Posted on August 11th, 2021
When I first started reading comics in the late 1970's it was nothing serious. Just some old issues that ended up and my grandparents' house (probably from my grandfather's barber shop). It wasn't until 1979 that I actually started buying them and collecting them. In the beginning, it was mostly DC Comics... Batman, Superman, Flash, Green Lantern, and the Legion of Super-Heroes. I did pick up an occasional issues of Spider-Man though. Which is how I became familiar with Marvel's What If...? series. The issue that got me? What If... Spider-Man Had Rescued Gwen Stacy? (as opposed to what actually happened in the comics... Spider-Man's girlfriend dying)...
Hosted by Uatu the Watcher, What If...? speculates on how the entire Marvel Universe might be be changed if one thing were to happen differently. What if Loki had found the hammer of Thor? and What if Dr. Strange had not become Master of the Mystic Arts? and What if Doctor Doom had become a hero? and so-on.
The quality of the stories varied wildly, so I was only a sporadic reader... usually only picking up issues when they were about a character I liked.
Fast-forward to today, and What If...? has come to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the form of an animated feature on Disney+. It feels authentic, because so many of the characters are voiced by the original live-action actors. In the first episode, What If... Captain Carter Were The First Avenger?, Peggy Carter becomes Captain Carter because she chooses to stay in the room where Steve Rogers was being infused with the super-soldier serum instead of leaving. This one event cascades until we don't end up with Captain America... but Captain Carter instead...
Captain Carter is voiced by the original actor Hailey Atwell. Along for the ride is other original actors Stanley Tucci (Dr. Erskine), Dominic Cooper (Howard Stark), Neal McDonough (Dum Dum Dugan), Toby Jones (Zola), and Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes). Which is incredible, when you think about it. But then there's Steve Rogers, who is not Chris Evans, but instead some other guy. Not so incredible. Having Ross Marquand as The Red Skull is half-way cool, because he did play Red Skull in Avengers: Endgame... but it was Hugo Weaving who originated the character in Captain America.
In any event, the voice cast is exceptional, as you'd expect.
The animation is beautiful. It's quality stuff that looks gorgeous in every scene. Alas, they're using some kind of "flow-motion" to "tween" the frames (in order to make things appear smoother) which causes some weird voice-sync issues when viewed in close-up, but is otherwise fantastic. Money was spent...
It's positively thrilling to see Chadwick Boseman's voice coming out of T'Challa (one last time, alas) and Chris Hemsworth's voice coming out of Thor. And more than a little of a let-down when character voices are recast. I understand scheduling conflicts and such... but come on. They can literally set up a recording booth anywhere so an actor can take an hour out of their day to do lines. So why wouldn't they get all the originals? Unless people like Chris Evans didn't want to do it, which is even more inexplicable. I mean, Steve Rogers wasn't a huge part of this first episode. He probably could have knocked his lines out in 20 minutes and donated the money to charity. But... it is what it is, I guess.
Judging by this first episode, I'm going to enjoy the heck out of this series. Just like the comics, it's fun to see "what might have been" had one little thing happened differently.
Next episode is What If... T'Challa Had Become Star-Lord? And who wouldn't want to see that?
Posted on July 14th, 2021
And so the final episode of Loki was unleashed upon an unworthy world.
I have been enjoying the series up until this point, but wasn't necessarily blown away by anything. The idea of variant Loki's being the only characters to survive in multiple versions... or at least the only characters we've seen survive in multiple version... is kinda laughable. But, it did give us Loki Gator, and it's tough to be mad about that...
Needless to say, anything I say after this point is going to be riddled with spoilers. If you haven't seen all of Loki yet, you should probably get on that before proceeding.→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on May 7th, 2021
I am spoiled. Seriously spoiled. And I have Marvel Studios to thank for it.
You see, Marvel Studios has a philosophy when it comes to everything they do. Every movie. Every TV series on Disney+. You put absolutely everything... your best ideas, the coolest stuff, all the things fans want to see... EVERYTHING... in the project you're working on RIGHT NOW. Yes, they've got plans for the future, but they never lose focus on the project at hand. When they made Iron Man they put everything into it. They could have easily stretched out his origin to an entire movie... but they didn't. They got his origin out of the way then let Tony Stark and Iron Man be all that they could be. They gave people exactly the movie they want to see. And people loved them for it.
