December 1st to 2nd Youtube Roundup : Dr. Von Chilla + Price Increases+Bendis+ Social Justice!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gswkW9as0M4

 

Under the heading “Don’t drink and Youtube” 🙂  – Dr. Von-Chilla went on a bit of a tirade regarding people speculating on comics and buying comics based on movie, tv news. Which I can get behind his feelings on that.

He also threw in there, ‘Brown chicks taking over for white guy superheroes’, which I think is a whole separate argument that I don’t get behind.

Now I know Dr. Von Chilla is not one of those anti social justice warrior nut-cases, who were hating on creators like Mark Waid and Ta-Nehisi Coates and Dan Slot, but that issue he brings up of characters changing, is one of the arguments of this mob.

It is that faulty ‘anti social justice warrior’ thinking.

If you do not like social justice warriors, you should not be reading superhero comics, because Superman, Batman, and Captain America in their origins were Social Justice Warriors. Before there was a term for it, these characters in the Golden Age were taken it to the fat cat businesses and corrupt syndicates and regimes that were sticking it to the little guy. From slum lords to Nazis the comics of the 1930s 1940s were all about saying things about what was wrong in the world. Far more courageously I might add, than most books do today.

So to hate on today’s comics for doing the same thing is to be disingenuous at best, and a moron at worst.

Now that’s me going on a tirade against people with an issue with Social justice concepts in comics. Here’s the thing, not all comics are for you or for me.

We have our preferences and there is nothing wrong in wanting to stick to that. What is wrong, is to not allow others there preference.

If the publishers can sell new characters to new populations, great for them, if they can spike sales of existing story-lines, by changing up the character, great for them (changing up not being the same thing as a mashup, which is what they are doing wrong today). That is nothing new. After the first 110 issues of the original IRON MAN he got in a rut. Back in the 80s… the creators, to get him out of this rut, wrote a FANTASTIC very long storyline where Tony Stark, became an alcoholic, stopped being IRON MAN, and James Rhodes became IRON MAN. And those were STELLAR issues from the 1980s. For my money the only issues, along with the original 110 issues, worth owning.

The same thing happened in GREEN LANTERN, the book was going nowhere after Neal Adams’ departure in issue 89 (IT SHOWS YOU HOW MUCH NEAL ADAMS BROUGHT TO THE BOOK AND THAT HE WAS A HUGE PART OF THE CREATIVE DIRECTION, BECAUSE WHEN HE LEFT EVEN THOUGH THE WRITER DENNY ONEIL STAYED, THE BOOK WAS UTTER CRAp. THE SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS STORYLINES THAT MADE AND STILL MAKE THEIR PARTNERSHIP SO GOOD, WENT BY THE Way-side AND THE BOOK DEVOLVED INTO A BORING BOOK. AND I LIKE DENNY ONEIL AS A WRITER, BUT WITHOUT NEAL ADAMS HE DID NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH THESE CHARACTERS. I SPECIFY THESE CHARACTERS BECAUSE HE DID VERY WELL ON BATMAN AFTER NEAL’S DEPARTURE) .

THE BOOK WAS BAD A LONG TIME AND DID NOT GET GOOD AGAIN UNTIL ABOUT #172 when writer Len wein comes aboard and started to direct the book back to earth, and replacing Hal Jordan with John Stewart. LIKE ALWAYS THE LATE, GREAT LEN WEIN WOULD BE CALLED IN TO HELP RIGHT A SINKING SHIP, AND WITH THE HELP OF HIS ARTIST WOULD COMPLETELY REVAMP IT, AND BREATHE NEW LIFE INTO the series.

AND ONCE HE GOT THE BOOK winning again, WEIN would turn iT OVER TO ANOTHER WRITER TO CARRY THE book to the championships (to toss in a sports comparison).

HE DID THAT WITH THE X-MEN, fixing it and HANDING IT OFF TO CHRIS CLAREMONT AND HE DOES THAT HERE WITH GREEN LANTERN… fixing it and HANDING IT OFF TO STEVE ENGLEHART AND JOE STATON, till about issue 200, with wonderful Joe Staton art and great Englehart stories, along with the ONeil/Adams run… those are my favorite issues of GREEN LANTERN to this day.

