It’s a brand new episode with the one and only Jay Peteranetz. Jay is fresh off a weekend at Denver Comic Con and is in the process of shipping out the rewards from the successful Kickstarter Campaign for the original comic book Broderick, for which he did the art (Ron “Booth Babe” Bryce providing the story).
The show begins with me singing a song, and Jay promptly asking me to stop. We talk about some of the keys to a successful Kickstarter, like reasonable goals, and turning down offers to sell Broderick to maintain control of the IP.
Jay had a good time at Denver Comic Con, so we talk about some of the high points from his weekend there.
And at the end we have a little fun talking about Susan Storm and other superheroes on the beach (see featured image).
Follow Jay on instagram (see above) and Twitter. Remember to rate and review the podcast on your favorite listening app. And don’t forget that I’m still trying to get Kevin Smith on the show for the first week of July. Go back and read this entry from last year as I hope it will better explain why Kevin has been such a huge part of my life, and why he’s responsible for you being here as well.
Now before you start wondering, let me clear the air here.
I’m not giving Marvel an Ultimatum. I’m not saying “put Steve Rogers back in the red, white, and blue” or “for crying out loud, please cast Nathan Fillion in something more than voice work!”
Marvel isn’t handing out ultimatums to Sony or 20th Century Fox or anything lile that regarding any of their properties.
This is about “Marvel Ultimatum,” a five-issue mini-series that was published in 2008-2009. Best I can tell, it takes place in Marvel’s Ultimate universe. Written by the incredible Jeph Loeb and penciled by David Finch, it is a Marvel comic event that, I think, caused everyone to look around and say “well, I think we’re all glad that didn’t happen in the main continuity.”
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
To put it mildly, it’s a damn bloodbath. The story opens with a swell of water that floods New York City. Meanwhile, Eastern Europe is covered in a deep winter that kills man, woman, and child. Earthquakes in Wakanda. Volcanoes in the Amazon. In the first issue, the death toll reaches the millions.
And no one is immune. Throughout the series, heroes are offed left and right. Some from the initial natural disasters, but most from the ensuing conflicts.
Now I fully admit that I only read the core Ultimatum story, without going into the Requiem tie-ins or any other titles. But it was a relatively easy book to digest, and I was able to finish it in one sitting. Truth be told, it wasn’t on my radar initially, and I only knew about it from a YouTube video (I don’t remember which one now). But it did give me a pretty sweet #BOOM! picture I was able to use after selling a car.
But here’s a list of Marvel characters who are killed in Ultimatum:
Spider-Man (he would later be revealed to be alive)
There are more. But it’s almost as if George RR Martin wrote the story. And here’s the thing. There are A-list names above. But what I haven’t told you yet is Thor sacrificed himself and stayed behind in Hel to save Valkyrie and Captain America.
So let’s let the story unfold. It is realized that Magneto changed the magnetic fields at Earth’s north and south poles. That caused all the destruction and devastation. It’s learned that he’s essentially punishing mankind for the death of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. So all the heroes go to his floating fortress for the confrontation. That’s where Angel dies. It’s where Magneto kills Wolverine and where Cyclops returns the favor.
A few days later at a press conference, while Cyclops is addressing the crowd on the steps of Congress he’s assassinated. After that, Doctor Doom has his head crushed by the Thing.
Like I said, there is an unnerving amount of death in these five issues. But the most gruesome death is that of Janet van Dyne aka Wasp. Hawkeye turns the corner and sees Blob feasting on her torso. Blob meets his end when Hank Pym picks him up and bites his head off, then spitting it out and dropping Blob from a very high distance.
I mean…it’s gratuitous. It’s unnerving.
It’s Rated T for Teen.
Now Ultimatum is not the best comic book out there. It’s not one of Jeph Loeb’s best. That’s on the other side of the Marvel/DC aisle:
And that’s just my opinion. But that is a great story.
