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What’s Wrong With Comics

Originally published on Ohhh Dis!

The current state of the comic book industry is….potentially exciting, but mostly puzzling.

I don’t want to give the wrong impression in writing this, so bear with me. I love comics. No, let me say that again. I really love comics. They’ve always been a huge part of my life, from Sunday paper strips to superhero stories to Japanese manga and zines. They’ve shaped my outlook, evolved my artwork, and created a network of irreplaceable friends in my life. I love the business of comics. I love the discussion and curation of comics. Nothing’s perfect, though, right? That’s what keeps us working toward the next goal, bettering ourselves and each other, and that is my intention in sharing these thoughts with you.

Inside Chimera's Comics La Grange

There’s a lot of intriguing new ideas presented to us in comics these days; the fact that independent publications are making their way up to holding a sizable chunk of the total comic book market is one such example, but even in your big-hitter Marvel and DC stories, you’re seeing classic characters settled into modern settings and new faces representing the next generation of readers. There’s new universes being discovered and married together, new villains being introduced in legendary comic titles, and there’s certainly no shortage of crossover events, tie-in books, and incentive variants. Well, those last three things are actually not that great. In fact, they’re the bane of comic retailers and sometimes collectors, so then why in the world are publishers and distributors actually pushing these marketing nightmares? This begs further questions towards very real problems with the industry; why are comic creators being forced off social media platforms because of death threats? Why is there such a demand for certain types of books with so little product to supply it? How can small businesses like comic shops survive during financial crises? With so much diversity and accessibility to comics, why is the industry struggling?

ODani Romero of Chimera's Comicsne of the challenges and prospects of the modern market is that we have readers of all ages and dispositions who are interested in comics. We can thank the success of Raimi’s Spider-Man kicking off a serious resurgence of interest, though the last decade’s worth of fandom is owed to the Marvel and DC’s cinematic universes duking it out in theaters, driving new readership towards the origins of those films. This invites people into the world of comic books that might have never even tried to crack one open before, and that includes a lot of younger bookworms looking to see both the classics that introduced the characters they love, and to find reflections of themselves in the heroes we love and the new ones we’re discovering. This new generation of comic readers is an active, progressive bunch, and sometimes that onslaught of change doesn’t sit well with everyone (you’ll hear a lot of bashing of ‘SJW’s, and we’ll get to that).

Gene Ha to appear at Chimera's Comics La Grange for Free Comic Book Day on May 6

Fans who have been involved in the collecting community and have been following comics since a young age (most typically from the Silver Age and forward), have come to expect a certain consistency in the books and characters they love, and with very few exceptions, many of those titular heroes have really gone off the rails from who they were to evolve into what Marvel or DC thinks people might want to read. There’s a lot of young readers out there who really dig the new directions, but the numbers produced in sales are not really showing that across the board, only at select shops with the right surrounding demographic. So first, you have a struggle between generations of readers, but you also have the battle of telling stories that writers want to tell versus pandering to what fans tell you they want to see happen. That’s a muddy discussion for another time, but suffice it to say there’s a lot of indecision and uncertainty in what steps should be taken by publishers, and a lot of argument between older and younger readers in what should be involved in new stories. The only things publishers seem to feel they can try are things they’ve done before that worked as at least temporary solutions, but not thinking in the long-term is what seriously harmed the industry before. So what do they do? What do WE do, as readers? As shop employees? What are our roles as fans?

How do you remedy such a tricky situation when so much of artist, writer, and reader’s experiences are subjective?

Stay tuned for 5 Ways To Save The Comic Book Industry

Deadpool 2 Review

Before Hugh Jackman decided to hang up his proverbial Adamantium claws after 17 years of playing Wolverine on the big screen, Deadpool paved the way for a harsh R-rating. (Forget the pitiful Wolverine: Origins that introduced an inferior Deadpool as the cancerous mutant Wade Wilson whose mouth was sewn shut.) Played to a perfect tee by smarmy Canadian Ryan Reynolds, the original  film introduced the world to The Merc with a Mouth with its fourth wall breaking jokes, self-realization, wanton violence, and lover of all things katanas and unicorns.  

