Five recommended books to read before Avengers: Infinity War

Five recommended books to read before Avengers: Infinity War

Posted by on Apr 25, 2018 in Source Material, Uncategorized


It is here. We are mere hours away from the premiere of Avengers Infinity War. Now I’m sure some of you might have done your private Marvel movie marathon, some working on costumes to wear for the premiere or debating theories on who will die, who will win, etc. The point being there is a huge amount of hype riding for this film, possibly bigger than other major ensemble Marvel movies such as Avengers (2012) or Captain America: Civil War (2016). But these are still movies based on comic books and as such, there is source material available that may provide insight to the characters, the stories woven within the primary story as the Avengers prepare to face a force unlike anything they’ve ever seen: Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet.

1. The Infinity Gauntlet (1991): Although the movie has the title of the sequel series, Infinity Gauntlet has been the primary inspiration for the film that Marvel has been building towards since 2012. Written by Thanos creator Jim Starlin and drawn by artists George Perez and Ron Lim in the 1990s, the series has the Mad Titan Thanos gather the Infinity Gems into the Infinity Gauntlet which makes him nigh-omnipotent. We see Thanos obliterate half the universe’s population, destroy the heroes assembled by his former ally now enemy Adam Warlock, and overthrow powerful cosmic entities who oppose his new rise to power all in a pursuit to prove himself worthy to his silent lover : Marvel’s embodiment of Death. This bestselling series would define Thanos as a threat never to underestimated for years to come and would be followed by two successful sequels Infinity War (1992) and Infinity Crusade (1993)


2. Infinity (2012): This 2012 story written by Jonathan Hickman and drawn artists Jim Cheung, Dustin Weaver and other artists began in Hickman’s New Avengers series and grew to involve the entire Marvel Universe. When most of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are called off planet, Thanos and his enforcers known as the Black Order see a perfect opportunity to invade and conquer Earth. While the remaining Earth heroes battle their invaders and attempt to notify their comrades-in-space, the invasion is revealed to be a cover for the real mission which may give the heroes a chance to defeat Thanos once and for all. This grandiose and intense series marked a significant change in the status quo of the Marvel Universe but also introduced the Black Order who will make their feature debut in Infinity War. Both Infinity Gauntlet and Infinity were used as inspiration by screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely for the script of Infinity War.


3. Thanos: Uprising: Sometimes the best part of a villain is learning how they came to become one. In this 2013 mini-series written by Jason Aaron with artwork by Simone Bianchi tells the origin of Thanos. From his mother attempting to kill him after birth, his childhood transitioning to adulthood was full of heartbreak, death, madness and the curious quest for knowledge and power that typically leads to infamy. Aaron tells a dark tale full of haunting artwork telling how a peaceful and isolated young man on the planet Titan would become Thanos, an infamous pirate and maniac obsessed with power and Death. While there’s no guarantee it will be referenced in the movie, it stands as a strong and melancholy origin story for one of Marvel’s most infamous villains.


4. Secret Avengers Vol 1: This 2010 ongoing series written by Ed Brubaker with art by Mike Deodato, David Aja and Michael Lark detailed the actions of a covert Avengers squad. After Steve Rogers returned seemingly from being dead and lost in time, he was made the new primary law enforcement agent by the President and established a group of Avengers specifically for black ops. This team consisting of Black Widow, Nova, Moon Knight, Valkyrie, Beast, and War Machine was tasked with the directive of keeping tabs on known threats with no hesitations of being proactive or cleaning them up. Having relinquished the title of Captain America to his friend Bucky Barnes, Steve operated as his own character as his team took on all manner of threats ranging from international criminals to secret shadow organizations attempting to usurp arcane artifacts or advanced technologies to take over the world. With Infinity War occurring two years after the events of Civil War, the movie details a bearded Steve Rogers who has operated in the shadows with a small fraction of the Avengers protecting the world on his own terms. While not exactly Thanos-heavy, this espionage Avengers book could give context to what Steve Rogers and his Avengers were doing during that time on the run.


5. Warlock by Jim Starlin: The Complete Collection: This 2014 collection details writer Jim Starlin’s evolution of the character known as Adam Warlock. Originally a perfect artificial human who rebelled against his creators, it was Adam’s connection with the Soul Gem which  tipped Thanos off to the power of the Gem and the other Gems scattered throughout the universe. Although they were once allies, they would become allies and their battles would include the Earth heroes Adam considered friends and allies. Although the battles came with serious consequences, Adam would consistently reappear in matters regarding Thanos and his quest for power. Under Starlin’s pen, he played an integral part in the Infinity Gauntlet series and would even wield the full power of the Infinity Gauntlet at one point. The character of Adam Warlock was referenced at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol .2 (2017) and I would surprised if Adam didn’t make an appearance in either movie as pivotal character in the Earth’s heroes battle against Thanos on the big screen.

Well that’s all for our countdown regarding Infinity War. It’s been fun looking back at the past and remembering how far in advance Marvel and the people behind the MCU have been working toward this moment. Hopefully the movie succeeds in telling a great story worthy of these characters and everyone involved. They sure have enough source material to go off on. So enjoy yourself and remember, no spoilers!

