing Zendaya, Dunst and their comic book counterpart leaves you realizing that actually, Zendaya looks more like Mary Jane than Dunst did.
Food For Thought: Comparing Zendaya, Dunst and their comic book counterpart you realize that actually, Zendaya looks more like Mary Jane than Dunst did.

Is that racism masquerading as fandom or is it just simple fandom? It’s a question I don’t know the answer to and honestly, in the current cultural climate, I think casting a woman of mixed race as a character who is known to be pale skinned with red hair is perfectly fine. What matters in the end is the performance,  not the skin color.

Where I get annoyed (and hang in here with me, it gets confusing) is when those same people that got mad over changing Mary Jane, then get mad when others get mad over white people playing Egyptian or Asian roles. I’ve seen those same people who pitched a fit over Mary Jane go on and on about how race doesn’t matter. Argh! Pick a side of the debate and stick to it people!

Where is the line where it becomes okay to hate on casting because of skin color or sex? The answer to that one is it’s never okay, but in a world constantly on edge, it’s very difficult to say or do the right thing, no matter what side of the debate you’re on.

I’m not a racist fanboy, but I want to see a white Mary Jane, like comic books, the same happen[ed] in The Flash (Iris West) and Supergirl (James Olsen). What happens if there was the other way? If they put a white Black Panther?

Junior Sara on Facebook

When you have to start a comment with “I’m not racist”, then you need to stop typing or speaking right away because the chances of you saying something intelligent after are pretty much zero. The fact is this (poorly worded) comment stuck out to me (among others I cannot put in this blog) because this is really comparing apples to oranges. The character of Mary Jane is not rooted in her cultural identity, Black Panther is. He is the leader of an African tribe, he is the first black superhero–changing him from African-American to white would be a comic book catastrophe, not to mention hugely insulting to the characters legacy and backstory.

Don’t get me wrong, I get it, while I am a fan of comics, I love books even more and when I see a movie based on a beloved book, I want the characters to make sense. I want to see the character I always imagined on screen, but the simple fact is, the people making the movie are not seeing the same thing I am!  A recent example of that is Idris Elba being cast as The Gunslinger in the upcoming gunslinger movie. I was PSYCHED they picked Elba, but many, MANY people were upset. They had always seen Roland as a white man, a Clint Eastwood type, and if this movie was being made 30-40 years ago, yeah Eastwood would be great. But it’s not being made in the long ago, and honestly I think that Elba will do a phenomenal job at it. He has that broody, quiet thing down pat and it’s going to be a blast seeing him on screen playing one of Stephen King’s best characters. In the end for me it comes down to character portrayal, writing and directing. I do not care one whit what color or sex they are.

Does Elba look exactly like the Gunslinger? No. But is he going to be amazing? I think so!
Does Elba look exactly like the Gunslinger? No. But is he going to be amazing? I think so!

The fact is, what I see time and time again online is people that are unhappy. People who don’t have the faintest idea what it takes to make a movie, especially one that they are adapting from beloved source material. Same thing with comics, when writers and artists and studios want to revamp a character (Like making Thor into a female) it throws people off, we are creatures of habit (and some of us are racist, sexist jerk-heads) and as many have stated, we want to see the characters we loved stay the same, to be on screen looking the same as the writer described.

As a writer, I can think of nothing more exciting then having one of my books made into a movie. I also know that I would really want nothing to do with it because I would become endlessly frustrated. I have a vision for my characters and story that someone else might not have. I am also completely unbiased and would not be able to make the hard choices of what gets cut and doesn’t get cut. That being said, would I care if they changed the ethnicity of a character or turned a she into a he or a he into a she? If it served the story, I wouldn’t care one bit.

