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Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina Shows Archie Continue Marketing To Horror Fans With ‘Great Comics’ Gimmick.

It’s quite a world we live in these days. You can watch movies on the internet, there are places that serve shawarma at three in the morning, and the best […]

It’s quite a world we live in these days. You can watch movies on the internet, there are places that serve shawarma at three in the morning, and the best horror comic on the stands this year was published by Archie comics. Afterlife With Archie was a surprise for everyone. When it was announced I thought everything about Afterlife With Archie felt like a lazy bid to jump on the waning zombie fad. (Maybe if I keep calling it that we’ll move on to something else soon like mummies or werewolves or those Japanese umbrella-eye things) Surprisingly not only was Afterlife With Archie not a lazy comic, it was the most earnest horror comic that has come out in a long time. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s script eschewed any too-cool-for-school self-aware horror jokes and instead gives us a straightforward horror story, all the more powerful for how it stuck to convention. The pencils of Francesco Francavilla certainly didn’t hurt either.

While it may have been a surprise to many comic readers, it definitely isn’t to those that have been paying attention to what Archie comics have been doing. While you weren’t paying attention they have become possibly the most progressive of major American comic companies, being bold enough to have the openly gay character Kevin Keller in an all-ages book and they even had him get married in the pages of Life With Archie, months before the much more hyped gay wedding between Northstar and Kyle Jinadu in the pages of Astonishing X-men. They also adopted digital distribution for all of their titles on the day of release well before either of the big two. Archie has displayed an earnest move to keep up with the times both from a business perspective as well as a moral one. It’s not surprising that they’d work to expand their market line as well with Afterlife With Archie being their first ‘teens and up’ book as well as their first made exclusively for the direct market. (as opposed to the news stand spaces they usually get) The comic was a success, trading off on both its ‘zombie’ and ‘really well made’ gimmicks. Of course they’d decide to expand with the character that made the most sense: Sabrina The Teenage Witch. Read the rest of this entry »

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Slott and Allred’s Silver Surfer Is The Best Doctor Who Has Been In Years

As a comic fan I’ve also been interested in the epic science fiction show Doctor Who. At its highs it can be a clever, imaginative, and exciting show where literally […]

As a comic fan I’ve also been interested in the epic science fiction show Doctor Who. At its highs it can be a clever, imaginative, and exciting show where literally anything can happen, though often that anything is represented by a guy in a suit. The show also has some rather embarrassing lows but on the whole I can still call myself a fan. It seems that so can Dan Slott and Mike Allred because they’ve written some of the best Doctor Who stories I’ve ever read in the pages of Silver Surfer.

It might sound like a backhanded compliment at best and an accusation of plagiarism at worst, but trust me that it’s neither of those things. The comparisons are undeniable though. A mysterious alien having adventures around the universe with a human companion for him to explain the high concepts to? A temperamental method of transportation that only the alien understands? Planets with high concept themes that lead to lots of action? This doesn’t mean the stories are simple carbon copies of the Who formula with names swapped though. Rather Slott and Allred take the things that work about the Doctor Who series and see how it fits with everyone’s favorite interstellar beach bum. Rather than just copying Doctor Who they ask what they can do with this formula that could only be done in a comic starring the Silver Surfer. Read the rest of this entry »

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Outside The Comfort Zone 3: Transformers

Welcome to another Outside The Comfort Zone. For this one we have our senior Moonologist, Anne, reveal her true colors as a Starscream apologist/Autoboctor as we discuss three iterations of […]

Welcome to another Outside The Comfort Zone. For this one we have our senior Moonologist, Anne, reveal her true colors as a Starscream apologist/Autoboctor as we discuss three iterations of Hasbro’s Transformers (Generation 1, Prime and Animated) as well as surrounding weirdness like the Transformers’ shojo manga and Bayformers.

I will say, Jerry and Anne grabbed me and converted me into a person who would be interested in watching more Transformers. So they win. This time.

After this, we will return to discuss G.I Joe’s nuttiness and after that, we will handle Jem. Hopefully you enjoy this and discover the Power of Human Relations.

