Tag Archives: batman

Nerds United Episode 150: EPISODE 150, Y’ALL!

This week on the show, Greg and Mike wax nostalgia and talk about olden times, bring back a long-lost segment of the show, and talk about some of the various news and notes making the rounds this week.

And if you make it to the end, the guys run down some of the offerings on the Disney+ streaming app.

Positive Cynicism EP. 108: Random Discussions

As Hurricane Dorian had Florida in its sights, @TheTravisYates was busy prepping his house to withstand the storm and trying to keep his family safe. Since he was unavailable to co-host his regular monthly episode of Positive Cynicism, @chadsmart recruited @my123cents host and one half of the newly crowned Stride Pro Wrestling tag team champions, @kevinhunsperger to take Travis’ spot.

Due to the sudden change in co-hosts, there was no topic in place so it was decided to do another random episode where topics were submitted from friends and then drawn from a pile of post-it notes. What are the topics? Where would the conversation go? Would any of it make sense? Listen to the show and find out.

Positive Cynicism EP. 75: The Cost of Fun

For their first episode of 2019, @chadsmart and Eric Bennett start the show discussing Eric’s most anticipated films of 2019. From there, Chad explains how the cost of going to the movies keeps him away from the theater which leads to a bigger discussion regarding the price of extracurricular activies.


Yippie Ki Yay Mister Falcon. In this installment of “Culture Popped*” @chadsmart and guest host Eric Bennett exmine some movies that are non-traditional Christmas offerings. What is  Shane Black’s obsession with the holiday season? Would you want  Steve Martin on the other end of the phone if you were calling a suicide prevention hotline? Is an old Chinese store the best place to buy a pet? And most importantly, why are people throwing away a perfectly good white boy? Most of these questions aren’t answered but the movies that inspire them are discussed.

The biggest shocker of the episode are the discovery of what holiday “classics” Eric and Chad have not seen. The second biggest shock is how they managed to get through the show without a reference to Ernest Saves Christmas.

Check out all the shows on jitterymonkey.com and pick up the latest swag. Promote the shows you enjoy listening to on a weekly basis.

*temporary working title

Nerds United Episode 100: We March On

Hey everyone and thank you for taking the time to click the link, open the description in your podcast app, or however you came across reading these words.


As many of you know, for this episode, I was really wanting to have Kevin Smith as my guest. But that ended up not happening. I’ll try him again at a different time. I know he has plenty of irons in various fires.

So for this episode, I’m just getting you caught up on some of what I have been and will be reading. I’ve told my people at Twilight Comics (in Swansea, IL) that I’m going to convert from single issues to trade paperbacks, and to start ordering accordingly for me. The staff there is always thinking of new ways to get people in the doors, and Tuesday night’s “wedding celebration” of Batman and Catwoman was no different. I wasn’t there, but my son had some leftover cake on Wednesday.

So here’s a short list of some books I recommend: Superman/Batman: Finest Worlds, Kwame Hightower and the Man With No Name, and for kicks, anytime you see a Hellboy TPB on your store’s shelves, just buy it and read it.

That’s all for now. You’re great. I thank you for 5+ years of support and listenership and I promise that Episode 200 will be before 2023.

Positive Cynicism Ep 14: Feminism – Expert Opinions

On this week’s episode, host @chadsmart is joined by Nerds United host Greg Mehochko and My 1-2-3 Cents host Kevin Hunsperger to discuss the rise of feminism in society.

The first half of the show focuses on the DC cinematic universe and whether Wonder Woman is actually a good movie or if it is given more leeway due to being the first female driven superhero movie.

Second half discussion looks at the online outrage of WWE’s recent first ever women’s Money in the Bank match.

Fresh Content Day 46: The Kevin Smith Post

Where do I start? Let’s see…I got a late start on Kevin Smith fandom. Clerks came out in 1994, but I didn’t see it until 2000 or 2001. Oddly enough, I heard of a little movie called Dogma before I heard of Clerks, Mallrats, or Chasing Amy, all of which were before Dogma.

Let’s start at the beginning.

I graduated high school in 2000 and stayed home and went to a community college. The plan was to knock out my general courses and get my Associate’s Degree on their dime (academic scholarship) and then go on to a university and finish my Bachelor’s Degree and become a teacher. Obviously, it didn’t work out that way and instead, after finishing my Associate’s, I went on to broadcast school. But the friendships I made at small Kaskaskia College in Centralia, IL were some of the most important of my life, and I’m still friends with many of those people today.

One kid I met in college (we’ll call him Billy, since that was his name) introduced me to a couple of characters named Jay and Silent Bob. Billy let me borrow Clerks, and from there I borrowed Mallrats, and Chasing Amy. I was hooked. I loved how all the movies were inter-connected (before there was the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there was the View Askew-niverse). I should clarify that I borrowed these movies originally, but later purchased them. I had the first four movies on video cassette.

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back was different. I recognized at that point that the industry was changing. Actually, it had changed, I was just behind the times. My last semester in college, I took a Film History course, and one of our assignments was a video report on a movie, actor, director, etc. I chose Kevin Smith. I pieced together bits of the videos from the five movies mentioned above, talking about how they were all connected, how he used actors in different roles (Brian O’Halloran being my main example), how there was a nerdy theme throughout all of the movies.


Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back was my first movie on DVD before I had a DVD player. I bought it on vacation in June of 2002 and didn’t get an XBox for probably six months. I would watch it on my mom’s old laptop that she wasn’t using anymore.

