The cool thing about science fiction and fantasy is that it allows us to examine what makes us human. Because more often than not, the genre features a protagonist or group of protagonists with capabilities beyond those of ordinary humans. And sometimes we watch how extraordinary humans cope with still living an ordinary life, or learning to adjust to a different one.
Recently, Tim Champlin tweeted me and asked if I could do a list of my ten favorite movies. I thought it sounded like a great idea, so I jumped at the opportunity to do it. Before I get into this list, I want to set a few ground rules. First, these are my favorite movies. I don’t know how to quantify “favorite,” but I do know that it is not the same as a list of the ten best movies. Some of these movies may not be great, but they are movies I could sit and watch again and again, for the most part. Also, you can’t argue someone’s favorite movies. You just can’t. Another rule I set for myself was limiting myself to one movie per series. Otherwise, this list would be nothing but Star Trek, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings. That would be boring. So, in no particular order, here is my list.
Happy Father’s Day, everyone! Being a dad myself, this happens to be open of my favorite holidays. For this special post, I thought it would be fun to take a look at a few of my favorite fathers from some of the fandoms that I enjoy. I thought about doing a really long list, but decided to keep this one a little shorter, and a little simpler. I narrowed it down to three of my favorite fathers, so this is by no means a comprehensive list, and there is plenty of room for other fathers from your favorite shows or movies or books. In any case, I hope you fathers out there have a wonderful day, and I hope we all have a “father” in our life that we can look up to and think of on this day.
Batman v Superman is probably one of the most highly anticipated movies of this year. Maybe one of the most anticipated movies of the last few years. Considering the movies that have come out or that are coming out, that’s saying something. After seeing the numerous previews and teasers for the film, everyone was left with the same question: Would the movie hold up to expectations? The people wondering this ranged from people who were hoping that it would finally be the movie we have been waiting for from DC to the people who were fully planning on seeing a train wreck in the theater, and couldn’t wait. So, who was right? The answer, in my opinion, is all the people who were in the middle of the two extremes. It wasn’t earth shattering, game changing good like, say Marvel’s The Avengers, but it wasn’t the steaming pile of brown stuff that was 2010’s Green Lantern. Simply put, it was mediocre at best.
Batman and Superman reversible capes aren’t really a new thing or something that I came up with, they have been around forever, but they are something that I enjoy making for my kids and for gifts so I thought I would show how I make mine. With Batman v Superman opening next week I thought it was a good time to share them. Also FanX is coming up next weekend and these capes are perfect for an easy cosplay option for kids. I made the traditional Batman on one side and Superman on the other but I also decided to make a girl version. I thought about doing Batgirl and Supergirl but since Superman and Supergirl’s capes would look the same I decided instead to do Batgirl and Wonder Woman.
I read a list recently of the ten greatest superhero characters of all time in Marvel and DC Comics. I had some major issues with this particular list, well two really major issues. First, I don’t like trying to compare Marvel and DC Comics and including both in the same top ten list just seems impossible and weird in my mind. In a lot of ways, it really is like comparing apples and oranges. My other major issue was where the ranked some of the characters. In particular, I did not like where they had Superman ranked. He clocked in at number seven, simply because the person writing the piece does not like Superman. I get that, but he deserves a higher spot than seven simply because he’s kind of the original superhero. He deserves higher than seven. I get that these kinds of writings are all subjective, but I think most would agree that seven for Superman is too low. So, I decided to remedy this list by putting together my own TWO lists, one for Marvel and one for DC Comics. We will start with DC Comics this month since Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opens in just over a week. Next month I will publish my Marvel list. So, here we go:
In today’s world, it is hard to just look forward to a movie without finding anything out about the story. In fact, you don’t have to scour the internet to find out a lot about most of the big blockbusters. Leaked footage and photos come out on a daily basis, and random Hollywood reporters are siting anonymous sources with this story detail or that. Sometimes they prove pretty accurate, like when everyone knew that Benedict Cumberbatch was Khan. Other times they are way off. The point is, the only thing that seems to stir up more excitement and speculation on the internet than the latest superhero films is the next iPhone.