With Deadpool 2, is it possible to have lightning in a proverbial bottle twice?  The answer is an astounding “YES!”

Deadpool 2 Review by Chimera's Comics

DeadPool 2 is a worthy sequel from the director of John Wick, the same flick that reignited Keanu Reeves’ career.  From the start of the explosive beginning, tongue meets cheek with a riff on James Bond films openings combined with a song provided by Canada’s other famous export, Celine Dion.  Deadpool 2 ups the ante in terms of over the top CGI  violence with limbs being severed and torsos being separated.  

While the original was more about jokes at the expense of Hugh Jackman, Green Lantern, etc., Deadpool 2 has jokes that fall flat with references to dub step.  The sequel relies more on set pieces and less on CGI till the final battle at The Essex Orphanage.  (Only true Marvel fans will understand that Easter Egg.)

Deadpool 2 Review by Chimera's Comics

Ryan Reynolds truly loves The Merc with a Mouth and doesn’t phone in his Oscar worthy performance.  The supporting characters, Colossus, Negasonic Teenage Warhead, and Weasel, make a big return to the sequel. Dopinder, the innocent and loveable kidnapping taxi driver, also takes center stage along with affable, Peter, a Members Only jacket wearing Everyman with no discernible mutant powers.  (I am anxiously awaiting a Dopinder in taxi Funko pop or a Peter with parachute Funko pop!). New characters Bedlam, Vanisher, Shatterstar, and lucky mutant Domino are the new members of X-Force in the limited time some of them are on screen.

Deadpool 2’s secret weapon is Cable played to gritty perfection by Josh Brolin (AKA Brand from The Goonies and Thanos from that small Summer blockbuster Avengers: Infinity War.). Without going into spoiler territory, Cable’s convoluted origin from the comics is glossed over.   Brolin plays the time traveling soldier from the future with glee with his bevy of futuristic guns, pouches, and fanny packs.  New Zealander and Kiwi, Julian Richardson, from The Hunt for The Wilderpeople, is an impressionable John Connor  with a love for prison wallets while Cable is a Winter  Soldier Terminator hybrid  with no sense of humor from the apocalyptic future.

Wear your crocs, bring your unicorn dolls, and tiny hands to the movie theaters this weekend to watch Deadpool 2!

Remembering Toys “R” Us

The people who run Chimera’s Comics are fans and collectors just like you. And just like you, we mourn the loss of our beloved Toys “R” Us. A few of us gathered to pay our last respects.

Chimera's Comics Remembers Toys R Us

From Dave Q:

As a toy collector, I have very fond memories of my local Toys “R” Us. From visits as a child to toy hunting as an adult, it is truly my favorite store. My favorite memories will always be visiting with my nieces and letting them pick out one toy as a gift from their favorite uncle.

In the past few years the giant toy retailer had been struggling. From the inability to compete with online retailers like Amazon and Walmart to electronics being a growing source of entertainment for kids. Toys “R” Us’ inability to adapt to this new culture would be its biggest downfall.

The announcement of the return of KB Toys gives me hope as a toy collector. I understand that most if not all online stores gives consumers the option to preorder items, but there’s nothing like toy hunting.

Toys “R” Us you will be sorely missed!

-David

Chimera's Comics Remembers Toys R Us

From Carmelo C:

Millions of children looked to the proverbial toy store as a promised land of fun and excitement. A trip to the toy store was almost more fun than returning home with a toy. Because the store represented possibilities.

Toys “R” Us never ceased to give me that sense of wonder. And no matter how much online retail grows, it will never capture the wonder and imagination inspired by the site of a warehouse of toys.

Sadly, when it comes to power, size, and selection, physical retailers are losing to the giant online retailers. Here’s hoping that small business, whose strength lies in community, friendship, and care can rise to fill the void left in our hearts by Toys “R” Us.

-Carmelo

Inside The Secret Diamond Retailer Summit

C2E2 is open for business, a weekend-long convention that has taken the Midwest by storm and is quickly becoming THE go-to show for those even outside the region. But what about the show before the show? This year, Diamond Comics Distribution held their retailer summit in Chicago, sharing C2E2’s hosting venue at McCormick Place, which invites comic and gaming shop retailers to hear the latest news from publishers and distributors alike, get summit specific deals and freebies, and….well, get to complain a little.

