Denver Comic Con 2014 – Gargoyles 20th Anniversary Reunion

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Panel NameGargoyles 20th Anniversary Reunion

Topic: Q&A with cast, crew and the creator of Gargoyles

Featured Guests: Greg Weisman, Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis, Jim Cummings, Salli Richardon-Whitfield, Greg Guler, and Vic Cook

There are and have been a lot of anniversary events this year and one Denver Comic Con decided to cover was the 20th anniversary of Gargoyles. It worked perfectly since another was the 25th anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation, which goes right with this as the entire Star Trek cast, other than Patrick Stewart, did a voice at some point during this series. This panel only had Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis as they played main villains in the series but the panel also included, Greg Guler, Vic Cook, Jim Cummings, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, and the creator, Greg Weisman. Greg W was supposed to moderate the panel but if anybody knows Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis and most of the Star Trek: TNG crew, you know nobody is in charge when they are in the panel.

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Frakes pretty much took control of the panel and there was not much from anyone else but Marina Sirtis, occasionally Greg Weisman, and little things from everyone else. This aside, It still was very entertaining and gave us all as deep of a look into Gargoyles we could get with Frakes and Sirtis going nuts the whole time. The series itself was made by Disney and although you can see things like The Lion King and Donald Duck displayed on televisions in select episodes, Disney did not have much control over the series itself (that is until Disney destroyed it for the Goliath Chronicles). You can definitely see influences from Disney, as well as how Goliath has similarities from every child’s worst nightmare from Fantasia, the demon Chernabog.

Even with Disney making it and ultimately destroying it with what can honestly be called an entirely different series with Goliath Chronicles since the staff and crew were pretty much entirely different. A lot of the themes and ideas from the great two original seasons the show had such as Shakespearean references are what made the show great and that much more wonderful for children to watch all seemed lost within this supposed “Third” season Disney made. Shakespeare had such a big impact on the show that we had characters of the Weird Sisters, and Macbeth, but many other historical and literal references such as King Arthur, which made this not only a great fantasy series but took so much stuff kids should learn and set things up so that they would actually seek out who these people were furthering their interest in learning and reading, I am looking at you Anansi, or LeVar Burton as he is known outside of Gargoyles.

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Now, the final thing to mention was there was talk of a live action Gargoyles film and Greg Weisman actually told us all it may happen but Disney has a different script of Scottish gargoyles coming to life in New York and working with a female cop and it is not Gargoyles (This type of copying with no credit sickens me). However, after the initial mention Marina Sirtis made sure to mention that if any fans want anything, all you have to do is bombard the studios that own the properties. In a day and age where fans have brought back Family Guy, Futurama, Arrested Development and more because of their constant badgering of the studios has proven useful and ultimately shows that there is always a chance something can come back after death, at least in the world of television. Hopefully, if this film does get made, we can have another Star Trek reunion and maybe Patrick Stewart could finally make his Gargoyles performance which he would do according to Marina Sirtis because as she said, “Patrick is a whore now and he would do just about anything.”

Denver Comic Con 2014- Cosplay… Cosplay Contest Shindig!

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While the Cosplay on the show floor did not disappoint, the Cosplay Party hosted on Saturday night was a winner!  Check out all the costumes below:

“Respect My Craft” – Greg Weisman

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.

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Name: Greg Weisman

Profession: Producer, Writer, Author

Notable WorkGargoyles, Star Wars Rebels, The Spectacular Spider-Man, Young Justice, Rain of the Ghosts (novel)

“I’m working with a lot of other great people, and there’s something incredibly exciting and thrilling about having those other great minds and incredible, talented individuals to bang off of and bounce ideas and create something that’s greater than the sum of any one of our parts.” – Greg Weisman

 

Denver Comic-Con draws ever closer!  It’s time to bring you another “Respect My Craft” for yet one more awesome guest, Greg Weisman.  Weisman is a heavy hitter producer for the best type of TV viewing a person could hope to see on a Saturday morning.  That’s right people, I’m talking cartoons.  His resumé of involvement includes work on: The Spectacular Spider-ManW.I.T.C.H.Young Justice League, and a lot more.  His real claim to fame is accredited to the popular 90’s Disney show, Gargoyles. I’m going to gush on that in just a moment.  Weisman’s influence in media-entertainment continues to grow as he is also executive producer the highly anticipated new animated Star Wars TV show titled Rebels.  This guy firmly has my childhood heart (…okay, AND my adulthood heart).

 

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Weisman… is a wise man

 

Before storming the cartoon programming scene Weisman’s pursuits were a little bit different.  Holding degrees from both Stanford and the University of Southern California, Greg originally had intentions to be an English composition professor.  He did, in fact, teach for a time.  His appreciation for the art of literature and story is endless.  Influenced significantly by William Shakespeare, Weisman elected to base every character in Gargoyles from a Shakespearean character.  His early career eventually landed him at DC studios working an entry level editorial position, or as Weisman describes “Xerox-boy.”  Nonetheless this aided his segue into Disney and Warner Bother studios.

 

 

Weisman busy on the set of Star Wars Rebels, but still reppin' Gargoyles!
Weisman busy on the set of Star Wars Rebels, but still reppin’ Gargoyles!

 

Night has fallen and lightning is rampant, the stone model pigeons on my balcony have suddenly come alive and are now soaring through the night sky and glorious wings of feathers.  I guess that’s my queue to dive into reflections of Weisman’s prize work, Gargoyles!  I feel sorry for anyone who didn’t grow up in the 90’s and missed the brilliance of this show (Note: Luckily for you, you can catch most of the first two seasons for free on YouTube).  In a recent interview when asked what his dream project is, Weisman, without hesitation, stated that it would be to work on Gargoyles again.  “Gargoyles is my real baby.  It’s hard to top that” says Weisman.  This speaks volumes considering that Weisman has been hired as executive producer for Star Wars Rebels, a job some other renowned producers would fight a Gargoyle for.  Weisman is so dedicated to the Gargoyles franchise that his primary fan-focused outreach site is a tab on the Gargoyles website!  I could type quite a few pages on the nostalgia I feel when thinking about Weisman’s debut creation.  Instead, I’ll highly recommend that you watch/re-watch the series.  It may sound cliché, but his characters are full of personality.  Not always an easy feat to achieve in an animated setting.

Weisman’s been able to keep consistency through the years.  He’s produced and written with the same high level of captivity on some of the most popular animated series in the past decade.  In addition to the first list above, he’s worked on: Men In Black (the animated series), Kim Possible, Ben 10, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Roughnecks: The Starship Trooper Chronicles, and loads more still!  Weisman has lead creative efforts on various comic series (such as the Gargoyles comics) and even dabbled in voice acting on some of his more recent shows.  Weisman – short of talent?  I think not.

