Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel

Embed this content in your HTML


Report adult content:

click to rate:

Account: (login)

More Channels

Channel Catalog

Articles on this Page

(showing articles 1 to 40 of 40)
(showing articles 1 to 40 of 40)

    0 0

    The Walking Dead season 9 will once again borrow from the comics. We've dissected "A New Beginning" to see what's in store!

    Feature Alec Bojalad
    Oct 7, 2018

    This Walking Dead article contains spoilers.

    If you watched The Walking Dead season 8 finale, "Wrath," you may have noticed an interesting trend. Rick Grimes had quite a bit to say about "a new world" or a "new beginning." In fact, the entirety of season eight and its finale seemed to be setting up the arrival of a very different world. A world where not only is there no all-out war against the Saviors, there is no war at all. 

    Well, season 8 may have been foreshadowing something very specific. The next saga in The Walking Dead comic universe looks very different from everything that came before it. Robert Kirkman tried something rather experimental in terms of storytelling and time jumps. 

    Related Article: Everything You Need to Know About The Walking Dead Season 9

    Given what we've seen in footage from season 9, it's clear that The Walking Dead season 9 will adapt the "A New Beginning" arc from the comics this season. That's The Walking Dead issues #127-132 by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard. We've gone back to the comics to see what season 9 has in store!

    Read on to find out what "A New Beginning" entails. But beware - the following contains HUGE spoilers for The Walking Dead comic series and possibly the TV show.

    New Faces

    The Walking Dead’s Volume 22 “A New Beginning” represents a dramatic time jump for the series that allows writer Kirkman a chance to interact with his characters in a new context. On a capitalistic level though, it also conveniently provides an easy jumping on point for viewers of the TV show who want to give the comic a shot but are intimidated by the 126 issues already in circulation. 

    To help with both those artistic and financial goals, “A New Beginning” introduces several new characters right off the bat to serve as our guides to this new world. Issue 127 opens with a new group of survivors we haven’t met before. A woman named Magna is their de facto leader and other members include Luke, Yumiko, Kelly, Connie, and Bernie. Magna’s group is experiencing a bit of a crisis. They’ve survived the zombie apocalypse by traveling around with a trailer that was hitched to horses. The trailer is no longer a safe haven as Magna’s group quickly and unexpectedly becomes surrounded by a group of walkers that emerge from the woods. 

    Magna nearly gets bit on the arm before our old friend Paul “Jesus” Monroe arrives to rescue them, though sadly Bernie is killed by the horde. Jesus shepherds (hehe) Magna and her remaining crew to Alexandria where they act as the reader’s cipher, being introduced to a world and a community that is completely foreign to us now that two years have passed (though producers say the time jump in the show will be one and a half years).

    Since Magna and her friends’ introduction, the comic series hasn’t found many relevant or interesting things to do with them. They largely functioned as an introduction into this new time-jumped storyline and have operated only as tertiary characters since then, though Magna and Yumiko have seen more opportunities as of late. Still, they’re an important part of the time jump and the show may even find some renewed uses for them beyond that. 

    “A New Beginning” also introduces the character of Siddiq, but we’re already pretty familiar with him. The only question is whose role from the comics will he take on in season 9? Another character the volume introduces is someone we may have already seen. Dante (more on him in the fourth section) is a head-strong and charming Hilltop soldier who develops feelings for Maggie. Dante kind of resembles a current character on The Walking Dead season 8 - the captured Savior soldier turned sympathetic Hilltoper named Alden (Callan McAuliffe). He certainly seems to harbor a lot of respect for Maggie Rhee. With Lauren Cohan leaving the show midseason, maybe they'll find someone else for Alden. I hear Michonne will soon be available...

    New Looks for Old Faces

    The Jesus who rescues Magna’s group looks a bit different from the Jesus we’re used to. As it turns out, people can change quite a bit in two years. Take a look at the man that fans have endearingly referred to as “Bushido Jesus.”

    Paul has let his hair grow out and it makes him look more badass than ever before. Almost all of the key characters look different in “A New Beginning.” Not only that but they are sometimes slightly different people overall from who we’re used to. 

    Rick is now “Old Man Rick.” He’s shaved his graying hair, walks with a limp thanks to Negan, and now has a prosthetic hand covering up his stump. That likely won’t be a part of the show, as Rick’s hands remain accounted for.

    Related Article: New Walking Dead Movies and Shows Planned at AMC

    The old Sheriff has essentially retired from the life of adventuring and has settled into the role of Alexandria’s full-time leader. He’s a welcome face for all new potential citizens.

    His son, Carl is growing into a pretty relatable young man himself. 

    Pictured: “relatable.”

    The show, of course, has made the baffling decision to kill off Carl, so maybe when season nine opens, Siddiq will be missing an eye and take to wearing cool bandanas.

    Like Rick, Maggie has embraced her leadership role at the Hilltop. Her appearance and demeanor changes as a result. She appears to be more “motherly” while the general aura she projects is that of a resolute leader more than ever before. 

    Rick and Maggie actors Andrew Lincoln and Lauren Cohan will be departing the show at some point in season 9 so our appreciation of their new looks will be fleeting, so expect a big detour from the comics concerning their storylines.

    Dwight has finally realized that growing his hair out will cover that ugly burn. He is now a full-time Alexandrian and is an important deputy and ally to Rick, much like Tyreese and Abraham in the comics and Daryl on the show. Dwight's role in season nine will likely change now that Daryl has scared him off. He may not appear next season at all.

    No character, however, has undergone a bigger change than Negan. Once the “swinging dick of the world,” Negan is now a prisoner at Alexandria. His hair and beard are overgrown and unkempt but he does maintain his rather dark sense of humor. Both Rick and Carl like to visit him in his cell during times of need as though he is their own private Hannibal Lecter. He’s an asshole and therefore knows how other assholes that Alexandria might encounter will act.

    Related Article: The Walking Dead Season 9 Episode 1 Review

    Other characters haven’t had extreme makeovers physically but do begin the new arc in quite different places. Eugene has gone from cowardly pariah to one of the most important men in the new world. His ability to carefully read and follow instructions have made him Alexandria’s foremost scientist and engineer.

    In the comics, Michonne has quite simply run away after the traumatic events of "All Out War." She now lives in Oceanside and spends her days fishing for the network of communities. Since Michonne’s role on the television show has evolved quite a bit, it remains to be seen if she will take over for Rick as the leader of Alexandria once the Sheriff is gone...

    Alexandria Block Party

    In addition to most major characters receiving a makeover, Alexandria receives one itself. Following "All Out War" in both the show and comics, Alexandria is in rough shape. It's been attacked by gunfire, grenades, and more. Many houses are just burnt out husks. By the time "A New Beginning" roles around, Alexandria has largely recovered.

    Buildings have been rebuilt for one, but more importantly, the Alexandrians are building new things on their own. Alexandria, the Hilltop, and the Kingdom all have thriving agriculture and trade with each other. Even Oceanside and the Sanctuary are involved in this trade network that is meticulously maintained through well-guarded and patrolled routes. 

    Thanks to the genius of Eugene, Alexandria has windmills, grain houses, irrigation, and many other Medieval-era luxuries. In the comics, Kirkman correctly assumes that all readers will accept these modest technological advancements within a relatively short timeframe. The show, however, has already introduced an agent of change to quicken the pace. Remember Georgie and her gift of knowledge to Maggie? That knowledge comes in the form of books and Eugene is still around to read those books, so expect some "advancements" at the settlements.

    So what do the Alexandrians do now that they have an extended era of peace and prosperity? Throw a party of course! The three volumes that season nine is likely to cover are "A New Beginning,""Whispers into Screams," and "Life and Death" (or issues 127-144). All of these volumes deal with the Alexandrians planning a spring festival for members of all the communities to visit. The festival finally comes around in "Life and Death" and all in all it goes pretty well! 

    Alexandrians, Hilltoppers, Kingdomers, ex-Saviors, and Oceansiders are all able to trade their wares with one another. Eugene even finds a nice CB radio that could come in handy. Things turn dark, however, when people start to go missing from the festival and then a line of heads on stakes are discovered on the outskirts of the communities' territory. The Whisperers have arrived.

    The Whisperers

    Nearly every era of The Walking Dead is defined by a singular villain. The early years were the Governor and Woodbury and then Negan and the Saviors. At first, "A New Beginning" looks like it will just be a leisurely study in agriculture and farming techniques for our protagonists. Alas, that is not to be, as the end of the volume introduces a new, dangerous, and - quite frankly - disgusting threat. 

    The Whisperers are a group of individuals who have chosen to survive the zombie apocalypse by becoming the dead. They remove the flesh and viscera of corpses and wrap it around themselves as gruesome coats and masks. This is the strategy of masking one's scent from the walking dead that Rick and the other characters sometimes use. The Whisperers, however, take it to the absolute extreme - living most of their lives within those undead "costumes."

    The Whisperers received their name from frightened Hilltoppers and Alexandrians who hear their "whispers," as the villains walk among the dead. A group, led by new character Dante, is ordered by Maggie to go find and rescue a member of a missing caravan. They eventually run afoul of this group of Whisperers, making first contact. Dante is taken hostage and the communities must gather together to negotiate his release. 

    The Whisperers will offer a fascinating new dynamic for the show. Their "society" is somewhat bestial and completely amoral, similar to the TV show's "The Wolves." They eschew names altogether. Their leader, a middle-aged woman, is named "Alpha." And her second-in-command, a hulking seven-foot tall man, is called "Beta."

    Alpha and Beta have both been cast for season 9. As has Alphas's daughter, full steam ahead on the Whisperers.

    The communities and the Whisperers eventually go to war, but that might be a story for another season. The Walking Dead season 9 will be jam-packed as is with just these few volumes.

    Alec Bojalad is TV Editor at Den of Geek. Read more of his stuff here. Follow him at his creatively-named Twitter handle @alecbojalad.

    Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!

    0 0

    From crime novels to non-fiction, J.K. Rowling has found some time to write outside of the Potterverse.

    FeatureKayti Burt
    Nov 17, 2018

    J.K. Rowling will always be best known for her stories about a boy wizard and the world he inhabits, but she has written several works outside of the Harry Potter universe. If you'd like to see what Rowling's writing is like when she is not telling a story about wizards, check out one of these books...

    The Casual Vacancy

    The Casual Vacancy is a contemporary novel that touches on many of the issues Rowling couldn't easily put in Harry Potter: drugs, prostitution, rape, the list goes on. This is not a novel for those looking for a Potter-like escape, but it is a deftly told story that addresses some of the biggest social issues of modern Britain in bleak, insightful ways.

    The premise? When a well-known local politician dies suddenly, the town of Pagford is thrown into an unexpected politic struggle over the question of who will fill his council seat, exposing the social fractures of the seemingly sleepy English town. The plot is told in seven parts (one for each Horcrux), and is definitely a slow burn, but it actually works as an interesting companion to Harry Potter.

    further reading: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Ending Explained

    I have heard several people mention The Casual Vacancy's interpretation of modern Britain as the Muggle world Dudley Dursley inherits, the one Harry doesn't have to live in because of his magical escape, and I think that is a fascinating framework. Don't go into this novel if you're looking for something like Harry Potter, though. There is no magic here. Only the unflinching mundane.

    The Casual Vacancy was made into a BBC/HBO miniseries starring Rory Kinnear, Emily Bevan (Amy from the wonderful In the Flesh), and Michael Gambon, if that's more your speed. You can check out the for The Casual Vacancy trailer here.

    The Cormoran Strike Detective Series

    Written under the pen name Robert Galbraith, the Cormoran Strike series follow the adventures of London-based private detective Cormoran Strike, a surly war veteran and illegitimate son of a famous rock star. Injured both physically and psychologically in the warm, Strike uses the skills he developed as a Special investigation Branch officer in the military to crack cases the police are unable to solve.

    The crime series has three installments so far: The Cuckoo's Calling, The Silkworm, and Career of Evil. Rowling is currently working on the fourth book in the series.

    further reading: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwad Review

    The Cormoran Strike series is not doing anything new in the crime genre, but it does include two interesting main characters and some clever cases, using an old-fashioned structure to explore contemporary issues, like celebrity culture, privacy, and a boundary-crossing press. 

    Very Good Lives (and other non-fiction)

    In addition to her novels and screenwriting, Rowling has written many non-fiction essays, book introductions, and op-eds. Her arguably most well-known pieces of non-fiction actually started as a speech. In 2008, Rowling delivered the Harvard Commencement address, a 24-minute speech on the "fringe benefits of failure" and the "importance of imagination." Here's a short excerpt: 

    Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathise with humans whose experiences we have never shared ...

    The power of human empathy, leading to collective action, saves lives, and frees prisoners. Ordinary people, whose personal well-being and security are assured, join together in huge numbers to save people they do not know, and will never meet. My small participation in that process was one of the most humbling and inspiring experiences of my life.

    In the time since, the speech has been published as a book called Very Good Lives, complete with illustrations to accompany the words.

    Buy Very Good Lives on Amazon

    Elsewhere in the non-fiction world, Rowling has written about children's rights and modern-day "orphanages" for The Guardian, reviewed Decca: The Letters of Jessica Mitford for the Telegraph, and wrote a profile on Gordon Brown for Time Magazine.

    Her Twitter account

    If this seems like a weak ploy to add another item to this list, then you've obviously never stopped by Rowling's Twitter handle. The woman was born to snark, criticize, and empower in 140 characters. If you are a Harry Potter fan, then you already know how witty and insightful Rowling can be, but if you need a quick example, just read a sample of her tweets...

    Have you read any of Rowling's non-Potterverse work? Do you have a favorite? Sound off in the comments below...

    0 0

    Jason Aaron's six-year Thor run climaxes in War of the Realms from Marvel.

    Marvel War of the Realms
    NewsJim Dandy
    Nov 18, 2018

    Jason Aaron's first issue of Thor: God of Thundercame out almost six years ago to the day, and since that issue, his entire Thor epic has been leading to this: a newly announced miniseries from Marvel, The War of the Realms.

    “I have been building towards War of the Realms for the entire duration of my Thor run. So we're talking six years and 80-something issues and counting. This is a war that covers the entire globe and involves the biggest heroes of the Marvel Universe," said Aaron in a statment from Marvel.

    The series gets the creative team of The Mighty Thorback together - Aaron writing, the amazing Russel Dauterman drawing, and perennially jobbed Eisner nominee Matt Wilson coloring.

    As you can see from the preview art, there are some not-surprising characters involved (Odin and All-Mother Freyja; the Avengers team also being written by Aaron) and some surprises (Cap riding a Valkyrie's horse; the Marvel Knights; what at first glance looks like a Uni-power enhanced Daredevil but upon closer inspection appears to be a Daredevil/Heimdall hybrid; Jane Foster with a sword).

    Aaron's run on Thor, through its various incarnations and crossovers, has been nothing short of incredible. The best runs on the Asgardian always examine what it means to be a god and build out the world of Asgard. It easily ranks as one of the greatest runs on the character ever, up there with Walt Simonson, Jack Kirby, or Michael Avon Oeming's time with the character. The trick with his story has been to turn Odinson into Peter Parker - not by making him quippy or cursed with the Parker luck, but by making him a point of view character. Aaron's Thor is wracked with self-doubt but inspired to do better (mostly by the women in his life but shhh don't tell anybody or Twitter will get mad). This hasn't typically been the case, and it's a huge part of the success of this run.

    Of course, he has also been blessed with artists who can match the grandeur of the tales - Esad Ribic, Mike Del Mundo, Christian Ward, and of course Dauterman. This series should be a blast, and this omnibus is going to look great on my shelf.

    0 0

    We discuss Alan Moore Superman stories and answer the question: when is Superman's birthday, anyway?

    Superman: For the Man Who Has Everything by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
    FeatureMike Cecchini
    Nov 18, 2018

    Alan Moore’s body of work for DC Comics isn’t exactly small, but its impact far exceeds the actual page count. Whether it was the psychedelic horror of Swamp Thing, the violent madness of Batman: The Killing Joke, or the industry changing Watchmen, the importance Moore's DC Comics output can't be overstated.

    He's probably not a writer you immediately associate with Superman, though. Alan Moore only wrote three proper Superman stories (although he would revisit many of the character’s tropes with Supremefor Image Comics in the late ‘90s), but they’re all essential reading. Moore's Superman stories all came within roughly one year of each other, at a time when Superman’s popularity was waning among fans already looking for more mature takes on superheroes, like the work of Chris Claremont, John Byrne, Dave Cockrum, and others were doing at Marvel on Uncanny X-Men, or that Marv Wolfman and George Perez were bringing to The New Teen Titans at DC.

    Superman himself was the most powerful he would ever be, (the power levels of this era are often referred to informally as “juggling planets,” although that’s not something I ever remember actually seeing in a Superman comic) with eyes that “watched quarks at play” and a level of invulnerability of such a level that he “bathed in the heart of the sun, careless at the mile-high geysers of flame.” Perhaps as a result, the comics themselves, the occasional standout tale by Cary Bates, Marv Wolfman, or Elliot S! Maggin aside, were becoming increasingly formulaic and dull, despite continued artistic contributions from legends like Curt Swan, Murphy Anderson, Kurt Schaffenberger, Gil Kane, or Keith Giffen.

    Between 1985 (when the first of Moore's Superman stories was published) and 1986 (the last), DC was in the midst of a massive continuity housecleaning known as Crisis on Infinite Earths. One of the end results of Crisiswould be a Superman with more manageable power levels, less of a reliance on bizarre sci-fi concepts, and a creative team consisting of some of the hottest names in the business telling more grounded tales theoretically more suitable for modern audiences.

    But it was the virtually all-powerful pre-Crisis Superman that Alan Moore and friends got to play with and subvert. And to hear Moore tell it (or to read his work on Superman love-letter Supreme), he wouldn't have had it any other way. "What it was with Superman was the incredible range of imagination on display with that original character,"he said in a 1996 interview. "A lot of those concepts that were attached to Superman, which may seem corny and dated now, were wonderful at the time. The idea of the Bottled City of Kandor, Krypto the Superdog, Bizarro, all of it. These are fantastic ideas, and it was that which kept me going back each month to Superman when I was ten. I wanted to find out more about this incredible world with all of these fascinating details."

    Of course it was those very aspects of the Superman legend that would be swept out of Superman continuity a month after Moore's final Superman story. He still added a few "fascinating details" of his own in his time, though. Here's a quick look at them.

    “The Jungle Line”

    DC Comics Presents #85 (1985)

    In the 1980s, Superman was unquestionably the face of DC Comics, starring in four monthly titles: Superman, Action Comics, World’s Finest (a team-up book with Batman, the title of which will be nicely utilized for the upcoming Flash/Supergirl TV crossover), and DC Comics Presents. DC Comics Presents would pair Superman with another hero (or heroes), usually a more obscure character, and DC Comics Presents #85 marked Swamp Thing’s turn.

    In 1985, only two DC Comics characters had ever made it to the big screen for a feature film. Superman had three under his belt (although the quality of those movies was already in decline, with 1983’s Superman III leaving a bad taste in everyone’s mouths), while Swamp Thing had his first big screen outing in 1982, with a flick directed by Wes Craven. They don’t seem like prime team-up candidates in any case, though.

    “The Jungle Line” is far less famous than Moore’s other two Superman stories and his essential, defining run as writer of Swamp Thing's monthly book. But check out the talent that brought this one to life with him. Rick Veitch (Moore’s ultimate heir on Swamp Thing) provides pencils with the legendary Al Williamson (StarWars, Flash Gordon, you name it) and Tatjana Wood (who also provided colors for Moore’s Swamp Thing and the Grant Morrison Animal Man era) on colors.

    In short, Superman has been poisoned by a piece of Kryptonian fungus that made its way to Earth on a tiny hunk of meteorite. Now he’s losing both his powers and his mind as his body dies. Mad with fever, “the Man of Tomorrow is heading south to die.” After wrecking his car, a hallucinating Supes wanders into the bayou (as one does), where he attracts the attention of Swamp Thing.

    Superman doesn’t do any actual heroics in this one. The story kicks off with him already seriously ill and hallucinating before it gives us a brief flashback establishing how this happened. Superman accepts he’s going to die, but then he encounters Swamp Thing, who cleanses and heals his fevered brain. Moore’s Superman stories routinely put Kal-El in situations he can’t punch his way out of and “The Jungle Line” is probably the most passive Supes is in any of these outings.

    There may or may not be something to be said about a fungus causing Superman to trip his indestructible balls off while it takes a mellowing, peaceful green sensation to bring him back down:

    Keep in mind that about a decade later, when Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon were steering John Constantine's adventures, ol' Swampy counted this little number among his party tricks...

    So, yeah, draw your own conclusions.

    Interestingly, this is the only time I can remember seeing the Bronze Age Superman with a five o’clock shadow. After he has been healed by Swamp Thing, he uses his heat vision reflected off a mirror to shave. This little trick is generally credited to John Byrne's Superman reboot of 1986 with the Man of Steel limited series, but here it is in all its glory, just over a year before that story hit the stands.

    Other than that, this is unquestionably a pre-Crisis Superman story (Crisis on Infinite Earths reached the halfway mark the same month “The Jungle Line” was published). Moore proves himself thoroughly literate in Silver/Bronze Age Superman lore by referencing obscure bits of Kryptoniana (in this case the Scarlet Jungles of Krypton, which had been kicking around the margins since the '50s). Moore's love of obscure Super-history is something we’ll see again in “For The Man Who Has Everything” and “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow.”

    “The Jungle Line” is collected in DC Universe by Alan Moore (available through Amazon here) and would fit in chronologically roughly between Swamp Thing #39 and #40 if you're going by publication order, although it isn't reprinted in any of the actual Swamp Thing volumes. It doesn't matter, though. You don’t need any prior knowledge of Moore’s ongoing Swamp Thing series in order to appreciate this. It's admittedly the weakest of the Moore Superman tales and doesn't approach the weirdness Moore and Veitch were delivering in Swampy's solo title.

    Side Note: Can anyone tell me who the astronomer who does the necessary scientific exposition on page 3 of this story is supposed to be? He’s identified as “Dr. Everett,” but Veitch/Williamson draw him like he’s supposed to be someone a reader would recognize. If you have some insight, drop me a line in the comments or on Twitter, and I’ll update this story.

    "For The Man Who Has Everything"

    Superman Annual #11 (1985)

    If the creative team of “The Jungle Line” didn’t kick your ass, then the team behind Watchmenshould do the trick. Dave Gibbons steps in for art duties on this one, a solid year before the ultimate Moore/Gibbons story, Watchmen, would arrive in June of 1986.

    This one is really the main event for this article. “For The Man Who Has Everything” is one of the finest Superman stories ever told, one of the most perfectly crafted superhero stories in DC Comics history, and one of the best stories Moore ever put his name on. 

    You have to consider when “For The Man Who Has Everything” was published in order to fully appreciate its impact. With the occasional exception, the Superman comics of the early 1980s were extraordinarily pedestrian affairs, so “For The Man Who Has Everything” surely stood out from its peers. But even for today's more demanding readers, and in an industry that has spent the past thirty years chasing its tail looking for the next Watchmen, if “For The Man Who Has Everything” were published today, it would still hit with the force of a Kryptonian haymaker. 

    The story plays loosely with the “imaginary story” device that was popular in the Superman titles from the 1950s through the early 1980s. Simply put, they were “what if” tales with no place in continuity, often dealing with hypotheticals like "The Story of Superman Red and Superman Blue" or the original "Death of Superman" (the one that had nothing at all to do with Doomsday). 

    But Moore and Gibbons chose not to simply tell a “what if Krypton never exploded” tale, which would have still allowed them plenty of opportunity to play around with the darker take on a hypothetical Kryptonian present. Instead, their story of a Krypton that survived and a Kal-El who lived his life on it is happening only in Superman’s imagination, while a very real battle involving Wonder Woman, Batman, and Robin rages around him, with his very life at stake.

    As he did in “The Jungle Line,” Superman once again finds himself a victim of alien plant life. The issue’s villain, Mongul (who had famously tangled with Superman a handful of times in the pages of DC Comics Presents), describes the Black Mercy as “something between a plant and an intelligent fungus” which “attaches itself to its victims in a form of symbiosis, feeding from their bio-aura.” The telepathic plant “reads them like a book, and...feeds them a logical simulation of the happy ending they desire.” It shouldn’t be fatal, but why would you fight a parasite that gives you a convincing illusion of your heart’s desire?

    further reading: Why Kevin Smith's Superman Lives Was Ahead of Its Time

    Superman’s fondest wish is, of course, a Krypton that was never destroyed, and where he has lived twenty-something years of his life and raised a family of his own. Perhaps in a sign that he subconsciously suspects something is wrong, this "dream" life isn’t free of complications. His mother, Lara, died of “the eating sickness,” while his father, Jor-El, was disgraced after his predictions about Krypton’s end failed to come to pass. As a result, Jor-El is courting religious and cultural extremists who have taken root on Krypton, while Kryptonian citizens decide to take out their frustrations with the House of El by beating Kara Zor-El (who only actually appears in one panel of the story) nearly to death.

    “For the Man Who Has Everything” once again takes Superman off the board as an action hero for the majority of the issue, as he’s trapped in a fantasy world created by the Black Mercy. But Superman doesn't need to hit stuff in order to solve his problems, and he begins to shake off the effects of the Black Mercy once he realizes that this world can't be real. It's heartbreaking when it happens, though...

    Superman woke up from his bad fungus trip in “The Jungle Line” feeling like he had conquered an inner demon (unaware that he was assisted by Swamp Thing), perhaps spiritually refreshed in the way that experimentation with certain psychoactive substances has been known to affect people.

    Here, he wakes up righteously pissed off, and with good reason. He just lived about 25 years in his head and raised two children there. Waking up to find they aren’t real, ummmm...he doesn’t take it very well.

    Quick note: Dave Gibbons also did the lettering for this issue, which gives us such unforgettable onomatopoeia as “THRUTCH” and the above “SSSHIZZZZZIIT” 

    While the idea of Superman basically losing his shit on Mongul like this may seem like old hat to people who just expect their Kryptonians to behave like video game protagonists most of the time, it's really much more effective when it only happens rarely. When written properly, Superman, even in action, is a calm, level-headed guy who uses violence as a last resort. He's got a long fuse, but when it goes off, well..."burn." 

    Moore and Gibbons effortlessly weave references to Kryptonian history throughout the story, including a quick mention of Fort Rozz, which was also made famous on the SupergirlTV series. And right on the first page, there’s a sideways reference to Moore’s previous Superman story, which was published exactly two weeks earlier than Superman Annual#11. As an exhausted Kal-El returns home, he contemplates reading his children “another Scarlet Jungle story before bed.” Maybe that story is a variation on "The Jungle Line" and this is a manifestation of Supes' unconscious from his previous adventure.

    While its basic elements and structure are timeless, "For The Man Who Has Everything" is a story that really does work best within this particular era of Superman. Superman isn't just a hero to Earth, he's an intergalacticaly recognized figure. The Black Mercy gets to him because he just assumes it's a birthday gift from some alien civilization he has helped out on one of his countless adventures. Saving worlds, even alien worlds, is just a day at the office for this Superman. The kind of inner turmoil that nearly 30 years lived inside his mind that the Black Mercy gives him is something else entirely. The story gives us a wonderful contrast between Superman as a physical, interstellar man of action, and the mortal, human soul that lies within.

    further reading: Every Superman and DC Comics Reference in Man of Steel

    While Superman is obviously the central character here, the rest of DC's Trinity shouldn't be ignored, either. Dave Gibbons draws perfect renditions of Wonder Woman, Batman, and Robin. Batman is a suitably aloof, analytical "Mr. Spock" for the tale, but far from the brooding paranoiac we've come to expect in recent years. Wonder Woman is given not one, but two fist-pumpingly badass moments, since she's the only one in the Fortress with the raw power to stand up to Mongul. She's as comfortable with her demigod status and has a worldly, almost laid back personality that I don't believe was really a factor in 1985. It’s somewhat fitting, too, that the Watchmencreators chose Robin, the least powerful of the bunch, to ultimately defeat Mongul. 

    Take a brief moment and imagine an alternate universe where Moore and Gibbons didn't take on Watchmenin 1986, but rather spent a year or so as the creative team on Supermanor Action Comics. Holy moley, that would have been something.

    “For The Man Who Has Everything” was also adapted as an episode of Justice League Unlimited., and somewhat more loosely as an episode of Supergirl. It's a shame that we'll never see anyone with the guts to try and do this as a movie

    You can find “For The Man Who Has Everything” in DC Universe Stories by Alan Moore

    A note about Superman's birthday.

    "For The Man Who Has Everything" contains what I believe is the first mention of Superman’s birthday falling on February 29th  (if I'm wrong, yell at me in the comments), traditionally known as Leap Day. It's unknown whether this was a sly reference to Superman being "able to leap tall buildings in a single bound," an editorial mandate, or Moore/Gibbons playing with the idea that if Superman only has a birthday every four years, it explains why the guy still fits into the same tights he did back in 1938. The February 29th date was utilized for Superman’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 1988, too.

    But Supes has had several birthdays established. For one thing, Clark Kent's birthday would always be the date the Kents found baby Kal-El in a rocket. Geoff Johns and Gary Frank's Superman: Secret Origin put Clark Kent's birthday on December 1st. What Kal-El's actual Kryptonian birthday would be in relation to Earth's own trip around the sun is only relevant if you want it to be, but some accounts place it in October while others put it on June 18th (coincidentally, that's the birthday of the first actor to portray Superman, the great Bud Collyer). Action Comics #1 has a June, 1938 cover date, but probably actually hit newsstands in late February of 1938. There was no February 29th in 1938, though.

    Alright, I spent way too much time on that. We've got one more story to get to...

    "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" 

    Superman #423 and Action Comics #583 (1986)

    I’m going to tread lightly here, but it has to be said: “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow” is a great Superman story, but it’s no “For The Man Who Has Everything.” Just a word of's impossible to talk about this one without spoilers, too, but I'm trying my damndest to keep this light on those. No matter what, as with "For The Man Who Has Everything," you should absolutely read this comic.

    This story marks the official "end" of the Silver/Bronze Age Superman, as well as Julius Schwartz's 15-year tenure as editor on the Superman titles. The decision to treat the final issues of Supermanand Action Comics before John Byrne’s Man of Steelreboot (the word used at the time was "revamp" because there was no such word as "reboot") as if they were actually the final Superman stories was a brilliant one, and it's difficult to imagine anything this ballsy ever being allowed by DC's corporate masters ever again.

    Schwartz wanted to get Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel to write the final story (Siegel was also the author of one of the finest Superman "imaginary stories" of all time, 1961's "The Death of Superman"), but he was unavailable. Over breakfast with Alan Moore, Schwartz casually mentioned his plan and was told "if you let anybody but me write that story, I'll kill you." Have you ever seen Alan Moore? I'd take that seriously, too. Schwartz felt the same way. "Since I didn't want to be an accessory to my own murder,"he recalled, "I agreed." Perhaps in a final attempt to hedge their bets, the tale is billed as one of those famous "Imaginary Stories" but it's ultimately up to the reader to decide whether it suits their needs. 

    Moore is paired not with a Watchmenor Swamp Thing artistic collaborator this time around, but Curt Swan. Swan is unquestionably the Superman artist of the Bronze Age, and he is indelibly associated with this era of the character. There is something almost jarring to seeing Alan Moore helping to steer "traditional" Curt Swan Superman illustrations down a darker path, but really, nobody else should have been allowed to draw this story. It all helps with the illusion that this is indeed the abrupt end of Superman's nearly 50-year publication history.

    But there’s something aggressively downbeat about the proceedings, and it’s far from the triumphant sendoff that one might expect (for a more optimistic look at what Superman’s final days might look like, you can and absolutely should seek out Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s All-Star Superman). Nearly every important piece of Superman's supporting cast makes an appearance in these 48 pages, and it doesn't turn out well for the vast majority of them. Superman breaks down and weeps at one point after a masterful piece of emotional manipulation by the creative team that is equally as effective on the reader. 

    further reading: The JJ Abrams Superman Movie You Never Saw

    Even a formerly comedic character like Bizarro gets a chilling makeover, while the new, aggressively cybernetic Brainiac/Luthor team is an effective, if subtle, piece of genuine (if Comics Code approved) body horror. It’s not something you would normally see come from Curt Swan’s pencil, which makes these moments even more effective than they might have been from a Rick Veitch or a Dave Gibbons. Superman does take a life in this story, and this story has found itself cited in wrongheaded "See? Superman does kill sometimes, bro" defenses. It's no accident what he does, to be certain, but his self-imposed penalty is a suitable consequence.

    There are a handful of parallels to Watchmenworth noting, too. There's the weight of decades of superhero adventures that the reader may or may not be privy to, and a creeping sense of middle age dread and inevitability informing our hero's actions. The ending reveals Lois Lane and her disguised/retired husband living a life of domestic bliss a decade removed from the events of the story. This faintly recalls Night Owl and Silk Spectre’s future from the conclusion of Watchmen, while Clark’s decision to become a mechanic in his post-superhero career is reminiscent of how the Golden Age Night Owl spent his retirement in Watchmen, as well. These might be coincidental, especially since the final issue of Watchmenwouldn't see the light of day until well over a year after this story.

    But as any Superman story should, it ends on a hopeful note...and with a wink. "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow"is available in a deluxe edition, or you can just (say it with me) get it in DC Universe Stories by Alan Moore.