So, I have two choices. I could sit here and rant about how perturbed I get when every detail ever is already leaked about a movie, or I could join in the speculation fun. I am joining in the speculation fun. If people can postulate that Jared Leto’s Joker is actually Jason Todd, then why can’t I sit here and ponder on a Superman theory for the upcoming Batman v. Superman film? Now, all of this is speculation, but it could potentially be right on, so read with caution. If you are trying to avoid spoilers at all costs, maybe think real hard about reading any further. After the picture, I am going into my theory…
For those of you that are still here, let’s have some fun. Well, maybe fun isn’t the right word for it, considering the nature of my theory. Calling it my theory is probably not totally fair either. To be fair and honest, I have adopted this theory and raised it into my own, after hearing it on the Superman Forever Radio podcast, episode 92. In the episode, the host, Bob Fisher, mentions the rumors that Doomsday may be in this new film. We know, according to the plot synopsis that some kind of threat rise relatively quickly and we see that they are doing something with Zod’s body, and that could mean Doomsday. As Mr. Fisher points out, Doomsday was created in the comics for one reason, and one reason only: To kill Superman. His fear, then, is that Warner Brothers is planning on killing Superman at the end of Dawn of Justice. Which he is audibly upset about. So was I…until I thought about it some more.
The more I thought about, the more it started to make sense, and it started to grow on me. For those of you who don’t know, Superman is my favorite, always has been. For me to say that any movie that ends up with Supes dead is going on me is a big deal. I don’t want this to be the case. I want to continue to see him on the big screen, or I did, but now I am all sorts of confused. What if this really progresses the story better? What if the Justice League will be better because he died, than they would be if was part of their ranks? These are all the questions in my head right now. I’m not even thinking of the business side of things. The practical side, like the fact that there is no stand alone Superman sequel scheduled yet, and it’s not even rumored until 2020, after everything else comes out. That date isn’t even close to official, either. It’s all rumor and speculation at this point. If Batman and Superman were going to continue to be the two pillars of this new cinematic universe, wouldn’t we see a Superman film sooner? Unless there are no plans for a sequel because Superman dies. I’m not even thinking about that in my theory. I am just thinking of it from a story standpoint.
At the end of Dawn of Justice, we should be seeing the beginning of the Justice League. We should be seeing them come together and starting on the path that will m,make them a team greater than any other. At the beginning of the movie, we see Batman and Superman at war. Somehow, we need to get from there to the beginning of the Justice League. I don’t think just introducing a major threat like Doomsday is going to do it. At best, they may work together to beat the monster, but the team dynamic would be stressed at best after that. Somehow, somewhere in the battle, they are going to need some kind of defining moment, something that stands out that brings them together and makes them so unified, that they become the Justice League, that they see they have to stick together. They need an Agent Coulson moment. If you remember back to The Avengers, they were a mess right after the hellicarrier scene. Loki had ripped them apart, and they were better at fighting each other than the bad guys. It did not look good. When Coulson died though, it was a turning point for them. They started coming together and working with each other, because Coulson died. They saw his sacrifice and knew they had to get past their differences and become a close-knit unit. For the Avengers to become the Avengers, Coulson had to die. That’s why Fury doesn’t tell the Avengers when Coulson doesn’t stay dead.
DC may be thinking that the Justice League needs a Coulson moment, but they have to be different from Marvel. One thing that has made it hard in the Marvel movies is that it has never felt like any of the main characters have ever really been in danger. Maybe it’s because we already know that they have all signed on for so many movies, or maybe in the back of our minds we remember that we are really just watching a Disney film, where the good guys never die or lose. That’s ok, I am all for happy endings, as I have mentioned before. DC and Warner Brothers may see this as an opportunity, though, to be different. They may decide they want to get our attention and let us know as an audience that in this Superhero world, the heroes can die and they will be in danger. That could make for more interesting stories coming up.
