Four Letter Nerd

Category - News

Remembering Robin Williams

Like most people, I was made aware of Robin Williams’ passing through a post on Facebook. At first I was skeptical, seeing as how it’s not uncommon for fake celebrity-death-rumors to pop up all over the internet. But then I saw the source… USAToday.com. “They would definitely fact-check that before writing about it wouldn’t they? Oh hell.” And the reality hit me like an arrow in my heart, that Robin Williams was really gone.

 

My introduction to Robin Williams was watching Mork & Mindy reruns on Nick at Nite. I just loved the absurdity of Mork and, as an adolescent boy, I glamorized the idea of being an adult but still getting to behave so silly. It was the first time I really believed that being an adult didn’t have to be so serious. Thinking back through my life, I can actually pinpoint the times, in pretty great detail, that I saw many of Robin’s films. I saw Popeye at a sleepover at a friend’s house. Everyone else was asleep but me and this other kid were still wide awake so we were going through some VHS tapes and found that flick. We started watching it and I was transported to that silly grown up world all over again. Not long afterward, My mom took me and my brother to the drive-in theater. The film we were there to see? Aladdin. I don’t think I stopped quoting the Genie for a month. This was my favorite scene…

 

One evening when they went out for a date, my parents left a movie they’d rented us. “Hook” was the name of it. The babysitter hated it by the time she left because when it finished, we rewound it and played it again, and again, and again. This was THE movie. There were now no other movies and my life would forever be yelling “BANGARANG” and running around the yard with my Peter Pan sword, chasing pirates and saving people. How could a full-proof pan like that not lead to stable and healthy adult life?

 

A few months or so later, while we were shopping, I noticed my mom had picked up a movie to buy and once we got out of the store and to the car I bugged the hell out of her to tell me what it was. She eventually threatened to take my Dunkaroos away so, in the interest of maintaining the lifestyle to which I’d grown accustomed, I let it go. But… I eventually snooped around and discovered a VHS copy of Mrs. Doubtfire. I waited until mom was not home one day and asked my dad, while he was busy doing something else so he’d be too pre-occupied to notice what he was agreeing to, if I could watch it. He of course said yes and I ran to our guest-room and shoved the tape in the VCR and laid on a bed I wasn’t supposed to be on, watching a movie I wasn’t supposed to watch. It was the best. I remember laughing so hard at the scene where he’s making the dinosaurs talk.  This movie was a new experience for me in a lot of ways because it was the first time I ever really understood the reality aspect of film. This was a guy, with a problem, trying to find a solution. Sure, it was silly, but he was willing to go that far for his kids, just to be with them. I had never really seen films as having a real world application before, and this opened my eyes to whole new way of watching movies.

 

When I was in Jr high, our school held a fundraiser where you could pay $2 for a ticket to see Jumanji in the auditorium during classes, or… you could go to class. Frankly, the money could have been going to support buying gasoline to burn down of the rain-forest, they were getting my 2 damn dollars and was not gonna learn any knowledge that day. I sat there in the 3rd row just amazed at how fantastical this movie was. All these crazy animals running amok, a living board game, a MONKEY BOY! Do you understand that? He was a BOY, and then the game turned him into a MONKEY! This was one of the greatest discoveries I have ever made.

 

As I grew through my teenage years and on into adulthood (I’ll let you know if I actually ever get there), Robin’s films became opportunities for my family to spend time together. Jack, What Dreams May Come, Father’s Day, Bicentennial Man, Patch Adams, etc. These are all movies I distinctly remember seeing with my parents and my brother. Once I hit high school I would go back a rent movies I missed for whatever reason. Me and my friends would pick up a handful of movies from Blockbuster and watch them all night and then go back the next night and get another handful. This is how I finally saw flicks like Good Will Hunting, Dead Poets Society, The Fisher King, The Birdcage, Good Morning Vietnam, and Awakenings. I had no idea of how vast Robin Williams’ range was as an actor. He was very funny, but he could also tap into a deep emotional place and give these heavy, visceral performances. No other comedian can even come close to how brilliant he was as an actor.

 

Around the time I graduated High School I remember Robin had a trio of films that came out one after the other that, I felt, were all some great examples of his ability to evolve as an actor; Insomnia, Death to Smoochy, and One Hour Photo. The last film in that list is a real dark exploration of the psyche of a man who is dangerously obsessed with a family he develops photos for at the department store he works at. If you’ve never seen it, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you track it down and watch it.