"The Marvel Cinematic Universe" world-building came as a consequence of a string of amazing movies.
Not the other way around.
Because the other way around never works. Look at the mess of "DC Comics Universe" movies that has failed so badly that they are likely completely rebooting everything with a forthcoming The Flash movie. Justice League was a heinous failure because they saved all the cool stuff for a second movie that never happened. And look at the Universal Monsters Universe, which failed after a single film because The Mummy reboot was too focused on world-building instead of telling a really good story. You can't put the cart before the horse, yet Marvel Studios is the only game in town that actually knows what that means.
Which brings us to the new Netflix series Jupiter's Legacy.
I'm just going to get this out of the way... I both loved and hated the comic book series. Love it because the Mark Millar story is just so damn good. Love it because the Frank Quitely artwork is just so damn good. Hated it because Millar and Quitely were always late getting the issues out. Jupiter's Legacy #1: April 2013. #2: June 2013. #3: August 2013. #4: MARCH 2014!!! #5: JANUARY 2015!!! And things weren't much better with the sequel, Jupiter's Legacy 2. It took a year and a month for them to get out five frickin' issues. Ultimately it was worth the wait... but I'm not falling for that bullshit again. I'm not picking up the latest series (Jupiter's Legacy: Requiem) until the entire series is done and the trade paperback has been released. I am not here for this George-RR-Martin-level bullshit.
The series is about a group of friends who all gained super-powers after visiting a mysterious island... and the next generation of heroes which followed them. Treated like celebrities, this new breed of hero is usually a disappointment to the older generation. And that's a schism which gets exploited in the most unthinkable way.
And, like I said, I loved the story and art. Everything was sublimely clever, and I devoured each and every issue multiple times (I pretty much had to because there was nothing else to do while you waited months and months for the next issue to come out). The ending felt a bit rushed, but I was not disappointed. I've re-read it many times because it's just that entertaining.
Now it's been adapted into a Netflix series.
And, sadly... almost predictably, they put the cart before the horse.
So instead of a really cool series with some mind-blowing stuff going on... we get a really boring series with some mind-numbingly dull stuff going on so they can stretch things out for future series...
Why is Brandon in a super-suit? THE WHOLE POINT IS THAT HE'S NOT THAT GUY!
Adapting Jupiter's Legacy for Netflix should have been a no-brainer. But instead of doing a straight adaptation of one of the most remarkable series to come out of comics, they tore it apart and made it a boring mess. AND WHY?!? FOR GOD'S SAKE, WHY?!? Why bother to make it a series if you're just going to shit on what made the comic so good? Who gives a crap about the Wall Street crash, Sampson's daddy issues, and all these mind-numbingly boring distractions in the past THAT DON'T MATTER? All the coolest stuff in the series is nowhere to be found. The central pin to the entire series, third-generation hero Jason, doesn't even exist. I can only guess they wanted to save it for seasons two through eight... BUT THERE'S NOT GOING TO BE A SECOND SEASON IF THE FIST SEASON IS SHIT AND NOBODY WATCHES IT!
I am so over these awful adaptations.
It's a waste of time and money that could have been put into something much better. Why is Marvel Studios the only people who get it? You don't hold back. You don't save the best material for future projects that may never happen. YOU PUT EVERYTHING YOU HAVE INTO WHAT YOU ARE MAKING RIGHT NOW! And when it's a success... then you put everything you have into the next movie or series. That's how you build a successful franchise. It's not rocket science.
I was so looking forward to "Jupiter's Legacy"... I honestly thought that with Mark Millar overseeing the adaptation his own material that it would be seriously good television. But he fell into the same idiotic trap that everybody else does... planning for seasons 2-8 instead of making season 1 worth watching. All he had to do to knock it out of the park was actually adapt Jupiter's Legacy then move on to Jupiter's Legacy 2 and then move on to Jupiter's Legacy: Requiem Then if he wanted to adapt the prequel series Jupiter's Circle, he could have done that as a separate series just like it was a separate comic book. But instead we get... whatever the fuck this is. A half-baked series with decent casting and passable special effects that misses the mark by a country mile.
Oh well. I am getting accustomed to disappointment. Boring, boring, boring disappointment.
God I wanted to see this fight on-screen in the worst way...
BUT NOPE!!! Saving it for the fifth season or what-the-fuck-ever.
Which is to say that the Netflix series for Jupiter's Legacy is not, in fact, Jupiter's Legacy.
