Reading: Thanos Rising

I really wanted to like this comic.  A story, written by one of my favorite writers, Jason Aaron, about one of the top villains in all of the Marvel universe.  It’s not a bad comic.  It’s well written and expertly drawn.  It’s just a story that probably didn’t need to be told.

Some villains are enriched by their back story.  Harvey Dent comes to mind.  Others work better with a lack of a back story.  The Joker is the main one in this category.

This story provides a back story for Thanos and why death follows him everywhere.  It might be too literal of back story.  It provides an explanation by not really providing one.  I know this is vague, but I don’t believe in spilling the contents of books I review because that would give you no reason to read it for yourself.  It does provide plenty of action, and it, smartly, shows that Thanos is not just a thug but that he also has a brilliant, scientific and strategic mind. But besides that, I didn’t feel that I knew Thanos any better than I did before, which for an origin story, means it didn’t really do its job.

Mr. Aaron does write some great dialog and does create some moments of true horror and suspense.  Simone Bianchi does some great pencil work, especially for full-grown Thanos.  There are a few questionable panels, one in particular in which Thanos’s mother is weirdly underdressed considering her part in the story and what is happening to her at that particular moment. The strongest work of the creative team comes from Simone Peruzzi who’s coloring does an outstanding job in helping catch the mood and the mind of Thanos.

On Goodreads, I gave the book three stars.  It’s not a bad comic at all. After reading it, I feel that maybe Thanos, like the Joker, works better when he is just absolute evil.  He works better when we have no idea why he is doing what he does.

Star Wars-ing: Exploring the Canon with DelRey Books and Marvel Comics

Of course, Star Wars is more than the movies. Since Disney purchased Star Wars, they created a new canon that includes the new Marvel Comics and DelRey Books. While invalidating the old canon angered some, it freed Disney to make the new films according to how they want to make them.  It was, truly, the only sensible business move.  That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the old canon (known as the expanded universe or Legends as Disney calls it).  I just read Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn from the Legends universe and loved it.

At Star Wars Celebration, I attended the authors’ panel and the Marvel panel.

Here are some tidbits from the authors’ panel:

  • Chuck Wendig didn’t really know where some characters would go in Aftermath.  He let some plot lines play out and became convinced as he wrote them.
  • Mr. Wendig definitely had some moments where he thought Lucasfilm would cut it, but they didn’t. One in particular involved Jar Jar.
  • Timothy Zahn usually just gets some “tweak” comments. In fact, the arguments he lost to the story group he is glad he lost.  He further states that if they were horrible to work with, he would have just made three novels (Legend’s Heir to the Empire series) instead of 11.
  • Mr. Zahn created one of the characters in Thrawn to serve as the intermediary between Thrawn and the audience.  (I haven’t read the book yet, so I didn’t catch the name)
  • To keep the tension in novels in which you know that the main characters survive, you have to put the audience on their toes by putting other characters in jeopardy, according to Mr. Zahn.
  • Delilah Dawson pointed out that the moderator alluded to Captain Phasma’s back story…Ms. Dawson’s Phasma book comes out later this year. Spoiler?
  • Christie Golden discussed how most villains have some good in them.  She advises young writers “to make sure their heroes have flaws, and their villains have virtues.” Now, sometimes a character is so evil, and you have to enjoy it.

Marvel

This panel was hosted by Amy Ratcliffe of StarWars.com and featured Jordan White (editor of all Star Wars comics at Marvel), Charles Soule (writer for Lando, the upcoming Darth Vader, Poe Dameron), Phil Noto (artist for Poe Dameron and Chewbacca), Heather Antos (assistant editor for the Star Wars line), Matt Martin (LucasFilm Story Group), and John Tyler Christoper (cover artists that does the action figure variants). The panel focused on previous releases and future ones.  Ms. Ratcliffe did a fantastic job of moderating making sure each person was given time to speak.  That is a hard thing to do with a group this big.

