Hall of Heroes Con 2019 Cosplay, Day 2

Cosplay and broasted potatoes. More cons should feature food trucks with broasted potatoes. Also, the two panorama-style photos are from the cosplay contest, which … Jesus.

Hall of Heroes Con 2019 Cosplay, Day 1

Cosplay! Getcha cosplay right here! Highlight of the day: selling not one but two books to Genderbent Freddy Krueger In Comfortable Ugg Boots. Second highlight is the mother-daughter Wonder Woman combination, because come on.

In which I recommend something problematic: on THE BOYS

Trigger warning. For, like, everything. If you’re the type of person who has been helped by a trigger warning in the past, don’t bother reading this post and avoid this show like the plague.

Let’s get some stuff out of the way right away about the first season of The Boys, the Amazon Prime adaptation of the Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson “What if superheroes were all fucked-up assholes?” comic series of the same name:

  • Not one but two male characters’ prime motivation is to avenge the death of, respectively, a girlfriend and a wife. The girlfriend is fridged within fifteen minutes or so of the start of the first episode.
  • While the lone female member of the “good guys,” such as they are, is never actually referred to as The Female as she is in the comics, she never talks.
  • This is an insanely graphically violent show; at one point an infant is used as a weapon. Multiple people are murdered with– not by— a baby. That is not a joke. That’s a thing that happens.
  • While it doesn’t happen on screen, and in fact it’s toned down from what happens in the comics (“toned down from the comics” is a recurring theme) the main female character is raped in her first episode.

There is, in other words, a lot of lazy, sexist writing in this program, particularly in the initial episode. And I would not for a second get on the case of anyone who looked at those four bullet points and went “Nope, not for me.” Honestly, had I not been familiar with the comic series from when it came out, I probably wouldn’t have made it past the first episode either. But I was curious about how they were going to adapt the series (12 graphic novels, so not at all a small amount of source material) to television.

And here’s the thing: all of the stuff in those bullet points is in the comics, and in general this is a pretty loose adaptation of the source material. All of the decisions that the television producers made– every change that they introduced– kind of blunt the bullshitty edges of what happened in the comics. They certainly don’t turn away from how over the top The Boys was, but this isn’t Game of Thrones, where they took a series with a bunch of sexism and rape and decided the best thing to do with it was to add more sexism and rape. And the show is independent enough from the comics that by the end of the first season I have no idea where they’re planning on going with it next season. That, for me, is always a win for an adaptation.

Here’s some more good news: the acting, across the board, is absolutely phenomenal, and one of the cool things about having a show where damn near every character is a deranged mess of a human being is that it gives every actor something to really dig into with their character. Karl Urban’s Billy Butcher and Antony Starr as the Homelander are particular standouts– I don’t know what sorts of acting awards someone on this program might be eligible for, but Starr in particular needs to be up for something for this role. Chace Crawford’s portrayal of The Deep is also worth mentioning– although, as the rapist mentioned above, the fact that he sort of gets a redemption arc, or is at least eventually portrayed as a sympathetic character complete with his own sexual assault, is also … skeevy.

And the thing is, everybody is fucked up in this show. All of them. There are no characters without some damage to them in The Boys, and there are no underwritten roles, either– even The Character Previously Known As The Female has some interesting moments, and watching the cast inhabit this world is tremendously compelling– and that, to me, is more than enough to make overlooking the more troublesome and lazy aspects of the show and its premise possible. Plus, again for me personally, I first read these books when they came out in 2006 and so nothing about the problematic aspects of the story is new. Which, I think, might make me a bit more likely to look past them than some other people.

Your mileage, obviously, may vary. And with Amazon Prime at $99 a year I’m not about to tell you to subscribe in order to watch this. But if you already were, and you were on the fence about the show? Definitely give it a couple of episodes and see if it grabs you.

On future nerd shit

You, uh, may have heard that Marvel Studios’ SDCC panel was yesterday. I have some thoughts.

I haven’t actually seen Spider-Man: Far from Home yet, due to a vile combination of Ongoing Medical Calamity and raw timing making it difficult to get out to movies. I think this is the farthest out from release weekend it’s ever taken me to get to one of these movies. Hopefully sometime this week. But! I was on Twitter and io9’s live blog last night during their panel (why why why wasn’t it being streamed?) and … well, here we go:

EXCITEMENT LEVEL: MEDIUM-LOW. Not terribly psyched about this except insofar as it’s going to be a return for the MCU to lower-tech spy films in the vein of Winter Soldier except even more, which ought to be awesome, and it looks like Taskmaster is the villain, which is double awesome. High hopes, but I’m not jumping up and down over it.

