Monthly Archives: June 2015

Spider-Man’s Newest Peter Parker

Tom Holland - the newest Spider-Man
Tom Holland – the newest Spider-Man

Announced earlier this week, the actor picked to play Spider-Man in the next Marvel and Spider-Man movies – as well as the director of the next Spider-Man movie – has been announced. Nineteen-year-old Tom Holland from Britain is the actor that has picked up the title of web-slinger from Andrew Garfield, who also claims partial British citizenship.

Holland’s previous acting credits began in the theatre (since he’s British). His first part was Billy’s best friend Michael in Billy Elliot the Musical after his talent was recognized during a hip hop class in London. He eventually became one of the rotating Billy Elliots, with three other performers, until May of 2010. He quickly made the transition to film, starring in The Impossible, providing the voice for main character Shô in the British version of Arrietty, played one of the co-stars in How I Live Now, and in 2014 provided the voice for one of Tom Hardy’s sons in Locke. In 2015, Holland has already appeared in In the Heart of the Sea, Backcountry, and Pilgrimage. He has already been set for the Untitled Spider-Man film, as well as Captain America: Civil War in 2016.

The surprising choice for director is Jon Watts. Watts is, in comparison to some other directors of the Spider-Man movies, an untested director. His IMDB directing list is a mere thirteen credits, which also include multiple episodes of Onion News Network and Onion SportsDome episodes. His most well-known movie is likely Clown, though his most recent directing job, Cop Car, has been viewed much more favorably. In 2014, Watts was named Filmmaker in Residence at the Atlanta Film Festival, the first ever. However, this sort of decision isn’t unprecedented, since Amazing Spider-Man’s Marc Webb had only indie gem (500) Days of Summer as a big-budget release.

And of course, we all know how well that worked out.

amazingspiderman2

Thanks for reading! We hope you’ve enjoyed this article. Come back next week for more fun fan information!

Father’s Day in Comic Book Land

Missing father
It’s really common

Father’s Day is Sunday, June 21st this year. It’s a day out of the year when we appreciate the hard work and dedication our fathers have poured into us, and are rewarded with ties, cologne, homemade cards, and macaroni pictures. It’s too bad no one ever celebrates it in the comic books.

With the sort of-exception of Superman (his actual parents are dead – since his planet blew up – but his adoptive parents are alive), the comic world is full of orphans. The obvious example is batman, whose parent’s deaths are part of his origin story, but this is a long-standing tradition from both Marvel and DC. It’s more prominent in Marvel (thanks mostly to Stan Lee, who was in love with the idea): Peter Parker’s parents are nowhere to be seen and his grand-uncle Ben is killed as his origin, a large number of X-Men are orphans (such as Cyclops and Professor X), Daredevil, Sue and Johnny Storm from the Fantastic Four, and even Janet Van Dyne, the Wasp.

It’s an all-too common trope that we see repeated endlessly in superhero books and movies. And it’s not reserved for the capes, either! Plenty of superhero villains are orphans, as well as classic characters like Luke Skywalker (sort of), Harry Potter, a whole lot of fairy tale characters, and most child video game characters.

Why does this idea come up so much? At the beginning it was for obvious reasons: Batman wanted to avenge his parents by capturing criminals. Superman’s dead biological parents are a necessity in order to get him to Earth, and Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben was killed to teach Spider-Man an important lesson that would help him become a superhero. After that, it begins to become more of “the parents will get in the way of the main character,” especially in video games and literature. Eventually, it comes down to being parent-less, even just one, gives more emotional credence to a character, gives them more freedom, and allows for easy angst.

It’s a tragic event for anyone to go through losing a parent, and commonly something that creates a drastic change. When a character has this as part of his or her beginning, it is rarely ever treated as this, though this is usually because the death has happened far enough in the past for it to be a partially-healed pain, or have them never know their parents.

We’re thankful that the frequency of deaths in real life doesn’t match what it is in pop culture. This Father’s Day, be sure to appreciate your father from keeping you from being a superhero.

Happy father's day

Batgirl Character Corner

Barbara Gordon as Batgirl
Barbara Gordon as Batgirl

Once a month we write an article about a superhero that may not be in the public eye as much as some. We’ve previously done characters such as Moon Knight, Agent Carter, and even Wonder Woman, in anticipation of her upcoming movie. This week we’re doing Barbara Gordon, the original Batgirl, in honor of our exclusive Pink Batgirl Costume!

History:

Born to Roger Gordon and wife Thelma, Barbara was orphaned at the age of thirteen, and adopted by her uncle James Gordon, captain of the Gotham police department. A fan of superheroes since birth, Barbara became infatuated with Batman, and more so when she discovered her father working with the vigilante. She became a black belt and graduated from high school at the age of sixteen thanks to a photographic memory. She earned a scholarship from Gotham State University and graduated with honors before turning eighteen. After college she continued learning self-defense, training in jujitsu and working at the Gotham public library.

