Eight Reasons Why Melinda May is an Avenger

Originally posted at ComicBook.com

To say Agent Melinda May is a beloved fan favorite of ABC’s hit series Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would be a massive understatement. There’s a reason why some have nicknamed the superhero spy series The Coulson/May Power Hour.

There are also those who have dubbed Agent May the unsung Eighth Avenger. The fact that she is portrayed by the extraordinary Ming-Na Wen should be reason enough. After all this is the same gifted actress who brought epic Chun-Li and Mulan to the big screen.

The following are eight reasons that explain why Melinda May is the Eighth Avenger.

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Asian Americans Should be Movie Stars: an Update

So a few days ago, I wrote a thing. Maybe you’ve seen it. Ever since that post has been passed around, I’ve been taken to task about the stars I included (or didn’t include) on the list and whether or not I was basically proving Sorkin’s point by coming up with only three names.

On the first point, the names I included were not meant to be my casting suggestions for the role of Brad Katsuyama in a hypothetical Flash Boys movie. Instead, I was more concerned with Sorkin’s assertion that Asian movie stars didn’t exist. So I went to Box Office Mojo, and scanned their list of actors’ all-time domestic grosses and looked for the ones who were (North) American of Asian descent — whether or not you think hapas or Pacific Islanders should’ve been appropriately considered criteria is another matter1.

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How to Get Away with Casting Amanda Waller

Last night, El Mayimbe of Latino Review broke the news that Viola Davis was in final negotiations to portray Amanda Waller in Warner Brothers’ upcoming Suicide Squad movie. Back when the cast was first announced a few weeks ago, it was reported that the studio was interested in Davis for the role of Amanda Waller — who could play a key Nick Fury-like role in the upcoming DC Cinematic Universe — but reports also had Oprah Winfrey and Octavia Spencer circling the role as well.

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Love Actually: Ground Zero for Geek Icons

When Love Actually premiered in cinemas over a decade ago, who knew it would be one of the most influential — and divisive — holiday movies ever made? You might think I’m being hyperbolic, but this movie is consistently one of the best selling DVDs and blu-rays every year1 and gains legions of new fans from multiple airings on cable and Netflix — though not for much longer. It’s also responsible for spawning an entire sub-genre of similar romantic comedies like Valentine’s Day and the equally awful New Year’s Eve. Love it or hate it, this flick evokes extreme feelings either way.

So why am I writing about Love Actually? It’s not like romantic comedy is a topic that’s covered on the NOC. Well, for one thing, most of the movie’s sprawling cast of British actors have gone on to become icons of the Comic-Con set. The stars of today’s biggest genre properties can trace their lineage back to this flick, and it’s amazing.

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There are No Asian American Movie Stars

Last week, North Korean hackers allegedly broke into the personal files of Sony Pictures execs as retaliation for the studio producing the James Franco and Seth Rogen comedy The Interview, which is about a CIA plot to assassinate Kim Jong Un. Normally, we’d be all over the nerd-friendly news about, say, Spider-Man coming home to Marvel Studios, but that’s been covered plenty of times on the web. Besides, we already told the world the best way to mashup Spidey and the MCU.

The thing to emerge out of the Sony leak that really bugged me was the assertion by Oscar-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin that “there aren’t any Asian movie stars.”

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Why I Hate All Things Mockingjay

Originally posted at Black Nerd Problems

While the book Mockingjay was released in 2010, this is your spoiler alert for both the book in its completion and the movie, Mockingjay: Part 1.

Several years ago I was introduced to The Hunger Games, a new book gaining popularity as a young adult dystopian novel featuring a female lead. I borrowed a copy from the library and was introduced to Katniss Everdeen from District 12, and she was everything I wanted her to be. Clever, bold, and independent, The Hunger Games’ leading lady was instantly a crowd favorite, and the world of Panem made for a breezy thrill ride as I sped through it in 3 days of subway rides and bedtime reading. When the second book came out, Catching Fire expanded the world from the Battle Royale of the games, to the larger theme of dystopia and revolution. “Tread carefully,” I remember thinking. But most of my thoughts were still preoccupied with wishing Katniss would finally leave Peeta to die and ride out with Team Gale, so I was still a fan, to say the least. Before the first movie was even announced I tried to pre-order tickets by holding my Fandango app in my hands and concentrating really hard.

All of that ignores the existence of Mockingjay.

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NOC Recaps Arrow: A Battle He Was Always Going to Lose

WHAT A (MID-SEASON) FINALE!!

There are definitely some parallels to previous mid-season finales: Malcolm Merlyn, a tense battle, a moment of death for Oliver are all running themes in these fall finale episodes. I can’t say it was my favorite though, for a few reasons: I think I knew too much going in. Everyone knows Oliver can’t take Ra’s Al Ghul! And I think Stephen teased at some point (I’ve watched a lot of Stephen Amell Q&As okay?) that the episode might end over a cliff. Also, the other two major focuses of this episode were Laurel and Ray and if you didn’t know my feelings on them before, you’ll find out now, so that also dulled by excitement. BUT overall I am happy with what this episode means for the journey the rest of the season will take.

I have a lot to say about the end and the journey it will lead to, so I’m going to try keep the actual recap portion as short as I can. This episode is merely transition and shirtless ab fights than anything anyway.

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Etiquette in the New World of Comic Cons

In light of recent comments by comic artist Pat Broderick about cosplay and conventions, I think it’s a good time to look at what proper etiquette is like in this new age of pop culture dominance. I won’t only be speaking as a con goer of 11 years, but also as an exhibitor at New York Comic-Con for six years for a major exhibitor. The following is not just con etiquette for con-goers, but for exhibitors as well, to acquaint those who want to purvey goods in this new age.

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NOC Recaps The Flash: Zoom Zoom Zoom

The Flash’s mid-season finale has left our minds racing. My thoughts are running around and colliding all over the place like a thousand different speedsters from different centuries battling it out in a football stadium.

The episode opens up BOOM! with Zoom… or “Reverse Flash” as the people in this Flashverse (eventually) call him. This mid-season finale is named “The Man in the Yellow Suit” because we finally get cracking on the storyline they’ve set up from the beginning. The promos leading up to this episode have centered around Barry’s fear and obsession around the man who he believes murdered his mother, Nora. Accurately, we follow Barry this episode as he learns that The Man in Yellow in the Lightning is once again in Central City which, of course, brings up a lot of issues for our superhero.

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Reading Past Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer

For those of you who aren’t aware, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Rankin/Bass Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer holiday special which airs annually on CBS. It’s a holiday special that I’ve always found unsettling.

I attended Catholic school between the third and the fifth grade and with the exception of two Asian students, I was the only POC in our entire class. Let’s just say at 8 years old I received a crash course in racism and we’re going to leave it at that.

Each year we would watch the animated classic of Rudolph. There was always something disturbing about the story. It wasn’t until last year when I came to the epiphany that the tale is a metaphor for minority plight.

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