Blog Archives

Previously on X-Men: Character Spotlight: Mystique

On this episode of Previously on X-Men, it’s another character spotlight! This time, we dig into the history of that blue mischief, Mystique!

Eric and Hilary talk about her comic book history, her life and goal. They talk about Mystique’s various children, lovers and bouts with insanity. They also talk about her appearances in other media and whether or not she can turn into a bird.

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Previously on X-Men: Interview with Steve Englehart

On this episode of Previously on X-Men, Eric and Hilary interview comic book legend, Steve Englehart!

They talk to him about his time writing the Beast and the X-Men and his early Marvel comics career! For a while, Englehart was one of the only games in town when it came to keeping the X-Men going in the comics. Their own series had been canceled and it was up to other writers to include them in other books! And Steve Englehart made sure to keep the lights on!

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Previously on X-Men: Character Spotlight: Cyclops

On this episode of Previously on X-Men, we dig deep into the history of the field leader of the X-Men, Cyclops!

Eric and Hilary talk about Scott Summers’ childhood, his history with Mr. Sinister, his bad job at being a dad to multiple kids, his crazy life choices and more. They go into his powers, his relationships and his iconic presence. They also talk about his appearances in other media and how cheap he is in fighting games.

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Previously on X-Men: Character Spotlight: The Scarlet Witch

On this episode of Previously on X-Men, we deep dive in the history of the Scarlet Witch. While some may know her only as an Avenger, there are others of us who ever read her in roles in the X-Men.

We talk about her history with both teams, her time as both hero and villain, her importance in the X-Men series and her appearances in other media.

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Previously on X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men

In this episode of Previously on X-Men, Eric and Hilary talk about the failed pilot, Pryde of the X-Men! We had to cover this before we could get to the 90s animated series, but, you know what? We’re glad we did!

We talk about the the issues the X-Men had coming to television and how nothing ever came of this series. We talk about the pilot and discuss weather it’s worth watching these days. Also, yes, Australian Wolverine. But, also, Dazzler and her sweet jacket!

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Previously on X-Men: X-Men: The Movie

In this episode of Previously on X-Men, Eric and Hilary talk about the first X-Men movie! Or, X-Men: The Movie, to some. Or, X-Men 2000, as the super cool kids say today. It makes the movie seem weirdly futuristic for something twenty years old!

We talk about the history of the movie and it’s tough rode to getting into theaters. We go through the film and talk about how well it holds up, what it gets right, the changes it made and where it puts the future of this new franchise!

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Previously on X-Men: Giant-Size X-Men #1

In this episode of Previously on X-Men, Eric and Hilary talk about the series changing issue, Giant-Size X-Men #1. There’s a bit about the history of the X-Men comics up to that point and where the franchise was in the 70s.

They talk about the story, how it holds up today and how important it was to Eric when he first read this issue.

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Previously On X-Men: The Introduction

In the first episode of Previously on X-Men, Eric and Hilary introduce themselves, their entry into the X-Men and their history with these characters!

So, there’s a lot of talk about the comics, the movies and the cartoons! Then, each episode will rotate through the different forms of media. Deep dives into character histories, re-watches of the cartoon, interviews, it’s all there! Hope you survive the experience!

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Book Review – I Kill Giants

51hXui6krmL._SX370_BO1,204,203,200_I’ve been having issues lately when trying to read Young Adult books. I don’t love teenage protagonist, in books or movies. I find the range teenage characters have for drama, when written for a young adult audience, to be limiting or, more often than not, dull. It’s very relationship based, which I don’t mind a sampling of, but, when it’s the main course, I’d rather skip it all together. And the teenage introspection! The narration! I can’t do it! Not anymore! Adults writing teenagers think they’re so darn clever and relevant because they mention last years movies or say “legit” or something like that, I can’t do it anymore and I won’t!

This has been a quick review for John Green’s Turtles All the Way Down.

Here’s the twist, though. Graphic novels fix this for me. There’s less inner monologues and more visual cues. Blankets or This One Summer nail the melancholy existentialism because they create mood in the art, not just through dated dialog. When we see how young a character is, they feel more real as a teenager because we’re not being told by a thirty-five year old how “legit” young they are. Also, I’m not sure if “legit” is something I’ve read people writing or just a new thing I’m doing now?

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Also, I should stop judging, because the book I wrote has teenage protagonist and they’re mopey and monologuey and now I’m legit worried I can’t stop saying legit…

I Kill Giants is written by Joe Kelly, whose always been one of the better writers in the world of Marvel comics. It tells the story of a girl who doesn’t fit in at school, who’s going through some heavy stuff in her family life and who might also fight giants. The giants thing is up in the air, but there’s a good chance it’s real. Or maybe it’s all in her head. Or real.

This self-contained graphic novel is sneaky. You go in expecting a certain type of story, maybe similar to Anya’s Ghost or In Real Life and, while there’s fantastical elements, you get something more akin to This One Summer. I Kill Giants is lighter on it’s feet than Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki’s novel, all while dealing with loneliness and loss without bringing down the party. J. M. Ken Niimura’s art could be described as big, similar to Ed Mcguinness’ style of comic art, but the black and white illustrations stand without the need of bold colors. The lack of color even makes the beach seem more lonesome and magical. There’s a pacing in this book, with the writing and art, that matches superhero comics, but this is completely accessible to people who dislike capes and masks.

