Don’t make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I’m ANGRY! Just kidding, puny humans. My name is Evan. I love the Hulk. Public servant by day and a nerd by night, I enjoy comic books, searching for infinity gems, and I love Hip-Hop. And remember, we are all heroes in our own right.
Lyric: “I cock arm, pass the bomb, like Troy Aikman/Play the basement like Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson.”
Welcome back DTCers! Hope you all had a fantastic 4th of July. Over at Hush headquarters, we celebrated the great Red, White, and Nerd! Let’s keep it going, shall we? This week’s DTC features a repeat rapper, the one, the only, the RZA. This track comes off of his 3rd solo studio album and brings with it not only a powerful message, but some supreme nerdiness as well. Like all rap artists, RZA strives for success (he already found it if y’all didn’t know), and in order to be successful you have to make it happen. If you are to become one of the greats and have little boys and girls listening to your hits when you are long past, you have to do one thing. Work. If you don’t put in the work, and have no dedication to your craft, then no one will respect it. That is exactly what RZA expressed in this so skillfully executed nerdy comic reference.
Since 1989, or even before, RZA has been dedicated to his craft. He has put in the work from day one and look at all it has gotten him: multiple albums, countless soundtrack features, tons of features on albums and has been named one of the top music producers according to Vibe, NME, and The Source. RZA has also showed us his acting and directing chops in various films. If you people out there don’t think RZA is neither a star nor a nerd, just Google “RZA” and “Afro Samurai” together, and let all your doubts fade way with your embarrassment for being so foolish. It’s easy to see that RZA is a nerd simply based on this lyric. He doesn’t say “Batman and Robin;” he uses their secret identities. If you know secret identities, then you may be a nerd – congratulations.
RZA understands the importance of having a solid work ethic. Regardless of what you do, if you don’t do it with conviction and dedication, someone who is putting in the work will pass you any day now. Regardless if you are writing the next big comic book, or starting to write your first rhyme, you should strive to be hall of fame quality. You need to be Troy Aikman in a sense, and put everything you have into that one pass. Give your heart and soul into your work, and the work will speak for itself. As you all know RZA goes hard in the paint and truly shows off his craft by using a skillful comic book reference. Most rappers starting out, or even today find their basement to be the base of operations. With eggshell cartons lining the wall, and pantyhose over the microphone, the basement becomes a true recording studio. For aspiring artists on the come up, that basement is the Batcave. In Gotham, if there was no Batcave, would there be a Batman and Robin? If the answer is yes, would they be as effective as they are? Every person, despite the craft, needs a place to make the greatness happen. Batman and Robin have the Batcave, Superman has the Fortress of Solitude, Iron Man has the Stark Tower, and RZA has the recording studio. Similar to the Batcave, the infamous basement recording studio is both out of sight, and underground… I see what you did there RZA, I see it. If you aren’t working hard when you are out of sight and out of mind, then dedication isn’t part of your skill set. Because if you do work hard, who knows, you could be the next RZA, you could be the next Bruce Wayne, you could be the next Dick Grayson. Work hard, do what you do, and make the basement proud!
Lyric: “Rippin shit up at prime time, I’m Optimus Prime-time material/Imperial wizard of vocabularic havoc, I eat MC’s like cereal!”
DTCers, ROLL OUT! After a bit of a hiatus that I was on for grad school, we’re back at it again, ready to bring you all another ridiculously nerdy lyric that’ll probably make you want to transform into a rapper AND a nerd. Wait, that doesn’t make sense, because in Prince Poetry’s case, they are the same thing, AND I’VE BEEN SAYING IT SINCE DAY ONE!
Organized Konfusion, the dynamic rap duo out of Queens combines the awesome power of Prince Poetry, and DTC hall of famer, Pharoahe Monch. You would think that Pharoahe’s multiple appearances on DTC mean that he’s due for another spotlight, but today the honor goes to his counter part, Prince Poetry! These two individuals have ON (Original Nerd) status, seeing that they’ve been pushing bars since 1987. Need proof? Look no further than their 1994 hit, “Bring It On.”
With Transformers: Age of Extinction currently in theaters, it seems only right that we pay homage to two leaders of their respective packs – Prince Poetry and Optimus Prime. Shall we check the resumés? Prince Poetry a.k.a Prince Po has been rapping since before I was born, and is the founder of Nasty Habits Entertainment. He has four solo albums and EP’s apiece, in addition to the three Organized Konfusion alums. Impressive stats from an underground rapper. Now onto Optimus Prime. Prime is the leader of the Autobots, originates from the planet of Cybertron, sword enemy of the Decepticons, has saved planet Earth several times, while headlining countless cartoon episodes, movies and comic books. If you ask me, they’re pretty much one in the same.
