Reel Geek’s Guide Needs You!

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Well, maybe not for The Foot Clan, but Reel Geeks Guide needs some more writers.  As you’ve been to the site the past few months since founding this little chunk of internet space, here we (I cover) Geek movie news, reviews, commentary,  and whatever else comes off the top of my brain.   But, being geeky isn’t just about what I’m a geek about, there’s whole other subsections of fandoms and fandoms within fandoms that I don’t touch either because it’s not my thing or there’s just too much goodness out there in the universe for me to focus on one more thing to my list of fandoms, so I can’t get to everything, I’m just one man.

But I’m sure out there, somewhere, hopefully someone reading this very page (Hi there, you look great, keep on being awesome.)  is into something that I don’t cover here, be it Video Games, Anime, Cosplay, PC Gaming, Board Gaming, or some other topic that I don’t cover here, and would love to write about it?  Well then hit me up either here, or e-mail me at mike.keskeys@gmail.com with a writing sample and maybe you could help me turn Reel Geeks Guide into the best site possible.

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ICYMI: First looks at The Shocker in Spider-Man:Homecoming, and Deathstroke in..???

 

Hey guys, time for a new column here on the Guide, where we cover any big comic book movie news that for whatever reason you missed out on hearing about for whatever reasons that may be, maybe you’re a casual fan, maybe you have a life and don’t have time to spend online all day waiting for nuggets of awesomeness to fall from the sky of the internet.   In any case, you’re here now, so let’s get you caught up.

 

The real big story that broke last week was when Ben Affleck leaked some footage of an actor in Deathstroke’s iconic outfit last week, with no context behind it whatsoever.  Is it from Justice League, are they pre-planning Affleck’s Solo Batman movie already? We don’t know, but we do know this, the suit looks pretty freakin sweet.

 

No news on who’s in the suit, though rumors point to True Blood, and the once and future Flash Thompson, Joe Mangianello taking on the role, whom I think could do a great job in the role, though my personal favorite choice would be to get Ron Perlman in the suit, as he’s already done the character before in the original Teen Titans cartoon, and he looks like the comic book version, so that’d be my vote personally.

If you don’t know who Deathstroke is, a quick recap for you, from Watchmojo.com

 

On to the other big news drop, well not so big in the terms of the Deathstroke reveal, but big to me, as I’m a fan of the character, last week we got our first look at The Shocker from the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming.

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Actor Bokeem Woodbine (The Big Hit, Belly) has been rumored to be playing the role in the first full length Spider-Man adventure set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.   I don’t think he’ll be a major player in the movie, as Spidey (Tom Holland) will already have to tangle with Michael Keaton playing The Vulture and The Tinkerer, so I’m imagining this will be more of a throwaway appearance, but still one I’m psyched to see.  For longer than I can remember,  in superhero movies, even in the MCU for the most part, it seems that in between the adventures of the movies, nothing happens to the heroes.  There’s no lesser villains they take down, just the big bads of the movies, and then like…bank robbers and purse snatchers the rest of the time.  We got a taste of things that were different in Amazing Spider-Man 2, using The Rhino as that throwaway type villain, or Cillian Murphy’s other appearances as The Scarecrow in The Dark Knight trilogy, but for the most part, 0 D-List villains, which could spice up a superhero movie the way that a jobber or enhancement talent makes wrestlers look good from time to time in the wrestling business.  Sometimes you need a quick squash match in the middle of your movie, and that’s where we need to bring in the D-Listers.   Your 8 Balls, your Spots, your The Tops if you will, maybe even  Rocket Racer, why not?

That’s it for this week’s edition, who are some of your favorite D list villains?  I’d love to find out.

 

On the Importance of “Bring The Pain” by Method Man to the Canon of 20th Century Music and Culture

* What follows is a paper I wrote for my 20th Century Culture class,  on one of the songs from the Spotify playlist the Prof had cultivated of both great and lesser known works of the 20th century.  There was a lot to choose from, but as a hip hop fan, and part time rhymer myself, getting a chance to write a paper about a Method Man song was a chance that I could not let pass me by.  The paper that came out, came out really well I think, and I think some of you might enjoy reading it as well.  So, here it is, hope you like, enjoy. -Reel Geek

 

 

I first heard this song back when it was new back in 94, saw the video on MTV, back when they showed music videos.  I was right in the midst of my punk/grunge listening to days, but I could still appreciate the song for its fresh beat by the RZA to the lyrical styles and wordplay of the one Mr. Meth (movin on your left) it stuck out to me as just a great piece of music.  A few years later, when I started writing rhymes myself in Philly, I studied this song, and a lot of Method Man’s music, both his solo stuff and of course with the Wu Tang Clan, for inspiration to find my own voice in the genre.  Which, as it turns out is basically what’s now called the subgenre of nerdcore, rappers who rap about geeky subjects such as Boba Fett and other things.  But I was told by my mentor to write what you know, these other rappers they’ve lived their lives out in the streets, so that’s what they write about, so I was told to write what I know about, so I did.