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Character Introductions: Top 5 Portrayals of Shazam/Captain Marvel to see before the movie

Character Introductions: Top 5 Portrayals of Shazam/Captain Marvel to see before the movie

Posted by on Apr 17, 2018 in Home, News, Source Material, Uncategorized

So recently images of Zachary Levi’s portrayal of the DC hero called Shazam graced the Internet and it got some people excited. Some thought Levi’s suit was an excellent portrayal while others criticized the suit for being a bit too cartoonish for a live action movie. Me, I’m glad the photo came out because I forgot the movie was happening overall. Shazam or Captain Marvel as he was previously known is a popular DC hero whose origins trace back to the Golden Age of Comics but this is his first time on the big cinematic screen. So to help give the non-nerdy people context about who the World’s Mightiest Mortal and the Shazam Family are, here’s 5 appearances of Captain Marvel aka Shazam that should not only inform you but get you excited for the movie’s debut on April 5th, 2019. SHAZAM!

1. Justice League Unlimited: (2005)
Captain Marvel’s second (although first formal modern) animated appearance was in the DC Animated Universe during the Justice League Unlimited series. In the episode titled “Clash”, Captain Marvel voiced by actor Jerry O’Connell joins the Justice League but his positive and at times naïve opinion about Lex Luthor and his attempts to reform strains his relationship with the League, specifically Superman. The tension culminates in a harsh battle between Superman and Captain Marvel over Luthor’s latest project, Lexor City and their conflicting opinions about Luthor’s innocence. Although Captain Marvel was proved to be “correct” and Superman apologizes for his actions, Captain Marvel resigns from the Justice League, highlighting his disappointment in how he used to look up to the Justice League and Superman and his disgust for what the League has become.

2. Batman: Brave and the Bold: (2009-10)
Captain Marvel’s fifth and more frequent modern animated appearance was in Cartoon Network’s Batman: Brave and the Bold series. In this rotating guest spot, Captain Marvel was voiced by actor Jeff Bennet and his alter ego Billy Batson was voiced by actress Tara Strong. Not only did he help Batman fight the occasional villain, this portrayal expanded on the character and his rich universe. In “The Power of Shazam”, we learn about Captain Marvel’s Fawcett City and his struggles with Dr. Sivana and his family, the evil Black Adam, the immortal wizard Shazam, the bitter Aunt Minerva and his sister Mary Batson aka Mary Marvel. In “The Malicious Mr. Mind!” we see Batman and the Marvel family take on Dr. Sivana, the alien Mr. Mind and the other member of the Monster Society of Evil. He would work alongside Batman and other heroes and eventually bec0me a member of the Justice League International. The right mix of goofy and serious, this interpretation of Captain Marvel was both accurate to the comics portrayal but also balanced the juxtaposition of Captain Marvel’s powers and responsibility with Billy’s child-like optimism and innocence. It’s also one of my favorite depictions of the character and one I recommend for those unfamiliar with the Big Red Cheese.

3. Young Justice: (2010-2016)
Captain Marvel’s seventh and other frequent animated appearance was in Cartoon Network’s other DC Comics series Young Justice. He is a member of the Justice League and he volunteers to be the den mother to the Young Justice team after Red Tornado abruptly leaves the position and team. This version of Captain Marvel shows him acting more like his Billy Batson who is 10 years old at the beginning of the series who seems to prefer hanging with the group of younger heroes instead of the Justice League. Billy idolizes the team and prefers to spend time in Mount Justice even when he’s not on monitor duty, seeing them as peers closer to his own age. A few episodes reference or allude to him living with his uncle in Fawcett City instead of at a foster home and even his tiger Mr. Tawny makes a cameo. His youthful nature is constantly used against him by the team who find it a little too easy to confuse and manipulate him when necessary. This version of Captain Marvel is important because Billy Batson ages throughout the series storyline. He goes from 10 years old in 2010 to a 15-year-old by 2016, a change indicated simply in size since his attire has changed very little. Although the series doesn’t go deep into Captain Marvel’s mythology or backstory, the idea of the World’s Mightiest Mortal being a den mother to a group of young teenage superheroes is an amusing concept worth viewing.

4. Superman/Shazam! : The Return of Black Adam: (2010) This short animated film centers on Superman and Captain Marvel aka Shazam, voiced by returning actors George Newbern and Jerry O’Connell, joining forces to deal with the returning threat of Black Adam, voiced by The Mummy actor Arnold Vosloo. At only 25 minutes long, this short-animated story reiterates the story of the Wizard Shazam, his mistake in appointing Black Adam as one of his champions, Black Adam’s return from exile and Superman’s vulnerability to magic which gives characters like Shazam and Black Adam an upper hand in battle. This version also introduces a silver age Captain Marvel character known as Tawky Tawny, a humanoid tiger and companion of the Wizard Shazam. For those not interested in watching the animated series, this simple but enjoyable film is the perfect introduction to Shazam for those of any attention span.

