Thursday, September 30, 2021

Cons in the Age of Covid

 



We all saw the memes in the spring of 2020, right?  As the inedptitude of the Trump adminsitration lead to a massive pandemic across the United States, normal social activities began to get canceled.  Schools went remote, movie thearters and Broadway shut down, concerts were delayed and then canceled as large groups of people began to spread the virus in so called "Super Spreader Events".  And as nerds and geeks watched on, we wondered aloud, "what is going to happen to our comic conventions?"  No matter the time of the year, cons are large events which massive numbers of people mingling together in close contact.  Con Crud is a real thing as any regular con goer can attest to that Monday after a weekend of nerding it up- and this was without a pandemic.

Slowly but surely, cons began to cancel.  Smaller ones like South Carolina Comic Con and to massive ones like San Diego Comic Con.  Cons tried to go remote and did their best to offer something to that starving audience who cannot wait to meet their friends and heroes and enjoy a weekend doing the thing they love.

So Dragon Con went remote in 2020 and I was pretty distraught.  As an avid attendee for the past 10 plus years, Dragon Con is my annual escape and refuge to have that one long weekend to see old friends, enjoy the cosplay, and have a good time with my kids looking for merch that we can wear for the next few years.

And as the pandemic weakened and we got the vaccine, there was hope at the start of 2021, even tho we experienced that spring surge which caused other cons to cancel or delay again.  But some pushed on, whether they required masks or a negative Covid test, or a proof of vaccination, the business of nerdom wanted to push forward.  And I waited on Dragon Con to make their decision with apprehension.  Dragon Con draws a massive number of fans each year and could it be done safely without becoming a Super Spreader Event?

The organizers listened to the experts and put in place rules and regulations to help keep people safe while they attended Dragon Con.  First they reduced the number of attendees which, I am sure was a big concession for the organizers.  They also required masks AND proof of a vaccine or a negative Covid test within 3 days of the event.  Huge issues for those wanting to attend but to help those who did attend stay safe.

So how did it go?  It was outstanding and props to the folks of Dragon Con and the attendees who followed the rules the best they could by masking up, even while keeping on their cosplay.  The attendance cap made for an experience that kept everyone safe but also left more space than normal to get around from hotel to hotel.  Its wild because one of the best things about Dragon Con is the craziness of the crowds and the expereince, but this controlled environment had its benefits as well as I was able to get pictures and video of people I rarely got a chance to get before.

Lobby of the Marriot


Badge pick up, which can often be the most challenging aspect of attending Dragon Con was smooth as the lines were reasonable and the badge process was very easy to navigate without any long waits.





Even the beloved Dragon Con Parade, which draws thousands of fans and thousands of onlookers who only attend parade as a part of the Dragon Con expereince was reduced to ticket holders only to keep attendance down and help Stop the Spread.



The guest list was still outstanding; although attempting to get a picture with your favorite celebrity also needed to be safe.  Plexiglass was the norm for most; although some celebs came out and still shook hands and hugged their fans, the priority was safety and, in my 3 days of attendance, I did not see one incident of fans complaining about the masks or the rules.  I think people missed this event so much from 2020, they would do anything to be able to have back their beloved Dragon Con.



Overall, still a great expereince put on by the folks at Dragon Con.  I have pictures uploaded on our Flikr page and you can find that link here

https://www.flickr.com/photos/147097379@N02/?

And videos on our youtube page which you can find here.  Please like and subscribe

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeQ_UTXRwsylZ21VYEzui2Q


Sunday, August 15, 2021

Avengers Forever Podcast

 






We are back walking through Avengers Forever. Kang and Immortus are waging a battle across time and space and a new team of Avengers has sided with Kang? Plus the Producer knows nothing about the Avengers, we review What if episode 1 and the sexual awakening of Robin!


