Okay, Game of Thrones is, thankfully, over. My girlfriend loved the show, as did millions of others. I am not among their number. Before I dive into this I do want to be clear about a couple of things; (1), the acting was first rate, not a single character rang false. (2), George R.R. Martin, for good or ill, used every fantasy plot trope he could find. That was enough for many. My problem is that creating such a stulted universe automatically means the people living in it have to be idiots. I’ll give you a simple example. They built the wall to keep out the white walkers and the free folk eight thousand years ago. They have seven kingdoms in various stages of war, and a history of genocide when the “First Men” are considered. They also have horses. Which means they have horse piss. Which means they have saltpeter. That’s a prime ingredient for making gunpowder. [Read more…] about Game of Fools
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Let’s start by facing some facts. Superhero movies, and TV shows, are making so much money right now that there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell that Hollywood will stop making them in the foreseeable future. The good news is, if you don’t like them, there are many other options. If you do, then you’re golden and need not worry about much else. Well, global politics and famine and stuff, sure, but not movies. This year saw Marvel demur from attending San Diego Comic Con. They certainly had no need to be there. They could, and did, release trailers on Youtube from where ever they happened to be. And, let’s be blunt, I doubt any of them wanted to sit through fanboy theories about how Avengers: Infinity War should end. [Read more…] about Coming Attractions
A Cowardly New World?
We live in interesting times. On the one hand we have tech that can do amazing things. There are machines that can extract water from the air and bring moisture to parched lands. We can harness the wind to power entire cities. There are ships which use the ocean for power leaving a near zero carbon imprint on the planet. I’ve written about all of these things before and humans felt heartened. At the same time we live in a world of science denying vitriol. People who have no clue how even the most basic things work are trying to control how we take care of our essential needs. Denying vaccines to infants due to single research paper, one widely discredited, makes more sense to them than decades of substantive facts. Letting our crops rot in the field, infested with myriads of diseases and insects, is, to them, preferable to any viable alternative. They wallow in fear and cowardice and expect humanity to fall down with them. There are many rational people who feel the cowardly ones might benefit if they were allowed to step back from society and live in a world of their own creation.
[Read more…] about A Cowardly New World?
While I will discuss emails on our weekly radio show on The Big Wake Up Call, I never do it here. The reason is simple, while listeners to the show may be asking questions that I can answer on air, readers of the blog are usually just offering commentary. In other words printing them would be kind of needy. Oh look, someone read me. Will you read me too? It’s the main reason we got rid of the comments’ section years ago. You just are sharing a mix of fawning fluff and trolls. There are sites where the readers are insightful, and I think this is one of them, but forcing readers to take the extra step of mailing me has eliminated the idiots. So that’s what’s working for us.
All that being said an email came in this week that I have to share, with the authors’ permission. Yes, authors, plural.
Jen and I have been fans of yours for a few years now. We first heard one of your Valentine’s shows and have been hooked ever since. You have a fun, yet unusual, look on life. Last year she and I came out to our, Tea Party loving, parents. Suffice it to say things have been stressful. That’s not your fault, you seem very LGBT friendly, but I am hoping you can help us a little.
You recently have posted several blogs about how the human race is going to die in short order. Unfortunately you write well so Jen and I had nightmares for days. It probably has to do with all the stress because we know you’ve tackled stuff like this before and it scared us but not like this. Can you mark your columns with a rating or somehow note that they won’t send us screaming from the room?
Cathy & Jen
Since they clearly read this blog, and I was nice enough to ask before I did anything, I’ll put the answer here.
The short answer is no. Because this blog gets translated all over the world a ratings system would do more to confuse than clarify. That said, others have hinted that they wouldn’t mind a radio specific blog and that I can do. Just look for posts with the word “radio” in the title from now on and you should be good to go.
As to the rest, live, love, laugh. Those who wish to join you will make your life better by their presence and those that don’t will enrich your world with their absence. My best to you both.
So, with that caveat in mind I figured I’d mix things up today so everyone could play along without fear of ending up in therapy. We’ll start with something that will tie this all together nicely.