IMG_20180405_072447As I shared in my last post, the comics industry is struggling, and some of the factors involved in that mess are quite parallel to the world’s woes: corruption and greed. So of course, as with any opposition to these things, voices rise up, and groups gather together to express their concerns and work to change the system.

Even with that looming tension, there’s still some positive to take away from an experience such as the Summit, especially for someone who is continuing to grow into the industry as it is (not as it’s wished to be) and to learn how to best adapt to the struggles we work against. As with all things in life, as with all difficulties we face in our lives, there is still magic out there, and to me, there is still magic in the world of comics, flickering, but present. The people I work with, both staff at the shop, creators of independent works, publishers and beyond…if they didn’t love what they did, what they made and what they helped to bring other people, they’d move on. They’d find something else to dedicate their passion to.

Yet, that passion remains here, within them, and within me. So, to the summit! IMG_20180405_074309

I started my morning bright and early getting into downtown Chicago and was met with a great breakfast and a line-up of publisher presentations. I won’t go too deep into spoiler territory, but there were some really exciting announcements that I can share that I hope you’ll all be interested in as well! Action Lab Comics, TokyoPOP, and Titan Comics were first up:IMG_20180405_081833

Action Lab announced a new imprint of comics called ‘Action Lab Discover’, focusing on comics for all ages, and I MEAN all ages. Their titles will have reading levels as early as ages 4-8! This is HUGE news, because up until now, there’s been little to no options available for parents who are trying to get their kids interested in the medium from a very early age. Next, TokyoPOP announced support for comic shops in relation to Free Comic Book Day (coming up the first Saturday of May). With the free preview comic for Nightmare Before Christmas: Zero’s Journey releasing on said holiday, they are also offering the series’ first issue for shops to sell to encourage further reading and help small businesses make a little bit back on their community investment! Finally, Titan Comics showed off their new line of video game comics like ‘Dark Souls’ and ‘Life is Strange’, plus a big feature for the greatly anticipated 13th Doctor’s premiere in comic format. Talk to your local shops and pre-order these bad boys, because they’ll go fast!IMG_20180405_133006

Next up in the schedule was a great line up of interesting marketer presentations and tip sessions, and that led us into the DC showcase!

As Action Lab offered, DC discussed further details on their new imprints of kids and young adult titles through the new imprints ‘DC Zoom’ and ‘DC Ink’. The titles have a slew of fantastic talent involved, offer diverse representation without being simply pandering…but as has plagued even their regular line of books, delays will keep thIMG_20180405_095759ese comics from releasing in prime selling opportunity, instead pushing to the first quarter of 2019. There was a little talk about the adult line DC Black Label, the new Sandman universe books, Mad Magazine’s relaunch, but the big reveal came when they announced pre-order numbers for their two upcoming big-bang titles: 500,000 units of Action Comics #1000, and a whopping 1,000,000 units of DC Nation #0! We’ve been holding out for market-saving numbers like that, and DC, despite their in-house issues, are driving the charge forward. It’s going to be a fascinating 2018 for DC fans with all sorts of upcoming works that both continue the powerful, building legacy of their ongoing Rebirth titles, but also presenting new content that specifically harkens to the classic age of heroes like Superman and more!

A few more workshops and a nice lunch later, we had Marvel’s panel, which was the uproar of the Summit. No new announcements were forthcoming, but we were shown some artwork never featured before to give us a good idea of progress on their new line of Fresh Start titles, and let me tell you, they look GOOD. Yu’s pencil work in particular is a welcome friend to the Captain America series, and the insane scale offered in Jason Aaron’s upcoming Avengers title is sure to delight current readers and hopefully entice old ones to come back. C.B. Cebulski was also present beside Aaron and shared with uIMG_20180405_140938s a new effort on his part as editor-in-chief to spend time on the front lines, working several days a year with comic shops all across the States to see just what the demand is, what retailers need the most support with, and so on. It was a great sentiment met with applause, but the elephant in the room also needed addressing: Amazon and Comixology selling Marvel titles, best sellers and new stories no less, for just $0.99. Also, what the heck was going on with stopping those silly percentage/incentive based variants? Unfortunately, Marvel had no answers to offer, and what had been an uplifting feature ended on quite the sour note.