    It has been said that Mike Cecchini spends too much time thinking about Superman stories. Worship Rao with him on Twitter.

    0 0
  • 11/19/18--12:24: Aquaman: The End of an Era
  • Dan Abnett talks about bringing the Rebirth era of Aquaman to a close for DC Comics with Aquaman #42.

    Aquaman 42 Cover from DC Comics
    InterviewMarc Buxton
    Nov 19, 2018

    Dan Abnett took over the writing chores of Aquaman during the tail end of the New 52 era of DC Comics. Starting in 2016, Abnett became one of the few DC writers to bridge the New 52 and Rebirth eras. And with good reason, because in the pages of Aquaman, Abnett was weaving a George R.R. Martin-esque tale of betrayal, adventure, romance, horror, and heroism. The Rebirth Aquaman series took a deep dive into the heroic psyche of Arthur Curry and presented one of the most compelling runs in the history of the character, redefining Mera and introducing new adversaries and allies along the way.

    Now, one the eve of Abnett’s Aquaman run coming to an end, he discusses he take on Atlantis, his amazing work on Mera, and… Jabberjaw?

    Den of Geek: What was your initial idea that got you the Aquaman writing gig?

    Dan Abnett: In broad terms, it was about returning Aquaman to his core as a character, returning continuity to the very nice tone Geoff Johns had established during his run, making more of Mera - who I recognized as a seriously underused character in the DCU - and really, I suppose, examining Arthur’s role as a man of two worlds, as a creature of the shore, caught between land and sea. I wanted to build out his supporting cast and his rogue’s gallery. And I wanted to attack head-on his bad rep in general popular culture as the "lame" superhero, the epitome of "silly super heroics."

    You were one of the few creators that carried over from the New-52 era to the Rebirth era, talk about how the decision was made? Why was Aquaman one of the few titles that stayed as is?

    I did, on both Aquaman and Titans. I think it helped my runs on both had just started, though I guess they must’ve liked me. For Titans, it was pretty straightforward - I simply truncated to 8 issues what I had been doing in Titans Hunt and used the return of Wally as the springboard for the new ongoing.

    For Aquaman is was slightly tougher…Rebirth Aquaman had to start with a big "recapitulation" of what he was and where we were going, and we’d just DONE that. The continuity wasn’t shifting…Aquaman wasn’t considered "broken" and in need of refreshing. So, I had to relaunch on a strong beat that re-achieved what I’d only just achieved, a new statement of intent that I framed with the Atlantean embassy on land, the return of Black Manta, and the threat of Nemo.

    You had a brief stint on Aquaman in 1998, did anything carry over into the modern run? Themes? Character beats?

    Not so much. The book was pretty different then. That brief stint was almost an audition, and they ended up turning to a bigger name for the book. What really did carry over was my interest in the character. I felt there was huge potential. I’ve always loved “cosmic” superheroes, and with Aquaman I felt there was a great thread of "fantasy" superhero (in terms of genre), which could be built up with the same serious intent at world building as a cosmic book.

    Who is Aquaman to you, and despite all the jokes and misconceptions about the character, why has he endured?

    I think what’s "wrong" with him as a character in popular thinking (he’s a silly, fish-talking mermaid guy and not a "serious" superhero - thanks, Adult Swim, Big Bang Theory, etc.) is the very thing that makes him strong "in-Universe" and makes him interesting to write. He is fundamentally misunderstood and pre-judged. He’s feared as a bit strange and goofy.

    further reading: Grant Morrison Returns to the DC Universe

    The reality is this noble, passionate, dedicated, and frankly scary and powerful hero. Playing with that contrast, with the preconceptions, is huge fun. I see him in the DCU as experiencing exactly the same attitudes as the comic character in the real world, and I deliberately shifted that attitude into the book. As I said, he’s a man of two worlds, passionate about land and sea, aware of his own divided self and divided loyalties. His home - the lighthouse - perfectly symbolizes him: he stands on the shore between water and dry land, watching over both.

    Now that it’s over, what was the arc you guided Aquaman through? What were you hoping to accomplish with the character?

    It started out very political. Aquaman isn’t just a superhero, he’s a king. A nation depends on him. I wanted to examine that and look at the incompatibilities between the two roles. Can you be a monarch and a hero? That carried on all the way through, and ran alongside the "rise" of Mera, who was born to rule but didn’t much want to. I guess it was about how you can’t always meet your responsibilities, because they might actively clash. But it’s the trying that counts.

    The word "epic" gets thrown around a lot and at inappropriate times, but your run was truly epic. Talk about the world building you did in Aquaman.

    I wanted to make Atlantis (and by extension Xebel and the entire undersea world) as well-realized and credible as possible, not just a "toy castle at the bottom of a fish tank." I wanted there to be a society, lots of characters in the Atlantean court, and intrigue too. I wanted to name things and create credible terms for things and show that Atlantis was a huge society where there were different schools of thought, that not everyone agreed. I wanted to make Atlantis one the key characters in the book and, by “Underworld” I think that was happening.

    Obviously Geoff Johns was a huge influence on the book. Can you talk about any collaboration with Johns you might have had in realizing your Aquaman?

    Geoff was great. We talked about things a lot. I felt he’d got the basic balance right and wanted to be true to that…but it was also a slight hindrance (I’m sure he won’t mind me saying so) in that there were things he still wanted to do with the character, and thus whole areas I felt obliged to avoid and "leave" for him. I guess that made me particularly inventive in terms of where I went and what I created.

    Other than Johns, who were some literary influences on the high fantasy aspects of your Aquaman? I heard your Aquaman being compared to Game of Thrones many times.

    I guess so, in the dynastic intrigue. Frank Herbert’s Dune more so, in terms of intrigue and of building a rounded culture based on a specific quality. All sorts of things, really. It may sound arrogant, but I guess I also looked to the things I’d done on cosmic series, like Guardians of the Galaxy, trying to create a credible "non-terrestrial" society that was curious and enticing.

    Talk about Brad Walker and some of your other artists. What were some artistic highlights for you?

    Every artist was great. Brad was fantastic (I knew that in advance because of our time together on Guardians of the Galaxy), but in that first year we were double-shipping, and we were obliged to tag-team the art just to keep ahead. Brad worked alongside Scott Eaton and Philip Brionnes and they each did superb work, seamlessly. In the later stages, Stjepan Sejic did amazing work, and then was followed by the extraordinary art of Riccardo Federici and Robson Rocha (and you know what that led to for Robson!). All of them incredible, and vital to the strength of the book. I also, for one guest issue, got to write for Kelley Jones, whose work I have admired since always. That was a surprise and joy, and I was delighted to learn he really loved doing it.

    Did you scratch your Aqua-itch, or do you have any more to say about Aquaman and his world?

    Kinda. I love the character very much, and am happy to go out on such a high with such a big story, but there’s always room for more, right?

    I think your highpoint was your work on Mera. I adored her mini-series. How did that project come about and what were you hoping to accomplish?

    I always felt Mera was an underused character, the "most underappreciated," overlooked character in the DCU. She had to have a big role, her personality demanded it. I wanted to elevate her in peoples’ minds. To that end, I got her a place on the Justice League (at long last), and then got to explore her background in the limited series, which was a fantastic project - and her first time as a lead character ever. I’m pretty proud of my work on her as a character and the greater exposure she got.

    Which Aquaman rogue did you most enjoy writing?

    Probably Corum Rath. But writing Black Manta and Ocean Master were also very satisfying things to do. Then there’s Dead Water…

    What are you most proud of in regards to your run?

    The big stories, of course. The role of Mera. But mostly the chance to write a book in an unbroken run that lasted fifty issues (allowing for pre-Rebirth and Mera). That’s rare in this day and age, and it was great to have that creative room and keep the audience with me. It’s a distinct and sustained era for the character’s history. That makes me proud.

    Of course, we can’t ignore the 600 pound shark in the room. Jabberjaw? How the heck did that awesome project come about?

    Well, there’s this crazy guy called Dan Didio… I was asked. It was too much of a WTF project to turn down, especially when I realized I could, essentially, keep Aquaman "in continuity" despite the insane premise.

    Were you consulted at all on the Aquaman movie?

    No. I guess we’ll see if they read any of my run.

    In regards to Sub-Mariner, Joe Quesada once said it’s hard to get a reader to relate to Namor’s world because it’s difficult to ground a character who is surrounded by guards with crab shields, etc. How did you ground your Aquaman and balance the relatable with the fantastic?

    Joe also told me (repeatedly) “I don’t get cosmic” during my Guardians of the Galaxy run, so… I write a lot of SF and Fantasy (in novels, in 2000AD). I love it. I really love blending those genres with the superhero genre, so it was a gift for me. You’ve always got to do it with complete conviction, with a straight face (no matter the in-story humor). You’ve got to believe in the world you’re depicting with utter commitment and try to make it as engaging and authentic as you can. I wrote to make people believe, crab shields or no crab shields.

    Aquaman is one of the few characters that fits into a fantasy and a super hero setting. How did you find the balance between high fantasy and traditional super hero adventure?

    See above. Sometimes I think an SF of Fantasy setting actually helps to ground a superhero. Real world superheroes work superbly well, no question, but that’s the core of the trope. In an SF or Fantasy setting, they can become more mythical - less "larger than real life," more part of a fantastical construct. There’s no reason to believe in them any less.

    Any words of farewell to King Arthur?

    It’s been wild and I’ve loved it. I’ve appreciated the epic opportunity and hope I’ve acquitted myself well. And there’s always the next time…

    What characters would you like to tackle next at DC?

    I really love the core characters, many of whom I’ve written now and then: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman. I’d love to take a swing at Green Arrow, and I love DCU magic, so Zatanna and John Constantine. But I may just have landed my perfect, dream, tailor-made-for-me project, so watch this space…

    Aquaman #42, the conclusion of Dan Abnett's tenure as writer on the book, arrives on Nov. 21. Check out these exclusive preview pages!

    0 0

    We talked to Rivers of London author Ben Aaronovitch about writing about intersectional identities beyond his own experiences and identity.

    FeatureAlana Joli Abbott
    Nov 19, 2018

    Lies Sleeping, the latest installment in Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London series is out November 20th. The series follows Probationary Constable Peter Grant in his journey to magical detective-hood.

    As a newcomer to Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series about a London-based detective solving supernatural crimes, one of the things that surprised me most about the British book series is the rich intersectionality of narrator-protagonist PC Peter Grant.

    Grant is the son of a white British jazz musician and a Fula mother from Sierra Leone. Peter doesn’t identify himself as “black” in the pages of Lies Sleeping, but he very much identifies himself as the child of an African mother, and he identifies “whites” as "other." That gives him a unique worldview for the paranormal mystery genre, but it’s not his sole identifier. He’s also a magical practitioner, a detective constable (by Lies Sleeping), the boyfriend of a river goddess, an SFF fan, and an atheist (despite, or perhaps because of, dating a goddess).

    Read Lies Sleeping by Ben Aaronovitch

    I recently finished reading the excellent Writing the Other, a guide for writers hoping to create realistic characters who don’t share their worldview. This is in contrast to writers of the #OwnVoices movement, who are writing about underrepresented characters or communities informed by their own experiences and identity. The book has inspired courses for writers hoping to better their own fiction by understanding how to write nuanced and fully-fleshed characters from different backgrounds, particularly those of race, (sexual) orientation, age, ability, religion, and sex (termed ROAARS traits). Authors Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward discuss the “unmarked state,” or assumed characteristics of most point of view characters (very frequently in fiction white, straight, young, able-bodied, male), and make note that the idea of the unmarked state is itself problematic.

    Aaronovitch, through Peter’s worldview, does an excellent job of subverting the idea that any of the common traits that define a “normal” character can be assumed. Part of this is how Aaronovitch counters expectations through naming conventions. Dr. Abdul Haqq Walid’s name likely causes readers to assume, on first encounter, that Walid is of Middle Eastern extraction. Instead, Walid is a Scot who converted to Islam, and is described as a “gingery” man in his late fifties. But a larger part is in Peter’s narration:

    "When dealing with the excessively rich and privileged, you’ve got your two basic approaches. One is to go in hard and deliberately working class. A regional accent is always a plus in this.... That approach only works if the subject suffers from residual middle-class guilt—unfortunately the properly posh, the nouveau riche and senior legal professionals are rarely prey to such weaknesses. For them you have to go in obliquely and with maximum Downton Abbey.

    Fortunately for us we have just the man."

    Peter establishes characteristics here of both the man they’re going to be questioning (later described as a “big, wide, white man with the heft that the naturally fat get when they exercise like mad in middle age”) and Peter’s superior, Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale.

    Further reading: The Best New Fantasy Books

    Obviously, readers who have been with the series for a long time will be familiar with Nightingale, who serves both as Peter’s boss in the police force and as his mentor. But the comparison—Nightingale as a man who would be perfectly suited to appearing in a very posh television program—reinforces the idea that Nightingale comes from privilege through his race, sex, class, and magical background.

    There are a few jokes about cultural differences both Peter and his river goddess girlfriend Bev have from contemporary white culture. Upon seeing a movie with a white female protagonist, Peter comments that both he and Bev find “her inability to control her fourteen year old goth daughter ... hilariously white.”

    Throughout the narration, it’s always mentioned if a character being encountered is white, defying the traditional narrative perception that, by default, a character’s race is white unless otherwise mentioned. It’s never jarring, and I might not have noticed it had I not just finished Writing the Other, but the refusal to accept “white” as the unmarked state is a subtle and point-of-view appropriate way to remind the audience both of Peter’s intersectionality and the intersectionality of London as a whole.

    Ben Aaronovitch told Den of Geek about the origins of Peter’s character.

    “Way back when the books were but a twinkle in my eye and I was kicking a TV format idea around in my head by the name of Magic Cops, the protagonist was to have been called Simone. She, like Peter, would have been a young PC just finishing her probationary period and would have a friend/rival called Lesley, but unlike Peter was a British woman of Jamaican descent. When I shifted to prose, I wasn’t confident enough of my abilities to write a woman in close first person, which is a very intimate viewpoint. So Simone became a man, and around that time Peter Grant arrived in my head complete with jazz legend father and Sierra Leonean mother. He’s been stuck there ever since.”

    Peter’s heritage is underscored by the importance the Sierra Leonean community plays in the narrative, particularly in a very brief encounter with Peter’s cousin just before interviewing a person of interest, but also in his visits to his mother’s house.

    “I grew up in a mixed area of London and I had a ton of friends whose parents were from Sierra Leone, Ghana and Nigeria. I naturally retained many of those links as grew older so when I chose Peter’s background, I was confident enough to make his mum Sierra Leonean,” Aaronovitch told Den of Geek when we asked about his research in creating an authentic view of the London Sierra Leonean community. “My research mostly involves phoning up people I know and demanding recipes and random bits of Krio translation. Some friends of mine have accused me of basing Mama Thames, Fleet, and Lady Ty on their relatives but I deny everything.”

    But in creating other characters outside his own worldview, Aaronovitch had to dig deeper. “Guleed on the other hand was much trickier. I wasn’t familiar with the Somali community. I literally had to go around accosting complete strangers for help—something I’ve never liked doing,” he explained. “I hope I haven’t made too many mistakes.”

    Creating a London that reflected the real London’s diversity was an intentional choice. “Having spent so many years in the racial straitjacket of British TV, working in prose gave me an opportunity to write London as it is, to me at least, as opposed to the city imagined by posh white provincials,” Aaronovitch explained. When doing so required research, he gathered his sources. “I grew up knowing loads of people from West African families, and so I could write people with their background with confidence. I knew fewer lesbians, so I needed to actively gather more information, and I didn’t know any police officers at all, so I had to start from scratch with them.”

    Peter’s race, and the way he points out the race of others, is just one aspect of his identity. They are an important aspect, and present throughout the novel, but they are of no greater importance in how Peter views himself than his identity as a Londoner and the quintessential Britishness of his narration.

    Also central to his identity are his chosen profession as a police officer and his calling in the practice of magic. Both Sherlock Holmes and Harry Dresden’s detectives would feel at home talking shop with Peter (and it wouldn’t surprise me a bit, if Holmes existed in Peter’s world as a historical figure, he’d have been a wizard himself.)

    If Peter ever had any problem navigating the world of magic, or believing in its existence, by Lies Sleeping, he’s well beyond that. He also has no trouble differentiating between the metaphysical and the esoteric. When in a discussion about whether or not he believes in God, his colleague brings up what he views as evidence for the divine:

    "'After the shit we’ve seen? ... You can do magic, Peter,' said Carey. 'You can shoot fireballs out of your fingers and your girlfriend is a river. That kind of shit. Like possessed BMWs and just all of it. All of that shit.'

    'That’s different,' I said. 'That shit is real.'"

    He’s also a technophile—he finds a place to stake-out a building based on it being the only position where he can get good wi-fi—and a fan of science fiction and fantasy, both on screen and in print. His pop culture references are spot on. He identifies the quality of a script that’s evidence in his case as “straight to Netflix”; a picture of Sir Isaac Newton, in his own hair, makes the famous scientist and magician “a dead ringer for Ian McDiarmid in Revenge of the Sith—just before Samuel L. Jackson rearranges his face for him."

    Peter readily (and quite geekily) identifies a tattoo in Tolkien’s dwarvish script as the Peter Jackson film version, rather than Tolkien’s original. He describes “a misspent youth playing role-playing games,” and, after escaping a situation in which his captors provided him with a copy of The Silmarillion to read, downloads a copy to his phone so he can finally finish it.

    In many ways, Peter’s existence as a reader and a fan of the genre in which his stories take place are a different idea of the “unmarked state.” Genre readers are likely to understand his references—if not all of them. I had to ask my husband, who has actually finished The Silmarillion, if the jokes while Peter is reading it makes sense; but then, I’ve attempted The Buried Giant and bounced off if it, just like Peter, while my husband has not. While genre readers and watchers may have vastly different views on particular books and films Peter mentions, they will take it as absolutely normal that Peter himself has opinions on those works. (When asked, Aaronovitch said Peter’s top two recommendations in genre books and film would be Guard, Guards by Sir Terry Pratchett and season three of Farscape.)

    Aaronovitch has accomplished some amazing world-building in the Rivers of London series, and his diligence in research shows. When discussing how he conducts that research, Aaronovitch told Den of Geek: “For me, the hierarchy of research sources goes from best to worse: Direct contact with real people. Accounts written by real people about themselves (this is often the best you can get for historical information). Accounts written about real people by people you trust. Accounts written about real people whose biases you can allow for. Fiction written by people about people like themselves. Fiction written about people by people not like themselves. Television documentaries. Television drama.”

    Aaronovitch has accomplished some amazing world-building in the Rivers of London series. His mystery pacing in Lies Sleeping, which dips wonderfully into Arthurian legends as a plot point as well, is excellent for a novel this late in a series, leaving time for continued world-building and character development as the plot moves forward.

    But it’s Peter’s intersectionality, which is to say the richness and complexity of his character across so many aspects, that is truly remarkable. As far as this (white/cis/female/straight/able-bodied) reviewer can tell, Aaronovitch either has some remarkable life experiences I’ve not been able to uncover, or he’s done some in-depth, quality research of his own. I’ll absolutely be eager to read more of Peter’s adventures!

    Read the Rivers of London Series by Ben Aaronovitch

    Alana Joli Abbott writes about books for Den of Geek. Read more of her work here.

    0 0

    Audience Network has given the green-light to Mr. Mercedes Season 3, continuing the TV adaptation of Stephen King’s Bill Hodges books.

    News Joseph Baxter
    Nov 19, 2018

    Mr. Mercedes Season 3 is officially set for Audience Network.

    The latest renewal of Mr. Mercedes arrives shortly after the late-summer-launched Season 2 wrapped its run on October 24. Season 3 will reportedly go into production in Charleston, South Carolina in early-2019, setting up a late-2019 premiere.*

    The series will continue its process of adapting Stephen King’s novel trilogy – 2014’s Mr. Mercedes, 2015’s Finders Keepers and 2016’s End of Watch. As originally intended, 2017’s Season 1 followed the course of the first novel, and the recently-aired Season 2 covered the second novel. While one might deduce that Season 3 (presumably covering the third and final book,) would mark the end of the series, creator/showrunner David E. Kelley teased a “master plan” with THR– ahead of the Season 1 launch – that, "Going into this, the idea is that we have three books and in success it would make for three seasons and then, who knows? Maybe longer if we're having fun."

    The mythology of Mr. Mercedes focuses on retired police detective Bill Hodges (Brendan Gleeson), who finds himself in the center of a circuitous psychological game involving the psychopathic serial killer, Brady Hartsfield (Harry Treadaway), whose initial criminal claim to fame involved plowing a Mercedes into a line of job seekers; a crime that earned him the story’s eponymous nickname, “Mr. Mercedes.” – The cast also consists of Jack Huston, Jharrel Jerome, Holland Taylor, Brenda Wool, Robert Stanton, Justine Lupe, Scott Lawrence and Tessa Ferrer.

    As Daniel York, Senior Exec VP and Chief Content Officer at AT&T (which oversees Audience Network under the Turner Broadcasting corporate umbrella), expresses in a statement:

    "Mr. Mercedes has resonated with such a wide audience, so we’re thrilled to bring it back for a third season for our customers,” said “David E. Kelley, Jack Bender and Sonar have crafted a series that honors the original work by Stephen King and we can’t wait to see where they take the show in a ‘post-Mr. Mercedes world."

    The Mr. Mercedes TV series was created by prolific legal drama visionary David E. Kelley, who is confirmed to resume his duties as showrunner for Season 3 along with director Jack Bender. The duo also serve as executive producers, joined in that capacity by Temple Hill Entertainment's Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey, Tom Lesinski and Jenna Santoianni of Sonar and AT&T Audience Network's Shane Elrod and Kate Regan. Most notably, Stephen King himself will remain a credited executive producer on the series.

    Mr. Mercedes Season 3 Release Date

    Mr. Mercedes Season 3 has yet to announce a specific release date for its 2019 premiere.

    Seasons 1 & 2 have – thus far reliably – premiered in August.

    *An early version of this article stated that Season 3 would be delayed until 2020. The reporting source subsequently altered this narrative.

    Joseph Baxter is a contributor for Den of Geek and Syfy Wire. You can find his work here. Follow him on Twitter @josbaxter.

    0 0

    Teenage Superman stumbles on a Smallville mystery in this exclusive preview.

    Superman Dawnbreaker Cover
    NewsJim Dandy
    Nov 20, 2018

    Teenage Superman is fertile ground for character work. For writers looking for a challenge that fits the character, a Superman who hasn't yet developed his powers or his moral code makes for more realistic, more relatable conflict. That's why Superman was probably a perfect fit for the DC Icons book series, a collection of young adult stories featuring DC superheroes (and antiheroes, Catwoman: Soulstealer). And that's why we're pretty psyched to be hosting an exclusive preview of Superman: Dawnbreaker, the upcoming Superman-centric book in that line coming out in February.

    "Writing a Superman novel is one of the greatest thrills of my writing career," said Matt de la Peña, the book's author. "This project allowed me to set foot in one of the most iconic American storylines, while also enabling me to team up witht hree writers I've long admired: Leigh Bardugo [author of Wonder Woman: Warbringer], Marie Lu [Batman: Nightwalker] and Sarah J. Maas [Catwoman: Soulstealer]."

    This chapter is a deep dive into Clark's mind as the football team tries to get him to rejoin. We find out through Clark's memories about why he left the team in the first place, and it simultaneously gives us a glimpse of the development of his power (through the shattered ribs of his teammate) and the development of his moral core (through his continued refusal to play because of how he would disadvantage his opponents). These are two critical components to the Superman mythos.

    "While adhering to traditional, high-paced, high-stakes superhero action sequences, I also tried to dig into young Superman's psychology. He's stronger and faster than everyone else around him, of course, but these emerging powers also lead to a profound sense of 'otherness' and isolation. It was fascinating to watch him try to square all of thsi throughout the novel. I can't wait for readers to get a hold of this book!" said de la Peña.

    For more information on Superman: Dawnbreaker (out March 5th, 2019)or the rest of the DC YA books, click here. To read the exclusive preview of Dawnbreaker,check out below!

    0 0

    Tales of the Unexpected, Roald Dahl’s fantastical story collection and TV anthology series, is about to be rebooted by The Ink Factory.

    News Joseph Baxter
    Nov 20, 2018

    The media-spanning works of legendary author Roald Dahl have had their share of reboot treatments, with multiple movies currently on studio slates, notably new iterations Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and The Witches. However, U.K. television fans with rose-colored 1980s memories of the Dahl-inspired fantasy anthology series, Tales of the Unexpected, should be especially elated to know that a reboot series is in development.

    Surging upstart studio The Ink Factory – having achieved international small screen success with joint BBC/AMC TV miniseries adapting selections of John le Carré spy literature in 2016's The Night Manager and the currently-running The Little Drummer Girl– are set to shift gears to Roald Dahl with a TV adaptation of Tales of the Unexpected, reports Deadline. The title originally manifested as a 1979-published collection of short stories from the author, subsequently spun-off into an ITV anthology series (adapting stories from the book and beyond), which ran from 1979 to 1988. Dahl himself (who passed away in 1990,) served as the host of the series from its launch until 1985. The author had previously hosted a similar – U.S.-aired – anthology series for CBS in 1961, called Way Out.

    For now, details are scarce about The Ink Factory’s approach to its Tales of the Unexpected reboot. Studio heads Simon and Stephen Cornwell are assembling a writers’ room, notably with The Little Drummer Girl scribe Claire Wilson. They are reportedly working closely with the Roald Dahl Story Company, presumably to ensure that the project meets the standards of Dahl’s legacy. With the project’s status as a reboot, it is unlikely to carry over any sort of continuity from the original series.

    The classic Tales of the Unexpected series was almost vintage Doctor Who-esque in its low-budget campiness and could be described as a more light-hearted version of The Twilight Zone, though more realistically grounded and never too dark, even when it did cross into the realms of fantasy and the macabre. Over its nine years on the air, the U.K. show saw English acting legends pass through such as John Gielgud, John Mills, Joan Collins, Derek Jacobi, Michael Gambon, Hayley Mills, Peter Cushing and Ian Holm. Interestingly, with some of the later episodes set in the U.S., some American stars also banked appearances; a wonderfully random list that includes names like Jennifer Connelly, Don Johnson, Brad Dourif, Robert Loggia, Ed Begley Jr., Terry O’Quinn, Telly Savalas, Janet Leigh, Heather Locklear and David Cassidy, amongst others.

    We will certainly keep you updated on the news for this intriguing Roald Dahl reboot project in Tales of the Unexpected.

    Joseph Baxter is a contributor for Den of Geek and Syfy Wire. You can find his work here. Follow him on Twitter @josbaxter.

    0 0

    We chatted with Marissa Meyer, the author of the Renegades series (and the Lunar Chronicles series) about writing superhero fiction.

    InterviewKayti Burt
    Nov 21, 2018

    Here at Den of Geek, we love our superhero stories, and it's been pretty cool to see the genre make its way from comic books and film/TV to the book world. Right now, we're obsessed with the Renegades series by Marissa Meyer, who you may recognize from her Lunar Chronicles series, which reimagines classic fairy tales into speculative fiction settings.

    Join the Den of Geek Book Club! 

    Renegades is set in a world that is ruled by superpowered individuals called, um, Renegades. The Renegades took control after a period of disorder during which the Anarchists, this world's "supervillains," had power.

    Nova and Adrian serve as our starcrossed friends-and-maybe-something-more and protagonists. Nova was raised by the Anarchists, and has the power to induce sleep (and also doesn't have to sleep herself). Adrian was raised by the Renegades, and has the power to bring to live anything he draws. When Nova goes undercover with the Renegades to bring them down from the inside, both Adrian and Nova's world views are complicated by the other.

    Read Archenemies by Marissa Meyer

    Meyer just published the second book in her Renegades series. Called Archenemies, it picks up where the first one left off, and continues to complex story of superpowered individuals that refuses to fall into a black-and-white morality. It's our current Den of Geek Book Club pick!

    We had the chance to chat with Meyer about moving from the world of fairy tales to the world of superheroes, how she came up with the unique power sets in this world, and whether or not she's seen Sky High. Check it out below...

    Kayti Burt is a staff editor covering books, TV, movies, and fan culture at Den of Geek. Read more of her work here or follow her on Twitter @kaytiburt.

    0 0

    Here's what you'll want to be reading this holiday season.

    Holiday Gift Guide 2018: Books for Geeks
    FeatureChris CumminsKayti Burt
    Nov 21, 2018

    It's one of the last remaining universal truths: Books are never bad presents.

    We here at Den of Geek love giving and getting all sorts of books...during the holidays and year round. While our inner-Luddite has come around to the pleasure of digital reading, there is still nothing as aesthetically pleasing as turning the pages on a great volume. This holiday season sees the launch of all sorts of can't miss tomes for the geek in your life. Then again, there's no shame in treating yourself while buying books for others. After all, you've been good this year!

    Here's a rundown of 2018's must-have geekcentric books:

    Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy

    Every year is a year to celebrate Star Wars, and 2018 is no different. Delight the Star Wars geek in your life with this beautifully-illustrated book featuring 75 profiles of some of the women from the Star Wars universe, including the films, fiction, comics, animation, and games. Characters featured include: Leia Organa, Rey, Ahsoka Tano, Iden Versio, Jyn Erso, Rose Tico, and Maz Kanata.

    Each profile includes key story beats, fresh insights, and behind-the-scenes details, which means this is not only good for the Star Wars fan who knows everything about this universe, but for the more casual fan looking to get into the world or even for a future Star Wars fan you are cunningly trying to convert so you can nerd out about Star Wars together. You're welcome.

    Buy Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy

    The Making of Planet of the Apes

    Well they did it. They finally did it. No, not blow up the Earth (yet!), but rather Harper Collins has released the definitive book chronicling the creation of one of the best-loved science fiction films of all-time. Written by J.W. Rinzler (whose behind-the-scenes chronicles of the original Star Wars trilogy should earn a place on every self-respecting nerd's bookshelf) The Making of Planet of the Apescharts the difficulties 20th Century Fox had in translating Pierre Boulle's 1963 novel to the big screen and into pop culture infamy through an insanely researched volume that is just as compelling as the feature itself. Our fingers are crossed for future volumes chronicling the saga's various sequels.

    Buy The Making of Planet of the Apes

    The Atlas Obscura Explorer's Guide for the World's Most Adventurous Kid

    We all know that holiday gift-giving tends to be all about the kids in your life. This explorer's guide featuring profiles on countries all around the world is the perfect gift for the child in your life who nerds out about geography and cultures. (We all know one... many of us have been one.)

    Billed as "a thrilling expedition to 100 of the most surprising, mysterious, and weird-but-true places on earth,"The Atlas Obscura Explorer's Guide for the World's Most Adventurous Kid takes its readers to a 355-foot waterfall in Zambia, to Antarctica's Blood Falls, and through ice caves in Argentina and Austria. You might not be able to actually zipline with your kid through rainforests, but this book is the next best thing until you do get there.

    Buy The Atlas Obscura Explorer's Guide for the World's Most Adventurous Kid

    The League of Regrettable Sidekicks

    Look, not everyone can be a Robin or Jimmy Olsen. With that in mind comes Jon Morris'The League of Regrettable Sidekicks. Following up his previous works (The League of Regrettable Superheroes and The League of Regrettable Supervillains), this time around Morris sets his comedic sights on second and third tier associates like Thor's pal Volstagg the Voluminous and Little Archie's off-abused pal Little Ambrose. While most of these characters are lovable -- if downright forgotten -- would-be assistants, others are absolute oddballs like Plastic Man's trouble-prone pal Woozy Winks who are captivating footnotes in comic book history.

    Buy The League of Regrettable Sidekicks

    Stranger Things: Worlds Turned Upside Down

    If you're anything like everyone else on the planet, then you're desperately awaiting the arrival of more Stranger Things content. This book is not a new season, but it's still pretty darn awesome. The official behind-the-scenes companion to the Netflix show's first two seasons, it includes concept art, original commentary from Matt and Ross Duffer, interviews with the cast, and some of the earliest pitches and story drafts from the show's start. 

    The kicker? It's all delivered in the form of a "used" book, which means the book itself is distressed to look like it has been around for awhile. This may strike you as the most millennial thing yet, but, for me, it makes the book not only a fascinating deep dive into this iconic show, but also a physical object that adds to your bookshelf, coffee table, or wherever else you (or your present-receiver) may want to lay this thing down and wait for friends to excitedly discover it. Oh yeah, and it includes some sneak peaks into season three!

    Buy Stranger Things: Worlds Turned Upside Down 

    The Prisoner: The Uncertainty Machine

    Be seeing you! Earlier this year, Titan did comic fans and cult TV obsessives a solid by publishing an artist's edition of a failed attempt by Marvel to bring The Prisoner to comic books in the 1970s that featured art by Jack Kirby and Gil Kane. It was a fascinating experiment, and one we wish had come to fruition. Eventually the series -- ostensibly about a secret agent who resigns and subsequently finds himself in the mysterious Village, although it explores much bigger issue -- was given a DC Comics sequel as 1988's The Prisoner: Shattered Visage mini-series. While by no means a failure, the book largely ignored the show's bonkers finale and thus wasn't fully satisfying. The same can't be said of Titan Comics' current The Prisoner series, an audacious contemporary take on the story that succeeds in all the ways that the regrettable AMC remake of a few years back failed. The first four issues of writer Peter Milligan and artist Colin Lorimer new take on the saga are collected in The Prisoner: The Uncertainty Machine. Having the thankless task of trying to put their own stamp on Patrick McGoohan's allegorical tale, the duo offers up a story rich with interesting new characters and the sort of mindfucks you'd come to expect from The Prisoner. In other words, it's great stuff.