 

Also around this time, I began to get into Robin’s Stand-up comedy. He’d just debuted his new Live on Broadway special and I was OBSESSED with it. My then girlfriend, now wife, and I watched the DVD so many times together. I even bought the CD so I could listen to in my car. This made me want to go back and caught up on his classic stand-up work. Being such a huge fan of stand-up it seemed a crime that I wasn’t familiar with his classic stuff. If you’re interested in doing the same, I recommend his A Night at the Met special. It’s just an amazing example of how much energy and hilarity he brought to the stage.

 

After our oldest son was born, the very first movie my wife and I saw in theaters was License to Wed. Not one of his classics or anything, but a funny movie nonetheless. Just recently we watched The Butler and were surprised to see Robin portraying Dwight D. Eisenhower. We had no idea he was in the film, but very much enjoyed his depiction of the former U.S. President.

My point with all of this is to show you that I grew up with Robin Williams. Since from the first time I can remember caring about film and TV entertainment, Robin has been there. I had to whittle down to the examples I gave you because there are so many more stories that come to mind for me. But now, he’s not here. I’ll keep growing up, but Robin won’t be here. It’s just a strange, sad feeling. I know that I have his arsenal of work from the past to enjoy but that doesn’t make me feel better. The only thing that sort of helps is knowing that I can share it all with my kids. I can watch Aladdin, and Hook, and Jumanji (they LOVE Jumanji) with them and Robin will still be bringing them the same joy and exciting wonder he brought me. But gosh, it just hurts so bad. Right now, I can’t help but feel like I’m always going to miss him this much. I think the fact that suicide was the cause of death is a part of what makes this so difficult. Depression is a hell of a thing. If you’re struggling and feeling overwhelmed, reach out to someone for help. We’re losing too many good people as it is. I’d like to recommend this article, that I think addresses the issues of depression and suicide better than I ever could.

Robin. We love you so much man. Wherever you’re at, whatever you’re doing right now, if these words somehow fight their way through the noise and the illusion of time, please know that you made my life better by just being who you were. You helped me believe that being a grown up doesn’t have to be boring and joyless. I could never thank you enough for that.

“Comedy is acting out optimism.” – Robin Williams, 1951 – 2014

“In The Beginning…” – The Origin of 4 Letter Nerd

A long long time ago, on a Facebook thread hidden deep in the interwebs,  there was a little boy named Bill who wished upon a dying star that he could somehow work in the nerd community. And like the shadow of Xerxes’ arrows, 3 old guys and a tech genius descended upon him within minutes and began what is now known as Four Letter Nerd. That is where our journey began a year ago, and we’d like to invite you to read the thread itself for all it’s glory. Enjoy.

 

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Origin 14

 

As you can see by the main image at the top of this article, we’re throwing ourselves a Birthday party! We’re calling it 4LN’s BirthdayCon, and we want you all to come! Come party with us at our favorite comic shop, Comic Collector Live: the Store! Get more info by going here: on.fb.me/1ANqbfM

 

Nerd Stories that Make You Feel Feelings

JK Rowling Reaches Out to Survivor

If you watch the news at all you may recall hearing the incredible story of bravery about a fifteen year old girl from Texas, Cassidy Stay, who survived an attack by her uncle that left her parents and siblings murdered, but she was able to call the police and save her grandparents from the same fate.

Just three days later, during a press conference, she found the courage to speak about what happened.  During the press conference, Cassidy quoted a line spoken by Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter, saying, “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

Soon after the press conference a Facebook Group was started named, “We want JK Rowling to meet Cassidy Stay.”  In little under a month, one of the followers posted this to the page, “This afternoon, I talked to a friend of Cassidy’s who confirmed that JK Rowling did, in fact, write her a personalized letter from ‘Dumbledore’ (hand-written with purple ink). She was also sent a wand, an acceptance letter to Hogwarts with a school supply list, along with the 3rd book with JK’s autograph…” The line of Dumbledore’s that Cassidy quoted is from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

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The contents of the letter have not been released and Rowling has made no official comment or statement regarding the letter. That is not, however, very surprising considering Rowling is one of the most private public figures. So on behalf of all Harry Potter fans and human beings, thank you JK Rowling for your kind act that can potentially help a young girl through this incomprehensible time in her life.

“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.” -Albus Dumbledore

Source: US Magazine

 

Rocket Raccoon Creator Gets Private Screening in Hospital Room

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few weeks, you should be aware of the most recent Marvel WIN! that is Guardians of the Galaxy. Non-comic reading nerds, such as myself, may have no idea who the Guardians are and are confused why a talking raccoon could be worth paying upwards of $10 to see. Well let me just tell you, it was $10 well spent.

