Thursday, May 29, 2014

How very Uncanny be the man's X mon

     Hello and welcome one and all to another installment of the Shadow Knows (better late then never). What does the Shadow know today boys and girls? Never strap a lightening rod to your back in a rain storm. Sure it sounds like fun at first. You run around, jump in puddles, splash around and then the bang!!! You're lying on the ground hair all frizzy. I mean come on seriously what is this the 70's. So just don't do it. For the sake of your hair just don't. Oh and I guess that electrocution thing to if you like. Look at me making nonsense again. So on the next How I Geek pod cast ( true believers) we are talking movies that have hit milestone anniversaries this year. It should either be fun or not, but hey give us a listen anyway. We could really use the self confidence.

     So on to the topic at hand and no not the Ninja assassin clan either (though that would be pretty sweet). The sweet old topic wrapping up my month of exclusive comic talk is Uncanny X-Men. Though I really should have called it Marvel month for that is really the only company I blogged about all month. Oh well alas they were what movies I watched too. Any who, this title came to us in early 1963 and was the baby child of geniuses Stan Lee and Jacky Kirby. Stan had not intended this to be the original title of the book. But when Stan turned in a book entitled "The Mutants" Marvel publisher Martin Goodman shot it down. He stated that no one would understand what mutants were in the context of the Marvel Universe. Given the fact that the book was inspired by the civil rights movement of the time I don't think mutants would have gone over very well to the public at large. The book itself is about 5 teenagers all born with the x-gene and their trainer, leader, and mentor Charles Xavier, he too a mutant. The x-gene gives each individual who has it extraordinary powers. First we have Cyclops, aka Scott Summers with his eye beams. Next we have Marvel Girl, aka Jean Grey with her powers of telekinesis and later telepathy. Beast, aka Hank McCoy born with over sized feet and natural acrobatic agility and above human strength and endurance. Plus the man is a straight up genius. Next in line is Iceman, aka Bobby Drake and his ability to freeze and manipulate the water, well everywhere. Finally we have Angel, aka Warren Worthington III with his super sharp senses and wings giving him flight. He is also a dynasty kid worth a fortune. Now the X-men are not named after Xavier as it might seem, but rather Xavier gave the team this title referring to the X-gene that gives them their extra special powers. This series is what introduced me into the world of superhero comics. Before this time I was only reading books like Sgt. Rock, GI Joe, Transformers, and Star Wars. When I opened the pages of that first book I fell in love with this series. As far as comics go I would consider myself the local X-pert amongst my friends and am even the go to for questions about them. This series has stood the test of time with several spin offs and reboots. With every change of the team came a new and interesting dynamic and with every new character sprinkling their own flavor making this an awesome soup indeed! From story arc to story arc this series from it's conception to the 80's has had some fantastic writers and artists to bring the books alive.

      I could talk about the many writers at this point, but I wont. In the later 60's the book saw a decline in readers that ultimately caused Marvel to make issues 67-93 reprint issues. This caused the book to almost die until giant sized X-Men number one with writer Len Wein and artist Dave Cockrum. They introduced an entire new team and put new life into the series. Though Wein and Cockrum saved our intrepid X-Men from the trash bin it is not whom I wish to discuss. In my humble opinion the greatest X-combo staff team was John Byrne artist and Chris Claremont writer. These two men took what Wein and Cockrum created and propelled it into the stratosphere. With story arcs like the Proteus Saga, the return of the long dreaded sentinels, the introduction of Moira MacTaggert and her genetic research facility on Muir Island, the emergence of the Phoenix to the Dark Phoenix saga, the introduction of Alpha Flight, and Days of Futures Past to name a boat load of blockbuster story arcs. I love everything theses guys put out. John Byrne's final book was 142 or the end of the Days of Futures Past story arc.

