Month: November 2013

Who Makes the Best Comic Book Movies!?

What Studio Does it Best?

With the huge success of Comic Book themed movies today, there is a big question that is brewing all over; who makes the best Comic Book movies? Is it Sony with the Spider-Man franchise? Is it Fox with the X-Men Universe led by Bryan Singer who is single handedly saving that franchise. Is it Marvel Studios led by Feige and crew who are creating a huge Movie-verse that is ever expanding? Or is it Warner Brothers who have had miss and miss with terrible Superman movies and hokie Batman movies in the 1990’s; but with recent hits such as the Nolan Batman trilogy, and the huge success that was Man of Steel have turned it around and look like that are a major contender for Comic Book movie studio studs.

They have all produced disastrous flops such as Fantastic Four (Fox), X-Men: Last Stand (Fox), Daredevil (Fox), Wolverine: Origins (Fox), Spider-Man 3 (Sony), 2 Separate Hulk Movies (Marvel), Batman Returns (WB), Batman Forever (WB), Superman Returns (WB), and let’s not forget Green Lantern (WB) which was panned by many as the worst Comic Book Movie in the 2000’s.

But with every flop each studio has also produced gem after gem. X-Men, X-Men 2, and X-Men: First Class from Fox were absolute gold, which isn’t surprising since they were touched by Singer (Midas himself). Spider-Man and Amazing Spider-Man from Sony were chart toppers, Marvel has just a plethora of recent homeruns with the end of Phase 1 and so far all of Phase 2 stuff being goldmines. Warner Brothers and DC Comics have come to play too, with the huge success that was the Nolan Batman Trilogy and the recent success of Man of Steel, they have regained a foothold in great Comic Book movie making.

I think we know who does it worst… With what it seems like a passion Fox puts out some poopers with the Fantastic 4 franchise in the 2000’s and now that the reboot sounds atrocious as well. X-Men: Last Stand was so bad that is still leaves a terrible taste in my mouth. Wolverine: Origins butchered almost every aspect of many fan favorite characters, Daredevil was so terrible they got their license for it taken away. Basically everything that Laura Schuler Donner touches turns to crap.

But could the studio that makes the worst comic book movies, also make the best? There is no rule against that I guess. If you make such great comic book movies that they offset the horrible ones that you have also produced that is legitimate. Fox has upped the ante with the latest trailers for X-Men: Days of Future Past and with the success of X-Men: First Class and the classic X-Men 1 and 2 all of which is Bryan Singer’s doings. It may be safe to say that even though Warner Brothers/ DC is such a big part of the landscape right now, and even though Marvel is just pumping out Money Makers from Phase 2; Fox may be the leader in Great Comic Book movies.

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Inspiration

Inspiration in Comics, Movies, and Video Games

What inspires you? It’s a simple question really. What gets your creative juices flowing? What enables you to express yourself in such a way that makes your medium yours? It could be tiny idiosyncrasies in your writing style. It could be the way you draw certain body parts better than others, it could even be what certain brand of humor you love to use. But why do you like that style so much, what inspired you to do the things you do the way you do them?

In Comic Books right now Marvel and DC are in a dog fight with who can keep their fan bases from jumping ship to the other, and what looks like a “Reboot War” with some of the most famous titles in comic book history. Marvel with Marvel Now and DC with the New 52 have rebranded and recultivated many classic books we came to know and love.

But what made they do this? Were they just sick of it and had enough? What made the 2 biggest comic book publishers around decided to reboot everything? The success of their Movie Franchises played a giant pivotal role in the creation of the Marvel Now and the New 52 to try to give a fresh new look to the comics that were getting up there in numbers. Most of these characters have been going through the motions for both companies for almost 50 years with nothing really that fresh to come along.

All of a sudden Nolan’s Batverse and the Marvel Movie Universe and the Spider-Man franchises exploded with popularity and they were not cannon to the least bit, but all printing money for each company none the less. So Marvel and DC both decided to freshen up their classic heroes and villains and use very creative means to do so. They were influenced heavily by the newness of the movie Universes and that is not a bad thing.