I happened to be out with some friends when the Supergirl commercial came on CBS. Three of the ladies who were with us suddenly said “Oh, she’s so hot!”, “Damn, those boots!”, and, of course, “I’m straight and I’d do her.”
There’s one in every crowd.
That aside, the creators of Supergirl announced that they have some new super villains and fans and newbies alike are digging the fact that Red Tornado is coming to the screen.
Besides being a longtime member of the Justice League, Red Tornado served as a mentor to Young Justice when that team first assembled under the pen of longtime Supergirl writer Peter David.
In addition to Red Tornado and the previously-announced Livewire and Reactron, the Supergirl Twitter account confirmed that General Sam Lane will appear on the series, along with the Kryptonian villain Non.
The presence of both Non and General Lane will likely lead many fans to the conclusion that Lucy Lane, recently cast in the series, will indeed take up the mantle of Superwoman. In the comics, she was briefly given artificial “Kryptonian” powers by one of her father’s military projects.
It’s likely also worth noting that the Earth-2 version of Red Tornado, who has had a significant presence in The New 52: Futures End and Earth 2: Society, houses the personality of Lois Lane, Lucy’s sister and Sam’s daughter.
Non was a brilliant scientific mind and soldier on Krypton before he was lobotomized to make him a more perfect weapon. He first appeared in Richard Donner’s Superman II before being adapted by Donner and DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns into the comics during their short-lived Action Comics run. That same run, collected as Superman: Last Son, featured the Kryptonian Phantom Zone prison which will be introduced in the series’ pilot.
There are more comic book references in that little post than you’ll find in most comic book stores. That said you’ll also note that the female super-villains listed above are all smart. Even the bad girls are good role models.
Speaking of female superheroes, Isis Wenger became the unwitting target for assholes when her company used her face as part of a recruitment drive to attract female engineering students. Most of the comments were along the lines of how she “didn’t look like an engineer.”
This pic was her response.
Not all heroes wear capes. I’m just saying.
Speaking of superheroes who don’t wear capes, Warner Bothers Films and DC Comics have announced that they will be making a new Booster Gold / Blue Beetle movie.
It appears that time travel is in the DCEU’s future. The Tracking Board has revealed that Warner Bros. is currently developing a live-action Booster Gold/Blue Beetle film. The project that will team-up Michael Jon Carter & Jamie Reyes is just another film joining the already massively diverse DCEU line-up which includes films such as Aquaman, Suicide Squad, Cyborg and Wonder Woman. The film will be helmed by Greg Berlanti and is being pitched as a “superhero buddy-cop movie” which is something quite different than we’ve seen before and offering up the opportunity for tons of fun.
Berlanti’s a big name when it comes to Warner Bros. DC properties, having both worked on both Arrow, The Flash and 2011’s Green Lantern, as well as being behind the upcoming Legends Of Tomorrow and Supergirl series. The director, producer, and writer is even such a big fan of the character that he even scripted the pilot for a Booster Gold series over at Syfy.
The site also added:
“The dynamic duo are also members of the Justice League and are being planted now to appear in a future JL film.”
DC has wanted to push both of the characters on-screen for quite some time with them both appearing in Smallville and plans for each to receive their own series at one point. Could Booster end up being Warner Bros. equivalent of Tony Stark? Will these characters be involved in the upcoming Justice League in any capacity? This news raises a lot of questions.
These two characters have a very unusual relationship. Many consider them to be the Laurel and Hardy of superheroes. Given the dark nature of most of the DC Universe (HI BATMAN!) this could be a nice respite.
Some superheroes don’t wear uniforms at all. Get your mind out of the gutter, I’m not talking about super porn. I’m talking about regular Joe’s and Jane’s who wear hard hats and coveralls and, in this case, deliver entire school systems in a pick up truck.