Claremont stayed on for a whopping 16 years being the longest X-Writer ever! These two men are personal heroes of mine crafting story's like Da Vinci crafted the Mona Lisa. You could relate to them and watching the plots unfold was like magic. I would love to see these two again on an X-Title. All they put out was much better then what befell the title in the 90's on up with bad writing and art work. The story arcs were more about money then story blah! What these guys put to paper helped shape the X-men we see today on all screens big and small.

     So we will start with the small screen first special voices in my head before you ask. The X-Men made their first on TV appearance in a few episodes of the Marvels Super Heroes Show. I have never to date been able to find an episode to rate it. Though knowing the Marvel animation of the time I am thinking the quality was not all that great. I guess the only way I will know for sure is to continue my search for these elusive episodes. The 70's are not a friend to the mutants and they get no appearances until the 80's with Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends. They appear in a couple of episodes and don't do a half bad job of it. In 89 they almost got a series in Pryde of the X-Men. A pilot episode was filmed, but was never picked up. The episode was aired in syndication on and off with mixed reviews. I thought it wasn't half bad and would have loved to seen more. I think it was by far better then what we got in the 90's as part of the Marvel Comics TV block. I love the X-Men and could not get passed a season of this show. It was handled poorly and did not hold a candle to the Spider-Man series of that block. Quality X-Programming did not come until the turn of the century with X-Men evolution and Wolverine and the X-Men, the later being better then the former. With Evolution they were all still kids going through high school. It was a bit kidded down, but the stories I think were much better then the 90's by far. As with all things though I say watch for yourself and insert your opinion here_______________________. Wolverine and the X-Men take place after a revision of the Dark Phoenix Saga, with a Days of Futures Past flair and goes into Age of Apocalypse as the season/series finale. Again this is a really well done show IMHO, but watch yourself and see. The only thing you are out is time because it is on netflix as are the other two. It seems to me that even though X-Men was one of the number one Marvel titles nobody was brave enough to try creating a series until the comic decline of the 90's. This is a shame because I would have loved to see more of my favorite team rockin the TV.

     X-Men has graced us on the big screen with 5 X-Movies and 2 Wolverine spin-offs. Starting in the 2000's we got our first X-Movie and I was excited. I caught all three in the theatres and was unfortunately more disappointed with each passing movie. On the the one side they were OK, but on the other I don't think they got much right. To make matters worse the story telling was middle of the road and not a wow factor like you should expect from an X-Movie. The Wolverine movies follow the same suit. Now I have all of these movies in my personal library, but they are not something I pull out that often. That being said as stand alone they are not bad, just not wow awesome. Now in 2009 we got X-Men first class and when I heard it was coming out my eyes rolled and I did not go see it in the theatre. I found my initial reaction to be a big mistake. While this movie also did not follow the main story arc very well it did have all the major wow factors I before mentioned. The story was great, the plot pace was pretty sweet, and the special effects were awesomesauce. If you are looking for a movie that follows the original you are looking in the wrong place. If you are looking for a flipping sweet X-movie then look no further. This follows into the sequel Days of Future Past. Again if you are looking for a movie that follows the original story arc, well walk away now. You will be sorely disappointed. Now if you are going in to see a sweet X-Movie then give this one a chance. I was worried with this one at first to, but I went to see it and was not disappointed. Yes I was not happy that they got almost everything wrong, but the elements that were brought together more then made up for that fact. I suggest you give it a watch you die hard X-fans. It is my hope you wont be disappointed. I wasn't and I am as die hard as they come. Cut me and I bleed little X's which is very painful and perhaps I should see a doctor about that.

