Star Wars: After Twenty Years, I Finally Get It

star-warsI was never a big Star Wars fan growing up, you know that? Yeah, I watched the movies once or twice but they failed to grab me the way they did other kids at the time – probably because I didn’t particularly care for laser guns and space ships. Give me a Robin Hood, or a King Arthur story over a space story any day. While I still have a fondness for swords and sorcery over spaceships, over the last twelve months I’ve found myself becoming engrossed with the Star Wars story.

Finally, some might say, and I’d probably agree with them. Continue reading “Star Wars: After Twenty Years, I Finally Get It”

Underrated: Daredevil (Yes, The Movie. No, I’m Not Joking)

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Daredevil (Yes, the Ben Affleck movie).


With Daredevil being one of the more vilified Marvel movies (aside from last week’s Underrated subject), and seeing as how we’re going to be getting a new season of a Netflix TV show featuring the Man Without Fear at some point this year, I wanted to take a look at the Ben Affleck Daredevil movie. We’ve all heard how the movie’s bloody terrible, that your time would be better spent plucking your nose a hair at a time, but is it really as bad as you remember it being?

I say remember it being, because I bet none of you have actually watched it in years (I hadn’t until I decided to write this and felt I needed to refresh myself on the movie before I tried to claim it in’t as bad as you think) Before you start yelling at me for writing a column about why the worst reviewed Fantastic Four movie doesn’t entirely suck, I’m not saying the movie is the best thing since sliced bread. It’s not. But it is unfairly shit on by so many of us, and that’s the whole point of Underrated.

As with any of the previous Underrated columns featuring comic book movies that have been reviled by fans and critics for so long, there is going to be context to this column. Daredevil may not be as good as the Netflix series featuring the same character, but it’s not as bad as you’ve heard – once you let go of any preconceived notions of what a Daredevil movie should be.

When I first heard that Ben Affleck had been cast as Batman, I cringed. But then I remembered his turn as Daredevil in this movie and I realized that he was unfairly shit on; he was actually pretty good, and turned in a solid performance despite the script he was given. He wasn’t the only person who stood out for me, either; Colin Farrell as Bullseye and the late Michael Clark Duncan as The Kingpin were fantastic; neither man ever really given the credit they deserve.

So why is the movie so reviled? Well, much like Affleck’s more recent superhero out, Batman V. Superman I think it was down to the expectations people had that the movie failed to deliver on, rather than it being actually terrible. Daredevil was far from a bad movie – yes, there were scenes that people could do without (I didn’t mind the playground fight scene, but I wouldn’t miss it if it was removed), and some of the effects are quite obviously dated now – but once you look past the surface issues like that and go into the movie with some reasonable expectations, i.e. that the movie isn’t as good as the Netflix series, then you’ll be able to find something to enjoy.

Give it a try if you can find the film – then you’ll see why it’s an Underrated superhero film.

Yes, This Is A Cake

I came across this a few days ago at a culinary school. It’s probably a chocolate base and cover, and four mini turtle head cakes sandwiched between, but I didn’t want to touch it to be sure in case my clumsy fingers damaged the art.

Unfortunately I don’t seem to have a picture of who made this piece of food art. More pictures below.

Continue reading “Yes, This Is A Cake”

Underrated: Daredevil (Yes, The Movie)

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Daredevil (Yes, the Ben Affleck movie). Continue reading “Underrated: Daredevil (Yes, The Movie)”

Joe Eisma Drew Free Digital Sketches For Those Who Purchased Faith #8

eisma-jody-houserIf you brought a copy of Valiant‘s Faith #8 when it was released, and you’re a member of the Facebook group Valiant Comic Fans, then you may have been the lucky recipient of a free digital sketch by the man who drew the issue, Joe Eisma on Wenesday night.

Below you’ll find a selection of the sketches that Joe drew for fans; in the interests of full disclosure, the first image is one I had requested (and it may have taken Joe all of five minutes to do). This was an incredibly awesome thing for Joe to, and it’s something that I wanted to share with you.

If you’d like to commission Joe for a sketch, then you can check out this link.