 

The coolest cartoon of the 90's
The coolest cartoon of the 90’s

 

Like any great creator, Weisman enjoys taking on new challenges.  The collective fandom of the Star Wars universe is thrilled to see a veteran like Weisman holding the next big thing for the Galaxy Far, Far Away in his hands.  Rebels is scheduled to premiere this fall on Disney XD (check your programing packages folks!).  This series will set the tone for the Disney-Star Wars era.  Fans will rave or rage for at least a year, awaiting the Episode VII release in 2015, all depending the success or failure of Rebels.  No pressure, Weisman.  All outlooks look positive at this point in time.  On his involvement with the sci-fi classic Weisman says,  “I love the Star Wars franchise, in particular Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope and Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back, which is very close to the time period we are focusing on in Rebels. It’s really like a dream come true.”

 

Young Justice Producers: Brandon Vietti & Greg Weisman
Young Justice Producers: Brandon Vietti & Greg Weisman

 

What is likely his most out-of-the-box pursuit is the work he’s done on the bookshelf.  Late last year, Weisman published a novel titled Rain of the Ghosts.  The premise involves a girl that lives near the Bermuda Triangle and develops the ability to see and communicate with ghosts.  She becomes enthralled with the various things she sees and hears, even making companions with a few of the specters.  On the surface, it may seem that this is a new move for Greg.  In actuality, the first draft of this book was written more than ten years ago!  It’s been on ongoing project for Weisman – something that he’s always wanted to share.  After chipping away at it for some years (he’s been a little distracted making prolific animated television and stuff), Weisman made a big push to polish it to his liking and get it on the shelves!  His vision for this character extends far past this first book.  Weisman’s already written the second book in the series.  It’s set to be available early this July.

 

I'd be happy too if I got to produce a Star War TV show!
I’d be happy too if I got to produce a Star War TV show!

 

Greg Weisman is a geek at heart.  And like he says in the opening quote, he loves collaboration.  He’s successfully merged two of the most paramount passions of the Hush team – community and cool stuff!!  That’s why we’re so excited to have Weisman join the band of creators, artists and actors gracing the streets of the Mile High city in just a few days!  May The Force be with you when you arrive in Denver, Weisman!

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 with horror/action movie legend, Bruce Campbell.

“Respect My Craft” – Marina Sirtis

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.

 

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Click on the link to take you to all of our Denver Comic Con 2014 “Respect My Craft” articles

 

Name: Marina Sirtis

Profession: Actress

Notable WorkStar Trek: The Next Generation, Gargoyles, Hamlet

“It covered up my cleavage and, consequently, I got all my brains back, because when you have a cleavage you can’t have brains in Hollywood. So I got all my brains back and I was allowed to do things that I hadn’t been allowed to do for five or six years. I went on away teams, I was in charge of staff, I had my pips back, I had phasers, I had all the equipment again, and it was fabulous. I was absolutely thrilled.” – Marina Sirtis

 

Marina Sirtis is coming to Denver Comic Con along with several from the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The cast reunion is going to prove to be a one hell of a time with so many from the cast in the same location. Trek has been a hotbed of talent and a cornucopia of collective work. McFadden has worked as a choreographer for Dark Crystal and the Labyrinth, Frakes has directed, Burton ran Reading Rainbow, Denise Crosby was currently on The Walking Dead and Trek fans are still waiting for a Dorn to reprise his role of Worf to be captain of his own starship.

For anyone who has seen Sirtis at a convention, it’s easy to be instantly taken with her. Her real life persona is more like that of her screen mother, Laxana Troi, than Deanna. She is a spitfire, strong and commanding – and her body of work is extensive and dynamic.

Sirtis got her start on the stage with the Royal Shakespeare Company and with The Worthington Repertory Theatre Company’s production of Hamlet where Sirtis played Ophelia. She was also in a production of Rocky Horror Picture Show in which she played Magenta and toured Malian and Munich. Sirtis has never left theater and still takes the stage when she can. Her last stage performance was Neil Simon’s Hotel Suite at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia.

 “I would have to say that most of my other favorite things that I’ve done have been theater projects. Playing Ophelia in “Hamlet” is one of my favorites. Esmeralda in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and Magenta in “Rocky Horror” are my other favorite stage roles. (1994)”

After her work on the stage, Sirtis was on several well-known British television series, such as: Up the Elephant and around the Castle, and The Return of Sherlock. Her working history is extensive, however, she is best known for her role as Deanna Troi on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Sirtis left England and came to the United States to get work here. When she originally auditioned for Trek, she was reading for Denise Crosby’s role, Tasha Yar. Rodenberry felt they were each better suited for the other’s role. In the end, Sirtis was cast as Troi, while Crosby was cast as Yar.

Sirtis, at the time she got the role, was rather shy and took some time to get out of her shell. She’s been known to say she was just hiding more of her spunk so as to keep her role for Troi. It wasn’t long before her dynamic personality shined through. She quickly became close with several of the cast members and was particularity close to Majel Barrett (Laxana Troi) Gene Rodenberry’s wife. Sirtis called her mom and was sad when she past just a few years after her mother back in England.

What is amazing about Sirtis was her dedication to her character and the advocacy to expand and grow Tori as a character. At first, the writers for TNG found it hard to write for the half-human Betazoid. After all, when you have a character who can feel others’ emotions and intentions, it can take away from conflict of the plot. After the first season, however, Rodenberry was able to figure out her character and she continued to grow as the season continued. Troi had many intriguing and dynamic relationships with the character of TNG. I was always intrigued by her interactions with the Yar and Crusher on the show. TNG did a great portrayal of the spectrum of what femininity is and could be and the strength that it could convey to an audience and Sirtis had a big influence of were the writers took her character.

Sirtis’ favorite time on the show came in the sixth season when she got to explore Troi outside of her Betazoid counselor self when she was disguised as a Romulan in Face the Enemy, her favorite TNG episode. It pushed her acting and her character into a new path. At first, Troi was supposed to be like the wiz kid, Weasley, and Sirtis was happy when Troi made the transition from counselor to Starfleet officer. Sirtis felt her character went through a transformation. She went from staying on the ship to leading away teams and caring phasers, and getting a different voice. In both position of the passive and the active, Sirtis brought a spark and a strength to it that was refreshing to watch on-screen. Sirtis has had a lasting impression on television with this seminal role. Those of us who go to conventions know the impression she’s had on Sci-fi and we can thank her for the dynamic women she has played throughout the years. Sirtis did more than play a character, she helped create images of strength for a generation of women.