    Buy The Prisoner: The Uncertainty Machine

    The Phantom of Eternia

    For the past decade, a performer in Philadelphia named Carmen Martella III has been hosting a monthly karaoke night/comedy show. While this seems like a fairly ordinary occurance, there is a deliciously nerdy catch--he does so in the guise of an over-the-top spoof of Skeletor. This leads to such madcap fun as the performances being more Gong Showthen anything (for example, attempting to sing "My Way" will earn you an instant booting off the stage). Adding to the insanity, 'Skeletor' peppers each event with his own custom song parodies, such as an evil take on Bell Biv Devoe's "Poison" in which he sings the praises of, well, poisioning the audience. One Skeletor Karaoke devotee is Kelly Phillips. Part of the all-girl comic art anthology collective Dirty Diamonds, Phillips is a bona-fide nerd whose Weird Me explores her Weird Al Yankovic fandom. In The Phantom of Eternia, she presents a compelling story about friendship and singing terrible songs in public that will forever change the way you think about both karaoke and Masters of the Universe.

    Buy The Phantom of Eternia

    Worlds Seen in Passing: Ten Years of Short Fiction celebrates its tenth anniversary with this anthology of science fiction, fantasy, and horror from its first ten years as one of the go-to places for speculative fiction shorts. Edited by Irene Gallo and including work from some of speculative fiction's most exciting writers, such as N.K. Jemisin, Charlie Jane Anders, Ken Liu, Kameron Hurley, and Jeff VanderMeer (to mention a very few), this is the kind of present that can be savored over the course of many reading sessions. It's the perfect gift for the person in your life who is really up on their speculative fiction or for that literary friend you're trying to get into speculative fiction.

    Read Worlds Seen in Passing: Ten Years of Short Fiction

    Chilling Adventures in Sorcery

    Long before Archie's current horror renaissance, the publisher originally dipped its toes in the genre with the short-lived 1970s comic Chilling Adventures in Sorcery. For the first two issues, the title was narrated by Sabrina the Teenage Witch and featured spooky stories done in the typical house style. From the third issue onwards, the book was issued through Archie's Red Circle imprint, Sabrina was jettisoned, and art was handled by the likes of Gray Morrow. This revamped work was just as compelling as the earlier weirdo dark Archie-style stories, and more than holds its own with classic horror comics like Tales from the Crypt and The Witching Hour. With Chilling Adventures of Sabrina once again stirring a cauldron of interest in spooky Archie tales, this book should be an in-demand item this holiday season...even if Halloween is long gone.

    Buy Chilling Adventures in Sorcery

    A History of Video Games in 64 Objects

    We're getting to a place in the evolution of the video game where its history is valued, which means wonderful potential gifts like this one: A History of Video Games in 64 Objects. Inspired by A History of the World in 100 Objects, this book attempts to chronicle the history of video games so far, from Pong to first-person shooters, as told through the stories of some of the medium's most important objects.

    Each object is paired with an in-depth essay outlining its significance in the history of gaming. Objects featured include: The Oregon Trail, the Atari 2600, and a World of Warcraft server blade. If you're based in New York City, pair this gift with a visit to the Museum of the Moving Image's sports video games exhibit. If you're not in New York City, no pairing needed!

    Buy A History of Video Games in 64 Objects

    The Valancourt Book of Victorian Christmas Ghost Stories, Volume Three

    There's all different kinds of nerds out there, and the history nerd is a special variety. This third volume of Christmas ghost stories from the Victorian era is the perfect gift for that person in your life who thinks learning and indulging in cultures past is just the coolest thing ever. Apparently, following the success of Charles Dickens'A Christmas Carol, Christmas ghost stories became all the rage in Victorian newspapers and magazines. Some of these stories have never been reprinted since... until now. The collection features 20 stories, and will make any holiday gathering just a little bit creepier.

    Buy The Valancourt Book of Victorian Christmas Ghost Stories, Volume Three

    The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition by Ursula K. Leguin

    We lost Ursula K. Le Guin, one of the greatest speculative fiction writers of all time, this year, but we didn't lose her stories. Her legacy lives on in the many classics she left behind, including her beloved Earthsea series. Released to coincide with the 50th anniversary of A Wizard of Earthsea's release, this complete illustrated edition of the entire Earthsea chronicles includes over 50 illustrations done by Charles Vess and selected by Le Guin.

    In addition to the main books in the series, The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Editionincludes early short stories, Le Guin's "Earthsea Revisioned" Oxford lecture, and a new Earthsea story. If that wasn't enough, the book also includes a foreword by Le Guin herself. This is the perfect gift for fans of Earthsea and Le Guin or for friends who have yet to venture into this magical world.

    Buy The Books of Earthsea: The Illustrated Edition by Ursula K. Leguin

    0 0

    The holiday season is here, and with it, the anxiety that comes with finding the perfect Christmas gift for your geeky friends.

    Star Wars Christmas
    Feature Chris Cummins
    Nov 22, 2018

    We've searched far and wide to bring you the best shopping recommendations! Just a note: Den of Geek may receive a small commission from links on this page. Prices & stockage are accurate as of time of publication. 

    Are you doing last minute online Christmas shopping? Is it finally time to start figuring out who we have to shop for and what to possibly get them? Shopping for a nerdy friend can be a daunting task indeed. So if the thought of Ho-Ho-Ho! has you saying "No! No! No!" we can't blame you.

    But it doesn't have to be that way. What if there was a guide to gifts, a gift guide if you will, that could make it easy to find the perfect present for anyone on your list? Relax, your friends at Den of Geek have got this.

    Here's our 2018 run-down of what nerd-centric items will bring a smile to the face of anyone in your life. Click the links to get taken to where you can buy them. We've saved you a whole bunch of trouble!

    Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy

    Every year is a year to celebrate Star Wars, and 2018 is no different. Delight the Star Wars geek in your life with this beautifully-illustrated book featuring 75 profiles of some of the women from the Star Wars universe, including the films, fiction, comics, animation, and games. Characters featured include: Leia Organa, Rey, Ahsoka Tano, Iden Versio, Jyn Erso, Rose Tico, and Maz Kanata.

    Each profile includes key story beats, fresh insights, and behind-the-scenes details, which means this is not only good for the Star Wars fan who knows everything about this universe, but for the more casual fan looking to get into the world or even for a future Star Wars fan you are cunningly trying to convert so you can nerd out about Star Wars together. You're welcome.

    Buy Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy

    The Making of Planet of the Apes

    Well they did it. They finally did it. No, not blow up the Earth (yet!), but rather Harper Collins has released the definitive book chronicling the creation of one of the best-loved science fiction films of all-time. Written by J.W. Rinzler (whose behind-the-scenes chronicles of the original Star Wars trilogy should earn a place on every self-respecting nerd's bookshelf) The Making of Planet of the Apes charts the difficulties 20th Century Fox had in translating Pierre Boulle's 1963 novel to the big screen and into pop culture infamy through an insanely researched volume that is just as compelling as the feature itself. Our fingers are crossed for future volumes chronicling the saga's various sequels.

    Buy The Making of Planet of the Apes

    Spider-Man Classics Face of Venom Hoodie

    For an evil symbiote from outer space, Venom is doing alright for himself. The brain-munching anti-hero had box office success far beyond anyone's dreams, and now he gets to be front and center on this stunning hoodie. Complete with front pocket, this long-sleeve hooded sweatshirt is a 10oz. cotton-poly blend with a 100% cotton face, meaning that it is both comfortable and be a staple in your wardrobe for years to come. And no, it won't try to take over your body either. Sorry.

    Buy the Spider-Man Classics Face of Venom Hoodie

    S.H.I.E.L.D. iPhone 6/6s Wallet Case

    With the (great) news that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will be sticking around for at least two more seasons comes a renewed appreciation of Marvel's stalwart TV endeavor. And what's not to love? Agent Coulson and company are among the most captivating comic characters on the small screen. So for the S.H.I.E.L.D. lover in your universe, we recommend this combination of phone case and wallet that looks great, is extremely functional, and let's you carry everything you need at all times. Just don't forget it in any villainous lairs, okay?

    Buy the S.H.I.E.L.D. iPhone 6/6s Wallet Case

    The Atlas Obscura Explorer's Guide for the World's Most Adventurous Kid

    We all know that holiday gift-giving tends to be all about the kids in your life. This explorer's guide featuring profiles on countries all around the world is the perfect gift for the child in your life who nerds out about geography and cultures. (We all know one... many of us have been one.)

    Billed as "a thrilling expedition to 100 of the most surprising, mysterious, and weird-but-true places on earth," The Atlas Obscura Explorer's Guide for the World's Most Adventurous Kid takes its readers to a 355-foot waterfall in Zambia, to Antarctica's Blood Falls, and through ice caves in Argentina and Austria. You might not be able to actually zipline with your kid through rainforests, but this book is the next best thing until you do get there.

    Buy The Atlas Obscura Explorer's Guide for the World's Most Adventurous Kid

    The League of Regrettable Sidekicks

    Look, not everyone can be a Robin or Jimmy Olsen. With that in mind comes Jon Morris' The League of Regrettable Sidekicks. Following up his previous works (The League of Regrettable Superheroes and The League of Regrettable Supervillains), this time around Morris sets his comedic sights on second and third tier associates like Thor's pal Volstagg the Voluminous and Little Archie's off-abused pal Little Ambrose. While most of these characters are lovable -- if downright forgotten -- would-be assistants, others are absolute oddballs like Plastic Man's trouble-prone pal Woozy Winks who are captivating footnotes in comic book history.

    Buy The League of Regrettable Sidekicks

    Stranger Things: Worlds Turned Upside Down

    If you're anything like everyone else on the planet, then you're desperately awaiting the arrival of more Stranger Things content. This book is not a new season, but it's still pretty darn awesome. The official behind-the-scenes companion to the Netflix show's first two seasons, it includes concept art, original commentary from Matt and Ross Duffer, interviews with the cast, and some of the earliest pitches and story drafts from the show's start. 

    The kicker? It's all delivered in the form of a "used" book, which means the book itself is distressed to look like it has been around for awhile. This may strike you as the most millennial thing yet, but, for me, it makes the book not only a fascinating deep dive into this iconic show, but also a physical object that adds to your bookshelf, coffee table, or wherever else you (or your present-receiver) may want to lay this thing down and wait for friends to excitedly discover it. Oh yeah, and it includes some sneak peaks into season three!

    Buy Stranger Things: Worlds Turned Upside Down 

    Black Panther Wakandan Warriors Graffiti Fabric

    Often times the best gifts are the ones we make ourselves for others. If the Venn diagram of your life includes some overlap between Black Panther and DIY crafting, we recommend you checking out this eye-catching fabric featuring everyone's favorite Wakandan warriors. No, it's not made of vibranium, but rather 100% cotton -- making this fabric perfect for use in quilting, appliqué, and crafts projects. (Available from the Zazzle website in various widths and sizes). Wakanda, and crafting, forever!

    Buy Black Panther Wakandan Warriors Graffiti Fabric

    Black Panther Panther Head Typography Graphic T-Shirt

    Whoa! This 100% cotton T-shirt available in men's sizes from small to 4X features a stylized Black Panther logo that itself looks like a warrior cat. Black Panther was one of the year's best films overall -- and easily one of the greatest comic book movies ever made -- this T-shirt is a way for show to show your love for Wakanda wherever you may roam.

    Buy the Black Panther Panther Head Typography Graphic T-Shirt

    The Prisoner: The Uncertainty Machine

    Be seeing you! Earlier this year, Titan did comic fans and cult TV obsessives a solid by publishing an artist's edition of a failed attempt by Marvel to bring The Prisoner to comic books in the 1970s that featured art by Jack Kirby and Gil Kane. It was a fascinating experiment, and one we wish had come to fruition. Eventually the series -- ostensibly about a secret agent who resigns and subsequently finds himself in the mysterious Village, although it explores much bigger issue -- was given a DC Comics sequel as 1988's The Prisoner: Shattered Visage mini-series. While by no means a failure, the book largely ignored the show's bonkers finale and thus wasn't fully satisfying. The same can't be said of Titan Comics' current The Prisoner series, an audacious contemporary take on the story that succeeds in all the ways that the regrettable AMC remake of a few years back failed. The first four issues of writer Peter Milligan and artist Colin Lorimer new take on the saga are collected in The Prisoner: The Uncertainty Machine. Having the thankless task of trying to put their own stamp on Patrick McGoohan's allegorical tale, the duo offers up a story rich with interesting new characters and the sort of mindfucks you'd come to expect from The Prisoner. In other words, it's great stuff.

    Buy The Prisoner: The Uncertainty Machine

    The Phantom of Eternia

    For the past decade, a performer in Philadelphia named Carmen Martella III has been hosting a monthly karaoke night/comedy show. While this seems like a fairly ordinary occurance, there is a deliciously nerdy catch--he does so in the guise of an over-the-top spoof of Skeletor. This leads to such madcap fun as the performances being more Gong Show then anything (for example, attempting to sing "My Way" will earn you an instant booting off the stage). Adding to the insanity, 'Skeletor' peppers each event with his own custom song parodies, such as an evil take on Bell Biv Devoe's "Poison" in which he sings the praises of, well, poisioning the audience. One Skeletor Karaoke devotee is Kelly Phillips. Part of the all-girl comic art anthology collective Dirty Diamonds, Phillips is a bona-fide nerd whose Weird Me explores her Weird Al Yankovic fandom. In The Phantom of Eternia, she presents a compelling story about friendship and singing terrible songs in public that will forever change the way you think about both karaoke and Masters of the Universe.

    Buy The Phantom of Eternia 

    Worlds Seen in Passing: Ten Years of Short Fiction celebrates its tenth anniversary with this anthology of science fiction, fantasy, and horror from its first ten years as one of the go-to places for speculative fiction shorts. Edited by Irene Gallo and including work from some of speculative fiction's most exciting writers, such as N.K. Jemisin, Charlie Jane Anders, Ken Liu, Kameron Hurley, and Jeff VanderMeer (to mention a very few), this is the kind of present that can be savored over the course of many reading sessions. It's the perfect gift for the person in your life who is really up on their speculative fiction or for that literary friend you're trying to get into speculative fiction.

    Read Worlds Seen in Passing: Ten Years of Short Fiction 

    Buy Guardians of the Galaxy Rocket & Groot Pattern Leggings

    Avengers Black Widow Icon Car Floor Mat

    Look, unless you have Tony Stark money, chances are you aren't tooling around in a Quinjet. Still, there's no reason why your vehicle can't have some Avengers swagger. Enter this set of front and rear car mats (one of each included) that are made with a polyester surface and a non-skid Durgan backing, and feature Black Widow iconography. Having these in your car won't make you as cool as Natasha, but it's a solid first step...

    Buy the Avengers Black Widow Icon Car Floor Mat Set

    8Bit Iron Man Attack - Armor Up! Small Messenger Bag

    We spent enough time in our youth playing the old Avengers arcade game that we can appreciate a retro-themed messenger bag like the one you see right here. Water resistant, lightweight, and including a quick-adjust shoulder strap, this bag is ideal for your trip to the Avengers Mansion or just to carry your stuff to work. Regardless of where you're going with this, you'll show off your love for both Iron Man and the glory days of 8-bit gaming by carrying this bag around.

    Buy the 8Bit Iron Man Attack - Armor Up! Small Messenger Bag

    Chilling Adventures in Sorcery

    Long before Archie's current horror renaissance, the publisher originally dipped its toes in the genre with the short-lived 1970s comic Chilling Adventures in Sorcery. For the first two issues, the title was narrated by Sabrina the Teenage Witch and featured spooky stories done in the typical house style. From the third issue onwards, the book was issued through Archie's Red Circle imprint, Sabrina was jettisoned, and art was handled by the likes of Gray Morrow. This revamped work was just as compelling as the earlier weirdo dark Archie-style stories, and more than holds its own with classic horror comics like Tales from the Crypt and The Witching Hour. With Chilling Adventures of Sabrina once again stirring a cauldron of interest in spooky Archie tales, this book should be an in-demand item this holiday season...even if Halloween is long gone.

    Buy Chilling Adventures in Sorcery

    A History of Video Games in 64 Objects

    We're getting to a place in the evolution of the video game where its history is valued, which means wonderful potential gifts like this one: A History of Video Games in 64 Objects. Inspired by A History of the World in 100 Objects, this book attempts to chronicle the history of video games so far, from Pong to first-person shooters, as told through the stories of some of the medium's most important objects.

    Each object is paired with an in-depth essay outlining its significance in the history of gaming. Objects featured include: The Oregon Trail, the Atari 2600, and a World of Warcraft server blade. If you're based in New York City, pair this gift with a visit to the Museum of the Moving Image's sports video games exhibit. If you're not in New York City, no pairing needed!

    Buy A History of Video Games in 64 Objects

    The Valancourt Book of Victorian Christmas Ghost Stories, Volume Three

    There's all different kinds of nerds out there, and the history nerd is a special variety. This third volume of Christmas ghost stories from the Victorian era is the perfect gift for that person in your life who thinks learning and indulging in cultures past is just the coolest thing ever. Apparently, following the success of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, Christmas ghost stories became all the rage in Victorian newspapers and magazines. Some of these stories have never been reprinted since... until now. The collection features 20 stories, and will make any holiday gathering just a little bit creepier.

    Buy The Valancourt Book of Victorian Christmas Ghost Stories, Volume Three

    The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition by Ursula K. Leguin

    We lost Ursula K. Le Guin, one of the greatest speculative fiction writers of all time, this year, but we didn't lose her stories. Her legacy lives on in the many classics she left behind, including her beloved Earthsea series. Released to coincide with the 50th anniversary of A Wizard of Earthsea's release, this complete illustrated edition of the entire Earthsea chronicles includes over 50 illustrations done by Charles Vess and selected by Le Guin.

    In addition to the main books in the series, The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition includes early short stories, Le Guin's "Earthsea Revisioned" Oxford lecture, and a new Earthsea story. If that wasn't enough, the book also includes a foreword by Le Guin herself. This is the perfect gift for fans of Earthsea and Le Guin or for friends who have yet to venture into this magical world.

    Buy The Books of Earthsea: The Illustrated Edition by Ursula K. Leguin 

    Marvel Emoji Characters Grid Pattern Yoga Mat

    Back in the 1970s, The Mighty Marvel Comics Strength and Fitness Book had everyone from Ghost Rider to J. Jonah Jameson sharing exercise tips. While that book is sadly long out of print, we can't help but feel that its spiritual successor is this yoga mat emblazoned with emojis representing all aspects of life in the Marvel Universe. Staying healthy and being nerdy? That's a win/win right there. Measures 72" x 24", 0.25" thick.

    Buy the Marvel Emoji Characters Grid Pattern Yoga Mat

    Guardians of the Galaxy Rocket & Groot Pattern Leggings

    It tickles us to no end that the limb-obsessed Rocket Raccoon is one of two characters (the other being Groot) featured on these Guardians of the Galaxy-themed leggings. Both stylish and super comfy, these custom made leggings are available in women's sizes from XS to XL.

    Buy Guardians of the Galaxy Rocket & Groot Pattern Leggings

    DC Universe: 10th Anniversary Collection

    Although DC's live-action films have been struggling, everyone seems to overlook how the majority of the company's animated films have been truly great. Yes, there is the occasional clunker like Batman: The Killing Joke (ugh), but have you seen Justice League: The New Frontier or Batman: Year One? These efforts are fantastic adaptations of the source material and entertaining in their own right, and they are just the tip of the iceberg. This expansive 32-disc collector's set features 30 DC animated films, tons of special features, collectible packaging, an adult coloring book, and exclusive coins. Marvel may have the box office tied up, but when it comes to animated films they can't hold a candle to DC these days.

    Buy DC Universe: 10th Anniversary Collection

    The James Bond Collection

    We hope you'll forgive us for saying so, but this Blu-ray collection of all of the official James Bond films -- from Dr. No to Spectre -- packed with mind-blowing special features has us both shaken AND stirred.

    Buy The James Bond Collection

    Avengers: Infinity War

    Yeah, we fully admit that this one is the most obvious of choices, Avengers: Infinity War. Since you are reading this very website, you know our feelings on this flick. It's definitely a great gift idea, but you just have to make sure whomever you are planning on getting this for doesn't already have it. Because if that person is anything like us, they got this baby the second it hit stores.

    Buy Avengers: Infinity War

    Doctor Who: Tom Baker Complete Season One

    Would you like a jelly baby? This stunning Blu-ray set collects the entire 12th season of Doctor Who...which just so happened to be Tom Baker's first year in the role. Out of the gate, Baker's Doctor is one full of wonder and mischief and he remains a joy to watch all these years later. The five serials that make up this season -- "Robot,""The Ark in Space,""The Sontaran Experiment,""Genesis of the Daleks" (widely considered to be the definitive Classic Who story), and "Revenge of the Cyberman" -- are solid, making this not only a great gift for Whovians, but a perfect entry point into the series for the unitiated as well.

    Buy Doctor Who: Tom Baker Complete Season One

    Doctor Who: Peter Davison: Complete Season One

    Then again, if you prefer your Doctor wearing celery as opposed to excessively large scarfs, Peter Davison's first year as the Timelord may be more to your liking.

    Buy Doctor Who: Peter Davison: Complete Season One

    The Punisher Painted Skull Logo iPhone XS Max Case

    If the action stylings of Frank Castle are more to your liking, might we recommend this Punisher iPhone XS Max case? Featuring the iconic painted Punisher skull logo, this case is as visually strong as it is durable. Slim, lightweight and featuring a glossy finish (and including a design feature that lets you charge your phone without removing the case), this is one gift idea that no one will want to punish you for getting them!

    Buy the Punisher Painted Skull Logo iPhone XS Max Case

    Kawaii Avengers In Colorful Blocks Barely There iPhone 6 Case

    We know that the Avengers are the Earth's mightiest heroes, but if this colorful CaseMate Barely There phone case is anything to go by, they are the most huggable too! As impact resistant as it is cute, this case is compatible with the iPhone 6/6s with 4.7 inch screen.

    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Special Edition

    Don't panic, as the 1981 television version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is finally on Blu-ray. Forget the problematic 2005 film adaptation, this is Douglas Adams' hilarious space saga as it was meant to be seen. Featuring several cast members from the original radio series (including Simon Jones as the bewildered Arthur Dent and a scenery-chewing Mark Wing Davey as Zaphod Beeblebrox) and, for their day, impressive special effects, this six-episode program takes viewers from the destruction of Earth to the Restaurant at the End of the Universe and back again. This newly remastered version means that the series has never looked or sounded as good, and the special features from the DVD release -- including a touching tribute to Douglas Adams -- have been ported over alongside new exclusive features. A true intergalactic hitchhiker will always know where his or her towel is, but this Blu-ray shouldn't be far behind either.

    Buy The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Special Edition

    Basket Case

    It was a tough call, but our pick for this year's best horror Blu-ray is Basket Case. Director Frank Henenlotter's 1982 low-budget gorefest about two formerly conjoined twins -- one of whom is horribly deformed and lives in the titular basket -- who get revenge against those who performed the operation that separated them has had a fascinating journey in its 36-year-existence. Originally a staple on the New York City midnight movie circuit, the film found a larger audience thanks to VHS rentals and cable TV airings. Due to the film's tongue-in-cheek humor and how it serves as an inadvertent document of a sleazy NYC that no longer exists, recent years have seen Basket Case getting a critical re-evaluation. (Indeed, the stunning 4K restoration featured on this disc was created by the Museum of Modern Art, proof that this film has made the big time). So, what's in the basket? One of the sickest, funniest, and downright lovable horror films ever made.

    Buy Basket Case

    Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

    To be perfectly clear: By no means do we think that Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is anything more or less than the goofiest entry in this long in the dino tooth franchise. That said, you almost certainly have a relative or an office Pollyanna or some sort of obilgatory holiday bullshit where you are going to require an inexpensive and inoffensive gift. And that's where this Blu-ray comes in. See, everybody's happy. Well, this is 2018, so not really, but you get the idea.

    Buy Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

    Black Panther

    We are seriously considering buying like 20 copies of this and giving it to everyone on our shopping list, just because it's that good. Consider this movie the anti-Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, a blockbuster with heart, endlessly complex characters,  and social relevance. If the dino-flick is our suggestion for something to buy for people you must shop for, then Black Panther is a film for people in your life that you cherish and want the best for.

    Buy Black Panther

    Thor: Ragnarok

    If anyone is out there grumbling "boy, this guide sure does have a lot of Marvel movies in it," well, then so does life. Just deal. But you know what there's still not nearly enough of in this damaged and dying world of ours? Jeff Motherfucking Goldblum. So you're goddamn right we are going to suggest this flick, which features the man's most hyperkinetic and amazing performance since Vibes, to buy for someone. Hell, we wish there were a Jeff Goldblum cinematic universe, so someone get on that.

    Buy Thor: Ragnarok

    Soulcalibur VI

    We still think that Soulcalibur sounds like the name of a failed Sting musical, yet Bandai's enduring franchise remains one of the hottest titles of this holiday season. This time around, the game returns to the 16th century with ramped up action, characters, of course the inventive fighting moves that the series is known for.

    Buy Soulcalibur VI

    Lego DC Super Villains

    Seeing how we live in an age where the bad guys always win, you might as well have some fun with it. That's the unspoken subtext of Lego DC Super Villains, a multi-platform game that puts The Joker, Darkseid, et al front and center. With both a story mode and an open world mode, the title allows players to create their own villainous character to frolic in the enthralling playground that is the DC Legoverse.

    Buy Lego DC Super Villains

    Just Dance 2019

    The popular dancing game features contemporary hits from artists like Ariana Grande, Dua Lipa, Bruno Mars ft. Cardi B, and G.G. Allin. Okay, we're lying about the last one. Nevertheless, this is the sort of video game that encourges movement, teaches rhythm and lets you exercise while having fun. Includes a free one-month trial to Just Dance Unlimited, which gives players access to more than 400 songs.

    Buy Just Dance 2019

    DC Primal Age Batman

    From the Things We Didn't Realize We Needed In Our Lives department comes Funko's DC Primal Age line. Mixing DC heroes and villains with a Masters of the Universe aesthetic is such an inspired idea, we are shocked that these haven't hit the market sooner. The line also includes stylized takes on Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Green Lantern, Scarecrow, King Shark, Mr. Freeze, and the Joker. (There are DC Primal versions of Ace the Bathound and the Batcave as well). Nostalgia run amuck or genius toy design. A little of both really, not that anyone is complaining!

    Buy DC Primal Age Batman

    Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Spin Vision Spider-Ham

    As of this writing, we still don't know very much about Into the Spider Verse other than that it looks spectacular, pun intended. There's a lot about Sony's CGI take on the Miles Morales Spidey saga that we are interested in, but the hardcore Marvel nerd deep within us is freaking out about the fact that Spider-Ham is in this film. The porcine parody originally appeared in his own title back in Marvel's Star Comics line of kids books in the 1980s. While most of the Star characters have been lost to time (Planet Terry anyone?), Peter Porker AKA Spider-Ham has managed to reappear from time to time in the mainstream Marvel continuity. He also will be appearing in the new film voiced by none other than John Mulaney. Best of all, he gets his own toy which allows you to poke his ear to change his facial expression -- which brings astonishment to our goofy mugs.

    Buy Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Spin Vision Spider-Ham

    Riverdale Monopoly

    There is a Riverdale-branded version of Monopoly. One of the game pieces is Cheryl Blossom's "iconic" spider broach. We are dead now.

    Buy Riverdale Monopoly


    It's actually unfair how fun Catan is. It's a friendship-destroying kind of fun, really. Grab this tabletop game where you can trade resources, build, and settle the whole map before anyone else can.

    Buy Catan right here on Amazon. 

    Planet of the Apes ReAction Figure Statue of Liberty Action Playset

    Umm, spoiler alert. Planet of the Apes turned 50 this year, and what better way to commemorate this milestone than with a playset based on the film's iconic ending. For use with Super 7's action figures from the film (sadly sold separately), this nostalgia-heavy toy is the ideal gift for the ape and/or Chuck Heston enthusiast on your shopping list.

    Buy the Planet of the Apes ReAction Figure Statue of Liberty Action Playset

    Lego Star Wars Darth Vader's Castle

    We've been obsessed with the idea of Darth Vader having a castle hideaway since we learned that it was a proposed but ultimately rejected location for Return of the Jedi back in 1983. Its surprise appearance in Rogue One warmed our nerdy hearts as if they were immersed in Mustafarian lava, as did the recent IDW comic series Tales from Vader's Castle. So with this background information firmly established, you might have guessed that we can't wait to get our geeky hands all over this Lego rendition of Dath's Castle. Made up of 1,060 pieces, which includes a packaged build of the castle, a Tie Advanced Fighter, and five mini figures, this massive Lego set is mind-boggling. We can think of no better way of ushering in 2019 than by building this behemoth.

    Buy the Lego Star Wars Darth Vader's Castle

    Cards Against Humanity

    There's no point in hiding how horrible you are with Cards Against Humanity. As the name implies, this question & answer matching card game will make you lose faith in humanity (but you'll still laugh your head off).

    Buy Cards Against Humanity right here! 

    Funko Pop! Marvel: Thor: Ragnarok Korg Collectible Vinyl Figure

    He's obviously awesome, but Korg should be on everyone's wish list for no other reason than he had the distinction of deliveringhe this year's funniest movie line -- "piss off, ghost!"

    Buy the Funko Pop! Marvel: Thor: Ragnarok Korg Collectible Vinyl Figure

    Funko GLOW Debbie & Ruth Two-Pack

    Netflix's GLOW series continues to be a revelation. What could have been a nostalgic wink fest instead is one of TV's sharpest and funniest shows, and a tribute to the power of female friendship. The series' emotional core is the complicated friendship between Debbie Eagan (Betty Gilpin) and Ruth Wilder (Alison Brie), whose off-stage battles have been known to carry over into the ring. Funko has recreated their wrestling personas, Liberty Belle and Zoya the Destroyer, in this two-pack of action figures that will dropkick the decorative competition on any shelf.

    Buy the Funko GLOW Debbie & Ruth Two-Pack

    Game of Thrones Hold the Door Doormat

    What, too soon? Relive one of Game of Thrones' most heartbreaking moments -- which is really saying a lot -- with this 15.17"(L) x 23.6"(W) non-slip doormat that is suitable for indoor or outdoor use. Hodor.

    Buy the Game of Thrones Hold the Door Doormat

    The Amazing Spider-Man Comic #122 T-Shirt

    After the Green Goblin threw Gwen Stacy off of the George Washington Bridge back in The Amazing Spider-Man #121, our hero's life would never be the same again -- especially since his attempt to save her via his webbing actually is what killed her, but let's not split hairs. The love of his young life was dead, and Spidey wanted revenge. In the subsequent issue, Spidey and the Goblin faced off in a climactic battle that has not been matched since. The excitement of this storyline is captured in this T-shirt, recreating John Romita Jr.'s iconic cover for that issue. Available in men's sizes Adult S through 4X.

    Buy The Amazing Spider-Man Comic #122 Shirt


    To a wizard, his or her most important accessory is a trusty wand. Now Muggles can get in on the fun with Wow! Stuff's officially licensed Harry Potter's Light Painting Wand. Using an included app, this wand allows you to write or draw in augmented reality with LED light. The above video shows you how the wand works, and we think that you'll agree that this is a gift idea that is beyond magical.

    Buy Harry Potter's Light Painting Wand

    Guardians of the Galaxy Baby Groot Cutting Board

    Oh man, this one is savage. What appears to be an adorable cutting board designed to look like Baby Groot takes a sinister turn once you realize that, oh shit, it could actually be Baby Groot. Happy holidays, everything is a nightmare!

    Buy the Guardians of the Galaxy Baby Groot Cutting Board

    Avengers: Infinity War | Infinity Gauntlet Graphic OtterBox Symmetry iPhone X Case

    Is there a person in your life who is constantly dropping their phone? If so, then shopping for them this year will be a snap (too soon?) with this durable Avengers: Infinity War OtterBox Symmetry iPhone X Case. With "the strongest protection in the slimmest style," this sturdy synthetic rubber and polycarbonate case includes dual-layer defense guards to protect against spills and tumbles. Best of all? The case can be personalized to your liking via Zazzle's website.

    Buy the Avengers: Infinity War | Infinity Gauntlet Graphic OtterBox Symmetry iPhone X Case

    Retro Captain America Comic Book Pattern Neck Tie

    It would be impossible not to look heroic in this stylish officially licensed Captain America necktie. Made of 100% polyester with a silky finish, this 55" x 4" tie is a perfect, patriotic tribute to Cap and the American way!

    Buy the Retro Captain America Comic Book Pattern Neck Tie

    Guardians of the Galaxy Dancing Baby Groot iPhone 8 Plus/7 Plus Case

    "I am Groot?" More like you are cute, amirite? Although the next installment of the Guardians of the Galaxy saga is on hold while the hunt for a new director goes on, there's comfort to be found in the fact that the first two films are nothing but pure entertainment -- thanks in no small part to our wooden friend here. Designed for the Apple iPhone 8 Plus/7 Plus, this slim and durable featherlight Case-Mate case comes with a downright adorable image of dancing Groot that can be customized with whatever name you like via the Zazzle website.

