What I Learned – October 16th

This week’s edition is super deluxe with photos, overworking, heart eyes emojis and flames. I loiter in the Javitz Center for New York Comic Con, spend some cash flexing, pull off a few Hail Mary shoots battle a cold and win.

Friday

Day one of New York Comic Con starts with me basically getting wide eyed and overwhelmed. I bought these tickets back in May and here we are, deep in the heart of fall, walking around in a place that I’ve come to know quite well. The show gets bigger every year and this year, by some small miracle, isn’t as crowded. The reason is simple, The Walking Dead have a massive event at MSG and half the thirst traps are there and not at the con.We hit a panel on horror books and during the conversation, she puts her head on my shoulder and I don’t know it’s just…it’s the bees knees.

basically im schmidt

I wind up buying some t-shirts early because, while everyone knows Sunday is the shopping day, I know the shirts in my size will sell out fast. I wind up with an SSR shirt from Marvel, an Agent Carter shirt designed for We Love Fine along with a We Love Fine Toothless tee for Waffle.  I drift back and we head out…but first…I buy my first ever Comic Con branded tee. I need more tees like I need holes in my head. I race to Artist Alley where the delightful Ant Lucia signs my copy of Bombshells #2; I miss Marguerite Bennett and forget to bring my Robbi Rodriquez books but there’s always another day. I pick up and get a signed Kevin Wada Catwoman.

I adore that man and want to be friends.

Saturday

It’s day two of New York Comic Con and Waffle and I are on a tear. So far, we’ve hit early morning panels for ABC Family (soon to be Freeform) screening and panel for Shadowhunters.It’s just as you imagined; attractive teens in impossible situations winning and looking attractive doing it. I’m glad I bring my telephoto lens today, despite the incredibly heavy bag and wind up taking some great photos. Followed by that, we watch some of panel for The Chronicles of Shannara and I take a good photos of Manu Bennett and marvel at the fact that Terry Brooks and Mercedes Lackey basically birthed my love of fantasy. Afterwards, super cool Shadowhunter gear in tow, we wind up on the show floor where I basically go completely batshit insane and pick up shirts and loot crates and Marvel Collector Corps boxes. It’s like reverse Christmas but for me.

We sit in on a pilot screening of a series called Containment…which makes us scream FOUR TO SIX FEET every few minutes because viruses and ew.

It’s funny to think how Waffle and I have fallen into an easy rhythm and maybe it’s because I’m slightly delirious from weird sleep habits but it feels like we’re starting over in a strange way.

I could also be making shit up because I’m an idealist and still believe. We get Five Guys for dinner and I stare at her like she’s the most miraculous thing ever. She is.

I have another one of those weird sense dreams and wind up thinking the universe is working in my favor.

basically the whole weekend

Sunday

The finale. I hit Artist Alley early and get Valentine De Landro’s signature on Bitch Planet one, Marguerite on Bombshells #2, Phil Noto on my Black Widow TB,  miss out on Terry Dodson for Princess Leia 1, miss Stacey Lee for Silk 1, and Azceta for Outcast one but it’s okay because I can’t keep running around Artist Alley and leave Waffle with the kids. So we hit the floor and split up; I get another set of Marvel boxes, miss out on the Funko NYCC exclusive tickets for a Pop Game of Thrones Iron Throne, wind up getting a Jack Skellington with Vampire Teddy from Waffle, get an Ant Man Collector Box (meh it’s okay) Hit one panel that I really wanted to go to, The Women of Marvel and am deeply inspired to do more. I believe I’ll be there soon. I’ve always wanted to work there to be honest and I think it’s the fact that I’m so close to things that I want that I believe I can have them, they are mine and that they are due to me.

there’s a reason why I like this guy

Monday

I end up at work wearing the Wonder Woman cap I picked up and pretend to be atleast fifty percent more powerful than my usual 25 percent so I’m actually running at 75%. Fires are everywhere and I have to run out for a shoot on location with animals.

YES.

Only, it doesn’t work out that way because communication breakdown.

Consolation prize?

Co-worker got Doughnuttery and them donuts are tasty as fuck.

Tuesday

The hits keep on coming as we steamroll through a news day, I run some budgets and I basically start preparing for the gross inevitability of the cold I’ve been fighting to finally win. I start preparing for a shoot on Wednesday in a designer store and realize, I basically do alot and that’s pretty cool.I spend the last two days talking non-stop to Waffle who’s on vacation.

mood forever

Wednesday:

I start early  and wind up in Little Italy covering the pre-launch of a store called Noah. The founder was the creative director for Supreme and I wind up staring at really nice things and listening to a super chill dude talk about how kids are smarter than we give them credit for, it just looks like they’re doing stupid shit because we have old people eyes.

still get off my lawn

I wind up back in the office where we have to prepare for another field shoot, I may have a celebrity in one room but rap time is a real thing. Go figure.

