The Long, Weird History of the Westworld Franchise:

Old, short article from Vulture. Still tickles my brain.

Rewatching season 1 of HBO’s Westworld on DVD. Still holds up, even knowing the twists and ‘reveals’.


Imaginary Worlds: The Westworld Experience:

Imaginary Worlds: Sexy Robots:

Imaginary Worlds: The Robot Uprising:


Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee Dies At 95 : NPR

Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee Dies At 95 : NPR:

May “The Man” Rest In Peace.

…… Hope he, Ditko, and Kirby don’t argue *too* much in Heaven.

EDIT: or wherever in the Multiverse they ended up.

Girl, 8, pulls a 1,500-year-old sword from a lake in Sweden – BBC News

Girl, 8, pulls a 1,500-year-old sword from a lake in Sweden – BBC News:

“Hey, J.K. Rowling: Looking for an idea for tour next series of novels? ….”



The First Three Lives of Catherine Webb:

Spider-Man Universe Plans Revealed by Sony – Variety

Spider-Man Universe Plans Revealed by Sony – Variety:



Not ideal use of the characters and concepts.

Must make myself “cautiously optimistic”; thanks to licensing/legal entanglements made decades ago, as a fan, that’s all I can do.

Still: Ugh.

“Agents of MARVEL”

Thank God I have a fiance with internet-only cable service and a huge TV with an Amazon Firestick.

I lost track of Marvel’s “Agents of SHIELD” back when I was still single. I had access to basic cable TV then, but no DVR or DVD; only internet access I had was thru my smartphone and its Verizon plan.

Since the show was an ABC network show, my only choice was “appointment viewing”. Didn’t work out so well for me. Loved the show, but my work schedule meant I tended to fall asleep during the long commercial breaks. The last epsisode I remember catching it its entirety Simmons’ survival on the planet Maveth. After that, I caught plenty of partial episodes, but, I lost track during that season. Happened more and more when they shifted to a 10pm time slot.

Few weeks ago, started watching it from season 1. Two, three, at a time. Unlike most, I loved the first season, and it only got better from there.

This morning, I watched 5 episodes (woke up early, got my Sunday chores done, been lazy since). I’m in the middle of episode 10 of season 5. Man has it been a wild ride. Superhero/spy/noir/sci-fi/horror.

Heck, thinking about it now, the whole series has been about one “team’s” experience as a formerly shadowy goverment agency that dealt with paranormal threats died a slow death, from both threats it couldn’t anticipate, and more than a few it had a hand in making while it was trying to anticipate known and unknown threats.

Wild, wild ride.

I’m afraid to see how much more of the series is left. Afraid to look on the internet to see. Afraid it got cancelled. (I believe I heard a rumor.)

Of course, I look forward to reaquainting myself with “Agent Carter”. Then, delving into the Netflix Marvel series of series, finally.

Thank you, wife-to-be, for Amazon Firestick TV, and letting me watch it (after you’re done with your episodes of “Orange is the New Black”, “The Fosters”, “Frankie & Grace”, and “The Good Wife” (which have been fun to watch together, for ‘regular dramas’).

Marvel HeroClix: Secret Wars Battleworld Previews! | HeroClix:

Marvel HeroClix: Secret Wars – Battleworld | HeroClix:

Marvel HeroClix: Secret Wars – Battleworld Pre-Release Event | HeroClix:

Hope for: Marvel Studios & the intro of the Fantastic Four into the MC/TVU.

As a “fanboy”, thinking about and getting hopeful for the introduction of Marvel’s Fantastic Four characters into the “Marvel Cinematic/TV Universe” now that Disney is merging with part of Fox.

Warning!: what is about to follow is araft of nerdy, dorky opinions of one fanboy nobody. That’s all.

Opinion: in a way, it’s been. Good thing for Marvel Studios that Fox has had the X-Men franchise. If it hadn’t been for Fox’s exclusive control of the X-Men, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and the rest of the non-X-Men wouldn’t have turned out the way they did, as good as the did.

Opinion: I hope Marvel keeps the X-Men off in their own separate reality, parallel world or whatever.

Opinion: Marvel/Marvel Studios not having control of the Spider-Man and Fantastic Four characters, though? That’s been a mixed bag.

