Don’t Think You Understand….

Facebook and Twitter are a cesspool of hatred and racism. Yes, I open this blog up with a very bold yet obvious statement, but it’s true and it’s very apparent in nerd culture. It’s never going to stop nor do we have to the power to shut out negativity, but we do have the ability to overpower it.

For example, a recent post on the official Batman Facebook page, shared an image of the show Batwoman. This image was of Javicia Leslie in full Batwoman outfit stating that she is the first black lesbian superhero lead on a television show and the first black actress to play Batwoman. As of 6:16 PM on February 25th, this post had 3500 reactions with 2100 of them laughing at the post. Which honestly is quite sad. I understand if you don’t like the show but truth be told, Javicia is doing one hell of a job in the show. Before seeing the post, the original idea of this blog was to be about the massive improvement that Batwoman has had from season 1 to season 2. But it was heartbreaking to see the amount of hatred aimed towards Batwoman and Javicia.

While I stepped away to collect my thoughts and try to find a way to address the problem in a well stated matter, one more example of utter stupendous Facebook interaction happened with the most recent reveal of Blackfire in the HBO Max show Titans. When the better half showed me the costume and character design, my first reaction was “damn that’s George Perez’s art come to life”…. but the comment section decided to be ugly with comments like “No, it’s starfire” and “So every superhero is going to be black or brown”. Seeing stuff like that in a community that was built on characters that taught us values and how to be good people, really make you question, do they understand?

As comic book readers and fans of super heroes, we should know “with great power comes great responsibility” and to spread positivity is among our greatest responsibilities and powers. It’s easy to hate on something you don’t agree with, but it’s fulfilling to express love about something. Trust me, you’ll feel better with positive thoughts opposed to negative thoughts.

The man that many of us idolize, Stan Lee, championed for diversity and for over 40 years, he would address racism and bigotry in his soapbox in the pages of Marvel Comics. The characters that he helped create were allegories for women’s rights, racism, and social injustice. X-Men and the mutants are the perfect example of comic book characters fighting against bigotry. To argue that we need to remove politics and social events from comics, is a slap in the face to comics. Right from the beginning, comics were addressing social problems. Superman was created by two Jewish guys who were sick of the bullying and on the cover of Captain America, he was punching Hitler in the face. So to be blunt, if you don’t like these ideas in your comics, hate to break the news to you but you don’t know comics and are about 100 years late with that rhetoric.

I will never know the feeling of being represented by a superhero for the first time because most of the characters are white, as a kid I had Spider-Man, Batman and Superman. Now nearing my thirties, characters such as Miles Morales, John Stewart, Jessica Cruz, and most recently Yaya Flor from Future State: Wonder Woman are more interesting to me because of what they represent. I remember being eight years old when Static Shock was showing on WB Kids, it was one of my favorite shows and I never really understood why until I was much older. It was something new, it was giving us a character that was unlike anything else on tv and especially a cartoon. I truly believe we are in the midst of great creative changes in comics with writers, artists and characters representing everybody.

It warms the heart knowing that a young lady can turn on Batwoman, Titans , or Stargirl and feel represented. Seeing young kids look at characters like Black Panther and Falcon as their favorite superheroes is such a glorious thing. As comic fans, we should try our best to entertain these changes and not be afraid of a strong character that does not represent us. The world is always changing and things will always be different, but comics have proved over the last century to be a suitable outlet to represent the world.

It can be debated that it was not suitable at first with characters such as Ebony White in The Spirit being incredibly racist and offensive, and many other examples can be made. With the likes of characters such as Miles Morales, American Chavez, and Kamala Kahn who have become major influential characters in Marvel comics, the relationship of Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn being explored in DC Comics and some characters being retconned to being a part of the LGBTQ community, we are looking at a beautiful and enlightened future for comics.

We don’t own these characters, the publishers and creators do (in some cases). So let’s say a character you like, were to change their gender, their ethnicity or their sexual orientation, there is not a damn thing you can do about it. You could stop buying the comic and merchandise associated with that character, but with that change that pissed you off and made you stop supporting it, that character would find a new audience on top of those that already supported it. Who knows, that change could reinvigorate a character that has become stall and give it much needed new life.

If you have made it this far into this blog and disagree with everything I have said, that’s normal, you feel attacked and I am now probably on your “shit list” but before you cast judgement, let me say this; We can have different beliefs and still have respect for one another, no one person is the same, so thank you for reading this and I hope you understand where I am coming from. It does not matter if we are thousands of miles apart or a very close friend or family member, we are different and I respect you.

February’s Reading Report

So here we are again, the second month of 2021 is over. One year has passed since our last comic convention, it’s been one year since we were at a movie theater watching Birds of Prey, and it’s been one year since we ate inside a restaurant. It could have been a lot worse, did I miss out on college graduation after a ten year journey? Yes, but hey here we are alive and well with a slew of comics and the brilliance of Wandavision.

So what did I read during February? Well certainly not as much as I did in January but that was not a bad thing. A graphic novel was not touched until the 10th, got distracted by a book on the independent wrestling scene. Which would provide a little foreshadowing to how I would finish the month. Unlike last month, this month was not driven by all Marvel. 13 graphic novels were read throughout the month.

The first book of the month was that of Marvel Graphic Novel #18 which was Sensational She-Hulk by John Byrne which was really enjoyable. One of the coolest things about this book, is also the books biggest weakness and that being the sexualization of Jen Walters. That being said, reading it through the lenses of someone reading it in 1985, the sexualization is a sign of the time. After reading this, we went to a local comic shop and picked up volume one of Dan Slott’s run. A very surprising read would follow in the Mark Millar love letter to eighties with Marvel 1985.