I leave late and wind up Midtown Comics like, four days ago I wasn’t at Comic Con and pick up a bunch of titles to begin the madness next year.

I get home, take a cough syrup bath and knock out.

Thursday

Imagine the longest day.

Now extend it.

So we were basically doing one thing and then wound up doing three things and I’ve gotta tell you, it was elegant as fuck to watch me, Tits McGee running up and down the hall with gear to move from one studio to the other because sometimes interns aren’t the smartest creatures on the production planet.

I was an intern once but I also knew a) when to act, b) act like I knew what I was doing c) get out of the way of the people who knew what they were doing. There’s nothing more heartbreakingly tragic than an intern who doesn’t have basic common sense or the ability to act like they know what the fuck is going on. If you’re someone who’s looking to get an internship, or start working on things, you need to just take a few deep breaths and get your head in the game. You’ve got to make sure you can fake it til you make it, okay?

It’s just really irksome when you basically just blink a lot and watch people running around to build a set and you’re just…there…

Anyways, it gets done and I have to drink more cough syrup to continue my bumpy road back to 75% operational level so I trudge off from work well after my appointed time to leave and get home just as Grey’s Anatomy ends. Tumblr, you never cease to amaze me because them recaps…girl…let me tell you…Callie…you….you’re dating a girl named Penny and you bring her to mutual friend dinner like…off the rip? Naw. You can’t do that.

https://vine.co/v/eE2h2xKdQwe/embed/simplehttps://platform.vine.co/static/scripts/embed.js

Also, SHONDA HOW COULD YOU DO THAT TO MEREDITH I MEAN THAT’S SOME COLD BLOODED SHIT RIGHT THERE ALSO ARIZONA YOU NEED TO GET HER BACK BECAUSE TRUE LOVE AND ALL THAT AND I HAVE ALOT OF FEELINGS SOMEONE SEND HELP.

Friday

Sorta low key sorta chilled but still wound up doing work because that’s what I do. I get the car and play Uber for Waffle. I pull up, blaring some music (that new Demi Lovato ain’t bad) and I hand over the aux cable…which she sets fire to. It takes everything in me to not mash my face into her neck and just be like, let me love you all over again.

We wind up at Target where she basically takes advantage of my Uberness and picked up a few things. Again, I may just live in crazyville in my head and basically had heart emojis but I did see a lot of blushing. My internal monolog sounds like this:

Irony being what it is, we wind up seeing two people who we worked with who basically knew we were a thing..or at least had suspicions…and their reactions were amazing. It’s been quite some time since we’ve been spotted in the wild and of course it happens when we’re in the place that started it, not to mention that it was in full view of people who are probably still whispering and wondering if we’re together. I keep having these strange super sensory dreams and they’re all connected and it feels like the will of the universe is finally working in my favor.

I have a great job, a chance to really grow and evolve and then there’s this. It’s been the longest strangest most bizarre week of the year and I’m here for all of it. There’s something about October that is filled with magic. It’s not the pumpkins or spiced lattes or even the fucking season change, it’s just the way the universe and I have worked over the past few years. Waffle and I got together on Halloween, my favorite time of year and since then I get a little wistful for that moment when a spark became a fire and we just burned bright. I like the idea of the phoenix. I like the idea of doing it all over again, better, stronger, braver.

I sneak pictures while we’re at, of all romantic places, Buffalo Wild Wings and make strange small talk about futures while trying to not stare at each other. There’s only a small table between us but it’s a million miles and a dozen people in the entirety of the restaurant but we’re just there and it felt like it was going to be alright.

We are the same people, scarred and changed by whatever it is that people go through and we’re still bumping into each other the way you do when you’re home in the dark. It’s strange and familiar and it’s comforting, scary but it makes things bearable when you know that there’s a light right there that you can flip any time and see the person standing there, just as confused as you are as to why it took so long to find that in the first place.

On the drive home, she takes over the AUX and we’re laughing and joking and just being in the moment and I swear I wanted to kiss her and I think she would’ve let me. I tested the waters with a well time joke about her smile and the blush…

total sidebar, this movie was the first one to accurately describe what it is when you see a girl and just get stupid faced

I drop her off and tell her I’ll text her when I’m home and wind up blurting out love you and she smirked and nodded.

wedding vows forever

So I guess you could say this week was one for the record books.

Now universe, do your thing.

 

Why Visibility Matters

imvisible peggy

The above is a gif from the Agent Carter episode “Sin To Err” where while under arrest, Peggy basically lays into her SSR coworkers and tells them to fuck off and die.