The first two Sam Raimi Spidey movies were wonderful [even if Spidey appeared to be the *only* “superhero” in existence, ever]. Maguire was kind of a John Romita/Ross Andru Spidey. Doc Ock was a great, but different, interpetation; Green Goblin was a decent interpretation, that actually had some neat ideas. The third Raimi movie was, for me, was “meh” to “bleehch”; kernals of neat ideas, hints at good character beats, buried in a ball of shit.

The two Garfield Spidey movies, I liked them and had fun with them, mostly because of the “Ditko feel” to Garfield’s Spidey, combined plenty of neat ideas. Still, Spidey seemed “closed off” from a wider world.

The two Fantastic Four movies, then the reboot movie, hinted at a wider world of amazing, astonishing places and beings, but the FF still seemed the only interesting things about their world.

One of the things I’ve always liked about Marvel, or thought about its characters and worlds: yes, you had “heroes” — people of exceptional skill, and/or heart, and/or intelligence, and sometimes/oftentimes with definitely “superhuman abilities” — but they were trying to explore, survive, protect ‘normal’ human beings or combat injustice — in a world in which strange things might happen, where they often ran into other exceptional/superhuman beings who had their own motivations, be they “anti-heroes”, “villains”, or “monsters”.

Spider-Man: even in the new MCU, he can still be mostly about New York City, about his usual mix of fighting street crime, organized crime, and occasionally digging into corporate or local government corruption, with the occasional globetrotting. Hometown hero who often goes global. “Solo” operator who happens to cross paths with a lot of other characters as he does his own kind of sleuthing and investigating. As much as I love seeing Stark tech-up Spidey’s suit, Pete has to be given room to do his “maker/hacker on a dumpster-diver’s shoestring budget” thing. Spidey plays well with others, benefits from friendships, but he tries to be as outsider/independent as much as possible.

The Fantastic Four: I like what Marvel has done with movie versions of Hank Pym, Janet van Dyne-Pym, Hope, and Scott Lang, Cassie, the guys at “X-Con Security”, et al. The “smaller stakes stories”. And the imagination, the inventiveness.

The FF has to work with some government approval, but always under tension of trying to do its exploration/innovation in a world not ready for Reed’s breakthrough and tech. Reed and his family are aware if this. But, science and technology being what it is, Reed and his group are not going to NOT break bariers and “push the envelope”; other individuals and companies and countries will continue to do ao, so why shouldn’t they? Reed and company probably think certain technologies and knowledge will inevitably be discovered, and probably figure it’s best for humanity if they try to get there first and deal with the physical, moral and ethical dangers. Not yrting means someone or someones else might get there first, and those someones might not have the best of intentions.

Marvel might want to “Kurt Busiek’s ‘Astro City'” the FF a bit, kinda like they did with Ant-Man and Wasp a bit: in the MCU, Hank as Ant-Man was actively working for SHIELD in the 60’s/70’s/80’s, and Wasp apparently just as long. Hints at more stories untold, at a “secret history”.

Ideas: Steve “Captain America” Rogers was an inspiration to inhabitants of the Marvel universe if the 1940’s/WWII era. The FF is similar public inspiration for a Marvel U of the 1960’s Cold War/Space Race. “Reed Richard’s Rocket Group”.

Before the U.S. made it into to the Moon, maybe years before Reed and his close-nit “family” of fellow techs and scientists were conducting thier own space flights under government supervision, testing tech that would get us to the moon years before the Soviets. During one test flight into orbit, they engaged this new engine…. and disappeared.

Undecided: whether they should have had the accident that gave them there powers before this flight? Or make this the flight that gives them thier powers?

Tangent: I have fond memories of watching reruns of both “Star Trek” and “Lost in Space” as a kid. Quirky, sometimes edgy, imaginative adventure, with hints of “conspiracy”. Really liked the Netflix “Lost in Space” re-imagining this year.

I’m wondering if Marvel Studios/Disney can be inspired by those above? Hit us with a Netflix-like 6-episode series of a very-human Reed Richards, Ben Grimm, Susan and John Storm in The 1960’s having some Cold War era “Johnny Quest” style adventures, with “monster movie” and other twists.

The series would be prelude to a cinematic movie for theater release. The movie starts in the 1960’s, with this flight where they disappear, first 30min of the movie.