SO IF LOOKING TO COLLECT GREEN LANTERN IN MY Humble OPINION YOU GET ISSUES 42 to 80, then 172 to 200. Use the following link(YOU GET GREAT BOOKS, AND YTOU EARN A FEW PENNIES FOR THIS BLOG TO KEEP THE LIGHTS ON. A WIN-WIN!):

https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?tid=179931&pgi=1&AffID=200301P01

 

https://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/n_iv/600/680115.jpghttps://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/n_iv/600/4749311.jpghttps://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/n_iv/600/679549.jpghttps://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/n_iv/600/899707.jpgGreen Lantern (1960-1988 1st Series DC) 52Green Lantern (1960-1988 1st Series DC) 53Green Lantern (1960-1988 1st Series DC) 54https://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/n_iv/600/680145.jpg

https://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/n_iv/600/681251.jpgGreen Lantern (1960-1988 1st Series DC) 57Green Lantern (1960-1988 1st Series DC) 58Green Lantern (1960-1988 1st Series DC) 59Green Lantern (1960-1988 1st Series DC) 60https://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/n_iv/600/679569.jpghttps://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/n_iv/600/680191.jpghttps://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/n_iv/600/680199.jpghttps://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/n_iv/600/679611.jpghttps://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/n_iv/600/612061.jpghttps://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/n_iv/600/800569.jpghttps://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/n_iv/600/1081095.jpghttps://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/n_iv/600/867585.jpghttps://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/n_iv/600/804069.jpg

And they were experiments, creators tossing stuff at the wall and seeing what stuck. They were allowed that freedom in the 1980s, they should be allowed that freedom today.

The ones that do not appeal to you, don’t buy. Like me I no longer buy Marvel Comics in monthly form. I think to pay over $3 for Marvel’s horrendous paper quality, and obvious attempt to milk the speculator market rather than create good stories is asinine.  And their obvious editorial mandate to create new characters, mashup characters, to get the mindless speculators, to buy cosmic ghostrider, or phoenix wolverine, or Thor venom, or Hulk Wolverine; is not creative, it is actually them in real ways making of themselves a horrible parody and joke. The same for DC, to a lesser degree, ever since Bendis went over there. He’s a good writer, but I find him more trojan horse at DC, bring the fratboy idocy, and disrespect for readers intelligence and pockets, that he championed while at Marvel.

No sooner he is over there and DC raises its prices to $3.99. So yeah these days, with Marvel and Dc, if I hear good things about a story, I’ll check it out at my library when collected or pick up the trade online. But as far as monthly books, you just get a whole lot more bang for your back from Independents like Image, Dark Horse, IDW, After-Shock, etc. DC and MARVEl, the two companies that realistically can afford to keep the price point of new comics at $2.99 or less, are the ones driving the price up($4,$5,$6,$7 is unsupportable, when realistically speaking most of these books will end up in dollar bins in a few years. It is bad business from the big two.)

So these days companies like Alterna and Chapterhouse who sell books for under $3, are the ones I am happy to purchase everything they sell. For me they are the future of comics.

So alll that to say, there are hundreds of comics released every month, there is no shortage of Alternatives.

And quite frankly to expect Superman or Captain America of today to appeal to you the same way as the Superman of your childhood did, and never allowed to experiment or change that character is moronic.  Characters change, writers changes, the audiences they write for likewise change.

You hate slabbing. Don’t slab. You hate variant covers don’t buy variant covers. (Quick aside : I’m not a huge fan of either of those things. I think pressing comics, while it removes imperfections from the cover, is PROVEN to shorten the lifespan of the interior newsprint pages. I think it is people moronically pursuing short term goals, at the expense of the longevity of the actual book. People are going to unslab these books in several years and find pristine covers over deteriorating interior pages, especially as it relates to older books. Newsprint+moisture+heat=mistake. Every single time.

But hey  if people want to continue doing this even after being informed of the potential damage (every single person you see pressing on youtube, presses differently. Different ranges of heat, different amounts of moisture, different drying time before slabbing. I guarantee you 99% of the people slabbing comics are doing more harm than good, and are making a mold infused mess rather than preserving a collectible. It is all experimentation and guess-work with the lot of them.

If you were to do it perhaps to salvage a book that already had interior water damage, I would only use CGCs  original service, rather than one of these diy -let me get my iron out -guys. Also going through CGC you have some potential recourse through your insurance company  if things go wrong. Better than some of these guys who are doing pressing at their kitchen sink. Okay that may have been a long aside. 🙂 )

 You hate new characters or change to your existing characters, don’t read those characters. Read the 80 years of back issues, or choose new comics to support. It is not that effing difficult, it is not effing brain surgery, it only becomes a problem when you want YOUR choices to be the only choices everyone else has available. That is the problem I have with the anti social justice warrior nuts.

