Friday, November 30, 2012

Gunn Apologizes For "Controversial" Comments

Yesterday, the big news in nerdom was a two-year old blog post from Guardians of the Galaxy writer/director James Gunn. Rather than rehash it all, you can read about the kerfuffle here.

Here's the apology he's issued to GLADD here:
A couple of years ago I wrote a blog that was meant to be satirical and funny.  In rereading it over the past day I don’t think it’s funny.  The attempted humor in the blog does not represent my actual feelings.  However, I can see where statements were poorly worded and offensive to many.  I’m sorry and regret making them at all.People who are familiar with me as evidenced by my Facebook page and other mediums know that I’m an outspoken proponent for the rights of the gay and lesbian community,  women and anyone who feels disenfranchised, and it kills me that some other outsider like myself, despite his or her gender or sexuality, might feel hurt or attacked by something I said.  We’re all in the same camp, and I want to do my best to make this world a better place for all of us.  I’m learning all the time. I promise to be more careful with my words in the future.  And I will do my best to be funnier as well. Much love to all.
So there you go. The Internet can put the pitchforks back in the barn and go about its day. However, I do think it bears saying that its beyond upsetting that something that was clearly comedy (the merits of which we can discuss elsewhere) was taken to such inane levels.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Speaking of Guardians of the Galaxy…

It seems in the last 24 hours, a list has surfaced that was authored in February of 2011 by James Gunn, writer and director of the forthcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie. The list has caused the Internet to burst into flames because the list, titled “The 50 Super-Heroes You Most Want to Have Sex With” (voted upon by others with commentary from Gunn), contains what some have describes as vile content. No one’s angry at a list of fictional characters people want to fuck, mind you. Just some of Gunn’s commentary, which is mostly misogynistic, and at times homophobic. A blogger over at The Mary Sue was the first (I believe) to unearth the article, and has been one of its loudest critics. Let’s take a look at some of the choicest cuts, shall we?

On Gambit:
"My girlfriend voted for this Cajun fruit. I think she’s looking to have a devil’s three way with the two of us.  The idea of my balls slapping against Gambit’s makes me sick to my stomach, but I can’t deny the fellow’s pure HEAT."

On Wonder Woman:
"For the second year in a row, Princess Diana is the big winner.  It seems like many guys out there are hoping she’ll lasso their penises and make them tell the truth – which is that they want to be inside of Princess Diana!"

On Batwoman:
"This lesbian character was voted for almost exclusively by men. I don’t know exactly what that means.  But I’m hoping for a Marvel-DC crossover so that Tony Stark can “turn” her.  She could also have sex with Nightwing and probably still be technically considered a lesbian."

On Black Canary:
“I sometimes think that the Black Canary is the hottest chick in the DC Universe until I remember that she, uh, fucks Green Arrow.”

The list goes on, but I think those are three good indicators as to Gunn’s style and tone throughout the list.
People are pissed. Like, really, really pissed. Cries of boycotting Guardians of the Galaxy have already started to stir and I can’t imagine a call to have him removed entirely from the project to be too far behind. And I do get some of the uneasiness people are feeling. Really. I do.

But here’s the but…

I can’t be the only person to read this until recently unread list and know almost immediately that he’s writing in a style designed to be provocative. He’s writing in a tone intended to be come off as “frat-boyish”.

For Christ’s sake, the list is called “The 50 Super-Heroes You Most Want to Have Sex With”. Hell, before ripping Gunn a new one, The Mary Sue even says, “Lets [sic] be clear: there’s nothing wrong about running a poll for the most sex-able superhero on your site…”. Exactly how classy can such a list be? I mean, we are talking sexual fantasy with fantasy characters here.

The man was making jokes. Bad jokes, to be sure. But jokes nonetheless. That much is clear. How do I know? Because, from time to time, I’ve been known to cross the line with a comment or joke that I was so very certain was funny but lost something in the delivery. Just like everyone else who’s ever been known to tell an off color joke or two. Should he have toned the style down a little? Maybe. Should he be crucified and permanently labeled a homophobe, racist and misogynist? Not so much.

Dear Internet, please lighten the hell up.

This Tree Has Been Blessed by the Odinson

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Marvel Testing Actors For Guardians of the Galaxy's Starlord

Hot damn, this Guardians of the Galaxy movie is moving right along!

According to Deadline, Marvel has starting the casting process for Starlord, leader of The Guardians of the Galaxy. The list includes Joel Edgerton, Jack Huston, Jim Sturgess, Lee Pace, and Eddie Redmayne.
Brendon Connelly over at Bleeding Cool seems to think Joel Edgerton is the shoe in. In fact, he even points out Edgerton would have been Joe Carnahan's choice to play Matt Murdock in his aborted 70's era Daredevil movie. So that has to count for something, right?

