For the Love of FN-2187: Why John Boyega as Finn is One of the Best New Characters in Star Wars

by Jamal Igle

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a juggernaut. Critically acclaimed and the current holder of the title of “biggest film opening of all time.” It’s an engaging film that engrosses the viewer and harkens back to the early days of franchise. As it is with all things pop culture, particularly in the age of internet piety, the film also has its detractors. The complaints range across the spectrum but one of the most pointed complaints have been towards Finn, the character portrayed by British actor John Boyega. Two writers whom I’m good friends with — Hannibal Tabu and Joe Illidge — have both written pieces complaining about the character for similar reasons, calling him inept, and even neutered.

I love you guys, you know I do, but I couldn’t disagree with you more. Now this is going to be a rather spoiler filled piece, so if you haven’t seen the movie, now’s your time to hit the eject button and go look at Buzzfeed.

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Joseph Illidge and ChrisCross on Doctor Light’s Time to Shine

In tonight’s all new episode of The Flash, not only are fans finally going to get to see Harrison Wells back on the show, but we’re also getting another live action take on an iconic Justice Leaguer: Doctor Light. Created in 1985 by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez for DC’s massive Crisis on Infinite Earths, Kimiyo Hoshi might share a codename with a classic supervillain, but she has always been depicted as a hero in various multimedia incarnations.

Now that the character is poised to cross into the mainstream with her live action debut, I sat down for an exclusive interview with the creative team responsible for one of the character’s only solo story — and that was nearly 20 years ago: writer Joseph Illidge and artist ChrisCross.

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The Most Watched Hard N.O.C. Life Episodes

We’re continuing the celebration of our two-year anniversary week with another look back. This time, we’re going to count down the top ten most watched episodes of Hard N.O.C. Life, our (semi-)weekly YouTube series where I talk to folks about various topics.

When the site first launched in 2013, the idea for a YouTube show utilizing the Google Hangout format was going to be one of the main pillars. I had just come off a stint appearing on a similarly formatted show about basketball (more specifically, about Jeremy Lin) created by Terry Park for Asian CineVision and thought the format would be great for talking comics, movies, and TV. And thus, Hard N.O.C. Life
was born!

So just like we did yesterday, we’ve combed through the archives to find these, the ten most viewed HNL episodes over the last two years.

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‘Brave New Souls’ Free Online Screening for Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month, I will allow three days of free online screenings of the documentary Brave New Souls: Black Sci-Fi & Fantasy Writers of the 21st Century.

From Sunday, February 1 at 12:00am (EST) through Tuesday, February 3 at 11:59pm (EST) you’ll be able to watch the documentary free of charge!

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The Invisible World of Black Comic Creators

Originally posted at BadAzz MoFo

Okay, so I got back from the San Diego Comic-Con a few days ago, and I really wanted to share some of my experiences and thoughts, before they are lost in the jumbled mess of my mind. Let me start by saying that I’ve been going to SDCC since 1998, and in that time there are only two years I’ve missed. Some years have been great, and other have been not-so-great. This year was one of the best years for Comic-Con — especially considering where my life is at on a personal level (which I won’t bore you with). Professional things are going well, but because of a series of non-disclosure agreements, I can’t talk about what I’m working on (nor could I talk about these various projects at the con itself).

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Things I Learned While Making the ‘Brave New Souls’ Documentary

Brave New Souls is a documentary I wrote, produced, and directed that explores the thoughts, goals, and inspirations of a new generation of Black creators in graphic novels, television, cinema, literature, and digital media. It was a very tough shoot as I did the camera work, sound recording, lighting, and directing ALL BY MYSELF! While the movie will be released on DVD in two weeks — on July 15 — for those that want to watch it via their smartphones, tablets, laptops, and home PCs, you can stream or download it as a high-quality, digital video right now at Gumroad for $7.99!

I wanted to take a moment to thank all the creators I worked with during the production of the documentary and share a few things I learned:

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20 Years: A Milestone (Comics) Anniversary

In this landmark live-streamed episode, the founders and creators of Milestone Comics join Keith (@the_real_chow) for a special retrospective of one of the most important companies in comic book history. The show’s panel consists of Milestone founders Denys Cowan and Michael Davis, editor/writer Joseph Phillip Illidge, artist Shawn Martinbrough, and production manager/writer Erica Well.

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Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Milestone

This Thursday evening, the co-founders and creators of the groundbreaking comics company Milestone Media will be the guests on a special episode of Hard N.O.C. Life, bringing together a panel of some of the most talented voices in comics to discuss the legacy of the company that revolutionized the industry two decades ago.

UPDATE: The special episode is now available for viewing here.

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Larry Hama and Joseph Illidge Join Hard N.O.C. Life

In this week’s very special episode, Keith (@the_real_chow) welcomes guests writer/artist Larry Hama (@iching63) and former DC Comics editor Joseph Illidge (@JosephPIllidge) on the show to discuss their histories inside the comic book industry. Also on the panel are N’Jaila Rhee (@BlasianBytch) and William Bruce West (@williambwest).

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Searching for Candy and Comics, an Origin

???????????????????????????????It was recently pointed out to me that I never really revealed my own Nerd Origin despite asking all of the other contributors to do so. So in an effort to show solidarity with my fellow Nerds, I’ll talk a little bit about how I came to be a fanboy.

I’ve loved superheroes for as long as I can remember. I had a Batman birthday cake for my third birthday (and a Superman one the year before), not to mention countless pairs of Underoos, Mego figures, and other sundry superhero merchandise that would make Jordan Hembrough weep. The thing is, I’m not exactly sure why. It’s not like my parents were heavily invested in trying to transfer nerdom on to their children (you know, like what my fellow Nerd Parents and I are doing to our own kids). The only comics I remember my father reading were the old Lo Fu Zi ones he used to help me learn and understand Chinese. But whatever the source, I had the bug.

As much as I loved these characters, though, I was never really exposed to them in actual comic books. My Batman either lived inside the television — whether it was Adam West or the Super Friends — or in my imagination as I pushed my Super Powers Batmobile across the living room carpet. But I couldn’t tell you what was going on in the Batman comics at the time, and those formative years — 1985-86 — were smack dab in the middle of the comic book renaissance.

That said, there was one comic that changed my life irrevocably, and is the reason I consider myself a comic book nerd at all.

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Mighty Avengers, Don’t Believe the Hype?

For most regular folks, Wednesday is known as “hump day” because it represents the halfway point between weekends. Because if you’ve made it to Wednesday, congratulations, the weekend is almost upon you. But for people like me (i.e., nerds), Wednesdays were the destination point. As a fanboy, I didn’t need to wait until Friday afternoon to reward myself for a week’s worth of work or school. Instead, Wednesday afternoons offered me a respite from the week because I could trek down to my local comic shop. You see, Wednesday isn’t “hump day,” it’s new comics day.

So in honor of this American tradition, we’re going to have a weekly column here at The Nerds of Color that focuses on notable comic books debuting that week. Except this week, that is. I wanted to kick off Wednesday Comics talking about a book that doesn’t even come out for another three weeks. The book in question? Marvel’s hotly anticipated Mighty Avengers #1, which is being reviewed in advance by multiple sites this week. And so far, those reviews cover the spectrum from good to not so great and everything else in between.

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