Here’s a flashback to late 1980s indie comics who’s covers pack a punch (or more so a KICK)! Wisconsin superhero Badger was always a favorite of mine, for one reason because the cheese state, from which I hail, never got much attention in the superhero spectrum. Mike Baron’s ‘First Comics’ creation was a truly unique spin on the genre. This incredible cover was one as a Wisconsinite always stuck in my mind! Badger was truly reppin’ the Midwest! A dynamic cover from 1988 by Steve Rude is one of my faves hands DOWN!
It’s pride month & U-Dork is here to feature a sweet comic book cover way back from 1986, Marvel Fanfare #28, featuring Marvel Comics very 1st and BEST openly gay superhero, the one and only Northstar!
Yes! Alpha Flight has been an ALL time favorite of mine since 1983. A cool, cast of characters created by comic legends John Byrne & Chris Claremont, and one of the most diverse, even by today’s standards, superhero teams around. Northstar is a true fan favorite as Marvel’s first openly gay character, who officially made news back in issue #106 when he made his reveal January 14th, 1992. I remember back then it was quite a big deal.
However even though the character was always intended to be gay, more conservative restrictions back in the early 80s on comic books wouldn’t allow it. Instead Byrne had to let readers read between the lines. Northstar is a true LGBTQ legend and honestly I’m quite surprised that Alpha Flight has not made its way onto the big screen. Seriously get with the program MCU!
Not only is Northstar one of the coolest mutants in the MCU he’s also got one of the best most boisterous attitudes around. He’s always been a fun read and never a dull moment when dealing with him. Over the years he has even joined the ranks of the X-Men. However I personally enjoy him much more as a member of Alpha Flight..
This cover of Marvel Fanfare #28 is an excellent representation of him and the team as you can see when viewing the full wrap-around cover. It creates quite a stunning full picture, beautifully illustrated by Ken Steacy.
The character of Northstar is one of my favorites and definitely deserves to be honored this month in particular! Props to Northstar AKA Jean-Paul Beaubier!
Well I just discovered that ‘V-Force: New Dawn of V.I.C.T.O.R.Y.’ a superhero flick that was filming way back in 2017 here in Portland Oregon has finally got a trailer up! Why do I care about some low grade superhero movie that’s been in post production hell for nearly four years? Well, one of it’s scenes was filmed in my shop, Hollywood Babylon, here in Portland Oregon with none other than the legendary Billy Zane. I might add that when they filmed it I was there and ended up spending a little time chatting’ with him about my favorite Zane films like ‘Demon Knight’, ‘Dead Calm’, ‘The Phantom’ & yes of course ‘The Titanic’. You can check out my experience that day right HERE as I blogged that shit up the same day it happened!
However no matter how stoked I was by this whole scenario it turned out the film was put on hiatus due to some sort of loss of funding to pay the crew. Well randomly I decided to do my yearly “V-Force” check up to see if any damn updates were out there on it, because let’s face it, if you filmed most of a movie with the likes of not only Billy Zane but also Don “The Dragon” Wilson, Bruce Dern & Keith David you must at some point be planning to get the funding to release the damn thing. Oh yeah and here’s a picture from that day, with me on the right and of course The Phantom in the center!
Well it seems my “Billy Zane fantasy filming in my vintage shop” just might be seeing the light of day sometime soon? I dunno, because I see there is now an official trailer up and that’s about all, the thing only has a few hundred views and virtually no press out there on it! Well U-Dork is here to give it some internet fire power with this post, so yes folks check out the latest trailer for V-FORCE!! A movie bound for Redbox and just maybe the like of SYFY?! Who the fuck knows, if it ever gets a release I’m going to push for it to be showcased on an episode of the Movie Melt podcast! Oh yeah I also noticed this trailers been up for almost a year now too-WTF?!! Release the shit now!! I want the whole world to see Billy Zane hanging out in my damn shop already!!!
True Believers, it’s never been a more perfect time for the ‘Great Lakes Avengers’ to make their grand entrance into the MCU! Ok, I know many of you casual Marvel movie fanatics out there are likely wondering just who and what the hell I’m talking about, but the “GLA” as they’re also referred to have been around since the late 80’s and have on a couple occasions attempted to actually replace The Avengers, most notably when they tragically disassembled in 2004 in the comics. The Milwaukee, Wisconsin based team are most well known as the ultimate gang of blundering misfit superheroes and when the Avengers disbanded they figured they’d simply take the mantle of the team for themselves to reap all the glory for themselves. Of course they quickly found out they weren’t quite qualified when it came down to taking out major threats to the planet. So why introduce these guys now into the MCU huh?
