Thursday’s Thoughts! Vol 1 Issue 2 – Boxing – Wilder vs Joshua?!! WHEN???

“Heart jim, Heart! The whole world’s crying out for a little bit of heart!”

— DETECTIVE STORY

RECOMMENDED DVD/BLU-RAY PURCHASE OF THE DAY

 

DETECTIVE STORY (1951) – See my full review of DETECTIVE STORY in the last installment of Thursday’s Thoughts.

Okay so what is obsessing me this Thursday?

I am catching up with the 4th season of the blade making/competition show, FORGED IN FIRE courtesy of streaming service HULU. Other shows being POWER, AMERICAN PICKERS,

I am finishing up the 6th and last season of the surprisingly good TEEN WOLF series courtesy of AMAZON PRIME. The 6th season is a bit of a misstep, especially the last half, it feels like the writing was definitely on just ‘crank something out mode’, but a weak 1st season and a weak last season aside, it is still must own tv for seasons 2 thru 5.

Definitely along with FARGO season 2, LUKE CAGE season 1, and LEGION season 1, Blu-ray worthy.

Other show on my EXTENSIVE Amazon Prime watch list is THE AMERICANS, BAD LANDS, JACK RYAN, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE to name a few.

 

What I’m Listening to:

I’m now on the fourth audio book of the 8 book men’s adventure series from the 1970s BLACK SAMURAI. Titled PEARL this 4th entry of the series the stakes are a little more street level, but no less dire. Robert Sands, the Black Samurai, instead of averting the revenge massacre of an American town, or stopping the utilization of mass murders and global conflict to increase stock prices, or a terrorist nuclear detonation in America; must this time out save one young girl from prostitution.

Unfortunately his opposition is no less deranged, and the collateral damage… runs just as red. About 11 chapters in and simply stupendous writing. Kevin Kennerly has quickly risen into my rankings of best audio book performers.

If you have not picked up all eight MP3 Audio books on Amazon Prime, now is the time to do so. Previous experience informs that they will not be in stock long.

I pop the cd in on my way to and from work, yes I insist on having a CD player in my car 🙂 and the audio book is SO FRIGGING GOOD! Each book is a writer, the late, great Marc Olden just at the height of his gifts. As a fan of all these men’s adventure books of the 70s, from BOND, to NICK CARTER, to THD EXECUTIONER MAC BOLAN to REMO WILLIAMS THE DESTROYER, Olden’s BLACK SAMURAI is the best of the best.

 

What I’m watching:

Youtube.

I am watching a lot of great Youtube channels. I watch, via Roku, Youtube on my big screen. The Youtube shows are overall more interesting than regular TV.

This week I have in addition to my plethora of comic book shows, gotten on a boxing kick.

The heavy-weight division, after a period of stagnation in the Klitschko years, now has some really exciting champions and contenders and matchups. First and foremost you have two true undisputed champions, Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua.

Anthony Joshua holds the WBO,IBF, AND WBA belts. Deontay Wilder holds the WBC belt.

Both of these fighters are in the mold of Super Heavyweights, the first such Super-Heavyweight being George Forman back in the 1960s. Being well over 6 feet, and over 200 Lbs, Foreman dwarfed his heavy weight competition of the day. And only the brilliance that was Ali was able to figure out how to beat, the unbeatable George Foreman, a man who had not only height and weight but true boxing skill.

Foreman’s return to the heavy weight circuit in the 90s, in a boxing scene absent of an Ali to oppose him, saw the elder Stateman shake the world becoming decades after his expected prime, the undisputed heavy weight champion of the world… and set the mold for the champion of the future.

Someone 6’4 or above and 250lbs. That today has become the average size of the heavyweight division. Which effectively redefines the heavyweight division as a super-heavy weight division.

And redefines what has historically been the heavy weight division, as the cruiser weight division.

The domino effect of this skewing of traditional division definitions, is people who would perform far better and more competitively in the cruiserweight division, are bulking up to pursue the historic prestige of the heavy weight division. Not realizing the heavy weight champions of the 20th century would now all be cruiserweights, not heavyweights.

This new boom of super heavyweights in the heavyweight division, is part of the stagnation of the last few years. Talented fighters are putting on weight beyond their frame to compete with these new super heavyweights, to their detriment. And the detriment of the sport.

A lot of these boxers would be stunning at cruiser weight, but ‘cruiserweight champion of the world’ does not garner the respect or interest, as having the title heavyweight champion. That is why no one even knows who the cruiser weight champions are. I looked them up for this article, never heard of any of them.