They think their right to hate something, should supersede someone else’s right to love something.

Don’t tell me the things you hate. Tell me the things you love, and that is how you move the needle.

It is what is great about the Youtube comic community. A lot of people sharing their loves, has inspired me to buy a LOT of books this year. People telling me what they hate, has not gotten me to drop a single book, or change a single purchasing decision. I decide for myself what is worth hating, and I hate very few things. I dislike a lot. I have no interest in reading books or watching tv shows about trans or gay characters. I’m not saying these books or Tv shows shouldn’t not exist,  OR THERE IS ANYTHING WRONG WITH IT, but I have no interest in them IN MY COMICS OR MY TV SHOWS. So AFTER THE FIRST SEASOn of supergirl tv show (which i enjoyed) I dropped out of the second season, because it was too much soap opera bs about her sister coming out. no interest. same thing with arrow, mr. terrifics relationship i think is out of place and just detracts from the show, etc.

so instead I just find something I like, to watch or read.  SO while I may dislike or avoid many  things, I hate very few. Your hate is not something I catch from you, like the cold.

But tell me of the things you love, and that I will check out, to see if I love it too.

Dr. VonChilla, knows this. Because I have watched his videos where he introduces us to books he loves. And some of those books I’ve bought.

That’s how you change the world for the better Dr. Von Chilla… one great recommendation at a time.

 

 

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Top Black Friday Shopping DEALS for Those Not in Debt! COMIC BOOK FAN Gift Edition!

If you are in debt, see my previous post. You should be using any free money to pay down or pay off your debt, not adding to it.

A simply essential Youtube channel for sensible money management tips is :

MINORITY MINDSET-

https://yt3.ggpht.com/CdRWgeqIDvjAWK7tus78G4gmmWc7sRRvr7wQaocxRQ02MEZS-iRz_CJCkEIP1S9DJg2S5sxCIQ=w1440-fcrop64=1,32b75a57cd48a5a8-nd-c0xffffffff-rj-k-no

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCT3EznhW_CNFcfOlyDNTLLw/featured

https://theminoritymindset.com/

A lot of it is seemingly common sense, but if common sense was common, most of America would not be drowning in debt, and a person who did not win the popular vote would not be in the oval office.

So we can not have too many people… talking sense to us.

Obviously as a nation and a world, common sense bears repeating often. 🙂

 

Anything you buy, should not be bought on credit until any existing debt is paid on first.  If you can pay cash for it, after paying down on your debt, than go for it.

For the few of you who have done this, this list is for you:

For COMIC BOOK/GRAPHIC NOVEL/SLIM Fans:

First get the comic book fan in your life, quality bags, boards and tape. As a fellow collector I speak from experience, few things are as aggravating as a disorganized collection.

So let us start there, by helping the comic bibliophile in your life get more organized.

Every single comic fan needs comic book bags and backing boards, and typically never gets enough or the right kind for themselves.

I’ve done the hard work for you. Here are the ones to get:

Comic Book Bags AND BOARDS:

 

E. Gerber without a doubt is the name to trust in this hobby, and his MYLITES2 a must own. Get “standard size” as that will support not just today’s smaller comics but the older, larger bronze, silver and golden age comics. But plastic is not enough you will also need a backing board (preferably full back as it is acid free on both sides) to keep the books from getting damaged when stored or being moved.

Also with the board each bag can store two comic books, with the books facing out. Storing it this way actually better protects the books. Buy the bags and boards together and save money.

Get them here:

https://amzn.to/2TzXHES

 

TAPE:

Now, traditionally to close the bags a little bit of scotch tape was used, but that proved to be an issue as that tape would end up sticking and damaging the comic book, when it was removed or inserted into the bag. Some people use painters tape, but it defeats the purpose of having these books beautifully displayed in crystal clear mylar, if you are going to use unsightly blue tape to close the bags.

No, a good upgrade from both scotch and painters tape is two sided tape. There are several varieties one that works well for me is :

XFasten Double Sided Carpet Tape, 2-Inch x 30 Yards
All you need is 1 to 3 very small pieces, maybe 1″ x .5″, apply it not to the flap of the plastic bag, but the back of the mylar plastic bag, where the flap will seal, remove the film, close the bag, and tada you have an almost invisible, very non-obtrusive way to safely seal your comic book bags. And comics may be removed and inserted without risk of tape damage.
Get yours here:
Okay, we got you set with protecting the individual comic, now what do you store them in?