    Buy the Guardians of the Galaxy Dancing Baby Groot iPhone 8 Plus/7 Plus Case

    Nintendo Game Boy Convertible Backpack/Computer Laptop Messenger Bag

    Two bags in one! Whether used as a backpack on a computer laptop messenger bag, this versatile item will grant its wearer some serious retro gaming swagger. Our only complaint is that you can't actually play Tetris on it. It's a scientific fact that Tetris makes any commute better.

    Buy the Nintendo Game Boy Convertible Backpack/Computer Laptop Messenger Bag

    Sabrina the Teenage Witch Pin

    This soft enamel pin from Macabre Manor recreates Dan Decarlo's art from Archie's Madhouse #22, which introduced Sabrina the Teenage Witch. This 1.25" limited edition pin will cast its spell on the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina fan in your life.

    Buy the Sabrina the Teenage Witch Pin

    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Tote Bag

    Douglas Adams reportedly hated the "Cosmic Cutie" -- the green, large-tongued blob who appeared on the covers of every Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy book released in North America. We're going to have to respectfully disagree with him on this one, as we've been in love with the Cutie since we first laid eyes on his toothy grin. This 100% cotton canvas bag from Out of Print clothing includes artist Peter Cross' original Hitchhiker's art and is full of as much weird whimsy as the book's themselves. Bonus points go to this one because each purchase made at Out of Print helps fund literacy programs and book donations to communities in need. And that would definitely bring a smile to the late author's face.

    Buy The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Tote Bag

    0 0

    Steve Orlando's Martian Manhunter comic gets a thematic preview in DC's Nuclear Winter Special. Here's an exclusive first look...

    DC's Nuclear Winter Special Cover
    NewsJim Dandy
    Nov 26, 2018

    DC has been having a lot of creative success with their seasonal specials. Usually they’re a way for fun one-off stories or quick-hit introductions for new talent. And periodically they use it as a way to seed ideas and themes for upcoming stories. That’s the case in DC's Nuclear Winter Special, where we get some stuff from relative newcomers like Amancay Nahuelpan (who’s drawn a bunch of stuff for Black Mask, but not much for DC) or Dave Wielgosz (an editor on the Batman books who’s new to writing credits); unsurprisingly great work from Tom Taylor and Mairghread Scott; an EXTREMELY Mark Russell framing sequence by perennial favorite Mark Russell; and a stealth intro to one of 2019’s most anticipated comics - a holiday get together between Superman One Million and Martian Manhunter from penciller Brad Walker and writer Steve Orlando, who gets to tackle J’onn next year.

    “I was lucky we were deep in the development of Martian Manhunter with Riley [Rossmo, artist on the series] when DC came to me to talk about doing this story for Nuclear Winter,” Orlando told us. “It was an opportunity to take a lot of the worlds we built for Martian Manhunter in our own book and spread it into this DCU story and give it a little bit of a preview.”

    Orlando is one of a handful of guys who can successfully build off of Grant Morrison concepts, so it was no surprise to see Kal Kent, the Superman of the 853rd century (from DC One Million) show up. It has Superman visiting Mars to celebrate “Memory Hearth” with J’onn.

    Kal feels very much like an outgrowth of the Morrison version, and the story feels like the best Christmas episode of all time (“Comfort and Joy” don’t @ me) while also laying the groundwork for what we can expect from Orlando’s next step with the character.

    Storywise, you know exactly what you’re getting. “King Cosmos is in there for one reason and one reason only, I love his name and I think he looks cool,” Orlando said. This is a guy who revels in continuity deep cuts - who put Neron, Prometheus and Extraño in Midnighter and launched Justice League of America by pitting the team against Lord Havok and the Extremists, so it’s no surprise that he dug deep for King Cosmos.

    And if you’ve followed his career at all, it’s no surprise at all who he’s working with on art. Brad Walker, of late from Aquaman and The Demon fame but maybe best known for his work on the seminal Abnett and Lanning era Guardians of the Galaxy, is the latest in a long string of phenomenal artists to be paired with Orlando on a story. Walker’s design is terrific, his action work is outstanding, and his facial expressions and body language nail the emotional beats of the story.

    Here’s what DC has to say about the book:




    cover by YANICK PAQUETTEThe holidays are tough enough as it is, but when you’re living in a post-apocalyptic wasteland (or, you know, 2018) the world can seem bleaker than ever. So do yourself a favor this holiday season, break out your best eggnog and enjoy 10 all-new stories featuring the World’s Greatest Heroes, including looks at the futures of Batman, Superman and the Flash, as well as many more denizens of the DC Universe.

    The DC Nuclear Winter Special is on sale on Wednesday, 11/29. We'll have more from our chat with Steve Orlando this week, too!

    0 0

    Characters, history, sewage - there's a lot to consider when creating a brand new world.

    Game of Thrones Clock
    FeatureAndrew Blair
    Nov 27, 2018

    This article comes from Den of Geek UK.

    Tolkien took twelve years, J.K. Rowling seventeen. Terry Pratchett started the Discworld novels in 1983, and they finished thirty-two years later. George R. R. Martin started A Song Of Ice And Fire in 1991 and it remains unfinished. God managed to build the world in six days, though to be fair he didn’t really do much plotting.

    In this article we’re going to look at the worldbuilding in the examples mentioned above; some of the most famous and popular fantasy series in the world, but still barely scratching the surface of the genre and leaning towards High Fantasy (broadly speaking, High Fantasy tends towards the epic and takes places in a fictional universe, with Low Fantasy taking place in the real world or a world very like ours but with fantastical elements).

    Let’s start with the most important question...

    How does the shit get out?

    Terry Pratchett once opened a discussion about fantasy world-building with the question “How does the shit get out, and the clean water get in?”

    The Discworld’s major city was built from its river outwards to answer this question.

    Pratchett’s 2007 essay 'Notes from a Successful Fantasy Author: Keep it Real' can be found in his collected nonfiction book A Slip Of The Keyboard, and is an essential read regarding worldbuilding in fantasy. This observation stood out:

    “Apply logic in places where it wasn’t intended to exist.”

    Hence we have the character of Ernie in Hogfather, whose job is to transport teeth into the Tooth Fairy kingdom. There’s enough background to his character, short-lived though it is, to get an insight into his life. That his job exists - and the movement of children’s teeth requires a Bulk Collection and Despatch district manager - demonstrates how people earn a living in this city while also looking at the practicalities of the Tooth Fairy tale.

    further reading: Everything You Need to Know About Game of Thrones Season 8

    What makes Pratchett’s work rare is that he wasn’t telling a serialized tale across a trilogy or set of seven books, he had forty-one stories with which to interrogate fantasy cliches and myths. Crucially, he used this space well. The City Watch - the focus of eight novels - were based on the guards who ‘round about Chapter Three (they) rush into the room, attack the hero one at a time, and get slaughtered. No one ever asks them if they wanted to’ (from the dedication of Guards! Guards!).

    Where societies or organizations had rules (for example, Dwarf culture, the guilds, or any group who used magic) he used these to drive stories. He developed characters that could examine societal structures: Death, for example, looking to comprehend humanity from an outsider’s point-of-view, and the Patrician as someone whose understanding was almost complete.

    Later introductions described the series as a "History of the Discworld." However, what Pratchett shows us isn’t hugely usual. It was a happy accident that he got to write so substantial a series that it could qualify as a history. The Discworld will remain unique. It emerged gradually, and even if someone was able to devise something that huge no publisher is going to commit to a forty-one book series. For some reason they seem to prefer trilogies.

    Tolkien your time

    J.R.R. Tolkien didn’t invent High Fantasy, but The Lord Of The Rings is arguably still the most famous example of it, and is the certainly the most influential. Game of Thrones may be higher in the public consciousness right now, but it’s hugely shaped by its predecessor. The differences in what came next are frequently reactions against Tolkien. While Martin is a fan the likes of Michael Moorcock had strong negative reactions to Lord Of The Rings.

    Tolkien said that his Catholicism influenced the themes of the books (unconsciously at first but consciously in the redrafts). Moorcock and others criticized the conservative tendencies of Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Richard Adams (Watership Down among others), stating these authors produced fantasies that looked back to a time when the English middle classes felt more comfortable.

    Tolkien’s class, religion and upbringing all fed into Lord Of The Rings. He came at these stories from the point of view of an academic linguist rather than a fiction writer. He never knew where The Hobbit would go, nor Lord Of The Rings. In 1955 he wrote to W.H. Auden, saying:

    “I met a lot of things on the way that astonished me. Tom Bombadil I knew already; but I had never been to Bree. Strider sitting in the corner at the inn was a shock, and I had no more idea who he was than had Frodo. The Mines of Moria had been a mere name; and of Lothlórien no word had reached my mortal ears till I came there.”

    His cultures and world were based on linguistics with cultures being devised around created languages. Rather than just Lord Of The Rings, Tolkien wanted to publish a version of The Silmarillion.The idea for this book predated The Hobbit, with Tolkien working from 1914 on a mythology for English history and culture that he thought was lacking. His publishers preferred a more conventional sequel to The Hobbit, though parts of The Silmarillion found their way into Lord Of The Rings and its appendices.  

    Thus Tolkien was in the rare position of having developed a significant part of his story universe prior to the idea of writing novels in it. Rather than developing both the world and the story simultaneously, the storyline takes a break at times for the expansion of Middle Earth. This aspect was one of the most influential on later High Fantasies.

    Kill your darlings

    Epic High Fantasy is renowned for its lengthy descriptive prose, the additional world building that isn’t strictly necessary for the main story. Certainly most adaptations of Lord Of The Rings cut vast swathes of Fellowship Of The Ring out (most notably the character of Tom Bombadil, less notably the bit where Frodo buys a new house in Buckland as cover for leaving Hobbiton).

    Stephen King’s On Writing suggests that a writer should use the bare minimum of words to tell a story (as an aside: I would be absolutely fascinated to read a version of Lord Of The Rings edited down by Stephen King). George R.R. Martin has stated that he does this too, but on his own terms. For example, in A Dance With Dragons Martin devotes a chapter to Davos Seaworth exploring White Harbour.

    Here, Martin spends time detailing a setting that we do not need to understand in order to follow the story, but which fleshes out the universe. Martin is an avowed fan of worldbuilding, describing the need for"a 'secondary universe', as J.R.R. Tolkien termed it, a world both like and unlike our own, with its own rich history and geography and customs, its own beauties and terrors". He has also stated the need for aspiring writers to develop their own story universe rather than playing in someone else’s.

    Martin recommends, like Terry Pratchett, reading outside the genre to get an idea of how worlds work. He offers examples of influences from history (the War of the Roses, for example) and Shakespeare’s Henry V (where Henry disguises himself to listen to his soldiers, and hears their doubts about their cause) as examples of morally grey areas instead of a struggle between a binary of good and evil.

    further reading: The Most Fantastic Moments in the Lord of the Rings Movies

    The worldbuilding in A Song Of Ice And Fire was sketched out and then expanded as the novels were written (hence the detail of White Harbour in the series’ fifth book) rather than decided upon in advance. Martin’s idea came to him while writing another story, and he developed it from that rather than any long-term ideal or aim. As it grew, he decided it was a fantasy novel, and his own tastes, experiences and reading informed it. In response to previous High Fantasy tropes, every character would have shades of light and dark and be motivated by relatable concerns with historic precedents.

    Tolkien’s characters are motivated by a factor beyond their control, an ancient evil means war is upon them whether they wish it or not. Martin’s world is far more muddy and sprawling, and based on a historically informed version of the past rather than a rose tinted middle England. There is little struggle to eat or to live in Middle Earth, with their ‘No sex please, we’re British’ pre-history rendered in mythopoeia.

    Where Tolkien and Martin overlap is that they are both largely writing blind, without a finalized idea or outline of where they’re going. To quote Martin from this Guardianarticle

    “I think there are two types of writers, the architects and the gardeners. The architects plan everything ahead of time, like an architect building a house...They have the whole thing designed and blueprinted out before they even nail the first board up. The gardeners dig a hole, drop in a seed and water the plant comes up and they water it, they don’t know how many branches it’s going to have, they find out as it grows. And I’m much more a gardener than an architect.”

    Keep Rowling, Rowling Rowling Rowling (what?)

    Like Martin’s idea and Tolkien’s sudden flash of inspiration for The Hobbit (had while marking exam papers), J.K. Rowling had a vision for Harry Potter suddenly and it stuck with her.  

    Rowling borrowed existing tropes from multiple genres, reshaping them into a structure that echoes other fantasy and mythic stories, but equally plays into school and coming-of-age stories. She’s hugely influenced by children’s literature involving magic, friendship, and plucky adventuring (e.g. Enid Blyton, Elizabeth Goudge, E. Nesbit). Taking cues from Tom Brown’s Schooldays, the Harry Potter characters and books grew up with their audience.  

    She’s more of an architect, as described in this Den of Geek article by Kayti Burt, but specifically in terms of plot. It’s no surprise that she’s moved onto detective fiction, as most Potter books are mystery novels that happen to be doing a lot of heavy lifting for later revelations.

    As with Pratchett, Rowling’s character and place names are based on puns and jokes, but if the novels don’t linger on the infrastructure needed to support these (which doesn’t necessarily mean that Rowling hasn’t thought about this). Ideas such as Platform 9¾ are appealing derivatives of C.S. Lewis’ wardrobe, but such whimsical notions appear at odds with practical necessities. If, as the My Life As A Background Slytherin comic points out Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is in Scotland, do Scottish wizards have to travel to London only to get a train back up North again?

    It’s fair to say - Lord Of The Rings aside - that there is a clue to this approach in the series titles: Discworld as a bracket title gives us the location, a whole world to focus on. A Song Of Ice And Fire suggests an epic tale of elemental forces rather than characters or location. Harry Potter has one character as the focal point.

    Rowling’s focus on plot and character, moving everything into place from the very first book, is done at the expense of the level of detail found in Pratchett, Tolkien and Martin’s works. Also a factor is that her books were intended for children and teenagers, away from the High Fantasy novels in the bookshop and libraries. What we know was cut from earlier drafts consists mainly of characters rather than background though.

    That Harry Potter has a gap where the in-depth world building could go really lends itself to fan fiction, including Key and Peele’s ‘Inner-City Wizard School’ sketch, and the franchise’s success means that Rowling has scope to expand her creation via Pottermore, not dissimilar to the Appendices of Tolkien. It is here where we find out the wizarding world’s answer to ‘How does the shit get out?’

    Wizards copied Muggle plumbing in the Eighteenth Century having previously just gone where they stood then vanished it with magic. This is typical of Harry Potter: a funny idea that has a universal childish appeal, but raises more questions than it answers.

    0 0

    Everything you need to know about the Artemis Fowl movie adaptation from Kenneth Branagh...

    News Kayti Burt
    Nov 27, 2018

    It’s been more than a decade since the Artemis Fowl fantasy book series about a boy billionaire genius who also happens to be a criminal mastermind was published and inspired talk of a movie.

    Now, the film adaptation of Eoin Colfer’s bestselling children’s book series is finally happening. The Tracking Board reports that Kenneth Branagh, fresh off of his success with Disney’s live action Cinderella, is directing the film.

    Could the Artemis Fowl film finally be happening? Yep! We even have a teaser trailer! Here's everything we know...

    Artemis Fowl Movie Trailer

    The first teaser trailer released for the film reminds readers of just how ambitious this world is, though doesn't give us much insight into how the character of Artemis Fowl himself will be adapted for the film. Artemis begins the series as a straight up anti-hero, callously preparing to rob the hidden world of the fairies.

    Artemis Fowl Movie Cast

    Relative newcomer Ferdia Shaw has been cast in the title role in the Artemis Fowl movie. Joining young Shaw will be Dame Judi Dench (Commander Root), Josh Gad (Mulch Diggums), Lara McDonnell (Captain Holly Shore), and Nonso Anozie (Artemis' bodyguard Domovoi Butler).

    In other news, Irish playwright Conor McPherson will be writing the script for the adaptation of the best-selling middle grade novel.

    Artemis Fowl Movie Release Date

    Disney has slated the film for an August 9th, 2019 release date. 

    Artemis Fowl Movie Production History

    Long before the anti-hero craze hit mainstream TV drama, Artemis Fowl was making immoral decisions and trying to leverage innocent bystanders for money, power, or to rescue family members in this series of middle grade novels.

    Artemis is like a cross between Gotham’s Bruce Wayne, James Bond, and pretty much every supervillain worth their salt. Throw in some high-tech gadgetry and a secret magical underworld policed by fairies and you’ve got the perfect ingredients for a blockbuster film adaptation — which is why it’s so surprising that this movie adaptation hasn’t progressed further in the last decade.

    The Artemis Fowl films have been in development hell for the last 14 years. To put that in context, Harvey Weinstein bought the rights in 2001 through Miramax Films (which was later purchased by Disney) — aka the same year the first Harry Potter film was released and studios started selling their first borns to find the next big YA/children’s book film adaptation.

    Over the years, directors like Lawrence Guterman and Jim Sheridan have been attached to the Artemis Fowl film. But, in 2013, the latter left the project and Disney announced that they would be producing a version of the film with the Weinstein Co., with Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal as executive producers.

    Personally, I'm overjoyed to see this film adaptation move forward, especially with the right writer. Though Branagh has proven himself a highly competent director, the Cinderellascript was a bit thin. Snarky Artemis Fowl needs a writer up to the task of quippy one-liners and balancing the fine line between child anti-hero and lonely kid with too much money and not enough family members.

    Kayti Burt is a staff editor covering books, TV, movies, and fan culture at Den of Geek. Read more of her work here or follow her on Twitter @kaytiburt.

    0 0

    Check out this exclusive preview of Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion #3 by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba!

    Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion #3
    NewsJohn Saavedra
    Nov 27, 2018

    The return of Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba's Umbrella Academyhas been nothing short of surreal. Years after the severely damaged Hargreeves family tried to thwart the Kennedy assassination, the team is back in its strangest adventure yet.

    Spread out around the globe, the team is broken. Spaceboy has gone solo, fighting bad guys in Japan, no longer willing to lead his brothers and sisters against the forces of evil. The Rumor is trying to reconcile with the father of her child, while also taking care of Vanya, who is still recovering from her turn to evil in "The Apocalypse Suite." The Seance is doing as well as you'd expect... Number Five? Well, he's actually doing quite well amidst the chaos. 

    All the while, we've been learning more about the Hotel Oblivion, a top secret, high-security transdimensional prison built by The Monocle to punish the world's most vile villains. But two of these villains, including the Murder Magician, have made their escape and are now on the run. 

    Further Reading: Umbrella Academy Netflix Series Details

    That's where issue #3 of the seven-issue third arc picks up. Below is the solicit for the issue. No, those aren't typos made by us. The solicit is actually written like a Yelp review:

    Philippe C.

    The City

    wow... I have never been so amazed in my life. the mothers of agony seem like dirtball hoodlum scum, so I was very sceptical when a friend recommended them for psychic advice. their place of business leaves a lot to be desired, in a terrible neighborhood, but its the results that matter and man did they deliver! their psychic seems like hes done a lot of drugs, but as soon as we sat down in their private frankly kind of frightening room, it was like my dead father was right there beside me again! he knew things only my father could know, including the dirt I needed on my sister to lock her out of the trust. if I could give the mothers of agony a 10 star review I would.

    Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion #3 is out on Dec. 5 at your local comic shop.

    Den of Geek has an exclusive preview of the issue ahead of its release next week:

    John Saavedra is an associate editor at Den of Geek. Read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @johnsjr9

    0 0

    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The BFG and Matilda are amongst Roald Dahl stories that Netflix will adapt as part of an event series.

    News Joseph Baxter
    Nov 27, 2018

    Netflix is diving into the proverbial chocolate pool that is Roald Dahl adaptation projects, and ensuing scolding songs of the Oompa Loompas will do little to discourage the streaming giant, which is set to tackle a slate of animated versions of classics like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda and The BFG, brandishing plans of “extending the Roald Dahl universe.”

    While adaptations of the fantastical literary works of the legendary British author – who passed away back in 1990 – have never been in short supply in film and television, Netflix’s small screen animated plans are unprecedentedly ambitious, especially when dropping the word “universe.” Indeed, the seemingly Herculean task of tackling the immense array of Dahl’s classic works will take shape within the confines of Netflix’s recently-announced in-house animation studio, set to manifest as part of what’s being called an “animated event series.” Netflix is producing the series in partnership with the Roald Dahl Story Company.

    A familiar image in the peeling foil of a Wonka Bar reveals a Netflix golden ticket, serving as the first teaser for the series.

    The full slate of Netflix’s Roald Dahl animated event series consists of the following:

    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,Matilda,The BFG,The Twits,Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator,George’s Marvellous Medicine,Boy – Tales of Childhood,Going Solo,The Enormous Crocodile,The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me,Henry Sugar,Billy and the Minpins,The Magic Finger,Esio Trot,Dirty Beasts, andRhyme Stew.

    Netflix, in a statement, reveals its intent, saying that the project is designed to “bring together the highest quality creative, visual, and writing teams to extend the stories in this first-of-its-kind slate of premium animated event series and specials for audiences of all ages and for families to enjoy together.” It also emphasizes its plan to “remain faithful to the quintessential spirit and tone of Dahl while also building out an imaginative story universe that expands far beyond the pages of the books themselves.”

    As Melissa Cobb, Vice President of Kids & Family Content at Netflix further explains:

    “Immersing ourselves in the extraordinary worlds of Roald Dahl stories has been an honor and a massive amount of fun, and we are grateful for the trust the Roald Dahl Story Company and the Dahl family have placed in our team to deliver more moments of shared joy to families around the world. We have great creative ambition to reimagine the journeys of so many treasured Dahl characters in fresh, contemporary ways with the highest quality animation and production values.”

    Of course, the endorsement of the Dahl family is quite present for this animated endeavor. As Roald’s widow, Felicity, expresses in a statement:

    “Our mission, which is purposefully lofty, is for as many children as possible around the world to experience the unique magic and positive message of Roald Dahl’s stories.” She adds, “This partnership with Netflix marks a significant move toward making that possible and is an incredibly exciting new chapter for the Roald Dahl Story Company. Roald would, I know, be thrilled.”

    News of Netflix’s Dahl Universe plans arrive as a number of other adaptations are in the works, notably live-action reboot movies for Willy Wonka/Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Witches, as well as a television reboot of the Dahl-adapting British anthology series, Tales of the Unexpected. The new projects will arrive in the aftermath of the most recent high-profile Dahl adaptation in director Steven Spielberg’s 2016 animated/live-action hybrid take on The BFG.

    As far as the animated event series goes, Netflix states that production is set kick off sometime in 2019. – We will certainly keep you updated on its development.

    Joseph Baxter is a contributor for Den of Geek and Syfy Wire. You can find his work here. Follow him on Twitter @josbaxter.

    0 0

    Polaris makes a decision doesn't really feel justified on the latest episode of The Gifted.

    This The Gifted review contains spoilers.

    The Gifted Season 2 Episode 8

    The Giftedis a really strong X-Men show, and like all X-media, sometimes it gets a little high on its own supply. The show is at its most effective when it's mixing surprisingly good action with soapy melodrama that tackle issues that have clear real-world parallels. The show runs into problems when, rather than starting with a situation and working forward from how the characters would react, they start with a theme and work backwards to the characters. That ultimately is where "the dreaM" falls apart this week: they really want you to know Polaris and "her father" are the same, but to make that connection explicit, they have her do stuff that I don't think is justified by her character arc so far.

    To this point, Lorna's been all about protecting Dawn. She's been extremely helicopter mom about the baby, but this episode requires her to just up and let go, and I'm not buying it. The stubborn, headstrong woman who bailed on the Resistance to build a better future for her baby and nearly killed a couple of allies for humming the same song as the kid probably wouldn't up and send her to newborn boarding school in the Alps at the first sign of civil unrest. She is only slightly more likely to decide she can't raise the baby, and also that her partner and the baby's father is also not able to raise Dawn. This feels like shuffling for the sake of shuffling, and not because it's fitting the characters.

    I will admit that I'm having a tough time separating my feelings about the necessity of the plot development from my feelings about the actual plot development itself. I'm not sure how much of this is me really questioning the necessity of sidelining Dawn and how much of it is me just not liking seeing Marcos and Lorna separated from their child.

    further reading: The X-Men Movies You Never Saw

    Part of my doubt stems from how good so much of the episode was. They really bludgeon us over the head with the Dawn plot line to show us how much like Magneto Polaris supposedly is, but they are vastly more subtle in how they have her deal with Esme. Lorna is using her baby to straight up eat Esme's brain. She is manipulating the living hell out of this poor unscrupulous telepath and it is a classic Magneto power move. It's a nice inversion of the comic relationship, too, where Esme used to get all hopped up on Kick and trick Magneto into destroying Manhattan.

    The backup stories here aren't really anything special. We get a little more progress on Thunderbird and Blink's slow motion relationship collapse - John is still trying to fix everything, while Clarice has given up on hope and is fighting a move into the sewers with the Morlocks.

    Meanwhile, Clan Strucker storyline goes off to find Reed's Dad's former assistant so he can get help suppressing his out of control mutant power, and they find her running a genetics department at the Opposite State University, the only college where civil unrest and massive genetic discrimination actually calms things down. Everything about this college setting felt so sinister - the fact that everyone's just chilling playing frisbee while the world catches fire from the Inner Circle attack on Creed Financial; the shirt the med tech is wearing ("Never Trust an Atom, They Make Up Everything" was chosen expressly because of the Children of the Atom, I promise you); the happy mutants hanging around the lab. So whe the big reveal came through, that Dr. Riesman's brother founded the Purifiers but she hates him but she also is going to use Strucker blood to make a Mutant Cure, it felt like a letdown.

    further reading - The Best X-Men: The Animated Series Episodes

    Lorna wraps the episode by dropping the baby off at her foster mom's place and then turning Magneto's disc into a helmet for her, making absolutely sure we all knew what they were trying to say. Usually The Giftedand the X-Men in general don't actually run into any problems with their lack of subtlety, but there was enough wrong elsewhere in this week's episode that it really hurt.


    - Apparently Rebecca's attack inside Creed Financial killed 37 people, and if you're the same flavor of nerd as me, your response to Marcos saying "37" was to shout "IN A ROW?" at the tv.

    - This is super nitpicky, but they don't do anything to thin Marcos' beard in the flashbacks.

    - "Creed Financial" is a nice touch. It's probably a reference to Graydon Creed, the founder of the Friends of Humanity, a Purifiers-like group from early 90s X-Men books. He's also the son of Mystique and Sabertooth.

    - Anybody know what the school in Switzerland was that Lorna was talking about? I think it might have been a reference to the Hellfire Academy from Jason Aaron's Wolverine and the X-Menrun, but I could be wrong.

    - Esme imprinted on Dawn and oh god what if The Giftedis secretly Reverse Twilight? I will mail the writers one American dollar if they can see their way to naming a season 3 episode 50 Shades of Nate Grey.

    - Hey how come they can't say Magneto on this show? It's always "your father" or "Him [Lucille Bluth Trying to Wink dot gif]." But they put his logo like, right there on the button.

    Keep up with all our The Gifted news and reviews right here.

    ReviewJim Dandy
    The Gifted Season 2 Episode 8: The Dream Polaris
    Nov 27, 2018

    0 0

    Brian Michael Bendis unpacks the crazy revelations in Action Comics #1005. Plenty of Superman spoilers await...

    Superman in Action Comics #1005 Red Cloud
    InterviewMarc Buxton
    Nov 28, 2018

    This interview contains major spoilers for Action Comics #1005.

    It’s been a minute since Brian Michael Bendis has taken over the writing chores of Superman and Action Comics, and since then, the famed scribe has rebuilt Superman’s supporting cast, redefined the underworld of Metropolis, and found shocking directions for Superman and his extended family. Well, Action Comics #1005 by Bendis and artist Ryan Sook really turns up the volume. Not only does the issue contain a shocking revelation on the new Superman rogue Red Cloud, it also features the Question and the return of crazy silver age superhero concept, Dial H for Hero!

    There’s a lot to unpack about this issue, so we thought we’d let Brian Michael Bendis do it for you! Again, spoilers a-comin' so go read Action Comics #1005 first!

    At the end of the issue, we learn that the deadly Red Cloud is actually one of Clark Kent’s fellow Daily Planet reporters! We’ll let you discover which one, but suffice to say, Superman will now have to face a foe like no other, a reporter gone bad. With that in mind, take it away, Mister Bendis...

    Den of Geek: We’re here for Action Comics #1005, which just sounds odd.

    Brian Michael Bendis: It’s always weird. I’m writing Action #1010 right now, and it’s very strange to type that number.

    Whoa, that revelation! Talk about the creation of Red Cloud.

    This is all spoilers, I don’t know how to talk about this without spoiling. I was doing research on United States of Murder Inc., which is a lot of mob stuff. Decades ago, a mobster got a job at a newspaper specifically to keep an eye on what they know about the Family. That idea just stuck out to me. It could be used for someone at The Daily Planet. They can do what Clark does but for their own purposes. It was just so exciting.

    It really reflected how bad at hiring Perry White is (laughs).

    Even J. Jonah Jameson never went that far, and he hired Eddie Brock.

    Look who Perry hired. Even Clark, Clark is terrible.

    Steve Lombard! They’re all terrible!

    Oh my goodness, Steve Lombard! He’s an HR nightmare.

    But this idea, that someone would use the Planet the way Clark does…someone really getting a job there that was immoral and making a life out of it was really intriguing.

    There have been immoral people at the Daily Planet, but not a straight up super villain.

    Yeah, someone who is flat out evil and never know they’re doing the same thing Superman does.

    It’s almost like a pseudo-Bizarro Clark Kent.

    Yeah, in a way that hasn’t been done. Bizarro has shown up at the Planet.

    Yeah, that was the beginning of Fake News. Let’s move to Dial H for Hero. I assume the inclusion of the Dial will lead into Sam Humphries and Joe Quinones’ Dial H for Hero Wonder Comics title.

    Absolutely. It was the idea to craft them together for Wonder Comics. Action Comics #1005 is a nice introduction for what the Dial is for people who don’t know. It’s one of the best ideas of comics and this allowed us to introduce it into continuity and let people who kind of want to know that, yes, Wonder Comics are in continuity. I have people very worried or concerned if Wonder Comics will be in continuity. They are. This is just another hint that they are.

    further reading: Grant Morrison's Return to the DC Universe

    Well, you made it clear that Wonder Comics are in continuity. I don’t know where that perception comes from.

    You know what? It’s one of three subjects that come up where that’s going to happen. People need to hear it. It’s okay.

    Will the Dial story continue in Action or in the new book?

    It’s a transition but it’s also an introduction. There will be more H Dial in Action, but this was really the introduction of the Question into the storyline which will build and build and build. It’s an extended cameo, but the Question’s presence will build into a big thing we’re going to do next summer. I’m excited about the Question because, wow! People really wanted me on the Question and it’s rare I give people what they actually want. I was excited to do it. I’m rarely on the exact same page as people. When it was first announced I was coming to DC, literally, the Question was the most requested character.

    Yeah, when you took your place at DC, me and a bunch of Den of Geekers were talking about what books we would love to see you on. To a person, everyone said Question.

    I was immensely flattered by that. I hold the character and his creators in the highest regard, including my dearest Greg Rucka. So, what we’re doing is, this is the introduction and we’ll slowly find out what the Question has found out about what Clark doesn’t know.

    So, what’s the Bendis Question connection? To your old time fans it’s obvious, but why is the marriage of you and the Question such a thing?

    I think the Question fits into the same realm as Jessica Jones, the midlevel detective that can go to the highest heights or the lowest lows. Which I’m flattered by. Also, what will I do with all those non-facial expressions?

    That’s for your artist to decide.

    That’s right, and may I say? It’s funny, I so rarely do this. When Ryan handed in the pencils of the Question, I posted it online immediately. It was one of those joyous moments. I always wanted to write Action Comics, and to have a scene with Dial H and the Question in it, it was the most Action Comics DC scene I could ever write in a million years. Then Ryan handed in that artwork, and it was so gorgeous and I’ve loved Ryan my whole life and here we are making comics together. It’s the best feeling. That page of the Question made me so happy. It was also the final proof that this move to DC was such a good idea.

    Did you pee a little when it was confirmed that Ryan Sook was going to draw the Question for you?

    Yeah, I have an even more complicated answer. Ryan signed on to do these issues of Action. Next issue, I said could you draw Clark looking through the entire building of The Daily Planet in perspective, every corner of the Daily Planet and show every story that’s going on? And he did it!

    You’re trying to kill the man!

    It’s amazing. What’s really exciting is that after this run on Action, Ryan and I are headed off to the biggest project either of us has ever tried.

    And you’re going to break that news right now on Den of Geek, right?

    Yes, it’s Sugar and Spike! (laughs)

    God bless you. Dial H for Hero has always been one of those awesome fringe properties. China Mieville had a fun take a few years ago. Will Pfeifer did H.E.R.O. in 2003. Why do creators go back to this concept again and again?

    It’s a phenomenal concept. It’s like the genie’s magic lamp. You rub the lamp and it grants your wish. But it’s so specific to our genre. Anyone in comics would be like, “Yeah, I’d like super powers for one hour.” It also feels like you can have all the fun with none of the responsibility.