You can watch the pod on youtube or listen on soundcloud, Apple Podcast, or wherver you listen to podcasts!


https://soundcloud.com/brothas-hutchinson/the-marvel-hacks-season-13-issue-2

Monday, April 26, 2021

Memorable Comic Book Scenes

 

Before our podcast on the Marvel Hacks, Season 11, Episode 10, where Wolverine gets his bones taken out in X-Men 25: I wanted to look back at some other memorable scenes from me reading comics


 Invaders #19

These two panels open and close one of the books from the small pile of books stacked up in my basement as a kid. My best guess is somebody bought some comics for my brother when he was recovering from a tonselectomy or something. Whatever the source, I read these books over and over – resulting in my misguided love for the Champions – but also my affinity for the Invaders and Union Jack. This Nazi death trap opened the book - it sucked the moisture off Namor and the pulled out the oxygen to keep Torch and Toro from igniting was one of the most nefarious traps ever. They also caught Cap and dragged him behind by his shackled feet. Even more of an impact – Union Jack’s arrival to save the day on the final page.




X Factor #87

With the Blue/Gold relaunch, the OG X Men left X Factor and returned to the main rosters. They were replaced by what can only be considered a C Team at best. In this issue, after the conclusion of the X-Cutioner’s Song crossover extravaganza, the team gets sent to counseling. Rahne and Lorna get kinda short changed (boy problems and body issues) and Alex can’t break out of Scott’s shadows, but we learn about Jaime’s fear of abandonment and isolation despite the fact that he is his own crowd and Pietro feeling like every moment is like waiting in line at the BMV. The thing that really resonated with me and stuck was the reveal for Strong Guy. After being drawn and portrayed as a complete goof, we learn why he has such a cartoonish form.



Uncanny X Men #190

The first of a two-part else worlds type story, with Manhatten and it’s current residents and visitors thrust into a Conan style sword and sorcery reality. The story came out of nowhere and feels a little like an attempt to capture that Days of Future Past kind of shock value – I always loved it. Lot’s of cool cameos from Avengers and the rest of the Marvel Universe … one wall crawler in particular, who seems to immune to this magic and ends up way worse off for it.



X Factor #39

So many X Men images could be on this list: Scott and Jean on the moon, Wolverine rising from the sewers beneath the Hellfire Club … this one is just as classic to me. For all the whining he does about having to restrain the destructive power of his optic blasts, we finally get a shot to convince us that Cyclops might have been right … at least about this. See you around, Sinister.



 

Uncanny X Men #277

I had a friend in college who was a huge Wolverine mark. I always like Gambit, but I would always talk up Gambit vs. Wolverine just to be a jerk. In this issue, Gambit (with an assist from Banshee) takes down a mind controlled Wolverine, but a few pages earlier, he pulls off a pretty strong power move. This was when Gladiator was more like a Superman knockoff, and less like the Sunday Night Superstar that he would become over the years.



Infinity Gauntlet #4

I was hoping for something like this sequence as soon as Thanos was teased in the MCU. Once Endgame came around, we pretty much got it

.



Brother Beavis



 

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Justice League: The Snyder Cut Review





Off and on, it took me about 8 hours to finish Zack Snyder’s Justice League.  I know some people look to Brothascomics for comics and comic book movie opinions so I am going to jump right in.

First, if you know me, you know I am a Marvel Hack and host a Podcast that proudly boasts this.  I didn’t grow up reading DC comics but have always been a fan of their animated stuff from Super Friends, to Batman The Animated Series, to Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, to Harley Quinn.  In animation, DC is far superior to Marvel/Disney and it’s not even close.  Yet somehow with these iconic heroes and characters, their modern movies do not seem to resonate with me.

Zack Snyder was charged with rebooting their universe with Man of Steel. I saw this movie in the theater with my son who was 9 at the time and a huge fan of Superman.  I was not a huge fan of the movie but totally could understand why people liked it; although they killing of Pa Kent took me out.  Plus, this broody Superman was not doing it for me but…. Hey let’s try something new.




Then DC panicked in a big way after Marvel released Avengers.  They saw the money and adulation Marvel/Disney was receiving with their super team and pressed the accelerator on their DC extended universe and rushed out Batman v Superman to get them closer to making a Justice League movie.  BvS is an awful movie and is truly indefensible and the DC Powers that Be should’ve been concerned that they turned over their universe to Zack Snyder. 