When TNG ended, Sirtis continued on in 1994 to voice Demona for Disney’s Gargoyles. Which she did for two years along side  TNG costar Jonathan Frakes . Sirtis has lent her voice for other projects, including Mass Effect and Adventure Time. After her time with Gargoyles, she switched modalities and stared as a police detective for a British movie Gadgememant. She also had many character roles in her career which consist of: Stargate SG-1, Outer Limits, Star Trek Voyager, and NCIS. Her character work shows her versatility as an actress – how much of an awesome and inspiring personality she is on the stage. She is also still great friend with Brent Spiner and Michael Dorn (Sirtis calls him Dorny) and were even groomsmen at her wedding.

Her work with her fans is also something to note. Sirtis feels she has the best fans. It isn’t often you see such a direct relationship with the fans and all the people she has inspired. Like a lot of other Trek actors, she has worked on a lot of fan based stories and online shows. Her recent work includes the fan show, Castlevania. This is what so amazing about the creatives involved with Trek – it’s the close relationship to their art and the audience.

“I have the best time. My stand-up material is pretty well-set now. The traveling part gets me down, but the actual convention part I still love. I come home after a weekend at a convention, and you have to scrape me off the ceiling. I’m so up and high and full of self-confidence, and I thank the fans for making me feel that way. Sometimes I think I should be paying the fans money to let me be there. I bet they would like that, too. I probably get more out of it than they do. (1994)”

As of late Sirtis has been working on NCIS and Star Trek Continues, where she plays the voice of the computer. There is also a fan campaign going around to get her on Doctor Who. Sirtis loves that her fans want her to be on Doctor Who, and would be on the show if given the opportunity. She sure would make a good doctor in my opinion. I hope that this is something that will happen for her. With the magnitude of collective power her fans have, it wouldn’t surprise me if she eventually didn’t get a role on the show. Hell, maybe she could even be the next Doctor. She, after all, has the spunk for it.

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 legendary comic book artist, George Perez.

 

Weekend Wrap-Up…May 18, 2014

In preparation for Denver Comic Con, we’ve been writing daily articles spotlighting guests at the con – called “Respect My Craft. Just last week, we wrote on:

Godzilla! Everybody’s favorite giant lizard monster is back at it. This opening weekend of Godzilla was the highest-grossing film of the year. This isn’t a very accurate representation of the movie, but it’s close enough. Expect our review soon.

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The Game of Thrones got really juicy last week, with Peter Dinklage giving one of the show’s best performances (I only wish it could have lasted longer). Tonight’s episode, “Mockingbird,” is sure to be a thriller. Judging by the name, I’d say Littlefinger (who carried around a mockingbird pin) and Sansa, our “Little Bird,” will get plenty of attention.

Speaking of GoT, creator George R.R. Martin gets animated with it, as he appears on Robot Chicken in this clip inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s Birds.

The government actually has a zombie fallout plan. Tax dollars wasted or bigger conspiracy??

The first full trailer for Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar has dropped. There’s a big emphasis on Murphy’s Law, and finding life on another planet when the food source on ours runs out (we’ll always have Cheetos, right?). Matthew McConaughey and My Cocaine (Michael Caine) star in this sci-fi thriller.

Everybody calm down! The next DC Animated project announced is… Aquaman and his New52 origin story. I hope all you people who were complaining of too many Batman films are happy when Arthur Curry starts riding seahorses and talking to dolphins. Jokes aside, Geoff John’s Aquaman run to kick off the re-launch was pretty good, and made the masses respect the ridiculed character. There’s still a while until this comes out, but the next DC Animated film to come out will be Batman: Attack on Arkham.

The new teaser for Guardians of the Galaxy is out, and Rocket Raccoon’s voice is heard. Blam! I murdered you!

DC Comics has released the creative teams and covers to the HUGE September crossover for Futures End. They will feature 3D holographic covers, and if they’re anything like last year’s “Villain Month,” they will fly off the stands. Just beware, there is going to be an awful lot of cash-grabbing issues, most of which will be terribly written and uninteresting.

While Spider-Man might have been the originator of the superhero selfie, DC Comics will be releasing selfie-themed issues coming this August.

Cinderell-y, Cinderell-y night and day its Cinderell-y!  Next year the live action version of Cinderella comes out.  Considering Cinderella is Adrian’s favorite Disney movie of all time, this is pretty big news.  Check the teaser below:

Get ready to eat and read at Chipotle.  The restaurant chain is debuting literary cups with the likes of Toni Morrison, Jonathon Safran Foer, Malcolm Gladwell and many more contributing to musings that are sure to be written in perfect typography.

#Showoff

DC Comics is hooking up with NASCAR, which I can imagine won’t reach either demographic to get into the other, but it’s worth a shot.

While I’m still reeling off the news of Far Cry 4, there’s news afoot that Halo 5 will be coming to X-Box One next year.

This was bound to happen, and I mean that in a great way, Skylanders will be coming to IDW Comics.

Written by Adrian Puryear and Sherif Elkhatib

 

 

 

“Respect My Craft” – Janelle Asselin

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.

 

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Click on the link to take you to all of our Denver Comic Con 2014 “Respect My Craft” articles

 

Name: Janelle Asselin

Profession: Editor/Writer

Notable Work: Helped relaunch DC Comics’ New52 as editor, weekly columnist for ComicsAlliance.com

 

“If you really want to “get me” and prove that sexual harassment doesn’t exist in comics, I don’t know, maybe it’s better for you to answer honestly about how you haven’t been sexually harassed. Because certainly sending me rape threats proves my point, not yours.” Janelle Asselin

“What do you do with a BA in English?” Well if you’re Janelle Asselin, whatever the hell you want.

Like a lot of us 80’s babies, Janelle was first inspired to get into comics by the 90’s X-Men cartoon. Also, she loved going to Pizza Hut because they gave out X-Men Adventures comic books with their kids meals. Outside of that, she read a lot of X-Men and Spider-Man – and declared that Daredevil: Echo (story of a misguided deaf, Native American girl nicknamed for her ability to “echo” fighting styles – pretty badass) changed her life, but stopped reading comic books until she ended up dating somebody in college who was a huge nerd and re-introduced her to the comic book world.