Creativity comes into play quite a bit and the topic was discussed in length by the crew of Nerd Management on their episode 19 podcast which I guest starred on this Thursday. We discussed many different ways we are directly influenced in our creativity and how the Nerd Management crew is so diverse yet pulled together by a common bond of Nerdiness. We draw creativity from one another and I think that helps quite a bit. Whether it is Alec with his writing, Warner and Chris with their Band, Tiffany and Justin with their cooking, myself with my blog we draw off everything around us to be the type of creative that helps us move along!

So don’t forget Nerd Management is not just about comic books, movies, and games… It’s about being Nerdy in any way and being proud of it, because you can draw creativity from everywhere and when you put that to use in your medium well that makes you a type of Nerd and welcome to the family.

If It Doesn’t Say Micro, Then Its Not the Real Thing!

Micro Machines: Where’d They Go?
     I had so many of these tiny little cars, and trucks, and planes, and ships. I loved Micro Machines. All of a sudden it seems like one day they vanished. Without a trace they were no longer in stores. I couldn’t find them at Toys R Us, Walmart, Kmart, KB Toys, or anywhere. I was devestated. A few years later, as I accumulated some on eBay from the ones I lost as a kid, I noticed online that in 2006 they were canceled. They were canceled by the now defunct Galoob company.
     Hasbro owns the rights right now and have yet to set a release of anything new. I noticed some repackaged Micros at Walmart in the Discount Toy section of the “Gift Idea” area, but they are just not the same. No matter who puts tiny scale cars out, there will never be anything like opening a 5 pack of Micro Machines.
     Who knows? Maybe one day they will make a triumphant return to our lives. But right now they have gone the way of the Popple. Gone without a trace, like a faint rumble I can hear the fast voiced commercial announcer whispering in the wind, “If it doesn’t say Micro, its not the real thing!”

Collecting

Collecting: A Whole Life

            I have been collecting things my whole life from Ball Cards to Action Figures. No matter what I am collecting the thrill of the hunt is always there. I wonder if I buy one more package of football cards I will get a Barry Sanders? I wonder if I go to Toys R Us today the new GI Joes will be out? If I go to the Antique Store on my way home, I wonder if they will have any more old “Coke” bottles? I can’t wait for Wednesday, the new comic books come out!

Collecting is fun for me because now that I am 30 it reminds me of the young me that all he wanted was to get all of the NFL football helmets out the quarter vending machines outside of IGA; or trying to get as many Micro Machines as I could to fit into an old briefcase my grandfather gave me for my birthday one year.

It doesn’t matter what I am collecting it is fun. Currently on the docket it is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Football cards for my son to have when he is a little older. I am excited for the day I can hand this stuff to him and let him start collecting on his own. He has built a small collection of Fisher Price Zoo Talkers and Juice Bottle Tops from Tummy Tippers.

Along the year’s most of my collections fell by the wayside or I had to sell them for various import reasons. Each time a little bit of my heart was left behind and a tiny part of myself was gone. I know that sounds intense but collecting transcends many different psychological tendencies for many people. Compulsions to collect and obtain and sometimes at obsessive rates. Attachments to inanimate objects and more studies have been done on the idea of collecting.

Some impressive collections I have or have had in my life that I am very proud of are my 1500 Jeff Bagwell baseball cards. 880 of those are different and the rest are doubles and triples. I have 36 Barry Sanders cards with 2 rookies, one of which being the rare ROY Hawaii card. I currently have all of the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line. Also I have quite a few Peyton Mannings and Andrew Luck cards that will go to my son when he is old enough to keep them. I have also lost some gems. The one I miss the most is my every appearance of Deadpool starting from my collecting his 1st appearance and every single one after up until 2008. I had to sell them a little bit after that, and I may never get over that. Over 250 Actions figures have left through my eBay account as well.

Thor: The Dark World Review (Spoilers)

 

Thor: The Dark World (Spoilers)

With a great mix of action and humor Thor: Dark World (TDW) was such a good Marvel Movie that it almost made you forget how terrible some of the Iron Man movies were. There was such a presence on the screen with Chris Hemsworth that you never forgot that it was a movie about Thor. You never thought are these Dark Elves really the villain or is there a twist? You had a slight sense that Loki might be good or might be evil, but this is the 2nd movie in a trilogy so you know exactly what Loki is in this movie.

