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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – 05/10/2017

Welcome comic book fans to another episode of the Crank File. Last Saturday was Free Comic Book Day and I hope you were able to swing by your local shop and snag some sweet freebies. As much as I love free stuff, the Wednesday after FCBD always feels like a bad hang-over, which appears to be the case again this year. There are a few indie books that I’m looking forward to, but the Big 2 seem to be mostly sitting this one out. But regardless, it is my sworn duty to inform you about what’s coming out each week, so here’s what I’m reading:

 

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The Top of the Pile: Star Wars: The Screaming Citadel #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Kieron Gillen
Art: Marco Chachetto

What it is: ‘THE SCREAMING CITADEL’ – PART 1 Rebel pilot and rogue archaeologist wander side by side into the darkest shadows of the galaxy as Luke Skywalker reluctantly teams up with Doctor Aphra! The Doctor makes Luke an offer he can’t afford to pass up, one that leads him to a very rare gathering at the heart of the infamous Screaming Citadel. Will Luke find what he’s looking for? Can Aphra be trusted? Or will they both wind up victims of the Citadel’s Queen?

Why we love it: Dr. Aphra exploded on the Star Wars scene from the pages of Kieron Gillen’s Darth Vader series, instantly becoming a fan favorite. Now the good doctor is teaming up with Luke for a new adventure, which I’ve read is going to be partly a horror story. I wonder if Aphra will make the connection between Luke and her former employer/attempted-murderer. More importantly, I wonder if her murder-droids BT and Triple Zero will be making an appearance.

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The Mainstream One: Titans #11

Publisher: DC
Words: Dan Abnett
Art: Brett Booth

What it is: ‘THE LAZARUS CONTRACT’ part one! When Deathstroke discovers that Wally West’s return holds the key to bringing his son back from the dead, he’ll stop at nothing to do just that! Don’t miss the debut chapter of the epic crossover event that you’ve been waiting for! RATED T Includes a code for a free digital download of this issue.

Why we like it: Deathstroke returns where it all began. 1984’s Judas Contract by comic legends Marv Wolfram and George Perez is considered by many to be the greatest Teen Titans story of our generation. Highly regarded for its mature themes and shocking plot-twists, the series was even recently made into an animated film. Clearly DC is playing up the parallels with the upcoming Titan’s “Lazarus Contract” arc, choosing a similar title as well as bringing Deathstroke back as the antagonist. I get the feeling that something big is about to go down here.

 

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The Indie One: Solar Flare #2

Publisher: Scout
Words: James Haick III
Art: Branko Jovanovic

What it is: Where were you when the world went dark? When last we saw Jake, everything was going according to plan. He would soon see his daughter. A good friend was coming to visit him. He had friends, family, and a good job. He might not have been a great man, but he knew he was a good man-a good enough man. And he was just fine with that. He was content. He was able to sleep at night. And then the sky turned green. Awoken by the bright new hue of the midnight sky, Jake is faced with the perplexing reality of this new world before him and his thoughts now turn to reuniting with his daughter states away and how is he going to survive the journey when the world appears to have been reverted to the dark ages.

Why we like it: I picked up the first issue based on a recommendation I got from a shop owner who, like me, shares a passion for quirky, indie titles. The premise was interesting, but certainly nothing ground breaking. But what began as another post-apocalyptic adventure ended up feeling like something more. While some of the themes and characters felt like well-worn territory, what really set this book apart for me was the tone. The backwards story telling, the stark dialogue and the dark, detailed artwork in issue #1 all fed into a palpable feeling of dread and foreboding.

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The #1 One: Regression #1

Publisher: Image
Words: Cullen Bunn
Art: Danny Luckert

What it is: Adrian is plagued by ghastly waking nightmares. To understand and possibly treat these awful visions, Adrian reluctantly agrees to past life regression hypnotherapy. As his consciousness is cast back through time, Adrian witnesses a scene of horrific debauchery and diabolism. Waking, he is more unsettled than before, and with good reason-something has followed him back. Adrian descends into a world of occult conspiracy, mystery, reincarnation, and insanity from which there is no escape. Presented by CULLEN BUNN (Harrow County, The Sixth Gun, The Empty Man), DANNY LUCKERT (Haunted), and MARIE ENGER (Pistolwhip, 2 Sisters), REGRESSION is a tale of supernatural terror and intrigue unlike any horror comic you’ve ever experienced.

