Thursday, October 20, 2011

90's TV Shows (part 2)

I realized that I missed a couple key shows from my child hood. So here is the second installment, and these aren't comic related.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Reading Rainbow
Arthur
The Magic School Bus
Bill Nye The Science Guy
Easily the best day of school
Power Rangers
The black guy was the black ranger and the chinese girl was the yellow ranger... 
Chip N' Dale Rescue Ranger
90's Childhood in 3 Minutes



Friday, October 14, 2011

Man on Bike Gets Hit By Antelope!

Oh Shoot!!!

The title pretty much says it all. I know its not comic related but it is so crazy I had to share it. It happened in South Africa.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Avengers Trailer

Here is the newest Trailer!
Click "Follow." Need followers for my grade.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Phoenix Jones: Real Superhero

It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's... Some Dude?!

Seattle has a new superhero and he goes by the name Phoenix Jones. Five nights out of the week Pheonix Jones dawns on his costume and goes out into the night stopping crime. He is the leader of a group of eight superheroes in Seattle called "Rain City Superherores."
Phoenix Jones is a six feet one, 205 pound African American 22 year old man is a father of 2. He is adamant about reporters keeping his secret identity. Phoenix says that him and his crew break up about two to three acts of violence a night. 

Recently Phoenix Jones was arrested after he pepper-sprayed a crowd. Besides pepper spray some of his other powers include taser, night stick, and tear gas. He also wears a custom made suit with body armor and a kevlar vest.
Click HERE for Video of Phoenix Jones arrest

Real life superheroes aren't a new thing. There are over 200 superheroes across the country.

There's DC's Guardian, in Washington, who wears a full-body stars and-stripes outfit and wanders the troubled areas behind the Capitol building. 

There's RazorHawk, from Minneapolis, who was a pro wrestler for fifteen years before joining the RLSH movement. 

There's New York City's Dark Guardian, who specializes in chasing pot dealers out of Washington Square Park by creeping up to them, shining a light in their eyes, and yelling, "This is a drug-free park!"

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Upcoming Superhero Movies

Every summer there are a few constants in movies: big budget busts, over the top action movies, and comic book movies. There are three big superhero movies coming out this summer (2012):

The Dark Knight Rises
This is a fan made poster

Release Date: July 20

Who's in it:
Christian Bale...........................................................Batman
Anne Hathaway.......................................................Catwoman
Tom Hardy...............................................................Bane
Liam Neeson............................................................Ra's Al Gul
Marion Cotillard......................................................Miranda Tate                                    

What's it about: The Plot is still vague. What we do know is that Batman is still on the run from the previous movie (The Dark Knight) from the cops for taking the blame for Harvey Dent's (Two-Face) murders. Bane and Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) are in the film, as well as "Batman Begins" villian Ra's Al Gul. We don't know what Ra's Al Gul's part in the movie will be (flash backs maybe) since he died at the end of the first film. My guess is that the league of shadows (Ra's Al Gul's gang) will be involved in distributing the venom drug (the serum the makes Bane super strong). His daughter will probably be involved as well and try to seduce Bruce Wayne.

Why should you care: I shouldn't have to answer this. It is the final Christopher Nolan Batman in the trilogy. The Dark Knight was the highest grossing Comic Movie of all time (600 Million). Bane not only one of the strongest and smartest villains of Batman, but he also breaks Batman's back in the comics. This will be a guaranteed amazing movie.

The Amazing Spider-Man


Release Date: July 3

Who's in it: 
Andrew Garfield............... Peter Parker/Spideman
Emma Stone.......................................Gwen Stacy
Rhys Ifans.............. Dr. Curt Conners/ The Lizard

What's it about: This is a revamp of the Spiderman Franchise (still can't get the taste of Spiderman 3 out of my mouth). The movie will depict how Peter Parker gets his powers and becomes Spiderman. There are a few differences that most movie fans will notice. 1) Instead of having webs come out of his wrist, in this movie Spiderman makes his own "web shooters." This is more accurate to the comic. 2) Gwen Stacy was Peter Parkers girlfriend before Mary Jane in the comics. She gets thrown off a bridge in the comics and dies. 

Why should you care: This could either be really bad or really good. The director directed "500 Days of Summer" so it might have an indy low budget feel, which could be refreshing. I like the actor playing Peter Parker. The Lizard is a giant man lizard who could be a really lame villain. This is a toss up for me.


