Category Archive – Movie Madness

Week of Geek: Spider-Man! An Appreciation!

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Spider-Man!  Spider-Man!  Does whatever a spider can!  Spins a web, any size!  Catches thieves just like flies!  LOOK OUT!  Here comes the Spider-Maaaaaaan!

That song’s been around since the 1960s.  About as long as the character it features.  Yep, we’re gonna talk about everyone’s favorite web-head today, which seems timely seeing as how his first solo MCU film comes out this weekend.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is Spidey’s 6th movie in 15 years, which is a high turn-over rate in film.  It’s actually his 7th if you count his appearance in Captain America: Civil War, and this is his first solo film since joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Let me break it down and bring you up to speed…

ComicsHis first appearance was in Amazing Fantasy issue #15 in 1962, and he was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.  He was one of the first teens in comics who wasn’t a sidekick or side character, and he was specifically created with teens in mind as a relatable hero, with power but also insecurities and awkwardness.  He’s been a regular in Marvel ever since and has become one of the publisher’s most iconic characters.

TV – Spidey’s been in other media almost since he appeared on the scene.  The first was an animated series that ran from 1967 to 1970 (and that’s where his theme song comes from).  One version I saw a lot of was an animated series that ran from 1994 to 1998.  But he’s been a steady presence on small screens, with a new series coming out this year.

Broadway – Probably the less said about this, the better.  But still, it did happen.

Movies – OK, buckle up, ’cause this gets a little complicated.  A really great article just came out that outlines the whole sordid affair, but let me sum up.  Some of you might be wondering why we haven’t seen Spidey on screen with the Avengers up until now.  Well, there’s a couple of reasons for that.  Back in the 90s, before the big super-hero boom in film and before they created their own movie studio, Marvel sold off the film rights to some of their most popular characters, most notably the X-Men to 20th Century Fox and Spider-Man to Sony.

Sony had tremendous success with it’s first 2 Spider-Man films, 2002’s Spider-Man and 2004’s Spider-Man 2, both starring Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker.  But trouble started to brew in 2007 when Spider-Man 3 debuted.  Though it did alright financially, it was panned by the critics and is still a sore spot for Spidey fans.  So, Sony tried to reboot the series a mere 5 years after the first trilogy (that’s a big thing you start to see when you follow pop culture trends; movie studios are first and foremost a business, and they want to make money).  This brings us to Amazing Spider-Man in 2012, starring Andrew Garfield, and Amazing Spider-Man 2 in 2014.  These were met with resounding ‘meh’s from audiences, so Sony, after having three under-performing films, decided it was time to open up communications with Marvel Studios, who have been killing it with their extended universe of films.  Sony didn’t want to give the character back to them, per se (as was the case with Daredevil and maybe Fantastic 4), but to partner up.  Thus, Spidey appeared in Civil War, with Tom Holland (the 2nd Englishman to play the part) taking over as Peter and he will now get his own film as a joint Marvel/Sony project.

So Spidey returns to the fold!  But I wouldn’t hold your breath when it comes to the X-Men.  Fox is still making good money on those characters and will likely want to hold on to them.

Other characters – The world of Spider-Man has many interesting players to read up on, especially when you get into the multiverse.  There’s Miles Morales, an alternate universe Spidey who is biracial and made a big splash when he first debuted.  One of the most recent and popular characters is nicknamed Spider-Gwen.  She’s an alternate universe version of long-time Parker love interest Gwen Stacy, but in this reality she’s the one who was bitten by that pesky radioactive spider, and became her universe’s version of Spider-Woman.  Fans were thrilled to have Gwen back and staring as the hero, considering what happened to the main universe’s version (spoilers).  And Spider-Man has a heck of a Rogue’s Gallery, some of which have had their own comics.

So there’s a relatively brief rundown, considering the character is 55 years old.  Anything important I missed?  Post in the comments section and if you go see the film be sure to let us know what you think on the Write It website.  Any and all Spider-Man comics you read this summer do count in the Teen Summer Reading Challenge, btw.  And click here and here for more MCU vids to watch.

Until next time, End of Line, and remember…

To hiiiiiiim, life is a great big baaaang up!  Wherever there’s a haaaang up, you’ll find the Spider-Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!  (It’s hard to tell in print, but I’m actually a half-way descent singer, I swear!)

