While WWE remains the undisputed king of pro wrestling, the world’s second biggest promotion New Japan Pro Wrestling has been gaining a lot of attention of late due in no small part to the Bullet Club. However, New Japan can at times be a bit daunting to get into because, like WWE, it has decades of ongoing storylines composed of dozens of characters today alone. I myself have only followed the promotion for a couple years largely because of watching the weekly show on AXS TV which brought me to Ring of Honor’s weekly television show (which some don’t realize is often available on local stations). Friends of mine have started to follow wrestling recently and kept hearing about the Bullet Club and New Japan as I’ve tried to explain some of the company’s larger storylines without trying to lose them with an information dump. It’s with this in mind I thought to try and make an article that provides the basics so that new fans know what’s going on while tying it a bit to wrestling knowledge they already have.
Greetings! Some of you may know me as Kenny from the podcast and I am the newest member of the Nerdfect Strangers family. And here is the thing, I love reading comics and working at a comic book store I constantly get the question, “what am I reading and why?” So I thought I would share my love of comics with ya’ll. Some spoilers but not too many. Thanks and tell me what your reading. ✌🏾
In a recent interview with Newsarama, Black Lightning executive producer Salim Akil said that in the show’s second season, it will move towards assembling the Outsiders. Further, Akil mentioned the inclusion of Grace Choi (Chantal Thuy) in the first season was a conscious effort toward this development. In the comics, when the Justice League refused to take action in a foreign country on Batman’s behalf, he left the group to work on his own with aid from Black Lightning. Therein, several more heroes emerged leading to the formation of the super team. Several members of the Outsiders have appeared thus far in the Arrowverse including Katana, Green Arrow, Arsenal, Indigo, Huntress, Dr. Light, and of course Black Lightning and his daughter Thunder. At this time, it’s unknown which Earth the Black Lightning series takes place upon as such won’t likely be known until the upcoming December five-part crossover that will introduce Batwoman. Further, with the upcoming Titans series dropping in the fall when DC Universe comes out of beta testing, it’s likely Nightwing, Starfire, Terra, Red Robin, and perhaps even Geo-Force (given Terra’s connection to the Titans) will be unavailable. Not to mention the likely upcoming Batwoman series which might embargo Batgirl/Orphan, Creeper, Owlman, and the Signal. Lets then see what heroes could show up to round out the team.
Two years ago, it was rumored Batwoman was coming to Supergirl. Such did not come to pass but next year, it’s expected the heroine will get her very own television series. At this year’s San Diego Comic-Con International, it was announced Batwoman will be joining the Arrowverse as part of a five episode crossover event that will also place Black Lightning in that same multiverse. At this time, it’s unknown what Earth the character will be placed upon (Bruce Wayne was only just referenced by name on Arrow last season as Batman has been alluded to but not named on Supergirl) or if such a question will even be necessary (details of the event are, again, yet known which then does not rule out an adaptation of Crisis on Infinite Earths). However, just after Comic-Con came the Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour where we learned Batman exists in the Arrowverse but is not scheduled to appear, Batwoman lives in Gotham City, and that a pilot is being filmed for the mid-season to determine if there will be a series (however, it was also stated none of the Arrowverse shows are in any danger of being canceled which likely means executives are high on the brand and thus its extension). Recently, it was announced Ruby Rose (xXx: Return of Xander Cage, John Wick: Chapter 2) will be playing the eponymous character. Working with virtually no details, lets take a look at the character and speculate upon what a Batwoman television series could entail.
Al Rio Tribute Art Book Volume Three: Interview with Terry Maltos by Jerry Whitworth
The third volume of the Al Rio Tribute Art Book series has come to Kickstarter and it will be collecting work from the late artist’s 2008 portfolio. As with the past two crowdfunding campaigns, past volumes are available which are products of limited runs (meaning the only available copies of the first book are in fine condition with minor marks limited to only 60 remaining at the start of the campaign). Nerdfect Strangers had the opportunity to communicate with Al Rio’s friend and business partner Terry Maltos who is running the campaign for the eighty-page art book on behalf of the artist’s family.
