comics

Nigerian Comics Set to Take World by Storm

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Image courtesy of Vortex Comics

Founded in 2015, Lagos based comic book company Vortex Comics is striving to create a new generation of comic book fans in Nigeria.  During an interview with Jordan Calhoun from blacknerdproblems, CEO Somto Ajuluchukwu highlighted his mission to create a mythology of superheroes specifically designed for Nigerian readers.  The titles and characters draw on both current issues (political and otherwise) affecting African readers, as well as ancient Yoroba traditions and ideals in an attempt to educate young readers on their cultural heritage.

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Vortex continues to press forward with giving back to their community in the creation of the Vortex Academy.  The Vortex Academy is a co curricular program that works with Lagos area schools to teach classes in illustration, graphic design, animation, and coding. Unfortunately, this program is only for the Lagos region in Nigeria, but you can check out their YouTube channel to watch this awesome group of guys at work.

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The crew behind Vortex Comics

Check out their website, buy some comics, and help spread the love to get this movement off the ground!

Back in the Saddle

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Image courtesy of Netflix

After battling a respiratory infection and Daredevil Season 2 binge session, Its time for me to get back on the blog horse.  As the internet continues to rave about this series, I will get up and rave right with them.  Berenthol was sublime as Punisher, bringing such nuance to this tortured character it left me speechless on more than one occasion.  The casting for this season was spot on, as was the writing in a big way, coupled with Tarantino levels of violence (I’m looking at you, Episode 4).  I can’t wait to see where this series goes next, and I really can’t wait to see more of Berenthol as Punisher!

Go watch Daredevil on Netflix now!!!

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Frank is sad that you aren’t watching Daredevil right now.

Real Life Spidey/Punisher Team Up

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Earlier this week, Jon Bernthal and Tom Holland stopped by the New York Daily News to talk about their upcoming MCU debuts as The Punisher and Spiderman.

Bernthal went on to tell the Daily News how he met Holland on set for the period drama Pilgrimage.  It didn’t take long for the pair to start helping one another make audition tapes, Holland vying for the role of Spiderman, and Bernthal for Punisher.  The Daily News also reports that Holland called on some divine intervention in the form of Chris Helmsworth (who Holland worked with during Heart of the Sea).  Executives heeded the God of Thunder, landing Holland in a pair of brightly colored Underoos.

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According to sources interviewed by the Daily News fans shouldn’t hold their breath in anticipation of a clash between these two Marvel titans, so instead, make sure to load up Netflix on March 18th and catch season 2 of Daredevil!

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OMG ELEKTRA!!!

Begrudginly Optimistic

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Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures

One month ago, Paramount released the second trailer for the new Ninja Turtles film, Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows and my brain feels like it is trying to tear itself apart. As a kid in the 90’s, I ADORED those turtles (Space Cadet Raph used to protect me from monsters at night) and had a blast with the first two movies (I was blissfully spared from Turtles in Time). As I grew older I learned about the comics, one time accidentally stumbling into an issue of Body Count, and found an old Eastman and Laird issue while browsing at a flea market. It was jarring to see my funny turtles strait up murdering the shit out of the very human Foot Clan, but the simple black and white style of the Eastman/Laird comic was so different from everything I had seen before, I was hooked.

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This ain't no Archie comic. Image courtesy of Image

Fast forward to 2006 when one of my other childhood favorites, Transformers hit theaters, I was beyond excited.  Giant robots beating the crap out of other giant robots? TAKE MY MONEY! I was so much younger then, so much more naive.

At first I simply glanced over Shia Labeouf’s cringeworthy Sam Witwickey, eager to hear Peter Cullen’s booming voice as he commanded the Autobots to “Roll out” but the magic soon faded away. The film seemed eager to push the Autobots into the background as we were forced to Witwicky and friends get into all kinds of hilarious hijinks.

The sequels didn’t get any better either. I actually fell asleep twice during the overbolown mashy robo battle at the end. Now, I will admit, the source material Bay and company had to draw from (most specifically, the original cartoon) was not exactly “ground breaking” to begin with, it was mostly a marketing vehicle for toys. That being said, shows like Beast Wars and Transformers Prime and issues upon issues of comics beg to differ. Simple roots should not be an excuse for shallow writing.

