Thursday, October 1, 2015

Why all the casting reports, rumors, and speculation about Marvel's Captain Marvel movie are BS



When I worked in the insurance industry, I looked up everything I could on the Interwebs about the Affordable Care Act (at the time I even wrote a parable about insurance that a comic book fan would understand. It's called "The Comic Book Reader's Protection Act"). Through this research I found out a lot about the ACA, aka "Obamacare." But I found out even more about people's opinions about the ACA, and I figured out a lot about how the Internet works.

Step 1: Find a news item about something.
Step 2: Make up an exciting, incindiary headline, in the form of a question if possible.
Step 3: Use enough keywords, search engine optimization, and clickbait techniques to get people to go to the page.

Such has been the techniques used to flood Google Alert settings of "Captain Marvel" with reports of everyone from Natalie Dormer to Emily Blunt to Natasha Richardson to Katheryn Winnick to Charlize Theron to Rhonda Rousy as being someone who may play Carol Danvers in the movie scheduled for release in 2018, regardless of the fact that THE SCRIPT ISN'T EVEN WRITTEN YET! (But then again, Dwayne Johnson has officially announced that he is going to play Black Adam in the2019 movie, so what do I know?)

Well, finally, president of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige and producer Jeremy Lachtman have come out and explained why there have been no official announcements about who will play, or is even being considered to play, the lead role in Marvel's first female-led superhero movie ("Elektra" doesn't count because it was not part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and she was really more of an anti-hero, anyway).

I will let you read this, which appears to be the first article on the subject, by DCMarvelFreshman on ComicBookMovie dot com yourself, and I simply am TOO DAMN BUSY to do a click-bait roundup on the inevitable flood of websites, blogs, videos, etc that will inevitably follow.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Carol Danvers to appear in "Avengers: Infiity War"? Clickbait speculation


Based on both confirmed and unconfirmed reports and creative speculation, the idea is now kicking around the Interwebs that Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel will be appearing in one of the upcoming "Avengers: Infinity Wars" movies before her own eponymous film.

I first stumbled upon this concept in this post by Athena Parnada on YouthHealthMag (gotta love Google Alerts for finding it). what a Youth Health on-line magazine is doing chating about internet rumors about superhero films I do;t know, but the post provided links to a bunch of other articles and posts, including what seems to be the origin/source of this concept, this post by Eleanor Tremeer on MoviePilot.

To sum up, it has been confirmed by the people who made such decisions that 1) Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel was, at one point, going to appear in "Avengers: Age of Ultron," but then was written out, and 2) that she is not going to appear in the next "Guardians of the Galaxy" movie. with rumors and reports running rampant that several major characters are going to be killed in the Infinity Wars, this would make room for a character like Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel to fill in the void.

Personally, as I posted in my first article in MoviePilot, I think that it would be very nice if somehow Captain Mar-Vell, Marvel's first Captain Marvel, the Kree warrior/cosmic space hippie, were to be involved with Carol's storyline and origin. It was his heroic example of courage, decency, and self-sacrifice that inspired Carol to be the superhero she is; his mission to Earth, battle with Colonel Yon-Rogg, and DNA that gave her the powers to become Ms. Marvel; and his battle with Thanos that put the villain on the map. To have Carol, Thanos, Ronan, the Kree, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, and the Cosmic Cube all in the same Cinematic Universe and not have the one character that tied them all together in the comics appear in the movies just seems like a waste of a great character.

What do you think?


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan fights Islamophobia!

Sometimes a superhero gets to be a real-life good guy – or girl.

At least three Captain Marvels have had stories in which they face, and battle, bigotry, prejudice, and disctimination. In "Mr. Tawny Gets a New Home" from 1947, the original Captain Marvel helps Mr. Tawny against a neighborhood group that doesn't want tigers moving into the neighborhood. Marvel Comics' Captain Mar-Vell, as a "white" Kree, not of pure "blue" Kree blood, found himself to be a pawn of the political maneuverings of Zarek, a high government official who hated the "inferior" white Kree. Monica Rambeau faced the "glass ceiling" as a woman at her job in the New Orleans Harbor Patrol, and later appeared in a one-shot issue about racial bigotry on a college campus.

Now the new Ms. Marvel it taking on anti-Islamic sentiment on the streets of San Francisco.
Not too long ago the mantle of Ms. Marvel was dropped by Carol Danvers, the character who had carried it from its inception as that of the “First Feminist Superhero” in the 1970's. Now it has been taken up by Kamala Khan, a teenage Muslim Afghan-American girl in New Jersey. She has the power to make herself or parts of her body change shape or grow bigger or smaller according to her imagination and willpower.

In both cases these heroes have stood for a minority that had recently become talked-about in the news and were finding their voice. The feminist movement had grown in the 1960's and hit the mainstream in the 1970's with Ms. Magazine and the drive for the Equal Rights Amendment. Since the attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001, Muslims in America have become more visible, even if a lot of that visibility comes from people noticing them for the first time and associating them with the terrorists who committed the attack.