    I think you just hit a tag line for the new book.

    Yeah, it’s like I’ve been thinking about it for a long time, right? But honestly, it’s one of the first things that came out of my mouth when I started this run. I really believe Dial H is one of the best ideas in comics. The retro angle of the dial phone is back in vogue again. Sam and Joe were perfect casting.

    further reading: Brian Michael Bendis and the Future of Jinxworld at DC

    Tell us what you know about Sam Humphries' coming series? He’s killing it on Harley Quinn these days. What conversations did you have with Sam about Dial H for Hero?

    Well, Sam and I, the minute we started working together at Marvel on Guardians of the Galaxy, we did the Black Vortex together, we really enjoyed each other’s company. But my favorite Sam is Black Bird Sam (Note: Black Bird is Sam Humphries' Image Comics project. Go buy it. It’s good.). For people who read Black Bird, you can see Sam is in a really special place lately. I approached him with this and asked, “Can I for some of that very special Sam Humphries magic in Dial H?” And it’s great, because it’s an idea Sam never wrapped his head around; he never thought about it. So, he really took the assignment and really made it his own. He and Joe are just amazing casting. I worked with Joe, I know what Joe is capable of, and Dial H is exactly what he should be doing.

    Hey, DC has this new platform and there’s the CW. Dial H would make for a great episodic weekly TV series, wouldn’t it? Hint, hint.

    I think that’s a great idea that we should make viral. Let’s get that out in the world.

    Talk about rebuilding the Metropolis underworld.

    Yeah, people get focused on Superman’s level of power; they could miss ways in which to deal with him. This invisible Mafia is based on some real research and real behaviors the Mafia has had. You know the Mafia, the original Mafia, was a secret. People didn’t know about them for years. Until an informant walked off the street and told the FBI that there’s a Mafia. That’s how it was found out. Historically, this secret can go for a while. Here you have the people that are thriving around Superman’s life. And in a few issues we’re going to find out who is running the Metropolis mafia.

    further reading: Brian Michael Bendis on Hope and the Man of Steel

    Getting into the Kirby of it all with the Metropolis Mob stuff, I love how this issue feels like an old George Reeves Adventures of Superman episode with Clark Kent, intrepid Reporter front and center. That so feels like it’s in your wheelhouse. Talk about the appeal of reporter Clark.

    Aww, thank you! We’ve talked earlier, we’ve been zeroing in on the idea that a lot of things Clark’s life that have been thrust upon him, the idea of responsibilities that the world gave you. For him, they were big. You are being sent to Earth and you’re going to be Superman. But what Clark decided to do with his life is be Clark Kent. He didn’t need a job. He didn’t need to be a reporter. He looked around the world and said, “What can I do for myself?” and the he said, “I’m going to be Lois Lane.” So, the Invisible Mafia, the entire focus of Action Comics is that hitting is not the answer. Clark is the answer.

    Yeah, he really is that super tough reporter. Not the Christopher Reeve reporter, the George Reeves reporter.

    Yeah, we’re going to see in the next storyline that he’s going to go undercover. We’re going to see Clark be Clark.

    So we did Dial H and we did the Question…

    Will there be more Wonder Comics teases in Action Comics? Yes!

    I live to see the Wonder Twins! Are we going to see more Bendis Question? And are there any other left of center DC properties you are dying to get your hands on?

    Well, you’re going to see me write a lot of the Question, not necessarily in a solo book, but a surprising amount, so I’ll meet you halfway on that. At the moment I’m curating Young Justice which involves Amethyst and Gemworld, Dial H for Hero, Naomi, which involves her entire secret which is enormous, and the Wonder Twins. If you include everything that’s going on in Young Justice - which is Conner and, Cassie - we have eleven fandoms being curated in one imprint at one time. And that’s just what we’re starting with. It’s a lot. I’ll focus on these. Gemworld is enormous. It’s Lord of the Rings enormous.

    further reading: Dan Abnett on the end of an Aquaman era

    Should I hold my breath for El Dorado and Apache Chief?

    I’m hearing a lot of Apache Chief noise on Twitter lately. I’m not exactly sure. Because of Wonder Comics and Wonder Twins I’m seeing a lot of people asking for Apache Chief. I got like thirty Apache Chief tweets.

    Have you goggled how to spell "inuk chuk?"

    That’s the beauty of me. I never google how to spell anything.

    What appeals to you about the character of the Question?

    He’s one of those characters like Daredevil who’s always been handled by an exceptional creator. There’s never been anyone who has sucked at writing the Question. He’s always drawn great. Denys Cowan, that’s my jam. I’ve always loved pulp crime comics, so there you go. I’m such good friends with Greg Rucka, and him standing over me while I’m doing this is a little daunting.

    Red Cloud is revealed, so tease what’s next for Superman and this new villain.

    That’s the cool thing. This is what I’m most excited about. It’s a rare opportunity for a villain, every issue of every comic a villain jumps a hero and isn’t successful. Someone jumps Batman every seven pages and Batman beats the shit out of him. This villain jumps Superman and shockingly was successful. That changes everything. She tried it, and now that changes her place in the DC Universe.

    I’m guessing Red Cloud is from Gemworld.

    Ha, no. But I will tell you there’s a connection between Gemworld technology and Kryptonian technology. They are both crystal based. There’s a little Wonder Comics tease. There you go.

    Let’s finish with a tease on what’s coming in Superman and Action.

    People can already see on the cover of the next issue of Superman that Jonathan Kent is coming back and he’s been aged up and been through a lot. People are already assuming the worst for me, that we’re turning Jon into a murderous Superboy. But that story we’re going to tell, I’m happy to say, is much more labored and about the characters and the family. We’re going to see what the secret between Jon and his grandfather is. I’ll give you two words: Crime Syndicate. It’s all these pieces, Zod and the Phantom Zone, it’s all these piece that come together in the Unity Saga which is going to bring into the DC Universe something we didn’t have before in modern day.

    You get yelled at for things you don’t do. I can’t recall you ever turning any character bad.

    It’s funny. I think it’s me personally. Then you realize it’s all of us. When I was at Marvel and Geoff Johns was at DC, I said to Geoff, “You don’t get hit as hard as I do.” And he went, “What! Go look at the DC message boards.” It was funny, I was happy I did, he was clobbered. People are worried because they love Jon. When a character is beloved, and they see him on the cover with fire coming out of his eyes, they’re not wrong to be worried. But I can tell you that what’s going to happen to him is much more nuanced than people might think. And I love these characters. I’m not in the business to destroy their ideals. I want to explore them and challenge them and look to ourselves when we think about them. That’s what it’s about.

    Action Comics #1005 is on sale today!

    Marc Buxton is an English teacher/private tutor by day and a former comic retailer who reads way too many comics, often choosing his Wednesday haul over groceries. Read more of his work here.

    0 0

    Steve Orlando on his Superman story in DC's Nuclear Winter Special, the future DCU of Electric Warriors, and Martian Manhunter.

    Steve Orlando DC Comics
    InterviewJim Dandy
    Nov 28, 2018

    Let’s say you’re one of the two biggest comic companies in a pop culture world overtaken by comics. You’ve got a massive gap in your continuity timeline, bookended by two passionate, vocal fanbases. What do you do?

    Let’s ask a different question: you’ve got one character from your flagship team who’s a relatively blank slate. He’s seen a ton of love sent his way as part of the team book, but his most memorable backstory is from a seminal, all-time classic pinnacle-of-the-medium type book and an episode of the cartoon he was in. Who do you go to and say “Hey, fill these in?”

    If you’re DC Comics, you ask the guy who made the Justice League meet the God of Super Heroes.

    DC's Nuclear Winter Special Cover

    Steve Orlando has been writing comics for more than a decade and working with DC/Vertigo for almost half of that time. And since he started getting regular writing work with DC, he’s dug deep into some of the most complicated continuities they have available, a perfect lead up to his new big projects - Electric Warriors, taking place between the Great Disaster of Jack Kirby’s Kamandi and the bright, utopian future of Legion of Super-Heroes; and Martian Manhunter, a prestige, semi-continuity-adjacent limited series that’s going to work as a sort of “year one” for J’onn J’onzz, the linchpin of the Justice League. And he’s loving playing around with these worlds.

    “Continuity and lore, it should be like a welcome mat, an on-ramp for people,” Orlando tells Den of Geek. “It shouldn't be a wall...the big thing for me is less how can we put in a bunch of Easter eggs and more how can we make sure that it's inviting and fresh and makes you want to find out more instead of just saying oh my gosh, there's so much I have to know.”

    Both series are heavily invested in worldbuilding: Electric Warriors for the 400 year lead up to the Legion, and Martian Manhunter for Martian politics and culture before J’onn’s departure for Earth. We got a taste of some of that worldbuilding in DC's Nuclear Winter Special that is currently on sale. “I was lucky we were deep in the development of Martian Manhunter with Riley [Rossmo, artist on the series] when DC came to me to talk about doing this story for Nuclear Winter,” Orlando says. “It was an opportunity to take a lot of the worlds we built for Martian Manhunter in our own book and spread it into this DCU story and give it a little bit of a preview.” But the main book is going to be laser focused on telling the story of J’onn adapting to Earth. “We wanted to tell a story that is all about John and his world before he sort of starts living large as a superhero and focus more on his hero's journey and coming out as a Martian Manhunter.”

    Electric Warriors is no less steeped in DC mythology, despite being essentially a blank slate for continuity: it takes place in the dark ages between The Great Disaster, the cataclysm that eradicated human society some time vaguely in the future of the DC Universe; and the 3018 of the Legion of Super Heroes, the future superteens inspired to superheroics by legends of Superman that have survived the intervening 3000 years, unlike almost all other information. This time period is essentially an empty vessel of DC continuity, and Steve and his art partner, Travel Foreman, are pouring a ton of other stuff into it. Electric Warrior (singular) was originally an out-of-continuity dystopia from long time Batman writer Doug Moench back in the ‘80s, and while this book isn’t a direct continuation or adaptation, it’s certainly along the same lines. “[The original Electric Warrior] had a very harsh lens for the social society of the 1980s and the sort of patrician, yuppy culture that it was a reaction to and in that respect being critical of wealth, being critical of classism and things like that is part of the book,” Orlando said. “We take a lot of the spirit from it.”

    The book has a recently reunified Earth society where the super-smart animals and humans are no longer at war, and sees them trying to reenter the galactic community. That means it gets to play with the rich stellar continuity of DC Comics - the first issue alone has the Gil’Dishpan (the hovering aquatic Nutri-grain bars with a knack for diplomacy) and sector 666 (birthplace of the Red Lanterns) prominently featured. Orlando promises more. “Using characters like the Khunds, using characters like the Dominators, what we really wanted to do with Electric Warriors is throw up some flares and send some love notes to not just the King but a bunch of different eras of DC comics that were formative. That's why we have references to Invasion. That's why the Vrangs are in there, because when you're talking about Kirby era creators you have to be talking about Curt Swan as well. We're using all of these iconic moments in DC comics as a framework and as a foundation.”

    Of course, all this worldbuilding isn’t anywhere near as effective without being paired with some truly stellar artists. Orlando’s DC career is filled with some of the best artists in the industry - ACO and Fernando Blanco on Midnighter/Midnighter and Apollo; Ivan Reis on Justice League of America; Brad Walker on their Nuclear WInter Special story; and now Riley Rossmo on Martian Manhunter and Travel Foreman on Electric Warriors. He tells us that there’s no trick to landing great art teams, but it works out better when you let talented artists do their thing. “There's a lot of places in the scripts where I leave things relatively open for Travel or Riley or honestly for Travis Lanham and Derek Dunnett who had lettered, letter team and production team as well. They know how to best achieve what we're going for and we're all a team,” Orlando said. “We know what we can do best and what you get there is a book where everybody's singing. That's what you're getting with Martian Manhunter and that's what you're getting with Electric Warriors.“

    Martian Manhunter#1, by Orlando and Rossmo, and Electric Warriors #2 by Orlando and Foreman, are out on December 12th. DC’s Nuclear Winter Special, with a great Superman One Million short by Orlando and Brad Walker, is on sale now. 

    0 0

    Gilead will get an update as Margaret Atwood takes on the present in upcoming Handmaid's Tale novel sequel, The Testaments.

    News Tony Sokol
    Nov 28, 2018

    Margaret Atwood plans to fill in the gaps between the stories in her next novel, a sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale. Atwood tweeted her upcoming book will be called The Testaments. It is set to be published by Penguin Random House in September 2019.

    "Yes indeed to those who asked: I’m writing a sequel to The #HandmaidsTale," Atwood confirmed on Twitter. "#TheTestaments is set 15 years after Offred’s final scene and is narrated by three female characters. It will be published in Sept 2019."

    “Dear Readers: Everything you've ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book," Atwood says in the video teaser that came with the announcement. "Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we've been living in.”

    Before Brett Kavanaugh, who was accused of sexual assault, showed up at his confirmation hearing for the U.S. Supreme Court in September, demonstrators dressed in the red robe and white bonnet of the handmaidens were waiting for him. The robe-and-bonnet uniform has also been seen at pro-choice rallies in Argentina and Ireland.

    The Handmaid’s Tale was originally published in 1985. Set in a dystopian America known as Gilead, where women are used as breeding vessels after a fertility crisis, and are not allowed to read or write, The Handmaid’s Tale is a modern classic. The book follows Offred, a handmaid, a Gilead term for a slave taken from their families and forced to become surrogates for the rich and powerful.

    The novel ends ambiguously with Offred getting into a van headed for freedom or betrayal. Atwood did not mentioner whether any of the three female characters narrating The Testaments will be Offred.

    The Handmaid’s Tale was adapted by Hulu into an award-winning television series last year starring Elisabeth Moss. The Testaments will not be connected to the television version, which continues Offred’s story.

    Atwood has written over 40 books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays. Her novels include Cat’s Eye, Alias Grace, which was made into a miniseries by Netflix, The Blind Assassin, and Oryx and Crake. The Hulu series won the 2017 Emmy award for outstanding drama series. The show extends beyond the novel’s ending and is currently gearing up for a season 3.

    The Handmaid’s Tale season 3 is expected to premiere in 2019.

    Culture Editor Tony Sokol cut his teeth on the wire services and also wrote and produced New York City's Vampyr Theatre and the rock opera AssassiNation: We Killed JFK. Read more of his work here or find him on Twitter @tsokol.

    0 0

    Nightflyers is an imperfect but worthy George R.R. Martin adaptation and another win for Syfy.

    This is a spoiler-free review.

    Let me begin by confessing that I am a huge fan of The Expanse, both the book and the TV series. With that one show, the Syfy Channel raised their profile dramatically among hard science fiction geeks and elevated their programming back to Battlestar Galactica levels. With their newest offering in the genre, Nightflyersthey are poised to do it again. If, that is, the show can achieve enough momentum to break orbit instead of backsliding into the gravity well of schlock. 

    Before we go any further, we need to be very clear: potential viewers surfing the internet for reviews will hear the inevitable comparison to the 1997 film Event Horizon. It is an easy leap to make, lest we forget that Nightflyers was originally a Locus Award winning novella published in 1980 by George R. R. Martin. Adapted into a low-budget film in 1987 it would be unfair to say the two films were similar or even related. Thematically, however, there is a grey area. The specific themes being hard science fiction. And horror. 

    And you will get plenty of horror in the opening sequence of the season premiere of Nightflyers.The tension ramps up so quickly that this viewer was grinding her teeth and breaking into a flop sweat. Seriously. We are talking a series opening as jarring as some of the scenes in season 1 of the Walking Dead. Which is pretty damn impressive for Syfy. The success of that opening scene was in no small part thanks to the excellent acting chops of Gretchen Mol as Dr. Matheson and Angus Sampson as Rowan. 

    further reading: Nightflyers: Inside the George R.R. Martin Syfy Series

    We find these two, passengers on the colony space ship the Nightflyer, locked in horrific conflict before the story cuts back to the beginning of their ill-fated journey. Can you guess why they are on a colony ship? Sure you can! No one will be surprised to find out that in the near future, a colony ship is a necessity because – wait for it – humans have pretty much trashed the Earth.

    This is where the series takes its first of many major departures from the novella. For those of you familiar with hard science fiction from the 70’s and 80’s, the motivation for space travel was less a product of our destroying our home planet, and more a function of the natural growth of the human species or the drive to explore. All while retaining the stereotypical failings and frailty of our kind. Will this change serve to modernize the story? Hard to say until we see what kind of payoff the finale brings.  

    Another major departure was in the casting of the extremely attractive David Ajala as Captain Eris. Not to complain, Ajala is quite capable (with a pensive stare that reminded this viewer of a young Tim Curry) but in print Eris was physically frail and wholly dependent on his technology. That aspect of plot development made his character even more compelling. The question is whether the writing will support Ajala and the character who should be his counterpoint, Jodie Turner-Smith, cast as Melantha, through the same powerful narrative arc, now that one of their major obstacles (a lack of physicality) has been erased.  

    But, as this is television, instead of one or two simple protagonists there is an ensemble cast all of whom have the opportunity to grow and develop. Or die horribly. Did we mention this is space horror originally written by George R. R. Martin?  

    The entire reason for the mission is so that Karl D’Branin (Eoin Macken) can make contact with a space anomaly, which he believes to be a spacecraft, belonging to an advanced alien species which, if they chose to help, would allow humans to travel to hospitable planets faster, thereby saving the race. What could possibly go wrong? Eris agrees to support the mission, using his Nightflyer to intercept these aliens. But things start to go wrong pretty quickly for D’Branin and his team of scientists (and Eris, and the crew of the Nighflyer). Hell, everything goes to shit super fast. 

    Because there is something on the ship with them. Something malevolent and evil which causes both gory hallucinations and technical malfunctions. Which is where the Event Horizon comparisons come in. The scientists and the crew begin to mistrust each other, the ship seems to come alive and act with ill intent. To make matters worse, D’Branin included a telepath on his team, someone who is universally feared and reviled for his powers. 

    Again we see all the hallmarks of Martin’s storytelling style. The characters are deeply flawed, each one has their own motivation, and the story is propelled forward by their interactions and mistakes as much as by the deus ex machina

    Also, boobs. Dear SyFy, we get it, the show is set in the “future” and we all assume that in the “future” people will be less intimidated by nudity. But if you really want to show a liberated, quasi-Swedish sentimentality, you would show a diverse range of nudity (read: hairy ass) and not just multiple shots of gratuitous, extremely attractive boobs.

    We all love boobs, but this clearly isn’t progressive, it’s pandering.    

    Despite the overt sexualization of the leading female characters, there is a lot of compelling subtext. What is perception? What is truth? How objective are our memories and how much do they define us as people and as a species? What drives D’Branin and Eris to take on this mission, hurtling farther from Earth than anyone has dared to go, on a mission to explore and learn and make contact?

    Will Nighflyerpursue these questions, which really lie at the heart of the horror of the human condition, with as much depth as Martin did? The potential for another excellent series is within reach, but only if the producers at Syfy overcome the temptation to descend into the heavy handed gothic horror that inspired the novella and keep the story focused, laser like, on the agony of being trapped and alone in a nightmare from which there is no escape, while hurtling forgotten through the void. 

    ReviewGerri Mahn
    Nov 29, 2018

    0 0

    This is not the only literary adaptation in the works at The CW.

    News Kayti Burt
    Nov 30, 2018

    We love City of Ghosts, V.E. Schwab's middle grade series about a girl who can see ghosts who is dragged to the most haunted places in the world by her ghost-hunter TV personality parents. Now, it's in development to get a CW TV adaptation!

    According to Variety, The CW is developing the novel that will be a series as a TV show. If eventually picked up, the series will be a one-hour drama. Notably, The CW has aged protagonist Cassidy Blake up to the network's key demo age. In the books, Cassidy is 12; in the proposed CW adaptation, she will be college-aged.

    According to the news announcement, Cassidy moves to Scotland not with her parents, but to study paranormal psychology at the University of Edinburgh "in hopes of learning more about her strange connection to the afterlife." While in Scotland, she meets the "enigmatic" Dr. Barrow, while also learning thaty her gift is more powerful than she realized.

    Further reading: For V.E. Schwab, Vengeful Was a Struggle Worth the Effort

    Karen Wyscarver and Sanford Golden are attached as writers and executive producers for the project. They have previously worked on Taken, NCIS: New Orleans, and Bones. Pretty Little Liars creator/showrunner I. Marlene King is also on board as an executive producer, alongside Long Lake Media's Lauren Wagner.

    As always, City of Ghosts isn't the only show currently in development at The CW... it's not even the only literary adaptation... it's not even the only literary adaptation for an author we love here at Den of Geek. The CW is also reportedly developing an adaptation of The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter, Theodora Goss'feminist reimagining of some of western literature's most classic canon.

    Now can we have our Villains series TV adaptation, please? Syfy, we're looking at you for this one.

    More news on the City of Ghosts TV series, and CW's other projects in development, as we hear it. 

    City of Ghosts is now available for order via Amazon and your local independent bookstore.

    Kayti Burt is a staff editor covering books, TV, movies, and fan culture at Den of Geek. Read more of her work here or follow her on Twitter @kaytiburt.

    0 0

    Deadpool and Spider-Man have a long history, and Wade has been getting on Peter's nerves for years.

    Spider-Man and Deadpool
    FeatureGavin Jasper
    Nov 30, 2018

    Spider-Man and Deadpool are like two sides of the same coin. Their outfits look a lot alike, they have similar builds, they both like to joke endlessly as a front to hide their personal issues, etc.

    Plus they both have a tendency to annoy Wolverine on a regular basis.

    But for a while, they weren't really compatible outside of that. Spider-Man has upstanding morals and despite living a tragic and surreal lifestyle as a superhero, he at least juggles it with something resembling a normal life. Deadpool is stuck in his tragic and surreal lifestyle with no real normalcy mixed in. He’s also responsible for a kill count that’s somewhere in the triple digits (at least) and that is NOT something Spider-Man’s cool with.

    Peter Parker is simply a grounded man and is constantly taken out of his comfort zone when dealing with a guy more out there and sillier than him with less of a grasp on what it means to be a good human being.

    It used to be that Deadpool sharing the page with Spider-Man was a rarity as making jokes about Deadpool’s similarities seemed to be a better fit, and boy, did we get a lot of those. Still, over the years, the two have crossed paths more and more and only recently have we reached the point where Marvel has decided they should probably have an actual relationship for once. Something that goes farther than, “Spider-Man would rather team up with anybody else right now. Even D-Man.”

    Here are their various fights and team-ups throughout the years.


    DEADPOOL V.1 #11

    Joe Kelly and Pete Woods, 1997

    Not only is this the earliest meeting between the two, but it’s also one of the best Deadpoolissues of all time. After fighting with the Great Lakes Avengers (temporarily calling themselves “The Lightning Rods” to piggyback on the Thunderbolts’ success), Deadpool and his captive mother figure Blind Al accidentally get sent back in time. They end up in a 1960s Amazing Spider-Man issue, which I guess means ten years earlier in comic book time. Specifically, it’s Amazing Spider-Man #47, where Spider-Man fought Kraven the Hunter and saved the life of Norman Osborn.

    further reading: Every Marvel Easter Egg in the Deadpool Movie

    Using an image inducer, Deadpool is able to pretend to be Peter Parker while he gets Blind Al to pass as Aunt May. The actual interaction between the two characters is minimal and is mainly just Wade getting Peter out of the picture. The rest of the issue is all about Deadpool fighting Kraven and acting completely horrified at the genetic weirdness of Harry Osborn and his father’s hair style.


    J. Calafiore, circa 2000

    Artist J. Calafiore was tasked with doing a fill-in comic for Deadpool’s first ongoing, just in case one of the regular issues was hit with delays. While it got as far as being inked, the one-shot was deemed unnecessary and outdated after a while and never got released or even finished. Calafiore ended up posting the pages online along with a Word document of the dialogue and narration. Someone added word bubbles to make it a bit easier to read and it’s been floating around the internet for years.

    further reading - Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Review

    The issue is about Deadpool accidentally causing an alien invasion and needing to gather Earth’s heroes to help defend New York City. While they’re successful, he spends the pages annoying the likes of the Avengers, Thunderbolts, Captain Marvel (Genis Vell), and so on. Plus the book is told in reverse order for very little reason.

    Deadpool briefly comes across Spider-Man in the melee and the two don’t appear to step on each other’s toes. Deadpool asks about his doctor, which is explained at the end of the book. Since the end of the book is the beginning of the story because of the Memento storytelling, Deadpool complains about catching a cold and wonders aloud where someone like Spider-Man goes when he gets sick.


    EXILES #12-13

    Judd Winick and Mike McKone, 2002

    Exiles, the comic about a bunch of Marvel characters from alternate realities teaming up and fixing other realities, featured a more violent offshoot “Weapon X” team. Briefly, this team included Deadpool and the Spider. Deadpool didn’t appear to be too different from the mainstream one we all know and love, but the Spider is certainly unique. He’s Peter Parker having bonded to the Carnage symbiote.

    Even though they are teammates, the two don’t really interact in any notable way. Then they’re shortly killed off, so that’s that.



    Fabian Nicieza and Patrick Zircher, 2005

    Cable has gone missing from reality and due to Deadpool’s biological link to him (long story), he’s used as a conduit to find him. Joined with Cannonball and Siryn, Deadpool goes from world to world in search of his on-again/off-again pouch-buddy. In this issue, the three of them cross paths with 3/4 of the Four Horsemen in a world where Apocalypse successfully conquered the planet.

    further reading: Who is Cable?

    The Horsemen include Archangel as Death, Blob as Famine, and a mutated Spider-Man as Pestilence. Although Cannonball is able to save Deadpool and the good guys win the battle, Cannonball’s still rather taken aback by the idea that Spider-Man of all people could be corrupted as Apocalypse’s puppet.

    Things get more horrifying for the trio when Cable appears, revealing that he’s this world’s Horseman of War...



    Fabian Nicieza and Patrick Zircher, 2006

    Here’s the first meaningful crossover between our two heroes. In a story that’s way too complicated to explain because it’s Fabian Nicieza and that’s his thing, Deadpool is looking for a Daily Bugle reporter who happens to be driving with Peter Parker on a bridge. Not really thinking about his actions, Deadpool tears Parker from the car and flings him off the bridge, realizing a moment later that – whoops – he probably just killed that innocent man.

    Naturally, Spider-Man shows up and fighting happens. What’s great is that Deadpool keeps referring to Spider-Man’s “Tobey Maguire teary doe eyes,” although Spidey has no idea what he’s talking about.

    further reading: Everything You Need to Know About the X-Force Movie

    Cable watches the whole thing go down from afar (via staring into the internet, basically. It’s complicated) and doesn’t like the fact that Deadpool appears to be using innocent people as human shields. Without Deadpool knowing, Cable helps diffuse the situation and Spider-Man is practically forced to let Deadpool go.

    He’s pretty steamed about it too, since Deadpool claims he knew Spider-Man was around to rescue Parker from the fall.



    Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley, 2006

    So even though Deadpool has rarely ever crossed paths with Spider-Man by this point, his only real Ultimate Marvel appearance is in the pages of Spider-Man’s book. To be fair, it is mainly because at this point in Ultimate Spider-Man’s continuity, Peter Parker is dating Kitty Pryde and therefore he gets roped in with one of the X-Men’s adventures.

    further reading: The Many Spider-Men of the Spider-Verse

    Said adventure involves the team and Spider-Man being kidnapped by the Reavers and placed on the island Krakoa, where they’re to be hunted down with their deaths broadcast across the internet. The Reavers are anti-mutant cyborgs who had their bodies augmented to make them a match for the X-Men. Their leader is Deadpool, otherwise known as Sgt. Wadey Wilson. While he’s not as goofy as his regular self, he does have some sick sense of humor and is even more hideous.

    Spider-Man unmasks him to reveal a fleshless face covered in a clear, plastic dome. Thanks to Kitty, Deadpool’s body is blown up, but the epilogue reveals that he’s still in one piece. Not that the comic would ever follow up on that.



    Fabian Nicieza and Reilly Brown, 2008

    Cable had been written off into his own solo series where he traveled through the future, so after a while they kind of had to put an end to the Cable/Deadpool team-up series. The final arc involves a bunch of time travel and in the final issue, Deadpool accidentally brings a bunch of dinosaurs with him into New York City. That’s bad enough on its own, but this is during the time when Bendis’ Avengers comics are dealing with a symbiote outbreak.

    Now we have symbiote dinosaurs. Yikes.

    Immediately, Spider-Man gets involved and blames this on Deadpool, although he’s only half right. The two work together briefly as Spider-Man gives the lowdown on how to hurt the creatures, since symbiotes are his thing. Spider-Man then swings off and tells Deadpool to stay out of trouble or else.

    Deadpool does eventually get rid of the dinosaurs and momentarily gains the respect of the superheroes, but Spider-Man’s not around to react to that.


    Mike Benson and Carlo Barberi, 2009

    Suicide Kingsis a miniseries about Tombstone framing Deadpool for an act of terrorism. That causes Deadpool to be hunted down by vigilantes and he crosses paths with Daredevil, the Punisher, and eventually Spider-Man. Prior to their current series, it's easily the most true-blue Spider-Man/Deadpool team-up in their history, since there’s very little conflict.

    Well, other than the two spending their energy making fun of each other’s lame rogues galleries to the point that Daredevil loses his patience and walks away.

    further reading: Venom Comics Reading Order

    The two red-clad heroes work together against the Wrecking Crew and stay on the same page long enough for the Punisher to appear and help tip the scales. This is during the unique time in the character’s history where Frank has an armory of random superhero/villain gear at his disposal, so he freaks Spider-Man and Deadpool out quite a bit by being armed with a Goblin Glider, Klaw’s sound gun hand, and Unicorn’s head thingy.



    Joe Kelly and Eric Canate, 2010

    In an issue that should feel like a prelude to the current team-up series, Joe Kelly has Deadpool appear in Spider-Man’s comic to pester him as part of his mercenary job. After Deadpool assists with helping Spider-Man take down the criminally-underused Lady Stilt Man, he geeks out and asks him for an autograph. Spider-Man gives in, only to discover that the pen is a bomb.

    further reading: Complete Guide to Marvel Easter Eggs in Deadpool 2

    The two have a pretty great fight scene that leads to an even better “yo mama” joke-off in front of an audience of excited teens. It’s one of the few times when Spider-Man’s sense of humor remains intact when faced with Deadpool, as he’s too often shuffled into the role of straight man. Right as Deadpool is about to let loose with some kind of atomic mama joke that will turn any victim suicidal, he realizes that he has distracted Spider-Man for as long as his contract states and moves on.

    Though before leaving, he does warn Spider-Man about how he’s going to take him down in Deadpool #19...


    DEADPOOL V.2 #19-21

    Daniel Way and Carlo Barberi, 2010

    “Spidey! What up, baby boy? I haven’t seen you since Amazing Spider-Man #611!”

    In the last leg of Daniel Way’s Deadpoolrun before it became unreadable, Deadpool visits New York City to find Spider-Man because he wants his help in becoming a real-deal superhero. Coincidentally, Way’s pet character Hit-Monkey starts pulling off hits on the corrupt and Spider-Man initially blames Deadpool. Once it becomes apparent what’s really going on, Spider-Man figures out the real reason Hit-Monkey’s in town is to eliminate Deadpool.

    further reading - Everything You Need to Know About Spider-Man: Far From Home

    Spider-Man becomes increasingly frustrated with having to work alongside Deadpool, especially when he could just let Hit-Monkey shoot him to oblivion, heal, and move on with his life. Deadpool refuses because that would fucking hurt like hell! Regardless, Deadpool still gets shot in the head and then tossed in Rikers until Spider-Man breaks him out and tells him to get the hell out of his city.


    Beenox and Activision, 2010

    The video game Shattered Dimensions tells the story of four different Spider-Men working together across the multiverse. You have the regular 616 Spider-Man (known as Amazing Spider-Man), Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Man 2099, and Ultimate Spider-Man. To keep Ultimate Spider-Man’s play-style different from his mainstream counterpart, he’s given the Venom symbiote, albeit with full control over his facilities.

    further reading: Spider-Man 2000 is the Most Underrated Superhero Game

    Ultimate Deadpool appears in that section of the game, now running his own death sport reality show called Pain Factor. Other than his appearance and the mention that he’s somehow not dead from his original appearance, there’s not much connection between video game Ultimate Deadpool and the comic version. He’s honestly just the regular version of Deadpool only more antagonizing. Nolan North – the guy who voices Deadpool 90% of the time in anything where Deadpool talks – doesn’t really differentiate him in any way.

    Not that there’s much to be done with the original Ultimate Spider-Manversion of the character. His beef and existence were about the X-Men and mutant race with Spider-Man being a bystander. Writing him more in-character would probably have stuck out like a sore thumb.


    Jonathan Maberry and Goran Parlov, 2010

    The Marvel Universe Versus trilogy is an underrated series of stories that improves on the concepts introduced by Marvel Zombies and its many sequels...though the third installment is kind of pointless and lame. In this initial story, we see a world where people have been randomly and gradually reduced to cannibalistic savages. Frank Castle, the man responsible for the apocalypse, is the only one completely immune and chooses to wage war on the former heroes.