5. Justice League: War (2014): In this adaptation of Justice League: Origin by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee, the presence of Captain Marvel was an original idea and not one from the film’s source material. He replaced the original member Aquaman who would be featured later in Throne of Atlantis. Orphan Billy Batson sneaks out of his foster home to watch the football game that Victor Stone plays in who he memorably interacts with after the game. Later Billy’s foster home is attacked by Parademons forcing him to transform into Shazam voiced by actor Sean Astin. He fights alongside the Justice League and despite some impulsive actions on his part, his mystical lightning bolt is the missing ingredient that helps Cyborg return Darkseid to Apokolips. Depowered, he and Cyborg have a moment where Cyborg agrees to keep Billy’s secret from the League. Referencing Shazam’s membership with the Justice League in the past, this version balanced the bratty kid of Billy Batson with the star struck adult burdened both with the responsibility of his powers and learning to play well with others.

So I hope that helps you on your journey to learn more about the hero that Dr. Sivana calls for some reason “ The Big Red Cheese”. I hope the new movie properly balances the proper levels of seriousness and fun that I always associate with Cap… I mean Shazam and his family of superheroes. Until then, enjoy this clip from Batman: Brave and the Bold that a younger part of me relates to in more ways than one.

 

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The Guardian of the Marvel Universe: A Countdown of ALL Stan Lee cameos in Marvel Movies Part 1

The Guardian of the Marvel Universe: A Countdown of ALL Stan Lee cameos in Marvel Movies Part 1

Posted by on Apr 12, 2018 in Home, News, Source Material, Uncategorized

One of the most treasured Easter Eggs in the Marvel Universe has always been the Stan Lee Cameos. Ever since X-Men (2000) began the reemergence of superhero films that paved the way for the MCU and other comic book style films, the creator/co-creator of many iconic Marvel Comics characters has gone from a whimsical sort of gimmick to become a treasured seal of approval for films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a treasured reference like Jon Ratzenberger’s cameos in Pixar films. This year marks ten years  since the MCU debut in Iron Man (2008) and technically 18 years since the first modern Marvel superhero film X-Men (2000) so what better way to celebrate than reference every single Stan Lee cameo in all that time? As Stan the Man would say “EXCELSIOR!”

Honorable Mention: Blade (1998)

Stan Lee was supposed to cameo as one of the officers who come into the club after the blood rave and find Quinn’s body stapled to the wall on fire. It was cut from the film.

  1. X-Men (2000): The X-Men Co-creator and Executive Producer is a man near a hot dog stand on the beach that Senator Kelly emerges from the water, naked and now a mutant.

2.Spider-Man (2002): The creator of Spider-Man appeared in a scene reacting to the Green Goblin’s attack on the balcony at the World Unity Festival. He sees the attack and helps usher a little girl to safety.

3.Daredevil (2003): The creator of Daredevil finds himself saved from walking into ongoing traffic by a young Matt Murdock. Lee’s character was based on the senior blind man that Matt Murdock saves in the comics but his interjection causes the accident that gives him his powers.

4.Hulk (2003): The creator of the Hulk appeared as a security guard alongside Lou Ferrigno who famously portrayed the Hulk in the Incredible Hulk (1978). Lee was encouraged to ab-lib his lines.

5.Spider-Man 2 (2004): Stan Lee was originally supposed to be the guy who shouted “Hey, Spider-Man stole that guy’s pizza!” But there were problems with the shot, so the scene had to be re-filmed with another actor. Stan was given a different yet more valiant cameo as a bystander who saves a woman from falling debris during a fight between Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus.

6. Fantastic Four (2005): Co-Creator Stan Lee made a rare cameo portraying one of the characters from the comics: Willy Lumpkin who was the Fantastic Four’s friendly old mailman. The character was a constant presence at the Baxter Building and even jokingly applied for membership to the Four, his superpower being the ability “to wiggle his ears.” In the movie, his line was originally “Welcome home, Dr. Richards,” but Stan changed it to “Welcome back to the Baxter Building, Doctor Richards!”

7. X-Men: The Last Stand (2006): Stan Lee would cameo (along with fellow X-Men writer Chris Claremont) in the opening of this film as a neighbor whose water hose flow on his front lawn get disrupted by Jean Grey and her emerging powers.

8. Spider-Man 3 (2007): Stan Lee appeared early in the film commenting to Peter Parker about Spider-Man’s sudden high in popularity and how great the character was. When Peter looks at him with nothing to say, Stan adds his signature phrase “Nuff Said!” and walks on.

9. Fantastic Four: Rise of Silver Surfer (2007): Co-Creator Stan Lee made another rare cameo as himself who is refused entry at Reed and Sue’s wedding. Not only is it hilarious to imagine that Stan wasn’t on the list but this is a direct reference to Reed and Sue’s wedding in the comics when both Stan Lee AND Jack Kirby were both refused entry at the wedding, the moment being a rare moment of breaking the fourth wall in comics at that time.

10. Iron Man (2008): Creator Stan Lee cameos in the first official MCU movie at Tony Stark’s party as playboy figurehead Hugh Hefner, accompanied by three beautiful blonde women. Lee would comment that it was among one of his favorite cameos.

11. Incredible Hulk (2008): Creator Stan Lee cameos as a man who accidentally drinks a soft drink that’s been mixed with Bruce Banner’s blood. The beverage proves to be lethal and helps the military zero in on an elusive Banner. To date, this is the only Stan Lee cameo where he dies.

12. Iron Man 2 (2010): Stan Lee cameoed again in the second Iron Man movie as Larry King indicated by his well-dressed clothes, glasses and trademark suspenders.

