Friday, August 31, 2012

Bow to the Cuteness of the Baby Luke…

falling asleep.

I'm so proud *sniff*.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

On Violence in the Media

Here's an extra credit discussion question answer I wrote for my AP Psychology class. The question was "Does playing a violent video game or watching a violent movie encourage real life violence?" What do think of my response? I also included a link to a related article from The Wine-Dark Sea.

"Here's an interesting related article.
I think that whether or not violence in the media promotes violence in the viewers actions depends on many factors, ranging from time exposure, to level of interest, to will power. All minds being different, it would be hard to make a definitive generalization about this.
Violence is a very real part of life, one which almost everyone will have to deal with at some time or another, whether in sport, in conflict, or as a third-person witness. Violence has its place in society, even if only as a last resort, and this idea must not be ignored, but engaged. If one is removed from any sort of simulated violence, I should think that most would inevitably turn to their own imagination as a battlefield where violent acts can be played out. This, while not being bad in itself, can be problematic for those with an undeveloped (and thus often unhealthy) idea of how violence should be incorporated in their lives. I submit that the unconditioned mind is not only prone to constructing more horrific acts of violence than is common in mainstream media, but more importantly and relevantly, is prone to using this violence to achieve a more horrific end (the violence itself very well often being the end). Media that contains violence provides, as the above article mentions, a "psychological safety valve", which allows the consumer to experience, process, and hopefully correctly order to to their lives the violence which is presented. For this reason I believe that violence in the media should not only be tolerated, but encouraged. Now, of course, a number of caveats are in order, particularly for what purpose and with what mindset the violence is employed in the medium. If the media presents a positive view of malicious, amoral, or unnecessary violence, I can hardly think that the consumption of this work for its own benefits is a healthy habit; and of course, I always think that media should be consumed under parental consent in the case of children.
So in answer to the question, yes, in many minds I'm sure violence in the media encourages violent actions, but particularly in those who have the mental inclination towards unquestioned acceptance of what they consume as right, whose lives revolve around this type of media, who are consuming media that has improper violence (as defined above), or who have malicious tendencies in general. But beside these cases, I believe violent media fulfills an important need, both in entertainment and in development, and if treated and consumed properly, may allow us to have a healthier view of ourselves, others, and the realities of our lives.
Thank you."

Monday, August 27, 2012

Love This Quote

It is fearful, but it is right to say it: that if we wished to imagine a punishment for an unholy, reprobate soul, we perhaps could not fancy a greater than to summon it to heaven. Heaven would be hell to an irreligious man. We know how unhappy we are apt to feel at present, when alone in the midst of strangers, or of men of different tastes and habits from ourselves. How miserable, for example, would it be to have to live in a foreign land, among a people whose faces we never saw before, and whose language we could not learn. And this is but a faint illustration of the loneliness of a man of earthly dispositions and tastes, thrust into the society of saints and angels. How forlorn would he wander through the courts of heaven!

–John Henry Newman, “Holiness Necessary for Future Blessedness, in Parochial and Plain Sermons (San Francisco: Ignatius, 1997), 9.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sherkites: History or Hoax?

Check out an interesting and funny history hoax here.

National Civil War Museum Trip

My friend Eddie Thome and I took a history field trip to the National Civil War Museum this week.

Here's a statue that's out in front of the museum.


It has a very interesting and touching history, which you can read about here.

And for a bit of silliness, here's a still from a video showing a Civil War soldier reunion. Eddie and I reckoned that he, our friend Bryan, and I will be like this when we're old.

Only problem is, none of us can play the fife.

Friday, August 24, 2012

I Love Loki

Original Avengers Toys

OK, so the Avengers originally looked like this…

Yes. Iron Man was a dork, the Hulk was short, and Ant-Man and the Wasp were much more popular. And Thor had his helmet (YESSSSS!).

But I just found this…

Historically…accurate…ACTION FIGURES!!! GAH! Must have!