Week of Geek: Pride Month Part 4! Slash Fiction and Final Thoughts!

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Hi again Geeklings!

So June is almost over (can you believe it?) and this weekend Canada celebrates 150 years on July 1st.  So let’s wrap up Pride Month with the fourth and last part in my series on LGBTQ characters (Click for Parts 1, 2 and 3).  This time, however, we’re going to get a little unofficial.  We’re delving a bit into Slash fic.

What is that?  Well, let me throw a few terms at you.  “Shipping” in Fandom circles is when fans romantically match characters, regardless of if that match is canon or not.  If you write about, draw about, paint about, or just support a certain couple you “ship” them (you may hear the term OTP as well; that means One True Pairing, the couple you love above all others… though, let’s face it, you often can’t pick just one).  “Slash” is shipping where both of the shipped characters are guys; for two girls it’s often known as “Femslash”.  There are MANY famous slash pairings out there, often with mash-up names.  Very few of them are canon, but fans really want them to be and, honestly, they might as well be, considering the TON of fan art and fanfiction out there around them.  And on the rare occasion a ship DOES become canon… my gosh, that’s a happy day for fans!

Some examples of slash pairs include Destiel (Dean Winchester and Castiel from Supernatural), Johnlock (Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, and that’s one of the oldest slash pairings out there), Spirk (Captain Kirk and Commander Spock from Star Trek, and like many other things in fandom, slash as it’s known today really began with Trek, appearing in fanzines before the internet became a thing), Sterek (Mieczyslaw “Stiles” Stilinski and Derek Hale from Teen Wolf), and of course the ultimate question amongst Avengers fans; Stony or Stucky?  (Meaning, who should Captain America end up with?  Iron Man or Winter Soldier?)  A couple of examples of femslash pairs include Pangie (Peggy Carter and Angie Martinelli from Agent Carter), Allydia (another Teen Wolf pairing, this time between Allison Argent and Lydia Martin) and Korrasami (Korra and Asami Sato from The Legend of Korra), though that one actually became canon.

So why do we ship?  And why do we slash?  There are a lot of theories out there, but some of the ones I like the best is that it’s a way for young fans to explore romance; that it’s a way for LGBTQ fans to find representation in pop culture which, though getting a bit better, is still lacking; and it’s proof that there are many versions of love, and that who we’re attracted to can be hugely fluid, which is always a good thing to know and normalize.

So I encourage you guys to imagine the possibilities.  And I encourage you to share your fanfics on Write It!, ’cause we’d all like to read them.  Who are some of your favorite ships?  Post away in the comments section too (but no shipping wars; all ships are valid!).

So, some final thoughts; why did I write this series on LGBTQ characters, both canon and non?  Four posts covering four different formats featuring many orientations (gay, lesbian, bi, pan, ace, etc.) and many characters.  What heck?

Well, pop culture, and really any type of art we make, is a reflection of us; as a whole, as individuals, as a society, etc.  It represents our hopes and dreams, our problems, what we wish we could change and what we shouldn’t change for anything.  Our strengths, our flaws, and the many, many ways we go through the human experience.

And I wanted to take this month to highlight LGBTQ characters because, for some of us, we may find ourselves in a position where we know something might be up with us in regards to sex or romance or who we feel we should be or whatever, but we’re just not sure what it is.  And we may find ourselves in a position where we have absolutely no one to talk to about it.  Maybe, for whatever reason, your family or friends or community isn’t really all that open to talking about homosexuality or anything non-heteronormative.  Or maybe they are, but you’re too nervous or afraid to ask.  It could totally rock what you thought you knew about yourself.  Or maybe you don’t know what to ask.  It’s a process, let me tell you.

So it’s kinda nice when you can open a book or turn on a TV or sit in a movie theatre and see a character that makes you go “Huh.  That sounds or looks an awful lot like me.”  This is why representation in our culture is so important, for all types of people.  When you see someone like you it inspires you to be your true self.  Then when you are ready to ask some questions, to vocalize all of this, it’s helpful to envision that character, or even just to know that somebody, somewhere, created something that echoes what you’re feeling.  You are NOT alone, whether support comes from nearby or from a writer writing in Hollywood or somewhere.  And just the knowledge that you aren’t alone can be very powerful, regardless of where it comes from.