Why we like it: Cullen Bunn writes a lot of superb superhero books, but I personally enjoy him more as a horror writer. I read a preview page on the Image website and was immediately disgusted by what I saw, so naturally I have to pick this up. This book is going to be gross and weird in all the best possible ways. Also quick heads up, the cover posted above apparently is not the regular cover, even though it was the one originally solicited. That cover will now be sold as a retailer exclusive and the regular cover looks like this: https://imagecomics.com/comics/releases/regression-1

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The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Old Man Logan #23 (Sienkiewicz Variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Jeff Lemire
Art: Eric Nguyen
Cover Art: Bill Sienkiewicz

What it is: PAST LIVES CONTINUES! LOGAN is still trapped in time… one minute he’s PATCH, stalking the streets of MADRIPOOR, the next, he’s reliving the glory days in the X-MEN, meanwhile, back in the present, ASMODEUS’ true plan for Logan’s trapped body is revealed! Can Logan fight his way back before the plan succeeds? Parental Advisory

Why we like it: Bill, you’ve done it again! Sienkiewicz’s covers can be hit-or-miss. This Old Man Logan cover was definitely a hit for me.

 

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

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The Female Perspective: The Mary Sue Stuff Must Stop

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

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

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


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

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

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

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Our newest “Star Wars” protagonist…Jyn Erso

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why is that so difficult?

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

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

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The Female Perspective: My Favorites

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.


With some time off for good behavior (aka Christmas and New Years) I realized I was a wee bit late with this weeks blog and while I thought about writing about the fact that once again, a female character was being omitted from toys/games/etc, I decide to only quickly mention it because at this point, the story has been told to death, I myself have talked about it a few times in respect to Black Widow being ignored from the Marvel line of toys. In this case it was the character Rey in the Star Wars Monopoly game. What’s awesome is that Hasbro, after unleashing the lamest reason ever for not putting the female character in the game, to avoid spoilers even though Rey’s character is featured prominently in the trailers, has acquiesced to the internets anger and have agreed to put Rey in! So yay for internet anger accomplishing something that sort of means something but not really!

Now, if we could just get them to do this without the internet world having to get angry!

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Onward and upward my friends!

My Favorites From 2015

"Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens..."
“Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens…”

I decided that this blog post should be about some of my favorite posts from the year 2015. There are a lot of them and I love them all in my special way so it was really hard to narrow them down but I found a few that if you’re new to my blog, you can take a minute or two to read over your morning beverage of choice (coffee, OJ, vodka, whatever you like, no judgement here…) and hopefully then you’ll hop around and check out even more of the blogs here at Great Stories!

Yes, Please Agent Carter!

I am always on the search for female-driven TV and movies and I was really excited about the show Agent Carter and I was even more pleased when the show was amazing. Everything I want a female-driven show to be, she is strong, smart and vulnerable in a realistic way. She isn’t stupid or fluffy-headed like so many female characters tend to be (Supergirl, how you disappoint me as the season has gone on) so I am very excited about her return for a 2nd season this month!

Feminism and Dinosaurs, Can The Two Exist?

Yes, the answer is yes. I hate to be a spoiler but after much thought, I’ve decided that the main female character in Jurassic World can wear her heals and run and still be a feminist and everyone needs to hush up and enjoy the movie about dinosaurs. Besides that, Chris Pratt is always fun to watch.

Banning Books and Why It’s Dumb

As a writer, author and blogger, this one is near and dear to my heart. I think this is one of my personal faves that I’ve written and I want YOU all to remember that not everyone enjoys the same freedoms in terms of what they are “allowed” read and enjoy. Keep that in mind the next time you pick up your Bible (yep, it’s been banned many times) or read Dr. Seuss to your kids (also a banned author).  Reading is a joy and a privilege not allowed to many.