Now Rocket Raccoon, originally Rocky, is not the oldest of the Guardians but he’s been around a while. He was introduced as Rocket Raccoon in a 1976 issue of The Incredible Hulk by Keith Giffen and Bill Mantlo.

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In 1992, Rocket’s creator Bill Mantlo was left permanently brain damaged and in need of long term hospital care. When it was decided that Rocket was going to make his movie debut, some big wigs at Marvel felt it appropriate to share the lovable rodent’s time in the sun with its creator.

Marvel Attorney David Althoff and Vice President David Bogart worked through all the red tape and legal mumbo jumbo to give Mantlo a private screening in his hospital room. Bill’s Facebook page, run by Michael Mantlo, posted “Giving Bill this opportunity was a daunting challenge…but these two fine men made it happen, and Bill had the happiest day of his life!”

Mantlo was also happily surprised to see his name in the credits as Rocket’s creator. His Facebook read, “…and when the credits rolled, his face was locked into the hugest smile I have ever seen him wear (along with one or two tears of joy)!” Mantlo loved the movie,”…giving it his highest compliment (the big “thumbs up!”).

When Marvel purchased the rights to Rocket from Mantlo, they also made a donation to his medical treatment fund. If you would also like to make a donation to help out Rocket’s creator you can do so here.

Source: People Magazine

(Editor’s Note: this post was written by Paige Clark)

LEGO Pley: LEGOs Without the Long-Term Commitment

Do you love LEGO, but have a hard time justifying spending half of your paycheck on those beautiful interlocking bricks? Welcome to adulthood.  Darth Vader’s Super Star Destroyer might be four feet of pure awesome, but $400 is a lot of money and it’s hard to devote the square footage necessary to hold that kind of hardware.

The disappointed look on your significant others face would destroy planets

Try explaining this awesome center-piece to your significant other/parents

There was a time before “responsibility” kept me from playing with LEGO.  In college my then-girlfriend/now-wife and I built the Batcave, an X-Wing (an Incom T-65 starfighter for you Star Wars aficionados), and several other LEGO sets over our four year college career.  In the years since, our LEGO building has decreased by roughly 100%.  LEGO Pley just might be the solution to the problem of growing older. LEGO Pley is like Netflix if Netflix delivered LEGO sets instead of movies you wanted to watch three days ago (I still love you Netflix).  Pley offers hundreds of sets ranging from the kid-friendly Duplo sets to the aforementioned 3,100 piece Super Star Destroyer!  To begin your journey into the LEGO world, you simply sign up for a Pley account (you can try a free trial first to get your feet wet), then set up your queue.  There are three different plans based on whether you want to rent small ($15/month), medium ($25/month) or large sets ($39/month). Once you’ve chosen your particular plan you just build, enjoy, return, build, enjoy, return, etc. 308830v2 “That sounds great, but I hate the thought of playing with bricks tainted by the germ havens that are children.” Well good news, they clean each set upon its return to the facility.  In fact, they clean them to the same standards used by the FDA for restaurants, meaning you could actually eat off them… you know, if that weren’t a choking hazard.  Let’s just make a rule – don’t step on LEGOs, and don’t eat off of LEGOs. “My dog ate a few pieces… do I have to follow it around with a stick?” First, you might want to take the dog to the vet.  Second, that’s fine.  The company realizes that pieces get lost, and they won’t hold it against you (as long as you keep your incompetence to like 15 pieces, which is a surprisingly high number).  Just report the lost pieces, and everything is good to go. This type of automation is becoming more and more prevalent. Need razors for your neckbeard? Dollar Shave Club has you covered. Want unique nerd merch (nerchandise)? Loot Crate is where it’s at. It only makes sense that someone would take a childhood staple like LEGO and make it more accessible to those of us that don’t have the disposable income to buy those giant sets. Head on over to Pley, and sign up for the free trial and let us know what you think!  I look forward to when my kids are old enough to play with LEGOs so I can give it a whirl myself.

Thorgate 2014: A Female Thor Is Not Ragnarok

The news came out yesterday, and we posted about it, that the mantle of Thor will be passed to a female character in Marvel comics. Thor will be deemed “unworthy” and will no longer wield Mjolnir. As usual, the internet community lost it’s f—ing mind. Here’s a Tweet from Ryan Penagos, Marvel’s Executive Editorial Director for their Digital Media Department…

 

In the dark depths of our own 4LN Facebook message thread, things got… heated.

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I’ll be honest… THAT was the only non-expletive statement I made.

