My fellow Presidents: Significant POTUS cameos in modern comics

My fellow Presidents: Significant POTUS cameos in modern comics

Posted by on May 30, 2018 in Source Material, Uncategorized

The president of the United States may be a big deal in the real world but what position of power could they hold in a world that has the Justice League or The Avengers helping to protect and make the world a better place? To add a sense of realism to our extraordinary heroes, the President of the United States has been a constant presence in comics since the Golden Age. Obviously we could see popular presidents such as FDR, Eisenhower and Lyndon Johnson featured talking to the Justice Society or Captain America but we’ll focus on our more contemporary presidents starting with Richard Nixon in 1969 and go all the way to Donald Trump in 2018 highlighting their “best” moments in comic book history.

RICHARD NIXON

Richard Nixon was doing pretty well as the President in the early 1970s. He had cameos in The Fantastic Four , the Incredible Hulk and one of the kids from DC Comics Newsboy Legion was modeled after him. But everything changed after the Watergate scandal and immediately Tricky Dick wasn’t the American golden boy anymore. Some of the criticisms were light, but the harshest was his role in the controversial Secret Empire story in Captain America #169-176. Although a mini series with the same name would also be controversial decades later, this series would not only parallel Watergate but also have a severe effect on Captain America himself. When Cap discovers an intricate conspiracy spearheaded by an organization called the Secret Empire, he follows the paper trail all the way to the White House. To his shock and amazement, he discovers that their leader is none other than President Richard Nixon.

Defeated and confronted with his crimes by Captain America, Nixon suddenly decides to confront suicide in front of the character. The size of this corruption and betrayal from within America combined with the sudden demise of “the President” resulted in Captain America questioning his country and his role within it. Disgusted with an organization he no longer believed in, Steve Rogers relinquished the title of Captain America. This not only began a new era of story telling and understanding for the classic Marvel character but it was also a strong criticism for what Watergate did to diminish the American public’s faith in the government and its leader.

The only other noteworthy cameo of Nixon is in the legendary Watchmen series where you can see him debating which portions of the country were acceptable losses should a nuclear war commense with the Soviet Union. Nixon changed the game for all the presidents who would succeed them regarding their portrayal in comics. They were no longer above criticism, they could be panned or ridiculed just like everybody else.

RONALD REAGAN

 

While he could be seen awarding or praising the superheroes of their respective universes, creators were not afraid to show a darker side of the actor-turned-president. His appearance in the iconic Frank Miller story The Dark Knight Returns referenced the president close relationship with Superman in other comics but suggested something clandestine and almost sinister.

While he’s portrayed in star spangled suits with that trademark senility gaining support for the military, Reagan’s giving orders to Superman to execute covert missions on the behalf of the American government. In Captain America #344 where Steve Rogers, now known as The Captain, has to deal with an agent of the Serpent Society known as Viper who has poisoned Washington’s water supply and turned many of the politicians including Reagan into mindless lizard men.

In the spirit of the Secret Empire storyline, writer Mark Gruenwald also used the story to criticize Reagan and his administration. When he’s not a raging lizard man capable of attacking the Captain, he’s an ignorant leader who not only is unaware of his administration’s legacy but also comfortable with being in the dark with absolute plausible deniability. Even after he sweats off the snake skin and Captain stops Viper, everything is swept under the rug just in time for the press conference afterwards.

BILL CLINTON

 

Already considered one of the best approved presidents since World War II, Bill Clinton had more than a few notable cameos in comics since his first appearances amongst the crowd at Superman’s funeral. In 1996, President Clinton appeared in the Captain America story arc “A Man Without a Country”. Writer Mark Waid and artist Ron Garney continued the theme of Captain America wrestling with his faith in the government and their power. Cap is framed for attacking a military base and is branded a traitor and exiled from the United States. Cap discovers the villain Machinesmith manipulated the whole thing and proves his innocence and saves the President in Captain America #453. Later Clinton apologizes for the mishap and reinstates Captain America by returning his shield to him.

In Supreme: The Return #1, an extraterrestrial despot named Korgo lands on Earth and challenges the head of the free world to a fight. Although the President is defeated, Korgo decides to leave the planet in fear of the First lady, Hillary Clinton. While writer Alan Moore is know for his darker approach to superheroes and comics, this lighthearted content is unexpected and rather entertaining. Bill Clinton also is one of the few, if not the only President to become a regular character in Marc Guggenheim’s post-apocalyptic Resurrection. In the series, he was the last President in Office before an alien invasion besieged the planet and occupied Earth for 10 years. When they mysteriously leave, Clinton is revealed to have survived the occupation and his position of power in this new world is explored.