Art is a fluid, always moving aesthetic. One person’s vision is not the same as another persons. We have to learn to not get stuck in the rut of expectation. Instead we can feel shocked, dismayed or disappointed (I felt all those things when Ben Affleck was cast as Batman, but you  know what? He did a killer job) and then we have to move the heck on because guess what folks? It’s only a movie. If you don’t like something, don’t watch it, don’t buy it, don’t read about it. Just live your life as if this stuff doesn’t really matter because it really doesn’t. Enjoy the parts of an artistic vision that you can, be wowed by it, love it and let that be enough. For the stuff that annoys or disappoints, let it go. That won’t help with the racist trolls, but it will help us all get a little less tied up in thinking a character has to look a certain way, because these characters were created out of thin air and therefore, they can look pretty much any way they want.

Calm thyself, tis only a wee movie...
Calm thyself, tis only a wee movie…

What do you think? Are studios using too much “artistic vision” in their character changes? What casting/comic character change has irked you the most or made you the most happy? Sound off in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: Rhode Island Comic Con & More (Aka, Shameless Self-Promotion)

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

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

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


This month there is A LOT happening for your intrepid blog writer. First off is Rhode Island Comic Con which, if you haven’t heard, is the biggest show in the smallest state and it’s AWESOME. This year I have an artist table next to my collaborator Frankie B. Washington. To say I am stoked is an understatement. I’ll be hawking my books, photographs and my new (and first) comic book, “The Rapture: The Final Battle” based on characters from my short story, “The Rapture,” which is in my book, “Menagerie Of The Weird.” You’ll want to read it, trust me.

The Final Battle, art by Frankie B. Washington. Story by FBW and JL Metcalf. 2015.
The Final Battle, art by Frankie B. Washington. Story by FBW and JL Metcalf. 2015.

Today’s blog is going to be a short one because I have lots to do to prepare for RICC and I want to ask you all, if you are in the Providence, RI area, to come say HELLO and help support some of us “starving” artists. We love to chat so even if you don’t want to purchase anything, come say hello, snag a free goodie bag or some candy and enjoy the fun that is to be had at RICC. I’ve been 2-years in a row now and I can tell you, it’s a freakin’ blast and a half.

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On top of that awesome sauce (and I plan on doing a blog after RICC next week to update y’all on the fun that was had!) it is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo 2015. If you’ve never heard of NaNoWriMo then let me tell you a little bit about it. Basically, it’s a challenge to write a complete novel (75,000 words) in the month of November. I participated and was a winner last year with my 2nd novel, “Coming Undone: Musings on Life, Love and Hobbits.” This year it is my goal to complete the sequel to my first book, “The Last Daughter of Lilith,” and I’ve got a pretty good start on things. No title or cover art yet but you can bet your fine behind that it’s going to be awesome. If you are interested in participating in NaNoWriMo you can still sign up!

Then to top off all the goodness of November we have Thanksgiving and then in December I have my final show of the season, the yearly writers Expo sponsored by the Association of Rhode Island Authors, ARIA on December 5th at the Lincoln Mall. More on that later this month!

Finally, I pose this question for my readers, do you attend Comic Conventions? Do you cosplay?

Share your stories/pictures/etc and let’s chat! 

Hope to see you at RICC!
Hope to see you at RICC!
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The Female Perspective: The New Wonder Woman, Inspiring Or Not?

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.


wonder-woman-logo

If you’re a regular reader of this blog then you know that I have a fondness in my heart for Wonder Woman. You can imagine then that I am VERY excited/interested/nervous about the upcoming Superman v. Batman movie that is coming out next year. The preview that dropped after San Diego Comic Con made it look as if things are picking up from the end of Man of Steel and taking a turn for the dark and treacherous for our man Super.

While I loved the trailer, it got me really jazzed up to see the movie, I was a bit sad by the utter lack of Wonder Woman footage. Are they keeping her a secret? Why? Or are they just wetting our appetites because they want us to be surprised when we finally get to see her truly in action?

These are questions I cannot possibly answer.

What I can say is that what little we did of Wonder Woman has me thinking some thoughts.

  1. We see her a couple of times in beautiful, expensive outfits peeking at us.
  2. Then we see her in full costume kicking some serious ass.

