Tag Archives: Captain America
I’m tempted to describe this post as being about the latest comic book controversy on the Internet. But, as this controversy reared its head two weeks ago, I highly doubt it’s still the latest. It sprung out of an issue of Uncanny Avengers – a new series that features a team of Avengers and X-Men working together. Captain America has made Havok the leader of the team, and at their first press conference (‘cause superheroes have press conferences) he makes a speech.
Some other blogs that have commented on this have just used part of the speech, but for the sake of clarity I’m going to write out the whole thing. This is from Uncanny Avengers #5 written by Rick Remender and pencils by Olivier Coipel. (If one of you would like to follow along at home, the download code is: TMM302XSWCSA)
The speech is as follows: (He takes his mask off) We wear these things so people don’t know who we are. But I want you to know exactly who I am.
My name is Alex Summers. I’m a student of professor Charles Xavier. This team is an embodiment of his simple dream of all people working together. A fight more important now than ever.
Recently the world saw my brother Scott infused with the power of a god. And while he tried to make a lasting change to fix what he saw as broken, no man should ever unilaterally take action or choose for so many. It is hubris.
I never quite saw things as my brother did. I never quite saw things as my brother did, and later our views diverged further. I don’t see myself as born into a mutant cult or religion. Having an x-gene doesn’t bond me to anyone. It doesn’t define me.
In fact, I see the very word “mutant” as divisive. Old thinking that serves to further separate us from our fellow man. We are all humans. Of one tribe. We are defined by our choices, not the makeup of our genes.
So, please, don’t call us mutants. The “M” word represents everything I hate.
(A reporter asks, “Well… if you don’t want to be called “mutant,” what should we call you?) How about Alex?
All right, so there it is. The X-Men have been used as an analogue for minorities of any sort almost since their inception. So, a lot of people took this to be the writer making some sort of statement that minorities should forsake the part of their identity that sets them apart. Not only do I not think this is what the writer is saying, I don’t even think this is what Alex is saying.
It’s not like he’s saying that he doesn’t want to use or have his powers anymore, he just doesn’t want to be identified solely by what separates him from others. Sounds fair to me. What doesn’t sound fair is people attacking the creative team for what they think they are saying through the character. Remender has also written The Punisher, Venom, and Wolverine and no one has confused their bloodthirsty vigilantism for Remender’s.
He’s just trying to write the way he thinks this character would speak. And, I don’t think it’s out of the question considering what has happened to this guy in the recent history of the Marvel universe. His brother, Cyclops, who he has often bumped up against and chafed under the leadership of, has been taking his group of X-Men and making them more and more isolated. It makes a certain kind of sense that he would go in the exact opposite direction.
Anyway, those are my two cents on the matter. Please, let me know just how wrong I am.
Here are some more digital download codes:
Guardians Of The Galaxy 1: TMM21LJJBQP4
Fantastic Four 5 AU: TMM36Z7TJJKF
A + X 6: TMM28M7S2ZDX
Also, Marvel has started up their free digital comic promotion again and you can find all the details here: https://promo.marvel.com/
Graham Becksted will continue using the M word no matter how controversial it gets! He is also the author of Graham’s Grumbles, the second blog by that name that is listed in Google results when you search for Graham’s Grumbles. If you would like to be his 78th follower (thank you, bots), he can be followed on Twitter @GrahamBecksted.
Marvel NOW! is the latest flashpoint for Marvel fans. Everything’s changing and it’s the perfect time to jump on (or off) of various books. Almost all of the main titles are getting new creative teams. And, as has been the time honoured tradition of new creative blood, the super hero teams are getting new rosters. This is always a very exciting time for fan boys and girls alike. Who will the new members be? Will my favorite be one of them? How many teams can Wolverine BE on?
The Avengers books have always been particularly good at exploiting these moments. The covers usually announce that THIS is the issue where the new team is picked. There’s usually a smattering of cards, or faces, and a big question like, “WHO WILL BE THE AVENGERS?”