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Image courtesy of Hasbro

After Transformers, I developed a passionate loathing for everything Michael Bay touched, and when I heard the news he was in charge of a new Turtles flick, I LOST MY MIND.

So the first Micheal Bay Turtle movie came and went, being the overblown turd I thought it was going to be (cynical much?).  Shreder was a walking Ginsu commercial, April O’Neil became a pair of boobs with vacuous/sometimes painful dialogue, and more ridiculous fight scenes that defy the simplist laws of physics (how the Hell did Raph bust out of that van?). At the end of the day, I was left wondering if anyone involved with that film had read the comics, Hell, even watched the cartoon. It’s almost like they did a rudimentary image search of “Ninja Turtles” and yelled “Done!”

Time passed, and I attempted to ignore rumblings of a sequel.  I expected any further films in this franchise to follow the same trajectory of Transformers, big explosions, mediocre plot, and annoying casting.  Then a friend insisted I watch the trailer, and after much convincing, I relented.

I was FLOORED.  Bebop AND Rocksteady (who I had been pining for ever since the minor let down of Tokka and Rahzar from Turtles II), actual ninjas in the Foot Clan, Casey Jones, a legit Baxter Stockman, and I still can’t believe I saw Kraang. Despite my efforts to remain cynical, I was genuinely excited, and part of me felt dirty for it.  Bay is good at making slick trailers, like an angler fish made of explosions, so part of me was still guarded, waiting for that second shoe to drop.  But the deed is done, he did it.  I am going to see Ninja Turtles.

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Image courtesy of Paramount

Please don’t suck….

Vertigo Hits the Small Screen

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Monday, Warner Bros. affilate station WGN America announced their greenlighting of a new series based off the Vertigo title Scalped, with The Flash executive producer Geoff Johns and Doug Jung from Banshee.

Scalped, written by Jason Aaron and illustrated by R. M. Guera, follows the story of Dashiell Bad Horse as he returns to his hometown on the Prarie Rose Lakota Reservation.  The critically acclaimed western/crime series started in January 2007, spanning sixty monthly issues dealing with organized crime, poverty, addiction, and the struggle of Prarie Rose inhabitants to retain their cultural identity.

Unsure if your cable provider carries WGN America?  Visit their website to find out how you can gain access and check showtimes.

Also, don’t forget to show Vertigo some love and pick up your copies of Scalped (digital or otherwise) today!

Young Justice Takes a Dip in the Lazerus Pit?


Image courtesy of Warner Bros. and Cartoon Network

Early February, the internet exploded with rumors of Netflix possibly bringing back the beloved (and tragically shortlived) series after releasing Season 2 on their streaming service.

Paul Dini Interview

Though Young Justice was highly rated in Cartoon Network’s DC Nation animation block, the show was baffingly axed before airing it’s third season.

Shortly after the cancellation was announced, Paul Dini (writer for Batman: The Animated Series and creator of Harley Quinn) speculated on this briefly on Episode 52 of Kevin Smith’s “Fatman on Batman” podcast. Dini noted a growing trend in Cartoon Network of cycling out shows they feel are “too old” for their target demographic.

Dini also went on to speak of his experience with other television executives, alluding that some would outright discourage a female audience, their reasoning being “they [girls] don’t buy toys.” Though Dini strongly mentioned not hearing these sentiments from Cartoon Network executives, the thought of these attitudes are unsettling when speaking of the future of comic book inspired animation.

Hope Remains

There is still hope! Recently, Danica McKeller (voice of Miss Martian) recently did a Periscope Q&A, speaking of an ongoing twitter campaign to ressurect the show. Mckeller, amoung other Young Justice alumni have joined their voices (and twitter accounts!) to the cause, asking fans to continue tweeting and streaming to gain the attention of Netflix executives.

If Deadpool’s swelling box office numbers are any indication, this plan is just crazy enough to work!