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To get her foot in the door, she attended cons, and gathered the courage to talk to people in the industry. One of her contacts, DC Comics’ Mike Kants was her network into the industry, as she packed her bags and moved to NYC to pursue a career in the industry. Previously, she had held editing position at Newsarama.com and the now-defunct Fangoria Graphix, as well as contributed to weekly reviews for Shotgun Reviews. Asselin started out as an editor for DC Comics, where she worked on books like Gotham City SirensRed RobinBatman and Robin, and Birds of Prey, which transitioned into the New52 run, as well as other launch titles, such as: the aforementioned Birds of PreyDetective ComicsBatwoman, and Savage Hawkman. By the time she left the company in 2011, she was credited for editing over 300 issues – many of which had a direct effect on our love for the industry.

While working at DC, she wrote her thesis, “How Can the Comic Book Industry Increase Sales Among Women? An Analysis of Factors Affecting Female Consumers” for her Masters in Publishing at Pace University. The study pointed out that DC is falling behind by ignoring the fastest growing demographic in comics (17-33 year-old women). It includes a pretty solid model that companies can follow to reach a largely untapped demographic (aside form, you know, the moral victory of becoming a more diverse company).

 

After finishing said thesis in 2011, Janelle left DC in 2011 to work for Disney Publishing Worldwide to serve as editor, and occasional writer, for publications ranging from Marvel to Mickey. When the division down-sized in 2013, Janelle moved to freelance work. Since then, Janelle has been writing for ComicsAlliance.com, which features two recurring articles: “Hire This Woman” gives exposure to women working in the industry that has the scales of gender equality tipped heavily out of their favor. She also writes “Best Sequential Art Ever (This Week),” which is a showcase of sorts for exceptional art, and the panels that string it together. Janelle also writes for Bitch magazine, writing the hilarious and aggressive piece, “Don’t Be A Dick,” taking aim at underlining issues in the industry – ranging from pet peeves to bigotry.

The boobs that started a war.
The boobs that started a war.

If you can’t tell by now, Janelle is a fervent, unapologetic feminist. She has been fighting for quality throughout her entire career, but perhaps one of her most progressive actions in her career came from a simple comic book cover critique. The review itself was harsh, but deservedly so. She tears apart the new book for looking like too much of the same thing – ridiculously-sized breasts on teenagers, subconsciously snubbing minority characters and general technical issues like signature placement and poses. However, when the net got ahold of the article, it turned into a violent “femi-nazi” shit-storm. Retorts from series’ artist, Brett Booth (who didn’t even draw the damn cover), and plenty of cyber-assholes poured in like oil on top of fire, culminating in several rape threats. Instead of retreating, Asselin used the threats, which were ironically contributing responses to an online sexual harassment survey, as a platform to reveal the ugly side of what females in this industry endure, fans and creators, just to be part of it.

It made people realize that feminism in comic books was no hidden agenda, no war against DC Comics by a disgruntled employee, and certainly not some chick who didn’t know what she was talking about. “Among other jobs I’ve held in comics, I worked for years in the Batman office at DC and worked with a lot of top-tier comics talent. In addition to years of experience actually editing comics, I also have a Masters of Science in Publishing. My entire career, particularly the last 5 years, has been based around the study of broadening comics readership to wider, more diverse demographics and I am damn well qualified to critique the cover of a comic book.” And judging by the way Marvel has embraced industry minority (gender and ethnicity) characters, it’s revealed a big reason that DC (sans-Batman) is falling behind Marvel in sales consistently. Women in the industry are gradually finding a voice, and it’s because gals like Janelle Asselin are willing to step up and let it be heard.

Join us tomorrow as we continue our countdown to Denver Comic Con with the fifth Doctor in a long line of Whos, Peter Davison.

Monthly Movie Preview: May 2014

May 2 – The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Sally Field, Dane Dehaan, Paul Giamatti, and Stan Fudgin’ Lee

Ok, I won’t even lie to you; Hush Comics got to see this movie a week in advance (check out our spoiler-free review here), so my job here is difficult. How do I write a preview for a movie I’ve already seen, without spoilers? Hang on web-heads, here we go! Andrew Garfield reprises his role as Peter Parker, alongside real life girlfriend Emma Stone (Gwen Stacy). While uncovering the true nature of his parents demise he discovers a dark truth about Oscorp, now run by his child-hood friend Harry Osborn (Dane Dehaan). Add an Eminem Stan-like social outcast with newly acquired powers over all things electrical in Electro (Jamie Foxx) and you have 142 minutes of web-slinging action.  Spidey swings through New York City GoPro style in this amazing sequel. Directed by Mark Webb (500 Days of Summer). Produced by Ari Arad (Iron Man) and Matt Tolmach. Easter Egg: Wait for those post credits and Shazam the Alicia Keys/Kendrick Lamar mash-up, “It’s On Again,” to access the bonus clip. Details here http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=52504 – John

May 2 – The Protector 2

Starring: Tony freaking Jaa, The RZA

The martial artist legend, Tony Jaa, returns for a sequel to the 2005 The Protector. There’s really never much in terms of storyline with his film, but he busts out some of the most ridiculous stunt work I’ve ever seen. On the other hand, The RZA is in the movie. I know that he loves martial arts flicks, and that he’s kind of earned his striped in that department, but him as the main antagonist is a joke – an Iron Fist sized joke. The movie technically came out last October internationally, but for some reason has had a fair amount of trouble making a US release date (initially Protector 2 was given a March update. If you’re looking for great martial arts and can put up with sub-par acting, then you should give this a go – or at least go rent Ong Bak and The Protector. – Sherif

 

May 2 – Walk of Shame

Starring: Elizabeth Banks, James Marsden, Gillian Jacobs

Effie Trinket takes a break from leading children to the  slaughter to murder brain cells with this incredibly shallow attempt at comedy. Banks plays Meghan, a workaholic reporter who is pressured to go out with her friends – one of which is Gillian Jacobs AKA Britta from Community. When news arrives that she has an opportunity to be a news anchor, she slips out and misfortune ensures. Poor helpless white girl gets lost on the wrong side of town and must find her way back to her dream job opportunity. It’s like a cross between The Hangover and Homeward Bound, except it will most definitely suck ass. Can we expect anything more from the guy who directed Movie 43? – Sherif

 

May 2 – Belle

Starring: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Tom Wilkinson, Miranda Richardson, Penelope Wilton, Matthew Goode, and Emily Watson

I saw the preview for Belle waiting for The Grand Budapest Hotel. If the movie is anything like the preview, I expect myself to be a puddle of tears by the end of the movie. The music alone had me wishing I’d brought tissue to the theater, though I’m a sucker for period movies that question the landscapes of society.  Belle is about Dido, an illegitimate biracial daughter of a naval officer. As a child, Dido is brought back England and raised by her uncle and her white cousin.  The movie seems to be awash with the intersections of race, gender, and class during a time when England was questioning their participation in Slavery. Grab your tissue; this movie looks like it’s going to be a tearjerker.  – Jené