Below you’ll fins a selection of the digital sketches Joe drew for fans of various Valiant characters – and Faith writer Jody Houser above left Continue reading “Joe Eisma Drew Free Digital Sketches For Those Who Purchased Faith #8”

Underrated: Beasts Of Burden: Animal Rites

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: the Dark Horse Comics’ hardcover collection Beasts Of Burden: Animal Rites.

Continue reading “Underrated: Beasts Of Burden: Animal Rites”

Convention Report: Hal-Con 2016

Disclaimer: This is a horribly delayed post because I forgot to schedule it – no excuses. The following is an unedited post that should have run a long time ago – it wasn’t until I went to write another feature on comics mentioned within this post did I realize this never went live.



hal-conA couple of weekends ago I had the chance to attend the biggest comic convention in Atlantic Canada: Hal-Con. Held annually in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Hal-Con doesn’t come close to rivaling Fan Expo in Toronto for attendance numbers, but the passion it’s organizers and volunteers have for the convention is rivaled only by the attendees, of which there were more than 8,800 people both in and out of costume in attendance.

Hal-Con is a three day event, but for various reasons I was only able to make the second day of the event, along with my wife (who took the majority of the pictures you’ll see in this article because she’s better at that than I am), even then arriving later than I would have liked (around 1pm) due to some minor traffic issues on the drive to Halifax. Needless to say once my wife and I had checked in to our hotel for the night we headed over to the World Trade And Convention Center to start our convention experience. Right off the bat,
finding a place to park wasn’t an issue, even with the city’s reputation for a lack of parking – whether that was because we arrived after the initial rush of people at the day’s opening or not I couldn’t tell you, but we plonked our car within a block of the con.

Picking up our tickets was a surprisingly smooth process; my wife was able to pick her ticket up as quickly as I was able to locate the press desk for my pass. Although the lateness of our arrival likely helped my wife through the line, I spoke to several attendees during the day who said that the wait “wasn’t too bad, really” when they arrived, so I suspect our experience was fairly typical in that regard.

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The Sales Floor

Taking up the rink surface, and bleeding into the surrounding corridors, was the vendor and exhibitors floor. My first impressions upon entering that seething mass of geekmanity was that there wasn’t much room to maneuver around – not quite sardine bad, but certainly cramped. Although my wife pointed out that’s because there was a lot of people standing around the entrance to the floor waiting for friends, taking pictures and generally soaking in the atmosphere of convention; once we’d slid past that group we and had made our way into the floor proper, there was certainly breathing room.

img_0737There was also, apparently, a cosplay repair station that I didn’t notice…

As with any smaller con, the vendors were a healthy mix of local artisans specializing in various nerd and geek accessories that you’re either going to sto

p and look at (and maybe even part with your money for a couple) or keep walking past, and a fair few comic and nerd memorabilia retailers. Although there were several local comic shops in attendance, Halifax’s own Strange Adventures were the standout for us because of their Spin To Win wheel with proceeds going to a children’s hospital (I walked away with a colouring book and  Mickey Mouse tpb).

But as awesome as those artisans and vendors are, it was the local comic book creators that had me most excited as I walked through the aisles (my wife was more enamoured with the artisans, but then she’s not much of a comics reader). There were several fantastic looking comics to be picked up at Hal-Con, and thinking it’d be rude for me not to buy comics at a convention, I walked away with the the first two issues of Psychosis  published by Outpouring ComicsThe Forsaken Future, published by White Fire Comics; and Blot, a comic by C. Cameron (look for more on these comics and publishers). There were more comics that I wanted to pick up, but I only had so much cash on hand – and I didn’t notice to hand ATM until we were leaving after the sales floor had closed for the evening.

The Guestsimg_0736

Depending on what your main branch of fandom is, there was somebody there that you’d have at least a passing interest in meeting. While I won’t list the guests at the event (you can find that online easily enough here), I was impressed with how their area was set up; out of the way enough to be away from the main crowds, but easily accessible for those looking for a photo op or a specific signature.