     Well Shadow fans that is all the time we have this week from your old pal the Shadow. Sorry for the lateness of this one. Family life got in the way and well my kids come first. So tune in next week when you will hear Hugh Jackman say "Mommy I don't wanna do another bad Wolvie movie". What do you think true believers? Are the new X-Movies better then the last 3? Will we ever see an X-live action TV series? Will they ever give Hugh Jackman a good Wolverine script? Who picked that peck of pickled peppers? When I catch that punk I tell you what, I will get my revenge muwahahahaha. These are the questions racing in the vagueness of my subconscious. Till next time kiddies and I will see you in the shadows.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

.Don't Dare the Devil or he will get his due a buck O' Five

     Hello one and all and welcome to another exciting installment of the Shadow Knows. What true believers does the Shadow know on this day. Well I have to say that one should always remove the plastic cover before cooking their pizza in the oven. Now I know some people might think this is crazy, but if you don't do it the pizza will taste a bit bland and unsavory. I mean they put these warnings on the package for a reason right... at least I hope so. This week on How I Geek ( Greg and the Scooby Gang will be having a general geek discussion on the properness of proper geektitude. So I say verily unto you be there or be square. Hey it's hip to be square so what the heck show up anyway.

     So what is the topic of today you ask? Well that would be one of Marvels most underrated heroes and one of my personal favs Daredevil the man without fear and thanks for asking secret voices in my head. I was first introduced to this character by my long time friend Greg of How I Geek fame. He had some silver age issues he gave to me as a gift and I fell in love with DD's swashbuckling flair. Daredevil got his start in the pages of his self titled book published in 1964. He was the brainchild of Stan Lee, Bill Everett, with input by Jack Kirby who made his famous clubs and yellow costume. While living in the Hell's Kitchen area of New York young Matt Murdock tried to save a blind person about to be struck by a truck. Ironic isn't it? For his efforts he was hit with a radioactive substance that caused him blindness. Fear not though true believers, for those same chemicals that took his sight also enhanced his other four senses to superhuman levels. Come on admit it you read that in the voice of Stan Lee. I know I heard it that way in my head as I wrote it and it sounded cool. Now due to his blindness Matt's father Jack Murdock had to come out of retirement as a boxer to support the family. Alas though due to his age the only person who would sign him was notorious gangster the Fixer. Battling Jack Murdock lost his battle to live when he refused to throw a fight because his son was in the audience and so the Fixer had him broken. In an attempt to claim Justice Matt made a costume from his dads boxing robes and went after the Fixer. It was during his altercation with the Fixer that the gangster too got broken by way of heart attack causing the villains death. Matt Murdock would put himself through law school to become attorney for the helpless by day and savior of the city by night The Daredevil.

     Now it seems to me that Matt Murdock aka Daredevil has had issue since the day the chemical truck struck him. His life never seems to go right for him in any way. Over the course of the series he has had many love interests that all seem to go so wrong for him. The most famous of these being Karen Page. She finds out his secret identity and in the end she just can't handle it. This I get. He is in a dangerous position all the time and she never knows when that phone call will come telling her he has had died. It is what happens after the relationship that really gives our intrepid hero troubles.She moves to Hollywood to try her hand at acting, but after some misadventures she becomes a heroine addict and porn star. In a need for a fix Karen sells Matt's secrets to the Kingpin who takes advantage of his new found knowledge. He frames Matt for crimes he did not commit and has him disbarred. Matt then loses everything and his life spirals out of control. It takes him quite a bit of time to recover and when he does he takes Karen back in and she to recovers from her addiction and starts to live her life again. The two rekindle their romance and she starts a clinic to help drug users. Through the clinic Matt regains his license to practice law and all goes well till he messes up royally. With this one he is on his own and gets what he deserves. It comes out that Matt is having an affair with a woman named Mary Walker. So with this discovery and the burning down of her clinic Karen is devastated and runs off again. Fear not true believers because Matt gets his just desserts as it is revealed that Mary Walker is in reality Typhoid Mary a crazed criminal. This fact of course as you could imagine ends that affair in rather quick order. This event sends our hero off living the life of a drifter for a spell. He and Karen are on again off again for some time after this. With her even being his kinda sidekick for a time. This would all end at the hands of Daredevil villain Bullseye when he ends her life. Murdock has had other love interests as well which include the assassin Electra and Shield agent Black Widow. In both cases the relationships end with the later trying to rekindle what they had and he rebuffing her. I mean really Black Widow comes a calling and you kick her to the curb... damn he really is blind! I can't fault the man to much though. He was in another relationship at the time. But of course that one ended to. Blah he should have chosen Widow nuff said true believers. DD does eventually get married to a woman name Mllia Donovan. Like Matt she is blind, but like all his relationships this one to ends badly with her in a mental institution and a divorce.