13. Thor (2011): Although Creator Stan Lee said he always wanted to play Thor’s father Odin, he cameos as an eager truck driver who fails to tow Mjolnir out of its crater

14. Captain America: First Avenger (2011): A rare exception seeing that Lee had nothing to do with Captain America’s creation but honoring the revival of the character that he and Jack Kirby were responsible for in the 1960s, he appeared as an officer both at the medal ceremony for Captain America and at a later ceremony where he continues the running joke about Captain America’s height when he mistakes the messenger as Steve Rogers. I thought he’d be taller, too.

15. The Avengers (2012): The creator of many of the characters featured in this film, he cameos during a montage after the Battle of New York where he sarcastically scoffs at the idea of superheroes in New York. Stan also filmed a deleted scene where he witnesses Steve and waitress flirting at a café and flat out insists that he ask her for her number, you moron.

16. The Amazing Spider-Man (2012): Stan Lee would cameo as Peter’s high school librarian listening to classical library while he worked, oblivious to the fight between The Lizard and Spider-Man going on behind him.

So that’s all for Part 1. Stay Tuned for Part 2 coming soon. And in case you didn’t want to read all of that, here’s all of them in one video!

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Who are Cloak and Dagger: 10 Things you should know about Tyrone and Tandy

Who are Cloak and Dagger: 10 Things you should know about Tyrone and Tandy

Posted by on Apr 8, 2018 in Home, News, Source Material, Uncategorized


The upcoming Freeform (formerly ABC Family) series just released its second trailer recently for this latest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe set to debut June 7th. But who are Tyrone Johnson and Tandy Bowen aka Cloak and Dagger? Despite being characters created in the 1960s who have remained relevant in the modern Marvel Comics universe, they remain unknown to the overall public. But Marvel has a great track record with taking secondary Marvel characters and introducing them to a bigger audience to great success such as Agents of Shield, Agent Carter, or Hulu’s Runaways. With other upcoming Freeform series such as Cloak and Dagger and The New Warriors set to debut in 2018, more and more Marvel characters are prepared to be introduced into the mainstream consciousness. But who are they, people may ask or more importantly, why should we care? So here is a list of 10 things you should know about Cloak and Dagger that hopefully encourages you to inquire about their stories at your local comic shop or bookstore.

1. Cloak and Dagger were inspired by a visit to Ellis Island.
Co-creator Bill Mantlo detailed that duo came to him the night after a visit to Ellis Island, the famous gateway for over 12 million immigrants to the U.S. from 1892-1954. “They came in the night, when all was silent and my mind was blank. They came completely conceived as to their powers and attributes, their origin and motivation. They embodied between them all that fear and misery, hunger and longing that had haunted me on Ellis Island.”
 
2. Tyrone and Tandy were kids from two separate worlds who coincidentally found each other.
Tyrone and Tandy would meet each other as runaways in New York City. Tyrone “Ty” Johnson was a 17-year-old from a poor neighborhood in South Boston, Massachusetts with a horrible stutter. He ran away when him and his best friend Billy witnessed a robbery gone wrong and fled the scene. When confronted by the police, Ty’s speech impediment prevented him from proving Billy’s innocence and watched the officer shoot his friend dead. Tandy Bowen was a 16-year-old from a rich neighborhood in Shaker Heights Ohio. She ran away because she felt her millionaire supermodel mother and distant stepfather were too busy with her career and their privileged social status to spend time nay attention with her. They both met in New York at the Port Authority Bus Terminal where someone attempted to steal Tandy’s purse. Despite originally wanting to steal her purse himself, Ty tackled the thief and returned the purse to Tandy. It was friendship at first sight.

3. Tyrone and Tandy were guinea pigs for experimental drug tests for the mob.
An offer of shelter from strangers took a turn for the worst when both teenagers were delivered to a criminal chemist named Simon Marshall who was employed by the Maggia. The Maggia is a Marvel Comics crime syndicate paralleling the Mafia who are known for employing super criminals and mad scientists. Simon had developed a synthetic alternative to heroin dubbed D-Lite and was looking for test subjects. He would appear to run a shelter for runaways and then inject them with the drug with terminal results. Somehow, Ty and Tandy survived their injections and the drug’s properties would give them their powers. Simon Marshall drugs would also be responsible for transforming a young Chinese man named Martin Li into the superpowered crime lord known as Mister Negative.

4. Their powers over time created a codependency for each other.
Simon Marshall’s drugs had an unexpected effect on both teenagers. Ty appeared to be plunged into a kind of darkness with an insatiable appetite, these changes he managed to conceal within the tattered remains of an old cloak. Ty gained the ability to create openings into something called the Darkforce dimension along with intangibility and teleportation of himself and others at will through the dimension. Tandy gained the ability to create psionic “light daggers” through her hands with the capacity to drain living creatures of their vitality when struck. Their powers would add a symbiotic level to Ty and Tandy’s friendship. Tyrone’s constant hunger from his connection to the Darkforce could be temporarily satiated by Tandy’s light daggers while Tandy could rely on Tyrone’s powers to keep her powers from becoming overcharged.
            

