Tag Archives: X-Men

Lesser Known Canadian Superheroes

Happy Canada Day! This is the first time that I can recall this most prestigious of days falling on a Tuesday and thus allowing me to write about it. Not that I’m actually going to write about Canada Day. I don’t actually know that much about it, except that it gives us an opportunity to be unabashedly patriotic and shoot fireworks. Oh, we also get the day off work which I’m sure plays into the whole patriotism thing. What I will write about are some of my favourite Canadian superheroes. (more…)

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An Even Better Review Of Days of Future Past

I feel like this is an all too common sentence that I use at the beginning of my columns, but here goes: I finally saw a movie! X-Men Days of Future Past, to be precise. It was last week and I really enjoyed it! It was a nice mix of the styles of X-Men 1 and 2, and First Class. More so than just the casts interacting, but even the tone. First Class is a bit more melodramatic than its predecessors – for example, I don’t recall Patrick Stewart’s Charles Xavier being on the verge of tears ever while James McAvoy’s Xavier is perpetually there. Bryan Singer’s X-Men movies, though, tended to be a bit smaller. The climax of the first movie takes place at the statue of liberty, but it’s in essentially two rooms and the place is closed for the night. First Class featured the Cuban missile crisis and nukes being launched. (more…)

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X-Men: Daze of Future Past

The latest X-Men movie seems like it might be kind of silly since there’s time travel involved.  I think I’ve seen enough time travel plots to see what’s coming.  What inevitably happens is that the heroes go back in time to save the day.  I’ve never seen a time travel movie where the heroes go back in time and horribly eff things up.  It just doesn’t happen.

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Three Time-Traveling X-Men Stories

So, there’s pretty much one thing on every geek’s mind right now, and I haven’t seen it yet. That’s right, I’m so cheap that I’ve waited until Tuesday to see X-Men: Days Of Future Past. So, you’ll have to wait until next week to hear my thoughts on it. For now, I will discuss some of my favorite X-Men time travel moments as a fun little primer for the movie. (more…)

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Big News Tuesday!

Good evening! I spent a good chunk of yesterday racking my brain trying to come up with a topic for this week’s post. Nothing came to me. I figured I’d wait and see if anything inspired me. Then, Tuesday came and it came hard! Interesting comic news was plastered all over the place! So, let’s begin with the biggest news:

Batffleck Begins!

Batffleck in the Batflesh

Batffleck in the Batflesh

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Three Trailers

I think it’s pretty clear that The Guardians of the Galaxy trailer was the nerd trailer of the year. If not the decade. I think the only trailer I’ve ever watched more was the one for the first X-Men movie. That’s probably also the only time I’ve downloaded a trailer and watched it frame by frame. It was summer break. I didn’t have much to do. That being said, there have been a triumvirate of nerdy trailers that have debuted and I would like to discus my thoughts on them. (more…)

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Days Of Future Trailer

I was going to write about something completely different today. I was going to write about how out of touch broadcast sports can be with the rest of the entertainment business. It was going to be very interesting and something for me to be genuinely grumbly about, as opposed to my usual which has veered more towards praising. Then they decided to release the X-Men Days Of Future Past trailer today and I immediately slingshotted back to praise mode.

Initial impressions – It definitely looks like they took some of the DNA of the excellent Age Of Apocalypse (AoA) storyline and mixed it in with the Days of Future Past (DoFP) comics. For example, in DoFP, it’s a really ragtag group of X-Men who are left in the future. Old Wolverine, wheelchair Magneto, Franklin Richards. But, in AoA, there are entire teams of mutants running around. In the trailer, they definitely still have uniforms and it looks like they’re on the run, which is pretty different from the prison camp they are in in the DoFP comics. And finally, Bishop. That character hadn’t even been created when DoFP came out, but he was integral to AoA.

Secondly, it is already nice to have Bryan Singer back as the director. I liked X-Men First Class, but it didn’t have the same precision and polish as the best X-Films (namely X-Men 1 and 2.) I can’t quite but my finger on it, but First Class had this sort of looseness to it. It was almost like they wanted to put as much cool stuff on screen as possible, without considering how it would all come together as a whole. Don’t get me wrong, with a cast of seemingly thousands, it’s entirely possible that DoFP could end up exactly the same. But, I put my trust in Singer. At least for now.

