This week Marvel announced that their new Black Panther title, dropping next spring, would be drawn by Brian Stelfreeze and, more importantly to many, penned by Ta-Nehisi Coates. For those of you unfamiliar with the latter Coates was at one point most well-known for his contributions to The Atlantic, in particular the contentious “The Case for Reparations”. More recently, however, a significant amount of attention has been given to his second published book, Between the World and Me, which was released just this past July.
The various news outlets that have covered this story, those dedicated to comic book journalism and otherwise, have taken note of the fact that both Coates and Stelfreeze are African-American. While the character himself hails from the fictional African nation of Wakanda he is nonetheless Black, and many have praised the publisher for allowing top-of-their-game, Black creators to take the reins of the person soon to be their most famous Black hero [due to his appearance in the upcoming film Captain America: Civil War].
This announcement comes, while not necessarily hot on the heels of, soon after Marvel breaking the news that the latest character to hold their own Hulk title will be Amadeus Cho. A Korean-American character and one of the smartest people on the planet despite his years, his adventures were also given to another match made in comic book A-list heaven. Writer Greg Pak and artist Frank Cho are both Korean-Americans themselves, with the former being of mixed descent. In the very same vein as next year’s Black Panther this December’s Totally Awesome Hulk bears a creative team that has a lot racially, as well as culturally, in this case, in common with their book’s titular character. Continue reading
Posted in comics, feminism, media, race, religion, writing
Tagged artist, Black Panther, Brian Stelfreeze, Chelsea Cain, comic books, creator, DC, diversity, Felipe Smith, G. Willow Wilson, Gene Luen Yang, Ghetto, ghettoization, Grek Pak, Marvel, race, representation, stepping stone, Steve Orlando, Ta-Nehisi Coates, voices, writing
I’ve been waiting for this issue to come around since Ms. Marvel first hit local comic book stores roughly two years ago. Kamala Khan fights crime under the moniker that once belongs to Carol Danvers, and idolizes her to the point that the first ever usage of her powers was actually to transform into the blonde, blue-eyed superwoman. While she’s since realized a lot about her own identity as a hero [and as a person] the fateful meeting between the two is nonetheless a momentous event.
If only it wasn’t being overshadowed by, well, the end of the world.
That’s not to say that it’s being poorly handled, only that this isn’t the way many imagined the two would see each other face to face for the first time. Kamala sees Carol at what is hands-down the lowest point of her short career in vigilanteism. The world is, as mentioned, ending, but more importantly to her Jersey City is in danger. That’s only compounded by the fact that her brother has been kidnapped by her “ex-crush” AKA Kamran. And you thought your teen years were overwhelming. Continue reading
Posted in art, comics, review, writing
Tagged 17, Aamir, Adrian Alphona, art, brother, Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers, character, comics, diversity, end of the world, family, finally, G. Willow Wilson, heartbreak, Ian Herring, Inhuman, Joe Caramagna, Kaboom, Kamala Khan, Kamran, Kilowatt, Last Days, Marvel, Ms. Marvel, review, Sana Amanat, Secret Wars, Terrigen Mist, villain, why is Captain Marvel's costume gray
The amount that’s going on today, let alone just this week, has been overwhelming. From the Pan Am Games starting tonight here in Toronto [which we only care about more than you do because it directly
affects inconveniences our lives] to, as mentioned in the title, the second day of Comic-Con International in San Diego to the Confederate Flag being taken down from the South Carolina Capitol grounds.
I need to take a short paragraph just to state how immensely important this is for America, and the only reason I’m not covering it today is because I don’t want add what few drops I have to offer to an already overflowing new cycle. That being said, for any who are further interested in the topic of the Confederate flag and all it stands for I have a few articles that are over 150 years old for you to look over. Enjoy.