 

Let me say first, that I understand the hesitation. This is not like Bucky being Captain America, because he never became “Steve Rogers”. And it isn’t like Miles Morales becoming the Ultimate universe Spider-Man, because he never became “Peter Parker”. And it’s not like Carol Danvers becoming Captain Marvel because she’s still Carol Danvers. These individuals define the costumes they wear, the costumes do not define them.

But Thor… Thor IS Thor. I mean, in current continuity anyway (the whole Dr. Donald Blake thing is not really relevant but, granted, it used to be). Taking a character and literally giving his name to someone else, man or woman, is kind of a shock. Its weird enough for characters to change appearance, but for one of them to completely become someone else, well that’s just… crazy. Almost as crazy as a man who flies and shoots lasers out of his eyes, or a woman who can control the weather, or a kid with super strength and the ability to climb walls by sticking to them… it’s ALL crazy. The craziness is why we love these characters. But when you mess with someones favorite crazy, they’ll turn on you faster than a bolt of lightning.

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This is our first look at Unworthy Thor. I speculate that in a future issue of Thor: God of Thunder we’ll find out his father is really Jax from Mortal Kombat.

 

Let’s get one thing out of the way, if you’re not reading the comics, this will have no impact on you. Maybe you just like the movies… never fear, for Chris Hemsworth isn’t going anywhere (not for about 3 more appearances as Thor, anyway). Also, if you haven’t read and/or don’t read any ongoing Marvel comics at all, this doesn’t affect you. Your opinion, while free to exist in this great nation of ours, carries no real value. You’re not really invested in this character so stop pretending like you are. I’ve been reading the current run, Thor: God of Thunder, since issue #1. I try to convince everyone I talk to about comics that the first story arc, Gorr the God Butcher and the Godbomb, is a must read and the best thing I’ve ever read from either of the big 2 publishers. I even have a Jason Aaron autographed copy of Thor: GoT #1, and a few variant cover books. I don’t state all that to brag, I state it to let you know that I’m writing from the place of someone who is very invested in this Thor.

Then there are those of you who have the argument of “They’re just making the character a girl because they can! Thor ain’t no sissy girl!” To that I say, If you prefer your superheroes to have large, throbbing muscles with sweat dripping from them while they fight evil-doers in their form-fitting tights that reveal every bulge… I get it. No woman could ever be good enough to satisfy your desires. I fully support you and will be here to love and accept you when you’re ready to be honest with yourself and others.

“Excuse me… have you seen my hammer?”

 

Coming up later this week we will launch an article celebrating the 75th anniversary of Batman. All of us here at 4LN discuss what Batman means to us and we reached out to some of our contributing writers and other people connected to us to chime in with their thoughts as well. When I started organizing that article I had no idea what we were taking on. Everyone involved is so different and each person has a completely different view of The Dark Knight than the person before them. But that philosophy doesn’t stop at Batman. All comic book characters are subject to it. Comics are art, and art instigates different emotions in the people that partake of it. OK, so this isn’t YOUR Thor, but Thor doesn’t belong to you. Ideologically speaking, Thor doesn’t really even belong to Marvel. The character can mean and represent something different to everyone. This female Thor is a new opportunity to expand and explore the artistic nature of Thor and see what kind of emotions it stirs in readers.

This is one of my all-time favorite Thor images, because he looks like a super-powered Zakk Wylde

 

Initially, I was confused when Marvel made this announcement on The View because I thought, “Middle-aged women are the View’s primary audience and they can’t make up more than 0.000003% of comic readers, right?” But then, after talking it out with my wife I stared to have some realizations.

First, this is a brilliant business decision. Do you know how many of those middle-aged women are going to head to a comic shop within the next week asking about the “girl Thor”? OK, probably not a ton, but a lot of them will. And this story-line leading up to the big event hasn’t really even kicked off yet. The previous story-arc just finished so it’ll be a few weeks before the next issue of Thor: God of Thunder even comes out. BUT… if comic-shop guys are smart, they’ll use this as an opportunity to sell books that are already out and sign up new pull-box customers. Don’t be an idiot. Sell comics to people who want them and make money. If you’re one of those “this is a gimmick!” people, you’re damn right it’s a gimmick. Comics live for gimmicks.

This especially applies to those of you who complain that they could have just made a new character. A new character would not bring in the same level of attention and financial gain. It’s art & entertainment, but it’s still about making money in the long run, so don’t be naive. It used to be that depicting women as nothing more than voluptuous sex-objects sold comics, now giving them the power of the gods and a big ass hammer sells comics. Excuse me while I evolve with the rest of society.