I’m going to make a HUGE step forward now and say that without Kevin Smith, Nerds United wouldn’t be a thing. I wouldn’t have a podcast. I wouldn’t have started my own podcast network. You wouldn’t be reading this at all…if not for Kevin Smith.

It was February 2012 and I had just upgraded to an iPhone 5. I had been watching Comic Book Men on AMC for a few weeks and assumed that when the guys (Kevin, Bryan, Walt, Mike, and Ming)  were sitting around the table talking, that it was an actual podcast recording. So I went to find it on my new iTunes podcast app. I didn’t find it, but I did find a little show called Fatman on Batman. I remember the first episode I listened to was Part One of the Grant Morrison two-parter. I did that on the way to and from Effingham, IL to broadcast some high school boys basketball.

I was instantly hooked to the show and would go back and listen to all of the previous episodes. Those early episodes with Mark Hamill, Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, Tara Strong, Kevin Conroy, Adam West, Scott Snyder…I mean…people who have worked on or been a part of Batman lore – some of the best podastin’ I’ve ever heard. When he sat down with my favorite author, Brad Meltzer, I was quite simply in heaven.

But the reason I’m here (and the reason you’re here) is because, in his own inspirational way, Smith said (and I’m paraphrasing) “if you’ve got something you want to say or create, just do it.” I had something I wanted to say. So here we are. I later found his weekly podcast Hollywood Babble-On, and that’s a go-to every Monday morning, when I update my podcast downloads and hope to see it there for its regular laughs.

Smith gets a lot of heat online anytime his name is mentioned. Any time his name pops up on a headline, often the comments include “who cares what Kevin Smith says,” etc.

My problem with that is 1) Kevin Smith isn’t in charge of news sites writing about him and B) people are just some jealous bastards.

The guy has legitimate geek cred. He wrote for Marvel and DC (Daredevil, Batman, and Green Arrow runs come to mind), as well as Green Hornet. He has directed The Flash and Supergirl. But my takeaway from Smith is “find something you love doing and find a way to make a living from it.” Here’s a guy who wrote and directed a movie on a budget of about $27,000. And from those humble beginnings, is a household name and a global brand.

His more recent stuff, the “True North Trilogy,” is a little off beat and left of center. Tusk was a really messed up movie. Yoga Hosers was an oddball teen comedy. And I enjoyed them both. MooseJaws (like Jaws, but with a moose) is the third one in the lineup and should be a fun picture as well.

Perhaps the coolest thing about Smith is that he marches to the beat of his own drum and doesn’t care. He said (paraphrasing again) that by and large, the public wasn’t going out to see the movies he made that he thought they wanted, so he just started making movies that he wanted to see. Tusk originated from a conversation on one of his podcasts.

Regardless of your opinion of Smith, his “I’m going to do it my way, with or without you” attitude is to be commended. He sees your “that can’t be done” and responds with a “watch me do it.”

It was just announced on a recent episode of Fatman on Batman that Smith was tapped (he’d find that dirty…and hilarious) to write, direct, and produce a Sam and Twitch series for BBC America.

The guy travels the world with his friends doing live shows of his various podcasts. Despite his detractors, he has a loyal following of fans. He has enriched my comic book appreciation by recommending titles and arcs I may not have picked up otherwise.

Kevin Smith is my spirit animal if ever I had one.

When Nerds United was in its infancy, I reached out to Kevin to see if he’d be interested in being a guest on the show. That request was greeted with crickets. Maybe…MAYBE…Kevin will see this and open a dialogue. I’d love to have the type of chat with him that he had with the likes of Geoff Johns, Jim Lee, Neal Adams, and Denny O’Neil (two of the best storytellers of all damn time). I’ve read his comics and I have seen his movies. I know there’s a ton of dialogue. A four-part series with Kevin Smith?

So, Kevin Smith, if you read this and got all the way to the end, thank you for inspiring me to get out there with a microphone and my friends and create something. Now…would you like to be a guest on my podcast?



That’s it, folks. We made it through Lent with new content every day. WHEW! I’m tired. I’m still going to write for the site, but probably not every day. I’ve been sacrificing a lot of sleep to try to meet these self-imposed deadlines (and even then, I sometimes missed them). I’m excited to go to bed early tonight and prepare for Easter tomorrow with my family. I’m pretty pumped to eat Garrett’s candy, HA HA HA HA HA!

I thank you all for reading these posts, whether you read one, ten, or all 46. I try not to think that I’m just yelling into a big empty room and that someone is out there enjoying what I do here at Nerds United. Hope to have a new podcast up this week with the organizer of the Cape Comic Con. I’ll be there a week from now, seeing old friends and making new connections. If you’ve enjoyed these posts, tell your friends about it. This is a pure grassroots effort here with no budget. It’s a hobby, not a job.

Thank you all again, from the bottom of my nerdy heart!

Fresh Content Day 30: Choosy Bloggers Choose Gifs

They say a picture is worth 1,000 words. What happens when it is a little moving picture that loops endlessly?

hoppip GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Regardless of if you pronounce it like Jif peanut butter or GIF like the G in “Greg,” these user created animations are running rampant on the Internet. Now I got to this post topic from a conversation I had with my good buddy Jared. We talked probably 20 minutes it was nothing but wrestling GIFs. It started with Ric Flair and ended with the Undertaker and saw three decades worth of some of wrestling’s lighter moments in between.