Now usually I am pretty positive person but this next read was difficult to get through, being a fan of Robert Kirkman, it was only fitting to dive into The Infinite. The problem being is Rob Leifeld’s artwork, it just didn’t work for me. Overall I cannot recall what happened in the book, which is never a great sign for a comic. I would read another Kirkman graphic novel with the horror action Haunt volume 1 with amazing artwork by Todd McFarlane, Ryan Ottley, and Greg Capullo. A little side note, currently we are pulling three brilliant Kirkman books with Walking Dead Deluxe, Oblivion Song ( which is coming to an unfortunate end) and Fire Power.

So every month, the goal is to read at least one WTF book and one classic that I have never read. This month, the WTF book would have been The Infinite until later in the month I read Superman Vs. Predator. It was not a bad book at all, but it was certainly a book that was unique and different from the book I would usually read. Although the book did feature some awesome work from Alex Maleev. The classic for this month would be the Mephisto Vs. storyline from 1987 by Al Milgrom and John Buscema.

Some Indie highlights from this month would have to be three awesome and different books. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night from Benemoth Comics, book does not feature much dialogue but the art is stunning and haunting. Abbott from Image Comics by the brilliant author Saladin Ahmed, which was a great book that I am looking forward to seeing future installments. And the final book would be the last book read in February and the perfect way to cap the month. Headlocked :Tales from the Road that featured thirteen short stories co-written by professional wrestlers and Michael Kingston. The likes of Samoa Joe, Joey Janela, Rob Van Dam and The Young Bucks join Kingston. Despite some great books this month, Headlocked: Tales from the Road was the most fun I had reading. (Look out for a review potentially on this book)

Books read in February: 2/10) Sensational She Hulk (Marvel Graphic Novel #18) by John Byrne, 2/14) Marvel 1985 by Mark Millar and Tommy Lee Edwards, 2/15) The Infinite by Robert Kirkman and Rob Leifeld, 2/15) Nightwing: Year One by Scott Beatty, Chuck Dixon, and Scott McDaniel, 2/16) SuperGirl: Being Super by Mariko Tamaki and Joelle Jones, 2/19) Mephisto Vs. by Al Milgrom and John Buscema, 2/20) A Girl Walks Gome Alone at Night by Anna Lily Amipour and Michael Deweese, 2/21) Abbott by Sladin Ahmed, Sami Kivela, and Jason Wordie, 2/21) Haunt vol 1 by Robert Kirkman, Todd McFarland, Ryan Ottley, and Greg Capullo, 2/21) Superman Vs. Predator by David Michelinie, Alex Maleev and Matt Hollingsworth, 2/22) America #2 Fast & Fuertona by Gabby Rivera, 2/23) Doctor Strange: The Oath by Brian K Vaughn and Marcos Martin, and 2/28) Headlocked: Tales From the Road by Micheal Kingston with various wrestlers and artists.

I would like to apologize if this blog seems like a mind bomb of thoughts, but we will get a better idea of how to do this monthly. But once again please let us know what you think if you have read any of those books and what did you think of them?

Wait, You Haven’t Seen That Yet: Green Lantern

In 2015, the better half had very little knowledge of comic book films, so over the last five years it’s been a flood of introducing her to these films. As we narrow down the list of films to be watched, we realized that the films left were among the so called “terrible” or “disappointing” films. Which inspired the idea of chronicling the experience of watching these films.

After dropping a poll in a Facebook group we belong to (shout out to the Minnesota Comic Squad) with the option of four films: Daredevil: Director’s cut, Ang Lee’s Hulk, Ghost Rider and Green Lantern. An hour passed after dropping the poll and Green Lantern would narrow out Ghost Rider. With three hours before Wandavision dropping, we started Green Lantern.

When it comes to Green Lantern knowledge, we both severely lack in that department. Besides reading Blackest Night, I’ve always gravitated towards John Stewart due to the animated Justice League series and recently being introducing Jo Mullein in Far Sector. Going into this film with little knowledge of the character may help with the somewhat positive viewpoints of the film.

I don’t want to add to the overall dislike of the film in the comic community. So I’ll just address a few issues, right now. The Green Lantern costume still may be the ugliest on screen, but that being said Ryan Reynolds was not bad as Hal Jordan. Parallax and Hector Hammond were both forgettable characters, especially with Parallax having the same fate as Galactus in Fantastic Four: The Rise of Silver Surfer (A film that will be watched and reported on soon). That being said, Peter Sarsgaard has moments where I can see a compelling villain, but the problem being not enough time with the character and a bad design (Big ass head). And the finally major issue with the film was the amount of wasted opportunity in the cast from Angela Bassett as Amanda Waller to Mark Strong as Sinestro.

The best part of the whole film has to be OA and the green lantern corps, despite the short time they are onscreen. In fact, when asking Nora, “What was your favorite part of the film?” without even thinking she said OA. Which got me thinking, yes she was right. On OA, we are introduced to three characters that with more screen time could have improved the film. Sinestro, Tomar-Re (voiced by Geoffrey Rush), and Kilawog (voiced by Michael Clarke Duncan). All three characters made us excited for the future Green Lantern series.

Watching in 2021, the first two things that popped in my mind was “Holy shit! Boba Fett is Abin Sur.” Also, “Holy shit! I forgot Taika Waititi was in this.” Another thing that happens watching this in 2021, is comparing Viola Davis and Angela Bassett in the role of Amanda Waller, which unfortunately for Bassett, I forgot she played Waller until rewatching this. Now, I do not think this film is terrible, as much as it is disappointing that had so much potential. Ryan Reynolds was alright as Hal Jordan, but for future live action adaptations it will be great to expand the universe such as John Stewart or Jo Mullein.