On this DTC track, Prince Po is, without a doubt, letting you know this. Po is at the top of his game, and all the others dragging behind him, either need to figure out how to keep up, or learn how to step off. What he is saying is that if the rap game was planet Earth, and all the other rappers in the world were Autobots, he is pretty much Optimus Prime in comparison. After hearing his verse on this track, it’s kind of hard to refute that statement. Don’t believe me? Check the play on words. “I’m Optimus Prime-time material.” He is Optimus Prime and Prime Time, the nickname of Leon Sandcastle (That joke is funny). This lyrical ability demonstrates a great transformation in itself. Often times, young black men growing up in disadvantaged neighborhoods are seen as useless, and unable to contribute to anything productive in society. Knowing that one in three black men eventually end up in prison, it’s hard to keep the faith. However, Transformers is given the same treatment. To the untrained eye, that hunk of junk truck that’s always sitting in that lot across the street is completely useless. It’s rusted, run down, and it only belongs in a scrapyard somewhere. What if I told you that piece of junk was a Transformer? Does your perspective change? All it takes is one fluid move, and all of the sudden, that uselessness turns into something extraordinary. See, these young black kids growing up trying to be rappers, or even rappers today may seem like pieces of junk to the outside world, but to those who are paying attention, they are greatness. Hip-hop is more than just music to some, it is a way of life, it creates change inside of us that is unstoppable. So, that kid on the corner may seem like a piece of junk now, but who knows when he will transform into something powerful beyond measure.
Basically, Po is nothing short of hall of fame material. When he goes hard on tracks like this one, all the Decepticons suddenly have something to worry about. See, Optimus and hip-hop have many things in common. Probably one of the biggest factors the two share is the their influence on the youth of the 80s and 90s. Growing up in the hood, black community, or any community where hip-hop was a way of life, being an MC’s with dope lyrics was something to strive for. Having a lyrical ability was somethings people admired, it gave you status and an overall sense of purpose despite your upbringing. Growing up in the hood, you are given more opportunities to fail rather than succeed, and it’s much easier to stay up, than to try and climb your way out. Optimus could be viewed in the same light. Despite Optimus being the very last prime, his commitment to his cause and craft never wavered. To the audience, Optimus made it cool to be a good guy. Similar to Captain Planet and G.I. Joe, his courage and willingness to sacrifice everything for what he believed in was admirable. Hip-hop and Optimus are strong, righteous, and dedicated to what matters in life. For Optimus, that meant saving Earth through the way of the sword, maintaining what was honorable and good. Hip-hop does the same thing for planet Earth, only rather than the sword, hip-hop uses the mind and the spirit. Both fight evil, and both create a better way of life, both inspire hope.
Po dropped a transformers reference back in 1994, when hip-hop, nerds, rappers and transformers were all prime indicators of greatness. Knowing that transformers originated as a popular toy line only 10 years earlier, and then expanded into a cartoon television show, and then blew up to what we know it as today, it’s obvious the product hasn’t lost traction. When the toy line dropped, right off the bat, Optimus was the one to have. Little kids on the block were saving up what they have, folding bills in their socks, and begging their parents to go down to the toy store. If you were one of the lucky ones, and actually got that money, or that ride, if you left with anything other than Optimus Prime it just didn’t feel right. If you aren’t Optimus Prime, you might as well be a Decepticon.
FUN FACT: Optimus Prime was created by Denny O’Neil, legendary Batman writer who had a long career alongside artist Neal Adams.
Lyric: “How you keeping up with my rapping?/ You barely keeping up with Kardashians/You caught up in distraction/It’s the living proof-you try to make the truth elastic as Mr. Fantastic.”
What? What was that DTCers? You ready for another dope ass lyric that drops truth bombs and creates nerdy fallout? We got that! Our main man on the mic this week, Talib Kweli, is bringing it to your front door. If you are looking for some socially conscious rap that not only brings a message but an incredible rhyme scheme with it, then you not need look any further. In this 2013 hit, Talib Kwali dropped this song as a commentary on the “Occupy Wall Street” movement. What he is saying in this song is, “Who the hell is paying attention?” There are social issues happening all around us and none of them are going to change by sitting around waiting for the next big gossip. Who is sleeping with who? Who badmouthed which other idiot today? That is why when people stand up and take charge of their own lives, it is viewed as something special. Talib Kweli once said, “Anytime people are willing to take their future into their own hands and attempt something, I think it’s brave.” DARN TOOTIN’ IT’S BRAVE!! But the problem is, so many of us are still distracted, and Kweli notices it all. We may be willing to protest on our street corner for something local, but it seems that no one takes action for causes like the events in Darfur, or are even aware of the Arab Spring movement (Google it).
In this song alone, he tackles such subjects and even points out the flawed history and thinking of this country. From the very beginning with the treatment of Native American’s, we still have missiles (like kill people missiles. Like BOOM missiles) that are named “Tomahawks.” And then we dress up our mascots and name our sports teams after their culture for entertainment. Who’s paying attention and who’s distracted? He even touches on what I perceive to be politics in our chosen lyric of today. Now before I go on and say some possibly hurtful stuff about the Kardashians, congratulations to Kim and Kanye on their wedding. I didn’t get my invite but I’ll let that slide for now. One of the biggest phenomena of the past couple years has been societies infatuation with the Kardashian family. Now I can’t say much about it because I have never seen an episode, but it has consumed many lives and many attention spans. What some may classify as empty media or nonsense television has gained a bigger interest and a larger following than political failings, religious wars, and natural disaster relief efforts. And all the while politicians are out there spitting game at us and very few people check the facts. That is why so many of them can say elastic truths and make them stretch to fit who ever they have their eyes on next.