The team usually stays fairly consistent for a few years. Sure, some people may come and go, but there’s usually a fairly stable core. For example, I only really started reading Avengers during Brian Michael Bendis’ run so, for me, the core team is Captain America, Iron Man, Wolverine, Spider-Man, Luke Cage, and eventually Thor. But, for more old school readers, it’s not the Avengers if it doesn’t have The Vision, Scarlet Witch, Wonder Man, Hawkeye and Beast.
At this point, it seems like the number of characters who have been Avengers is growing so large that every Marvel hero from Captain America to Squirrel Girl will have been an Avenger. I mean, I think the announced roster for Hickman’s run is a little big – 24 members! That’s more characters than pages in an average single issue. But, I trust in Mr. Hickman’s abilities. And, frankly, the Avengers should be a huge book where huge things happen.
Prior to my Avengers interest, the X-Men were my team of choice. When I was a kid, we would spend recesses arguing over which characters were cooler, and building our dream rosters. That’s the thing with the X-Men – I think if you took a group of 10 people and sat them down with a list of the all the mutants in the Marvel Universe to choose from and forced them to pick an X-Team with ten characters on it, you’d get ten completely different teams.
To give you an example, here are three teams put together in the last decade or so. Bendis will be taking over the main X-Men book shortly, and he’s taking the team back to the original five (Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Angel, Iceman, and Beast). When Joss Whedon did his run the team was made up of Wolverine, Beast, Cyclops, The White Queen, Armor, Colossus, and Shadowcat. Joe Casey’s Uncanny X-Men run consisted of Angel, Iceman, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, and Chamber.
(I think next week I’ll try to cobble together my ideal X-Men team.)
Anyway, Marvel doesn’t have a monopoly on this by any stretch of the imagination. The first time I had read any JLA stuff had been during the Death Of Superman when the team consisted of Ice, Fire, Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Guy Gardiner, Bloodwynd, and Maxima. (Just to show how many times I’ve read that collection, I actually pulled that list straight from memory.) When Grant Morrison took over, the team reverted to the classic roster of Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Martian Manhunter, Flash, Green Lantern, and Aquaman. And while that is an infinitely cooler team, I still look back kind of fondly on the days when the team was made up of second stringers.
As much as we’d like to think that the creative teams are the reason most people buy or stick with a book, I think the characters on the team play as big, if not a bigger, role. So, if any of you get the singular honor of writing one of these team books some day in the future, make sure you take great care in picking the roster. You could end up defining a generation’s idea of who that team is.
Graham Becksted is the only member of The Secret Graham Coast Avengers. He is also the author of Graham’s Grumbles the second blog by that name that is listed in Google results when you search for Graham’s Grumbles. If you would like to be his 69th follower (thank you, bots), he can be followed on Twitter @GrahamBecksted.
So, it happened. The Avengers was released in North America this week. And nothing will ever be the same again.
Actually, that’s probably not true. But, some people have made a whole bunch of money, and the rest of us just spent a lot to help this gargantuan picture topple some crazy box office records. The only thing that could come close to making as much money as this would have to be some sort of Hunger Games – Twilight hybrid where Katniss Everdeen is hunted by naked Edwards and Jacobs or something.
For the record, the movie was awesome. It had everything I could have wanted. A quippy Iron Man, a bad ass Captain America, an operatic Thor, and a pitch-perfect Hulk. No one character took centre stage, or got bogged down with character development. There was no distracting romance angle, or personal drama. Most of these characters have solo movies to worry about that stuff. This is the traditional crossover comic book epic that fanboys always buy up like crazy. And now, the general public understands why!
In comics, they’re so rote at this point that they have a pretty standard formula: Huge bad guy appears, some superhero gets his or her ass kicked, a bunch of other superheroes show up to help, there is a misunderstanding and the heroes fight, then they settle their differences and work together to beat the villain. And, despite how predictable it all is, they do a new one every year or so and it’s inevitably the best selling thing out there. Sure, they’ve become better at it recently. The formula has been tweaked with varying levels of success. For instance, Civil War pretty much started and stopped at the “misunderstanding” phase.
