The Happy Hour Review: Totally Awesome Hulk

When I was a kid, I had to dig real deep for a comic book with an Asian face in it. There were no superheroes in my image from the big publishers, Marvel and DC. Instead I bought every copy I could find of this kung fu book Oriental Heroes. And when that wasn’t enough, I bought every copy of Usagi Yojimbo I could get my hands on. A samurai bunny was close enough.

Marvel’s The Totally Awesome Hulk isn’t just close enough, it’s perfect.

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The Happy Hour Review: Image Comics’ Paper Girls

Paper Girls #1 is a finely crafted, unpredictable marvel. I haven’t been this hooked this instantaneously on a comic since maybe all the way back to Dark Knight Returns, or the first Eastman and Laird TMNT books, stuff I loved as a kid. Paper Girls gives me that kind of nostalgic sensation, like I’m in middle school again. But I was never as cool as these night-riding, shit-talking 12-year-olds.

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Hell on Wheels: Chinamen, The Final Frontier

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t watched through Episode 6 this season, there are some character revelations and minor plot twists revealed, but ostensibly nothing that would alter anyone’s viewing of the show.

AMC’s Hell on Wheels entered its fifth and final season this summer with seven episodes scheduled to finish in 2015 and seven more in 2016 to close it out. The show follows a former Confederate solider, Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount), as he reconciles his dark past while becoming a key player in the race to build the Transcontinental Railroad.

Admittedly, I have never been a regular viewer of the show. I only tuned in for this season after hearing that Hell would finally include Chinese railroad workers as part of its story; and not without some healthy skepticism. Chinese workers have been mostly glossed over in mainstream media depictions of the western frontier and they got the same treatment through Hell‘s first four seasons. While the show’s creators Joe and Tony Gayton gave practical reasons as to why this happened, the chances of whether the Chinese would ever be included on the show seemed less promising with each passing season.

Season Five, however, has been worth the wait.

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A King Among Men, Dinosaurs, and Robot Karate Bears

It’s the distant future, it’s Los Angeles. So the desolate wasteland in King — a new creator-owned comic by Joshua Hale Fialkov, Bernard Chang, and Marcelo Maiolo — is no stretch. The titular man is the last of his kind, left on an Earth we recognize only in its rubble, surrounded somehow by talking dinosaurs, humanoid animals they call CrossFreaks, and of course, giant karate robot bears.

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NOC Reviews Mad Max: Fury Road

As humankind ventures deeper into a digital being, Mad Max: Fury Road reminds us that we still live in an analog world. Life after the apocalypse will have no synthesized dings or chimes for audio cues, we will have only the roar of revving engines, bursting flamethrowers, war drums, and a gas-powered electric guitar to warn us that danger is in the distance.

It took 30 years for George Miller to return to the wasteland, but the timing couldn’t have been any better. Miller has taken the uncompromising arthouse nature of the original Mad Max movies, and combined it with 30 years of experience and the technology to create the fully realized, seemingly impossible world of Fury Road.

The result is an action movie that will be the benchmark to which every one to follow will be judged.

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Five Takeaways From the New Ant-Man Teaser

After years toiling in development hell — along with Iron Man and Captain America, Ant-Man was one of the studio’s first announced self-financed properties — two directors and several insect-sized teases, Marvel Studios’ latest attempt to dominate the moviegoing world with more C- and D-list superheroes was finally revealed during ABC’s debut of Agent Carter and it’s possible the House of Ideas has done it again. After the break, we run down a few of the things that caught our eye as we wait for Ant-Man to become the latest Marvel hero to emerge from the summer blockbuster season as a household name.

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Lost in Translation: Scarlett Johansson and Ghost in the Shell

As our friend Angry Asian Man pointed out earlier this week, Scarlett Johansson has been offered the role of Major Motoko Kusanagi in Dreamworks’ live-action remake of Mamoru Oshii’s ground-breaking anime Ghost in the Shell. And well, she’s white. Which to many of us here certainly feels like more Hollywood whitewashing at first glance. Particularly to anyone following the on-again off-again plans for a live-action remake of Akira with an all white cast or M. Night Shymayalan’s tragic The Last Airbender.

Ghost in the Shell is a seminal film in Japanese cinema for its part in a wave of anime releases in the early-to-mid 90s that set a new bar for the form in Japan, and solidified its legitimacy abroad. I watched GITS along with Katsushiro Otomo’s Akira and Yoshiaki Kawajiri’s Ninja Scroll over the course of one night in 1996, and I was converted irretrievably to the understanding that Japanese anime was the default in animation.

But as much as Ghost in the Shell is essential viewing for anyone interested in entering this very Japanese world of anime — a rabbit hole through which careful consideration is required — the film’s premonitory vision of the future is not uniquely Japanese. There are certainly cultural nuances that drive the film, and its rendering of future Japan is one of its most enjoyable aspects, but that is why we adapt films, to make them uniquely ours.

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Epic Props Dispatch From NYCC: Evolution of a Vendor Booth

Want to see how a vendor booth goes from being a bunch of cardboard boxes to an elaborate thing of t-shirt selling beauty?

Today is the first day of New York Comic-Con, and Epic Proportions is once again taking up some prime real estate in the Jacob Javits Center. If you are going to be at the show, come by and say hi at Booth #2010. We even have DC Comics superstar Bernard Chang at the booth for the whole show!

Click through to see the evolution of the Epic Props Booth.

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Kickstart The Green Turtle and Other Amazing Heroes Action Figures

There is a Kickstarter ending in three days that will produce retro-style super hero action figures. Among them is The Green Turtle, the first Asian American comic book superhero. The character was recently rebooted in the graphic novel, The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew earlier this year.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Proves Michael Bay Does Not Care About You

Very rarely do the things we cherish as youth hold up over time. By the 1980s, the cartoons my generation watched were mostly extended commercials to sell toys. Nevertheless, the lasting ones all seemed to have a good spirit. There were lessons to be learned about teamwork, camaraderie, and leadership. And, then we would go buy some toys.

The new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live action reboot is a hollow Makerbot rendering of a movie. It is a garbled pastiche of disconnected pop culture references crudely assembled, as if by not-yet-ready-for-Skynet A.I. trying to calculate the best ratio of human enjoyment vs product placement.

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