Finally wrapping up news coming in from San Diego Comic-Con, I had planned to take a break from the continuous stream of articles I’ve been pumping out until I came across this:
A Toei live action tokusatsu Moon Knight series? This lead me down a rabbit hole of an alternate universe where Toei beat Netflix to the Defenders punch and cranked out a multitude of live action superhero television series putting the likes of Spider-Man, 3-D Man, Moon Knight, and the Silver Surfer on to Japanese airwaves. But before we get there, a little background. From an article I wrote just last week:
Recently, Collider broke the news that Jared Stern (LEGO Batman Movie, LEGO Ninjago Movie) will write and direct an animated film based on DC Comics’ Super Pets. At this time, few details are available about the project but DC Comics has a rich history with animal heroes. Comic books got their start collecting comic strips which frequently featured animal protagonists and when superheroes began to run out of fashion, animal characters made a return (in fact, Green Lantern found himself becoming replaced by his canine sidekick Streak in his own book). Animal analogies even emerged of these heroes as the Flash had a turtle version called the Terrific Whatzit and Superman received a similar treatment with Super-Turtle. By 1982, an entire animal version of the Justice League appeared in the Just’a Lotta Animals as part of the series Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! Regarding animal companions, heroes like Dr. Mid-Nite and Hawkman were some of the earliest adopters of the phenomenon with Hooty and Big Red, respectively. However, everything seemed to change around the start of the Silver Age when Superman acquired a Super-Dog in Krypto.
Returning for a second season in 2019, Syfy’s Krypton depicted in its first season the arrival of Brainiac (Blake Ritson) to the eponymous planet and how General Zod (Colin Salmon) traveled back in time to stop the bottling of the city of Kandor (which, in the confines of the show, ultimately led to the destruction of the world) and conquered his homeworld for himself. Seg-El (Cameron Cuffe), Superman’s grandfather in Krypton (based loosely on Seyg-El), fought alongside his secret lover Lyta-Zod (Georgina Campbell), his betrothed Nyssa-Vex (Wallis Day), and his best friend Kem (Rasmus Hardiker) with General Zod (Seg and Lyta’s illegitimate son) to stop Brainiac as a time-traveling Adam Strange (Shaun Sipos) tried to stop Zod to ensure Superman’s future. With Strange’s failure, history was changed with Superman being recognized as part of the House of Zod, Seg and Brainiac trapped in the Phantom Zone, Zod conquering Krypton with plans to expand its empire as his mother stands by his side, Earth was conquered by Zod, Doomsday is freed from his imprisonment, and the only resistance remaining to stop Zod is Nyssa, Black Zero terrorist leader Jax-Ur (Hannah Waddingham), Seg’s grandfather and former Phantom Zone prisoner Val-El (Ian McElhinney), and maybe Lyta’s mortally wounded mother Jayna-Zod (Ann Ogbomo). At San Diego Comic-Con International, some details of the show’s second season were announced including a time jump of several months, visits to the Phantom Zone and Brainiac’s homeworld Colu, learning more about Adam (which likely means Sardath and his daughter Alanna), and new characters coming to the show. Lets take a look at who has been announced thus far.
When DuckTales was announced to be returning, fans expected yet another reboot but were instead treated to a nostalgia smorgasbord. Darkwing Duck, TaleSpin, Gummi Bears, and Goof Troop found either mentions or outright inclusion in the series for a Disney Afternoon reunion while familiar faces like Ludwig Von Drake, Goldie O’Gilt, and Gladstone Gander made their way into a handful of episodes. San Diego Comic-Con International provided us a look at the final five episodes of DuckTales‘ first season as well as a sneak peek at character designs for season two. Among those making their way to Duckburg are Scrooge McDuck’s rival John D. Rockerduck, Donald Duck’s cousin Fethry Duck, Bubba the Caveduck, and José Carioca and Panchito Pistoles of Donald’s troupe the Three Caballeros. However, DuckTales co-producer Frank Angones has already said in regards to whatever past thing from Disney you want to see emerge on the show, “We love it too. Absolutely it will.” In that case, lets take a look at what top ten characters will likely emerge on the show in only a matter of time.
Roughly one week removed from San Diego Comic-Con International and news continues to dribble out. The latest tidbit to rock fandom is the trailer for the second season of Castlevania. Roughly adapting Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse (1989), the story follows Count Dracula trying to sink the world in darkness and four heroes rising up to stop him: vampire killer Trevor Belmont, young witch Sypha Belnades, dhampir Alucard, and thief Grant Danasty. The first prequel produced for the Castlevania series, Dracula’s Curse is situated early in the property’s timeline which provides a wealth of material for the series moving forward. Its second season dropping all at once on October 26th on Netflix, the second season will be twice as long as the first at eight episodes. Lets take a look at some characters revealed in the new trailer.