Confusing Feminism With Anger

A huge pet peeve of mine and something I’ve encountered time and time again. To be a feminist is not to hate men. To be a feminist is not to be angry. Being a feminist means you are searching for equality between the sexes. You want women to be treated the same as men. It’s really not all that hard.

My Favorite Book Is…

No spoilers here but rest assured, it’s a good one!

There You Have It …

So there you have it fine readers. Some of my favorite blog posts over the last year, I can’t wait to share more of my perspective with you all in 2016!

Did you have a fave blog here I didn’t talk about? Share it in the comments and thanks for reading!

Thanks for reading!
Thanks for reading!
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The Female Perspective: The “Mary Sue” Of “Star Wars” (No Serious Spoilers)

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 want to start by saying that I am going to do my best to not put any spoilers in here about the new Star Wars movie because I hate dirty rotten spoilers. If you prefer to know nothing about the movie though, don’t read this yet!

Daisy Ridley plays the character Rey in the new "Star Wars: The Force Awakens"
Daisy Ridley plays the character Rey in the new “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

That being said, I saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens this past weekend and simply adored it. Now that I’ve seen the movie I can start reading the millions of articles about it that have popped up. One trend that is annoying the ever loving heck out of me is the people calling one of the new character, Rey, a “Mary Sue”.

In case you are wondering:

Mary Sue or, in case of a male, Gary Stu or Marty Stu is an idealized fictional character, a young or low-rank person who saves the day through extraordinary abilities. Often but not necessarily this character is recognized as an author insert and/or wish-fulfillment. –Wikipedia

I actually didn’t know the full definition and I also didn’t know that Mary Sue’s could also be male characters so I learned something new today and it actually annoys me more because if Rey is a Mary Sue, why isn’t Luke or Han Solo?

Regarding the character of Rey in Star Wars: TFA though, to call her a Mary Sue is to insult a strong, capable female character. It’s not, in fact, the first time the Star Wars Universe has had a strong female character. Have we forgotten Princess Leia???? Or even after her, Padme Amidala, the mother of Luke and Leia? What is all this surprise that a woman who lives in the Star Wars Universe is not only  smart, but capable as well? Why can’t we just accept that and move on?

Strong characters are par for the course in "Star Wars" and I for one am thrilled about it.
Strong characters are par for the course in “Star Wars” and I for one am thrilled about it.

Oh, that’s right, because we live in a patriarchal society that cannot possibly accept a female character as smart, strong and able to get sh&t done alongside her male compatriots. As I said above, you can have a male Mary Sue as well but I don’t believe I have ever heard that term applied to a male character. It’s a clear sexism that a woman who is capable can’t be real but a capable man is totally believable. How annoying!

This kind of pseudo internet anger is infinitely frustrating to behold. The fact is, the new (all of them) characters add depth and dimension to the universe many of us love but beyond that, the Star Wars franchise has always been about the next generation overcoming the rules of the current generation. The original Star Wars starts off with Luke Skywalker, the son of Vader and we follow him and Leia and Solo through their various adventures. Even in the newer films, it is about the rise of Vader and the destruction of the older generation. That’s the whole thing that Star Wars does, it shows us that the wheel of time moves on and the younger kids are eventually going to inherit the mess the previous generation left behind.

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The fact is, the internet is a hotbed of angry trolls typing forcefully and looking for stuff to criticize. Rey is strong, she is smart and she one of my favorite characters in the entire Star Wars world because she was written well, she was created as a full person and not some damsel in distress at the first sign of trouble. She has her moment, and who can blame her, when she becomes overwhelmed with the weight of what is before her but instead of descending into tears and woe is me, she fights and she kicks butt. If that’s a Mary Sue, than I’m all for that kind of character being in every film.

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What did you think of the new Star Wars? Who was your favorite character and did you think Rey was “too” capable? Sound off in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: What “Star Wars” Was Like For Me

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.


star-wars-episode-7-image

In a galaxy far, far away called Coventry,

a young girl watched in awe as Star Wars first made itself know in her world.

She marveled at the bravery, the space-y-ness of it all,

the glamor of Leia. The roughness of Solo.

The goodness of Luke.

