Monday, October 15, 2018

Keystone Comic Con Review

            This September I had the opportunity to attend the inaugural Keystone Comic Con at the Philadelphia Convention Center. Considering this was my first official comic con adventure the introduction was incredible. Their were numerous panels, attractions, and vendors that made the entire place full of both new and classic nerd culture.

            The Con was divided into several sections throughout the Convention Center. The main stage was on the third floor away from the vendors and the lower level the gaming zone. This made it so the event was not over crowded.  While the con covered three floors of the Convention Center it was extremely easy to get around due to both their programs and a kick ass app sponsored by Webtoons. 

            The main floor is contained an Artist Alley, the Live Stage, cosplayers, and vendors. In the cosplay corner, you could go take pictures with cosplayers and get advice about cosplay and constructing costumes. Next to the cosplay corner was artist alley, where you could see various pieces of original fan art as well as commission  an original art piece. The Live Stage hosted the cast from The Office, music, and comedy.  This place even had live wrestling!        
Note to self: Make a budget before you attend a con!  I wanted to buy all the things.  You could purchase everything from custom costumes, tiny hats, comics, games, toys, and nightmare inducing teddies. 

            The Gaming Zone had to be one of my favorite parts of the Con.  The zone included about 50 different screens running games for Nintendo, Playstation, and Xbox.  There both classic and current games available for play.  Some of the featured games included Mario, Donkey Kong, Just Dance, Street Fighter, Mario Kart, Tekken, Smash Bros, Rock Band, and Dragon Ball FighterZ.  There is something about dancing and singing at the top of your lungs in a room full of strangers that is just unforgettable.

            Another highlight, was attending a panel with the legend,  Frank Miller. It was amazing to hear the stories behind The Dark Knight, Sin City and The 300.  The moderator was very knowledgeable about Miller’s career  and constructed questions the dove deep into his career and gave the audience a good amount of time to ask questions. Additional panels featured the cast from The Office and True Blood and talents such as John Barrowman, Ray Park, and Catherine Tate.  

            Keystone Comic Con was well-run for a first-time convention. There was an abundance of volunteers to assist patrons.  Effort was made to consider inclusion for all fans by including such things as a Family Zone and an explicit harassment policy.  The organizers were able to get sponsors for many of the features of the Con such as lanyards, programs, charging stations, an app. The nerd community made the entire event feel amazingly fun and unique. Keystone Comic Con is great addition to the comic con landscape.  I plan to return August 23-25 2019!

Awesome DMT
Chanda Telleen

You can follow me @ctellen

Pilot Season: God Friended Me

CBS has a long history of courting religious people with semi-religious programming.  Its a part of their model to appeal to older, white Americans and one of the reasons CBS is the most watched television network.  Those white viewers love procedurals and drama's that have a moral( in their mind) right and wrong and an hour later, the bad guy loses and the good guy wins.  Like it or not, its their winning formula.

All the way back to Little House on the Prairie to Dr Quinn to, Promised Land, to Touched by an Angel, CBS has always flirted with overt religious themes in their programming.  This new entry, God Friended Me stars Brandon Michael Hall, who was on the criminally underrated, The Mayor on ABC last year.  He stars as Miles Finer, a young, atheist, who is one day friended by God.  Of course, he deletes the request but it keeps coming, as well as requests from people who keep popping into his life to help.

I am a little bothered by the idea of the Magical Negro.. a television and movie trope that always places God/religion on Black people as they help white people on their spiritual journey.  The twist with him being an atheist is interesting, but the foundation of Magical Negro is still there. And I wonder, if they will explore the potential romantic relationship between Miles and Cara as they are clearly the two leads.

Of course Miles thinks this is some crazy plot by unknown folks trying to sabotage his success as he is looking to get his podcast onto Sirius XM.

His friend group includes. Rakesh and Cara, a woman placed in front of him to help him on her "spiritual" journey of forgiveness of her mother.  Overall the show is carried by Hall. His charm and acting elevate the show and its shaky premise.  The shows themes are relatable and I can see how the people at CBS thought this show would be a hit with their audience.  Plus, it reaches their diversity mandate with a Black lead and a supporting cast member who is Middle Eastern.

For me, as a person who was formerly religious, its a no for me, but I would definitely recommend this show to my more religious friends.