Ok maybe not but she should’ve because that’s the show I’ve made up in my head.

In the episode, she highlights the bigger problem in the real world where women weren’t useful once the world was done with them, the other (LGTB, disabled people of color) were undesirable and accepting that fate was all you can do. On a larger scale, Peggy’s entire dismantling of her peers and supervisor reflects the current trend in comics, movies and television where the invisible are no longer content with being unseen and have taken matters into their own hands with incredible results. Last week, following the splintering of the Spiderverse, comic book readers were treated to various launches of an army of Spider people, Spider-Gwen (the resurrected Gwen Stacey) Silk (the first Asian-American Spiderwoman Cindy Moon) and the continuation of biracial fan favorite Miles Morales. They contend with Peter’s existing foes, their own personal problems and the ramifications of Peter’s actions leading up to their own journeys as part of the Spiderclan. These characters reflect the readers who’ve been buying comics for years; we aren’t all white boys who live in our parent’s basement playing World of Warcraft with limited communication skills.

Some of us are Puerto Rican women who live at home, work, play video games, have active social lives and run hilarious tumblr accounts.

Some of us are African American girls who’ve grown up drawing our favorite anime characters in the margins of our math homework.

These characters are the people who read their stories and it couldn’t be more amazing time to be a nerd who reads funny books.

Another practical outfit

 

A practical outfit

fuck yeah you are Miles

We need these images in popular culture so that we know we count, we matter, we exist in the world. A reader from last night’s post pointed out that comics were created by xenophobic men in a time where racial tensions were high and that it’s important that these things change. (hi by the way!) It totally is.

Consider, IF the creators of the classics were so xenophobic, racist and misogynistic as we believe them to be, then we wouldn’t have Jean Grey or Janet Van Dyne as founding members of one of the longest lasting super teams in comics (X-Men and The Avengers respectively). Kurt Wagner (Nightcrawler) wouldn’t represent the other the way he does. Storm wouldn’t have been a super powered god. Wonder Woman was actually designed as a feminist icon, by a man, years before the movement was widely adapted. Comic books allowed progressive minded individuals an outlet to create an idealized world, a world of diversity (admittedly limited, Black Panther was steeped in racial tropes while Wonder Woman suffered years in weird bondage and fetish tropes) and where anyone could be a hero. It was seen as an idealized childhood medium, something that entertained kids for 10 cents but opened their eyes to the possibility of something more.

That need to see yourself reflected in your programming and entertainment is universal. It can change your world view, the way you see yourself and put you on a new path.

Because she saw Nichelle Nichols in Star Trek

 

Last night, Once Upon a Time launched season 4B and the dialogue between the widely shipped duo of Regina Mills (Evil Queen) and Emma Swan (The Savior) sounded like it was taken out of the pages of a femslash fan fiction entry. Swan Queen, as the shippers have dubbed them, sent the fan base into a frenzy with heart eyes and what seemed to be less than plutonic touches. Why does it matter that in 2015, two women are more than friends? Because there are lesbians and bisexual women in the world who need to know that they matter, that their feelings are valid and that television won’t shy away from these feelings.

first of all how dare you

 

second of all how dare you also

please tag your hair and outfit porn

(gifs taken from The Queen And Her Sheriff)

While the above relationship isn’t canon (as in, active relationship) their dynamic reads verbatim from every classic rom com trope ever conceived, making Swan Queen shippers point out that had Emma been Emmett she and Regina would’ve been married by now. Sorta like how Caskett (Richard Castle and Kate Beckett) are ultra super canon and solving murders of the week like the couple on Hart To Hart. They are right to demand some kind of gay or lesbian representation about finding your happy ending because the visibility of women who express themselves romantically is limited to sweeps, slow ratings or fan fiction; mainstream television will showcase a lead as a gay or lesbian character and saddle them with a tired coming out story, homophobic family or wind up dead. On cable, the diversity is higher and LGBTQ characters aren’t as marginalized but let’s face it, cable doesn’t give a fuck. Notable same sex canon as hell pairings include Root and Shaw (Person of Interest) Clarke and Lexa (The 100) Brittany and Santana (Glee) Callie and Arizona (Grey’s Anatomy) and while they’re on network TV, there was a massive push by Clexa, Root X Shaw and Brittana shippers to make the pairing happen. The writers built the arcs in to see what would happen, essentially queer baiting an audience who otherwise may not have watched the show up until they saw someone who was like them on screen. Queer baiting is a mean trick but it also shows that someone in the writers room is trying to make change happen. They want to make a part of their audience seen on screen, seen as normally as they see everyone else.

Calzona fans…well…you guys…I mean…*ugly cries* They’re gonna work out.