    While most are primal shells of their former selves, Deadpool seems to be almost like his usual self outside of being even more raving than ever. Frank has killed him many times, but no matter what he tries, no matter how thorough, Wade always comes back.

    further reading: Everything You Need to Know About The Punisher Season 2

    Spider-Man is Patient Zero in this world, having been the first known mutation. As chaos has reigned supreme and the world has fallen apart, the infected have taken to forming tribes. Spider-Man is the alpha and Deadpool is one of his top flunkies. The fact that Deadpool can speak relatively normal makes him a perfect messenger, even if Frank tends to open fire on him on a regular basis.


    Capcom, 2011

    The fighting game Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and its update Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 feature both Spider-Man and Deadpool. While simply having them in the same game shouldn’t be enough to give it an entry on this list, it is worth noting the specific interactions they have. The fighters in the game (at least those who can talk) have a collection of audio quotes for pre-fight intros, audio quotes for post-fight wins, and a few lines of text after that. There are tons of instances where characters will say certain things based on their partners or opponents, such as Captain America bringing up Civil War to Iron Man or having Akuma tell Thor that it’s fun to kill a god.

    When Spider-Man defeats Deadpool, his victory text states: “Hey, Mister WIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIILLLLLL-SON! ...You suck.”

    When Deadpool is about to fight Spider-Man: “Gonna rough you up like a Broadway musical!”

    When Deadpool defeats Spider-Man, he audibly says: “Aw, that was too easy! Maybe it would have helped if you’d turned off the dark! Hahaha!”

    further reading: The Legacy of Marvel vs. Capcom

    And in his post-fight text, he references the similarities between Spider-Man and Albert Wesker’s super attacks with: “Hey, did you know that Wesker guy stole your Maximum Spider move? You were doing that back in Marvel Super Heroes! So... Gonna go kick his ass? Can I watch?”



    John Layman, Lee Garbett, Juan Doe, and Al Barrionuevo, 2011

    This neat, under-the-radar crossover takes place over the course of three annuals and tells the tale of a group of bad guys who try to ransack a dimensional portal being worked on at Horizon Labs. Deadpool is brought in to help, but the criminals betray him. Meanwhile, Bruce Banner is working at the lab, so we end up having Hulk, Spider-Man, and Deadpool all sucked through the portal into an alternate reality.

    Our three heroes end up meeting their alternate selves and have to clean up their messes. Spider-Man comes across The Amazing Spider, whose life appears to not only be perfect by Peter Parker standards, but he’s also Superman level and is feared by all criminals. Too bad he gets that power because he and Uncle Ben steal Spider-Men away from other worlds and suck their powers out, killing them.

    further reading - Complete Guide to Marvel Easter Eggs in Spider-Man: Homecoming

    Then there’s Deadpool, who meets his non-healing counterpart, the green-and-black-wearing mercenary, Deathwish. Only it turns out Deathwish is Victor Von Doom. In this reality, Reed Richards experimented on Wade Wilson’s tumor and rather than just get a healing factor, it also enhanced his intelligence and turned him into the armored dictator Deathmask.

    As for Hulk, Bruce Banner became Sorcerer Supreme and was able to exorcise the Hulk into Hell. Mephisto eventually sends the beast back, more vicious than ever.

    The three do indeed not only thwart their corrupt doppelgangers, but leave the world in a better place than when they found it. Plus Deadpool takes all of Deathmask’s occult spell books and draws mustaches and giant wangs on all the demons.


    Rick Remender and Shawn Moll, 2011

    Originally, this story appeared fragmented through a handful of What If issues one year, but it was later released as a complete one-shot.

    It’s a strange beast that takes place across various decades. In the '80s, Deadpool is hired by Galactus to kill the Beyonder, but Deadpool foregoes it to become his BFF instead. The two enjoy champagne and women, but their flying limo is soon accosted by Spider-Man, angry about his living black costume and blaming the Beyonder for it.

    further reading: Every Marvel and Spider-Man Easter Egg in the Venom Movie

    The driver, musician “Bobby Oceanic,” blasts Spider-Man out of the car and to his death. The symbiote then jumps onto Deadpool, possesses his '80s jheri curl and then things get really weird.



    Cullen Bunn, Dalibor Talajic, and Matteo Lolli, 2012

    The Deadpool Killogy is a trilogy of stories by Cullen Bunn based on an alternate reality Deadpool – one who looks like he’s wearing a red diaper – being driven nihilistic from becoming aware of being a fictional character. In Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe, he wipes out all the heroes and villains. In Killustrated, he tries to destroy the original literary archetypes in order to destroy fiction at its source. Then in Deadpool Kills Deadpool, the mainstream Earth 616 Deadpool finds himself targeted and tries to save the multiverse from his evil self.

    further reading: Deadpool Comics Reading Order

    The second issue of the first series begins with Spider-Man clowning Deadpool pretty hard, all while admitting that he used to find him funny. Letting his guard down, Spider-Man allows himself to be shot in the head at point-blank range. Deadpool moves on to other victims, namely the Avengers.

    The opening pages of Killustratedshow that Deadpool has killed the heroes of various worlds, including countless Spider-Men. There’s some kind of cosmic failsafe that keeps him from being able to kill the same character the same way twice, so we see him setting one Spider-Man on fire, then later strangling another Spider-Man to death.


    Kevin Shinick and Aaron Kuder, 2012

    In this two-parter from Spider-Man’s short-lived, extra ongoing, Deadpool enters Peter’s mind to prevent him from being taken over by an outside threat. The first issue is a rather bizarre take on Inceptionwhere Deadpool casually shoots up the bullies at Peter’s high school while an underwear-clad Peter keeps yelling at him to stop.

    further reading: Deadpool vs. Deathstroke - An Inter-Promotional Rivalry

    As it turns out, Deadpool is playing Spider-Man as part of a plot with the Hypno Hustler. Deadpool has a deal where the Hustler will be able to hypnotize Deadpool’s heart into no longer beating, thereby giving him the sweet release of death. Deadpool then has a change of heart when he’s tasked with actively killing Spider-Man, though the webbed one isn’t exactly as forgiving as Wade would have hoped.

    Though at least the story gives us a quick look at Spider-Ham’s mercenary counterpart Deadpork!


    DEADPOOL V.3 #7

    Gerry Duggan, Brian Posehn, and Scott Koblish, 2013

    Every now and then, the Duggan/Posehn run of Deadpoolwould go back in time to an earlier era of Marvel Comics. These “lost issues” began with a trip to 1980s Marvel, based around Tony Stark’s bout with alcoholism. The opening moments feature Peter Parker being ignored by his Bugle bosses and then being disgusted with Flash Thompson stealing a handicap spot.

    “Pfft. I’m only going to be a few minutes. Besides, why should the legless people get all the good spots?”

    Deadpool, wearing his ridiculous, yet accurate, '80s superhero threads, steals Flash’s car and drives off. At first, Peter is okay with letting him go, but then has the realization that by letting the thief go, Uncle Ben is somehow going to get shot a second time.

    I’ve mentioned that Duggan/Posehn is the best Deadpoolrun ever, right? Good!



    Roy Burdine, Man of Action, and Ed Valentine, 2013

    Otherwise known as “They Canceled Spectacular Spider-Man for This Crap?!?” the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series is a more cartoony take on Spidey, basing it on his teenage years with constant Family Guycutaways and a status quo where he and his fellow young heroes are being trained by SHIELD. The episode “Ultimate Deadpool” features Deadpool, who is surprisingly okay to mention by name.

    No, really. Saying “dead” is a big no-no on these shows, usually. Hell, Deadpool’s shown up in some Marvel all-ages comics and they weren’t allowed to say his name.

    Deadpool is played off as basically being the dark Spider-Man. And not in the cool Venom way. More that Deadpool was in Spider-Man’s position as a superhero cadet, but lost interest and went off to become a mercenary. The two of them work together at first, trying to hunt down Taskmaster, but – surprise, surprise – Deadpool betrays Spider-Man in the name of the almighty dollar and they have a wacky and rather unfunny fight.

    further reading: The Strange History of Deadpool in Other Media

    The comic tie-in series Ultimate Spider-Man: Web-Warriorshas an issue based on it, but it’s really the same exact story retold with the same art. Nothing worth talking about.


    DEADPOOL V.3 #10

    Gerry Duggan, Brian Posehn, and Mike Hawthorne, 2013

    That aforementioned flashback issue laid the seeds for a story in the present where Deadpool would take on a high-ranking demon from Hell. In one of the issues, he goes after a crime lord who sold his soul to said demon in order to get some precognition powers. Deadpool stumbles into a team-up with Spider-Man, only it’s the infamous era of Superior Spider-Man. It’s not the hero Deadpool knows, but rather Doctor Octopus inhabiting Peter Parker’s body.

    Deadpool’s target, Daniel Gump, has hired a group of hired guns to stop the red-clad duo. Outside of Batroc and Taskmaster (who throws in the towel as his heart isn’t into it), it isn’t the most impressive roster. In fact, fittingly enough, Lady Stilt Man shows up for another Spider-Man/Deadpool fight!

    While Spider-Man is usually very annoyed by Deadpool’s antics, the Ock-minded version hates him even more. Especially when Deadpool starts ranting about how Spider-Man has the worst villains, such as that Elton John lookalike Doc Ock. Deadpool briefly steals a webshooter and succeeds in murdering Gump, but Spider-Man gets him back by punching him out and webbing him up for the police.



    Christopher Hastings and Jacopo Camagni, 2014

    Oh man, this issue is so much fun. Fixed from the whole Doc Ock situation, Spider-Man’s been driven insane due to Chameleon constantly stalking and stabbing him. It’s enough that when Deadpool checks in on him, Spider-Man’s acting like a paranoid nutcase. The Chameleon strikes again and although Deadpool is able to ward him off, Spider-Man’s completely knocked out from a syringe to the neck.

    Deadpool figures he’ll beat the Chameleon at his own game via switching costumes with Spider-Man. What follows is an enjoyable romp where Deadpool goes around pretending to be Spider-Man, totally excited about using webbing and fighting dumb, animal-themed villains.

    By the time the Chameleon shows up to stab some more, Spider-Man-dressed-as-Deadpool arrives, well-rested, and helps out his fellow chatterbox. The two end up coming off as allies by the end of the story, though Spider-Man’s rather annoyed that Deadpool’s hour or so in the webbed tights somehow did wonders for his PR.



    Rick Remender and Adam Kubert, 2014

    Axiswas a big mess of a story. When a Carnage miniseries is somehow the highlight of your big comic event, you know you messed up. The meat of it had to do with a bunch of heroes and villains becoming morally “inverted,” an idea that works better with DC’s Crime Syndicate stuff than it does in the Marvel Universe where nearly everyone is shades of gray as is. In other words, the good guys are bad and the bad guys are good.

    Deadpool goes under a personality change where he’s still a good guy, but he’s more zen and less stabby. Spider-Man wasn’t in the area when the inversion spell happened, so he’s his usual friendly neighborhood self. As for others, the X-Men – led by Deadpool’s son figure (or whatever the opposite of “father figure” is called) Evan Sabahnur – are going to wipe out humankind because that’s now their thing.

    further reading: Who is Carnage?

    While the heroes and inverted-villains are distracting the X-Men outside, Spider-Man and Deadpool sneak into Evan/Apocalypse’s complex. Remender writes Inverted Deadpool differently from how he’s portrayed in his main book, making him just as wacky as his normal self. Despite not being a murder-happy psycho, Deadpool’s antics still find ways to bemuse Spider-Man.

    The two take on Inverted Evan themselves and get split up in the melee as Spider-Man teams up with Inverted Carnage and Deadpool gets literally torn to pieces by Evan.

    But you know Wade. It’s only a minor setback.


    DEADPOOL V.3 #45

    Gerry Duggan, Brian Posehn, and Scott Koblish, 2015

    Fairly recently, there was that big fake-out “Death of Deadpool” issue that ended the previous Deadpoolvolume. In the main story, Deadpool died via the Secret Wars final incursion after making peace with the fact that he has loved ones who care for him and he can actually be happy. There’s a series of backup stories, including one where Deadpool steals the Infinity Gauntlet from Thanos and uses it to hold his own roast in his honor with an audience of heroes and villains from beyond time and space.

    This includes Spider-Man as one of the main presenters, who proceeds to completely bomb. Later, Spider-Man joins in with everyone else, laughing uncontrollably at Deadpool’s ending monologue because he’s literally forcing them to with the Gauntlet. Deadpool then freezes time and explains his bitterness to the reader, blaming us as the source of his constant suffering. The reason he never explains the fourth wall to his fellow heroes is because he simply doesn’t want to ruin their lives.


    Cullen Bunn and Matteo Lolli, 2015

    Even though Deadpool was created in 1991, did you know that he was involved in the original Secret Wars? The one from the mid-80s? Yeah, he was there! We just don’t remember it because of cosmic magic and a disastrous fling with Janet Van Dyne.

    Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars is a retelling of the classic crossover event, only with Deadpool there helping the good guys. That leads to him getting up in Spider-Man’s business twice. One is the scene where Spider-Man is able to singlehandedly fight off the entire X-Men by himself because the '80s was a very different time. Deadpool gives chase and takes him on one-on-one, but he doesn’t do much better than the mutants.

    The other bit, which is way funnier, has Deadpool come across the machine that produces the black alien costume. Deadpool wears it for a moment and digs it, but then realizes that it’s a living being trying to become one with him and the experience is like torture for the symbiote. He puts it back and wonders if connecting with his mind damaged the creature in any way. As he’s leaving, he passes Spider-Man and gives him directions to the machine, telling him that “black is slimming.”



    Gerry Duggan and Ryan Stegman, 2015

    After the events of the other, more modern Secret Wars story, a couple new Avengers teams were created. One of those teams is Steve Rogers’ Unity Team, yet another attempt at putting humans, mutants, and now Inhumans on the same side. This has introduced conflict twice over. Not only are mutants and Inhumans not on the best of terms, causing lots of friction between Rogue and Synapse, but there’s also the big deal that Deadpool’s hanging around.

    Not only is Deadpool an Avenger, but his celebrity status and royalty earnings are currently funding the team. This doesn’t sit well with Rogue and Spider-Man. ESPECIALLY Spider-Man. As the first issue begins, they’ve been a team for months, but a fight against the Super-Adaptoid ends up being the last straw. Spider-Man can’t deal with Deadpool’s annoying and dangerous behavior, and quits the team.

    Well, the joke’s on him. He’s going to be stuck in a comic with Deadpool whether he likes it or not!


    Deadpool: Back in Black #5

    Cullen Bunn and Salva Espin, 2016

    Hey, remember when I was talking about Deadpool's Secret Secret Wars a few entries ago? Well, this here's the sequel. As it turns out, prior to Eddie Brock, the rejected goop that used to be Spider-Man's black alien costume went back to using Deadpool as a host. The miniseries shows Deadpool going up against various 80s-themed heroes and villains. While the symbiote is mostly helpful, it does have its drawbacks, such as its rage and hunger.

    further reading: How do You Put the X-Men in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

    A group of aliens hunt down the costume and end up hunting down Spider-Man. Although Deadpool saves the unconscious Spider-Man's life, the symbiote attempts to take over and kill the prone hero. Deadpool ends up putting his foot down and briefly prevents the creature from taking its violent revenge on Spider-Man. The two go their separate ways and Deadpool puts the wheels in motion that cause Eddie Brock to enter the church and become the host for Venom.


    Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe Again #2

    Cullen Bunn and Dalibor Talajic, 2017

    Once again, Bunn does a story about Deadpool killing all the heroes and villains singlehandedly. This time, the story is a lot better than, "Deadpool notices the fourth wall and becomes an extreme nihilist." Deadpool is mentally messed with by the villains of the world, led by Red Skull. Thinking he's having wacky adventures, Deadpool is actually killing his allies with only the occasional moment of lucidity breaking through. All he can do is hope that someone can stop him.

    further reading - Why You Should be Thankful for X-Men Origins: Wolverine

    As a callback to Back in Black, Deadpool hunts down Eddie Brock and kills him with lots of airhorns and heavy artillery. He proceeds to wear the symbiote as he hunts down and overpowers Spider-Man. In Deadpool's head, he and Spider-Man are in a Hostess Fruit Pies ad, being challenged in an eating contest by the Blob. The symbiote, on the other hand, knows the truth and devours Spider-Man's brains. Briefly remembering their old history and friendship, Deadpool spares the costume and tells it to leave him be.

    Deadpool spends the rest of the issue eliminating the other spider heroes such as Spider-Woman, Miles, and Spider-Man 2099.


    Spider-Man/Deadpool #1-22

    Joe Kelly, Ed McGuiness, and various fill-in teams, 2016-2017

    As part of the fall-out of both being on the same Avengers team, Deadpool pesters Spider-Man and tries to win him over by showing that he really does need a mentor in being a better person. Over time, Spider-Man does see Wade for his positives, but he's still regularly annoyed with his antics and they have a brief falling out based on Deadpool temporarily murdering Spider-Man's "boss" Peter Parker for supposedly being an evil villain.

    Broken up by various one-shot fill-ins (including the two of them helping out on a Deadpool movie, meeting up in the 1970s, teaming up with Penn and Teller, and saving Christmas from the god Saturn), the main story has to do with a doomed mastermind named Patient Zero, who gets killed by his creation before he can explain who he is and why he blames Deadpool and Peter Parker for his problems. His creation is Itsy Bitsy, a half-woman/half-spider with the powers and abilities of Spider-Man and Deadpool.

    further reading: Complete Schedule of Upcoming Marvel Movies

    Longtime readers of Deadpool shouldn't have too hard a time figuring out who Patient Zero truly is. Especially when you focus on the Joe Kelly aspect. But who he's looking for? Well, you'll have to think a lot bigger.

    The main story ends in the eighteenth issue, followed by more fill-in issues.


    Spider-Man vs. Deadpool #23-34

    Robbie Thompson, Chris Bachalo, Scott Hepburn, Elmo Bondoc, Matt Horak, 2017-2018

    In Deadpool's main book, things have been falling to pieces thanks in part to him murdering Agent Phil Coulson. Long story. While the main series has the general fallout to that, his Spider-Man team-up series gets rebranded as Spider-Man vs. Deadpool to play up how Spider-Man really wants to bring his quasi-friend to justice. Regardless, the two end up on the same side again and again in a storyline revolving around an army of LMD androids while the Chameleon acts like a jerk.

    further reading: The Best Marvel What If? Moments

    The book constantly bounces back and forth to show us years into the future, where our heroes have become elderly and put on their costumes one last time to fight an evil Deadpool doppelganger. Lots of crazy stuff, including the Fantastic Four of the future (Venom Vision?!).

    It really is fascinating to see the history between Spider-Man and Deadpool. It used to be a rare novelty that they’d usually shy away from. Then it became a semi-regular thing. Now we’re at the point where they’ve interacted enough and Deadpool’s become important enough in the grand scheme of things that they might as well make money off of it. Who knows where this bromance will go next?

    Gavin Jasper is still waiting for Lady Stilt Man to show up in the new series. Follow him on Twitter!

    0 0

    The Outsider, the most recent novel by Stephen King, is already getting a TV series adaptation.

    News Joseph Baxter
    Dec 3, 2018

    Stephen King’s latest novel, The Outsider, just hit book shelves and devices on May 22. However, in case you haven’t noticed, the entertainment industry is in the midst of a Kingaissance of sorts, with adaptation-minded studios stumbling over each other to voraciously scoop up anything the man has written, be it a novel, short story, or cocktail napkin on which he wrote directions to a rest stop (that last one’s a joke, but oddly feasible). Consequently, The Outsider is already heading for adaptation pastures, with plans for television series blooming.

    HBO has announced a pickup for The Outsider TV series, which will manifest as a 10-episode limited event on the premium cable channel. Onboard as executive producers are Richard Price (HBO’s The Night Of, The Deuce), Jack Bender (Mr. Mercedes, Lost) and Jason Bateman via his Aggregate Films, also joined by Temple Hill Entertainment and MRC.

    The Outsider Cast

    Ben Mendelsohn has been tapped to star in The Outsider upon HBO’s greenlight. The starring role will presumably see Mendelsohn tackle a small-town murder investigation that takes a supernatural swerve.

    The veteran Aussie actor, Mendelsohn, has achieved acclaim on the big and small screens in recent years, notably with his unforgettable co-starring role as Danny Rayburn on Netflix serial drama Bloodline, for which he won an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in 2016, with nominations banked in 2015 and 2017. The role opened doors for prominent parts in movies such as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Darkest Hour, Ready Player One and Robin Hood, with – amongst other things – a major role in upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe offering in the Brie Larson-starring Captain Marvel, which hits theaters in March 2019.

    He might be joined onscreen by executive producer Jason Bateman. The New York-born actor, a late-1980s teen idol who experienced a post-2000s career resurgence after starring in comedy series Arrested Development, has also made a transition to behind the camera as the star/director/executive-producer of the hit Netflix crime drama, Ozark. Thus, with Bateman set to direct two episodes of The Outsider, there is a hinted possibility that he could also field a guest-starring role.

    The Outsider Details

    The story of The Outsider puts a mind-blowingly monstrous twist on traditional accused-of-murder fiction (in which King previously delved with his 1982 novella, Rita Hayworth andShawshank Redemption). Here, police detective Ralph Anderson fields an investigation in the fictional Oklahoma town of Flint City that upends the local populace when a well-liked local man, Terry Maitland, is arrested for the shockingly malicious murder of an 11-year-old boy. While a mountain of evidence – including DNA and fingerprints – make the case seem open-and-shut, Maitland vehemently swears his innocence; an idea that gains momentum when his alibi – of being out of town at a conference – checks out, leading the investigation to a potentially supernatural turn.

    Interestingly, there’s some King Universe crossover potential with this project, at least, as far as the story is concerned. In The Outsider novel, investigator Ralph Anderson is partnered on the Maitland case with Holly Gibney, a character from King’s 2014 novel, Mr. Mercedes, which, of course, has already been adapted as a television series for Audience Network, on which the character was played by Justine Lupe (Madame Secretary, Sneaky Pete). However, that series is the construct of different production companies, which might complicate a prospective crossover.

    The Outsider, which now heads for HBO, is but one of many King projects with live-action plans. Amongst the myriad King adaptations in the works are small screen reboots of The Stand (with CBS) and The Dark Tower (with Amazon) are also in the works. Back on the movie front, the Pet Sematary remake will once again prove that “dead is betta” when it arrives on April 19, 2019, and It: Chapter 2 is quickly casting the adult version of the Losers’ Club, heading towards its September 6, 2019 release. – And there's A LOT more to come.

    We’ll keep you updated on HBO's The Outsider TV series as things develop!

    Joseph Baxter is a contributor for Den of Geek and Syfy Wire. You can find his work here. Follow him on Twitter @josbaxter.

    0 0

    0 0

    Hulu is developing TV shows based on John Grisham’s The Rainmaker and Rogue Lawyer, designed to showcase a shared universe.

    News Joseph Baxter
    Dec 4, 2018

    Shared universes are apparently no longer restricted to Marvel and DC blockbusters, at least that’s the notion that streaming service Hulu is embracing with its ambitious plans for TV series adaptation of multiple John Grisham novels. That’s right, folks, a live-action franchise called The John Grisham Universe is now officially a thing.

    Hulu has announced that John Grisham novels in 1995’s The Rainmaker and 2015’s Rogue Lawyer will get the small screen serial treatment, wielding unconventional plans to not only have the two shows connected continuity-wise, but adhere to a format that accommodates watching the episodes out of order, or, as the service’s statement puts it, either “vertically” or “horizontally.” The two series will be planned in a writer’s room simultaneously, with an initial benchmark of producing eight scripts for each show.

    The shows will enter development from ABC Signature and Seitzman and Christina Davis’s ABC Studios-based Maniac Productions. For this initial duo of Grishamverse legal dramas, Hulu has tapped the creative coalition of writers Michael Seitzman (Quantico, Code Black), Jason Richman (Mercy Street, Detroit 1-8-7) and author Grisham himself, who, having given his blessing, will have his say in the adaptation process as executive producer, joined in that capacity by the Seitzman/Richman duo and Davis.

    Of course, several of Grisham’s novels have been adapted for the big screen, some more successful than others, most notably, the 1993 Tom Cruise-starring legal drama, The Firm, along with The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Chamber, A Painted House and Skipping Christmas (not counting Netflix’s new Grisham docuseries, The Innocent Man). However, film buffs will remember The Rainmaker from director Francis Ford Coppola’s 1997 movie adaptation (pictured in the title image) in which Matt Damon starred as a recent law school grad who – joined by a shady partner played by Danny DeVito – attempts to do benevolent legal work to help a leukemia patient whose insurance company unscrupulously denied treatment.

    The Rogue Lawyer, which will get its first live-action adaptation, centers on the exploits of a street-based solicitor who practices in the seedy side of the city out of the back of a black bulletproof van, joined only by a heavily-armed driver. However, Hulu’s aforementioned non-linear TV plans will see the stories of the two Grisham adaptations directly intertwined, sharing a murder mystery that will be connected to a larger conspiracy (its own proverbial Infinity Gauntlet-seeking Thanos, if you will), making the manner in which these shows are binged subjective one’s own tastes. Yet, the structure of Hulu’s John Grisham Universe will be built organically and expand at a careful rate.

    It will be interesting to see if the seemingly incompatible concepts of “John Grisham” and “Universe” will translate into something that’s palatable in the peak television era.

    Joseph Baxter is a contributor for Den of Geek and Syfy Wire. You can find his work here. Follow him on Twitter @josbaxter.

    0 0

    Who is The Flash Season 5 villain? We dig in to the DC Comics history of the Cicada, played by Chris Klein.

    The Flash Season 5 Villain, Cicada played by Chris Klein
    Feature Mike Cecchini
    Dec 4, 2018

    This article contains The Flash spoilers.

    His arrival has been teased since the first bit of footage for The Flash Season 5 arrived, but the Cicada (played by Chris Klein) has remained a mystery. Even The Flash season 5 premiere, the excellent "Nora," waited until quite literally the last minute of the episode to introduce him. And when they did, it was to dispatch that episode's disposable villain, Gridlock, who won't be missed.

    And while the character is definitely a villain from the comics, The Flash season 5 has opted to handle Cicada as an almost completely different character. But like Savitar and The Thinker, he continues the show's tradition of elevating otherwise obscure villains to the prestige role of season big bad. It makes some sense. After all, once you've done Thawne and Zoom, and since Captain Cold had a brilliant arc of his own to handle (across multiple shows, no less!), most Flash villains (as great as they are) aren't quite up to the challenge of sustaining an entire season of their own. A character like Cicada is practically a blank slate, as we saw from his longer introduction in "Blocked" and the completely new origin concocted for him in "Oh Come All Ye Thankful."

    For starters, he even looks pretty different from the character from the comics. See for yourself...

    A fondness for overcoats and jagged daggers aside, you'd be hard pressed to even identify these as the same character if you saw them next to each other. Anyway, for characters like this, looks are the least important thing. Just consider how much cooler Savitar looked than his comic book counterpart!

    Cicada first appeared in The Flash #170 (2001) by Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins (it's collected in The Flash by Geoff Johns: Book One). That story kicked of "Blood Will Run" and it was actually a Wally West tale. This was early in Johns' tenure as writer on The Flash, long before he brought Barry Allen back to life. It was also an early appearance of Officer Fred Chyre, who you may remember was played by Al Sapienza in the first episode of this series...where he was also killed off. Damn shame, as Chyre was a fun character. Anyway...

    A rash of killings was taking place in Keystone City, and the common thread among the victims was that they had all been rescued by Flash at some point. The victims were being killed by a cult, accumulating their life-force via special lightning bolt shaped knives (we saw this at the end of "Nora" as well). Cicada (real name: David Hersch) was over 100 years old, having been struck by lightning shortly after the death of his wife (hint: she didn't die of natural causes). That lightning bolt gave him the ability to absorb life force and become essentially immortal.

    further reading: The Flash - Who is Jay Garrick?

    Thanks to the lightning bolt connection, Cicada's cult believed that Flash had been saving people specifically to help them accomplish their goal, which was not only to extend Cicada's life, but also to bring his wife back from the dead. If we get a creepy, half-preserved wife mummy this season that Chris Klein is weeping over, I'm going to be pretty darn pleased. Anyway, as you can probably guess, Wally didn't take kindly to the cult's thinking (particularly when it was time to have his own life force drained), and Cicada was put away, and has more or less languished in obscurity ever since. 

    What was interesting about this story was how it was so specifically tailored to Wally at the time. This wasn't just a villain for Wally to stop, it was a villain that made Wally confront some of his own indiscretions. Specifically, Wally had spent a chunk of his early career as Flash as something of a womanizer, and one of the Cicada's victims was an ex-lover of his. Oh, and an ex-girlfriend he did wrong (remember Magenta from season three?) was a Cicada cultist, as well.

    As we've seen on the show, though, TV Cicada doesn't seem interested in people Flash has saved. Instead, he has it in for metas in general. He's taking it out on metas because of the events of the season four finale, which left his adopted daughter in a coma, essentially subbing her in for the mummified wife. Will he ever assemble a collection of cultists? My guess is probably not, since that angle was already played with back in the Alchemy and Savitar days, but I'll update this article with more info about the TV version of Cicada and how he lines up with (or doesn't) with his DC Comics history as I can.

    Keep up with all our news and reviews about The Flash season 5 right here!

    Mike Cecchini is the Editor in Chief of Den of Geek. You can read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @wayoutstuff.

    Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!

    0 0

    The Dark Knight has a run-in with an alternate universe in the latest issue of Tom King's Batman.

    Batman #61
    NewsJohn Saavedra
    Dec 5, 2018

    This Batman article contains spoilers.

    The Caped Crusader has gone rogue, left to pick up the pieces of a shattered engagement to Catwoman and solve a mystery that's already amassed quite the body count. What's Batman's solution to his current problems? Punching everyone in the face, of course. 

    At the center of the mystery is Bane, the architect of the Dark Knight's latest crisis, who has taken over Arkham Asylum and recruited a band of bad guys to help him break the Bat once and for all. With this group of baddies, the villain has managed to send Bruce's life into turmoil. A back apparently heals much faster than a broken heart. 

    Batman #60, the latest issue from writer Tom King and artist Mikel Janin, teases that things are only going to get worse for the World's Greatest Detective in the next few months. Since Selena stood him up on their wedding night, Bruce has retreated back into his war on crime, first beating Mr. Freeze to a pulp and then basically leaving KGBeast for dead (similar to the end of "Ten Nights of the Beast") after the assassin shot Nightwing in the head

    When the Penguin confesses to Batman that he was hired by Bane to kill Alfred, the Caped Crusader decides to pay Bane a little visit at Arkham Asylum, kicking the crap out of the villain, who pretends to be ill and weak in order to keep Batman off the scent. Commissioner Gordon witnesses Batman's increasingly violent methods in his quest to unmask Bane as a mastermind and decides that he's had enough, smashing the Bat-Signal with a bat, hinting that the Dark Knight's status with the GCPD and Gotham City as a whole is about to change. 

    But that's not even the biggest difficulty coming up for Batman. The final panel of Batman #60 reveals that someone from Bruce's past has returned to haunt him: Thomas Wayne, his father. Of course, this Thomas Wayne isn't actually our Bruce's father but a version of Batman created by Flashpoint (it's a whole thing, Google it).

    Standing over his son while Bruce tends to an injured Alfred in the Batcave (presumably, Thomas Wayne knocked him out in order to get to the Penguin, who was being kept in a cage inside the cave), it's unclear if Thomas means to hurt his son or something else entirely. The cliffhanger seems to promise some kind of revelation or clash between these two Batmen. 

    The last time these two met, it was during the Batman/Flash "The Button" crossover, which saw Batman and The Flash travel to the Flashpoint universe while tracking down Reverse-Flash and the mysterious Watchmen button first introduced in DC Universe: Rebirth #1 by Geoff Johns. During their meeting, Thomas urged his son to find happiness and give up the mantle of the Bat before it was too late. Interestingly enough, it seemed that Thomas had died when the Flashpoint universe was erased from existence at the end of "The Button," presumably at the hands of Dr. Manhattan (a whole other thing, Google it). All of this, of course, pushed Bruce to propose to Selena just a few weeks later. 

    It was then revealed in the final panel of Batman #50, the now-infamous wedding issue, that Thomas Wayne had actually survived and was in cahoots with Bane, part of the group of villains trying to take out the Bat, which also includes the Joker, Riddler, Ventriloquist, Psycho-Pirate, Hugo Strange, and, most surprisingly, Gotham Girl. We'll assume that Flashpoint Batman's reemergence in Bruce's life is the next step in Bane's plan. 

    King teased on Twitter that the upcoming issue #61, which will see the return of the maniacal Matthew Warner from #38, will be the start of a new set of stories called "Knightmares." 

    "Epic arc scraping at the soul of Batman. (With a Flash break at 64, 65)," King said of the next nine issues. This doesn't sound good for Bruce at all.

    Issue #62 will mark the return of both Professor Pyg and Mister Miracle artist Mitch Gerads to the book, while #63 will be a team-up between Batman and John Constantine, with pencils from Mikel Janin. Issues #64-65 will be part of a new Batman/Flash crossover being written by regular Flashwriter Joshua Williamson. 

    Plenty coming up for the heartbroken Bat, then. We'll keep you updated as we learn more. 

    John Saavedra is an associate editor at Den of Geek. Read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @johnsjr9

    0 0

    The Gifted gets that in good X-Men stories, the bad guy usually has a point.