But back to this song itself, this song is a prime example of just why 90’s hip hop is one of the best decades of the genre.  If going from an evolutionary perspective, you had the pre-stages of hip hop in the 1970’s, bleeding in to the 1980’s where the art became its own voice for the voiceless, where it evolved from the music that’s fun to dance and get down to into the voice of a culture that hadn’t had proper representation in a long time.     This song in particular is almost a hybrid of both the fun rap and the more serious parts of the genre.  It’s got a great beat, one of the RZA’s best works in my opinion, and it also makes for a good workout soundtrack as well, but what really gets me is the wordplay in the song, which is an art that is often lost to modern hip hop, wherein it’s all about making the club go crazy, so all you need in modern day hip hop is just a good DJ who can make a great beat to dance to with a lot of bass for both the club and for bumping it in your car, and the lyrics…well lyrics don’t matter,  you can literally say gibberish like a rap version of Prisencolensinainciusol, maybe say a common word, an animal name, like Panda maybe, repeatedly throughout your song, and you’ve got yourself a BET/MTV award winning song right there.

 

 

But back in the day, especially in the 90’s, when Wu Tang ruled the hip hop landscape on the east coast along with a few other kings of the genre, like Biggie, and Nas, you needed to be able to hit those bars (lines in a rhyme) with some skill, the DJ wasn’t going to save your song.   Example here, when Method Man says

I came to bring the pain hardcore from the brain

Let’s go inside my astral plane

Find out my mental’s based on instrumental

Records hey so I can write monumental

Methods, I’m not the King

But n***** is decaf I stick ’em for the cream

Right from the start of the song, the listener is already hit in the face with greatness, as they rhyme scheme just flows so smoothly from pain, to brain, to plane, then you hit the reasoning why Method Man is so great, he’s not the King, but he’s a lot better than a lot of the other rappers out there, even to this day, they’re decaf compared to his skills, which I’d put at like an Espresso level, if we’re going with the coffee metaphor he put in place here.  And I love the bit at the end there of the verse where he says he sticks em for the cream, calling back to the WU Tang Clan single “C.R.E.A.M.”  which was another seminal piece of music from the time period.

And by the end of that 3 minutes and 10 seconds, you’re pumped up, ready to get done what you need to do.  It really works on both levels if you’re just listening to the music, the RZA’s sampling of Jerry Butler’s “I’m Your Mechanical Man” or Meth’s lyrics, you’re on a musical ride that if you’ve never been on, you really should, especially if you’re a fan of the genre today.  If you think the rappers today are so great, then you should check out where they were influenced by, and I feel really old typing those words, but there it is.   And that is why “Bring the Pain” is such an important song to the canon of 20th Century music and culture in general.

The Scale

 

I realized earlier today that when I started this site about 6 months ago or so, I’d started out with a purpose, and that was in part, to be a fitness guide, part of what my Instagram account is dedicated to is my fitness progress, and I’d been neglecting to give out fitness advice and/or motivation here.   So, I realized that I should write about something, that could hopefully help somebody out there.  I’m no licensed fitness expert, but there is one thing that I am qualified to tell you as a human being.    But first you need to do some things, step one.  Go get your scale out, right now.  I’ll wait.    Okay, you have it out, now, stand on it, take off your shoes of course, get down to about as close as you can in your situation right now to remove any excess weight from your person.   Now, you’ve done that?  Okay, now go stand on it, and look at those numbers that are on that screen right now.     Okay, you’ve done that, and now, that you know what you weigh, you can do one of two things with it, you can use it as a motivation to press on and get closer to your goal.  Or, you can just disregard the number it tells you, and go about your life.

Not what you thought you were going to hear, was it?  Well, the reason for that is, I’ve come to the realization as of late, that the numbers on the scale don’t really matter, as long as you’re happy with where you are.  If you aren’t, then there’s things you can do to get there, but if you are, then just keep exercising for your own benefit, for fun and stress relief, not for anyone else’s.

When I started this site, and then even before that, when I started my workout routine, it was all borne from heartache, and pain.  I’ve mentioned this before, if you’re a long time reader.  All I had was my mission, which was to lose as much weight possible.  Not that I was truly like fat, fat.  Kind of puffy maybe.

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Me circa December, 2015.