So where does that leave Ultimatum? Well, I read it out of morbid curiosity. I think we all do that from time to time. But this is a unique story that shows the demise of a good portion of the Marvel Earthly heroes. If you’re curious and didn’t see my [SPOILERS] as a bad thing, I encourage you to seek it out, borrow it from a friend. If you’re not curious, well the good news is that there are a lot of comics out there to scratch almost any itch you might have. Go to your local comic book store, tell them where your interests lie, and then listen and honestly consider their recommendations.
It’s a big beautiful world of comics out there, kids. Go get you some.
Well I did it. I went and saw the new Fantastic Four movie.
Directory Josh Trank (Chronicles) did the movie no favors on Thursday when he tweeted, and later deleted, the following (caught via screen grab for your benefit):
The appropriate response to this can only be:
Why would you distance yourself from the movie unless you want to come off as a bitter, petulant child? It’s sour grapes, in my opinion. But maybe that’s how Hollyweird works…try to wash the hands of a negatively-perceived project in hopes of saving face. I just don’t know.
Furthermore, from Trank’s own mouth in a recent episode of Kevin Smith’s Fatman on Batman, he said he didn’t follow all of the hype around Chronicle as it neared its release. He even had to be told that his movie was Number 1 at the box office.
Now Chronicle and Fantastic Four are two very different beasts. One is an original title. It’s exactly the same in the comic book world. If Trank had written (with Max Landis, btw) Chronicle for Image Comics or IDW, Dark Horse, etc, it falls under the Creator Controlled parameters, and he can do with it as he pleased.
But Fantastic Four is not Chronicle. Fantastic Four is a Marvel-owned entity whose cinematic rights belong to 20th Century Fox. And while a script was submitted and either approved or altered, that script has to meet the overall vision of the studio, much like a comic book has to stay within the guidelines of the publisher’s direction.
I say all of that because there were reports out Friday that indicated Fox made one or several moves, ranging from pre-production cuts of three tent-pole action sequences to keeping Trank away from post-production as the film’s third act was being edited.
So were Trank’s accusations accurate? Possibly. Was this a PR nightmare for a film already struggling to gain ground in a saturated comic book movie world, after two lackluster (not blockbuster) movies set around the same characters? Absolutely.
And here’s the biggest problem – the movie isn’t horrible. Confidence-inspiring, aren’t I? Look, I know it has a lower Rotten Tomatoes score than Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. But this is how I would describe most of the Rotten Tomatoes users, if Bat-ffleck didn’t already beat me to it (around the 20-second mark):
Yeah – I went there. Look – if you’re going to rely on someone from the internet to tell you what to think about movies, you probably don’t listen to my show. I don’t think you’ll ever find me telling you NOT to go watch or read something (well, if you can avoid Twilight…I still recommend doing that).
**POSSIBLE SPOILERS BELOW – READ AT YOUR OWN RISK**
I thought the movie was well-cast. I thought there was some good chemistry there. And my only concern with the timeline of the movie was that Sue Storm didn’t really know Ben Grimm much at all before the transformation. Victor von Doom was still an angry genius, not a blogger. The Storm family made sense, and you got a bit of feeling of Johnny’s unwillingness to participate. He felt that because he wasn’t a science nerd like Sue, that he didn’t have as much attention as his adoptive sister. So, like many teenagers, he acted out.
I admit I was not put off by the ages of the main characters…the “youth movement” per se. Reed Richards and Ben Grimm being friends since the third grade made plenty of sense. I do wish that there was something for Jamie Bell’s Ben Grimm to do at the Baxter Institute, as I felt maybe his presence in the building of the device may have created some bond between him and Kate Mara’s Sue Storm.
Much like the first Fantastic Four movie in 2005, they can’t complete the project without Doom. But the aspects of the movie and the transformation of the characters are a direct result of Toby Kebbell’s character’s hubris and the curious nature of exploration.
It is the third act that has largely been targeted as a reason for the movie’s negative reviews. I don’t know what changes were made from Trank’s “fantastic version.” I will say that the third act and the climactic battle did seem a bit rushed. It’s odd, as the film is only 100 minutes, and many superhero movies are going two hours and beyond. I felt like there could have been a bit more in that third act. But I digress.