The Avengers


Release Date: May 4

Who's in it: 
Chris Hemsworth..........................................Thor
Scarlett Johansson.........................................Black Widow
Chris Evan....................................................Captain America
Jeremy Renner..............................................Hawkeye
Robert Downey Jr........................................Ironman
Mark Ruffalo...............................................Bruce Banner/Hulk
Samuel L Jackson........................................Nick Fury
Gwyneth Paltrow.........................................Pepper Potts

What's it about: Loki, Thor's evil step brother, has taken over a powerful cube and now wants to rule earth. He is to powerful for just one superhero. So Nick Fury brings the Avengrs together. They will probably have problems working with each other at first and establishing a team. But eventually they will come together and work as a team in defeating Loki.

Why should you care: This is the "Ocean's Eleven" of superhero movies, in terms of a bringing in a bunch of big stars. Having so many stars is the pro and potential con of this movie. It will be interesting to see how they will give all the characters and stars their screen time and how so many big characters will interact with each other. 

Trailers
The Avengers (BRAND NEW JUST CAME OUT TODAY!)
Click HERE

The Dark Knight Rises
The Amazing Spider-Man

Monday, October 10, 2011

Superhero Theme Songs

Thanks to my cousin Samuel (take note if you write on my blog I will do shout outs) I have been thinking a lot about theme songs for superheroes. Most of these are from the mid 60's and they are the most of these are the most ridiculous things I have ever seen. Enjoy the hilarity of the 60's:

Wonderwoman
The Spider-Man
The Batman (1960's)

The Hulk (1966)

Iron-man (1966)
Captain America (1966)
Mighty Thor
Fantastic Four
Green Hornet
Did this last one for my Dad. He grew up on this.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

90's Cartoon Superhero Shows


I was recently thinking about how I got into comics. It all started in my childhood. I grew up in the mid 90's and like most overweight kids I loved saturday mornings. Not for sports, but for saturday morning cartoons. This was the day of the week I was up earliest, so I could catch my favorite shows. These shows are what my mind refers to when I still read comics. Here are a few of the intros:

X-Men (1992-1997)
Oh man this song still gets me pumped! Easily my favorite show from my childhood. The modern day X-Men comics, movies, and cartoon shows, haven't quite gotten the chemistry of this team. 

What I Miss: The greatest part of this show was the chemistry between Rouge and Gambit. Not only was Gambit the coolest character on the show, but Rouge could fly and had super strength. The show had every major character and covered all the great X-Men story arcs, including the Dark Phoenix Saga.

Greatest Moment: In the first episode the most lovable character, Morph, who was the easy going jokester, gets brutally murdered by sentinels. 

Worst Moment: Jubilee.

Facts: Longest running (5 seasons) & highest ratings of any Marvel cartoon show. IMDB rating gives it a 8.9. IGN gives it a ranking of 13th for animated shows. 

Spiderman (1994-1998)



What I Miss: I loved the continuity of the show. Ever episode was important to watch or else you would be lost in the story. The stories were dark and Peter Parker wasn't portrayed as a dork.

Greatest Moment: Spiderman had epic season finales that usually involved multiple heroes. My favorite moment is when the X-Men and Fantastic 4 would team up with Spiderman.

Worst Moment: The Vulture and the Rhino could be the lamest villain's in Marvel.

Facts: Created by the same people who created the X-Men animated series. 2nd longest running Marvel show (4 Seasons). Longest running "Spiderman" show. 

Batman (1992-1995)

What I Miss: Considered the greatest animated series of all time by many. It has earned the highest ratings by critics because of the great voice acting, writing, and animation. Nothing had captured the essence of Batman like the animated series.

Greatest Moment: "Clayface" was my favorite Batman villain, and he scared the crap out of me. Overall I was creeped out by this animated series (I was only 5). But now I appreciate it for what it was. 

Worst Moment: That it ended.


Facts: Inspired by Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns." Geared towards an adult-oriented audience. Harley Quinn (Joker's Sidekick) was invented on the show and became so popular that DC comics put her into the graphic novels. In the series Mr. Freeze was changed from a mad scientist with a gimmick, to a tragic figure. The show won two Emmy's. 