But there are GIFs for all occasions. For example:

Image result for hello gif

Image result for how are you gif

Image result for life is good gif

See? Anything.

Image result for butt gif

I love using GIFs in social media for reactions. Be it a well placed animal smirk, a baby’s laughter, or Shawn Michaels walking down the ramp, crotch-chopping as he goes. GIFs have permeated every avenue of pop culture. There’s nothing that hasn’t been turned into a GIF. Movies, television, animation, sports…really anything you could imagine.

So when you are having a conversation with someone and they respond with a GIF, just know that they probably took at least a little bit of time finding just the right reaction to send you.

By the way, if you want to know exactly how tonight’s post came to be, while discussing it with Jared, he sent the following GIF.

Image result for just do it gif
Thank you Shia and the Internet.

I’m 34 and still susceptible to peer pressure. Life is great!

Fresh Content Day 11: Unusual Conflicts

Today’s post came about because Josh sent me a message that he deemed was an “important question.”

Could Aquaman psychically control the creature from the black lagoon if their paths crossed?

I thought about it briefly and then told him I had to consult an expert. I messaged Tim from Twilight Comics and posed the question to him. He laughed and said he didn’t know. Then he came back and said “My high school buddy is with me. He says ‘yes.’ So I’m going with that. He’s a LONG time Justice League fan.”

Hey, that rationale works for me. It’s good enough for us.

But I opened up a thread on the Facebook Page asking what match-ups in comics or pop culture you’d like me to evaluate in tonight’s post. So here we go:

Batman versus Predator – Josh

Josh admits that his fist suggestion has already been done in comics. In fact, it has been done three times.

And wouldn’t you know, the Dark Knight has won each meeting he has had with the Predator(s).

Buffy versus a Lot of People – Sean Benner (Check out Episode 73 for more from Sean)

I never got into Buffy. It was never something that I made an earnest attempt to watch. In all honesty, I’ve seen the movie more times than I’ve seen any episodes. So I don’t understand the fawning that many in my generation have for this show. But I’ll do my best.

Buffy vs Cassie Hack – Cassie Hack (of Image Comics’ Hack/Slash) has fighting capability as well as healing powers and “berserker rage.” Depending on what part of her life you get Buffy, she could have invulnerability. But for the sake of this, I’ll say see just has the heightened strength, increased agility, etc. I’ll take healing powers over all of that, though. Buffy is 0-1.

Buffy vs Black Widow -I honestly think this is a tougher one to decide. I’m actually pick Black Widow in it because I think based on training alone, she’d be a little less discretionary.*

Buffy vs Blade – Sean’s last match-up pits a couple of vampire hunters against each other, so while it might be a cop out, I am actually going to say that after Blade learns that their mission is the same, there would be no conflict, and they’d work together to defeat the threat at that time. But I don’t see it being a long partnership, and I think their personalities would clash. They would part ways amicably, and know that if things ever got bad enough, they could call on the other for aid.

Buffy versus Morbius – Adam

Keeping with the Buffy theme for some unknown reason, it’s Buffy against an actual vampire. Those familiar with the character will remember that he was introduced in 1971 as a bit of a villain before he took on a more positive personality. Granted, I’d call it more of an anti-hero. So the question again goes back to “would Buffy kill a creature even if it has the capacity for good?” I think they’d work it out. But if they absolutely could not prevent conflict, I’d take Buffy.

Indiana Jones/Lara Croft versus Xenomorphs – Josh

The question was posed as “Indiana Jones or the Tomb Raider opens an ancient tomb and the xenomorphs come out. The fallacy in the question, in my opinion, is that either of those two would wander upon a tomb and just accidentally open it up. I don’t think that would happen. Two highly educated people such as them wouldn’t just go randomly opening every tomb “just because.” And you can bet your hind end that if they did, they’d have a plan. Therefore, I say Indy or Lara would win.

Charles Xavier versus Stephen Hawking – Adam

Xavier wins this and it’s not even close. No offense to Hawking, but Xavier has all of his knowledge, and if he wanted, he could obtain all of your knowledge as well. Plus, while Hawking has theorized about space, Xavier has been there.

Scooby Doo Gang versus Spider-Man – Hope

This wasn’t presented so much as a fight, but “could the Scooby-Doo Gang correctly identify Spider-Man’s alter-ego (obviously, before he’s unmasked)?” Here’s the thing about that – Spider-Man isn’t Old Man Tucker down at the amusement park or the lumber mill. It’s Spider-Man. And he’s been Peter Parker/Spider-Man for a very long time, meaning he’s good at living the double life. The Gang is good at picking up and reading clues, but Spidey is just too good. So no, Hope, the Scooby Doo Gang wouldn’t be able to deduce Spider-Man’s real identity.

Han Solo versus Star Lord – Adam

Here’s another case of “damn, I hope we’d never have to find out.” One’s a scavenger by trade. The other is a smuggler. I could actually see them working together more than on opposite sides. But that being said, I could also see a situation where they are both are after the same artifact or relic, but for different prospective buyers. So there could be some conflict. But I have to go with my heart, and my heart says Han Solo. Because Han shoots first!