 

5. They would get final revenge on the people who did this to them.
Realizing their powers, they dubbed themselves Cloak and Dagger and declared war on drugs. Their first target was their accidental creator: Simon Marshall. Their quest for vengeance crossed paths with Spider-Man who attempted to protect Marshall from the vengeful teens. He failed as Marshall would fall to his death. Not content with Marshall, Ty and Tandy would take their vendetta to his employer, the Maggia boss Silvermane. They murdered the elderly crime boss but would battle him again when it was revealed his consciousness was transferred over to a cyborg body. They would continue to combat drug dealers and likeminded enterprises but despite their limited reservations about lethal force, both vigilantes would become less ruthless over time.

6. Are they mutants or aren’t they?
At one point, Cloak and Dagger fought the New Mutants team who had been kidnapped by fearful drug dealers and injected with the same drugs that gave the duo their powers. With the help of Spider-Man, the entire situation was rectified and they would help the New Mutants a few times later , once even turning down an offer to join the X-Men and Xavier’s School. It was revealed that both Tyrone and Tandy are mutants which is the only reason they were the sole survivor of Marshall’s drug trials. In later years, their status changed to be mutates, meaning their powers were granted from an external mutagenic source. This was later confirmed  when Doctor Nemesis of the Uncanny X-Men ran a full genetic examination on Dagger and reported that their powers derived from the drug that transformed Tyrone and Tandy and not from the mutant gene.

7.  Although they are together, they sometimes do better apart
         Although the nature of their powers has them constantly together, there have been times that Cloak and  Daggers lonely lifestyle has left the young vigilantes hungry for more. Worried about the destructive capabilities of his powers and its effects on Tandy, Tyrone has run away more than once despite the fact that Tandy willingly uses her powers for the benefit of both of them. He sees Tandy as some of his last remaining shreds of humanity and can appear overbearing and possessive of her especially considering her habit of getting into trouble without him.  Once on an undercover mission, Tandy posed as a Eurocirque performer called Lady Light and started a romance with an FBI Agent who later sacrificed himself to save Tandy despite being a criminal. Tandy also was a member of the New Warriors for a time which she enjoyed working alongside friends and “fellow” mutants but the arrangement strained her relationship with Tyrone. Tandy was also a member of Daredevil’s Marvel Knights team when they searched for a missing Cloak who had become possessed by the malevolent entity known as Nightmare. While they don’t mind working with others, in the end Ty and Tandy always find their way back to each other.

 

  1. Cloak had a small but notable part in the Infinity Gauntlet
    Cloak and Dagger have been participants in quite a few Marvel events such as Maximum Carnage, House of M, and Civil War to name a few. But one notable appearance was during the Infinity Gauntlet (1991). Thanos had been given the power to sacrifice half of the entire universe’s population in his desire to please Death and Dagger was among the countless who vanished when he did so. Cloak joined Adam Warlock and the other remaining heroes’ task force to face Thanos. During their battle with him, Cloak successfully pulled the Mad Titan into the Darkforce Dimension as he had done to dozens before but it wasn’t enough to stop him. Thanos released a surge of energy so powerful from within him that it not only killed Cloak but left only shreds of his signature cloak behind. Fortunately,both Tyrone and Tandy would be returned to life when the events of the Infinity Gauntlet ended ( no spoilers here if you haven’t read it).
  2. Cloak and Dagger’s powers were granted from the merging of pieces from a Demon’s soul
    Eventually Cloak and Dagger were confronted by a creature called D’Spayre, a demonic essence which constantly meddled in superhuman affairs and gained its strength from the fear and despair of it’s victims. It was revealed that this entity had been orchestrating the events that granted Ty and Tandy their powers that turned them into Cloak and Dagger. D’Spayre saw the potential of their power and instead of letting their capabilities manifest naturally, it assisted in the creation of D-Lite and put Simon Marshall into their paths. While the drugs began to trigger their (at that time) latent mutant abilities, D’Spayre merged two aspects of his power, One Dark Form and One Light Form, to both vigilantes which helped to reshape their mutant abilities. These forms were simply meant to act as mutant storage batteries of the duo’s pain and suffering that D’Spayre could tap into if needed. When the entity attempted to reclaim the forms, Cloak and Dagger resisted and D’Spayre was apparently destroyed.
  3. The Cloak and Dagger show will continue storylines from Agent Carter.Regarding it’s connections to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, both the Roxxon Energy Corporation and the Darkforce dimension will both be prevalent in the series. The Roxxon Energy Corporation, formerly Roxxon Oil Company,  has appeared or been alluded to in both MCU films and related television series such as Agents of Shield and Agent Carter. They are a company with alleged illegal and immoral activities dabbling in all sorts of technological and science study and advancement. The Darkforce dimension also known as Zero Matter was discovered in Agent Carter Season 2 where repeated tests and exposure resulted in individuals capable of opening rifts into the Zero Matter dimension similar to Cloak’s abilities. It remains to be seen if this version of Cloak and Dagger will take inspiration from their Ultimate Comics counterparts who receive their powers when Roxxon uses their bodies, critically injured during a car accident,  as test subjects in an experiment involving dark matter. Perhaps Cloak and Dagger will take a page out of Hulu’s Runaways and allow the story to evolve on its own away from the influence and shadows of MCU’s other heroes and villains. Time will tell.

