SportsGeek

Miami Dolphins: Foster is Coming

The Miami Dolphins finally have their back.

After an off-season of searching the Dolphins signed running back Arian Foster to a one year deal.

A very team friendly deal, $1.5 million with another $2 million he can make in incentives. The Dolphins have made deals like this in recent years. Prove it deals for veterans coming off of injuries.

The most noteworthy of these deals were for Brent Grimes and Knowshon Moreno. With differing results.

While for some Knowshon Moreno’s tenure with the Dolphins may have been a disappointment-he only played in three games before injuries ended his career. But that first game, that first game was a revelation. Twenty-four carries for 134 yards and a touchdown in the first game of the 2014 season against the New England Patriots. Lamar Miller would take over the running duties for the rest of the season right up until he left in free agency this year.

For Brent Grimes it was a career resurgence. Coming to Miami from the Atlanta Falcons following an injury the season before no one knew what to expect from Grimes. The undersized corner played among the elite during his three seasons with the Dolphins providing 13 interceptions and 2 touchdowns. While his last season was not up to his previous standards he still showed the ability to start in this league. His departure from Miami may have had as much to do with his wife’s outspoken nature as his diminishing skills.

Arian Foster could follow either of these paths. There are obvious injury concerns as he has not played all 16 games in a season since 2012. Him suffering another setback would not be a terrible surprise.

Foster is not being asked to be the bell cow back though. While he may end up as the starter the Dolphins are also very high on second year back Jay Ajayi. Ideally there should be some sharing of duties so that if injury does strike disaster should not follow.

One of the better parts of Foster joining the team is not simply his running or catching the ball but in how he can show the young backs how to be a pro. That part is simply invaluable.

In whatever way Arian Foster does contribute I look forward to watching it play out over the next few months.

 

 

 

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Batman V. Superman: Doomsday

In a few short days Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice will premier. So very many things to look forward to. Today I choose to look at one of the villains: Doomsday.

Introduced in 1992s ‘Death of Superman’ storyline, Doomsday was a force of nature. Plowing through hero after hero until he faced Superman alone. Genetically created(thousands of years ago on Krypton) to be the ultimate survivor-Doomsday can never be beaten the same way twice.  Finally, after realizing there was no other way to beat him, Superman beat Doomsday to death with his dying breath. Of course both characters would eventually return.

When the first trailers of the upcoming movie appeared some fans complained. You see this Doomsday’s origin is different from the comics. From what we think we know the movie Doomsday will be created by Lex Luthor using the corpse of Zod from ‘Man of Steel’. This will be Lex Luthor’s Frankenstein monster. And for some this is unacceptable.

Me? I think it is awesome. Using the original version could be problematic in the movies. Taking a page from ‘the Modern Prometheus’ is brilliant. Prometheus stole fire from the gods to give to mankind. What better way to fight Superman than stealing from the gods again by reanimating Zod?

With one simple change you give new life to the Luthor/Superman dynamic while also creating someone who could rival the Kryptonian’s power levels. You also create a battle which would necessitate Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman teaming up.

And isn’t that what we all really want?

 

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#WhoSpeaksForTheGingers

Comic Books are a unique form of art. They are the best of sequential storytelling. In novels a writer paints a picture, in comics artists fill in the blanks. They show you what this character or that looks like. Those depictions matter. In novels you have more wiggle room.

In recent years there has been an effort to create more character diversity in the world of comics. In years past that was not always the case. Diversity got a token response from the industry. Now there is a concentrated effort to do better. With varying success.

The upcoming Iron Fist TV series has opened another can of worms in this conversation. There are those who have complained about the actor who was chosen to portray Danny Rand/the Iron Fist. Let us ignore the fact that he seems to fit nicely in the way that Iron Fist has been portrayed since his arrival in May of 1974. For over forty years Danny Rand has been the Iron Fist, in those years he has always been portrayed as a blond-haired, Caucasian man. Apparently that is not good enough for some. These individuals feel he should be portrayed by an actor of Asian decent(ignoring the simple fact that this would go against the entire premise of the character). I am sure those that feel this way have rational reasoning for this and frankly…I do not care.