Superman versus…

…. – Adam

This is one intriguing matchup. As you already know, Superman famously went toe-to-toe with The Greatest in what I believe ended up being a draw. That was done under a red sun, thus negating Superman’s powers. In this match, I mean, honestly, Superman should win. But it’s John Cena, the 16-time WWE World Champion. So my guess is Cena eliminates Superman from the Royal Rumble in a shocking heel turn. At the Elimination Chamber PPV, Supes gets his revenge by causing a distraction that results in Cena losing his championship opportunity at Wrestlemania. That pits these two former friends against one another at the biggest show of them all, where Superman gets a clean win in 17:39, using a flying piledriver. Wrestling Observer gave it 2 3/4 stars.

I actually did start this post on Saturday, but then I fell asleep. I fell asleep and slept through the rest of Saturday night. The * marks where I was when I fell asleep, thus delaying the delay. I’ve actually been trying to finish it for about five hours, to no success, until now. I hope you enjoyed it. I should have another post for you later tonight.

Dedicated to Dads

Jonathon Kent.

Norman Osborn.

Reed Richards.

Henry Allen.

Thomas Wayne.

Uncle Ben Parker.

Darth Vader.


Some of the names listed above are great dads in comics and geek culture. Some are not great fathers. Others left lasting impressions on the children in their care in lives that were cut tragically short. Although, it goes without saying that without their sacrifices or untimely deaths, the heroes-to-be would not have materialized.

As I celebrate my first Father’s Day this year, I reflect more on the man I call “dad,” but it is fun to look at some of these genre dads and how they shaped some of the most important figures in pop culture.

I won’t go into detail on each name provided above (sorry Reed and Henry). But I did want to explore some of the father-son relationships.

From The Adventures of Superman #500 – Life After Death

The Martha’s (Wayne and Kent, respectively…also something fans had a major issue with in the final act of Batman V Superman) are touted as being so instrumental in the lives of their sons, and rightly so. But I think if you overlook the importance of Jonathon “Pa” Kent, you’re doing a disservice to the writers who gave him life and the actors who gave him breath. While I was initially thrilled about Kevin Costner’s casting, I didn’t care for the writing of Pa Kent in Man of Steel. But every other likeness has been far truer to the character (looking at you, John Schnieder) and enriched the mythos of Jonathon Kent as a morally strong man who believes his son is destined for great things. When Superman stood for “Truth, Justice, and the American Way,” you could hear those words being said by Pa Kent into a young Clark. “Live your life better than we have. Be better.” It’s why Superman is beloved as a figure in his fictional world and how he has stood the test of time as one of the most popular characters in culture for the last 77 years.

Norman Osborn and Uncle Ben Parker. The environments they create for their “children” makes all the difference when we see how Harry Osborn differs from Peter Parker. Even though Ben is Peter’s uncle, he serves as Pete’s guardian, and his final words will forever be linked to greatness, memed before memes were memes. “With great power comes great responsibility.” Six words that will echo into eternity. And because of the love and support Ben gave to young Peter, Peter, even though he wasn’t particularly popular, had the confidence to forge for himself a heroic life. Harry, poisoned by his father’s demons, would eventually don the glider as well.

Darth Vader’s revelation of his fatherhood to Luke Skywalker in Empire Strikes Back could go down in history as one of the biggest “OMG” moments in cinema history. And while their relationship was fleshed out a bit more in Return of the Jedi, it was Luke who sensed the good in Anakin and was able to bring him back from the Dark Side, as Vader tosses Emperor Palpatine into the pit, and thus bringing balance to the Force. I mean, you know all that already. Vader – not the best dad. But did get better.

One of the most interesting father-son relationships in comics to me has always been Thomas and Bruce Wayne. Tale as old as time – parents murdered in Crime Alley in front of young son. Son grows up to become Batman, vowing to clean up Gotham City. It was the loss he experienced that, in my opinion, made him want to ensure no other child of Gotham felt the pain he felt. What’s interesting is that in DC’s Flashpoint (Flashpoint Paradox, if you want the animated version), we see that Batman is Thomas Wayne, taking out his pain and anger in a much more brutal way (including guns). Also, in the Flashpoint story, Martha Wayne becomes the Joker, but who cares about that. Watch the end of the Flashpoint Paradox, after Barry runs back in time and corrects the timeline, and see the impact a father can have on a son.

You have an adult Bruce receiving a letter from his deceased father, a father who is writing a letter to his deceased son. And the man who walks runs between both worlds.

Me and the Old Man, when we were both much younger.
Me and the Old Man, when we were both much younger.

I’m grateful for my father. I’m thrilled I get to spend some time with him today and go golfing. I know many don’t have that opportunity. And my wife gets to spend some time with her dad. And before and after the golfing, I get to spend time with my son.

He’s almost six months old. We have a lot of time ahead of us, and I don’t want any of it to go to waste. If you’re wondering why I haven’t had a new episode of the podcast in almost two months…well, my boy’s getting bigger. He’s making sounds and sitting up and smiling and so happy. And I get to be here for all of that. Please don’t begrudge me for being away. I’m also in the process of moving.

But I promise I will be back. I am working on guests right now. I have some in mind, and need to reach out to a few more. And I do have thoughts I want to share. Kevin over at My 1-2-3 Cents blogs every day, runs every day, has a new episode of My 1-2-3 Cents the Podcast every week, and has three kids. (Also, Kevin told me his blog entries are between 300-500 words, and this is almost 1,000. I must learn to condense). So there’s some hope for me. I’ll find my groove again.

In the meantime, I get to be a DAD.


Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!