There are two ways to solve this,

1/ either create a superheavy weight division, say avyone above 225lbs. And that keeps traditional heavyweights from being outmatched by someone substantially heavier than them, with a greater reach. This is perhaps the most satisfying way, in that it allows for another Jack Johnson, or Joe Louis, or Rocky Marciano to in the future become the heavy weight champion, to keep it not too far out of the scope of a regular guy. And the supersized anomalies such as Klitschko, Fury, Joshua etc, get moved to the Super Heavy Weight division. or..

2/The 2nd way would be to redefine the cruiserweight division as the most prestigious weight division. But that would likely be a hard sell as the history of what is considered the best in boxing is that heavyweight division.

So the 1st option is the one that offers the most competitive heavyweight division.

Currently in 2018 we are very blessed to have a few talented 6’6 heavy weights to compete against each other rather than just outjabbing what amounts to overweight cruserweights, but that beneficial status quo won’t last. And then we will be back to a stagnant heavyweright scene.

For the good of boxing we need to create a super heavy weight division, and that will allow exciting matches at the heavy weight division to flourish.

And right now there is one ‘fight of the decade’ match at the ‘Heavyweight’ division, as well as a couple competitive matches.

That fight of the decade is between of course Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua. Both 6’6 , both knockout artists, both undefeated, and both very exciting fighters. Though clearly Deontay Wilder is the more exciting fighter both inside and outside the ring. Quite clearly Joshua’s people are running scared, knowing in a fight with Deontay, the odds favor that Wilder is either going to knock out Joshua and unify the division: and even a grueling battle that ekes out a decision in favor of their champion, will just excelerate what Deontay likes to call ‘a fighter’s expiration date’.

Now I say the odds are good Wilder knocks out Joshua, cause that is where my gut points. But quite frankly they are both proven champions, it can go either way. That is why it would be a great fight, they are both deserving of respect. The only one who seemingly doesn’t know this is Tyson Fury. Tyson Fury also is deserving of respect, but he has been out of the game for three years, and arguably the Klitschko he beat was a shadow of the one that Joshua fought.

So having not had a fight in 3 years he is trying to talk himself into a title (spelt ‘money’) match. That is not how it is done. You have to prove you still have it and are deserving of fighting a champion before anyone is interested in seeing you fight a champion. Both Joshua and Wilder would earn nothing by beating him. He has to earn that contender status again, just like any other fighter. So it is good that he is fighting again, with a 2nd fight slated for August. Though as long as there is a Joshua/Wilder fight on the possible horizon, he might as well consign himself to waiting in line.

Why?

Well, This is part of the problem with this misnamed super-heavy weight division. Outside of fighting over weight cruiser weights there aren’t really a lot of competitive fights for 6’6 250 lb guys who can really box. So Joshua’s people have their hands full trying to duck The couple serious super-heavy weight fighters out there. I think Joshua beats handily a crafty Tyson Fury, but he risks ending his knockout streak, and worse… an injury, which is always a possibility with any fight, and losing out on the real money fight… Deontay Wilder.

The only fight anyone wants to see in the heavyweight/superheavy weight division is Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua. So Joshua people, stop cherry picking fighters and make it happen.

***********

Ok I did not think I would do that much talking about Boxing. What can I say, after decades of stagnation, there are some really competitive fights out there.

And Boxing, for reasons I stated elsewhere, I like as a spectator sport, far more than MMA.

That is it for this installment.

Leave a comment or like if you enjoy this THURSDAY’S THOUGHTS!!!

 

 

 

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2018 : The resurgence of BOXING Interest in the US!

The last couple years have shown a real resurgence in mainstream US interest in Boxing.

 

Now that Interest has never waned abroad, and is arguably stronger than it has ever been everywhere from England to Russia, but only in the States that for most of the 20th century was the heart and head and seat of professional Boxing (The home of Boxing’s greatest champions From Jack Johnson to Evander Holyfield), has Boxing been shuffled off the main stage, into all but minor league obscurity.

And while MMA is undoubtably big these days, it is not Boxing. And it is not better than Boxing, it exercises different interests, the way Soccer differs from Football. They both have their strengths.

For my money while MMA has its strengths, and I am glad for its growth, that growth should not come at the expense of Boxing. Anymore than the growth in Rugby should mean we stop giving airtime to Football.

While I like MMA as a discipline and there have been many great matches, the standup game of Boxing and that specification of strikes, and limitation of styles, lends itself to truly epic engagements deserving of apellations such as fight of the year, far more often and regularly than MMA.

 

Boxing due to its length and its style lends itself to being… more than a sprint, when you have two great fighters and styles in the boxing ring, you get these epic engagements of will that allows you to see a fighter’s chin tested and his endurance tested in a way that the sprint, submission style of MMA, rarely lends itself to.