All I need is a Loki to go with it. Hmm…

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Present State of the Marvel Universe

So here they are…the new slew of Marvel films set to come out over the next two years. So far, here are the set release dates:

"Iron Man 3": May 3, 2013
"Thor: The Dark World": November 8, 2013
"Captain America: The Winter Soldier": April 4, 2014
"Guardians of the Galaxy": August 1, 2014
"Ant-Man" TBA

I'd like to go over some of the stuff I'm seeing, and (all in my humble opinion) what I like and don't like. ***POSSIBLE SPOILER WARNING OF "THE AVENGERS" AND STUFF IN GENERAL. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.***

First of all, it's pretty obvious that the Marvel Universe is going cosmic. Here's a visual:

Yeah…pretty awesome, right? Note: Extra points if you can find Impossible Man. Anyway, Starting with "Thor", and greatly escalating in "The Avengers", extraterrestrial themes are slowly becoming mainstream in this franchise. And the Thanos teaser at the end of Avengers (as well as the future Guardians movie) doesn't suggest it's about to stop. While this is real cool and all, I don't want us to forget a part of superhero teams that seems about to be left behind: the super villain team.

Aside from the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and the lame attempt at partnership between Sandman and Venom, I can't think of any real super villain teams in any Marvel movie to date, let alone the "Marvel Cinematic Universe" of the last four years. The classic such team to be put against the Avengers is the Masters of Evil (you can see them on my background). Below you can see my favorite incarnation, the one used in the extremely popular television series "The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes". Left to right, they are Crimson Dynamo, Wonder Man, Baron Zemo, Enchantress, Executioner…

…and Abomination.

In a chaotic world of aliens and gods, I find a nice little team-up like this to be very refreshing. It also provides more room for villain character development, allowing them to play off each other like the heroes get to. The "supreme overlord + mindless drones" stereotype (as seen in "The Avengers") doesn't allow this kind of growth (albeit Loki was an awesome villain, and showed much more character than I expected).

So lets take a look at how such a team-up could be put on the big screen, and at any evidence that it may happen.

In the cartoon, Zemo was Captain America's villain, Enchantress and Executioner were Thor's, Crimson Dynamo was Iron Man's, Abomination was Hulk's, and Wonder Man was kind of Ant-Man's, and kind of Black Panther's. So far the only one of these who has been in a recent film is Abomination, in 2008's "The Incredible Hulk". 

So let's look at "Thor: The Dark World". It's already revealed that the villain is Malekith the Accursed, played by Christopher Eccleston. I was hoping that they would use this installment to introduce E&E, but it seems not. I guess there's always the possibility of a cameo, but that doesn't seem like enough strength to carry them into "The Avengers 2". 

That's really what I'm hoping for–that Thanos will be more of a behind the scenes villain in A2, while some sort of human (or thereabouts) team of villains does the main roughhousing with the heroes.

Pretty much the same as T:TDW goes for CA:TWS. I was hoping that they would introduce Baron Zemo, or the modern version of HYDRA led by Baron Von Strucker, or something with AIM and MODOK. Instead, it seems they are reintroducing the seemed-to-be-dead Bucky Barnes as the amnesiac Winter Soldier. This seems really bizarre to me. In the comics Bucky "died" right before Cap was frozen in the ice (incidentally it was Baron Zemo who was the cause of Cap's suspended animation, not the Red Skull, and that would have made a good lead-in to the Masters of Evil), thus when he woke up, Bucky's death was the only thing on Cap's mind, and provided some great character depth in the following stories. This was completely forgotten in "The Avengers", so it seems weird that now they want to bring Bucky back. Oh well. We'll see. Maybe the title is a red herring anyway. Also, this installment introduces the Falcon, played by Anthony Mackie, which should be interesting.