IMG_20180405_140129Some other smaller publishers stepped in to offer their saving graces, like Penguin/Random House’s upcoming Dungeons & Dragons ‘Art and Arcana’ tome featuring years of fantasy art collected over the game’s lifetime, and a big reprinting of the kid’s comics ‘Hilda’ series, which is set to get a Netflix original cartoon this year! We were also shown some brand new publishers like ‘Dead Reckoning’, who has a focus in military comics, both reprints of obscure classics and new indie tales, given a huge list of manga recommendations from Kodansha and VIZ Media, and a few new tools that Diamond as a distributor would be implementing to lessen shipment shortages, and make subscriptions much easier to manager for customers as well. I’ll be trying to do some follow up this summer on all of this, so stay tuned!

In the end, as with all things, there was good and there was bad. Regardless of the struggles we still face, there is nothing that will stop me from loving this medium, from seeing the movies and trying new series day in and day out. And frankly, there’s a LOT of other people out there who feel the same as I do. Comics are a labor of love, from idea to execution to sales. I’m excited for the possibilities this summer has to offer, especially following the release of Avengers: Infinity War in theaters, and I’m ready to take a trek on the next adventure with all of you fans, creators, retailers and customers.

Originally Published on Ohhhdis.com

Chimera’s Champion Comics: Centipede #2

I think there’s always been a little overlap between the fans of comic books and video games, especially arcade cabinet classics with enigmatic stories and a strong focus in visual branding. In fact, back in the days of the Atari 2600’s prime, DC Comics published a line of mini-series all linked to video games, including ‘Swordquest’, ‘Atari Force’, and more. Now, Dynamite has taken over releasing a brand new series of ‘Atari Classics’, including a new take on ‘Swordquest’, and the topic of our discussion today, ‘Centipede’!

The pleasant surprise of these books is their unconventional way of telling the story of the games themselves, but also stories of the people who fell in love with them. ‘Centipede’, for example, chronicles the adventures of Dale, a lone survivor of a planetary cataclysm, and his crusade to defeat the giant monster that ravages what’s left of his city.

What’s more intriguing about this latest issue is the exploration of human psychology withstanding complete isolation. Dale is almost literally alone with his memories of the people who were once in his life, the small joys and frustrations he’d experienced in a more trivial life. The only other living thing he’s left to interact with is a frankly mindless creature, the centipede. All Dale can do is continually outsmart and attempt vengeance on the monster while barely escaping with his life. But then, without the centipede, what else would he possibly do with his time?

While I’m not yet sure if this is incidental or with purpose, these new Dynamite/Atari titles have had a distinct goal in trying to offer LGBT representation to their lead characters. We’re taken on a journey through Dale’s memories just as much as a journey through the war-torn, deserted streets of his old home. The reader meets his friends, family, and lovers, and loses them with him, too. It’s an intensely emotional story to go through when all you’re expecting is a space adventure fighting alien monsters. Max Bemis’ previous works (‘Worst X-man’, ‘Foolkiller’) are no indicator of what he’s capable of, not until his full potential is seemingly released from the confines of Marvel’s limitations. Frankly, most of the big hitters could use some letting loose in terms of content and story. How else do you think we’ve received such gifts as Neil Gaiman? The artist of the series, Eoin Marron, brings visual believability to a creature and our hero just as he decorates simple, but rich landscapes of the mind and the outer universes with comedic charm. His style is so reminiscent of ‘Tank Girl’ that it makes the grit and antics of the story even more convincing, and yet he gives the world of ‘Centipede’ a Mad Max-ian quality for enthusiasts of barren, apocalyptic cyber-punk fables with heart.

I’m hard pressed to decide which of the new Atari series I enjoy more, but this latest issue of Centipede is yet another rung in the upwards ladder of quality content coming from Dynamite’s new take on classic video games. These series are the comics I look forward to the most in my subscription, not just epic tales of hunting monsters in space, but stories of the people in them, and the people who loved where they came from.