Starz original series Black Sails had the pairing of Max and Eleanor (now Max and Anne Bonney) universally feared pirate Captain Flynt was revealed as gay (I’d argue bisexual but, whatever) in the same way they happily discuss murder and rum. IT IS A NON ISSUE. Network makes the argument that if someone is an other they have to have a long rough journey to acceptance. Black Sails argues that being a pirate is tough, who you sleep with is irrelevant. Unless they can be used as leverage in which case they don’t give a shit if it’s a man or a woman. Spartacus featured same sex couples as regularly as they featured the bloody arena fight of the week.

Why does this matter when we have cable? It matters because having cable or satellite isn’t the answer to solving the visibility crisis, creators who are eager to tell the story are and outlets willing to tell them. It’s still a television show that is widely embraced by the nation, it still has the power to reach to millions of people in a way that people who may want answers or have questions. It may rot your brain but it also asks you to look deeper, to understand and to learn more.

I have cable.

The Swan Queen pairing sticks out because the fandoms that support Emma with Captain Hook (Captain Swan) and Regina with Robin Hood (Outlaw Queen) have verbally attacked SQ shippers for their want of a same-sex paring. They have taken to social media and bombarded the cast with their homophobic rhetoric while harassing fans online with some of the most childish tirades about why ‘their ship is stupid’. Super eloquent. They’ve seen what change can do and it’s terrifying to them, proof that the invisible is being seen and heard. It sticks out because it’s the story of two women, who from the beginning seem completely at odds with one another, much in the way two mismatched leads are thrown together then suddenly work like magic (PUNS!) when needed.

The closest SQ and LGBTQ fans got to a possible lesbian pairing was  Mulan’s blossoming feelings for Princess Aurora (Sleeping Warrior) which was quickly swept under the rug (also aired during sweeps HA!) when Aurora revealed she was pregnant and in response Mulan ran off to the forest never to be heard from again. Which is why visibility matters; an LGBTQ individual struggling to identify themselves in the world will find something within the lines of the dialogue, in the scenes, in the story and find comfort that their feelings aren’t wrong. They need to see themselves the way other people see themselves regularly.

Aurora, asking the tough questions

 

Mulan giving life.

(gifs from Pirate and Savior)

The Walking Dead has been taking more and more cues from their source material with season with the introduction of gay couple Eric and Aaron in last week’s episode. Naturally, Twitter erupted with collective vomiting noises at the sight of the two men kissing after being reunited.

from issue 72 of The Walking Dead

Nevermind that the book has been out for ten plus years, that the cast is as racially diverse as it’s been for the most part (I miss you Ty…not so much you Bob but that’s a whole other post) The crew thus far consists of a lesbian in Tara Chambler (who’s girlfriend for 2.2 seconds was shot in the head by a 10 year old sociopath, natch) former lawyer turn samurai Michonne, the survivor GAWD Glenn Rhee and Army Reservist Rosita; a rag tag group of pan ethnic survivors killing walkers without questioning loyalties and somehow managing to stay together.  The THOUGHT that two men could still be together riding shitshow zombie wave with comfort makes you sick I just…I can’t. In last night’s episode, the ‘mayor’ of the survivor colony Alexandria is a woman named Deanna Monroe; in the book it’s a black man named Douglas Monroe. A quick gender swap (fascinating) but still worth noting because the fact that leadership experience is valued over gender is important. The last time the crew met with male leaders of similar sounding utopias one was a cannibal and the other was a maniac hellbent on revenge.

LET ME REPEAT: A SHOW THAT HAD A BABY IN PERIL, NEARLY RAPED A FOURTEEN YEAR OLD BOY, HAS ZOMBIE KILL OF THE WEEK AND ROUTINELY COVERS IT’S CHARACTERS IN BLOOD DREW THE IRE OF IDIOTS EVERYWHERE WHEN TWO DUDES KISSED.

This is why diversity matters, why seeing version of other people’s lives matter, why seeing someone you’ve never seen before is important; if you never leave your house, never leave your town or your state, your next best thing is living vicariously through the entertainment. Consider how many states have passed same sex marriage. Some of the change was caused by seeing positive and inclusive characters in a show; they weren’t demons or deviants, they were just people trying to live their lives.

What was once invisible, taboo, dangerous is now being demanded, asked for, created and supplied by consumers and creatives alike. When you have the opportunity to see yourself reflected in the screen in front of you, in the pages before you, in the images around you, you find a form of confidence, comfort, joy and worth that other people take for granted. Many people take their own lives because they are invisible, they are told they do not matter, they aren’t desired in the world.Comic books, movies, tv shows, books can dramatically change that for a person just because they saw themselves in the lines and pages, bold face font as opposed to the margins.