TDW played light hearted at times, and at other times it brought the THUNDER and was action packed. The scenes with Eccelston as Malekith were great, because he is a great actor, and as always Sir Anthony Hopkins was a great Odin. Rene Russo as Frigga gave a great performance and branched out from the first movie where she was basically just for looks. She actually was similar to the Frigga we know and love from the comics.

The rest of the cast just were… well… there… They replaced the former actor who played Fandral with Zachary Levi from Chuck. Ray Stevenson was as always great, and we got to see the future Wonder Woman in action? Maybe? Portman as Jane Foster was great. Dennings as Darcy and Skarsgard as Dr. Selvig were as you would expect.

Not many times is a sequel better than the original movie, but they hit a home run with this one. I was at most times on the edge of my seat and I never once thought when is this going to be over. You can’t say that about most sequels and some Marvel Movies in general are boring. But TDW is great and I highly recommend you see this movie because it is a great tie in to Avengers 2, it anchors the direction of the Phase 2 of Marvel Movie Universe, and it has a nice Patriotic Cameo in it that is sure to make you laugh.

There are 2 end credits scenes in TDW and you immediately know when you see the Mid Credits Scene where they are going with it. The whole scene is out of place with TDW but it is intentional because it directly ties into another upcoming Phase 2 Marvel Movie that is out next year. The Post Credits Scene is awful, a great moment between Hero and Heroine is ruined by a slapstick maneuver on the part of the director. And much like the schwarma scene in Avengers, it has no baring or purpose to the film. I did not go to this movie to see a cold close post credit scene.

Over all this gets a 4.5 out of 5 from me.

Comic Book University’s New Campus Location

Comic Book University formerly Downtown Comics South for those of you who hadn’t been there for a couple of years; has moved to South Shelby Street on the South Side of Indianapolis in the shopping center on US 31 S next to Garden Ridge.

The new location is the perfect spot for Gaming and events such as Friday Night Magic, Hero Clix Tournaments, and Signings by Authors and Artists. The new location has plenty of room for everything that Comic Book University has to offer. There are aisles of Action Figures, there is a section for Gaming, an entire wall of trades, and so many back issue comics its breathtaking.

Rob and Dair will greet you at the door, and if you are a regular they have already pulled your comics and put them away for you. If you aren’t a regular or if you are new, then don’t hesitate to talk to them. They love to chat it up. The store will be having a Grand Opening around the 1st of February and they will be super busy this coming Christmas. So if you need any gift Ideas for the Nerd in your family then head on over to Comic Book University and make some friends.

There are 2 auxiliary rooms for Gaming, and the future potential home of the Podcast Nerd Management. They are large and have plenty of room for Friday Night Magic and Her Clix events. There are plenty of restaurants around and if you are driving a long distance to get there, you will have plenty to do, since CBU is so large and there is so much to take in.

So if you are looking for a new Comic Book shop, or you are a regular to Comic Book University stop on by the new location and see what all of the fuss is about.

 

 

Monday Feature: How Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is Helping and Not Hurting

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

 

Why is Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (AOS) single handedly saving Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)? I’ll tell you why. They are bringing in the demographics that wouldn’t normally watch superhero genres by putting the one-hour procedural on TV and on a network channel none the less. With direct tie ins to the MCU and specifically Phase 2 movies such as Thor: Dark World and Captain America: Winter Soldier.

Many fans had a really hard time coming to grips with how the show was going to be. Was it going to be like Lost? Since its on ABC was it going to have twists, and turns, and great storylines? Was it going to be like Breaking Bad, where the main protagonist is an antihero you love and root for? Or was it going to be a big name filled show that through around Disney’s money with cameos out the wazoo?

Well since it was a take it slow and easy approach the fan base was overrun with nasty critics from the comic book world wanting to see how badly it would fail and with people who genuinely love the show. The ratings even though they are slowly falling to normal rating lines, has been high for its day and timeslot only losing out to NBC’s old person crack: NCSI procedurals.