And don’t look to me to try and explain why it works so well. All I know is that when I was still going on road trips with my parents, I read Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars over and over again. It pit the biggest Marvel heroes and villains against each other for 12 issues. That’s pretty much the long and the short of it, but it’s riveting! Maybe it’s something to do with humanity’s fascination with the struggle between good and evil. Or, maybe it’s more to do with seeing characters who don’t normally interact with each other forced to fight or cooperate. Or, maybe it’s as simple as seeing the Hulk hold up a mountain so that it doesn’t crush Spider-Man and a bunch of Avengers trapped underneath.
After the adrenaline rush of the movie died down, I started to think that DC and Warner must be drooling at the prospect of a JLA movie. It’s mighty tempting. Can you imagine Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman all in one movie? Never mind the rest of the team just those three would be a feat. But, imagine the cartwheels they’d have to go through to concoct a threat that requires those three plus Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Flash and Aquaman. And one that has to be introduced and defeated in 2 hours?
I hate to break it to you DC Fanboys, but I don’t think a giant, telepathic, alien starfish is going to resonate on screen quite as well as it does on the page.
On second thought, that sounds amazing!
Alternatively, they could go in the direction of the Justice League International and have a team of mostly b-listers. Booster Gold, Blue Beetle, Guy Gardner, Fire, Ice, and maybe G’Nort. They could team up and fight traffic violations, or something. That’s something that could be filmed in a weekend, and put in theatres by the end of the month and they could totally capitalize on the Avengers buzz!
I think that’s something even I could direct! Sorry, I have to call my agent.
Graham Becksted does not have an agent. He is the author of Graham’s Grumbles the second blog by that name that is listed in Google results when you search for Graham’s Grumbles. If you would like to be his 64th follower (thank you, bots), he can be followed on Twitter @GrahamBecksted.
PS: Stella’s Avengers Handsome Man Ranking
- Captain America
- Iron Man
- Black Widow
So a friend recently posted a comic he made in Disney Create, a flash based comic maker thing you can mess around with online.
I grew up on this type of crap. Disney had been releasing paint or print studio software for a bunch of their big movies over the years.
So after seeing there was something like that online, with characters from Toy Story, Avengers, and some weird ‘manga’ thing, I couldn’t help myself.
The following is the results of the past 2 hours, on Disney Create
So what are you waiting for. Head on out and start making your own creations… or abominations…
Another week, another theme column. This week – OSCARS. As I’m sure you’re aware by now, the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gave their awards out to the best movies of the year. The big winner was The Artist, a movie that I was not terribly fond of. To be fair though, it was not a great year at the cinema. There were a lot of good movies but not many great ones. Out of those good movies, the Academy nominated nine for best picture. But, since there were so many movies of similar quality I’ve decided to give my alternate nine nominations for the year. I’m only going to list movies I’ve seen, so if your favorite didn’t make this list it’s either because I didn’t see it or it sucks. Oh, also they’re in alphabetical order.