I know, I sound like I’m preaching and saying, “Yeah I’m good, I know whats up. While everybody else wondering what Ryan Gosling is thinking about, I’m about to go save some third world children.” That’s not the case; I am part of the masses too, but I want to be brave, I want to pay attention, I don’t want to be distracted by shiny objects and blush worthy gossip. Talib Kweli just wants us all to open our minds and see past the bullshit. Even at times when we think we are paying attention, it was just a fake out and we once again are distracted by something that doesn’t matter. Kweli says this perfectly when talking about President Obama addressing his whole “flag pin” issue back in 2008 (Google it). But the president responded by saying, “I have never said that I don’t wear flag pins or refuse to wear flag pins…This is the kind of manufactured issues that our politics has become obsessed with and, once again, distracts us from what should be my job when I’m commander-in-chief…” OH SNAP!! That’s exactly the point. We can so easily get caught up in things that don’t matter. Things that one way or another truly have no effect over our lives or anybodies lives. And the things we should be paying attention to slip right by us because we are distracted.
Alright, that was all pretty heavy. Let’s calm down and pay attention to some nerdy stuff briefly before I end this. Nerdy stuff like the Fantastic Four! In case you all haven’t heard, the Fantastic Four franchise will be getting a reboot that has been defined as “grounded, real, gritty.” According to Kinberg, this film has the same feelings as Batman, Iron Man, X-Men, and more. It will not be goofy like the first films, rather this will be a true drama sprinkled with bit of humor that come from character. Also we will officially be having an African-American Human Torch! I can hear all the critics heads exploding now. However I am very excited by this news especially because Michael B. Jordan will FLAME ON!!! “STRING, WHERE’S WALLACE? WHERE’S WALLACE STRING?” (Google it). Well Wallace is in the Marvel Universe doing badass things with badass powers. And for all you haters, know that Stan Lee is on board with the idea, Kinberg also said, “We knew casting an African-American Human Torch would be news, but I can tell you it’s something that Stan Lee loves, and I can tell you that having been on set and seeing Michael bring him to life, he’s really spectacular.” I don’t know how the story will change due to this, but I love the idea and I cannot wait. If you want more information on Michael B. Jordan being the Human Torch, Google it. If you want more information on Talib Kweli visit his website at http://www.talibkweli.com. So in closing, pay attentions, don’t get distracted so often, and FLAME ON!!!
In this consumer-based industry, it can be easy to forget the years of hard work that the people in the business put in. Behind every panel, it takes a skilled writer, artist, inker and colorist to make the product complete. Behind each scene goes hours of preparation. Hush Comics’ weekly article “Respect My Craft” will dive into the history of these comic book and pop culture greats that will hopefully give a new perspective on how the men and women behind the pen (or stylus) contribute to the collective awesome-ness of the nerd world, or at least give you a reason to invest in their work.
Name: Louis “Lou” Ferrigno
Profession: Actor, Body-builder
NotableWork: The Incredible Hulk TV series (1978-1982), Hercules (1983), Sinbad of the Seven Seas (1989), The King of Queens (2002-2007)
“The Hulk was a unique character because of his strength and power. He doesn’t have a costume like Spider-Man or like Superman – The Hulk is more visual. His passion and his strength, that is what separates him from anything else.” – Lou Ferrigno.
Want to hear something crazy and exciting?! Lou Ferrigno and all his muscles will be at Denver Comic-Con this year! Due to his accomplishments both in the entertainment industry and his personal life, we at Hush only feel it is appropriate to show our respect for the man who once picked up a bear and through it like a mile away into a river…no lie.
Louis Jude Ferrigno, better known as Lou was born on November 9th, 1951 in Brooklyn, New York City, New York. Growing up Lou was a skinny, introverted child who struggled coming to terms with who he was. As a young boy he had an ear infection, which caused nerve damage, ultimately leading up to him loosing 80% of his hearing. Lou wasn’t perfect in his father’s eyes, yet he taught him to never feel sorry for himself.
Without a doubt, Ferrigno was a huge comic book fan who looked up to heroes such as Spider-Man and most of all The Hulk. Because he was so introverted, he fell in love with comic books because they were very therapeutic for him. It gave him a vision of who he wanted to be and the power he could one day have. He would stare into comic books and find a sense of peace, relief, and solace with them like many comic book fans do. In fact, comic books were what influenced Lou to start body-building. Seeing the Hulk, with his muscles and power, made young Ferrigno take his first step toward becoming the person he grew up to be.