Again there are many great fighters and matches in the past and present of MMA, from the domination years of Royce Gracie to the domination years of Sakuraba to the domination years of Anderson Silva to the current domination years of fantastic fighters such as Jon Jones (currently the best UFC fighter and a personal favorite, who I like to introduce, whenever I see him fight, in my best Boxing Announcer voice as… ‘JON JONES…… THE MARTIAN MANHUNTER!!!!! You have to be a comic book fan to get the reference, but I think that is way better than the idiotic nickname of ‘BONES’ that they give him) and such phenoms as Buakaw (if you do not know that name, go searching for any of his over 200 professional fights. Yes I said over 200 fights!!!!! He is the stuff of legend.); but these exceptions aside, as a whole Boxing’s stand up style lends itself to far more interesting engagements.

 

I recently watched (on the big screen TV, I don’t watch video on a phone or tablet or laptop. If I am going to take the time to watch something, I want to watch it as close to its intended scale as possible. Only then can you get close to adequately consuming, or reviewing and forming and intelligent opinion on the content consumed.  David Lean’s LAWRENCE OF ARABIA  seen in 70mm on a full size movie theater, which I have done, is a completely richer experience than watching it on someone’s LCD monitor. How you consume content, is part and parcel of the experience), courtesy of the Youtube App on my Roku device, a bevy of classic 70s and 80s Boxing matches, with men who fought true wars in the ring.

 

Of course Ali, Frazier, Norton, George Foreman (people remember Foreman for his later post Ali years as Champion and beloved funny guy and elder statesman of boxing, but during his first life, as a boxer, that went from 1969 to 1977, this guy… in a heavyweight scene full of fearsome men, was the most feared man on the entire planet.

He was a young, gigantic, brutal,and undefeatable force of nature breaking everything in his path. Ivan Drago’s character in Rocky 4, the character played by Dolph Lundgren (‘I will break you.’) that was George Foreman in the late 60s early 70s. An unbeatable force of nature, till a man called Ali found a way to beat him.)

 

And similar, stuff of legend wars… were fought in the lighter divisions by men with names like Tommy the Hitman Hearnes, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Roberto the man with the hands of Stone Duran, And Sugar Ray Leonard.

I watched the 1st Duran Hearnes fight, then I watched the Hearnes Sugar Ray fight, and its eight year later sequel.

Here is the thing people forget about Hearnes, he much like George Foreman, because of his height and frame and reach… was something new in boxing for his weight class. A kid, like they all were back then, coming out of Detroit he cut through the middlewight division like a knife, earning the name of Hitman by knocking out everyone he faced. An undefeated champion, he and Sugar Ray Leonard, also a champion, would meet in September 1981 for a winner take all unification match.

It was called the showdown and lived up to its billing. Being a 15 round war and one of the greatest fights of that year or any year.

I take this trip down memory lane to say that… what is great about Boxing, can not be replaced or usurped by MMA. There is a uniqueness to Boxing, that makes it, when you get a talented crop of Boxers, the stuff of legend.

I think after 20 years of neglect, and corruption (something that the UFC seems to be dealing with, as well as K1. The japanese PRIDE was the best thing to happen to MMA, and since its effective buyout and dissolution, we have an increasingly suspect, in terms of management, UFC). 

you now have a very exciting Boxing landscape starting to form, particularly at the lower weight classes. Terrence Crawford and Errol Spence being two of the most exciting fighters to come along in decades. And suddenly you begin to see this return of interest and money to the boxing landscape, that I for one am looking forward to.

For more on Boxing, go listen to two recent, pretty darn excellent John Siuntres WORD BALLOON podcasts, that veer from comic books to boxing, in interviews with two great names in the Boxing coverage landscape.

 

http://www.wordballoon.com/

http://percolate.blogtalkradio.com/offsiteplayer?hostId=1113527&episodeId=10850405#

http://percolate.blogtalkradio.com/offsiteplayer?hostId=1113527&episodeId=10858419#

Completely riveting interviews, and after listening, you, like I, will be searching Youtube for great Boxers past and present and future.

Thanks for checking out this post, and if you enjoy please leave a like, or comment. And feel free to recommend your 5 favorite recent boxing and or mma matches or websites.

To get you started here are my recommendations of must watch Youtube boxing/mma videos:

I love watching Thomas Hearnes fight. He had a fantastic jab, a great left hook attack to the body and head, and one of the best, most devastating, right hands in Boxing history. Which makes the following clip, all the more amazing. And why Sugar Ray Leonard, like his idol Muhammad Ali, is the greatest of all time. Because he fought unbeatable men… and found a way to beat them.

And if that is the past of Boxing, here is the present and future: 2018 is the year America remembers what the world has never forgotten, that the boxing ring is the place where the last legends of the world…. are made.