Every episode from 3 to 5 before the 1 week Halloween break, has been exponentially better. There is character development and laughs and overall greatness to the show. The tie ins to the MCU Phase 2 movies start November 19 when the AOS team have to deal with the fallout from Thor: Dark World’s invasion of the Dark Elves on Earth. I am anxiously awaiting to see what kind of magic they will make. Like the Samuel L. Jackson cameo it will infuse some not-as-much need life into this show with fan boys everywhere.

This show has its flaws and is trying to find its way but it is bringing a whole new audience to the table for the MCU Phase 2 and Phase 3 in the future. With AOS the Marvel Movies will only get better and better because now they will have a larger budget to do so. Marvel has done us a favor with AOS and we need to be happy that we have a TV that we can watch and complain about. They are clearly listening since they have already changed some gripes that the fans had on messages boards on the internet.

So if you have stopped watching AOS because you are a truist and you don’t think that they should deviate from the source material then you should ask yourself one thing… Don’t different writers have different ways they want to portray characters? Isn’t there an Ultimates universe that have similar characters? The AOS is in the MCU and its contents are alive inside the universe that Marvel has set down and said is their MCU. Why would you want to change something as a purist if it is supposed to be a part of what is already there?

Sunday Preview: Comic Book University’s New Venue and THOR 2!!!!

Sunday Preview

 

Busy week ahead!!! (Toot Toot) A bunch of good comics come out, so make sure you stop by Comic Book University this Wednesday to grab them in their New Location!!!! That’s right Comic Book University has moved over to US 31 on the South Side of Indianapolis behind Moe’s Southwestern Grill and next to United Art’s and Education!

This is a great location for Rob and the guys since now they have enough room to host gaming events and special events such as Friday Night Magic every Friday Night at Comic Book University!!! It could not have happened to a better comic book store and like the Dean says, Class is in Session!

This week some books to look out for are Longshot Save the Marvel Universe #1 and Cataclysm: The Ultimates Last Stand #1 from Marvel and Forever Evil #3 and Swamp Thing #25 by DC comics. All 4 of these issues are sure to get your juices flowing and get you excited about the new venue to get your books.

This Thursday or Thorsday is the midnight premiers of Thor: The Dark World. Yes, it is finally here!!! The most anticipated Phase 2 movie from Marvel to date has finally arrived and it will be great if you see it in 2D or 3D. Don’t forget it you see it in 3D you get the first 5 Minutes of the Captain America: Winter Soldier movie.

Fantasy Justice League

Fantasy Justice League: The Game

 

A bunch of us play Fantasy Football and some of us don’t. It was always boring for some of us to try to sit around and talk to each other in between some of us talking about Fantasy Sports. So we decided to do something about it. We combined the best of both the Fantasy Sports and the Comic Book world to create: Fantasy Justice League.

It starts out very similar to Fantasy Football in that you have a draft to set your rosters. You can pick from anyone in the known comic book universes. You have roster positions on your team such as: Leader, Magic, Mutant, Elemental, Villian, Acrobat, Rogue, and Heavy Hitter.

You hold a draft based on number of players in your league and you each take turn choosing a character that fits these categories. You can choose how long your season goes and if you want to have back up or “Bench” characters to interchange before the weeks starts.

You put your players into divisions based on the number of people you have playing. Minimum of 4 players and a max of 12 will make this optimum for fun and enjoyment. Each week you will go head to head with someone in the league based on the schedule that you make up.

Points are pretty easy: Appearing on a cover is 1 point for that character. You also aquire points by taking the Number of Pages Your Character Appears On in a book and divide that by Number of Pages in the Book. You add up all of the points for each starting character and you get your weekly total.

This was amazing and a ton of fun when Warner Swopes and I did this at work with 4 other people. Here is an example of how a team would be made up:

 

Leader –           Captain America
Magic-             Zatana
Mutant-           Beast
Elemental-       Swamp Thing
Villian-            Magneto
Acrobat-          Nightwing
Rogue-             Casey Jones
Heavy Hitter-  The Thing
This is something that we all hope catches on because it was so much fun and we hope to do it again, but it takes a lot of hardwork for the correct scoring to happen. It also takes an honor system of each player to gather their own scores but if you use diehard fans than you will have no problems.