“D.B. Cooper” is easily one of the most confounding mysteries of the 20th century. The mysterious hijacker who got away with $200,000 has proven to be just as elusive as Big Foot or the Loch Ness Monster. So much so that after 45 years, the FBI finally closed the door on the case back in 2016! If the freaking Federal Bureau of Investigation gives up, you know it’s probably not getting solved by some random podcaster in his basement. Even Sherlock Holmes himself would have had trouble with this one…
About a year ago, I first started my six-part nostalgia-laden review of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim graphic novels (read Part One here!) and had an absolute blast revisiting each of these amazing books with the gorgeous Color Editions from Oni Press. At the time, I had no idea that a year later Netflix would be announcing an upcoming anime series based on the original comics, which is really fitting, especially considering the heavy Japanese manga influence throughout each of the volumes!
I really enjoyed revisiting this series and it held up surprisingly well for me. I have to admit, I was hesitant to read Volume 6, because I didn’t want it to be over. I’m glad I finally did though, because “Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour” might really be the best one in the series!
With another new animated Batman series in the works (Batman: The Caped Crusader), we figured it would be a great time to revisit the classic that has stood the test of time and remains to this day one of the absolute best superhero cartoons to date!
Created by Bruce Timm and Paul Dini, “Batman: The Animated Series” first premiered in 1992 and lasted 4 seasons (including “The New Batman Adventures”), spinning off into several other animated series throughout the 90’s and early 2000’s – Superman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, Static Shock, Justice League, Justice League: Unlimited, and Young Justice! Inspired by the style of the 1941 Fleischer Superman cartoons, the 90’s Batman series was a dark and faithful adaptation.
Batman: The Animated Series is, in my humble opinion, the absolute best version of Batman to date. Sure, the Tim Burton movies are great, Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy is a masterpiece of cinema, and the Arkham games are a lot of fun, but nothing has really captured the magic of the old school Batman comics quite the way that this show did. Not only did Bruce Timm and Paul Dini draw heavily from the source material, in some cases they streamlined and improved on some of the classic storylines and characters from the comics!
Unlike the campy Adam West series from the 60’s, this one took a darker and grittier look at Gotham, while still retaining the fun elements. Further, the voice talent on this series is incredible, including but not limited to Kevin Conroy as Batman / Bruce Wayne and of course, Mark Hamill as The Joker! And to top it off, the show was actually geared towards adults, while still being appropriate for kids, which is not an easy task.
The following list is 100% up for debate, so feel free to yell at me on Twitter @ErikSlader!
Check out Chris and Erik on the latest season of Podcasters Assemble!
Podcasters Assemble (Probably) is a hype/re-watch podcast. Season 1 covered the Marvel Cinematic Universe from Iron Man to Endgame, Season 2 reviewed the Star Wars saga, Season 003 tackled all 24 James Bond films, and Season 4 was an epic countdown to GODZILLA VS KONG!
Now, podcasters from around the globe are once again assembling to face off against one another – as they prepare for “MORTAL KOMBAT” (2021)!
While a good chunk of Vol 1 made up most of the first act of the movie, Vol 2: “Scott Pilgrim vs The World” really has a chance to delve into some of the characters and their relationships in a way that Edgar Wright’s film adaptation isn’t able to, due to time constraints – which is pretty common for film adaptations and is often why most books are considered better than the movie. This is really where Bryan Lee O’Malley’s graphic novels begin to shine!
Scott Pilgrim vs High School
We start with a flashback: Scott Pilgrim in high school, in Ontario, where he meets a girl named Lisa, outside of the Principal’s office, immediately after a fight. It seems as though she has a crush on him, but he appears to be completely oblivious, per usual. The two friends decide to start a band together called “Sonic & Knuckles”. Soon after, Scott meets Kim Pine and they decide to make her their drummer. Scott confides in Lisa that he likes Kim, but before he can make a move, she randomly gets kidnapped by some jerks from a rival tech school!
In true video game fashion, Scott fights his way through wave after wave of enemies until he reaches ‘the boss’, atop the school, right as storm clouds roll in. The two have an epic throw down and Scott uppercuts the guy into the atmosphere. Ultimately, Scott saves Kim and they have an awkward exchange that feels straight out of some dumb heroic dream: “I didn’t know who’d rescue me from that maniac, but I secretly hoped it would be you Scott.” “I like you, Kim. We should be dating. Also, do you want to play drums in my band?” “YES, SCOTT! OH, YES!!” It’s so bad, it’s hilarious. It definitely plays up some outdated tropes (the princess is in another castle), but it’s cute and it seems to be self aware enough to know how ridiculous it all is. This whole chapter really reinforces that Scott is the hero of his own story, but we’re clearly only seeing it through his POV.