These were my favorite series and the ones that I watched every Saturday. There were many other Cartoons in the 90's that I didn't care for. For your enjoyment I have posted them below:

Superman (1996-2000)
The Hulk (1996-1997)
The Fantastic Four (1994-1996)
Darkwing Duck(1991-1992)

Honorary Mentions (non-Superhero)
Captain Planet (1990-1996)
Duck Tales (1987-1990)








Thursday, September 29, 2011

Unfamiliar Characters in Comic Movies

Azazel : X-Men First Class
Azazel is basically a fallen demon. The angels went to war against the demons and the demons were banished to hell. Since Azazel is not only a demon but one of the first mutants he had the power of teleportation. He could only teleport for brief moments so he devised a plan. He started impregnating women and his offspring would creates portals for him. His most famous offspring is Nightcrawler (who;s mother is Mystique). This is why nightcrawler has similar features and teleportaion powers as Azazel. Every time Nightcrawler teleports he is briefly entering into hell and returning to earth. That is why when he appears and disappears the smoke smells like sulfur.

Riptide : X-Men First Class
Riptide is apart of Sinister's gang "the Marauders. In the comic he cannot create tornadoes and control wind like in "X-Men Firstclass." Instead his power is merely that he spins his body really fast, usually to throw projectiles (like shurikens) incredibly fast and with a lot of force. While spinning Collosus grabs his neck and snaps it. Ending the life of Riptide. (Of course Sinister cloned him though and it was as if he never died).



Abomination : The Incredible Hulk (The one with Edward Norton)
Abomination is one of the physically strongest villains in the Marvel Universe, and he should be he is a copy of the Hulk. He originally was a KGB Russian spy who deliberately exposes himself to twice as much Gamma Rays (the thing that turned the Hulk into the Hulk) as the Hulk. So he has twice as strong and twice as smart as the Hulk. In their first encounter Abomination beats the Hulk, but of course the Hulk was revived and as lowly Bruce Banner defeats him with science. He is still the Hulks greatest adversary.   


Destroyer : Thor
The Destroyer is a lifeless being created by Odin (Thors dad). He is impervious to destruction and the only people who are able to activate it are Odin, Thor, or Loki (Thors brother and bad guy). Once activated he cannot be stopped and he shoots beams from his eyes. He is currently under the control of Doctor Doom. 


Darwin: X-Men First Class
Even though Darwin is a "First Class" X-Men in the movie his first appearance was in 2006. He is able to adapt to survive. So if he is underwater he grow gills. If he is in a house that is burning down he is fireproof. Any situation he adapts to. He was recruited by Professor X to save his original first class (Iceman, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast, and Angel). He died trying to rescue the original team but his body was able to reunite his atoms and reanimate himself. Currently he is apart of the team "X-Factor." 

Angel Salvadore : X-Men First Class
When Angel was 13 she was a normal girl. On her 14th birthday she woke up in a cocoon and when she came out she had developed insect wings. She also had acidy spit and eats like a fly. She basically has any fly related abilities, even laying eggs (she is gross).  She first appears in 2001 and is inducted as a new younger group of X-Men called "New X-Men." Angel, thankfully, lost her powers. She now has two tech gauntlets around her arms. The left arm can generate ice and the right hand generate fire. 
This is literally the most flattering picture I could find. She is gross.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Who is your Favorite Superhero?



  • Captain America
  • Ironman
  • Thor
  • Wonderwoman
  • Hulk
  • Spiderman
  • Wolverine
  • Superman
  • Batman
More polls: Best all inclusive

I'm Back!

The Return:
I'm back! After a prolonged hiatus this comic enthusiast has once again returned to his passion. I am now no longer restricted to what I can and cannot write.
My Promise:
So consider this a promise from me to you, I will only write and post what I deem interesting, mostly cool videos, pictures, and information about comics. I will be more interesting, sleeker, and more creative. Thank you for all my continued followers. 32,000 of you have said that, "Yeah I am a Dork!"

To get new comers caught up on what my post is all about here are some of my most popular posts:
Dead Superheroes

Occultism in Comics

Top 100 Super Heroes

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I Make Dorky Look Good! (Final Thoughts on English 295)


English 295 with Dr. Burton has been one of the most rewarding classes I have taken at BYU. I am not just saying that because Dr. Burton is going to read this, I am saying it because it is true. I was not looking forward to taking a "Literary Analysis" class. But I was pleasantly surprised to find out Dr. Burton's spin on it, we were to make a blog!

The "Holy Grail"
And so my journey into the blogging world began. At first I was all over the place, excited with my new creation and just wanting to spew everything I thought was "cool" onto my blog. I then realized that that is not the purpose of this class, the purpose it to get focused on one thing and research about it. So I chose comics. In the class description it says, "students are expected to 'take ownership' of their own education..." well no one took ownership of one theme better than I did. I stuck with my comic super friends through thick and thin. Their were times I thought I was taking to big of a risk by studying "comics" in an English class! But I saw how deep my love for comics ran, and I found to the holy grail of truths that all comic readers embark upon, comic books are literature!!! Victory!