The Producer

Pilot Season: The Neighborhood

The Neighborhood on CBS is a sitcom starring Cedric the Entertainer and Max Greenfield.  Greenfield plays David Johnson whose family( his wife is played by Beth Behrs ) has moved from Michigan to a Black neighborhood in Southern California next door to Calvin Butler played by Cedric the Entertainer.

The pilots main joke is the assumption by Calvin that a family with the last name Johnson and moving into this neighborhood would be Black.  Of course, they are not and we get all the typical, lazy jokes that come with a CBS sitcom.  The jokes are stale and unfunny and are a true waste of the comedic talent of the cast.  Sitcoms that have tackled race in the past were able to take chances to talk about race being edgy to expose bigotry and prejudice.  Not this show.  It takes general themes of race relations and sets them to a laugh track ( Black women wear wigs? White people don't use wash cloths?)

Much like the sitcom, Happy Together, starring Damon Wayans, Jr, this show feels like a forced attempt by CBS to diversify their sitcom lineup which has been overwhelming white for years.  Instead of taking a chance tho and booking smart, well written shows, they have taken the lowest common denominator route and have a simple show for simple minded viewers.

I like Max Greenfield and Cedric and most of all I like Tichina Arnold who plays Cedric's wife.  The potential for this show, based on the talent involved, could actually be something special.  It's not!  I wont be visiting this Neighborhood again.

The Producer

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Creator Profile: Leaders of the Free World

This week I got a chance to talk with Corey Lakel Pruitt about his upcoming comic, Leaders of The Free World.  We talk his upbringing in comics, what writers inspire him, and how his book came from thought to Kickstarter.  Fun listen and when you are done, Back his project at the link listed below!

The Producer

Cosplayers of Color at MegaCon Tampa 2018

Brothascomics does our best to highlight cosplayers of color at conventions we visit.  This represenation is very important for conventions to become welcoming and more diverse.
Enjoy this celebration of some of the best we saw in Tampa this year.
If you see yourself, tag yourself and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram @brothascomics

Pictures from Tampa MegaCon

Did you make it to Tampa MegaCon?

Check out our Flickr stream and find yourself

The Producer

Pilot Season: Happy Together

On CBS, new show brings New Girl and Happy Endings actor, Damon Wayans, Jr back to sitcom tv with a new sitcom called Happy Together.  In the Pilot, Wayans Jr plays Jake, an accountant who lives with his wife, Claire in a suburb in Los Angelas. The couple is a typical, childless couple that spends most of their time in the house, ordering in, and binging shows on television.

In a tv plot twist, Jake's accounting firm has a famous client, rock singer named Cooper James, who dates another famous singer to form a millennial hit couple.  When that relationship hits the rocks and the paparazzi come calling, Cooper flees to Jake and Amber's house to hide out.

Typical fish out of water and CBS sitcom situations abound.  An excessively loud laugh track, corny jokes about being old, and a wacky neighbor couple- in this case, Jake and Claire's in laws come to stir things up. These are staples in the CBS sitcom world.

When Cooper gets back with his girlfriend, he is miserable and Jake and Amber go and rescue him and invite him to live with him as he looks to get his life back into order.  This pilot/show is loosely based on the life of Harry Styles, formerly of One Direction.

Overall, this was a terrible pilot.  The jokes were really stale, and Wayan's Jr is funny but is really close to putting on a minstrel show in his look and behaviors.  It was quite disappointing because he was so good and measured in Happy Endings and The New Girl, but those shows were well written and thought out.  Happy Together... not so much.

I will not be surprised if this is a hit on CBS, tho because the older, white demo that watches CBS loves to watch Negroes coon it up for them.  Its a hard pass for me tho!

The Producer

Pilot Season: Single Parents

As the fall tv season gets into full swing, Brothascomics is giving reviews to some of the tv shows out this season.  First up, from ABC Single Parents.  This show is executive produced by Elizabeth Meriwether,  most recently known for the New Girl which ended its final season this past spring.

The ensemble cast is led by Saturday Night Live alum Taran Killum who plays Will Cooper- a recently single dad and father of a first grader.  Since his wife left him, Will is overly involved in his child's life outside of school and inside school as the room parent and PTA chair. His goal is to get all parents to be involved just like he is.  He is met with resistance by a parent group who is not trying to do any extra work.