18888318It’s hard to talk about I Kill Giants without giving away important moments. The ending is reliant on the book’s whole concept of truth vs. fiction, of dealing with problems or ignoring them. I could tell you about the book’s bullying or the friendship that forms, or the only guidance concealer that I’ve ever wished was real, but there’s too much that should be read without knowing the truth out the gate. I will say this book made me cry, and it might have been a while since a young adult title had that effect on me.

This seems to me like it’s been a badly written review. Take it as more of a recommendation wrapped in some rants. This book is great and should be considered essential reading for the young adult graphic medium. With a movie coming out this year, hopefully more will discover this book, because it shouldn’t be missed.

Justice League – A Review

justice-league-posterIt’s fine. The movie is fine. It’s not great or as grand as a Justice League movie should be. It feels small, but not in an intimate way. It’s scale and tone reminded me of Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. For a movie that cost as much as it did, I sure doesn’t look great. There’s a lot to dislike about the movie, but, for the first time in this non-solo Wonder Woman series, there’s some stuff to generally like.

After the face-slap that was Man of Steel and the so-dumb-I-feel-bad-for-it Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, I pretty much retired any hope of ever enjoying these films. Some people like the darker tones, the hopeless characterization, the over-complicated plotting and maybe that’s a good thing. We don’t want every superhero movie to look and feel the same. I simply had to resign that, like Deadpool, these movies weren’t being made for me.

After Wonder Woman gave Warner Bros. their first great DC movie since The Dark Knight, I felt a bit better but could tell from the lead up and trailers that Justice League was going to be messy. Zach Snyder leaving for personal reasons and bringing in Joss Whedon to rewrite and reshoot seemed like a good way to mess up the joint. And messy it was! But, somehow, the worst feeling I had while watching it was boredom. The anger I used to feel has burnt out and maybe that’s due to the small amount of sunlight that’s allowed through all the sepia tone and CGI-smoke.

justice-equipo-960x480First, I suppose, the good. Ray Fisher came out of nowhere and impressed me as Cyborg. In fact, while watching his story, I kept wishing I was seeing the Cyborg movie already, because it would have to be more compelling than what I watching at the moment. I didn’t hate this version of Aquaman, despite being the bro-est bro of bro-dom. I look forward to being surprised by him in his own, solo movie. And Gal Gadot is still a Wonder Woman I would follow into battle. Oh! That reminds me! The fight in Themyscira was fun! And, when there was action on screen, it was entertaining, for the most part.

Now, for the rest. During any scene that there was no fighting, I was bored. And, hey, I’m not some action junky who needs people to shut up and punch! The conversations between these characters, Justice League members or not, felt like time killers or placeholders for the real script. There was always the element of humor laced in the lines, but nothing was able to be truly funny, except for Batman’s, “I don’t not” line.

1024x1024Ben Affleck’s Batman was less interesting this time around, lacking the fire of his previous performance. The Flash doesn’t really impress and I’m sure that’s due to the fact I’ve been watching a successful representation of the character weekly on the CW for three years now. And Superman, well, that character has been a wash since day one. They try to clean him up a bit, make him a beacon of hope and all, but it’s not enough. He’s still not a Superman I want to watch, even when using all his cool powers. These movies love showing off how strong he is, but the heart is never there.

I’ll say this, and I don’t want anyone thinking I like Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice or think it’s even close to a good movie, but Justice League feels small in comparison. BvS felt like an event, albeit a dumb one. It’s tone, cinematography and over-dramatic dialog made it feel like an important, stupid moment in history. Justice League just sort of happens. A big, gray monster-man shows up and is going to make more CGI fire and smoke and some people get together. This doesn’t feel mythic or memorable. If anything, it feels like a preview for a real Justice League movie, with a full roster and characters who aren’t learning their powers or motivations.

warner-bros-2-1So, to summarize, Justice League is fine. It’s watchable and has some moments that make it worth the time. It’s not epic and it’s not a trendsetter, which is a shame. The Justice League deserve better, they deserve to have the best superhero movie, to put the Avengers to shame. This is a team with the biggest names in super-lore and I had hoped for a feeling of awe and insperation. But, that feeling never comes. Sometimes, during the movie, Batman and Superman’s classic musical scores of the past will play and I was reminded of the good feelings and pleasant memories I had for these characters. Unfortunately, I realized, nothing on screen was causing that to happen this time around.. If anything, those themes emphasize the lack of direction and identity this movie has, requiring past visions to guide the way.

I hope a Justice League sequel will be better and I hope the characters can rebuild from here. Whereas the continuity in the Marvel films feels like a boon, these DC movies suffer from it. Every time a movie comes out, I can’t shake the past these heroes are burdened with. You can lighten Superman up, but he still snapped a man’s neck. You can make Batman a team player, but he still loves his guns and shooting people. But, with Justice League, they’re now another step in a more enjoyable direction. I hope they can keep that momentum and get past this version I’ve had not interest in before. I hope I can enjoy future DC films. But, for the first time in a long time with these movies, at least I can hope.