Tag Archives: comic books

RIP Stan Lee

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

This is a nerdy blog so you can expect I’d have to say something about Stan Lee.

I guess my first memories of him are when I was a kid, watching Spiderman cartoons on Saturday mornings and hearing him narrate, calling the kids listening “True believer” and using his catchphrase, “Excelsior!”

It’s sad but it is also hard to feel bad because a) 95 is about the best anyone can hope for b) I’m not sure how well he was physically but he was doing well enough that he appeared in cameos in every Marvel movie since 2008 and that’s better than any of my 70 plus relatives were ever able to do c) he was a rare person who not only created something but also did what he wanted his whole life and made a good living at it and d) he lived long enough that he got to see his creations draw big time box office gold.  Sure, they were always possible in comic book form and in cartoons and toys but it wasn’t until just the past couple of decades when Marvel based movies really came into their own.  He got to see it.

Most of all, his heroes were flawed.  While Superman was Mr. Perfect, Lee’s characters struggled with their abilities.  They wanted to do the right thing but they didn’t always know what the right thing was.  They screwed up, made mistakes, felt bad about it, learned how to cope with failure, etc.

When I was a kid I started an autograph collection, writing to celebrities to ask for an autograph to see if they’d write back.  Most didn’t but sure enough, I got an autographed photo of Stan in the mail sent in a Marvel Comics envelope.  I wish I’d saved the envelope.  I’ll have to dig the photo out and post a pic of it.  I’ve always wondered if the signature is real or if it is a pre-printed signature but either way it was cool. I’m sure it was just some assistant who sent it but still, cool.

Finally, here’s a cameo that a lot of people probably forgot but Gen Xers like me remember, Stan in Mallrats, trying to talk Brodie into being a better boyfriend to his girlfriend.

Man, my friends and I watched this movie so many times when we were kids.  Where does the time go?

 

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Movie Review – Black Panther (2018)

Mother of God, 3.5 readers.  Look what some rapscallion posted on Twitter:

Shameless plug: if you follow @bookshelfbattle you can read snarky commentary like that all the time.

And now, on to Wakanda!

Short version – Malcolm X and Martin Luther King (or at least their dueling philosophies on black empowerment) were put into superhero form and left to duke it out.

Longer version – Wakanda has long existed as a hidden utopia of technological greatness, all made possible to large reserves of vibranium, the magic, do-everything metal that makes Captain America’s shield so awesome.

At the core of Wakandan politics is a central question – should Wakanda remain hidden from the world, hoarding its technological secrets to ensure the country’s continued survival, or should it reach out and arm oppressed people of African descent all over the world?

T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), newly crowned king, takes the former position.  Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) a Wakandan-American with a desire to challenge T’Challa’s claim on the throne, takes the latter.  The stakes are high as whoever holds the throne is able to claim the power of being “the black panther” i.e. the superhero with amazing abilities that can be wielded for good or evil, depending on who is wielding them.

No superhero is complete without his entourage or “Scooby Gang” as Buffy used to call them.  T’Challa’s feisty younger sister Shuri serves as her brother’s James Bond-style “Q” or master of technology, coming up with all sorts of fun and interesting gadgets for the king to use in his war against evil.

Danai Gurira (“Walking Dead” fans know here as the samurai sword wielding Michonne) gets her long overdue big screen debut as T’Challa’s general, Okoye while Lupita Nyong-o is the big cat’s love interest.  Angela Basset rounds out the royal family as T’Challa’s mother.

Meanwhile, Andy Serkis, long relegated to behind the scenes work where his movements are recorded to create CGI characters like “Lord of the Rings'” Gollum hams it up big time as Killmonger’s partner-in-crime/internationally evil weapons dealer Ulysses Klaue.  I got the impression that Andy was waiting a long time to become a real life character and thus enjoyed every minute of it.

Martin Freeman connects the film to the ongoing Avengers plot line as Agent Ross.  Ross is loyal to America while T’Challa’s allegiance is to Wakanda, so somehow they have to set aside their differences to engage in some buddy cop shenanigans.