What film should we do next? Please add suggestions or comment on how you feel about Green Lantern ten years later.

Noggin’s January Reading Report

What a crazy damn month!!! January presented the end of 2020 (Finally!) but also presented an insurrection and an inauguration. It was the definition of a rollercoaster, many ups and many downs. So during the craziness, we had to find distractions with the premiere of WandaVision and the Marvel Cinematic Universe seemed to be the main driving force of our reading this month. Which inspired us or most likely just myself to keep track of what I read this month and maybe even this entire year.

In the course of 31 days, 23 graphic novels and a mini-series was read in between the release of new comics each week. A quick summary for those who like statistics (I am a stats guy) in January, Marvel comics dominated the reading with 15 stories, while TKO Studios and DC Comics both sharing 3 stories read. So lets dive into some of the highlights of January reading….

The month begun with the current wave of TKO Studios books. Kicked off 2021 with Lonesome Days, Savage Nights written by Steve Niles and art by Szymon Kudranski. Red Fork by Alex Paknadel and art by Nil Vendrell. And finally The Pull by Steve Orlando and art by Ricardo Lopez Ortiz. TKO Studios once again proved that they are a publication that continue to produce great stories, The Pull really stood out among the reading with the snappy dialogue and energetic artwork. I would recommend all three graphic novels for anybody looking to read something different from the usual.

Before talking about the books from the big two, I want to focus on the other two books. Blackbird by Sam Humphries and art by Jen Bartel from Image Comics and Kill A Man by Steve Orlando and Phillip Kennedy Johnson with art by Al Morgan from Aftershock Comics. Both books were read in one sitting with Kill A Man feeling perfect for a film adaptation. Also being from Minnesota and Blackbird being from two Minnesotans, had to dive into this magical story, that I hope will continue on in the future. Jen Bartel’s artwork is marvelous and adds fuel to the fire of wanting more of her artwork especially with her current work for Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman

Within the DC Universe, a universe that I love so much but recently have found myself distancing from, I only read three graphic novels in January. Usually my reading pile is filled with tales from Gotham and the Fourth World but this last month it was filled with randomness from the distinguished competition. Prez: Corndog in Chief by Mark Russell and Ben Caldwell was the perfect read, Russell has become one of those writers that I have to chase down and find his books now. If you haven’t read Prez from 2015-2016, do yourself a favor and pick up this odd yet relevant book about a teenager that becomes the president.

Now comes the majority of my reading, the center of the universe right now for most of geeks, the Marvel Universe. Now to be completely truthful, WandaVision impacted my decision making, but I am so glad it did. After the first two wonderfully weird episodes of the show, I found myself diving into John Byrne’s West Coast Avengers: Vision Quest and absolutely loving everything about it. Now I am not the most well rounded reader of the Marvel Universe, so stories like this are brand new to me and discovering them for the first time was a perfect getaway. I mean come on, never would I have thought I would want to read more about the Great Lake Avengers but Vision Quest sparked an interest. But the adventures of Vision and Scarlet Witch were not the only Avengers to capture my intrigue.

In the most “WTF” decision of the month, reading Thor Vikings by Garth Ennis and Glenn Fabry felt like a nordic acid trip. It wasn’t bad, in fact it had my attention throughout the story, but had to keep asking myself “What the fuck am I reading right now?” Although reading the first complete collection of Thor by Jason Aaron, was like reinforcing the love I had for the God of Thunder. Reading this makes Thor Love & Thunder, one of my most anticipated MCU films with the introduction of Gorr the God Butcher.

Please let me know if you would like future installments of a monthly reading report. We would gladly appreciate any advice. Right now, we need the extra push to be creative and even recapping some reading in butchered grammar seems a step in the right direction.

The full list of stories read in somewhat chronological order : 1) Lonesome Days, Savage Nights by Steve Orlando and Ricardo Lopez Ortiz, 2) Red Fork by Alex Paknadel and Nil Vendrell, 3) The Pull by Steve Orlando, Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Al Morgan, 4) Silver Surfer Parable by Stan Lee and Jean “Moebius” Giraud, 5) Justice League Beyond: Konstriction by Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs, 6) Black Widow: The Complete Collection by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee, 7) Blackbird by Sam Humphries and Jen Bartel, 8) Wolverine: Old Man Logan by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven, 9) Thor: The Complete Collection Vol.1 by Jason Aaron, 10) Prez: Corndog in Chief by Mark Russell and Ben Candwell, 11) Secret Invasion by Brian Michael Bendis and Leinil Francis Yu, 12) Scarlet Witch: Witches’ Road by James Robinson, 13) Hawkeye: All New Hawkeye by Jeff Lemire and Ramon Perez, 14) Hawkeye: Hawkeyes by Jeff Lemire and Ramon Perez, 15) Thor Vikings by Garth Ennis and Glenn Fabry, 16) Batgirl Year One by Chuck Dixon and Scott Beaty, 17) West Coast Avengers: Vision Quest by John Byrne, 18) Scarlet Witch: World of Witchcraft by James Robinson, 19) Scarlet Witch: The Final Hex by James Robinson, 20) Ultimate Vision by Mike Carey, Mark Millar, Brandon Peterson and John Romita Jr. 21) The Vision: Yesterday and Tomorrow by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis, 22) Contest of Champions: Battleworlds by Al Ewing and Paco Medina, 23) Darth Maul: Death Sentence by Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo, and 24) Kill A Man by Steve Orlando, Philip Kennedy Johnson and Al Morgan.