Nerds United Episode 62: BvS Dawn of Something New

Per usual, I took in the new comic book character movie on the early night, saving money and minimizing headache.


Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

It didn’t disappoint me. Okay, I admit that I stuck around hoping that there would be a post-credit scene. There’s not. I’ve typically gone against the grain in the realm of agreeing with “court of public opinion” ie Internet film critics. Rotten Tomatoes is pretty useless to me. And from Ben Affleck’s own mouth (paraphrasing), they didn’t make the movie for critics. They made it for fans. As a fan, I have zero problem with this.

The Man of Steel had a lot to answer for after Man of Steel.

At the end of the day, if you take nothing else away from this movie, you get a fantastic Wonder Woman, a glimpse at the Justice League (with lighter characters, maybe you’ll see some of that comic relief that you all love in the Marvel movies…#UNDEROOS), and another piece of framework for the very young DC Cinematic Universe.

And you get it all with a little bit of naked (yet tastefully covered) Amy Adams (oops…spoiler alert).

#ToughCallTuesday 13 – [Spoilers]

I won’t lie – #TCT13 is less about the normal Tough Call Tuesday where a present A vs B and make a selection.

This Tough Call Tuesday is essentially a rant.

spoiler2 spoiler3 spoiler4 spoiler5 spoiler6 spoiler7 spoiler1

“Only look if you want to know.” “…surfaces.”

Look, I get it. We’re on the cusp of 2016. We all carry the internet with us in our pockets.

But enough is enough.

There was a time when I would try to find out early what I was getting for Christmas. Yes, as a child, I searched closets and looked under beds for any idea of what I would receive. I learned two things from those experiences.

  1. My mom was a lot better at hiding these items from us than I could ever know (I secretly think she just stashed them at my grandparents’ house until just before Christmas).
  2. IF I was lucky enough to find something early, faking surprise and excitement was always more difficult than genuine surprise.

We are nine days away from Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. we are two months away from Deadpool. We are about three and a half months away from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. And we are roughly five months away from Captain America: Civil War.

Look, I get it. In an effort to further interest in these films, as well as X-Men: Apocalypse (late May, 2016), studios or actors release certain information. Typically it’s intentional by the studios and accidental when done by an actor. Or an actor gives a response without thinking, and may give away too much, aka a [Spoiler].

Look, Hollywood, you’re going to get my money. We all know you’re going to get the money of millions, if not billions, of others globally.

What I would like seen changed is less information. One of the biggest critiques to the Suicide Squad movie is that there seemed to be new “leaked footage” or footage from on the set every other day. If you want to stand on the set and watch a movie be filmed, great. But there should be some decorum about how to act when given that privilege. And one way to show your gratitude for the opportunity to watch a movie be made is to help keep what is being done in front of you a secret.

Now these examples listed about do give people a choice on if they want to participate in having details of an upcoming movie spoiled for them. “Only click if you want to know.” I choose to not know. And I hid many of these posts. Some titles do not give newsfeed scrollers that option, or a “vague” title gets paired with a picture that gives you the answer.

I will be in the theater Thursday, December 17 at 7pm to watch The Force Awakens. The speed with which I watch the 2016 movies will very likely change after my child is born. I may not make it to an opening night showing of Batman v Superman or Captain America: Civil War. Things happen, and I will have to work extra hard to not have movies spoiled for me.

But those movies will have been released, so I expect a friend or someone to say “OMG I can’t believe _______.” And I will try to cut them off and say “whoa, I haven’t had a chance to see that yet.”

That’s something that happens after a movie comes out.

It’s not something we should have to combat before a movie is in theaters.

Join the #NoSpoilers team, and be surprised for a change when you head to the theaters.

Or just jump on the comments and call me a crotchety old man. Either way.

Have a suggestion for a future #ToughCallTuesday? Drop it in the comments here on on Facebook.

And don’t forget that the Comics For Beginners vol. 2 is set for January. Ask a question, receive a prize. Leave that in the comments or email (I never get any email) nerdsunitedpodcast@gmail.com.

#ToughCallTuesday 8 – Freaky Families

It’s Halloween week, so why not bring a little light-hearted spookiness to Nerds United?

This week’s #ToughCallTuesday comes our way from longtime supporter Josh, who said this week’s column should be:


The Munsters versus The Addams Family.*


(Note – To prevent any unnecessary arguments, we’re only talking about the classic television shows. This discussion does not include the movies of the 1990’s.)

The Munsters a group of monsters who are either oblivious to their differences or hope the rest of the community overlooks them as well. They just seem to want to fit in. The Addams Family is relatively normal from a genetic standpoint (no Frankenstein’s monster, vampire, or wolf boy) who are just…odd.

John Astin (previously mentioned in #ToughCallTuesday 4 – Batman ’66 Villains) played a witty, if not charming, Gomez Addams. There was something cool about Gomez. Maybe it was the cigars. But I always thought Astin’s Gomez was smooth, yet comical.

Morticia Addams kept it simple with that slinky black dress and minimal jewelry. Carolyn Jones made a better Morticia than her big-screen counterpart Anjelica Huston (purely opinion). I mean, if you look past her obsession with cyanide and other components used for “flavoring,” she seemed almost normal.