One particular example of this attention has over the past few years, been coming from a group calling itself “The American Freedom Defense Initiative.” This is a group founded by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer in 2010 and also goes by the name “Stop Islamization of America,” which pretty much tells you everything you need to know about its political leanings. (the Wikipedia listing is at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_Islamization_of_America, and if you want to see what they write about themselves, go to http://freedomdefense.typepad.com/)

One of the things for which it has become known is buying ads on buses. In the particular instance of interest to the Captain Marvel diaspora, is this one (shown in versions seen on Washington DC and San Francisco buses, respectively):



It purports to show one Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini, “Leader of the Muslim world,” in conference with Adolph Hitler, leader of Nazi Germany

In January of this year (2015 for those of you reading this in some other year and don't bother reading the dates on the post) they managed to raise enough money through an Indiegogo.com campaign to defray a part of the cost of posting this ad on buses in Washington D.C. A similar ad also ran on buses in San Francisco. You can read the details over and over again in The Washington Post https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dr-gridlock/wp/2014/05/15/in-metrobus-ads-pro-israel-group-features-photo-of-hitler/, The Huffingtn Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/20/anti-muslim-ad-dc_n_5360246.html, The Washington Times http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/may/19/dc-bus-ads-feature-hitler-anti-quran-campaign/, International Business Times http://www.ibtimes.com/new-american-freedom-defense-initiative-sponsored-anti-islam-ad-hits-public-bus-dc-1584340, Newsmax http://www.newsmax.com/US/Adolf-Hitler-Haj-Amin-al-Husseini/2014/05/19/id/572169/, DCist http://dcist.com/2014/05/pamela_geller_is_back_with_another.php, and Loonwatch http://www.loonwatch.com/2014/05/washington-dc-geller-is-back-with-another-anti-islam-metro-ad/ (be prepared for some fascinating opinionating in the comments sections).

I looked up this Grand Mufti on Wikipedia and a few other sites. He is a very interesting character with an adventurous history of wars, revolts, riots, nationalism, conflict and cooperation with various sides of colonial issues, arrests, etc, etc. His title of “Grand Mufti” was apparently gained through some nifty maneuvering and assistance by British authorities, and though it did give him great influence over many Muslims and Islamic organizations and leaders, he was not exactly “leader of the Muslim world,” as the poster says. Nonetheless, he did have meeting with Hitler and did actively work to forward the cause of Axis victory. He did state that he wanted to rid the Muslim world of Jews, although whether or not he supported their extermination seems to depend on which website you read.

The point here, however, is that this poster attempts to equate Islam with hatred of Jews, and that we therefore should hate Islam. There are some people in this world who object to characterizing Muslims this way.

It just so happens that the new Ms. Marvel is Muslim, an Pakistani-American teenage girl in Jersey City, New Jersey named Kamala Khan. She has proven to be a very popular character not only among Muslims and girls, but comic readers in general, even expanding her popularity beyond the general comic book audience.

In a brilliant piece of unsanctioned guerrilla usage of a culture-specific superhero icon, someone in San Francisco used images of Ms. Marvel and text expressing indignation against hatred, bigotry, and Islamophobia to deface the bus ads there, covering them up almost entirely. The only words left clearly visible were “STOP THE HATE...to Islamic countries.”





Ms. Marvel writer and Kamala Khan writer C. Willow Wilson tweeted about this, supporting the First Amendment rights of free speech of both the advertisers and the artists, and supporting the message her character was being used to spread.

You can see accounts or this at the following websites:
Most of these acounts dscribe the artist as “anonymous,” but
https://baqup.wordpress.com/2015/01/26/saying-no-to-hatred-with-superheroes/, saying they did this, but the blog post on the web page is somewhat equivocal on whether or not it was actually them who did it.

And you can find an incredibly diverse collection of opinions, conspiracy theories, and revisionist history at the Facebok post of Street Cred – Advertising for the People https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=348076972052222&id=102257986634123

The defacement was clearly illegal, and the ads were protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution, but implying that all Muslims have the same objectives as Nazi Germany is wrong.

I think the most insightful comment about this was these tweets by Ms. Wilson, who supports the right t the AFDI to post their ads:

“To me, the graffiti is part of the back-and-forth of the free speech conversation. Call and response. Argument, counterargument.”
“To me that says free speech is working--it is enabling and fostering public exchange.”

What do you think?

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Rebecca Ferguson as Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers?

 (This nifty picture was posted as part of an article by ScreenCrush.com)

I feel dirty for even doing this, but...there is a new "hot rumor" making the rounds of the clickbait. sites. It is that Rebecca Ferguson is "at the top of Marvel's list" to play Captain Marvel in the 018 movie they have scheduled.

This rumor comes to us courtesy Umberto Gonzalez on HeroicallyHollywood.com, a website of which I have never heard. He claims to have heard this from a reliab el source, but does not seem to have even bothered to try to contact the actress herself or the studio itself.

the story is dutifully reported by ScreenCrush, Moviepilot, and BleedingCool (which makes repeated references to getting "the salt shaker out"), and there will no doubt be more before the night is out.

It seems that these websites use this as an excuse to post pix of the actress, the character, and review the actress' career. None of them seem to have bothered to contact the actress or the studio either.

Am I being jaded and cynical by thinking that this rumor will wind up holding as much water as any and all of the previous ones, which to say, as much as basketball net?

And why do I feel dirty? Because just to keep up my Captain Marvel scholar cred and public profile, I have to waste time posting this with all the appropriate keywords ASAP.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

What Does The Rock Know About Black Adam?