Oh yeah, Wonder Woman also once held Mjolnir so figure that out…

 

The other thing I realized about Marvel making this announcement on the View is this… If you’re in a business that has been heavily dominated by men for, literally, it’s entire existence, how do you reach out to a new demographic of readership and let them know that you’re thinking about them and you’re making decisions with their wants in mind? You meet them where they’re at. As I mentioned already, I’m not convinced that there are going to be many regular View… viewers(?)… Watchers(!)… that run to a local comic shop to pick up Thor, but now Marvel has extended that olive branch to show that they recognize women as an important part of the comics community, and not just for My Little Pony and The Vampire Diaries. They’re showing that real equality in comics is not batting an eye when a character changes gender cause we’re not either of us weaker or stronger than the other. (Except when it comes to birthing. Dudes cry when we get a zit popped. Birthing would annihilate us,)

Lastly, I want to share with you an analogy that this new direction of Thor brings to mind. Thor, a man’s man, a mighty god, becomes unworthy of his title and inept in his abilities and therefore his power and status are passed to a new, more worthy, bearer. Someone who just happens to be a woman. Thor is the comic book industry. A medium that has always been controlled by men but has been seeing an increase in female involvement throughout the decades, and we’re now seeing a more intentional integration of women in roles of leadership and creativity. To quote Odin: “You are unworthy of these realms, you’re unworthy of your title, you’re unworthy… of the loved ones you have betrayed! I now take from you your power! In the name of my father and his father before, I, Odin Allfather, cast you out!” The men in charge have not always been responsible or respectful with the success they’ve been given, so it’s time somebody new stepped in to help. It doesn’t mean they’re going away entirely, it just means there’s more room for everyone who brings something of worth to the table.

I understand that many of you probably see this as some Feminist dribble, but I have never called myself a feminist. I just have this ridiculous idea that equality means women and men are capable of doing the same things and therefor deserve an equal amount of recognition and respect. In the comic book community this is often referred to as “heresy”.

Sad Thor accepts the consequences of his actions.

 

Your aversion to a female Thor means less than nothing to me. My 1 year old daughter is named Torunn, after the daughter of Thor, so trust me when I say, Thor is a big part of my life in general. When she grows up I’ll be proud to share with her the adventures of female Thor so she can see how strong and noble women can be depicted in comics. But, you know, go ahead and keep letting your children, your daughters, believe that the only option out there for them to have positive roles moles in comics are women with huge boobs and big asses that stand in the background and cheer on the men. That should work out just fine, and I bet you even won’t have to sell any of your collection for therapy or bail money.

I’ll end with this… I told my 7 year old son about the new female Thor last night. He looked a little confused about it at first and so I asked, “Does that bother you at all?” He replied, “No. I don’t care. Can I have more pizza?” And that folks, is what we should be aiming for… not indifference (as I’ve been gravely guilty of), but more unconcern. If a child can comprehend that a female Thor is no cause for alarm and worry, then how is it that we as grown men and women can’t? The next generation of comic book readers is at a much greater advantage. They accept that characters can evolve. Now, if you’ll excuse me, there are some message boards that are running dangerously low on negative opinions about DC’s coming changes to Batgirl. THIS INJUSTICE WILL NOT GO UN-COMMENTED ON!

Thor To Be Replaced

It was announced this morning on The View that for the first time in the history of Thor, and the history of comic books, that the mighty hammer known as Mjolnir, will he held and used by a woman.
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This is major news in the equality community. The book of Thor has always been centered around a male character, and there have been few times that the Mighty Mjolnir was carried by someone besides Thor. There have been several speculations to who might carry the hammer, could it be Thor Girl created by Dan Jurgens? Or could it possibly be related to the events of Original Sin, with the news that Angela is the sister of Thor and Loki, could this mean she might be found worthy to wield the hammer?

What does this mean for Thor: God Of Thunder by Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic? Does this mean the book is coming to an end or, have we seen a great mistake by Thor to cause him to be found unworthy? We don’t necessarily have those answers yet, but we will keep you posted on all Thor related news. If you have any fan speculation, we would love to hear it in the comments section.

Source: Comicbook.com

UPDATE

This new Thor book will be titled THOR and written by Jason Aaron (Thor God of Thunder and Original Sin) and the art will be by Russel Dauterman (Cyclopse).

“Series writer Jason Aaron emphasizes, “This is not She-Thor. This is not Lady Thor. This is not Thorita. This is THOR. This is the THOR of the Marvel Universe. But it’s unlike any Thor we’ve ever seen before.”’ The book will be released in October and be part of a dramatic change involving 3 books and Characters, Thor, Captain America and Iron Man.

Source: Comicosity.com

In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night: An Interview with Robert Venditti

In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight. Let those who worship evil’s might, beware my power, Green Lantern’s light!