-Dani

Chimera’s Champion Comics: Empress Vol. 1

Marvel joins forces with Millarworld! Their ‘Icons’ subsidiary was an open invitation for them to delve into more ‘mature’ works before they were willing to plaster ‘explicit’ labels on to their everyday hero books again, a move that was very common in the early 2000s but only just now resurging fully in the last year. Empress has been their limelight title and now it’s finally been collected into its first volume, seven issues of epic science-fiction space travel adventure and alien intrigue.
So what to say about this series without underselling it?
The story as a whole is simple and elegant, a nice change from the typically complicated plots and stingers from Mark Millar, and this is paired with an equally simplified rendering by Stuart Immonen, one of my absolute favorites. Again, to say these elements are simple is NOT to insult or demean this comic. Rather, it feels very much like Saga, where it says what it needs to and moves on to more important matters, which is giving the reader a fun experience with a group of eccentric and fascinating characters and environments.
The cast in this comic are given a great treatment, well-rounded with emotional sensitivity just as easily brought on as a trained beating. Their goal is escape and each member of the family and crew feel rather differently about that goal, reflected especially in the eyes of the children who are caught between losing their father, but also that he happens to be a deranged overlord akin to Thanos.
The twists of the plot are necessary reveals with weight behind the drive for each character instead of the usual contrived and nonsensical shocker that superhero comics are particularly guilty of lately. It’s really nice to see a comic that sets up such a grand scale of story, taking place in the great expanse of outer space, and yet they humble it with problems that are timeless and common, if not unspoken.
I’m way too excited for the next installment of this series, whenever it’s meant to come out, but in the meantime, I have no qualms in rereading this awesome tale. Did I mention there’s dinosaur steeds? Sorry, I should have sooner.
TL;DR: There are dinosaur steeds.
-Dani

Welcome Home, Spider-Man: A Spider-Man Homecoming Review

I counted down over 500 days to the release of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man. So long, in fact, that my countdown increased when they pushed the release from November 2001 to May 2002. And I’ll never forget the pure, unbridled joy I felt seeing that movie for the first time. 15 years and dozens of superhero movies since then, and Spider-Man Homecoming managed to capture that magic for me again.

Find Your Place In The Universe

What makes Spider-Man Homecoming so magical? The obvious answer is the one Sony and Marvel put right in front of you: this is IN the Marvel movie universe. And in that regard this movie is awesome. Seeing Spider-Man team-up with Iron Man is amazing, pun intended, plus you get to see the Marvel Universe from the ground floor. What do alien invasions and the age of heroes mean to blue-collar, street level guys like Adrian Toomes or worried family members like Aunt May? Seeing all of this spun before your eyes is impressive. Sony executes this not only through big moves but by literally dozens of tiny easter eggs.

Come On, Peter

But that’s not all that makes this film so terrific. Rather, it’s the portrayal of Spider-Man in a way you’ve never seen before: he’s truly a screw-up, trying his best, and constantly out of his element. It’s what makes Spider-Man so relatable, and entry point into the Marvel Universe that’s exciting but simultaneously relatable. “Find your place in the universe” was the tagline and it’s really true. Where would we fit in to such a world of gods and monsters? As hapless victims, running screaming from Ultron? Would we be mighty gods like Thor? Or, like our friendly-neighborhood wall crawler, would we be doing our best to make a difference and embrace our changing world with excitement? Spider-Man Homecoming explores the MCU from the ground level.

Does Whatever A Spider Can

I’d be remiss if my review didn’t address the action and the effects. This is the sixth Spider-Man film, so you’d think you’ve seen it all. And yet Spider-Man has a fresh energy, incredible power with less refinement than either McGuire or Garfield, providing stunts and battles that still wow and thrill. His new suit, complete with all the bells and whistles you’d expect in threads made by Tony Stark, brings to life such classics as the spider-tracers and web gliders, while also introducing new elements like the AI Karen or over 500 different web combinations.

