Man of Steel: A Retrospective

Alanis Morissette’s hit track, “All I Really Want,” features one of my all-time favorite lyrics:

And I am fascinated by the spiritual man. I am humbled by his humble nature.

So this weekend I rewatched Man of Steel which still remains one of the most polarizing comic book films to date. The film is essentially a reboot of Superman’s origins much in the spirit of Batman Begins. As Kal-El learns of his origins and his purpose, he soon becomes tasked with protecting the planet from Zod and his invading army.

The verdict?

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Talking Advantageous with Jennifer Phang

Last week, one of the most-lauded science fiction films of the year was released digitally, on demand, and in cinemas in New York and the Bay Area. The film, Advantageous, a special jury award-winner at Sundance, tells the story of a single mother and the sacrifices she makes for her daughter in a pre-dystopian, near-future not unlike our own time.

Starring Jacqueline Kim (Star Trek Generations), Jennifer Ehle (Zero Dark Thirty), and Ken Jeong (The Hangover), the film’s writer/director Jennifer Phang recently joined Keith for a special one-on-one edition of Hard NOC Life.

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NOC Recaps Daredevil: None Shall Sleep

What a groundbreaking ride this has been. I am so thrilled that this character and his world that connected with me as kid has finally fallen into the right hands and ended up not just revolutionizing the superhero genre, but TV and film in general. Therefore, it’s fitting that show runner Steven DeKnight took the writing and directing duties for the finale. After all the defending of Daredevil I’ve done up to this point with haters of the “lesser Spider-Man,” not to mention the failure of the movie, it feels personally triumphant for me. Bill Everett and Jack Kirby have passed, but I can’t imagine how Stan Lee must feel watching a Pavarotti moment with these characters in the finale culminating the origin story and thusly named: “Daredevil.” I think Puccini would approve.

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The Unlikely Muse

Originally published on Latin Negro

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

— Toni Morrison

They say necessity is the mother of all invention and by extension, creativity. As a storyteller I’ve certainly found that to be true for the narratives I penned. As a queer geek of color, I’ve learned early on that geek culture is for white people for a number of reasons, and to be a PoC or an LGBTQ means to be treated like a pariah.

More than that, countless marginalized characters are endlessly undercut and buried due to the rampant bigotry that pervades the media. Extraordinary characters such as Storm (the First Lady of Marvel), Renee Montoya, Regina Mills, Freedom Ring, Midnighter, Cassandra Cain and countless others who have been lightning rods for racism, misogyny, and/or homophobia by fandom and the industry alike.

But as any artist will tell you, inspiration can often come in the unlikeliest of forms.

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Concrete Park Vol.1: You Send Me — A Huge Endorsement

I had the pleasure of meeting two-thirds of the Concrete Park creative team at the Black Comix Arts Festival (BCAF) in January 2015. Not only were Tony Puryear (ill on the keyboard and with the pen) and Erika Alexander (Hollywood demigoddess) beautiful and amazing beyond all possible measure, their property was absolutely insane. There are very few things I want to teach in my classes, but Concrete Park Vol.1 You Send Me is a book I am rearranging my fall syllabus to include. It was my favorite thing (and I bought a whole lot of stuff) I picked up at BCAF. Did I mention that their property is off-the-rails crazy?

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In Conversation with Daniel José Older

First off, I want to apologize for the video quality. We did this at the time of  day that is heavy with Internet traffic, and we experienced some delays. I also didn’t label the speakers, but you know who he is.

This was some of the most fun I have ever had interviewing someone.

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What I Learned by Failing in Comics: Hustle & Flow

Let me start by saying, I’m not a writer. I’m a hustla that raps a lot. For the duration of this causerie, I’m a rapper. Like your favorite rhymes sayer: I got a story to tell.

About decade ago, there was a cipher with the man who gave Bruce Leroy his glow. That build set me on a journey; I took my lyrics and went looking for Sun Dum Goy.

My rhymes, evolved into a screenplay. I rapped in the studio, my rhymes became a novel. I kept on rapping until I had a demo tape.

When I was hustling my original novel in the streets, OGs put me on to the comic book route. Considering the nature of my rhymes: martial arts fantasy fiction, many figured it was best way for people see me lyrically.

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Crowdfunding for Convention Travel and Attendance

Originally posted on The random musings of a 1973 Original:

So, I’m doing a bit of crowdfunding to help me get to conventions I’m speaking at. There’s a GoFundMe page up for this. I’ve set the goal at $1200 due to fare costs. Anything extra after airfare purchases, will go towards expenses such as transit, food (eating at cons is NEVER CHEAP), and other doing business costs.

Help Cypher get to conventions!

Hi all, so I’m paneling at Geek Girl Con and GaymerX this year, YAY! The not so yay part? Airfare is really expensive, especially from ORD or MDW to SEA. In pricing out flights, it’s looking dodgy to get a round trip for under $400 – $600 just for GGC.

I’ve looked at flights for San Jose which is more doable but buying two flights in two months is a strain on the budget with other expenses like food, rent etc.

So if you can spare a couple…

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My Thoughts on Dope

[I wanted to write this reflection the weekend of its release. I decided that I needed a little more time because the film hit home in too many ways and I needed some space from it to get a better handle on how I wanted to approach it. This will not be a typical review, nor will it be an endorsement — despite my endorsing the film whole-heartedly. I have no idea what this is, but I needed to get it out.]

Hip-hop is fandom. While it may not be explicitly geek/nerd culture, it is fandom of the highest order. If anyone chooses to refute this, they aren’t being intellectually or culturally honest. Never has this connection been so blatantly displayed than in Rick Famuyiwa’s 2015 gem of a film, Dope. [I have a lot more to say about this. Watch this space in the next month or two]

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NOC Recaps Daredevil: So Much for a Complete Daily Bugle Staff

“The Ones We Leave Behind” is another dense episode that fortunately doesn’t feel like it drags. Two of the leads deal differently with killing, there’s some backstabbing in the consortium, some classic Daredevil roof hopping, and another climactic and shocking ending. Damn. Fucking Sony.

It opens with Karen tossing the gun in the river. She’s obviously messed up after murdering Wesley and this plays out once she gets home and hits the bottle hard to put herself to sleep. She wakes up startled thinking she hears something, but then relaxes and decides to switch to beer for bed. Does that ever work? She turns from the fridge and our bald menace is staring her down. He delivers another stellar speech telling her he knows how hard it is to take a life. He goes on about how you feel the weight of the person’s life, the cherished moments, and such. Then he says: “I want you to know something, something important that I’ve learned: that it gets easier the more you do it.” And he attacks. And Karen wakes up. Really wakes up this time. The old nightmare within the nightmare. Well played writers.

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