May 9 – Neighbors

Starring: Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Bryne, Dave Franco (21 Jump StreetScrubs), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (McLovin), Lisa Kudrow,

Are you prepared for a war of the neighbors like never before? What will surely be the best comedy of the year so far pits Mac and Kelly Radner (Rogan and Bryne) against Teddy (Efron) and his army of frat brothers. Things are civil until Mac snitches, starting an all-out war between a full-grown adult and a group of college kids with literally nothing to do. The prank wars and satirical one-liners in the trailer were enough to get me excited about it. Historically, it marks the only time I can say I’m interested in a Zack Efron movie. Especially when I’m getting to the age where I side with the grown-ups, it should be fun to see if viewers are as polarized when choosing sides as I am. – Sherif

 

May 9 – Chef

Starring: Jon Favreau, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sofía Vergara, Dustin Hoffman, John Leguizamo, Bobby Cannavale (Gyp Rosetti in Boardwalk Empire), Amy Sedaris

Want to know what it’s like to watch a “feel-good” movie all about “feel-good” food?  If you answered no to that I think you need to calm down and try again…  I’m just trying to tell you about Jon Favreau’s newest movie titled Chef coming out this month.  Starring himself and cast of other comedians, this movie is all about food, family and passion.  Favreau portrays a chef with ambition and bristling culinary creativity.  After being stifled by his boss (Hoffman), he decides to take matters into his own hands and purchase his very own food truck.  Toss all that into a pan, add in some strong morals and family values, and top off with Scarlett Johansson and Sofia Vergara and throw it in the oven for 115 minutes.  Oh, I forgot the final step… Enjoy. – Taylor

 

May 9 – Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return

Starring: Lea Michele, Dan Aykroyd, Kelsey Grammer, Jim Belushi, Martin Short, Patrick Stewart

Dorothy has returned to the land of Oz! It’s a fun concept that is justifiably revisited to explore upon the vast and imaginative world. This animated film is surely for the kids, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop yourself from enjoying it, too. It looks adorable, and it’s one of the few movies out anymore that’s genuinely for young children, so parents, this might be a rare opportunity to see a movie without having to lie to your kids about what certain things mean. The cast is full of old Hollywood stars. I’m sure it can’t touch Frozen, but for parents who think their children will find Maleficent too frightening, this is your movie of the month. – Sherif

 

May 16 – Godzilla

Starring: Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen

There isn’t a lot to say about Godzilla. IT’S FREAKING GODZILLA! Also, Bryan Cranston – so that’s pretty sweet. At first look, this reboot appears to be a true homage to the delightfully campy Japanese originals, but without all of the cheese from the Matthew Broderick reboot. The trailers brought me pure excitement and when they revealed Godzilla in all of it’s glory, I felt my eyes get wider.  Having Gareth Edwards (Monsters) directing this reboot bodes well for its reception; Edwards proved that he can combine giant monsters with good storytelling quite successfully. I have a little trepidation when it comes to the writing because Godzilla is literally the second screenplay that writer Max Borstein has ever done. Trusting such a monsterous (no pun intended) property with a virtually untested writer comes as a bit of surprise. Rounding of the already large (pun intended) cast is a strong line up of actors and actresses that I have no doubt will hold the story together. Bryan Cranston is always fantastic and appears to bring some serious intensity to the movie. Ken Wantanabe is usually a strong part of any cast. With Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olson, Juliette Binoche and Sally Hawkins evening everything else out I have no doubt that this will be the reboot Godzilla deserved.  Now go see it! – Scott

 

May 16 – Million Dollar Arm

Starring: Don Draper Jon Hamm, Madhur Mittal (Slumdog Millionaire), Suraj Sharma (Life of Pi), Lake Bell, Aasif Mandvi (The Daily Show)

I figure if you’re going to begin Jon Hamm’s futile effort to try to avoid being typecast as the star of Mad Men, you might as well go half-way around the world to do it. Based off a real-life Indian reality TV show, Million Dollar Arm follows struggling agents who travel to India to recruit cricket players capable of throwing fast enough to be competitive features. What Bernstein (Hamm) learns along the way is that these recruits are people, not cash cows (or cows at all, seeing as they are sacred in India). Everybody bonds, players become professionals, Disney credits roll, it all makes sense. It’s an interesting story – one that you can buy the book for if interested – but I just don’t see it having the appeal that a sports movie of that magnitude should have. – Sherif

May 16 – The Immigrant

Starring: Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Renner, Angela Sarafyan

Not to star this off biased but it is hard for me to see an ad for a Joaquin Phoenix film and think, “Awesome, I am definitely seeing that!” After he sort of lost his mind for the sake of the fake documentary, I’m Still Here, he has lost the amazing appeal he had before for me at least. Besides him though this films stars the great Marion Cotillard whom you may know as Miranda/Talia Al Ghul from The Dark Knight Rises, and Jeremy Renner whom we all know as Hawkeye from the Marvel Comics cinematic universe. The story follows Ewa (Cotillard) as a newly arrived immigrant in Manhattan. Ewa was traveling with her sister Magda (Angela Sarafyan) who when they get to New York is quarantined because of a lung disease and can only be helped with money which neither woman has. Ewa is then taken in by Bruno (Phoenix) who although seems friendly at first forces her into prostitution to earn the money to help get her sister out of quarantine. Bruno’s cousin Emilaka Orlando the Magician (Renner) tries to save Ewa from having to be a prostitute and things go crazy in the process. This film seem kind like one that will be loved for being a great drama but the plot is not original as I have seen female immigrants being helped by sleazy American’s who make them be prostitute’s a lot in my film and story experience. This obviously is going to be aimed at the 25- 60 year old range of people as kids and most elderly people would find the material a bit too much to handle. Overall, the film looks like it could be good but most likely will be forgotten in the realm of the huge blockbusters this month has to offer. – Jacob

May 23 – X-Men: Days of Future Past

Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence, Anna Paquin, Peter Dinklage

So this movie has basically everyone in it. With the cast that has credits in: The Chronicles of Narnia, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Lord of The Rings, Hunger Games and Game of Thrones, what more could you possibly want? The original X-Men cast join our First Class mutants in a fight to save humanity. The movie, adapted from The Uncanny X-Men story arc #141-142, follows Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) as he travels in time to prevent an event that leads to push mutant kind to the brink of extinction. Produced and directed by Bryan Singer (Usual Suspects, soon to be National Sex Offender Registry member). Runtime 130. Fun Fact: According to IMDB, the legal issues between Marvel Studios and Fox films have reached mutant proportions!  Due to a court order, “No reference to Quicksilver’s (Evan Peters) membership in the Avengers can be made in an “X-Men” film, and no allusion to his relations to the X-Men or Magneto (the character’s father) can be made in an “Avengers” film; the rights agreement between Fox and Marvel even goes so far as to stipulate the character cannot be referred to as a “mutant” in any Marvel film.” – John