      From intense love interests to the loss of everything Daredevil has had many different minds working on his story for many years. In the early years with Stan Lee and Bill Everett our intrepid hero was viewed  like a modern day swashbuckler and this is the Daredevil I had come to know and love. Everett would leave the book and it would be then drawn by John Romita Sr. of Spider-Man fame and later Gene Colan, with a little Wally Wood thrown in there on issues 5-10. Gerry Conway would take over writing from Stan about issue 72 and gave the character a little bit of a pulp feel. Others would sprinkle in their influence each with their own contributions. Books kept being pumped out with the same sort of style and medium till about the early 100's when horror comic writer Roger McKenzie took over. It was he who started the character down a very dark path giving a him a more antihero feel. During this time artist and writer Frank Miller joined the cast and that is when Daredevil took his darkest turn. Miller started off as a penciler, but ended up running the whole book. To me this was like having Tim Burton create a Care Bears movie. Sure you'd end up with something cool, but it would not be in the direction or style such a movie should go in. Miller would make our hero attempt to murder his advisories and even turned one guy into a quadriplegic. Miller also took liberties with the origin story and throwing out or even rewriting entire chapters of his life. He was no longer the swashbuckling hero of old, but rather an antihero who more resembled Frank Castle as the Punisher. Now they say this is due to a drop in sales and that Miller appealed to a new generation of readers all of which is true. Of course his run is one of the most popular of the series and I have great respect for the man and his other works. I just think it is a shame that the integrity of a character has to change just for a ratings hike. Now after Millers run there were many attempts to redefine Daredevil yet again and try to bring him back down Earth with varying degrees of success. Any attempt to bring back the earliest incarnation was met with creators saying that it felt to retro. Retro, really and what is wrong with retro... blah! In the present we see him as leader of the Assassins guild known as the Hand and member of the New Avengers. Through it all I must say it is the early stories I still love the most (I don't care if they're retro). He is a character that no one seems to be able to really lock down and has become more like a man with a multiple personality disorder rather than the super cool hero he could be. I am very glad that his limited appearances on screen did not show this antihero persona.

     What is that you say? Daredevil was on a screen? Why yes he was my excitable little voices. As I have stated earlier Daredevil is really an underrated super hero and as such has had little exposure over the years in movie or television. The first time I ever recall ever hearing about him was in an episode of Spider-Man and his Amazing friends. In the episode he defends Spider-Man against a frame up from an impostor trying to fund his own research by stealing money in the guise of the wall crawler. We don't see the Man without fear again until the Trial of the Incredible Hulk. In this made for T.V. movie Matt Murdock/Daredevil defend the Hulk in a trial for murder. He then appears in 3 of the Marvel block shows from the 90's. First on Fantastic Four where he has to help a powerless FF reenter the Baxter Building to Stop Doctor Doom. His next appearance is on Spider-Man the animated series. Matt Murdock/Daredevil this time around defends Peter Parker from a frame up instituted by the Kingpin. This episode hearkens back to the Daredevil issues in which the Kingpin has framed Murdock for crimes he did not commit. Finally he shows up only in honorable mention as the defense attorney defending Titanium Man on Iron Man Adventures. Nothing is heard from our hero till 2003 when he got his own feature film starring Ben Affleck as Daredevil. This movie also spun off the Electra movie as well. Now these movies take a lot of heat and criticism, but I have to say I liked them both and have them in my personal movie collection. Sure they could have been way better, especially with the budgets they had. But hey at least we got Daredevil on the big screen and that is huge IMHO. Since the 1970's there have been a couple of shows that were put in the works. A Black Widow and DD live action t.v. series to name one. Now I would have loved to have seen that! But alas all of these shows have one thing in common they all had their plugs pulled before production. I would for one would love to see another attempt at a movie and even an animated series, but alas who knows what the future holds for our hero true believers. I will say as a final note that it has been recently announced that Netflix will be making a Daredevil series in 2015. I am very jazzed about this and will have have my face mesmerized in front of my t.v. in great excitement. My only hope is that this series and the other Marvel alumni joining this series will help catapult Daredevil to bigger and better things... nuff said.

