Grandmaster Chu Recalls What It’s Like to Aspire to be a “Marvel”

Grandmaster Chu is back with “Marvels,” a song that perfectly encapsulates what it’s like to grow up as a nerd. The opening of the video with the burned comic covers harkens back to a dark time in American comics in the late 50’s when The Seduction of the Innocent warned parents that comics would turn their kids into deviants. Even these days, when comics seem to be more normalized and geek culture is more pervasive than ever, there’s still an underlying stigma associated with being a nerd.

What I love about this track is that it’s a universal story. Certainly Chu is Asian as is Fresh Off the Boat’s Hudson Yang who stars in the video, but I the struggles of being a nerd cross ethnic and social boundaries.

You can grab the track from Grandmaster Chu’s site and check out more of his music that always seems to be full of feels.

Attack on Yellow Washing

A very brief glimpse of footage from the upcoming Attack on Titan live action film debuted on Japanese television and my very first though was, “Where are the white people?”

Now, Japan has never eeeeeever pretended to be a “post racial” society. And diversity isn’t exactly something I’d normally expect from a mostly homogeneous society. I’m also not against casting different races when ethnicity has little to do with the story. Michael Clark Duncan as Kingpin never bothered me because, well, he’s Michael Clark Duncan, but also because Wilson Fisk’s ethnicity has very little to do with his character. I also don’t mind Scarlett Johansson as Mokoto Kusanagi because the Major could choose to be anybody. That’s kind of the point.

In this case however, I honestly feel like the cast could have benefited from some good ol’ Hollywood whitewashing. I’ve watched the anime, haven’t read the manga. But the fact that Mikasa Ackerman is the last known Asian is kind of a major plot point. Some of the her friends suspect that’s why she’s so scary good at Titan killing, that Super Asian blood. Or the story takes place in a town that’s waaaay far away from other Asians. The rest of the cast is entirely European. Who speak perfect Japanese.

Although now that I think about it, Mikasa being the Asian with the scary good neck choppy skills makes her a little problematic. She’s a token who’s justification for her presence in the story is her Asianess. She’s the ninja chick because of course she is.

Of course, I completely understand why there appear to be almost no white people on screen. Japan has so few non-Japanese that I bet the white acting pool is extremely shallow. That should probably give this movie a pass, but I’d feel like hypocrite for not pointing out the glaring yellow washing of this cast.

With Great Power Comes Great Cynicism

I take super heroes and the media surrounding them entirely too seriously. This is why I get so worked up over comics and movies. It doesn’t take much for me to launch into an hours-long tirade over the finer points of caped continuity. However, there is some method to my fanboy madness.

The super powered stories we see played out on movie screens and comic book pages represent our modern mythology. And like the legends of old, these tales reflect the values that our society holds most dear.

Truth. Justice. The American Way.

Truth and justice are fairly universal in the super hero genre. But what exactly is the “American Way?” What are the values that we as Americans hold most dear?

There are two characters that come instantly to mind when I hear those words, Superman and Captain America. For the longest time, I thought of them both as the biggest Boy Scouts in all of comics. They were the clean cut heroes that would defend freedom whenever our nation was in peril and still have time to rescue a cat from a tree. We think of the eras in which both were created as a more innocent time in our nation’s history. But we’re not so innocent anymore.

In reflecting upon the latest films starring these two heroes, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Man of Steel, I’ve come to suspect that today’s notion of “The American Way” is far more cynical and dark than it’s ever been.

The First Revenger

What better way to examine modern American values than through the eyes of Steve Rogers, a man out of time. When Captain America first threw his mighty shield, fighting bad guys was straight forward. They were easily identified with their jack boots and Nazi arm bands. All the war department had to do was point Steve in a direction to punch.

Today’s enemies are more difficult to spot. Today’s war on terror pits us against enemies who span border lines, who wear civilian clothes, who attack us in secret. Still, they are punchable. And even though this is a new kind of warfare, bad guys are still bad and good guys are still good.

Or are they?

From his very first mission in Winter Soldier, a seemingly simple rescue mission, Steve learns that even his allies are hiding things from him. It turns out that Natasha has different orders. She’s there not to back him up, but to obtain data from the ship’s computers.

If the people who are ordering him to punch people are hiding things from him, how does he know he’s punching the right people?

Throughout the film, Steve grows to distrust those he once counted as his closest allies.

This feeling of unease, the notion that those who are meant to protect us are doing anything but, the idea that the watchmen need watching, we certainly feel that in today’s America. It doesn’t take a fancy pollster to know that few of us truly trust our leaders. From Snowden’s revelations that the CIA is spying on us to the recent disturbing string of police related deaths, there’s a growing fear that those in power are not to be trusted.

When Captain America – the embodiment of all that was good about America – doubts the morality of those who are meant to protect and serve us, how absolutely fucked are we?