But he would join ranks alongside Nixon and Reagan in the category of cameos that are meant to poke fun and/or criticize in Uncanny X-Men #401. This story took place during the ‘Nuff Said month which was a silent month were comics were printed without any sort of dialogue, thought bubble or communication in general. In this story, Wolverine searches for Stacy-X who has the mutant ability to secrete her own pheromones. During his search for Stacy, Logan discovers an the aftermath of an attack on a private government installation and finds our former Commander in Chief unconscious, half naked, blindfolded and… holding the American flag? We know it’s Clinton gathered from the references in the photographs and the landmark horndog status but apparently it wasn’t supposed to be him in that bed. Apparently the person was originally to be former mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani, an obvious reference to his highly publicized affair with Judith Nathan. But Giuliani at that time was busy helping with 9/11 references and Marvel probably didn’t want such a reference to come off in bad taste.

 

GEORGE W. BUSH

One can only imagine how George W. Bush felt coming off the heels of Clinton’s administration and trying to step out of his father’s shadow. In the beginning of his administration, 9/11 convinced the comic book publishers to rally behind the President to show support for him and the government by putting him in a more sympathetic light than previous presidents. One of my personal favorites was in Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch’s Ultimates series seen below.

As more time passed and his actions became more and more divise, his depiction in comics changed drastically. Other companies were content with depicting him as a political supervillain eager to unleash war over weapons of mass destruction or even as a victim of assassination. The biggest criticism came from DC Comics who elected fictional character Lex Luthor as president instead of depicting Bush in office.

During Bush’s eight-year administration, Lex and his three successors were all fictional characters. Judged like all presidents by his policies and actions, Bush remained divided as man depicted by some as a leader and by others as a buffoon.

Barack Obama

Barack Obama’s administration was something of an enigma because he was the first president since FDR to be depicted in such quantity and in most cases positivity. His appearance in Amazing Spider-Man Issue #583 went through more than four printings alone.

He found himself the subject of parodies, cameos, and covers from people celebrating his presidency or simply looking to make a quick buck. He made the usual Presidential cameo as a member of the world’s leaders while Spider-Man and friends try to stop Doc Ock from taking over the world, addressing powerful government agents like Norman Osborn or Amanda Waller or talking strategy with Cyborg in DC Comics Flashpoint.

Obama was seen as both an American leader but also as a character who could support a short-lived miniseries or be paired up with other characters. He seemed to avoid the critical eye many of his predecessors endured while embracing his pop culture appeal and presence. Say what you will about his policies and decisions, but I don’t know if anybody else could have been Barack the Barbarian.

DONALD TRUMP

Now in 2018, we have come to our present Commander in Chief: Donald Trump. While he’s only been the President for a year, his less than stellar reception has trickled down into comics. The most notable appearance so far has been his cameo in the Spider-Gwen series. Noticing the political tension within Marvel, creators Jason LaTour and Robbi Rodriguez decided to address it out in a hilarious yet poignant fashion. In this alternate Universe, their Captain America discovers an entity known as M.O.D.A.K (Mental Organism Designed As America’s King) bossing around Mexican workers near the border. Three guesses who’s enlarged face his resembles and you’ll understand the joy on Cap’s face when she defeats him. Time and tweets will tell on what future cameo’s await for Trump.

Annnnd…

I would feel remiss if I didn’t include Deadpool Dead Presidents (2012) story arc written by Gerry Duggan and  Brian Posehn with art by Tony Moore.  Deadpool has to fight and kill all the reanimated U.S. Presidents brought to life by an rookie necromancer who seek to make America great again by any means necessary. You get to see all the presidents, even the ones you don’t remember, killed in often hilarious fashion by Marvel’s worst historical enforcer.


Go put down the history books and pick up some comic books when you have a minute. It’s a lighter read but just as heavy.

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Avengers Infinity War: Worth the 10 year hype?

Avengers Infinity War: Worth the 10 year hype?

Posted by on Apr 30, 2018 in Home, News, Opinion, Uncategorized

 You have been warned.