So how about villains already introduced? Well, Iron Man had Iron Monger in the first movie, and a Whiplash/Crimson Dynamo amalgamation in the second. Both of them are now dead, and are unlikely to come back. Sam Rockwell's Justin Hammer is still alive, and threatened at revenge, but in the comics, I believe, he never amounted to a super villain. Also, Mandarin, Firepower, and possibly Coldblood (played by Ben Kingsley, Ashley Hamilton, and James Badge Dale, respectively) will be introduced in "Iron Man 3". I guess any of them would make okay Masters, but we'll see.

Thor doesn't have much going for him. I doubt Loki would ever be in such a team, and next year's Malekith just wouldn't seem right, a poor substitute for the Enchantress.

The Hulk has already had the Abomination, played very well by Tim Roth, and there was also a bit of a Leader teaser with Samuel Stern played by Tim Blake Nelson. There are many possibilities here.

All Cap's had so far is the Red Skull, who seems a bit too important to be in a team like this. That is, if he's even still alive, which he freaking better be. I have the feeling he might come back in "The Avengers 2" to team up with Thanos somehow. If this happens, awesomeness will abound. Also, Winter Soldier should be introduced in CA:TWS, but I think he's to much of an emotional device to be in the Masters.

As a note, Joss Whedon has said that Wonder Man, who at some point is on the good side, is the only Avenger he doesn't want to bring to the big screen. Whether he feels the same way about WM as a villain is yet to be seen.

And that's pretty much it for the Masters of Evil. I hope some form of this team gets a chance to shine. Now just a few extra things.

Besides the movies listed above, Marvel is also planning movies for Doctor Strange…

…The Inhumans…

…and Howard the Duck… 

…Just kidding, just kidding. No Howard. Whew.

Pretty much all I have to say about these movies is that they should be awesome, buts it's very possible that they'd suck, I'm afraid. Hopefully they'll have good actors, writers, directors, the usual.

There's also the possibility that there will be a Black Widow/Hawkeye and/or S.H.I.E.L.D. movie. As much as I love BW and Hawk, I kind of don't want Marvel to make this. I just don't think it could hold up to the bigger features. The same goes for S.H.I.E.L.D. Sorry Nick.

I'm really excited about the upcoming Ant-Man movie. I really am. None of the characters are cast yet, and there are too many rumors to list, but you can check them out here. Some of my favorite ideas are Adrien Brody as Ant-Man, and either Gary Oldman or Tony Shalhoub (OMG!!) as Ulysses Klaw. Wasp will almost definitely be in it, and Ultron could be too. And no, Nathan Fillion won't be playing Ant-Man. He just won't. He's even made fun of the character when asked about the part. Also, there is a rumored "Iron Man 3" post-credits scene where Ant-Man battles Radioactive Man–one of the original Masters of Evil. A possible hint there?

Possible other Avengers who don't seem to have any movies in the works are Ms. Marvel (Yvonne Strahovski is the top choice here), the Vision (PLEASSSE!), and the Black Panther (movie?).


I kind of want there to be a Namor the Sub-Mariner movie, but ehh…

…maybe that's not such a good idea.

One more bit of interesting news. Apparently ABC is planning, among possible other Marvel shows, a 2013 "Hulk" series. Whether it will star Mark Ruffalo is unknown for now. I'm really, really sad that they aren't planning a Hulk movie. I'm also confused. In "The Avengers", Ruffalo's Hulk totally stole the show, getting the best moments and stealing everyone's heart. And the actor hasn't even had a solo shot at the Jade Giant yet. Of all of the Avengers, it seems to me that the Hulk most calls for a solo movie. The only reason for not going ahead with this that I can think of is that none of Hulk's story lines further any likely Avengers 2 plot. But it's not like this is a major problem. I mean, they're making a movie about a talking raccoon, I think they could fit the Hulk in somewhere. All I'm saying is that if Hulk doesn't get a movie…

That's all for now folks.

Monday, August 13, 2012

"The Dark Knight" vs. "Batman & Robin"

The best and the worst of the Bat:

Apparently the world neither needed nor deserved "Batman & Robin".

And here are the, er, "highlights" of "Batman & Robin":

Can you believe Bane was once such an idiot?