Personally though, I always read Starlord, especially in the most recent Guardians of the Galaxy series, as having a personality more in line as to something Lee Pace would be best suited for. Not that this is something I'm going to lose sleep over, mind you. I may well be just as excited, if not a little more, for this movie than Avengers 2...

Flight of the Navigator to Get A Remake and That's a Good Thing

So here’s a remake I’m happy about for a couple of reasons. First, I was never obsessed with Flight of the Navigator like I was other movies in the 80’s. I didn’t dislike it and I would surely watch it whenever it was on cable, but it wasn’t something I was particularly drawn to. In fact, Derek Connolly, one of the guys tapped to work on the remake agrees, telling Variety:
"'Flight of the Navigator' wasn't a seminal movie of my childhood but I remember liking it…”
Second, the concept is actually sound and holds up. The movie may not have lit my imagination on fire, but the idea behind it (kid gets "kidnapped" by an alien ship then gets to captain in? Yes, please) did. 

You can find the whole story from Variety here.

Gummie Bears? They're Dashing and Daring? Not Ringing Any Bells, Huh?

There's no doubt that Alicia Keys singing the theme song to The Gummie Bears all sultry like is perhaps the nerdiest thing that a celebrity will do all week. And there's no doubt that The Gummie Bears getting love over Duck Tales, Darkwing Duck and Tailspin on national television in 2012 is nothing short of spectacular.

What is mind blowing, though, is exactly how long it takes the studio audience to figure out just what Keys is singing. Seriously, I first saw this video sans description or title and as soon as she uttered the word "dashing" I knew what was going down. So what was up with the studio audience? A room full of baby boomers? Rescue Rangers fans? I kind of want to know.

Anyway, fantastic video, either way.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The 10 Best Peter David Stories

As a young comic fan, I remember Peter David as being the first writer I became aware of. I think every comic reader, especially those who start young, don’t really associate the stories that are blowing your mind as being written by actual human beings when they’re first getting into the medium, despite there being a credits box more often than not prominently displayed somewhere on one of the first pages. But I do remember PAD as being the first writer to capture my attention enough that I felt compelled to not only find out who he was, but what else he has written.

With that said, I’ve sat down and, after careful consideration, picked my top 10 Peter David stories. Bear in mind this list is purely, 100% subjective based on what has struck me over the years and pertinent first and foremost to my tastes. But worry not. As a man of impeccable tastes, I’m certain this list is as near definitive as definitive can get.

10) Aquaman: Time and Tide

Over the years, there’ve been more attempts at making Aquaman cool than anyone can readily count, but I've always been of the opinion Peter David did it to the greatest effect, and it all started with this series. Sure, most remember the David-penned series that came after this one featuring a hook-handed, long haired and scruffy bearded Arthur Curry (which, make no mistake, was fantastic under David) but this is the series that got the ball rolling. David deftly shows that when it comes to the king of Atlantis, it ain’t all talking to fish and that life was hard for this man of two worlds. If (fine, when) you hear someone mock Aquaman, point them to this series.

9) Madrox

This one took everyone by surprise back when it was first published. It was a book about a D-list character, surrounded by other D-list characters. Hell, Wizard Magazine had just run a feature openly mocking one of them. Peter David took these misfits and shoved them into a noir-style book. Sure, he was playing with characters from his beloved and cut-much-too-short the X-Factor run, but hardboiled, detective noir? With also-ran X-Men characters? Really? Yeah, really. And it worked. Like, really, really well. Madrox was a good detective story and thrust, Jamie “Multiple Man” Madrox into the fore of the X-Universe arguably for the first time in his history. Madrox was successful enough that a new X-Factor series centered around Multiple Man was launched from it that is not only the best, most non-X X-book, but consistently one of the best comics Marvel publishes month-to-month.

8) Spider-Man: The Death of Jean DeWolff

Heroes on opposing side of an issue is nothing new to comics, nor is moral ambiguity is nothing new to comics, but The Death of Jean DeWolff handles both with maturity and balance. This tale is notable as the titular character, Captain Jean DeWolff isn’t killed in the hail of battle by a supervillain or the like, but rather by a sociopath in her sleep. What follows is Spider-Man and Daredevil teaming up, and not so much their heroic mettle being put to the test but rather their morals and values.