Top 10 Ongoing Comics of 2020

Last blog entry was the most Pessimistic you will ever see from us, we strive to keep this a very optimistic portion of the comic community. So today we want to celebrate the best of 2020, yes believe it or not 2020 was not all gloom and doom. Some great comics came out in 2020 and here we will name our top ten ongoing comic books from the year despite delays and cancellations due to the pandemic.

A quick disclaimer before diving into the list, we have not read every comic book released this year. For example an obvious omission from the list is Chip Zdarsky’s Daredevil, a series that we regretfully have not read yet. If by chance Zdarsky and team read this, we have bought the first two volumes of the series to read at least, also thank you for checking us out.

10) Star Wars: Darth Vader by Greg Pak and Raffaele Ienco

We are so excited to add a Star Wars comic to this list, both the main title and Darth Vader have been constantly good this year. At times I find myself losing interests in the middle of a Star Wars story but Darth Vader has become a comic that I find myself excited to read. Greg Pak’s script adds new layers into a character that we are already familiar with. It’s not only Pak’s writing that provides growth in the character but Raffaele Ienco’s artwork extends that growth. We already know that Darth Vader is a badass character but Ienco’s artwork, shows us how badass the character can be. It’s a great team that creates an action packed character study and that’s why this is this the best ongoing Star Wars comic right now. 2021 looks bright for Star Wars comics with the continuation of Darth Vader and the main title, as well as the introduction of the High Republic (also, Doctor Aphra, she deserves some love too)

9) Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda

After reading the first 4 trades of Monstress, it was hard to not get lost in the world-building that Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda create. Sana’s artwork alone is so engrossing and beautiful. It’s a mix of fantasy meeting steam-punk in a world of discovery for Maika, the main character and going along with her journey and continuing story. Nora has been trying to get Kyle to read it, hopefully eventually, but there is still time to get caught up as the sixth arc is starting in the new year.

8) Once & Future by Kieron Gillen an Dan Mora

Dan Mora’s artwork is a beauty to stare at. Yes, stare at. Kieron Gillen crafts a fun horror fantasy joy ride. Every Wednesday that this book is scheduled to come out, it is among the first we read. The main characters of ex-monster hunter Bridgette and her grandson Duncan have this dynamite relationship that we cannot help but love. This is certainly a comic series that we could see turned into a television series.

7) Thor by Donny Cates and Nic Klien

Much like 2019, 2020 was dominated by Donny Cates. Spoiler alert, we will have one more series by Cates on this list. Thor by Jason Aaron is a run that we plan on reading eventually, as it is a hole that we need to fill, but this run by Donny Cates and Nic Klien has been one of the best series by Marvel this year. Between the Black Winter storyline and the current story arc with Donald Blake, the series is never boring and always a pleasure to read. If you lack knowledge or background in Thor lore, you won’t feel lost and that makes this a great read. Cannot wait to see 2021 has in store for Donny Cates and Thor.

6) Aquaman by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Various artists

WHY???? Why did this amazing story have to come to an end? We are not sad over the ending, it was a beautiful ending. We are sad that the most recent issue was the final issue of a well-written and stunning artwork throughout. Definitely a must-read series.

5) Seven Secrets by Tom Taylor and Daniele di Nicuolo

We did not expect to love this series, but Tom Taylor had a killer year with all of his books. Seven Secrets has the feeling of a new age James Bond blended with an anime feeling. Throughout the first five issues, Seven Secrets is filled with twist and turns and we itch for more each time the issue ends.

4) Something is Killing The Children by James Tynion IV and Werther Dell’edera

James Tynion IV continues to bring the heat in his creater-own series. Neither of us expected this to be so engrossing. From the first issue, the artwork and story pulled us in and left us wanting more. What really is killing these children? The mystery behind it all is so well laid out, and Erica’s character continues to be mysterious and revealing each issue. Definitely a series we would recommend to anyone, even if they don’t read or like horror comics.

3) Killadelphia by Rodney Barnes and Jason Shawn Alexander

Amazing!!! That’s the best way to describe this great horror vampire series that mixes current issues and historical figures. Jason Shawn Alexander produces some of the best artwork in 2020.

2) Venom by Donny Cates and various artists

Truth be told, #2 an #1 on this list are the same from last year if we were to rank series. Donny Cates has been the main writer for Marvel in 2020 with Thor and Venom. The King in Black storyline is currently going on bringing back the amazing Ryan Stegman, who continue to produce greatness together in a comic. But, that being said, Venom continued to be great when Stegman was not doing the artwork. Seriously never thought Venom would be among the best comics.

1) Bitter Root by David F Walker, Chuck Brown and Sanford Greene

Best ongoing series has to be Bitter Root. It’s one of those series that each issue just stays with you days after reading, from the social commentary to the insane artwork from Sandford Greene. Not many things can be entertaining and provide you with knowledge, yet Bitter Root does that with ease. Cannot wait to see what the future of Bitter Root consists of and if 2020 is any indication, it will be hard to replace Bitter Root as the #1 book in 2021. Also, we were able to meet Sandford Greene at C2E2 (the only big con this year) and he was the nicest and friendliest person we’ve met.

After naming these ten great ongoing series, here are a few that we think could be among the best in 2021.