None of this, as I thought about it, really convinced me that I liked this idea. I still would have rather had Superman live, than die, but then I thought how the story could progress, if WB doesn’t mess it up. Superman battles Doomsday. Batman and Wonder Woman clearly recognize that he is the most powerful, so they leave him to battle Doomsday, plus Batman probably figures out that there is some tie between Doomsday and Superman, so he blames Superman on some level. This battle between Doomsday and Superman goes very differently than the end battle of Man of Steel. Superman has learned from that battle, from his mistakes, and now he is much more controlled and he is controlling the fight so as to protect as many innocents as possible. As Batman witnesses the fight, and realizes that Superman is the real deal, he decides to try to engage. Wonder Woman too. As they get to the scene of the battle, Doomsday delivers the deathblow, and Superman goes down. He is weakened now, so Wonder Woman and Batman (and possibly Aqua-Man and the Flash) are able to engage the monster, and together they take him out. The result is that the world sees the heroes come together and unite, and they see the greatest her fall. Batman realizes that not all the metahumans or aliens are dangerous. He helps Wonder Woman form the Justice League in Superman’s memory. It could be a very powerful moment. It could be a death that means something. If done right, Superman could become the most important member of the Justice league. It’s one thing to say you are willing to give it all you have, and Batman might think it is especially easy for someone like Superman, but it is another thing to go out and give everything, all you have. When Batman sees Superman do that, he gains a whole new respect for him.
Or, Warner Brothers and DC could just blow the whole thing. That is also a possibility. What do you think? Could we see the end of Superman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice? Or am I just taking crazy pills? Let me know in the comments below or on Facebook, or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Collecting is a big part of the geek life. It seems like almost every geek out there has some kind of collection, most of us have multiple collections. I personally have always felt that I am a collector, though my wife might say I am a hoarder. There is just something in my brain that has a really hard time with letting things go, especially things that tie somehow into something I love. It probably really is a problem on some level if I don’t try to keep it in check. For the most part, though, I take a lot of pleasure in my collections. Because of all this, I thought it would be interesting to start a new feature on the blog all about collecting. Welcome to the first ever Collector’s Corner on the geeky mormon.
I thought it would be interesting to take a look at collecting in general, starting with the question: What kind of collector are you? There are all sorts of collectors out there, and there is no wrong way to collect things, or wrong things to collect, for the most part. I knew a kid in middle school who really liked this girl in middle school. He used to collect her hairs that would fall onto her backpack, and then staple them to his wall. That is probably a weird and creepy thing to collect, especially since she didn’t know about that. My parents never let me go to his house again, and I keep searching the news to see if he has been caught as some kind of weird stalker or something. Don’t be that kind of collector.
One kind of collector that I have always really admired is the “Mint in Box” collector. This is the geek who buys whatever collectible of their choice and then they never open it. They keep it in the package and place it up on a shelf somewhere for display, or even more admirable, they have so much that they have boxes in storage full of unopened collectibles. This is an impressive type of collector, and one that I could never be. To buy something, and then to never open it and enjoy it, I just couldn’t do it. However, these collectors are the ones who could be laughing all the way to the bank. These are the items that can show up on eBay years later and be sold for a pretty hefty price. Most of these collectors, however, would never part with their treasures. There are two sub-types to this collector. One is the “Buy two of everything” collector. They one item for themselves to open and display, and then one item to never open and to store away, mint in box. If I could ever pull off this type of collecting, this is how I could do it. Even then, I would probably cave because buying two of everything is expensive. The other sub-type is the comic book version, the collector who buys issue after issue of comics and never reads them to keep them as close to mint as possible. You can find these folks at your local comic shop on Wednesdays inspecting each copy of each issue to find the most mint issue they can. Sometimes they will buy two of each issue, one to collect and one to read.
Another type of collector is the variant or exclusive collector. These folks will typically go after exclusive versions of the things they collect or variant covers of the comics they collect. They may keep them mint in box, or they may open them and display them, but they are drawn to the exclusive versions, because the normal, average version just doesn’t cut it. The exclusives are better because they are more rare and are somehow unique to the average version. For example, the Doctor Who Funko Pop figures recently released, and Hot Topic has an exclusive version of each figure. The 12th Doctor, as an example, has a spoon when purchased from Hot Topic, while the 12th Doctor purchased through Amazon does not. The exclusive collector needs the one with the spoon.
Another type is the “Completist.” This type of collector picks a collection and then gets every piece for that collection. They will not rest until every last bit of that collection is theirs. They will hunt high or low, brave garage sales and eBay in hopes of finding the one piece or issue that is missing from their collection. They try to find nice pieces to add, but at some point, they give up just as long as they can get that piece that is missing. They will collect every variant or exclusive piece, as well as the main pieces. Every piece has to be there for them to feel like the collection is complete. They are working toward an end goal. There is a part of me that is drawn to this type of collecting, but I also know that it is almost always unattainable, so I try to refrain. I settle for having a lot of cool pieces instead, and try to tell myself that it’s enough.