Some of the things I learned:

  • John Tyler Christopher designs his variants not like they looked, but as the 5-year-old he remembers them looking.
  • Captain Phasma, who was indeed over-hyped for the Force Awakens, will have her own comic book.  This, along with the upcoming novel by Ms. Dawson, will hopefully fulfill the promise of this character. And of course, The Last Jedi.
  • The next Darth Vader begins seconds after he screams “NOOOOOOO” in Revenge of the Sith.  He is now half man and half machine with lots of rage, and according to Mr. Soule, he will in indulge in his dark side.  Marvel is letting him make it as dark as he envisioned it.
  • Also, Mr. Soule says we will find out how a red lightsaber gets made.  Plus, not every Jedi was killed by Order 66.  We will meet some of them.
  • Poe Dameron deals with a funeral of a character.  Mr. Soule wrote it right before Carrie Fisher’s death and rewrote it as a tribute to her.
  • Mr. Soule writes out BB8’s words.  He is mostly positive with a few salty phrases.  Ms. Antos then translates it into droid speak and has gone so far as to make a notebook of translations.
  • Mr. Soule, a lawyer, actually enjoys writing Palpatine and uses that to help write him.
  • Mr. Soule and Mr. Noto got to read the Force Awakes script before it came out to help write Poe Dameron.

Really, if you haven’t read any Star Wars comics, you should.  They are well done.  They don’t have earth shattering revelations, the movies kind of prohibit that right now, but they do flesh out each character they touch.  In Leia, we got to see a strong leader allow a few cracks to show through.  In Lando, we saw that for a scoundrel, he actually love his friends.  Darth Vader reminds us that he is, for most of the saga, a villain.

I know the Extended Universe has its fans, but for me it became intimidating.  I didn’t really know where to start.  Having the books and comics come out at the same time as the movies allow for some depth to be allowed to the universe.  Again, because of the films, there will not be any earth-shattering developments, but enough to drive the story along and maybe fill in some blanks.  They also allow us to see Star Wars away from the Skywalker family.  I, personally, think this is a good thing.  To me, Star Wars is just that: tales of war a long, long time ago in a galaxy far away that is part of the living force.  The Skywalker story is the most important in this saga, but everyone’s life is affected in this universe, and their stories deserved to be told as well.

Star Wars-ing: Star Wars Links

The Director Of ‘Star Wars: Rogue One’ Has Divulged Why The Film’s Ending Changed: The discussion surrounding the ending of Rogue One shows the problem with too much coverage of Star Wars (Note: I realized how this reads coming from people that devote a whole day of its blog and twitter to Star Wars).  Too many sources are taking facts, such as there were drastic cuts to Rogue One and jump to wild conclusions so they have something to write. Reasons we were given: too much of a war film, not Disney enough, didn’t capture Star Wars enough.  All of those are wrong.  The solution was much simpler, and really the only one that makes sense: they needed to shorten the film.

All of Marvel’s Star Wars Comics, Ranked:   I’m woefully behind on my comics reading (Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple is way ahead of me), but this is a good list.  The top comic, Darth Vader, was one of the best comics, Star Wars or not, of last year. I would rank Leia higher after rereading it (it has the best penciling, inking, and coloring of all the Star Wars comics), however, I did feel the way they did about on first reading.

IN MARVEL’S NEW DARTH VADER SERIES, WE WILL SEE THE SITH LORD’S RISE, THE CONSTRUCTION OF HIS LIGHTSABER, AND MORE:  First of all, following Kieron Gillen’s excellent work on Darth Vader with a book of the same title takes guts. Thankfully, Charles Soule did right the number two book on the list above and has had great runs on other comics particularly Daredevil. Plus, he is writing the story most of us want to read in that it starts right after Revenge of the Sith.

The Nola Nerd Couple Podcast Episode 7: Spring Comic Cons Preview: Ok, this is us. However, we did do our preview of Star Wars Celebration focusing on the celebrities we want to meet this year.

Actually, we normally do a Celebration update first thing Wednesday, but it seems that Celebration has chosen Wednesday for their announcement day. We will have an update tonight with any announcements! 