I have to say that I like this. I like that we see the two sides of Diana Prince and Wonder Woman. They’re clearly going to show her as a woman and a warrior. Something I can totally get behind.

I need more than this! I want to see Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman fighting, jumping, kicking butt!
I need more than this! I want to see Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman fighting, jumping, kicking butt!

Others are not so excited. In a recent article on Geek Tyrant’s website, Grant Morrison, who wrote the upcoming Wonder Woman: Earth One, had some very doom and gloom type things to say about the little we’ve seen of Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman.

“[The warrior woman thing is] not what Marston wanted, that’s not what he wanted at all. His original concept for Wonder Woman was an answer to comics that he thought were filled with images of blood-curdling masculinity, and you see the latest shots of Gal Gadot in the costume, and it’s all sword and shield and her snarling at the camera. Marston’s Diana [Prince, the character’s real name] was a doctor, a healer, a scientist.” – Geek Tyrant

Morrison’s concerns are rooted in the fact that he is worried that this newest portrayal of Wonder Woman is not in line with what William Marston, the creator of the Wonder Woman character, had in mind for her.

Here’s my issue with this. First off, we’ve only seen what, maybe five seconds of Gadot as Wonder Woman? How in the WORLD can someone decide how she’s being portrayed with that little amount of time? Secondly, he’s wrong, she isn’t only “snarling” at the camera, she smiles slyly as she ducks into a car. Thank you and goodnight.

Gadot herself has expressed only excitement at being able to portray Wonder Woman.

“I told them that I wanted to be able to show the stronger side of women. I didn’t want to do the obvious role that you see in Hollywood most of the time, which is the heartbroken girl who’s waiting to be rescued by the guy, blah, blah, blah.

I’m so excited about this role. I feel like I’ve been given a huge opportunity to inspire people, not only women. And not because of me but because of who Wonder Woman is and what she stands for. There’s a lot of responsibility. But I have the best team and the best people to work with. It’s going to be an amazing ride, knock on wood.”  –Geek Tyrant

So basically, from that soundbite and the few seconds we’ve seen Gadot in action, Morrison has decided that this newest incarnation of Wonder Woman is going to be a disaster of some sort? Personally, I feel good about Gadot has had to say about the role, she wants her Wonder Woman to be strong and powerful, not mooning over a man or in need of saving. THANK YOU! We’ve seen such a thing with the portrayal of Black Widow but we need more of it people, lots and lots of it. Women aren’t only around to be damsels in distress, we can do loads more cool stuff.

Can anyone be better than Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman?
Can anyone be better than Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman?

Morrison’s comments are of the type that really sticks in my craw (I’m not entirely sure what a craw is but I suspect it’s nothing good and to have something stuck there it is quite uncomfortable but this is all just a guess), he’s making ASSUMPTIONS about something that, while he is clearly educated about Wonder Woman, since he has written some of the comics, he doesn’t have a clue about when it comes to the film Zach Snyder is making.

Look, I want this Wonder Woman to be a bad-ass just like so many of my fellow Wonder Woman fans. I want her to be powerful, beautiful, intelligent and just as tough, if not tougher, than her male counterparts Superman and Batman. I want her to be everything that is wonderful about how women can be portrayed on film while leaving out all the sexism that happens so often with female superhero’s. I know that Wonder Woman’s portrayal can’t fix the many, MANY flaws in the film industry (where the heck is my Black Widow movie??? Hmmm? HMMM?) but she can help move it forward just the littlest bit if she’s played well.

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I personally have faith in Gadot. She did a great job in the Fast & Furious movies. She was just as tough as the guys along with having all those feminine wiles to use against the men. I think she can go toe-to-toe with Supe and Bats and come out on top.

I think Gadot can do it.
I think Gadot can do it.

I only hope that when she does come out on top that DC realizes that they need to give Wonder Woman her OWN damn movie.