And for more on how to stay ontop the changing world of Boxing, I recommend the following two sites (that both offer subscriptions to their magazines):

http://www.ringtv.com

http://www.ringsideseatmag.com

7 Reasons AMAZON PRIME Streaming is better than Netflix STREAMING!

  1. LARGER SELECTION OF FILMS, ESPECIALLY GENRE AND CLASSIC FILMS – Netflix has a rather paltry selection of films compared to Amazon. In addition Netflix is almost completely lacking in older films in any numbers. Want to see the best in Spaghetti Westerns, or Italian Giallos or Polischei films or Paul Naschy films or Shaw Brothers Hong Kong Films or Black New Wave Films or Bigfoot Films? You wont find that on Netflix, you have to go to Amazon for such a curated selection of films/options.

  2. BETTER SELECTION OF FILMS – This goes hand in hand with point 1. In addition to having a much larger selection, they have a better selection of films.

  3. AVAILABILITY OF RATINGS FOR ALL MOVIES AND TV SHOWS – I find Amazon’s ratings on their films not only spot on, but a great way to help me find a film I might otherwise not have tried or discovered.

  4. SUPER USEFUL ‘CUSTOMERS ALSO WATCHED’ FEATURE – This feature goes along with the ratings to help me find films I otherwise would not have discovered.

  5. EASY AVAILABILITY OF TRAILERS FOR MOST MOVIES, OLD AND NEW – Trailers for all movies, old and new, is a must, and is yet another reason Amazon is far more enjoyable to browse than Netflix.

  6. BETTER SELECTION OF SHORT FILMS

  7. MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK, IN ADDITION TO STREAMING YOU GET ALL THE OTHER BENEFITS OF AMAZON , INCLUDING DISCOUNTED PRICING AND FREE SHIPPING.

For all these reasons I have un-subscribed to Netflix, and am happily subscribed to Amazon and Hulu.

One caveat, I think I’ll subscribe to Netflix for one month just to see the 2nd season of LUKE CAGE. The first season was along with DAREDEVIL season 1 the best of the Netflix shows. And was easily the best written and most groundbreaking of the shows.

Those conversations, that the closed-minded called slow or unnecessary, were the very heart of the show, this understanding of a Harlem renaissance not yet deferred, and were conversations that I’ve heard and had. So to see a show embrace an other than anglo-saxon or yuppie story-telling perspective, to have stories that actually have some resonance and familiarity to a broader ethnic perspective, made LUKE CAGE 1 up there with LEGION season 1 and FARGO season 2 as truly innovative television.

Those of you who didn’t get Luke Cage, I would suggest watch season 1 again, it is one of the few shows that gets stronger, when re-watched. When watched for what it is, rather than what we assumed it would be.

Here is hoping SEASON 2 of LUKE CAGE lives up to season 1.

COMICTOM101 vs PGX and We Love Comics?!

 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqRVhjeLzR4PErfe_jOqHMA

If you are not watching Youtube channel COMICTOM101, and are a fan of this niche hobby called comic/comic books, you may want to start.

Like I mentioned in previous posts I find myself watching Youtube channels courtesy of streaming platforms like Roku or Amazon Fire, more than I watch regular broadcast or cable programming. And while I watch a variety of topics and channels, from nature shows to woodworking to short films to cooking shows, the number one tyoe of channels I watch is the comic related ones.

This week’s 15 best channels, have changed a tad from my previous posting.

A mainstay WE LOVE COMICS, that has some good advice and tips on his channel, has been bumped because of his antics in PGXgate. As a channel that goes out of his way to speak about integrity, I think his very selective defense of his sponsor PGX is suspect. As is his silence on the subject in light of the questions COMICTOM101 brings to light.

PGX is a certification company that has been involved in suspect story, after suspect story, from (per Bleeding Cool) certifying fradulent copies of Walking Dead as a rare collectible,  to the well known grading issue stories, to the most recent claim of an ex-employee, of plans by the company to sell graded comics under a shill account.

It is that last story, that any user of PGX would be concerned about, that WE LOVE COMICS completely failed to address when bringing into question the claims, of a ‘possibly disgruntled’ employee.

Especially when WE LOVE COMICS goes out of his way to say he talks to the owner over the phone, and not to address that issue and other issues, such as the WALKING DEAD fiasco,  has to call into question any claims of impartiality.

And look, I don’t really have a dog in the certification fight.

While a long time comic book fan, I’ve always looked at slabbing of books (encasing them in plastic once graded) very skeptically, regardless of the company.