I’m Batman…I Mean, Vulture

The many battles with the Vulture are brutal. He’s vicious and frightening, with a costume cleverly designed for function (like his “claws” that are really like forklifts designed for gripping heavy cargo during heists) while still resembling his namesake (like the fur-lined collar of the bomber jacket). And on that score, Michael Keaton portrays Adrian Toomes as far and away one of the most layered, compelling villains in the MCU. One dimensional villains with no sympathetic qualities or believable motivations plague these movies (I’m looking at you, Ronan) and yet here we have a villain who you see struggling economically, and whose vicious temper really only comes out in defense of his beloved family, along with a code of conduct that gives you a respect for him as well.

More Than Moral Support

Speaking of Keaton, he’s first among an excellent and diverse supporting cast. Peter’s high school friends represent many races and genders, and while our main character is still a straight white male, it’s definitely encouraging to see just how well-rounded his world is. Marissa Tomei shines as Aunt May (and the movie has a lot of fun with how attractive old “eat your wheat cakes” has gotten), along with excellent performances from Zendaya and NAME OF LIZ ALLEN, and a small but memorable part of Donald Glover as NAME, who in the comics is better known as the Prowler and the uncle of the Miles Morales’ Spider-Man.

Spider-Man Homecoming Review by Chimeras Comics

Spidey Hits Home

Last, it’s worth noting how fun this movie is. From Captain America’s cameos, to Spider-Man’s lovable attempts to be helpful, to quirky supporting characters like Flash Thompson or the sandwich shop owner, Spider-Man Homecoming had me grinning ear to ear for the first forty-five minutes straight.

For me, the Spider-Man movies are deeply nostalgic and deeply personal. The message of power and responsibility could be said to be the center of any superhero story. These movies remind me of my father, who hooked me on Spidey through cartoons when I was a child and watched patiently as I got older but never grew out of it. And now they’re something I get to share with my brother, who as a 16 year old could easily be Spider-Man (actually quite literally).

Homecoming hits home because it gives us the fledgling teenage superhero, a hero you root for not because he’s unstoppable but because he isn’t. Because he makes mistakes. Because he’s the ultimate underdog. And because he keeps bouncing back.

When he’s not selling comics, Carmelo Chimera is practicing law and working on the release of his upcoming graphic novel, Magnificent.

Chimera’s Champion Comics – Aquaman #25

 

Never could I have imagined reading or enjoying Aquaman. It’s not a knock to the character, but rather a testament to my fickle nature, especially when it comes to superheroes. I’ve spent most of my life as more of a ‘Marvel girl’, having grown up learning to read with X-Men comics, and aside from my high school years spent reading Batman and being ‘edgy’, many classic DC characters have remained outside of my radar until the past six years or so.

 

Right out of the gate, I’ll admit the only thing that drew me to this issue was the announcement that Stjepan Sejic (Sunstone, Ravine) would be producing art for a short run of the series (as well as an upcoming issue of Suicide Squad!). Being one of my favorite artists in comics right now, I tend to collect anything he creates just to see it and give it a try. Inevitably, I dove into Aquaman and was visually delighted.

But to my surprise, I was captured by the story as well, written by Dan Abnett (Resurrection Man, Legion, The New Deadwardians). This special-sized anniversary issue had a lot of ground to cover following the events of previous Aquaman issues, all while beginning a new story arc to follow, and it really stepped up to the plate. The underwater kingdom of Atlantis doesn’t just feel like a city with a big, blue backdrop. There’s real immersion of design to reflect that you are in the ocean, where every movement conjures bubbles and waves in your wake, where coral and shipwrecks are the foundation on which homes and businesses are built. It’s not a Disney mermaid-world, but a functioning landscape that just happens to be underwater. While this is represented visually with a stunning attention to detail per panel, it’s also inherent in how the characters are interacting and living through political turmoil.

 

Our new antagonist Corum Rath has the potential to be a real Kingpin of Atlantis with the way his schemes are playing out, and I hope he gets at least a nice five-issue saga to establish just how he and the Drift took over everything, why Aquaman would fear or hide in wait from them, and how Mera’s return and reunion with Arthur will make a difference in the end. There seems to be quite a few factors at play with the rebels of the Ninth Tride and new mutations of merfolk stirring things up!