Terrified of My Own Writing
In the course description it also reads, "Eng 295 aims to provide students with a foundation in the skills of writing about literature...." Before Eng 295 I was terrified of my own writing. I hated reading my compositions and I was even more terrified to let other's read it. Imagine the terror that befell upon me when I realized that I had mistakenly connected my class blog with my facebook account! Now everyone I knew would read my writing. I have gained more confidence in my own style of writing and my own voice thanks to Eng 295.

Global Audience
As of today I have 18,679 views on my blog. It is a pretty cool thing when you realize that people are actually interested in what you have to say. Another excerpt from the course description reads, "Students will learn to address an academic audience...." The amazing thing about this class is that it is global. Our academic audience is not to one person, it is to the world. It is to the 300 people in Australia or India who have looked at my blog. Even this post, (which is my final paper), is targeted to the global audience and not just to my teacher.

Writing the Digital Way!
I have learned a great deal in this class but no more so than how to write in a digital world. our class focused on learning how to write to a society that is rapidly changing to more and more digital consumption. I learned how to write to a digital audience rather than just a formal class room audience. On the internet you have to be personable, informative, aesthetically pleasing, and short, basically you have to write as if you were writing a comic. BOOM! Tied it all in at the end there back to comics. Comics are the way of the future! So rise up "Dork Nation" and be proud!

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Visual Art Team

My preposed original idea for our Ebook
TEAMWORK
As a team Rachael and I had an important task, to find our Ebook's cover art. Both Rachael and I had different ideas and different method's to getting our book cover. We had to be careful of copyright laws so I first used search.creativecommons.org and searched their. That gave me a mixed bag of results, a lot of the images were still copyrighted and I couldn't use the pictures.

MY SEARCH
My next step was going to sites like istockphoto.com and fotosearch.com, these are both websites with quality pictures that they take and then sell you the picture so you don't have to worry about copyright issues. I had never been on these sites and it showed me how expensive it is to use some of these pictures without getting into legal trouble. Fotosearch.com had really high quality pictures but ranged from $40-$120 bucks per picture!

Istockphoto.com gave me the best results. It gave me the idea I wanted at a reasonable price. I find it interesting that you have to buy "credits" though. The "credit" system was a little sketchy, the options for buying credits was 12 credits at $15 and 28 credits for $38. This would be fine and dandy if the picture I wanted wasn't 15 credits...

THE END RESULT
I found the pictures I wanted and I gave my idea. I felt like because of my idea of going after the younger technological generation we came to conclusion that we shouldn't segment ourself into one market. That is what lead us to the "neutral" picture of the "girl and the bus" that is our Ebook cover. Also Rachael and I were able to expound a little bit more on the "getting on the digital culture train"analogy that the "girl and the bus" picture represents.

I am glad that I was able to lend my passion about imagery to the group and show that images can carry a lot of meaning and symbolism.

Our end cover art for our Ebook


1993 AT&T Commercial Accurately Predicts Our Present Day Technology



This is a two step process, STEP 1: Read the passage below, STEP 2: Watch the video on the link


"Well in 1993 AT&T released a series of commercials – dubbed the “You Will” ads – that posited several predictions about the future. While not all of the predictions came completely true (email has replaced faxing, for example), the majority are pretty spot on." 


Click: HERE

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Proposed Images for Our Ebook Cover

Hey guys here are two images I thought would look pretty cool on our cover. I tried to look for themes of "connecting" and "digital." I really like the sihoutte one (and it is cheaper, we have to pay for both).

Let me know what you guys think.



Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Serious Simulation (Final Paper)

"Battle Room Scene" from "Ender's Game" comic
From enders-game.movie-trailer.com
We may by thinking that what we are doing is a simulation or preliminary, but really we have all ready become apart of something real.

"THE BATTLE ROOM"      
  “The enemies gate is down”(pg. 172) is the famous line given by Ender to his army when they are about to embark into the “battle room.” The reason Ender said this line was to expand his armies thinking. In the “battle room” there is no gravity, no friction, and basically the only rule is to win. It pits each "kid" army against each other in a laser tag battle, last person not tagged wins it for their army. It is just a game to these 7-16 year old kids. But the real truth is that this “game” is real and has real implications. It is a simulation to help these kids train for a real war, commanding, deploying troops, and coming up with strategies to defeat the enemy. Much of the digital culture that we have studied relates perfectly with this analogy. We may by thinking that what we are doing is a simulation or preliminary, but really we have all ready become apart of something real.