Only this year, 2018, have I really decided that for me, for select books that I already have in either a collected or reprint format, that having the original issue of a select, upwardly mobile, original bronze or silver or golden age comic, can be a smart addition to a long term collection or investment.

I still think slabbing modern day comics is suspect at best. But that is an argument for another day,

Anyhow, So from 0 certified comics at the beginning of 2018, I now have 10 of them. So still a very modest graded collection. Nine CGC titles and 1 CBCS title.

I went with CGC because of its long standing history, and the fact that the books are easily bought and sold on Ebay and other channels. Also because of their reputation.

Because especially when it comes to trusting someone to grade your comics, reputation is everything. CGC is not perfect, it has issues, as does CBCS. I prefer to just buy already certified books, than goes through the delay and cost of sending my own books in. A smart shopper can get a slabbed book at a very affordable price on the secondary market.

I’ve bought a total of eleven books, one I had to return for a refund, for obvious pressing issues visible from outside of the slabbed book. Pressing is another practice I have issues with, as it damages the comic long term, to get it to get a higher grade in the short term. That is also an argument for another day.

Back on track, the ten books i have that are graded with none of the books costing me over a $110 in already certified condition, is not a bad deal at all.

Now, the one company I actually sent books to, via a convention was CBCS, and I ended up canceling that order, because of the delay time, and was charged $28 to get my books back, and received one of them back water damaged. Possibly not innocently so.

And again I researched all 3 of the certifying companies, CGC, CBCS, and PGX, not content to listen to just rumors.

But yes from personal experience I have no plans to go through the hassle of getting anything certified via CBCS. If i get it via the secondary market fine, but me dealing with that process, not so much.

PGX from research one, had a lot of shady stories attached to their name, but they were older stories. That maybe you could chalk up to growing pains. But years into their business model and new stories of concern pop up to add to the existing story.

I recently just came across the Walking Dead story, and to follow that up with these pretty damning accusations of a ‘let go’ employee, is cause for questions. Especially when you see the questions the company should be answering they are avoiding.And i saw that video from WE LOVE COMICS where he did hint at drug use being the reason a PGX employee was let go.

And for WE LOVE COMIS and PGX to now backtrack from that when called on it by COMICTOM101, does not fill one with confidence in either the company PGX, or their ‘impartial’ spokesperson WE LOVE COMICS.

Based on CoMICTOM101’s great reporting, for me the PGX question is answered in regards to the question of whether graded items from them should be avoided.

Now can they right the ship? Absolutely.. But it would seem it would need to be an overhaul and transparency from top to bottom. With the leadership paying to staff the company with recognized and respected graders. Once that A team of great vetted graders is in place, and an established perhaps third party inspection of their grading and database process is in place, you do the hard part of restoring your name. You own up to perhaps not doing it right in the first place, and not planning it right in the present. But a willingness to correct it in the future. To own up to any incidents that could be perceived, rightly or wrongly, as an attempt to scam people. If the employee in question who was let go was correct, hire him (or them, since it sounds like it was more than one let go) back.

And the number one thing you to to restore your reputation, and this is going to hurt, you offer a recall and free regrading of every PGX book out there in the wild. Yes it is expensive, yes it is going to require real graders, yes you are going to put yourself in the red in the short term. And yes it is absolutely the right thing to do, to restore customer confidence.

 

Do i expect PGX to do that? Based on their history, absolutely not. I expect them to continue doing what they have been, making income where they can, however given the prevalence and the increasing number of negative stories around PGX’s name, it is not a path I see as sustainable for them.

I, to speak for myself, as i said the verdict is in. I’ll not be buying any PGX books or their sertification process. And I find any channel that advertises sending your books to PGX without addressing the issues, is not impartial, and has to be viewed as a paid commercial for the company, rather than anyone with any real concern for the comic book community.

 

I would like to be wrong in that assumption, but given how the ground currently lays, I do not see it.

 

That’s all for now, and come back tomorrow for my installment on this week’s recommendations of the TOP 15 Youtube Comic Book Channels!

 

 

Get it While You Can : Bill Cosby’s groundbreaking I-SPY TV series and previous post feedback!

Well my last post really got a lot of attention and mostly positive response.

From a lot of people who get it. And a few negative comments from some people who don’t.

One such comment:

“We need to stop letting abuse occur in our community. Black men are never held accountable when the victims are black women. It’s sick you’re suggesting that we support someone who openly abused women. No more.”

See that kind of response is what I’m talking about.

Bill Cosby isn’t a stand in for your bad experience with your boyfriend, husband, father, uncle. brother, son. He’s not a stand in for your baggage with how you think you’ve been wronged by men. For every woman who wants to castrate every man for her bad relationships, there are quite a few in great relationships. Your baggage is not the world’s baggage, and more importantly your baggage should not be projected onto a case about one individual, Bill Cosby.