COMIC STORAGE:

There is arguably nothing more outdated about this hobby, than grown ass men and women filling their homes with these unsightly cardboard boxes. 🙂 Now don’t get me wrong, for many years I was one of these men. I think sometimes we go on inertia, and what worked for us yesterday, we continue with today and into tomorrow, unexamined.

And if you are still a kid, or even a bachelor, living by yourself, maybe that comic box fits your needs.  But maybe it doesn’t. Maybe you outgrow it.

The surest way to entrenched failure, is to not continually reexamine the constants of your life.

It is like people voting along party lines, or treating elections like a horse race, or a basketball game. Where we need our team to sweep, rather than putting the best person in the position. That is not the way. You have to always reexamine, on a case by case basis, who we love and who we hate, because everything changes.

Midterm elections, is an example.

I had several Democrats, a couple Republicans, a couple green party, because sometimes the label does not tell you who best represents your or your family’s or your community’s best interest. That is the problem with America, we are voting for the label, and not the measure or voting history of the specific man/woman.

All this highly political tirade, — hey its my thing, to say always be on the lookout for the better mouse trap.

And the standard comic book box or even the newer drawer box, may not be the better mouse trap for you.

 

ComicsDC: PR: Get $2 for your old empty comic box! Beyond Comics!Value of old comics | Comic book worth, appraisal & valuationOld Comic Books | eBay

 

Here in 2018 I have completely transitioned away from the standard comic book box for a variety of reasons. Cardboard is a nice home for bugs, particularly spiders, silver fish, etc.

I love watching those storage reality shows, and people grab these comic book boxes, and the boxes are stained and rotting away around the comic books. And even when brand new, it is not something for a more mature, tailored environment.

And while your comics may be safely bagged and boarded the cardboard box itself is a convenient home and meal and breeding ground for such pests. And whether a storage unit or your home, insects, particularly spiders, find a way. Especially if cardboard is involved. Now definitely keeping your collection in a temperature controlled location, with ceiling fans constantly gently moving the air, and dehumidifier material/desiccants (such as that derived from volcanic rock) helps. But until you remove the main attractant for humidity and moisture and pests, stacks of cardboard, you are fighting an uphill battle.

So what do you do instead? You replace the cardboard box. You put all that cardboard where it needs to be… in recycling bins.

There are 5 great options out there, to replace your outdated comic book box. Two display options and 3 portable options.They are:

IKEA Kallax 4 Shelving Unit Black-Brown

IKEA’S KALLAX is just wonderful for displaying books, graphic novels, and even bagged and boarded comics, to include certified CGC/CBCS sized comic books. I own six of the above Kallax cubes and they are one of the best purchases I have made.They look GREAT in any room, and display your collectibles beautifully as opposed to the horrendous traditional comic book box.

 

Price them here:

https://amzn.to/2S6U9bz

 

Another great and essential storage and display unit, that also resolves the cleanliness and organization and appearance issues with traditional cardboard boxes, is the above CASA PURA METAL STORAGE SHELVING UNIT. I have the 4 tier unit, that is rated to hold 155lbs per shelf.

 

Price them here:

https://amzn.to/2DUBYmi

 

Okay now while great for displaying your collection, the Kallax and Casa Pura storage units are not portable options. That is where the next options come in…

 

 

Muscle Rack MK131311-B2PK 11" x 13" x 13" Black Milk Crate (Pack of 2)

MUSCLE RACK BLACK MILK CRATE fits perfectly in the above KALLAX or is great stacked on the CASA PURA. Very reasonably priced and holds as many comics as the standard short box. Conservatively 150 bagged and boarded comics per milk crate. That means inserted into the Kallax you can hold up to 600 comics. And used 2 to the shelf on the Casa Pura you can hold at least 1200 comics with space in between for trades and hardcovers.

Made of hard plastic, you can toss away your stain and bug collecting cardboard box. As these MUSCLE RACK CRATES will not trap humidity (the enemy of paper based products) like your traditional comic book box.

Price them here:

https://amzn.to/2P1sRS6

Okay for strictly display needs, the above three items will handle everything you could want. They will turn your comic collection space, from a kids room, to an adults room, where your collectibles will not cause your significant other or guests to groan upon seeing it. The above items would be equally good for record or figurine or movie collections.