I think of what could have been if somebody gave a shit about honoring the source material and it sends my mind reeling in the best possible way. Then reality rears it's ugly head and I'm back to what we got instead. Good Lord what a waste.
Posted on April 27th, 2021
I finally stopped writing about The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, because everything I wanted to say was based on what I know from reading the comic book source material that was unfolding on screen. No, it's not a perfect translation... I wouldn't want it to be... but there's a lot here that's coming directly from character arcs in the comics, so my speculation was nothing but spoilers.
But the final episode aired Friday, so we good? Can we talk about The Falcon and The Winter Soldier now?
If you don't want to read my spoiler-packed recap and thoughts, you definitely don't want to click through to the extended entry. And, needless to say, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier and Marvel comic book spoilers abound...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on March 28th, 2021
Feeling a little less than heroic today? Then I've got you covered... because a Very Special All-Comic-Book Edition Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Comic-Con? Welp. Comic-Con International just announced that the new date for Comic-Con San Diego is... Thanksgiving Weekend?!? It seems weird to think that a day reserved for giving thanks with your family would be commandeered after a year of pandemic that's kept families apart, but okay. Maybe that's the point though? They new attendance would be down over a holiday, which is what they need to keep crowds low just as everybody is getting vaccinated? I dunno. Still seems a weird... and borderline heartless... thing to do. "Sorry, grandma, we've got Comic-Con that weekend! Hope you can make it until next year!"
• Invincible. Amazon Prime Streaming has just released the first three episodes of their occasionally-violent-and-gory adaptation of the Invincible comic book...
I was pleasantly surprised that they didn't drag everything out so they could have one of the most shocking twists in comic book history saved for the second season. Nope. They've got it right up front.
• The Suicide Squad. It's interesting to see how Zack Snyder was given millions upon millions of dollars to release his "director's cut" of Justice League, but the same courtesy is not being extended to David Ayer for his Suicide Squad film, which was apprently taken far away from his intended story by the studio. Truth to tell, I would rather Ayer have been given the cash, because the stuff he originally shot sounds far more interesting. I mean, sure, his version of the Joker was shit, but a lot of other things were pretty well done. The reason he's probably not being given the opportunity is that DC doesn't want to overshadow the upcoming The Suicide Squad movie by James Gunn (of Guardians of the Galaxy fame). An R-rated trailer, of which, was just released...
Promising! SO many characters from the comics! The whole idea behind the Squad is that members die because the missions they take on are so dangerous. Apparently James Gunn is taking this to heart, because his entire motto for the film is "Don't Get Attached." How can you say no to that?
• New Cap. Steve Rogers, Captain America, has lost his shield! In a new series called The United States of Captain America, he embarks on a road trip across the country to find it... teaming up with other "Captain Americas" from over the years. Along the way he finds other people who have taken up his mantle, including a gay teenager named Aaron Fischer...
So naturally people are losing their fucking minds. Which is just the most bizarre phenomenon to me. It's comic book characters. The original Captain America is still here. Nothing is being taken away. But the idea that a gay American can't be Captain America when so many other Americans have been Captain America over the years is just bonkers. Gay people exist. Representation matters. Get the fuck over it.
• Old Cap. I had written up my thoughts on the second episode of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, but then decided to hold onto them because I worry that anybody who hasn't read the comics driving this story will get the series spoiled for them. I will say that I am absolutely fascinated that they mined Truth: Red, White, and Black for this installment. The story of the actual first "Captain America" was pretty groundbreaking... even though it was published in 2003. It was here that we learned that 300 Black men were used as test subjects for the "Super Soldier Serum" before it was given to Steve Rogers. Of the 300, only Isaiah Bradley survived, and we got to meet him on Friday...
After serving his country with honor, he was imprisoned for his trouble. Now he's trying to live a quiet life of seclusion, as explained by his grandson, Eli Bradley. If you read the comics, Eli ends up being the hero Patriot...
Could it be that we're assembling the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Because the Young Avengers are almost all accounted for now! Eli Bradley as Patriot, Kate Bishop as Hawkeye (from the upcoming Hawkeye series), Billy and Tommy as Wiccan and Speed (from WandaVision), Cassie Lang as Stature (from the Ant-Man movies), and America Chavez as Miss America (from the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness). And if they want to toss in Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel (from the upcoming Ms. Marvel series), and Riri Williams as Ironheart (from the upcoming Ironheart series)... PLUS debut Hulkling out of the upcoming Secret Invasion series... well... there you have it. It would seem that Marvel Studios is intent on keeping the current MCU moving forward as opposed to rebooting everything with new actors in the existing roles. Which is pretty smart. Because until the gravy train stops rolling, they might as well, right?