It is that kind of thinking (the inability to see an individual but rather a target to put your hate, your rage, your frustrations; frustrations with stuff that has nothing to do with that person or the case at hand) that is the very definition of mob justice and lynchings. It is that kind of thinking that I call sick.

Did Bill Cosby 14 years ago, roofie Costrand, a college student athlete with financial issues, when she supposedly came to his house to ask him for career advice? Did he roofie five other women three decades ago, when he could have had any woman he wanted?  With no physical evidence, and nothing but he said, she said, the way our courts work, the burden of proof is on the prosecution. And how do you prove someone guilty in the absence of evidence? Well, you forget proof, and you sell them as guilty before trial. You, before they even are proven guilty, brand them as guilty in every paper, every tv announcement; you have institutions strip them of honors, before trial.

And even in such an unfair, witch-hunt infused atmosphere, where even the Judge seemingly had decided Cosby was guilty before the case, it took a 2nd jury to get them to swallow the McCarthy flavored kool-aid and pronounce… ‘guilty’.

 

Did Cosby do these things? I don’t know. I do know no one proved it in a court of law. He was tried and convicted before ever getting to a court house. This was a lynching plain and simple, and I find everything about it, the timing, the witnesses,.. suspect.

I do know that if true, these alleged aberrations speak of sickness; rather than an 80 year old mix of Jack the Ripper and Hitler… that the media is painting him as. If true these aberrations warrant treatment and not enslavement.

But as that one comment shows, there are always people willing to see you brought low and punished not for your sins, but as somewhere to put theirs. Many a tree in this country has swung with burned and butchered men and boys, not because they were guilty, but because a group of people decided they needed someone to be guilty.

But when that someone has done as much to change the landscape of a racist America, from sports, to television, to comedy, to movies, to representation, the very fact that many of you can see yourself in TV and movies in non stereotypical roles, is down to this erudite, renaissance man.

You want to judge? You have to judge not just the falling down, you have to judge the standing up. An in an age when very very few had the courage to do anything, Bill Cosby and a few others kicked open the doors, and had the courage to do everything.

You can not strip Bill Cosby of his achievements, without in some fundamental way… stripping away the larger social and economic progress those achievements extended to a whole group of people.

I’m not talking about simply innocence or guilt.

I’m talking about the need to make demons out of people, usually people of color.

In the grand scheme of things, Bill Cosby’s story should not be this big a deal.

Every where around the world, right now, true horrors are happening.

Real horrors, deserving of your outrage and attention.

Real demons, many in high public office and private positions.

And you expend your outrage being swayed to demonize a man whose greatest crime was, he shared his success and his opportunities, and he brought other people of color up with him.

This is who you let yourself be sold on demonizing?

Really?

My god, you have to see with better eyes than that.

I’m saying you are being used to kill your heroes, and by so doing kill some measure of the liberties and the horizons they opened for you.

In everything someone loses, and someone profits.,

A lot of powerful liberal men, who made powerful enemies, have been taken off the playing field.

And every witch hunt has a witch-finder general.

People who amass power as others lose it.

You are being used.

Your bloodthirsty rush to judgment being used, to clear the playing field, and to leave you sheep devoid of anyone to keep the wolves from your neck.

I find everything is a matter of perspective and mercy.

And those without either, need to judge themselves before judging anyone else.

They are trying to erase Bill Cosby’s achievements, and I say you don’t get to do that.

Not on my watch.

Pick up these DVDs while they are still available:

 

 

https://amzn.to/2IgcRMC

https://amzn.to/2KvlXDH

https://amzn.to/2weyg46

https://amzn.to/2JOdZ7t

 

 

https://amzn.to/2KyTM6Q

 

Why Marvel Studios is Successful and Marvel Comics is Suffering! The Last word on Diversity!

Marvel Studios under the brilliant leadership of Kevin Feige has become an unparalleled success because of amazing producers, writers, directors, casting agents, and actors, who take material made often for a juvenile audience and made it work for an adult and non-comics audience, while also satisfying comic die-hards like myself.

And as movies from the 1st film (IRON MAN) to the 18th film (BLACK PANTHER) show, the reason for this is Kevin Feige’s willingness to embrace Diversity. Diversity is not just the makeup of America, contrary to the Trumpian and XM hate radio mob  who who would preach dissension. and hate, it is the makeup of the world. And when you stop running and hiding and sticking your head in the sand, trying to wind back the clock to a Jim Crow America, you realize it is also the makeup to success.

Marvel Comics however has floundered for decades now and continues to flounder with diminishing sales. And while the vocal minority of morons and closet Nazis and talk show radio supporters would blame diversity.