(The above image is linked from Muscle & Fitness' article announcing Dwayne Johnson's role as Black Adam in the upcoming "Shazam!" movie.)

Now this is interesting. In this interview, Dwayne Johnson reveals that he has been involved with the character of Black Adam and preparing for the role for “eight years.” That places the beginning of his relationship with the character right about the time that there were rumors circulating about him playing the hero of DC's movie about the character marketed under the trademark “Shazam!”, the original Captain Marvel.


What with the "Shazam!" movie announced to be released on April 5, 2019 (and there being a surprisingly well-informed and insightful article from Comic Book Resources), this seems like as good a time as ever the very briefly recap the history of this actor and this franchise.

Remember, there were lots of rumors going around back in those heady days of the mid '00's, as the whole superhero-movie thing was starting to heat up. "Shazam!" was being talked about as early as 2003, and was still a going concern as the decade progressed. No fewer than three scripts were written or being worked on by folks such as William Goldman and John August and at least two different directors were attached to the project, Peter Segal being the latest. Jake Gyllenhaal was at one time rumored to be playing the hero, but that proved to be a hoax. Brandon Molale promoted himself for the role very heavily at the time, there was even a MySpace (remember MySpace?) page and a fan club pushing for it.

Back in '07 MTV Movie Blogs ran a poll. Rumors were flying that Dwayne Johnson, then more popularly known as the pro wrestler “The Rock,” would be playing Captain Marvel. Johnson even came forth and said that people were talking to him about being in the upcoming “Shazam!” movie (this was before the “New 52” reboot in which the hero trademarked under the label “Shazam!” now actually goes by that name). A lot of people, however thought that he would be even better as Black Adam, the evil version of the World's Mightiest Mortal from the Middle East 5,000 years ago who had become the toughest bad guy in the DC universe). Some said this for racial reasons (the Big Red Cheese has always been depicted as Caucasian, and Johnson is a black-Samoan mix), and some just would rather see him as the Bad Guy. Johnson has played a villainous Middle-Eastern monarch before (as the Scorpion King in “The Mummy Returns”), so why not?

So Johnson and MTV Blogs put the question to the fans: who would you rather see Johnson as: Captain Marvel or Black Adam? (http://www.mtv.com/news/1570423/the-rocks-role-in-shazam-should-he-be-good-or-evil-you-decide/ http://moviesblog.mtv.com/2007/09/24/weigh-in-who-should-the-rock-play-in-shazam/) The answer was overwhelming: Black Adam, by 86% of the vote.

So Johnson humbly and good naturedly accepted the fans' verdict, admitted that he did not know much about the character, and said he would be happy to talk with the filmmakers about playing the role (http://www.mtv.com/news/1573336/the-rock-put-his-shazam-role-to-a-vote-and-the-results-are-evil/ http://moviesblog.mtv.com/2007/09/24/weigh-in-who-should-the-rock-play-in-shazam/). In the succeeding months, dedicated fans of the World's Mightiest Mortal were watching every move by Johnson and Peter Segal to see if they could get a hint of what the movie, and Johnson's performance and chemistry with Segal, would be like. Segal's “Get Smart” got particular attention, being as it was a comedy/action movie involving both of these people.

Interestingly, Michael Uslan, the producer of the Shazam! Project and longtime fan of the hero, told me that he had not heard about this. So either Johnson was making it up about talking to people about this, someone wasn't telling Uslan what was going on, or Uslan had a reason to keep some things on the downlow.

But by 2010 news and activity about the project had slowed down, and by the time of this interview (http://splashpage.mtv.com/2010/01/12/dwayne-the-rock-johnson-on-shazam-status-and-black-adam/, and this report of it http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/markcassidycbm/news/?a=13722) it was pretty much dead.

In late 2014, however, Johnson started dropping hints that he would be in a superhero movie. By this time the “clickbait” phenomena was in full swing, and every psuedo-news website and geek-fanboy blogger with pretensions to journalistic credibility and the need for hit counts ran with the story, despite the dearth of information about the project and sometimes embarrassing lack of knowledge of the character (this alleged “investigation” from Entertainment Weekly, for instance, gets remarkable mileage out of speculation and groundless “insight.” And their conclusion turned out to be incorrect. http://www.ew.com/article/2014/08/19/dwayne-johnson-shazam-rock-black-adam).

Dwayne Johnson speaks authoritatively about the character and about superhero mythology these days. He refers to BA as an “anti-hero” who used to be a slave and at one point says that superheroes are usually “born into” greatness. This reveals a shallow surfaceness of his research. The bit about BA having been a slave is very recent in the development of his character, and there are plenty of famous superheroes who were not “born in to greatness” (Superman and Wonder Woman were, for sure, but Spider-Man, Captain America, and the original Captain Marvel himself, for instance, were not). Kudos to Johnson, however, for at least trying to give the impression of comic book super-characters as being something worth taking seriously.

Johnson is also very conscientiously maintaining the party line about the name of the hero. I have yet to hear him utter the name “Captain Marvel” in his interviews since he started with the hints and intimations in 2014. While he did say “Captain Marvel” in interviews back in 2007, he is showing himself a team player and professional spokesperson by staying up to date with the marketing of the hero of the Shazam franchise.







Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Shazam: Convergence review part 3

(continued from previous post)...Of course, a "by the numbers" adventure with the Marvel Family is still fun (especially when you add Mr. Taawny in an open-cockpit WWII fighter plane). And the subtle combination of the lighthearted elements of the Shazam heroes and villains with some logical character explorations and the deeper, darker dimensions of the Multiverse was handled with great skill, allowing the reader to enjoy the ride while appreciating the depth.



But as I said, a great opportunity was missed here. Gotham by Gaslight, on its face, appears to be a drastically different world than that of what DC called "Fawcett City" on Earth-S or Earth-5. It is a dark, scary, treacherous, mysterious, well...Gothic...place. However Billy, Mary, and Freddy are not actually strangers to such a world. On several occasions, both individually and as a family the Marvels found themselves in such environs, Freddy in particular lived in a quasi-gothic evnironment, especially when drawn by Mac Raboy. He dressed in rags, lived in a run-down boarding house, and often found himself defending orphans, waifs, and even magical fairy creatures that would not be unfamiliar to a Victorian audience.

It would have been interesting to see the Marvel Family deal with the challenges of a dark Victorian, steampunk adventure in a full-length story. In their human selves, I could see Billy, the young adventurer, intrepidly seeking clues, while Mary, the adopted daughter of privilege, and Freddy, the poor orphan boy, being concerned with the welfare of the downtrodden. As their heroic personas, Captain Marvel would be initially perplexed by the mysterious ways of the creatures of darkness, Mary Marvel would be drawn to the plight of the underclass, while Captain Marvel Junior would use his familiarity with the environment to start to see the solution. Together, their wisdom and courage would see them through. It's quite possible their strength, speed, and abilities would help the Batman of this world solve a mystery that had eluded him, and perhaps, in a more ambitious tale, would even help him solve a particular social evil.

But this was just a one-time, two issue story that was part of a bigger, company-wide, crossover epic. We will probably never see this combination of characters and worlds ever again (outside of fan fiction, of course). In time, it will be reprinted in a trade paperback collection, perhaps a giant omnibus edition, but it is unlikely that it will be one of the Great Epic Tales that will be remembered in the annals of comic book history.



So we will see what DC will do with the former Fawcett characters in whatever world will emerge from "Convergence.." I hope they will return these characters to their roots with their original names, powers, and characteristics. They cave the DC universe a lighter touch and needed balance when things got all grim 'n' gritty in the 1990's. I prefer that Billy and Cap have separate consciousnesses, but if they must have the same mind, at least have Billy be the kind of kid to whom you would want to give superpowers. If you want to have a troubled kid find redemption, make up a new character. You could even have him be in the "Shazam" family, but let the first, the original, the leading Hero of the Word be a brave, pure, good soul to set an example for the rest.

Friday, May 29, 2015

"Shazam" Convergence review part 2

Because nobody who reads comics can possibly expect anything in one comic book by one company to not affect anything in any other comic book by that company (and maybe other companies as well), when change happens, it happens big. Also, when you make a big change that affects every character in every book that you sell, everyone is going to have a reason to buy the book that month, and possibly other books as well.

This has been a guiding principle of the major companies that produce superhero comics since the 1980's; every few years try to raise the stakes and come up with the GREATEST, MOST AMAZING, REVOLUTIONARY, MIND-BLOWING CHANGE EVER! This week it was "Convergence."

So we got these 52 universes, right? So instead of letting them exist and visiting them occasionally, let's BLOW THEM ALL UP IN A MASSIVE CROSS-OVER BATTLE EPIC!

So DC has revived the heroes and villains of various past titles, storylines, and alternate universes in its history and mashed them together in titles that place them in conflict with each other. In the case of the classic Marvel Family (aka: "The Shazam Family") they get placed in conflict with the world of "Gotham by Gaslight," a late-Victorian version of Batman that has come to include such genres and tropes as Gothic horror, German expressionism, pulp adventure, and steampunk.




The two-part mini-series "Convergence: Shazam," written by Jeff Parker and drawn by Evan "Doc" Shaner, starts on Earth-S, or at least that's what it says inside the front cover of the comic. The world is much like that in the DC "Shazam!" stories between 1972 and 1985, with all the same characters (Billy, Mary, Freddy, Uncle, Mr. Morris, Tawny, etc) and there is plenty of "fan service" in things like brand names and background characters. The villains are classics, (Dr. Sivana, Mr. Atom, King Kull, Ibac), and reference is even made to the suspendium trap and the Marvels' 20-year absence.

There are differences, though. It is implied that Mr. Morris was not in the suspendium trap, while in fact, on Earth-S, he had been.  There was no Fawcett City on Earth-S (unless you count that one issue of "All Star Squadron" in which Roy Thomas first named Billy Batson's hometown), the original home of the Big Red Cheese was always unnamed, but assumed to be New York. But these are nit-picks that only some sadly over-passionate fan would care about or even notice...

The art is remarkable. It appears to be an almost photo-realistic interpretation of the original characters, but with enough detail left out to give the feeling of C.C. Beck's deceptively simple-looking art from the Fawcett days. As such it seems like a logical progression of where the art would be had the series continued under the same management over the decades (a look at recent versions of "Archie" shows a similar evolution, especially in certain "alt-Archies" like the zombie-horror series "Afterlife with Archie."). All the characters maintain their distinguishing characteristics and are instantly recognizable, but the drawings look like they were taken from life, as if they found the perfect actors for each character. This shows both the skill of the current artist and the brilliance of the original, to be able to interpret the cartoony drawings into recognizably realistic people and to create cartoony drawings that could be interpreted so.