For me, that is one of the most important expressions in all of comic books. Growing up as a kid, Batman and Aquaman were my two of my favorite superheroes and I was always able to relate to them. As long as I have been a fan of comic books, I have related to DC characters, and as I have grown older and “wiser” I have related more and more with the Green Lanterns. When I was a snot nosed punk kid, I could relate to the Red Lanterns who are a bit more angry. But now, being a 20something American, I can relate to the Green Lanterns the best.

I have had never ending discussions and arguments with Stephen about which Lanterns are better then other Lanterns, and for me Kyle Rayner is the superior Green Lantern. I think a majority of that is due to me being biased and young. Now, I say young because I have always been the youngest guy in my group of friends. I have an older brother that I am fairly close to, so growing up I was always tagging along with him and his friends. In high school I was always hanging out with my older class friends and eventually college friends, and now at 4LN, I’m the youngest writer. Kyle is also the youngest lantern and that’s something to draw me to the character. I mean come one, in the first comic we meet him in, he’s in a Nine Inch Nails shirt.

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I enjoy trolling with Stephen

 

Enough about Kyle though. The most famous and popular Green Lantern is Hal Jordan. He’s the face of the intergalactic police force and there have been some great stories written about him. Last year Geoff Johns finished his 9 year run on the character, and it made me really like Hal again. If you haven’t been reading Green Lantern lately you are really missing out. Geoff Johns’ long, and critically acclaimed run finished with Wrath of The First Lantern and an amazing story came to an end in a truly amazing way, but I’m not going to spoil anything because I think this is a story every comic book fan should read. A quick summary of the final Geoff Johns arc was found in the back of issue #20, which I’ll share with you…

  • The Origin of the first Lantern.
  • Can Simon Baz bring Hal Jordan and Sinestro back from the dead?
  • Sinestro’s Greatest Tragedy!
  • The Final Battle With the First Lantern!
  • The end of an era, but the light shines forever!

 

On Green Lantern issue 21, a new creative team took hold of the book, Hal Jordan and the entire Green Lantern Corps. That creative team is writer Robert Venditti and artist Billy Tan. Under the direction of Robert Venditti, Hal Jordan is now the leader of the most loved AND hated police force in the galaxy, The Green Lanterns. Robert Venditti is one of few writers that I believe is fully capable of keeping Hal and the rest of the lanterns in high regards. It’s only been a year since Venditti took on creative duties of The Emerald Knight; and, he has some major situations, obstacles, and challenges approaching the Green Lantern’s and possibly the entire DC Universe. I was recently lucky enough to get the chance to Interview Robert Venditti about his career, his work on Green Lantern and what’s coming up for Hal and the Core…

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4LN– How did you get into comic book writing, and what was the pivotal moment in defining your career?

Robert Venditti– “[Laughs] That’s a bit of a long question, I didn’t get into comic books until I was 27 years old. I didn’t grow up reading them. I was working on a Master in Creative Writing from the University of Central Florida… I worked at Borders for 10 years and a co-worker introduced me to the medium. I like the idea of being able to write a story and work along side someone that will turn my vision of words into art.”

4LN– Geoff Johns had previously been on the Green Lantern title for close to a decade, what was your reaction to finding out that you would be the next writer for one of the most popular DC titles?

Robert Venditti– “Yeah, I mean its obviously huge shoes to fill. It’s one of those things where, you know, what do you say? I feel very fortunate and blessed to be in the position that I am in. To write the books that I am writing at this stage of my career. It is a huge challenge and I knew it would be going in, and it was very intimidating. But, I try to look at everything from the aspect of taking risks as a writer and getting outside of my comfort zone… It was a long pitch process and I was very happy to get the gig, but I still I try not to think about how big of a run Johns had, I just try to tell stories in the way that I know how and I hope that people like the results.”

4LN– Are there any hints, which you can share, about what might be in store for Hal and the rest of the Lanterns following the events of “Uprising”?

Robert Venditti– “We begin to see a version of Hal where he uses more strategic military plans and also how to grow into the role of a leader of the entire Green Lantern Corps. Now the question becomes, like we all have to deal with in our daily lives, how much do we grow as people without losing core aspects that make us who we are? I think that’s a conflict that Hal will be faced with in this next story line we have coming up, and this is going in involve something entirely new to the Green Lantern Corps in terms of adversaries… this will be like something they have never seen and the aftermath of this will  have a legacy in just not Green Lantern, but the entire DC Universe.”

4LN- How long is your current run planned for with the Lanterns?