You know 3.5 readers, one thing I always notice about a super hyped movie is that it is always a let down if the movie doesn’t live up to it.  This film does.  I noticed a lot of African Americans at the theater wearing traditional garb so I imagine there’s a lot of pride in seeing the first black Marvel superhero on screen.

I mean, there was Falcon (Anthony Mackie) but he’s really Captain America’s sidekick and hasn’t been given his own movie yet.  And there’s Blade (Wesley Snipes) who had a whole trilogy but he’s not an Avenger and his powers are more occult/vampire related whereas the Avengers’ powers usually have less scary origins.

However you slice it, Black Panther is the first blockbuster super hero and he’s raking it in at the box office.  Further, as the Marvel cinematic universe enters its tenth year, the cat is breathing new life into the franchise.  While the older characters we’ve grown used to are a lot of fun, we’ve gotten used to their story lines and new additions like this one will keep interest going into the future.

Special effects wise, there’s a lot of cool stuff going on.  Typically, I don’t like it when movies put a certain brand of car into the film as an advertisement, but there’s a pretty cool chase scene in which a Lexus is driven in an unusual way.  I’ll let you watch it rather than spoil it.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.

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A BQB Kickstarter?

Hey 3.5 readers.

If you’re a young creative person, you really have no idea how good you have it.  I know, every generation tells the next generation that, but it’s true.

In the 1990s, I thought it might be possible to start your own website and share your writing online while bypassing the traditional gatekeepers.  Some early pioneers with HTML coding skills were able to do just that but for the most part, it was too difficult for the average person.

Today, you have blog sites like WordPress where you type and WordPress codes.  You have social media to share your posts with like minded folks via hashtags.

But what about artwork?  Even as far back as the 1990s, the Internet was a very visual medium.  No one wants to read a block of text without some breakup in the monotony.

People used to read physical newspapers and not every article had a photo.  That’s because if you picked up a paper, you came to read.  Meanwhile, on the Internet, you’re trying to get people’s attention.  Flag them down as they pass by and for that you need artwork.

I was really surprised that an artist, based on my descriptions of two of this blog’s characters, Alien Jones and the Yeti, was able to produce this in a short time and frankly, at a reasonable price:

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I normally use shutterstock for most of this blog’s characters, but I was wondering if a kickstarter wouldn’t be in order?  By raising some funds, I could hire artists to draw Uncle Hardass, Vinny Baggadouchio, Professor Nannerpants, Dr. Hugo von Science, etc.

What say you, 3.5 readers?  Generally, I don’t like Kickstarter.  I feel it’s like virtual panhandling and it might be embarrassing to start it and get no support.  However, I think some original artwork could help bring this blog to the next level.

I’ve done as much as I can on the cheap.  The stats have increased every year.  The traffic slowly but surely gets slightly better over time, but that’s comparable to like, wind bringing sand to a beach and every five years the beach gets a quarter of an inch thicker.

Tell me your thoughts, 3.5.  If you’ve done a kickstarter, I’d like to hear your advice.  Is this a viable endeavor?

 

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Daily Discussion with BQB – The Accusations Against Stan Lee

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

When I was a kid, I made an effort to start an autograph collection.  I wrote to celebrities, usually to like the network they worked on, the company they worked for, and wrote polite little letters asking for an autograph.

I got a lot of form letters back telling me politely to pound sand…but I also got…a photo signed by the one and only Stan Lee. (Not gonna lie, I have debated for years whether he signed it or if it was a photo with the signature already printed on it, but either way, it was a better response than what I’d received from anyone else.

It made me happy because I used to watch the “Spider-Man” cartoon on Saturday mornings, narrated in his cool voice.

Sigh.  Excelsior, true believers.

He’s denied the accusations through his lawyers.  I think I’ll wait and see how the story develops before I say anything.

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Daily Discussion with BQB – Who Was the Best Batman?

A) Adam West

B) Michael Keaton

C) Val Kilmer

D) George Clooney

E) Christian Bale

F) Ben Affleck

Rank them in the comments as to who you think is best to worst.