It began with the culmination of 4 years work back in 2012. Since Iron Man had birthed what would become the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008, a small collective of directors, actors, and writers slowly started to establish characters which had only existed on the pages of a comic book. The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, Captain America, Hawkeye, Nick Fury, and others found audiences beyond the comic shop and the TV at home. Then they decided to come together in one movie in 2012 where these feisty, sarcastic and powerful people managed to come together to stop an alien invasion and become the Avengers. But as powerful as they were, a hint of a power greater than all of them combined smirked from the darkness of space. Shortly after we discovered of something called Infinity Stones which became some of the most powerful weapons in the MCU. Other heroes and characters arose from these conflicts such as the Falcon, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Ant-Man, Winter Soldier, Black Panther and the Guardians of the Galaxy. Along with them came villians who would oppose and test them but due to general storytelling and cinematic expectation, more than enough of them fell by the wayside; chapters in their heroes journeys. A villain emerged over time with a goal that could literally be the end of everything and all the ambition to achieve it. His name was Thanos and he was coming to Earth.  In 2018, after 10 years of anticipation and proper build up, we were given this film: Avengers Infinity War which would change the entire fabric of the Marvel Cinematic Universe forever and let me say, that was worth every f@#c&!ng minute.


The Russo brothers and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeeley had a herculean challenge, they had to put 10 years’ worth of Marvel films in one huge story that paid tribute to its source material but also continued the stories that had already been established on the big screen. Similar to how well the Avengers had been handled, the material or characters needed little to no introduction. We know these guys, we know what the Infinity Stones are and we know Thanos is looking to collect them all. That required little to no introduction but what amazed me was how well the movie moved. Clearly ignored the rapid place jumping that plagued films like Batman vs. Superman and Justice League which failed to replicate a plot device found in comic book storytelling, there were place cards telling you exactly where we are. The characters moved a steady pace that made it easy to understand regardless of the grandiose of the story or the dangers they faced. Nothing felt rushed and it honestly felt like I was reading a true movie adaptation of a comic book come to life. The film not only told its own story but managed to connect all the movies and even tie up plot points that had been left behind from previous MCU Gems. What was amazing was it all felt so real. The characters joked, they argued, they fought both villains and among each other while battling Thanos and his enforcers, the Black Order.  They had problems arise and personal demons to push past while they did what they had to do knowing they may not walk away in the end. When somebody died or was hurt, the entire audience was silent because you were invested in the story. You weren’t being talked down to or given the same plot formulas over and over and over again. This was something new, this was bigger than any Avengers or Marvel movie you had ever seen. Although you are pumped to see your favorite heroes coming together , the same idea keeps your eyes hooked on the screen: What happens if they lose? What happens if Thanos gathers all the Infinity Stones and snaps his fingers? What happens when the heroes fail? That’s the magic of storytelling, eventually you become so invested that the characters become you.


After all these years of separate films, it was spectacular to see everybody all together united under one cause. In Avengers, it was everybody against Loki, the Ultron, or even pitted against each other; this time it’s the entire Marvel Universe against Thanos and his armies. While the action never really disappointed, I thoroughly enjoyed that the film took time to address every plot line poignantly. Very often ensemble projects have characters or story-lines fall apart or become underdeveloped compared to others but there was an excellent sense of balance here, When Tony Stark stumbles realizing his nightmare has come true, when Gamora falls, when Peter crumbles or when the Avengers fail, each moment is hammered into your mind and remains. In the past, I have agreed that Marvel movies sometimes rely too much on comedy to break apart serious moments instead of letting them breathe. In the last few years, we have seen darker and more serious moments start to emerge as tragedy is a crucial block in building memorable heroes but it is a slow process. In Infinity War, there were definitely some serious and dark moments but in a way, that made the jokes even funnier because when it was funny, the entire audience laughed. If you asked a group of people what was their favorite moment or line, guaranteed a lot of people would same much of the same thing. Characters like Spider-Man, Drax, Groot, Thor and a few others had some of the best moments but other great laughs came out of nowhere. This movie did great to push and evolve so many of its characters further and leave us eager to see where they go next.