The first issue stayed on this world, and the second one moved into the world of gaslight Gotham. But before it did, the first page of issue #2 declared that this world, that of Fawcett City, was Earth-5.

CONTINUITY VIOLATION ALERT!

EARTH-5 IS NOT EARTH-S!

As I mentioned in the first part of this review, It was publicly stated that Earth-5 is not Earth-S. This can be confirmed by looking up Wikipedia and DC Wiki (note the separate listings for Earth-S and Earth-5). A couple of notable but important differences are that in Earth-S Mary Marvel has a red costume, while in Earth-5 her dress is white, and that the "Seven Deadlies" in Shazam's throne room are "Enemies of Man," while on Earth-5 they are "Sins."

Speaking of Mary's costume, in the "Convergence" stories she is wearing a mid-length-skirted, short-sleeved dress in line with her costume in Jerry Ordway's "Power of Shazam" series that is a compromise between the short-skirted dress in which she originally appeared and the full-skirted, puffy-sleeved dress she wore for most of her Fawcett years. In any case, she is not wearing the short-skirted dress in which the Shazam-bolt descended from her neckline and the cape was mysteriously attached with no cord as she did in her later Fawcett years and all through her pre-"Crisis on Infinite Earths" tenure at DC, which is Earth-S, for all intents and purposes. She is also wearing boots, not slippers, as she would have in that period.

When the story moves to Gotham (or, as the promotional blurb would have it, "Shazam meets steampunk"), Shaner's graphic style and the colors by Jordie Belaire effectively convey the Gothic Victorian gloom of the gaslight city. There is fan-service galore, if you know what to look for, all through the story, from Mary Marvel catching a bomb to Killer Crock hurting himself trying to attack Captain Marvel (geek points if you can name the inspirations of those references). The story spends precious little time in that world, however, and almost no time with Batman. It's as if the ostensible co-star of the whole two-issue story was really more of a guest-star, a supporting character, barely more than a cameo.

But the unexpected money-shot for me was one two page spread in which Captain Marvel and Billy Batson spoke to each other in the instant between the transformation.

The hero had been zapped by electrically-produced lightning from gaslight Gotham. Apparently the charge, though not magical, was strong enough to effect the change. In a conversation that must have been going on inside their minds, the two characters, the hero and the boy, recognize the situation and try to figure out what to do about it. This established what I had always believed, and what was clearly intended, for the characters from the beginning: Billy Batson and Captain Marvel are separate characters. They share memories, but they are each distinct personalities. The Shazam/Captain Marvel concept is not "Big" as a superhero, it is a boy who has the ability to transform into an adult superhero by saying a magic word.

This was the high point of the story as a piece of superheroic fantasy for me. But sadly, beyond that, it was pretty much by the numbers. This is unfortunate, as there was so much more that could have been explored with this combination of elements... (to be continued)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

"Shazam" Convergence Review, part 1

After having been out of the comic book market for a month and a half due to my trip to the medieval combat world championships (my documentary of the USA Knights is coming soon) so I finally got a chance to catch up on the whole "Convergence" thing happening with DC Comics and the role of the original Captain Marvel in it.

It started, if you will, with the "Multiversity" event, a storyline in which the different universes of the "New 52" were explored, some being developments of "Elseworlds" concepts from years ago, some being brand new interpretations of DC characters and superhero tropes, and one being a new interpretation of the classic hero and his word from Fawcett Comics.

As regular readers of this blog know, the original Captain Marvel was acquired by DC Comics in 1972 and his stories began pretty much where they left off, with an explanation of how the Big Red Cheese, Junior, Mary, the Sivanas, and most of the other back-up characters had been trapped in a vessel of "suspendium" for 20 years. DC also explained that these characters existed on "Earth S," a parallel Earth in which the regular DC characters did not exist. After the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" of 1986, all the alternate universes were combined into one, and some major characters, including the Big Red Cheese, were "rebooted" and given slightly different interpretations.

Then the New 52 hit in 2012, and DC rebooted their entire universe and every character in it. They established that there are 52 alternate universes and implied that there was an "Earth 5" that appeared to be a copy of Earth S (5 = S, get it?).  It was stated publicly, however, that Earth 5 was not Earth S and that we would find out, someday, what it was.

What it was was revealed in the Multiversity one-shot "Thunderworld." This was a fun, entertaining romp written by Grant Morrison and drawn by Cameron Stewart that introduced the world of Earth 5, in which the Marvel Family, with the help of Tawny, Uncle, and the Lieutenant Marvels defended Fawcett City from the Sivana Family and the Monster Society, as Dr. Sivana captured the Rock of Eternity and stole enough suspendium with the help of alternate-universe Sivanas to create an 8th day of the week. It was a brilliant combination of the hokey ficto-science and adventure of the classic Fawcett stories with multi-cosmic and, frankly, disturbing elements of Multiverse.



