Netflix Picks: A History of Comic Books in Three Easy Lessons

I’ve decided to implement a new weekly article.  Netflix Picks.  If you’ve ever sat there, looking at what Netflix has offer, completely flummoxed by the sheer amount of stuff they have, I may have a solution for you.  From now on, every Friday, I’ll be giving you a short review of some movie or show that I’ve found that I believe is worth watching.

Today’s entry is Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle.  Comics have become a seriously big thing in the past few years.  Marvel seems to be printing money with their comic book movies.  DC is still lagging behind on that front, but they did just celebrate 75 years of Batman kicking batarang and taking names.  So right now seems like a good time to take a look back at the history of the comic book medium.  Which is exactly what this three part documentary does.

Now, if you’re well versed in comic book lore and history, you’ve probably heard all of this before.  They don’t go into a lot of detail over the three 55 minute episodes.  It’s basically Comic Book History 101.  But if you’re new to the world of comic books, this is a pretty darn good place to start.  They’ve got interview with some of the biggest names in the industry both past and present, Stan Lee, J. Michael Straczynski, Denny O’Neill, Joe Quesada, and there’s footage of Jack Kirby, Walt Simonson, and Alan Moore.

The documentary goes over the history of the medium from the Golden Age to the Silver Age right on through the Dark Age, the collecting boom (and subsequent bust), and the Modern Age with all of the movies, video games, and how digital comics are keeping the industry alive after nearly 80 years.  It’s a pretty general look at where comics have been, and some of the bigger speed bumps in the road.  Like I said, it works really well if you’re new to comics, but longtime fans might find things a little boring.

Overall rating: 7.5/10

A Trip to Night Vale

Last night I went to the Denver Welcome to Night Vale show; it was a ton of fun.  Things started out promisingly when I got downtown and spotted a group of cosplayers.  These weren’t Night Vale cosplayers mind you, I spotted an Ariel, an Assassin’s Creed assassin, someone from Attack on Titan, and a large, blue, furry something that I couldn’t quite identify.  But it was still a good start to the evening.

When I got to the theater, the line was already pretty long.  I saw plenty of Cecils and Carloses as I made my way to the end of the line, and then the two Glow Clouds showed up.  Cries of “All Hail!” could be heard along the line.  And here I’m going to point out the creativity of the cosplayers I saw last night.  Amongst all the Cecils and Carloses there were a couple of Kevins, at least one Lauren Mallard that I saw, a really cool Night Vale Ms. Frizzle, several Strex Pets, a Night Vale girl scout, and a Man in a Tan Jacket cosplay that was handing out flyers for the Night Vale subway.  Half the fun of last night was seeing the creativity of the fans there.

The show itself started out with a very nice performance from Eliza Rickman (Night Vale fans might recognize her from Episode 45’s weather).  Rickman has a lovely voice that she accentuates with delicate sounding instruments like an autoharp and a toy piano.  If what I heard last night is any indication of the rest of her work, and I think it is, I’ll have to get her album.

Without giving away spoilers to anyone who either hasn’t gotten to see the show yet, or didn’t get the chance to see it when it was near them, the show was exactly what you would expect.  Meaning that it was pretty darn good overall.  There were some nice Cecil/Carlos moments, Tamika Flynn made a generally awesome appearance, and although I heard that the appearance of Steve Carlsberg was a Denver only thing, I’m not entirely sure that’s true.  If it isn’t, you can definitely look forward to a very funny and energetic performance.  One of the biggest things that stood out to me watching the show was Cecil’s hand movements, especially as he described the skittering, slythering way that librarians in Night Vale move.  I have no idea why that particular thing stood out to me, but I felt that really added to the show.

After the show was over and I was making my way out of the theater I could hear a few people chanting “All Hail.” as one of the Glow Clouds left, and later a spontaneous, if worrying chant of “Bring down Strex!” started in the lobby.  In short, a fun night, and a great performance.  Those of you who have yet to experience it are in for a treat.