To get to the actual content of this post allow me to inform everyone that I am all about Archie Comics. I dug them before middle school, when my dad bought me sixty or so assorted digests and double digests at a garage sale, and I love them now years after having misplaced every single one. To put that more simply I have been into tales about a group of all-American teenagers before and after my actual teen years. Considering the fact that they’ve been around for almost three quarters of a century the titular Archie and the other residents of Riverdale have managed to perform the not unimpressive feat of telling timeless stories that appeal to generation after generation.
The thing is, a rolling stone gathers no moss and all that.
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the publisher’s Chief Creative Officer, has been making strides to ensure that the world doesn’t forget about Archie Andrews. Non-comics-obsessives may not be aware of Afterlife With Archie, a series that he is writing himself which features the dead rising and the gang doing what they have to not to get eaten. Art by the immensely talented Franco Francavilla [who also illustrated the cover on the right] aside it’s good, with conventional tropes being carried out by characters we know like the backs of our hands. Crossovers with other franchises include Glee, Predator, and, somehow, Sharknado. Anywhere teens could potentially be found has the potential to host Betty, Jughead, Dilton, and the rest of them- Continue reading
Posted in America, art, comics, race, television
Tagged Afterlife with Archie, Archie, Archie Comics, Betty, Cast, characters, Chuck, Comic-Con, CW, diversity, Fiona Staples, Jughead, Kevin Keller, Maria Rodriguez, Mark Waid, Nancy, non-white, race, Raj Patel, Reggie, Riverdale, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Trev Smith, TV, Veronica, white
So . . . Secret Wars. I’m sure there are a number of articles out there that could explain what exactly this event is to those new to the medium, but I’m going to try to do it in as few sentences as possible. Basically multiple earths have been colliding with and destroying one another. The last two earths to play interstellar chicken are Earth 616 [the primary Marvel universe] and Earth 1610 [the Ultimate Marvel universe].
That’s pretty much all the context you need, honestly, because what you should really be focusing on is that the world is ending. The tagline to the event as it started out was “Everything Dies” and the Last Days issues for a number of Marvel titles concern how the characters we know and love will spend what time they have left. Throughout the past fifteen issues we’ve seen Kamala Khan own her identity as a superhero; it goes without saying how she plans on facing the apocalypse.
For the Illuminati, a shadowy group of Marvel’s brightest and most powerful, absolutely everything has been counting down to this final incursion. For Ms. Marvel recent events are also coming to a head as her falling for and subsequent falling out with Kamran has left her in a pretty dark place. Heartbreak plays an enormous role in the life of the average teen and she even admits that it’s “affecting [her] work” to a listening
bartender hot dog stand vendor.
With another planet looming above Manhattan all that is soon washed away as Kamala is reminded that she has another city entirely to protect. She directs Bruno and others to Cole Academic High School and then tends to her number one priority: her parents. Continue reading
Posted in art, comics, review, writing, Youth
Tagged 16, Aamir, Adrian Alphona, art, brother, Bruno, character, comics, crush, diversity, end of the world, family, G. Willow Wilson, heartbreak, hipster viking, Ian Herring, Joe Caramagna, Kamala Khan, Kamran, Last Days, Loki, Marvel, Ms. Marvel, review, Sana Amanat, Secret Wars, villain, ward
So ends the three-issue story arc “Crushed” and any semblance of a relationship that Kamala Khan and family friend [not cousin/blood relative] Kamran once had, not with a bang but with a helping hand. Let me backtrack a little-
Really, this plot in this issue is fairly simple. As I mentioned pretty explicitly in my last review the newest character to be introduced is bad news, his closeness with our heroine seemingly acting as a way for him to more easily serve his master, Lineage. That’s where things get a little less simple, so I suppose I should backtrack yet again and try to explain what’s been happening outside of Jersey City for those of you who are only reading this book out of Marvel’s many, many titles.
