Luke Cage History: From Hero for Hire to Hollywood
TV, Comic Books
In the wake of Chewbacca’s arrest Sunday in Ukraine, Emperor Palpatine has risen to power — however much he can have on Odessa City Council.
According to multiple reports, Darth Sidious himself (aka “Palpatine Dmitry”) claimed a seat on the port city’s council after securing 54.4 percent of the vote in Odessa’s Poselok Kotovskogo. If only the actual Palpatine’s rise had been so streamlined, the Star Wars prequels would’ve been a lot more bearable.
Still, Palpatine Dmitry’s success left at least one politician bewildered.
The next time Marvel and DC Comics want to reboot their superhero universes, they may want to turn to Vladimir Putin for inspiration.
The Russian president, famed for his public — and frequently shirtless — displays of virility, celebrated his 63rd birthday on Wednesday by playing hockey and accepting an award (for his contributions to hockey). Some of his supporters, meanwhile, marked the occasion with an art exhibition in Moscow titled … wait for it … “Putin Universe.”
If you’re not already experiencing deja vu from a 2016 campaign populated by a Clinton, a Bush, a billionaire reality star who’s often threatened a presidential run, and a gaggle of hopefuls long past their sell-by dates, this may do the trick: Opus and Bill the Cat have thrown their tattered hats into the political ring once more.
It’s of course not entirely unexpected, as Bloom County creator Berkeley Breathed credits Donald Trump’s presidential bid with inspiring the recent online revival of the beloved comic strip. You see, in the waning days of the original Bloom County, which ended in August 1989, Trump was fatally injured and his brain transferred into the body of Bill the Cat, the near-catatonic drug-abusing televangelist/heavy-metal superstar/presidential candidate. The tycoon-cat subsequently bought the comic strip and fired all of its characters.
Metropolis has Superman, Gotham City has Batman, and now Ohio has a superhero of its very own. However, some critics it were somebody else — anybody else.
Meet Buddie, the caped crusader enlisted by ResponsibleOhio to aid in the fight to legalize marijuana in the Buckeye State. You’ll recognize him by his green-and-white costume, marijuana leaf-like gloves, washboard abs, half-closed eyes and blinding smile. Oh, and by the enormous marijuana bud that serves as his head.
Presidential candidate Donald Trump has billions of dollars, a customized helicopter and jet, and an affinity for emblazoning his logo on any flat surface, but over the weekend he demonstrated he’s no Bruce Wayne.
While appearing Saturday at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Trump revealed his secret identity — an amateur move. It wasn’t the $7 million helicopter with ‘TRUMP” plastered on the side that gave it away, or the red ball cap with “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN,” but rather the candidate himself: He confessed to being Batman.
While most of the political world is following the likes of Hillary Clinton, Jeb(!) Bush and Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has been making waves in a few nerd realms. First came his Simpsons impressions, and then his assertion that Captain James T. Kirk was/is/will be a Republican. Now Cruz is listing Watchmen’s Rorschach as one of his favorite superheroes.
However, Cruz isn’t the first candidate to invoke nerd culture. President Obama, himself a Star Trek fan, listed The Amazing Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian as his favorite comics growing up, and was photographed in Metropolis, Illinois, imitating its Superman statue. In return, Obama was immortalized on a Spider-Man cover, and depicted in another Superman-inspired pose by painter Alex Ross.
For that matter, the election year of 2008 featured a couple of seminal superhero films with clear political overtones. The first Iron Man showed its hero working within the military-industrial complex, and The Dark Knight inspired pundits to compare Batman’s surveillance technology to government eavesdropping.
The Shanghai International Film Festival has abruptly canceled a screening of Attack on Titan, which was blacklisted earlier this week by the Chinese government. The move comes just days before the start of the June 13-21 event.
Based on Hajime Isayama’s bestselling post-apocalyptic fantasy series, Attack on Titan is among 38 manga and anime titles banned Monday by the Chinese Ministry of Culture from print or digital distribution for containing “severely improper content.” Other works include Death Note, Black Butler and Claymore.