Consider the breakaway success of Fresh Off The Boat. The story of Eddie Huang, the food kingpin, growing up in Orlando during the most critically incredible time in hip hop. A Chinese-Taiwanese American, Huang’s story (loosely based on the memoir of the same name) follows Eddie and his family through the strange suburban streets of Orlando with an essential hip hop soundtrack. It’s the first series since Margaret Cho’s All American Girl to feature an Asian American family in the narrative. I know a lot of Asian American kids who’s stories I’d never seen on screen; we’d grown up together so I know their lives but it’s fascinating to think that as a minority in a minority, your own image doesn’t resonate at all. Asian kids were always the mathletes, goofy swagger- less immigrant, the punching bag but the kids I know, they’re pretty fucking amazing. Jane The Virgin breaks the Hispanic stereotype and lead actress Gina Rodriguez won a Golden Globe for it. We are coming full circle, we are coming to a point where the former, the ignored, the disenfranchised are finding themselves in positions of power and are wisely growing from it. TV and media are powerful forces for change, for conversation and for visibility.

Everybody deserves to have some form of their story told in some medium. They need to know they are important to what makes the human experience and if they don’t see themselves, they should be more than encouraged to create the images that they want to see, that they should see and should be seen.

You are visible, you matter, you count.

Michelle Rodriguez Said What?

 

 

 

hey girl

 

From her breakthrough role in 2000’s Girlfight to this summer’s highly anticipated Furious 7, few women can work consistently in Hollywood the way Michelle Rodriguez can. She’s the tough girl from New Jersey with a swagger reminiscent of an old west gunslinger, a mega-watt smile, wild child personality and unfiltered opinions. Rodriguez made headlines with a very public relationship with British model Cara Delevingne, her yacht adventures with actor Zac Efron after years of casually dodging questions regarding her sexual orientation. She made a valid point that who she had relationships with was none of anyone’s business, one of the few times she’s been able to clearly explain her reasoning behind staying in the closet of sorts.

She’s brash and bold but she’s shown her ignorance in the world of comics pop culture and what visibility, by any means, represents for people of color the LGTBQ community and women.

In the clip, obtained by TMZ (you know, the most reliable place in the world) Rodriguez said that minorities needed to stop taking white superhero roles and called for more creativity from the spectrum. Boiled down, she has a very very small sliver of a point. By race-swapping, gender flipping already characters, Hollywood and comics creators have gotten lazy and appear to be pandering to ever evolving cultural changes. More people want to see themselves as their favorite heroes than see the heroes as they’ve always been drawn. Captain America, now Sam Wilson (The Falcon) accepted the mantle from a downed Steve Rodgers. Comic purists cried foul on the change despite Steve continuing his run in his solo series; All New Captain America has been one of Marvel’s top sellers since it’s launch. When Thor lost the power to wield his hammer, Mjolnir, the hammer found a woman worthy to wield it.  Again, purists cried blood in the streets; like Cap, Thor is continuing his book run with former WWE star CM Punk at the writer’s desk. The are stories being told with new names and new viewpoints and they are being told organically within that world. No one is forcing the change, the change is happening. If you were to translate Michelle’s comment that kind of move does seem like pandering and her rebuttal (included in the TMZ link) shows the actress attempting to back peddle and explain her side but she still fails to understand what she’s saying.

Watch Loud  posted what Rodriguez got wrong about the the race swapping, pointing out the very whitewashed casting of Jake Gyllenhaal as Prince Dastan in the live action movie The Prince of Persia. I’ll let that sink in.

Rodriguez’s point is that you can’t change the perceived racism in race bending a character but she’s wrong in saying that minorities are stealing roles. Roles are being stolen by people who are committed to continuing a widely held belief that what has always been the ‘norm’ is what works. “We’ve always done it this way.”

I sense that some of it is that Rodriguez was passed for roles that she is the archetype for. Fellow Dominican (from New Jersey) Zoe Saldana famously played a blue alien (alongside Rodriguez) in Avatar and is Gamora in Guardians of The Galaxy; tough girls with take no shit attitudes. Rodriguez pushed herself out of Gamora because she doesn’t play the game well while women who land in her lane (tough, no nonsense) continue to be front runners for parts like Captain Marvel, She-Hulk, Wasp and other female superheroes in what’s soon to be a full work schedule for whoever is cast.