Tell me YOUR thoughts, how are you feeling about the new Wonder Woman? Good, bad, indifferent, distraught, penniless, putrid or joyful beyond words? Tell me all about it in the comments!

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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: Suicide Squad, Superman v. Batman and Ant Man! Oh My!

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.


Unless you live under a rock, you know that San Diego Comic Con was last week. While I did not attend SDCC I, like so many others, got to reap some of the benefits as trailers were “dropped” for some of the biggest upcoming releases for next year. The two that got me REALLY excited were Superman v. Batman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad. My little geek heart leapt with joy when I got to watch these trailers and finally see a little bit more of what Zach Snyder is doing with S v. B and what the heck Jared Leto is going to look like as the Joker (I’ve seen stills but I wanted to see him talking and walking)!

I was not disappointed.

So much Yes. SO MUCH!
So much Yes. SO MUCH!

First, let’s talk about Superman v. Batman: Dawn of Justice. There’s been a lot of debate about how much destruction Superman caused at the end of Man Of Steel and how it goes against his character. It seemed to offend a lot of people and while I agree to a certain extent, I was also willing to wait and see what the sequel held for us before deciding that Zach Snyder did Superman a terrible disservice by not having him held accountable for the lives and building damage he caused.

My patience has been rewarded.

You can tell within seconds that people are not as enamored of Superman as in previous films. He is in trouble for what he did to save them and he is in trouble for the pain and suffering he caused while trying to save the world. He has also managed to pretty royally piss off an aging Batman (played by Ben Affleck).

I’m not going to lie, I am pretty psyched to see this movie. First off, The Dark Knight is one of the finest comics ever written (in my humble opinion) in the Batman Universe and to be able to see the battle between Superman and Batman on the big screen is pretty freaking exciting for me. Not to mention, we get to see a little bit of Wonder Woman (played by Gal Gadot)  in this trailer and while I’m not quite sure what her part is in all of this, I am excited to see that she seems to have some serious power. It appears at one point that she locks her wrist gauntlets together and emits a pretty powerful charge. I can’t wait to see what else she can do.

While Snyder has a hit or miss track record with films, he shines the brightest when he is adapting other material. He also does a good job of cultivating strong and powerful female characters. I have a lot of hope for this incarnation of Supe and the Bat and I can’t wait till 2016 to see it on the big screen!

The Suicide Squad
The Suicide Squad

Now, onto Suicide Squad. I’ll admit that I don’t know a ton about their origins. I’ve seen some of the characters on Arrow and I’ve watched an animated show with my boyfriend that I very much enjoyed but that’s about it. That being said, I’m all sorts of excited when it comes to Harley Quinn, the Joker and really, any other misfit from the comic universe. I’ve always been a sucker for the bad guys.

After the trailer “leaked” from SDCC, we finally get a look of this merry gang of misfits and I am pretty psyched for this film. I think it’ll be a lot of fun and a lot of action. I can even get on board with having Will Smith in it since he’s a pretty solid actor and can pull of surly toughness fairly well. But what really gets me jazzed?

This guy:

Jared Leto as The Joker
Jared Leto as The Joker

Yep. I’ve been a sucker for the Joker since I was a kid. Something about his misfit look and sick sense of humor really appeals to my dark little heart. At the same time, I find Jared Leto to be a really decent actor, his work in Dallas Buyers Club blew me away. I think he is a perfect choice to fill the shoes vacated by Heath Ledger and his few seconds in the above trailer gave me chills. That laugh that echoes before you see him, then his smile as he threatens… damn that’s some good stuff.

Finally, I’m excited to be going to see Ant Man this Friday and I hope to do a review next week for it. In the meantime, check out the trailer and tell me YOUR thoughts about these and any other films you’re excited about. Did the SDCC trailers leave you cold? Get you psyched for some good stuff from DC Comics? Or are you looking forward to a different film in 2015 or 2016? Sound off 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!

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The Female Perspective: Supergirl and Pose-able Ta-ta’s: It Must Be Monday!

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.


