Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Florida Supercon Review

I was fortunate enough to receive a media badge for Brothascomics to attend SuperCon in Miami this year and wanted to give you a little wrap up of the event.  This is my 3rd Supercon, but my first covering as media and the first time attending in Miami; the last two years the event had been held in Fort Lauderdale.

I live about 2 hours north of Miami so I made the commute each day instead of staying in a host hotel and that was probably my mistake.  In events like this, especially if you are coming a long way, its best if you stay closer to the event.

The Badge Process

I arrived right at the opening and parked at the Miami Civic Center garage.  Getting to the civic center is filled with traffic and you should leave early.  The badge process can really sink the con going experience and its vital that you buy your badge ahead of time if you are doing multiple days.  I went to pick up my media badge and it was in the same area as fan arrivals.   The Badge process was pretty easy and there were plenty of workers to help you get though the lines. Again, buy your badge early and print your confirmation.  If you purchase on site, the lines are much longer and you will be delayed making entrance into the con.

Con Size and Vendors

SuperCon is a fairly large con. Its not as big as MegaCon in Orlando but its not a small con either and you need to be prepared to walk a lot around the convention center to find who or what you are looking for. The SuperCon app is a great way to find your way around and keep up with the schedule if you are moving from the floor, to panels, to signings.  Its very organized on the floor, but its very easy to get turned around and you can lose your way trying to find something you may have seen before.  The Vendors offer a wide variety of products for all your nerdly pleasures.  Are you into anime, comics, toys, etc... whatever floats your nerdly boat, SuperCon has all of it for you!

Guest List
The Guest List was probably not as famous as previous years in Fort Lauderdale.  It may have been because Supercon this year fell on the 4th of July weekend.  If you were looking for a major star, this year may have been lacking for you.  If you are into great comic creators or voice actors from anime, then you would have been super happy. I was able to get some interviews with some great creators and artists and get their insight into the creations.  My daughter was excited to meet Danielle Pannebaker from Arrow and we waited in line to get a picture with her and attend her panel which was a thrill for my daughter.  Plus, me and my best friend got a chance to get a picture with Jerry The King Lawler


Brothascomics always looks for great cosplay and looks to highlight cosplayers of color and SuperCon did not disappoint.

Family Friendly
All cons are not family friendly so you should always be wary on the convention floor.  SuperCon attracts a teenage and older crowd.  Smaller kids are there for sure and the con is family friendly but many of the costumes and booths may be a bit much for younger kids and making your way around the convention floor with very young kids will probably exhaust you as a parent.  I have a teenage daughter and after wlaking the floor for a few hours, even she was tired.  SuperCon is also one of the few cons that serves beer and alcohol on the convention floor. I personally enjoy that but not sure how some fans feel about it.

Really grateful for the oppurtunity to cover SuperCon this year as media.  It gave me a chance to meet some of my favorite creators and interview them for Brothascomics and I look forward to coming again in 2020.

The Producer

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Dawn of X Podcasts

Looking for a recap of the Dawn of X books in the aftermath of House of X?  The Marvel Hacks got you covered.  We review the first 2 issues of each book over the course of the season and give our thoughts and opinions on each book.

Have a listen and like and subscribe!

Dawn of X Podcasts on Soundcloud

Brothascomics Podcast on Apple Podcasts

The Producer

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

DragonCon Black Geeks Meet Up

Over the past five years, the Black Geeks of DragonCon has hosted a meet up for the Black Cosplayers at DragonCon to show off their outstanding cosplay and to hang out and enjoy Black excellence in cosplay.

For several years, I  have not been able to attend; usually because my kids were too young or I was hosting a panel at the time of the meet up.  This years, I made the time in my schedule to make sure my son and I attended the event.

One of the things Brothascomics has preached since our inception was inclusion and diversity in nerd/blerd spaces.  Having covered many cons over the past few years, DragonCon is the ONLY con that creates this safe place for cosplayers of color to express themselves and their creations amongst like minded people.  The BlackGeeks of DragonCon should be commended for this; as well as the organizers of DragonCon for recognizing the uniqueness that DragonCon brings to Black Cosplay.

Black Cosplayers from all over the world flock to DragonCon each year and this international recognition and prestige even drew BET to DragonCon this year for full coverage( see video below)

This event is now in its 5th year.  Its keeps growing and growing.  We now see all genres of geekiness from comic books, to Game of Thrones, to Harry Potter, and all sorts of anime and manga.  Plus, movies celebrating Black cultures such as US and The Last Dragon have continually helped show the influence Black people have on nerd culture.