Well at the current moment in the movies The Avengers aren’t really a thing anymore, at least for the moment. With Cap old & retired and Tony Stark dead, it’d be the perfect time to check out the origin story and rise of ‘The Great Lakes Avengers’. In fact with the ‘Disney+’ streaming service there’s the platform needed to tell their ridiculously madcap story. Since 1989 when writer/artist John Byrne introduced the underdog team to the Marvel Universe (West Coast Avengers #46), I’ve been a big fan. In fact I listed them before as one of the obscure Marvel teams I thought would make a great movie or better yet today a comedic Disney+ series after the success of the D-listers The Guardians of the Galaxy. To me the team has so much more potential than GOG, with their origin story alone being a helluva good adventure, if even at times more of a dark comedy.
The name of the team alone would spark immediate interest and originally back in the comic books they’d even been coached by Hawkeye and Mockingbird who desperately tried to whip them into shape. You could even have Jeremy Renner make a cameo in an episode as Hawkeye to do just that. Considering the team’s ranks were filled from a classified ad in the newspaper would open the door to so many great comedic scenarios as well.
Then there’s the team themselves, which consists of Mr. Immortal, a mutant with a super-superhuman healing factor and the ability to survive the most gruesome deaths, Bertha who’s the most popular fashion icon in Milwaukee WI who has the ability to bulk up like the Blob, Dinah-soar the flying female reptilian, Doorman a mutant who can create doorways using alternate universes to pass through solid objects and finally Flatman, the team’s current leader & openly gay two dimensional version of Reed Richards. But wait the team was also home to the now iconic Squirrel Girl and this would be the perfect place for her to make her official MCU debut!
This team and their story would make for the perfect superhero series, there’s so many interesting angles to explore. From forming the team, to training to be the new “Avengers”, to their many failed missions and their attempt to square off against a real superhuman threat. There’s something truly charming about exploring an underdog group of down on their luck superhuman characters. The comedy practically writes itself and they’d be a surefire win in a series of their own as there’s nothing quite like them out there yet. So what do you think? Do you think now’s the time for this weird-o gang of midwest superheroes to enter into the fold?! If I’ve peaked your interest a good launch point of the team is the six issue mini series from Dan Slott from 2005 called “GLA: Misassembled”, I think that would be a perfect blueprint for a Disney+ series….
Happy Saint Patty’s Day! I’m not Irish for the record, nor really care much for this holiday but it’s brought back a memory today of a weird ass D-list Marvel superhero who certainly deserves some attention, especially today, back in 1982 I bought one of my favorite comic books as a kid ‘Contest of the Champions’! Back in those days these comic books were better than any toy you could buy me, I’d carry my comics around with me everywhere, I just couldn’t get enuff! Anyway this iconic series pitted Marvel superheroes against each other in a contest organized by elder of the universe ‘The Grandmaster’ and his nemesis ‘Death’. There were some of Marvel’s most popular superheroes gathered to compete and a shitload of new D-lister characters introduced in the series. I reaaaally love Marvel’s D-list superheroes, they never get any respect but when they show up I’m always pretty damn intrigued by them regardless. Well as it’s St Patrick’s Day I just had to showcase one of them that always stood out, the ever so proud of her heritage, “SHAMROCK”!
Yeah, Contest of the Champions #1 was her first appearance and what a debut! Shamrock is pitted against Captain America and guess what? She actually beats him! Molly Fitzgerald Aka “Shamrock” mysteriously obtained mystical powers that enable her to become a vessel for souls of those who’ve died as innocent victims of war. When she gets into a bind, a one of these souls will manifest itself physically for a moment as a burst of powerful energy that causes improbable incidents to occur for her benefit.
When her superhuman good luck power manifests it allows events to fall heavily in Shamrock’s favor. So even tho she’s a D-lister she’s actually kind of a bad ass. Her father was member of the terrorist organization the IRA and at one point teamed he up with Arnim Zola to try and ruthlessly duplicate her powers. Later she retired from the crime fighting biz become a school teacher, then went to open a hair salon and then bar in NYC. She however got the itch again to kick bad guy butt and later joined SHEILD as a secret agent.
Shamrock is a true green Irish superhero, she made appearances in The Hulk, ROM, Alpha Flight, Guardians of the Galaxy, Excalibur and even had her own little story in Marvel Comic Presents #24 in 1989. In 2010 she appeared in Marvel’s ‘Girl Comics’ #2 where she’s contemplating getting back in shape and putting on the old costume again to fight crime. So there you go, Shamrock’s the ultimate super hero for the holiday!! No go grab some green beer and get a’ readin’!!