In "Thunderworld," the re-interpretations of certain classic elements (The Lieutenant Marvels now included Uncle and Tawny and were a uniformed, rocket-packed, sci-fi-weapon-bearing squadron, and Billy used a cell phone with his updated backpack broadcasting equipment) were handled lightly and not out of character with what one might expect from an organic progression of the characters from the 1940's. Dr. Sivana's motivations were consistent with the character, making him the perfect character to begin to explore the evil implications of a multiverse. The conclusion gave us a perfectly satisfactory twist and a closing that was consistent with anything Otto Binder ever wrote. The whole story was applauded by the great majority of fans of the World's Mightiest Mortal, and we all wanted to see more.


So when "Convergence" was announced, we waited with bated breath to see how it would turn out...

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Marvel's Captain Marvel movie gets writers! - Clickbait roundup


The latest clickbait roundup is, for a change, about actual news. Marvel's "Captain Marvel" movie has got scriptwriters!

About 4 weeks ago, Rob Keys on ScreenRant.com posted a roundup of the rumors that had been circulating about this project, but none of these rumors had anything to do with the writers.

On April 13, Borys Kit in the Hollywood Reporter posted a very journalistic article on reports that Marvel was considering the two writers for the movie, and a link to a safely broad but accurate history of the character (though when they mention the original Captain Marvel, they neglect to add Bill Parker's name to C.C. Beck's as creator).

The very same day,  Clark Allen on The Tracking Board apparently breaks the news in what is posted as the "exclusive" story that Nicole Perlman and Meg LeFauve are in advanced talks to write . The article very responsibly gives  brief but insightful backgrounds on the character and the two writers.

Jeff Sneider on The Wrap.com then reported on that "Nicole Perlman (“Guardians of the Galaxy”) and Meg LeFauve (Pixar’s “Inside Out”) are nearing a deal to co-write “Captain Marvel” for Disney and Marvel, an individual familiar with the project has told TheWrap." He then goes on to add the rumor that Michelle MacLaren was to direct, making all sound like he has some exlusive insider info. The article credits Tracking Board with breaking the news, and was updated on April 20 with Marvel's official announcement.

Apparently later the same day, however, Albert King on Comic Book Resources had posted the big news that Michelle MacLaren had left Wonder Woman, and, in the relatively in-depth article, also mentioned The Wrap's rumor of her working on "Capain Marvel" and names Perlman and LeFauve as writers as if it is confirmed fact.

Also on CBR, Megan Damore reports that Perlman and LeFauve are "in talks, but the headline says that the writers are "signed."

Though the piece is undated, the comments on Sean FitzGerald's one-paragraph report on Vulture.com indicate that it was posted on April 14. It reports that "Guardians of the Galaxy's Nicole Perlman and Inside Out's Meg LeFauve are close to inking a deal to co-write Disney and Marvel's forthcoming Captain Marvel project, according to the Wrap."It is notable that in those comments, someone points out that "You've, ehm, got the wrong Captain Marvel up there in your image. The wrong publisher, in fact." Either that commenter was mistaken, or they changed the picture, because the picture shows the now-common picture of Carol Danvers pulling on her glove.

On that same day Justin Kroll on Variety.com posted an industry-targeted announcement of the report, claiming that it had been confirmed by a source.

Matt Key of Geek Girl Authority also reports on the article from The Wrap, adding little more than pictures of the two writers.

There is a lengthy discussion board about the MacLaren news that includes quotes from CBR about MacLaren and the Perlman and LeFauve rumor at http://rocketf.org/thepond/showthread.php?tid=792

On April 20, 2016, Marvel officially broke the news that 'Nicole Perlman & Meg LeFauve will together write Marvel’s “Captain Marvel,” in theaters November 2, 2018, bringing Carol Danvers to the big screen in her first solo cinematic adventure.' And the clickbait reports began.

A surprisingly concise-yet-thorough writeup of the whole situation was done by Andrew Dyce on ScreenRant on April 20, apparently before the news broke, and added a link to the Marvel announcement as an update.

Max Nicholson on IGN.com writes the briefest of all possible reports on the news and then pads the story with a surprisingly accurate video about the history of the character that annoyingly calls her "Miss Marvel" instead of "Ms."

Mike Cecchini on DenOfGeek.us adds just a little insight and opinion in his brief report.

Dan Van Winkle on TheMarySue.com reports the news briefly and with barely any real insight or depth.

Reviewer Drew McWeeny writes an opinionated piece for Hitfix.com. He believes that gender-equality justice would be served if as many tasks in the movie. from the writer to the best boy, were given to women. He does make a convincing point.

Brendon Connoly writes an undated piece for WhatCulture.com that nicely but briefly sums up the situations of the writers.

...and you know what, my life is so busy, it took over a month to get this posted. I may just give up on these clickbait roundups...

Monday, March 16, 2015

someone revewed the latest Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel..

Sorry I haven't posted much lately. There has been a lot of rumor, speculation, and a few celeb quotes, but I've been busy with my work with the Big Apple Convention and the Armored Combat League and researching Captain Marvel cartoons and have not been able to get any posts written.

So, just to keep this blog active this month, here is a review to Marvel Comics' Captain Marvel #13 from comicbookresources.com


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Carol Danvers and Monica Rambeau in all-female team!

So Marvel Comics has announced that there will be an all-female team of Avengers in their upcoming "event," Secret Wars. The news has been announced on, as should by now be expected, bunches of websites, and almost all of them included this image...
Among the characters portrayed are two Captain Marvels: Carol Danvers and Monica Rambeau. What with Danvers being Marvel Comics' premiere female at the moment (she has her own regular series, as well as appearing in certain "Avengers" titles and "Guardians of the Galaxy," and is the white Queen" in a chess set Marvel has just released in England), I am a little surprised that she is not front-and-center.