The photo shoot was like family!  Lots of hugs and props for people who have put their time, sweat, and money into the thing they love and getting the respect from those who deeply appreciate all they have done.

It was an event I will remember for so many reasons.  For meeting folks I have only communicated with on line, to seeing my sons face light up to see so many Black heroes, and also because it was such a beautiful day.

Enjoy the collages below and feel free to listen to my recap DragonCon podcast in the link below!  I cant wait to see what next year brings!!!

Check out my DragonCon recap podcast with Havana Nguyen.  We talk DragonCon from two totally different points of view!!
DragonCon Recap Podcast

The Producer from BrothasComics

Monday, January 20, 2020

Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren

I have stayed out of debates about the last two Star Wars movies: The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker.  The former, so many people love or hate it that there is no real chance to have a credible discussion about it if you felt it was just, meh.  The latter, I just did not enjoy but people are really having too much fun dragging the movie and Star Wars fan culture has really become toxic with so called "fans" gatekeeping the franchise.  This last trilogy went out with a wimper after such promise after the Force Awaken and I find myself wanting my Star Wars fix outside of the movies.

So a quick trip to the local comic book shop and I was able to pick up The Rise of Kylo Ren by Charles Soule and Will Sliney I was drawn to the book by the title mostly because after introducing the idea of the Knights of Ren in The Force Awakens, the group and the purpose was thrown out and all we got was more and more Kylo without any reasoning as to why HE was a Knight of Ren.

The Knights of Ren are hunting the galaxy for those like them.  I would say they are all Force Sensitive; leaning into the Dark Side of the Force and looking for those with those same sensitivities.  There is a scene where they meet two brothers who may fit the job description but it doesn't quite work out for them.

This book picks right after Ben has turned on Luke for trying to kill him.  The book dives into a sidetail, tho as now that the Jedi Temple is burning, Ben is confronted by 3 Jedi in training who are curious as to why their masters house is burning down. There is a lot of discussion as to who is a Jedi, who is stronger, and to the valor and character of Luke Skywalker, who is believed to be dead.  Alas, as the Jedi in training look to confront Ben with some Jedi Justice, Ben leaves them in a heap as he is clearly the strongest of the group of them.

As Ben is ready to leave, he takes a ship and his destination is unknown.  However, are three Jedi in training are looking to get Justice for Master Luke Skywalker and give chase in their own ship.  They have to remind themselves that Ben Solo's father was a great pilot, as well as his uncle and grandfather so confronting in space battle might not be the wisest move of the Jedi.

Meanwhile, Ben's robot companion suggest that Ben go home to visit his mother.  Not in the plans, tho as Ben begins to hear a voice in his head that suggests that Luke turning on him was all a part of a master plan that had been predicted and that voice belongs to Snoke.  He does not appear like the Snoke in the movies and you have to wonder what tragedy will befall him to turn him into the crusty crumedgon that we see in the Last Jedi.

Overall, this book is fun and gives you just enough back story to want to come back for more next month.  I often feel the Star Wars comics are a better vehicle for the Star Wars universe because its not bound to trilogies.  The comics take their time and interweave movie cannon with relatable stories with characters you love, or love to hate, like Kylo Ren.

Soule and Sliney do a wonderful job here and help unravel the mystery of the Knights of Ren and their most famous disciple.  Highly recommend this book for Star Wars fans who are not huge fans of the current movies.

The Producer

Jay and Silent Bob Reboot Review

I feel everytime I write about Kevin Smith I wind up having to defend my fandom of Kevin Smith.  In the 90's and early 2000's, I was a huge Kevin Smith fan.  I obviously own all the movies, I have listened to the director's commentary on all the DVD's, I supported the Clerks: The Animated Series, and would argue to the death with people on the greatness that is Chasing Amy.

But there comes a time when I grew up and I thought Kevin Smith would, too.  If you listen to the commentary track on Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Smith is very clear that this movie would be the last you would see of Jay and Silent Bob and that he was moving on to bigger and better things.  And I felt that this was the move.  At a point, dick and fart jokes have a shorter self life and you and the characters you created need space to grow.  And I was all in with Smith and his first post Jay and Bob film, Jersey Girl, I saw in the theater with my wife.  Whether you liked the film or not( I did), the movie was a chance for Smith to spread his wings as a writer and director.  The film was not a box office success and there are probably a variety of reasons for that; most notably Bennifer( Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez had become toxic in Hollywood at that point). And not surprisingly, Kevin Smith got spooked and scared and retreated back to what he knows best.