Iron Man by Christopher Cantwell and Cafu

Crossover by Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw

Stillwater by Chip Zdarsky and Roman K Perez

The Department of Truth by James Tynion IV and Martin Simmonds

Cinematic Magic No More: The Heartbreaking Truth of Movie Theaters

To start this blog post off, I want to be blunt about something, I hate pessimism. It drives me nuts seeing people being so damn pessimistic, but I have to do something I hate. I have to be pessimistic today. The sad truth, as someone that loves the cinema, we may be losing the heartbeat of the movie watching experience.

Today, Warner Bros and HBO Max announced that all films scheduled to come out in 2021 will premiere on HBO Max, the same day they are released in movie theaters. Which, yes I will admit from a safety perspective, this is a smart move. It will keep people home during this pandemic, as it is not necessary to risk our lives for entertainment. But, on the flip side, this may permanently hurt movie theaters and the overall movie viewing experience.

First let’s start with how important the movie theater is to the movie watching experience. I want you to think of a movie that you saw in a theater. Now think of the same film, but watching it on your couch. Did you have the same reaction, you had while watching it in the movie theater? I may be wrong with this assumption, but I bet it was a different experience. I can recall the first time seeing Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith when I was 13, my dad and I had so much energy after watching that and telling my mom “This was the greatest Star Wars film ever.” This excitement and passionate response would had never happened, sitting on a couch eating Flamin Hot Cheetos.

Also, I believe something like the Marvel Cinematic Universe could be hurt by the disappearance of movie theaters. I will never forget the feeling after viewing Avengers: Infinity War, we ate our half-off appetizers at Applebees in complete silence because we all felt like we lost a loved one. Also the feeling of Captain America wielding Mjolnir during the Climax of Avengers: Endgame and having the entire movie theater pop from their seats. These are moments that will disappear from the movie watching experience, we will lose that connection.

As I sit here and type this blog, I cannot think of a moment over the last nine months of watching movies from home where there was not some sort of distraction. Our phones are always near us at home, we don’t feel the need to turn off our phones to enjoy the film like we do at the theater. We get distracted easier and end up watching a film half assed, because of Twitter or Facebook. Most of the time, I find myself scrolling through IMDB and missing an important plot thread of a film. It is easier said than done, to simply turn off your mind while at home and enjoy a film for what it is.

Hopefully sometime in the future, rather it be late 2021 or sometime in 2022, I believe that we could still have that movie experience, but the threat of people becoming contempt with viewing a film from the comfort of their own home, is real. Truth be told, I hope that it is only WB that makes this decision and Disney does not follow them. If they do, it will be the end of the movie theater.

But after this semi-lengthy bitchfest, let’s all try to be optimistic and think about when it will be safe again. To watch a film with a bunch of strangers and to share that moment of joy or sadness that a film can produce, together. Of course, I am excited to watch Wonder Woman 1984 on Christmas Day with the Christmas tree on in the background with Nora and I cuddling on the couch. Let’s hope I am wrong about film losing their magic, because that truly could be a magical moment. Who knows maybe we will adapt to this new method of movie watching and be able to find that sweet spot, where we can enjoy the magic of cinema in our homes. But we also don’t want to think of telling people in the future about the movie theater experience and what it once was.

Let Your Love Save You

Now that the election seems to be over (a long and exhausting 70 days ahead of us) and we are driven by political viewpoints, Nora and I are back to writing. Over the last couple months, we lost the will to create and write yet through this very challenging time we have found inspiration to write about things that we love. While having CNN on for the entirety of last week, comic books, Star Wars, and video games provided us with the distraction that we desperately needed.

Instead of the dubious feeling in our stomach watching a so called president spread lies about the vote, we were arguing over the latest episode of The Mandalorian. One of us really enjoyed the episode with the character building and the expansion of the universe into live action, while the other felt the episode lacked storytelling but enjoyed the horror aspect of the episode. It felt great to have an argument over something we love instead of dealing with the stress of the election and politics.

In times like these, it is great to have a hobby that can save us from depression and disappointment. Not only the election, but also the rising cases of Covid, Nora and I are grateful to have these distractions. We know that we have to sacrifice gatherings, we know the holidays may be different from other years, we may not be able to share moments with family this holiday season but we do not let that bring us down. We escape into the worlds that provide us happiness. Whether its swinging through the streets of New York as Spider-Man or we are on a speedster in the desert of Tatooine, we are happy.

If you are reading this, please find something that brings you direct happiness. Right now forget about the stereotypes associated with anything that brings that joy. Remember others do not dictate what you love, if you love Howard the Duck that is awesome man…. so do I.

DC Fandome Rocks Our World and Gives 2020 Hope.

While attending a social distancing/ goodbye party at our local comic shop, a good friend yells across a table of long boxes “Hey, we need to know what Noggin Comics thinks of DC Fandome?” We stood there with sweat soaking into my Kite Man shirt for a good thirty minutes discussing everything that came out of the global event that shook geekdom. Despite spending thirty minutes discussing it, I feel like there were things that we skipped over.

First off, in regards to comic books news, the only thing that came out of DC Fandome was the exciting news that Milestone is coming back. I love the imprint of Milestone and the characters that it introduced such as Icon, Hardwire, and Static. Talking about Static, it was announced that Static Shock is in the early stages of development for a live action film. As a kid, Static Shock was one of my favorite cartoons and was the earliest introduction to comic book characters. I look forward to hearing more about the film as well as the future of Milestone Comics.

DC Fandome opened with the Wonder Woman 84 panel, which could had very well ended the event. They decided to open the event with a bang, by releasing a new trailer to Wonder Woman 84 and giving us our first look of The Cheetah. Wow! Kristen Wiig looks incredible as Barbara Mineva/The Cheetah and Pedro Pascal looks like he will be a wonderful Maxwell Lord. With a release date of October 4, 2020, we are hopeful that it would be save enough to see this film in the theaters. Our reaction to Wonder Woman 84 was that of joy and excitement for the film and hoping it can build on the foundation that the 2017 film built.

