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Articles on this Page
- 08/15/17--15:45: _Murder Thriller Har...
- 08/16/17--09:36: _Weird Things We Lea...
- 08/16/17--13:47: _Captain America Mov...
- 08/16/17--13:54: _St. Vincent to Dire...
- 08/16/17--22:58: _N.K. Jemisin’s The ...
- 08/17/17--01:05: _Marvel Legacy: Mast...
- 08/17/17--12:23: _BBC Will Remake Alf...
- 08/17/17--13:04: _Locke & Key TV Show...
- 08/17/17--22:47: _The Defenders: A Co...
- 08/18/17--08:34: _The Defenders: Comp...
- 08/18/17--11:18: _How Batman: White K...
- 08/18/17--11:21: _Playboy Laughs Auth...
- 08/18/17--22:29: _The Defenders Endin...
- 08/18/17--23:41: _Elektra: Assassin &...
- 08/11/17--16:14: _Legends of Tomorrow...
- 08/19/17--14:56: _Jack Kirby Museum P...
- 08/19/17--17:40: _What Does The Defen...
- 08/20/17--21:25: _Blue Beetle #12: Ex...
- 08/21/17--00:24: _DC to Make Sense of...
- 08/21/17--01:10: _Black Lightning Ret...
- 08/15/17--15:45: Murder Thriller Harry Quebert Affair Coming to Epix
- 08/16/17--09:36: Weird Things We Learned From The Howard The Duck Novel
- Quackanudos (cigars)
- 08/16/17--13:47: Captain America Movies Should Have Stayed in the Past
- 08/16/17--13:54: St. Vincent to Direct The Picture of Dorian Gray With Female Lead
- 08/16/17--22:58: N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season TV Series in Development at TNT
- 08/17/17--01:05: Marvel Legacy: Master of Kung-Fu Coming From CM Punk
- 08/17/17--12:23: BBC Will Remake Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds for TV
- 08/17/17--13:04: Locke & Key TV Show to Star Frances O'Connor
- 08/17/17--22:47: The Defenders: A Comic Book History of Marvel's Weirdest Team
- 08/18/17--11:18: How Batman: White Knight Connects to Tim Burton's 1989 Batman Movie
- 08/18/17--11:21: Playboy Laughs Author Patty Farmer Talks Comedy History
- 08/18/17--22:29: The Defenders Ending Explained
- 08/18/17--23:41: Elektra: Assassin & The Making of an Anti-Heroine
- 08/11/17--16:14: Legends of Tomorrow Season 2: Complete DC Universe Reference Guide
- 08/19/17--17:40: What Does The Defenders Mean for Daredevil Season 3?
- 08/20/17--21:25: Blue Beetle #12: Exclusive First Look
- 08/21/17--00:24: DC to Make Sense of Hawkman Continuity in Dark Nights Crossover
- 08/21/17--01:10: Black Lightning Returns This Fall
Patrick Dempsey, Damon Wayans Jr and Virginia Madsen will star in upcoming thriller series The Harry Quebert Affair
Premium Cable Network Epix ordered the murder suspense series The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair. The 10-part television series event will star Patrick Dempsey, Damon Wayans Jr and Virginia Madsen. The Harry Quebert Affair is based on the bestselling European novel by Joël Dicker.
“Joël Dicker’s exquisite thriller, The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair has captivated a worldwide audience with its complicated tale of love and lies. I am thrilled that this first class ensemble cast led by Patrick Dempsey and the incomparable director Jean-Jacques Annaud, get to bring provocative page-turner to life,” said Steve Stark, MGM’s President, Television Production & Development.
"With its provocative subject matter, inspired casting and source material from master storyteller Joël Dicker, The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair is the perfect addition to our offerings at EPIX," Mark Greenberg, President and CEO, Epix, said in a statement.
Every episode will be directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud (Black and White in Color, Seven Years in Tibet, Black Gold), in his television debut.
“The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair was the ideal project for my first American television venture. It is a rich and nuanced novel set in a small New-England town and has all the elements for a classic mystery. Having MGM, Tarak and Fabio as my partners has given me the ability to assemble a formidable cast and a talented crew. Their enthusiasm for Harry Quebert is equal to my own," said Annaud.
“The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair was a long awaited adaptation in a highly competitive environment. My partner and I secured the rights and brought Jean-Jacques and MGM Television onboard,” said Conversi, Barbary Films.
The pilot script and several episodes were written by Lyn Greene and Richard Levine (Masters of Sex, The Interestings).
According to the official synopsis:
“The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair takes place in coastal Maine and focuses on Marcus Goldman who is visiting Harry Quebert’s home to find a cure for his writer’s block as his publisher’s deadline looms. Marcus’ plans are suddenly upended when Harry is sensationally implicated in the cold-case murder of Nola Kellergan, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been missing for many years.”
The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair, stars Patrick Dempsey (Grey's Anatomy, Bridget Jones's Baby) in the title role as Harry Quebert, “a literary icon who suddenly finds himself indicted for murder after the body of a young girl is found buried on his property.”
Ben Schnetzer (Snowden, Pride) will play Marcus Goldman, a “successful young novelist who has been mentored by Harry Quebert.
Damon Wayans Jr. (New Girl) will play Sgt. Perry Gahalowood, a Maine State Police investigator who is investigating the death of Kellergan. Academy Award nominee Virginia Madsen (Joy, Designated Survivor, Sideways) plays Tamara Quinn, “Jenny Quinn’s mother and the owner of a local diner who learns of a secret about Quebert.”
The series also features Kristine Froseth (Apostle) as “a newcomer who plays Nola Kellergan, the teenage girl who captivates Harry Quebert and becomes his muse” Colm Feore (House of Cards) plays “the wealthy and inscrutable Elijah Stern, one of the most powerful men in New England who’s spent his life atoning for a secret past. Josh Close (Person of Interest) plays Luther Caleb, “Elijah Stern’s right hand man who suffers from disfiguring scars caused by a horrific attack that happened in his past.”
Matt Frewer (Timeless) will play Reverend Kellergan, Nola’s eccentric father; Connor Price (X Company) as Young Travis Dawn, a rookie cop who falls love with Jenny Quinn, a former prom queen played by Tessa Mossey (The Glass Castle) in her teenage years and by Victoria Clark (Homeland) in her adult years.
Craig Eldridge (The Death and Life of John F. Donavan) plays the elder Travis Dawn who “has risen in the ranks to become chief of police.” Kurt Fuller (Phil) plays Police Chief Gareth Pratt who “originally ran the investigation into Nola’s disappearance, but is now retired.”
Don Harvey (The Deuce) plays Bobbo Quinn, Tamara Quinn’s husband. Felicia Shulman (Brad’s Status) plays Maggie Pratt, Chief Gareth Pratt’s wife and the town busybody; Wayne Knight (Narcos) is Benjamin Roth, Harry’s high-priced, high-pressure attorney.
The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair is executive produced by Annaud, Tarak Ben Ammar (Monty Python’s The Life of Brian, Hannibal Rising, Black Gold), Fabio Conversi (The Great Beauty, Youth), Greene, and Levine.
The series is produced by MGM Television and Eagle Pictures with MGM serving as the lead studio. MGM’s Lindsay Sloane, Executive Vice President of Television Production & Development and Ken Raskoff, Senior Vice President, Television Production & Development will oversee production on behalf of the studio. Jocelyn Diaz, Executive Vice President, Original Programming, will oversee on behalf of EPIX.
The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair will be the second MGM Television produced scripted series for EPIX and the first project since MGM completed the transaction to acquire EPIX in May. EPIX will also premiere MGM Television’s Get Shorty, based in part on the 1990 best-selling novel of the same name by Elmore Leonard, on August 13.
MGM Television, Eagle Pictures and Barbary Films started production on The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
The novelization of the infamous Howard the Duck movie is genuinely amazing.
Given our 2017 on-demand lifestyles, it's understandable if you are ignorant to the importance that movie novelizations once possessed. Created in a time when movies played theaters once and then seemingly disappeared into memory, these tie-in books were a cheap way for audiences to relive theatrical offerings. As home video became more commonplace, the tie-in novel slowly became a relic of a forgotten time, a quaint collectible at best, literary oddity at worst. Besides, people would rather see the actual movie than read it, right?
And so we now live in an era where damn near every form of entertainment that has ever existed is at our fingertips. Except of course for new movie novelizations, which are now more of a prestige, boutique thing (see Charles Ardai's novel of The Nice Guys for an example) than the merchandising given they once were.
At the risk of turning into a grumpy, sighing real-life version of The Simpsons'"old man yells at cloud" meme, I will say that the fall from grace of the movie novelization is a bummer because it denies readers the opportunity to see how a product intended purely as a quickie cash grab can become a classic in its own right. Although George Gipe's take on Gremlins -- in which the bombshell that the titular creatures are in fact chaos-loving aliens from a distant star is dropped -- comes a very close second, the greatest of all movie novelizations is Ellis Weiner's gleefully sardonic take on Howard the Duck.
We recently reread this 232-page masterpiece and can say without any sense of detatched irony or manufactured whimsy that Weiner's work would be right at home amongst the work of Douglas Adams, Kurt Vonnegut, and Daniel Manus Pinkwater in the sci-fi/humor section of your personal library.
Here's a few reasons why.
From the first page, Weiner understands what an inherently ridiculous character Howard the Duck is.
During the opening scene of the movie, Howard is yanked across from the universe while the commanding voice of Richard Kiley gives a speech laden with lots of psuedo-cosmic importance. This was probably meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but always came off a bit pretentious. This point is not lost on Weiner, who spends the majority of the first chapter skewering the "voice of the universe" conceit as silly and hamfisted. Right out of the gate you get a sense that the author is going to let his creative juices flow all over the assignment he has been given, even if it means nibbling at the hand that feeds a little bit.
It should be noted that Ellis Weiner is no ordinary hired gun. At the time of this novel's writing, he had already enjoyed an impressive career working as an editor for National Lampoon, and his involvement with that publication led to his writing the still-cutting edge Frank Herbert parody Doon. Given that his comedic sensibilities were on a similiar wavelength to those of Howard's creator, Steve Gerber, Weiner was an ideal choice to give this novel some much needed irreverence. It is a talking duck from outer space we are dealing with here after all. Have some perspective.
Four pages in and the following passage gives some subtle commentary into how Weiner himself may (or may not) have felt about this gig:
"Howard was not only tired, he was irritable, and assailed by that almost nauseating sense of futility and waste that, sooner or later, descends on almost everyone the moment they perceive--if only for a second--how pointless and dumb their jobs really are."
Ouch. If he was disgruntled with the source material he had to adapt, he certainly didn't half-ass his task at hand as Weiner's writing truly expands the world of the film and its characters. Case in point...
The book is full of asides that give insight into the characters and their backgrounds that is almost completely absent on screen.
Did you realize that Beverly decided that she would do anything she could to avoid "an ordinary life" when she was young? Or that Howard went through some serious soul-searching is his youth? Or that Philsie desperately wanted to be a scientific mind that was respected by, and featured on, PBS? Probably not, but Weiner carefully details the wants and desires of the main characters nevertheless. He even spends some time chronicling what makes a public relations exec at a nuclear power plant tick before the man is callously destroyed by the Dark Overlord's lust for energy.
Elsewhere in the book, regular Coverage In-Depth Inserts pop-up to provide further analysis on everything from a comparison of lounge chairs on Earth versus those on Duckworld to a look at the surprising cultural set-up over in the Nexus of Sominus. These asides were very reminiscent of entries from The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, and each gives the book some additional quirkiness that the movie needs.
The film's most infamous moment is not featured in the novel.
Yes, the condom scene. So shocking was the suggestion that Howard liked to get it on that this sequence was snipped from some overseas prints of the film (even though he should be seen as a role model for practicing safe sex). The novel features Bev picking up the wallet, but no mention of the prophylactic is made. An edit that this writer considers to be, well, fowl.
Weiner interupts his novel to discuss the pros and cons of censorship.
In the scene where Howard is stripped searched by the police, Weiner stops the action in the story to state that he won't transcribe the harsh language exchanged between characters at this moment. Why? Here's his explanation:
"Such words--in print, if not in person--make certain people uneasy. This very book, harmless jest though it is, might be banned in certain locales, or even burned in others. Certain parents would claim Howard the (of all things) Duck capable of corrupting their children and advancing the cause of Satan in the modern world. Yes, that Satan.
The consequences would be dire."
This hilarious explanation, which pokes a great deal of fun at 1980s political correctness run amuck, goes on for several more paragaphs. As if Weiner needed a break from the Duck action to blow off some comedic steam. It's a tremendously funny aside that further differentiates the book from its commerce-based origins and propels it into the stratosphere of irreverent art.
Phil Blumburtt is a raging atheist
Arguably the character who gets the most development in the novelization is Phil Blumburtt. Played in the film by Tim Robbins as a lovable schnook, here readers get a further sense that Phil is a genuinely good guy beneath his wacky exterior. (The book also solves one of the biggest questions of the movie, why Phil is suddenly a rock and roll tech guy when he has previously devoted his life to science, with some quick dialogue explaining that he is just helping out Cherry Bomb until he can figure out his next career move). The greatest bit of insight we get about Phil is when he recalls the worst date he ever had, one that culminated in a science vs. faith discussion that ended with the following exchange:
"But that's a belief, too. You have faith in science, and I have faith in creationism."
"But science is true, and creationism is a bunch of literal minded mythology---"
"Maybe science is a bunch of mythology. How do you know it's true?"
"Because it is, you stupid idiot!"
So it's safe to say that Philsie's a Hillary guy.
SO MANY DUCK PUNS
John Cleese was once (probably falsely) attributed to the quote that the three enemies of comedy are "puns, puns, and puns." I don't know how much validity there is to that statement, but I can tell you that any pun-haters out there should just stop reading right now, 'cause shit is gonna get real. You know how the entire Duckworld sequence pretty much exists just to make stupid duck-related puns? Well in the book, Weiner really doubles down with that aesthetic. Here then are a mere sampling of some of the pun-ishing (sorry) jokes featured in the book:
• Birdweiser (alcoholic beverage)
• The Fowlharmonic Orchestra (professional musicians)
• American Eggspress (credit card)
• Rubeak's Cube (puzzle toy)
•Marcus Webfoot, M.D. (television program)
• Norman Mallard (writer)
• Squaking Heads (rock band)
• Bad Day at Quack Rock (motion picture)
• Mallard Fillmore (president)
•The Fountainhen (famed Duckworld novel that merits its own Coverage In-Depth Insert)
And on and on and on. This book is remarkable. Some might even say it will quack you up. (Drops mic).
Chris Cummins is a writer and comics/historian. You can follow him on Twitter at @bionicbigfoot and @scifiexplosion.
We have an unpopular opinion: Captain America movies would have been better if they stayed in the 1940s and World War II.
I have a pair of contradictory opinions for you. The first popular one is that the Captain America movies are the most consistent mini-franchise in Marvel Studios’ gargantuan, multi-headed IP-Hydra that we call the “Marvel Cinematic Universe.” Indeed, whereas most franchises tend to lose steam by their third installment, and most Marvel Studios sequels have tended to be a stepdown from their predecessors, The Winter Soldier and Civil War both improved upon what came before, specifically Captain America: The First Avenger. But on the flipside, this still doesn’t mean the franchise should have ever left the 1940s—and particularly in the hurried manner that makes The First Avenger a fairly weak film.
And there’s that darn unpopular opinion. You were warned.
Yep, for as good as Winter Soldier and Civil War are—not to mention The Avengers—it will never seem like anything less than a missed opportunity for Marvel to have turned The First Avenger into exactly what the title implies: an advertisement for the epic team-up slugfest to come a year later. For while that 2011 movie actually has plenty of merit on its own, it could have been so much more.
To be fair, Captain America: The First Avenger opened in a different time. Unlike 2017, when Marvel Studios runs Hollywood and thus more or less the moviegoing world, Marvel Studios was still in its fledgling “Phase One” stage seven years ago, and there was no guarantee everything would work out. While 2008's Iron Man was a runaway success and a homerun the first time up to bat (not counting the non-canonical Punisher: War Zone), that same year saw The Incredible Hulk, a so-so semi-sequel/semi-reboot that did the equivalent of “meh” in box office receipts.
By the time 2011 came around, Marvel had two new origin movies, their first since Iron Man in 2008, and one of them had “America” in the title only two years and change since the globally unpopular President George W. Bush left office in the midst of a worldwide financial meltdown.
On paper, a Captain America movie looked like a riskier bet than even mythological Thor. Hence the subtitle “The First Avenger,” and the implicit tease that if you want to enjoy 2012’s upcoming mega-film, The Avengers, you must give ol’ Cap a chance. It also helped a great deal to set it in the distant past during the last cleanly “just war,” aka World War II. It’s a conflict that has become enshrined in the American identity and our country’s own self-mythologizing. This is the “Greatest Generation,” and Captain America exemplifies those qualities.
And he does since that generation may very well be exactly what Tom Brokaw exalted with his turn of phrase. The greatest. Still, the trick of it is to use the setting to emphasize a romantic view of perceived American Exceptionalism while steamrolling the character into an Avengers team-up movie that would heighten his popularity for a sequel.
