John Ostrander: Geek is the New Cool

by John Ostrander

gal-gadotGeek Culture Rules!

We all know that Geek Culture has taken over our American civilization. Young’uns may not realize there was a time when the Geek was looked down on and sneered at and frequently beaten up for their lunch money… which is embarrassing when you’re 24. Now, superheroes have taken over the movie box office and can be found in one version or another all over television.

Further proof: the current issue of Entertainment Weekly not only has Benedict Cumberbatch on the cover as Doctor Strange, the majority of the double-sized issue is taken up with a listing of the Fifty Most Powerful Superheroes. How much more geeky can you get? The very quintessence of geekdom is arguing about which superhero icon is better.

EW set up a rating system and asked staffers to rank the superheroes accordingly. The nine categories were Cultural Impact, Bankability, Design, Modern relevance, Mythology, Nemesis, Originality, Personality, and Powers. They could get up to ten points in each category except for Cultural Impact which was worth up to 20. Total: 100 Pts. The emphasis, I think, was weighted towards superheroes who have appeared in movies; witness bankability. Given it’s EW, that makes sense; they, like the movies, are trying to appeal to the broadest audience.

Their #1 is Wonder Woman. This might surprise more hard-core comic geeks. Given the rise of the awareness of women and Gal Gadot’s appearance as Diana in Batman V Superman, perhaps not so surprising and not unwarranted.

#2 for EW was Spider-Man, followed by Batman and Superman with Wolverine rounding out their top 5.

For myself, I would have made Superman at the top of the list by virtue of the fact that none of the others exist without him. Superman was the first and set the standard – the colorful costume, the secret identity, the larger than life exploits – every hero or heroine that followed used that template is some fashion. Bankability? It was the huge financial success of the Last Survivor of Krypton that spurred the other publishers (not to mention Superman’s publisher) to get more of the same out there on the newsstands.

Look, I know that there were other superhero types before Supes or around the same time such as the Phantom and the Spirit or, over in the pulps, the Shadow. In comics, however, it was Superman who set the standard. In feature-length movies as well; the first Superman movie debuted in 1978. The first Batman film followed more than a decade later. As good as they are, none of the other superheroes has had the same cultural impact as the Man of Steel.

Don’t get me wrong; I’d also place Wonder Woman high up on the list. I think Batman is my #2 but WW would never be lower than #3. Spider-Man? Yeah, he’s important enough to be #4 but I think I would make Iron Man my #5 given the fact that the film launched the Marvel Cinema Universe, sometimes known as the Might Marvel Money Making Juggernaut. Iron Man and Robert Downey Jr are its cornerstone; if it had flopped (and some thought it would), it would have been tough to make the others… fly.

But that’s what makes this issue of EW so geeky. Listing the heroes according to some criteria is at the very heart of geek culture. Since every list is subjective, there is no one list that is right and final and definitive, no matter how much some geeks might insist that their own list is all that. I know my list isn’t the final word on the subject; it’s just my opinion. Your mileage may vary.

The very fact that EW’s list exists, that they devoted so much time and space and attention to what is essentially a very geeky enterprise, shows that Geekdom has conquered the world.

So – who is stronger? The Hulk or The Thing?

John Ostrander is one of LB’s favorite writers in any medium and the writing brain behind the most successful run of Suicide Squad in comics. Don’t forget to read his most excellent blog at ComicMix.

A Web Series by a TV Network About TV Bingeing That Nobody’s Watching

In case you didn’t know, and we figure you didn’t because we just found out ourselves, CNBC has a web series called Binge which, it says here, “explores this new world” of, we assume binge watching TV shows on the interwebs instead of on TV.

The series debuted last June and so far, according to YouTube, has a grand total of 912 views. Wowzer, CNBC, you sure know how to get it right, don’t you?

The binge-watching phenomenon has changed the entire showbiz financial paradigm, so it’s certainly important enough to warrant an in-depth examination. Binge isn’t the one, but if you’re just getting into the whole, “How does the biz really work?” frame of mind, it’s definitely a good start.

Our suggestion: Watch this first episode, and if it works for you, let it take you to the next. Good luck!

Web Series: “Super Hero Clock”

We have to admit it. We’re suckers for superhero origin episodes. Just as we’re suckers for indie video and, of course, just about anything animated.

For example:

Last time we looked, there were 6 episodes on YouTube. Check ’em out and let us know whatcha think, okay?

Check out Super Hero Clock T-shirts:……

Super Hero Clock is an independent production. So if you guys think this is good stuff and want this show to go on, please share this anywhere you like – facebook, twitter, google+, tumblr, pinterest etc…. Or support this production here:

Dennis O’Neil, Bob Dylan, and Temporary Disreputability


by Dennis O’Neil

I don’t know how or from whom I learned of Bob Dylan. My patches of memory reveal that I was living aboard an aircraft carrier. I must have gone into a city (Boston?) and bought a copy of The Freewheeling Bob Dylan, then taken it to a tiny office below the flight deck, put it on a kiddie-sized turntable somebody had brought aboard, and listened and liked.

Another memory patch: a shipmate, a kid I barely know, typed the lyrics to Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice” and put them on my desk, where I found them later. I have no idea why he did this – he owed me nothing – and I wish I’d been more grateful at the time.

