One of the the greatest cultural tragedies of the digital era is that De La Soul’s early music isn’t streaming. An early victim of the sample-clearance wars (over 70 on their masterful debut, 3 Feet High and Rising), De La’s cultural impact — and promise — has never been allowed to be fully realized. Not only has the streaming era proved to stifle De La’s early output, their contracts only covered physical media releases as no one anticipated that streaming would become the primary way we’d all experience media.
With new modes of delivery, new contracts have to be made for those previous albums. And De La has tried to do this in good faith, but Tommy Boy Records, the label De La was originally signed to, has refused to give them a mutually equitable deal. Tommy Boy would take the lion’s share of the profits, even though all of De La’s albums have recouped (made back initial production/investment costs).
When Dominic and I recorded the most recent episode of Hard NOC Life, I mentioned the 25th anniversary of Batman Forever (as well as the 15th and 31st anniversaries for Batman Begins and Batman ’89, respectively, but more on the latter in a second). June used to be a big month for Batman movies. I mention those anniversaries as a launching point for a broader conversation about being a different kind of fan and accepting different interpretations of our favorite characters. And for the last few weeks, I had started reconsidering how I felt about certain films, including the double feature of Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, both directed by Joel Schumacher, who died of cancer on June 22.
When it was announced late last year that Mattel would be losing the master license to make DC Comics-related action figures, I wasn’t sure how to react. On the one hand, I had pretty much stopped buying Mattel’s offerings when they ended their DC Universe Classics line around 2012. On the other, I’ve been an avid collector of these figures ever since popular action figure sculptors the Four Horsemen gave us Zipline Batman in 2003. Of course, in the years since, I moved on — preferring more premium toymakers like SH Figuarts for my DC fix. But I couldn’t help coming back to Mattel one last time for an all-Batman wave to close out their 16-year run on the character.
As a geek parent, I, for the most part, have been unsuccessful in passing on my enthusiasms to my teen and tween daughters. Sure, my eldest is now a confirmed Potterhead, but only years after her mother and I bequeathed her our books, which she refused to read because they were ours. She discovered and fell in love with Stranger Things on her own, too, which I guess is what works with her — if we’d told her to watch it, maybe she wouldn’t have listened. Her younger sister is a bit more open to my suggestions, and loves anything with magic and the fantastic, and she happily displays my gifts of Pop! figures of strong female characters on her shelf. However, she scares very, very easily, so attempts to watch Star Wars movies, for example, are interrupted by frequents runs out of the room or outright refusals, no matter how much likes likes the characters.
Last week, Warner Brothers announced the addition of a solo Nightwing film with LEGO Batman director Chris Mckay to their DC film slate. The news sent fans into an excited tizzy and resulted in a slew of potential fan-chosen actors who could play the title role.
It’s been almost 20 years since Dick Grayson last appeared on the big screen in Batman and Robin as portrayed by Chris O’Donnell. Previous actors who have played Dick Grayson — or the Robin character — have been Douglas Croft, Johnny Duncan, and Burt Ward. There have also been two television shows, The Graysons and Titans, that were meant to feature Dick Grayson as the central character. Both, unfortunately, were scraped by their respective networks.
So there’s been a lot of fan interest in a Nightwing/Dick Grayson-centric media property for a long while. Now with Warner Bros. making it official, fans are eagerly awaiting to see who will put on the black and blue suit as our hero. All the talk about who can, and should, play Dick Grayson on the big screen has also brought up the truth behind Dick’s heritage in comics canon.
Even though we originally wanted him to play Peter Parker in Civil War, there’s a new campaign to get Ryan Potter a live action superhero role. As previously discussed, #RyanPotterForTimDrake is the latest fan-led hashtag that’s gaining steam on the internet. Part of the reason is because Potter himself has been very vocal about it. So he came on Hard NOC Life to talk about what it means to be Robin. Just in time for #BatmanDay!
There’s a new fan movement in the works that is determined to get Ryan Potter cast as Tim Drake in the DCEU films. Who is Ryan Potter? Potter, 20, is a young half-Japanese actor who’s best known as the voice of Hiro from Disney’s Big Hero 6. A martial artist himself, Potter has quickly risen to be a fan-favorite choice for Tim Drake amongst DC fans. And it all started with a tweet.
Can it be? Am I actually excited about DC Comics? Again? I’ve made no bones about my aversion to the company-wide reboot of 2011, but it seems that starting this summer, DC is dropping the The New 52 branding and starting fresh with all-new books, and a diverse and wide-ranging roster of talent, including — full disclosure — several friends and alums from the SIUniverse! So maybe I’m a little biased.
Just before the weekend — and right after Warner Brothers had rocked DC fanboys’ world by announcing no less than ten superhero movies over the next five years — the rumor mill got churning once again as an extra on the set of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Ridiculous Movie Titlesleaked to a local reporter that Hunger Games star Jena Malone had been cast as Robin in the 2016 blockbuster, reuniting her with Sucker Punch director Zack Snyder. Though it has yet to be confirmed, the internet lit up with excitement at the prospect of seeing the first female Robin1 depicted on the big screen.