• The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. But back to the second episode... the Captain America comic books are at their best when they are saying something. When they tackle the big issues that face this country. And that's the niche that the source material takes quite often in modern times. It's only right that the Disney+ series spin-off follow suit. So when Sam Wilson was not able to get a bank loan last episode, on the surface it was because Thanos snapped him out of existence for 5 years. But you quickly got the idea that him being a Black man was definitely a factor. Didn't matter that he's one of the most famous people on the planet, no consideration was offered. And then in this episode, an argument with Bucky in public results in the police showing up to ask Bucky "if this man was bothering him"...
So kudos to Marvel Studios for making this series actually try to say something... in-between some great action sequences. It's exactly what Cap would want to see happen.
Stay frosty, True Believer!
Posted on March 19th, 2021
WandaVision was a disappointment. Instead of Wanda and Vision getting a show of their own, they instead spent most of their time parodying other TV shows... then ended up being nothing more than a prelude to another character's movie. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't what I was hoping for. The idea of the Marvel shows on Disney+ is that they are feature-film quality projects which have the time to dig deeper into the characters in a way that movies don't have time to do.
Enter The Falcon and The Winter Soldier...
I'm just going to get this out of the way... Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan are absolute gold. Ridiculously talented actors who know how to inhabit their roles and sell their characters. There's not a moment that they're on screen that they're not wowing you... whether it's in terrific action sequences or much quieter moments.
The story revolves around the past charting the future, and how Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes let their pasts hold them back while trying to move forward. And there's also the legacy of Captain America to deal with.
I loved it.
And if you want more of my thoughts on the show, I'll put them in an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on March 5th, 2021
What is grief, if not love persevering? — The Vision
I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Disney+ started streaming the final episode of WandaVision right out of the gate at midnight. The previous two weeks it took me nearly ten minutes to get to the show as Disney+ servers broke with tons of people trying to access them.
All-in-all the series was... not great. Not terrible, but not what I wanting to see from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I understand there are people who are just loving to see Wanda get beat up on while she processes her grief, so more power to them, I guess...
I wrote my thoughts on the final episode (and the series as a whole) immediately after the show, but likely won't post until I have time to read through all this on my lunch break tomorrow. I'm tired, and there's probably a million spelling mistakes.
But anyway... it's all in an extended entry if you care to read it...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on February 28th, 2021
I may be really, really tied of Winter right now, but I'm happy to hold out for Spring... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Boys! I'm just going to start this out with the best thing I've seen all week... and it's why I love TikTok reason #2371 — John Stamos showing Beach Boy Mike Love a young band playing a beautiful rendition of Wouldn’t It Be Nice, a song he co-wrote...
@sittingonstacy I was showing Mike Love Tik Tok and you popped up. He loved you guys! Can’t ##hear us but he was really digging it. Congrats! Stamos♬ original sound - johnstamos
How unbelievably awesome is this?
• Plus! In advance of "CBS All Access" transforming to " Paramount+" there's an awesome deal where you can get a year of commercial-free streaming for half-price (just select an annual plan and use PARAMOUNTPLUS in the coupon code box at check-out). 90% of network shows I watch are on CBS and I love avoiding commercials, so this was an offer I can't refuse. LOVING IT. I love, love, love Queen Latifah at The Equalizer, and revisiting Young Sheldon has been fun. Of course there's also Magnum P.I., one of the best shows on television. Some older shows are not streaming properly yet (I'm guessing that will be fixed after the transition come March 4th) but new shows are working fine. I wanted to try out Clarice but Siri keeps typing "Clarisse" so I had to hand-type it into AppleTV manually... WHY, LORD? WHY DOES LIFE HAVE TO BE THIS HARD? — On the other hand, I am liking Clarice very much. How does CBS do it? Other networks just don't have the track record for great television like this! If you love TV, then check out this amazing 50% off deal before it disappears on March 3rd!
• YAS QWEEN! I get irrationally invested in the lives of people on TikTok. This guy hasn’t updated in two days and I’m probably going to lose sleep wondering if he got the job...
