Tag Archives: Iron Man
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.
The other day at work, I discovered something horrifying. It all started last week during a lunch break. Somehow Ewan McGregor came up, and one of my coworkers didn’t seem to have any idea who that was. I figured she had to know him, but just didn’t know his name. I started rattling off the titles of movies he had been in that I figured she must have seen. Moulin Rouge, Trainspotting, Ghost Writer. But no, she hadn’t seen any of them. Then, the revelation that blew my mind out through the back of my head. “Star Wars?” I asked. “No,” she said. “None of them?” “No.”
When I finally stopped screaming, I decided that this woman’s movie knowledge was frighteningly deficient. In an effort to appease me, she suggested that I make a list of ten movies that she must see. I wholeheartedly accepted this challenge. But, as I devoted more and more time and energy to make this list, I realized that I was actually just making a list of ten movies I would show myself if I completely lost my memory and I needed to be re-educated.
I came up with a new plan. On Twitter, Facebook, and amongst my co-workers I proposed a simple hypothetical scenario: You meet an English speaking, Canadian adult who tells you they’ve never seen a movie before. They ask you to pick the first movie they’ll ever see. What do you choose?
I think some of the earnestness I used in person was lost online so some of the answers are probably less realistic than others. But, the full, unadulterated list will appear at the end of the column.
For now, I’m going to list the ten that I’m going to actually suggest with a brief explanation of why.
- Star Wars – Just the original trilogy. But, the whole trilogy, because that is such a part of the world now that it’s just about stopped being “pop” culture, and just regular old culture. On top of that it’s a great, imagination capturing group of movies.
- The Wizard Of Oz – Of the 29 replies I got, this is the only one that got 3 votes. That’s over 10% of the vote. How can I not include it? It’s also a charming movie that is beloved by all and, in a lot of ways, redefined what movies could be. The special effects still work really well, and the songs are catchy as hell.
- Casablanca – Often listed as one of the top movies ever made, it’s an epic romance that also has the intrigue and action of World War 2. It’s one of the few movies that everyone likes when they see it. Even Citizen Kane can’t claim that.
- The Sound Of Music – I haven’t seen it myself (gasp, shock) but it got two votes in my poll, so that’s good enough for me. At almost three hours, it’s a little long, but I’m hoping the singing nuns and Nazis can keep her attention.
- The Shawshank Redemption – Who am I to argue with the number 1 movie on the IMDB top 250? Also, it’s a great movie. It’s got triumph, tragedy, lols, and wtfs. In other words, something for everyone.
- The Princess Bride – A modern (well, 1987-era modern) take on the fairytale. A heartwarming and utterly delightful movie about love, and giants, and things that are practically inconceivable.
- Ocean’s 11 – The Soderbergh one, not the far less entertaining rat pack one. This movie takes the typical heist formula and injects a ton of razzle dazzle and pizzazz. A lot of which is delivered by an incredible all-star cast. If movie casts were an Olympic event, this movie would take the gold.
- Iron Man – I’ll concede that this is a bit of an odd ball choice, but it’s the most fun superhero movie made to date. Other films in that genre are certainly smarter, or more profound, but this one is hands down the best time you’ll have in the theatre.
- Ghost – Another movie I haven’t seen, but I want to make sure I’ve got enough stuff on here that will appeal to a more feminine audience, as that’s the audience I’m going for. I’m pretty sure it’s about Patrick Swayze’s ghost possessing Whoopi Goldberg and seducing Demi Moore. Oh, and pottery.
- Wall-E – Finally, in order to cover as many bases as I can, a film by the universally beloved Pixar studio. This is my favorite of their movies because it does what the best sci-fi movies do. It takes a modern day problem and hides it in robots, spaceships, and special effects to make it more digestible. It’s also, and I may have used this descriptor before but I can’t help it, completely and unabashedly charming.
All right, so that’s my list. Assuming she actually watches any of these, I’ll post her thoughts here in future columns. In the meantime, here is the full list of answers I got from the people I polled. Thoughts?
- Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
- Back To The Future
- The Princess Bride
- Ocean’s 11 (2)
- The Fugitive
- The Room
- Jurassic Park
- A Walk In The Clouds
- Catch Me If You Can
- The Sound Of Music (2)
- The Neverending Story
- Wizard of Oz (3)
- First Blood
- Return of the Jedi
- Three Amigos
- Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
- A New Hope
- Step Up 4
- Cannibal Holocaust
- The Great Dictator
- Cast Away
- Big Butt Sluts 3
Graham Becksted thinks my coworker better watch all of these after I’ve gone to all of this trouble. 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 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
This week, in honour of Movember, I present to you three of the most famous moustaches from the MOrvel universe!
As popularized by Mr. Robert Downey Jr., Tony is best known for wearing a goatee. But, in his first appearances he rocked a snappy little moustache.
Sure, he is a genius with or without the ‘stache, but I don’t think you can call yourself a billionaire playboy if you don’t have that charming bit of lip hair. What woman could resist? And, I can’t help but notice that some of his most difficult times have come since abandoning the Mo. Fighting Captain America, being hunted by the American government, and fighting his own armour. Maybe if he shaved that useless chin business his luck would finally turn.
For many years Dr. Stranger was the Sorcerer Supreme of the Marvel universe. In the last couple of years he lost that title, and is now just a master of the mystic arts. But, he’s also a master of the MOstic arts.