Wednesday and Pugsley were far more innocent and well-meaning in the show than they were in the cinematic version. Wednesday just wanted to raise her pet black widow (you can have all my “NOPE’s” right there) and decapitating dolls. Pugsley was an intelligent lad who at times even tried to “fit in.” He spent time engineering an abundance of gadgets and machines, bonded with dear old dad, and had a pet octopus.

Uncle Fester was an oddball. He likes to blow stuff up and can illuminate a light bulb just by putting it in his mouth. My clearest memories of Uncle Fester are the bed of nails and the head in a vice. Lurch was the butler and could easily be summoned when Gomez or Morticia yanked on the noose (seriously…a noose. I just learned that. I always thought it was just a fancy rope). Lurch’s famous words “You rang” are still echoed through the halls of the Casa de Mehochko, and have been for several years. And then there’s Thing – the helpful hand around the house. A longtime companion of Gomez, Thing’s skill set includes getting the mail, answering the phone, lighting cigars, and…I’m guessing other tasks one does with their hands.


As for the Munsters – a smaller troupe, but unique in their own way.

Herman Munster was a blue-collar worker and the sole bread winner for his 1960’s family. He went out and tried to have a normal, suburban life. Before all that, he traversed Europe, where he met and eventually married Lily. Then he moved with Lily and her father to America, joining the US Army and fighting in World War II.

Lily (nee Dracula) is a vampire, hence the maiden name. This was one of the first shows that featured a strong matriarch and a somewhat bumbling male figure who gets “the look” from his wife. OH MAN! This might have been the show that originated “the look.” Lily also keeps an eye on her son Eddie, and pities her niece Marilyn because she was “hideous” in her normality. And being the smart woman she is, when Herman and Grandpa are fighting, she typically sits it out.

Eddie was a young werewolf boy who attended grade school, had friends, fangs, a wicked widow’s peak, pointy ears, and the worst outfit ever. But he had a sweet little stuffed werewolf. Young Eddie was quite proud of his father, even if he embellished some of Herman’s heroics.

Marilyn was the normal member of the family…which meant she was ostracized be her loved ones. Lily’s niece had nothing “wrong” with her, loved her family, and thought they were the normal ones. It was said that her father was a werewolf, but it was never confirmed what her mother was.

Grandpa “Sam Dracula” was an in-home geriatric (or beyond, seeing as he was hundreds of years old). Unlike vampires of today, there was no sparkling. Grandpa could change into a bat or a werewolf. He spent a lot of time in his cellar-based laboratory. And he often worked some schemes with Herman…to varying degrees of success. But he had a sweet car:


These shows also had incredibly memorable and lasting theme songs (*snap snap*). While I think The Addams Family theme stands out a bit more, when researching for this column, I listened to both, and I was shocked with just how memorable The Munsters’ theme song is. I mean, it absolutely fits the mid-1960’s. It is a little dated, but still, having not heard it for years, I was surprised with how quickly I jumped back in and knew the melody in my head.

The verdict:

There are reasons to love both of these shows. They are iconic and while one has been transferred to the big screen and the other had an attempted reboot for today’s television audience, these are two franchises who hit their high marks with their original content. It is for that reason that I choose……


The Munsters.

It was, by many accounts, the first show that showed a more dim-witted, oafish husband/father-figure. But Herman was that inept and still scored a gorgeous vampiress. It doesn’t take Gomez much effort to exude confidence and bring about that well-polished exterior. I just like to think that Herman had to work a little harder for it. PLUS, Herman was a WWII vet.

Furthermore, The Munsters were cancelled in 1966 and replaced with Batman the Series. And I don’t have to explain to you all of the benefits of that particular show.

What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Sound off in the comments, and if you have a topic idea like Josh did, let me know.

Nerds United Episode 53: The Cursed Studio

Well, for about fifteen-and-a-half minutes, the sound quality was what I wanted it to be. And then – right into the tank. Damn. Sorry everyone.

So in Episode 53, I talk about some recommended Doctor Strange reading, Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, and Marvel 1602. And I continue my series of Regrettable Superheroes.

I also discuss some of the television shows and movies going on, like the Flash, Arrow, and Thor: Ragnarok.

Also – i just picked up the following book and am really looking forward to having time to read it.

#ToughCallTuesday 4 – Batman ’66 Villains

Batman ’66…the colorful, campy version that pre-dated the Dark Knight.

Batman was on twice a week when it aired originally, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Now I won’t pretend that I watched it when it aired originally. Obviously, I wasn’t even born yet. But I did watch a lot of this show in syndication years later.

The Bill Dozier/Adam West Batman was my first introduction to Batman, as I’m certain it was for many in my generation. I didn’t actually watch the 1989 Michael Keaton Batman movie until a few years later, watching it at my friend Andy’s house on video cassette (kids, you can learn more about the ancient technology known as the VHS here).

There are a few things I remember vividly about the show. First and foremost, I think, is the legendary Batmobile.



Second is the bust of William Shakespeare that, when you pop the top and push the red button, you Bat Cave. It was something that the designers of the last Rocksteady installment of the Batman series, “Arkham Knight,” borrowed for their own purposes.


There was the plethora of Bat-gadgets. My favorite was the ever-popular Bat-Shark-Repellent.

But there were villains. SO MANY VILLAINS! In 120 episodes, there were 34 different villains. Villains who were smart, cunning, or alluring. And villains who were goofy and wouldn’t be taken seriously in today’s hyper-realistic, overly serious television programming. And yet, these villains were portrayed by some of the biggest names of the day. Vincent Price as Egghead, Milton Berle as Louie the Lilac, Art Carney (of The Honeymooners fame) as the Archer, and Zsa Zsa Gabor as Minerva. Also, and this is true…you can tell people that Liberace was a Batman villain.