In other words, I am an eclectic collector. I don’t have to have the whole set, but I like to have cool pieces in my collection. Pieces that mean something to me, more than pieces that are super valuable. I would probably never really look online to find out the value for any piece of my collection, because I am just not interested in parting with any piece. Sometimes, I will add to my collection based solely on impulse. I see something cool that I don’t have, and it is coming home with me, if I can afford it. My collection might include some exclusive or variant pieces, but it won’t include all of them. This is basically the ” I see it, I want it, I collect it” approach to collecting. It may not be as refined as some others, but I enjoy it. While a completist may someday have the satisfaction of knowing that their collection is complete, I will always have the satisfaction of knowing that my collection will never be complete. And that makes the whole thing worth it. So, what kind of collector are you? Let us know in the comments section on the blog or in the comments on Facebook or Google +, or tweet at me @thegeekymormon. I will respond to any of the these forms of feedback. You can even email me at email@example.com. We love hearing from you.
I thought it would be fun when I write these posts to highlight some of my collections. I promised to reveal my favorite collection in this post, so we will start there. This is not my only collection, but for the moment, this has been the one that I have had the most fun collecting. It is my Funko Pop collection. For some reason, I saw these a few years ago, and decided I wanted a few. That few multiplied and has now grown into quite a collection. I just love these little guys. The thing I really like about them is that there are so many to choose from, so no matter what you are into, there is something for you. Here are some examples from my collection:
First we have some of my DC Pop Heroes. These are some of my favorite characters from the DC Universe. The first one I ever bought was Superman because he is my favorite Superhero. Batman has been my most recent addition. I am not a big Batman fan, but this one was purchased for me by my 2-year-old, who believes she is Batgirl, so she wanted me to have a Batman.
These are my Pop heroes from the latest Avengers movie, except Thor. I think he is from the second Thor movie. Each time Marvel releases a new movie, Funko releases new pop figures, so there are different versions of a lot of them. I personally have three captain Americas (or would that be Captains America?). The thing I like about the Marvel characters is that they are bobble heads, which just adds to their cool factor.
This is just a random assortment of figures that don’t fit into any one category. You could argue that Ollie there on the left could go with the DC guys, but I keep him separate because he is from Arrow the TV show instead of the comics. Next to him is Mal from Firefly, the 12th Doctor (Hot Topic exclusive with spoon). Soon he will be joined by a bunch of other Doctor Who figures, so they will get a section all their own. I’ll post pics on Facebook when they come. Then of course we have Raphael, purchased for me for Father’s Day by my son who loves Ninja Turtles and loves Raph “because he’s the red guy.” That’s why I love him too. Last, but not least, The Rocketeer. He might be my favorite figure.
So, there is one of my collections. What do you collect? What would you like to discuss in future editions of Collector’s Corner? Let me know through one of the various methods of feedback listed in the post above. Thanks for reading, and good hunting out there!
Many of you may not know this, but I consider myself a DC guy. You may not know it because of how much coverage I have given the MCU as of late. The truth is, there is just a lot more going on there right now than in the DC Universe, and I still enjoy what Marvel is doing, and I am hoping that somehow DC will pull it off just as well. Not only am I a DC guy, but my favorite is Superman. He has been my favorite for pretty much all of my life. I went through a phase in High school where I wore nothing but Superman shirts. I was, and, to a lesser degree, still am, obsessed with Superman. I also like some of the more human DC characters, my second favorite being a tie really between Green Arrow and Nightwing. Superman has always been my go to though. For the most part, I enjoyed Man of Steel, and I am hoping that Dawn of Justice will be a great launching vehicle for Justice League. That being said, there was just something off in the Man of Steel film that just didn’t feel absolutely right. It wasn’t that he broke Zod’s neck (Superman also kills Zod in Superman II, so it’s not like there isn’t a precedent set here), or that he just stood by and did nothing while a tornado killed his adoptive father (I do still claim that Superman would have saved him, no way would he just sit there and watch him die). There has always just been something off with the film, and I feel the same way when I watch the trailer for Dawn of Justice. I couldn’t explain until I saw this video on YouTube, released on 4/21, and it put into words what I think my real issue is with the latest version of Superman. Check out the video:
I watched that, and it was like something clicked. That is what felt off. The film looked and felt like one of the Dark Knight films. I know that other people have talked about that before, but I guess it never really resonated for me until I watched this video. Superman shouldn’t feel dark and gritty. I get that they wanted to give the character an edge, but this just doesn’t work with Superman. Watching the Man of Steel has always felt really heavy and laborious for me, and I think the darkness of the film may be why.