Disassembled, each Solar Classroom in a Box can fit in the bed of a pickup truck. According to Aleutia’s website, the cinder block, and steel structures take about a day to contstuct—no cranes necessary—and another day to fully wire. But it’s not simply the structure that makes the Solar Classrooms in a Box so impressive. Each comes complete with 11 desktop computers designed specifically to operate in the dusty heat of rural Africa, as well as a server, a projector and monitor, and 3G and Satellite connectivity, all powered by the classroom’s pre-installed rooftop solar panels. The only things missing are the students. Each Solar Classroom in a Box runs $20,000, with half of that accounting for the structural costs, and the other half for the included technology.
Aleutia, which focuses on bringing computers and health care technology to developing communities, announced recently that they would be shipping a Classroom in a Box to each of Kenya’s 47 counties, servicing an estimated 20,000 children, as a result. While it isn’t the company’s first batch of classrooms delivered to African nations, this latest initiative is being called Kenya’s largest solar classroom project to date. As FastCo points out, Aleutia’s classrooms have been optimized for this particular rollout, with company founder Mike Rosenberg explaining:
Usually when we install solar, there are issues with the panels pointing the wrong way or at the wrong angle. Here, because it’s all pre-installed and optimized, there’s no need for a site survey and other retrofitting costs.
As long as you’ve come this far, allow me to share a few more things you might be interested in;
The Space Tiara: It cures migraines and looks just like you think it would. That said, it works, so get on your fabulous glitter, bust out the crinoline and feel better.
Elvira is getting her own animated series. You either pushed up your boobs in anticipation or you probably shouldn’t be reading this stuff in the first place.
In, seemingly, related news, the Chinese have built an automatic sperm extractor. The instructions, literally, say “just plug it in and it works.”
Okay, back to capes and leather, Warner Television appears to have greenlighted a new version of Justice League Unlimited. Since that show was able to tackle some adult themes without losing its younger audience, and since the people who control it now are the ones who controlled it then, fans are understandably stoked.
Speaking of stoked, Lexus just made every single person who saw the Back to the Future movies start tingling in all their fun places; they have unveiled a functioning hoverboard.
Speaking of tingling, have you ever had a memory of a previous life? Many people have. Now, science may have figured out why. Aaron Kase has a great article showing how primal, and possibly subtle – yet related, memories can be handed down from generation to generation without anyone from any generation actually meeting.
Lastly, you know how your parents used to tell you “TURN THAT SHIT DOWN! YOUR SCARING THE COCKROACHES!” Well, now, you can simply tell them, “It’s okay mumsy and daddums, I’m just curing Alzheimer’s.”
Science Alert reports that scientists have used pulsed ultra-sound waves to break up the plaque that surrounds neurons in the brain when Alzheimer’s sets in. The result is a return of lost memories an functions. Human trials will start soon.
Still not in a good mood? Okay, you’ve left me no choice. Turn up your speakers really loud, strip down to your skivvies and try not to dance when you play the video below.
blur – girls and boys (hq).mp4 from Ruben Arlote on Vimeo.
Listen to Bill McCormick on WBIG (FOX! Sports) every Friday around 9:10 AM.
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Is Traditional Media Dead?
Television has long held an affinity for the comic book art form. Sometimes mining it for pure comedy gold, as they did with Batman in 1966, and sometimes using the platform to seriously look at what man can, and maybe should, accomplish as they did with the Six Million Dollar Man. Hey, that first movie didn’t win a Hugo Award for sound effects. Other highlights included Wonder Woman, Flash and Smallville. Each putting their own spin on things. Obviously I’m skipping a bunch but I want to get this done before we’re all old. The one thing they all had in common was that they eschewed the traditional bonds of film-making to get directly to their audience. While rarely commented on it was kind of revolutionary. Movies were where you told stories, TV was a place for stories to go to die. That changed, obviously, as time marched on but TV was mostly dominated by variety shows and family friendly pablum. Yet the shows I named here all managed to entertain adult themes, occasionally make you laugh, and keep you coming back for more. Hollywood noticed but, as evidenced by the amount of crap they threw in the middle to try and capitalize on that, HI LEGENDS OF SUPERHEROS 1979, JUSTICE LEAGUE 1979/80 & JUSTICE LEAGUE 1997, you can quickly see that none of the executroids had a fucking clue what was happening.