The full scoop on SHAMROCK!!
So there’s a damn big ‘split’ (no pun intended!) in movie goer’s opinions on M. Night Shyamalan’s latest movie ‘Glass’. The long awaited sequel to both ‘Unbreakable’ and ‘Split’ has caused a ton of debate online, some think it’s the perfect end cap to Shyamalan’s “Eastrail 177” trilogy other’s think it’s a boring waste of two hours. For me I found it to be a compelling end to the saga, in fact I saw the critics bashing this movie so hard that I was truly expecting the worst going in. I mean Shyamalan’s let me down before in big ways (The Happening, The Last Airbender anyone?) so I was fully prepared to begin my next phase of “hatin’ on the guy” once again. Luckily he stuck to his guns and in my opinion delivered a smart, tense & mysterious movie that feels right in line with ‘Unbreakable’ & ‘Split’. He definitely subverted my expectations, not in the same way Rian Johnson did with ‘The Last Jedi’ but in a way which I’ve come to appreciate early on in M. Night’s career. I was hoping that it would avoid trying to be a “Marvel” movie, something it seems all big Hollywood productions are desperately trying to replicate using a somewhat, imo, tired film making style, mixing their usual “witty banter comedy” with gigantic bloated CGI battles, that at this point makes me begin to nod off in theaters.
Instead he creates smaller scale action sequences that feel real, tense and important when they occur. I’ve grown pretty damn bored with the modern superhero movies and their predictable tropes and overuse of green screens & rubbery cartoony CGI action sequences. Glass feels like it could actually happen in the real world and I was pretty scared Night was going to try and tap into that Marvel-esque money making formula that’s all the rage. Thankfully it feels like a natural progression to what came before it, more like a Christopher Nolan style superhero film than ‘Infinity War’ or ‘Aquaman’. That being said I can see how modern audiences conditioned to the ultra fast paced video gamey CGI action stuff would find plenty of reasons to be pissed off at this one. Its a dramatic supernatural thriller with slight elements of the superhero genre sprinkled about, I think ‘Glass’ will surely satisfy fans of the the two previous installments.
That all being said the movie does have plot points I found a bit disappointing. Not because they were bad moves, but because it didn’t go the way I ENVISIONED it to. The movie sets up the audience for things that might not occur at all and this all works as it feels like the real world as opposed to ‘The Last Jedi’ which is based in 100% fantasy in an established universe spanning back to the 1970’s. Shyamalan’s decisions left me disappointed and heart broken, but not in a way that destroyed the film’s appeal to me. It made me want to go back and watch all three in order and the films third act subverts expectations in ways I never saw coming. It feels like Shyamalan wasn’t merely looking to cash in on his new “superhero universe” but rather had a complete story he was willing to start and end. It was bizarre seeing a movie that didn’t feel like it was trying to tease the next installment. It brought back familiar faces from Unbreakable and Split as well and all of them were wonderful in the roles, I’ve got to admit though the characters didn’t do what I’d originally imagined they’d do. Again, I kinda appreciate that.
A few things that bothered me? Wanting more of Bruce Willis and Sam Jackson interacting, but I guess we got a heap of that way back in Unbreakable and there’s some clear problems with how Jame’s Mcavoy’s character was kept imprisoned in the mental ward where the three of them were locked up in. Minor qualms really, my major being one of the key events that occurred at the end left me perplexed and actually quite saddened. Again never expecting they’d go there and go that direction. So all in all ‘Glass’ is one I highly recommend, I give it an ‘A minus’ as it left me thinking about it a couple days later and left me wanting a second viewing now that my expectations aren’t there. Night delivers a beautiful, tense, realistic superhero character piece that fully enhances what came before it. Check it out, but don’t expect your usual superhero flick!
M. Knight Shyamalan has been spending the last few years making a legit comeback after crafting some seriously bad movies. The guy who was at one time being referred to as “the next Hitchcock” seemed to hit a bad slump that many never though he could return from. He recently though gave us ‘The Visit’ which was, in my opinion, a great little horror flick and then ‘Split’ which took the his classic twist ending to new heights as it revealed it was indeed a direct sequel to his 2000 masterpiece ‘Unbreakable’. ‘Split’ opened the floodgates of possibility for an expanded universe within Shyamalan’s cinematic world leading to the upcoming third movie in the ‘Unbreakable’ franchise. Yeah ‘Glass’ is based on Sam Jackson’s villainous comic book obsessed mastermind from ‘Unbreakable’ & will feature characters from that movie and ‘Split’. I’ve been pumped for a trailer.