    So what do you think? I hope you enjoyed what you read and that you’re interested to give Tandy and Tyrone a chance when June 7th rolls by.
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Who is Thanos: 10 Facts about the Mad Titan you might not know

Who is Thanos: 10 Facts about the Mad Titan you might not know

Posted by on Apr 1, 2018 in Source Material, Uncategorized

He is one of the most powerful and feared characters in the Marvel Universe. He has been featured in comics, animated series and has made cameos in multiple Marvel Cinematic films. He will be the primary villain of Avengers: Infinity War portrayed by actor Josh Brolin. He is the leader of the Cull Obsidian, he is the wielder of the Infinity Gauntlet and he is the unrequited lover of Death. He is called the Mad Titan, but the galaxy knows him by another name: Thanos. But for those who want to know more about the character in preparation for Infinity War debuting in theaters on April 27th, 2017, here’s 10 facts about Gamora’s adoptive father that may help you understand and appreciate the character enough to wonder what kind of changes his actions will bring to the MCU in the near future.

  1. Co-creator Jim Starlin created Thanos during a college psychology course.
    According to Starlin, “ I went to college between doing U.S. military service and getting work in comics, and there was a psych class and I came up with Thanos. So I came up to Marvel and editor Roy Thomas asked if I wanted to do an issue of Iron Man. I felt that this may be my only chance ever to do a character, not having the confidence that my career was going to last anything longer than a few weeks.” Originally Thanos was a thinner character but Thomas encouraged him to size up the character compared to Starlin’s original sketches, something that Starlin continued to do as the character continued to appear in Marvel.
  2. Thanos was inspired by Jack Kirby’s The New Gods but not the Dark God you’re thinking of.

According to Starlin “Jack Kirby had done the New Gods, which I thought was terrific. He was over at DC                     Comics at the time. I came up with some things that were inspired by that. You’d think that Thanos was                         inspired by  Darkseid, but that was not the case when I showed up. In my first Thanos drawings, if he looked                 like anybody, it was Metron. I had all these different gods and things I wanted to do, which became Thanos and           the Titans. Roy took one look at the guy in the Metron-like chair and said “Beef him up! If you’re going to steal            one of the New Gods, at  least  rip off Darkseid, the really good one!”

  1. Despite a rocky start, Thanos was a originally a pacifist.
    Born to Mentor and Sui-San of the Eternals, Thanos carries the Deviants gene which causes random physical or cosmetic mutations. When his mother first saw him, she was so startled by his appearance that she almost killed him. According to Thanos Rising #1, Thanos was a pacifist during his childhood and only played with his brother Eros, who would become the hero Starfox, and pets. It wasn’t until his adolescence that he became a nihilist who worshipped and fell in love with the physical embodiment of death whom he called Mistress Death.
  2. In his early attempts to impress Death, he would destroy his planet and unintentionally create two Marvel heroes in the process.
    Eager to impress Mistress Death, the adult Thanos left his home planet Titan and returned with an army of mercenaries and began a nuclear-powered assault that killed millions of his race including his mother. Unsatisfied with his efforts, he then traveled to Earth in search of the Cosmic Cube. Upon his arrival, his ship destroyed a nearby car and a family who witnessed his approach. Somehow the father and his daughter survived the explosion. The father Arthur Douglas’ spirit was preserved and given a new form and identity as Drax the Destroyer, a character Jim Starlin originally created along with Thanos in his college years, and his daughter Heather was found by Thanos’ father Mentor and was raised to become the heroine known as Moondragon. Both characters would battle Thanos repeatedly in the years to come.
  3. The Infinity Gauntlet was not the first time Earth’s heroes fought Thanos
    During a temporary alliance with Adam Warlock against his evil future counterpart Magus, Thanos is introduced to the Infinity Gems and creates a plan to combine reserved energy from Warlock’s Soul Gem and the other Infinity Gems to create a weapon with enough power to destroy a star, specifically Earth’s sun. When Adam learned of this plan to gain Mistress Death’s attention, he summons the Avengers and Captain Marvel to stop Thanos which fails when the Mad Titan not only defeats and captures the heroes but also kills Adam. The Earth heroes are eventually freed and during the final battle in Marvel Two-In-One Annual Vol 1 #2, the Soul Gem releases Adam Warlock’s spirit and turns Thanos into stone.
  4. Mistress Death brought him back as a balance but then refused to speak to him when it fails.
    In Thanos Quest, it was revealed that Mistress Death sensed a great imbalance in the universe with a steady shift in life rather than death and this disproportion was the reason Thanos was restored to life in Silver Surfer #4 (1990). Shortly after, Thanos would gather up the Infinity Gems and attempt to talk to Death on her level. The irony now was in achieving his new status, Thanos had become superior to Death and as a result, Death would not speak to him which had to be relayed to Thanos through one of her minions. The events of The Infinity Gauntlet (1990) was nothing more than proof of Thanos’ love for Death yet she says nothing as he destroys much of the known Marvel universe in her name.
  5. Squirrel Girl defeated Thanos all on her own
    He may have defeated most of the Marvel Universe at one time, but he was no match for Squirrel Girl and her girl-squirrel Tippy-Toe. Over the years, Squirrel Girl has come across a few of Marvel’s villain powerhouses and managed to come out on top. In GLX: Christmas Special #1 (2006), this silly Holiday anthology about the Great Lakes Avengers ends one of their segments with Squirrel Girl coming across a downed spaceship. Thanos emerges holding a new weapon dubbed the Pyramatrix stating that once it’s charged with all the lifeforce of Earth, he’ll be ready to take over the universe. Not if Squirrel Girl has anything to say about it! The pure ridiculousness of the moment is cemented afterwards when Uatu the Watcher appears to congratulate them both and assure them that that wasn’t a clone or a robot but actually Thanos himself.
  6. Thanos and Death had a “child” named The Rot
    In Avengers: Celestial Quest #5, it is revealed that when Thanos died, all of his collective energy merged with Death and somehow they created an entity together. The entity dubbed “ the Rot” was a moving void of nothingness that grew the more it consumed. The Rot began to follow all living things as if it was “alive” and eventually the Avengers and special allies were encased inside it with Thanos and his minions. Both Thanos and Mistress Death learned of the true origins of their child and they decided to work together, and their united plan managed to destroy the Rot and restore its victims.