Robert Venditti “We’ll it doesn’t really work like that, for me with Green Lantern, The Flash and XO Man of War, I just want to take the job and be on the book until I run out of ideas or someone doesn’t like what I’m doing. [Laughs] It’s kind of an open ended gig. I do have ideas for storylines that go pretty far into the future from where we are now. I’ll continue to build on what we are doing now, but you know things come up and other opportunities arise. I try to never predict where things are going to be.”

4LN– What advice would you give to the many aspiring comic book writers out there?

Robert Venditti– “It’s one of those things, don’t limit your possibilities. Everybody tunnels their way into the mountain their own way. I mean, my way was packing boxes in the warehouse of Top Shelf Productions and I wrote the script for The Surrogates while working there. I gave it to the editor and he read it and ended up liking it and that’s how I got my first publication credit. I didn’t know working in a warehouse would end up getting me a publication credit out of it. But that job was a way to get involved in the industry and learn the business side and to be around like minded people in the industry I wanted to be in. So, don’t close any doors on yourself. Try to look for the opportunities, and take advantage of them when the arrive.”

4LN How did it feel to have something you’ve written be turned into a movie?

Robert Venditti– “Yeah, I mean it was crazy. It was far beyond anything I ever thought would happen. The most I hoped to get out of it [Surrogates] was for somebody to publish it. I felt pretty certain nobody would ever read it, but at least I would have a book in my hand, and with a publication credit I could get to editors and say ‘Here is how I write’ and maybe I could get more work. I mean that’s ALL I thought I would get out of it…. I wasn’t overly involved in the film making process, because I didn’t want to be, I wanted to enjoy it and I certainly did that.”

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Everyone should be reading Green Lantern. Not only is this a great story, but Robert Venditti has some major things planned for Hal that it appears will also impact the extended DC Universe, so now is the perfect time to jump on board. Go pick up the first trade, Dark Days, and get caught up on this book before issue 34 hits shelves next month (August). I assure you, you will not be disappointed in the new Green Lantern!

New Director and Writer for Marvel’s Ant-Man Film

Much like the rest of you, I was saddened and dismayed when Edgar Wright, and Joe Cornish, exited Ant-Man. Being a huge fan of Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World, as well as the Cornetto Trilogy (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End), I was really excited to see what Edgar could do with the character. When the film was officially announced, I was so excited because I felt like no one could make this movie better than he could. But… “shit happens”, I suppose is an accurate assessment of the situation. Marvel and Edgar Wright felt as if they had different visions for the film, and since Marvel owns Ant-Man, Edgar humbly stepped down from the project.

Michael Douglas, who has been cast as Hank Pym had this to say recently:

“I was very disappointed, I’m a big fan of his movies. It was a very disappointing situation. It happened very late into the game. I don’t think anybody’s quite recovered. My heart goes out to Edgar. He’d been involved with the project for a long time. But he’s talented enough that you’ll be hearing a whole lot from him, and I’m sure with a little vengeance.”

James Gunn, director of Marvel’s upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy film, put it best though, I feel, when he said this…

“Sometimes you have friends in a relationship. You love each of them dearly as individuals and think they’re amazing people. When they talk to you about their troubles, you do everything you can to support them, to keep them together, because if you love them both so much doesn’t it make sense they should love each other? But little by little you realize, at heart, they aren’t meant to be together – not because there’s anything wrong with either of them, but they just don’t have personalities that mesh in a comfortable way. They don’t make each other happy. Although it’s sad to see them split, when they do, you’re surprisingly relieved, and excited to see where their lives take them next.
It’s easy to try to make one party “right” and another party “wrong” when a breakup happens, but it often isn’t that simple. Or perhaps it’s even more simple than that – not everyone belongs in a relationship together. It doesn’t mean they’re not wonderful people.
And that’s true of both Edgar Wright and Marvel. One of them isn’t a person, but I think you get what I mean.”
That made feel  better about the whole situation, but I’l admit I’m still a little bummed.

Over the weekend, Marvel announced their new creative team for the film. Peyton Reed will be taking over directing duties, and Adam McKay will be contributing to the script.

Peyton Reed

Peyton Reed’s resume might make most hardcore comic nerds skeptical. His major motion picture credits are Down With Love, The Break-Up, and Yes Man. However, most people don’t know that he also directed The Weird Al show, several episodes of The Upright Citizens Brigade, and a few episodes of Mr. Show with Bob and Dave. Basically, the guy knows comedy. Also, let’s not forget that prior to Iron Man, Jon Favreau had only done Made, Elf, and Zathura: A Space Adventure (which was a bastard sequel to the far-superior Jumanji), and IM has become one of the absolute best superhero films of all-time.

