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The Amazing Spider-Man: On The Webb Trilogy and Its Failures.

You can tell it’s Webb because the palette went for a classically boring teal over Raimi’s classically boring orange.

The Raimi Spider-Man films are genuinely some of my favorite films of the 21st century. Wonderfully executed, terminally idiosyncratic and endlessly endearing, those three movies (yes, I’m counting Spider-Man 3 here. I’ll get to that) manage to convey so much love for the idea of Peter Parker and his adventures, it’s not hard to want to be Peter Parker; even if Tobey Maguire’s performance is often questionable.  But this is Raimi’s show through and through, and while it’s obviously a showcase of talents for many people (will James Franco ever be this charismatic again?) in the end, it’s about a very particular vision, filled with love and pride for that nerdy kid from Queens who was bitten by a radioactive spider, was faced with tragedy and then decided that that tragedy should not define anyone in the same way it defined him.

On the other hand, The Amazing Spider-Man films by Marc Webb are…well, they’re competently shot and wonderfully acted (Emma Stone in particular stands out) but the scripts are the ultimate example of what happens when you go by Blake Snyder’s Save The Cat formula without any heart or thought. Every scene feels like it happens here because that’s what the beat sheet said rather than because it evolved naturally from the events we saw before. See Gwen and Peter at the Oxford admission office or Harry telling Peter about his disease in the second film or the first film’s forays into back story for the parents.

However, I want to clarify some things before I continue. My issues with the Webb trilogy (Yeah, I know, please bear with me) aren’t related to me being conservative about comics adaptations. In fact, unlike many other fans, I’m quite fine with The Amazing Spider-Man ditching the “with great power” quote. Heck, I don’t mind that Norman Osborn was never the Green Goblin. My issues are related to three things: the Webb Trilogy constantly feels like the epitome of what committee writing looks like, it does not commit to the idea of being a creative reboot and, perhaps more importantly, the films are pretty ethically questionable (if I were to be charitable)

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Nerdstock Introductory Episode: Meet the team

Well here we go guys. It’s time for you to meet the team behind this madness. Get to know Chris, Anne, Allison, Juan, and Jerry as we spend a bunch […]

Well here we go guys. It’s time for you to meet the team behind this madness. Get to know Chris, Anne, Allison, Juan, and Jerry as we spend a bunch of time talking about who we are and what we love. Or we would have if out love of discussion hadn’t kept getting in the way. Anyway, sit back, relax, and enjoy the show. There will be an audio version coming shortly as well for those of you who don’t want to sit in front of a youtube video for an hour and a half.

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Outside The Comfort Zone 1: True Detective

The Brain on Airwaves are officially at Nerdstock! And what better way of celebrating it than by rebooting Outside the Comfort Zone to discuss the 2014 winter it-show, True Detective. […]

The Brain on Airwaves are officially at Nerdstock!

And what better way of celebrating it than by rebooting Outside the Comfort Zone to discuss the 2014 winter it-show, True Detective. As always, I’m joined by my co-host and hero of millions, Jerry and we discuss a show that by all accounts was remarkable but which Jerry was entirely dissatisfied with.

As a bit of a footnote, because I feel I was a bit too harsh here: True Detective is easily one of my favorite shows of the year. But it’s significantly flawed and I feel that discussing those flaws is as necessary as discussing its virtues, which have been dissected and brought up at great length.

Either way, we hope to see you at Lost Carcosa, where strange moons circle through the skies and where the tatters of kings flap.

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The Influence of Grant Morrison’s New X-men

In the late nineties Marvel comics was in a dire financial situation. It isn’t an exaggeration to say many writers were well aware that these could be the last Marvel […]

In the late nineties Marvel comics was in a dire financial situation. It isn’t an exaggeration to say many writers were well aware that these could be the last Marvel comics ever written. It was not a good time for Marvel itself, but it was a time for Marvel to bring in an era-defining number of writers. Brian Michael Bendis came over and began the Ultimate Spider-man book, which he still he still writes today, as well as his later work of New Avengers. Mark Millar was brought on to work on things like Wolverine: Enemy of The State and Civil War could be said to have been definitive title for the creative state of Marvel in the 00′s. Garth Ennis began the Punisher story Welcome Back Frank which ended up launching the Punisher: Max series, both of which are considered the high points of the character.

Amid this creative restructuring was Grant Morrison and his forty-issue run on New X-men. Morrison’s take on the X-men is a significantly darker one, choosing to reverse the idea of a sprawling soap opera with a racism analogue in the background. Instead of being superheroes the X-men were decked out in black leather and struggling with the urban and personal issues mutant-kind faced. It’s also perhaps the darkest the X-men have ever been. The second issue ends with an act of mass genocide on the mutant country of Genosha. It’s also worth noting that this genocide is headed off by giant fist-shaped jet crashing into a skyscraper Magneto is in mere months before the horrific events of September 11, 2001. (Morrison even notes the eerie timing in his book Supergods)

Such a dark take puts the idea of the mutants as a race to the forefront and shakes up the very foundations of X-men by eliminating a long-standing fixture along with one of the most popular supervillains in all of comics. Don’t worry, he gets better. This scene sets the stage for Morrison’s entire run on the X-men. What can mutants do and what is the mutant experience like? The emphasis on this book is on the mutant aspect. Mutants are not just an analogue for prejudice in Morrison’s book, they are their own culture and species in their own right with all that is entailed by that.