    1. Avengers Infinity War will be the first appearance of Thanos’ posse: The Black Order
      Introduced in Marvel Comics Event Infinity (2013), the members of the Black Order (also known as the Cull Obsidian which means midnight slaughter) appeared individually in New Avengers Vol. 3 #8 and their first full and known appearance was in Infinity #1. During this event where Thanos takes advantage of the Avengers being temporarily off planet to invade Earth, the Black Order is introduced as powerful and ruthless aliens who work for the Mad Titan. They are Black Dwarf, Corvus Glaive, Ebony Maw, Proxima Midnight, and Supergiant. They invade alien worlds and demand tribute of adult youth between the ages of 16-22 on Thanos’ behalf. When they arrived on Earth, they searched for the Infinity Gems, defeating and manipulating members of the clandestine Illuminati. They later appeared on the Inhuman city Attilan where they demand tribute from Blackbolt and the Inhumans. It is revealed this invasion and tribute are smokescreens for Thanos’ true search for his son Thane. The Black Order has been featured in three separation incarnations and appeared in the Avengers Assemble cartoon. The Black Order will make their big screen debut in Avengers: Infinity War as Corvus Glaive, Proxima Midnight, Ebony Maw and Black Dwarf renamed Cull Obsidian. The directors Joe and Anthony Russo altered their abilities and changed their origin to be children of Thanos instead of assorted aliens in Thanos’ inner circle.
    2. Josh Brolin based his original characterization of Thanos on Colonel Kurtz from Apocalypse Now
      When actor Josh Brolin accepted the role of Thanos in James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), he stated that he based his characterization of Thanos on Marlon Brando’s role of Colonel Walter E. Kurtz in Francis Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (1978). This is amusing considering Coppola’s opinion of Marvel movies. When Francis Ford Coppola saw Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) , whose director Joss Whedon said Coppola’s film The Godfather: Part II (1974) was the primary basis and inspiration for the film, he declared his retirement from filmmaking permanently. He heavily criticized the film along with Marvel and the current studio system for turning moviemaking into a factory of manufacturing films for the sake of huge profits instead of artistic quality and values that defined the profession in the past.
      Well there you go. If you’re interested, go to your local comic book shop and ask for recommendations or even check bookstores like Barnes and Noble. They’ll most likely have related storylines portrayed prominently for any new readers crazy enough to try and romance Death. While we countdown to Avengers: Infinity War, here’s a clip of Josh Brolin on Conan discussing his feelings on playing Thanos.

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Countdown to Infinity War: Fun facts celebrating 10 Years of Marvel Movies Part 2.

Countdown to Infinity War: Fun facts celebrating 10 Years of Marvel Movies Part 2.

Posted by on Mar 24, 2018 in Home, News, Source Material, Uncategorized


Avengers: Infinity War comes out April 27th, 2018 and it is still a big deal. The second trailer recently dropped and just increased the hype tenfold. It’s not just the entire Marvel universe coming together to battle the omnipresent threat of Thanos and his Infinity Gauntlet. It’s not just one of the biggest blockbuster superhero films in recent memory. It’s not just the 19th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s all of that and more! This movie celebrates 10 years of Marvel movies that have captured the imagination of the world and made many of these Marvel Comics characters household names. So as we countdown to this much anticipated debut, lets take a look back the other Marvel movies that paved the way for this movie and future movies like it and fun facts about the movie or its process that’ll make us appreciate them even more. EXCELSIOR!

1. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) : James Gunn rewarded cast and crew with Play-Doh during filming.
Director James Gunn kept a pile of small Play-Doh containers on-set. If someone did an exceptionally wonderful job regardless if they were an actor, crew, stuntman or even personal assistant, they would get a container of Play-Doh as a reward. Gunn said he gave out forty containers on an eighty-five day shoot to a crew of about two hundred people. When asked why he did, he said “I love the smell of Play-Doh. Opening a new container and smelling it puts me in a creative and child-like place.”

2. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015): Stan Lee’s cameo was an inside joke to his veteran history
Creator Stan Lee is known for his work at Marvel Comics and his Marvel movie cameos. His cameo in Age of Ultron as a war veteran during Thor’s farewell party had a deeper context as it references Stan’s history with the army. Stan Lee aka Stanley Lieber did enlist with the Army but he never actually fought in battle. When the officers in charge found out about Lee’s writing experience at Timely Comics, which would eventually become Marvel, they put him to work in the Army’s medical division. Stan spent most of his time in the Army thinking up slogans for posters encouraging the prevention of venereal diseases which were drawn by a young man named Theodore Geisel. Like Lee, he would find fame later as the iconic creator known as Dr. Seuss.