After that was the first of many “holy shit” moments. WB Games Montreal comes out with the announcement of Gotham Knights. Being a massive fan of the Arkham series and a believer that Arkham Origins is an underrated gem of a game. The trailer for Gotham Knights opens with the death of Bruce Wayne and establishes that the game will focus on the bat-family. Gamers will get to play as Batgirl, Red Hood, Nightwing, and Robin as they take on Mr. Freeze and The Court of Owls. Yes, you read that right the Court of Owls will be in a video game. The trailer would had been enough to get me back into the world of the Arkham series, but they decided to share seven minutes of glorious gameplay. The game will have a co-op feature, look forward to grabbing some friends and playing this when it comes out next year.

Another “holy shit” moment will follow the announcement of Gotham Knights, when James Gunn dropped a hilarious panel with the cast of The Suicide Squad. First releasing a roll call video where we were introduced to the characters that the cast would be playing and all I can say is this cast is insane. Returning from the 2017 Suicide Squad (which I low-key enjoyed) are Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, and Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag. But James Gunn made sure that we knew this was going to be nothing like the previous film when it was confirmed that David Dastmalchian will be playing Polka-Dot man, Pete Davidson is Blackguard, John Cena is Peacemaker (which he describes as a douchey Captain America), and Peter Capaldi is The Thinker. I seriously thought that Idris Elba would be playing Bronze Tiger, but was blown away to find out that he is playing Bloodsport (no not after the Jean -Claude Van Damme film) and we will be getting King Shark as well. Taika Waititi has an unconfirmed role, but my gut is telling me he is doing voice over work for King Shark. James Gunn shared a pretty lengthy behind the scenes video that took my excitement for this film through the roof. Hate to compare the two films but I believe DC Comics will have a Guardians of the Galaxy like hit with this film.

The reason why most people turned into Fandome was next for the Snyder Cut. As we sat on the couch with our nerdy family members, silence overcame the room when the trailer began with a shot of Darkseid (or shall we say, Uxas) in all of his gloriousness to a haunting version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. The trailer for Zack Snyder’s Justice League gave all of us hope that this will be the true vision of Justice League with character development and a story that has weight to it. Snyder announced that it will be split into a 4 part mini-series and will premiere on HBO Max in 2021. Reasons to be excited for this film, Darkseid (Uxas), black suit Superman, a Cyborg story, and Flash truly using his powers. Sure I missed out on a few other things but this looks like the Justice League fans deserved. This would had been the best part of DC Fandome, if it was not for what we would witness to close the event.

Between Snyder Cut and the show ender of DC Fandome, we did get some teasers for future films, tv shows and video games. First, Black Adam with Dwayne Johnson will feature the Justice Society of America characters such as Atom Smasher, Hawkman, Cyclone, and Doctor Fate. The announcement of Doctor Fate in a live action film, damn near made me piss my pants. Black Adam is scheduled to come out in December 2021, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was pushed back due to the pandemic. The Flash will be influenced by Flashpoint with a fancy new suit and concept art that features Michel Keaton’s Batman (Holy Shit!). Red Hood is coming to Titans, as well as Barbara Gordon and Scarecrow. Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is a 2022 video game that looks like a blast. WWE superstar Samoa Joe is voicing King Shark in the video game, and all DC had to do was show me a trailer of a playable King Shark, but instead we got a fun trailer that introduced the whole crew. And finally Shazam 2 is titled Shazam!: Fury of the Gods and it may co-star Sinbad (Sadly, I will need to educate Nora on who Sinbad is, but we have time).

The biggest moment of the night though had to be The Batman panel with Matt Reeves. We were expecting maybe a few stills from the film or some test footage. Nope, Matt Reeves would spend close to a half hour talking about the film with a level of excitement that made us want to see the film without even seeing a trailer. Reeves would reference Dwaryn Cooke’s brilliant story Batman: Ego as an inspiration and on the film side he was inspired by films like The French Connection and Chinatown. He would also mention that the film takes place in year two of Batman and we would be getting a Gotham PD series on HBO Max that will take place during year one (Nora is beyond excited for this, since it will be based on the Gotham Central comic series). He could had stopped there and we would have been sold. Once Reeves would shock us with a trailer that clocks in at 2 minutes and 24 seconds for a film that is only 25% finished. The Trailer opens with the sound of tape as we get a distance shot of a man being tapped by what we believe is the Riddler and from there on we get one of the most insane trailers for an uncompleted film. Colin Farrell looks unrecognizable as Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin, we get a tease of Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman, Jefferey Wright being perfectly casted as Jim Gordon (before he becomes the commissioner) and Batman in action. From the tiny glimpse of Robert Pattinson as Batman, all doubt is thrown out the window, as it looks like he delivers with just hearing three words after brutally beating a criminal. Pattinson utters the iconic line “I’m Vengeance” and it won all four of us over in the room. We also are loving the black eye make up after he took off the cowl. With a release date of October 1, 2021 I will probably watch the trailer every day until we get some new footage. Seriously can say I haven’t been this excited for a Batman film since The Dark Knight Rises. Nora ordered The Batman movie logo t-shirt and hopefully will share it with me when it arrives.

DC Fandome was a major success and shows what comic conventions or conventions in general can be like during the pandemic and virtually. We will certainly tune in on September 12 for the second day of the event. From two fans of DC to DC, Thank you for this event and all that we were shown.