And from a strictly business vantage point, it quite honestly worked. Captain America: The First Avenger did a respectable $177 million in the U.S. and $371 million worldwide. By the time of his third installment (coupled with an assist from the ever-popular Iron Man), Cap was headlining in billion-dollar grossing films. Nevertheless, The First Avenger is at odds with itself as a movie, right down to the fact that it really doesn’t feature a second act beyond a bridging montage. There is a wonderful first act to the film, which introduces Chris Evans as the Star-Spangled Man to perfection, and then there is almost wholly an hour-long race to The Avengers. Consequently, the picture is incredibly uneven and squanders all the potential of its premise.
At the start, Captain America: The First Avenger is a highly romantic vision of 1940s America. More than director Joe Johnston’s previous pulpy Disney film, The Rocketeer, this first Cap movie imagines a wartime United States in glasses so rosy that it’s impossible to see anything beyond the bloom. Steve Rogers (Evans) is a scrawny kid from Brooklyn—which he’ll never let you forget—that wants to serve, and the U.S. military is so fair and open-minded that British women can command combat roles and the services are desegregated in 1942… a full six years and two wars earlier than when Harry Truman actually dissolved that racist practice.
But historic whitewashing aside, this sequence works very well, because Captain America is himself a product of that time’s patriotic (and propagandist) comic books. Also who doesn’t enjoy seeing a man draped in the American flag punching Adolf Hitler in the face? The First Avenger even has some fun with that iconography in its most inspired moment: a USO show montage of Cap performing for war bonds while decking stagey Nazis across their crumbling glass jaws. It plays better at Radio City Music Hall than to the actual boys on the frontline, of course.
This is the movie at its best, reveling in its lead characters, Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell). It’s also probably why the first act of the movie—everything from when the movie flashes back from its 2011 prologue to Cap finally becoming a soldier and saving a bunch of POW G.I.s behind enemy lines—runs longer than usual at over an hour. And honestly, this is fine, save for the fact that the movie then realizes it doesn’t have time for a second act.
What follows is a glorified montage of years’ worth of history, and Captain America going from PR prop to authentic legend. Newsreels in the vein of “The March of Time” explain most of Captain America’s exploits, and the entire narrative turns into a fumbling gallop toward a dippy climax. Even for fans of the later sequels, this had diminishing effects, as a relatively minor character’s death during this speedy and incoherent portion of the movie becomes a focal point of the sequels. Yet when Sebastian Stan’s Bucky Barnes barely registers in the first movie, his resurrection becomes equally irrelevant in the following sequels that would place him at their center.
Eventually, the movie limps into a finale where the villain isn’t so much killed as put on a backburner to seemingly return (although even that has yet to pay off), and Cap is warped awkwardly to 2011, just in time for the next one. As aforementioned, this made good business sense, but going back to that strong first hour, the multiple missteps are obvious.
The story of Captain America would have benefitted from several movies set during the Second World War. As the fact that the first movie is even moved to that period indicates, it’s his natural habitat as a pulpy action hero. Everyone in the MCU speaks in whispered tones about how mythic Steve Rogers’ legend was from this era, but we never see it except in flashing vignette. He apparently inspired a generation of soldiers to fight a little harder, but he never appears to even be on a battlefield save for an ugly slab of blue screen work in that “second act” montage that features a solitary shot of Captain America blowing up an enemy tank.
Nor do we get a sense of the camaraderie of Cap and Bucky, or any of his other sidekicks. The movie is in such a hurry to get on with its fiduciary obligations that it is easy to forgive any viewer who cannot recall if the “Howling Commandos” had individual names. Instead of being a movie about Cap’s greatest hits, there could have been a trilogy of films building up his historic stature in this setting, just as Christopher Nolan convincingly turned Batman into a figure for Gotham City memorials.
But that is the tradeoff that comes with valuing franchise brand synergy over individual stories. There is a very practical reason to set The First Avenger in World War II, but the movie never seemed that comfortable with it. Cap doesn’t ever really see a battlefield and he also never fought Nazis except in USO pantomime. Despite being German villains, the bad guys of The First Avenger are the more cartoonish HYDRA. Johnston mentioned at the time that he wanted the movie to evoke his mentor Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones pictures, but Spielberg wasn’t afraid of offending foreign markets by having Indy punch out clearly German dressed baddies. Nor did he mind if they used guns instead of the Star Wars-esque laser zappers of HYDRA, which more or less turns the second half of Cap’s first movie into a strangely earthbound space opera.
These flaws have only become more profound in 2017 with the release of Wonder Woman, a movie that moved its protagonist’s story from World War II to the first Great War to End All Wars. Even so, it didn’t shy away from its setting. In a single moment of putting Princess Diana on a No Man’s Land battlefield, and then in a German-occupied Belgian village, Wonder Woman did more to create a sense of mythic aspirational awe than Cap’s apparent years of service.
This is in large part because even though Gal Gadot’s superheroine is scheduled to also appear in this year’s Justice League, director Patty Jenkins and her studio did not mind making a self-contained movie that was in no hurry to get anywhere other than Armistice Day. It also didn’t mind sending a few lovable characters to the underworld and let them stay there… as wars tend to do.
Tellingly, recent accounts suggest that Jenkins and Gadot’s upcoming Wonder Woman sequel will also avoid a modern era setting. While they are moving pretty far ahead in the 20th century—to the 1980s to be exact—they have the inherent advantage of their heroine being immortal. But more cunningly, they realize that period settings give freedom to explore modern issues without ruffling as many feathers. The Reagan Years allow Wonder Woman to continue to tackle a modern issue in the past that it only touched upon in its 1918-set predecessor: Diana’s fight for equality for women. It’s a fight that is still going on today, but it’s easier for corporate products to be more honest in a period context, while it also simultaneously continues Diana’s growth from the last film with the freedom to say whatever it wants. This is a refreshing alternative to being beholden to the corporate branding needs of tying her storylines into whatever the hell is happening with the latest crossover movie.
Sometimes, good business can allow for good creative decisions too. It’s a shame when those things are treated as mutually exclusive in this genre. Just as it’s a shame that we never saw Steve and Peggy get that dance, which a better film should have had time to do.
Read and download the full Den of Geek Special Edition magazine here!
Rock star St. Vincent will put a feminine spin on Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray.
It is considered very poor taste to ask a woman how old she is. It’s much worse to strip off layers of lacquer to uncover what she’s been up to. Annie Clark, who is better known by her rock star name St. Vincent, is not afraid of unveilings. She is directing an adaptation of The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde’s controversial 1890 novel for Lionsgate. The updated film will have a twist. The Picture of Dorian Grey will be a portrait of a woman.
The Victorian era story of a hedonist who never gets old will be adapted by David Birke (Elle, the upcoming Slender Man).
Multi-instrumentalist St. Vincent started her music career as a member of the Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens's touring band before forming her own band in 2006. She released her debut album Marry Me in 2007. She collaborated with David Byrne for the 2012 album Love This Giant. Her eponymous album won the Grammy for Best Alternative Album in 2015.
St. Vincent’s made her directorial debut with the short film Birthday Party, which debuted at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. She also co-wrote and scored and the film.
The Picture of Dorian Gray was the only novel Wilde published. The story was heavily censored when it had come out in magazine form, and further offended British sensibilities in book form. It was adapted in 1945 by MGM version becoming the best known. That film starred Hurd Hatfield, George Sanders and Angela Lansbury.
N.K. Jemisin’s Hugo Award-winning sci-fi fantasy novel is coming to cable.
TNT is in the early process of developing N.K. Jemisin’s Hugo Award-winning sci-fi fantasy novel The Fifth Season for television. Deadline is reporting that Leigh Dana Jackson (24: Legacy, Sleepy Hollow) is writing the adaptation with Imperative Entertainment’s (All the Money in the World) Dan Friedkin, Tim Kring and Justin Levy on board as executive producers.
The first book in the Broken Earth Trilogy, The Fifth Season takes place on a single supercontinent called Stillness, where catastrophic earthquakes capable of wiping out civilization, caused by climate change, take place frequently. A select few humans have the ability to stop these quakes, but the same power can also trigger them. The story follows three women who have this ability: Damaya, a girl training to join the ranks of the Empire; Syenite, a young woman being forced to procreate with her frightening mentor; and Essun, a mother hunting down the husband who kidnapped her daughter and murdered her son.
Author N.K. Jemisi became the first black writer to win the Hugo Award for best novel with The Fifth Season, and followed the win by claiming the award again this year for the second book in the series, The Obelisk Gate. Jemisi just celebrated the release of the third and final book in the trilogy, The Stone Sky.
Jackson became interested in the book series upon its release. She brought the project to Imperative shortly before The Fifth Season won its Hugo. No one other creative for on-screen talent is currently attached to the project, but will keep you updated on the latest Fifth Season news.
Read and download the full Den of Geek Special Edition magazine here!
Look in my eyes! What do you see? Phil Brooks will be writing for Shang-Chi! ...oh, and other Legacy books have been announced.
Marvel’s getting set for another big relaunch. Of course they are. This time they want to try and go in a different direction from their last few relaunches. With Marvel Legacy, they’re going to scale back on the whole hero replacement concept that they’ve drowned themselves in recently. Thankfully, they’re also going to stop going nuts over making every goddamn comic #1. FINALLY! Now it's all about adding previous issues together and going from there.
While the Marvel Legacy stuff will be hitting stands in about a month or so as a follow-up to Secret Empire, Marvel has been gradually trickling in info on the creative teams. Now we know a few more pieces of the puzzle.
First, we have some continuations with Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #297 (Chip Zdarsky and Adam Kubert), Daredevil #595 (Charles Soule and Stefano Landini), and Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #25 (Brandon Montclare and Natacha Bustos). All well and good, but the black sheep of today’s announcement is Master of Kung-Fu #126 by the team of CM Punk and Dalibor Talajic.
Master of Kung-Fu is part of several one-shots based on old, cancelled titles that will get a little bit of loving. This one will be written by wrestler-turned-MMA-fighter CM Punk, who just opens himself up to endless win-loss record jokes by taking on a book called Master of Kung-Fu. Punk has recently written a Draxbook, which was very fun, but didn’t have much staying power.
Other one-shots to look forward to include Dazzler, Darkhawk, Power Pack, Silver Sable, and – the one I’m pumped for – Not Brand Echh.
Gavin Jasper wants Shang-Chi to fight Quan Tsung. Follow Gavin on Twitter!
The BBC is bringing The Birds back to England. The source novel for Alfred Hitchcock’s classic horror film will be adapted for TV
Don’t they ever stop migrating? The Birds first landed in Cornwall, England, in Daphne du Maurier’s 1952 book. Alfred Hitchcock let them loose in Bodega Bay, California, when he made the book into one of his greatest horror films in 1963. Now, the BBC is bringing the back to rural Cornwall for their upcoming contemporary TV drama. The BBC adaptation will line its cage with the pages of the book, rather than be a direct remake of the film classic.
The Birds TV adaptation will be written by Irish playwright and writer Conor McPherson, who adapted the novella as a stage play in 2009. McPherson also wrote the films The Eclipse and The Actors.
The Birds will be produced by Heyday Television, the joint venture of feature producer David Heyman (Harry Potter, Gravity) and NBCUniversal International Studios.
Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds was Tippi Hedren’s feature film debut. Hedren plays San Francisco socialite Melanie Daniels, who follows her farmhand boyfriend to a small community that is being terrorized by flocks of birds shortly after the end of World War II. It also starred Rod Taylor and featured Jessica Tandy, Suzanne Pleshette and Veronica Cartwright. Evan Hunter adapted du Maurier's book for the screen. The movie was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 2016. The Simpsons preserved it for comic posterity in this timeless clip.
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Everything we know about the Locke & Key TV show coming to Hulu.
The Locke & Key TV series has a home! Back in July, THR revealed that Hulu has given the show adaptation of IDW's horror comic book series a pilot order, with Carlton Cuse (Lost) set to serve as showrunner. Andy Muschietti (It, Mama) will be directing the pilot after Doctor Strange's Scott Derrickson had to withdraw, due to his commitment to the Snowpiercer TV series.
Third time's the charm? After two previous attempts to bring fan-favorite comic Locke & Key to the screen (once for TV, and once for film), IDW Comics finally seems committed to make a Locke & Key TV show happen. With Hulu on board now and Cuse involved in the project, odds seem better than ever that this beloved comic will be done justice.
Locke & Key Latest News
Frances O’Connor has joined Locke & Key as its leading lady to play Nina Locke. The story will center on Nina, who, after her husband’s gruesome murder, takes her three children to move into their ancestral home in Maine, the Keyhouse. However, the Keyhouse has centuries of connection to the supernatural, serving as a dimensional portal through which malevolent demons wish to cross. Moreover, the magical keys connected to the house – forged from the metallic remains of demons who’ve tried to cross the portal – contain powers beyond comprehension.
O’Connor, an English actress, is known from roles in films such as The Conjuring 2, The Hunter, Bedazzled and, notably, in Steven Spielberg's A.I. Artificial Intelligence as the mother figure to Haley Joel Osment’s proverbial Pinocchio. She’s also fielded numerous TV runs, most recently on Cleverman, as well as The Missing, Mr. Selfridge and Cashmere Mafia.
Regarding O’Connor’s starring role in Locke & Key, IDW Publishing's David Ozer expresses in a statement:
“We are thrilled to have the multidimensional talents of Frances O’Connor to breath color and life into this pivotal character in our series, and along with a stellar production team in place, we have no doubt that we will be able to bring Joe Hill’s creative vision to the small screen.”
With its star set, Hulu’s Locke & Key pilot will likely be on a casting blitz and we’ll keep you well updated as it occurs.
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Locke & Key Details
Last year, IDW Entertainment released news that Locke & Key writer Joe Hill (he wrote the story for the comics, with art by Gabriel Rodriguez) was on board to write the pilot and executive produce the TV show adaptation as a straight-to-series project. It's unclear how Hulu and Cuse's involvement might change that plan, but Hill had previously said in a statement:
I love this story. The seven years I spent working on Locke & Key was the happiest creative experience of my life, and there still isn’t a day when I don’t think about those characters and miss visiting with them. The six books of the series are very like six seasons of a cable TV series, and so it feels only natural to bring that world to the little screen and to see if we can’t scare the pants off viewers everywhere.
Locke & Key begins with the story of three siblings returning to their family's ancestral home following the brutal and mysterious murder of their father. As they explore the house and its surroundings, it becomes clear that there are wonderful and terrible things lurking on the grounds. It is a comic book horror classic.
Previously, a TV show adaptation made it all the way to the pilot stage, but never garnered a pick-up. The episode was screened at Comic Con in 2011 and, as someone who was there for said screening, I can vouch for its awesomeness — a character-driven exercise in horror that deserved to continue its story.
The TV adaptation had Josh Friedman as a showrunner (The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Avatar 2) and an all-star cast that included Miranda Otto, Sarah Bolger, and Ksenia Solo. Check out the trailer...
Sadly, this version of Locke & Key never made it past a pilot, but the pop culture world seems better poised to embrace an on-screen version of this horror comic now. Not only are there way more comic book adaptations on TV and film, but Joe Hill has become more of a household name, especially with the recent film adaptaion of Horns. Hopefully, this adaptation is good and garners enough of an audience to ensure its continuation. Universe, you owe us this.
The Defenders wasn't always Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist. Oh, not even close...
The Avengers has long been Marvel’s greatest superhero team. The Fantastic Four (despite what Marvel’s top brass thinks these days) has long been Marvel’s first family. The X-Men have long been Marvel’s most popular group of heroes. And then there’s The Defenders, Marvel’s non-team, a rag tag group that has had just about every hero in the Marvel Universe serve as a member at one time or another. But despite the fact that the Defenders have long played also rans to Marvel’s more well-known superhero squads, this loosely knit group of champions have a very long, fascinating, and varied history.
Despite the fact the Defenders have always been overshadowed by Avengers and X-Men, the property is ready to finally achieve the big time. Yeah, you know it, the Defenders are coming to Netflix with a team made up of Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist. But newer fans anticipating this streaming TV event might be surprised to learn that these four street level heroes have, until recently, had very little to do with the comic book Defenders.
So get ready to travel back to the Bronze Age as we take a look at the history of Marvel’s strangest and most varied super team, the always mighty and sometimes wacky Defenders...
The Early Days of The (Shockingly Overpowered) Fab Four
One of the major issues with the original Defenders was that the initial lineup of heroes that made up this team was ridiculously overpowered. The original Defenders lineup was Doctor Strange, the Hulk, and Sub-Mariner. I mean what villain other than Galactus would pose a threat to this mega-powered threesome? Soon after the Defenders debuted, the Silver Surfer became a glistening addition to the roster. That’s right, Marvel’s greatest sorcerer, Marvel’s strongest monster, and Marvel’s mightiest monarch weren’t enough it seems, because right away, Marvel’s most powerful space hero soon joined the power packed team of heroes. That’s like adding Hank Aaron to the 1961 Yankees just for shits and giggles. But before we dissect this unbeatable squad, let’s look at how these beat sticks began.