Now – was the movie perfect? No. Was it great? No. Was it better than most of the reviews you’ll see? I think so. Am I an eternal optimist always looking at the sunniest side? Not usually. But I think that this movie has had an uphill battle since it was announced, so I’m not surprised that the reviews coming back have been negative.
If you can save a few bucks by taking in a matinee showing, I say that’s the way to go. And don’t forget that I have a Fantastic Four movie contest going on. If you go to the show, post a picture of your ticket or ticket stubs or e-ticket to the Nerds United Facebook Page and you’ll be entered in a drawing to win one of two prizes. First Prize is an autographed copy of the first volume of Saga. Second place is the first four “issues” of Magicians Must Die autographed by my friend, artist, and Episode 37 guest Jay Peteranetz.
Call them consolation prizes if you want – a little something for sitting through Fantastic Four. But if you have spent time reading all of the other FF reviews, I hope you made it through this one. Thanks for reading. Comment below or on Facebook. Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or Pod Directory. And I’ll see you next time in the Nerd Dome.
Marvel’s Ant-Man opening night. My friend Mike (go back to Episode 9 for a refresher) and I went to check out Marvel Studio’s latest big screen adventure featuring its smallest hero. And then we decided to talk about it afterwards. That conversation was going so great, I halted it mid-thought and said “let’s record this for the podcast.”
So here we are, talking about Ant-Man and more nerdy topics at 11pm on a Friday night while I’m driving through Southern Illinois. Tons of laughs and just a great conversation with a longtime friend about nerdy stuff.
Michael B Jordan wrote an enlightening letter to the Internet, particularly those who disagree with his being cast as Johnny Storm in this summer’s Fantastic Four.
I can’t sit here and say I had been completely on board with this since Day One. I believe I said I’d judge after watching the performance. The problem with that plan was that early on, I wasn’t even sure I’d watch the movie. I, like many, judged based purely on a cast…a cast that, from top to bottom, I was either unfamiliar with or underwhelmed by. Going in, Kate Mara was really the only name I knew. And it was “We Are Marshall” and “Shooter,” two drastically different tones of movie, in which I had seen her previously. I also understand she’s quite good on Netflix’ “House of Cards,” but that is not a show I have taken the time to sit down and watch.
So I took the “wait and see” approach.
And I’m glad I did, because what I have seen was far better than what I envisioned (which is why I’m over here typing on a computer and Josh Trank makes movies). The trailer restored some enthusiasm. This movie will not be like the previous Fantastic Four movies. In fact, many of the claims out there are that this version is less a comic book adaptation and more of a sci-fi flick.
Back to the topic at hand, that of the decision to cast Jordan (a black man) as Johnny Storm (traditionally a blond haired, blue eyed, white man). Funny thing about fanboys…they we take this stuff very seriously. And in doing so, they used the power of the Internet (and in many cases, anonymity) to unleash their collective disappointment rage to create controversy out of a non-issue.
Think of it this way. Chris Evans (now beloved Captain America) was once The Human Torch.
Granted…that was in 2005. It was the early days of social media. And Internet tough guys…(no, I’m keeping that) Internet tough guys maybe weren’t so tough.
So it was surprising when Michael B Jordan answered his critics earlier this week with a letter he penned, accompanying the newly released image of himself as The Human Torch. It was surprising because it’s not done. Many times, I think, the status quo is to “let the performance speak for itself.” It’s not Hollywood’s nature to respond to fan backlash. But I think this was the right move.
Here’s are two excerpts from Jordan’s letter:
“This is a family movie about four friends—two of whom are myself and Kate Mara as my adopted sister—who are brought together by a series of unfortunate events to create unity and a team. That’s the message of the movie, if people can just allow themselves to see it.”
“To the trolls on the Internet, I want to say: Get your head out of the computer. Go outside and walk around. Look at the people walking next to you. Look at your friends’ friends and who they’re interacting with. And just understand this is the world we live in. It’s okay to like it.”
Hear that, trolls? You have been called out by name! It’s time to put away the petty differences and embrace this world in which we live. I am slowly doing this myself as I open my mind and heart to new things.