But for the sake of time, let’s just stick with some of the more familiar characters.

The Joker – Cesar Romero was already well-known in Hollywood when producer Bill Dozier called him to the studio to play the Crown Prince of Crime. The Joker debuted and was as riotous as always, with his boisterous laugh, his gag weapons, and his dim-witted henchmen.

Romero’s Joker only appeared in nineteen of the 120 episodes of the series.

Burgess Meredith was the infamous villain known as The Penguin, a tuxedo he donned just nineteen times himself. The long-stemmed cigarette, the top hat. The Penguin had the iconic look. While this was a decade before Rocky, Burgess had been an actor since the mid-1930s, just another testament to the fearless aspirations of Dozier and Co. They weren’t going after small potatoes to fill roles on some goofy television show for kids. They took this seriously. Well, as seriously as they could for the late 1960s.

Catwoman was played by three actresses. Julie Newmar suited up the most times, playing the feline twelve times. Eartha Kitt portrayed Catwoman three times, and Lee Meriwether twice. In fact, finding the number of times Meriwether appeared as Catwoman meant a lot of scrolling down on the IMDb page, with the total cast of 630. Yvonne Craig, who played Batgirl/Barbara Gordon, was my first tv crush before I knew what that even meant. But right behind her was the lovely Newmar, who exuded appeal. Eartha Kitt brought a whole new element to the character, as I believe she was the only one of the three to actually purr. I’d never be so bold as to tell Eartha Kitt to do something different. She rocked it as Catwoman, though Newmar is still my preferred Catwoman.


Frank Gorshin’s Riddler character only appeared in ten episodes, but left an indelible mark on my memory. He had that “smarter-than-you” cackle and over-animated jumping and kicking. Plus, the way he chose to attack Batman’s brain power rather than his physical strength meant that The Riddler could have been anyone, not necessarily someone in top physical shape. In fact, in Season 2, The Riddler was played by Gomez Addams, John Astin. But Gorshin’s my guy.

Of course, I guess that could be said about any of Batman’s rogue gallery mentioned here.

Then again, it was the 60’s, and in a time when Batman’s own physique wasn’t well-defined, and Robin wore hot pants, anything was possible. It truly was the golden age of television.

But this is called #ToughCallTuesday for a reason, meaning I have to play favorites. And wouldn’t you know – it is perhaps my toughest call to date. All have their merits, and they were all played by actors or actresses who seemed to thoroughly enjoy their time on this hero show.

BATMAN, Frank Gorshin, 1966. TM and Copyright ©20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved, Courtesy: Everett Collection
BATMAN, Frank Gorshin, 1966. TM and Copyright ©20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved, Courtesy: Everett Collection

Plus, one of my favorite sayings is “Riddle me this, Batman.”

Thanks, Frank Gorshin’s Riddler, for being me favorite Batman ’66 villain.

Agree? Disagree? Sound off in the comments. And leave a suggestion for next week’s #ToughCallTuesday!

#ToughCallTuesday 1 – Masters of the Universe

So I came across this tidbit of information this weekend. One of my favorite characters of my youth has finally hit it big:


Masters of the Universe. I was such a He-Man fan as a kid growing up in the 1980s. The first birthday I actually remember was when I turned 4, and I had a little He-Man cake. This would be a great time to pull out the picture of me with the cake from 1986…but I don’t know where it is, and I’m not about to call my mom and ask for it just to post it here. She thinks I’m weird enough.

Speaking of my mom, I owe some of my love of He-Man to her. When I was that age, mom was a night-shift nurse working in the ICU. I didn’t have daycare because mom was home during the days. And after lunch, when she would make me a microwave s’more (it was a marshmallow between two graham crackers…I loved it), we would often sit on the family room floor and she would join me for some action figure goodness. I didn’t have Castle Grayskull, but I did have Snake Mountain, several figures, and even the Battle Ram, complete with missiles and a functioning cannon. So I always attempted to known the bad guys off of Snake Mountain (to mixed success).

Skeletor and his minions were no match for the Battle Ram and a 5-year-old.
Skeletor and his minions were no match for the Battle Ram and a 5-year-old.

But back to the movie. It came out a month after I turned five years old. Needless to say, I didn’t see it right away. In fact, I didn’t see it for several years after that, because there was no internet telling me I had to see it. But I finally did watch it one day. I don’t remember the specifics. It was either on television or I watched it with some friends. I remember being so excited to see my favorite childhood character in a movie that I may have overlooked the quality of the movie itself. And not only that, but a few other points as well:

  • Let’s start with the most obvious of all. Lovable Orco was replaced by Gwildor. At best, Gwildor can be seen as a mix between two Lord of the Rings characters, Gandalf and Gimli. But there was nothing fun or entertaining about Gwildor. And not even that Gwildor was that bad, but how do you ignore Orco and rip him from the movie? Now anyone who watched the cartoon would tell you that Orco was annoying. He was clumsy and always got into trouble. He was the C3PO of Eternia. But his his missteps always ended in a lesson from the other characters, some little moral of the story.
  • Frank Langella, arguably the greatest actor in this movie, was stuck behind a mask. The costuming left no chance for Frank Langella to do anything besides relay the awkward dialogue he was given. It was a waste of Langella’s talents, it is a stain on his IMDb page, and I feel sorry for the guy. But then I watch this clip of Langella speaking about Skeletor and the role in the movie, and more importantly, the reason he took the role. And I get it. His reason for taking on this roll is simply astounding.