            At the end of the book in Ender’s Game the adults use Ender and his “jeesh” (team) to win a war that he has no idea has already begun. Ender has been tasked to destroy and entire race of aliens who threaten invasion on Earth. Ender thinks he is playing a simulation, a game with fake ships and an opponent who he thinks is his teacher. But in fact he was winning the war he thought he was preparing for. He was commanding fleets, with tangible lives and wiped out an entire race of aliens, but the only way the adults could ensure that Ender would not get overwhelmed at this responsibility was to lie to him and tell him it was a simulation. This scenario is how the digital culture operates as well, especially when it comes to the modern use of comics.

COMICS (THE BETA OF MOVIES)
            Comic books are not just comics any more they are the BETA (BETA is the preliminary or testing phase that many internet sites or software companies go through before launching the real thing. It gives room for changes and tweak's according to the user's preference and feedback) to the system for movies. They have become a treasure map to finding gold. Comics are not profitable, well at least the $2.99 version. So why continue to make comics? Because comics are a means to an end, like Ender’s battle room, comics are a simulation for the real war. Marvel for instance, releases comics in order to see which character and story arc have become popular. They use this information to create multi-million dollar grossing movies.

            Marvel started to use comics as a gauge around 2005. Marvel had already come out with its big hitters, “Spider-man,” “Fantastic Four,” “Hulk,” and “X-Men.” They did well, but Marvel also had some busts and they didn’t know what character should be put on the silver screen next. Meanwhile Orson Scott Card wrote a comic called “Ultimate Ironman” which quickly became one of the best selling comics. Up to this point Ironman had been a background character with not a big following. Marvel made “Ironman” in 2008 and they turned a $2.99 comic into 300 million dollars (total grossing of “Ironman”). So every time I embarrassedly sneak a comic into the house past my wife and read it alone in a dark room where no one can find me, I am really contributing to society! And who say's comics are useless?

THE BETA'S WE USE EVERYDAY
            In the same vein as comic’s being a BETA for movies, the digital culture is full of BETA’s that we need to take seriously. Everything we do in the digital culture has an impact. We may think we are in the kiddy pool but in fact we are swimming in the middle of the ocean. The first MP3 player wasn’t hugely popular and didn’t really catch on, but it was the first of an evolving system that led to the “iPod.” Once the “iPod” took over it evolved into a “smartphone.” The digital culture is constantly evolving because of us and it is up to us to determine where it goes.

            I didn't realize how many "mainstream" websites are actually still in BETA form. According to the MoMB (Museum of Modern BETA's) some of the top 100 BETA's include such websites as hulu.com, flickr.com, prezi.com, woflramalpha.com, gmail.com, and so many more. This means that the gmail that I use everyday is still in it's testing phase and will continue to grow and change according to how I (and millions of other users) use it.

OUR "SECOND LIFE"
            "World of Warcraft"(which I do not play and if you do that is a OK. I am not one to judge... I read comics) started as a BETA. The BETA is basically the first game. Once the people at Blizzard saw the flood of people wanting to play they made significant changes to it and now it is the world's top selling computer game and currently 12 million users are on it.
         
            Another MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role-playing Game, you should probably learn what this is since it is taking over everyone) like "World of Warcraft" is "Second Life." "Second Life" is exactly as it sounds, it is a simulation of your life (but you can fly if you choose). This "simulation" is not a simulation to the players, it is real.  They have real currency and a real government with a real elections. People will sell things in "Second Life" on Ebay for real money. Crazy, I know.  This is the purpose of "Second Life" according to secondlife.com, "A place to shop, a place to work, a place to connect, a place to love, a place to explore, free yourself, free your mind, change your life, love your life." To these people the statement to "change and love your life" is a true one and they love their "Second Life" better than their first one. This is exactly my point, these "simulations" that are all around us are real, we need to take them seriously and realize that they are real.

BEAN
            One person who knew that these simulations were real in "Ender's Game" is Bean.  Bean understood that they were commanding real lives, so when Ender was about to sacrifice an entire fleet to beat “the game”, Bean was the only one to say “thank you” to the men who were about to give the ultimate sacrifice. We need to be like Bean. We need to be aware that we are apart of something bigger.