Lou simply became obsessed with working out, and how pumping iron made him feel. That power and that feeling never went away. He entered his first body building competition when he was 19, and took 23rd place. That loss motivated him to never lose again. He started putting in twice the effort and achieved quadruple the results. After that first competition, he never took less than 3rd place. Through his stupidly cut muscles and his put-others-to-shame strength he has earned a victory in IFBB Mr. America, IFBB Mr. Universe, and Mr. Olympia. I’m not jealous at all, nope.
During the time when the production of The Incredible Hulk was starting to get under way the director casted 7‘2’’ Richard Kiel, who is famously known for playing the infamous Bond villain, Jaws, to play the green goliath. However, one day, the director’s infant son told his father that “that man” (Richard Kiel) couldn’t be the Hulk. Curious, the father asked his son why not. And the son told his dad that the Hulk has a lot of muscles and that “that man” does not. BURN, RICHARD KIEL!! Rethinking his approach, the director decided to call Lou Ferrigno and offer him the role. For Ferrigno this was a dream come true, being given the opportunity to play a hero he has always looked up to.
While filming the television show there were certainly ups and downs. For one, Lou absolutely hated spending the time in make-up. Between the four hours to apply the prosthetics, body paint, and hair and the hour it took to take all that off, Lou was eager to get through the day of shooting. Due to his unique body, Ferrigno had to perform his own stunts which often left him uneasy. I don’t know about you all, but I would be unsure too if I were doing stunts like running through walls, doors, and glass, and even jumping off of high surfaces. But in true Hulk fashion, he gathered the courage and plowed through those doors, walls and glass, and jumped off those tall building and landed right into our hearts.
Even through those less favorable times, Ferrigno never lost motivation. With long days of filming ending at all different times of night and day, he always found the time to gather himself and make it to the gym for a work out. I’m still not jealous. And even though Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno went through several changes (HA! Get it?), Ferrigno’s thoughts and appreciation for the Hulk never changed. He has said time and time again that even though a lot of people thought the Hulk was a monster, he only saw him as a gentle soul that didn’t want to hurt anybody. Yet, no matter what he did, he was always running because people would still only view him as a monster. Ferrigno wanted to express that feeling when he played the character; because the Hulk was a silent role, he worked really hard to act through his emotions to convey his thoughts and feelings.
Well, you know what they say, you can take the Lou Ferrigno out of the Hulk, but you can’t take the Hulk out of the Lou Ferrigno. Or is it the other way around? I’m not sure. Either way Lou and the Hulk didn’t split ways once the television series ended. He has made an appearance in both Hulk films (crappy and Incredible) and even voiced the Hulk in The Avengers and the animated series. Sadly, he didn’t get to say “Puny God” but all of the grunts, huffs, puffs, moans and roars all came from the original. And with the new Avengers movie set to drop, Lou has said he will be right there once again to make poetry come out of the Hulk’s mouth. There is even rumored to be another solo Hulk movie come out after Age of Ultron, and I am willing to bet my metaphorical Incredible Hulk #1that he will make an appearance in some sort of way once again. Once his stretch with the television show was over he focused a lot of his attention back to fitness and created Ferrigno Fitness. Selling his own equipment, having workout and diet plans for the masses Lou looks to turn the world incredible. He even has a 12-week program called, Incredibly Fit.
Yet like I said before, comics will always be part of Lou’s life and this is evident with the work he has done with one of Denver’s most notable comic shops, Mile High Comics. That’s right, all you puny humans out there, the Incredible Hulk has a partnership with OUR local comic book store. For years now they have been teaming up with various different ventures. He often sits in on booths for Mile High Comics, where he signs autographs, takes photos, and just chats it up with fans; 2014 DCC this will be no different. He will even be at the Mile High Comics warehouse for the opening night party on June 12th at 5:00pm. Lou represents the Mile High City, from doing simple signings, to attending mega-store sales, and even sitting at Mile High Comic’s booth at the San Diego Comic-Con for six out of the last seven years. Maybe because our altitude is higher, it gives him an opportunity to train harder. Either way, Lou Ferrigno has shown major love when it comes to the Denver comic book scene.
So when it’s all said and done, why does it matter? It matters because Lou Ferrigno IS the Hulk. He made this character what he is today, and gave him relevance. From the anger he felt as a child, growing up to be this powerful being showed people that you are not bound by your circumstances. If Lou was never the Hulk, the character would simply be seen as “that big green guy that always acts like someone pissed in his Wheaties.” But because of Lou, the Hulk is more than that. He is more than the monster people see, he is the rage filled goliath in purple pants that stole our hearts. Lou has said, “The truth is, I’ve been the Hulk my whole life…The Hulk was the beginning of me, a platform as an actor to grow. I don’t think anybody else can play the Hulk like I could. I was able to show emotions even with all of the makeup. I don’t think it can be duplicated.” Honestly, I’m inclined to agree with him. Lou Ferrigno is the Hulk, and the Hulk is Lou Ferrigno, and it is impossible to love one but not the other. And due to what he has achieved in life, and the character he has brought to the screen I will forever be an Incredible Lou fan.