This column is not about Iron Fist. This is about the thought that you create diversity by changing the race or gender or sexual preference of characters that have been around forty, fifty years.

It does not work that way. Anyone who thinks it does has the horse around backwards.

‘Who Speaks For The Gingers?’

Gingers? I know…what the hell is he talking about now? I mention Gingers because several characters that have had their race changed have been Gingers-Wally West and Jimmy Olsen(at least the TV version of Olsen) also it seems sad that one of the greatest minorities(Gingers may not be around a century from now-red hair is a recessive gene) may soon be eliminated from our comic books. Soon we may be down to only Guy Gardner. So whenever the issue of race-bending comes up I ask: Who speaks for the Gingers?

In my mind’s eye changing long-standing characters races does not create diversity. It steals the memory from fans of these characters. It changes history. And frankly in my opinion some of these characters you are changing do more for diversity than their pale shadows ever will. Wally West certainly did. Under the pen of Mark Waid, Wally as the Flash had one of the most ethnically and progressive casts in comics. Wally was middle America and his friends and family were anything but.

Diversity is important but diversity for the sake of diversity is not the way to go. There is a better way. Create new characters. Simple. New. Characters.

Write what you know and who you know. Expand the horizons of our comics by expanding the cast, not by changing those we have. It can be done. Look at Ms Marvel, look at Miles Morales.

I have heard the arguments before. It is difficult to create lasting new characters. Some creators do not want to give their best to Marvel and DC if they cannot keep some ownership.

Both are valid. Wanting to keep your own characters is understandable. Someday perhaps DC and Marvel will do a better job compensating creators for their work…we are not there yet.

As far as it being hard. That is weak sauce. Anything worthwhile is hard. Do the work. Put your heart and soul into it. Do not cower and hide because it is difficult.

And if it is important to you it will be good and people will respond.

 

 

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ComicsGeek

DC Comics Rebirth: The Missing

In a recent column from Comic Book Resources, they reported on some of the upcoming changes at DC Comic including the full Rebirth Line.

While Rebirth issues and upcoming books were mentioned, no creative teams were announced. We truly know little more than the names of the upcoming books for what that is worth.

I am not here to talk about the announcements of what we will see. In time more details will come out and it will be easier to judge the new line then.

I would rather talk about what is missing. Those things I would seek to include in whatever the new DC Universe will be. Some that frankly taunt us with their absence.

Here goes…clearly this is not a complete list. Just those things I want(I am the writer)

…And I am confident those close to me know what is coming. Enjoy!

Legion of Super Heroes:

This should come as a surprise to absolutely no one. I cut my teeth on the Legion before I knew who Batman was. For a time they were part of the bedrock that the DC Universe was built upon. Reboot upon reboot upon too many course corrections for  DC Comics has taken its toll on the once mighty Legion. It is time for someone to return the Legion to their rightful place among the monthlies(and please stop trying to connect their continuity to modern-day DC lots of things change in a thousand years)

Justice League Dark:

One of the most pleasant surprised of the New52 was Justice League Dark. A collection of supernatural characters(not sure you would call them heroes) that never wanted to be a team. Bolstered by fantastic writing and the wonderful art of Mikel Janin for much of the run. Since Convergence they have disappeared. I do not care what you call them…just bring them back. It served as a wonderful counterpoint to the normal super-goings on of the Justice League.

The Man Named Dox:

It seems like anytime DC does anything Cosmic…they have to put a ring on it(outside of the wonderful Omega Men). Frankly I am sick of it. Space is like mind-numbingly big. I think we can have space epics not involving one of the Lanterns. Enter Vril Dox. Son(sorta) of Brainiac, ancestor of future Legionnaire Brainiac 5. He also dabbled as the megalomanical leader of L.E.G.I.O.N. and the REBELS. All about the ends justifies the means. This just throws the toy box way open.