With the upcoming release of “MORTAL KOMBAT” (2021) – in theaters and on HBO Max on Friday, April 23rd, we figured what better way to prep than to do a deep dive into the rich mythology and ever-evolving backstories of this epic video game franchise?
In the original, somewhat controversial kontroversial 1992 arcade classic (created by Ed Boon and John Tobias), the evil sorcerer, Shang Tsung, hosts a tournament on a mystical island to determine the fate of Earthrealm. The game was revolutionary at the time, featuring 7 playable fighters who were all brought to life with digitized frames of live action actors. The game has since spawned 10 sequels, spin-offs, komics, action figures, kartoons, and three live action films.
As one of the longest-lived fighting game franchises ever, Mortal Kombat has always had a large, diverse, colorful cast of characters- sorry, kast of kharacters (this is exhausting). But after nearly a dozen games the sheer number of characters has exploded, and unless you’re a die hard MK fan it kan be a bit konfusing (UGH) trying to keep track of who is who and how they all relate to each other.
Warning: This recap/review will inevitably contain spoilers (especially for Episode 1), so proceed with caution…
Episode 2: “Here Goes Nothing”
Right off the bat, this show continues to impress me – the visuals are stunning, the music is really unique, the sound design is mind-blowing, the story is fast-paced, and the characters are all cast perfectly and fully realized! The animation is so glossy and smooth throughout, all the cityscapes are breathtaking, there are entire sequences that feel like they were ripped directly from the comic with just how well the art-style was emulated, and… seriously, I just can’t get over how good this show looks and sounds! (Have I mentioned how awesome and different the music is?)
Ok, so this episode immediately starts with two extremely clever call backs to the first one – we see the guard from the opening of the first episode with his stepson in London where we see the result of Mark accidentally launching a trash bag into orbit as it explodes around them!
“Invincible” is… hard to describe to the uninitiated. First starting in 2003, this Image comic series by Robert Kirkman (of ‘Walking Dead’ fame) follows a young man, Mark Grayson, who just so happens to be the son of the world’s greatest superhero, but when his own powers kick in, everything changes forever. And that summary doesn’t do it justice, but honestly it’s really hard to go into further detail without spoiling the $#!÷ out of it!
Long story short, I’ve read the *entire* run of this comic (all 144 issues!), I have the first printings of the first few issues sealed and graded on my shelf, I have several of the graphic novels, and I even have an Invincible t-shirt that I used to wear to comic cons that doesn’t quite fit the way it used to. Suffice it to say, I’m a fan.
It’s an incredible comic that feels like reading an entire universe of stories told through one title. It’s got everything I’ve ever wanted from a comic book: cool visual storytelling, crazy sci-fi shenanigans, insane superhero brawls, great characters, drama, humor, and gorgeous color-popping panels by artist Ryan Ottley and Kirman’s co-creator, Cory Walker (issues #1-7, 127-132). It’s also has some of the most disturbing moments in comic book history – you guys, it gets dark fast! I mean, Nerdist even called this series “The Game of Thrones of Comics” and I can’t say I disagree.
However, I think one of the most endearing things about this title is that it genuinely feels like an epic saga.
Although they initially missed out on the first season (covering the Marvel Cinematic Universe films), they both eagerly jumped on board with the Star Wars saga for Season 2 (after skipping the prequels) and have since been working on Season 3 where they’ve been covering *ALL 25 Bond movies* in a countdown to the latest film in the franchise, “No Time to Die”! (See below for links to episodes.)
Here it is! My top-FIFTEEN Favorite Comic Book Movies of ALL TIME! (so far…)
I know it’s a long list, but there’s a lot of damn good comic book movies out there, and I kinda had to expand it in order to compensate for this years entries alone!
15. SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE (1978)
“Your name is Kal-El. You are the only survivor of the planet Krypton. Even though you’ve been raised as a human, you are not one of them. You have great powers, only some of which you have as yet discovered.” – Jor-El