And her mind expanded…


I wasn’t even born when the first Star Wars came out in 1977 and I was pretty young for the sequel but I remember watching them on video when I was young and loving them. Watching them over and over again. I admit, I was also the perfect age to love the Ewoks and it is a love for all things Star Wars that has stuck with me my whole life. You can imagine then that I am quite excited to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I admit without any shame that I teared up when I saw Han and Chewie back again in the first trailer. I am 99% certain that I might cry during the actual movie. Not because it is sad, but because I have been waiting for so long to see this. To finally see a Star Wars movie on the big screen.

I was disappointed in the prequels, and by disappointed, I mean I hated them. That first one, ugh. The middle one I have never seen the whole movie (and maybe one day I will rectify that) and the third one, the best part is the last 15 minutes!

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Regardless of all this, I remember being a kid and getting Star Wars action figures to play with. It was the 80’s so I got the “girl” toys and my brother got the “boy” toys, aka, the cooler ones. I remember having every single Princess Leia imaginable and one random Boba Fett (why the Fett parents? Why?) while my brother had all the characters along with the Millennium Falcon. We would combine our toy forces and play together so I got to be the “boy” characters every once in awhile.

As a kid, when I played Star Wars with my brother or friends, there weren’t a lot of characters open to me, or at least I didn’t think there were, because this was the ’80s—girls were supposed to play girl characters, and boys were supposed to play boy characters. ~The Mary Sue

The thing was, yeah, I liked Princess Leia. She was brave, beautiful and outspoken. She kicked butt right next to the guys and didn’t get all girly and stupid. But the character I really liked? Han Solo. That dude was a bad ass! He did what he wanted and most of the time he did the right thing. He clearly had a history of doing bad things but now he was a good guy, awesome!

I’ve always had a history of identifying with the anti-hero or even the villain in films. When I first saw the Tim Burton Batman, I loved the Joker more than I did Batman! I thought Batman was a big old stick in the mud whereas the Joker had fun … Sure, he killed some people, but … Yeah, there’s no way to justify that so I’ll just continue on.

A short while ago I came across an article about how other women identified with Han Solo, not in a sexy way, but in a way where she wanted to be him. I dug it. It made sense to me. Of course, Harrison Ford is super sexy, there is no denying that, but when I was a kid, it wasn’t about his pretty face and roguish grin, it was about his ability to fight and be brave while also being just a little bit bad. It seemed super cool to me. It also seemed kind of like the wrong way to think, so I kept it to myself. It’s only now that I’m older that I fully understand that these feelings are good, they’re okay, they’re totally normal and that a lot of young girls and women have them. You cannot help what character in a story you identify with and feeling shameful of that is a product of a society that still has “girl” toys and “boy” toys along with “proper” gender roles. The fact is, be proud of yourself, be proud of what character you like the most and never, ever feel ashamed of who you truly are.

[I]t seems so simple: you should be able to be whoever you want, no matter your gender, race, or your sexuality. You can be drawn to a character without being limited by a crush on him or her. ~The Mary Sue

Now, as an adult and a writer I realize that my female characters are very often variations and versions of Han Solo. They’re all brave, they’re all ready to fight if need be and many of them have mysterious pasts. One of my favorite characters, Magenta from “The Last Daughter Of Lilith,” is the perfect example of that. She is scarred up both emotionally and physically, you know she’s been through  a lot of bad stuff and she’s come out on the other side of it rough and tough. Maybe she doesn’t have a roguish grin and a lot of witty quips but I know that before all the really and stuff went down, she did have a grin and some witticisms. Time has changed her, matured her, made her tougher, sadder and braver.