There are dozens of writers and creators working tirelessly to create a safe creative space where their characters thrive and live on the pages of comics and in animated series. They are all diverse, they are all inspired to create worlds and they work tirelessly to spread the message that these stories all carry. There are non-white heroes in the pantheon of superhero universe and they have had successful runs and continue to break out as new generations of comic fans actively seek out these stories. Michelle’s co-star, Vin Diesel IS GROOT for god’s sake. An avid nerd, he set out to personally finance the last two Chronicles of Riddick entries and while they were disappointing at the box office, they are movies that were made by a diverse group of people with a diverse enough cast with the goal of telling a story.

Rodriguez forgets her place in the spectrum; as a woman of color in a position of power she has the ability to bring new stories to the table. If she feels that she is fully capable of funding non-white protagonists that don’t jack jobs from obviously struggling white men and women, she needs to get out and find them, she needs to fund those projects. She needs to collaborate with Robert Rodriguez (no relation) and make the super hero movies they want to make, with original characters and people of color in the starring roles. She needs to read more comics, meet more creators, she needs to understand that Cap, Blade, Storm, America Chavez, Helena Bertinnelli, Kate Kane, Carol Danvers, Natasha Romanov can be anyone and they are everyone and if she wants to make a better monster, she needs to use her connections to do so instead of criticizing a system that feeds her. The best way to change things is by climbing into the machine and dismantling it from the inside.

The strange thing is, Michelle doesn’t seem to realize that she’s already IN a superhero movie with Furious 7 and it’s cast of rag tag every person. The cast is literally Dave Chappelle’s Racial Draft lottery and everyone has a skill, everyone has a power, everyone has a responsibility. I like the girl, I do, she’s an outcast who keeps living her life as she wants it but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to defend the actions of someone who doesn’t see their full power when you, as a TRUE outsider, would love a small piece of it.

Perhaps this will be the real takeaway from this micro controversy is the need for Hollywood and creators to find the medium that best suits their needs. Consumers need to be vocal with their wallets when it comes to stories from across the map, whether it’s with comics or with films. We all want to see our stories told to a wider audience and the way we continue to create newer and better material is by supporting the female led action movie, the African American spy, the Asian American superheroes. No one is interested in taking anyone’s job but no one is interested in the same story told with the same faces either.

 

 

Agent Carter: The Best Show You’re Not Watching

Despite having been a key player in the creation of a covert government agency that easily recruits an all star superhero roster, there are no superheroes in the eight episode mid-season series Agent Carter because SHE is the superhero.

my baby shot me dead

Taking place a year after the events of Captain America: The First Avenger, and following the Iron-Man 3 one shot, ABC’s Agent Carter follows Peggy as she navigates a post World War II work force, continuing her work with the SSR but at a smaller capacity.

Like getting lunch orders.

She’s a really athletically gifted coffee girl.

Taking a page from the world built by Mad Men (predating it by a decade) this world explores how difficult it has been for women to have given their all in the war effort only to be asked to return to their proper stations as homemakers. Peggy, in continuing her work, challenges the leadership at every turn, cracking cases before her fellow agents can even open up a notepad to jot a few leads down. Episode one has her contacted by Howard Stark (Tony Stark’s father. Yes. Iron-Man’s dad) to assist with getting to the bottom of a mysterious grand theft of some of his dangerous inventions. Peggy hesitantly agrees to help, seeing as she’s pretty much over being ignored in the work place and she becomes a double agent.

It’s been nearly ten years since the last female led spy series aired on ABC (Alias) and about two years since the last episode of the Maggie Q lead spy series reboot Nikita (which also starred Lyndsy Fonseca currently playing Angie Martinelli) and while shows like Scandal and The Good Wife give us kick ass, cerebral women, it also bogs them down with the trappings of romance as a plot device. The leads are buried by their romantic triangle of the season more often than the crime of the week. For example, in one episode of Scandal Kerry Washington’s Olivia Pope will have traded more barbs with an ex faster than she would trade blows; she verbosely batters her foes with whip smart dialogue, you immediately wish you’d paid more attention in English class. It’s wonderful, really, but sometimes viewers just want a girl who’ll happily bludgeon you with her heel instead of speaking to you because you’re stupid. A character like Pope can work in a world like Peggy’s easily; honestly, I WANT them to have some insane crossover where Olivia uncovers old SSR documents and…wait…back off, that’s my script.

Hey girl, you’re strong and powerful up until a dude charms you a little bit by saying he’s not intimated by how powerful you are.

 

While it’s great to have smart, sexually confident women on television, it’s much better to have a woman who isn’t trapped within the confines of a relationship that potentially defines her almost every week. Watching someone like Peggy punch a man into unconsciousness is pleasing. Watching her use objects around her for the same effect is also pleasing. This show is pleasing. Hayley Atwell is pleasing.