One of the things that bugs me about the trailer is Peter Dinklage. I love him in just about everything I’ve ever seen him in. Game of Thrones, The Station Agent, Penelope, even the borderline unwatchable Tiptoes. But, I don’t get why he was cast as Bolivar Trask (the creator of the Sentinels). I guess they’re doing a new twist on the character, but it seems like stunt casting except that the whole movie is so jam packed with name-actors you’d be excused for not realizing he was even in it. I mean, I guess there is something to the idea that a littler person would be the creator of giant robots. Still – an odd choice.

Finally, some quick hits

-          Speaking of Sentinels, there’s no sign of them in the trailer. I guess we’ll have to wait for the next trailer to get a glimpse at the big guys.

-          Lots of new mutants that I didn’t quite recognize. I’m pretty sure I saw Blink, and Warpath, but there was one I couldn’t put my finger on. (Looks like that might have been Sunspot, judging by the IMDB cast list.)

-          There are also a bunch of characters that don’t appear at all in the trailer, like Havok and Quicksilver.

-          Good for fellow Canadian and once and future Iceman Shawn Ashmore getting another chance at the big screen.

All right, I think that’s about all I have to say based on 2 minutes and thirty seconds of a film. I’m sure I’ll have another column or three as more info gets released. See you then!

Graham Becksted is the once and future grumbler. 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 91st follower (thank you, bots), he can be followed on Twitter @GrahamBecksted.

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The Uncanny Chris Claremont!

It has been well documented that this summer I met one of the greatest minds in comic book history. Stan Lee created some of the greatest fictional characters of the last one hundred years. Spider-Man, Hulk, The Fantastic Four and the Avengers were all created or co-created by him. One of his few missteps from that era was the Uncanny X-Men. It ran 66 issues before they stopped printing new issues. Compare that to the Avengers, and the Fantastic Four both of which have never had a hiatus of any notable length.

Five years from the last issue of their regular series, they got a major reboot in the form of Giant Size X-Men #1. This issue was written by Len Wein, and made the X-Men cool again by jettisoning just about everything that came before. Instead of a bunch of privileged white Americans pretending life is hard ‘cause they can turn to ice, or have wings, this issue introduced a new international team. An African woman, a Native American man, a weird German demon thingy, and a hairy little Canadian were some of the big additions. It was a popular enough issue that they started the series up again with this new team.

For whatever reason, Len Wein didn’t continue as the writer of the series. And now, we get to what I originally wanted to write about. Chris Claremont took the reigns as the writer of the X-Men and didn’t let them go for about 16 years. He wrote issues 94-279. That’s almost 200 hundred straight issues, and that doesn’t even count the various spin-offs, annuals, and specials that he did during that time. He also came back a few more times in the 90s and 2000s for some shorter runs. Pretty much everything you know about the X-Men comes from this guy’s head.

He wrote the Dark Phoenix Saga, God Loves Man Kills, and Days of Future Past – from which the new X-Men movie takes its title (if nothing else). These are the groundwork for everything that has come since. Magneto going from a straight up villain to a sometimes member of the team? Claremont. Wolverine going from a generic dick, to a complicated samurai warrior? Claremont. Gambit, Rogue, and Mystique? All Claremont creations or co-creations.

He was in Toronto this weekend to sign comics at a smaller store called Dr. Comics in Kensington Market. I went down, asked him about adding Longshot to the team, and got my copy of Excalibur #1 signed. All in all a pretty good day, and a nice bookend to my meeting Stan Lee. From the creator of the X-Men, to the savior of the X-Men.

Incidentally, Excalibur was a great spinoff series that Claremont did with the artist Alan Davis. The X-Men were thought dead, and three of the survivors (Nightcrawler, Shadowcat and the Rachel Summers Phoenix) ended up in England. They team up with Captain Britain and otherworldy, fairy-thingy girlfriend Megan, and become the defenders of the U.K. For whatever reason, this series always captured my imagination. It was a little offbeat, and a little out there, but still had the feel of an X-Men book.

Graham Becksted continues to meet his comic book idols. 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 90th follower (thank you, bots), he can be followed on Twitter @GrahamBecksted.

