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.
DC Television Universe: SDCC 2018 by Jerry Whitworth
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.
Posted in Comics
Tagged Arrow, Arrowverse, Batwoman, Black Lightning, Constantine, DC Television Universe, flash, Jerry Whitworth, Legends of Tomorrow, San Diego Comic-Con, SDCC, supergirl
Power Rangers Comes to Toys That Made Us by Jerry Whitworth
When the documentary series The Toys That Made Us about toy brands and properties was renewed by Netflix, speculation immediately arose about what future episodes would emerge. Fans did not have to wait long as the first four episodes were announced at San Diego Comic-Con International and the Nerdfect Strangers accurately predicted at least three of those selections. It was revealed the next four episodes will focus on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, My Little Pony, wrestling, and Power Rangers. Having already gone into detail with the former three previously (although, the ambiguous descriptor for wrestling has lead to speculation the Kinnikuman keshi, or Kinkeshi, better known in America as M.U.S.C.L.E., maybe included), we’re going to discuss the history of Power Rangers and its toys.
Top 10: Episodes of Nerdfect Strangers by Jerry Whitworth
Recently, Nerdfect Strangers founder Bobby Fisher appeared on the PVDcast where host John Orlando mentioned that on average, most podcasts last ten to twelve episodes. To put that in perspective, Nerdfect Strangers has just published its 65th episode across just over four years with five co-hosts. Over that time, the Nerdfect Strangers has experienced triumphs such as Bobby marrying the love of his life Evette and tragedy with the loss of our co-host and dear friend Glenn Walker. The podcast has had nearly two dozen guests, three real-time comical film criticism Halloween specials, been downloaded over 4,700 times, and averages 73 downloads an episode. Of course, some episodes have proven to be more popular than others. And so, we present to you, the Nerdfect Strangers‘ ten most downloaded episodes.
The Toys That Made Us: Interview with Brian Volk-Weiss by Jerry Whitworth
An eight episode series whose first half debuted in late 2017 and second half May of this year, The Toys That Made Us is a Netflix-exclusive documentary series on the history of popular toylines and properties. Thus far covering Star Wars, Barbie, Masters of the Universe, GI Joe, Star Trek, Transformers, Lego, and Hello Kitty, TTMU was renewed shortly after its second half went live. Nerdfect Strangers had the opportunity to interview Brian Volk-Weiss, creator and executive producer for TTMU, about the first eight episodes and the series’ future.
Review – Luke Cage: Season Two by Jerry Whitworth
Last week, Netflix released the second season for Luke Cage, the third entry in the streaming service’s Defenders series that includes Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and The Punisher. Following the events of last season where Cage (Mike Colter) was drawn into conflict with Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes (Mahershala Ali) and his cousin “Black” Mariah Dillard (Alfre Woodard) only to be hunted by his crazed half-brother Willis “Diamondback” Stryker (Erik LaRay Harvey), the eponymous series’ hero must combat John “Bushmaster” McIver (Mustafa Shakir) who seeks revenge against Mariah for the crimes of her kin. The first season of the show was critically acclaimed for its exploration of challenging topics of race in America, an integrated soundtrack making the piece something of a visual album, and the remarkable performances of its cast (in particular, its actresses). Lets see if the second season matches up. Fair warning: there will be SPOILERS.
Make It So: Green Lantern Corps the Movie by Jerry Whitworth
2010 was a transition period for DC Comics film adaptations. Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008) were massive box office hits and by 2010, Christopher Nolan was developing the final film for his Dark Knight trilogy. Alternatively, Superman Returns (2006), which was intended to be the Man of Steel’s big return to theaters, under performed and its sequel intended to be released in 2009 was scrapped. Development of a Wonder Woman movie was in limbo as Joss Whedon spent two years trying to get his picture made while in 2010 it looked like the Amazonian princess was going to become a television series from David E. Kelley that didn’t pan out. Writers Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, and Marc Guggenheim were tasked with bringing Green Lantern and the Flash to the big screen, the former for 2011 and latter soon after. But then, Green Lantern (2011) bombed at box office. Terribly rendered CGI (especially the Green Lantern’s uniform), a poorly written script that was overly goofy, and just an overall joyless viewing endeavor, the film was a financial and critical failure (though, Berlanti would later get to tackle the Flash, just on the small screen). The stink of the film remained for years, Ryan Reynolds trying to revive his poorly received portrayal of Deadpool in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine for a featured film only to carry another albatross around his neck while development of Man of Steel (2013), intended to create a DC Extended Universe similar to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, virtually abandoned all mention of Green Lantern for the burgeoning brand. It wouldn’t be until 2017 that the Green Lantern earned so much as a brief cameo and mention in the film Justice League that there existed any hope of its return. Recently, it was announced the DC Extended Universe will finally produce a new Green Lantern movie reportedly set to premier in 2020. Lets take a look at what such a film might entail.