MY EXPERIENCE
            Before I blogged I thought like Ender. I thought that as a college kid things I did were inconsequential and that I would make an impact on the world in my 40’s and 50’s. I for sure thought that my blog would only be read by my teacher and that no one would appreciate and entire blog dedicated to comics. But now I realize that it was all a facade, and that my blog was being read and appreciated, and secretly, I had just been given a voice on the Internet.


            The more I gained a voice the more I realized how serious comics need to be taken. This all came to fruition when I went into the basement of our University Library to the Special Collections Section. The Special Collections Section of the library is dedicated to holding only the rare and valuable. To get a book from the Special Collections you practically have to pass a background check. Well imagine my surprise when the comic book I was looking for was in this holy of hollies section of the library. It hit me when I was sitting in the designated "reading room" (can't take anything in) and I look around me, sheepishly, waiting for my comic book and everyone else in their has gloves on and they are studying ancient manuscripts. I knew then that comics had become a thing to be reckoned with and then I considered donning white gloves to give respect to the comic I was about to read (I didn't and I think I might have even ripped a page on accident, don't tell the library please).  

            I have forsaken my Ender ways and now I think like Bean. We should all “awake” and realize that this class, this e-book, everything we do is not an assignment or practice, but real and important. We are all part of a test and we need to realize that we are taking it in order to pass. I now know that the "enemies gate is down." (pg.172)

Bibliography
Orson Scott. Ender's Game . Rev. ed. New York: Tor, 1991. Print.

Research, Linden. "Virtual Worlds, Avatars, free 3D chat, online meetings - Second Life Official Site." Virtual Worlds, Avatars, free 3D chat, online meetings - Second Life Official Site. N.p., 13 Apr. 2003. Web. 10 June 2011. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

"Alpha's" New Superhero Show Looks Promising

This is a new show called "Alpha's" that comes out on the Syfy channel. I don't really like the Syfy channel but this show looks really good actually and could be a better version of "Heroes." Check out the trailer. This show comes out on July 11.

If you want a full screen version click HERE

Monday, June 6, 2011

"X-Men First Class" Review


So I know we are supposed to be focused right now on the E-book we are making, but I just can't help myself, I have to write a review.

My wife and I saw "X-Men First Class" on Saturday (I wanted to see it opening night but my wife is taking the LSAT today and she had to study, I guess that is important). My expectations for this movie was really high because it was getting good review and my brother saw it and said it was good (he is a reliable source on movies and is a closet comic fan). X-Men is my favorite comic book, the 90's cartoon was the show that got my hooked on comics so I know the most about these heroes and have the highest expectations for this beloved franchise.

Preliminaries out of the way, this movie is fantastic! Not only fantastic, amazing! It surpassed my expectations. This is the "Batman Begins" for the "X Men" franchise. For those of you who do not get that reference, Tim Burton was the director of the sub-par Batman movies, you know the ones with the Govenator as "Mr. Freeze." It wasn't until Chris Nolan made "Batman Begins" did we realize how good the Batman movies could be. These movies were popular but not good, but they were all we had to choose from. Just like the original "X- Men" movies. I always thought that "X2" was a great movie (by far the greatest of the original three and that crap-tastic "Wolverine" movie) but after seeing "X Men First Class" I realize how juvenile those movies were.

Just like the Christopher Nolan Batman movies showed us how great the Batman movies could be so does "X-Men First Class" show us the potential greatness for the X-Men movies. This movie had it all, great acting (especially for Professor X, Magneto, and Kevin Bacon???), humor (Professor X is playful and a cheeky bugger), great action (Havok is really cool), some cool cameos, and a wonderful story that ties it all in. Now don't expect the story arc to coincide with the original "X-Men" movies. Not everything is going to line up chronologically, but it doesn't have to, this is a new start on the X-Men.

This movie is great, so great that it is now my second favorite comic movie (just behind "The Dark Knight"). That's a bold declaration for me and one you can trust from someone who has seen all comic movies... yes even "Jonah Hex"and the dreadful dreadful "Ghost Rider"(Do NOT touch that movie). "X Men First Class isn't only for comic fans, my wife who doesn't have a taste for this stuff loved it! So did her parents! So go and see it and step into my world for a night, I promise you will enjoy it.