Now look, certain people in Hollywood do this all the time.  They find a lane/genre and stay in that lane for the bulk of their careers.  How many bumbling idiot Adam Sandler movies are there?  Martin Scorcesse is still making gangsta movies, and don't get me started on Tyler Perry making oppressed Black women movies for the entirety of his career. However, staying in ones lane doesn't offer much room for growth as a filmmaker, and Kevin Smith's work post Jersey Girl is filled with underwhelming raunchy comedies like Zack and Miri Make a Porno, to safe place films like Clerks 2.  And his two forays into "different" movies were odd at best with Red State and Tusk.

Which leads us to Jay and Silent Bob Reboot.  Now if you are a fan( and again I am), you know this movie and the podcast that proceeded it, Jay and Silent Bob Get Old, are really a congratulations for Jason Mewes.  Mewes struggled mightily with drugs in the late 90's and 2000's; to the point where it was even reported that he died.  Smith, hoping to keep his friend straight, offered up the podcast and if he stayed sober, a chance to star in another Jay and Silent Bob movie.  Thankfully Mewes has been clean and this movie is the payoff.

The problem is its just not a very good payoff.  Look, I saw Clerks in my 20's and now I am in my late 40's. And the thing is, I love a good dick and fart joke but those jokes have to be earned.  It can't be going for the cheap laugh at every turn and this movie does that.  The writing isn't smart or clever and literally many of the jokes are lifted from the previous movies.   While its great to see Jason Lee, Ben Affleck, and even Joey Lauren Adams, it just feels tired and uninspired.  The plot is nonsensical, with Jay and Bob headed to Hollywood( again) to stop the reboot of the movie made about them 20 years ago. So the movie becomes a Road Trip movie as Jay and Bob reconnect with characters from the previous movies; which essentially happened in the OG Jay and Silent Bob.  Look, there is something to be said about your life coming full circle and gaining proper perspective in your life as you get older. And you see glimpses of that in the film with Jay and Bob,  but only glimpses as the movie just moves on from one celebrity cameo to the next never allowing itself to become anything more than Kevin Smith and His Amazing Friends.

No one.  Absolutely no one is going to watch a Kevin Smith movie and expect to be blown away by his filmmaking or artistry.  You go to see characters that you grew up with have fun and do and say stupid shit that you used to say when you were dumb and said stupid shit. And if you love Kevin Smith and all he does, I am sure you will love this movie.  But if you are like me, someone who loved Kevin Smith, you will watch this with a sense of nostalgia and sadness watching someone who has not only not left childish things behind, but has refused to grow up in a way that would be meaningful for himself and his beloved characters.  See you around for the Clerks 3 and Mallrats 2 reboots! Snoogin's!

The Producer

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Is it Worth a Redbox: Gemini Man

The Brothascomics crew/podcast has been accused of being haters of Will Smith.  I would dispute that a bit; especially from my end.  I was a huge Will Smith fan since he was the Fresh Prince, through Parents Just Don't Understand, through Summertime, and into his tv and movie career.  As  a Black man, Will Smith accomplished more than I think any of us ever thought he could and his place in box office history is secure.

However, no one stays on top forever.  Over the last ten years, his movies have not been good and he has been struggling to find his way back.  Like most actors of his age and pedigree, he still may be able to get a film greenlit, but the box office returns are not hitting like they used to.  His most recent screen returns have been box office gold with the Aladdin remake; although I would argue that movie would've been successful with just about anyone playing the Genie, to Oscar attempts in Concussion, and super hero schlock with Suicide Squad.  Gone are the days when Will Smith alone could guarantee a 100 million dollar box office just based on name alone.  And that is ok.  Each actor at a certain point needs to find their way.  You cannot just keep doing the same movie over and over( unless you Tom Cruise).

Well Gemini Man feels like a movie that woulda been a hit for Will Smith 15 years ago.  The premise of an aged assassin fighting against his younger, cloned self... that definitely has Will Smith 2002 written all over it.  Sadly tho, this is 2019 and the luster on the star and the idea are dull and so is this movie.

In Gemini Man, Will Smith stars as Henry Brogan, a CIA assassin with an impeccable kill record and the Agencies most reliable killer.  But Henry is getting old and wants to get out of the killing game and sadly, rogue units within the CIA wont allow that to happen.  Unknown to Henry, a department within the CIA has actually cloned Henry ( nicknamed Junior) to be the killer without a conscience that Henry has developed.  And to make sure that Henry doesn't get in the way, they dispatch Junior to kill Henry.  Really that is the gist of the entire movie.  There is a subplot with Mary Elizabeth Winstead as a jr agent who Henry takes under his wing, but for the most part, its just a long winding road of Henry trying to not get killed by Junior and, of course, trying to redeem him.  The action sequences are kind of tired and boring and the CGI to make Will Smith look younger is disturbing.  While this technology has been done sparingly in some movies and longer in others(Captain Marvel with young Nick Fury), in Gemini Man is striking in how bad the CGI is.  I mean Junior looks nothing like young Will Smith and we know this because we have thousands of hours of video of what young Will Smith looked like.