None of the media in this article belongs to Hush Comics; it all belongs to their respective properties. Join us tomorrow as we continue our countdown to Denver Comic Con as we spotlight Star Trek: TNG and Reading Rainbow star, Levar Burton.
Lyric: “Can we get much higher? So high oh/Doomsday-Doomsday went and killed your Superman/Hoes in his red cape, Lois Lane, red face/Around my hometown, so many people know how meth taste.”
Coming to the “DTC” stage this week is up and coming rapper, Laws, sampling Kanye Wests hit, “Dark Fantasy.” And what Laws brings to us today is not only awesomely nerdy, but it hits a serious note as well. DRUGS! WHAT IS DRUGS? Drugs are not only a crippling epidemic in reality, but they have played their part in comics as well. That are a copious amount of fictional drugs that run rampant through the comic book world which bring with them similar problems as they would in reality. Even some of our most beloved heroes such as Iron Man, Tony Stark, have had personal battles with drugs and alcohol, which has been apparent in the movies and comics. Particularly the nine issue story arc of Iron Man titled “Demon in a Bottle.” Green Lantern has also made drug culture front and center in Green Lantern Vol. 2 Issue #85-86, better known as the “Snowbirds Don’t Fly” arc. This was a anti-drug campaign meant to show people the harsh realities of drugs. This was done by Green Lantern and Green Arrow fighting drug dealers and dealing with Roy Harper’s addiction to drugs. This is prevalent seeing that the cover to issue #85 where the green duo walk in on Roy shooting himself up with drugs.
Drugs are a main theme within this Laws song and he presents it so elegantly with this comic book lyric. I viewed this lyric as one big metaphor. Just take a moment and try to come along this imaginative journey with me where “Doomsday” is actually drugs. Doesn’t matter the drug; meth, heroin, alcohol, cocaine, any will do. As many comic book fans out there know, back in 1992, DC released a comic titled, “The Death of Superman.” That’s right, one of, if not the most powerful superhero known to mankind was killed. And he was killed by none other than Doomsday. They fought, scrapped, rumbled, and exchanged blows until Superman lay unconscious in Lois Lanes arms. So what I would guess Laws is trying convey is that even though drugs have the potential to make you feel invincible and high flying like Superman in their peek, ultimately, drugs don’t truly end with anything other than death. So at the time you feel you can outrun death, and stop bullets, when it all catches up to you, it could be you slumped over in the streets with your loved ones around you (Lois Lane) sobbing, mourning your decisions (red face). Also it is not uncommon that many children view the adults in their life as being their “Superman,” and in the end it could be those children left read faced with their Superman completely broken by “Doomsday.” Oh snap, this lyric is so metaphorical.
So now that we went on our little journey, we can safely return back to reality where Superman is Superman, and Doomsday is Doomsday. And if you want to see more of that action you do not have to wait. Superman: Doomed #1 is set to release May 14, 2014 where we will get to see this infamous match-up once again between Superman and Doomsday. With Doomsday sporting some new abilities, this title has been one of the most anticipated stories to come out of the New 52 lineup. So if you are looking for an awesome battle between two powerful forces, than this comic needs to be in your face immediately. Basically if you want action pact panels, with some hit and miss dialog then Superman: Doomed is here to meet your needs. I would say that if you think this is a good place to get into Superman, probably not. This comic seems to be aimed more toward die hard Superman fans, who want that next thrill. However, as a jumping off point, there are many other options that would be much much better. Regardless, it is a comic book and it should be read by all to enjoy. And remember kids, say no to Doomsday…or drugs…just to be safe, say no to both.
Lyric: “I used to cry out why (why!)/Cus like Scott Summers, I couldn’t open my eyes/Cus everyone would die/If i took one peek, everyone would fry.”
Coming to the main stage of “DTC” this week is Sadistik. This very deep and nerdy lyric comes from the featured artist Vast Aire. Now typically “DTC” likes to have fun with its lyrics and show the handsome side of comics and Hip-Hop, however, most things in life both have a dark and light side to them. In both Hip-Hop and comics, it’s not always about saving the day, or speaking about rising above adversity. Sometimes things get dark; there are death, destruction and other pretty ugly things. I think that is exactly what Vast Aire is speaking about in this lyric. I can’t say that I personally know Vast Aire, but my guess is that when he wrote this he had a lot on his mind and some difficult things to deal with. Sometimes when things get so bad, people feel that no matter what they see, no matter what they put their focus on, it all gets broken, destroyed, and turned to ash. That could possibly be what this lyric is saying, that there is so much bad and wrong going on that he could possibly feel responsible. Or perhaps not, like I said before these are all just theories. But what do you “DTC” fans think I am? A one trick pony? Never. I have another theory.