“Interstellar” it. For people in 1960’s Marvel Earth, this group of heroes disappears, and there’s hint it was Soviet sabotage. For Reed and Family, it *just* seems like a major problem just happened, they almost died, they’ve turned back around (aborting a mission that would have taken them past the moon, and around Mars and back with this fancy-schmancy super-engine), to pass through a “cosmic storm” and crashing to earth. And being changed, turned superhuman/monsterous. Only: they didn’t crash-land in the in the year they left in. They landed in the here and now, the 21st century.

You thought Steve “Captain America” Rogers was a “Man out of Time”? Reed and Family will have it a bit rougher for awhile than he did after “coming back from certain death”! (Especially if they crashed anywhere within Thuderbolt Ross’ jurisdiction.) It might take them awhile to figure out what happened, where they are, how they are. They might think they arrived in a parallel dimension for a bit.

(Sidebar: Idea: tying together various threads, their mission was sabotaged: by elements/agents of the Soviet Union, a SHIELD-unknowingly-infested-by-Hydra, and agents of a certain country-so-reclusive-and-isolated-people-think-it’s-backward nation called…. wait for it… no, it’s NOT Wakanda…. it’s Latveria, trying to play U.S.A. and U.S.S.R. against each other.)

(Sidebar: Idea: No Doctor Doom for either the prequel-serial or 1st FF movie. Save him for 2nd FF movie. This “Dr. Doom” of the 21st century could be a grandson or great grandson of someone Reed barely remembers from college; Reed could have done something that was intended to help this other student, Vladimir von Doom/van Damme, during college, but sparked a one-sided feud this younger Victor carries on. (Shades of Putin!) Hilarity/Horror ensues!)

(Sidebar: Idea: Hydra’s 1960’s presence must be hinted at, a shadowy presence the audience is aware of, but Reed and Family don’t have a clue about. It would be kind of neat if they were working with Arnim Zola, scientist/engineer of SHIELD, while preparing for the flight that changes everything.)

SHIELD, and its agents: I think someone needs to break it to Steve and the Avengers that SHIELD never completely went away, that they had to go back to being secret — and much smaller — for awhile. But, they are back to being recognized as existing. They are gettinv bigger. They need to become a different SHIELD; not another agency competing with the NSA, DARPA, CIA, FBI, and the Pentagon for funding and jurisdiction. They have to be the organizarion that researches and defends amd contains these weird terrestrial and extraterrestrial and interdimensional threats, do things in ways suited to these extraordinary threats that those other organizations might deal with more “catastrophically”; SHIELD has to be the experts and special operators that helps the NSA, FBI, CIA and military and law enforcement recognize and deal with such weird threats.

Eventually, a very independent not-for-profit private-sector scienctific-research-technology-and-defense firm like the Fantastic Four, Inc. would liaison with SHIELD…

(Pssst! New Disney/Marvel Studios Netflix-like series of series! 6 episodes each, Game of Thrones-quality, baby!)

EDIT: sidebar: as much as I loved the recent Ant-Man and the Wasp movie, they under-utilized Wasp. As with Black Widow, i hope Wasp has a chance to shine.

Really hope Disney/Marvel can profittably, sustainably tap into the potential of Netflix-like series-or-short-series.

I am dumbfounded that I completely missed this news:

Justice Department: Disney Can Buy 21st Century Fox, But With One Caveat : NPR:

Disney Prevails In Hunt For Fox As Comcast Drops Bid : NPR:

HeroClix Wish-List: “Incredibles!”

So, weekend of June 16th, the long-awaited sequel to the original “The Incredibles” movie came out, “The Incredibles 2”. My Fiance had never seen the original, so we bought it on Netflix and watched it that weekend. She said she liked it, and enjoyed it. Yay!

Last weekend, weekend of June 23rd, she indulged my sci-fi/superhero nerdy-obsession: we saw “The Incredibles 2”! I’m a very lucky dork.

We both enjoyed it, by the way. Good stuff, a lot if fun. In a way, I compare it — in one way — with the more-recent Marvel movies, volumes 1 and 2 of “Guardians of the Galaxy”. In what way? As a kind if two-part “origin story”. Which will hopefully lead to more stories with these beloved characters, new challenges, new developments, new adventures, new worlds to explore.

Anyway, this post is a HeroClix Wish-List post. Done this once before, covering the original movie. A lot has changed in the game since I last wish-listed them. Rules have improved, game design overall and character dial design in particular has evolved continually, and character selection has become incredibly diverse. Playing and collecting this game is a fun, wonderful experience.