And if you just can't get enough B&R parodies check out this hilarious Mr. Freeze musical.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Oh, Thanos…

…I hope you're harder to defeat than this in "Avengers 2". I guess all gods have their bad days.

That Awesome Moment…

…when you realize that in two years, Marvel will be releasing a movie featuring a gun-wielding raccoon and an anthropomorphic tree. Yes people, "The Guardians of the Galaxy" is happening:

From left to right: Drax the Destroyer, Groot, Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon (yes, really), and Gamora. It will be released August 1st, 2014, as part of the Marvel Universe. Here's the older version of the same team, the one I'm slightly more familiar with:

Whether or not there will be an Avengers crossover is yet to be seen, but most think that the main baddie will be Thanos, or at least one of his forces, in preparation for "The Avengers 2". Gosh, can't get over Rocket Raccoon.

Thor's Hammer

It cracks me up how, in the comics, Mjolnir's inscription was written in such a modern font, as if a comic book letterer was the one who actually carved it into the uru. I forget if you ever see the inscription in the movie, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't look like this. I can just see Art Simek or Sam Rosen telling Stan Lee that they weren't going to go through the trouble of using a fancy script–after all, it was just a 12 cent comic book.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Awesome Thor 2 News

 So it's official that Thor 2 will be called "Thor: The Dark World", which sounds awesome, and will feature the Dark Elves as the main baddies. But even more awesome is that the leader of the Dark Elves, Malekith the Accursed, will be played by "Doctor Who"'s Christopher Eccleston!

The ninth Doctor was given rather short shrift, having only one season, but I enjoyed his rendition while I had it. And I really think that Eccleston will do well in the role, he even looks the part!

Here's a better look at the comparison:

Also, there are rumors that in this movie we'll see Loki have something of a conversion. Tom Hiddleston reprising his role from "Thor" and "The Avengers" says this:

“I don’t want to give too much away. But I can guarantee that you won’t be disappointed. Alan Taylor’s vision of Thor 2 is utterly brilliant. The journey continues in the most epic dimension and proportion imaginable. It’s very, very exciting.”

I'm psyched! And I'm really glad Loki is becoming an even more awesome character.

Charters and Caldicott

I just watched "The Lady Vanishes" the other day, and couldn't resist making some Charters and Caldicott memes:

How do you think they turned out?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Is This Blog…

…going to be awesome?

I think that's a yes!

Names and Notes

Well, first post! I'm still trying to figure things out, so bear with me. The blogosphere is a strange and perilous land indeed.

You may rightly be wondering the meaning of the blog's title. I assure you, it does have a meaning; I didn't just choose it to sound random.

Most of my blog posts will inevitably have to do with comic book stuff, because I'm that much of a nerd. So it came to me to choose a title that reflects the nerdy side of comics (Gasp!…Comics have a non-nerdy side??!!).

Below you will see a lovely chap by the name of the Wizard. Like Voldemort crossed with Magneto, I guess.

He is wearing, as you may have guessed, a pair of all-purpose wonder gloves (and yes, he does actually call them that). My friends, you can't get much nerdier than this. It's not so much the gloviness that makes them ridiculous, but the name. I mean, if it were called the Infinity Gauntlet (which may very well be the/a McGuffin in Avengers 2) then these gloves could be quite badass. But no. They're the all-purpose Wonder Gloves. I actually looked the name up, and you can buy them for use in outdoor gardening.

Here you can see him pointing his menacing gloves at the cowering FF. High drama at it's best.

So, in honor of the pure, wonderful dorkiness of the Wizard, I have named this site after his stunning invention. I hope I can live up to his shining example.

I would also like to mention that I was originally going to do all this on a Tumblr account (to which my sister gave a very sweet reaction over at Goldenfeet), but the ways of this site proved baffling and formidable, and so I settled for a blog. Besides, said sister seemed to have been posting approximately one post per 5 seconds, and I just couldn't keep up with that, as I am a mere mortal and not the awesome muse of coolness that she is.

I think that's about all for now. Over and out!