The Women Steal the Show in the Marvel’s Avengers Beta

As the public finally got their hands on the Marvel’s Avengers for the first time with the beta, I have a few thoughts on the game as a comic fan and a gamer. Just remember it’s a beta, so the game is incomplete and things may be different come release date.

First reaction was filled with a sense of giddiness. The beta opens up with the Avengers being attacked on the Golden Gate Bridge in a dramatic and chaotic scene. This gives the opportunity to play as Thor, Hulk, Iron Man and Black Widow. Each had time to shine and show what they will bring to the game.

Thor throwing around Mjolnir gave me the same feeling as throwing the axe as Kratos in God of War. During the beta the time with Thor is limited but I do look forward to see full gameplay as Thor. Same can be said with Captain America, as we only spent a few minutes playing as Cap.

Each character feels different which is a good thing. With Hulk, it’s gonna be a powerhouse style of gameplay and button mashing. With Iron Man it’s attack by flight and distance. I’ll have to admit that I had the least amount of fun with Iron Man, maybe it was due to the flying mechanics. But being a beta, I’m optimistic that it will be ironed out by the time the game is released.

The two standout characters in the beta were Black Widow and Kamala Khan. Black Widow’s gameplay was fast, agile and a good blend of up close and distant attack. Kamala Khan’s characteristic brings humor and a sense of wonder to the game, but on top of that, her gameplay feels different and new. The ability to use her limbs to stretch across the level, also her heavy attack feels heavier opposed to her light attack.

Now I have to admit I had troubles with the servers a few times causing me to restart the game. Also had a lack of time to really dive into playing online with friends (the five friends I have on PSN, god I need more friends). Maybe I would have different feelings about that, but right now I am highly anticipating the release of this game.

Also on a side note, thank you to whoever reads this. We should hopefully post more, otherwise what’s the point of having a vision. Keep safe and hope to see you playing this game in the future.

His and Her’s: Top Ten DC Comics Live Action films

In Honor of theDC Fandome event, we wanted to honor the greatness of DC Comics in media. This is going to being the first of lists that we come up with during the pandemic. Here we are going to countdown 10-1 of our favorite DC comics live action film, with our list consisting of different films. We are not looking at the DCEU, but DC as a whole. Don’t worry, a MCU and Marvel list will come in the near future, yes two separate lists for Marvel films.

His # 10: Man of Steel , Her # 10: Birds of Prey

Both of films have their defenders and haters, but we enjoyed both films. Let’s start with Birds of Prey, directed by Cathy Yan and screenplay by Christina Hodson, takes the best aspect of Suicide Squad in Harley Quinn and gives the character a spotlight. Margot Robbie improves on her characterization of Harley Quinn. Despite the characterization not being comic accurate, introducing characters such as Roman Sionis/Black Mask (Ewan McGregor in a villainous role), Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), and Helena Bertinelli/ The Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) to a mainstream audience was awesome to see. The real highlight of the film is Jurnee Smollett’s performance of Black Canary, as she commanded the screen throughout the film. To us, Birds of Prey was a Harley Quinn comic coming to life, as most of the time reading Harley Quinn, you just don’t know what to expect. As a female Centric film, Nora loved every aspect of the film. Birds of Prey barely missed the cut for Kyle.

Spoiler alert, Man of Steel will be on this countdown again. If it was not for Christopher Reeve, Henry Cavill would be the definitive live action Superman. Personal opinion, the man could be perfect as superman with the right script. It has a brilliant cast with Kevin Costner and Diane Lane playing Jonathan and Martha Kent, Russell Crowe as Jor-El and Michael Shannon in an underrated performance as the evil General Zod. Remember leaving the theater, wanting more and each time we watch Man of Steel, we want a true sequel.

His #9: Batman Returns, Her #9: Batman Returns

Holy crap, Batman we agreed upon here. Up until earlier this year, Nora had never seen Tim Burton’s Batman (she lived under a rock for twenty-six years), to change that we obviously had a Batman marathon. After we finished the marathon, Kyle asked the question of what was your favorite? She replied with Batman and Robin…… no shockingly she picked the 1992 sequel. Batman Returns is a favorite for us mainly due to the three core villains that carry the film and the Burton design throughout the film. Let’s start with the first villain in Christopher Walken’s Max Shreck, within the first ten minutes of the film, you hate the guy. When watching the film, you can sense that Walken was having fun with the character. The second character is that of Danny Devito’s Penguin, Burton created a nasty version of a well known Batman character and Devito’s performance as the character makes the character jump off the screen. But the true MVP of Batman Returns and the main reason it is on this list is due to the Michelle Pfeiffer’s performance as Selina Kyle/ Catwoman. Twenty-eight years later and we still have not had a performance of Catwoman that surpass that of Pfeiffer’s, but lets hope Zoe Kravitz can in the upcoming The Batman. We are both hoping that she will be the perfect fit for the role.

His #8: V for Vendetta, Her #8: Dark Knight Rises

Much like Man of Steel, V for Vendetta will show up on this list again as we disagree on the placement of the film. V for Vendetta, directed by James McTeigue and screenplay by the Wachowskis, takes the brilliant graphic novel by Alan Moore and David Lloyd and creates an unforgettable film. The film is carried by performances of Hugo Weaving as V and Natalie Portman as Evey. Up until this film, I was not a fan of Hugo Weaving and now he is among my favorite actors due to this film. On the 5th of November, V for Vendetta will be on the TV in celebration of this fantastic film.