While I’m all for more gender diversity in what is so far a very testosterone-heavy cast, the fact that Carrie Kelly may end up in the movie is actually really disappointing to me. Mainly, because I’m tired of Frank Miller.
Today, comic shops and bookstores around the country are celebrating the 75th anniversary of Batman. Though Detective Comics #27 was originally published in May of 1939, the folks at Warner Brothers and DC Comics have deemed July 23 as Batman Day. I guess since Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight movies always opened around this time, mid-July makes sense to officially honor the Dark Knight.
As you know, we here at The Nerds of Color are pretty involved Batfans. Hell, we just dedicated a whole week to the character at the end of June! If you want to browse through our coverage of the Caped Crusader, check out the Batman tag here.
Since Batman Day is also coinciding with San Diego Comic-Con this week, you can probably expect a bunch of news concerning our favorite superhero. In the meantime, check out some of the cool Bat stuff that’s already on the internet right now!
I like writing articles that teach. I like sharing lessons and personal experiences that hopefully can save someone else the time it took me to learn certain things the hard way. The problem is I find myself always doing it in the negative. ”Don’t do this.” “Stay away from that.” I’m sorry for that, but sometimes it’s faster and more effective for me to educate someone on what not to do instead of what to do.
So here’s my take on how not to behave like an artistic professional online.
I just got out of the Signature Theatre on 42nd and 10th in New York City where I got to see a performance of Kung Fu — the new play about the life of Asian America’s original superhero Bruce Lee — by renowned playwright David Henry Hwang. And I have to say, I was blown away.
Full disclosure: I’ve been a fan of star Cole Horibe since his turn on Season Nine of FOX’s hit reality competition show So You Think You Can Dance (btw, Kung Fu reunites Horibe with SYTYCD choreographer Sonya Tayeh). In addition to seeing how the play combined martial arts and dance — which was essentially Horibe’s specialty on SYTYCD — I was also interested to see how he would embody the icon. Spoiler Alert: dude is amazing.
As you can see on the blogroll to your left, Dat Winning and The Nerds of Color are going to be companion sites going forward. If you’re unfamiliar, Dat Winning is the internet’s “deceptively quick” Asian American guide to sports. And since we don’t really cover sports here at the NOC, that’s when I’ll pop up over there (and the occasional Joy Dunk Club episode too).
So I figured what better way to contribute to that blog than by intersecting the two things I love the most anyway, namely, the NBA and superhero comics. For my debut on DW, I wanted to talk about the four figures that most informed my growing up: Batman, Superman, Michael Jordan, and Scottie Pippen.
Last week, twitter was all, well, atwitter when artist Sean Murphy tweeted out a loose pencil sketch of Robin — Batman’s trusty sidekick — with an African American teen under the mask. Needless to say, the internet pretty much exploded when the initial tweet went out. Two hours later, though, Murphy and Scott Snyder deflated many a nerd’s bubble when they clarified that this “new” Robin wasn’t actually meant to be “in continuity.” Instead, the sketch Murphy sent out was only meant to be a brief glimpse into an alternate future in one of the anthology pieces in a special issue celebrating the 75th anniversary of Detective Comics #27 next year.
Still, all the swirl around “the first Black Robin” — and the fact that cross-racial casting of superheroes has been a popular topic on the blog recently — got me thinking about comics’ prototypical superhero sidekick. Few headlining superheroes are as indelibly iconic as the Boy Wonder. He’s also one of the few “legacy” heroes — that is, heroes whose mantles have passed down to different characters over the years — who has successfully navigated through several different and distinct identities without losing any of the iconography (while developing ardent fanbases for each version of the character). He’s also one of DC Comics’ most enduring multimedia stars as well, having been portrayed in several incarnations in very different media.
For four years and fifty issues, DC Comics published what should be considered, in my opinion, one of the best kid-friendly comics in the history of the medium: Tiny Titans. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. The series was nominated for multiple Eisners, and actually took home the award on two separate occasions — in 2009 and 2011 — for Best Series for Kids. And while DC no longer publishes (for now) the adventures of Robin, Kid Flash, Beast Boy, Raven, and the rest of the gang at Sidekick Elementary School, Art Baltazar and Franco’s creation has left an indelible mark on how good “comics for kids” can truly be. Plus, my daughter loves these books. So much.
Since WarRock is such an avowed Marvel head (as if his rap name didn’t already give it away), songs in the key of DC are few and far between. But from the Watchmenesque album cover to his latest single, it seems Adam isn’t just exclusive to “the 616.” So when he drops a track about the Dark Knight, you know I’m about it!
If you’ve been reading my site recently, then you know that September was a month filled with conventions. It all started with Baltimore Comic-Con, which was followed by Retro Con, and finally there was Monster-Mania 26. I’m not even remotely a horror guy, so why did I go to Monster-Mania? Well, it’s simple — there was going to be a Batman ’66 reunion with Adam West, Burt Ward, Lee Meriwether, and Yvonne Craig. Stan Lee and Adam West have always been on my Must Meet list, and since I met Stan two years ago, now it was time to check Adam off the list. So, even if that meant I would be braving a horror convention, it was time to meet Adam West.