Many rappers in the game aren’t here because everything in their life was sunshine and rainbows. A lot of rappers have experienced poverty, rejection, and death. My guess would be that Vast Aire is no different, that everywhere he goes he sees all these negatives. He sees people trying to provide for their people, he sees people trying to do better for themselves but continue to get pulled down, and he sees people die. So maybe, just maybe, if he closes his eyes, and shuts the world off, the pain will go with it. Like Cyclops when he first developed his powers, if he opened his eyes to the world and to the people around him, they would die. Maybe Vast Aire, was tired of seeing everyone around him go, so the best way to not see it, is to shut it down. Maybe we will be able to see this struggle in the new on going Cyclops series which will be written by Greg Rucka.
In this series, Rucka focuse on a younger Scott Summer (Cyclops) with illustrator Russell Dauterman. This is exciting because this will be the first on going solo series for Cyclops, one of the original leaders of the X-Men. This series spins out of “The Trial of Jean Gray.” I can’t say much about this series without spoiling what the main focus will be of the Cyclops solo series, however, if you are truly curious it might be a good idea to pick up that comic, or just look it up on the internet because well, you know, we can do that. I’m actually very excited about this series, and I hope it proves to be something special. It should be the same old Scott Summers we know and love, however the story will force us to look at him from a different angle and attitude. Seeing that we will be taking a look at Cyclops in a different time, with a different mind frame will allow us to see how this young character developed into who he is today. This solo series is set to drop in May and my bet is that this comic will be something very interesting and something all comic fans should check out. So remember fans, for every one ugly event in your life, there are fifty beautiful ones waiting in the wing.
Lyric: “I smoke on the mic like smokin’ Joe Frazier/ The hell-raiser, raising hell with the flavor/Terrorize the jam like troops in Pakistan/Swinging through your town like your neighborhood Spider-Man”
Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nottin ta F#@! wit! Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nottin ta F#@! wit! Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nottin ta F#@! wit! Comic book nerds ain’t nottin ta F#@! wit! That’s right all you “DTC” fans out there, the one and only Wu-Tang Clan has officially touched down on our main stage, and they bring with them the nerd mentality. If you are going to mention pioneers of Hip-Hop it would be shameful not to bring in the Wu. Similar to how Spider-Man has been a monumental character in the Marvel Universe, comic books, and our hearts. It’s is no surprise that Hip-Hop has been a culture and pretty much a religion in the black culture, however, many may not realize that Spider-Man has meant a great deal to the black community as well. “What? How can that be? How is this nerdy white guy going to mean anything to black culture?” My guess is that these were some of the thoughts that paraded in your mind after I so bravely typed that sentence.
First off, Peter Parker comes from one of the birthplaces of Hip-Hop culture, Queens, New York. There have been countless rappers to come out of that neighborhood to find success such as: Nas, 50 Cent, Marley Marl, and Pharoahe Monch. So right from the start, that parallel and that connection allows Hip-Hop fans to feel a little tingle in the back of their heads. Still to this day, African-Americans struggle, suffer, and have to continually faced discrimination coming from all angles in life. Housing markets, job opportunities, resources, opportunities, and especially the media. I may sound preachy to some, and come off as “hating white people” but that is not the case. I am all about inclusion, and I simply want to bring issues to light. Spider-Man means something to young black youth because he IS them; Peter Parker transcends race, being relatable to more than those who just look like him. The media continually portrays Spider-Man as being a menace and a monster that only hurts the city. No matter what he does, no matter how many people Spidey saves a person, no matter if he is set out to improve his community, the media will still only report the damage caused saving hundreds of lives. The media will always talk about how the only reason Electro attacked was because Spider-Man was present in the first place.
The same can be said about the black community. The news would much rather broadcast a murder than the opening of a community center, or a robbery rather than a second chance school for black youth. And this is not limited to the black community, this truth spans through all races, religions, and creeds. If you came from a single parent house hold, and your mom brought home a Spider-Man comic for you, and you read that he also came from a broken home, wouldn’t you feel something? Knowing that this character is feeling what you are feeling, and all the while he was just an average kid, is resonates with many of us. Far too many of us forget the origin stories, and what came before the heroism. Raised in a big city, with no parents at home, living modestly, trying to figure out his position in life yet more than willing to help someone with theirs. My guess is that more than a few people can relate to this. Beyond all this Peter Parker showed a life of possibilities. He is college educated mostly paying out of his own pocket striving for betterment. He showed that there is more out there, and that an awkward kid who constantly deals with loss, and less than favorable circumstances doesn’t have to let that define him. And in addition to that, he made being a nerd cool. He showed you can be smart and strong and regardless of what others think, that won’t change his morals and motivations. In addition to all that, president Obama was featured on the cover and in Amazing Spider-Man 583 (2009). That is both nerdy and bad-ass.I feel that I don’t have to explain that rappers coming out of Queens, or any where else qualify for almost exactly what I’ve said about Spider-Man. Substitute Spider-Man or Nas or 50, the same concepts apply. With The Amazing Spider-Man 2 set to release on May 2nd, you will see the mixture of brains, brawn, courage, and all that other Spidey goodness come together. So remember people “With great power, comes great responsibility.” I have no justified way of tying that quote into this article but I feel like I have to use it, because you know, Spider-Man.