The Defenders came together as a publishing necessity. After the Doctor Strange series was cancelled in 1970, writer Roy Thomas had no choice but to complete a dangling story arc in the other titles that he wrote. What began in Doctor Strange #183 (November 1969), continued in Sub-Mariner #22 (February 1970), and The Incredible Hulk #126 (April 1970). In this tale, the three stalwart heroes teamed up to take on the HP Lovecraft inspired Undying Ones. The story was fraught with Bronze Age goodness as Marvel’s mightiest reluctantly teamed up to face Lovecraftian cosmic gods in a story that was just made for black light posters. Now think about this, the seed of the Defenders, the seed that would germinate forty-seven years later into a streaming Netflix series, took root because Marvel cancelled Doctor Strange back in 1970. I freakin’ love those sort of connections. Anyway, Hulk, Doc, and Subby were not an official team before or during their battle with Undying Ones, but this threesome must have struck a chord with Stan Lee, Thomas, or some other Marvel higher ups because these improbable allies would gather again.
Thomas would bring another Defenders prototype together in Sub-Mariner #34–35 (February–March 1971) when Hulk, Namor, and the Silver Surfer joined together to battle the Avengers (hell to the yeah), free a nation from a brutal dictator, and destroy a weather control doodad. Hulk, Subby, and the Surfer were dubbed the Titans Three and seemed to spend more time arguing with each other than fighting their enemies. This was a theme that would carry though pretty much every incarnation of the Defenders moving forward including, judging from a few snarky moments we got in the trailers, our four new Netflix Defenders. Again now, let’s stop and think about how stupid overpowered the Titans Three were. A cosmic god, an undersea king that could control all sea life and had vast armies at his disposal, and the freakin’ Hulk. Add Doctor Strange to that mix and you have a group of heroes that would have a hard time finding a worthy adversary. I mean, can you picture these four stopping an armored car robbery? That would be like using MOAB to get rid of some moths.
The gathering of titans in Sub-Mariner must have sparked something because soon after, the Defenders made their official debut in the pages of the Marvel anthology title Marvel Feature. In Marvel Feature #1 (December 1971, written by Thomas with art by the great Ross Andru), Doctor Strange, Sub-Mariner, and Hulk reunite to battle an evil techno-wizard named Yandroth. Where’s Silver Surfer you ask? Well you see, Stan Lee was really protective of the Surfer and had a number of plans percolating for the character. Lee didn't want to be bogged down in continuity issues of a team book so he withheld the Surfer from the Defenders.
The new team takes on Dormammu in Marvel Feature #1 which is just beyond awesome, and a villain called Xemnu the Titan who kind of looks like the offspring of Chewbacca and a marshmallow in issue #3. The Marvel Feature try out went well and Doc, Subby, and Hulk graduated into their own book in August, 1972. This time, the trio face the returned Undying Ones and remained reluctant allies. Writer Steve Englehart comes onboard as Thomas takes up the editorial reins and Sal Buscema is called on as artist. In Defenders #4 (February, 1973) (and this should be of interest to those of you looking forward to Thor: Ragnarok), the Asgardian warrior known as Valkyrie joins the Defenders. In Issue #6 (June, 1973), the Silver Surfer finally rejoins the crew (I guess Englehart bought Lee a malted or something), and the overpowered fab four are finally reluctantly joined together. And how do you make a ridiculously powered team even more ridiculous, how about adding a nigh unstoppable Asgardian warrior and her flying horse to the mix?
But here’s the thing about the Defenders, it really wasn’t a team. Unlike, say, the Avengers or the FF, the Defenders had no charter, no headquarters, no mission statement, no membership requirements, no formal leader, and no guiding rules. Heck, the heroes didn’t even want to team together, but cosmic menaces and unstoppable monsters kept popping up so the forever fighting, forever adversarial Defenders just kept gathering.
And the roster would grow. Boy, would it grow.
Doctor Strange’s lover and ultra-powerful sorceress Clea would be a constant presence in the Avengers while Hawkeye joined the team in Defenders #8 (because when you have a team of gods, you totally need an archer). In Defenders #14, the hero known as Nighthawk (a fun Batman riff) joined the team and would become a mainstay. Having Valkyrie and Nighthawk on the Defenders allowed writers to actually have members on the team the readers could relate to because the rest of the members were just sledgehammers.
Around Nighthawk’s arrival, the Defenders established an unwritten rule that whoever worked with the Defenders would be recognized as a Defender, so basically now, the team was open to everyone and anyone. Thus begin the era of loosey-goosey membership. With Doctor Strange, Namor, Surfer, Hulk, Valkyrie, and Nighthawk as the core, the Defenders became the Airbnb of super hero teams. Soon Luke Cage (establishing a relationship with the team that becomes very important in the Netflix era), Devil-Slayer (who?), Hellcat (yeah, Patsy Walker herself, there’s some Netflix connective tissue for you), Red Guardian, and Daimon Hellstrom the Son of Satan all joined the team at one point or another. Heroes like Luke Cage had quick pops with the team, but others like Patsy and Hellstrom stuck around for a long time.
Even heroes that joined the team for a single day were recognized as members. So included in the Defenders Hall of Whatever are (deep breath) Black Goliath, Captain Mar-Vell, Captain Ultra, Daredevil (another Netflix check), Falcon, Havok. Hercules. Iron Fist (making his Defenders debut), Jack of Hearts, Marvel Man (later known as Quasar), Nova. Paladin, Polaris, Prowler, Stingray, Tagak the Leopard Lord (wait, really?), Thing, Torpedo, and White Tiger. Even characters like Howard the Duck and Dracula have helped out the Defenders in some capacity so are technically considered part of the team.
So let’s let this sink in, Marvel has a team that has the son of the devil, Dracula, a Duck, a flying Leopard guy, some mutants, and the Hulk as members. Glorious. In the '80s, famed X-Men member the Beast joined the team as did the monstrous hero known as Gargoyle solidifying the Defenders as comics’ oddest gathering of heroes ever.
The Steve Gerber Years
You just can’t discuss Defenders history without discussing writer Steve Gerber. Creator of Howard the Duck and Marvel’s go to guy for everything awesome and weird in the Bronze Age, Gerber had one of the most memorable runs on the Defenders in the history of the non-team. Gerber embraced the hell out of the concept of a loosely knit band of adversarial heroes and his run on the book was a precursor to experimental and surrealistic books like Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol. It didn’t carry a mature reader label, but the free-wheeling nature of Gerber’s Defenders was a predictor to the Vertigo movement of the 1980s and 1990s.
Gerber wrote Defenders #20-41 (February 1975- November, 1976) and Annual #1 and during this time, the always daring writer delved into the history of Marvel and pulled out some truly wacky characters to go against the team. Gerber introduced the Headmen (a group that consisted of a dude with a human head and a gorilla body and a woman with a big shape shifting crystal ball for a noggin), and also presented a character known as Elf with a Gun. This bit of madness appeared in many Gerber issues and consisted of the Elf showing up, shooting someone, and leaving with no explanation and no follow up. It just was. In the Elf’s last appearance, he was hit by a truck and that was it. Yes, the Elf with a Gun never encountered the Defenders and was just a random bit of Gerber madness that defined his unforgettable time with Marvel’s greatest non-team.
Will the Elf with a Gun appear on the Netflix series? We’re guessing no. Maybe on Legion though.
The New Defenders
The Defenders non-team status lasted from its first appearance and defined the team throughout the '70s and '80s, but in the New Defenders (a team book that used the adjective “new” way before it was cool), Marvel ended the free-wheeling concept of the Defenders and made the classic squad of heroes a more traditional team. Under the watchful eyes of writer JM DeMatteis and artist Don Perlin, the Defenders went from a roster of everyone and anyone to a set team with a leader, a HQ, and a charter.
So why did the OG Defenders like Doc Strange, Hulk, and the others leave you ask? Well, DeMatteis came up with an idea of an alien prophecy that said that if the original four Defenders of Strange, Hulk, Namor, and Surfer remained together, their alliance would lead to the end of the world. Now, one wonders what threat could have defeated these four engines of overpowered awesomeness, but there you go. Taking the place of the four were Defenders stalwarts Gargoyle and Valkyrie who were joined by X characters Beast, Angel, and Iceman. Angel would act as the money behind the team and team leader. Cosmic Marvel mainstay Moondragon (the bald lady once known as Madame MacEvil and daughter of Drax the Destroyer...no, really) would become a member of Angel’s team and was soon joined by little known heroes like Cloud, Manslaughter, Andromeda, and Interloper.
Wait, there was once a hero known as Manslaughter? Did he once form a team with Patricide, First Degree Murder, and Sex Offender?
Anywho, beginning with New Defenders #125 (November 1983), DeMatteis penned the first six adventures of this new team until Peter Gillis came onboard and continued the tradition of experimentation that defined the Defenders for well over a decade. Alas, despite some early sales success, the Defenders title that began with Thomas and Andru in 1971 ended with Defenders #152 in 1986. The final issue saw just about all the Defenders except for the three X-Men characters old and new die in battle. That’s a rough end for a team that had staying power despite its fluid membership policies.
Alas, with the death of the Defenders, the first (quite long era) of the team came to an end. But like all good comic book concepts, the Defenders and all the strangeness that came with it was soon to return.
Shh...It’s a Secret
The incarnation of the Defenders came in March, 1993 with the coming of the Secret Defenders. What was the deal with this new team of Defenders? We can’t tell you, it’s a secret. Ha! No? Okay.
Defenders co-creator Roy Thomas revived the Defenders name and even got Doctor Strange involved with this new team of Secret Defenders. While this Defenders title didn’t last long, the concept had tons of potential. The Secret Defenders took the idea of the non-team to the next level as each story arc would see Doctor Strange choose a new team of Defenders for every mission. So every time trouble reared its ugly head, Doc Strange would pick his Defenders team. It was like Mission: Impossible but with '90s characters, so lots of Wolverine and Ghost Rider here. During these missions, Doctor Strange recruited Hulk, Ghost Rider (toldja), Silver Surfer, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Darkhawk, Nomad, Spider-Woman Julia Carpenter, Namorita, Sleepwalker, Captain America, Scarlet Witch, Thunderstrike, War Machine, Northstar, and Nova to go on various missions, so add these heroes to the teams all time roster.
In Secret Defenders #12-14 (February and April), the title switched gears and featured a new team of Secret Defenders led by Thanos which is all sorts of awesome. This squad of evildoers featured Geatar (who the heck is that?), Nitro, Rhino, Super-Skrull, and Titanium Man. So if you ever wanted to see Thanos team with Rhino, well here you go. After the villain era, Doctor Strange turned over leadership to the group to Doctor Druid. You know if Doctor Druid is featured as leader of a team book, the ax of cancellation is soon to fall. Before Druid’s team was inevitably shit-canned, the balding mage recruited Luke Cage (Hey, at least there is some Netflix connective tissue in this nuttiness), Deadpool, Sepulchre, Cadaver, Hank Pym, Iron Fist, Archangel, Iceman, U.S. Agent, Dagger, Deathlok and Drax the Destroyer.
The Secret Defenders may have had a brief run and most of the stories spend most of the page count trying to justify each member of every chosen team, but at least the nearly forgotten title added about 700,000 new team members to the non-team, and isn’t that what Defenders history is all about?
The Fab Four Return
Remember how we said that the original four Defenders were forced to disband because of some alien prophecy that predicated that if they remained together the world would end and blah-bah-blah? Well that turned out to be a load of hooey.
In 2001-2002, Image co-founder/Savage Dragon’s daddy Erik Larsen and always awesome because he wrote all the superheroes Kurt Busiek joined forces to bring the original Defenders backe together. Larsen and Busiek leaned into the Defenders concept as the team’s oldest nemesis Yandroth manipulated reality so that whenever there was a crisis, Doc, Subby, Hulk, and that naked surfer guy were thrust together to save the day. This series is pure Defenders madness with the heroes spending as much time lamenting that they had to deal with each other as they did fighting evil. Non-team indeed.
Soon Valkyrie, Hellcat, and Nighthawk joined the fun and the sorta team changed their named to The Order. Hey Marvel, what the heck is wrong with the name Defenders? The Order? I’ll take a tuna melt. The Order...so dumb. Anyway, no matter what you called this second return to Defenders greatness, like all incarnations of this odd duck team, the book was an absolute blast.
And so was the next series. In 2005, writers JM DeMatteis and Keith Giffen and artist Kevin Maguire, best known for their industry changing and immortal run on DC”s comedic Justice League International, came together to work their magic on the Defenders. Yeah, the team that made Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, and Guy Gardner household names popped over to Marvel for a bit to work their bwah-ha-ha hilarity with the original Defenders. While laugh out loud funny, this series was still high stakes as Dormammu serves as the series big bad and as usual, the original four Defenders just can’t stand being around each other. And Hulk has sex with Dormammu’s sister.
The Last Defenders That Weren’t The Last Defenders
In 2008, writer Joe Casey introduced a team of Defenders that were designed to be the Last Defenders. They weren’t, but the team’s random membership is just further proof that the Defenders must have every hero in the Marvel Universe as members at some point. Casey’s team of last/not last Defenders consisted of Nighthawk, Blazing Skull, Colossus, and She-Hulk. Yes, not even Ghost Rider, Blazing Skull.
Later the team disbands because of incompetent leadership. Poor, poor Nighthawk.
Stranger and Stranger
If you want a modern take on what makes the old school Defenders so awesome, this is the perfect series to experience. In 2011, modern day master Matt Fraction wrote a version of the Defenders that returned the team to its surreal glory. With artist Terry Dodson, Fraction reunited three of the fab foursome and combined them with Black Cat, Nick Fury, Ant-Man, and Iron Fist. Joining this cadre of incongruous heroes in place of Bruce Banner was the Red She-Hulk aka Betty Ross, Banner’s long time lady love.
This team had so much going for it, namely, 3/4ths (get it, a FRACTION!) of the original Defenders snipping away at each other while battling Death Celestials and trying to solve a mystery that threatens reality itself, the Hulk’s longtime girlfriend battling side by side with her beau’s long time squad, and Matt Fraction once again writing Iron Fist. And if you haven’t read Fraction, Ed Brubaker, and David Aja’s Immortal Iron Fist, get thee to a comic store, because that comic series was everything that the Netflix series woulda, coulda, shoulda been.
Fraction and Dodson’s Defenders was one of the highlights of 2011 and its cancelation just shows that the comic market in the early 2010s sucked eggs and that we just can’t have nice things.
The Other Teams
Right around the team of Fraction and Dodson’s truncated masterpiece, Marvel presented two very experimental teams of Defenders. First, we have the Defenders that appeared in 2011 in a book entitled Fear Itself: The Deep. This team consisting of Stephen Strange, Loa (an undersea X-Men with a special bond to Namor), Lyra (an alternate dimension daughter of the Hulk), and Silver Surfer (just that dude on a space surfboard) were charged with saving Atlantis from Attuma, who’s like the undersea Khal Drogo (wait, I guess DC Films’ Aquaman is literally undersea Khal Drogo).
This team of Defenders did not last past the Fear Itself story arc. In 2013, write Cullen Bunn introduced a new team to the world. This team, led by the classic Valkyrie, included Misty Knight (a character that will hopefully play a prominent role in the TV Defenders), Danielle Moonstar, Clea, Frankie Raye Nova, Elsa Bloodstone, Ren Kimura, and Warrior Woman. This all female team of Fearless Defenders gained critical acclaim and their myth steeped adventures are well worth tracking down. It’s also kind of cool that long time Defenders Nighthawk and Valkyrie both got to lead their own team of Defenders and forge their own Marvel legacy in very different Defenders titles.
Takin’ It to The Streets
When Marvel and Netflix announced that their four series streaming push into the world of super heroes starring Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist would culminate in a big honking team up series entitled The Defenders, fans know it was only a matter of time until these TV Defenders began to fight the good fight in the pages of Marvel Comics as well. That’s exactly what happened in 2017 when writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist David Marquez introduced a new TV friendly team of Defenders to Marvel fans. That’s right, the TV crew have replaced the overpowered foursome of yesteryear as Marvel’s core Defenders and the results have been awesome.
Bendis and Marquez have managed to capture that gritty, noir street vibe from Netflix and shunt it over into the pages of this new Defenders comic. Even though the TV four are front and center, this iteration of the Defenders still has that non-team convention as many other Marvel street heroes like Punisher, Paladin, Blade, and many more come in and out of the title. Like all the Defenders before them, this new team of heroes is wonderfully varied as the anything goes tradition roles forever on!
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We're tracking down every Marvel reference and Easter egg in The Defenders. Fire up Netflix and help us out!
This article contains nothing but major spoilers for Marvel's The Defenders. If you'd prefer a spoiler free review of the series, click here.
So I have to say, I’m a little surprised by The Defenders. While the show is an excellent return to form for Marvel's stable of Netflix shows, it's surprisingly light on Marvel Comics mythology. That's not necessarily a bad thing (we don't need easter eggs in every single scene), but given how jam-packed every other season of the Marvel Netflix shows was, I expected a little more. Then again, with all the world building they did in five other seasons of TV, I guess I can kind of understand why this is the way it is.