However, portability for the books you do not need displayed, but still want easy access to, and to be able to easily move them; you need something more. We will go over those last two options in the upcoming installment.

If you have found this post helpful, please like it up, spread the word, and use the associated links. You get great items and it generates helpful pennies for this blog.

Thanks! And more next installment!

 

 

Black Friday Shopping Dos and Donts!!!

Black Friday ‘Do’s’ and ‘Do nots’ basically boils down to the following sentence.

If you owe money on your rent, mortgage, car payment, credit card, or other loan or bill, Black Friday rather than an excuse to buy cool stuff, should be a day to pay down more on your debt.

Now If you have money left over from your PAYCHECK, after paying down on your debt, and want to treat yourself to a great deal. please do.

But not if it adds to your cc debt. Only if you can pay it out of this week’s paycheck.

And that tip should be for any holiday or birthday. If you can’t afford to buy it outright, without adding to your debt, or pay it off in a month, don’t buy it.

 

 

TV Show of the Day : LUKE CAGE SEASON 2 by Cheo Hodari Coker

Cheo Hodari Coker’s 1st Season of Luke Cage was one of my favorite TV shows of 2016, right up there with the excellent Noah Hawley LEGION. They were each in their own way, game changing and ground breaking TV.

Mike Colter in Luke Cage (2016)

LEGION largely for its visuals and innovative storytelling, and Coker’s LUKE CAGE for in many ways being one of the few shows to offer a multitude of characters of colors in non-stereotypical ways, and with innovative roles, with unfettered storytelling. One of my favorite shots in the 1st season of LUKE CAGE, was four strong, upstanding women of color, captured in one great shot. Not as prostitutes, not as rappers, not as comedians,  but as heroes. Likewise their male counterparts were admirably done.

LUKE CAGE, the series, sings/rewards…  largely because of those conversation of books in the barbershop, those conversations on playwrights and writers. Those things, those conversations, that mostly uninformed people (who mainly know Blacks via the stereotypes they have consumed through mass media), would right off as preachy, or talky, or unrealistic, those are the conversations, that immediately sang for me, and clued me to the greatness of this show.

As someone who grew up in those Barbershops, those conversations are very true, to how many of us escaped the traps of the street, and found our way to something… better.

Always Forward.

If SEINFELD can be acclaimed for being, in places, a show about nothing, we should allow that same latitude to a serious show such as LUKE CAGE, that uses those seemingly frivolous nothings about the writers, and the artist, and the books, and the music; to say profound somethings.

Of All the Netflix shows, it is the only one that says something more profound, than the standard super-hero or for that matter action or drama tropes. It says something about the world outside our door, and how to meet it. Not preachy, not banal, and never losing the joy and beauty we can find, despite the dire days, and the dangerous nights.

It is the balance of crime and charm, violence and virtue, war and wit, that can sing, to those with ears. And it withstands repeated viewings better, because of all those layers you can view it on.

Cheo Hodari Coker’s LUKE CAGE is one of the best written and most innovative and ground breaking shows to come along in years for precisely this reason. It takes you the place all great writing should, beyond your prejudices, your assumptions, your comfort zone.

For my money it is one of the best of the Marvel/Netflix TV shows, right up there with the first season of DAREDEVIL. But edges it out, because I find the characters in LUKE CAGE, especially the protagonists, far more interesting and likable. DAREDEVIL’s main characters are various stages of unlikeable and annoying.

Add to that Coker’s plot has something valuable and timely and timeless to say about our world, that transcends bad guy fights good guy. There is a complexity to the storyline and the conflicts, that rewards repeated viewings.

Ten episodes in and that complexity remains for Season 2 of LUKE CAGE. It is not perfect, I can do with less Alfre Woodard, particularly her and the character of Shades getting intimate, I can really do without. I never really buy Shades attraction to Woodard’s character, and the more they try to sell it, the less it works for me. Also Alfre’s unhinged performance, while I get it.. she is Lady Macbething it up, for me it is too much. She is always in her twitches, and sputterings, always at eleven, always wildly and uncomfortably out of control, which for my own taste would have been better dialed back to 4 or 5. Also the poster for season 2 is absolute garbage, whoever came up with that poster should be fired. It is that inept of a poster. Right up there with the HANCOCK boxart and poster.