In the end – and I suppose I should have mentioned that there might be spoilers – Steve manages to punch the right bad guys in the face. But my feeling of unease remained. There was no hope in the final punch, only the knowledge that indeed, we can never truly trust those who wield power in our name.

Man of Punching

Where Winter Soldier examines our distrust of absolute power, Man of Steel explores what it’s like to wield absolute power.

The iconic Superman of the Golden Age is the ultimate Boy Scout. Certainly, he punches bad guys. But he also makes time to help gran across a busy intersection and rescue little Timmy’s cat from a tree. Truth. Justice. The American way.

That’s no the Superman we meet in Man of Steel.

In this version, Pa Kent teaches his son that power is something fearful that should be kept hidden at all costs. This is actually a dangerous lesson for Clark to internalize because he withdraws from the world as he grows up. He never learns the now cliche’d lesson, that with great power comes great responsibility. He never learns to wield his power in a responsible manner. So when he’s confronted with an unstoppable force, he explodes.

Clark’s first fight with Faora in Smallville is one of the most disturbing things I’ve seen in a comic book film. Golden Age Clark would have punched Zod into the neighboring corn field far away from any possible collateral damage. This new Clark seemingly cares nothing for collateral damage and runs right in to punch all the things. Fortunately, the damage is somewhat contained. But the scene is a prelude for the horror to come.

The final fight between Superman and Zod is a glorified orgy of destruction. Metropolis is virtually punched into rubble not by the world engine, but by Clark’s fists. This is no protector. This is no Boy Scout. This is absolute power unleashed.

The truly disturbing thing was not Clark’s final sanction against Zod. It was the loud cheers from the audience.

Fear and Punching

Like I said, I read way too much into these things. If we were to measure the America by these two films, we’d see a fearful nation that applauds unbridled power. We’re so scared that the only way to save us is to punch the thing into oblivion.

That’s a bit cynical, even for me. Sure, trust in our government is at an all time low. And certainly, there’s way more fear than I’d like. But we’re all still here, punching the days as best as we can.

And really, I don’t think think Cap or Supes are enough to represent modern American values. For that, we turn to the Guardians.

A New Hope

To me, Guardians of the Galaxy more closely reflect the modern American experiment than Winter Soldier or Man of Steel. Here are a bunch of self-centered assholes who literally crash into each other and are forced to work together to live another day. Basically sounds like everyone’s morning commute.

There’s a tremendous feeling of hope when the end credits roll, something that was sorely missing in both Winter Soldier and Man of Steel.

We don’t all like each other. But we’re in this together. So might as well have some fun while we’re doing it.

That’s the America I see around me.

See? I take this shit way too seriously.

A Blizzard Cometh

I kinda spaced out and forgot to do an episode review the Agent’s of S.H.I.E.L.D. mid season finale.  I thought it was pretty entertaining and you could probably just start watching the show from that episode and not have to suffer through the earlier ones like I did.  And it finally introduced a conflict worthy of the audience’s attention.  Coulson gets kidnapped.  Sorry. Spoiled it. Whatever.  You’re not watching it anyway.

So to entice us nerds to keep watching this thing, ABC and Marvel have announced that episode 12 which airs January 14 will feature a classic Marvel villain from Iron Man’s rogue’s gallery, the Blizzard.  Who looks liked this when he debuted:

The Ice Man cometh!

The Ice Man cometh!


Sadly, this is the first time I’ve ever heard of the Blizzard.  I admit, my knowledge of the Marvel Universe is far from encyclopedic.  There are a shit ton of villains and heroes that I’ve never heard of.  So maybe there are nerds out there who might be excited to see the Blizzard in action.  I’m not sure I really care though and I don’t know if it will be enough to grab the attention of Avengers fans who only know the movie universe.

However, this is what he looks like in Iron Man: Armored Adventures:

I'm a badass ice cube tray!

I’m a badass ice cube tray!

Okay, that’s fucking badass.  And if that’s the version we’re going to get to see on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., sign me way the hell up!  I’m sad that the announcement didn’t come along with a screen shot so I have a sneaking suspicion that the Blizzard might end up being some dude in a trench-coat or some equally cheap wardrobe decision.  But if we get a man in a mech suit on television, fuck yeah!

From: Coming Soon

Joseph Gordon Levitt is Neil Gaiman’s Sandman

Stop being so moody, Dream.

Stop being so moody, Dream.

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think we’d ever ever eeeeeeeeeever see a Neil Gaiman Sandman movie.  Maybe, maaaaaaaaaaybe, an HBO series but never a movie.  I always thought it was one of those comics that was entirely too big for the silver screen.  Then again, I never ever thought Watchmen would ever be made into a film or a series of prequel comics or a video game.  And we saw how well that shit turned out.

I can’t help but greet the news that Joseph Godon-Levitt is going to direct and star in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman with a degree of skepticism.  Mostly, I just don’t trust Warner Bros with anything anymore.  The good news is that Neil Gaiman hasn’t let anyone do anything with a Sandman movie until now and the fact that he’s signed off and will be participating in the production gives me hope.