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You Should (Not) Be Watching: Doctor Who Season 8

Welcome back the other Brain On Airwaves feature podcast as we get (a little bit late) into Doctor Who’s season 8 and we discuss mostly the past of the show and what we […]

Welcome back the other Brain On Airwaves feature podcast as we get (a little bit late) into Doctor Who’s season 8 and we discuss mostly the past of the show and what we can expect based on the season premiere Deep Breath from this season which is shaping up to be better than the mess that we have obtained during the last two years.

You Should (Not) Be Watching will become You Should (Not) Be Playing for our next episode, which will also be a bit of a late doozy as we re-examine our assessment (heard here) of The Walking Dead Video Game’s Season 2 and it turns out that any hope that this game somehow pulled a quality turnaround was misplaced, to say the least.

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Outside Of The Comfort Zone 2: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

It’s Episode 2 of Outside The Comfort Zone. Jerry forced me to watch various instances of the TMNT franchises in honor of the Michael Bay-released reboot and as part of our start […]

It’s Episode 2 of Outside The Comfort Zone. Jerry forced me to watch various instances of the TMNT franchises in honor of the Michael Bay-released reboot and as part of our start of a month-based project to examine certain 80s franchise remnants. Join us as we discuss the 2012 cartoon, the 2003 cartoon and the IDW comic and we consider the value of the Eastman and Laird-created franchise. Hopefully you’ll learn to cowabunga, dude or whatever the hell is Mikey even on about.

During the month of September, we will be examining Transformers and G.I Joe alongside fellow Nerdstocker Anne. It should be fun and you will finally get to hear both Jerry’s 20 page thesis on why Cobra Commander is actually the greatest character of all time and Anne’s novelette on the Megatron/Starscream dichotomy that defines man.

Check it out here via download or streaming.

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#Gamergate, or how I learned to stop worrying and finally speak up against female harassment

The last few weeks have been a tough reminder that we live in a society where people are not allowed equality. It’s also been an even colder reminder that for […]

The last few weeks have been a tough reminder that we live in a society where people are not allowed equality. It’s also been an even colder reminder that for all the talk of living in “the future”, our society in general (and our lawmakers in particular) have not advanced to keep up with the societal change that the internet brings up. For those of you who aren’t in the know, Anita Sarkeesian was threatened for her work (again) but this time, the man (or men) behind it managed to get a hold of her address, thus raising higher concerns than the usual rape/death threats that come with being a female media commentator on mediums perceived as part of “nerd-dom”, such as video games or comics. As well, Zoe Quinn was accused of having sex with a reviewer to get favorable reviews, even though this reviewer did not even write any articles on her remarkable work.

I’m a man. There’s no way around that, I don’t think. So normally, I keep my comments in regards to stuff like “Gamergate” (incidentally, a title that reflects how utterly entitled the people perpetuating this are) to myself or friends, because I’m afraid of screwing up or speaking out of turn. Fears that come from my own personal feelings on, say, white people taking up the fight for me or my own as a man of color. But while I’m always infinitely questioning of white people speaking on race, I constantly question myself while speaking on gender because I am heavily privileged as a man. In fact, I can write this article without fearing repercussions because why would I be attacked? Worst case scenario, people will question me and engage with me in “reasonable” dialogue (read: pseudo-objective nonsense meant to obfuscate) but I won’t get threatened or verbally attacked, probably.

But the fact is, that so many women in the business are (probably and righteously) angry and they can’t speak outside of appropriating their peers’ words, if at all, or in private conversation because of  the nature of the internet (and the twittersphere specifically) as so widespread that it is no longer like shouting at the void. Or at least, not an empty void but a void filled with deafening misogyny. And I may be a man but I’m also a brown man from Colombia living in Canada. While I’ve been lucky and I haven’t been faced directly with the dangers that entails I am also acutely aware at every given moment that if I speak out of turn, that if I do something that society doesn’t deem right for me to do, I would be put back in my proverbial place. And that’s the sort of fear that women like Anita Sarkeesian or Zoe Quinn have to beat every day in an environment where they’re constantly threatened by man-children who have access to resources that allow them to make veritable threats.

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

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 […]

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 easy 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 confronted 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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