But those minor weakness aside, LUKE CAGE season 2, following strongly in the footsteps of Season 1 is crushing it; the story and performances shine, and like season 1 it has the best soundtrack of the year. Ten episodes in and I’m loving it… Grade: B+.

More to come as I watch the last few episodes.

 

Streaming VOD Channel Review -BLACK NEON- And a review on WOLF and the films of Robert Bresson!

So while I advocate always keeping things you LOVE in physical media, DVDs , Blurays, CDs, etc; the benefit of Streaming and Digital is that it is GREAT for exploring, and finding out what out there is worth having. Most things are not worth having or keeping. So Streaming is great for a try before you buy methodology, or simply finding new things to watch right now.

This installment, the channel that is up for review is…  BLACK NEON.

BLACK NEON  – first thing that strikes you about this channel, is unlike the hundreds of options of other channels, this one has a very limited number of movies. Many I have to confess to being unaware of or not having seen on other channels. Always a plus in my book.

To avoid the mishap of doing a lengthy listing of its titles, only to determine the actual streaming service is crap, or ad infested. I decide to pick a movie and test it out.

Wolf (2018)

My eyes gravitate to a film called WOLF, a thriller of some type seemingly, and without reading the description I just start the film. From frame one I’m captivated. And over sixteen minutes in and not a single ad.

I’m loving the movie and the channel so far.

BLACK NEON may be a home-run. I’ll update after finishing the movie and looking around a bit.

***UPDATE*****

Okay I just finished watching WOLF courtesy of the BLACK NEON channel. Do a search for new streaming movie channels to add and you will find BLACK NEON.

Wolf (2018)

They do not have much content, maybe a dozen movies.But it is worth getting the channel just to see WOLF. What an incredibly strange film. Very off kilter, and always has you on the edge and not knowing where it is going, which I find refreshing.

It is very Bressonian. Robert Bresson was a French director, little known, and unfortunately little remembered today, but he used most effectively and most notably the idea of the pregnant frame. An empty frame, and the emptiness, the waiting for it to be filled would create tension.  And while not a horror director, his films such as A MAN ESCAPED and PICKPOCKET (both absolute masterpieces) build incredible amounts of tension by using the empty frame, and our desire to have it filled.

It has been used by directors since, and is used here in WOLF to great effect.  It is a slow burn movie, and has a WTF turn, that you never quite recover from, and is never truly made clear. You leave the film arguably with as many questions as you came, the final meaning of the film, and of what actually happened left up to individual interpretation.

Wolf (2018)

That can be frustrating to some, however I really liked it. I loved it actually, the patience of the film, and its willingness to court confusion.

That does not always work for me, sometimes it is the sign of a lazy filmmaker. But I do not think that is the case here, the filmmaker and writer Michael Jones has crafted a compelling story and wanted to let it finish cooking in the mind of the viewer.

Love it or hate it, I do not think it is a film you will easily dismiss.I fall in the camp of being very impressed by this raw nerve, of a movie.  

WOLF (2016 Australian release/2018 VOD release)

A Michael Jones Film

Grade: B+.

Recommended! This is definitely a movie that deserves to be owned on DVD and/or Blu-Ray.

Netflix/Marvel Studios 2017 IRON FIST Episode #1 Review!






Iron Fist Movie Poster

The last of the long awaited DEFENDERS heroes, IRON FiST breaks on the Netflix shores this Weekend, and my opinion? Well After Loving the first season of DAREDEVIL with some minor hiccups in the later episodes, Really enjoying JESSICA JONES, being Lukewarm on the 2nd season of DAREDEVIL, and LOVING Hodari Coker’s LUKE CAGE: POWERMAN, I find the first episode of IRON FIST… underwhelming.

 

The trailers were the first hiccup as I found them tedious rather than exciting, and tedium is not what you expect from what should be a Martial Arts rich show. The action looked unimpressive, and the casting, especially of the protagonist gave me cause for concern. He looked unimpressive rather than what he should be… a living weapon.

But trailers can steer you wrong, and hoping to be proven wrong I watch the first episode of IRON FIST. What hits you is the opening sequence, one thing all the Marvel/Netflix collaborations have gotten right is an absolutely great opening/credit sequence. The IRON FIST opening sequence by comparison looks like an unfinished product, a bad joke. An unfocused concept that they simply ran out of time and ended up just throwing something together.

 

 

Getting beyond the disappointment of the Credit Sequence, I like the opening shot of the barefoot hero in New York, a shout out to the Master of Kung Fu Comic’s of the 70s.