To start with, on the recap page you may have noticed the final line: “These events take place between Inhuman #14 and the Inhuman Annual.” Continue reading
Posted in art, comics, relationships, review, writing
Tagged 15, Aamir, art, Bruno, character, comics, coup, Crushed, diversity, friendship, G. Willow Wilson, Ian Herring, Inhuman, Joe Caramagna, Kaboom, Kamala Khan, Kamran, Lineage, Marvel, Medusa, minority, Ms. Marvel, review, Sana Amanat, she isn't, Takeshi Miyazawa, villain
Yeah, I saw Age of Ultron exactly a week ago. Yes, keeping myself from watching as much promotional material as possible prior to seeing it actually improved my viewing experience immensely. Oh, and that being said I did enjoy it, thank you for asking. Not a perfect film by any means, but still pretty good.
To back up the title of this post allow me to reveal that I spend at least three digits of dollars worth of comic books every month, and at least 90% of that money goes to Marvel Comics. As a company they own most of my favourite characters and are telling the stories I’m most interested in. I think “fanboy” goes a little too far, but you cut those last three letters off and I’ll wave that flag with a moderate amount of enthusiasm.
Having gotten that out of the way it should go without saying that even when they’re pretty bad [I’m looking at you, Iron Man 2] I still enjoy them. I know for a fact what movies I’m watching out to 2019, which is something I’ve never been able to say before. With the way the hype train has been rolling on towards the third installment in the Avengers film franchise there are still times when I need to pump the brakes [trains have brakes, right?] and remember something-
Three hunky White Chrises.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is incredibly White [I know there’s something you want to bring up, fellow Age of Ultron viewers, and I’ll get to that closer to the end]- Continue reading
Posted in comics, film, race
Tagged Anthony Mackie, Aquaman, avengers, black, comic books, comics, Cyborg, DC, diversity, Don Cheadle, Earth's Mightiest, film, Green Lantern, Jason Momoa, John Stewart, Marvel, MCU, race, Ray Fisher, representation, Suicide Squad, Warner Bros., white
Congratulations Are In Order
First thing’s first, I’d like to extend all the congratulations in the world to Em Liu of Fiction Diversity for having one of her articles hosted on The Hooded Utilitarian. This is thrilling to me for a number of reasons, listed in no particular order: she’s someone I follow and who I’ve had conversations with between our two blogs , The Hooded Utilitarian is one of my go-to places for pop culture critique on the internet, and the topic she wrote on is one that is very near and dear to my own heart, namely: “Hollywood’s (Real) Problem with the Asian Male”.
I very, very strongly recommend that you read it in its entirety, because with the sole exception of one small portion I’ll be addressing I believe it to be the gospel truth. If you still absolutely refuse to for some absurd reason, and I’m going to ask you to check it out again before moving on . . . the post catalogues the portrayal of Asian men in American cinema, specifically in terms of their desirability. It was particularly eye-opening to me in that one of the earliest examples goes back to the late 1950s with The Crimson Kimono [poster on the right, obviously].
After elaborating on how things have mostly been downhill from there, Liu takes care not to shy away from the fact that one of the cultural reactions to this trend has been “a troubling emphasis on the need for the Asian male to simply ‘get the girl‘ onscreen.” Allow me to take a brief, and very relevant segue to discuss how strongly that idea resounds with me, and how badly I once wanted [and oftentimes still do want] this.
The Thirst Is Real [Leonard Nam Should Be In More Stuff]
I very vividly remember being in my early teens and watching a trailer for 2004’s The Perfect Score-
To stop you before you get there, yes, it is funny that Chris Evans [aka Captain America] and Scarlett Johansson [aka Black Widow] appear together years before their stints in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And yes, in her dream sequence she does imagine becoming a leatherclad ass-kicker, life is weird, isn’t it? Carrying on- Continue reading
Posted in Asia, feminism, language, race, relationships, sex
Tagged asian, badass, Brian McBrian, capable, competent, competition, conquest, desirable, diversity, Fast Five, Fiction Diversity, film, Gal Gadot, Gisele, Han, Hollywood, Leonardo Nam, male, male gaze, relationships, representation, sexuality, Sung Kang