It’s always awesome when a work assignment requires you to pen a think piece that is ultimately a love letter to your favorite superhero.
So recently Rose McGowan made headlines expressing outrage over the X-Men: Apocalypse billboard ad that showcases Ivan Ooze, I mean Apocalypse, choking Mystique, claiming that it promotes violence against women.
Fox has since issued an apology for the billboard. Which I think was the right call for the studio. The right call would also be for Fox to apologize for the fustercluck that is X-Men: Apocalypse itself but I digress.
Now while I personally like McGowan, I have to keep it 100 and say the timing and her complaint is more than a bit suspect, not to mention hypocritical.
Continue reading “The Inconvenient Truth In Advertising “
I swore I wouldn’t write a review for the film. Primarily because any review I penned would pale in comparison to the excellent piece penned by my buddy and fellow N.O.C. colleague, Valerie Complex.
Seriously if you haven’t read it, go do so now. Val snatched so many wigs and edges, you would’ve thought Director Bryan Singer and Fox were members of the Charles Xavier Cosplay Appreciation Society.
Recently Fearless Leader (known to some of you as Keith Chow), informed the N.O.C. collective that legendary comic book writer Greg Pak had a new Kickstarter campaign and wanted to see if anyone would be interested in interviewing him.
My response to Fearless Leader:
I’ve been a fan of Pak’s work for many years. From Amadeus Cho, Action Comics, Extreme X-Men, Storm (the most epic epic of an epic epic), to his new Dark Horse series Kingsway West, Pak’s bibliography reads like the fantasy pull list of any self respecting comic book nerd.
In addition to being one of the most talented writers in the game, Pak is also an award winning film director and has previously set two all-time Kickstarter campaign records with his books Code Monkey Save World and The Princess Who Saved Herself.
Recently I had the privilege to chat with Pak and discuss everything from the comic book landscape and his current Kickstarter campaign for his new book, Kickstarter Secrets: Crowdfunding Tips.
“I’m always fascinated when white geeks go on and on about how accepting and wonderful geek culture is. I don’t question their experience, I just can’t personally relate. For me, I have to be cautious of what venues of fandom I venture in, because it’s not unlike walking through gen pop, where you constantly have to look over your shoulder to make sure an inmate or warden doesn’t attempt to shank you. Or a better analogy would be making sure that while you’re always outnumbered, that you’re never outgunned like my patronus Midnighter.”
-Dennis R. Upkins
The following happened a few years ago but this tale definitely warrants a post just the same.
It’s always honoring and humbling to know that my writing (even my musings on comic books) touches people in a profound way or inspires them.
Last week my buddy Derpetta V. Greene penned this piece based on some thoughts I shared on Facebook regarding three cornerstone characters in X-Men: Wolverine, Cyclops and Storm.
Over on Latin Negro, yours truly has a guest post discussing how a storyteller’s inspiration can often come in the unlikeliest of forms.
I won’t lie, this is probably one of my favorite pieces I’ve penned this year.
So last week, I was reviewing the solicits for upcoming comics and saw this gem above:
An all female X-Men team being led by none other than the First Lady of Marvel, Storm. And note said all female team consists of not one, not two but three women of color.
Then I read about the upcoming Mighty Avengers which features a predominantly black roster and saw these beautiful renderings here:
Now I KNOW you all didn’t think I was done celebrating all things black geekery just because February is over. In this special post, I want to show some love and celebrate a very special group that is close to my heart: black women. It’s no secret that characters of color, well people of color in general (artists, authors, actors, etc.) are regularly on the receiving end of the worst kind of racist and misogynistic denigration. Anyone who has participated in fandom knows the type of disgusting hatred that the characters and the actresses who portray Tara from True Blood, Guinevere from Merlin and Dr. Martha Jones from Doctor Who regularly receives. And there’s a reason for that. Beautiful, sexy, intelligent, extraordinary, these goddesses are feared and despised because of the power they wield. Society constantly attacks black women because of the phenomenal light that they shine. So this post is not only a celebration of the nubian heroines who made me proud to call them my sisters but black women, period. This post is a tribute featuring a few of my favorite black female characters and actresses who brought the awesome back to fandom. This is also my way of saying thank you to all of the phenomenal nubian goddesses who have blessed and enriched my life over the years. To all of my black women, this one’s for you:
February is a special month for me. In addition to it being the month of my birthday, it is also the month we celebrate Black History and in turn a very special part of American History.