I’ve already told that part of the story before, so I won’t here, but in any case, I had my mission and I was dedicated to the cause, eating a chicken breast every night, limiting what I eat, and working out 5-6 times a week.  My best weight was when I’d cut down to 200 pounds even a month into this routine.

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Will the real Slim Shady please stand up?

Right around that time as well, I met someone new, fell in love, and while I wasn’t neglecting the workouts, I still hit the gym the same amount of times as I was, I was living life more, and eating all types of good things that aren’t necessarily healthy.   And the scale reflected these changes.  It bothered me at first but then it hit me, I was happy, I had a beautiful woman who loves me for who I am, and thinks I’m hot, so what does it matter what the scale says.  Even still, I’ve been working out this whole time, so while the scale is telling me that I’m only a pound off of where I started at at 214, this time it’s a totally different reasoning for that weight, more muscle than fat, maybe a little fat, but my 34’s still fit the same, so I’m not too far off.    Plus, I feel great, so , pardon the language here but Fuck what a scale tells you.  It can’t measure your happiness, or  how someone else sees you.

 

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Me, last weekend.

The point is, don’t let the numbers on the scale be your determining factor in your self esteem.  The scale only tells you one part of the story, it’s up to you to fill in the rest of it.  And for you to decide where you go next.

Reel Geek Review: All New Inhumans vol. 1 Global Outreach

 

 

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As of late Marvel’s mutants that they own the film and tv rights to have been getting a bigger push in the comics than they have in their entire 51 year history.  I’m assuming this has a lot to do with the fact that Marvel owns the rights to the characters like I said, and they have been getting a lot of tv time, the past two seasons of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have been very Inhuman-centric, with rumors still pointing towards a movie at some point in Marvel’s busy film schedule.  Which I’d be totally cool with by the way, I’ve always like the characters, so I’m glad that they’re getting a huge push from the company, with two distinct Inhumans books on the shelves, and a potentially X-Men series ending crossover event later on this year or next year.  The latter of which I’d be sad if they did, as I’ve been a lifelong X fan, but we’ll see what they do.  After all, in comics, nothing is ever permanent.

 

But anyways, today I’m here talking about the first story arc of the new All New Inhumans title, entitled Global Outreach.   To set this up, and a lot of other things in the Marvel Universe, a while back, the ruler of the Inhumans,  Blackagon Boltagon, or Black Bolt for short (seriously, that’s his secret identity…I’m not sure what they were on when they were coming up with these characters in the 60s but it must have been good.)  set off a few Terrigen bombs around the world, releasing clouds of this Terrigen mist, which is the substance that turns people from normal humans to…dun dun dun…Inhumans.      Also, this cloud has effectively sterilized the mutant population in Marvel (a.k.a. Marvel isn’t making any more mutant characters again because they can’t make money off of them movie or tv wise)  but that’s background info for another story.

So because of this, the Inhumans have become a hot topic of debate in Earth 616 (The Marvel Earth, for those newcomers)  and their population has grown by a lot, so there are now two teams that deal with Inhuman/normal people relations, this book follows one of them, led by Crystal, along with Inhumans mainstays Gorgon and Lockjaw, along with a new cast of characters.

“As the Terrigen Clouds continue to spread across the world, they leave in their wake the ruined lives of the Inhumanized. Now Crystal – Inhuman princess and former elemental Avenger – leads her own team tasked to help as many of these NuHumans as possible. But Medusa’s sister has her work cut out for her. After all, the reactions of the newly super-powered vary wildly -from fear to amazement to outright anger. Then there are the mysterious Skyspears that recently crashed into the Earth, making life even more complicated. But worst of all, there’s a dictator hell-bent on turning Inhumans into weapons of mass destruction. As Crystal’s team comes together, she’d best hope that Gorgon’s training pays off, or they won’t all make it out of their first mission alive!”  Plot summary taken from the Amazon listing.

I really enjoyed this first story arc, I’m also thankful for the Marvel Unlimited App, with which I’ve been reading and re-reading in some cases the old Marvel books, making my way through the history of the Marvel Universe, a year later and I’m in the mid 70’s, great stuff.  I bring that up because one of the plot points in this first story arc takes the All New Inhumans to Sin Cong, a fictional area of Asia in the Marvel Universe first encountered by the Avengers in The Avengers #18,  in a story that I’d have no knowledge of without the app, not that they mention it all.  I really wish they’d bring back footnotes again, reminding readers of issues where things or events took place beforehand.  Because this was a really deep cut of Marvel lore, haven’t seen this place mentioned since that Avengers issue, and yet here we are again.  Was cool for me, but for new readers it’s just a new place for them to go to.