There is Angie played by Leighton Meester,  who is single after her husband left her and who has a super clingy relationship with her son and is cut off emotionally from other serious relationships.  There is Poppy, played by Kimrie Lewis who has a son and owns a local wine bar in town.  Her ex is not discussed in the pilot.  Living with Poppy is Miggy Park, played by Jake Choi.  Miggy does not have a child in first grade, but has a new born son and its not fully explained why he is living with Poppy.  The last of the parental crew is Douglas, played by Brad Garrett.  He is a Dr and the father of twin girls and is older than the rest of the crew and quite cranky.

The pilot brings the crew together with a plot involving Will wanting to get the other parents involved and them resisting.  The jokes are quick and you can miss them if you are not paying close attention.  The show is witty, fun and fresh and if you are a fan of shows like the New Girl and Parks and Rec, you will enjoy this show.

The Producer

Venom Review

The contributors at Brothascomics have a few trends that have been consistent in the 3 years the blog and podcast has been up.  We think Will Smith is problematic, The Gambit movie should never be made, and we are not sure why Firefly is/was a thing.

But one of our other consistent beliefs is that Sony has/had no idea what they are doing with Spider-Man since Spider-Man 2.  From Spider-Man 3 through both Amazing Spider-Man movies, Sony has been consistently eroding all the goodwill from the franchise in their attempt to make some MCU money.

Thankfully Marvel stepped in and helped them with Spider-Man and with their help, we have a fun, relatable Spider-Man/Peter Parker in Tom Holland and it looks like Spider-Man is in good hands.  Sadly, tho, Sony still owns all the ancillary pieces of the Spider-verse and over the years, there have been threats of movies with Sable and Black Cat, Morbius, the Sinister Six, and even Kraven the Hunter.  Sony has taken to the idea that Spider-Verse characters don't actually need Spider-Mn( yet) and they can build their universe without him.

First up in this series is the Venom movie. Without going into the long history of Secret Wars and how the symbiote relates to Spider-Man, the movie jumps right in with a dark, private organization run by Riz Ahmed whose company discovers the ooze on one of its space missions and brings it back to Earth.  In this universe, Eddie Brock lives in San Fransisco( which looks alot like Atlanta) and is an investigative reporter known for breaking huge stories. His attempted expose on The Life Foundation, run by Carlton Drake( Ahmed) gets him fired from his job and helps him lose his fiance, Anne, played by Michelle Williams.

As his life falls apart around him, Jenny Slates character, Dora, reaches out to Eddie about the foulness going on at The Life Foundation.  She sneaks Eddie into the facility and he  is infected by the symbiote and becomes Venom( the symbiotes name is Venom and has come to earth with other symbiotes to take it over).

If you watched any of the trailers, you have seen alot of the movie that involves Venom.  The movie to me, suffers from how serious it wants to take itself.  The violence in some instances is not gory, but clearly violent; yet it makes jokes that only 12 year olds would laugh at continuously throughout the movie. Like for real, the jokes are really bad and really corny. This gives the movie an uneven flow and to be honest, Tom. Hardy really just mumbles and bumbles his way through this entire movie.  Additionally, the special effects are not all that special- especially in the last act of the movie when Venom and Riot fight.

I have heard people compare Venom to a phase 1 MCU movie and I am not sure how fair of a comparison that is.  Phase 1 movies introduced characters and their journey to being a hero, Venom doesn't really do that. It introduces the character and throws some stuff in there to fill the time until we get to the Boss level scene. You don't really see Eddie or Venom evolve or his heroes journey.  Its just scenes put together to make a movie with no character development and we just have to accept that Venom is a good guy now  A more apt would be a movie like Daredevil- the one with Ben Affleck.  A movie where some kinda cool stuff happens, but overall, its just meanders until he fights Kingpin at the end.

Overall, I see why Sony went with Venom.  He is a popular character in comics and has hashed out a name for himself in comics without Spider-Man. The movie has made a ton of money and Sony is going to now be drunk with the idea that Venom 2: Electric Boogaloo will be a good idea and will probably get to green lighting some of these other projects. And I am not totally opposed to all of them... as long as Spider-Man is involved.

The Producer