The truth, that common sense and reason would tell you is, appealing only to existing readership has led to a diminishing readership, that can barely get a hundred thousand people, to buy even their most popular book. The people who grew up in the news-stand and comicshop and subscription model of comics,, is an aging and diminishing audience. We are picking up new readers, in large part due to the diversity initiatives and book store and libraries, MS MARVEL and MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR being some of Marvel’s biggest books in collected format. Doing HUGE in Libraries. However while we are picking up new readers in book format, the periodical format continues to lose across the board, for all comics Marvel is producing, whether they put a White, Black, Asian or other character in the comics, and I would argue Marvel is making quality comics across the board, what they suffer from is pricing.

They have in an age of growing options for entertainment dollars, with options of tv, streaming, video games, virtual, and regular books and magazines, priced themselves out of the market. $4 retail for a 20 page comic, that typically is filled with ads and does not give you a full story… it is for most of us an insupportable expense.

Even Die-hards like me have to pick and choose, and generally speaking, the choice is to not support Marvel in the monthly format, not at their $4 and up retail price point. I have not bought a Marvel Comics in years, only their recent diversity push, a good thing rather than the curse word Rush Limbaugh morons would make it, when they finally had Black writers and artists on staff, got me to buy their monthly books again.

I’m speaking of BLACK PANTHER and the short lived POWER MAN AND IRON FIST which was a relatively self-contained title, by dream creative team of David Walker and Sanford Greene. But I stopped getting it when Marvel decided to try to screw with the success of that book by making it into three books. Trying to over-milk their audience. With BLACK PANTHER they quickly started additional titles and crossovers that you had to get to get the whole story. Better and cheaper to just get the collected edition. And when Power Man and Ironfist ended, so did my buying Marvel Comics.

So Marvel’s floundering sales, is a relatively steady study in decline, and has notching to do with diversity. That they have not floundered more is due to their talented and diverse creators and characters. If someone on Youtube or a blog or the media is blaming diversity, you are dealing with an idiot and a bigot and a liar. And you should unsubscribe from their channel and or feed, because stupid people are a waste of time.

Diversity is not Marvel Comics problem. Their problem #1 is pricing. $4 they charge per issue, or $3.99 as they like to call it, you have gone past the threshold the market will bear, or that even your die-hard already converted audience. Particularly when in comparison to other publishers who give you more for that same $4. Other publishers give you less obtrusive ads, letters pages, back matter. And some like CHAPTER HOUSE comics and even DC COMICS (prior to Bendis, hopefully Bendis doesn’t support the same price hike that he supported at Marvel) realize that $2.99 retail is the breaking point for comic book adoption and growth.

Marvel Comics is also big enough that they can support a price of $2.99 retail for their comics. That would take care of their major problem. their second problem,relying on Diamond totally for their periodical distribution. Marvel used to offer mail order subscriptions at a nice discount, that’s how I got some of my books, you would use the ad in the magazine and subscribe to get your comics in the mail. I loved this model as a kid. I used it in addition to the comic book stores.  I think it is a great model unfamiliar with dealing with the Diamond pre-order model. And the third and most important thing, if a title is successful as a single, standalone title, don’t break it by being greedy and stupid. See previous comment on POWERMAN AND IRON FIST.

All those three points come down to Marvel Comics being better managed and better run, if not, no amount of crossovers or character changes or fabricate storyline outrage, will correct Marvel Comics dwindling sales.

 

Here endeth the Diversity Discussion.

:).

 

Marvel Studios BLACK PANTHER in 3D – The Verdict?

I just came from a sold out upscale theater showing of Ryan Coogler’s BLACK PANTHER for Marvel Studios.

I’m going to try to be brief. As someone who went into this having avoided all trailers, and spoilers, and special feature exposes (that in my experience is like pre-chewing your food before sitting down to eat, making it impossible for fan or reviewer to truly be surprised by a film) I was… blown away.

 

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In terms of look, performance, direction, pathos, and humor, and rock solid action, it is without argument one of the best of the EIGHTEEN Marvel Studio Films released to date. I saw it in 3D and it is worth seeing in 3D. You don’t get the things flying into the audience effect, but the sense of looking down, and into chasms and waterfalls, plays up to 3Ds strengths. So I recommend seeing it at least once in 3D. I say once because like the original AVENGERS film, this is a film that deserves to be seen more than once.

I plan to see it in 2D when I go back next time.

This BLACK PANTHER film, released during Black History month, in my humble opinion is in a three way tie for the #1 Marvel Movie of all time; tied with the original AVENGERS by Josh Whedon and CAPTAIN AMERICA WINTER SOLDIER by the Russo Brothers. Those three movies share one shining exquisite truth; they are not just great comic-book movies, they are great films… FULL STOP.

