You Come For The King, You Best Not Miss

How Wakandans Get Down

So after writing the piece, Why The Black Panther Is Marvel’s Answer To Batman, a racist troll decided to iceskate uphill on social media:

Racist White Fanboy: No Denny your article is wrong. Moon Knight is Marvel’s answer to Batman, not Black Panther.

Denny: We’ll have to agree to disagree.

Racist White Fanboy: You’re only claiming Black Panther because you’re both black.

Denny: And I guess you’re only claiming Moon Knight because you both wear white hoods?

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‪#‎YouComeForTheKingYouBestNotMiss‬

#‎GeekCultureIsForWhitePeople‬

‪#‎VibraniumShattersWhiteFrailMediocrity

‪#‎WakandanAndProud‬

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Rape Culture: From Grimdark Fantasy To Reality

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Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault and Rape Survivors

When I worked as a reporter for a local paper in East Tenn some years back, a story arose about a young woman who had been sexually assaulted at her high school.

When the issue was brought to the school board’s attention, they moved heaven and earth to shame the young woman and to vilify her and her family.

No one denied the attack happened but nothing was done about it because the attacker was a star athlete and the school’s administration was beyond corrupt.

When I tried to follow up and get the family’s side of events, the story was buried due to local politics and my publisher’s wish to stay in good with the Powers That Be in the county.

The young woman’s mother contacted me later and informed me that she and their family moved to another county, they were doing much better and thanked me for doing what I could. I apologized I couldn’t do more.

As I would come to learn in the years to follow, this is why rape culture is so prevalent.

I’m often asked why I tackled rape culture in Hollowstone and it’s for that very reason, to bring awareness to how pervasive and serious this issue is.

Needless to say I have serious problem with writers who use it as a trope or filler or a plot point for female characters.

Needless to say this is one of the main reasons I quit watching Game of Thrones years ago.

Black Lives Matter Vigil

Recently I had the opportunity to attend a local #BlackLivesMatter vigil for Rekia Boyd and all of the other sisters we have loss to systemic racism and police violence. The turnout was actually pretty decent all things considered. We participated in a libation ceremony and I had the opportunity to share some thoughts as well.

I spoke about Duanna Johnson and Mya Hall and to also remember trans women, and LGBTQs in general in our movement.

Shockingly (for me anyway) my comments went over well. Several people thanked me for speaking.

I’m glad I attended. It’s nice to see a flicker of candlelight in the middle of a violent storm.

Why The Tomorrow People Didn’t Take

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With more than a few articles revolving around a certain Scarlet Speedster (I so wouldn’t know anything about that), our fearless leader Keith Chow has deemed this unofficial Flash Week here at the N.O.C.

In keeping with the theme, I wanted to switch gears and review another CW series that featured a few Flash alums, The Tomorrow People.

I’ve been a huge fan of The Tomorrow People for most of my life. It was one of the few series on Nickelodeon that I actually watched, much less enjoyed. The premise was quite sophisticated and certainly appealed to young viewers like myself who appreciated having a show aimed at me that was not a cliche or patronizing.

A few years ago I caught the original BBC series and appreciated the concepts behind much of the show.

However when I learned the CW was doing an American remake of the series, I knew it wouldn’t have long for this world.

The Tomorrow People are the next stage of human evolution. With all children having the potential to be a Tomorrow Person, at some point between childhood and late adolescence a normal child could experience a process called breaking out and developing psionic abilities which usually include telepathy, telekinesis and teleportation.

Part of the psychological makeup of The Tomorrow People is that they are inherently pacifists by nature and while they would use their abilities and even a defensive martial arts maneuver as an absolute last means of self defense, the Tomorrow People could never intentionally kill.

The Tomorrow People is essentially a throwback to an era of classic sci-fi (such as Doctor Who or Star Trek) which believes in an optimistic and attainable future. The theme of The Tomorrow People in both the BBC series and the 90s Nickelodeon remake taught that with scientific advancements along with wisdom and compassion, the idealism of young people would shape the future and right the wrongs of generations past. The youth would be the ones to teach humanity to reach its full potential.

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While more shows like this are desperately needed, unfortunately they aren’t always properly executed by networks.

The American remake abandoned the core themes that define The Tomorrow People. The idealistic precocious teen pacifists were now battling shadowy government agents in each episode or worse battling the annoying tropes of unnecessary whiny teen angst. This version of The Tomorrow People was more akin to a revamp of Mutant X: The Next Generation.

This ultimately led to the series’ cancellation after one season. The series suffered to find its footing and the drastic changes alienated many fans of the previous incarnations.

With most tv shows, a super attractive cast of teens/twenty-somethings coupled with Matrix-style super powers and Wuxia fighting scenes all but guarantees an instant hit. Unfortunately, the showrunners picked one of the few series those elements do not resonate with, at all.

Here’s hoping The Tomorrow People will receive a reboot in the not-too-distant future that’s true to the series. If properly executed and marketed it could achieve similar success that the Star Trek and Doctor Who reboots have attained.

Given the fact this franchise continues to “break out” and return, it’s only a matter of time.

By Dennis R. Upkins

Captain America: Civil War is the Avengers Sequel I Wanted in the First Place

And over on The Nerds of Color, I glorious leader Keith Chow takes no prisoners. NONE!!!!

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Marvel Studios has just announced it is starting production on Captain America: Civil War, the first installment of “Phase 3” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Filming is currently commencing in Atlanta, but the production will span the globe with filming to take place in Germany, Puerto Rico, and Iceland. Since it’s also the third film in the Captain America saga — with the Russo brothers returning to direct — you would think that the film would be following up on the events of The Winter Soldier. However, the official plot synopsis and cast list make it sound more like Avengers 2.5.

This is not a complaint by the way.

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By Dennis R. Upkins

The Double Standard Of Diversity

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A satirist by the name of Jon Stewart once said, “If you don’t stick to your values when they’re being tested, they’re not values, they’re hobbies.”

I love the work I do.

However, in the last year or two I’ve experienced pangs of resentment at the burden of being a gay author of color. I knew what I was signing up for when I entered the industry. Penning stories that features a diverse cast (being a minority writer myself), I was all but committing career Seppuku.

No this resentment was something else. Something I couldn’t quite shake.

Requests would be asked of me as a black writer. What’s my minority quotient in the story, which social justice issues will I be tackling, why am I not tackling them, why aren’t I doing more for the movement?

Writing has always been my calling, my passion, and my great escape. So it constantly struck a nerve that I couldn’t even be an artist and do what I love without my race or orientation being a detriment.

The answer finally revealed itself during an installment of the Buzzfeed Brews series. In an interview with the leading ladies of Shondaland, Ellen Pompeo (Grey’s Anatomy), Kerry Washington (Scandal), and Viola Davis (How To Get Away With Murder) discussed their experiences portraying groundbreaking heroines and working with legendary Shonda Rhimes.

During the discussion, Ms. Davis expressed that while strides in diversity and progress have been made in the media, it’s ultimately hindered by the fact that white artists, directors, and writers aren’t held to the same standards as their marginalized peers.

A most tragic and all-too-accurate reality.

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By Dennis R. Upkins