Her dream was to be a hero of the more casual kind – a police officer, or a member of the FBI. Her adoptive father, however, laughed when she told him, saying she didn’t even meet the height requirements. The FBI told her much of the same. A few nights later Barbara’s life was changed at the Bristol Country Club. The Gotham City Police held a ball for their sponsors, and Barbara sewed a feminine version of the Batman costume, based on childhood designs, intending to crash the party to spite Gordon. However, a villain known as Killer Moth arrived to extort the guests.

Killer Moth grabbed Bruce Wayne as a hostage, and Barbara tackled the villain to the ground. Wayne escaped to change, during which Killer Moth got the better of Batgirl. Batman defeated him with Robin’s help, but Killer Moth got away. Batman criticized Batgirl, but later sent her Batarangs. She later met Batman and became a protégé of his.

To her surprise, her life as Batgirl failed to fulfill her, and after a few years she began to retire in a manner. As recounted in The Killing Joke, Joker came to her home and shot her, paralyzing her from the waist down and kidnapping her uncle at the same time. Barbara spent time in a deep depression. When she recovered, she realized that she could no longer be the kind of superhero she thought, but realized she could still help. Creating a comprehensive computer system and utilizing her photographic memory, she became Batman’s researcher and knowledge expert, dubbing herself “Oracle.”

Oracle Batgirl
Oracle watches the Birds of Prey

Forming the “Birds of Prey” with a number of other female heroes, Oracle proved herself indispensable to a number of heroes, many that didn’t know her personally. She employed various young agents to be her eyes and ears in Gotham, and helped one of them, Cassandra Cain, become the newest Batgirl.

After batman usurps her computer system, Oracle moved to Metropolis, cutting ties with Gotham’s Dark Knight. She is given a virus developed by Brainiac, getting cyberpathic powers that let her interact with computer systems psychically. These powers recede when the virus is rendered dormant. Dick Grayson, a previous Robin and currently Nightwing, proposes to Barbara, but the marriage is called off after the Infinite Crises storyline. Nightwing is critically injured, and during his recovery Barbara states she doesn’t think he’s ready for marriage he agrees, but promises to return, leaving her the engagement ring.

A year after these events, Cassandra has stepped down as Batgirl and become the leader of the League of Assassins. Barbara continues to lead the Birds of Prey and expands the operation, leading to a takeover attempt by a government agent called Spy Smasher. Barbara beats her in a fight, and is joined by all of her previous agents to help return the agency to her command.

In the Blackest Night crossover event, Barbara and her adoptive father are forced to fight for their lives against the Black Lantern Corps. Deadman, a ghost superhero, possessed Barbara and fought some of the Black Lanterns off, allowing them to escape to Batman’s underground base.

Shortly after the events of Blackest Night, Commissioner Gordon’s son James Jr. returns to Gotham. A killer and a psychopath, James was taking medicine to reduce his psychopathic tendencies, but Barbara discovered the medicine was increasing them instead. James kidnaps Barbara, but Barbara stabbed him non-fatally in the eye before Batman arrived, able to stop his plan to poison an infant nutrition plant.

Abilities:

As Batgirl, Barbara was a talented martial-artist; good enough to still defeat opponents in a wheelchair. A photographic memory, high intellect, computer knowledge, and hacking skills make up her most useful attributes as Oracle, though being paralyzed makes it difficult to compete physically.

We hope you enjoyed this article; be sure to check out our other pieces, and take a look at our exclusive Pink Batgirl Costume!

Origin Story: Graduation and the Hero

What's your origin story?
What’s your origin story?

It’s the end of the school year, which means you or someone you know may be graduating shortly. It’s the perfect time to find an item that will help you stand out in the crowd, no matter what color your robes are. It’s an important time for any person, and we’re going to look at the superhero version of the graduation: The origin story.

Everyone knows the most famous origin stories, but why? It’s because they give a good emotional balance to the character. Superman was told the importance of helping others, and from adoptive parents Martha and Jonathan Kent he was given a keen sense of the goodness in life, something that never left him.

Bruce Wayne, witnessing his parent’s violent murder, was left shocked. He dedicated himself to preventing the same kind of tragedy for anyone else, as well as harnessing his fear to become something that would empower him instead of debilitate him. Peter Parker, accidentally allowing the man that would kill his Uncle Ben to go past, learned quickly the phrase “with great power comes great responsibility.” He learns that his powers give him the chance to help people, and that he must either accept the calling he’s been given or do nothing even though he could

All of these origin stories have one thing in common: a period that tells them what it means to be a hero. It gives them a challenge they must face continually to remain heroic.

What was your origin story? It’s possible you haven’t encountered it yet, or it might have happened long ago. You could be going through it now. It doesn’t have to be over by the time Pomp and Circumstance plays. It may very well be difficult or painful, but being a hero has never been easy.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this discussion. Come back next week for more superhero talk!

“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” – Christopher Reeve