Facing mounting criticism for erecting a 20-foot statue of a robot that some have labeled a “monstrosity,” the longtime mayor of Ankara, Turkey, arrived at a solution: He replaced it last week, at taxpayer expense, with a replica of a 32-foot-long Tyrannosaurus rex.
A flamboyant politician who’s been mayor of the country’s capital city since 1994, Melih Gökçek had responded to backlash over the initial statue by saying “Respect the robot,” only to later announce plans to replace it with a dinosaur, because the robot “got on the leftists’ nerves.”
Creators | Responding to the removal of Maus from Moscow bookstores as the Russian government cracks down on Nazi symbols, Art Spiegelman said, “It’s a real shame because this is a book about memory. We don’t want cultures to erase memory.” Retailers fear the swastika on the graphic novel’s cover may be enough to run afoul of a new law prohibiting “Nazi propaganda” as the country prepares to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Germany. “I don’t think Maus was the intended target for this, obviously,” the cartoonist told The Guardian. “But I think [the law] had an intentional effect of squelching freedom of expression in Russia. The whole goal seems to make anybody in the expression business skittish.” [The Guardian]
President Obama officially welcomed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the White House on Tuesday to address free trade and international cooperation. But before the discussion turned too serious, the Most Powerful Man in the World wanted to talk a little about manga and anime.
Speaking at the arrival ceremony, Obama said the visit by Abe and his wife Akie was an opportunity for he and First Lady Michelle Obama to return the hospitality they received in Japan (where the president played soccer with a robot).
Agence France-Presse reports the move comes as Russian authorities seek to purge the capital of swastikas and other Nazi insignias ahead of May 9, which marks the 70th anniversary of the Soviet victory over German forces in World War II. Raids have already been conducted on toy and antique shops, and bookstore owners are anticipating similar actions.
Of course, Art Spiegelman’s celebrated Maus, released in Russia in 2013, isn’t “Nazi propaganda”; it’s pointedly anti-fascist, telling a story about the horrors of Nazism. However, bookstore owners appear to be erring on the side of caution, figuring the large swastika on the cover is enough to make the title — and retailers — a target.
Political cartoons | Cartoonist Milt Priggee stands by his editorial cartoon, which appeared in the Kitsap (Washington) Sun, depicting a recently slain toddler as an angel and “America’s gun culture” as the devil. Priggee and the newspaper’s editor have come under fire from the public and from the grandfather of the 2-year-old, who accuse him of using a tragedy to score political points. Priggee said his goal was to get people to think critically about gun culture: “A cartoon is a simple machine to make the reader think, not joke. It’s not a comic strip, it’s not entertainment, and this is where newspapers have fallen down. They have not taken any kind of opportunity to educate the public because a lot of times people come to an editorial cartoon and they say, ‘Well there’s nothing funny about this. Why is this in the newspaper?'” [MyNorthwest.com]
The mayor of Ankara, Turkey, has a robot problem. A giant robot problem.
Melih Gökçek, who’s been mayor of the country’s capital city since 1994, is facing criticism after unveiling a 20-foot statue of a robot intended to promote a new theme park.
Seeking to promote the republic’s history and values, officials in Chechnya reportedly plan to produce action figures to replace “unhealthy” Western imports like Spider-Man and the Transformers.
“They have a negative impact on the child’s psyche,” Chechnya’s children’s rights commissioner is quoted as saying. “We therefore proposed refusing Western toys.”
Following Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s signing of the controversial “religious freedom” bill into law, Gen Con organizers announced Thursday they’ve begun “discussions” about whether to remain in Indianapolis once their contract expires in 2020.
Gen Con owner and CEO Adrian Swartout issued an open letter earlier this week urging the governor to veto the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, cautioning that it will “have a direct negative impact on the state’s economy, and will factor into our decision-making on hosting the convention in the state of Indiana in future years.”