Minor criticisms aside, I really enjoy this book, and I look forward to seeing where the series goes from here.  The writing by Charles Soule (The Mighty Thor) and the art by Stefano Caselli (Avengers:Time Runs Out) is top notch storytelling at it’s finest.  I’ll give it **** 4 out of 5 Stars.

Reel Geek Review: Carnage Vol. 1 The One That Got Away

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Carnage has always been one of my favorite supervillains.  He first appeared back in 1992, right as my brother and I were getting really into comics.  A deranged serial killer with an alien symbiote powering him, he was pretty badass.    The character has had legs, for sure, lasting 14 years now, and now he’s got his own series, written by comic book legend Gerry Conway.

I love the concept of this first volume, it’s a straight up horror thriller.  One of Cletus “Carnage” Kasady’s first big kills was burning down the orphanage he was in as a boy, killing everybody, except for one girl, Manny, who grew up to be an FBI agent.  Now, she’s tracked down Kasady to a mine in West Virginia, and has a team going in to capture the symbiotic psychopath.  Of course, it all goes to crap, and it’s her and her team trapped in a mine along with Carnage.  It helps though that her team has John Jameson also known as Man Wolf, and the original host of Venom, Eddie Brock, who is in control of the Toxin symbiote these days.   There’s some further twists to the story, but I’ll let you discover those for yourselves.

I really, really enjoyed these first few issues.  It really goes to show the versatility that comic books have these days, and have always had.  You can do a horror story with a supervillain monster,  or you can do a standard superhero story, or a crime story, or a love story, or anything with these characters when you give them depth, because life is more than just one genre, so should the medium of comic books.

Gerry Conway, as a writer has only gotten better over the years, or maybe he was always this good, but was just hampered by the medium of comics as they were back in the 70’s.  The art here too, by Mike Del Mundo is fantastic, and give the story that horror movie atmosphere that it needed.

Also, for new readers you don’t really need to know anything prior going into this series, it helps if you are familiar with the Venom/Carnage history, and John Jameson’s Man Wolf identity, but you won’t be overly confused.  A strong first volume for this series, can’t wait to see where the series goes next.  **** 4 out of 5 stars.

 

 

Reel Geek Review: Amazing Spider-Man(2016) vol. 2 Worldwide

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Dan Slott has been writing Spider-Man for the past 6 years now, and has proven himself to be the premier writer of the character for our generation.  Since the post Secret Wars reboot but not really a reboot, there’s been some changes to the character of Spider-Man as a whole.  For starters, the Ultimate version, Miles Morales, is also in the main Marvel Universe these days, still as Spider-Man, also the future version, Miguel O’Hara, the Spider-Man of 2099, is also in the present, also as a Spider-Man, and the biggest change of all, Peter Parker has become a tech mogul, second only to Tony Stark in the Marvel Universe.

A far cry from the struggling photographer trying to make ends meet by selling Spidey pics to an angry J Jonah Jameson, it’s a new twist on the character, just not one I’m sure I’m really into just yet.

In the first collected volume of the new series, also titled Worldwide, Spider-Man, the Peter Parker version in this series, had to deal with the terrorist group Zodiac trying to steal secrets from Parker Industries operations all over the world.  In this volume, it’s Spider-Man action in China, against Mr. Negative, a villain who’s kind of like Spider-Man’s Two-Face, he’s still a good man, except when his negative side takes over, and respected philanthropist Martin Li becomes the gangster Mr. Negative, and at some point he apparently also got a hold of superhero tandem and soon to be stars of their own tv series Cloak and Dagger, and made them part of his crew.   So Spidey’s in China, having to deal with Mr. Negative, his friends turned evil, and keeping his company running smoothly.

 

I’m still, after 8 issues into this new status quo, not sure if I like it so much, I’m cool with change, but having Parker being a poor man’s Tony Stark just doesn’t feel right to me.  The writing is still sharp as ever, and the art, done here by Matteo Buffagni is serviceable, but this status quo still doesn’t quite sit right with me.  I do like the twist of Doc Ock secretly surviving his recent body switch with Parker (long story) secretly hiding out in a robot body though, and look forward to seeing how this plays out.

Also in this new series is the all new 2016 model Spider-Mobile, which is a lot more useful than the original 70’s version, but still kind of useless, because, Spider-Man doesn’t need a vehicle, he’s freaking Spider-Man.    All in all it’s a fun read, but I just hope for a change in the canon soon, as I’m not sure there’s a lot of stories you can do with Peter Parker: Tech Mogul, but if there are, I’m sure Dan Slott could tell them.   *** Three out of Five Stars.