Okay that should be all you need, go see the film now.

Okay still here, the following contains minor spoilers.

Black Panther Movie Poster

BLACK PANTHER is a great film from first frame to last. It is masterfully done; weaving effortlessly between drama, pomp, circumstance, humor, horror, tragedy, and heroism and hope. Chadwick Boseman is astonishing as the titular character, playing him with understated grace and elegance, that carries effortlessly the weight of the film. He is the rock upon which our tale is moored.

Writer/Director Ryan Coogler in three films has catapulted himself as one of the defining directors of our age, and BLACK PANTHER is that talent writ large. This is the tale of the death of kings, of fathers and sons, and things lost in the fire, this is about nothing less than the fate of the world, and about nothing more than the grief of boys for their fathers, a beautifully developed thread in all of Coogler’s films, but never done so well as here.

Coogler takes the admonishment of Hamlet ‘The common theme of life, is death of fathers’ and uses it like a lover and a lance, to both caress and break your heart. And he takes King Henry’s complaint in THE LION OF WINTER ‘I could have conquered Europe all of it, but I had women in my life.’ and here makes of it the saving grace of the protagonist, the film, and the world.

It is the women in this film who save the world, who save the men from their self extinguishing thirst for conquest and vengeance. And taking that line from LION OF WINTER, to also mean parental and familial influence, the difference between T’Challa and Killmonger then ultimately is in their relations to their fathers, even to the structure of their afterlives, one is defined by the inspiration of his father, and one by the lack of his father, and both of them have become completely extraordinary men in staggeringly different ways because of these relations.

It makes for a film of unexpected emotional intensity and depth. Coogler as a filmmaker has my number, as tears unbidden came to my eyes in places in this film. But I would argue he has everyone’s number, if you have the heart to feel, be you Irish or Korean or Ethiopian or American, Coogler will find those places that bind us all,… and squeeze. And then he’ll hit you with the action, then the humor, and sometime when you are laughing, he will squeeze again, and the tears will rise and you will know this is a filmmaker.

And it is wonderful when a director finds his muse, and an actor finds the director that gets him, brings out his best. Coogler and Michael B. Jordan are that combination.

They join legendary director/star pairings such as:

  • Ford and Wayne
  • Hawks and Wayne
  • Kurosawa and Mifune
  • Hitchcock  and Grant
  • Lee and Washington
  • Scorsese and Dinero
  • Scott and Washington
  • Woo and Yun-Fat
  • Ayer and Smith
  • Fuqua and Washington (It is not lost on me that Denzel Washington’s name appears with three different directors. It just shows the kind of fantastic actor he is, the longevity of his career, and that he can embody for many directors, the perfect actor).

Black Panther Movie Poster

Those pairings when they happen are the source of cinematic gold. And it happens in BLACK PANTHER with Coogler and Jordan, two of the respective best of their generation.

Simply a masterful film, with a stunning cast, and great performances. And Kudos to Kevin Feige who with 18 films under his belt, is not just producing films that transcend the source material, he has proved himself the most successful and influential film producer, in the history of the medium.Supplanting such names as Zanuck or Lewton.

It is a success richly earned.

That said, a lot of fans and reviewers care about the numbers, how much a movie makes. I do not. I could not care less if BLACK PANTHER made $1 or 1 Billion Dollars. In this day where studios own the films and the theaters; that is money that is being taken out of local economies. It is good the movie is successful in that we get more such movies from that director, that producer, those actors, but as far as making Disney richer, that does not concern me.

Now should we go back to the days of local and community owned theaters, then that matters, that we should support, because those dollars are staying in the community.

So I’m happy for the movie not because it does this much business, or that much business, I’m happy for the movie, because such visions raise us all, and the success allows such visionaries to keep telling stories.

Grade: An unqualified A+.

Extra Large Movie Poster Image for Black Panther (#18 of 23)

If you like this movie I recommend the following:

The following movies are too good, to trust in the ‘cloud’ or ‘streaming’ to always have them available, or always have them available in unchanged, unedited, or unaltered versions. The below movies deserve to be owned in physical form, in the age of digital.

Chadwick Boseman in Message from the King (2016)

Chadwick Boseman’s excellent A MESSAGE FROM THE KING
LION IN WINTER
http://amzn.to/2CtUltq
HAMLET
http://amzn.to/2C6aEk6
AVENGERS
http://amzn.to/2C5Lx0W
CAPTAIN AMERICA : WINTER SOLDIER
http://amzn.to/2C3M97v
CAPTAIN AMERICA : CIVIL WAR
http://amzn.to/2szGli8