EXCITEMENT LEVEL: MINIMAL. I have been reading Marvel comic books since I was nine. I have never heard of a single character in this movie. I can tell you nothing. I’ll see it, because I don’t miss Marvel movies, but only to see how they tie it in with everything else. The cast looks great, but other than that if you’ve just heard about this movie reading about it just now you know as much about it as I do.

EXCITEMENT LEVEL: MODERATE-HIGH. I don’t have any particular fondness for Shang-Chi as a character, but the notion of the real Mandarin making his way into the MCU has me salivating. I just wish it was in an Iron Man movie like it was supposed to be. That said, they’ve been talking about the Ten Rings since the first Iron Man, so there’s a lot to do here. Also, while I’d never heard of Simu Liu, who will be playing Shang-Chi, before yesterday, his Twitter feed has rapidly turned him into one of my favorite Internet people.

EXCITEMENT LEVEL: EXTRAORDINARY. I’m not the biggest fan of Doctor Strange as a character, and I’m not the biggest fan of the first Doctor Strange movies– in fact, if I was forced to rank the Marvel films, it would be close to the bottom. But the notion that they’re selling this as a horror film, and the phrase “Multiverse of Madness,” and the fact that the Scarlet Witch is going to play a large role in it? Take my fucking money. All in.

EXCITEMENT LEVEL: QUITE HIGH. It would be higher if I didn’t know that the Jane Foster Thor would be played by Natalie Portman, who I loved almost at an indecent level as a younger man and have grown increasingly bored with as the years have gone on. The fact that they’ve got her back for the movie after having to cut around Jane in Endgame probably speaks volumes about the quality of the script, or at least the quality of the check, but yeah, I’m looking forward to this one quite a lot.

EXCITEMENT LEVEL: TAKE MY FUCKING MONEY. Literally the only thing I know about this– as far as I know, they didn’t even announce the release date– is that Mahershalalhashbaz Ali is playing Blade.

Mahershala Ali is playing Blade. Okay, technically this is double-casting, because he was Cottonmouth in the first season of Luke Cage, but there is nothing I will not watch Mahershala Ali in. Nothing. I am all over this.

EXCITEMENT LEVEL: VARIOUS. It remains to be seen if the Disney+ streaming series will be tied into the MCU any more thoroughly than the Netflix shows were, which is to say, not at all, and the fact that they recast Mahershala Ali shows how little respect they have for those shows. But they’re putting movie actors into these shows, and talking about them at the MCU panel, so they’re probably gonna be tied in pretty close. That said, this is probably going to sell me a (reluctant, annoyed) Disney+ subscription, because:

Fuuuuuuuuuhuhuhuck the fuck yes Monica Rambeau confirmed as an adult in the MCU. EXCITEMENT LEVEL: IN NEED OF TIME TRAVEL GIVE IT TO ME NOW. I don’t know that the name Spectrum or any of her other superheroic identities were actually confirmed at the panel (she’s my Captain Marvel and she always will be) so it may be that she doesn’t have powers at first, but her presence in the ridiculously named Wanda Vision means that I have to see it, which means I may as well watch all four. And, I guess, The Mandalorian while I’m at it.

Interestingly, while they said “they’re coming” about sequels to Black Panther, Captain Marvel and Guardians of the Galaxy and left with a vague allusion to “mutants” and an actual Goddamn Marvel Fantastic Four movie, no dates for any of them. So Phase Four is going to be mostly dedicated to expanding the MCU again, which I’m all good with.

Other, non-MCU stuff: I’m really looking forward to the Dark Crystal Netflix series and while I want to be excited about Picard I haven’t managed to watch the trailer yet, which … yeah. If there’s anything else I should know about it hasn’t penetrated the fog yet, so tell me about it in comments and I’ll react.

Convention update

Unfortunately, due to the Ongoing Medical Disaster, which I’m considering renaming the Ongoing Medical Calamity because “calamity” is a more fun word than “disaster,” I have been forced to cancel my appearance at IndyPopCon the weekend of June 7th. It is not a good time to be leaving town right now, and I don’t see that changing in the next couple of weeks, plus I would have to take the 7th off from work and I can’t afford to take any additional days not related to the OMD.

So that leaves me with no con appearances currently scheduled between now and Kokomo-Con X in October, and two in a row cancelled. I’m considering seeing if InConJunction, which is over my birthday weekend, and Hall of Heroes Con in September still have spots available. Maybe one more summer con if I can find somewhere to go. Anywhere have something they’d like to suggest, ideally this summer and ideally within driving distance of northern Indiana?