The Brave and the Bold:

I like team up books. Throwing two different heroes together is always fun. While history says this should involve Batman teaming up with random hero of the week I do not see it that way. Different Heroes, Different Arcs. Only requirement…one established hero, one from the B-squad.

Doom Patrol:

The X-Men before there were X-men. Instead of mutants they were misfits, freaks. Operating out on the edge the Doom Patrol brings us the weirdness that some of us love.

Adventure Comics:

I love an anthology series. There are simply too many awesome character not being used to leave on the sidelines. This series could give those characters a voice. I also could be used to allow new creators a place to cut their teeth before jumping on more established books.

Wildstorm:

Grifter, Midnighter, Zealot, Wildcats, Backlash, Gen13, Jenny Sparks, The Authority…for some of us they were a big part of our comics world. While DC has used some of these characters with varying success…I want a book for them to find their place in the DC universe. Using forgotten memories is suggested to be part of Rebirth…why not use it for the Wildstorm characters. They start remembering a world before, realizing that they came from another place. Their journey of discovery could bring us back the characters we remember rather than the pale shadows we have been given.

Booster Gold:

We have Blue Beetle returning and from what I have heard it may be the Ted Kord Beetle which is a thousand times better. But how do you have Blue without the Gold. With the success of Legends of Tomorrow and the time traveling adventures within can Booster be far behind. As much as time travel is part of his character it is not all there is to Booster. While he began as the endorsement Super Hero with the Super-Ego he grew in time. Before Flashpoint he had become the hero that time forgot. Sacrificing glory and notoriety to do the right thing. After some nice Booster Gold books during Convergence I thought an ongoing was coming soon. We have waited long enough…give us some Gold.

These are just a few ideas(I have more…) to get us started. The important thing is great stories with the characters we love.

The future is upon us. I cannot wait.

 

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ComicsGeek, LiteraryGeek

We Are Legion

Another day and another conversation. And it leads me back to this column from way back when.

So this column came from a conversation I had with some friends over twitter. Actually it began after I read an interview with Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis.

Interview: Giffen and DeMatteis, another LEAGUE and LARFLEEZE

What prompted me to read the interview you ask? It was Giffen and DeMatteis…seriously you need more. They are bloody brilliant. Even if they did not give us an absolutely inspired take on Justice League and bring Blue and Gold together for the first time-Keith Giffen has long been connected to the Legion of SuperHeroes. That was more than enough for me.

The important part (for me at least) was this:

“This way when — because it is ‘when’ — DC will relaunch the Legion of Super Heroes eventually”

That was a direct quote from Keith Giffen and if I trust anyone talking about the Legion it is Mr. Giffen. Of course at the time they were talking about their new project Justice League 3000, but the Legion comment is what mattered to me.

Then came the conversation with @777DAMM and @JanArrah over in the twitterverse, follow them you will thank me.

It ranged over elation over the prospect of the Legion returning and the skepticism over how it would be handled.

More than any other comic book property the Legion seems to regularly suffer from changes that take place in the main universe. The Legion has been rebooted so many times it is difficult to know where a new book would start from, what pieces of the universe would be included and what parts and characters would pass into memory.

The biggest thing I took from the conversation was the realization that we all came at our fandom from different times, different points in the history of the Legion. Starting in different times gives us different perspectives, different things about the Legion that we love in our own ways. If I could see that from a conversation with two other people imagine trying to create a Legion for a hundred or thousands of people.

As fans we often believe these characters, these stories belong to us. We sometimes forget we don’t own them. Everyone does. We may not like the new version of the Legion but is it not better than not having them at all. The task is not easy. There is an abundance of history-but then if you have been around for sixty years and you don’t have history I have to ask: What have you been doing all this time..?

The job of creating a new Legion that will appeal to new and old is a big job and an important one. The Legion has been around since April of 1957 beginning with Adventure Comics #247. Why is that important?