IMDB Rating:                     8.3 (out of 10)
Rotten Tomato Rating:      87%
Yeah! Im a dork! Rating:    9.5 out of 10 (10 Being "The Dark Knight")

Things you didn't know about "X-Men First Class":
-- Spoilers --
  • The opening scene of young Magneto in the concentration camp is the exact same scene in the original "X Men movie.
  •  Moira Mctaggert (The CIA human agent in the movie) in the comics marries Professor X but he ends up cheating on her so she marries Banshee (the guy who screams, who is scottish in the comic) and they open a school for mutants in Scotland. 
  • Emma Frost (The chick who turns into diamonds) is currently the leader of the X-Men in the comics. 
  • Havok (The guy who shoots stuff out of his chest) is Cyclops (the guys who shoots things out of his eyes) brother. 
  • Azazel (the red demon guy) is Nightcrawlers Dad in the comics, his Mom is Mystique. 
  • The original team X-Men Team was Iceman, Cyclops, Beat, Angel (boy version), Beast (not blue yet), and Marvel Girl or Jean Grey.

Original X-Men Team
Jean Grey, Beast (Before Blue), Cylops, Angel, and Iceman

Friday, June 3, 2011

WARNING: THE BELOW POST IS MY FINAL PAPER FOR MY 295 CLASS

Serious Simulation (2nd Draft)

"THE BATTLE ROOM"      
  “The enemies gate is down” is the famous line given by Ender to his army when they are about to embark into the “battle room.” The reason Ender said this line was to expand his armies thinking. In the “battle room” there is no gravity, no friction, and basically the only rule is to win. It pits each "kid" army against each other in a laser tag battle, last person not tagged wins it for their army. It is just a game to these 7-16 year old kids. But the real truth is that this “game” is real and has real implications. It is a simulation to help these kids train for a real war, commanding, deploying troops, and coming up with strategies to defeat the enemy. Much of the digital culture that we have studied relates perfectly with this analogy. We may by thinking that we are doing is preliminary but really we have all ready become apart of something real.

            At the end of the book in Ender’s Game the adults use Ender and his “jeesh” (team) to win a war that he has no idea has already begun. Ender has been tasked to destroy and entire race of aliens who threaten invasion on Earth. Ender thinks he is playing a simulation, a game with fake ships and an opponent who he thinks is his teacher. But in fact he was winning the war he thought he was preparing for. He was commanding fleets, with tangible lives and wiped out an entire race of aliens, but the only way the adults could ensure that Ender would not get overwhelmed at this responsibility was to lie to him and tell him it was a simulation. This scenario is how the digital culture operates as well, especially when it comes to the modern use of comics.

COMICS (THE BETA OF MOVIES)
            Comic books are not just comics any more they are the BETA (BETA is the preliminary or testing phase that many internet sites or software companies go through before launching the real thing. It gives room for changes and tweak's according to the user's preference and feedback) to the system for movies. They have become a treasure map to finding gold. Comics are not profitable, well at least the $2.99 version. So why continue to make comics? Because comics are a means to an end, like Ender’s battle room, comics are a simulation for the real war. Marvel for instance, releases comics in order to see which character and story arc have become popular. They use this information to create multi-million dollar grossing movies.

            Marvel started to use comics as a gauge around 2005. Marvel had already come out with its big hitters, “Spider-man,” “Fantastic Four,” “Hulk,” and “X-Men.” They did well, but Marvel also had some busts and they didn’t know what character should be put on the silver screen next. Meanwhile Orson Scott Card wrote a comic called “Ultimate Ironman” which quickly became one of the best selling comics. Up to this point Ironman had been a background character with not a big following. Marvel made “Ironman” in 2008 and they turned a $2.99 comic into 300 million dollars (total grossing of “Ironman”). So every time I embarrassedly sneak a comic into the house past my wife and read it alone in a dark room where no one can find me, I am really contributing to society! And who say's comics are useless?

THE BETA'S WE USE EVERYDAY
            In the same vein as comic’s being a BETA for movies, the digital culture is full of BETA’s that we need to take seriously. Everything we do in the digital culture has an impact. We may think we are in the kiddy pool but in fact we are swimming in the middle of the ocean. The first MP3 player wasn’t hugely popular and didn’t really catch on, but it was the first of an evolving system that led to the “iPod.” Once the “iPod” took over it evolved into a “smartphone.” The digital culture is constantly evolving because of us and it is up to us to determine where it goes.

            I didn't realize how many "mainstream" websites are actually still in BETA form. According to the MoMB (Museum of Modern BETA's) some of the top 100 BETA's include such websites as hulu.com, flickr.com, prezi.com, woflramalpha.com, gmail.com, and so many more. This means that the gmail that I use everyday is still in it's testing phase and will continue to grow and change according to how I (and millions of other users) use it.