The train that was to soon be a train wreck called Justice League came out in 2017 and, even with all my apprehension, I still showed up to this movie at midnight with my kids who were now 10 and 12.  The movie is terrible.  We now know the backstory where Snyder was getting shit from the studio to make essentially a “happier” movie and then tragedy struck when Snyder’s daughter died by suicide and he and his producer wife, Deborah, had to drop out and could not complete the movie.  DC studio heads brought in Joss Whedon to finish the movie which required several reshoots and the infamous fun lip Superman.

The Whedon cut was/is a mess of a movie and essentially killed the DC extended universe for a period.  Almost immediately, Zack Snyder fans began calling for the #SnyderCut; the true version of Justice League that Snyder had intended.  And 4 plus years later, here we are as the WB and HBO Max greenlit an additional 25-35 million dollars to make this 4-hour true version of the film.

And after that long intro, I guess I should review the movie.  I went back to see if I wrote a review of the movie in 2017. I didn’t, we reviewed it on the podcast.  To summarize, I didn’t like it and to push forward with Justice League 2021, my opinion has not changed.  Honestly it’s the same movie without editing for the first half.  I mean there are some deleted scenes but for the most part, it’s just playing scenes out that would’ve or should’ve been cut anyway.  Additionally, throughout the entire movie now, is this slow-mo, cinematic and opera music that plays during scenes; especially ones with Wonder Woman.  It often comes off like a Hype Williams music video and adds nothing to the actual movie. Plus we get to see Cyborg’s origin story played out fully and honestly, he comes off best in this reboot/remake.

Steppenwolf is still our villain but with spikes on his suit as he looks to gather the Mother Boxes to allow Dakseid to come to earth.  The 2nd half of the movie is where you begin to see some new footage in the scene after Superman resurrection.  A much more drawn out and better action sequences as the Justice League (w/o Superman) take on Steppenwolf and the Parademons.  Once Superman shows up, we do get a full Darkseid reveal; although our heroes save the day and we don’t get to see Darkseid do anything other than look on menacingly as the battle rages in front of him.

As I have been saying since 2015, there was no reason to rush the Justice League movie other than money and jealously of Marvel/Disney and this movie rushes all it can into this one off so Zack Snyder can complete his version of fan fiction (Thanks Tito) onto the screen.  The last 20 minutes of the movie is just a fever dream of a director filming stuff that is not going to lead to anything.  Batman’s Nightmare World from Injustice is literally just that…. A dream and a reason to drop the Joker into a movie he has no business being in.  The teaser from the 2017 version with Lex Luthor and Slade Wilson does not lead to anything.  It’s just a longer version of that scene and, now without making a Deathstroke movie, what is the point.  Then, the last part is a Martian Manhunter appearance that makes no sense because there is not going to be another movie based on the era or characters in this movie.  Cavill is out as Superman, Affleck is out as Batman.  Yes, Momoa and Gadot are back for their roles but when are those movies coming out?  Exactly.

Snyder makes visually amazing looking movies but cannot put a film together to have it make coherent sense and giving him free reign to make a movie- essentially with no editing- not a great idea from the jump and it shows in Justice League (2021)

I know people reading this will think I just hate DC and that is not true.  My kids loved DC growing up and I watched more DC shows and read more DC comics with them than I ever did as a kid.  When I heard, they were making movies to compete with Disney, I was happy for my kids and for fans because both companies putting out quality content makes all fans winners. But that ship has sailed, I think. DC is doing unrelated solo movies now with Black Adam getting a movie soon and maybe Shazam will show up (honestly who knows).  There is a new Batman working in a world that is unrelated to any of the movies before it.  DC movie universe is a jumbled mess… just like Justice League: The Snyder Cut.

So, if you like that sort of thing, this is the thing you will sort of like. I was hoping for the best but honestly just got the same movie with some B-side remixes.  Enjoy it.  Don’t try to take it in all at once!



 The Producer