 

ComicCon-ing: Pensacon Is a Month Away!

Now that Wizard World New Orleans has come and gone, it is time to start focusing on Pensacon.  Pensacon will be held February 17-19.

Here are some guests that have been added since our last update:

  • Nita Strauss: Ms. Strauss is a guitarist who has performed with Alice Cooper. Check out this video of her teaching how to play Cooper’s “I’m Eighteen.”
  • Angus Macinnes:  Portraying Gold Leader in the original Star Wars, Mr. Macinnes is a must have for the Star Wars completist.  He is has also been in Vikings, Force 10 from Navarone, Eyes Wide Shut, and Strange Brew.
  • Robert Kurtzman:  A special effects master, Mr. Kurtzman has credits that include Pulp Fiction and Evil Dead 2.
  • Lindsey McKeon: The Supernatural actress has also appeared on One Tree Hill and Veronica Mars.
  • David Ankrum:  Another must for Star Wars completists, David Ankrum provided the voice for Wege Antilles (Red 2) in the original Star Wars (the role was phsyically played by Denis Lawson, the uncle of Ewan McGregor).
  •  Daniel Portman:  The Game of Thrones actor will be making his second apperance at Pensacon.
  • Jen Broomall:  This cover artist is returning to Pensacon this year.  You can check out her work here.
  • Elliot Fernandez: Mr. Fernandez is a comic artist whose work has been seen in Archie Comics and Dynamite Comics. Check out his work here.
  • Derec Donovan:  This artist has worked on the Adventures of Superman series with Joe Casey and has drawn Cyborg for DC’s Rebirth.
  • John Dell: This inker has worked for Marvel and DC. He is currently working on the Clone Conspiracy.
  • Daniel Newman: This former model has appeared on The Walking Dead and Vampire Diaries.
  • Guy Gilchrist:  This veteran artist created the Muppets Comic Strip. He has also worked on Nancy, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and the Muppet Babbies. Ms. Nola Nerd Couple met him at Wizard World Nola and raved about how great he was.  He should be on your must go see list.

Unfortunately, scheduling conflicts have cause some guests to cancel.  Here is a list of people who will have had to cancel:

  • Tara Reid
  • Tony Todd
  • Sven-Ole Thorsen
  • Benard Rose
  • Gemma Whelan
  • Bill Morrison

To look back at all of our Pensacon coverage, click here.

ComicCon-ing: Discussion Panels at Wizard World New Orleans

For the next two weeks, most of our blogs will be about Wizard World New Orleans. The Convention is held at the Morial Convention Center on January 6,7, and 8th.  This week we will be previewing the event, and next week reviewing the event. 

Wizard World New Orleans allows people to find others with like minded interests. It also allows for fan groups to get together and discuss their favorite fandoms. Other people enjoy talking with others about social issues in the comic community.   If you are looking for thought provoking discussions, then these panels might be for you.

Here are just some of the discussion panels that will be taking place at Wizard New Orleans.

Friday

7:30-8:15 POE IN POP CULTURE (ROOM 240):  Bill Pulkovski and Tony Miello will lead a panel to discuss Edgar Allan Poe’s influence over modern pop culture.

Saturday

12:30-1:15 ONLY SHEEP EAT ROTTEN TOMATOES (ROOM 240): For those of you who liked Batman v Superman, this panel will be on your side.  This panel will attempt to prove those critics wrong.

1:30-2:15 PETER PARKER AND THE WOMEN THAT LOVED HIM (ROOM 240): Oh, Spidey and his love life.

2:30-3:15 CIVIL WAR: PICK A SIDE (ROOM 240)  I really hope this panel makes Iron Man fans sit on the right, and Captain America fans on the left (or vice versa).

2:30-3:15 STARSHIP SMACKDOWN: A SALUTE TO STAR TREK (ROOM 343): This panel will allow you to put forth your theories about which starship would do the most damage.