Josh Dickey at mashable.com was apparently the first to report the news, in an article remarkable for its knowledge of the subject of female superheroes, even pointing out that there have been 14 female super-teams before this one (who wants to guess them all? I can think of Birds of Prey and specific lineups of the Defenders and the X-Men, plus one lineup of the Justice League put together for a specific mission. Does the Marvel's Divas series count?






The most sensationalistic, yet analytical article of all, the one most worthy of being called "journalism" in this vast wasteland of clickbait, copy-paste, and shallow announcements, is Michael Calia's article in the Wall Street Journal. It is the only article I found that linked to the original Marvel Comics announcement, and looks like it was even updated after its original publication to amend a report that the announcement would be made on the TV show "The View" after that segment was cut from the show. Among its many worthy observations (peppered with stock quotes for companies mentioned in the article like Disney and Warner's) is that while many are decrying the move for being a "gimmick" or "stunt," " the comics business has always been about gimmicks and stunts, so there’s nothing new to see here in that regard."

And speaking of that report that was cut out of "The View," this surprisingly thorough article by Bdc Lives on Moviepilot uses that bit of scandal as a clickbait headline.

The funniest thing about this whole business to me is the name of this new team: "A-Force." Jesse Shedeen on ign.com supposes that this name is meant to recall "X-Force," a title from the 1980's and '90's. (Incidentally, that same website also announced the "tease" of the news the day before) Some might think it was inspired by the TV show "The A-Team." Several commenters recalled the fictional TV pilot mentioned in the movie Pulp Fiction, "Fox Force Five." almost every comments section with more than three comments included one about how the team should be called "V-Force."  My...awkwardness with the name is how there is another word that starts with "a - hyphen..." that has been getting a lot of play on TV lately, and maybe it's just my mind being in the gutter, but I can't help thinking of that word when I see this name.

Personally, I never thought I lived in the gutter, more like perched on a mailbox or something.

What do you think about this news?

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Latest Captain Marvel clickbait: Joss Whedon

As a lover of the classics, sometimes I am a little bit behind the times. It ass only just recently that I discovered the term "clickbait," but now I get it. Claickbait is when you post something with a headline that is sure to get people's attention so they will go to your webpage. whie they are theere they will hopefully click on other sponsored links and get you money.

It does not matter if these headlines are false, misleading, or outright lies, and the stories are filled with inaccuracies, innuendo, speculative ideas with little to back them up, are simply are not what the headline said they would be, or are little more than a mention that something was said on another website and a link to that website, so long as they get people to your website. Some of the most egregious examples in recent years, for instance, have included stuff about the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"), the birthplace and religion of the president of the United States of America, and pretty much anything involving the casting of new superhero movies, as we have reported already here and here (see how I did that? Be sure to click on the ads and the Amazon links to support Captain Marvel Culture).

The latest example of this regarding a Captain Marvel concerns a recent interview with DigitalSpy.com in which Joss Whedon, famous for creating the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Agents of Shield" TV series and directing the recent Avengers movie, claimed that there was a lack of female superhero movies because of "genuine, recalcitrant, intractable sexism, and old-fashioned quiet misogyny that goes on."

This quote was the basis of an article in ScreenRant.com yesterday which already has thre pages of comments, including one coment postad about a half-dozen times by the same guy proposing that thePatsy Walke, Marvel's character "Hellcat," be put in a movie. I guess that guy didn't use his "refresh" button or something after he posted ;).

The article itself went into slight depth about the subject, pointing out that shortly after the interview Marvel announced it's upcoming slate of movies, including Captain Marvel, and posted a lovely picture of Carol Danvers in her new costume:

Then they went on to talk about the X-Men female heroes in the X-Men movies, and then called for comments.
 
It seems now that BuzzFeed.com did a telephone interview with the director and posted it on Thursday in which they asked hm, among other things, if he would be directing Marvel's Captain Marvel. He said that he "wouldn;t rule anything out" but that he was more inerested in creating his own universe He commened a little more on the character, saying...
 
"Captain Marvel I don’t know as well. There have been a few [versions] of her. I have the first issue of Ms. Marvel, back when she was that, and had the Farrah hair. My only issue with her is that she always felt sort of on top. She was very driven. A winner. I always like to dig into the soil of things to find my heroes, if I can."
 
This makes me think he would probably want to read a little bit more about her, seeing as how she has hit bottom a couple of times since that first issue in 1976.

The interview went on to talk about The Hunger Games, Lucy, X-Men, and looking for a girl in comics over which to have crush. Nevertheless, the clickbaiters went into action
 
The real clickbait culprits came hard on the heels of this, with articles on CinemaBlend.com and ComicBookMovie.com posting the question "Could Joss Whedon direct Captain Marvel?" Both articles then quote enough from the interview to make it clear, as the interview does, that no one has talked to him about it, he isn't jumping at the chance, there have been no announcements made, and there are other things he would rather do.
 
So congratulations, guys, you got me to go to your web pages, to read pretty much the same thing three times over, and now, beause I feel that it would help my Captain Marvel Culture research project to report on all things Captain Marvel, I just spent a good chunk of this morning writing about it!
 