1.) Attack The Block – A really fun movie about an alien invasion that hits a London low-income housing complex. Teenage punks and drug dealers have to save the day, in this incredibly original little movie. The most original part is the aliens themselves. They’re pitch black except for their glow in the dark teeth. They’re unique, which is especially welcome after the sort of generic and unmemorable monsters in Super 8 and Cloverfield. 2.) Beginners – Another movie highlighted by its originality. It jumps back and forth through time showing a man helping his recently out of the closet father deal with cancer, and then coping with his death. He also inherits his dog, and meets a pretty girl. It’s probably the most personal and real feeling movie on this list and is filled with excellent acting. Christopher Plummer as the father is especially great. 3.) Captain America – In a year where there were quite a few super hero movies, this is the only one that really stood out for me. A lot of that is due to the surprisingly good Chris Evans performance as the Captain. He makes what could have been a total boy scout character interesting. You can’t help but root for him. Hugo Weaving is also nicely evil as the Red Skull. The movie is a bit hampered by a bit of an anti-climactic ending that seems to serve a potential sequel more than this movie. But, before that minor disappointment can take root, there’s an amazing preview for this year’s Avenger movie that totally makes up for it. 4.) The Descendants – The movie that makes George Clooney seem mortal. Instead of his usual full bore charm and handsome, he seems like a weathered, middle aged man who’s been through some stuff. His wife is in a coma and he has to deal with raising their two daughters on his own for the first time. Of the actual Oscar nominees, it’s the one that’s going to stick with me most. I’m reluctant to say more simply ‘cause it brings up a lot of interesting personal questions for the audience that are better discussed just after having seen it. So go see it!5.) Drive – This is what Roger Corman’s movies would be if they had a budget. And, I guess, a European director. A stuntman/getaway driver with a heart of gold tries his best to help a pixie woman and her impossibly cute son. The villains chew scenery with the best of them, and the violence is delightfully over the top. Backing it up is one of the best soundtracks of the year.6.) 50/50 – Also known as “That Seth Rogen Cancer Movie.” It’s equal parts funny and touching. Joseph Gordon Levitt plays a guy who gets diagnosed with cancer and Rogen plays his best bud. While it didn’t make me cry, it has made pretty much everyone else I know cry, so there’s that too. It’s one of those few movies that I genuinely think has something for everyone. 7.) The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – Honestly, I think I would have enjoyed this movie more if I hadn’t read the book first. That being said, it is a David Fincher movie which means I was pretty much guaranteed to like it. In typical Fincher fashion, it is beautiful to look at. His perfectionism in the appearance of a film does not usually lead to great performances, but that’s not the case this time. Rooney Mara is absolutely amazing, to the point where I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to accept her in another role. It’s a good movie and deserved far more recognition than it got.8.) Midnight In Paris – Woody Allen, a director who has almost as many misses as he’s had hits, puts out a very serviceable film. It’s not one of his masterpieces like Manhattan or Match Point, but it’s a fine lark that gets the job done. Owen Wilson, playing California Woody Allen, falls in love with Paris while visiting it with his fiancée. The fiancée in question is played by Rachel McAdams as a grown up version of her Mean Girls character, and Michael Sheen does a fantastic job as a complete arrogant dick. When Wilson goes back in time, he meets every famous artistic person who lived in Paris in the 1920s and who are played by an all-star cast. The plot is about a man coming to grips that the life he is living probably isn’t the right life for him. Like a lot of the nominees this year, it almost certainly wouldn’t have been nominated in a better year.9.) Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol – Easily the best movie of the year. It’s one action set piece after another, and each is more exciting than the last! I have no memory of the story, but everything else is incredibly memorable. The climb up the side of the tallest building in the world, the fight in the weird car park, the chase through the dust storm. All of it is fantastic! I was even able to get passed Tom Cruise’s general weirdness. And finally, Simon Pegg was delightful. So, that’s it. I think all of these movies are the equal or better of any of the actual nominees, and most would have garnered more fan support. Here’s to a better 2012, everyone!
Graham Becksted just wrote the longest blog post of his short career! He is the author of Graham’s Grumbles the second blog by that name that is listed in Google results when you search for Graham’s Grumbles. If you would like to be his 58th follower (thank you, bots), he can be followed on Twitter @GrahamBecksted.
This week’s column is thanks entirely to my friend Karo Silverwick. She asked on Facebook if anyone was a fan of Marvel comics. Obviously I threw my hat in the ring since I can’t seem to resist the chance to talk about comic books. Karo then sent me a list of questions each one worthy of an essay style response. So, I figured it would be best to just answer them all here.
When did you become a fan?
