Man, has this been a week! Let’s not waste any time and just jump right into it.
Marvel turned this into a “Don’t Read The Comments” week with two announcements. First off, they went on The View (wow, this is my second blurb about The View in 2 weeks. They ought to be paying me!) to announce a new female Thor. Then, they went on The Colbert Report and announced that Sam Wilson, AKA The Falcon, would be taking up the mantle of Captain America. Ugh. While some folks are applauding Marvel for embracing diversity, none of these things matter. Not at all. It’s shortsighted storytelling, because the same white dudes will be in the suits again by the time Avengers 2 comes out. The Thor thing doesn’t even make sense because they’re now treating “Thor” as a title, akin to “captain” instead of the dude’s name. Other characters have lifted Mjolnir in the past and that did NOT make them THOR. Why? Because it’s the dude’s name! If I take your car, I don’t automatically become you. I just become Will in Stolen Car. It’s going to be written by Jason Aaron, a writer I usually trust, but I just can’t get excited for this. He maintains that this isn’t “She-Thor”, as I guess that moniker would lessen the character somehow. No, this is THOR…who happens to be a She. I don’t even read Thor, so I’m not gonna let this get my blood pressure all high!
As for Blaptain America (I really hope that catches on), it’s not a new concept to anyone who’s ever heard of The Truth – a miniseries from the early 2000s about the first Captain America, who happened to be black. THAT was controversial. This just seems like a retread. It could be seen as a well-deserved promotion for Falcon, but it doesn’t quite work. Instead of putting him in the white hero’s shoes, why not make his character more important in other ways? You don’t have to make him Cap in order for him to be front and center; you just have to give him more exposure on his own. Make him the leader of a team. Give him his own title. There are other ways. I’ve actually known about the Falcon thing for a few months, so I’ve had time to process it. Still, it doesn’t make any more sense to me now than when I first heard about it.
My biggest problem with all of this is that it’s being treated like Event Storytelling. In the 80s, something like this could’ve happened and it never would’ve gotten media attention. It would have been a storyline and then everything would return to the status quo. Since Event Storytelling got into full swing, every big change has to be reported to mainstream media, and then you end up with comments from the peanut gallery of people who don’t even read comics. The problem with this kind of thing is that it’s reported like “This is how things will be from now on”, while anyone familiar with comics knows that these attention-/moneygrabs are only temporary. Man-Thor and White Cap will be back. Count on it. I’ve been in comics long enough that I don’t fall for this stuff anymore, but it’s so tiring watching this cycle happen over and over in mass media. Superman’s Dead! Captain America’s Dead! Thor’s A Woman! Captain America’s Black! Give it a rest! At the end of the day, this isn’t some kind of “bold step” for Marvel, as everything will return to the way it was. The best we could hope for is that these gimmicks give the characters enough exposure to stand on their own when all is said and done. Like when Bucky took over the role of Captain America, it made him popular enough for his own Winter Soldier series. Maybe that’s what’ll happen with Falcon and She-Thor, and I guess that could be considered a “win”. Only time will tell, but I’m really just tired of the theatrics. If it’s a good story, tell it and it will stand on its own. Stop grandstanding for major media outlets. You’re trying to get a new audience into comics, but even if it works, they’ll be gone by the time you figure out what to do with these characters. Give it a rest, Marvel.
While we’re talking about comics and color-shifting characters, it’s been announced that The Following‘s Susan Heyward has been cast as Deena Pilgrim in the Powers series for the Sony Playstation Network. Powers is a police procedural, set in a world of superheroes, based on the comic series by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming. As much of a Bendis fan as I might be, Powers just never really grabbed me. Still, it has its fans, and this television series has been in the works for years. There was a pilot shot for FX, with more established actors in the roles, like Lucy Punch as Pilgrim, but FX passed on the show. Eventually, it resurfaced at Sony as part of the Playstation Network, and the roles are being recast. In the comic, Deena Pilgrim is a white character, but you can see that Sony’s going a different direction. The news hasn’t been promoted in enough mainstream outlets to measure much of a response, but you can be sure that you probably won’t want to read the comments when you find it.
Oh, I forgot another comic this thing week. Archie died. Yeah, he took a bullet for his friend, Kevin Keller, a newly-elected senator who won on a platform of stricter gun control. I swear, not all comics have to be grim and gritty. I know that this occurred in Life With Archie, which is an alternative look at a grown-up Archieverse, but that seemed like the one area of comics that never needed to succumb to gimmick storytelling. Archie is Archie. There’s a band, Jughead likes hamburgers, Reggie’s an asshole, and Archie two-times Betty and Veronica. That’s all you need to know. If any comic title didn’t need to mirror real-world politics, it’s Archie. Comics are supposed to be fun escapism, and it didn’t get more escapist than the “Pleasantville” town of Riverdale.