 

Quirky but in reality do you know how impossibly disgusting it would be to walk around the streets of New York or any major city in your bare feet?! There are things I fear to step on, even with shoes on. But again it’s a harmless if ludicrous call back to the comics of yesteryear.

 

What immediately impresses me is how much better Finn Jones is as Danny Rand, than the trailers hinted at. He has a likable and commanding presence, that is at the heart of the character, and he is choreographed to move with an effortless balletic grace that speaks volumes of his character and journey.

 

Iron Fist Movie Poster

 

Indeed, Jones as Danny Rand is pretty much, contrary to my thoughts on the trailer, rather than being the weakest thing about the show, in this episode he is the strongest thing. He is very affable, which above all is the saving grace of his character, and in many ways distances him from the other more brooding members of the Defenders.

With the exception of Luke Cage, who beneath his bullet proof skin has, like Danny Rand, the heart of an optimist and a poet. Unlike the bone breaking Daredevil or the oft alcoholic and fatalist Jessica Jones, Power Man and Iron Fist don’t want to hurt their fellow man, they want to help them, make them better; Even, if possible, their villains. It’s why those two work so well as a duo in the comics. Particularly the wonderful David Walker and Sanford Green POWERMAN AND IRONFIST comics that started in 2016.

 

Finn Jones gets the character of Danny Rand, The Iron Fist. Underneath the affable nature of Jones portrayal, there is something you see in his first closeup (when he is trying to get in to be seen) a core of steel, something unyielding that completely sells him in a way the trailer did not.

So the Danny Rand portion of the first episode works well, it is a lot of setup, and I don’t mind setup, if it is done well, and written well, and brought across well, I thought the first two epiosdes of LUKE CAGE, which some considered talky, I felt were two of the finest written hours of television of 2016.

ASIDE ON  LUKE CAGE SERIES AND COLOR CODED TELEVISION

(I’m about to get deep into media bias, particularly as it relates to ethnicity, so feel free to skip the following aside, the ending of it is marked, and continue on with the Iron Fist review)

 

Coker’s LUKE CAGE said wonderful truths that you usually don’t get with ethnic characters, because mostly ethnic characters on television are nothing more than Black faces spouting and reaffirming White messages . Messages which whether BUFFY or SUPERGIRL Season 2 or DOCTOR WHO or NEXT GENERATION all tend to be some variation on the wish fulfillment of its writers or worse the unconscious coded messages that they unknowing have accepted as truths, namely White female initially falls for Ethnic Character than comes to her senses and dumps him for a White character.
If that plotline plays out in one show, that’s fine, that’s life, stuff happens. However, if that plot-line plays out in every single show where a white female is romantically tied to a man of color, then that is no longer sharp, inventive writing, or originality, it is programming, played over and over again until we stop seeing it, but keep believing it.
In Hodari Coker’s LUKE CAGE you got writing that was shorn of that very racist programming that makes up 90% of the shows we see on TV, and the output of even our best writers. By no measure do I think Joss Whedon is racist, however he reuses the above pattern of racial politics when it comes to the romantic lives of the men of color he scripts from FIREFLY to BUFFY to AGENTS OF SHIELD to AGENT CARTER. At some point any romantic light he casts the men of color he scripts, any momentum to a healthy heterosexual relationship, particularly with a female of another ethnicity has to be derailed. Their identification as a sexual alpha, derailed. Mac on AGENTS OF SHIELD becomes comedy relief, rather than what he should be on that show… the Mac.
And like I said you would be hard pressed to not see this very strange repetition of sexual marginalization and symbolic castration (fit to be comedy relief or the non-threatening buddy or father figure but not the romantic interest) occur over and over to men of color in just about every dramatic show you can name, particularly the action oriented ones. Whether BUFFY, AGENT CARTER, AGENTS OF SHIELD, NEXT GENERATION, ER, ROSEWOOD, SUPERGIRL, FIREFLY.  Such bias extends even to our news and ‘reality programming’, the fact that over 20 years later the media is still lynching OJ Simpson (A famous Black man accused of murdering a white woman) while in the intervening years there has been no shortage of murdered spouses. However this particular case accomplishes familiar goals of America, the tearing down of idols, the vilification of the other, and a platform to use an individual act, to try to send a message to a whole mass of people. It’s a lynching, writ large, 20th and 21st century style.
And by contrasts it has been envogue for the last 20 years to pair White Males successfully with women of color, pair being perhaps too equal a term, more like have the woman of color fling herself at the White Male, whether that’s FLASH, JAMES BOND, WALKING DEAD, TAKEN, EMERALD CITY, and again a couple of times it is just original storytelling, but for this pattern to be a constant over the last 20 years, then that is something else, that is programming.