Star_Wars_Episode_VII_The_Force_Awakens

It’s funny to be 37 and now just realizing how much of an influence Star Wars had on my creative side. Even Princess Leia gets in there, that same kind of toughness comes through in my characters. In my personality. Princess L taught me not to take any crap and even though it took me a long time to learn that and actually enact it, learn it I did. I think my beloved Star Wars characters were the foundation of the creative world I began to create. My female characters don’t need a man to complete them, sure romance happened, but it wasn’t the piece that makes them who they are. Other events, tragedies, life in general, created them, their ways and their attitudes. It’s only now that I realize that those movies I watched as  a kid, Star Wars, Star Trek, Supergirl, Labyrinth all had something in common…strong, brave and imperfect characters that are both male and female.

star wars a new hope 1_edit-xlarge

For so many, Star Wars is more than just a sci-fi epic, it’s a lifestyle. It amazes me to this day how many of us will troop out to theater’s to witness the adventures of our favorite characters, to see how they’ve fared during these intervening years (where the heck is Luke?). Sure, they’re older, but we have to hope they’re also wiser while also being as brave and fun as they once were. I, for one, will be there this weekend and will report back.

What Han taught me is that you can be attracted to people and characters in many different ways. There will always be characters you can relate to and they can always tell you things about yourself to help you on your journey. You just have to listen. ~The Mary Sue

What about you? How did Star Wars influence you? Who’s the character that really spoke to you? Tell me about it in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: “Forget Women Seeing This”

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.


As I was scrolling through the online world this week I came across an article that both amused the holy heck out of me and pissed me off royally. The article, is a short piece about a “veteran” film blogger who was talking about the upcoming Leonardo DiCaprio movie, “The Revenant” and how women wouldn’t enjoy it because of it’s brutal nature.

Hmmm…okay veteran blogger, generalize much?

Now, the movie isn’t out yet so I cannot comment on that. I can, however, comment on the trailer that I have watched a couple times. It looks interesting, sure, but I’m not sure it’s interesting enough for me to trek out to the theater and shell over 400 million dollars for the film (that might be an exaggeration of the cost of a theater ticket…). I can say unequivocally though that the reason I wouldn’t rush out to see it is not because it looks raw and brutal. Nope. I can watch a brutal movie any day of the week, I just want to WANT to see it.

These days, with the cost of seeing a movie so high it takes a lot for me to want to see a film. It has to include movie stars I enjoy, a director I love, a good story. It almost always has to include super hero’s and/or be made from a book that I adored. I’m very picky and I know for certain that the next movie I see will the Star Wars: The Force Awakens and after that? Not so sure.

My taste in movies aside, this article proves a very good point, people are VERY sensitive these days and they take the smallest comment and turn it into a “controversy”. Case in point, the veteran film blogger who simply Tweeted,

“The Revenant” is an unflinchingly brutal, you-are-there, raw-element immersion like something you’ve never seen. Forget women seeing this. – Hollywood Elsewhere @wellshwood

Film Blogger Jeffrey Wells
Film Blogger Jeffrey Wells

For those four words, “Forget women seeing this,” Jeffrey Wells caused quite the Twitter furor (what else is new these days?) and had to apologize for his comments. The fact is, this is not the first time Wells has gotten himself in trouble, the article goes on to say,

This is not the first time Wells has triggered controversy. In a post about the trailer for Trainwreck, he criticised Amy Schumer’s looks, describing her as “Jennifer Aniston’s somewhat heavier, not-as-lucky sister”; he wrote: “Life would be heavenly and rhapsodic if women had the personality and temperament of dogs” in a post about the Neil LaBute play Reasons to Be Pretty; and Deadline leaked a 2007 email in which he asked 3:10 to Yuma director James Mangold for topless photos of Vinessa Shaw. –The Guardian

So yeah, this guy is pretty obviously a misogynist so I will not defend his words. He has his opinion and he feels that a brutal, unflinching look at a man trying to survive in old-time America would be too much for our fragile female souls.

Basically, I think this guy can go pound sand.

There are probably a handful of MEN in this world who would also find a movie like “The Revenant” difficult to watch and Wells could have chosen any other combo of words to express the fact that the movie is harsh and unrelenting and violent. He didn’t though, he said what he meant and what he means (I assume) is that women don’t like violent, brutal films. As a writer of any kind generalizing like this is a dangerous thing to do. It is unfair to whatever sex or race or whoever you single out because odds are, there are going to be people who disagree with you. As did many, MANY folks disagree with Wells and his comment.

"The Revenant"
“The Revenant”

Newsflash Mr. Wells, women can enjoy a brutal, violent film like the next guy, but sometimes we choose not to subject ourselves to violence in our theater experience because, guess what? There is TONS of violence in the “real world” these days and we can all do with a little mellow, a little peace. Just like anyone else, male or female.