He has exactly two videos posted. This one was enough to get me totally invested. I guess that's what happens when the pandemic hasn't left you with much of a life of your own to live? Best of luck to you, sir, in finding a new job.
• Super New! Ta-Nehisi Coates writing a Superman movie? YES PLEASE! I mean, how many damn times are we going to have to sit through the same old Superman movie? Christopher Reeve, Brandon Routh, and Henry Cavill all did great jobs, but I'm ready for something truly different. Like maybe Calvin Ellis Superman?!?
Though I wouldn't be mad if Henry Cavill was given another go. He's actually a great Superman, and it's not his fault that he's had to work from shitty, SHITTY scripts. In any event, I am definitely excited at what might come of this.
• EcoBullshit! This video is absolutely fascinating. A lot to unpack when it comes to the "green" direction that the smartphone market is heading... fortunately Arun Maini has done the work for you, and it's well worth a watch...
The hypocrisy of it all is mind-boggling... but oh so expected.
• Retail Therapy! Well darn. Fry's Electronics had some of the coolest retail stores outside of Disney, and they just shuttered all their stores. They were destination-worthy places, and I traveled to several in California when they were at the height of their popularity. From the NASA-themed store in Anaheim and Egypt-themed store in Campbell... to Alice in Wonderland-themed in Woodland Hills and Old-Timey Sci-Fi-themed in Burbank, Fry's sure made shopping fun! Brick-and-mortar shops were having a tough time staying afloat before the pandemic... I have a feeling that because of COVID this is the fate for many of them.
• Without Telling Me... I don't know why I find this so incredibly sweet... but I really do...
And for anybody thinking that she's being an asshole... it's a joke. And he was obviously in on it...
And that's a wrap on bullets, Sparky... bring on Springtime weather.
Posted on February 26th, 2021
It's almost 1:00am. I watched the latest episode of WandaVision (discussed below) then picked up around the house before collapsing in bed to write this blog entry. An entry which won't be posted until morning because I'm sure there are going to be a hundred mistakes that I'm too tired to catch right now.
Yesterday was uneventful. The most interesting thing to happen was when I decided to make a "Barbecue Pineapple Flatbread Pizza" from HelloFresh... then just couldn't do it. I ordered it because meal services often have things that sound disgusting but end up delicious. But when it came time to marinate the pineapple in barbecue sauce so I could slap it on the pizza?
There's no way that could ever be considered "delicious" so I put the ingredients away... slapped some Contadina Pizza Sauce on the flatbreads... added mozzarella, parmesan, and feta... then baked them until I had cheese pizzas. They were fine.
As I was pawing through my stack of drawers to find a pizza cutter, I reached in and ended up slicing my finger on a serrated knife. Took a nice chunk of skin off my finger, but didn't bleed. Lucky me. I can't wait for Spring so I can finish my kitchen remodel, because it's tough living like this. Tough on my fingers, that is.
My thoughts on the latest episode of WandaVision are in an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on January 29th, 2021
Boy, losing Cloris Leachmen and Cicely Tyson in the same week? That's a sobering way to close out January after closing out the shit year that was 2020.
Last night I blew all my energy dishing up Jake and Jenny's wet food, leaving me no energy to cook for myself. I had eaten a veggie burger early in the day while running errands, so it wasn't a big deal. I ended up eating some Cheez-It's and drinking a Coke Zero then calling it good.
Which of course meant that I woke up hungry in the middle of the night.
Which resulted in my eating another handful of Cheez-It's, but I digree.
The problem with waking up in the middle of the night is that it also wakes my cats up. They are perfectly happy to let me sleep and rarely bother me when I'm lost in slumberland, but all bets are off if I wake them up. First Jenny wanted pets. Then Jake wanted pets. Then Jenny came back again for more pets. According to my Apple Watch, I finally fell asleep again after 2:30am. Was that handful of Cheez-It's worth it? Probably not.
Four-and-a-half hours later when I was awakened by Alexa so I could feed them breakfast, I noticed that THEY weren't the least bit tired. I guess when you spend the entire day sleeping, you always have surplus energy.
In other news... I stayed up 'til midnight so I could watch the latest episode of WandaVision, where things are finally starting to happen. It only took four episodes, but okay. It wasn't necessarily great, but it does hint that great things are coming. If you've already seen it and are interested in my spoiler-filled thoughts, you can find them in an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...