     Well my friends that is all the time we have today for this episode. Tune in next week where we hear George Lucas sob "Jar Jar was the death of me". Till next time true believers tell me what you think. Do any of you Shadow fans out there enjoy DD? Do you want to see him get some more screen time. Who do you think should play him? Has anyone seen where I parked? I did find my keys... come to think of it do I even own a car? These are the issues of my deranged mind. Well it is time for me to part ways and maybe even hairs, I will see you next time in the shadows...

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Look up in the sky it's Amazing, no it's Spectacular, is it a Web, no wait is it a Ham, nope it's just Spider-Man!

     Hello folks and welcome to another edition of The Shadow Knows. What pray tell does the Shadow Know this week? Well from what I understand you should never take Preparation H orally. I hear that it causes shrinkage and would cause you difficulty eating... Shrinkage huh, I think it is best left to not use it anywhere but intended less be ousted by the ladies. Alas yet again I digress. I apologize for those who went to the podcast last Sunday expecting The Crow talk only to not find it, well some people did not do their homework. They used some excuse about being on a cruise and out of the country. So we have tabled that discussion for another date. This Sunday at How I Geek, on Greg and the gang will hopefully be discussing the Japanese classic Godzilla. We do this of course in honor of the opening of the new movie. Besides it is always fun to watch fake monsters eat cities. We shall see how this goes, so join us Sunday, have some coffee and talk. 

     So on to the topic of discussion folks hip. hip, hooray!!! Today we discuss Spider-Man AKA Peter Parker. Spidey is one of my personal favs as he was a character I could relate to. Minus the being orphaned and spider powers I lived a similar life to his in high school. Any who, Spidey came to us in the pages of Amazing Fantasy number 15 in 1962 and was created by Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, and cover art by Jack Kirby. Kirby was originally tapped to draw the book, but Stan did not like the look and direction Kirby was taking the character (though he still made him look very good in true Jack Kirby style) and so instead had Ditko do the book art and Kirby do the cover art. The protagonist of this story is Peter Parker, a brilliant teenage high school student. He was orphaned as a small boy and had to live with his aunt and uncle Mae and Ben Parker. One day while at a science exhibit he is bitten by a radioactive spider and given super powers. He gets all the proportional powers of a spider, minus the ability to shoot webs. He gets his web shooting ability from his genius, by creating gadgets that do it for him. He then dons his spider costume and becomes somewhat of a television celebrity. It is during this time he learns hard lessons. While leaving a shoot he lets a criminal get passed him. Later this same criminal would rob and murder his Uncle Ben. In that act Spider-Man the superhero was born, through the words of his uncle, "With great power comes great responsibility".  In this age of comics teenagers were usually relegated to the role of sidekick. Stan Lee found this distasteful and decided to make the would be sidekick a hero. This would be a direction that proved to be money in the bank as they say. Spider-Man was an instant success and all in part due to his realistic life. This is a niche that Stan Lee and Marvel would tap again and again to give us wonderful stories and serials.