May 23 – The Angriest Man in Brooklyn

Starring: Robin Williams, Mila Kunis, Peter Dinklage, James Earl Jones, Melissa Leo

Robin Williams’ career has fallen off more steeply than the slalom of cocaine he used to balance it with. Since completely abandoning his family-friendly persona, Williams has failed to connect with the masses on the big or small screen. The Angriest Man in Brooklyn is the tale of Henry (Williams), a patient who pisses his nurse (Kunis) off, so she messes with him and tells him that he has 90…minutes left to live. It’s a cruel joke, but one I’m sure every nurse wishes they could tell a belligerent patient and get away with it. As Henry frantically tries to right his wrongs, he realizes how much he actually appreciates what he has. It’s a tired story (actually a remake of a 1997 Israeli film), and I’d honestly rather see the new Adam Sandler movie than this; that’s how bad this looks. – Sherif

 

May 23 – Tracks

Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Adam Driver

Tracks, based on Robyn Davison’s memoir by the same name, was originally released in 2013 in Australia. The movie was directed by John Curran, director of The Painted Veil. In 1970, Robyn travels 1700 miles across the deserts of west Australia. Her only companions are four camels and her dog.  There have been two previous attempts to adapt this book into a movie; however, all of them failed. Julia Roberts at one time was going to play the lead in the movie. Just watching the preview the landscape is breathtaking and the desert a force to be reckoned with. The aerial shots of the desert reminded me of the Egypt’s desert, which is both beautiful and harsh – a seemingly perfect backdrop of Robyn’s journey of the soul.  Looking forward to May’s lineup of movies. – Jené

May 23 – Blended

Starring: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Shaquille O’Neal, Terry Crews, Joel McHale

Another Adam Sandler movie?…  Instant reaction: severe rolling of eyeballs (I swear I saw my brain).  By the end of the preview: giggles and a quick re-checking of the release date.  Nobody does “hit-or-miss” to greater extremes than Sandler.  I mean, Jack & JillThat’s My Boy…  come on.  But then you remember Click, Spanglish, and The Wedding Singer and you feel a little forgiving.  Now, if you carefully think about Sandler’s resume you’ll notice a theme.  His best movies include one particular co-cast member that makes HALF of every movie they appear in.  If you weren’t thinking of Drew Barrymore, YOU LOSE!  She headlines Blended with Sandler this May.  The two of them play single parents struggling to find a new love connection.  After some initial and disheartening first dates (all 50 First Dates, to be specific), they both seem content to continue focusing on their kids.  That is until the two families collide on a coincidental exotic, safari vacation.  While I’m still trying to dislodge one of my eyes from the back of my skull, I can’t help but feel excited at the prospect of seeing Sandler and Barrymore on screen together again.  I wonder if it’ll top The Waterboy (yeah, right). – Taylor

 

May 30 – Maleficent

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, Lesley Manville

Villains are always best when they think they are the hero. Stripped of her beautiful wings, her homeland ravaged and, on top of it all, not invited to Princess Aurora’s christening? Maleficent has gotten the raw deal. Played by the ageless beauty, Angelina Jolie, Maleficent must protect the realm from the ignorance and belligerence of man. The film was originally set to release in March, but was adjusted around to the end of May. The tone is dark, but still beautiful, as embodied in the theme “Once Upon A Dream,” covered by Lana Del Ray – who was hand-picked by Jolie to sing it. It may have a Disney label, but I expect this to be more dark fantasy than the 50’s princess tale it’s inspired by. The film is being directed by Robert Stromberg, who is new to directing, but has made major design contributions to Disney’s two most recent live-action releases: Oz the Great and Powerful and Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Anybody who still holds Disney in their hearts need to find their way to the theaters and check this out. – Sherif

 

May 30 – A Million Ways to Die in the West

Starring: Seth McFarlane, Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Liam Neeson, Giovanni Ribisi, Neil Patrick Harris, Sarah Silverman

I can’t even remember the last time I looked forward to one, let alone two, comedies in a month. The tail end of May gives us another Seth McFarlane film about surviving in the wild West. Boasting an all-star cast that’s guaranteed to coax laughter, McFarlane should be able to recreate the same laughs from the same crowd he received in Ted. When Albert (McFarlane) falls in love with Anna (Theron), her husband Clinch (Neeson) makes Albert duel for her. A Million Ways is becoming a comedian’s orgy the more I hear about it with word of Bill Maher, Christopher Lloyd, Gilbert Gottfried (yuck, maybe orgy was a poor choice of words) joining the cast. I’m expecting cheap thrills and non-stop jokes, just as anybody who follows his body of work would. – Sherif

 

May 30 – Filth

Starring: James McAvoy, Imogen Poots, Jamie Bell

Filth, released in Scotland last year and soon to be released in the U.S., James McAvoy plays Bruce Robertson, a detective. Now, Bruce is a pretty well-rounded a-hole. McAvoy portrays the king of degenerates, abusive, alcoholic, drug using, manipulative and a real dick to everyone he works with. And the guy just wants a promotion to Detective Inspector.  Now that sounds like fun, and watching the trailers will confirm that it looks like fun. Filth is directed by Irvine Welch, creator of Trainspotting. McAvoy appears to very much in the same vain of Ewan McGregor’s character, Renton, from Trainspotting. He’s not someone you’d ever want to associate with but you still feel for him in the end.  Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 78% fresh rating so that helps out too. If you like dark British (Scottish) comedies like Trainspotting, Snatch, and In Bruges, I’m sure Filth will not disappoint. – Scott

 

So Far This Week… April 30th, 2014

Holy crap! Get ready to have your socks knocked off; this week brings in a lot of great news tidbits.

This Sunday is May the Fourth!  Hush Comics is lucky enough to be running a panel at StarFest to commemorate the holiday.  Come see us at 10 AM!

This Saturday, May 3rd, is FREE COMIC BOOK DAY! Head to your local comic book store for free issues of some of the biggest (and smallest, in the case of Mouse Guard) stories in the industry. Many local shops are holding insane sales for books, so it’s an amazing opportunity for new fans to dive in head-first to the comic book world. Don’t believe me? Just take Levar Burton’s word for it.