I get that part of the plan was to create a continuous look and feel for the DC movies, but there are other ways to do it. I have read a great number of comics in my life, not as many as some, and probably too many if you ask my wife. I have always thought that Batman sounds like an intriguing character, and he is, of course, just massively popular. That being said, I have never been able to get into his books. Why? They are so dark. I just don’t like it. Some people go for that thing, and that’s fine. I realize I am being purely subjective here. This was my big complaint with the new Daredevil series. It was good, well written, for the most part, well acted. It was just too dark for me. That is what it feels like for me when I read a Batman title. It is really dark.
And it’s not just that the character himself is dark. The whole Batman world is dark. I am still unclear on whether the sun ever shines in Gotham City. I don’t think I have ever seen it be daylight in any of the comics or movies. It is night-time all the time. Not just night-time, but middle of the night, pitch black, night-time (this is an exaggeration to make a point. Please do not respond with instances from the films or comics of daylight in Gotham). The villains are darker. In the way the look, and in the fact that hey are all psychopathic, homicidal, maniacs. The whole Batman world is littered with these folks, and they are all dark, bad news. That is the world that Batman exists in, a world that Tim Burton successfully brought to the big screen, and Christopher Nolan perfected it.
By contrast, there is nothing dark about Superman, or the world he lives in. I have always felt that Superman and Batman have been opposites in some ways. One big way is that Batman has worked hard to become darker and scarier than his opponents, dropping down to their level in some ways, and sometimes even lower. Superman has always worked hard to be that beacon of hope. I know that makes him cheesier than Batman, but when you are more powerful than everyone on Earth combined, then you can afford a little cheese. Besides, how scary would it be for the world if Superman had gone the Batman route? That would be terrifying.
Here’s the crazy thing, though: Both of these characters have been like this for a long time, and they have both successfully lived in the same universe for a long time. There is no reason it can’t work like that in the movies. In fact it would be a nice contrast, a good juxtaposition. It would demonstrate how different the two of them are, even though they are on the same side. That contrast works really well, Superman in his bold primary colors flying across a blue sky, sun behind him, and Batman in his dark grey and blacks, hidden in the shadows. It is a contrast that has worked for years in the comics and could work on film too, if they went for it.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it is going to happen. Looking at the new trailer for Dawn of Justice, it looks like we are getting more of the same. It just feels so dark and heavy and depressing, compared to what we are getting from Marvel. I saw someone post that this is because DC has always been a lot darker than Marvel generally speaking. I don’t think this is true. There are plenty of dark and light comics on either side. Just like both exist in the real world. Right now, though, one might think that’s the case because that is what we are getting in the theaters. Here’s hoping that what we have seen so far from Dawn of Justice is not a good indicator of everything we will see in the film. Here’s hoping they choose to work that contrast between Batman and Superman instead of forcing Superman into a dark, gritty role. One can always hope, right?
When you’re as iconic as Superman, eventually you start spilling over into other mediums like TV, movies, books, and even popular music. I don’t know if any other superhero has had as many songs written about them as Superman has. I’m not just talking about mentions of Superman in a song, I mean the song is actually about Superman in some way. I have compiled a list of songs, not a long list, just 6 songs that are about the Man of Steel. These are 6 of my favorites. Some were big hits or were really well-known, others not so much. They all have Superman in common though, and that’s pretty cool.
