Guest co-host — and The Defenders greatest, uh, defender — Dominic Mah joins Keith to look back at Jessica Jones season 3 and the end of the Marvel Netflix era.
It’s a special post-Halloween edition of Hard NOC Life!
This week on Hard NOC Life: Marvel cancels more Netflix shows and opinionated writers; 1990 Flash is Reborn on The CW, and Doctor Who has a very special Civil Rights episode.
I struggled to write this spoiler free review. I wanted it to stand apart from other reviews, while simultaneously endorsing the hell out of season two of Marvel/Netflix’s Luke Cage. After seven drafts of supernaturally crappy reviews, I decided to do it this way instead — bringing it back to the old school.
The story in brief: In keeping with western metaphor of season one, Luke has matured from gunfighter to sheriff. He is out and about, highly visible, and a pillar of the community. An enemy from “Black” Mariah Dillard’s past shows up to claim his place at the table of the criminal elite. A gang war ensues with Luke Cage ending up where none of us could have predicted.
I just wanted to let all of you know that may new podcast, That Moment, launched today. I’m happy to be part of the Hard NOC Media cipher.
That Moment is a podcast dedicated to discussing particular moments in a creative’s work. A panel in a comic book, a decision to create a particular thing, an actor’s look or the angle of the camera in a film, a joke in an overall set, or a vocal inflection during a speech are all fair game for exploration. Listen to the first episode featuring Peabody Award-winning journalist Al Letson:
This weekend news broke that after two issues, Marvel’s Black Panther & the Crew has been canceled.
The series revolved around Black Panther, Storm, Luke Cage, Misty Knight, and Manifold who band together to take on a dangerous wave of street-level threats in this new ongoing series by co-writers Ta-Nehisi Coates (New York Times best-selling author of Between the World and Me and Marvel’s Black Panther) and Yona Harvey (Black Panther: World of Wakanda) and legendary artist Butch Guice!
The death of a Harlem activist kicks off a mystery that will reveal surprising new secrets about the Marvel Universe’s past and set the stage for a big story in the Marvel Universe’s near future. Fear, hate and violence loom, but don’t worry, The Crew’s got this: “We are the streets.”
Anyone who thinks the cancellation has to do with “poor sales” and not the comics’ themes of racial justice and unapologetic blackness can line up and purchase some beachfront property I own in Wyoming.
It’s one of my favorite times of the year. It’s where I review the best and brightest that television had to offer in the previous year. If you haven’t already, you should check out my Top Films of 2016. Go ahead, check it out, I’ll wait. No really, I’ll wait. You back? Awesome.
As is the standard with my movie year-in-review, my television selections have to pass the Upkins Media Litmus Test.
Without further adieu…
Color Commentary returns and this time we’re taking on the first season of Marvel’s Luke Cage.
In the spirit of MST3K and Honest Trailers, Color Commentary is done in complete satire, is intended for a mature audience and is meant for entertainment purposes only. In other words, if you take any of this seriously, you are a fracking idiot.
My sister, Dr. Tara Betts, dropped the Luke Cage syllabus over at Black Nerd Problems. It is a must read. I wanted to add to this wealth of knowledge by offering my own “special features” companion piece to Cage. I will present the following without description as I do not want to taint anyone’s experience. This is only a small amount if what is actually out there. I mentioned other books in my reflections on the series. You can read it here.
Spoiler warning: spoilers throughout. Best to read this after watching the whole season! Which I recommend!
It was during a small, nearly throwaway scene deep in episode 10 that it hit me like Jessica Jones’ fist: Luke Cage is the most feminist show I’ve ever seen.
The scene, captured in the screen grab above, features four women characters — four black women, not a one of them under the age of 30 (and none of the actresses under 35) — each of whom is in fundamental conflict with the others, but who come together in two temporary alliances to fight a multi-level battle. Yes, it’s complicated.
[Note: minor spoilers throughout.]
Let me be upfront and get this out of the way, I love Marvel and Netflix’s Luke Cage. I love it for the way it is shot. I love it for the unparalleled beauty of the soundtrack. I love it for its color palette. I love it for its hesitancy and awkwardness. I love it for some of the struggle-performances. But what I love the most about it is how black it is.
I would not fault anybody for not watching or liking Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. due to its hot mess of a first season. However, it has improved. Does it still have issues? Indeed it does. But with those issues comes the fact that it still remains one of the most diverse casts on TV. Though aside from showrunner Maurissa Tancharoen, I wonder what that diversity looks like behind the cameras. Anyway, now there is Gabriel Luna. With his head on fire. There was a lot of hype about the Robbie Reyes incarnation of Ghost Rider leading up to the season 4 premiere. By and large, it held up. Here are just a few points I remember and talked about with friends in person and via the internets.