The Cosplay

Without mincing words, there were so many great costumes and cosplays on display as we walked around. There’s only a small selection of the people we saw in the gallery below.

 

The Games Area

Honestly, this was where we spent a lot of our evening once we’d wandered through the sale area and cosplayers. We did check out a panel or two (with varying degrees of enjoyment), but ended up hanging out with a few different boardgames borrowed from the event’s library. It was also helpful because the board games were on the ground floor closest to our car, so by the time we did finally leave for the we didn’t need to go too far.

I’m aware I’m a lazy person.

There were more than enough tables for boardgames, as well as a fantastic arcade, for quite a few people (I don’t know how many exactly, but my guess would be hovering around the 500 mark). There was always an empty chair or two for us to join a game in progress – which probably have more to do with the lateness of the hour than the popularity of the area, which we were able to see was jam packed from a concourse rest area earlier in the day.

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Although we only made it to one of the three days, Hal-Con was a fantastic experience for both myself and my wife. If you’re in the area, then pop in during the 2017 convention in September. I may just see you there.

Batman vs The God Complex | How Tom King Brought Back Batman’s Humanity

I came across this fantastic article the other day that delves into they way we’re being reminded that Batman is very much a mortal man, and i thought it worth bringing to your attention because you’ll probably find it interesting.

(Warning: This article includes Spoilers for the first volume of Batman Rebirth) People love Batman. Nobody could argue that fact, but why do they love him? Most, Batman fans can be put into two gr…

Source: Batman vs The God Complex | How Tom King Brought Back Batman’s Humanity

Underrated: Ghost Rider

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Ghost Rider



 

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Robbie Reyes in Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Marvel’s Agents. Of S.H.I.E.L.D. recently brought Robbie Reyes to our screens as the latest Ghost Rider in the first half of the current season. It was easily one of the highlights of the fall 2016 television schedule for me, and with the show returning this week to our screens without Reyes (as far as I know – as of this writing I haven’t seen the mid-season premier yet), I felt it was time to rewatch Ghost Rider.

I did it for you, folks.

So you may be wondering why I wanted to focus on another critically panned movie, and while part of it is because I never hated the flick when I saw it in the theater the first (and only) time I watched it, despite the panning it received from fans and critics alike.  We’ve all heard how the movie’s bloody terrible, that your time would be better spent watching paint dry, but is Ghost Rider really as bad as you remember it being?

Once you get past the fact this Ghost Rider movie is about a man possessed by a demon with a flaming skull, that just happens to share several surface similarities to a Marvel comic book, then the movie isn’t bad. It’s not great. Before you start yelling at me for writing a column about why the worst reviewed Fantastic Four movie doesn’t entirely suck, I’m not saying the movie is the best thing since sliced bread. It’s not. But it is unfairly shit on by so many of us, and that’s the whole point of Underrated.

moviegrLook, I’m not going to sit here and claim this is a fantastic movie, because it’s not. But if you go in with either an open mind or expectations that are lower than the Marianas Trench, then you’ll find something to enjoy. Nicolas Cage isn’t on top form here but he’s clearly enjoying the role, and treats the B-movie script with the respect it deserves when we see him on screen. It’s not one of his best movies, but I’ve seldom seen him give as entertaining a performance as he does in this movie, even if his characterization may not be on point given what fans of the character expect (even with my admittedly limited knowledge of Ghost Rider comics, it didn’t seem to jive too well).

But the thing is, despite the movies flaws (the wasted conclusion for Carter Slade’s story is a prime example) it’s a good turn-your-brain-off movie. 

Ghost Rider plays like a modern day interpretation of a 50’s Western comic set this century on the screen. Not necessarily a Western movie mind you, but because I don’t recall many Western movies being as silly as Ghost Rider, but comics? I don’t hear many people taking Western comics set in the 50’s seriously at all (that’s not to say they were overly silly, however, just that I don’t hear of many people thinking of them that way). Once you forget this is a movie about the Marvel Comics character Ghost Rider, this isn’t that bad.

And that’s why this movie is Underrated


 

This post previous appeared on Graphic Policy.