I don’t know if this all makes sense but what I am trying to say is this; People need to just leave jerks like Wells to their dark holes of misogynistic women-judging and move on to address the things that really matter. Like feeding hungry families, helping the poor and all the other issues plaguing our nation today.

That being said, all Wells did was make me WANT to see this movie now so you can bet your bottom that I’ll be watching it in some form and I won’t shy away from it’s brutal ideas and visuals. I’m a horror movie junkie and while I may get grossed out, I’ll still watch the darn thing because half the fun of going to a movie is living through someone else’s experiences and seeing what happens. Besides all of that, if a movie is well done (and with this film there is a lot of pre-Oscar buzz around it), even if it’s a rough watch, it’s worth my time. I’ve watched plenty of movies that have difficult themes including some of DiCaprio’s latest work, and have found them challenging to my heart, soul and mind and that, to me, is the BEST kind of entertainment.

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What do YOU think of Wells’ comments? Do you think you’ll see “The Revenant”? Sound off below!

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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: STAR WARS: The Force Awakens … A Bunch of Trolls

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.


December 18th cannot come fast enough.
December 18th cannot come fast enough.

Unless you live under a rock you know that the new trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens came out in all it’s Star Wars glory last night. Following a flurry of excitement and geeky goodness came the trolls.

The dang internet trolls.

Seriously, I really don’t like those guys (or gals).

What did they do this time? Oh, they created a hashtag that says “#BoycottStarWarsVII”, yeah, that’s right, there are actually people (at least, I think they’re people. Are trolls actual people? I’m beginning to think they’re actual trolls, like the ones that live under bridges.) out there that claim that the new Star Wars movie is “anti-white” because the star appears to be a black man.

According to FB the hashtag has been used over one hundred thousand times already.
According to FB the hashtag has been used over one hundred thousand times already.

Seriously, I can’t make this stuff up. Somehow, someone, somewhere decided that from watching this 2-minute trailer that the entire movie is about this fellow and that means that the entire movie is now anti-white. Even though the other main character all appear to be white. Besides that point, there has always been diversity within the Star Wars world.  Lando is black, Darth Vader is voiced by a black man and I’m pretty sure all those aliens flitting in and about are of various ethnicities other than white. Just a suspicion of mine though and the fact is, I can’t possibly make this make sense. It’s so out there that my brain can’t even fully understand why someone would believe this, let alone make a specific hashtag to promote their racist propaganda.

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The fact is that whether this is “just” internet trolls, a cry for attention or nothing much, it is an important piece of the necessary dialogue about racism in this country. People try to say it’s gotten better because we don’t have slaves or separate rest rooms but that was obvious racism. What we have today is subtle racism and it is far more insidious and dangerous than the overt racism ever was. People can hide behind their computer screens or in plain site and yet, they are full of hatred for other races. This subtly is what brings us hashtags like this that go viral. It’s what stings in media stories that call black men “thugs” and white men “citizens”. The fact is that even if this boycott Star Wars hashtag is a joke, it’s not a very funny one.

Do not bring the children into your twisted logic. Kids aren’t born with racism.

In a world where we can put every single thought in our heads out into the mysterious internet, people are finding that other people say crazy, nutso, mostly insane things. That includes creating a hashtag to boycott what promises to be the biggest movie of the year.

I’m sorry trolls but you are going to lose this one. People who are true Star Wars fans are not going to run away because Luke Skywalker may or may not be the lead. They’re going to flock to this movie to see who the heck he’s become in all these years because, let’s face it, these trailers aren’t telling us much about our favorite Jedi, Smuggler, Princess and Wookie. We get little teases of their roles, little moments of seeing them on screen as some of our favorite fictional characters, it all leaves us wanting more.

I can't even ... There are no words ...
I can’t even … There are no words …

Besides all of that, the hashtag is clearly a cry  from white supremacists racists for attention.