The film’s plot description reads: “Following the conclusion of Split, Glass finds Dunn pursuing Crumb’s superhuman figure of “The Beast” in a series of escalating encounters, while the shadowy presence of Price emerges as an orchestrator who holds secrets critical to both men.” Check out the all too short tease for the full trailer said to hit this friday.
I’m pretty excited to see what Shyamalan comes up with as his possible ‘superhero universe’ is vastly different thus far than the over the top, CG heavy Marvel and DC films. Night offers a more serious, tense and mysterious take on the genre and that’s a breath of fresh air in my opinion. I’m rooting for him to hit a full on home run here!
Black Panther is clearly all the rage at the box office and it’s crazy that he wasn’t introduced sooner to the Marvel cinematic universe. We had to wait roughly 10 years for his solo flick since the MCU kicked off, maybe Marvel was strategically timing his arrival with current trends in the news and social media? Whatever the case thinking about the gigantic monetary success of ‘The Panther’ I’m certain people over at Disney/Marvel are scheming what characters will be the next smash sensation and I’m certain they’re considering just how the racial background of them might help bring in the big bucks once again. Let’s face it, the white dude superhero can clearly get a little stale sometimes. So who’re the top contenders that Marvel might introduce to the moviegoing public? Here’s my predictions and hopes:
Shang Chi: The Master of Kung Fu
Shang Chi is clearly at the top of the list when I think about what Marvel might have planned next after the success of The Black Panther. It seems like Marvel and Disney are pretty concerned about their Chinese audience when it comes to releasing new movies as they can make a ton of money there. So if they play their cards right perhaps the legendary Master of Kung Fu could woo audiences in the USA and abroad? I think so, imagine a Marvel Kung Fu flick done right with crazy over the top superhuman martial arts action on the big screen. They could achieve what they should have with Iron Fist and give everyone the action extravaganza they craved for the Netflix character. I’d love to see him come to life on the big screen, he’s a true classic character that deserves more respect..
I’ve been noticing more recently the increased interest in astral projection, sleep paralysis & the shadow people phenomenon (all three that often times go hand in hand) becoming quite popular subjects lately in pop culture. If you’re unsure of what the three of these things are let me briefly explain. First astral projection (also referred to as an out of body experience) is when your consciousness or “soul” separates from the physical body. Sleep paralysis is when someone “wakes” from sleep and finds their body paralyzed for a short period of time. Finally “the shadow people phenomenon” has been reported by countless people while in the state of sleep paralysis and involves coming in contact with shadowy beings who appear near you or around you. These encounters are often described as terrifying, with strange voices and sometimes feelings of being attacked or suffocated by these shadowy beings.
What many people don’t know is that sleep paralysis, despite how modern horror movies depict the phenomenon, is actually a state that people who attempt or practice astral projection strive to get to. So to some who might not understand what’s happening during sleep paralysis this is a frightening experience but to others this is the sweet spot needed to induce an out of body experience. You see, when someone attempts astral projection it involves a certain amount of concentration or meditation, basically you are trying to let your body completely fall asleep while keeping you mind awake. When doing so successfully you body once calmed enough will become paralyzed, we all experience sleep paralysis every night when we go to bed, it’s what keeps us from acting out our dreams physically. In some cases sleep walking occurs when the body isn’t paralyzed completely. If you can successfully keep conscious while the body falls in sleep paralysis you’re actually very close to astral projecting, which is an amazing thing. Sleep paralysis is considered in a way the gateway to another dimension. Most of the movies and such out there today portray the experience in a negative & frightening way when in reality it’s a direct step to an incredible, life changing experience. Continue reading
It’s a hot topic here the past couple days surrounding the upcoming Netflix series ‘Iron Fist’ online. The series starring Finn Jones as the legendary kung fu playboy vigilante has come under fire for it’s supposed racist roots and just plain shitty all around reviews. It’s been slammed pretty hard by the critics calling it “boring” and “racially uncomfortable” with it’s white male lead. Apparently Finn Jones shut down his Twitter because of the online backlash from people who’re calling him out personally as part of the problem.
Now I’m not sure whether the show really sucks or not, I haven’t seen it. I’m curious to see if it’s indeed as bad as critics are saying or if perhaps this racial controversy is really the root of all the negative reviews. I thought the previews looked ok but the whole set up looks a bit too familiar. The problem seems that people are upset that the character, who is a white male in the original comic books, should have been recast and played by an Asian actor in the new series. Then it was stated that many were against the idea of a recast because having an Asian actor in the role of the “martial arts guy” played too strongly into racial stereotypes. A bit of a double edged sword it seems. Continue reading