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Real life problems that superheroes probably have

#349: The jealous girlfriend/boyfriend

Super powers and jealousy are bound to be an incredibly toxic combination.  Any superhero with mind reading powers, invisibility, shapeshifting, or X-Ray vision are likely to creep their significant others.  If a superpower couple are having relationship issues, one of them will likely abuse their powers to spy on their significant other.  And they might just find out stuff that will destroy their relationship.  Maybe there is a forgotten storyline where Invisible Woman finds out that her husband has been watching gay porn.  Think about that.

Here are some superheroes that I think are leading candidates for becoming the ex-boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife from hell:

Morph

Morph… he’s a creepy dude to begin with.  He could impersonate others to find out information about his girlfriend (or boyfriend if you don’t feel like being heterocentric).

Jean Grey

Jean Grey

Emma Frost

Emma Frost makes out with Cyclops, who is technically in a relationship with Jean Grey.

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Fan Expo 2013 Purchases

I have one final post for Fan Expo 2013 and it’s my traditional “what I ended up buying” piece. This year, I didn’t go quite as hog wild as I have in the past. Perhaps it was ‘cause I was wrapped up in the Stan Lee of it all, or maybe I’m just running out of stuff to buy. Or, maybe the deals just aren’t as good. My understanding from speaking with some dealers is that it is prohibitively expensive to get a table there. Because of that, it doesn’t make much sense to sell stuff at huge discounts.

Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. On to the fun stuff:

Best Deal Of The Con:

Star Wars Return Of The Jedi Infinities

Star Wars Return Of The Jedi Infinities

Years ago (specifically 2002-2004), Dark Horse released some Star Wars mini-series that were essentially What Ifs? They called them Infinities and they were stories like, ‘What if the first Death Star hadn’t been destroyed?’ I always thought it was a cool concept, but I’ve never really hunted for the series. Sunday afternoon, I happened past a table that was selling a bunch of Star Wars trades in so-so condition for two bucks each. Amongst them were the A New Hope and Return of the Jedi Infinities. For four bucks, how could I say no? Now I just need to find the Empire Strikes Back one – without paying an arm and a leg for it.

Catch Up Time:

Generation Hope

Generation Hope

I love comic books. But, for a while, I was pretty much just an X-Men fan. I’d read just about anything that I could get my hands on, but I cherished anything with an X on the cover. Wolverine helped, but was not strictly necessary. After years of that, I branched out to Vertigo, Avengers, some Justice League – basically anything good. Sometime after Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men run, the X-Books stopped counting as good for me. In the last year or so, though, Brian Michael Bendis took hold of the franchise and has elevated it again. However, now I feel like I’m missing some pieces.

Something else that I missed in that time was Kieron Gillen. I discovered him thanks to Young Avengers, which, I may have mentioned before, is fantastic. Just before Bendis’ run started, Gillen took the Uncanny title for a spin and I figured I’d give it a shot. He also did a series about the first new mutants in about ten years (refresher – “House of M”, Scarlet Witch wipes out most mutants by saying, “No More Mutants,” mutants stop being born, except for a girl named Hope who Cable raises in the future, *deep breath*) called Generation Hope.

Continuing Adventures:

Unwritten

Unwritten

I’ve been reading Unwritten for a few years now, but I’ve fallen behind. The upside of that is that I now have two trades worth of stories to read! The downside is, I don’t really remember all the pertinent details I probably should. This will either solidify my love for this series, or kill it.

Miscellaneous:

I also picked up the first of Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye run. It’s received nothing but praise, so I’m keen to check it out. I also got a few more Archie Comics Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for my collection. I now have a straight run from 1-36, and about 14 other random issues from the rest of the run. I think I need around 20 more to complete the set. The Mrs. and I also got a new addition to our Wonder Woman sketch collection. This time, it was from Yanick Paquette who will be doing a Wonder Woman graphic novel with Grant Morrison soon.

So, all in all, not a bad haul. That being said, I was looking for quite a bit more and it either wasn’t there or it was too expensive. Oh well – there’s always Boxing Day.

Graham Becksted has an addiction. 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 88th follower (thank you, bots), he can be followed on Twitter @GrahamBecksted.

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