Then some years when the misfits and rebels were constructing a counter cultural matrix from activism, folk music, rock and – yes – comic books. Not a lot of it was openly seditious (except for some of the politics) but virtually all of it was anti-establishment. The nonconformists were not looking for a corporate ladder to climb, nor a cozy nest in suburbia, nor a wife who would supply an acceptable number of scrubby offspring. Whatever that was, we didn’t want it, though I’m not sure why. There were probably a lot of different reasons; everyone carries their own burden. But sometimes the burdens can be shared.

Always, there was Dylan, sometimes figure, sometimes ground, but always, one way or another, present. He acted in a western and was the subject of a documentary film, he performed on Saturday Night Live, he published a memoir, and he wrote songs and made records and toured. He refused to be labeled the voice of his generation, but, I’m sorry, that’s what he was to me and myriads of others.

Now, we rebels are aged, not as spry as we once were, maybe not as attuned to whatever’s revolutionary these days..

I was a comic book writer and editor, content enough to be a bit disreputable in a somewhat disreputable business. But disreputability is temporary and ours faded over the decades, and eventually, without my much noticing it, comics had parity with other narrative forms. And Dylan’s combination of music – some folk, in there, some country, some rock – and his inimitable lyrics, found a home in the tonier venues. Comic books and Bobby D, occupying separate spheres, but related by time and circumstance.

Last week, Dylan was awarded the ultimate establishment accolade, the Nobel Prize. Does this mean that, at long last, we rebels have succumbed to respectability? Maybe. Probably. I guess that the answer is blowin’ in the wind.

Dennis O’Neil is one of the top writer-editors in comics, having guided the careers of just about every superhero the world has ever heard of. He’s also a damn fine writer of TV. LB still remembers that time he and Denny collaborated, without ever knowing they were doing so. Or knowing each other either. Ah, the magic of TV! This post was first published in Denny’s column at ComicMix.

Another Craigslist Writing Gig – In D.C. This Time

We get worried any time somebody we know nothing about and have never met says, “tell me about yourself…” but probably that’s just, you know, us. Anyway:


This Ad is in the Washington D.C. Craigslist HERE

Will Your Big TV Writing Break Come via Craigslist?

Nah, we don’t think so either. But just in case, if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, here’s something to check out:


See the original post (which is a lot easier to read) HERE

Munchman’s Latest TV Musings

Munchman’s TV Musings #3

  1. OMG, kids, Yer Friendly Neighborhood Munchman actually saw a TV show I lurve. A series that reflects the reality of my munched-up life and, methinks, the lives of other members of my reviled Millennial generation. I’m talking about the absolutely best series ever to appear on The CW (yeah, that isn’t saying much but still…), My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. I won’t say much about it other than it’s a genuinely witty musical comedy (?!) and every damn thing I saw while bingeing Season 1 was true to all the feelings that I and my various recent Significant Others – AKA crazy ex-girlfriends) have felt. Watch this one!
  2. Continuing on an unaccustomed positive note, el Munchero also has spent some time watching the first couple of episodes of YouTube’s new series, Chance, starring Dr. Gregory House – excuse moi, I mean Hugh Laurie – as a doctor who gets way too involved in the problems of one of his non-patients. (Watch the opening ep and you’ll know what I mean.) It’s slow but filled with pseudo-noir goodness. That steamy old Kathleen Turner film Body Heat with a psychiatric twist. It’s a story we’ve all seen before, but it’s done impeccably. Gotta love a world where every single damn character is insane and most of them don’t know it.
  3. Moving on to the more normal Muncharoni disdain, CBS has canceled the worst show created by major showrunners in years, BrainDead. God, what a disappointing piece of Big Eye Network foolery. With any luck this will be the last we see of the highly overrated team of Robert and Michelle King. Don’t start commenting on how I put the man’s name first, ‘kay? That’s how the outdated, untalented brains behind one of the worst successes in TV AKA The Good Wife bill themselves. Buy-bye, Michelle and Bobby, please let the swinging door whack ya in your asses on the way out.
  4. Have I communicated my feelings of dismay over Charlie Kaufman’s film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind being turned into a TV series? Well, I’m munching the news into teeny weeny pieces right now. The creative team in charge consists of all kinds of people who are in tight with production company Universal Cable Productions, and Charlie himself isn’t one of them. Yeppers, Charlie Kaufman, the brilliant wacko scriptor behind not only ESOTSM but also Adaptation (executive produced by our Beloved Leader LB’s brilliant son Jeb Brody), Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, and Adaptations, among others, has absolutely no say about this series. For that matter, he has never had a say about any series because TV execs are terrified of the dood. As they should be cuz Charlie knows things, ya hear what Munchie’s muttering?
  5. Munchabello here was going to write another angry paragraph about how totally patronizing and contemptible the recent announcement by Netflix that it’s authorized a new series by Mexican filmmaker Manolo Caro was, but shit’s happening at the Bangkok studio where my amazingly cool and wonderful and in every way perfect (if you have my mentality, that of a brilliant 12 year old kid) web series The Fantastic Friends is being made, so tootles for now, y’all. (And don’t forget to watch FF so you can see where I’m coming from and totally discount anything I say about…well, anything, I suppose.)

That’s it for this week. I’ve got a terrible, tasteless, but amazingly popular web series to get back to work on, but I promise – I’ll seeya next time with more TV joy!