7) The Last Avengers Story

In the future, The Avengers are… mostly old, out of shape and retired. Sure, we learn that some of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes met bad ends in battle over the years, but for the most part, this is the story of men and women on the cusp of old age, their triumphs and defeats long behind them, being called back into action by one of their oldest adversaries for one last epic battle. Not only that, but the Hank Pym/Ultron relationship actually arrives at its logical conclusion and it's pretty damn fulfilling.  This was one of those “final showdown” books that was less shock and awe and more personal.

6) Supergirl: Many Happy Returns

While it does help to be up on pre-crisis DC and post-crisis DC, it’s not essential to enjoy this fantastic arc. The pre-crisis Supergirl is pulled from her timeline into the then current DC timeline, meeting the new Supergirl. The duo couldn’t be more different, what the new Supergirl being quite modern and properly angsty, and the original Supergirl being appropriately Silver Agey innocent. Like other Peter David stories, the premise shouldn’t have worked, but he pulled it off and he pulled it off well. Funny, poignant and tragic, this is Peter David at the top of his game.

5) X-Factor 87

Peter David is that rare writer that has perfectly mastered dramatic whiplash and X-Factor 87 highlights that ability perfectly. The team is ordered to go through psychological evaluations, and hilarity ensues to be sure (Polaris’ new costume is a fantastic dig at 90’s design aesthetics), but  we also get keen insight for established characters we never really got before. For example, we learn why Quicksilver is a dick, why Strong Guy is always cracking bad jokes, and why Multiple Man is an attention whore.

4) Captain Marvel 31

Peter David’s criminally underrated Captain Marvel run (both of them) is a perfect showcase of what he’s capable of as a writer. It’s got drama, humor, beautiful triumphs and despairing tragedy. This particular issue exemplifies what made this series so special, as it comes at the end of a big, cosmic time travel arc yet serves as a look at Rick Jones’s wife, Marlo (a character David himself created years before in The Incredible Hulk). This is the small, personal story of an ordinary woman who consistently finds herself in extremely extraordinary circumstances, right smack in the middle of a giant cosmic epic.

3) The Hulk: The End

Another look at a terrible future, this entry is notable for perfectly capturing the loneliness that is the existence of both The Hulk and Bruce Banner. Everyone and everything is gone, save an ancient, decrepit Bruce Banner who just wants to die but isn’t allowed to thanks to his monstrous alter ego. The climax is both what you’d expect and at the same time offers up a nice, bitter twist.

2) Fallen Angel

Most of Peter David’s writing is peppered with a fairly decent amount of light-heartedness, if not outright humor, before he turns things around and whallops your heartstrings. Not so much with Fallen Angel. This creator-owned series is about as dark as David gets, but it’s not depressing and dour. It’s just… well, it’s just good. To tell too much of the premise is to give away much of the good stuff, suffice to say that nothing is as it seems in the city of Bete Noir, including time. Part super hero tale, part old school pulp story, all unique and constantly engaging.

1) Incredible Hulk 466

This was the first time a comic ever made me cry. Sure, I'd seen heartbreak in comics before, but nothing this intensely personal and painful. This is the penultimate issue of David’s legendary run on The Incredible Hulk and it’s not a happy ending. After Banner’s wife Betty becomes terminally ill thanks to what seems to be continued exposure to the radioactive Hulk, the oft-put upon scientist pulls out all the stops trying to save her. And near the end, it seems he may have succeeded. Only, he doesn’t succeed. Betty dies in pain despite Bruce doing everything in his power to stave it off. Add a narration that offers up passages from Betty's autobiography and you’re left with one of the most truly emotionally crushing moments in comics. 

Star Trek Into Darkness Gets a Plot Synopsis

The Film Stag has the synopsis for Star Trek Into Darkness, and while it doesn't drop the name of the villain played by Benedict Cumberbatch, it does give a very strong indication as to who Kirk and crew will be up against next go round:

In Summer 2013, pioneering director J.J. Abrams will deliver an explosive action thriller that takes Star Trek Into Darkness.
When the crew of the Enterprise is called back home, they find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization has detonated the fleet and everything it stands for, leaving our world in a state of crisis.
With a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction.
As our heroes are propelled into an epic chess game of life and death, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn apart, and sacrifices must be made for the only family Kirk has left: his crew.

My money (and pretty much every other Trek fan's money at this point) for the villain of the piece is on Gary Mitchell. In the original series, Mitchell was Kirk's best friend who was granted god-like powers after smacking into the Galactic Barrier.

Gary Mitchell as the villain of Star Trek Into Darkness makes me a whole helluva lot happier than trying to force Khan on everyone. Mitchell isn't quite what you'd call iconic, but the character has a lot of room to become iconic. And in the hands of an actor like Cumberbatch, we may finally well get a Star Trek big bad that gives Khan a run for his money.