For more information on which books are available, this is your one-stop shop (figuratively, I mean, you still have to go to the shop to get the books. duh.). Also, Denverites, visit the Mile High Comics’ Jason Street Mega-Store for some awesome festivities on  Saturday.

If you’re like us, you like to occasionally use the ComiXology to supplement the physical copies of comics you buy at your local stores… RIGHT?? Well, since the acquisition by Amazon, there have already been some swift changes to the storefront. If you’re as confused as we are, check out this informational article.

Today marks the return of the Amazing Spider-Man to the comic book world. After over a year of Otto Octavius as Spider-Man (it’s complicated), Peter is back in command and with a new lease on life! And just in time for the movie, Amazing Spider-Man 2, to hit theaters.

Gwen Stacy herself challenged Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon to a lip-sync battle, which is quickly becoming my favorite recurring bit on the show. Emma Stone destroys Fallon – all she does is win, win, win.

Before last week’s episode of Game of Thrones, “Oathkeeper,” a trailer for the upcoming series called Leftovers. I’m still not too sure what it’s about, but I’m interested enough to check it out when it airs June 29th.

Speaking of Game of Thrones, the upcoming video game by Telltale Games is getting some narrative assistance from the story creator’s right hand man, Ty Corey Franck as a story consultant. With games like The Walking Dead and Wolf Among Us, I’m sold with anything Telltale puts out.

Marvel is not just trending, but making it a priority for gender equality in their books. Our article on what Ms. Marvel means to us (and the world) is just the start. Now that Elektra, Black Widow, Captain Marvel, She-Hulk, X-Men (all female cast) and the aforementioned Ms. Marvel have solo titles, it’s time for another leading lady to get her own series; Storm debuts this summer, written by Greg Pak – an interview from C2E2 can be found here.

Not even a year after the series’ Felina, and we’re still mourning the legendary Breaking Bad. Fans should check out this 8 minute-long tribute (seriously, whoever made this should win a freakin’ award) to the Heisenberg; while you’re at it, read our Breaking Bad Week articles. You’re God Damn Right.

Image Comics (The Walking DeadSagaDeadly ClassBlack Science…..) is trying to get some much-deserved cred with Humble Bundle, a site that lets users choose how much they pay for these works (sorry, there is a minimum payment lol). Here are some more details on the deal.

2014 is the year of the Bat…man 75th Anniversary, and July 23rd has been officially dubbed Batman Day! To celebrate, go to your local shop and pick up a FREE issue of a reimagined Detective Comics #27; Batman Day also coincides with the release of Grayson #1 and Robin Rises: Omega #1. Ah, it’s a good time to be a Bat.

The DC New 52 run of Batman has been arguably the best comic out since it went to print in 2011. A line of Greg Capullo-inspired action figures will be released soon (Batman and Talon coming this month). I want to buy an army of Talons, but I will likely settle for two.

Saturday morning cartoons meets Sunday night slow jams! Check out this awesome rendition of the classic Ducktales theme song.

Spider-Man is definitely the topic of choice this week, but DC and Warner Bros. can’t let Marvel steal all the shine. Zack Synder has been announced as the director to a Justice League movie to be released after Batman vs Superman.

Classic Frank Miller graphic novel, Ronin, is getting picked up by the SyFy channel. Hell yes.

Just in time for Star Wars Day, the initial cast for Star Wars: Episode VII has been released. What do you think?

To continue to expand upon its appeal to fourteen year old boys (just a good ribbing from a PlayStation person), X-Box One has launched WWE Network on consoles.

The Disney-Marvel connection will be in full effect this fall when Disney Infinity brings the big guns to its platform for its second iteration, Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes. I haven’t gotten a chance to play the game, but it seems like a great game for kids.

DC’s adult alter-ego game, Injustice: Gods Among Us, is rumored to be getting a sequel out next year. I’m not too sure how a new installment will be justified, but I’m excited, nonetheless. We’ll have more news on that as it develops.

Village idiot Joe Dirt may be getting a sequel. Yeah, that’s where we’re at with comedies…

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Movie Review

Genre – Action, Comic Book, Superhero

Director – The Russo Brothers (You, Me and Dupree, Captain America 3)

Cast – Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Sebastian Stan, Emily VanCamp, Robert Redford

Alluring element – Captain America kicking asses, taking names, and then kicking those asses, too

Scorecard:
Plot – 8
Acting – 9
Representation of genre/Identity – 9
Cinematography – 9
Effects/Environment – 10
Captivity – 8
Logical consistency – 7
Originality/Creativity – 9
Soundtrack/Ambiance – 8
Overall awesomeness – 9
 

“I can do everything he does… only slower” – how we feel about big shot blog sites who get their movie reviews in a week early because of special privileges

Oh Captain, my Captain! Chris Evans returns as Steve Rogers in his first solo film since Captain America: The First Avenger in 2011. He is not alone, though, as S.H.IE.L.D. director Nick Fury and mistress of espionage, Black Widow, join him in his mission to take down the Winter Soldier. There is a lot of back-story in this movie found in the comic books (Captain America: Winter Soldier review coming soon), and some of them might be considered light spoilers for casual fans of Captain America’s character, but fans who don’t know might be a little confused without those spoilers. It is never actually mentioned that Natasha Romanoff (check out our article on her here) is the Black Widow, and there are a lot of other details that sort of don’t really make sense unless you’ve seen The First AvengerAvengers or read the associate comic books. While some might consider it poor story-telling, I look at it as not getting rewarded for doing your homework. Now that Marvel has hooked in the masses, it seems to be setting a new precedent by making viewers delve deeper to understand the whole story.

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From the get-go, we can see that this is not your father’s Captain America. The naive young man who stood for truth, justice and the American way has opened his eyes to how the world really works. He still holds a moral standard that makes his colleagues roll their eyes, but is definitely going to throw down in the line of duty. In the strictest sense of it, he is no longer a champion of the American government, but the spirit of America. I feel like a good majority of Avengers showed Rogers being poked fun at for not knowing the various pop culture and historical references and making fun of his theological ideals and sense of and morality. Thankfully, this has been laid to rest and Cap now has a little notepad in which he lists all the things he has to catch up on, most recently added being Marvin Gaye’s soundtrack to TroublemanNote: this list is actually different, depending on the country you see the film in. It’s a quick way to see how the character has grown, and to avoid beating a dead horse.

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What really piqued my interest was Captain America’s level of brutality. Sure, he killed a bunch of Nazis in WWII, but that was war. I expected Captain America to have the same sort of moral compass as a Spider-Man or a Batman, where every life is sacred and not even the most vile are to die. That theory’s thrown out the window here as Cap stabs, smashes and explodes his way to put the bad guys down – most notably in the first ten minutes of espionage-filled action. Have we just evolved our super-hero standards to fit the modern day, or is this a darker, jaded Captain America that we’re seeing here?