If they are indeed starting with Preludes and Nocturnes, I don’t see how you can make that story anything but a hard R.  It’s a terrifying thriller, through and through.  If they end up pulling punches and making it any less graphic, I don’t think the comic nerds will be satisfied.  Then again, this has to appeal to the widest audience possible.  I’d be extremely surprised if they aim for anything but a PG-13 rating.

I can almost guarantee that I’ll be seeing this in the theater.  No matter how bad the trailers might end up being or how wonky the interpretation is, it’s fucking Sandman!  I think it’s a comic nerd’s genetic imperative to watch anything that deals with Sandman as soon as it comes out.

So do you guys think this will work?  Or do we have the makings of another Watchmen on our hands?

From: Super Hero Hype


Venom and the Sinister Six Get Their Own Movies!

So many Venom!

So many Venom!

While no one really wants to see Sam Raimi’s Topher Grace version of Venom return to theaters any time soon, of all the Marvel villains, Venom deserves the spotlight.  So the news that Sony is teaming up with Marvel to bring us a Venom movie is kind of exciting.  They will also be collaborating on a Sinister Six film.

The Sinister Six film has me a little curious.  While I could see Venom being a sort of anti hero like in his solo comic series, there’s nothing heroic about the Six.  They are evil through and through.  Will the film show them killing people just because?  Robbing and stealing?  Will they be recast as heroes gone rogue?  While Venom is clearly a fan favorite, the Six seem like an odd choice.  But hell, Guardians of the Galaxy are even less known that the Sinister Six and they’re getting a big push so what do I know.

But the real big news here is that Sony and Marvel are working together.  If the collaboration proves successful, and really, how can you lose with a Venom movie, I totally foresee an Avengers vs. X-Men film in future.  I mean, holy fucking shit, that would absolutely destroy the box office!

From: Super Hero Hype

Hey Nerds, Ease Up On Gal Gadot

Talk shit, get hit!

Talk shit, get hit!

Short of giving everyone in the theater an bone shattering orgasm as the end credits roll, I don’t think Warner Bros will ever satisfy us nerds with Batman vs. Superman.  The announcement that Ben Affleck would don the bat cowl was met with venomous criticism.  And last week’s reveal that Gal Gadot would be strapping on the golden bracers and magic lasso was viciously lambasted.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • She’s too skinny for the role.
  • Maybe if she gets on them horse steroids, she can fill out.
  • She talks funny.
  • We haven’t seen enough of her yet to step into such a prestigious role.
  • She not good enough to carry a franchise.
  • Ah, she’s just a model.
  • She needs to eat a burger or two or three.
  • Maybe if we complain hard enough, she’ll back out.
Facepalm Piccard


This is why we can’t have nice things.

You know who else we hadn’t seen do anything at all unless we were fans of Australian musical theater? HUGH FUCKING JACKMAN who has gone on to play Wolverine in seven fuck movies.  As shitty as I think many of those movies are, he’s been an amazing Wolverine.  I actually think that the fact that we haven’t seen much from Gal Gadot works in her favor.  Casting relative unknowns as comic characters has paid off in spades.  Had any of us in ‘Merica heard of Tom Hiddleston before he put on Loki’s horned helm?  And now look, every fangirl in the world swoons at the mere mention of his name.

Now it’s true that we haven’t really seen her act in anything.  The Fast and Furious franchise basically asked two things of her: be hot, kick dudes.  I think she did both marvelously well.  Wonder Woman does require a little more on the acting front.  But I’m willing to give her chance.  Remember how Chris Evans stunk up the theater twice as Johnny Storm in those ill conceived Fantastic Four things?  By nerd law, there was no way he should be cast in anything based on a comic book ever again.  Yet I think he’s a great Steve Rogers.

So fucking ease up on Gal Gadot and let put on a damn costume.

If we want to nerd rage, let’s nerd rage about the fact that this isn’t a solo Wonder Woman film.  For fucking serious, it’s been far too long since we’ve had a proper live action Wonder Woman.  Linda Carter is getting lonely out there.  I can’t believe Gal Gadot is only the second woman to put on the golden tiara when we’ve had umptysquat numbers of Bat and Super men.

DC considers Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman to be their holy trinity, yet Warner Bros can’t figure out how to make a goddamn Wonder Woman film.  So instead, they take the lazy ass way out and shoehorn her into someone else’s party.  It’s a disservice to the character.

My fear is that Gal Gadot won’t really have a chance to shine as Diana.  She’s competing with the titular characters of the film and when push comes to shove, they’re going to be cutting a lot of her out of the thing to make room for the two super dude bros.  It’s their movie and there’s a real danger that Wonder Woman will just be a footnote much like Colossus in the X2.

Remember who the real enemy is.  It’s not Gal Gadot.  It’s fucking Warner Bros.

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