 

In summary, this issue serves as a great way for new readers to get into Aquaman, a very nice build on top of the foundation of the existing series, and a gorgeous tale of other worlds to enjoy visually and verbally.

 

-Dani

Wonder Woman sequel to feature Cheetah?

6 Ways To Make the Wonder Woman Sequel Rock

Headed into the second weekend for DC’s smash hit Wonder Woman, everyone’s waiting to see if this movie has legs. Spoiler alert, early projections have Wonder Woman remaining number one in the box office and beating out The Mummy for the top spot (as of this writing). This kind of traction is probably due to the overwhelmingly positive reception. [UPDATE: Wonder Woman has indeed conquered the box office over The Mummy, number 1 for two weeks running now and approaching a half-billion dollars worldwide.)

Regardless of the outcome of the hero’s next great battle – that for box office supremacy – Warner Brothers has already green lit a Wonder Woman sequel. What will they have to do to make sure this franchise carries on, so this glorious first film isn’t just Zeus’ thunder in a bottle?

Here’s my personal wishlist/recommendation for a Wonder Woman sequel:

1. Bring Back Patty Jenkins

It’s probably a shock to you that Patty Jenkins hasn’t been officially brought on for the Wonder Woman sequel (as of this writing). While there are many talented filmmakers who could leave a unique stamp on the character, Jenkins’ vision so perfectly captured the tone, characterizations, and quality that an icon like Wonder Woman demands. This is first on my list because it’s a given that should already be accounted for by now. And I don’t care what it costs, frankly.

2. What Happened Over The Last 100 Years

The movie continuity goes something like this: Wonder Woman is active during the final days of World War I, then basically goes off grid until the events of Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice. In the controversial team-up film, she tells Bruce Wayne that she turned her back on fighting during the last 100 years, the “Century of Horrors.” Yet at the end of Wonder Woman, her hope in the world is renewed by the actions of Steve Trevor and the defeat of Ares.

Wonder Woman sequel will need to explore the last 100 years

The obvious explanation is, World War II was a demoralizing setback for Wonder Woman, who’d thought she’d conquered all war. But while this should be spelled out, I also want to know, how did she spend the last 100 years? Has she been back to Paradise Island? Why or why not? 

This is really important because part of what made Wonder Woman so intriguSome of this could be explored in flashbacks that supplement a primary narrative, which brings me to…

3. Consequences of Wonder Woman’s Actions (or Lack Thereof)

One cool way to bring the story into the present and explain the last 100 years without sluggish exposition slowing down the narrative is to have the central conflict be the result of Wonder Woman’s actions – or lack thereof. Did she fail to save someone she should have? Did her incredible powers inspire someone for good…or for ill?

4. Turn This Into A Political Thriller ala Captain America

Wonder Woman by necessity bore a lot of similarities to Captain America: The First Avenger, because both characters are out-of-time and represent pure, noble values in times of great violence. For that reason I think DC should follow Marvel’s cue with the almost universally loved Captain America: Winter Soldier. This movie helped highlight Cap’s values by putting him at odds with the modern political, military-industrial complex and timely addressed issues of mass surveillance.

Wonder Woman sequel will need to explore classic villains

Wonder Woman too is a political figure in the comics, and one who isn’t tethered to one country the way Cap is. Now that she’s rejoined the world, how will she handle genocides? Stateless terrorism? National sovereignty? I for one want to see a meaningful political thriller. But to work, it will also need…

5. A Diverse And Well-Rounded Supporting Cast

Wonder Woman’s supporting cast is, and I think this is only lightly a spoiler. a minimum of 120 years old by the time the sequel would start, given when the first movie is set. Safe to say, all pretty dead. And I really liked the cast of this movie – from Robin Wright as Antiope is a standout, along with Etta Candy, Apache Chief (seriously, too freaking cool), and Steve Trevor. But who is Wonder Woman’s supporting cast in her modern-day comics? And are any of them household names like Jimmy Olson or Alfred?