    This The Gifted episode review contains spoilers.

    The Gifted Season 2 Episode 9

    Last season, we talked a lot about the boxes every good X-Men story checked: soapy melodrama and interesting applications of powers. This season, they're aiming for the tropes that most good X-Men stories have, but those are such tightropes to walk that they've in turn sunk other promising ones. Matt Nix admitted as much to us when we talked to him back before SDCC: complicated family dynamics and everyone, good or bad, having at least a shred of a point.

    This is incredibly difficult. Even in the best X-Men stories they usually don't bother giving the humans a relatable perspective. But this season of The Gifted,and this particular episode, have really nailed it on every front.

    This is not to say that the line between good and bad hasn't been blurred on both sides. It has - John's behavior over the last few weeks has become increasingly erratic as the pressure (and creeping despair at failing in his mission) have mounted on him. That has him bad cop-ing the hell out of everyone this week. He manipulates Marcos back into the game, then Blink into kidnapping an executive from Regimen to help find out what the Inner Circle is after. And then he threatens and terrifies the man into helping them figure out their plan, to the point where Blink walks off because he's being such a jackass.

    John's moral collapse aside, though, this week was a Hellfire Club week, and they crushed it. Reva is ice cold about the Inner Circle's torture of Rebecca, setting it up so that Andy is inadvertently (maybe? I'm not sold that Reva didn't see it coming) forced to choose between protecting his girl or protecting the Inner Circle, and he chooses his coworkers, accidentally killing Rebecca as she's getting ready to destroy Reva, the Cuckoos and Polaris.

    If I have to find a complaint with the episode, it's probably that their attempts to humanize Rebecca failed at humanizing her, but succeeded in showing how complicated her story is. The cold open was a flashback to when she got dimed out to Sentinel Services by her parents. It's a rough, sad betrayal of a daughter by her parents, but she's also a creepy-ass weirdo who likes to turn people inside out, so it's hard not to see the narc position here. I think it undermines her attack on the Inner Circle, though - by failing to humanize her in this scene, her attack on Reva et al just feels like wanton revenge rather than a lashing out by a supremely broken person.

    Reva's ultimate plan is to get into Regimen because they're the ones who manufacture the power dampening collars. Once inside, they'll shut all the collars down, rapidly expanding the size of the mutant revolution. And what do you know: it works, and all hell breaks loose to close the episode. Even with the chaos that comes from their victory, it's hard not to see where they're coming from after hearing about the torture inflicted by the collars. The regime running the US in The Giftedseems pretty shitty.

    Related: Explaining The X-Men Movie Timeline

    Even the C-plot this week was good. Clan Strucker is still with Dr. Reisman, working to destroy her lab full of data on a mutant cure. Reisman is the rare sympathetic X-Men human villain, here, doing everything she can to be nice and positive to Lauren and Reed while also planning on what amounts to genocide. She's sympathetic because she's convinced she's trying to help, though, and that's a tough, smart, interesting perspective on what's traditionally been either boring as hell or played super over the top. Her research is eventually destroyed by Nathan going Over 9000 in her lab, and his pivot from dutiful lab assistant to renegade terrorist blowing up a medical lab wasn't really given the space to breathe to make it convincing. Again, these are minor quibbles.

    The most effective part of the story (and the season so far, for that matter) has been the ongoing radicalization of Jace Turner. I'd be interested to know how much research went into his story for this season, because it feels a little like a true crime documentary when he's around. He's completely convinced of his righteousness, embittered because of... well... a ton of stuff, and gradually being talked deeper into extremism within the Purifiers, until we get him hunting mutants on the streets of DC, pinning Thunderbird to a dumpster and then capturing him. In a world where right wing violence is on the rise and sheriff's deputies are getting fired for wearing QAnon patches on their official gear, getting a glimpse into a person's soul as they're descending into extremism is interesting and genuinely terrifying.

    The Giftedbroke at midseason with one of its finest episodes yet. Let's hope they keep getting stronger.


    -Not a ton this week, mostly because I couldn't recognize the mutants who escaped prison in the end sequence: I think we have seen the albino before, but I couldn't pin down the Biotic God who rips a shockwave through the fencing, or Col. Roy Mustang with the lighter.

    -Clarice teleporting the guy into the trunk, then bringing John and Marcos through off-screen is the most X-Men thing I've seen this season, and it's extra sweet because you know they did it because of budgetary constraints. Well done, gang.

    ReviewJim Dandy
    Dec 5, 2018

    0 0

    Avengers: Infinity War makes Thanos look unbeatable. We look for the one chance Doctor Strange saw to defeat him in Avengers: Endgame.

    Avengers: Infinity War - Thanos
    Feature Gavin Jasper
    Dec 7, 2018

    Thanos the Mad Titan is kind of a big deal these days. A decade of Marvel Studios movies led to one starring him that painted him as being the king badass of bad guys. The opening five minutes of Avengers: Infinity War alone make him look like the toughest, most imposing threat to any and all superheroes. Not only is he a dangerous brick house of a purple man, but his adventures usually lead to him buffing up his power with Cosmic Cubes and Infinity Stones.

    How do you solve a problem like Thanos in the highly anticipated Avengers: Endgame?

    Scouring his comic history, I’ve compiled a list of all the times Thanos has been taken down a peg. Maybe one of these is that "one in fourteen million chance" that Doctor Strange mentioned in the movie.

    You can either watch the video for the short version, or keep reading the full article for more details!

    OK, now let's get on with the rest of this...

    THANOS WAR (1974)

    Thanos started off as a Dr. Claw-type of threat who was treated like a big deal, but never got his hands dirty. Like how in his first appearance, in an issue of Iron Man, Thanos’ “defeat” came in the form of a robot duplicate. He didn’t truly take a big L until possessing the Cosmic Cube and facing Captain Mar-Vell.

    Watch Avengers: Infinity War on Amazon

    Using his newfound omnipotence, Thanos rid Earth of its population and discarded the Cosmic Cube by becoming a big, scary Neon Noodle face in the sky. Captain Marvel wasn’t much of a match for Thanos, especially in this form, but he realized that even if discarded, the Cosmic Cue was still the source of Thanos’ abilities. While Thanos tried to disorient Mar-Vell’s surroundings and even speed up his aging, the Captain was able to use his last ounce of strength to karate chop the Cosmic Cube, thereby seemingly killing Thanos and setting everything back to normal.

    DEATH WATCH (1977)

    Adam Warlock teamed up with the Avengers to go stop Thanos from blowing up the solar system. They all failed horribly and Warlock was killed; his soul winding up inside the Soul Stone with Gamora and Pip the Troll. Moondragon reached out and showed all this to the mind of a sleeping Peter Parker, who in turn went to Thing and said, “Yo, I had the weirdest dream. Want to help me save the world just in case?”

    further reading - Avengers: Endgame Trailer Breakdown and Analysis

    While Thanos got huge villain points for refusing to monologue in front of the heroes at the cost of giving the heroes an advantage (in 1977, no less! Wow!), Spider-Man and Thing freed the heroes anyway. The Avengers and Thing jobbed out to Thanos something fierce, but Spider-Man was able to shatter open a special globe with the Soul Stone in there, releasing Adam Warlock in fiery ghost form. Warlock grabbed onto Thanos and transformed him into a statue, albeit one with the retained ability to cry.


    As mentioned in the list of weirdest Thanos moments, Thanos appeared in the all-ages 70s pile of ridiculousness that is Spidey Super Stories. This dorky take on Thanos chased the Cat (Hellcat) with a helicopter and later stole the Cosmic Cube from a teenage skateboarder named Speedy. Having the Cosmic Cube in hand, he seemed unstoppable to the Cat and Spider-Man.

    That is, until he created an earthquake, which not only affected his enemies, but also caused the Cosmic Cube to fall out of his hand. Spider-Man told him, “You were too tricky for your own good, Thanos!”

    Speedy picked up the Cosmic Cube, wrapped Thanos up in grass, and then the police led Thanos away in handcuffs. It’s one of those images that will never not be funny.


    The big event that inspired Avengers: Infinity War had Thanos trip himself up in his moment of ultimate victory. Thanos had the full Infinity Gauntlet, which allowed him to mold the universe at his will, all to impress Death. After defeating the surviving superheroes and overpowering the cosmic entities, he went one-on-one with Eternity himself.

    Thanos won, escaping his physical body to instead become an unbeatable force living in the fabric of the cosmos. Thanos’ folly was that his lifeless body still held onto the Infinity Gauntlet and like a car with the keys in the ignition, that godly power was there for the taking. Nebula zipped over to snatch it, gaining omnipotence, while Thanos was demoted.

    further reading: Every Version of Marvel's Infinity Gauntlet Story

    Thanos then joined the heroes against Nebula and afterwards faked his death by getting hit so hard by Thor that he exploded. Sweet plan!


    The most memorable part of Infinity Gauntletwas the sequence where Thanos powered himself down just enough so that the remaining superheroes had the slightest chance to beat him. They all died horribly, but that was part of the plan. It was all a distraction for Silver Surfer to zip by and grab the Gauntlet off of Thanos’ hand.

    He missed, of course.

    Two What If comics showed what would have happened had he removed the Gauntlet. One story had the Silver Surfer wield the Infinity Gauntlet with good intentions to make the universe a better place, only to gradually go insane from its power. Dr. Strange brought in Shalla Bal to talk some sense into him, which caused the Surfer to destroy the Gauntlet itself (seemingly at the cost of his own life, but instead, he and Shalla snuck off to a paradise planet).

    further reading: The 100 Best Marvel What If Moments

    Thanos pondered over his defeat and smiled at how close he got to victory.

    In the other story, Surfer pulled the Gauntlet off Thanos, but fumbled it due to Thanos blasting at him. Surfer lost his hold on it and it was snatched out of the air by the comedic Impossible Man. The issue was more about Silver Surfer as the main character and while Thanos was depowered, he practically forgotten about within a couple pages.

    URBAN JUNGLE (1998)

    Back in the late-90s, Mark Waid and Andy Kubert did a Ka-Zarongoing that lasted roughly a year. Much like Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ka-Zar took on his evil brother who turned out to be working for Thanos. Thanos had some plot based on terraforming the entire universe so that all the plant life would kill everyone else, including Hillbilly Stephen King.

    Somebody out there will get that reference.

    In this story, Thanos absolutely towered over Ka-Zar and was able to shrug off all of his attacks. They fought it out in the middle of a volcano and while Thanos had Ka-Zar in a bearhug, the power of love gave Ka-Zar some crazy Spider-Man-under-a-pile-of-wreckage strength and he both escaped the hold and knocked Thanos into the lava below.

    further reading: Complete Schedule of Upcoming Marvel Movies

    That wasn’t the end of Thanos, as he rose from the lava, but the aftermath was a bunch of confusing jargon involving a magic medallion.

    CALL OF THE WILD (1998)

    After his loss to Ka-Zar, Thanos was locked up in some kind of energy dimension, unable to escape without help. In the form of a giant, he tried to convince the Hulk to pull him out of that dimension in exchange for power, only for Nate Grey to interfere. Alone, Hulk and X-Man were no match for the colossal Thanos.

    Together, X-Man was able to transfer his telekinetic armor onto Hulk’s body. Bouncing around, looking like The World from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, Hulk proceeded to overpower Thanos and sent him back into the portal from whence he came. Thanos’ connection to reality was cut completely and the heroes went their separate ways.

    Seriously, though. He looks exactly like The World.


    Thanos teamed up with Mangog to best Thor, power up with a bunch of cosmic artifacts (as Thanos is wont to do) and bring forth the end of all life in the universe. Thor was able to take out Mangog in a way most badass, but he was still no match for the amped-up Thanos. Luckily, Odin had Jagrfelm the Blacksmith make some extra special weapons powered by the Odinforce to buff up Thor to Thanos’ level. Odin summoned Firelord to make the delivery in time.

    Enhanced and ready for a piece of the Mad Titan, Thor fought Thanos to a standstill at first until destroying one of the empowering artifacts and turning back Thanos to normal. From there, it was only elementary that Thor would thrash Thanos into a purple mess. Thor’s ally Tarene then used her magic tears to explode Thanos into a smoldering corpse.

    Thanos creator Jim Starlin would later retcon this loss, as well as the Ka-Zar incident, as being against mere clones. I have to imagine that’s more because of Thanos getting outright killed or his plot to wipe out the universe, since Infinity Gauntlet made it apparent that Thor (even Eric Masterson Thor) could possibly tear Thanos apart if he didn’t have the Infinity Stones.

    SQUIRREL GIRL (2006)

    Squirrel Girl joined the Great Lakes Avengers with the dynamic being that they’re lame heroes and she’s lame on the surface despite being able to take down major threats. GLX-Mas Special (during the time when they were the Great Lakes X-Men) had Thanos come to Earth moments after Squirrel Girl just took down MODOK. Thanos talked up some plot about ruling the universe with something called the Pyramatrix.

    Squirrel Girl ran into action as a way to end her part of the story. Later in the issue, it was shown that she defeated Thanos all on her own with Uatu the Watcher verifying that it was indeed him. HOW she won was never explained.

    A later comic would claim that it wasn’t actually him because we can’t have nice things.


    The first Annihilationwas essentially the story that planted the seeds for modern-day Guardians of the Galaxy being a thing. In it, Thanos was more of a henchman to main villain Annihilus, much like how the Grim Reaper is somehow the henchman to Dracula in the Castlevaniagames. Part of their reign of terror had to do with Galactus being captured and weaponized against his will. Eventually, Thanos realized that Annihilus’ plans were a bit too far for him and decided that he’d help the heroes by releasing Galactus.

    Before he could do that, he noticed Death hanging out in the room. As he realized what was up (his time, to be more specific), Thanos suddenly saw his own heart torn out of his chest from behind. Drax the Destroyer was created to kill Thanos and damn it, that was exactly what he was going to do.


    In the family-friendly world of Marvel Adventures: Fantastic Four #16, Thanos clobbered Captain Mar-Vell so hard in the middle of a space battle that the Kree hero was knocked into Earth. There, he teamed up with the Fantastic Four to fight Thanos. Part of the issue centered around an invention of Reed’s called “utility fog,” which was a cloud of shape-shifting nanites.

    At first, the heroes used the utility fog to create duplicates of themselves and fight Thanos 10-on-1. This didn’t work out, but Sue was able to funnel the fog into Thanos’ mouth, allowing the nanites to shut down Thanos from the inside.

    MARVEL ZOMBIES 2 (2007)

    The original Marvel Zombiesminiseries ended with a handful of heroes-turned-zombies devouring Galactus and absorbing his cosmic abilities. They moved on to scouring the cosmos to devour both planets and the inhabitants. As of Marvel Zombies 2, not only did their ranks increase to include various high-ranking space characters like Phoenix, Gladiator, and Thanos, but they also seemingly finished off all the food in the universe.

    Zombie Thanos ranted about Zombie Hulk eating too much food and putting them in this situation, but the argument ended pretty succinctly with Hulk clapping over Thanos’ head and causing an explosion of gore. Gladiator tried eating some of Thanos’ exploded brains and skull fragments, but then immediately vomited them back up.


    A What If issue showed a world where Wolverine, Spider-Man, Hulk, and Ghost Rider remained the New Fantastic Four due to the demise of the original team. A sequel showed how things would have gone had they existed during Infinity Gauntlet. Due to Ghost Rider being erased in the Finger Snap Heard ‘Round the Universe, Iron Man took his spot.

    The team didn’t agree to Adam Warlock’s “everyone die so we can maybe steal the Gauntlet” plan, but their attempts at fighting Thanos head-on didn’t work out either. It was Wolverine’s attention that saved the universe, as he took note the way Mephisto was able to lead Thanos around, as well as Thanos’ feelings for Death. Wolverine smooth-talked Thanos into smiting Mephisto and making Wolverine his new advisor.

    Wolverine, having a better understanding of women than Thanos, talked up how important touch is to a relationship and insisted that Thanos march over to Death and touch her face. By the time Thanos built up the resolve and reached over, Wolverine chopped his arm off and called him a sucker.

    Hulk beat down Thanos, Spider-Man set things right with the Gauntlet, and the day was saved.


    A more all-ages take on Infinity Gauntlet had the team of Spider-Man, Hulk, Wolverine, Ms. Marvel, Dr. Doom, and space trucker US Ace take on Thanos. It was a silly endeavor, but very much worth reading.

    When the heroes (and Doom) fought Thanos, they got their asses handed to them as expected. Out of nowhere, US Ace drove his space truck into Thanos. It didn’t kill him, but it did knock off his Gauntlet. Dr. Doom stole it, but it didn’t do him any good due to the realization that he was just a Doombot.

    Thanos tried to put the Gauntlet back on, only for Spider-Man to steal it with a web yoink and put it on. Spider-Man wished that Thanos never found the Infinity Gems and the story reset itself where only Spider-Man and Thanos remembered the incident.


    The Universal Church of Truth seemed like they were resurrecting Adam Warlock or his evil self Magus, but instead they brought Thanos back from the dead. Not only was that something that would piss Thanos off on principle, but his mental faculties weren't back to normal just yet. The Guardians of the Galaxy had to fight what was essentially a purple Hulk with his junk flapping around.

    The Guardians had a hard time fighting the revived Thanos, as he even seemed more powerful than ever. Groot’s brute force failed, Gamora’s god-killing sword broke on Thanos’ skin, and Drax didn’t do much better. The Guardians hit him with everything they had and it only pissed him off.

    Finally, Star-Lord pulled out a cracked Cosmic Cube and used it to lure Thanos over. Then he let loose with a blast – straight into the crotch – that proceeded to knock out Thanos.


    In one universe, Deadpool became aware that he’s a fictional character and instead of making him all wacky, it broke him and turned him into a brutal nihilist. The four issues were mainly just him killing various characters in occasionally inventive ways. At the beginning of the final issue, we got to see him take out tons of heroes and villains in one fell swoop in what appeared to many as a mass suicide.

    Turned out Deadpool was using the Puppet Master’s puppets to control people and make them kill themselves. To show he was thinking big, he pulled out a Galactus doll and we got to see Galactus and other cosmic types floating dead in space. This included the upper half of Thanos.


    The first arc of Avengers Assemblehad two major roles in relation to Marvel synergy. First, it came out around the time of the first Avengersmovie and capitalized on both the Avengers’ popularity and the post-credits Thanos appearance. Second, it introduced the Guardians of the Galaxy as we know them, tweaking the character traits a little bit and mostly ignoring how their previous series ended because they had a movie coming out in two years and this was Marvel’s way of planting the seeds in the readers’ minds.

    Thanos came to Earth to steal what he thought was a Cosmic Cube, leading to a team-up between the Avengers and the Guardians. Thanos succeeded and became this unstoppable giant, banishing the heroes to another dimension. Turned out it wasn’t so much a real Cosmic Cube as a replica created by the US government. With the help of the Elders of the Universe, the heroes returned with a weapon that would destroy the fake cube. Thanos returned to his normal form.

    Hulk threw a growing Groot at Thanos, who delivered a couple haymakers until being swatted away. Then Thanos looked in horror as the Guardians of the Galaxy and several Avengers rosters (including two Hulks) rushed him down and started curbstomping him into oblivion. Thanos acted like he still had some fight left, but then the Elders popped in to steal him away.

    INFINITY (2013)

    Usually, Thanos’ deal is that he’s trying to get his girl, but around the time of Infinity, Thanos’ deal was that he got the girl too many times. As some kind of galactic Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Thanos sired children all over the universe and one day decided that, oh wait, making babies is counterproductive to stanning for Death. Remembering the time he knocked up an Inhuman during a trip to Earth, he returned to make sure his offspring was wiped out.

    The whole event led to a cloud of Terrigen Crystals spreading across the world and one of the people empowered by it was Thanos’ son. Calling himself Thane, the youngster came across Thanos fighting off the Avengers and let loose with his power to encase people in amber. Locked in a cube of amber in a pose similar to that time he was turned into a statue, Thanos was stuck in a horrifying stasis where he was conscious but completely immobile.

    UNI-DEADPOOL (2015)

    Deadpool and Thanos worked together to free Death from the clutches of Eternity. After all, with no Death, there was no...death. Death allowed the two to tap into her power in order to bring Eternity to his knees, but Thanos started to go too far and intended to kill Eternity once and for all. Death removed her powers from Deadpool and Deadpool realized that Death wanted this. The entire universe was going to die.

    Not enough to fight Death-powered Thanos on his own, Deadpool ended up getting a big buff in the form of the Captain Universe Uni-Power. That allowed him to fight Thanos head-on, but that wasn’t what got him the win. Deadpool pointed out that Thanos’ resilience and refusal to die or even stay dead makes him more of an agent of life than death. Death pondered this on the side and chose to remove Thanos’ newfound abilities.

    Screaming that he was weak and alone once again, Thanos vanished in an explosion caused from Deadpool’s blasts.


    In this reality, Thanos gave Black Bolt the ultimatum where if Black Bolt didn’t kill the Illuminati and the Avengers, then Thanos would wipe out the entire Inhuman race. Fast-forward to an Earth ruled by Thanos and his henchmen.

    A hooded figure was treated as the ultimate weapon against Thanos that needed to be protected against all threats. In the climax, she revealed herself to be Dazzler. Between her ability to turn sound into light blasts and the excessive power of Black Bolt’s voice, Thanos was easily annihilated.


    After Infinity, Thanos was locked up in a cube of amber in the custody of the Illuminati. In this alternate timeline, Rocket Raccoon stumbled upon this fact from spying on Iron Man. He and the Guardians proceeded to fight the Illuminati and free Thanos for the sole purpose of killing him.

    The actual death isn’t shown or 100% explained. All it needed was a two-page spread of the Guardians being accompanied by various cosmic allies like Beta Ray Bill, Ronan, Gladiator, Annihilus, and so on. Star-Lord told him that they’re the Guardians of the Galaxy and the galaxy is sick of Thanos’ shit.

    Afterwards, they all got very drunk in celebration while Earth's heroes were told that they were grounded and could no longer venture into space.


    Nobody’s perfect, but certain villains are better at using the Infinity Gauntlet than others. Wielding such power comes with such responsibility, so of course who would botch controlling the Infinity Gauntlet worse than a Spider-Man villain?

    In a world where Norman Osborn got his hands on the Infinity Gauntlet, he reached back several decades to bring his father into the present and showed him his many accomplishments. While his father was abusive and cruel, he was still able to call out Norman for being a monster. Norman then figured he’d just make his father love him with his omnipotence and it worked!

    Then they returned to his stronghold to find all of the Dark Avengers killed by Thanos. The two battled it out and while Thanos couldn’t scratch the Green Goblin, he was at least able to get under his skin by pointing out that he never forced Death to love him because he’d know that it wasn’t real. Norman would soon realize the same about his father’s glowing words.

    Norman rendered Thanos into a pile of smoking bones via blasting a Goblin Glider into his sternum. He confronted his mind-controlled father by asking why he loved him. Not finding, “Because you’re my son,” satisfactory, Norman wiped out his father’s existence from history itself.

    Realizing his mistake almost immediately, Norman faded away as well. What a maroon.

    SECRET WARS (2015)

    As the culmination of Jonathan Hickman’s epic Fantastic Four and Avengersruns, Secret Wars was the story of Dr. Doom gaining omnipotence and creating a world made up of scraps of broken alternate universes. It was kind of trippy but very awesome.

    When the heroes waged war against God Doom, Thanos challenged him head-on. Without the Infinity Gauntlet. Thanos talked a big game like he had any chance at all and Doom simply tore out his spine like he pressed forward, down, forward, high punch.

    At least with the Norman Osborn fight Thanos set him up to lose in his death.


    One of the reasons why Secret Wars was such a rad event was the many spinoff stories about the various alternate universes-turned-kingdoms. One of which centered around a family of Nova Corps members in a society overrun by space bugs. Stalking and later befriending the family was Thanos, who carried with him the Time Stone. The Nova family happened to have the Reality Stone.

    By the end of the story, Thanos had an almost full Gauntlet while the Novas only had that one Reality Stone. The father put up a good fight, but was still no match for Thanos’ might. The daughter, Anwen, offered to give him the Reality Stone in exchange for their lives. Agreeing to the terms, Thanos placed it in his completed Gauntlet and gloated over his absolute power.

    Suddenly, the Gauntlet shorted out while being overcome with purple flame and Kirby Krackle. It overwhelmed Thanos and turned him into a charred skeleton, all while Anwen revealed that she used the Reality Stone to create a poisonous replica called the Death Stone.

    CIVIL WAR II (2016)

    So Civil War II was a really bad miniseries by Marvel that acted as well-meaning character assassination for Carol Danvers Captain Marvel. Regardless, the first issue had a taste of rad Thanos action. The Inhuman known as Ulysses had a premonition that Thanos was going to be snooping around Earth. Against Iron Man’s wishes, Captain Marvel put together a team to ambush Thanos. Interestingly enough, the miniseries didn’t even show how the fight went down for the most part. All it showed was Thanos’ surprise, his critically injuring She-Hulk, and his fist going through War Machine.

    An issue of Ultimatesat least showed that afterwards, the Ultimates roster joined together to pour it on Thanos until he went down.


    Thanos was locked up in the Triskelion, but as you’d expect, he got free. The Ultimates tried fighting him and this time he was able to overpower them. Black Panther realized that the secret to stopping Thanos wasn’t brawn, but brains. While Ms. America and Captain Marvel kept Thanos busy, the others put together a device that prevented electrical synapses in his brain. Thanos collapsed and went silent.

    Black Panther pointed out that such a device would kill anyone else, but it’s possible that Thanos simply can’t die.


    Thanos escaped custody once again and left the planet, which was extra frustrating for Gamora as the Guardians of the Galaxy lost their transportation during Civil War IIand were stuck on Earth for a while. Luckily, or unluckily, Thanos decided to head back to Earth as part of an agreement with Annihilus, the Brood, and the Badoon. This was Brian Michael Bendis’ final issue writing Guardians of the Galaxy and he wanted to go out with a bang.

    It started with Drax vs. Thanos, but over time, the whole Guardians roster started to trickle in to lay in on Thanos. Star-Lord, Groot, Venom, Kitty Pryde, Thing, Angela, Rocket, and Captain Marvel. The Avengers were apparently on the way. Then Gamora arrived, ignoring Thanos’ claims that this world could have been hers had she not betrayed him. Gamora smugly agreed that this way was better and the Guardians rushed Thanos.

    While the end of the fight wasn’t shown, the final pages did give us an imprisoned Thanos in the hands of the Nova Corps, looking all Hannibal Lector.


    In Thanos’ recent ongoing series, he started to realize that his body was breaking down and he’d regularly cough up blood. He went to Mentor to find a cure, but Mentor’s failure led to death as punishment. Thanos was then met by the Shi’ar Imperial Guard, who tried to overwhelm him with their vast numbers. Thanos had his moments of dominance, but it was apparent that he wasn’t as strong as he usually was and they were getting the best of him.

    Exhausted and weakening, Thanos saw the Imperial Guard’s heaviest hitter Gladiator standing behind him. With one hell of a punch, Gladiator knocked Thanos into next week. Thanos was under arrest.

    PHOENIX THANE (2017)

    Not only was Thanos weakened, but a handful of his enemies joined together to end him once and for all. With Death whispering in his ear, Thane put together a team of himself, Nebula, Starfox, and the Champion of the Universe. In reality, Thane was planning on betraying them anyway, as his plan was to steal a Phoenix egg and grant himself the power of the Phoenix Force.

    When the time came for him to confront Thanos, there was very little to the fight itself. Just one blast of cosmic flame that depowered Thanos even further and teleported him to a slum planet, cursed to live out the rest of his pathetic life.

    In the end, Thane’s former allies helped Thanos regain his abilities and stop Thane. Apparently, it was part of Death’s plan all along, but Thanos was all, “I don’t want your love anymore!” Those feelings lasted like a week.

    THANOS VS. THANOS (2018)

    “And if Thanos must die?”

    “No one kills Thanos but Thanos.”

    At the end of his ongoing, Thanos was brought to the distant future to meet up with his older and very victorious self, King Thanos. Over countless years, Thanos wiped out seemingly all life in the universe. The only things left were his henchman Frank Castle (a failed Ghost Rider/Herald whose mentality has made him more Deadpool than Punisher over the years), the Hulk (treated as Thanos’ dog), and the threat of a vengeful Silver Surfer armed with Mjolnir. King Thanos brought his younger self over to help him kill the Surfer, hoping that it would bring forth the missing Death.

    When only the two Thanos’ remained, Death showed herself and made it apparent that she wanted them to fight to the death. Their battle was brutal, but the younger Thanos was supreme. Still, he would not be goaded into killing his older self, purely out of disgust. Instead, he went back to the present with the promise that he would make sure that King Thanos’ future would never come to pass, killing him with non-existence.

    I guess they took the whole “Thanos undoes his own victories” thing literally.

    Any other Thanos losses you want to remind me of? Sound off in the comments!

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!

    Gavin Jasper notices that Carol Danvers sure happens to partake in a lot of Thanos smackdownery. Huh. Follow Gavin on Twitter!

    0 0

    The crew of Serenity is back with this official tie-in novels. Enter to win a copy of the first book in the new series...

    News Kayti Burt
    Dec 7, 2018

    Most nerds can agree that space western Firefly was taken from us too soon. Now, the story is continuing with the first original, officially-licensed novel set in this rich storytelling universe, and we're giving away a copy!

    The book is called Firefly: Big Damn Hero, and it follows all of the main characters we know, love, and miss—even Badger—from the world of Firefly and Serenity.

    Here's the official synopsis:

    A perilous cargo
    It should have been a routine job, transporting five crates from the planet of Persephone to a waiting buyer. And Lord knows, Captain Mal Reynolds needs the money if he’s to keep Serenity flying. But the client is Badger, and nothing that involves him is ever straightforward. The crates are full of explosives, which might blow at the slightest movement.

    A missing captain
    Just before take-off, Mal disappears. As the cargo grows more volatile by the minute, and Alliance cruisers start taking an interest in the tenacious smuggling ship, it’s down to Serenity’s first mate, Zoë, to choose between rescuing her captain and saving her crew.

    A vengeful army
    Meanwhile, rumours are spreading on Persephone of a band of veteran Browncoat malcontents who will stop at nothing to be revenged on those responsible for their terrible defeat. Is Mal harboring a dark secret from the war? And can the crew of Serenity find him before it’s too late?

    Firefly: Big Damn Hero was written by James Lovegrove from a story of Nancy Holder.

    Entry for the giveaway is simple:

    - Join the Den of Geek Book Club over on Goodreads.

    - Comment in one of the discussion threads, and be sure to mention you're there for the Firefly: Big Damn Hero giveaway!

    Unfortunately, only readers who reside in the United States qualify for this contest. Final entries will be accepted Friday, December 21st! One (1) winner will be drawn at random and contacted via Goodreads message. Good luck!

    Kayti Burt is a staff editor covering books, TV, movies, and fan culture at Den of Geek. Read more of her work here or follow her on Twitter @kaytiburt.

    0 0

    Comic book and television writer Brian K. Vaughan will work with Legendary Entertainment to adapt several of his works.

    News Alec Bojalad
    Dec 7, 2018

    FX's Y: The Last Man won't be the last TV adaptation of a Brian K. Vaughan comic that we see, not by a long shot. 

    Brian K. Vaughan has signed on with Legendary Entertainment to produce TV shows and films based on his considerable comic library, according to Deadline. As part of the deal, Legendary and Vaughan will work together to adapt several of his creator-owned comics for television and film in both "traditional" and "non-traditional" platforms. That's right, your boy is ready to stream. Vaughan will also have the opportunity to develop new, original concepts for film and television. 

    “Through truly inspired storytelling, Brian has created immersive, compelling worlds that are devoured by fans worldwide,” Nick Pepper, President of Legendary Television Studios said in a statement. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to work with Brian to bring his visions and extraordinary library of work to the screen.”

    The partnership could be a good fit for Vaughan as Legendary recently got into the TV producing game with Netflix's Lost in Space. The opportunity to expand across several mediums must be appealing. Vaughan is no stranger to TV writing himself, having written on Lost for three seasons and on Daredevil for one. 

    “Legendary was instrumental in helping to revolutionize the way the world thought of ‘comic-book movies,’ so it’s a tremendous honor to work with them on adaptations of some of my and my talented collaborators’ past and current comics, and I’m looking forward to hopefully creating a few wholly original stories with them, as well," Vaughan said.

    In addition to FX's upcoming Y: The Last Man, an adaptation of Vaughan's Runaways just debuted its second season at Hulu. Those are some of Vaughan's higher profile projects but he still has an extensive canon of other comic book projects for Legendary to explore in this deal. Ex Machina follows superhero Mitchell Hundred after he is elected Mayor of New York. Paper Girls is a wistful nostalgic fantasy about four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls in a Cleveland suburb dealing with a threat from the future. 

    Then there's the unadapted Vaughan comic series that's the elephant in the room of this deal...





    Science fiction Romeo and Juliet-esque epic Saga is Vaughan's magnum opus...and one that he's staunchly and repeatedly promised will never be adapted. Maybe he'll change his mind now that he has more creative control over any potential project. Probably not. But maybe!

    Alec Bojalad is TV Editor at Den of Geek and TCA member. Read more of his stuff here. Follow him at his creatively-named Twitter handle @alecbojalad

    0 0

    Everything you need to know about Netflix's The Umbrella Academy, including latest news, release date, trailer, and much more!