Lyric: “Yea, the flow so absurd/It’s C.G. boy, king of the black nerds/I gotta get my Urkel on/ I won’t stop until i see an afro at Comic-Con/And not just Samurai.”
Childish Gambino is back with “DTC” to prove once again that nerds cannot fit into a one size fits all mask and cape. In this week’s song, “Run This Town (Bambi Remix)” he is out to spread a message to everybody out there that has ever experienced any sort of bullying simply for being who they are. If you have ever been teased or made fun of because you don’t fit into the stereotypes of your race or culture, or like to express yourself differently, this song is for you. Gambino talks about his experiences with such matters, just because he likes to wear pink clothing, yellow hats, and rainbow colored items people use to call him hurtful things and basically tried to destroy him just because of his style. He talks a lot about how this happens to black kids, while at the same time addressing various stereotypes. If you are a young black man who prefers a power ring to a dime bag, or likes to hit the skate park after school while listening to Coldplay and recite every syllable and letter, then you are made to believe that you should be ashamed of who you are.
Gambino said no to all of this, and tells us that we have dealt with haters like this for too long. It is well known that Childish Gambino is a huge nerd. With his #donald4spiderman campaign, various comic book references in music, TV, and comedy, and overall praise of nerd culture, Gambino is at the top of my list to wear that nerd crown. Even back in 2012 Gambino made a cameo appearance in an Image Comics series called TheLi’l Depressed Boy. In issue #10, Gambino can be seen performing a concert, which inspires the main characters to get out and experience the world. The series is said to mirror Childish Gambino’s first studio album Camp. Although it is exciting to see Gambino represented in a comic book, the chosen lyric for this “DTC” reminds us that African-Americans are still vastly underrepresented in the nerd community, both in character and fandom. It may not be a surprise to most, but there are not very many black superheroes in the mainstream. Sure, we have had some: John Stewart, Storm, Black Panther, Bishop, Static Shock, Luke Cage, Falcon, and Blade. But beyond that, there aren’t an abundant amount of characters compared to white heroes – who always seem to be at the top of the comic book totem poll.
The same can be said for people who attend comic conventions around the world. Thing is, black people want to be represented at comic conventions beyond cosplay. And a majority of the time, at a majority of the conventions, that representation is not present. As the years have gone on and progressed, I believe this image and concept of the “black nerd” has been skewed and misunderstood. When people think of black nerd, they automatically think of Urkel. However, that is rarely the case nowadays. Black nerds are as diverse in their interests and styles as Iron Man is with his suits or armor. Urkel can no longer be the poster boy for black nerds. In fact I’m not so sure there even can be a go to black nerd for today, but if there had to be one, Gambino is a front runner. Currently Gambino is on the “Deep Web Tour” promoting and performing his latest album, because the internet. I know one thing, this black nerd is going to be in that crowd when he comes to Denver, CO. on April 29th. If there is one thing to take away from this article, I would say this, be who you are and love yourself because of that. It doesn’t matter if you are white, black, brown, purple, orange, green or whatever, in the end we all want to be represented and we all want to be able to embrace what we love and be embraced by those around us. Because for every person who is willing to put you down for being you, I’m sure there has to be two people who that you are pretty cool for not giving a crap what the others think. And if not, then scratch all three in the face and make it known that they just got beat up by a nerd. So stay nerdy, stay proud, and be open to new experiences, because you never know if that person sitting next to you on the bus stop is also on their way to the comic book shop.
Lyric: “Vocally twice as magnifying as ever hearing Chewbacca scream/Through a megaphone with the significance of Dr. King.”
Coming back for his second tour to “DTC” (Pharoahe was featured in our second ever “DTC” for “Agent Orange.”) Pharoahe Monch brings us back to his world with his fourth studio album P.T.S.D. Similar to his last solo album W.A.R. (We are Renegade), this album bring to light a lot of topics other artists aren’t even willing to touch. Topics that are not only relevant to modern society, but topics that are sensitive to the general population. These themes include mental health, the right to basic freedoms, gun violence, war, and other issues that can affect anybody no matter what age, gender, race, or tax bracket you associate yourself with. It is obvious when listening to this album he draws from the emotions he had to deal with in his own personal life such as depression. I can continue to talk about this album for hours on end, however “DTC” must focus in a different path (for a full review of P.T.S.D., check out our review here).