 

Adam McKay

I’ve been a fan of Adam McKay’s work for a long time. From the first Anchorman to… well, to Anchorman 2, his movies have always been great. Talladega Nights, Step Brothers, The Other Guys, all hilarious films that I can watch over and over again. I think it’s safe to say that, with this duo of filmmakers on board as well as Paul Rudd signed on to play Ant-Man, Marvel is definitely looking to bring more “funny” to this picture. They seem to really enjoy having a fair balance of funny and action.

I get that Marvel and Edgar Wright had creative differences, and I do worry that the Marvel/Disney head honchos  might be getting egotistical about their success so far which is causing them to meddle more with the filmmakers’ vision, but ultimately I try to have faith in what the writers, directors, and producers are putting together. I don’t know all that much about Peyton Reed, but I feel like Adam McKay is not the kind of guy who would sign on to a project just to do what he’s told by faceless suits. I trust he’s got some good ideas on how to keep the integrity of the project while also giving Marvel/Disney what they want and keeping that July 17th, 2015 release date.

Overall, I’m just one of those “Happy to be here” people. I’m excited that I get a chance to see Ant-Man come to life on the big screen at all, so I try to keep the pompous-ass attitude to a minimum. I’ll be the first one in line for the flick when it comes out and I’ll see it more than once, cause that’s what I do. I’m a fan, not a critic.

Disney Just Might Answer Star Wars Fans Prayers

According to a recent post by Bleeding Cool, there just might be chance that Disney will be releasing the Original Trilogy sans-George Lucas’ changes in 2004.  This means we will get to see A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi in their original format just like God intended.

Considering the recent casting announcements it seems that they plan on these sequels tying directly into the Original Trilogy (while attempting to distance themselves from the prequels), so it makes since they they would want to retcon the retcon of the Original films so they can build off the fan favorite.  However, there are some minor hiccups (like Fox still owning the distribution rights), but Disney has proven that it is willing to drop more cash than Robert Redford in Indecent Proposal to obtain what they want — meaning that if they think there is a profitable market for the originals of the Originals, then they will buy it and reap the praise of fans everywhere.

Personally I can’t imagine this not being an immensely popular move for Disney.  The Originals in their original format would fly off the shelves faster than the Falcon made the Kessel Run (so like 11 parsecs?).

Bleeding Cool also mentioned a rumor that there is a chance that the Prequels might even be re-categorized under the “Legends” classification, which would throw them in with the rest of the books, comics, and TV shows that are now considered “non-canon.”  I have mixed feelings about this — the Prequels ARE pretty weak (except for you Obi-Wan and Natalie Portman, you two were awesome), but to just say, “Hey, these were pretty bad so we don’t claim them anymore,” seems like a pretty out-there thing to do.  On the other hand, it would give Disney the freedom to pretty much do anything they wanted with the stand-alone films without having to worry about the continuity issues that would come along with it.

Long story short, I would absolutely love to see the Original Trilogy in the original format, and I am pretty sure I am not the only one.

What do you guys thing about the rumors?  Would you be interested in the Originals being released without all of the additional CGI? What about the attempt to strike the Prequels from the record?  Let us know in the comments.

A Sad day for Sci-Fi

It saddens me to have to report this, but news is news. Since a very young age I have loved Sci-Fi films, books and games. It was one of the first “nerd” things I was exposed too. And of all the sci-fi films, one of my favorites is Alien. It’s one of few movies that has truly captured me and also changed how I see things, still to this day Ridley Scott is one of my favorite directors. I am also a HUGE alien conspirator, I even have an alien tattoo (but not the version from the films). When I think of how an alien should look, I see the version that H.R. Giger created, and it’s sad to think he is no longer with us.

H.R. Giger passed away on May 12, 2014 from injuries sustained during a fall, his museum said.

H.R Giger worked on movies such as Dune, The Alien series, Poltergeist 2, Batman Forever (though his design was not used for the Batmobile) and also Prometheus. The film world has lost a very creative mind.

_74813094_giger
According to Swissinfo.ch “Giger’s so-called biomechanoids represent a large share of his work. His representations of these creatures is a mixture of human and mechanical parts, with a strong focus on sexuality that can be disturbing for the viewer.” Giger worked with punk band Dead Kennedy’s and created a VERY graphic sex image that was released as a poster with the album Frabkenchrist which led to an obscenity trial in 1980’s.

I thank you for all the nightmares and terrors of extra-terrestrial life forms. May you rest in peace H.R. Giger, you will be greatly missed.

Source: swissinfo.ch