However, as I noted, things change. The new Arrow show based on the Green Arrow comics has done a tremendous job of mimicking the arc of comic book stories while managing to avoid the whole “Will he survive? Tune in next week ….” schtick. They later added Flash to that universe and paved the way for great shows like Gotham to explore characters at a much deeper level than films would traditionally allow.
All of these shows, wisely in my humble opinion, stick to what makes comics great. While the action is a part of it, the characters – who are they? why do they do this? what effect does their life have on others? – are what keep us coming back. We want to know about them. Done well you get compelling story telling, done poorly you get Birds of Prey.
But TV has limits. Content must be kept acceptable for Newton Minow‘s hypothetical 10 year old. Sexuality must be avoided or merely alluded to.
Jane live an alternate lifestyle, now let’s go have a beer!
In the comics it’s more like “Jane’s a lesbian, here’s her girlfriend Darla, they kiss, they hold hands, how the hell are they going to pay the rent?”
Much more in keeping with the world we live in. Which is kind of odd when you think about it.
Now, as comics have begun to reflect our world in all its diversity those who want to celebrate that in the live action format are stymied. Well, they were. Enter the Internet.
This week the nice people at Netflix let some fun loving cretins take a peek at a few episodes of the new Daredevil. The Observer saw all four presented episodes and provided this interesting review.
I know it’s still early in the year, but I’m calling it now: The most beautifully choreographed fight scenes of 2015 will be on Netflix, courtesy of Marvel’s Daredevil. We’ve seen the first four episodes, and this show is like no other comic book adaption on the small screen yet. The beauty of Netflix is the freedom it allows—Daredevil gets as dark as the source material requires. It’s so dark, it’s almost a better Batman show than Gotham, and that show actually has Batman in it. If nothing else, Daredevil will rule the comic book TV landscape for years to come.
What TV landscape? There are no TVs involved, really. Oh, sure, you can watch Netflix on a TV ….. if you have an Internet connection, but that ain’t TV as anyone knows it. The related shows of Luke Cage & a/k/a Jessica Jones are also getting the dark and gritty treatment. And, while they will reference the Marvel universe in general (no way not to when you think about it) they are all much more stand alone properties than you might expect. Also they’ll be dealing with stuff that adults should talk about, like morality.
Mature content doesn’t mean boobs and disco. It means content that mature adults will find interesting. See the Daredevil trailer below as example A.
Yeah, he’s a devout Catholic who kills people. And, yes, there IS an interesting story behind that.
See what I mean?
And yet, for some, that isn’t enough. Tossing copyright laws into the fire some people are spending serious money, think hundreds of thousands of dollars, to make “fan films.”
And, guess what? They’re good and studios are paying attention.
In 2013 director Jesse V. Johnson & actress Nina Bergman tossed a complete film trailer for how they thought Wonder Woman should be done as a film. If you don’t think that Warner Brothers and DC Comics were paying attention, watch their film and then CLICK HERE to see the new images of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.
About the same time Andy Hansen & Michael Slater took a swing at the Nightwing mythos and nailed it. Now TNT is developing Teen Titans for TV. It too has a similar feel to the fan film. Well, that film and Grayson 1, a film that imagines what all the Robins would have been like without a Batman. That’s actually a really good piece of work. It also has a female Joker who calls herself Mamma and talks to God. And, naturally, God talks back.
Supergirl? Missiane Videos took a look at the story in 2012 and the video is still wildly popular. I’m sure it’s a coincidence that a similar show is coming out on CBS this year.
Don’t even get me started about Deadpool.
Basically, more and more of these shows are throwing conventions to the winds and, if they need to, are just going straight to the fans. And if they have to crush a few laws to get there? Well, no one seems to be stopping them. And there’s a reason for that. For the first time in history comic book companies and film studios are getting real world test marketing without spending a dime.
Oh, you’re right. I’m sure that’s just a coincidence too.
Listen to Bill McCormick on WBIG (FOX! Sports) every Friday around 9:10 AM.
Visit us on Rebel Mouse for even more fun!
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