BQB’s ranking:

Best Humorous Batman = Adam West

Best Overall Batman = Michael Keaton

Best Serious Batman = Christian Bale

Acceptable Batman = Val Kilmer

Worst Batman Ever and the Studio Should Have Never Let It Happen – George Clooney

Blah, I’m Indifferent to This Batman = Ben Affleck

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Movie Trailer – Thor: Ragnarok

Hey 3.5 readers.

The trailer for Thor: Ragnarok is out and it’s pretty fantastic.  The use of Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song (“I come from the land of the ice and snow…”) is pretty effective.

What say you, 3.5?

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Movie Trailer – Spiderman: Homecoming (2017)

Hey 3.5.

BQB here, still posting behind the Yeti’s back.  Shh!  Don’t tell him.

The trailer for Spiderman: Homecoming is out and it looks like the best Spiderman movie in awhile.

The first two Tobey Maguire movies in the early 2000s were great then they hit a wall with the third one.  Emo Spiderman.  Blah.

The most recent two were fine but didn’t really knock my socks off.

Here, it looks like they’ve come up with a great idea, setting Spiderman in the world of the Avengers and making Tony Stark his mentor.  It makes sense.  Tony is a scientist.  Peter is a wannabe scientist.

We don’t need need to see yet another origin story where Peter is bitten by the radioactive spider and he doesn’t stop the robber and the robber shoots Uncle Ben so from then on Spiderman pledges to never let anyone down again and so on.

We’ve got it.

Yet, while we don’t need an origin story, we do need an explanation as to what this current incarnation of a character is all about.  That’s why the latest DC movies have been struggling.

No, we don’t need another movie about young Bruce Wayne seeing his parents getting shot (shot parents/guardians create so many super heroes).

But yes, we could have used a movie to explain what this version of Batman is all about.

If you missed, SPOILER ALERT – in the latest Captain America film, we were given an introduction to Spider Man.  It was good.  It was all we needed.  Now we know what makes this current version of Spidey tick.  Now he can hit the ground running in his own movie without any need for devoting half the film to the spider bite and the Uncle Ben sadness.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

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Daily Discussion with BQB – Is It Possible to Make a Good Fantastic Four Movie?

Good morning nerds.

BQB here.

Is it possible to make a good Fantastic Four movie?

At first, I’d argue no. The source material is dumb.  A rock monster and a rubber man, an invisible woman and a guy who can set himself on fire at will?

Well, then again every other comic book movie, in essence, is equally dumb.

The movies that came out in the 2000’s stunk. Then the most recent reboot last year was panned by critics. I didn’t think it was horrible but it didn’t blow me away either.

In all the movies, I feel there was a failure to capitalize on Dr. Doom. A scary character/dictator…really had potential to be super naughty.

What say you, 3.5 readers? Is is possible to make a good Fab Four movie?

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Daily Discussion With BQB – Should Captain America Be Gay?

Happy Thursday 3.5 readers.

There’s been a twitter campaign as of late to turn Captain America gay.  Have him fall in love with his good friend Bucky Barnes and have those two start going at it and everything.

Eh.  You know, I’m sympathetic to the idea that gay people would like to see themselves represented in a super hero movie but I’m not sure rewriting a character who has been obviously straight (hello, he’s carried a torch for Agent Peggy Carter forever) and turn him gay out of left field.

Plus it seems stereotypical to assume that because someone has a longtime friendship with someone of the same sex (like Cap and Bucky) that they just can’t be friends and instead that friendship must somehow mean they’re gay.

It’s probably not all that politically correct to argue against it but the idea just seems to out of left field to work.  Plus, I’m not sure movie studios want to start making changes to movies based on twitter campaigns. Before you know it, the masses will just start running the movie business.

A gay superhero could work but I think the solution would be to find or create a gay super hero and not necessarily rewrite a currently straight hero to become gay.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

 

 

 

 

 

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Daily Discussion with BQB – Who is Your Favorite X-Man?

X-Men: Apocalypse is coming out soon.

So I’ll pose this question to my 3.5 readers – who is your favorite X-Man?

I think I have to go with Psylocke and all that gratuitous booty.

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