A movie is only as great as its villain and Thanos is most definitely one of the greatest Marvel villains we’ve ever seen. Josh Brolin played this character with such honesty and sincerity because Thanos doesn’t believe what he is doing is wrong and overall movie has you sympathize with him. He has judged the universe and found it desperately in need of balance and thus his quest for the Infinity Stones has him deemed as the hero. He must stay strong in the face of unsurmountable resistance, he will be forced to make difficult decisions that will require sacrifice from his body and soul, he will cry and at the end he will have to reap the fruits of his labor, no matter their taste or size. Thanos has bent this idea of good and evil and he does it so effortlessly to the point where you can’t believe that you’re rooting for him at the end. While his enforcers in the Black Order certainly stand out in the movie, they are still background characters; they are merely extensions of Thanos’ will and such characters are exactly why you see him here in the first place. If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. Just like the heroes grew with you, you have watched Thanos evolve. You got to know Thanos the tyrant, Thanos the madman, in this movie you met Thanos the father and Thanos the god. At the end of this film he has broken the Avengers, he has amassed greater power unlike any other being before him, and he has literally wiped out half of the known universe’s populace. He sits down on a perfect world and finds himself at peace. He won and we lost. Game over, man.

Although some comic fans would cry the movie has barely touched on most of the story from the Infinity Gauntlet comic book, this is one of the rare cases where I don’t give a damn. The entire Marvel universe has changed before our eyes and nothing will be the same until we see how it concludes in 2019. Sure we will have films like Deadpool, Ant Man 2, Captain Marvel and others to entertain or fill in the gaps in the Marvel timeline but the damage made in this movie will not be forgotten and honestly that’s all we could ask for. In the end, comic book movies have slowly become a polarizing opinion in the cinema world. Some have welcome this new stage in film-making and some look at it as cinematic arsenic gradually killing this artistic and creative genre. As both a fan of comics and cinema, I applaud this movie for being exactly what anybody should expect: a great movie worthy of its story. In the end, we were simply entertained. We laughed, we cried, we shushed people who talked during and we cannot wait for more. You know what they say: once you hit rock bottom, the only place to go is up.

 

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Constantine: City of Demons Part 1 Review

Constantine: City of Demons Part 1 Review

Posted by on Apr 27, 2018 in Home, News, Opinion, Uncategorized

If anybody’s made a comeback, it’s been Matt Ryan’s interpretation of the iconic John Constantine. Ever since the solo Constantine series was canceled by NBC in 2015, Matt Ryan has continued to be associated with the chain smoking blonde demonologist and “master of the dark arts”. He voiced the character in Justice League Dark (2017) and even made a notable cameo in Season 4 of Arrow (which some may argue was the best episode in an already tired and contrived season). He revisited the character in the recent season of DC Legends of Tomorrow repeatedly as he helped the team with their battle against the imprisoned time demon Mallus. Coming off the heels of the news that John Constantine would be a cast member on Season 4 of Legends, CW Seed announced the premiere of Constantine: City of Demons, a 12-episode series set in the same universe as Justice League Dark. The first 5 episodes were released on CW Seed on March 24th.

After watching the first five episodes, there is no doubt in my mind that Matt Ryan is perfect for the part of John Constantine. Whether he’s battling his inner demons come to life (seriously), talking with Chas at the pub or battling forces that would drive any man to death by alcoholism, Matt Ryan plays Constantine with that iconic snark, cynicism, and regret with just a dash of muddled heroism. While I am disappointed to see no immediate connection to the 2015 Constantine show especially regarding Chas and his family, writer J.M. DeMatteis known for his work on Spider-Man and Justice League International still tells a story that only could involve John Constantine. When Chas daughter is stricken with a mysterious that doctors can’t solve, Chas turns to his old friend who discovers this little girls condition is anything but a common cold. His investigation into the matter gets dangerous and near fatal but that’s a normal day in the life of John Constantine. Even though the cast is small, DeMatteis gives everybody real roles to play, especially when the series explores John’s origins and the incident at Newcastle that would forever change his and Chas’ life. That incident faithfully retells the story while walking the balance between the unflinching darkness that the Hellblazer series at Vertigo was known for with the acceptable limitations of present day animation. Near the end of this first group of episodes, Constantine finds himself in L.A. agreeing to help a demon lay off his satanic competitors in exchange for Chas’ daughter’s life but there’s no doubt in my mind that either party will honor their deal in the end.

Although these episodes are too short to really fill the void or unanswered questions Constantine left behind in 2015, it’s always good to hear that lighter pop and hear John Constantine’s voice over a stream of cigarette smoke. In the DC universe, he’s the guy you talk to when you can’t find Doctor Fate, Zatanna, Swamp Thing or any of the other hardcore magicians when things are taking an infernal turn for the worst.  My final thoughts are that I’m liking what I’m seeing so pour me another round, give me a light and let’s get weird in the City of Angels. I’m betting on you John, hell or high water.

Grade:
Constantine: City of Demons (Part 1): B (solid and worth checking out)

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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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