Also?  Shout out to the Carlos cosplayer who drove from Cheyenne for the show, hope you got home safe.  And to the girl in the NASA dress who sat next to me, thanks for making an already great night even better.

Doctor Who: Two Trailers and a Leak

In a little over a month’s time, Doctor Who will be returning to television screens.  Already there have been two teaser trailers released.  The first one may just be a hint of what the new Doctor will be like.  From what I’ve heard, this will be a drastic change.  This Doctor may be more abrasive than fans of the current series are used to.  In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the viewing figures dropped during the first few episodes.  My advice to those who find this news worrying is to be patient. Really, people just need to give this new Doctor a chance to grow on them.  New Doctors take a bit of getting used to.  There’s always a bit of a “Regeneration Hangover”, the new series will not be an exception.

The second teaser is a bit more interesting.  The prevailing theory is that not only are the Daleks coming back, but they may be bringing their creator Davros with them.  Some viewers might note that Davros was killed in ‘Journey’s End’ towards the end of series four, of course old school fans like myself know that Davros has come back from the dead many times before.  He’s like  a comic book character (or possibly a cockroach) that way.  The implications for this are still unknown, however with every record of the Doctor having been erased, it will be interesting to see how everything plays out.

On Monday, the BBC announced that there had been an accidental leak of the scripts for the first five episodes of the upcoming series.  I say accidental, but the BBC has not seen fit to tell anyone exactly how the leak happened, other than the leak came from the Miami office which was translating the scripts for broadcast to Central and South America.  I have no idea what happened, so I won’t speculate on what’s going on; but I do find it interesting that the BBC got out in front of this early, releasing a statement to the Radio Times that asked fans who had already seen the leaked scripts not to spoil what was in them to everyone else.  From one angle, it makes sense for the BBC not to try and pull the scripts off the internet, things like that spread too quickly for anyone to stop them, so they didn’t.  Of course there will always be trolls who don’t care about other people’s feelings about spoilers, so I wouldn’t be surprised at all if someone just started posting things willy-nilly on tumblr or twitter.  It’s times like this that I’m glad that things like Tumblr Savior exist.  Still, for those trolls out there, just know that you’re a colossal douche and there is a special section of Hell waiting just for you.  Right alongside the child molesters and people who talk at the theater.

Edit:

And now it seems that the whole of the first episode has been leaked as well; apparently from the same place as the last leak.  And again there have been pleas from several fan sites and tumblrs as well as the BBC for people not to spoil everything for those of us who wish to wait for the season premier on
August 23rd.  I really am surprised at the fandom at large’s respect for people on this issue.  I’ve seen people going out of their way to not divulge spoilers if they have seen either the leaked scripts or the first episode itself (although, to be fair, I have yet to see anyone on tumblr admit that they’ve seen the leaked episode).  I’m not sure if this is a function of how beloved Doctor Who is, or if people are just plain sick and tired of having to wander around the internet metaphorically blindfolded, trying to avoid spoilers.  Either way, I’m actually pretty happy about this.  I think that spoilers and the spreading thereof are becoming a serious problem in fandom in general.  It’s one thing if you don’t care about spoilers, but for those of us who want to preserve some of the surprise of seeing something for the first time, it really does become something of a nuisance to practically avoid the internet entirely for however long it takes you to see the thing in question.  The upshot of all this is that a little common courtesy goes a long way.  And I’m glad to see people catching on to that.

An Introduction to Mams

Hello there Internets!

 

I’m mamsellems, or mams for short.  It’s a nickname I picked up a couple of years ago when I was playing Lord of Ultima, the now defunct strategy MMO. 

So what exactly am I going to be doing around here?  Well, aside from reviewing various movies and television shows, I’m going to be posting some other things like random thoughts on fandom at large and pointing out things that I really enjoy, but don’t fit into my regular format.

I may end up posting some more personal things as well, but I really want to keep that to a minimum.

So let’s just leave it at that for the moment, we’ll have plenty of time to get to know each other as time goes on.