Anyway, I'm here (as usual) to break down all the cool Marvel stuff hiding in the margins, and hopefully to make your viewing experience a little more fun. But guess what? I need your help. I can't do this alone! So if you spot anything that I missed (and I get the feeling I missed an awful lot this time around), drop it in the comments or hit me up on Twitter. Together, we'll make this the best resource for The Defenders on the internet!
The Defenders Episode 1
The first thing you have to understand is the team we're about to know as The Defenders is absolutely, in no way whatsoever, the team that was originally called The Defenders. That squad included Doctor Strange (yep), Namor (what?), the Hulk (for real?!?), and the Silver Surfer (no, we're not messing with you). It's only recently in the comics that we've had Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist using the name (although everyone except Jessica had, at some point or another, been a member of the comic book team). We have a much more detailed breakdown of all that weirdness right here for you.
- I’ve been to that impound lot on 49th that they threatened Trish with. It’s an absolute nightmare. Don’t get towed in NYC.
- Is the conversation with Trish and Jessica the first time we’ve heard the word “superhero” actually uttered on any of these shows? Or even in the MCU in general?
- This is a stretch, but I feel like Trish is wearing her Hellcat colors a little bit in these scenes, too.
- You can spot a sign for the “New Harlem Renaissance” on the bus that Luke gets off. Mariah and Shades’ plans from his series are clearly proceeding as expected.
- Claire compliments Misty’s “outfit.” While this is still a far cry from her comics look, that zipped up leather jacket is kind of a step in that direction. We’ll never go all the way there, though.
- The rooftop garden that Alexandra meets Madame Gao in appears to be the same one where Spidey dropped of Mary Jane in the first Sam Raimi Spider-Man movie, right after the (ahem) “World Unity Day” festival/Green Goblin attack.
Luke's yellow t-shirt and black hoodie is a little closer to his comic book costume, and probably as close as we're gonna get (other than that insane flashback in season one of his show).
- Not an easter egg, but I think Charlie Cox's performance with the young kid Matt was representing marks his finest dramatic moment in the role.
The Defenders Episode 2
- We get our obligator reference to “the incident” early in this episode, referring once again to the events of the first Avengers movie.
- Is that Gichin Funakoshi’s Karate-Do book laying by Danny on the floor of the dojo in this episode?
- The crack about how Misty, re: Jessica Jones, “thought she’d be bigger” kind of mirrors some of the dopey internet commentary when Krysten Ritter was first cast in the role. Hard to imagine anyone else now, ain’t it you dummies?
- I’m drawing a blank on both Elmore’s bar and Trouble in Para-Dice as far as Marvel history goes. Can anyone help me out? Are these super deep cuts from early Luke Cage comics?
- OK, this might be the nerdiest thing I end up writing for this entire guide. When Alexandra is hanging out listening to her private classical music concert, she’s overlooking Columbus Circle in New York City. If you walk out the front door of that building she’s in and hang a left and walk about two blocks, you’ll be in front of the building that Sigourney Weaver lived in as Dana Barrett in Ghostbusters. And that’s not all!
Visible from the huge windows in the scene, look just to the right, and you’ll see a tan apartment building. That building is the basis/exterior shots for Lois Lane’s apartment in 1978’s Superman: The Movie. So when Lois Lane is hanging out on her balcony with Superman, she could pretty much see Dana's apartment from Ghostbusters. Go check it out yourself when you're in the city!
Speaking of Superman...
- Luke’s “just remember, you started this” is another in what I consider his series of “Black Superman” moments. He’s always nice and polite, but the edge there reminds me of the earliest Superman comics, as well as George Reeves’ portrayal of the character on the 1950s Adventures of Superman TV show. I could totally here Reeves delivering a line like that just like Colter does here. I catalogued a ton of Superman parallels with Luke Cage here, if you want some more reading.
Wait, I should back up...
So, Luke Cage and Danny Rand are destined to become best pals, and even partners. In the comics, they shared titles like Power Man and Iron Fist and Heroes for Hire. They're just off on the wrong foot here, that's all. But this is another superhero trope: before Marvel superheroes can become friends, they first have to fight because of some misunderstanding. It's the law. Don't @ me, I don't make the rules.
- When Jessica is going through the archives, there are a whole bunch of different company names that come up, including Twin Oaks Shipping, Sherwin Holdings, Folgen Corps, and others. I’ve come up blank on all of them in terms of Marvel references. Please correct me if you have sharper eyes than I do!
- Matt Murdock and Jessica Jones have an interesting friendship in the comics. They've come to each other's aid a number of times, with Jessica (and Luke) even serving as Matt's bodyguards at one point. But what's really important about how this episode ends is that, like he did with the Punisher, a classic Daredevil trope is having Matt Murdock show up to defend a fellow Marvel Universe resident.
The Defenders Episode 3
- Alexandra once again betrays her true age here with the “Istanbul/Constantinople” slip-up, and now I can’t get that annoying ass They Might Be Giants song out of my head.
- The Elektra “rebirth” sequence is chilling, but the very best part is her emergence from the “coffin.” The way the hand comes out first, that’s a classic cinematic Dracula moment, used in everything from the original Nosferatu, to Tod Browning’s 1931 version and beyond.
Speaking of which, can anyone tell me what the glyph/letter on Elektra’s “coffin” means?
- When Elektra is taking on various sacrificial Hand douchebags, that giant bearded guy looks like a classic martial arts movie heavy. Straight out of central casting from the 1970s.
- The way she dispatches those ninjas, and the strewn bodies of ninjas all over the place in various states of dismemberment, well, that’s some classic Frank Miller comic book imagery right there.
- If you look closely you’ll see that Jessica Jones has a bullet hole in her scarf. That’s a hilarious detail. I can’t remember where that came from, though.
- They got their Stan Lee cameo out of the way early this time. You can spot Smilin’ Stan on the same police poster we’ve seen him in on all the Marvel Netflix shows while Jessica is following Matt. Also, that whole following sequence has some really great score.
- Danny Rand is rocking his classic green color scheme when he meets up with everyone at the dojo. No costume yet, but Finn Jones told us he’s open to it!
- We’ve heard of Midland Circle in these shows before, notably in Daredevil, although I seem to remember it was also mentioned in Iron Fist.
This episode definitely has what I would consider Danny Rand’s best action sequence since he was introduced. And, y'know...I thought I was tired of the whole hallway fight thing, but this one is really tremendous.
The Defenders Episode 4
This one appears to be extra light on Marvel references, other than the return of Daredevil villain Nobu. BUT…
Let’s talk about all of the different names Alexandra has apparently used through history. Well, at least some of them:
Other than her obvious fondness for names that start with the letter “A” throughout, surely a clue in itself, anyone have any ideas if there’s anything in here that might reveal Alexandra’s identity? None of these names are ringing any Marvel bells. Anyone catch any that I didn’t? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!
I'll keep updating this with more episodes throughout the day!
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Batman: White Knight will pay tribute to Tim Burton's Batman by using the name Jack Napier for his version of the Joker.
In Sean Gordon Murphy's Batman: White Knight limited series, the Joker has turned good, protecting Gotham City from the Batman's brand of vigilante justice. The plot twist itself should be enough to raise some eyebrows, but wait until you get a load of the Joker's name in the comic.
Murphy took to Twitter to reveal that his version of the decidely not clown-like villain is named Jack Napier! Does that name sound familiar? It should if you've watched Tim Burton's 1989 Batman, which starred Michael Keaton as Batman and Jack Nicholson as the Joker. Before Nicholson's transformation in the movie, he was a gangster named Jack Napier, a name that's referenced throughout the movie as Batman investigates the clownish nightmare stalking the streets of his city. It is later revealed that Jack was also responsible for the death of Bruce's parents, making him responsible for the birth of Batman. Funnily enough, Batman is the reason Jack fell into the vat of chemicals that transformed him into the Joker, making both of their origin stories pretty poetic.
Said Murphy in his tweet:
Big news: JACK NAPIER will be the name of my JOKER. Warner just approved--1st time Napier has been in a comic (minus Burton adaptations). pic.twitter.com/u4YwZLMmGL
— Sean Gordon Murphy (@Sean_G_Murphy) August 17, 2017
While this will be the first time the name "Jack Napier" is used for the Joker in an original comic book, the Joker has gone by the name "Jack" before, most famously in Alan Moore and Brian Bolland's The Killing Joke, which introduced a new origin story for the villain in 1988, a year before the release of the movie.
Burton has said that The Killing Joke was an influence on his movie. He said in the book Burton on Burtonthat, "I was never a giant comic book fan, but I've always loved the image of Batman and the Joker. The reason I've never been a comic book fan — and I think it started when I was a child — is because I could never tell which box I was supposed to read. I don't know if it was dyslexia or whatever, but that's why I loved The Killing Joke, because for the first time I could tell which one to read. It's my favorite. It's the first comic I've ever loved. And the success of those graphic novels made our ideas more acceptable."
Now Jack is back as a politician, a not so subtle comment on our current political nightmare.
"We know the Joker is a genius, we know he's relentless, and we know he can play the crowd, so why not make him a politician?"Murphy told Wired. "Frank Miller modeled him after David Bowie. Chris Nolan showed him as a controlled sociopath. I see the Joker as Don Draper."
Fans will reunite with Jack Napier on Oct. 4.
Without Playboy Clubs, comedy would have been very different today. Playboy Laughs! author Patty Farmer tells us why.
Playboy is legendary. The magazine transformed publishing, changed mores and challenged social and sexual boundaries. And it did it with a Mad Men flair and a sexy foldout.
Author Patty Farmer folds the legacy back in her new book Playboy Laughs!by focusing on the comedy, comedians, and cartoons of Playboy. Hugh Hefner transformed live comedy by starting an international circuit for standups with his Playboy Clubs. Hef stole comic artists from MAD magazine for one called Trump. His TV shows, Playboy Penthouse and Playboy After Dark, broke funny new voices as well as racial barriers in the pre-Civil Rights days of segregated entertainment, and glass ceilings contemporarily with the feminist movement.
Even the foreword is historic. Bill Marx, the son of Harpo and a musician who played the club and hung around when he wasn’t playing, remembers the clubs as a melting pot of talent that spurred the evolution of American comedy. Playboy Laughs! is the follow-up to her 2015 book, Playboy Swings, which focused on musicians. Her next follow-up will focus on the writers.
Budding cartoonist Hugh Hefner launched Playboy magazine in 1953. They quickly illustrated illustrious talents like Al Jaffee, Gahan Wilson, Jack Cole, Shel Silverstein, Vaughn Shoemaker, Harvey Kurtzman (who helped create Mad Magazine), Will Elder, Frank Frazetta, Russ Heath, Alan “Yossarian” Shenkar, Erich Sokol, pin-up artist Alberto Vargas, Robert “Buck” Brown and Elmer Simms Campbell, LeRoy Neiman, Jack Cole, and Arnold Roth.
The first Playboy Club opened up in Chicago on Feb 29th, 1960, and soon expanded to Miami, New Orleans, New York City and London. The book hits on every famous comedian to hit a Playboy stage or the magazine and whether they could hit on the Bunnies. Joan Rivers, George Carlin, Professor Irwin Corey, David Brenner, Joan Rivers, Lily Tomlin, Dick Gregory, Lenny Bruce, Mort Sahl, Lenny Bruce, Joe E. Lewis, Jackie Gayle, Olivia De Berandinis, Rich Little and Phyllis Diller all hit the stages.
Patty Farmer, who also wrote The Persian Room Presents about the early days of New York City nightlife, and Starring The Plaza spoke with Den of Geek about the funny side of Playboy.
Den of Geek: I loved the book. So what’s a nice girl like you doing in a nice place like The Playboy Club?
Patty Farmer: It’s a place I never thought I’d go. Just from writing some of the other things I wrote. I always do oral histories. People kept telling me, people you wouldn’t think like Leslie Gore and Dianne Carroll, they would talk about “when I was at the Playboy Club.” Joan Rivers was the final push. She was telling me about starting at with her trio at the Playboy Club.
I started peeling back that onion and found that all these great performers, mainly comedians, musicians, other kinds of people, worked these clubs. 42 clubs provided this circuit that was not available up until the Playboy Clubs, and there was also this bridge from the nightclubs of the 1950s to the comedy clubs of the 70, the Improv and other comedy clubs. It was interesting to me and nobody else had written about it. They wrote about Hugh Hefner, and the girls next door, and the mansion and everything else, but nobody had written about the entertainers. And there is just so much there.
You talked with people who go all the way back to Vaudeville. Playboy isn’t normally touted as feminist but tell us about women and the glass ceiling at the club and magazine.
Hef’s got a bad rep with the feminists. They love putting Hef down as a male chauvinist pig but he had female managers, editors, and top execs. He put his daughter in charge of the magazine when he wanted to retire in the '80s. Hef has always been there for women even in the magazine. He promoted issues that weren’t so popular at the time, like pro-choice, he wrote about giving women access to the pill, which was new in the '60s. He’s always been an advocate for women.
He was also an advocate for Civil Rights. His clubs were integrated. Tell me what surprised you about those.
He opened the clubs in 1960, but he had the TV show in 1959. I really think Hugh Hefner is one of the most colorblind people you’d ever meet. He, over and over, hired the best talent. As the great comedian Dick Gregory said, he didn’t care if you were black, white, or purple, if you could sing a song or tell a joke or swing an instrument. With the TV show, he integrated. This was all pre-1964 Civil Rights Act. He had Nat King Cole on, sitting down talking to a white woman, and the phones just exploded. Networks threatened to pull the show. Sponsors threatened to pull their advertising because he had done that. He was shocked that people would be so small-minded.
He was constantly shocked. When he opened the clubs in 1960, he had Dick Gregory, a great, young black comedian. He went on in front of an all-white audience and even the audience was shocked. Not only were they white, they were a bunch of meatpackers from Alabama. But once Dick went into his routine they wouldn’t let him off. The head of the club actually went up to the Playboy Mansion to get Hugh Hefner and said ‘you have to come over to the club because history is being made.’ By the time they got back, Gregory had been onstage for three hours. Comedians are a bunch of hams. You give then a stage and an audience and nobody’s telling them to get off and they’ll stay on forever. But the audience really loved him.
He courted other kinds of controversy. The first comedian on the TV show was Lenny Bruce, the sick and twisted comic who changed my life.
He was in a group that was labeled “sick” comedy, and I find it very interesting that Bob Newhart was included in that group. Lenny Bruce, yes. Mort Sahl, yes. Shelly Berman, okay.
Those telephones, they were very phallic.
Lenny was the very first comedian. He was a friend of Hugh Hefner. Hef liked his take on life and loved his comedy. Bruce was bringing in political subjects and, away before Jerry Seinfeld, did every day occurrences, making a routine out of his tattoo, and how his aunt reacted to seeing his tattoo. A Jewish boy who could never be buried in the family cemetery because you can’t deface your body, which was just brilliant.
Hef loved him and put him in the clubs. He took him out of the clubs when Lenny went over the top and started making a lot of enemies, mainly the police. They threatened to close down clubs where Lenny performed. Hef went on to support him in other ways. He helped financially and legally. Hef is first amendment all the way, free speech. He sent attorneys around the country to defend Lenny. But you couldn’t protect Lenny from himself. We lost him way too young, what was he 42? But Hef tried his best.
But people like Richard Pryor, who started out clean cut and collegiate, and George Carlin with a tie and short hair and a sweater. He was playing the Playboy Clubs, and then he got into the seven words you couldn’t say on TV. Hef had to tell him, ‘George I love you like a brother. I will go and watch you wherever you are when I’m in town, but you can’t play at my clubs anymore.’ Because, believe it or not, the Playboy Clubs were very clean. You had to stick to innuendo, maybe, but no cursing, you had to dress up. You had to be very respectful. Hef ran a club that he wanted the martini culture set to be able to come to during the day but he wanted the guys to be able to bring their wives and girlfriends at night, be well-entertained, but not be embarrassed by anything.
People ask me all the time, who played the Playboy Clubs? But it’s easier to name who didn’t play there. You had up-and-comers, you had Redd Foxx. You had Jimmy Walker. Even Seinfeld and Steve Martin and Billy Crystal, all these people, at one time or another, started out at the Playboy Club. Joan Rivers stayed there. She started out as part of a trio, came back as a standup comedian. You had comedians that were starting out that needed a paycheck and needed an audience to comedians that were firmly established like Don Rickles and Shecky Green and Rich Little. They came back because it was fun and it was cool and it was sophisticated to be at the clubs. They even went to the clubs when they weren’t performing. It was that much a cool place to hang out at.
You said they were clean. The comedians said they weren’t allowed to date the Bunnies. Were the ones who said that just the ones who didn’t get lucky, because other ones said they did?
I think everyone knew they weren’t supposed to date the Bunnies. The Bunnies knew that also. I think that made it more exciting, going where they weren’t supposed to go. I think in the book I put a Rich Little story about him dating a bunny. Lou Alexander was given a trophy for working his way through the Chicago Hutch by the Bunnies themselves. One of them happened to be the boss’s girlfriend, so he got in trouble. It was a rule that was put into place not to be ridiculous, but Hefner constantly had the government looking to shut him down. He had the Catholic Church looking to shut him down. This sound silly nowadays, but in Chicago in the 1960s, the church held a lot of sway. They put these rules in so they could never be attacked for prostitution going on. They could say they had a rule in place. There was a business thought behind that rule.