I think the best direction to start off with is this sick ass nerdy line coming off of Pharoahe’s song “Rapid Eye Movement.” What is the loudest thing you can think of? A car alarm? A jet flying overhead? Chewbacca screaming through a megaphone? Aww, close but no cigar; the correct correct answer is Pharoahe Monch when he is doing his thing on the microphone. Maybe loud isn’t the right word, but strong definitely is. What Pharoahe is bringing is the power and passion through his voice and his art and presenting it to you the best way he knows how. With such a powerful voice spreading such a passionate message, how could you possibly mistake it for something insignificant? Quite possibly one of the world’s greatest speakers, humanitarians, and civil rights activists, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had nothing but significance come out of his mouth. That is what Pharoahe is trying to exemplify with his music and his art. I can only imagine that he wants to a spread a message out to the public and bring out the darkest facts of life that seldom leave people comfortable, because progression never develops when there is no struggle. And if you don’t believe me, well then I find your lack of faith disturbing. Because ignorance is bliss but knowledge is power, and with a devotion like that, how could you not listen?
I’m just saying, you should pay as much attention to him as you would Chewbacca screaming the “I Have a Dream” speech into your ear with a megaphone. Sadly, Star Wars has been quite the opposite lately with their news. A few small things here and there, but nothing that makes that like nerd cortex in my brain throb. It has been released that filming for Episode VII will start next month in May. Even though many of the actors set to star in this film are relativity unknown, this could prove to be a good thing for the movie in the long run. Besides that, other casting decisions are still just rumors. However, there are many other cool things that are happening surrounding Star Wars. Star Wars-themed march madness tournament “THIS IS MADNESS” ended not too long ago with Obi-Wan Kenobi snagging the championship with a fairly close victory over Darth Vader. In other delicious news M&Ms are re-releasing their Star Wars-themed candies which we all better take advantage of while we can get them. One last amazing thing Star Wars is doing is that they are helping fight illiteracy. On October 11th, Star Wars Reads Day III will be occurring. This is where Star Wars authors, artist, and costumed volunteers get involved in Star Wars Reads Day events happening all over the world. DOPE AND NERDY!! So if you have been feeling a hole in your heart due to lack of Star Wars news, I just tried to help out a little bit. And I know that isn’t nearly enough to fill the whole void, but that is where Pharoahe Monch comes in. Because like I’ve said time and time before, nerds and Hip-Hop heads are so close to being the same thing. So go out there and buy P.T.S.D. and help spread the word of the Monch. “[Insert inspiration/awesome/favorite Star Wars quote here]” There is like a million of them, and I’m sure they will all fit.
Lyric: “Fast and agile/Teleport rhymes, Nightcrawler while you’re fragile/Stagnant ballers/Don’t give a damn about your dollars.”
Today is somewhat of a special day for “DTC” as we introduce our first female artist to the stage, Jean Grae. What better person to represent our music/comic cross over than a hard hitting hip-hop artist who happens to share the same name as a strong and brilliant female comic book character (check out our profile on Jean Grey here). It is truly an honor to feature the underground legend Jean Grae, who truly proves her worth and nerdiness right off the bat with her name, and this sick lyric. It’s one thing to mention the X-Men in your lyrics, but to mention fanboy favorites like Nightcrawler and have it be as awesome as this. Basically, what Jean Grae is BAMFing about is that her rhymes are simply better and that’s all there is to it. With the wonder that Kurt Wagner travels through space is the same wonder her rhymes inflict on her listeners – which is actually as close to the truth as you can get without being Nightcrawler.
While a lot of artists think they are making moves and putting out work, they are moving in stasis compared to what Jean Grae spits. While they stand still, counting whatever their pocket-change produces, Jean Grae isn’t worried about them at all. For all she cares, you could be swimming in loot, but that doesn’t mean your rhymes are worth a dime. She might as well be Nightcrawler, the way she’s making moves from one venture to another. On top of rapping, Grae recently made her directorial debut creating “Life With Jeannie.” This half-hour sitcom is written, directed by and stars Jean Grae which dropped on JeanGraeTV.com. She also created her own company “KAGD.” In one of her most recent music ventures, Jean Grae released three cycles of “Gotham Down.” How nerdy is that. She is also a self-proclaimed X-Men and John Byrne, who wrote Days of Future Past (the movie adaptation comes out next month).
Along the lines of making movies, Marvel is finally making some big moves with our teleporting superhero, Nightcrawler. Nightcrawler is finally getting his first solo series. I won’t spoil anything for the people out there who aren’t up to date with out hero, but this is truly Kurt Wagner’s second chance at life. Back in 2010, Nightcrawler gave his life for a noble cause in X-Force #26 (April 2010). But, when Amazing X-Men launched last November, we saw our hero return. And now on 4/9/14 we finally get to see him with his first solo series. With artist Todd Nauck and writer Chris Claremont (who has worked with the character from 1975 to 1991) at the head of this project, we can hope and expect to see some good things out of this comic series. I’m getting blue in the face just thinking about it, ha, get it? This comic hit shelves this Wednesday, 4/9/14, and we encourage you to go check it out. We also encourage everyone out there to check out Jean Grae and her latest endeavors. If you want more information about Jean Grae, and her works you can visit her website at http://www.jeangrae.com/.
“I dare say…I was born for this. Raise the flag, X-Men. And let’s go be amazing.” -Kurt Wagner (Earth 616).