Monday, November 26, 2012

So Rick McCallum is Out of the Star Wars Picture

So evidently, amid news that Disney had bought up Star Wars, no one noticed until now that consummate yes-man Rick McCallum quietly... retired?

Anyone who's followed anything relating to Star Wars for the last two decades knows that McCallum has pretty much been the public face of Star Wars, and he's been in one behind-the-scenes featurette after another, serving the role of Wormtongue to George Lucas. Seriously, there's a fairly solid chance that we got the prequels we did because of McCallum.

Peace out, McCallum. Don't let the blast door hit your ass on the way out.

You can check out the whole story here.

Grant Morrison, Alan Moore and Musings on Plagiarism

Maybe you know that Grant Morrison and Alan Moore don’t really have any affection towards each other. Maybe you do. Either way, there's a pretty well thought out and crafted article today from the minds at examining not only the decades long pseudo-feud between the two legendary creators, but the idea of plagiarism (and misconceptions around and about it) in not just comics, but art as well.

"Of course, especially in the West, we have this rather odd cult of artistic originality, in which we usually praise whoever did something first — even when we don’t like it, or the people who came after perfected the idea and did it better. That’s a little strange, when you think about it."

(On The Moore/Morrison Feud, Literary Borrowings, and the Anxiety of Influence-

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Reason For The Season

Nativity Scenes! They’re a mainstay of the Christmas season, and, depending upon who you talk to, the reason for the season. While I love Christmas I’m not exactly the super religious type. I just like the season. Does it need a reason beyond just being awesome? 

But I'm a good sport and I do think The Nativity should have some representation in any home that’s chosen to celebrate Christmas. So a few years ago, I bought a manager scene, minus the figurines, to do my part in keeping the "Christ" in "Christmas"…

Okay, so maybe I didn’t actually keep the "Christ" in "Christmas", but I feel like I should get points for trying, and I should definitely get points for making an awesome Nativity scene. And, just for the would-be haters out there, there is actual thought here and each player is there for a reason.

Adam Warlock as Christ. I mean, come on, the character was drafted for the role in the Marvel Universe, why wouldn’t I draft him for the role in my own reenactment? Hell, Jesus died and rose from the dead once. Adam Warlock does it at least once a week.

The three wise men, ala Uatu, Death and Thanos. They’ve all, at one point or another, traveled from afar to take note of great cosmic events, and this one is no different.

Drax, Captain Marvel and Silver Surfer as the shepherds. This just made sense to me. These are three characters that travel the spaceways, defending justice, saving lives… shepherding you could even say.

Galactus as God. Because, you know, Jack Kirby pretty much said Galactus was an analogue for God tailor made for fighting The Fantastic Four. Plus, the idea of Galactus being present for any Biblical event makes me want to retcon the good book. Hmm....

Interesting side-note; it turns out 5-year-olds don’t get irony, symbolism or heresy. A friend of mine’s kid saw the pic and evidently very earnestly wondered where the baby Jesus was. Yeah, about that…

From the Ashes... Or Something Dramatic Like That

The Nerduary was started seven years ago when some friends and I figured we’d try our hands at this blogging thing. What started as us just posting for each other eventually grew into a moderately popular blog, garnering a pretty sizable amount of unique, returning traffic each day.

But then life got in the way, people stopped posting as much until eventually it was just me. And then, in one of the biggest screw-ups of my Interneting career, I lost the domain For some reason I had registered it using an entirely different email account than my other domains, an email I rarely, if ever, checked. So, yeah, I missed out on a lot of “ is about to expire” messages.

Long story short, the domain was snaked, someone tried to hold it for ransom and instead of ponying up the unreasonable amount of cash being asked for, I just threw my hands in the air and walked away (I did, however, offer to trade one of my two cats, to no avail).

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when, on a whim, I checked to see if was open. I missed blogging, I missed talking about all the nerdy shit that makes me happy (and violently angry) and I missed having a platform to interact with other geeks. Lo and behold, was indeed open. Seems the asshole who snaked it realized after a few years that I wasn’t going to refinance my car to get the name back and in turn let it expire. So for the low, low price of $9, I bought it back and, voila!, I’m back in action.

I don’t know what this new incarnation will end up looking like. I have ideas, sure, but if I reaized anything from from past blogging and published experiences, it’s that the best laid plans pretty much amount to jack shit, things take a life of their own and sometimes it’s best to just jump right in and see where things take you. Because God knows if I keep planning, I’ll never get this thing off the ground. 

So with that said, here ya go. The All-New, All Different Nerduary. In this issue everything changes!

Nothing will ever be… Hell, you know the drill.