You talked about the control of the Catholic Church. I’m the “gangster geek” here at Den of Geek. Almost all clubs have some kind of mob influence. How did Playboy get around that?
The two main clubs were in Chicago and New York, but if you owned a nightclub in almost any city in the U.S. at that time the mob was there in some form or another. Hef did have members of a certain family sit down in his office and say they really thought they should do some business together. Hef, in his laidback manner, said “I have the eyes of the Catholic Church and federal and local government constantly on me. Do you really think I’m the right partner to be in business with?” Even though they were mobsters, they were smart enough to realize it wasn’t anything they wanted to push because they were trying to stay out of trouble themselves.
Do you think Hefner wore a robe to the mob sit down?
He did not. This was still in the days when he put his pants on to go to the office. He started that early on. He was very comfortable in pajamas. When I was writing Playboy Swings, one of the editors told me Hef had some kind of film put over the windows so you would never know if it was day or night. When people asked about that he said “I don’t want my editors influenced by rays of sunshine or dead of night. You should just have a free mind and the time clock should not matter to you.” That was Hef. He would sometimes sleep through the day and edit through the night. He had his own way of doing things.
You say he worked through the night. He was also very hands on when working with the cartoonists. He had his own comic book that came out in 1951.
Well, Hef was a micromanager in every aspect of the Playboy Empire but, specifically with the cartoonists, he was very attuned to the cartoons because at one time he thought he could make a living being a cartoonist. From the early days, cartoons was how he kept a diary, that how he journaled. He would make a journal doing mundane things like “Hef meeting a girl.” He even came up with a pseudonym for himself. He called himself “Hep Hef.” He thought he was good. He submitted his cartoons around Chicago, without much luck at all. As you said, in 1951 he came out with a full 74 page comic called “That toddlin' town: a rowdy burlesque of Chicago manners and morals.” Without my notes to remember that, I give myself a star.
He really felt that would push him over the top and sell it. But it didn’t. He was good, but he wasn’t good enough to compete with the other comic artists of the day. What a different world it would have been if he was successful. He wouldn’t have started Playboy. Maybe everything happens for a reason.
I love the work of Gahan Wilson-
Oh all of them though. They were all so different. Gahan with his unusual twists. But you had Doug Sneyd, they were almost like artwork. Al Jaffee and Jules Pfeiffer. Shel Silverstein, there’s artwork hanging in museums that’s worth millions of dollars now. Even when he was gaining in popularity and being very sought after, he was hanging at the Playboy offices and draw cartoons, and who could blame him? There were girls parading around all the time and cool people. Everybody came by the Playboy offices when they were in town. There was Frank Sinatra or any of the comedians they would just come in and flop and hang out. It was pretty cool.
You mentioned Al Jaffee. Can you tell me a little about the magazine “Fold-In?”
The fold-in was for guys really. I don’t think us girls read comic books as much. He was working at Mad magazine and was looking for a hook. He looked at Playboy with their three-page centerfold fold-out. And in a play on words, he made a “fold in” where there was a question and when you folded a certain way, you’d have then answer. It was very popular. He went to Jack Davis, at that time, at Mad magazine, and he said “I have an idea, and you’re going to hate it.” Al did not have any kind of salesman quality. He left it, the head guy loved it. Jaffee said “people are going to be ripping up the magazine. They’re going to rip off the back cover.” Because that’s primarily where the fold-in was. And he loved the idea even more because that means kids would buy two.
They’d buy one to fold and one to keep. I just visited Al a few months ago. He’s 96, still working for Mad magazine, and I got to sit in his studio and watch him work on the latest issue and the fold-in. They do it because they love it. Al certainly doesn’t need the money. At 96 he still cracks himself up with his own jokes and laughs while he’s making the fold-in.
You spoke to both comedians and cartoonists, are they funny in different ways?
Let me give you a quote that one of the girls I interviewed. A singer called Julie Fudd said “comedians are peculiar.” And I said “peculiar, what do you mean? Aren’t they a laugh a minute? They’re hysterical. Aren’t they a laugh a minute?” She said “no, comedians are very peculiar.” Julie, from the time she was very young, she was a singing sensation. She was 12 years old when Merv Griffin discovered her, and she would open for all these comedians. She was the opening act for a lot of big comedians. Milton Berle, she was his favorite to open. At the Playboy Club, she opened for Charlie Callas, just a bunch of people. She said sitting down to breakfast with Charlie was really not a laugh a minute. She said they were the total opposite. They were paranoid, and always thinking they would not be funny when they got back on stage. They seemed just normal to me when I would talk to them.
I’ve talked to hundreds for the book, from people you might not have heard of, Howard Feder, to Joan Rivers and Lily Tomlin. They didn’t try to make jokes or laugh. They were pretty straightforward in telling their stories. I’m going to stick with Julia that they were just very peculiar. Whereas the cartoonists, they were hysterical. They reminded me of old kids, teenage boys who got older but never grew up. They were funny, all of them. From what I understand they liked to hang out at the mansion, hang out with Hef, and they enjoyed life.
What was the focus of Trump magazine?
Trump magazine was Hugh Hefner’s idea for a comic magazine. He wanted it to be upscale. Other comics at that time they printed on cheap newspaper. He wanted high quality paper and the best cartoonists he could find. He went to Harvey Kurtzman and get his gang of idiots together to work for Trump. And he raided Mad magazine and took all of them away from the magazine to work for Trump. Needless to say, Bill Gaines was very upset. They set up an office and only came out with two issues. When Hefmer was questioned as to why the magazine went under he said “I gave Harvey an unlimited budget and he surpassed it.” They raided Mad and really had all the best cartoonists.
What will be the third?
The third one is about the writers. It’s going to be called Playboy Thinks and it’s about the editors, the authors, the interviews and the subjects of the interviews.
Was there much difference between the musicians and the comedians?
No there really wasn’t. Again, you only had great talent that I found amazing, played at the Playboy Club. Al Jarreau started as part of a duo. He was Al and Julio when he started out and it was at the Playboy Club that Johnny Carson spotted Al Jarreau and Julio Martinez, and made arrangements for them to be on the Johnny Carson Show [The Tonight Show]. This was in New York. They were scheduled to two weeks after their gig at the New York Playboy Club ended, so Julio, he wanted to see her, his wife lived in L.A., he said I’d go out and see her and I’ll be back in a couple days. Johnny Carson’s people moved the schedule up and they called the agent and said they wanted to have the boys on tomorrow. So Al called Julio in LA, very distraught because Al doesn’t read music, he doesn’t play music. He said he has to get back here. Al said even if I get on a plane now I won’t get there in time. So Al Jarreau went on Johnny Carson solo, walked off to a standing ovation and that night he became out Al Jarreau.
Any of the comedians try and prank you? Call you pretending to be Professor Irwin Corey or something?
Irwin Corey was another one that was too funny. He was so out there that I was weirdly attracted to him. Long after I interviewed him, I’d visit every time I’d visit New York, just like Al [Jaffe]. I had seen him, maybe six weeks before he passed at 102. And I’ll tell you, right up until the end he was clear headed, could discuss books, he was always goofing around. And he was always making passes. At 102.
That was one of the questions I skipped, whether any comedians hit on you. It came after the ‘dating the Bunny’ questions. You were a model, could you have been a Bunny?
No. I’m much too shy. I think that’s why I write. I’m just a geek who likes to talk to people and write their stories. I’m not the outgoing girl, although I did model for three years. I was a full working model. I wasn’t good enough to make it to top model status, but it helped me get through school. I liked it for that but I really was too self-conscious to be a model or be a Bunny, or for sure to be a centerfold. They had the most beautiful girls as centerfolds. As I’m sure you can attest to.
Were there any stories that didn’t make the book because of context or space you regret leaving out?
Good question. No, not really because I started out writing a book on Playboy. It turned out to be such a lengthy tome that my publisher said “You cannot publish 1,200 pages.” So I divided it into what will be a trilogy.
Playboy Laughs! The Comedy, Comedians, and Cartoons of Playboy was published by Beaufort Books on August 3, 2017.
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What does The Defenders ending mean for Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and future Marvel Netflix shows?
Just in case the title didn't clue you in, this article contains major spoilers for The Defenders and possible spoilers for Daredevil Season 3.
Well, it's over. Phase One of Marvel's Netflix initiative is complete with The Defenders. After five previous seasons of TV, The Defenders had a ton of work to do in order to wrap things up and set the stage for what's coming next. And while it was plenty satisfying, it left a whole bunch of mysteries that will need to be solved in future seasons. So let's get to work and see what's up with Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist...
Is Daredevil Really Dead?
What? No! What did you do, shut it off before it finished? Anyway, Daredevil Season 3 is already confirmed!
OK, so what's next for Daredevil and Matt Murdock after The Defenders?
Ah, that's a much better question. Matt is currently recuperating in a mysterious hospital bed, attended by nuns. Are you ready for some possible Daredevil Season 3 spoilers? Good.
The nun keeping vigil over Matt tells someone to "get Maggie." The Maggie in question here is Sister Maggie. Who is Sister Maggie? Well, you know how Matt has some Daddy issues and his Mom wasn't around? That's because Sister Maggie is Maggie Murdock (nee Grace), who didn't die when Matt was young, and instead decided to take the vows of the Catholic Church and become a nun. And you thought Matt was carrying some Catholic guilt around!
This is the first time we've heard her name in this specific context, it's been clear for some time that Father Lantom, the long-suffering priest that Matt is constantly confessing his sins to, has known Sister Maggie's identity and is keeping it secret. Is this mysterious recovery room in the same church Matt attends? I don't know.
Sister Maggie first appeared in Daredevil #229, as part of the all-time greatest Daredevil story, Born Again. She was created by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli. I have long maintained that Born Again, which deals with Wilson Fisk taking his ultimate revenge on Matt Murdock, would make an incredible season of TV, and Sister Maggie showing up here is one tiny step towards that happening. Plus, when Matt returns, he kind of will be "Born Again."
Is Elektra dead?
Probably not. She's harder to kill than pretty much anyone else in comics. She'll be back.
What's up with Luke Cage and Jessica Jones?
That scene in the bar with Luke and Jessica was really great, wasn't it? There's definitely more to their relationship than friendship or an FWB situation. In the comics, after kind of dancing around the issue for awhile, they get together. And by "get together" I mean they get married and have a daughter. I wouldn't expect to see this happen in the second season of either of their shows, but it's bound to happen eventually. Ship it, or whatever it is you kids do.
Luke, on the other hand, looks like someone who will be quite eager to get back to Harlem to take on the lingering problem posed by Mariah Dillard and Shades.
OK, fine, so what's next for Jessica Jones?
I thought it was a really nice touch for Malcolm to finally have her door fixed for her. The Alias Investigations window/shingle hasn't been in place since literally the opening moments of her first season, so there's some nice symbolism having that come around and get fixed at the end here.
Although, I have to confess, I kind of hope that in the first episode of season two she throws somebody through it again.
What's next for Danny Rand/Iron Fist?
Y'know, I have to say, Danny Rand's arc was the most pleasant surprise of this season. I wasn't a fan of Iron Fist, but it turns out that Danny's irritating behavior in season one was actually by design, and the plan was always to have his metamorphosis into a true hero finally take place in The Defenders.
"There's a quote in Iron Fist season one, I think it was like, 'Cast off the childish needs' or something like that. I mean, Lei-Kung said that to [Danny], and he really has done that by the end of Defenders."Finn Jones told me in an interview recently. "He's got his shit together. He's grown up, and he now understands the responsibility of the Iron Fist. Like, before, he didn't know what to do with it. He didn't really respect it because he has his own issues that he had to deal with... At the end of Iron Fist, Danny doesn't even know what a superhero is. So then to suddenly be interacting with these three superheroes, it gives him a deeper sense of what he can do with this power that he has, so really just make him kind of wise up and come to term with responsibilities a lot more."
You can definitely see that dawning on him in the later episodes, and the clear sense of responsibility at the end. The shot of Danny on the rooftop looking out over the city is clearly meant to evoke Daredevil, and we're meant to think it is until his fist starts glowing. Danny was clearly inspired by Matt and his sacrifice. "By the end of The Defenders we really see the full formation of Danny into the Iron Fist as a superhero."
Expect a far more focused Danny Rand, potentially with a costume, whenever Iron Fist Season 2 gets here.
What's next for Misty Knight and Colleen Wing?
This, friends, looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Misty and Colleen are longtime partners in the comics, operating as the Daughters of the Dragon (remember when Colleen called herself that when she was doing her cage fighting thing on Iron Fist?) and various versions of Heroes for Hire. Colleen mentions that Danny is going to help Misty get some state-of-the-art care after losing her arm. Why is this a big deal?
Because Misty is getting a robot arm, kids! In the comics, Misty's bionic arm was designed by Tony Stark. I don't really see a reason why they couldn't go down that road here, but it seems that whatever she gets will instead be made by some division of Rand Enterprises.
Anyway, I'd totally watch a series with just the two of them, wouldn't you?
Will there be a Defenders Season 2?
Almost certainly, but we're gonna see five other seasons of TV first. Even if Marvel goes quarterly with these, we won't get it until 2019. I got into the details of this a little bit more right here if you need it broken down further. I think you probably get the idea, though.
Mike Cecchini talks about superheroes an awful lot on Twitter. Sometimes he talks about other things, too.
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Miller & Sienkiewicz's ridiculous miniseries is essential reading for fans of The Defenders or Daredevil on Netflix.
The Defenders is here, and with it comes the long anticipated return of Elektra, Matt Murdock’s ninja assassin ballerina arch-girlfriend-nemesis. Her iconic sais have been the focus of an intense fandom since almost her debut in 1981, but her look alone and a handful of appearances don’t explain the passion for her.
Elektra is arguably comics’ most badass woman, and very likely comics’ first female antihero. But how did she get to that point? She showed up in fewer than 20 total issues across Marvel Comics in the 1980s. How did a character the reading public had seen so little of become an icon, a towering badass in a medium full of them?
It’s because Elektra: Assassin is bananas. No, I take that back. It’s like someone took a bunch of bananas, kept only the peels, filled them with cocaine, shaped the yay into bananas, then found a way to reseal the banana peels.
Elektra: Assassin is the work of Frank Miller, the man who created her in the pages of Daredevilin 1981; his art partner Bill Sienkiewicz, famous at the time for his work on New Mutantsand a talent the industry will never see the likes of again; and lettered by Jim Novak and Gaspar Saladino, who do a competent, industry-standard job for most of the series, but are given the opportunity to cut loose in later issues, and when they do, it looks like a ransom note scribbled in blood by an 8-year-old. That’s not criticism, by the way. It’s perfect.
Ascribing Frank Miller’s current political views to his past work has become something of comics internet’s national pastime lately. You see no end of thinkpieces about how Miller is a reactionary bastard who is on a single-minded quest to turn every comic character he touches into a broken, grunting murderer or place them individually on his own personal Madonna/whore spectrum, and how his earliest work – on Daredevil, The Dark Knight Returnsand of late (because of her impending appearance on Daredevil) now Elektra: Assassin– fits into that continuum. I think this is a mistake. And quite honestly, they’re not entirely without merit: Miller does have tropes he falls into, and he certainly…dropped a lot of pretense when Holy Terror came out – pretense that likely would have prevented any collection of words that have fallen from his mouth or keyboard in the last 15 years from seeing the light of day.
But applying that analysis to Miller’s earliest writing doesn’t work: in large part because I think he was restricted by collaborative work relationships that amounted to a hell of a lot more than “sure Frank, whatever you say if it lets us print money” (Lynn Varley and Klaus Janson were enormously important to the look of his art early on, and as we saw in the intro to Elektra: Assassin, Sienkiewicz had as much to do with the plot and direction of the book as Miller did).
It also completely misses an aspect of Miller that isn’t captured exclusively in what showed up on the printed page. He has always been one of the most vocal advocates for creator rights in the industry: he was there for the earliest meetings about forming a Comics Guild in the ‘70s; fighting for Siegel and Shuster’s rights in the ‘80s; and shredding Marvel for the way they treated their talent in the ‘90s (while publishing Sin City as a creator-owned book at Dark Horse). He was a troublemaker: anti-authority more than authoritarian, as ready to rip down iconic comic characters and tropes and “the old way” of doing things as he was to glorify them.
As a political ideology expressed through his work, mid ‘80s Frank Miller wasn’t a fascist or a reactionary. He was a pyromaniac. And in Sienkiewicz, he found a gleeful accomplice who used his distinctive style – collage, traditional penciling, filling his mouth with paint and screaming at the page (I’m not sure about the last part) – to torch everyone and everything, and to unite their two distinctive sensibilities in a way that I promise you did more for Elektra’s ongoing popularity than the 13 issues of Daredevil that comprised her entire appearance history to that date.