     Speaking of stories Spidey had many that were covered over many different books. After high school he went on to college where he met Harry Osborn and girlfriend Gwen Stacy. A great friendship was struck between the 3 of them, a friendship that would cause him trouble and heartache. As it turned out Harry's dad was Spidey's arch nemesis The Green Goblin and if that was not bad enough Gwen's father Detective, Captain Stacy was accidentally killed in a battle between himself and Doctor Octopus (Amazing Spider-Man #90). Spidey's greatest heartache came at the death of Gwen during a battle between himself and the Green Goblin (Amazing #121). She was thrown off a bridge and her neck was snapped in the attempt to rescue her. This would be an event that would haunt our hero. Spidey would love again from the Black Cat to Mary Jane Watson, the later he would marry and then that marriage would end by the hands of Marvel execs who disliked the marriage to begin with (blah). From 1984 to 1988 Spidey would don his black and white costume. During Secret Wars this costume is destroyed and to protect his identity the Beyonder gives him a symbiotic one to replace it. This would bring more problems to our hero as this symbiont had ideas of its own. Trying to change his personality and make him a much harsher crime fighter. Spidey with the help of Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four removed the symbiont from him for all time. Unfortunately the symbiont found Eddie Brock who was not a Peter Parker fan and together they became Venom one of Spider-Mans greatest foes. Over the years Spidey has had many great stories and some rather bad ones, like One More Day, and Superior Spider-Man to name two stinkers. His stories though are to numerous to mention, so I say to you pick him up and give him a read.

     With every protagonist you have to have a great antagonist and Spidey has had some of the greatest villains of the Marvel universe each with their own interesting back stories. You have number one the Green Goblin. He is Norman Osborn, millionaire and father of Spidey's best friend Harry Osborn. Another interesting villain is the Lizard. Curt Connors had lost a limb during war time. When he returned to his Florida home he began work with lizard DNA research to regrow lost limb. He had some success with a rabbit and thought it would be a great idea to skip more research and try it on himself. Clearly not a rocket scientist here. Peter is sent to Florida on assignment to take pictures of this lizard creature in Florida and with help from Connors notes changes him back. Curt Conners is himself not a villain (though idiot does come to mind) though through his alter persona as the Lizard is. Next we have the ego driven Doctor Otto Octavius, or Dr Octopus to his pals. Doc Oc has an ego the size of Asia and desires to match. Spidey has dueled Doc Oc on many occasions and in recent history even had his body taken over by the lunatic thinking he could be a better Spider-Man then Peter. You have Venom who I mentioned earlier... nuff said. On the bruiser bully side of villains you have the Rhino, Sandman, and Scorpion. Scorpion was created with the help of scientists by Daily Bugle man J Jonah Jameson in an attempt to learn Spidey's secrets. He goes crazy and turns on the man. Imagine that you mutate the guy and this is the thanks Jonah gets, hmmm some people I tell you no gratitude. There too is the Shocker, Electro, Mysterio the actor gone crazy, the Vulture, Kraven the hunter, Hobgoblin, and Chameleon to name his most popular. With each new villain Spidey has to use his wits to get himself out of jams. In the end using not only his smart wits, but his smart ass to save the day. He is no Batman and come on there is really only one Batman. He gets the job done and does it with flair and style only the wall crawler knows how to put down. This is something that shows in his big screen and small screen roles.

     Spidey on the screen you say? Why yes secret voices in my head our valiant hero has been on screens large and small. Starting in 1967 with an animated series that lasted 3 seasons and remained in syndication for decades. This was my first introduction with Spidey and I loved watching this show as a small boy. Later in the 70's came the Japanese mecha version and the US TV series both of which were live action. I like the 70's US show and can only say the Japanese version was well, interesting. In the 80's we got Spiderman and Spiderman and his Amazing friends. Again these were shows I loved as a kid and with them got introduced to more Marvel hero's I knew nothing of at the time. The 90's gave us Spiderman the animated series. I think that of all the 90's marvel programs this one was the best. I mean Marvel was really reaching and trying to capitalize on the big comic boom of that era. The end of these shows was the only really good thing that came from the comic decline later in the decade. The next 2 decades have given us The New Animated Series, Spectaular and Ultimate Spiderman. With this final incarnation I think that Marvel has got something decent and hearkens back to the Amazing friends days. I am afraid though with great power comes great responsibility and I don't know if Marvel can handle the pressure of keeping a good quality series. They may, I am afraid screw it up like the Avengers Earths Mightiest Hero's... Alas once again I digress. Spidey has also graced us upon the big screen in 5 total feature films. Three staring Tobey McGuire and 2 starring Andrew Garfield. Mcguire's movies got progressively worse until finally ending with the train wreak that was 3. I will not go into my usual tirade on how bad they screwed up the story. Let me just say it was bad, real, bad. Now Garfield on the last 2 movies has done a fine job and I think these Amazing Spider-Man movies have been well, Amazing. I mean with a great cast, script writing, and special effects I believe the franchise can gives us some more great movies. I will say though that the villains in the last movie were sub par and that was unfortunate because the rest of the movie was great. IMHO. I mean come on I thought the Green Goblin was going to take off with his lucky charms instead of battling Spidey. Jamie Foxx played a great Electro and his character was far better developed then Gobbies. There were just really technical issues with him. The Rhino though really had no development at all and his armor was a joke.