Stormpilot anyone?

So if you’d like to learn more, we have resources and we have links.  As library staff we encourage people to not to be afraid to ask questions.  Allow me to promote that here.

Thanks everybody.  Happy Pride!  Don’t forget about TSRC, and until next time, End of Line.

Oh yeah, and apparently this is a thing now 😉

Week of Geek Bonus: Harry Potter turns 20

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Just popping in to remind everyone that the Harry Potter series turned 2o years old today.

Amazing that 20 years have already gone by.  I actually didn’t start reading the first book until just before the first movie came out in 2001, so I was a little late to the game.  It wasn’t until I saw the first trailer for the film that I thought ‘Oh, OK, this actually does look pretty good.  I should see what all the fuss is about.”  And I did.  And I haven’t looked back.

I am a slow reader on a good day, and I think my record for fastest time reading a novel is still Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the last book in the series.  That took me a week, and that was me reading every spare moment I had.  Sad, I know, some people read it overnight, but I really tried!

And those are just 2 memories of mine about the series that has meant so much to me and to so many people all around the world.  From the books to the films to the merch to the Wizarding Worlds to live theatre and to Newt Scamander’s adventures (with more of those coming), in 20 years the Harry Potter series has gone from one woman’s dream to an entire franchise, with no plans to slow down.  And fans couldn’t be happier, with new members joining all the time.

What are some of the Potter-related moments that have stood out to you over the years?  Post away in the comments section or write your own thoughts, poems or stories about the series on the Write It! Website.  And if you’re looking to read or re-read the series over the summer be sure to post the page counts for the Teen Summer Reading Challenge.

Book publisher Bloomsbury recently asked fans about their favorite moments, which are compiled in this amazing video.  Watch and feel the feels.  Here’s to another 20 years and beyond, and until next time, End of Line.

Week of Geek: Pride Month Part 3! LGBTQ characters in Books!

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Hi again Geeklings!  Pride month rolls on and so does my series on LGBTQ characters.  You can read parts 1 and 2, where I’ve covered comics and screens big and small, but today I thought I’d talk about good old-fashioned books and the literary characters that inspire us to be our authentic selves.

‘Nother reminder: As with the previous posts, I am only including characters that have been confirmed as LGBTQ, either in print or from their authors.  But slash and speculative pairings are such a thing I’m thinking we should cover that next week to wrap up Pride.  Ca va?

Now, thankfully, there are LOTS of YA books that feature LGBTQ characters.  YA literature has been one of the places where LBGTQ characters and issues have been able to flourish, and it has helped readers and society at large become a little more accepting of such things.

And there’s books for the tween crowd that are definitely worth checking out too.

But there’s a few characters in particular I’d like to highlight.

Let’s start with the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, which has 6 volumes and two spin-off series and has been made into both a movie and a Netflix series.  And fans are well aware of Alec Lightwood and Magnus Bane.  One’s a Shadowhunter, one’s a 400-odd-year-old warlock, and they’re in love.  But they are far from the only LGBTQ characters in the series, and Clare has stated her support for showing such characters and relationships in YA lit.  I think we can all get behind that.

Next, let’s look at Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, which is a spin-off of sorts to her previous book Fangirl.  If you’re looking for a more down-to-earth version of Harry Potter, this book is a good option, centering on wizard and ‘chosen one’ Simon Snow trying to save the wizard community (sound familiar?).  The thing is he’s always been suspicious of his roommate, Tyrannus Basilton Grimm-Pitch, who goes by ‘Baz’.  And Baz does have a secret or two.  What could this all possibly lead to and will Simon save the World of Mages?  Find out!

And there’s been some development in the Star Wars universe lately, at least in print.  A character named Moff Delian Mors from Lords of the Sith has become the first canon LGBT character in the galaxy far, far away.  The series Star Wars Aftermath also has a gay character, Sinjir Rath Velus, an ex-officer of the Empire who ran for it after the destruction of the 2nd Death Star.  It remains to be seen if the movies will catch up with this kind of representation.  Here’s hoping.

But, no article about LGBTQ characters in our favorite books would be complete without mentioning Albus Dumbledore.