Miller’s Elektra had, prior to Elektra: Assassin, been known more for her death than anything else. She first appeared in Daredevil #168 as an old college girlfriend of Matt’s, the daughter of a Greek diplomat who in the years after his assassination became a deadly mercenary herself. She’s first shown trying to claim a bounty in Hell’s Kitchen, and she proves to be Matt’s equal at punches. At one point, she even takes a contract on Foggy’s life from the Kingpin before she decides she can’t betray Matt like that, and ends up helping him track the Hand through Hell’s Kitchen until finally, when Bullseye runs her through with her own sai, she crawls back to the offices of Nelson & Murdock and dies on Matt’s stoop.
It’s worth noting here that while we still have yet to see Elektra’s evolution into the unstoppable murder machine she would become, these issues are invaluable in tracking Frank Miller’s artistic evolution. It’s a mistake to dismiss her appeal as a character at the time of her death because, while I’m being flip about the content of these stories, you do watch Miller and inker Klaus Janson’s art progress from trying to hew closely to Marvel’s early ‘80s house style in Daredevil #168 to something much closer to the blocky-but-graceful flowing noir that made him one of the greatest ever to work in comics a few years later.
However, that doesn’t change the fact that she’s only around for less than 18 months before Bullseye fridges her with her own sai. And because of a tacit agreement between Miller and his editor at the time, she stayed dead and unused for the next four years (Note: if you want to be really cute about it, she stayed dead until Secret Invasion twenty years later, where it was revealed that the Elektra who showed up after she “died” in Daredevil #180 was a Skrull impersonator. In reality, she only showed up when used by Miller in Daredevil stories until about 1993).
So when she died, Elektra is a trope-bending ass-kicker. There’s been a bit made lately of female anti-heroes, but I think the term “anti-hero” has lost a lot of meaning, and loses even more when people try to talk about women anti-heroes. An anti-hero is the character the audience is meant to root for who does noble things for ignoble reasons, not someone who does horrible things for noble reasons - V or Magneto, for example. Nor are they someone who’s broken but still fundamentally a hero - Starbuck from the Battlestar Galacticareboot and Jessica Jones are often cited. And they’re certainly not guys like Walter White or Dexter - those two are just likable villains.
No, an anti-hero is someone like the Punisher or poorly-written-post-Frank-Miller-Batman or The Man With No Name from the Dollars trilogy - terse, over-the-top badass, unconcerned with the carnage left in their wake as long as they’re content with the job they did. In 1983, Elektra kind of fits that mold, with one big problem: despite the distinctive sais and the fact that she was dressed and moved like a murderous ballerina, she died to motivate Daredevil. Stripped of agency, she has less in common with the Saint of Killers than she does with the Saint’s wife.
It wasn’t until Miller returned to the character in 1986 for an eight-issue limited series that she evolved into the icon we know today. He was joined by Sienkiewicz to create a limited series for Marvel’s Epic line. Distributed directly to comic shops (and thus a harbinger of the doom of the industry), Epic books shipped with no Comics Code approval on them, and were thus freed from its constraints. Miller and Sienkiewicz were free to draw whatever they wanted, and holy shit they did.
Elektra: Assassin is the first appearance of SHIELD Agent John Garrett, who you might remember from not shouting “GAME OVER, MAN, GAME OVER” on Agents of SHIELD It takes place in the years between when Elektra left college and Matt and when they reunited and she was eventually killed, so while it was published in 1986, it was a retcon, rather than a reemergence.
In the book, Elektra discovers a plot by The Beast, the primordial demonic force that allows The Hand (a group of ninja – think AIM or Hydra but Japan) to resurrect themselves and potential allies, to take over America by infecting a Presidential candidate, where he will then launch all of the nuclear weapons ever and destroy the world. She figures that out, deals with SHIELD, fights off a rogue SHIELD cyborg, and beats The Beast on election day, before he can take office.
That’s pretty straightforward, right? That’s because describing the plot isn’t the same thing as experiencing the teeth-gritting insanity of a comic where Elektra psychically possesses more people than she does say words (as far as I can remember, she possesses at least 4 people; not counting narration, she says a total of 3 words out loud); where if you were only paying attention to Garrett’s narration, you’d think the comic was about Magnum P.I. wanting a cigarette very badly; where Elektra blocks a bullet by making a fist and giving it a hard stare; and where the protagonist heads to the climactic battle riding in the sidecar of Garrett’s giant, flame-spitting, penis-shaped train/motorcycle.
Someone (Kieron Gillen, I think) says that when you’re reading a comic, you have to assume that everything in it was a deliberate choice by the creative team, and the introduction to Elektra: Assassin backs that up. Written by Jo Duffy (who is and always shall be incredible, and was an original editor of the project), it details the creative process on the book:
“Frank actually wrote every issue of Elektra: Assassin at least three times. First, after going over his plot ideas with me, he’d turn in a full script, which, after further discussion, he always rewrote. Then, after Bill had finished painting the issue, and the pages were all assembled with whatever color photostats, xeroxes, doilies, staples or sewing thread Bill felt was needed to give them the right look, Frank would do a final draft, taking full advantage of whatever new and unexpected touches Bill had incorporated into the artwork.”
It's the deliberateness that everyone misses when trying to reanalyze what the hell happened in the book. That deliberateness is what took Garrett from an ‘80s stereotype (that mustache, sweet lord it is the ‘80s-est thing that ever existed) to direct criticism of comic book audiences at the time: he spends the entire book maybe-brainwashed by Elektra, bewitched by imagining sex with her.
There’s also criticism that it’s portraying liberals in an unflattering light, which is ridiculous, since it isn’t portraying anyone anywhere in the book in a flattering light: the man Ken Wind, the liberal presidential candidate who’s a stand in for the Hand’s Beast, is running against is a small, chattering, shriveled Richard Nixon, itching to “push the button” to “show them,” or where the Soviet spokesman denying the attack on the President of San Concepcion is named Vladimir Jakkoff. Also, I might still accept that it’s mean-spirited criticism of the Left if it wasn’t Bill Sienkiewicz’s own photograph used for Wind’s head through the entire story.
SHIELD is beset with incompetence and male insecurity - Nick Fury telling Garrett he doesn’t like him while he fires his giant gun that Dirk Anger and H.A.T.E. failed to replicate certainly doesn’t betray any concerns about his job performance, but meanwhile he’s got an entire rogue cyborg division operating under his nose that he doesn’t know about. Meanwhile, even within that rogue cyborg division, Miller and Sienkiewicz are mocking bureaucratic rigidity: Dr. Beaker, the head of ExTechOps, at one point sits on top of a speaker that amplifies him yelling at Garrett, while the monitors tell Garrett what an “inept yoyo” he is.
The copious use of anti-gay slurs is definitely offensive, and likely was at the time, but I don’t think the parody aspect can be dismissed out of hand – it does feel like the slurs, like the fact that everyone gets turned evil by drinking the Beast’s satanic mayonnaise or the fact that there are so many giant violent phalli in the book, are over the top jokes about toxic, ‘80s action hero masculinity, especially in light of the fact that the hero of the story maintains a taciturn femininity throughout the story, that because of her skill and knowledge and moral compass, she is the only one making a conscious effort to prevent the end of the world.
And even still, Miller and Sienkiewicz juxtapose Elektra with SHIELD agent Chastity McBride, a woman constantly telling her colleagues to tone their language down and heads to the final battle of the series undercover as a nun. She’s treated as a bit of a scold and a counterpoint to the over the top sexuality that is foisted on Elektra throughout, but she also happens to be the second most competent person in the book, figuring out early on that Garrett was being mind controlled and surviving two attacks by Perry, the evil cyborg.
The point of this isn’t to try and redeem present-day Frank Miller or throw shade at folks writing about their own experiences with his work. The point is that I think in the ongoing project to reframe Miller’s comics against how he’s chosen to present himself in the last 15 years, we run the risk of losing touch with what made some of that work unbelievably influential: I do think, though, that Elektra: Assassin is a seminal comic book, crucial to understanding Elektra’s place in culture, to understanding her enduring appeal and why people are so excited about her showing up on the Netflix series. At the very least, the book is good for a couple of maniacal giggles after seeing the creators make fun of everyone and everything in its pages.
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All the Easter eggs, references and in-jokes from Legends of Tomorrow Season 2.
Have you been enjoying Legends of Tomorrow Season 2 on Netflix? If not, are you ready for its DVD and Blu-ray release this month? Are you just reliving the wonder of what might just be DC's best superhero show in your head over and over again, like a time loop?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you, dear friends, are in luck, because we have a complete guide to every single DC Comics reference (and more!) in Legends of Tomorrow Season 2!
After the defeat of the immortal villain Vandal Savage and the exposure of the corrupt Time Masters, a new threat emerges. Dr. Nate Heywood (Nick Zano), an unconventional and charming historian, is thrust into the action. After making a shocking discovery, Nate seeks out Oliver Queen (guest star Stephen Amell) for help in finding the scattered Legends. Once reunited, the Legends continue their new mission to protect the timeline from temporal aberrations - unusual changes to history that spawn potentially catastrophic consequences. Their first stop is 1942 to protect Albert Einstein from being kidnapped before the Nazis destroy New York City with a nuclear bomb. Meanwhile, Ray (Brandon Routh) notices that Sara (Caity Lotz) has a mission of her own, which leads them both to face her nemesis, Damien Darhk (guest star Neal McDonough).
OK, so this one doesn't have a ton of specific DC Comics stuff out of the usual, expected stuff (and, of course, the inclusion of Damien Darhk and the surprise appearance of Eobard Thawne at the end), but there are still a few things to get into. The biggest deal, of course, is...
Nate Heywood. In the comics, a super-powered Heywood is known as Commander Steel. But we're not quite there yet with him.
While the Steel legacy in DC Comics stretches back decades, the Nate Heywood version of the character was introduced in 2007, during Geoff Johns' tenure as writer on Justice Society. While his grandfather was cybernetically enhanced, Nate ended up being composed of living metal, with all of the advantages and drawbacks that brings with it. It's not clear how far they're taking that element of the character for the show just yet, but this is a pretty effective introduction for the Heywood aspect of him. His personality is quite a departure from the comics, though.
- I have to love how Green Arrow is kind of roped into this rescue mission. It's just an appropriately comic book trope touch.
- Who else thought of Indiana Jones'"Nazis, I hate these guys," when Heat Wave confessed his own hatred of Nazis?
- When Brandon Routh is wearing that retro blue business suit in the 40s, anybody else get vintage Clark Kent vibes?
- Speaking of Superman, the best "Albert Einstein interacts with superhero lore" story ever isn't even in a comic: it's in the pages of Elliot S! Maggin's Superman: Last Son of Krypton novel. I can't stress this enough, if you like Superman, you need to read that book.
- Also re: Superman. Somebody mentions the phrase "Somewhere in Time" which reminds me that Christopher Reeve starred in a kinda dull sci-fi romance by that title shortly after he achieved stardom as Supes.
- Is Rip wearing a Navy uniform in the '40s? Can anyone explain that to me? I'm terrible with military stuff. If it is indeed Navy, I feel like that kind of plays into Rip's general dorkiness. Why? Because James Bond's rank of Commander is a Naval thing, so of course that's what Rip would wear. If he's wearing anything that indicates he's a Commander, please let me know.
- Anyone spot Katana’s mask on the Waverider?
The Legends travel to Nazi-occupied Paris, but find themselves surrounded by the Justice Society of America (AKA JSA.) The Legends discover a time aberration that threatens the JSA, but the JSA wants nothing to do with them or their help. Nevertheless, the Legends force their way into the JSA’s mission to intercept and seize a mysterious package. Nate (Nick Zano) is desperate to prove that he should be part of the team, but he has a secret that he shares with his grandfather Commander Steel (Matthew MacCaull) that might make it difficult. Ray (Brandon Routh) is so focused on impressing the JSA, he puts himself and Vixen (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) in danger. Meanwhile, Stein (Victor Garber) has stepped in as the leader with Rip (Arthur Darvill) gone, but when decisions aren’t being made Sara (Caity Lotz) seems to be the one calling the shots.
- The Justice Society of America (although surprisingly very few of the members we meet in this episode) first appeared in All-Star Comics #3 in 1940. They are, without question, the most important superhero team in comics history, but their legacy is too complex for me to discuss here. Luckily, we have an entire article about them.
- Commander Steel, amazingly enough, was NOT a product of 1940s comics, though, despite his patriotic name and costume. His legacy is even more freakin' complicated if you can believe that, so allow me to present another article (this one not written by me) that should make everything clear to you about both Commander Steel and Nate Heywood.
- Obsidian first appeared in All-Star Squadron (one of my favorite comics) #25 in 1983, and was a member of JSA offshoot Infinity Inc. He was never a founding member of the JSA or anything, but what he is, is the son of Alan Scott, the first Green Lantern.
- Rex Tyler's costume looks a little bit more like the younger, Rick Tyler version of the character than his Golden Age counterpart, but I ain't complaining:
- Stargirl is another second or third generation JSA character who they moved to the past here for convenience sake, but that's fine. That cosmic staff she's wielding was designed (at least in the comics) by founding JSA-er Ted "Starman" Knight, father of one of my all time favorite DC characters, Jack Knight...who would totally be perfect for a CW show of his own, but if you ask nicely I'll write you a thousand words or so about why that's the case.
She's a great character, and you can see her kicking ass in more modern/recent JSA adventures.
- They never make it clear if this Doctor Mid-Nite is Charles McNider or Pieter Cross. It doesn't matter. He looks really cool. It's like if Republic Pictures made a Doctor Mid-Nite serial in 1942, he kinda would have looked like this. I'm so happy I just got to type that sentence. Dr. Mid-Nite dates back to 1941, so this is some serious DC history on display.
- So, the "original" Vixen on display here isn't "original" at all, but created especially for this series. She is indeed Mari McCabe's grandmother, though. What's cool about this is that the comic book JSA has always been about legacy, and heroes from this era passing their mantle on to the current generation. Right now, Vixen is set to be the first "legacy" character (other than the Canarys on Arrow, they kind of don't count) in the CW DC Universe, which is pretty cool, right?
- Baron Krieger is the given name for Captain Nazi, an old Shazam/Captain Marvel villain. He was first introduced in 1941. He's the one who crippled Captain Marvel, Jr.'s non-powered form, Freddy Freeman, and he's a member of Mr. Mind's Monster Society of Evil. His powers were given to him in the comics by his father, who genetically modified him at an early age. He is, as one would expect from a super-powered Nazi, a very bad fella.
- I have no idea what the Askaran Amulet is supposed to be, BUT...it looks a little bit like the amulet that DC heroine Isis wears. Kinda. I'm not sure.
But Hitler's fascination with the occult was very much a real thing, and that helps with the whole Indiana Jones vibe of this episode, doesn't it? His ultimate prize, by the way, would be the Spear of Destiny, which would help him not to ever have to worry about superheroes interfering with his affairs ever again. Ever wonder why a world populated by DC superheroes didn't just win World War II in like, a week? Yeah, the Spear of Destiny.
- On the Waverider, there was a prominently displayed Red Tornado helmet.
No, not the robot one. Ma Hunkel, the pot-helmeted lady who ran with the JSA for a bit in the '40s.
- Max Lorenz was absolutely a real person, and I suppose maybe if you squint in the dark and have bad eyes there is a passing resemblance to Martin Stein?
By the way, Victor Garber wore a Superman shirt (but it was the logo of the Sunshine Superman of Earth-47's Love Syndicate) when he was Jesus Christ in Godspell in 1973...
And his little speech to the band right before he started singing (I don't have to tell you this, I'm sure) was Marty McFly's prep line to the band in Back to the Future before they ripped into "Johnny B. Goode."
- "You're not a wartime consigliere" is the nicest way to demote somebody, and probably the nicest thing Michael Corleone ever said to anybody in The Godfather.
- I know the motorcycle sidecar chase is right out of Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, but you know what was even more in the spirit of things? Ray's inability to bring himself to "Seig Heil!" before saying "ah, hell" and punching that Nazi douchebag right in the kisser.
Nate (Nick Zano) is shocked to learn that he has powers but then accidentally lands himself and Ray (Brandon Routh) in Feudal Japan. After Sara (Caity Lotz) convinces their stowaway Amaya (Maisie Richardson-Sellers), AKA Vixen, that Rory (Dominic Purcell) is not a murderer, they all agree to find Nate and help him master his powers in order to defend the Japanese village from the Shogun and his army of samurai warriors. Meanwhile, Jax (Franz Drameh) and Stein (Victor Garber) stay back to help fix the ship and find a secret compartment but decide not to tell the rest of the team what they learn.
- Amaya tries to stab Mick with a Santoku when she should really be using a Chef's knife for stabbing. The Santoku is good for slicing or chopping, not for plunging into the heart of your enemy.
- We're there now! Nate turns to metal for the first time this week, after being injected with a modified version of the Nazi super power serum that gave Captain Nazi his powers. He jokingly asks if his name should be "Citizen Steel," which, ha ha was actually his name in the comics.
- Oh yeah, Masako. She's the first Katana, and this episode is the origin of the Soultaker blade. The sword Ray, Nate and Misako use to kill the Shogun has an extensive family history, and continues to after this episode.