  • Dolph Lundren – If Dolph Lundgren didn’t have to talk in this movie, if He-Man would have been cursed with the inability to speak, this movie would have been exponentially better. I mean, let’s face it, Dolph has had the look. Tall, well-built, topped with a golden mullet. How could it possibly have gone wrong? Well, I’m guessing Dolph had a line added into his contract stating he could use firearms. My He-Man doesn’t have guns. He had the Power Sword. Man-at-Arms and Teela both used blasters. He-Man never needed them.
  • Eternia vs Earth – He-Man is the Prince of Eternia. Okay, “Prince Adam,” if you want to get technical. But there is very little of Eternia in this movie. Instead, you have an invasion story about the forces of evil trying to conquer Earth. Sounds like a job for the Avengers, not the Eternians. Yet here we are, dealing with Courtney Cox, her boyfriend, and the Cosmic Key. This was ten years after Star Wars. There didn’t have to be an earthly tie-in. George Lucas showed to world that you could have a successful movie if it didn’t take place on Earth.

Rumors state that we will get a new Masters of the Universe movie in the near future. Christopher Yost, who co-wrote Thor: Ragnarok for Marvel Studios, was tapped to write this new adaptation. It’s stated that the movie will be dark and serious and will not be an origin film. I’m actually okay with it not being an origin film, because we all know the origin thanks to the 130 episodes of the cartoon from the mid-1980s.

May the Sorceress bless you, Filmation. Rest in peace!

I think that a He-Man and the Masters of the Universe film can be successful a variety of ways. I’ve waited most of my life for a better He-Man movie. But it’s not here yet. So I’m left with what I have.

The kid in me wants to go back and watch this 1987  movie day after day. However, the adult in me who remembers this movie being the Batman & Robin of its time knows that I can watch it once and then remove it from my Netflix queue.

That means this decision is the first in my new weekly bit called #ToughCallTuesday!

Watch it and keep it on “My List” for future viewings?


Watch it and drop it like?

I have made my decision, and based it on my genuine love of the character from an early age, the quality of the film that was made, and the knowledge that a new imagining of the character, the mythos, the “universe” if you will is heading our way.

It really boils down to this simple question. Is bad He-Man better than no He-Man at all? Would you rather sit through Batman & Robin or no Batman at all? Star Wars: Attack of the Clones or no Star Wars?

Okay, two lousy example.

Let’s face it – I saw that movie appear on my Netflix. And it was big. Big meat. It was the featured option. I popped. Despite its flaws, this one will be a “Watch and keep.”

And since my parents were kind enough to keep my He-Man toys in a box in the attic all these years, I’m excited to be able to share them with my son in the future. That, and the He-Man cartoons I have acquired on DVD.

That’s it for this week’s #ToughCallTuesday. What topics do you want to see featured in the future? Let me know in the comments.



Nerds United Episode 45: Spoiler Alert

Fish Mooney sports a new look and a younger entourage in the Gotham season 1 finale.
Fish Mooney sports a new look and a younger entourage in the Gotham season 1 finale.

Episode 45 has some spoilers in case you haven’t seen the season finales of Gotham and The Flash (and to a lesser extent, Arrow).

Promotional art for the Flash season finale.
Promotional art for the Flash season finale.

Also – it’s a great time to be a nerd. more than ten (and probably closer to 15 when it’s all said and done) “nerd” movies set for the big screen between now and the end of 2016. Take, for instance, Ant-Man.

And two things I love meet up again as I learned that one of the greatest running backs of all time for the university of Nebraska Cornhuskers will add an acting credit to his resume from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.


Nerds United Episode 38

lego matt

Meet my longtime friend Matt. He also has a background in radio and took those talents to not one but TWO shows on the Jittery Monkey Podcast Network: GAMER and PoppedCulture.

But Matt is a busy man…a student working on his mass communications degree with a minor in creative writing. So I won’t go into much detail here, as Matt can tell his own story. But check out his Vimeo and Tumblr for some of his creativity.

Here’s his latest short film, as mentioned in the episode:

“Scrutiny” Short Film from Matthew Horst on Vimeo.

matts reads
Just a small sampling of what Matt has been reading.

Nerds United Episode 37

Jay Peteranetz (right)

Meet Jay Peteranetz, a lifelong comic book reader (mostly Marvel) and artist who has helped take comics to an unprecedented medium – playing cards.


Welcome to Magicians Must Die:

Jay grew up reading a ton of Marvel, including X-Men and the Cosmic Marvel books, including Guardians of the Galaxy. So naturally we talk about the marvel Cinematic Universe and OMG DID YOU SEE ADAM WARLOCK?


There is a lot covered in this episode, and I’m pumped for future conversations with Jay, who will be appearing at the Denver Comic Con in May. So go check him out there.

ALSO – if we get Jay to 250 Twitter followers in the next two weeks, he’ll hook me up with all four issues (sets) of MMD, autographed, and ready to giveaway on the show. He wins, we win. GET IT?!?

Follow him at @jpeteranetz.
Go ahead and follow me as well: @nerdsunitedshow.
And while you’re at it, @jitterymunkey