3:30-4:15 DON’T READ THAT! A HISTORY OF CENSORSHIP IN COMIC BOOKS (ROOM 240) I’m leaving this one in bold, because yours truly will be part of this panel.  This panel will be led by the Longbox Guys and will also feature a fellow educator colleague of mine.  We will look at books that have been challenged and why. I hope to see you there.

3:30-4:15 HARRY POTTER MANIA: SURVIVING HOGWARTS:  Harry Potter will be dissected by psychologists, professors, and a Burlesque performer. Normally, I wouldn’t miss this one, but it is at the same time as my panel. 🙂

4:00-4:45 TWO CENTURIES OF GENIUS: CELEBRATING THE SPIRIT’S WILL EISNER AND THE AVENGERS’ JACK KIRBY with MARVEL ZOMBIES’ FRED VAN LENTE, EISNER AWARD WINNER TY TEMPLETON, FANTASTIC FOUR’S DEAN HASPIEL & THE AVENGERS’ DANNY FINGEROTH (ROOM 238)  I will be running from my panel to this one. Mainly because of the topic and the presenters.

4:30-5:15 GODS AND MONSTERS: H.P. LOVECRAFT’S HORRIFYING CREATURES (ROOM 240) Horror fans, this is where you should be if you have no prior commitments.

5:30-6:15 DOCTOR WHO PSYCHOLOGY: A MADMAN WITH A BOX (ROOM 343):  A look at the kind of person the Doctor really is.

Sunday: 

11:00-11:45 HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE STEREOTYPES IN COMIC BOOKS (ROOM 343) Our good friends, the Longbox guys (link to the left of your screen), will be hosting this panel.  It’s in bold because we have attended this one before and it gets our highest recommendation.  

12:00-12:45 THE END OF WORLD IS ONLY THE BEGINNING: PREPARING FOR THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE (ROOM 238) Dr. Robert Collins, of Dillard University in New Orleans, will look at how real life disease prevention can be aided by all those apocalypse programs and movies.

12:30-1:15 ZINES: FROM FANDOM’S EARLIEST PUBLICATIONS TO CONTEMPORARY CULTURE (ROOM 240):  New Orleans Public Library librarians will talk about the history and culture of zines.

2:00-2:45 WHO’S THE MOST NEUROTIC SUPERHERO? INSIDE THE MINDS OF BATMAN, SPIDER-MAN, CAPTAIN AMERICA, JESSICA JONES AND MORE with BATMAN AND PSYCHOLOGY’S DR. TRAVIS LANGLEY, MARVEL ZOMBIES’ FRED VAN LENTE, THE RED HOOK’S DEAN HASPIEL, SUPERHERO THERAPY’S DR. JANINA SCARLET & SPIDER-MAN’S DANNY FINGEROTH (ROOM 238)  Again, not only is the topic fascinating, but the leaders of the panel are fantastic. Fred Van Lente is one of my favorite writers and I highly recommend this book by him.

This whole week I’ve attempted to share just some of the panels that will be going on at Wizard World New Orleans.  There really is a lot to choose from and I didn’t even mention them all. In fact, the more I look at the list the more I’m upset I can’t be in two places at once. It really is one of the better panel line-ups I’ve seen.  Hope to see you there at a few!

 

For a full listing of the panels at Wizard World New Orleans, click here.

Star Wars-ing: Lando

Set currently as Star Wars and Darth Vader Volume 2, Marvel gives us a glimpse of Lando before the events of Empire Strikes Back.  He is the scoundrel we know and love, but who also values his friendships. He is someone who is a good person.

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Lando and Lobot

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Star Wars-ing: Star Wars Issues 1-12

Star Wars is the main title of Marvel’s new Star Wars Comic line.  This comic is officially canon and takes place between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back.

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The story focuses on the three main characters of Luke, Leia, and Han. Luke has been told he is a Jedi, but there is no one to train him on how to become a Jedi.  Luke is on a hero’s journey and this shows him truly struggling with his new found but unfocused powers.  Like Empire, he quickly separates himself from the other two main characters to find himself (which isn’t as hokey as it sounds).

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