Some of you TV fans will be happy, as it’s looking like The Big Bang Theory is in trouble at the moment. I like the show, but I know it has its detractors. Apparently, the 3 leads make $350,000 per episode, but now they want to triple that. Yes, TRIPLE. In a way, I kinda think they deserve it, based on the ratings (it’s the highest rated comedy on television), but I know that Ashton was making about $800,000 per episode for Two and a Half Men, making him the highest paid actor on television. Back in the 90s, you had situations where the Friends were making about $1M per episode for the final season, but the television landscape has changed, and folks aren’t being paid that much anymore. In any case, the cast isn’t showing up for work, and CBS is scrambling to figure out what to do if negotiations don’t end soon.
The axe is coming down over at Studio 8H, as it was announced that 3 featured players and a regular cast member are leaving Saturday Night Live. Brooks Wheelan, John Milhiser, and Noel Wells won’t be enjoying a second season live from New York. It’s kinda sad, as the cast was too bloated to give anyone exposure (other than Sasheer Zamata), so I almost feel like they never had a chance. In a departure that makes me really sad, Nasim Pedrad also isn’t coming back, but this is mainly due to her role on Fox’s Mulaney next season.
Harold & Kumar: The Animated Series is coming to Adult Swim. I dunno, but I feel like this is a day late and a dollar short. I mean, remember when Napoleon Dynamite came to Fox, and nobody gave a shit ’cause the movie was 9 years old? This feels like that. At least they got the original cast back, but I just don’t see this being a big hit.
There’s good news and bad news coming from the Storage Wars camp. The good news is that, following the success of their special, Jarrod and Brandi are getting their own show, Married to the Job. The bad news, however, is that Mr. Yuuup himself, Dave Hester, returns on August 12th. I guess he settled his lawsuit against A&E, but the show must be in some kinda trouble if they crawled back to him. It’ll be interesting to see how the newer buyers like Renee and Ivy interact with him.
The show’s over for Sam & Cat, as Nick has cancelled the series. At this point, it’s still not clear if it was due to the pay gap between the two stars or if it was due to Jennette McCurdy’s racy pics. Either way, Ariana Grande can focus on her singing, while Jenette will have to look for her next gig.
The Marvel news keeps on coming, as it was announced yesterday that True Blood‘s Deborah Ann Woll will be playing Karen Page in the Netflix Daredevil series. I know these things are supposed to be in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but outside of Rosario Dawson, none of the casting decisions have really gotten me excited. I hope the execution of this show is stellar enough to put me at ease.
In movie news, we bring it right back to Marvel, as they scored the cover of the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly. There we got our first glimpse at the movie version of Ultron, as well as some hints as to his cinematic origin. In Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, it appears that Tony Stark creates Ultron as a robotic defense system in order to give the Avengers a break. And, of course, this goes horribly wrong. I’m really looking forward to this movie, and I don’t have any qualms with the new Ultron origin, as it fits with what they’ve been doing with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
It looks like Saban may actually be throwing some money at the Power Rangers movie reboot, as it was announced this week that Roberto Orci has been brought on as executive producer. He’s got actual industry credits (Star Trek, Amazing Spider-Man), so this is certainly a good sign.
Kacy Catanzaro became the first woman to complete the American Ninja Warrior course this week. I don’t really watch this show, but I was in a sleep center doing a sleep study and it happened to be on. Anyway, it’s pretty incredible and I just marvel at how many places in the course I would’ve just given up and gone home. I really need to get in shape…
I don’t talk about it much here, but I’m a casual wrestling fan. I used to be more into it than I am now, but I still enjoy bouts in the squared circle. So, it was to my disappointment that my favorite wrestler at the moment, Brodus Clay, was released by WWE a few weeks ago. He was never gonna win the Heavyweight Championship, but he was still fun to watch, as he was just so lighthearted. It was especially great when he danced with his Funkadactyls. Anyway, I’m gonna miss seeing him, so let’s pour one out for the Funkasaurus.
I may not like the announcements they made, but there’s no denying that Marvel dominated the week. Folks are still talking about She-Thor and Blaptain America, while that EW cover took over social media when it was released on Wednesday. Sure, these changes won’t last, and everything will eventually go back to the way things were, but the goal was to get the spotlight on Marvel and it succeeded. For that reason, Marvel had the West Week Ever.