For the second year in a row, The Nerds of Color found our way to San Diego Comic-Con. This time out, we were joined by multiple crews repping in sunny Southern California! To look back on all that went down last weekend, we’re joined by returning champ Constance (@ConStar24) who was covering the Con as Black Girl Nerds’ TV editor, as well as Robyn (@robyn_ravenclaw) from Black Girls Nerd Out and Laura (@lsirikul) whose writing can be found on Nerd Reactor, Legion of Leia, and other sites.
Recently, Marvel sent out a press release teasing Cage – an upcoming Luke Cage solo comic to be written and illustrated by Genndy Tartakovsky with inks by Stephen DeStefano.
The series, Marvel explains, takes places in late ’70s New York City where the “shoes are big, bottoms are belled and crime is rampant!”
Apparently Tartakovsky’s Cage is meant to be a send-up(?) of the era’s wave of Blaxploitation, which wouldn’t be so much of a problem were it not for the decidedly problematic art style the book it set to have:
Just in time for her directorial debut on Supergirl, one of the most woke directors in Hollywood, Lexi Alexander, returns for another episode of her “favorite podcast” — her words! — Hard NOC Life. Now also available on iTunes and Soundcloud.
As we get closer and closer to the late-2015 premiere date of Jessica Jones, Netflix’s follow-up to the mega-successful Daredevil, the rest of Marvel’s Television Universe is starting to take shape. We all know that Luke Cage is the next series in the pipeline; in fact, Cage is part of the main cast of Jessica Jones, played by Mike Colter. Now, news has come out that the next major Marvel character to get the live action treatment will be none other than Misty Knight, who will be played by Southland’s Simone Missick.
Originally posted on WilliamBruceWest.com
This past Saturday, I attended the 3rd annual Awesome Con in Washington, DC. I’d actually never been to the show in previous years, though I was aware of it. I kinda hated the name, plus I felt like Baltimore and New York Comic-Con were superior to it, so I spent my time and money going to them instead. This year, however, I’m going to be missing both of those shows due to weddings, so I figured it was time to see what Awesome Con was all about. My verdict? It’s a pretty good show.
As you know, Image/Top Cow releases the hotly anticipated weekly series Genius today. Before you head out to your local comic shop, make sure you check out Shawn’s very nuanced endorsement of the series.
The co-creator of the book and friend of the blog, Marc Bernardin, was a guest on Hard NOC Life recently and talked briefly about the series.
He was also asked by Wired to “write a piece charting his childhood voyage through the nerd-culture landscape — a landscape that rarely felt like a place he belonged.”
[UPDATE 2: I talk more about Marvel Studios considering an Asian American Iron Fist with Andrew Wheeler over at ComicsAlliance.]
Yes, I am proposing that a major comic book institution change the race of one of its popular characters as it transitions to a new form of media. In this case, I want Marvel Studios to cast an Asian American actor to play the lead in the upcoming Iron Fist show it is developing for Netflix. It seems logical enough to me, though as always, there are fans who are urging Marvel to resist changing his race.
Now, I know the topic of cross-racial casting has come up time and time again here at The Nerds of Color. And while there are a contingent of fans who don’t think such things matter — or worse, are vehemently opposed to such casting choices — I can’t help thinking that Iron Fist gives Marvel a chance to add even more diversity to its interconnected cinematic universe. Not to mention that this is a case where changing the race of the character has the potential to actually add layers of depth to the story of said character.
Well that didn’t take long.
One day after DC Entertainment announced they’re developing a CW show about Hourman (yawn), this morning Marvel revealed their plan to create five original shows for Netflix — one each for Daredevil(!), Jessica Jones(!), Luke Cage(!), and Iron Fist(!) that will all build toward a Defenders miniseries. Then dropped the mic and walked off the stage.
I wrote in one post during The Nerds of Color’s Walker Week that The Walking Dead is noteworthy for depicting one of the most racially diverse zombie survivor casts to-date: it features a band of survivors that has included (among others) a Mexican family, an Asian Indian doctor, two Deep South “rednecks” (a pejorative term that the Dixon brothers would probably enthusiastically reclaim), a samurai-sword-wielding Black woman, and one of the most progressive characterizations of an Asian man on television. This is a show where women kick ass just as readily as men, and where the divisions of race and class have largely disintegrated in the face of humanity’s near-annihilation.
It’s ironic, therefore, that The Walking Dead could have such a blatant “Black Man problem,” one so obvious it has spawned a million memes.
(This post contains spoilers of all events in The Walking Dead up to Season 4, Episode 3. Please read on with care.)