You know some troll is sitting in their basement (yes, I’m generalizing here), enjoying a Mountain Dew and a microwaved burrito while laughing gleefully at the furor they’ve caused with their racist comments and hashtag.  Heck, I’m feeding into that with this blog but I can’t even help myself because the idea of someone saying that the new Star Wars is “anti-white” and everyone should boycott it just makes me insane.

At the end of the day, will this cut into the Star Wars money making machine? No way. The racists will not get what they want and the Star Wars franchise will soar on into movie history, as it should and as a movie with racial diversity in it’s cast. Not to mention, in the wake of “boycott Star Wars” has come it’s opposite, director Ava DuVernay, after expressing her own dismay, charged fans to co-opt another tag, #CelebrateStarWarsVII and some of the Tweets from that have been glorious indeed.

I because it’s giving us new, diverse voices and stories from a galaxy far, far away.

Star Wars is for everyone!!!

I read an article from iO9 today that used this line that I wholly agree with and it also reminded me that with all the awful stuff we see online, there is always, always going to be good stuff too. As evidenced by #CelebrateStarWarsVII and it reminding us that for kids especially, seeing a black man in the lead role is a wonderful thing indeed and for many of them, it’s not nearly as big a deal as it is for some of us.

Take something dumb and toxic, and turn it into something wonderful and funny. That’s also what the internet is about. ~iO9

Take that trolls, whatever toxic garbage you toss our way, we’ll always combat it with goodness and light because guess what? With darkness there is always light and as a good friend of mine always says, the light will win.

The Force is with us all.

Is it just trolls being trolls, nonsense or something to be worried about? 

Tell me YOUR thoughts.

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 9/16/2015

Always good to have you back for another episode of the Crank File.

In case you’ve missed it, GwenPool is an actual thing now. Spider-Gwen was the surprise hit from last summer and the dopple-Gwener may have just done it again. A part of Marvel’s month of Gwen Stacy themed variants, Gwen-pool first appeared on  Chris Bachalo’s variant cover to Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars #2.

 

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Then the ungodly creation began showing up in fan art,

 

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and inevitably cosplay.

 

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Last week marvel announced that Gwen-pool will be getting a backup story in Howard the Duck #1 out in November and her own holiday special in December. How did it come to this?

 

Here’s what I’m reading this week.

 

 

The top of the pile: Miracle Man #2 Marvel

 

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We’re huge fans of both Buckingham (Fables) and Gaiman (Sandman) over here at the Crank File and it’s criminal that Miracle Man #1 didn’t make this list. The acclaimed series is back after a twenty year hiatus. Created in the 1950’s, MarvelMan (originally named MarvelMan) had faded from cultural relevance before he was revived in the 1980’s by Alan Moore. Moore wrote 16 issues of MiracleMan before handing the over writing duties to a young, Neil Gaiman. Gaiman expanded the series, writing up to issue #24 before MiracleMan’s publisher Eclipse Comics went bankrupt in the 1990’s. After settling a lengthy, legal battle for the rights, Marvel is re-releasing MiracleMan with Gaiman and Buckingham back to complete the unfinished masterpiece they started decades ago.

 

 

The Mainstream One: Star Wars #9 Marvel

 

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Issue #9: Luke’s loses his lightsaber like a complete noob and has to get it back. I’m really digging Immonen’s artwork and I’m happy to see him returning for issue #9 but I’ll admit it, the story doesn’t sound inspiring. Speaking of uninspiring, so is this issue’s action figure variant. But all Star Wars comics are worth collecting, because collectors love Star Wars so I’ll be picking it up.

 

 

The Indie One: Manifest Destiny #17 Image

 

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The latest arc has revealed a lot about the nature of the monstrous beasts that have been slowly picking off the members of Lewis and Clark’s expedition crew. And now a new evil looms. What is the Vameter? I don’t know but it sounds freaking terrifying. One of my favorite Image titles, Manifest Destiny keeps on heading into the heart of darkness with issue #17.