Gemini Man was directed by Ang Lee and I know some filmgoers give him props for his movies in the past; much like the star of the movie.  Gemini Man feels dated and tired and a money grab for all those involved.  You would do better and just going back to watch any pre-2010 Will Smith movie and enjoy that because Gemini Man is not worthy of your time. Definitely not worth a Redbox!

The Producer

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Holiday Rush Review

I guess this review needs to start with a confession.  Hi. I am the Producer from Brothascomics and I love Lifetime movies.  This started out when I was in my twenty's and still teaching and every Sunday as I graded papers, I would put on Lifetime in the afternoon as background noise while I graded and input grades.  This has continued for twenty plus years even tho I do not teach anymore.  I watch and consume an inordinate amount of cheesy movies from Lifetime and Lifetime movie network.  Over time, that enjoyment of cheesy acting and ridiculous plot lines morphed into watching holiday movies on Lifetime and its sister in cheese, the Hallmark Channel.  Each year, the networks produce more and more Christmas movies and I consume all of them.  And to be honest, the cheesier, the better.

One thing that has been constant, unfortunately, is that these movies rarely star people of color, most specifically for me, Black people.  Its gotten a little better over the last 3 years but for the most part, these movie are as white as the holiday snow.  And the two most common refrains I hear from Black people is that they don't watch these movies because "there ain't no Black people in them" and "these movies is corny AF"!  And BOTH of those statements are true, but I would argue that these movies follow a pattern and the only real difference with the Black ones are the actors and Jesus.  Let me explain:

Lifetime/Hallmark Holiday movies follow a very simple pattern:

Step 1: Everything is all good ( until its not)
Step 2:  Something or someone is introduced into the situation to make things messy
Step 3:  A lesson is learned( with Jesus/God/Holy Spirit, etc if the folks are Black)
Step 4: Redemption and back to things being all good

Holiday Rush, on Netflix follows this pattern to a T.  Lets review.  Romany Malco stars as Rush Williams, the number 1 radio DJ in Baltimore and is he is doing great financially.  He has a big house outside the city, his four kids are enrolled in private school; with one even getting accepted into Harvard.  Things are all good for the Rush family( Step 1)

Unfortunately, the local radio station that Rush works at is taken over by a corporate overlord radio station run by Tamala Jones and Rush and his producer, Roxy, are fired just a few weeks before Christmas and all the plans and gifts his kids were looking forward to are ended ( Step 2)

Once fired, Roxy and Rush come up with a plan to buy the old radio station they used to work at before Rush become so bougie.  This old station is for sale and they need the money to buy it.  Auntie Jo, who helps Rush raise his kids, kicks in some money, Roxy cashes in her 401K, but Rush is short on cash and to come up with his share, he has to sell his house and move back in with his Aunt Jo.  Of course his spoiled kids hate this idea.  They was asking for miniature horses and other extravagant gifts for Christmas.  Now they have to move to the other side of town( the Black side) and make do as Rush pursues his dream of being a radio station owner.  Of course there is conflict with his son who thinks his Harvard dreams are gone and with his oldest daughter who is more concerned about getting likes on Instagram than anything else.  But lessons need to be learned about appreciating what you have, and how this community raised Rush, and how you gotta have faith that things will work out for the best.  There is even a Magical Negro in the form of Rush's dead wife, played by La La Anthony.  Over time, the kids learn that we are a family and everything is gonna be just fine ( Step 3)

Rush and Roxy purchase the station and overcome some obstacles and even find love with one another as their station becomes a hit and they receive a new partner in their business, played by Deon Cole.  Things are reset as the family is happy living in their new found life and Rush and Roxy set out to blaze the airwaves in Baltimore and everything is now all good- with the help of Jesus.( Step 4).

Having watched hundreds of these movies, Holiday Rush is fun and you will probably enjoy the movie more if you are a fan of Romany Malco.  In this movie, he is charming and gets to stretch his dramatic acting chops for a little bit. Hallmark and Lifetime would do best to produce more of these movies with People of Color.  The plots and stories of these movies can speak to people across colors and cultures.  Yes they are cheesy and often poorly acted, but everyone loves to see redemption stories and that is what all these movies share in common.  So a solid thumbs up for Holiday Rush and I am off to watch Lifetime Movie Network!

The Producer