As always, stay awesome, and keep watching Young Justice!!!

Updates and Such

Wow, it has been way too long since my last update.  Between holidays and work schedule changes 2016 has been an absolute rollercoaster so far!

But Spring is here and the world is rife with comic news!  With Edx preparing it’s next Superhero course and a new deluge of superhero movies preparing to hit theaters, it still is a very exciting time to be a comic book fan.

Until next time folks, keep it awesome!

The Scavangers – Return of Indian Superheroes

Why haven’t any of India’s Mightiest made it to the big screen? Super Commando Dhruv, Nagraj, Captain Vyom, and Shaktimaan want answers, and they find them in this hilarious video by the Indian comedy team Screen Patti.

Make sure to check out Screen Patti’s Youtube channel here

The World’s Mightiest Heroes – Nagraj “The Snake King”

This blog series was inspired by edx alumni Varun Rajagopalan and his awesome posts in the “Heroes Risen” facebook group.

In a culture so innundated with American superhero heavyweights like Superman and The Avengers, its easy for me to forget that there are heroes in other countries with the same amount of influence in their respective regions. Thankfully, with the ease of distribution only the internet can provide, heroes from across the globe are starting to make a big splash in the world wide comic book game.

This series will cover some of the most iconic superheroes from around the world, with diverse and intriguing back stories unique to each region’s culture.


Nagraj – The Snake King

Nagraj
Image courtesy of Siddartha Panwar of Raj Comics

Creators: Sanjay Gupta
Publisher: Raj Comics
Abilities: Super strength, super speed, flight, psychic powers, super healing, venemous bite/spit, weaponized snakes that he can draw out from his body.
Mythological Origin: Based on the Ichchhadhari Nag, a shape shifting snake, and a Vishmanushya (venemous human).

Comic Book Origin:
Converse to Nagraj’s main mission, the eradication of terrorism around the world, Nagraj himself was originally utlized as a weapon of terror being bought and sold to the highest bidder to complete various missions. Nagraj’s story starts with one of these missions, and under the mind control of Professor Nagmani, was sent to steal a golden statue from a temple. This temple was guarded by devotees, snakes, and a centuries old Sadhu (holy man) named Baba Gorakhnath.

Gorakhnath and his Black Mongoose Shikangi (warriors?) were able to defeat Nagraj, leading Gorakhnath to discover that Nagraj was being controlled by Professor Nagmani via a device implanted in Nagraj’s brain. Gorahnath was able to remove the device and free Nagraj. Shortly after, Nagraj became a disciple of Gorahnath, and pledged to fight crime and terrorism all over the world.

Nagraj currently lives as Raj (very similar to Superman’s alter ego, Clark Kent) in the fictional city Mahanagar as a Public Relations Officer at Bharti Communications.

Popularity: Considered one of Raj Comics flagship characters, Nagraj is one of the longest running superheroes and has become iconic in Indian Pop Culture.  In the late 90’s, Raj Comics attempted to bring Nagraj to the small screen with a live action series, but production was cancelled after the filming of only three episodes.  Word through the grapevine is Raj pulled the plug due to poor visual effects, but did later release the episodes for free in the Khalnayak Nagraj, Samraat, and Saudangi, trade paperbacks.

In 2006, Indiagames signed with Raj Comics to develop a mobile puzzle game featuring Nagraj and Bankeylal.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any other mention of this game other than shady third party app websites, so I was not able to verify if this game is live.

In 2007 there was talk of developing a Nagraj animated movie, and in 2010 a company called Planet41 was supposed to begin a mobile streaming and download service for Raj Comics animated films including the heroes Nagraj, Druva, and Doga.  Again, I was not able to find further information on this service.

Despite previous attempts to bring Nagraj to both the big and small screens, Nagraj enjoys a strong fanbase.  The loyalty of Nagraj fans can be seen in Raj Comics yearly “Comics Fest” events, and last year they celebrated 25 years with “Nagraj Janmotsav,” an event celebrating Nagraj specifically.


References:

Nagraj wikipedia page
Nagraj Indian Comics wiki page