When the Legends discover a time Aberration in 1863, they find themselves fighting for survival during the Civil War with Confederate soldiers who have been turned into zombies. With the Civil War outcome hanging in the balance, Jax (Franz Drameh) must participate in a daring mission by going to a slave plantation with Amaya (Maisie Richardson-Sellers). Meanwhile, Sara (Caity Lotz) begins to feel the burden of the decisions she has to make as the leader, and Ray (Brandon Routh) struggles to find his purpose on the team. Victor Garber, Dominic Purcell and Nick Zano also star.
- Henry Scott was real. Interesting that Jax ended up as his historical stand-in.
- The song the slaves were singing is an old African spiritual called "Follow the Drinking Gourd."
When the Legends trace a timequake to President Reagan’s White House, they are shocked to discover their old enemy Damien Darhk (guest star Neal McDonough) is now a Senior Adviser to Reagan. As the team works to uncover what Darhk has up his devious sleeve, Sara (Caity Lotz) struggles with the choice of getting revenge or helping with the team’s larger mission. Thinking that the JSA members could be of help, Amaya (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) and Nate (Nick Zano) break into the JSA and are surprised at what they find. Meanwhile, Stein (Victor Garber) tries to prevent his younger self from creating an even bigger time Abberation.
- The vintage JSA team picture kind of reminds me of the photo of the Minutemen from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons'Watchmen. Is this a coincidence? Yes, probably. Do I care? Not at all, it's a nice touch.
- The idea that the JSA was always a top secret government sanctioned organization is an interesting one, and it puts it a little bit more in line with JSA spinoff title the All-Star Squadron, who were specifically formed to fight in World War II (the comic book JSA was originally pre-War, and primarily concerned with domestic issues).
- The fact that they disappeared in 1956 is significant, as well. It's generally accepted in the comics that the JSA disappeared in the early days of the Cold War (sometimes it's earlier, sometimes it's because of McCarthyism, there are conflicting versions), but they're right in the ballpark here. But they aren't necessarily dead, and I wouldn't be remotely surprised to find them in the 21st Century sooner or later, or even more of them joining/replacing members of the Legends.
- I looooove that there was a JSA Academy. The modern day JSA in the comics became a kind of training ground for newer and legacy heroes, so it seems like there were even more JSA members that we don't know about from back in the day, both before we met them in WWII, and potentially in all of those years leading up to their disappearance in 1956.
- The reason Obsidian couldn't be trusted could be an allusion to the character's homosexuality.
Now, as for some other stuff...
- How perfect was the 1987 vintage Channel 52 news broadcast?!?
- Do...ummmm...I don't really need to tell you what the "never cross the streams" rule comes from, do I? Please tell me I don't.
- When Mick tells Ray that he's "just gotta be cool" I half expected him to say "like Fonzie!" and then that made me want to watch Pulp Fiction.
- "Surely by now women are equals," Vixen says. Ummmmm...well...
- Even though we've seen them on these shows several times now, I will never not freak out when I see a Legion of Super-Heroes Time Bubble make an appearance, as it did this week.
The Legends are still reeling from the news that their time travel-nemesis is a speedster when they are alerted to an Aberration in the Old West. When the Legends arrive they find their old friend Jonah Hex (guest star Jonathan Schaech) in trouble with his arch-nemesis, Quentin Turnbull (guest star Jeff Fahey). The team soon discovers that they need to stop Turnbull and his gang from conquering the West and branding it his own lawless territory. To Hex’s surprise, Sara (Caity Lotz) is in charge and dispatches the team. Rory (Dominic Purcell) is ecstatic to be in the Wild West, but Sara makes Amaya (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) work with him to keep him on task, which is easier said than done. Meanwhile, Nate (Nick Zano), Ray (Brandon Routh) and Jax (Franz Drameh) try to infiltrate Turnball’s gang, but find themselves in a shootout leaving Nate’s confidence shaken.
- Quentin Turnbull is actually a Jonah Hex villain. Created by Michael Fleisher and Tony DeZuniga in 1974, Turnbull in the comics was a Virginia plantation owner looking for revenge on Hex for the death of his Confederate soldier son. It sounds like, from what Hex was yelling during the punching scene, they borrowed more from the Turnbull played somehow by John Malkovich in the inexplicably terrible movie, who was a former Confederate general who committed atrocities that Hex didn’t care for.
- Nate gets his new costume at the end of this episode, after Ray sees his drawings at the beginning. You’ll likely recognize Nate’s drawing as very similar to Alex Ross’s cover to JSA #7 from 2007.
- The most popular pop culture instance of a man with super strength punching a horse is probably Mongo from Blazing Saddles, and you cannot imagine my disappointment when Steel did NOT punch a horse despite multiple opportunities. Not cool, Legends of Tomorrow.
- Nate stops a train with his bare hands, and that’s a move as old as comics. Superman, Colossus, even Gambit (I think) have done it. They keep doing it because it’s pretty cool.
After learning the Dominators’ plan for the world, the Legends must work together with The Flash (guest star Grant Gustin), Supergirl (guest star Melissa Benoist) and Green Arrow (guest star Stephen Amell) to kill them once and for all. Meanwhile, Stein (Victor Garber) figures out, with the help of others, how the team can terminate the Dominators, but is distracted by the aberration he realizes he created in 1987.
- This is Felicity’s first time travelling through time, so her “linguistic disorientation” shows up in her shouting “darmokandjaladatTanagra,” and me yelling SHAKA WHEN THE WALLS FELL back at the TV. She is quoting “Darmok,” the second episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation’s fifth season.
- So I think we need to talk about this G-Man played by Doc Cottle from Battlestar Galactica. Kara calls him “Agent Smith,” and that is complete and utter horseshit because he is quite clearly King Faraday. Faraday was created by Bob Kanigher and Carmine Infantino in 1950. He floated around the DCU as a generic spy for a while, though he was notably involved in John Ostrander and Kim Yale’s Suicide Squad for a bit in the late ‘80s. He resurfaced in a big way in Darwyn Cooke’s utterly incredible The New Frontier, where he is basically this exact character: he doesn’t trust metas, really gives the Flash a hard time, and eventually comes around on aliens because of his relationship with the Martian Manhunter.
- They have a little party in the Hall of Justice to celebrate their win, and as Kara’s leaving, Ray says to Felicity “You know what’s funny? She kinda looks like my cousin.” I love Brandon Routh’s superhero second act.
- Kara to Ollie and Barry before she leaves: “You’re Earth’s mightiest heroes.” KARA SHH! D’YOU WANT TO GET SUED?
- The song playing when Ollie and Barry go drinking is “The World (Is Going Up In Flames)” by Charles Bradley, who is excellent. You may also recognize him from the third episode of Luke Cage– his band was playing in Cottonmouth’s club while Luke was busting up Cottonmouth’s organization.
- Kara has a communicator that will let her chat with Barry and Ollie, or come back through if she wants. Smart money is on her only needing it one more time, though. If I were a gambling man, I’d bet that next year’s crossover is some sort of…Crisis.
When a new Time Aberration is discovered by the Legends, they find themselves headed to 1927 Chicago. The Legends quickly realize that they have been set up by Eobard Thawne (guest star Matt Letscher), Damien Darhk (guest star Neal McDonough) and the newest member of the Legion of Doom, Malcolm Merlyn (guest start John Barrowman). While everyone is trying to help fix what they think is the mission, Jax (Franz Drameh) encourages a reluctant Stein (Victor Garber) to share his secret with the other Legends. Stein is taken captive and Sara (Caity Lotz) must make the tough choice of either stopping the Legion of Doom or saving Stein. Meanwhile, Rory (Dominic Purcell) gets an unexpected visitor and is not sure how to handle it.
- I understand the budgetary restrictions on the show, but it is a little irksome to constantly reference Costner and Connery’s Untouchables from a set in Vancouver. They didn’t once have a baby carriage go down a giant flight of stairs in slow motion, and there was only a pair of oblique references to the Chicago way.
- Sara to the team upon finding out that they’re in 1927: “Grab your fedoras.” You got it m’lady!
- The Injustice Gang first showed up in Justice League of America #111 in 1974. They were originally a group of villains gathered by Libra to test a power stealing device. Later, in Grant Morrison’s 1990s JLA run, they were a dark reflection of the Big 7 Justice League: Joker (Batman’s arch-nemesis), Lex Luthor (Superman’s), Jemm (Martian Manhunter’s), Mirror Master (Flash’s), Ocean Master (Aquaman’s), Doctor Light (Green Lantern’s), and Circe (Wonder Woman’s). That’s why they feel like the better analogue than…
- The Injustice Society was originally created in 1947 by Sheldon Mayer and Bob Kanigher. They were the main nemesis group of the Justice Society. Over the years, folks like Per Degaton, Vandal Savage, Sportsmaster, Solomon Grundy, Shade, Count Vertigo, Gentleman Ghost, and Rag Doll have been counted as members.
- Jax: “Stein’s about to kill Sara in the library.”
Ray: “With a rope or a candlestick.” You nerd. But seriously, Clue was a good movie.
- The Spear of Longinus is real. Or real-ish – it’s definitely a historical artifact, but it’s not immediately clear if it can be used to “rewrite the rules of reality” or thrown from the moon to impale a rogue Angel threatening to destroy one of our only Eva unites like was claimed by Thawne here and Gainax in 1996, respectively.
In the comics, it was "the Spear of Destiny" and this is what DC Comics used to explain why the Justice Society didn't just go ahead and win World War II in like, five minutes. Hitler had the Spear, and with it in his possession, it meant that any hero who came near Berlin ran the risk of falling under the spear's power, and thus Hitler's.
When Damien Darhk (guest star Neal McDonough) and Malcolm Merlyn (guest star John Barrowman) try to capture Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) in 1967, they create an Aberration big enough to draw the attention of the Legends. However, when the team arrives they discover that Rip has no memories of his past due to “time drift” and is just a graduate film student. After trying to convince Rip of who he was, they discover that he possesses an incredibly powerful artifact known as the Spear of Destiny, which the Legion of Doom is after. Ray (Bradon Routh) and Nate (Nick Zano) realize that the Aberration has also affected them personally making it difficult to help the team. Meanwhile, Rory (Dominic Purcell) asks Stein (Victor Garber) for help and makes him promise to keep it a secret from the team.
- Anybody else think that the existence of the Spear of Destiny, which can rewrite all of reality without causing timequakes, on Rip’s ship is going to necessitate a massive retcon later? Why would you go through all of season 1 if you could just fix shit, right?
- In the opening, when Rip is abandoning the Waverider, Gideon’s shutdown code is “shogun ballistic,” I think. And when Rip is grabbing the time core from the engine, the prayer he whispers - “Angels and ministers of grace defend us” – is what Hamlet yells when he sees his father’s ghost in Act 1, Scene 4.
- Things that exist in the Legends of Tomorrow universe: Super Friends. That’s what Nate’s talking about when confronted about coming up with the name “the Legion of Doom.” He said it’s from an old Hanna Barbera cartoon he used to watch when he was a kid. So…he used to watch a cartoon of Batman and Superman and Flash but they’ve never seen a...you know what? I don’t think I’m going to put too much energy into this line of thought, as it could only ruin the show for me.
- Also, Disney’s Star Wars. It makes sense to include it, but it’s still a little surprising to hear reference to a series that Marvel is currently adapting and adding to.
- Speaking of Marvel things that shouldn’t exist in this world (or any, really), Howard the Duck the movie. Amaya asks to watch it during the team’s movie night, and gets promptly and rightly shut down by Ray and Nate.
- And finally, the best thing that exists in both worlds, M.O.P. They’re a rap duo from Brooklyn, the ones who brought us that song that Nate was listening to in the Waverider at the start of the episode. And the song I walked into my wedding reception to! Not really, but it was on the first list.
- I don’t need to explain why George Lucas and a group of superheroes getting stuck in a trash compacter is funny, right? We’re all adults here.
The Legends are determined to find and rescue Rip (Arthur Darvill), but first must focus on locating the Spear of Destiny. Stein (Victor Garber) thinks he has the perfect person to help but knows involving her will be risky. Meanwhile, Malcom Merlyn (guest star John Barrowman) and Damien Darhk (guest star Neal McDonough) realize that Thawne (guest star Matt Letscher) is pitting them against each other.
- The intro was new and kind of unprecedented, so it’s worth going through all the notable points at once. Darhk narrates and explains that he was killed by Green Arrow in 2016 – that happened at the end of last season in Arrow.
- We then see him sitting in a Time Bubble with Thawne running really fast around him – that hasn’t happened on the show, but Darhk’s narration says it was 31 years ago, so 1986.
That’s kind of a turning point year for the comics industry as a whole. That’s the year Crisis on Infinite Earths ended, merging the entire DC multiverse into one Earth with one shared history that remained a continuity clusterfuck for 30 years. It’s also the year we got Watchmen, The Dark Knight Returns, Maus, and Daredevil: Born Again.
- Have we been over Time Bubbles? The Time Sphere is how Rip travels through time in the comics. It’s looped into all sorts of different DC mythologies, from the Legion of Super Heroes to Booster Gold to various incarnations of Superman on TV. It even saved Batman from THE DEATH THAT IS LIFE! in Grant Morrison’s run. I’m kidding, Batman was saved from that by Friendship.
- Later in the episode, Merlyn tells Darhk “The League didn’t call me The Magician for nothing.” I think that’s the first time his supervillain name from the comics was uttered on TV, right? He’s typically Green Arrow’s arch-nemesis in the comics, and he was Merlyn the Magician until early in the modern era, when it was mostly shortened to just Merlyn.
- MISSED OPPORTUNITY: It turns out Rip stored his memories in a safety deposit box in a Swiss bank in 2025. I would have put a $10 bill in the mail to the writers’ room if they had snuck a Per Degaton reference in there.
- Rip’s Swiss safety deposit box is number 4587. There’s something there, but I can’t figure out what it is. Help me out in the comments!
- The champagne is a 1998 Guggenheim, named presumably for Marc Guggenheim, writer and producer extraordinaire within the Berlantiverse, and writer of the upcoming X-Men: Gold series at Marvel.
- Black Flash is like the Speed Force’s Grim Reaper. He takes any dying speedster back into the Speed Force. It was introduced in Morrison, Millar, and Ron Wagner’s Flash #138 in 1998. He’s also part of the Black Racer, the avatar of death for the New Gods, but we’ll get into that when the Berlantiverse gets to the Fourth World. So probably next season.
Legends of Tomorrow Season 2 Episode 11
When The Legends find a new Time Aberration they learn they must travel to the winter of 1776 to protect George Washington and the American Revolutionary War. Unfortunately, things don’t go as planned, forcing Sara (Caity Lotz) to send out Nate (Nick Zano) and Amaya (Maisie-Richardson-Sellers) to help. Meanwhile, Jax (Franz Drameh) and Stein (Victor Garber) who are busy protecting the incapacitated Waverider from their new enemy, are forced to step into roles that they don’t think they are prepared for.
- This is more or less a straight Harry Turtledove riff. Turtledove specialized in stories about time travel bringing modern weapons to an old conflict, and that's what we get here, with the Redcoats getting a few crates of M16s.
- "Dammit Jefferson, I'm a physicist, not a doctor." But you ARE a Star Trek fan, right Stein?
- You know what OTHER movie involved a bunch of makeshift traps on Christmas? That's right, this episode is a Home Alone tribute.
- Love Ray whistling the show's theme song.
- Mick's speech to Washington - "When they march at you in formation, you pick them off from the trees. When they challenge you to a duel, you raid their camp the night before," - is magnificent. One of the high points of the season.
The Legends continue their quest to hunt down the Spear of Destiny before the pieces fall into the hands of the Legion of Doom. The Legends discover that pieces of the Spear are each being guarded in different time periods by members of the JSA. Their first stop is the future where they find Dr. Mid-Nite (guest star Kwesi Ameyaw) which eventually leads them to the past and King Arthur’s Camelot, where Stargirl (guest star Sarah Grey) is protecting her piece of the Spear. In order to protect the Spear shard from the now-evil Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill), the Legends must join forces with the Knights of the Round Table.
- Dr. Mid-Nite is in Detroit in the year 3000 and that is the closest we come to a Legion of Super-Heroes in this show.
- By the way, we get confirmation that this Dr. Mid-Nite is Charles McNider.
- Stargirl/Merlin must have some powerful magic to be able to crimp her hair like that in 507 A.D.
- This episode was good on its merits, but it feels like a missed opportunity for nerdery, something this show rarely does. There's a whole expansive Arthurian world within the DC Universe - Etrigan the Demon, Shining Knight, Mordred, a whole host of people who stick around for a while get their starts here.
After capturing Rip (Arthur Darvill), he forces the Waverider to crash, leaving the Legends stuck seventy million years in the past. Ray (Brandon Routh) leads Amaya (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) and Nate (Nick Zano) to recover a vital piece of the ship. In an effort to get the “good” Rip back, Rory (Dominic Purcell) suggests they enter Rip’s mind, but what Sara (Caity Lotz) and Jax (Franz Drameh) discover in his subconscious is not pleasant and they must fight evil versions of themselves. Meanwhile, Nate and Amaya continue to get closer, but it could cause serious ramifications.