As we creep closer to the beta release of the DC Universe streaming service and application in August, a litany of content continues to be announced as we learned a library of comics, movies, and shows will be available on the platform for $7.99 a month (or $74.99 a year with three free months). San Diego Comic-Con offered more details about what’s to come including trailers for Titans and Young Justice: Outsiders as well as the announcement of a live action Stargirl series by her creator Geoff Johns. Lets break down what original content we already know will be available on the service.
When it was announced that Street Fighter was going to have a presence in the mobile fighting game Power Rangers: Legacy Wars some months ago, the news seemed to be accompanied by crickets. While it was cool that Ryu, Chun-Li, Guile, Cammy, M. Bison, Akuma, and more were coming to the game, such crossovers in fighting games have become fairly commonplace in this day and age. Little did fans know that come San Diego Comic-Con International, we would get a proper crossover. Bat In The Sun Productions made a name for themselves with the 2003 fan film Batman Beyond: Year One but went on to generate a lot of buzz with its web series Super Power Beat Down. This lead to being hired by Valiant Comics to produce the live action web series Ninjak Vs. The Valiant Universe which included Jason David Frank of Power Rangers fame as Bloodshot, one of Valiant’s most established properties (in fact, Bloodshot will be the first character from Valiant adapted for feature film with Vin Diesel starring in the titular role). In San Diego, we learned Bat In The Sun’s latest project: Power Rangers Legacy War: Street Fighter Showdown.
In 1991, the transforming robot wars were officially over. Hasbro acquired Tonka and, by extension, the GoBots. While often criticized for the general cheap quality of its toys’ design as well as the cheap animation quality of its ongoing Hanna-Barbera animated series, GoBots nonetheless had some potential as part of the Transformers (at least for the more well known characters of the line). Leader-1, Cy-Kill, Turbo, Scooter, Crasher, Cop-Tur, Fitor, Path Finder… these characters were known quantities to the audience that could do well in the Transformers universe. There was just one problem: while Hasbro acquired their names and stories, they did not get their likenesses. Just as Transformers was generally an American adaptation of the Takara Diaclone and Microman toylines, GoBots founds its roots in Popy’s Machine Robo toyline (owned by Bandai). Tonka’s hastily assembled agreement with Popy saw that while they could reproduce the toys, they were only licensing the likeness which reverted back to the Japanese manufacturer. However, Hasbro has tried to capitalize on owning the GoBots property but it just didn’t work without those iconic images of the classic series. It seemed the brand would simply fade away… that is, until the latest San Diego Comic-Con International.
Starting out as an almost Batman Begins (2005) television series that instead featured a murderous Green Arrow, Arrow is going into its seventh season as spin-offs The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow enter their respective seasons five and four this fall on the CW Network (while animated spin-off Freedom Fighters: The Ray just debuted its second season online). The DC Television Universe, or Arrowverse, would incorporate Supergirl and Constantine as the former enters its fourth season and latter returned as an animated online series (City of Demons) and its eponymous protagonist has become a series regular for Legends‘ coming season (previously, Legends incorporated the ancestor of the animated series Vixen‘s eponymous protagonist). It was just learned at the latest San Diego Comic-Con International that the character Batwoman will get her own television series on the CW and she will be introduced in a five-part crossover event this December that will also incorporate the series Black Lightning (entering its second season) into the DCTVU. Two years ago, it was rumored Batwoman was sought for the second season of Supergirl but rumor also had it the idea was nixed due to Gotham on Fox (where Arrow writers have pushed for more Batman content since Gotham‘s emergence with occasional small victories). As Gotham enters its final season sometime next year with reportedly only ten episodes (which appears to fall three short of being eligible for syndication), it seems the time has come for the DCTVU to bring Gotham City to its viewers (while reportedly Bruce Wayne’s butler Alfred will be getting his own television series on Epix and Dick Grayson is leading the Teen Titans on the DC Universe’s Titans series). Lets take a look at what characters are coming to the DCTVU shows this fall.