    The Umbrella Academy Trailer, Release Date, Cast, News
    News John Saavedra
    Dec 9, 2018

    Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba's The Umbrella Academy is coming to Netflix as a live action series. The comic book series, which debuted in 2007, was first optioned as a movie before Dark Horse signed a deal with Universal Cable Productions to adapt the comic as a TV series. 

    The live action series follows the estranged members of a dysfunctional family of superheroes -- The Monocle, Spaceboy, The Kraken, The Rumor, The Séance, Number Five, The Horror, and the seemingly powerless Vanya -- as they work together to solve their father’s mysterious death while coming apart at the seams due to their divergent personalities and abilities. 

    Way began writing The Umbrella Academy just a year after the release of My Chemical Romance's magnum opus, The Black Parade. The series is 15 issues of Eisner Award-winning goodness that has continued to inform Way's career as a comic book writer, especially with his current run on Doom Patrol and his Young Animal line at DC. Artist Gabriel Ba has also done some of his best work on the series. (If you want something really great by Ba, check out Daytripper, which he created with his twin brother, artist Fabio Moon.)

    The Umbrella Academy has been on a bit of a hiatus since 2009. Only two volumes, The Apocalypse Suite and Dallas, have been released thus far, although Way and Ba plan at least two more volumes. The third volume is called Hotel Oblivion, and it's been in the works since at least 2013 when Way tweeted out an update with some sketches of new characters. Way and Ba had agreed to begin work on Hotel Oblivion in 2014, but a lot's happened since then. Besides his music projects, Way has his own line of comics and two comic book series to write.

    While it's not likely the Umbrella Academy will return on the page any time soon, fans will at least gave the show to look forward to. – Here's everything else we know:

    The Umbrella Academy Trailer

    The first trailer is here!

    The Umbrella Academy Release Date

    Netflix has officially announced that all 10 one-hour episodes of The Umbrella Academy will premiere will premiere on February 15, 2019. Best Valentine ever.

    The Umbrella Academy Cast

    Netflix has revealed the core cast of the show. Here are the actors who will portray the members of the Umbrella Academy:

    Ellen Page (X-Men: Days of Future Past) will star as Vanya, who is estranged from the rest of the family because of her lack of powers. Vanya is a very important character in the first arc of the comics, as she goes through a bit of self-discovery that puts her at odds with the superheroes she once called a family.

    Tom Hopper (Game of Thrones) plays Luther, aka Spaceboy. He has super-strength, and after a terrible accident during an expedition to Mars, his head had to be transplanted onto the body of a gorilla. Ehem...

    Emmy Raver-Lampman (Hamilton) will play Allison, aka The Rumor, who can alter reality by lying. 

    David Castaneda (El Chicano) is Diego, codenamed The Kraken. He is sort of a fuse between Aquaman and Batman. He can hold his breath indefinitely, which gives him an advantage when in water, and is an expert knife thrower.

    Robert Sheehan (Misfits) is perfectly cast as Klaus aka The Seance, the most morbid character of the group. His powers, which manifest only when he's barefoot, include levitation, telekinesis, and the ability to contant the dead. In the comics, Klaus is killed at one point but rejected from both Heaven and Hell.

    Aidan Gallagher (Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn) is Number Five, simply codenamed The Boy. He can effortlessly travel in time and does not age due to a temporal condition. 

    Colm Feore (House of Cards) will play Sir Reginald Hargreeves, the leader of the Umbrella Academy. He is the billionaire who adopted all of the strange children that made up the superhero team. Hargreeves was known to be manipulative and cold towards the kids, something that has scarred the heroes later in life.

    Adam Godley (Breaking Bad) will play Pogo, a genetically-engineered and talking chimpanzee. Pogo is a point of comfort for the Umbrella Academy, acting in much more of a fatherly and nurturing role than Hargreeves ever did. 

    Ashley Madekwe (Revenge) plays Detective Patch, who is at odds with the vigilantes that protect her city. She prefers to play things by the book.

    Mary J. Blige has joined the cast as well. She will play the role of Cha-Cha, the insane time-traveling assassin first introduced in the second arc of the comic, "Dallas," which reimagines the Kennedy assassination. Cha-Cha, along with her partner Hazel, believes in using the most violent method possible to dispatch her prey. 

    Hazel will be played by Cameron Britton (Mindhunter). According to the official character description, Hazel will become at odds with Cha-Cha at some point after their time-traveling blood-soaked adventures begin to wear on him. 

    John Magaro (The Big Short) will be a series regular, playing Leonard Peabody, described as “a sweet Average Joe,” who, while dismissed as being somewhat of a milquetoast, strikes up an unlikely romance with Vanya (Ellen Page) that plays out against the backdrop of the larger events of the series.

    Kate Walsh will play a recurring character called The Handler, officially described as “a composed and confident leader of a mysterious, bureaucratic company who is always ready to manage any situation — though it's best not to get on her bad side. Her charm is her greatest strength and she uses it to her advantage to complete the business of her organization.”

    John Saavedra is an associate editor at Den of Geek. Read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @johnsjr9

    0 0

    Our DC Historians are here to help you understand the driver behind this year's big DC TV crossover.

    The Monitor from Elseworlds, the 2018 DC TV Arrowverse Crossover
    Feature Jim Dandy
    Dec 9, 2018

    What a time to be alive. We have supercomputers that we carry in our pockets, almost have self-driving cars, and now the Monitor showed up on a TV show with Batwoman, Flash, Green Arrow, Supergirl, and Superman. Elseworlds is shaping up to be a doozy of an Arrowverse crossover, and we couldn't be happier.

    But who is the Monitor? That’s what we’re here to help you with. It's not easy, as there have been several characters who had the name, and all of their stories are so heavily tired up in the tiny details of the DC Universe that it's a little tough to swallow. Think of this as a brief intro to the Monitor if you found him interesting on Elseworlds, with some reading recommendations to follow down below.

    Elseworlds DC Comics The Monitor Crisis on Infinite Earths


    Which one?

    Wait, we should probably start at the beginning.

    The dawn of time was a giant hand closing and opening on the universe. It was observed by Krona, a Malthusian scientist. His observation caused a paradox which broke the universe into different parallel worlds. Two beings were created with the multiverse: the Monitor, who was the physical embodiment and overseer of the positive matter worlds, and the Anti-Monitor, his opposite number for antimatter universes. The two of them warred for millions of years, then landed a double KO and stayed passed out for billions of years.

    further reading: Every DC Comics Easter Egg in the Elseworlds Arrowverse Crossover

    When another scientist tried to duplicate Krona’s experiment, he woke the two and reset the war, which was eventually won by the forces of good, but at enormous cost - the entire multiverse was merged into one; Barry Allen was killed; and both the Monitor and Anti-Monitor died in the battle. This was chronicled in the incredible Crisis on Infinite Earths, which the Arrowverse has been hinting at since the very first episode of The Flash.


    Then, 30 years later, the multiverse was reborn, and the Monitor came back. Actually, 52 of them came back. One for each universe created in the rebirth of the multiverse, with an absurdly complicated backstory. To summarize: the Overmonitor sent a probe into the white space that existed before the birth of a multiverse. The probe encountered “story,” which it considered a corruption. It chained up the “Story” in what became the Orrery of Worlds, and left chunks of itself behind to continue...monitoring. 

    See? We told you things were going to get weird.

    One of those chunks was corrupted, and almost all of them were kind of shitty to the universes they monitored, so they were eventually wiped out by Nix Uotan, SUPERJUDGE, who was left behind as the only one monitoring the multiverse. We get into some of this in this look at Grant Morrison's assorted Superman stories.


    The Monitor - The original. He was mostly defined by his conflict with…

    The Anti-Monitor - The antimatter universe’s equivalent. Neither of these guys had a ton of personality beyond their conflict. He's the main villain of Crisis on Infinite Earths.

    Bob - There’s a dispute between monitors about what to do with multiversal anomalies just after the rebirth of the multiverse. Some argued to eliminate them, while one - Bob - works with the anomalies to save them.

    Mandrakk the Dark Monitor - Originally Dax Novu, the first and brightest monitor who became corrupted and began bleeding the various worlds of the multiverse dry. He was eventually defeated by all the Supermen in Grant Morrison's Final Crisis.

    Zillo Valla - The monitor of Earth 43, she travels the multiverse gathering heroes to take on Mandrakk.

    Nix Uotan - SUPERJUDGE! The Judge of All Evil! He’s the one who marshalls all the resources of the DC Universe to finally defeat Mandrakk, protect the multiverse and banish all his colleagues. He started out as the monitor of Earth 51, but that was killed in the Great Disaster, and he was banished for incompetence.

    Weeja Dell - Monitor of Earth 6, Nix’s partner, and his strongest defender within the council of Monitors.

    Mar Novu - This is the Monitor in the Elseworlds DC TV crossover this year. We know little about him so far, but that should be filled in soon.


    Crisis on Infinite Earths - The original mega-crossover and the book where the multiverse was eliminated. This has the battle between the Monitor, the Anti-Monitor and the assembled heroes of the DCU.

    Infinite Crisis - this series contained the return of a limited multiverse and gave us our monitors back! It’s also the one where Superboy Prime punching the walls of reality caused all the continuity errors. It’s better than it sounds.

    Final Crisis - Perhaps the most Monitor-heavy of all of these stories.

    The Multiversity - Actually, I take that back...THIS is the most Monitor-centric of all these stories.

    For more on the multiverse, the Monitors or the joy that is the annual DC TV crossover, stick with Den of Geek!

    0 0

    Clint Barton is shown donning a darker look in Avengers: Endgame trailer. Here's a look at what it's all about and what it represents.

    Hawkeye as Ronin in Avengers: Endgame
    Feature Gavin Jasper
    Dec 10, 2018

    We finally get a little taste of the next Avengers tale with that Avengers: End Game trailer. It doesn’t tell us too much and the glimpses we get only ask more questions. It also gives us a quick look at what’s up with the two biggest Marvel Cinematic Universe heroes to skip out on Infinity War in Ant-Man and Hawkeye. Both were described as being under house arrest in the last movie, but now we see Hawkeye’s back in action...albeit not in the most mentally healthy way.

    In his scant seconds in the trailer, Clint Barton is shown cleaning off a used sword while standing over a handful of goons who are probably dead. Instead of his SHIELD uniform, he’s dressed in an armored ninja costume. He’s no longer Hawkeye, but Ronin.

    But who is Ronin, exactly?

    Originally, Ronin had little to do with Clint Barton unless you considered him a red herring. Brian Michael Bendis was writing Avengersin the mid-2000s and gave us Avengers: Disassembled, a chaotic storyline that killed off a handful of Avengers members. Hawkeye was one of those victims, getting blown up in a fight against a Kree invasion that was ultimately conjured up by an insane Scarlet Witch.

    Shortly after this story, Bendis started up a new Avengers series...New Avengers. Rather than go for a more classic line-up, he got a bit unorthodox. Captain America and Iron Man returned as representatives of the old guard. Spider-Man and Wolverine were brought in due to Bendis’ belief that if the Avengers are Marvel’s Justice League, then they should have the most popular characters. Spider-Woman and Luke Cage acted as Marvel mainstays who needed a day in the sun. Then you had the two wildcards in the Sentry – an X-factor of a hero who had only appeared in a miniseries at that point – and Ronin.

    Ronin appeared on many New Avengers covers despite not showing up until the eleventh issue. In the speculation, many felt that Ronin was supposed to be Daredevil in a new disguise for some reason. After all, Bendis was also in the middle of his legendary Daredevilrun at the time. Bendis later admitted that that was the original plan, but it wouldn’t have worked out.

    Instead, when they finally got around to telling Ronin’s story, they made hints that this mysterious ninja was not just a woman, but Elektra. She was an associate with Daredevil, Captain America said he didn’t approve of her history with the Kingpin, and we got to see what looked like her hair from behind. Also, her mission involved taking on the Hand, which is totally an Elektra thing to do.

    But there was a bit of a hint of Ronin’s true identity. An army of ninjas was able to sneak up behind her. Sure, they’re supposed to be stealthy, but there were so many of them that you’d have to be deaf not to notice. Sure enough, by the time the Ronin storyline finished up, she unmasked to reveal she was Echo, otherwise known as Maya Lopez. A former flame of Matt Murdock’s and adopted daughter of Wilson Fisk, Echo was introduced in the Daredevil comic right before Bendis took over (David Mack and Joe Quesada were the creative team at the time, and they created Echo). Much like Daredevil, she had enhanced abilities despite a physical handicap, only it was deafness instead of blindness.

    That quick Ronin story was about all there was for Echo’s relevancy, though. It was the hazard of Bendis’ writing. He would write interesting scenarios for the New Avengers, but he’d stretch it out so long that he was too busy catching up with the big Marvel events going on to really explore his ideas. That plot thread would rest for a while as Marvel books dedicated themselves to House of Mand Civil War, two other major storylines.

    further reading - Avengers: Infinity War Easter Eggs Guide

    During yet another big Marvel event, House of M, Scarlet Witch rewrote reality so that mutants were in charge. She also magically brought Hawkeye back to life with no memory of the original timeline or his death. He eventually regained those memories and it put him on a dark path that would last for several years, including a couple attempts to straight-up murder Scarlet Witch in the name of revenge. When the world returned to normal (albeit with most mutants depowered), Hawkeye remained alive, but went on his own path.

    While they’re a bit more open to it these days, having two superheroes share the same name at the same time in Marvel is something they usually go out of their way to avoid. One of the two has to die, be taken out of commission, or simply change their name. Since Marvel had just introduced a new Hawkeye in Young Avengers (Kate Bishop) and Clint was no longer dead, that meant a new identity.

    Clint gave up on his revenge plot, but was less than thrilled to hear that Captain America died in the aftermath of Civil War. Even for a guy who was brought back from the dead, Clint was about to have a string of bad times. Stark offered him the shield as the new Captain America, but Clint refused. It wasn’t for him and he wasn’t exactly pleased with Stark in general.

    Meanwhile, Echo’s adventures against the Hand got her captured, killed, and resurrected by their new leader Elektra. The anti-Stark Avengers team went on a mission to rescue her and with them was a new Ronin. We didn’t get many hints on the identity this time other than it not being Matt Murdock.

    A flashback showed the truth: Clint visited New Avengers member Doctor Strange and came across the rest of the rebel team, all confused that he was alive. He offered to join them in their Echo rescue mission, but didn’t want to be Hawkeye anymore. Wolverine instead gave him the Ronin costume.

    further reading: Complete Schedule of Upcoming Marvel Movies

    It worked out, though. Yet another flashback revealed that in their early Avengers days, Captain America taught Hawkeye how to fight with more than a bow and arrow. Kicking ass with katanas and martial arts was Clint’s own way of honoring his fallen leader. After Echo was safe, she let Clint keep the identity, seeing as she didn’t need it and she felt that he did, at least for a little while.

    Then the bad times really started to kick in.

    Secret Invasion was going on and that meant there were heroes all over who were secretly shape-shifting Skrulls meant to take over the planet. This included some that weren’t aware of the truth, such as one posing as Hawkeye's dead wife Mockingbird. She knew some incredibly intimate facts about their relationship, but she was just another fake. Clint, in an act of rage, gunned down the confused alien and ranted about how he was going to go genocidal on the invaders.

    He does manage to kill a few Skrulls, and in context, that's kinda good. The end of the invasion means that Norman Osborn is now in charge of everything military and superhero-related in the government and that’s bad. The real Mockingbird turns out to be alive after all and that’s good. She does point out that she divorced him before she was abducted by Skrulls and that’s bad.

    Ronin would lead the New Avengers, who were more of a rebel team than ever before because Osborn had his own team of Dark Avengers wearing their identities and every good guy was on their shit list. Osborn being in charge – not to mention mass murderer Bullseye dressing up as the new Hawkeye – drove Clint to wanting to straight-up assassinate the weird-haired dickhead. He went on a one-man mission to just that and failed because Osborn had crazy plot armor back then.

    Clint didn’t die either because, come on, they weren’t going to kill a guy so fresh from stepping out of the grave.

    further reading: Marvel Cinematic Universe Viewing Order

    Luckily, good things started happening for our man Clint. Steve Rogers came back from the dead and led the team again, including putting an end to Norman Osborn’s reign of terror. The Superhero Registration Act finally died. Clint and Mockingbird started having fun adventures together. He started dating Spider-Woman. Being an Avenger no longer had a scummy stigma to it. Scarlet Witch even chilled out a bit. Things were back to normal enough that Clint could be himself. He was alive and he could live his life.

    And so, there would be two Hawkeyes coexisting. The grim, katana-wielding ninja would find his stride as a dopey archer with a sidekick and a one-eyed, pizza-loving dog.

    As for “Ronin,” the gimmick got used plenty more in the main Marvel universe and beyond. The Red Guardian and even Blade wore the mask. In the Ultimate Universe, it was just another identity for Moon Knight. Even on the Japanese cartoon Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers, Ronin ended up being a secret identity for Nozomu Akatsuki, benevolent scientist and father of the protagonists, who was mind-controlled by Loki.

    While Ronin is a fun way for Marvel to add mystery to their stories, it truly found the most meaning in its Clint Barton days. He didn’t truly need to wear the black costume. It simply represented that he was going through a very bad time. Experiencing death, having your heart broken, losing a close friend, being vilified for being a good person, and seeing the world go to Hell could break a person.

    So could having your beloved family turn to dust because of the acts of a Mad Titan.

    Gavin Jasper writes for Den of Geek and remembers that Hawkeye was a major player in saving both universes in the JLA/Avengers crossover. Even against Thanos, he shouldn’t be underestimated. Read more of Gavin’s stuff here and follow him on Twitter @Gavin4L

    0 0

    The fun Snagglepuss backup story spins off into Sasquatch Detective #1.

    Sasquatch Detective #1
    NewsJim Dandy
    Dec 10, 2018

    There's something inherently charming about the high concept behind Sasquatch Detective, Brandee Stilwell and Gus Vasquez's story about exactly what it sounds like that first appeared as a backup in Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles. We're not talking about time travel paradoxes or closeted panther playwrights examining the birth of the gay rights movement in America or a rich orphan who likes to beat on poor people for "justice." She's a sasquach. And she's also a detective. It's admirably straightforward.

    And if you read the stories, you'll see that the charm doesn't end with the hook. Tanya Lightfoot is enthusiastic and competent and earnest and fun and endearing in a way that you don't often see in comics these days, and she feels like she's just sophisticated enough to not be an all ages character that we're swearing "really works for everybody."

    In Sasquatch Detective#1, DC collects all the backups from Snagglepuss and adds in a new origin story for Tanya from Stilwell and Vasquez, but my favorite part is probably the note from Stilwell about the titular cryptozoological investigator's origin as a concept that fleshes out her existence in a way that somehow made it even more likeable. And then we meet an entirely wholesome family of sasquatches (sasquatchi? Sasqui? Sasquatch? Can you help in the comments with the appropriate plural for "more than one sasquatch?") in this exclusive preview DC sent us to share with you.

    Tanya's parents, also Bigfoots (Bigfeet? No, I'm pretty sure it's Bigfoots), are sort of the respected town elders for Northern California wildlife. Her mom is a tennis pro and her dad the golf pro, teaching neruotic, flatulent animals the finer points of WASP sports. They're also just a generally well adjusted family - they spend time with each other, snack together, watch TV together. But they're sasquatches.

    Here's what DC has to say about the book:



    cover by BEN CALDWELL

    Before Tonya Lightfoot became Los Angeles’ most decorated detective, she was a wee sasquatch roaming the Appalachian mountains, fed a steady diet of tennis and golf (as both of her parents are pros at the local country club) and CSI episodes. But her idyllic life of pranking campers and squatching around the local golf course hits a bump in the fire road when Bigfoot hunters come to the dense forest. Would Tonya back down in the face of adversity? Not yeti! But experiencing this abominable anti-sasquatch sentiment gives her the determination to leave her home behind—she heads to the dangers of the city. After all, it’s hard to fight unconscious bias, but crime is something America’s sassiest sasquatch is ready to tackle.
    This special features a new 30-page lead story plus the backup stories from EXIT STAGE LEFT: THE SNAGGLEPUSS CHRONICLES #2-6.

    Check it out!

    Sasquatch Detective #1

    0 0

    We have details on this dark, fantastical Anastasia retelling that is set to take the YA world by storm.

    NewsKayti Burt
    Dec 10, 2018

    We're always on the look out for promising new speculative fiction authors, especially ones who are creating fresh, richly-realized worlds that are better at representing the infinite diversities of our real world.

    Debut author Amélie Wen Zhao is one of the latest young adult authors whose fictional world we're most eager to dive into. Her debut, Blood Heir, is set for a June 4th release, and it sounds like the most addicting mix of His Dark Materials,Anastasia, and something entirely new.

    Wen Zhao has a very cool background. Born in Paris and raised in Beijing, Wen Zhao attended college in New York City where she still lives. As she mentions on Goodreads, she wrote Blood Heir, in part, from her experiences as a "third-culture kid."

    Here's what she shared with Den of Geek about Blood Heir:

    “BLOOD HEIR is the story of an exiled heir with the monstrous ability to control blood, a silver-tongued con man who is running from his past, and a dark, frozen empire rife with corruption. I wanted to take beloved fantasy tropes and twist them, and to imbue themes relevant to our times. At its heart, BLOOD HEIR is a story of the Other, the ones who are demonized by society for simply existing as they are. I wanted to explore what makes a monster, and question who our laws are designed to protect.

    I first started writing this book in 2014, and it has changed throughout the near-five years it’s been with me. Stories, and fantasies, are always a reflection of our realities, and now more than ever, I am excited that this book will be coming out into the world.”

    And here's the gorgeous cover for the book...

    And if, like us, you're eager to get as many details about this new world as possible, here's a longer, official synopsis:

    In the Cyrilian Empire, Affinites are reviled and enslaved. Their varied abilities to control the world around them are unnatural--dangerous. And Anastacya Mikhailov, the crown princess, might be the most monstrous of them all. Her deadly Affinity to blood is her curse and the reason she has lived her life hidden behind palace walls.

    But when Ana's father, the emperor, is murdered, her world is shattered: Ana is the one framed as his killer. To save herself, she must flee the safety of the palace and enter a land that hunts her and her kind. And to clear her name, she must find her father's murderer on her own. Yet, what Ana finds is far worse than she ever imagined. A greater conspiracy is at work in Cyrilia, one that threatens the very balance of her world. And there is only one person corrupt enough to help her get to its rotten core: Ramson Quicktongue.

    A cunning crime lord of the Cyrilian underworld, Ramson has sinister plans--though he might have met his match in Ana. Because in this story, the princess might be the most dangerous player of all.

    To learn more about Amélie and Blood Heir, you can go to or follow @ameliewenzhao on Twitter and Instagram. For more information about Blood Heir, follow this link to Get Underlined.

    Kayti Burt is a staff editor covering books, TV, movies, and fan culture at Den of Geek. Read more of her work here or follow her on Twitter @kaytiburt.

    0 0

    With His Dark Materials set to become a TV show, we look back at what went wrong with the Golden Compass movie.

    Feature Andrew Blair
    Dec 10, 2018

    WithHis Dark Materials set to get the TV show adaptation treatment, we're taking the time to look back at what went wrong the last time someone tried to adapt Philip Pullman's beloved trilogy of fantasy novels to the screen in the 2007 flop The Golden Compass. Here's hoping the BBC adaptation avoids these pitfalls...

    Pullman's His Dark Materialswas much praised for its rich, imaginative fantasy world, nuanced and ambiguous characters, and powerful anti-religious themes. Critically acclaimed, award-laden bestsellers with a young heroine in the form of Lyra Bellacqua, the trilogy seemed an obvious choice to follow Harry Potter and Lord Of The Rings and become a blockbuster movie series.
    New Line bought the rights after bringing Lord Of The Rings to the screen, hoping for a similar success. The two stories are very different high fantasies, however, and The Golden Compass contains concepts less familiar to audiences than wizards, monsters, and swordplay. His Dark Materials was also occasionally categorized in shops as a children's book, unlike Lord Of The Rings.

    Further reading: His Dark Materials Season 2 Already Greenlit

    This is an important factor when it comes to the adaptation. Say something is for children and for a lot of people you automatically impose limitations on what it can be. Consider how many times "for kids" is used as a derogatory term, even if that means you have to ignore the sheer abundance of brilliant stories that match that description.

    It's self-perpetuating in many ways. So long as products for children have an air of complacency and simplicity their superiors will be tarred with the same brush, lending children's films a reputation that means some creators feel they don't have to try so hard.

    The Golden Compassis one of those movies that taints other children's films by virtue of being compromised by an adult's idea of what children can cope with. With its unique aspects neutered, it becomes an anemic dirge at times, with exposition as subtle as a Michael Bay in the face. One character literally flies in just to explain a plot point before immediately leaving again.

    Derek Jacobi almost salvages lines such as: "If we can save our children from the corrupting influence of dust…" but ultimately can't do anything to stop it sounding like a line from Brass Eye. Christopher Lee is brought in to say a new line by New Line, whose own dust-strewn fingers are all over the final edit and some of the casting. Ian McKellen was also brought on board to have a fight with Lovejoy, but like the rest of the film it was a bloodless affair.
    With Rogue One writer Chris Weitz both writing and directing, you'd be forgiven for thinking he should take the bulk of the blame, especially when he chose not to use a draft by renowned playwright (and Star Wars prequels dialogue polisher, yes, I know) Tom Stoppard. Weitz, having co-wrote and directed About a Boy, seemed a sensible choice after producing a seemingly light film punctuated by moments of melancholy and darkness, and got the job after making an unsolicited pitch.

    Further reading: Mortal Engines — Everything We Know

    Daniel Craig was cast well, as were Nicole Kidman and Sam Elliott. The child actors are occasionally guilty of being child actors, though it feels harsh to criticize them at all when their dialogue has the ring of a production enclave asking: "But are we sure people will get that Lyra's feisty and intelligent?"

    The end result is dialogue telling us that Lyra is special in a film that doesn't always remember to show us the same thing. This is partly down to a studio imposed running time of two hours, cutting around an hour from Weitz' first draft. This came despite Harry Potterbeing successful with lengthier running times. You'd have thought that the studio who made Lord Of The Rings would have more faith. But faith was another issue altogether...

    Weitz trod lightly around the religious aspects of Pullman's books, but still found himself having to remove even mentions of "sin" from the script, leaving an important part of the story flailing amid woolly and ridiculous euphemisms. He left the project—replaced temporarily by Anand Tucker (Red Riding, Indian Summer), who himself then left over creative differences—before Weitz returned to finish the movie he'd started.

    According to Vulture, the faults of the film do not lie with Weitz. He apparently turned in a more faithful draft than Stoppard, whose script was apparently less about Lyra and more about meetings (according to a Philip Pullman interview with The Atlantic,which is well worth a read).

    While only a hint of the religious subtext was left in that script, much of what made Weitz’ first draft work was cut to bring down that running time. Actor Tom Courtenay confirmed that his role was drastically reduced in post-production, with the studio editing the full-length version down, removing its original ending and staging reshoots to exposit information now lost.
    Ultimately, there were problems as a result of religious pressure and the studio being unwilling to risk wrath (wrath that would probably have descended on them at any rate), but this was far from unsalvageable. What really killed the film off it seems was the drive to get it under two hours, and the ensuing studio-imposed reworking of the movie. In short, it feels more like a bullet point list of things half remembered from the book than an actual film.

    And we come back full circle a little here. The change in running time came because of a limited notion of what a children's movie can be, and what a younger audience can cope with. It's even more obvious in hindsight with the raft of young adult adaptations that the audience could have coped with a three-hour long version of The Golden Compass with its bleak finale, had New Line opted to go that way.

    It's hard to imagine a film in a New Line trilogy ending at a point that leaves the next film with a flapping tendril of leftover story, I know, but that's what happened in 2007: the finale of The Golden Compass was to be left over for the next film in the series, based on the book The Subtle Knife. Obviously, this film never came to pass, and we have two books unfilmed. Is this a bad thing? I'd argue that it is not.

    Harry Potterhad to leave out a lot of details from the books over its eight films, but His Dark Materials are books that are trying to do different things, richer still in just three novels, and so there's an inevitable loss of nuance even in a good film adaptation. 

    There's no need to adapt every single remotely popular story, as if things don't exist until they're moving pictures on a screen, so if there's going to be an exception, it's good that it's something that rewards multiple readings. That uses prose to tell stories more effectively than cutting edge CGI even could.

    Meanwhile, at New Line, the additional shoot and post-production on The Golden Compass not only increased the cost of the film, but stopped it from being good enough to recover costs. Indeed, it contributed to a financial situation at New Line that required a surefire hit from one of their properties, and lo: Peter Jackson was brought back onboard, and The Hobbit began to happen.

    The decision to make three films certainly paid off in that respect...

    0 0

    Strange Times, a paranormal series from Blink-182's Tom DeLonge, is in development at TBS.

    News Joseph Baxter
    Dec 10, 2018

    While the pop culture public knows Tom DeLonge as a contemporary rock star co-founder of Blink-182 and later as the vocalist for modern post-punk supergroup Angels & Aiwaves, it appears that he’ll soon trade his duties onstage for one behind the scenes of a television series adaptation of his recent turn as a fiction author with franchise Strange Times.

    Strange Times is now in development over at TBS as a television series. The project – following the supernatural exploits of a group of young skateboarders – will adapt the franchise of novels and graphic novels by DeLonge, notably represented by the 2015 graphic novel, Strange Times: The Curse of Superstition Mountain, and Strange Times: The Ghost in the Girl, the October 2016-released YA book that DeLonge co-wrote with Geoff Herbach. The would-be TBS series will be written/executive produced by newcomer Aaron Karo. DeLonge is onboard as an executive producer, joined in that capacity by The Cartel’s Stan Spry and Jeff Holland and Strike Entertainment’s Russell Binder.

    As DeLonge tells Variety, the TV plans represent the culmination of a nearly a decade’s worth of planning, hinting of multimedia crossover potential. He explains:

    “This is a dream I’ve had for over 10 years and it’s finally a reality. All the stories and themes I work on are meant to be shared through multiple mediums and on different platforms — film, TV, books, music and so on. Strange Times began as an interactive website where people shared weird, paranormal stories — a lot of them with credible evidence. That helped inspire the story behind the graphic novel and also a prose novel that I published. This is exactly what my company To The Stars Academy of Arts and Science does. We hope to create something that could be described as sort of a ‘science fiction Disney,’ where our entertainment franchises are worlds that are inspired and informed by our own next-generation science division.”

    DeLonge also hints of a classic punk-rock/new-wave-oriented soundtrack for the series, naming bands like The Descendents, The Queers, and Bad Religion, along with New Order, Depeche Mode and The Cure. Additionally, when asked of an ideal theme song, DeLonge names “Suburban Home,” the classic cut from The Descendents’ 1982 album, “Milo Goes to College.”

    News of the Strange Times TBS TV prospects arrive nearly two years after reports of DeLonge’s initial live-action plans to direct a feature film based off the book series. DeLonge had even co-written a screenplay with Ben Kull, with whom he previously collaborated, directing the 2014 animated short Poet Anderson: The Dream Walker. That offering is currently one of two of DeLonge’s directorial credits, with the other being the 2002 music video for “I Feel So” for (Blink-182 side project) Box Car Racer. However, there's no word yet on whether DeLonge will direct on the TV series.

    The Strange Times franchise focuses on a group of middle-school-aged skater snoopers in San Diego. While each one deals with uniquely demented home lives, it seems that they’re regularly put in the paths of various supernatural phenomenon. In the case of novel, The Ghost in the Girl, the group – consisting of introverted tortured former overachiever Charlie, slacker skater kids Mouse and Mattheson and the bullied, heavy-set Riley – are thrust into a paranormal investigation after a ghost girl seemingly stalks Charlie, carrying potential connections to his family, notably the officially-redacted fate of his M.I.A. military father. As DeLonge mused back in February 2017 of this close-to-home story:

    “I grew up in Southern California as a disaffected young skateboarder who broke the occasional law or five, and I was always dreaming about the world around me, obsessively looking for the more unusual and imaginative experiences that life has to offer. That’s the inspiration behind Strange Times, which is about the tribe of broken youth and the restless spirit that inspired me to form Blink-182 and seek out adventure."

    With Netflix streaming serial smash Stranger Things having seemingly awakened a widespread desire for 1980’-style adventures along the lines of The Goonies and The Monster Squad, DeLonge’s Strange Times TV series will likely look to capture the same earnest, irreverent, cynicism-free fun while painting a portrait of youths based on his own So-Cal upbringing. Indeed, with his Strange Times franchise predating the arrival of the Stranger Things phenomenon, it’s somewhat serendipitous that the industry could be headed in the direction of his creation.

    The Stranger Things parallels are hardly lost on DeLonge, who, when asked if he wishes to see similar franchise growth for Strange Times, states:

    "Absolutely, I don’t like working on one-offs. One reason I created To The Stars was to be able to build dynamic and rich worlds for everyone — whether you’re visual and prefer graphic novels and film or an avid reader who likes to pore over every detail and imagine the world on your own."

    We’ll keep you updated on TBS’s Strange Times as news becomes available.

    Joseph Baxter is a contributor for Den of Geek and Syfy Wire. You can find his work here. Follow him on Twitter @josbaxter.