Even Superman- Ryan Shupe and the Rubber Band
This twangy band is one of my favorite “Mormon Pop” bands. If you are not familiar with Ryan Shupe and the Rubber Band, you should totally check out their stuff. From catchy little numbers like this one, to their big hit “Dream Big,” to their classic “Corn Dog Song,” they are just a lot of fun. This is obviously not an official music video for this song. It is a fan made video. I would ask you to ignore the video part, and just listen to the song. You’ll notice the video is a compilation of Anakin Skywalker scenes from the Star Wars prequels. Because, you know, if you’re compiling footage from different movies to match up to a song all about Superman, why not use Star Wars footage? It’s not like there are any Superman movies to use footage from. Uhhh…
In any case, the song is great, and I think it demonstrates some of the difficulties and struggles and challenges of being Superman. I mean sure, it sounds great, super strength, flying, near invincibility, X-Ray vision, but hey-even Superman has Kryptonite.
I am Superman- R.E.M.
This is actually a remake of the The Clicque’s 1969 song. I like R.E.M.’s version a little more. The song is all about Superman competing with another guy for a girl. Good luck other guy! I mean really, Supes has the look, the moves, the super powers- forget about it. I mean ignore the creepiness of Superman going almost stalker on the girl with the line “If you go a million miles, I will find you.” Just a little creepy. Just a word of advice, Superman, if a girl goes to all the trouble to get a million miles away from you, she’s probably not interested. This is another fan made video, but they did something strange, they found video clips of Superman to make a music video for a song about Superman. They also only used like a quarter of the screen. It’s kind of weird, but it was made in 2007, the early days of YouTubing.
Jimmy Olsen’s Blues-The Spin Doctors
You think Superman has it rough? Try being his best friend, Jimmy Olsen. You would constantly be in his shadow. How could you not be jealous? Especially when you have the hots for Lois Lane, and of course she doesn’t even know you exist when Supes is around. That’s tough. How do you deal with it? You’re there when she needs you, while he’s off saving the world. This is the premise for this classic from the Spin Doctors. What would it be like to be Jimmy Olsen in that situation? The reality is, who of us has never been in that situation. You have that secret crush, and you’re just stuck in the friend zone with them, probably because there is some “Superman” you have to compete with. There’s no way Jimmy could compete with Superman, unless he has a pocket full of kryptonite…
Superman’s Song- The Crash Test Dummies
You know these guys- they gave us that “Mmm…Mmm…Mmm” song that was huge in the early 90’s. You know what else was huge in the 90’s? Killing off Superman. It seemed like there was this obsession with imagining what the world would be like without Superman. Of course, DC did kill Superman off for a couple of weeks (not really, it was more like a year, almost), but he got better and came back. This song actually predates Superman’s meeting with Doomsday, but it is a Eulogy of sorts for the Man of Steel. I mean, the music video is literally taking place at his funeral, complete with heroes in bad 90’s style superhero costumes. The song is maybe over the top, laying on the sentimental cheese, but I like it. I think it shows why Superman is so special. Plus, that voice, you just can’t go wrong.
Kryptonite- 3 Doors Down
I loved this song when it came out. I don’t know why. I think I thought it was pretty hardcore rock (it’s not) and it was about Superman. Now, I listen to it for nostalgic reasons mostly. I used to put it on repeat on my CD player, and then, in my bedroom, with the door closed, I would rock out to it and pretend I was performing it in my own big rock concert. Let’s see, it was released in 2000, so I was 18, so that seems pretty normal for an 18-year-old, right? I mean I still do that now. Overall, it’s a catchy song. I still enjoy listening to it, and I couldn’t put a list like this together without it. Especially with lyrics like “You stumbled in, bumped your head, if not for me then you’d be dead.” Wha?! Please ignore the weird video. It was the year 2000, before superheroes were really cool, and when every band thought they needed to be gritty and artsy.
Superman (It’s Not Easy)- Five For Fighting
We all need a reminder about how hard Superman must have it. The truth is, I think what this song really reminds us is that everybody has issues of some sort. We might look at other people and think I wish I was this or that and then I’d be happy. According to this song, Superman is a pretty depressed guy with plenty of issues. Bryan Singer would later base the movie Superman Returns on this concept. I had never seen a Superman as depressed as Brandon Routh’s. Or as depressing. In any case, I like this effort from Five for Fighting (it’s hockey penalty). I think it was one of the better songs. maybe it was just the subject matter.
Well, there you have it. A list of 6 Superman themed songs to start your weekend off right. What did you think? Was it a good list, or did I totally blow it? What songs did I miss that you would have included? Let us know in the comments. We would love to hear from you.