 

 

The #1 One: Tokyo Ghost #1

 

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The Isles of Los Angeles 2089: Humanity is addicted to technology, a population of unemployed leisure seekers blissfully distracted from toxic contamination, who borrow, steal, and kill to buy their next digital fix. Getting a virtual buzz is the only thing left to live for. It’s the biggest industry, the only industry, the drug everyone needs, and gangsters run it all. And who do these gangsters turn to when they need their rule enforced? Constables Led Dent and Debbie Decay. This duo is about to be given a job that will force them out of the familiar squalor of Los Angeles to take down the last tech-less country on Earth: The Garden Nation of Tokyo. Bestselling writer Rick Remender, superstar art team Sean Murphy and Matt Hollingsworth examine our growing addiction to technology while thirsting for a nature we continue to destroy.

 

 

The one I’m buying for the cover: Beauty #2 Image Templesmith Cover

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Issue #1 was good enough to bring me back for a second helping of Beauty. The gorgeous Templesmith cover is just gravy. Nobody blends horror and beauty like Templesmith.

 

 

The Speculation One: Guardians of Knowhere #4 Marvel

 

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The mysterious figure appeared briefly at the end of issue #3, disrupting a poignant, philosophical argument between Angela and Gamora. The character appears on the cover of issue #4 this could be a first appearance. I will also be grabbing a copy of #3 if her character ends up having an important role.

 

 

Last Week’s Leftover’s: Space Riders #1-3 Black Mask

 

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This series is absolutely bananaphones. It’s a psychedelic, retro, sci-fi comic from breakout publisher Black Mask and everything Black Mask is heating up due to their small print runs and flat-out awesome comics. Because of their tiny print runs many readers have never had the chance to read Space Riders. That all changes this week as the third print of #1 and second printings of #2 and #3 are released on Wednesday with new cover art.

 

Carpe Comics!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 9/9/2015

What’s up everyone. It was a short week down at the Crank File with a busy Labor Day weekend and my second fantasy football draft last night. And while the King Slayers are well prepared to defend their title as champions of the Black Rose Bowl, I didn’t have much time to recap last week’s headlines from the comic world. If you thought it felt warmer this weekend, you were not alone because the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s future just got a little sunnier. Click and rejoice.

 

Here’s what I’m reading this week.

 

 

The Top of the Pile – Star Wars: Shattered Empire #1 Marvel

 

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The new Star Wars mini-series from Marvel bridges the gap between Star Wars’ past and future. Taking place after the Return of the Jedi and building up to December’s The Force Awakens, Star Wars: Shattered Empire is written by the amazing Greg Rucka and has a fantastic variant cover from Marco Checchetto. And it’s canonical. Chewie, we’re home!

 

 

The Main Stream One – Renew Your Vows #5 Marvel

 

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I’ve been reading Secret Wars Renew Your Vows and I honestly don’t understand the hype surrounding issue #5. There’s a lot of chatter around the comic book forums about the upcoming issue. It will be released with a bunch of variants and apparently Marvel has been encouraging retailers to increase their orders for the final issue of Renew Your Vows, so is something big about to happen here?

 

 

The Indie One – Head Lopper #1 Image

 

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Massachusetts’s own Andrew MacLean brings his independently published and critically acclaimed Head Lopper to Image Comics. The dark humored, quarterly adventure begins with a double-sized first issue, with eighty pages of story and a premium pin-up gallery for the regular price of just $5.99. Love the artwork in this series.

 

 

The #1 One – Faster Than Light #1 Image

 

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Humans discover a code that unlocks FTL travel, opening up the universe to mankind. And of course there is an obligatory, horrifying secret that threatens to destroy us all. The premise is meat and potatoes sci-fi and Brian Haberlin’s art is gorgeous. But it’s the augmented reality gimmick that’s selling me on this new Image series. The app is free and the cover price is just $2.99.

 

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover – Batman #44 DC

 

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Batman #44 reveals the origin of the creeptastic Mr. Bloom. A striking regular cover by Jock features the stark silhouette of the classic Dark Knight on a white background. Although I’m still enjoying Bat-Gordon and his gundam suit, I hope we don’t have to wait too much longer for Bruce to come out of the light and retreat back into shadows.

 

 

The Speculation One – Action Comics #44

 

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The Truth arc reaches its finale and Superman learns the source of the Shadow Warriors. Could be the introduction of a new villainess.

Carpe Comics!