To celebrate both Black History and my birthday, this year I wanted to do something a little different and fun. For this month (and possibly beyond), I’m going to making posts related to being a black geek. I’ll post (and repost) some of my favorite books, movies, comics, etc. that feature black protagonists and discuss the challenges of being a person of color in fandom and in the speculative fiction industry.
So today I will be discussing one of my all time favorite DVDs, The Black Panther.
Deep in the heart of Africa lies Wakanda, an advanced and unconquerable civilization. A family of warrior-kings possessing superior speed, strength and agility has governed this mysterious nation as long as time itself. The latest in this famed line is young King T’Challa, the great hero known worldwide as the Black Panther.
Now outsiders once again threaten to invade and plunder Wakanda. Leading this brutal assault is Klaw, a deadly assassin with the blood of T’Challa’s murdered father on his hands, who brings with him a strong army of superpowered mercenaries. Even with Wakanda’s might and his own superhuman skills, can the Black Panther prevail against this deadly invading force?
How this film rocked, let me count the ways.
Before I go any further, I should state that apologies are in order. Years ago, there was a trailer for this series and I was less than impressed to put it mildly. It was a motion comic that was being pushed as an animated film and I was outraged that the film featuring the black superhero got the short end of the stick.
What I didn’t know was that the trailer was actually originally done by one animator who presented it to film executive producer Reginald Hudlin who penned the series and the film is based on his story arc. Hudlin presented it to Marvel and they greenlit it.
But you wouldn’t know that though the way Marvel threw this film/six part animated minseries under the bus. While lesser films such as Ultimate Avengers, Iron Man and Doctor Strange were pushed and heavily promoted, Black Panther was on iTunes and then removed and the DVD has to be ordered through Amazon and its primary advertising has been through word of mouth.
The most twisted part, this was some of Marvel’s finest work.
First and foremost, the star power alone should’ve made this a fully funded feature film in theaters or at the very least on DVD: We’re talking Djimon Hounsou as the titular protagonist, Alfre Woodard, Kerry Washington, Jill Scott, and Stan Lee.
The lack of support this film has gotten is proof how the Black Panther is one of the most overlooked superheroes ever. A gifted prodigy, a world class warrior whose skills are second to none, T’Challa is arguably Marvel’s answer to Batman as Bruce Wayne and T’Challa share more than a few parallels.
The film also reminded me why I sorely miss Hudlin’s writing on the Black Panther series. He has the perfect blend of escapism, social commentary, political intrigue, satire, and fantasy escapism that is second to none. This is a story that has political intrigue, explores the bonds of family, is part revenge saga, and is action packed with more than a few laughs. Not surprising considering this is the man that gave us Birth of A Nation along with Aaron McGruder. Hudlin’s writing of the Black Panther came under fire. The primary reason, in his world, black folks don’t play second string to white characters. They are just as accomplished as their caucasian peers and for a lot of white comic book fans, that’s far more far-fetched than super-powered beings. But for those of us who have been waiting for a film that features a black superhero with RESPECT, this film has been long overdue.
While the film sticks pretty faithfully to the graphic novel, Who Is The Black Panther, there are a few changes and in my opinion for the better. Most notably, a cameo from the X-Men and Storm is brought in as a major player. While I wasn’t a fan of the execution of the Storm/T’Challa relationship, I’m always happy to see the Goddess in any series. After all, she is the First Lady of Marvel as far as I’m concerned. Mad props to Jill Scott who flawlessly delivers a beautiful African accent in her portrayal of Storm.
And if you’re not a comic book person, that’s totally okay too. This film is very self-contained and you’ll get the full story without feeling lost.
What I was really happy to hear is that the film has done immensely well. Last I heard, the Black Panther has outsold comparable X-Men and Iron Man films, both of which have had the backings of live-action films.
Of course I’m left with only one question to Marvel: WHAT THE FRAK IS WRONG WITH YOU? WHY AREN’T YOU PUSHING MORE FILMS LIKE THIS? DON’T YOU WANNA MAKE MONEY? I LIKES TO MAKE MONEY. I WANNA HELP YOU MAKE MONEY!!!!!!
Minority superheroes when handled with respect do equal financial success: Cassandra Cain run on Batgirl, Kevin Keller, Batwoman, this film here.
I implore you to check out Counting Colored Cash for further proof.
In the meantime, I’ll be Waiting For Wakanda.
And if this video here doesn’t get you hyped enough to go buy the DVD off of Amazon or get the episodes off of Youtube, I don’t know what you’re doing with your life. I really don’t.
Black Panther is available now on Youtube, Amazon and wherever DVDs of AWESOME are sold.