Wonder Woman's sequel will need a great supporting cast

The best super-hero movies have always had an excellent supporting cast. The aforementioned Winter Soldier teamed Cap up with Black Widow, Nick Fury, Maria Hill, and the Falcon. Diverse, bad-ass, and compelling in their own right. The Christopher Nolan Batman films had a stellar supporting cast, with such classic characters like Commissioner Gordon and Lucius Fox portrayed by grade-A actors like Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman, respectively. In fact, most modern super-hero have gotten the hint here.

Wonder Woman is no exception, but because of the lack of instantly identifiable secondary characters, there’s a chance here to create a supporting cast. One as diverse and well-rounded as her fans. The comics can and should certainly be mined for inspiration, but this film shouldn’t be afraid of teaming her with mostly original (or very changed) characters. Even if it ends up being other superheroes ala Winter Soldier – wouldn’t it be great to see her fight alongside Vixen, or perhaps in a strained partnership with Amanda Waller. Which brings me to the final suggestion:

6. Bring on some classic villains

I’m pretty biased, and generally think most of DC’s silver-age super-villains are pretty corny. Most of Batman’s beloved rogues, for instance, are only loved in their current state reimagined by the 90’s Bruce Timm animated series with simplified, character-driven origins and motives. And that’s what Wonder Woman needs: a streamlined, grounded reimagining of some of her classic rogues.

Wonder Woman sequel to feature Cheetah?

My Personal Wishlist For A Wonder Woman Sequel

Personally, if I could take a crack at a draft for a Wonder Woman sequel, I want to see the Cheetah, and a slightly more modern antagonist, Maxwell Lord. If Lord is the sort of master mind, they’ll be able to incorporate the political drama I mentioned above – perhaps he’s trying to harness magical artifacts for evil? Maybe he’s being investigated by Amanda Waller, who conscripts Wonder Woman into helping? Cheetah is like Maxwell’s prototype, and his muscle? And in the end, when Waller inevitably double-crosses Wonder Woman to take Maxwell’s MacGuffin/weapon for her own use, Wonder Woman puts her foot down and destroys it, maintaining her autonomy from the American military machine?

Chimera’s Champion Comics – The Flintstones #12

 

Chimera’s Comics presents a series of recent, or upcoming titles that showcase the excellence of graphic storytelling and the comic book industry! The following article is written and presented by Dani of the LaGrange staff:

 

The Flintstones comic has come to its final issue, a bittersweet conclusion to a critically acclaimed series of outstanding wit and endless charm. Many were skeptical at issue one, especially with the title being solicited by DC for teens and adults, as opposed to the expected kids classic. They’ve been doing a lot of that lately, first with their release of four Hanna-Barbera/DC crossover titles, continued next week with six Looney Tunes/DC crossovers. So how do you take these characters, each from wildly different worlds and backgrounds, and make that work?

 

I’ll admit, it’s hit or miss.

 

The Flintstones, however, has been a consistent hit, and their final issue is no different, a perfect tribute to end the title and pay tribute to the original cartoon, as well as the social climate of humanity in modern times. It’s lovingly wrapped in stone-age comedy, but it reveals quite a bit of truth about people and the timeless need to question, to believe, to persevere, and to cooperate with one another. Mark Russell (writer of the rebooted Prez) shows a talent for endearing readers to a message, and not just for the reason of cliche’s originating from somewhere. He presents, alongside the fabulous art of Steve Pugh (Hellblazer, Animal Man), a portrait from another time just as much as a mirror of the reader, I’m sure.

 

 

The flair of the series has been its wonderful re-imagining that resonates with the adults and teens who grew up watching the cartoons, which itself shared some pretty smart humor with its viewers (often through the woes of the animal workers). This comic is just an extension, a story of many stories that seems to always have been in our hearts and minds, but just never came to fruition.

 

I know, that’s really sappy, but honestly, just read this last issue, and you’ll know what I’m talking about. There’s a reason this series has received so many positive reviews (though it honestly astounds me that it didn’t receive any nominations for the Eisner Awards this year). Issue twelve is a great send-off to the Flintstones, but also serves as a stand-alone story about a classic cartoon family, and really, a story about us all.

 

Stop by Chimera’s Comics LaGrange and Oak Lawn to grab yourself a copy, or pre-order the collected Flintstones Volume 2, available October 2017!

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