Maybe I should make this blog into a clickbait site....

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Natalie Dormer as Carol Danvers?



First off, this is not a news report. This is not a rumor. This is not even a report of a rumor. This is about a fan's wishful thinking that someone else thought was interesting enough to make another post about.

At MoviePilot.com, contributor Elle J listed a whole bunch of reasons why Natalie Dormer, that hot chick who has shown up as a blonde in "Captain America: The First Avenger," and the latest "Hunger Games" movie, and as a brunette in "Game of Thrones" and The Tudors," would make the perfect Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel in Marvel's upcoming "Captain Marvel" movie, slated for release in 2018. These reasons include "Age Appropriate," "Physical Skill," and "Difficult Relationships."

Now, there have been no announcements about this movie, really, beyond the fact that it is going to be made. It seems that every other week there is another rumor, report, or wishful think about one actress or another who would be "perfect" for the role. Sometimes these actresses don't even know anything about the character 

And now this particular wishful think has been picked up by another contributor to the same website. Kit Simpson Browne has written a whole article about it. In it he supposes that Natalie Dormer's appearance in "Captain America was as Carol Danvers' mother or grandmother, then comes up with a wildly creative origin story that has absolutely no connection the Mar-Vell or the Kree at all.

I could see Natalie Dorman's  "Captain America" character as the grandmother of Carol Danvers without much adjustment of the Marvel Comics cannon at all. Carol joined the Air Force in rebellion do her mail chauvinist father. The character in the movie was a private in the US Army. She could have advanced in rank and been an inspiration to Carol. In the comics Carol took inspiration from groundbreaking, pioneering female test pilots of WWII and the Cold War era. So it could happen.

But they haven't even written the script yet! No casting decisions have been announced yet! Ah, what the heck. The 'em dream! It gives them something to do, and gives the movie studio free publicity, which will help the project, and that will give a few people steady jobs for a while.

In the category of "someone is WRONG on the internet," there is always someone out there who refers to Carol Danvers' original superhero name as "Miss Marvel" or Mrs. Marvel. As a good and loyal fan, I of course, do my best to set that record straight.

Someone in there complained about all the non-American actors playing superheroes. I think that could be a touchy subject. Or not. On the one hand, the director and producer of a movie would ant the best actor for the job, and if the best actor happens to have not been born in America, so what? On the other hand, is having an English person portray an American like having a white person play a black person (in the now-acknowledged-to-be-bad genre of "blackface")? Are nationalities akin to races? Or is it more like drag, putting on the clothes and mannerisms of the "other?" Or does it really matter Does it all just go back to what actor can do the best job?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Original "Shazam!" Captain Marvel Converges with Gotham by Gaslight!


DC Comics has just announced an appearance of the "Earth S" Captain Marvel, the original from Fawcett publications 1940-1953 and DC Comics 1973-1986.

This will come as part of the "DC Convergence" event in which many of the universes created by DC Comics, including those of characters from other comics companies that DC has acquired, the alternate universes that explained the difference between "Golden Age" and "Silver Age" characters, the post "Crisis on Infinite Earths" universe, their many "Elsewords" universes, and the "New 52." I week 4, there will be ten titles released, each of which involves the crossover of two universes. Of interest to this blog is the title "Shazam!"

In this issue, the original Captain Marvel will crossover with the world of "Gotham by Gaslight," a gothic/steampunk word of a late Victorian era Batman.

This is not completely out of the realm of something that the Big Red Cheese would do. Many times in the Fawcett years did the hero, and many times Mary and Junior too, travel through time. The contrast of the "sunny" Captain Marvel with the dark, brooding Batman should prove to be an interesting combination, and if the preview art is to be believed, it looks like we will be seeing the rest of the Marvel Family as well as Mr. Tawny, and favorite villains like Black Adam, Mr. Mind, Captain Nazi, and Dr. Sivana. There is also one female villain that I don't recognize. Am I missing her from my knowledge of the original Fawcett universe, or is DC creating a new villain for this story?

The preview listing is the eighth title down on this page...
http://www.newsarama.com/22861-dc-s-convergence-week-four-pre-crisis-multiverse-is-back-baby.html

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Shazam movie to be part of DC Cinematic Universe?

Around Christmastime the news came out that yes, Virginia, the new "Shazam" movie (which may or may ot have a hero in it named Captain Marvel) WILL be a part of the shared continuity of the curent slate of DC Comics' superhero movies. There had been thought that is would be separate, as "Earth S" was from the regular universes of DC superheroes before the Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1986. The fact that it was being produce by New Lne Pictures and that it had been said that it would have a "lighter tone" than other superhero movies seemed to confirm that. But now, officially, t looks like the same planet with Metropolis and Gotham, will also have an orphan newsboy who meets a n ancient wizard (unless they change that part of his origin story).

Here is a website that reported the news:

http://nerdreactor.com/2014/12/26/shazam-dc-cinematic-universe/

Here is a website that expanded on speculation about it (an has a lot of comments regarding it)

http://screenrant.com/shazam-movie-justice-league-universe/comment-page-1/#comments

And herre is the blog post from DC that appears to announce the news:

http://www.dccomics.com/blog/2014/12/23/ten-moments-that-mattered-warner-bros-announces-its-dc-entertainment-film-slate