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Nerdstock Comics Podcast – Episode 0 : Movie Time

It’s time for the party to finally begin. Join me, your host Chris Hansbrough, Xzyliac and Anne Agnew as we discuss the recent Guardians of the Galaxy IMAX teaser, Sailor […]

It’s time for the party to finally begin. Join me, your host Chris Hansbrough, Xzyliac and Anne Agnew as we discuss the recent Guardians of the Galaxy IMAX teaser, Sailor Moon, and all the DC television series’ coming in the next year. What do we think? What do you think? Let us know by giving a listen and dropping a comment on the post below. I warn you this isn’t exactly the best put together show as we’re still figuring out where our feet are at and from now on, Every show recording will be done live, giving us the chance to interact with you, the audience as we try to make this the best podcast we can.

What can you expect? Well, a lot of things. We’ll be discussing our favorite books of the week, the news we care about, and having fun being total dorks with one another for around an hour every couple weeks. So with that out of the way, take a listen and I hope you enjoy the first total mess of an episode we recorded last night.

Xzyliac – Twitter: @Xzyliac

Chris – Twitter: @JudgementScythe / Tumblr : JudgementScythe

Anne – Twitter: @AnneMAgnew

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SEX CRIMINALS #1 Launch Party

Brought to you by The Beguiling, the same lovely folks behind TCAF, the release party for Image Comics’ Sex Criminals was held at Wicked Night Club on September 25, 2013. […]

Brought to you by The Beguiling, the same lovely folks behind TCAF, the release party for Image Comics’ Sex Criminals was held at Wicked Night Club on September 25, 2013. In attendance were series writer Matt Fraction, artist Chip Zdarsky, some folks from Ego Assassin, Toronto sexpert Sasha, and body decoration boutique Black Line Studio. The event was advertised as a safe space for people of all genders and sexualities, but it was hard to know what to expect. Read the rest of this entry »

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Women in Comics at Fan Expo Canada

The first question at the Women in Comics panel was whether this panel was even necessary, and the first answer was no. Women are now included in general panels, so […]

The first question at the Women in Comics panel was whether this panel was even necessary, and the first answer was no. Women are now included in general panels, so the need to single them out is disappearing. Unfortunately, the convention had a different answer: the DC panel, held earlier in the day, had advertised a plan to attract women readers through a burgeoning romance between Wonder Woman and Superman. The women’s sketch duel event was advertised as being the “sexiest” and “sassiest” of the weekend – so if women don’t single themselves out, men have made it clear that they’ll do it for us.

Louise Simonson, the most experienced vet at the table, said that she’s noticing many more women these days than when she first started, both reading and making comics, especially once you venture beyond superheroes. Women are a part of comics, so we should feel like we belong in the community, which means being vocal about alienating art or stories. Ellie Pyle, a Marvel editor, believes that a vocal fanbase (like the one currently reading Fearless Defenders) is important, and that calling out misogynist content and creators can bring attention to the issues – it’s the beginning of change.

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The Bouletcorp Takes the Long Journey

One of the best things about social media is finding about things you haven’t ever followed before. It’s introduced me to amazing indie games and webcomics that I never would […]

One of the best things about social media is finding about things you haven’t ever followed before. It’s introduced me to amazing indie games and webcomics that I never would have found without it. Thanks to Skottie Young this afternoon I found out about The Bouletcorp who just pulled out what is an absolutely stunning use of the webcomics medium. It’s been a long time since I’ve run across something that really made use of the lack of limitations you have on the web in comparison to the printed page. A single panel, an entire story told by scrolling. Congratulations Bouletcorp you have earned yourself a new reader and hopefully more people will head on over to their site and check it out.

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Pacific Rim: An Ode to Mako Mori

Her expression screams VENGEANCE

Copyright: Warner Bros

Originally, I had just wanted to write a review of Pacific Rim (I’d give it a solid 4/5 stars if you were wondering), since I really enjoyed it and I feel like a lot of negative reviews didn’t really “get” the movie; if you’re criticizing a movie whose tagline is “Go Big or Go Extinct” for lacking subtlety, I think the problem is with you, not the movie. That’s not to say that the movie is perfect; Raleigh Becket is one of the least charismatic and interesting leading men in my recent memory, and women should have been more prominent (Aleksis Kaidonovsky should have had more lines and one or both of the scientists should have been ladies). Even so, I applaud the film for its portrayal of Mako Mori (played by Rinko Kikuchi), who is oft criticized for reasons I don’t understand. If you want a proper review of the movie, I’m sure a quick Google search can help you out, but this is going to be a defense of Mako Mori.

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SheZow Happened

SheZow, the latest show to premiere on kid’s channel The Hub, centers on Guy Hamdon, a teenage boy so self absorbed and macho-dude that his catchphrase is “it’s a Guy […]

SheZow, the latest show to premiere on kid’s channel The Hub, centers on Guy Hamdon, a teenage boy so self absorbed and macho-dude that his catchphrase is “it’s a Guy thing”.  Guy, his sister Kelly, and their parents moves into Guy’s dead Aunt Agnes’s house, and by chance the siblings find their aunt’s magic ring that allowed her to transform into the super girly superheroine SheZow!  Guy, of course, puts the ring on and becomes SheZow himself.  Now with the help of Kelly and the supercomputer Sheila, it’s up to him to protect Megadale from its various villains.  All in all, SheZow is a pretty cute idea for a kid’s superhero cartoon.

Also, it may destroy the youth of America.

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