     Well Shadow fans that is all the time we have this week. Tune in next time where you'll hear Joe Quesada say, "Would you like fries with that". So what do you think Shadow fans? Is the franchise safe? Will the Sinister Six movie be awesomesauce? Can Peter Piper actually pick a peck of pickled peppers? These are the questions the voices in my head keep me up at night singing and they just wont stop. Let me know what you think and I will see you next week in the shadows.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Stan Lee presents Oh Captain my Captain and Tennille

     Hello and welcome back folks to another thrilling installment of The Shadow Knows. What true believers does The Shadow know today? Well for one never blow dry your hair in the shower. According to the label this can be bad, real bad. You might come out with a hair style that is either absolutely hideous or FABULOUS!!! Ahhh but what can you do I ask? So this week at, on How I Geek with Greg and the gang we discuss the 20th anniversary of that timeless classic The Crow. It is hard for me to believe that it has been 20 years since we lost the great up-in-coming actor Brandon Lee. He was of course the son of the late and great Bruce Lee. I mean great doesn't really cover it with Bruce. He was after all the Michael Jordan of kung fu, the Wayne freaking Gretzky of kung fu. At 4 movies, just shy of his fathers 5 Brandon was well on his way in becoming the Hollywood sensation his father was and his loss is still felt today. Alas I digress. We will discuss this and more Sunday. Come on over and stop by for a cup of coffee. We will leave the light on for you.

     So true believers what topic will The Shadow pull from the darkness and into the light this day. Well I just recently went to see Captain American 2 the Winter Soldier. So I thought I would give Cap a spin in what I hope to be a month of comic reviews. I dunno we shall see how that goes. You never know the sky could fall any minute and that would be the end. So who is Captain America you say? I am so glad you asked secret voices in my head. Cap hit the shelves December 20th 1940, with a cover date of March 10th, 1941. It stars Steve Rogers a young man who wants to give his all for his country. The only problem is he is a tiny, sickly frame of a man. So when he is offered a chance to take part in an experiment to create the worlds first super soldier he jumps at the chance. The experiment is a success and Captain America was born. The only thing is that no other soldiers could be made since the original creator of the process was killed by Nazi spy Heinz Kruger (though Nick Fury also goes through this process in later years). Like D.C. Comic heroes of the time Cap had a teenage sidekick James Buchanan "Bucky" Barnes. He had no super powers and fought The Third Reich alongside Cap during it's first run. During his tenure with Cap it was thought that Bucky was just an average teenage kid. It was later written though that this was not the case. As it turns out Bucky was recruited to be an assassin for the U.S. government. This is of course all unknown to Cap and right under his nose. I am surprised he couldn't smell what was going on (I know waaa waaa). This comic was a raging success during its near decade run, with the first cover featuring Cap slugging Hitler. This was due in part to the Second World War. Once peace returned to the world alas, like all other soldiers Caps time had come and the series ended. This original series was created by brain children Joe Simon and the infamous Jack Kirby, during Marvels predecessor companies years under Timely Comics. Issue 3 of this series has the unique distinction as to being the first comic worked on by Stan "The Man" Lee. This is a issue I would love to find and get signed by this remaining legend of the comic world. I don't even care if it is a reader copy... sighs. 