 

So I’m always drawn to the shows that eschew these programming ploys, these repeated coded messages. So that is why I hold shows like LUKE CAGE in such high regard. A show where a man of color, a Black man, can be a hero and get the girl, full stop. It’s a rare concept in a mass media that is so racist it is not aware of how rare they have by design, made that concept.
Name me ten Dramatic shows (not comedies) on TV right now where a lead character of color, is in a successful healthy relationship with a female, particularly of another ethnic group. You’d be hard pressed to name 2. But you can name dozens upon dozens of shows that are cast and written the other way. Even though statistics tell us there are far more Black Male/White female relationships than White Male/Black Female relationships.
So why would the fiction of mass media be so contrary and completely out of sync with the realities of the populations watching those fictions? Because invariably the writers, who mostly are white males, propagate their limited definitions of diversity while also crafting their wish fulfillment, which usually breaks down to our White Hero is ‘so enlightened’ because he deigns to have a Black girlfriend, and the Black Girlfriend who has to throw herself at him.
Like I said, once or twice, it is original, however all the time, the same way, it is programming and it is insulting.

 

END OF ASIDE

Hodari Coker’s LUKE CAGE : POWER MAN brilliantly gave us something more than the programming we have been used to, showed us Netflix as a channel where more original and more truly DIVERSE stories could be told.

It left big foot prints for the next show, IRON FIST, to follow in.

And without expecting IRON FIST to be ground breaking, or anti- stereotype and ANTI programming, I did expect it to be good.

Unfortunately the first episode of IRON FIST suffers because its lack of action is not compensated for by rich and compelling characters, or evocative acting. Case in point… Ward and his father.

There is nothing more derailing to a narrative, than a weak antagonist, and unfortunately in Ward and his Father you have two very boring and uninteresting and cookie cutter antagonists. Ward came off as just a petulant child, a whiner, and whiners do not make for great TV.

The scene with Ward and his Dad discussing Danny Rand, rather than riveting is the definition of tedious. I had to look at the clock, to see how much time was left before I could watch something else.

That is never what you want to be doing when watching a show, looking at your clock.

So,  between the pacing issues, and the casting issues, and the uninteresting bad guys, I’m solidly unexcited to move on to the next episode. And that’s not an issue I have had with the previous shows.

I hope to work my way through the series and all the way to the end, and I hope I can report it gets great, but for the first episode all I can give it is a …

Grade: C-

 

Iron Fist Movie Poster

MUST LISTEN Audio Books for BLACK HISTORY Month and every other month! :) Part 2 of 2

The 2nd must listen audio book for Black History Month or any month is the mind breaking MUMBO JUMBO by the great Ishmael Reed.

Ishmael Reed, who was honored with the MacArthur “genius” award, is a Pulitzer Prize finalist and two-time nominee for the National Book Award. Mumbo Jumbo, a literary masterpiece, is an ironic and unconventional detectivestory infused with African-American cultural heritage. A strange psychic epidemic called “Jes Grew” is spreading through the country, affecting millions. PaPa LaBas, a HooDoo detective, is trying to find the origins of the JesGrew – not because he wants to cure it, but because he’s ready for a new kind of society.

mumbojumbo

Composed of the memorable personalities and the little remembered tragedies and triumphs of the roaring 20s, MUMBO JUMBO weaves these truths into an overarching fictional narrative that goes from the beginning of civilization to the fall of man.

But the fiction is so peppered with essential truths, like the best of all fiction, that it will change fundamentally how you look at everything, from museums to curse words to bull fights. If MIDDLE PASSAGE is my favorite audio book, MUMBO JUMBO  I think , in opposition to its name, is the most enlightening and powerful audio book I’ve ever listened to, for the  way it opened up my mind to… broader definitions of history and broader definitions of ourselves. Magnificent.

Version:

Unabridged
Author: Ishmael Reed
Narrator: J. D. Jackson
Genres: Fiction & Literature
Publisher: Recorded Books
Published In: July 2005
# of Units: 8 CDs
Length: 8 hours, 30 minutes

Get your copy here:

 

Mumbo Jumbo