Bye Felipe

 

Atwell shines as the title character, dropping dudes as easily as she drops one-liners. Debuting in the aforementioned Captain America: The First Avenger, Peggy Carter was that girl; the one  you immediately wanted to be friends with, the one who took no shit and the one with flawless lipstick game. Peggy, despite the smaller piece of the larger puzzle, has a knack for seeing the things that ultimately shape her destiny. She saw the potential for Steve Rodgers’ candidacy before the rest of the scientists did; she saw in him something, because of her gender, made him a bigger asset than she was to the cause. Just imagine if the team saw in her what everyone saw in Steve and she became a super soldier. HEY GET AWAY FROM MY SCRIPT.

While Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (that’s a pain in the ass to type) struggled in the first half of the series to establish characters worth caring about (I care mightily for Agent May and Agent Coulson) and to find it’s footing as it launched in the wake of The Avengers and Captain America, Agent Carter immediately gave viewers a reason for investment; it was the backstory TO AoS that was designed to use Carter and her Amanda Waller type of influence in the creation of the Marvelverse as a whole.

If Marvel does this right, Agent Peggy Carter could be the backdrop introduction (albeit limited considering) to the early negotiations for more Vibranium with Wakanda (Black Panther) the research into cosmic defense with Dr. Steven Strange, ultimately recruiting a young Natasha Romanov  from the KGB once the Cold War is over. Peggy makes up for over 70 years of easy to cover story lines to bridge the comics, movies, Netflix series….she’s the Highlander. The One. Her work could be the nexus for everything in the Marvelspace and when you step back and look at the bigger picture, Marvel and ABC has to have the one nerd screaming in the halls about this very concept. We see her in The Winter Soldier and there are things said, things that make you have feelings.

Operation S.I.N, a mini series launched by Marvel January this year follows the further adventuring hijinks of Peggy Carter and science bro Howard Stark set in Europe. There are aliens.

And a bear getting punched.

What it looks like in my head all the time

 

Peggy, for the Marvelverse, is who Wonder Woman SHOULD be for DC. The nexus for good, a beacon of hope and the absolute measure by which the women who wind up in the various organizations hold themselves up to. Imagine young Jean Grey (I’m thinking silver age Marvel here but it also works for the Ultimate X-Men and various reboots etc) finding an old article about Peggy Carter while cleaning out a space in Xavier’s mansion. America Chavez (Young Avengers) wanting to be every bit the hero Peggy would’ve been had she been Captain America. I’m picturing Maria Hill’s goal in life was to helm a team as prolific as the Howling Commandos. Before she met lousy Ted Mosby.

Kids, in the summer of 2012 I met your mother

Kids, in the summer of 2012 I met your mother

Mockingbird on AoS

Mockingbird on AoS

Agent May on AoS

 

There’s a world of female heroes that can trace their ability to work in the comic book world back to Agent Carter.

Or Lady Sif.

Because you can’t pretend Sif wasn’t first.

Lady Sif in Thor: The Dark World

 

 

It’s also important to note that Agent Thirteen, Sharon Carter is……I can’t tell you that.

 

Sharon Carter in Captain America: The Winter Soldier

 

As the show closed out it’s first season run, there was a bit of a glimmer of hope for it’s fate. With any good Marvel title, there is always that closing credits scene and (SPOILER KIDS)

 

 

Dr. Zola welcomes Dr. Faust to a jailhouse Hydra party.

 

 

SO.

 

My theory and hope is that Season 2 will revolve around Peggy’s growing ability to be taken seriously in the office (I mean, as serious as someone will take a woman in the office who punches like thunder) and the discovery of the Winter Soldier program. Consider that Peggy’s era for change would be at the height of the Cold War, during which time the shocking discovery of Bucky Barnes’ MIA status being upgraded to that of WE HAVE BUCKY WE’RE GONNA TURN HIM INTO A SUPER SOLDIER HAHAHA would more than likely be at the forefront of any engaging story. You can easily introduce a cadre of scientists that have actively shaped the Marvelverse being thwarted by Peggy, or even causing waves in other properties linked to their respective histories. I can see Peggy rolling her eyes at Dr. Strange all the while, hoping he can protect their current dimension. I can see Peggy watching the space program develop (completely, unfortunately, ignoring the Fantastic Four because..yeah…) but still being mindful of the ramifications of space exploration; she could have an entire research division that ultimately taps into Rhodes and Danvers’ space pilot program….

If given the chance to grow, Agent Carter could be one of the few shows on television with the foresight (and money) to successfully mine from their comic book resources, connect the MCU to the books and vice versa; Peggy as the earliest Director of SHIELD essentially creates the world we love now.

Don’t you see kids?!

Peggy motherfuckin Carter is comic books badass grandma.