MMORPG'S
            "World of Warcraft"(which I do not play and if you do that is a OK. I am not one to judge... I read comics) started as a BETA. The BETA is basically the first game. Once the people at Blizzard saw the flood of people wanting to play they made significant changes to it and now it is the world's top selling computer game and currently 12 million users are on it.

            Another MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Game, you should probably learn what this is since it is taking over everyone) like "World of Warcraft" is "Second Life." "Second Life" is exactly as it sounds, it is a simulation of your life (but you can fly if you choose). This "simulation" is not a simulation to the players, it is real. They have real currency and a real government with a real elections. People will sell things in "Second Life" on Ebay for real money. Crazy, I know. But this is exactly my point, these "simulations" that are all around us are real if we take them seriously and realize that they are real.   

BEAN
            One person who knew that these simulations were real in "Ender's Game" is Bean.  Bean understood that they were commanding real lives, so when Ender was about to sacrifice an entire fleet to beat “the game”, Bean was the only one to say “thank you” to the men who were about to give the ultimate sacrifice. We need to be like Bean. We need to be aware that we are apart of something bigger.

MY EXPERIENCE
            Before I blogged I thought like Ender. I thought that as a college kid things I did were inconsequential and that I would make an impact on the world in my 40’s and 50’s. I for sure thought that my blog would only be read by my teacher and that no one would appreciate and entire blog dedicated to comics. But now I realize that it was all a facade, and that my blog was being read and appreciated, and secretly, I had just been given a voice on the Internet.


            The more I gained a voice the more I realized how serious comics need to be taken. This all came to fruition when I went into the basement of our University Library to the Special Collections Section. The Special Collections Section of the library is dedicated to holding only the rare and valuable. To get a book from the Special Collections you practically have to pass a background check. Well imagine my surprise when the comic book I was looking for was in this holy of holies section of the library. It hit me when I was sitting in the designated "reading room" (can't take anything in) and I look around me, sheepishly, waiting for my comic book and everyone else in their has gloves on and they are studying ancient manuscripts. I knew then that comics had become a thing to be reckoned with and then I considered donning white gloves to give respect to the comic I was about to read (I didn't and I think I might have even ripped a page on accident, don't tell the library please).  

            I have forsaken my Ender ways and now think like Bean. We should all “awake” and realize that this class, this e-book, everything we do is not an assignment or practice, but real and important. We are all part of a test and we need to realize that we are taking it in order to pass. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Final Thoughts on "Ender's Game" The Comic

While reading "Ender's Game: Command School" (The comic) I realized to get the full effect that I would have to read all the editions. So I got my hands on "Ender's Shadow: Battle School/ Command School."

Just like the novels I think that the comic of "Ender's Shadow" is superior to "Ender's Game." I think it is just a better story and Bean is a much more complex character than Ender. It was interesting to comapare both the comics to each other becuase not only was that story different but the artistic styles were different as well.

In "Ender's Game" the artistic style is softer and Ender is drawn as small and young. In "Ender's Shadow" Ender is large, handsome, and older looking, and the style is overall more harsh looking. This is so fascinating to me and shows the benefits of comics as opposed to novels is that the author can play with the images as well. To Bean and the kids in Dragon Army, Ender was like a God to them, so to them he would have looked handsome, older, and wiser. In contrast of Ender's pampered up bringing Bean came off the streets of Amsterdam as a street urchin, so to him the world would have looked harsh. It is subtle, but powerful.

I loved "Ender's Game" and "Ender's Shadow" as novels, and I was hoping that the comics could surpass my experience with these novels to give comics legitimacy. Well I regret to say that it didn't. But I will say this, my experience with the comics was a different experience and brought so much more to the novels than I had not previously thought of. Just seeing what Ender's world is like was exciting and worth the experience in it self. I also think that in some ways the use of art helps explain the story and helps the reader stay on target with the story. However if I had not read the novel I would have missed out on SO much story line and would have been fairly confused. The author of the comics was so bipolar, in some frames their would be so much information to digest it would become overwhelming, but he would leave out so much information from frame to frame that I would have been lost without my prior knowledge.
From "Ender's Shadow," as you can see a lot more grittier and harsh, like Bean's upbringings.
From "Ender's Game," a lot more polished and smooth. This is indicative of Ender's privileged upbringing.
Overall I would still suggest the comics to any fan of "Ender's Game" or "Ender's Shadow." I would also suggest it to people who would like to experience a comic, but haven't yet. This was a great quick read that really added to my love of two great novels.