- Not a coincidence that we get a montage of a bunch of spaceship doors closing quickly in an episode named “Land of the Lost.” Mystery Science Theater 3000 was a show where a comedian and two robots were forced to watch terrible movies in space.
- They went into the same forest that Gorilla City is in! There sure are a lot of lizards out in the middle of Vancouver’s winter.
- SUPER Marvel-heavy episode this week: “Gertrude” the dinosaur is, I think, a riff on Arsenic and Old Lace, the teen girl and her pet velociraptor from Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona’s Runaways.
- Subtle: the Waverider in Rip’s head is lit with green and purple, the classic supervillain colors.
- Ray tries to shut down Amaya and Nate by referencing things that the internet tells me happened in the Vixen animated series. Please correct me in the comments if I’m wrong and if Ray and Mari had a relationship on Arrow, but I...don’t really remember them interacting.
When the Legends track Commander Steel (guest star Matthew MacCaull) to NASA Headquarters in 1970, they learn where Nate’s (Nick Zano) grandfather hid the last fragment of the Spear of Destiny. The team notices a time aberration during the Apollo 13 mission and believes that the Legion of Doom might be involved. As the Legends journey into space to intercept Apollo 13, the Waverider suffers massive internal damage and Ray’s (Brandon Routh) life is left in jeopardy when he is stranded on the moon.
- The rule with the old Teen Titans cartoon was when the theme song was in Japanese, the episode was going to be comedy. I think that’s the same thing on Legends: when Mick does the introduction, something amazing is going to happen.
- That amazing thing would be the Victor Garber (with backing vocals from Dominick Purcell) singing “Day-O” to distract mission control from the fact that they were about to be unable to contact Apollo 13. Normally replaying that clip over the end credits would have felt a little self-indulgent, but...this was incredible. You really need to see it.
- I feel like I’ve been making Evangelion jokes about the Spear of Destiny since the first time it showed up on this show, and now I’m sure one of the writers has been biding their time with me waiting to drop an Eva reference in here. They finally did! The Evangelion Spear ends up on the moon after a battle with an orbiting Angel, and gets called back by Shinji in the last couple of episodes.
- Rocket man! Jax uses lyrics to William Shatner (and Elton John)’s classic song to introduce himself.
- Ray lifts the entire bit sandwiching the midpoint break from The Martian, Matt Damon’s movie about getting stranded on Mars that was an absolute delight. Otherwise this is mostly Ron Howard and Tom Hanks’ Apollo 13.
- Stein: “I won 6 Carlin awards.” Mike Carlin is a former executive editor of DC, and he ran the Superman books for a long while.
The Legends must devise a plan to retrieve the last remaining fragments of the Spear of Destiny from the Legion of Doom. They find themselves in France at the height of World War I faced with the knowledge that they must destroy the mystical object. They enlist the help of a soldier by the name of John Ronald Reuel Tolkin (guest star Jack Turner) and find that the Spear is leading them into the heart of the war. Meanwhile, the team must all resist the temptation of the Spear, and the return of a former teammate.
- Aside from the ridiculous amount of Lord of the Rings references, this was a fairly light episode for nerdery.
- I’m going to miss a few, so jump into the comments with more, but let’s take a swing at all the LOTR bits:
The spear has an inscription that only shows up when heated (like the Ring).
The spear glows when it’s near something (like Sting).
Stein saying “One cannot simply walk into the middle of a war zone” is basically begging the internet to meme it.
Rip’s speech to try and get a cease fire has him lift lines whole cloth from Aaragorn’s speech at the black gate in the movie version of Return of the King.
After obtaining the Spear of Destiny, the Legion of Doom rewrites reality, leaving the Legends changed, perhaps forever. Frightfully, the Legends’ and the world’s hopes rest with Rory (Dominic Purcell), but being the “hero” is not easy for him. Meanwhile, there is tension within the Legion of Doom and the reason why the Spear of Destiny needs to be destroyed is revealed. Victor Garber, Brandon Routh, Arthur Darvill, Caity Lotz, Franz Drameh, Nick Zano and Maisie Richardson-Sellers also star.
- Thawne’s keeping Black Flash in one of the holding cells in the particle accelerator. Interesting that apparently the Speed Force is unaffected by the Spear of Destiny.
- Thawne is on the phone with “The President” when he first meets up with Mick and Snart, and he talks about golfing and tells him “Say hi to Mel for me.” So, to be clear, the Legion of Doom rewrote reality to make things easy for them, and they decided to make Donald Trump president of that dark timeline. I love this show so much.
- Ray is playing a Doom-style FPS where he shoots Dominators on their ship. I hope that someday I love my job as much as these writers do.
- Thawne’s monologuing this episode is the first time I really felt “oh that’s the smarmy fuck who put Toby Ziegler in jail.”
- Mick’s mouse is named Axel - is that for Trickster?
- I would like to point out that the climax of this episode is where the good guys get back together to fight one bad guy while the rest of the bad guys double cross him. Again: perfect show.
- The particle accelerator in Central City is basically the Legion of Doom’s headquarters from the old Superfriends cartoon (and they used it for like 10 minutes in Justice League Unlimited).
As the Legends are about to take off for their next destination, a massive timequake rocks the ship. In order to try and fix what has happened, they are forced to break the one cardinal rule of time travel. But if they are able to destroy the spear, they will face the ultimate consequence. Victor Garber, Brandon Routh, Arthur Darvill, Caity Lotz, Dominic Purcell, Franz Drameh, Nick Zano and Maisie Richardson-Sellers.
Let’s talk fan service: if there was any chance that the writers had to insert something fanboyish into the show, not only did they take it, but they rolled around in it for a little while. If the fans started calling something by a name, the writers would co-opt it and put it in the show. If there was a nerdy reference that they could include, not only would they include it, but they’d have someone on the show lampshade it. They were calling their dark future Doomworld, for Highfather’s sake. They named their dark future after the Legion of Doom, the name they gave their arch nemesisesesses. That’s RIDICULOUS.
Not for nothing, but if Doomworld Sarah disappeared after Thawne got shaken to death by Black Flash, wouldn’t Doomworld Waverider have disappeared too? Fuck you, time travel.
This episode was a bloodbath. Doomworld Ray got his heart ripped out by Thawne (props to Doomworld Nate for not shouting KALI MA). Doomworld Nate got stabbed in the chest by Darhk. Doomworld Jax got an arrow in his chest from Merlyn. And Doomworld Mick got an icicle through his chest by Snart. Brutal.
- ”What’s a Goonie?” Goonies never say die, that’s what a Goonie is AMAYA.
Seriously if you need me to explain the Goonies reference how did you find your way to this website?
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If you're in New York City you can celebrate Jack Kirby's birthday at a special event and gallery space.
Jack Kirby, the co-creator of most of the Marvel Universe as you know it, would have turned 100 on August 28 of this year. To celebrate, The Jack Kirby Museum and Research Center is putting together a special, limited-engagement event focusing on Kirby's life, creations, and boundless pop culture influence.
The Kirby Museum will open Jack Kirby: 100 Years at One Art Space at 23 Warren Street in New York City on August 27th. The event will run through August 30th, and will feature oversized reproductions of Kirby's work, screens that will allow visitors to swipe through the Museum's archive of scanned Kirby original art, talks from the Kirby Museum founders, trustees, and more. August 28th will see a fundraising effort for The Hero Initiative and Kirby4Heroes.
More details can be found at the Kirby Museum's official website.
You can RSVP to keep up to date with what else gets announced for the event at this link. Follow The Jack Kirby Museum on Twitter for breaking updates, too.
Disclosure: I'm a trustee of the Museum. You'll probably find me there working the gift shot during the event. Come say hello!
Will Daredevil Season 3 finally adapt the classic Born Again story?
This article contains major spoilers for The Defenders and potential spoilers for Daredevil Season 3.
Perhaps more than anything else, The Defenders felt like a bridge to Daredevil Season 3. While there was plenty of stuff cooking for Iron Fist, too, there was a lot more payoff for Matt Murdock, the future of Daredevil, and more. But in particular, The Defenders' ending really put a big piece in place for one of the biggest Daredevil stories ever to eventually get told on screen. That would be my personal favorite, Born Again, by the Batman: Year One creative team of Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli. Now, I've felt for a long time that Daredevil is building towards giving us some kind of version of Born Again, as it's certainly a story that could occupy an entire season's worth of TV.
Marvel has a pretty good track record when it comes to adapting specific stories for the screen. Captain America: The Winter Soldier was necessarily different from the comic book version, but faithful to its tone and spirit. Captain America: Civil War was an even bigger departure, but managed to improve on the source material considerably. Avengers: Age of Ultron borrowed the name and absolutely nothing else, and while not their finest movie, also beats the shiny pants off the comics. So when Daredevil does get around to Born Again, whether it's in season three or a later one, it's going to take whatever liberties are necessary in order to tell the best possible story for TV.
I'm going to try and discuss this without making it so you don't have to read the comic, because it's really incredible and everyone should read it if they haven't. On the other hand, spoilers are unavoidable, and I think some of these spoilers will indeed make it to Daredevil Season 3 or beyond, so read on at your own risk.
The fact that we're finally going to meet Sister Maggie is an important step. In the comics, the fate of Matt Murdock's mother remained a mystery for decades, and it was during Born Again that we first learned that she had left her young family to become a nun. At the end of The Defenders, as Matt is recuperating from his ordeal, we hear one nun tell another to "get Maggie" when they learn that Matt is awake. I've long suspected that Father Lantom has been hiding this knowledge from Matt since season one, so this will be a hell of a payoff when they get to it.
Now, this is where I have to wonder how much of Born Again will figure directly into Daredevil Season 3, or if we'll just spend the season leading into it. The main thrust of Born Again is that Wilson Fisk learns Daredevil's true identity and decides to ruin Matt Murdock's life. Not kill him, just seriously ruin his life. He succeeds. As we know, Wilson Fisk is waiting for an opportunity to get revenge, and towards the end of season two it looked like he already had some suspicions about Matt Murdock. Perhaps the fact that, as Foggy and Karen pointed out in The Defenders, Matt and the Devil of Hell's Kitchen both disappeared at the same time will help him figure it out.
But in the comics, Fisk came by that information in a quite different way, when a desperate Karen Page handed over Matt's name. Those were different times for her character, although it has been repeatedly hinted throughout both seasons of Daredevil that Karen has some serious skeletons in her closet, and it's about time the show revealed what they are. Maybe her despondency over Matt's "death" starts driving her back to some old demons. I still can't see a scenario where the TV version of Karen willingly gives Matt's name over to Wilson Fisk, though.
After Fisk essentially "breaks" Matt's will (I'm not going to recap the whole story here, because, again, read the comic and thank me later), Matt is a paranoid, hallucinating mess. I could very well see a scenario where Daredevil Season 3 opens with a beat-up, mentally broken/semi-amnesiac Matt Murdock is having a hard time readujusting before his friends realize he's alive, and meanwhile Wilson Fisk is putting two and two together. It would all fit, and we could get a loose adaptation this way (and based on everything else we've gotten from the Daredevil/Netflix team, I'm sure it would be quite good). Still, I think that we may have to wait a little bit longer before Born Again actually happens.
Instead, Matt needs a season to feel like he's got his shit together again, where he's working nights as Daredevil, and knowing that he has some friends around the city that can back him up when things get too crazy. We also really, really need the introduction of Bullseye on this show (I do subscribe to the theory that he was teased in season one), which would give Matt a real (if traditional) villainous challenge, and his victory there would only further cement the idea that he can handle whatever life throws at him in either of his identities. Once that happens, when Matt is feeling like he has his life under control, then it's time for Fisk to try and break him for good. Fisk sends Daredevil's physical match out for him, the greatest assassin in the world, and it still doesn't work? That's when he turns to unconventional, psychological warfare. Save Born Again for season 4 or season 5 and you give the writers time to flesh out whatever issues Karen has had hiding in her past, too.
When the showrunners do finally get around to Born Again (and make no mistake, they eventually will), the climactic battle has the opportunity to bring back a tragic figure from Jessica Jones Season 1, and offers excuses for other Defenders to show up to back Matt up (in the comics, it's Captain America, but we all know that won't happen here). I have no doubt that they'll get it right, but a big part of that is staying patient, and letting all the other elements they've been teasing finally play out the way they should. We'll get there, but I'm not that confident it should be in season three.
And if I'm wrong? Well, it'll probably still turn out just fine, too!
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Blue Beetle #12 features a Batman guest appearance, Ted Kord (as usual), and a bunch of shouting. Check out an exclusive first look...
DC Comics sent over an exclusive first look at the upcoming Blue Beetle #12 from Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, and Scott Kolins. Everybody already knows how great Giffen and DeMatteis are, but Scott Kolins has been an under the radar hero for years now. His style is impeccably clean and tight, and lends itself really well to both the bright, almost colored-pencil-ey colors he was frequently paired with in the past (on books like Annihilation: Prologue or Threshhold) or Romulo Fajardo's more subdued but still bright color work here. He does great action scenes, and great facial expresssions and body language, which is why the Batman/Ted Kord scene in this preview works so well.
Here's what DC has to say about the story:
BLUE BEETLE #12 Written by KEITH GIFFEN and J.M. DeMATTEIS • Art and cover by SCOTT KOLINS • Variant cover by TYLER KIRKHAM
Guest-starring Batman! Jaime Reyes may be back in his Blue Beetle armor, but he’s still a relative novice at the superhero game. And that’s raised the attention of someone who’s been doing this a long time. See what happens when the Caped Crusader swings over to El Paso to provide some schooling.
Check out the preview pages.
Dark Nights expands with a crossover and a major new push to make sense of Hawkman.
DC Comics announced over the weekend that Dark Nights, their summer crossover that answers the question "What if someone made a comic out of a Greg Capullo hype speech at a comic con panel," is expanding this fall with a crossover through the Justice League family of books, along with the return of Hawkman, whose presence looms large in the early issues of the crossover.
Starting in October, the Justice League will be battling with their Bat-analogues from the Dark Multiverse, as Flash takes on The Red Death in Flash #33, with all-time great Flash artist Howard Porter on pencils joining series regular writer Josh Williamson. Then, The Batman Who Laughs and the Murder Machine take on Cyborg in Bryan Hitch and Liam Sharp's Justice League #32. The Dawnbreaker faces off against Hal Jordan in Robert Venditti and Ethan Van Sciver's Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #32, and the League is captured and at the mercy of the dark Batmen in Hitch and Tyler Kirkham's Justice League #33.
Then, in December, Jeff Lemire (who has been on a blistering hot streak writing of late) takes on the toughest task in all of comics history: making sense out of Hawkman.
Hawkman: Found #1 has art from Hitch and Kevin Nowlan, so there are three big pluses right off the bat. It spins out of the main Dark Nights story, where Nth Metal (the mysterious metal that gave the Hawkfolks the power of flight and hitting things super hard with maces) plays a huge role, and the Hawkfolken are part of a struggle going back to the dawn of man, when the world was separated into four tribes: wolves, bears, birds, and Apokaliptian time-eating super weapons bats.
Hawkman and Hawkgirl are hinted at being the inspiration for both the Blackhawkks and the new, multiversal explorer incarnation of the Challengers of the Unknown. This is in addition to being alien cops from a planet of Hawk persons, and continually reincarnated Egyptian deities.
Good luck, Jeff!
"Bats Out of Hell" starts with October's Flash #33 and ends in November's Justice League #33. Hawkman: Found, with a special cover by Jim Lee and Scott Williams, is out in December. For more information on Dark Nights, including periodic recaps of Scott Snyder working crazy weird magic on the entire history of the DCU, stick with Den of Geek!
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Tony Isabella, co-creator of Black Lightning, will return to the character for a new series.
Classic creator Tony Isabella returns to his creation, Black Lightning, this November for Black Lightning: Cold DeadHands. Timed to cash in on the character's debut on superhero farm the CW*, Isabella is joined by artist Clayton Henry to reintroduce Jefferson Pierce to the DC Universe.
The original Black Lightning was a former Olympic-winning decathlete, husband, father, and principal of a high school in the rough part of Metropolis, where he faced off with crooked politicians like Tobias Whale. The new series addresses the inherent problem with that premise by moving him to Cleveland, a setting where crooked politicians makes MUCH more sense. Pierce is still a teacher in Cleveland, though he's also unmarried, childless and 28, so this story looks like it will function as a de facto reboot.
Henry's most recent work has been at Valiant, where he pencilled Harbinger, Archer and Armstrong, and maybe Valiant's best book, Ivar, Timewalker. He's a talented action artist with a knack for physical comedy, and his clean lines and energetic action flow generally lead to really entertaining comics.
You can see some preview art from the new series here. For more information on Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands or for warm live takes on each episode of the TV series, stay tuned to Den of Geek.
* This is not a bad thing! Green Arrow and the Flash are both (anecdotally) getting bumps at shops from the popularity of their TV counterparts. Lord only knows what the industry would look like had both companies been better about cross-marketing from other media further back than 2016...
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