I’m sorry Aunt May…

 

Nobody fresher than my clique

 

 

 

Denzel Washington Is The Punisher, You Just Didn’t Know It

This Friday, super bae Denzel Washington returns to screens in The Equalizer, your standard tough guy R rated action movie designed to woo you back to the movies y’know since you never went back after seeing Guardians of The Galaxy. Now, I love me a good action movie, I love comic book movies, I love Denzel Washington so this is a win win for me but something struck me about the trailer, take a look:

A man with a past who just can’t let injustice fly and proceeds to right the wrongs with all the guns and bombs, protecting an innocent girl from a ruthless violent, vaguely Eastern European criminal? It sounds too comic book-y to be real, then again, Denzel Washington has been playing Marvel Comics vigilante Frank Castle aka The Punisher for the past ten years and no one noticed it.

Behold, the truth behind Denzel as The Punisher and why Hollywood can get this archetype right but Marvel, who owns the title, keeps getting wrong.

2004 Man on Fire

Dakota Fanning is literally a child in this movie and Denzel is her body guard. A quiet man with skills that make him a nightmare for people…oh…wait wrong movie.

There is a great line about his character, Creasey, his art is death. He brings pain and disaster to everyone in his way, the way you’d want Frank Castle to knock the living shit out of everyone in his way. In a stand out scene, he basically straps a dude to a car, drenches him in gasoline and plays a very dangerous game of 20 questions.

A lot of the real heinousness happens in cars in Mexico so, that’s something to look out for.

This is one of the first time where Denzel gets all grim death dangerous and it works. It so works.

2010 The Book of Eli

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKK7LmywKOQ

Sure it didn’t of very well, the ending left people feeling a little let down and then there’s the whole iPod still works in the apocalypse thing but at the heart of it is a guy, just trying to live and protect Mila Kunis and deliver a book way past its due date to the library. Here we see Denzel in true dingy duster, western gunslinger badassery and one can truly appreciate the fact that a guy who is actually The Punisher would survive the madness of a desert America with mean Gary Oldman.

2012 Safe House

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IfQY4fNcnw

The ULTIMATE dude with a mission movie finds Denzel needing to get out of dodge quickly.

Tobin Frost is a bad bad man trying to stay ahead of the guys trying to lock him up and being chased by everyone’s favorite smart ass, Ryan Reynolds. This one has a few pretty good action sequences and a nice little twist towards the end, making it a little more like a bad guy gets the win movie than a vigilante saving the day movie HOWEVER, it does land in the Denzel is The Punisher with some of the hardest fight scenes and clever escape tricks this side of an old episode of Burn Notice.

2013 2 Guns

This one may be a cheat since he’s a good guy, posing as a bad guy with the added bonus of Mahk Whalbaghhh BUT, he still plays with the bad guys well enough to make them believe he’s one of them all in the game of saving the day. He plays rough to get the win. While I haven’t seen this movie (I know I know) it still lands in the vigilante have gun will travel and do what’s gotta get done category essential in arguing that Denzel is really Frank Castle is really The Punisher.

So just here’s the real question, given that Hollywood loves a good vigilante revenge movie, why is it that Marvel Studios has yet to produce a decent Punisher movie that hits all the notes of the comic book? The Punisher has basically had one of the longest runs in Hollywood  in the form of Denzel Washington action movies. You can say that yeah, Liam Neesan probably has a longer run but he keeps playing the father who’s kid somehow manages to keep getting taken so he doesn’t count. Especially when he’s Qui-Gon Jinn, Ras Al Ghul and the guy who fought wolves with mini bar bottles strapped to his knuckles; let him be that guy. Denzel is the guy you call when someone needs a complete ass kicking who will then strut off to a Motown song you will immediately Shazam upon hearing it.

In the same year Man on Fire was released, Thomas Jane’s 2004 Punisher movie made it’s debut.  While not terrible it lacked the bite that the above movies all seem to have, as though the producers were afraid to make a violent movie with a comic book character because of the fear that people have with alienating the presumed under age audience. Despite having an R rating, some of the action sequences lacked the grimness that Man on Fire had, even using the standard cut away bloodspatter in some scenes to imply that violent justice has been served. I’m not blood thirsty or a fan of mega violence but if you’re going to make a movie about a guy who does really insane things because his family was murdered, you can go ahead and show it, we know what we’re getting into with these movies. Punisher WarZone, the movie that pretended that the first movie never happened was even wilder with the theatrics, going so deep into comic book that the R rating was justified because Dominic West’s character Jigsaw’s head explodes like a Gallagher watermelon. Both movies are regarded as failures, despite their cult appeal and the success of other lesser titles in Hollywood both on TV and in films.

Marvel shows no interest in launching another film with Frank which is fine, we’ve been watching him this whole time.