There are some days I wonder why I write this blog (those days are usually when I have a lot of writing work to do and no time to write the kind of stuff, like this, that I want to write!), those are the bad days. Then there are days that I am so glad I have this outlet for my perspective, for my voice. Those are the good days.  Today is one of the good days.

Oh Marvel, I'm disappointed in you.
Oh Marvel, I’m disappointed in you.

So much came into my inbox today, articles about a leaked Marvel email about why we can’t have nice things…wait, it was about why a female-centric superhero film wouldn’t work. The email then went on to site 3 examples of failed superhero movies, one of them, Supergirl from the 80’s was filmed THIRTY YEARS AGO.

Author FYI: I love Supergirl. It made me feel like girls could be powerful. It also makes my day every time I watch it and actually, I sense a viewing coming my way very soon. I mean, seriously, FAYE FREAKIN DUNAWAY as the villain!! And Peter O’Toole!!! Dear lord…when Supergirl has to escape the Phantom Zone I die every time, it’s one of the best, most perfect examples of “girl power” I’ve ever seen. If you haven’t seen it, watch this…NOW (please).

Seriously, when she stands up in front of the light with that music playing I get chills, CHILLS.

Anyway, I lost my point there for a moment, I’ll come back to it now. The fact is, in terms of money, the film Supergirl was a flop and I full understand that that is all movie execs look at and consider. In the interveneing 30 years though we’ve had Wonder Woman the TV show, we’ve had Agent Carter which is coming back for a 2nd season (Can I get a Hallelujah for that!?) and we have Black Widow in the various Avenger-themed movies. We have there 3 prime examples of women super hero’s getting it DONE with power and style. To try and say in this day and age that a female-centric hero movie wouldn’t work? Well, that’s antinqated and useless thinking. it’s thinking that shouldn’t be working at Marvel anymore.

The author of the Marvel article (linked above) did a fantastic job making the arguments I would have made, the point being that there have been PLENTY of failed superhero movies with men at the helm (Daredevil with Ben Affleck or The Green Hornet with Seth Rogen are just 2 examples). What matters to comic fans and movie goers isn’t who is the star (though, that is taken into account), it’s whether the movie stays true to the character and is well written, acted and directed.

The guy at Marvel who penned that email should be fired and then fired again for good measure and perhaps even fired one more time to prove the point that he needs to retire and/or educate himself on what draws people to theater.

Super girl played by Helen Slater
Super girl played by Helen Slater

Another example of why I love being able to write this blog is because I also came across an article about an action figure, the title of the article is this:

This Metal Gear Solid V Figure Has Poseable Breasts

I thought it had to be a joke at first but nope, it’s a real thing.  From the article itself.

Hideo Kojima tweeted out images of a figure of the character that is being designed by PlayArts. It reveals that some of the material it’s made of is softer so it can be “lifted” and “pushed”. That material is on the character’s breasts. ~ Bleeding Cool

There truly are no words for how … puzzled I felt when I read this.

There are some days where I think that women have come in terms of equality only to find out that really, women will almost always be treated like pose-able figures to be manipulated at will by fans, dirty old men or other strange people.

There isn’t much more to say here because either (as the author states), you’ll love it or you’ll hate it and that’s your prerogative either way. Which I agree with to a certain extent. I do believe people can make their own choices but the fact is, when toys (is it a toy?) like this are sold it demeans women while also perpetuating the sexism that is rampant in video games, comics and other forms of entertainment. If no one bough it, they would stop making it. Sadly, I’m not sure I believe that that will ever happen.

The words can't even help me express my displeasure at this one...
The words can’t even help me express my displeasure at this one…

The fact is, being able to write this blog gives me an outlet for my frustration and my amusement at the abject sexism that abounds in our world. Some days it breaks my heart, other days it makes me laugh and still other days it makes me good an angry. I can tell you that I’ve gotten comments from readers that either know or not (who am I to judge the words of others?) that they are being sexist and it frustrates the holy heck out of me. My retaliation? I do my absolute best to respond with kindness, reason and intelligence. Once I’ve said my piece I move on.