     In 1964 Cap comes back to us in the pages Avengers #4. We discover that Bucky and Cap had gone MIA towards the end of the war and that a great cover-up was perpetrated to keep up American morale. Then President Thurman enlisted William Burnside to assume the mantle of Cap and Jeffrey Mace the mantle of Bucky. Both were given an imperfect version of the super soldier serum and as a result became mentally unstable They were both placed into cold storage until a cure could be found. For Burnside a cure was found and he later adopted the mantle of Nomad. Alas still no word on young Mr. Mace. Any who in issue 4 of the Avengers they find Cap frozen in an iceberg and still very much alive. They discover that Bucky is dead due to their final fight with Baron Zemo. Cap then joined The Avengers and has never left us since. From discovering Bucky is still alive, to dying, and not really dying Cap has captivated us in the pages of Marvel Comics (no pun intended, no really I mean it). He has lead The Avengers, lost his title as Captain America and forced to be Nomad, and U.S. Soldier. Yes Captain America is a must read true believers. So then where does he go from here?

     Where does he go from here, well the big screen of course. In 1944 Cap had the distinction of being the first Marvel Comics character to appear on the big screen in his own series. In the 60's Cap was featured in his own animated series featuring his stories from Tales of Suspense and Avengers as well. I know not big screen, but little screens can be fun too. In the 1970's we get Cap in two movies starring Reb Brown (no relation to the best of my knowledge). In these adaptations Cap's origin is changed to fit the times. He is a former marine who was given the nickname Captain America for being so patriotic. During an accident, in which he is nearly killed this Steve Rogers is given the FLAG serum. FLAG which stands for Full Latent Ability Gain turns him into the super soldier we all know and love. Though neither movie had any Cap villains he does get cool gadgets like a rockin motorcycle. In the 1990's we get a Cap movie that though low budget stays true to his story. Though it might not be as good as the say present incarnation I still like it. Of course Cap has made guest appearances in several Marvel titled cartoons between the 80's and 2000's. I will not really go into them and only say some appearances were better then others. In the 2010's we have gotten the best of all incarnations out there to date true believers. With Avengers Earths Mightiest Heroes we had an awesome Cap who made you not only cheer, but believe. Alas Joe Quesada in his narrow minded, short sightedness elected to cancel this show of awesomeness for a far inferior version. I truly do not understand this dim wit of Marvel and hope he retires soon. So finally we have arrived at Chris Evans and his 3 portrayals of Cap. What can I say this man was born for the role. I am sad to see him go after only 6 movies and hope he decides to do at least a couple more. The first movie was a great back-story engine that drove us to The Avengers. In the Avengers his character helped drive the movie and hold the team together in true Cap fashion. Finally The Winter Soldier paid true homage to the original story (which I really like). It truly ticks me off when folks take a perfectly good story and instead of merely tweaking it for a more modern audience decide that they can make it better in a whole different direction. To me this is not a homage, but rather arrogance in its truest form and shame on them! I love Black Widow and Falcons incarnations in this movie as well. They really help drive this movie home for me. I also like the blooming romance between Cap and Widow. Will they expand on this... who knows? What I do know is the movie rocks. What are you waiting for go see it.

     Well folks what do you think this week. Is Cap safe in the hands of Chris Evans? Do you think Joe Quesada can do anything right? What do you think of the future of the franchise? Do you know where I put my car keys? These are the important questions people! I really need to buy some milk. So any who till next time Shadow fans keep an eye to the darkness. You may just catch a glimpse of me there and if it is not me call the police. Really stranger danger, stranger danger!!! What an odd super villain name. Help Cap can you save us? My gosh villian what do you call yourself. You can call me "Stranger Danger" and when you see the Stranger you're in danger muwahahaha...