Since I’m more of a “Marvel Zombie”, this Wish-List will be drawing inspiration largelt from the Marvel HeroClix sets: THE MIGHTY THOR; AVENGERS/DEFENDERS WAR; AVENGERS INFINITY.


EDIT (2018-07-01]: Sorry this is taking so long, “real life” gets in the way. I’ll start with listing “predictable” stuff first, hopefully as time marches on and the list gets revised the ideas will get better…

  • “Civilian Alter Egos”: Basically, redesign and reintroduce the Alter Ego (in a way that the language can be retrofitted back onto existing Alter Ego empowered HeroClix characters of past sets), maybe incorporating STOP click special power type of effects. Then, put them on “civilian” versions of Robert Parr, Helen Parr, Lucius Best, Violet Parr, Dashell Parr. These versions of the characters would be Unique-ringed Super Rares. Traited Shape Change.
  • Mr. Incredible: Basic power set: Super strength, suite of damage reducers. Need versions for Common, Uncommon, and Rare rarity levels. Common: 1st movie, orange/black costume, “super-dad”, keyword-based Perplex when within so many squares of Frozone and other Incredibles. Uncommon: 1st movie, blue/black “golden age” version; some sort “danger sense” (may be reflected with Energy Shield/Deflection, or Defend, or some combination of the two). Rare: 2nd movie, orange/black supersuit, stronger keyword-based ally-proximity-based special effects.
  • Elasti-Girl
  • Violet
  • Dash
  • Jack-Jack
  • Frozone
  • Edna Mode: Unique, Super-Rare
  • Rick Dicker: Unique, Super-Rare
  • Syndrome
  • Syndrome Mercenary
  • Syndrome Agent/Mirage
  • Omnidroid Mk I
  • Omnidroid Mk II
  • Omnidroid Mk III
  • Omnidroid Mk IV
  • Gazerbeam
  • Gamma Jack
  • Thunderhead
  • Brick
  • Krushhauser
  • Void
  • Screenslaver
  • Vechicle: Syndrome Hoverblade
  • Vehicle: Incredibile
  • Vehicle: Mohawk (mentioned in Incredibles 2, not seen)
  • Vehicle: Elasti-Cycle
  • Vehicle: Snogg’s Jet
  • Vehicle: Underminer’s Drill (Colossal)
  • Vehicle: Underminer’s Drill (Giant)
  • **more to follow**

‘Avengers: Infinity War’: An Extraordinary Juggling Act – The Atlantic:

Favorite excerpt from the review:
By far the Biggest of the Big Bads we have yet encountered, Thanos—a motion-capture performance from Josh Brolin—believes that if he can get all six stones and affix them to his “infinity gauntlet,” he will be able to destroy half of all life in the universe with a literal snap of his fingers. Why would he want to do this? Well, consider Thanos the most enthusiastic—and unfortunately, also the most super-powered——disciple of Thomas Robert Malthus, who argued that appetites would always outstrip resources, leaving humankind perpetually poor and famished. Malthus, as a cleric, offered this thesis as an argument for less “vice,” later marriages, and greater celibacy. Thanos, as an all-powerful giant purple space-maniac, arrives at an alternative argument for more intergalactic genocide. (It is, in its way, a classic supply/demand dispute.)

Thomas Robert Malthus – Wikipedia:


Verdict: I loved it.

Caveat: I’m a superhero genre aficionado [or nerd, or whatever].


Never thought much of Thanos in the comics. Liked his movie interpretation better. His pseudo-scientific/pseudo-religious drive to destroy half of all living beings in the galaxy to “rebalance” everything, as a way of somehow ensuring Life continues was better that the comics’ simplistic “Thanos worships Death”.

I was surprised at who died, and who didn’t. Wondering if any of Marvel’s “Conceptual-Embodiment Entities” had any influence in that, via the Infinity Stones (given that they are the remnants of previous existences of the Universe or Multiverse, and it gets hinted that they may or may not be sentient themselves).

Plus, Thanos’ desire to “cull” means Life’s cycle of “Death/Rebirth” that happens organically/dynamically on every planet that can support Life has been interrupted/delayed; not to mention that it may inhibit the spread of species that could already migrate across the vast distances of outer space, with or without technology.

I’m interested to see how Marvel/Disney develop the Marve Cinematic Universe from here.