3. Ant-Man (2015) : Originally it was “Chipotle always finds out” instead of Baskin-Robbins.
It’s a known fact that ex-con’s have a difficult time finding work after they’ve been released. When Ant-Man’s Scott Lang needed money, he found a brief employment at Baskin-Robbins. Originally the job was going to be at Chipotle, but the company did not want to be associated with any negative yet hilarious portrayal. Jamba Juice was considered but the creators settled on Baskin-Robbins as they felt the bright colors would be an amusing contrast to the shadowy prison opening. Baskin-Robbin’s always finds out.

4. Captain America: Civil War (2016): Watch out for Avengers and hop-ons.
During the iconic fight between Avengers at the airport, a familiar truck has the Bluth Family logo on it. It is the well-known “stair car” that was a consistent running joke in the memorable sitcom Arrested Development (2003). Civil War directors Joe and Anthony Russo directed the pilot and many episodes of the celebrated sitcom and I guess they just couldn’t resist adding the dysfunctional Bluth family’s “favorite” mode of transportation to the MCU.

5. Doctor Strange (2016): Doctor Strange couldn’t resist pulling a Sherlock reference.
After Stephen Strange kisses his previous love Christine, he stands in front of a mirror dressed for battle against Kaecilius and his master Dormammu in Hong Kong. Before he leaves, he pulls up the collar on the lively Cloak of Levitation. Not only is Doctor Strange’s famous Cloak’s collar always popped but this is a reference to Benedict Cumberbatch’s in Sherlock (2010). In the popular BBC program, Sherlock Holmes always pops his collar to symbolize the game is afoot but now Stephen Strange pops the collar to let you know the Doctor will see you now.

6. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017): Sneepers, not Snipur’s in space!
In social media, director James Gunn stated that he wanted to use an alien race called the Sneepers who were introduced in Marvel’s Tales of Suspense #49 (1964) as background characters for the film. He was recommended against it by Marvel’s legal department claiming the name was too analogous to the Icelandic word “snipur” which means clitoris. They later receded and cleared the use of the Sneepers in the film based on the considerable media attention Gunn’s post received.
       

7. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017): Karen’s voice was a John Hughes reference
If you ever get a suit from Tony Stark, you’re going to get an artificial intelligence system with a personality. Spider-Man’s natural language interface system was dubbed Karen and is voiced by actress Jennifer Connelly. One could assume this was a reference to her marriage to actor Paul Bettany who originally voiced Stark’s computer J.A.R.V.I.S. and now portrays the android Vision. She was cast as Karen as a reference to her appearance in Career Opportunities (1991) which was produced by writer/director John Hughes. Homecoming has a few homages to Hughes’ high school-centric films and director John Watts wanted her role to be a tribute to his career.

8. Thor: Ragnarok (2017): Yondu’s unexpected cameo that wasn’t meant for the final cut.
A deleted scene on the special features of Thor: Ragnarok had an unexpected cameo from Guardians of the Galaxy that we wish had made the final cut of the film. In the scene titled “Execution”, rogue Asgardian Skurge is in the process of publicly executing Asgardians who oppose Hela’s takeover of Asgard. As he is about to kill a woman, he is asked to stop by someone in the crowd. The person is revealed to be Michael Rooker’s Yondu wearing the signature sunglasses, Ravager jacket and red fin he fought and died with in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 (2017). But he doesn’t save the woman, he simply wants to know where Kevin and Lou’s offices are, a reference to Marvel producers Kevin Feige and Louis D’Esposito. After he’s pointed in the right direction, he tells Skurge to carry on what he was doing and leaves quite a few extra’s laughing the background. One could ask if this cameo is canonical with his appearances in the Guardians of the Galaxy films but honestly I don’t think so,  this scene feels like it was shot for the hell of it and by god it’s still hilarious.

9. Black Panther (2018): Black Panther’s first big screen appearance wasn’t at Marvel, it was in a Spike Lee movie
Although T’Challa’s first full length movie elaborated on his character introduced in Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther’s first appearance on film was actually 30 years prior in Spike Lee’s classic film Do the Right Thing (1989). The character named Punchy played by Leonard L. Thomas is a Black Panther fan. When the character Buggin’ Out tries to encourage him and his friends to join in a boycott of Sal’s Pizza over the owner’s refusal to put African American individuals on his Wall of Fame, Punchy refuses. He cements his point by holding up a Black Panther comic, Black Panther Issue #8 (1978) and says “Black Panther eat pizza, we eat pizza.” 30 years later, Spike Lee was sitting front row of an early screening of Black Panther at BAM’s Harvey Theater in Brooklyn.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been a culmination of 10 years of creative collaboration between talented actors, directors, writers, and numerous others who brought these comic book characters alive for billions of people. Avengers: Infinity War celebrates everything Marvel but also looks to challenge and change the universe forever as our Marvel heroes face a powerful being unlike anything they’ve ever faced before. No matter the outcome, I am very excited but now I want pizza.

 

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