The beauty of our world being so connected is that it gives people like me an opportunity to talk about what I truly love and I love talking about comics and feminism and pop culture. It really makes my day. I also just realized that I love to talk about the movie Supergirl and I cannot wait for the TV show that’s coming our way (fingers crossed). I can only hope that it is as good or better than the movie because the movie made Supergirl powerful and it made her a woman who finds her inner strength and defeats the bad guys which this feminist nerd loves.

Exactly.
Exactly.

What do YOU think? Is a toy with “pose-able breasts” acceptable? Why or why not? And what do you think about Supergirl – is she indeed a super feminist girl or something else entirely? Sound off in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: Are We Getting TOO Invested In Our Fiction?

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 spent awhile trying to come up with my blog topic today and what my crazy mind kept turning back to was the idea that maybe we, as fans, get far too invested in a story and forget that it is fictional.

They're only fictional characters, should we get so wrapped up in them? Is it healthy?
They’re only fictional characters, should we get so wrapped up in them? Is it healthy?

Some of you may be shaking your head going, “No kidding” but take a moment and really think about some of the stories that have come out, some of the fan arguments that abound online. A movie like Age of Ultron is a perfect example, as is my blog from Wednesday. People were taking a 10 minute scene and turning it into a huge debate about a fictional character. People were angry about Jeremy Renner and Chris Evans calling the character Black Widow a “slut”. People get mad about Man of Steel and complain that he killed thousands (if not more) of innocent people in the decimation of Metropolis and Smallville. The list goes on and on and I, for one, am exhausted by it.

Yes, in reality, A LOT of people died in that final showdown between Superman and Zod  but it's FICTION. Why bring it up at all?
Yes, in reality, A LOT of people died in that final showdown between Superman and Zod but it’s FICTION. Why bring it up at all?

I love my fictional characters as much as anyone (probably less-so than many fans) but there comes a point where fun fan arguments just get to be…too much. The reason I say this is because it takes all of the FUN out of it for me. I don’t want to talk about the reality of the destruction, I don’t want to try to figure out what Black Widow meant when she called herself a monster. I want to sit down and enjoy my entertainment as such, entertainment. I don’t want to circle around to describe the real world ramifications of Batman or the idea that the stunts Captain America just completed are totally “fake”.

IT’S ALL FAKE people! IT’S ALL FAKE!

Yes, I believe that some of the stuff that happens in those fake world have real-world implications, I have written about plenty of them myself in this blog so please don’t think that I am missing the irony in my own words. What I am trying to dig at is the fact that people are simply latching on to ideas in these movies that simply aren’t worth getting angry about. There is so much death and unhappiness in the world, can’t we all find the joy in these fun little worlds and simply, and this may sound radical, ENJOY THEM at face value?

Do we have to obsess over every, tiny detail, no matter how seemingly insignificant?

I suppose we do. It seems to be in our natures and it seems to be what the world does nowadays. We dissect, we discuss and we obsess. I’ve done it plenty of times myself but after a certain point I am bored and want to talk about how cool the movie I just saw was, how much fun it was. I don’t want to deal with the reality of death tolls and destruction.

The obsession with the state of Black Widow's uterus is at crazy levels.
The obsession with the state of Black Widow’s uterus is at crazy levels.

I honestly think what it comes down to is the fact that there are extremists even in the fan world. They take it those few steps too far and ruin it for the rest of us sane (sort of), normal (maybe) people.  I love a good debate about superhero’s or any great piece of fiction but there comes a time where enough is enough and I think I’ve personally reached my saturation point of certain discussions. This doesn’t mean that those debates/discussions aren’t worth having, it just means that after a while they become tired and pointless. Sometimes it’s just best to say that we “agree to disagree” and leave it at that.

What do YOU think? Are the EXTREME fans ruining it for the rest of us? Or is discussion the name of the game? Sound off in the comments!