His moustache has been with him longer than the Eye of Agamotto, and is a trustier companion than Wong. Sure, the good doctor has dabbled in other facial hair, but he always returns to the source of his power. Yeah, that’s right, his crumb catcher is probably his most mystical weapon. His entire wardrobe offers some sort of magical ability, from his cloak of levitation to his shiny gloves of orange, and he’s changed all of those at some point or other. But, that soup strainer is always there. I don’t think it’s ever been revealed before, but I’m pretty sure it’s the All-Powerful Handlebar Of Hoggoth!
J. Jonah Jameson
The angriest man in the Marvel universe isn’t Magneto, Dr. Doom, or The Red Skull. For pure straight up rage, the top of the leaderboard is occupied by the onetime publisher of the Daily Bugle and current mayor of New York, J. Jonah Jameson.
That moustache is kind of familiar isn’t it? Who does that remind you of? Charlie Chaplin? Well, yes, but there was someone else… All right, hear me out. Jameson was a reporter in Europe during World War 2. That much is well established. What I am proposing is that he was captured by the Nazis towards the end of the war and was experimented on. When Hitler died they transplanted the Fuhrer’s moustache onto the intrepid American reporter, wiped his mind of his time in captivity, and then sent him back home. Whenever he gets worked up, the sinister little ‘stache takes control! That’s why Jameson is always questing for more power. He worked his way up the ranks of the newspaper world, and now he is the mayor of one of the world’s biggest cities. Is there any stopping him!?
Tune in next week for the DC instalment!
If you would like to help the cause, please donate at www.mobro.co/grahambecksted
And please follow me on Twitter @GrahamBecksted
So, I think by now it’s well established that I’m something of a Marvel zombie. Knowing that, I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I’m pretty stoked for The Avengers (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_3uKtfELfE). This is a movie that couldn’t have existed ten years ago. And not just because it’s Marvel and they’ve had some troubles getting movies made. One big budget movie featuring multiple pre-established superheroes is something that hasn’t been done before. Sure, in the past there’s been the occasional TV movie that threw Daredevil and The Hulk together (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0098512/) or an aborted Justice League show (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118365/). X-Men and Fantastic Four don’t count, ‘cause those characters were all created to be a team. But even something as seemingly simple as a Batman and Superman movie hasn’t been done. I mean, they tried to make that thing for years!
The problem doesn’t seem to be that studios aren’t willing to try it. The problem is that the logistics are nightmarish! First you have to think up a threat that needs Superman AND Batman. Then you have to find actors to play the heroes. Since this is bound to be a big budget spectacle, you need two big name guys. They’ll likely want to have an equal amount of importance and screen time, and since they’re such big names they’ll probably want some say over who plays the other guy. Warner Bros invested a lot of time and money into making a Superman Vs. Batman movie, but these problems kept derailing it. They had a director and two writers, but they just couldn’t get two actors to commit at the same time. If you watch I Am Legend you can even see a teaser poster for it!
When this was all going on, I did a radio show on my high school radio station (106.3 RAVFM – I don’t think it’s on the air anymore…) where I did entertainment news updates. So, I followed all of this stuff pretty closely and became pretty jaded about the whole thing. Well, as jaded as any high school radio dork can be. After the Supes and Bats stuff blew over, there started to be rumours of a Justice League movie. That got some brief casting buzz, but never really stood a chance. With the exception of Batman, it seems really hard to make a DC movie with just one of their heroes. Anything more, at least for the time being, seems impossible.
DC had always had one advantage over Marvel in the movie making business. They are owned by Warner Brothers. If they want to make a movie, they just have to go next door and say, “Hey, let’s make Batman a movie,” and then they start making it. For a long time Marvel was a lone wolf company – not really part of any major media conglomerate. They would sell the movie rights for their characters to studios and pray that they didn’t mess them up. Finally in the late 2000s, they scrabbled a bunch of money together and decided to make a movie of their own.
That movie was Iron Man. I’ve never been a huge fan of the character in comics. In fact, I don’t know anyone who really was. But, from the first picture of the cast in costume I knew it was going to be good. I was not disappointed. It blew my socks off and that was long before the end credits. I had heard that there was some special little easter egg after the credits, so I waited patiently. When Sam Jackson as Nick Fury appeared I smiled. When he said the words “Avengers Initiative,” the top of my head flew off and steam shot out of my ears. I lost the ability to speak English for three days. My jaw dropped so far that I needed a surgical procedure to correct it. All in all, I was a little excited.
Now that it’s finally becoming a reality, I’m just trying to contain myself. Keep my expectations reasonable. But, this is something truly unprecedented. No expense has been spared. There’s a first rate (at least in the geek world) writer-director, Mr. Joss Whedon. The actors are the same ones from the heroes’ solo movies. (Except for the Hulk, where they can’t seem to find an actor who is willing to stick around for more than one movie – Eric Bana, Ed Norton, and now Mark Ruffalo.) And the continuity all ties in with the other movies.
My point with this column was simple. The Avengers movie has been getting a lot of buzz, but for non-comic fans it’s easy to lose sight of why. Whether the movie turns out to be good or bad, I think it should still be applauded for how ambitious it is. And even if you’re not a Marvel fan, if this is successful it just might pave the way for a JLA movie. We might finally get to see Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman fighting a giant starfish in 3D!