Though it’s never explicitly stated in the entire seven books or eight movies, author J.K. Rowling did confirm back in 2007 that Dumbledore is gay.  It helped explain a lot about the decisions he made when he was younger (I’m not going to say what; spoilers).  Though some fans would’ve liked to see the character come out in the series, the fact that one of the most complicated and beloved of the HP characters is gay was a huge revelation, and he’s since become one of the biggest LGBTQ icons in literature.  And with Jude Law set to play a young version of Dumbledore in the sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them perhaps we’ll see this side of his character developed further.

There’s a very brief overview, but which characters stand out for you?  Post away in the comments section.

Stay tuned for next week’s entry and don’t forget to check out Write It! and the TSRC, which starts on Friday!  Thanks guys, and until next time, End of Line.

Week of Geek: Pride Month Part 2! LGBTQ Characters in Film and TV!

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Hi again Geeklings!  How’s it goin’?

So, continuing with the theme from last week, I thought this week I’d talk about LGBTQ characters on screen, a la movies and TV shows

Note: As with last week and with future editions, I am only including characters that have been confirmed as LGBTQ, either onscreen or from the creators.  So no speculative pairings or slash fiction.  That’s a whole article in and of itself.

So let’s break it down…

Anime:  As I mentioned last week when talking about manga, anime has a long, colorful history of featuring non-binary and gay characters.  Examples?  How about Grell Sutcliff from Black Butler, a grim reaper who’s a guy but not really.  Or Puri-Puri-Prisoner from One Punch Man.  Attack on Titan fans will know about Ymir and Christa.  And of course, we cannot possibly speak of anime LGBTQ characters and not mention Yuri!!! on Ice, not just with power couple Yuri and Viktor, but possibly Yurio and Otabek.  (Time will tell on that one, don’t rush them!)

Animated Programs:  The creators of Adventure Time have confirmed that characters Marceline the Vampire Queen and Princess Bubblegum used to date, hence the frenemy vibe they currently have on the show.  The Avatar: The Last Airbender spin-off The Legend of Korra famously ended with the title character and her female best friend getting together.  And in the show Steven Universe, having all of the alien species known as gems be female has led to some interesting questions about what it means to be female, as well as how they relate to and love each other, like with Ruby and Sapphire or Pearl’s devotion to Rose Quartz.

For the Adult Swim show Rick and Mortytitle character Rick Sanchez is pansexual, as the creators confirmed and as was on display in the episode “Auto Erotic Assimilation”.  Other more ‘adult’ cartoon shows like Family Guy or Archer have featured LGBTQ characters.

Live-Action TV Shows:  Wow, so many to choose from.  Let’s see, shows like Orphan Black, Teen Wolf and Supergirl have all featured rainbow characters.  Glee had no shortage of characters that ran the gamut, from gay to lesbian to bi to trans (and all set to music).  Though it’s left somewhat ambiguous in the show itself, the creators of Hannibal have confirmed that the main characters, both male, are in love with each other.  More DC shows with LGBTQ characters include Lucifer (the devil himself swings both ways); Arrow and Legends of Tomorrowwhere White Canary is bi; and Gotham, which has bucked supervillain convention this last season by having longtime bad guy the Penguin crushing on fellow longtime bad guy the Riddler.  Wha?

Across the pond, long-time British export Doctor Who has worked hard in it’s revamped series to include LGBTQ characters, starting with pansexual Jack Harkness and then bringing in married couple Madam Vastra and Jenny, all the way up to current companion Bill, who’s a lesbian.

And for more old-school fandoms, you can’t leave out Willow on Buffy or Charlie on Supernatural.  Much love!

Movies: There are A LOT of movies out there with LGBTQ themes, but for mainstream movies it can be hard to find LGBTQ characters.  There’s quite a few reasons for that, not many of them legit, BUT there are some characters to look to.  Of course, one of the most famous is Dumbledore, but I’ll talk more about him next week.  Disney recently made headlines by confirming that LeFou is gay in their live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, and as you’ll read in that link people are still divided over that.

Animation studio LAIKA hasn’t had too much trouble showing gay and trans characters in their films.  And… yeah, I’m kind of drawing a blank otherwise.  Let’s hope that doesn’t stay like that.  Can anyone else think of any?  Post away in the comments section.

So that’s it for this week.  Next week we’ll look at characters in books, and there is a lot to talk about there.  Hang in there as you wrap up the school year, and until next time, End of Line.