I think that actually started with my dad. He collected comics as a kid. Actually, I’m pretty sure he was pretty exclusively into Marvel comics, too. He’s got some pretty cool issues stashed away. Well, he says he has them anyway. He’s never let me see his really good ones, so they may not exist at all…
Anyway, he got me my first few issues, but what really did it was the X-Men Animated Series. I watched it pretty obsessively and then read up on all of the characters on wood burning websites on my smoke-signal internet. What really solidified it for me was when double-bubble started packaging X-Men stickers in with the gum. At lunch kids would ask me about the characters on their stickers and for a brief time I was like a god! Some sort of X-Man identifying god!
It didn’t last.
Do you collect any of the comics?
Yes. Currently – Avengers, New Avengers, Avengers Academy, Punisher, Ultimates, Ultimate X-Men, Ultimate Hawkeye, Shield, FF, and Alpha Flight.
(Those are just the Marvel ones.)
Who is your fav hero and why?
That’s a tough call. I mean, these days I’m really more invested in the creators behind the comics than the characters in the comics. The easy answer is probably Wolverine. He’s such a badass it’s hard not to like him, especially for kids. But, there are a lot of cool Marvel heroes. Some characters who are making a play for a special place in my heart are The Thing, Reptil, James Hudson, and Leonardo Da Vinci.
But, I gotta say that ever since Ultimate vol. 1 Captain America has been the character I’ve most liked. He’s always been depicted as a man out of time, but as an idealized, squeaky clean version of the 40s. In the Ultimate version, he’s got rougher edges. He’s kind of sexist, and doesn’t take any guff. My favourite moment of his is this one:
He’s getting the crap beaten out of him by an alien Nazi (it’s a long story.) The Nazi is demanding that he say that he surrenders. Cap has heard enough, and beats him to a pulp before saying those immortal words above.
Who is your favorite villain and why?
That is a harder question. There’s so many to choose from and they cycle through them so often. But, I guess I’ll settle for a classic: Magneto. When he first appeared, he was sort of two-dimensional villain. I mean, he was the founder of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. He was pretty purely a bad man. Through years and years of character development, he’s actually become one of the deeper super-villains in comics. He believes that mutants are superior to humans, and he won’t idly stand by when his people are threatened. He is principled and has his own moral code. In fact, at least once a decade he switches sides and joins the X-Men. He’s even led them at various times, and was the headmaster for the New Mutants. He’s one of the very few villains who could probably support his own ongoing series.
What is your favorite romance and why?
Another tough one, as superhero romances aren’t usually worth talking about and almost all of them end in heartbreak of one sort or another. Cyclops and Jean were a good couple, but they were together for so long that they’ve had a lot of weird stuff happen to them. For instance – Jean died, then Cyclops married a woman who looked just like her, had a kid with her, then left her when Jean turned out not to be dead, then the other woman was revealed to be a clone of Jean and became evil, the kid was sent to the future, Jean and Cyclops got married, then Cyclops psychically cheated on her with the White Queen, and then Jean died again. (And those are just the twists I can think of off the top of my head.)
I guess the one that I like the most at the moment is Mr. Fantastic (Reed Richards) and the Invisible Woman (Sue Storm). They really feel like a couple who have been through a lot together. And, considering they have been together for 50 years, they have been through A LOT. But whatever happens they always end up with each other. They have two kids and a pretty strong marriage. When written well there’s always the sense that they enjoy each other’s company and that they each bring something to the table. As clichéd as it sounds, they really complete each other.
Tell me what you think of the movies.
Love ‘em. Well, for the most part I love ‘em. Since Marvel created their own film studio they’ve had a pretty strong track record, and a lot of the movies they put out before then were pretty solid too. The best have been X-Men, X-Men 2, Iron Man, and Captain America. The worst are definitely X-Men 3, Elektra, and all of the Punishers. The rest fall somewhere in between. The best all seem to capture the spirit of the comics without trying to replicate them exactly, and without deviating too much. It’s a tough balance to hit, but when they do it elicits a lot of fist pumping. Well, at least in me it does…
THAT IS ALL.
Follow me on Twitter if you’d like: @GrahamBecksted