Recently, Richard Rushfield of the entertainment newsletter The Ankler reported actor/director Jordan Peele approached Disney about producing a live action adaptation of its critically-acclaimed, cult classic animated series Gargoyles. The report went on to say, however, that given Peele’s momentum from his blockbuster hit Get Out (2017), the studio did not want to turn him down but was unwilling to greenlight the project and likely hopes Peele will take on another film and forget about the pitch. The news of the pitch though has spread like wildfire generating a lot of buzz online which could give Disney pause to genuinely consider the film (not unlike the impetus leading to 2016’s hit Deadpool). Gargoyles was a 1994 animated series created for the Disney Afternoon programming block to spotlight the company’s burgeoning animated television division. Created by Greg Weisman, known better today for Young Justice, Gargoyles ran for two seasons and featured a clan of magical guardian gargoyles in tenth century Scotland that were stone by day and flesh by night put to sleep in stone for a thousand years until awoken for a malevolent purpose by wealthy genius David Xanatos. Living in modern day Manhattan, the gargoyles combated Xanatos, rogue gargoyle Demona, unaging Scottish king Macbeth, mercenary band the Pack, ancient magician Archmage, and all manner of magical beings like Puck, Oberon, and the Weird Sisters of Shakespearean lore. The show failed to attain the level of massive ratings of competing series Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Batman: The Animated Series, and X-Men leading to its cancellation. A second animated series created largely without input from Weisman emerged called Gargoyles: The Goliath Chronicles in 1996 but was so reviled, future printed installments of the franchise treated it as non-canonical. In 2006, Gargoyles found second life as a comic book series written by Weisman for Slave Labor Graphics and Creature Comics continuing the show’s narrative until 2009 when Disney raised its licensing fee and the publisher abandoned it. Joe Books, who currently has the license to produce many Disney properties, planned on releasing a cinestory based on the first five episodes of the television series in 2016 but lack of pre-orders led to its delay and eventual cancellation. If the the buzz surrounding Gargoyles‘ adaptation into a major motion picture pan out, lets take a look as to who could portray its characters.
Global Expansion: The WWE Invades the World by Jerry Whitworth
In less than a couple of weeks, this year’s WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament will air on the WWE Network as the company is reportedly moving forward with a UK-based ongoing series to air on its streaming service. While WWE’s aggressive expansion into the UK market was seemingly due to the return of World of Sport on ITV last year (which stalled only to recently get back on track), the UK scene has exploded of late (as has the wrestling industry in general). This is clearly evident by New Japan’s recent announcement of Strong Style Evolved UK N1 which happens only days after WWE airs its UK tournament. New Japan has already expanded its territory into the US in the last year and the UK is its latest bid to become a global brand like WWE. This has led to battle lines being drawn as WWE has made arrangements with UK promotions Insane Championship Wrestling and PROGRESS as well as snagging several of World of Sports’ stars while New Japan has formed an alliance with Revolution Pro Wrestling and prominently features Zack Sabre Jr (who participated in WWE’s inaugural Cruiserweight Classic), Will Ospreay, Marty Scurll, and “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith Jr. in its promotion (Ospreay and Smith are also both featured in upcoming episodes of World of Sport). However, these moves could very well only be the opening salvo for a much larger confrontation as WWE tries to bring its Network to every corner of the world and New Japan has been emboldened by its consistent significant growth to try and offer some semblance of competition since WWE consumed WCW and ECW to become the undisputed king of sports entertainment. The question then becomes what country will enter WWE and New Japan’s optics next.
Posted in Professional Wrestling, Wrestling
Tagged AAA, CMLL, Impact Wrestling, Jerry Whitworth, Lucha Underground, New Japan, NJPW, Noah, Ring of Honor, Stardom, TNA, World of Sport, WWE, wXw
Top 10: Toys for TTMU Season Three by Jerry Whitworth
On May 25th, the second season of The Toys That Made Us debuted on Netflix bringing an end to the eight-part documentary series about toylines that helped define the generations that grew up with them. Covering Star Wars, Barbie, He-Man, G.I. Joe, Star Trek, Transformers, Lego, and Hello Kitty, TTMU went over each toyline’s broad history while touching base with the effect they had on the people who collected them, at times weaving in celebrities whose lives’ were impacted by the toys. Stated within the opening sequence of each episode, TTMU was created as an eight-episode series however the concept could easily be expanded much further. Should Netflix order future seasons of TTMU, lets see what toys could be featured next.