The Legion predates the Avengers, the Justice Leagues, the Teen Titans and yes even the X-Men. Great creators have come from the Legion: Mike Grell, Jim Shooter, Dave Cockrum, Paul Levitz, Giffen, Oliver Coipel, Jim Starlin and even Francis Manapul. Someday soon another creator will step in with his vision for the future.

That vision is the important thing. It’s the future, not some horrifying dystopian future but one of hope. That is what the Legion has always been about hope and family. The belief that when they come together good people can do great things and there will always be a tomorrow.

The Legion is the bedrock for which that future will stand. Until that day…

Long Live the Legion.

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Heroes Do Not Kill

Should Heroes Kill?

As long as there have been stories there has been this question. Villains kill. We know this. But can a hero kill and still call themselves a hero.

Some feel a hero owes it to us to find another way, a better way.

Others think that for the greater good the good guy should simply exterminate the bad guy.

Both methods do have their merits. If no matter what Batman does the Joker is simply going to break out of Arkham and kill again would it not be prudent to end him now to lessen the body count. The thing is though…Batman does not kill…Should he?

Heroes stand for something far greater than themselves. Batman has always symbolized justice, not vengeance. He does not kill. He should not. As a character Batman is an obsessive teetering on a razors edge. Taking a life might push him over. He could become worse than the villains he seeks to bring to justice.

Some fans refer to characters like the Punisher who kill criminals indiscriminately. The villains do not return because he puts them down quickly. That is a ‘death wish’ style fantasy. That is not a hero. That is an executioner. Where is the line between a true villain and a man who made a mistake, a man who can be redeemed. The Punisher does not ask, he does not care, he simply kills.

This is not to say that there are no circumstances where it would be acceptable for a hero to kill. There are always exceptions. Great stories can be told with those exceptions, the effect these actions may have on both the hero and the public that adores him or her can create great drama.

When walking down the path to a hero taking another’s life we should tread carefully.

Heroes can kill, but they simply do not.

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Death in Comics.

Death. It is so final. Except in the comics.

Everyone dies it seems.

And they all come back.

Captain America.

Spiderman.

Superman.

Two Robins.

The list goes on and on. So many characters. Heroes, villains it does not matter. No one is safe. But as they say “no one stays dead in the comics, not even Bucky.”

A death should matter. It should be important. It should not simply be done to increase sales. As some kind of a sweeps ploy. These are characters that we develop relationships with, that we love or hate. Killing them and reviving them for no good reason is a waste.

“The Death of Captain Marvel” worked. It was wonderful, fresh. A hero dying not so much from the actions of a villain but from cancer, it brought humanity to the funeral of a friend. Jim Starlin set the table for many writers to follow.

“The Death of Superman” was done well. The unstoppable force meeting the immovable object. We all knew he would be back, but the death made sense. There were repercussions. New characters were born: Steel, Cyborg Superman, even a new unique Superboy. There was a sense of loss for all the characters in the DC universe. Superman came back as we knew he would, but the story still felt new.

For a time some deaths lingered. Bucky Barnes, Captain America’s sidekick, stayed dead for almost 40 years. Jason Todd, the second Robin, did not even last twenty years before returning to the land of the living. Their returns brought something new, new characters. Winter Soldier and a heroic Red Hood are wonderful, that never would have happened without their deaths and resurrection.

Recently we have had Captain America, Spiderman, Thor, the Human Torch, another Robin: all dead, will they all come back?

The question becomes who is next?

Maybe the question should be who hasn’t died yet?

In company wide crossovers the body count can get enormous, writers simply using characters they don’t care for as cannon fodder. Killing off perfectly good characters to try to create a sense of danger. What happened to crippling someone.

Maybe there is another way. As fans and writers we become desensitized to the carnage. Maybe we need a break. A moratorium on death. Give us time to step back and actually be surprised when someone does die.

There are creative people out there. Can we not find a way to create the same drama without the body count?

Should we not at least try?

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