The Dark Knight Rises is the finale of the Nolan trilogy with Tom Hardy’s Bane as the villain and the introduction of Anne Hathaway’s Selina Kyle. Nora was surprised to find that the Dark Knight rises did not crack his top ten. It is a phenomenal film that is overshadowed by another film in the trilogy. The action is great with an opening scene that is unforgettable. If this list was based on the best DC films then this would have been on both lists. We are both waiting for the Robin film starring Joseph Gordon Levitt.

His #7: Wonder Woman, Her #7: Aquaman

Patty Jenkins helmed the 2017 film that was long overdue and did it deliver in terms of greatness. Gal Gadot officially replaced Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman in this film and the “No Man’s Land” scene may be one of the most powerful moments in DC Comics films. The only thing that holds back this film, are the terrible villains. If it wasn’t for the poor version of Ares, this film would have cracked the top five films from DC. The chemistry between Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor was a joy to watch as well, with Chris Pine being a great Steve Trevor. But now after just re-watching the film, the Ares portrayal was not as horrible as seen and perceived after the first viewing (at least to Nora).

As Wonder Woman acts a “fish out of water” tale, Aquaman showed that Atlantis needs to be explored more in live action. The Direction of James Wan proves that he can helm a superhero film and Jason Momoa proves that Aquaman is no longer a joke. Nora desperately wants more of Aquaman and Atlantis in film.

His #6: Superman 2 The Richard Donner Cut, Her #6: Man of Steel

The last time there will be a Superman film on the list but while doing this list, we realized how much of an impact that the character has had on superhero films. Granted that may be an obvious comment, but in today’s superhero films landscape, the important of Richard Donner’s Superman can be forgotten.

As a kid, Kyle remembers loving Superman: The Movie and Superman 2. Later on in life, he would finally watch the Richard Donner cut and holy crap it was like visiting the film for the first time. The cast is absolutely brilliant in the film with Christopher Reeve as Superman/Clark Kent, Margot Kidder as Lois Lane (the best love action Lois), Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor, and Terrence Stamp as General Zod.

That being said, we both hope Henry Cavill gets the chance to start as Superman in another film. Fingers crossed!

His #5: Shazam, Her #5: V for Vendetta

Did not expect to love Shazam as much as Kyle did. It was another example of great casting. Zachary Levi was perfect as Captain Marv…. I mean Shazam. The film felt like Big was smashed together with a superhero film. It’s just a fun film wonderfully directed by David F Sandberg that brings humor to the DC universe. In the recent DC films, Shazam has the best villain next to Aquaman’s Orm.

Nora’s reaction to V for Vendetta was that of “holy crap, this film is powerful” and a absolute love for Alan Moore’s masterpiece.

His #4: Watchmen, Her #4: Watchmen

Here is another film we agree on. We both love Watchmen and we know that this may be an unpopular opinion but this is Zack Snyder’s greatest film. Besides not involving a killer squid, Watchmen is ripped right from the pages and placed on the screen. Now you may realize that Batman Vs. Superman is missing from the list and that is due to this film. We are huge fans of Snyder’s work and did not want the list to be filled with Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder, so that’s why Man of Steel and Watchmen have a place on this list.

The visuals are stunning throughout the film with Dr. Manhattan feeling like a serious threat throughout the whole film. The real standout performances belong to Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach and Jeffery Dean Morgan as Edward Black/ The Comedian. Despite the length, this is a film we can watch multiple times and find a new love for the film. (Look out for a in depth post on the film in the future). Side note, if you have not watched the HBO series, do yourself a favor and watch it even if you do not like the film or graphic novel. It pulls you in from the first episode. That being said, we are do for a rewatch of it soon.

His #3: Batman, Her #3: Wonder Woman

Jack Nicholson as the Joker and a killer soundtrack from Prince, if it were not for two other brilliant characterization of the sadistic clown, Batman would be Kyle’s all time favorite DC film. Tim Burton’s vision presented a gritty and comic accurate version of the caped crusader for the first time and superhero films would never be the same again. The film is cheesy but at the same time it’s a blast to watch even thirty years later. Micheal Keaton will always be Kyle’s batman and to know that Keaton is coming back as old man Bruce Wayne has us excited for the future of DC films.

Wonder Woman was the film that made Nora fall in love with comics, the story of Diana Prince. The feeling of female empowerment was overwhelming for her and the experience of viewing this in the theater caused a huge smile across her face. And she loves rewatching it over and over. Cannot wait for Wonder Woman 84, even though it will hit theaters in the middle of a pandemic…

His #2: Joker Her #2: The Dark Knight

One performance can make a film great and that was the story of Todd Philips’ Joker. Joaquin Pheonix gives one of the greatest performance in Comic book film history as Arthur Fleck and won the academy for Best Actor for obvious reasons. Pheonix’s performance was not the only thing that stood out in the film as the score by Hildur Guonadottir. The film acting as psychological character study but also a social commentary.

We forced Nora to watch The Dark Knight on New Years Day when we found out that she had never seen the film. She was enthralled by what she saw and brought me enviousness as Kyle wanted to experience for the first time again.

His #1: The Dark Knight Her #1: Joker

We both feel like both films are among the greatest films in general. Walking out of the movie theater after viewing Joker, Nora would say “That is the greatest film I have ever seen.” Which was the same thing I said when walking out the movie theater for The Dark Knight.

Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker will never be forgotten, its one of the greatest performances of all time. But as he was great in the film, so was the whole cast. Aaron Eckhart was perfect as Harvey Dent/Two-Face. For the sake of argument, lets just say both films are absolutely brilliant.

We do hope in the next couple years this list looks different as the future of DC comics films looks extremely bright.