Back in 2015, creator Jeff Martin (HEAT: The Space Age of Pro Wrestling, Wrestlemon) was asked to pitch a comic to a music magazine. Listening to one of his favorite bands Gwar, the song “Where is Zog?” played which planted the seed for what became his webcomic Where is Zog? on HeavyMetal.com. The series features aliens Grum and Zill marooned on an unfamiliar world in search of the mysterious Zog. Despite its science fiction-based premise, the piece is best described as a dark comedy as Grum and Zill race from life-threatening situation to life-threatening situation with comical gore and death. A running gag of the work is the different interpretations of what a zog is to the different cultures of the alien world (which undoubtedly is a nod to the reader themselves who have little idea what the Zog the story centers around is in fact). Admittedly, I’m not really the target audience for this piece. I have little idea about Gwar where in doing research into the band and its expansive mythology, only more questions seemed to emerge (it should be noted, Martin would eventually get to contribute to a Gwar comic in the final issue of Dynamite’s GWAR: Orgasmageddon mini-series). And while there are space-based science fiction and dark comedies I enjoy, it’s slightly out of my wheelhouse. Still, I found the work to be inventive and entertaining albeit difficult to encapsulate what it is. Spending a few days considering it, I would likely qualify it as if someone took a PG-13 version of the original Heavy Metal (1981) animated film short “So Beautiful and So Dangerous” and stuck it in a blender with Undertale, 2011 ThunderCats, and Rick and Morty and you’d have some idea what you’re in for regarding Where is Zog? It’s an ongoing journey that is yet resolved where Grum and Zill’s misadventures seem to stack upon themselves more danger which, seemingly, will result in an entire planet uniting to get rid of them. You can own Where is Zog? in print via its Kickstarter which ends November 9th and should ship by the end of the year.
Creepypastas, or horror-based urban legends from the internet, have grown in popularity in recent years with the likes of Slender Man, Candle Cove, and Jeff the Killer entering the mainstream. However, one of the earliest creepypastas is making a resurgence on the printed page. The Polybius legend is of an arcade cabinet video game called Polybius distributed by mysterious men in black to a handful of arcades in the Portland, Oregon area in 1981. These machines acted as part of a psychological experiment, one that made players addicted to it, induced various psychological affects (amnesia, night terrors, sleepwalking, depression, seizures, hallucinations, etc), and led to some committing suicide before the game disappeared a mere month after debuting. As with the other noted creepypastas, there are people out there who believe in the existence of this game (which some attribute to the early version of the 1981 Atari game Tempest which reportedly gave a player a migraine in Portland). The phenomenon surrounding Polybius even led to the development of a documentary from Todd Luoto, Jon Frechette, and Dylan Reiff that, due to lack of funds, culminated into a currently ongoing seven-part podcast series centering around Bobby Feldstein who claims the game was real and played a part in his supposed abduction (as well as the abduction of at least one other child). About six months ago, a crowdfunding effort would begin to produce the first issue of a comic book based on the legend of Polybius. Titled Polybius Dreams, Ben Grisanti, Keith Grachow, and Ester Salguero through Grisanti’s Hypnotic Dog Comics recently published its first issue and are currently crowdfunding for its second chapter of the four part series. Following a trio of lovable losers in Patrick, Paul, and Michael in 1986 Autumn Hill, NY, a mysterious new game called Polybius arrives in the small town’s arcade followed by the deaths of several youths. Friends with the arcade’s co-owner, the trio are given the opportunity to play the new addictive game after hours thus pulling them into the suspenseful mystery.
Wrestlemon: Gotta Review ‘Em All by Jerry Whitworth
Known primarily for his webcomic HEAT: The Space Age of Pro Wrestling (fusing pro wrestling and science fiction), cartoonist Jeff Martin is combining together elements of pro wrestling with another genre in battle monsters. Wrestlemon (2017) parodies the popular Nintendo property of Pokémon (short for Pocket Monsters) while also parodying pro wrestling with allusions to lucha libre in its featured monsters and homages for the likes of “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, John Cena, Demolition, Ultimate Warrior, and more. The plot revolves around rookie trainer Jacey and her Wrestlemon Technico (after the lucha libre term “tecnico” meaning technician and referring to a babyface or hero) as they begin their path toward competition in the world of Wrestlemon. In their way is Jacey’s rival Thad and his Wrestlemon Roodo (after the lucha libre term “rudo” meaning rough and referring to a heel or villain) as Thad struggles to escape the shadow of his legendary father and his Wrestlemon Flaireon. All paths lead to a Wrestlemon gym where Jacey and Thad must prove their worth as trainers and their Wrestlemon demonstrate the ability to overcome in such a highly competitive environment.
Top 10: Favorite Articles at CAC by Jerry Whitworth
Hey Stranger Rangers, I told you I’d be back and here we are. As I said in my last post, ComicArtCommunity.com and I have parted ways and over my five year career with the site, a few of my 267 articles have stood out. Previously we covered the most popular articles on CAC where now we’ll examine my favorite. The criteria for my favorite articles largely encompass one prevalent component: hard work. While I tend to invest a lot of time and energy into many of the pieces I write, some I have really needed to pore over and research. As such, many of these projects I’ve needed to care a great deal about in order to bring to completion (as I assure you, not every article I begin crosses the finish line). Of course, some of the most popular articles were also my favorite (like “Destroy All Monsters! Tokusatsu in America”) but for the sake of this list, there will be no repeats. Without further ado, my favorite articles I’ve crafted for CAC.
Posted in Comics, Movies, Shameless Plugs, Wrestling
Tagged Anime, Captain Marvel, Comic Books, comics, Jerry Whitworth, Martian Manhunter, Marvel Studios, Top 10, Wrestling