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While The First Avenger let people believe in the symbol, The Winter Soldier had more of an origin story identity than the actual origin story did. We get to see Steve Rogers become a super-soldier, take down Red Skull and find the courage to defeat an army – but Winter Soldier really embodies the hero that we associate the character Captain America as. A lot of it has to do with the acting; Chris Evans plays the perfect Captain America. Even with an all-star cast at his side, there was never a moment that it didn’t feel like it was his story. The “supporting cast” absolutely makes the movie. I haven’t seen Samuel L. Jackson this bad-ass since he was chopping off heads with a purple lightsaber. I mean, he’s no David Hasselhoff, thank God, but he’s as Nick Fury as you’re ever going to get; he’s the leading agent of a super-spy program for a reason, and Sam Jackson played it to a T. Note: Sadly, there are no exclamations of “Mother-f***er” in this film. Meanwhile, the talented ScarJo plays Black Widow extremely well. She’s sexy without being objectified – a role model for women and a poster model for men, truly the best of both worlds. However, it’s Anthony Mackie’s portrayal of Sam Wilson AKA Falcon that really stole the show. From Mackie’s acting to the way the his costume was designed, Falcon was bad-ass – and from the looks of it, this won’t be the only movie he will be in.

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What makes Winter Soldier so great is it’s reflection of current society. Much the way The Dark Knight showed us our fear of terrorism and the symbol of how that is dealt with, Captain America: The Winter Soldier showed us our addiction to using government enforcement. Ah, the plot thickens. Everything is not what it seems though, as the whole shebang has been a conspiracy, an infection that has swept the whole system. Iconic movies like V for Vendetta have portrayed similar messages, but not quite as plainly as Winter Soldier showed it, and especially not as relate-able as to U.S. drone strikes taking down its own citizens. Surprisingly to some, this isn’t the first time Steve Rogers has taken on the entire U.S. government in the name of its people, so who is really the enemy here? I’ve seen the movie and I still don’t know; these are the questions that keep a good movie in the minds of its viewers.

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So, we’ve spent a lot of time talking about Captain America, but what about the Winter Soldier? He is in half the title, after all. When the book that the film is based off of (review of that coming soon as well) was released almost a decade ago, the big reveal was that Bucky Barnes – friend and partner of Steve Rogers before his heroic and untimely death in The First Avenger – was actually the Winter Soldier, and it floored readers. Thanks to IMDb and the rest of the internet, we all knew this coming in. The reveal wasn’t quite as built-up as I would have liked, and I feel the whole portrayal of Bucky was really rushed; there was maybe 15-20 minutes devoted to him – and that is a shame because the Winter Soldier (both before and after the events of the movie) is one of the most ruthless killers in the Marvel universe. We do get some superb action sequences with Bucky and Captain America, each blow giving off waves of power, reminiscent of an epic anime fight. While on-screen, they do the Winter Soldier justice – but in the same way that Bucky was a pawn for the Russians, he is also just a pawn for the deeper storyline of the movie.

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier also did not shy away from fanboy moments. The Amazing Stan Lee made his usual cameo (honestly one of his funniest), but it was another guest star that made us gush aloud in the theater. I won’t spoil it, but the Russo Brothers, who direct the movie, also are executive producers for a television show we can’t seem to get enough of – we’ll let you guess. We also get a taste of other not so super villains too, with Baltroc and Crossbones getting some screen time (they’re not in their traditional costumes, so see if you can find them). The use of the vibranium shield was spot on and a clear ode to the books; every fight sequence begins or ends with Rogers bouncing this thing off walls, even at one point destroying a S.H.I.E.L.D. fighter plane with it. Captain America was also a monster in combat. Exponentially quicker and stronger than his opponents, he put the hurt on a lot of people in spectacular fashion. Every punch, grapple and shield bash looked just as one from a super-soldier should.

To bastardize a line from The Dark KnightCaptain America: The Winter Soldier is the movie that we deserve, and the one we need. In a time where we are getting dangerously close to superhero super-saturation, it’s great to see a comic book film that favors character development over plot development. There are, of course, the explosions, fight scenes and witty one-liners that set a high standard at Marvel Studios, but what really makes Captain America: The Winter Soldier worth your money is the front-row seat to watching one of the finest characters in comic books saving the world from itself. Although the actual Winter Soldier (or Agent 13, for that matter) wasn’t in it for very long, The Winter Soldier drove home it’s sociopolitical points while still looking like one of the best comic book movies to come out.

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Other Stuff:

Easter Eggs!

An explanation of the post-credit scene.

Review of Captain America (vol 5): Winter Soldier graphic novel

All media credited to Marvel Studios

Shut Up and Take My Money: Toilet Sarlacc

The money in our bank account is limited, so how unfair is it that there are endless gadgets, collectibles and toys out there that demand to be purchased? Let us help you sift through the crap, so you don’t can save that hard-earned cash for the things that deserve it. In other words, we give you the power to go to the counter and say, “Shut Up and Take My Money!”

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Item:

Star Wars Toilet Sarlacc decal set

What it is:

It’s a crap!!! Based off the scene in Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi where Boba Fett is famously swallowed into the Great Pit of Carkoon, these toilet bowl decals allow you to recreate the scene over and over again using your own poo! Complete with tentacles, barbed teeth and poor Boba himself, it’s a hilarious recreation of the scene.

How Much it Costs:

You can only buy the Toilet Sarlacc decal set from toiletsarlacc@gmail.com – and the cost is $25. It’s currently sold out, but the maker is taking pre-orders for a new batch of prints. I can’t imagine that Disney is cool with this, so get one while you can, before Disney slaps the site with a good ole cease and desist.

Is It Worth It?:

Ashamedly, yeah, this is kinda worth it. At $25, it makes for a great gag gift (or at least you can tell your friends that) and, fortunately for you, it’s only available online, so you don’t have to explain yourself to the smart-ass sixteen year old behind the counter.

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Bottom Line:

The Toilet Sarlacc won’t make you cooler, per-say, but it will definitely leave a lasting impression on anybody fortunate enough to sit upon your toilet. The application process doesn’t look like too much fun – draining the water out of your toilet and manually applying the decals to the inside of your bowl – and I can only imagine what this thing would look like after a few months, but it’s a clever idea and I’m hoping it will spawn an entire line of nerd-themed toilet accessories. Who needs a girlfriend when you can poop into a Sarlacc’s mouth?

Written by Sherif Elkhatib