Tag Archives: Watchmen

Audio

Week in Geek Episode 5

Week in Geek, episode 5, recorded 9/23/17. News since last recording, including: Doctor Who news regarding previous Doctors; the Emmys and shows we haven’t watched; Good Omens pictures of the leads in costume; HBO is making a Watchmen series; they’re sadly making an Iron Fist season 2; It now the highest grossing horror film of all time; and Gal Gadot confirmed for the Flashpoint-based Flash “solo” film. Spoilers for Flashpoint!

Here’s a link to the picture from the set of Good Omenshttps://twitter.com/neilhimself/status/909698756223913984

Our other podcast is Comparative Opinions, find it and old Week in Geek episodes on ComparativeGeeks.com. Subscribe for new episodes!

Music is by Scott Gratton: http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Scott_Gratton/Intros_and_Outros

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How we got to Civil War

One of the more highly anticipated movies of the year (now that Deadpool is out…) is the next Marvel movie, and the beginning of their Phase 3: Captain America: Civil War.

And there’s a lot of reasons to be excited: not only a bunch of returning characters from throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe (like most of the newly-expanded roster of Avengers), but also the first appearances of Black Panther, Spider-Man (who hasn’t shown up in any trailers yet!), and maybe more.

Add to that the fact that Civil War was a big deal in the comics, showing up regularly as a top storyline for Marvel. It ran as a massive crossover (hitting pretty much every title) from 2006-2007. So, before I got back into comics – not one that I got into when it was first out. Indeed, I only got to it for the LitFlix for Winter Soldier – and after seeing that movie, and reading the comics, I knew that Civil War was coming next.

But Marvel’s Civil War was by no means the first time that this storyline was seen – the decision that superheroes had gone too far, that they had too much free reign. Indeed, not the second time. Not the third. I would say at least the fourth – so let’s look through these titles before we get back to Civil War!

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Science Fiction Today – Xenophobia

Whoa, dropping a big word to get in an X. Let’s go for a definition:

“fear or hatred of strangers or foreigners”

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/xenophobia

As someone in the US, the obvious place where I am coming from is immigration debates in a country largely made up of immigrants. However, I am also fully aware that things like loosening borders in Europe due to the European Union, for instance, are leading to similar debates, concerns, or prejudices elsewhere in the world.

A lot of things feed into xenophobia, so it definitely counts as a problem with no easy or obvious answer. Saying “everybody like everybody else!” doesn’t quite cut it, as words alone might work in abstract, but how do they work in the specific? Luckily, this is a topic addressed a lot in science fiction: so what answers or future problems do we see?

The Solution – Us versus Them

It’s Watchmen. The conclusion that we always need to identify an Us, those like us, and the Them, the outsider. And we don’t like the outsider. So in much of science fiction (or fantasy, for that matter) the outsider is not another human being at all: it’s an alien race, from somewhere else. If aliens attack the earth, humanity will hopefully be at peace with each other. I’ve just read this idea in The Lathe of Heaven as well.

Of course, there is a more hopeful solution in mind. If we solve the sorts of scarcity problems that create differences and a feeling that we need to protect what is ours, then maybe we won’t fear the outsider. Think Star Trek. The crew of the Enterprise is always on a mission of peace, with a diverse(ish) crew of humans and aliens, and off to meet aliens, to meet outsiders. Peace can be imagined, but it does seem like a far-flung future to get there!

Compounded Problems

However, if we don’t reach an idyllic Star Trek sort of future, then often authors envision a dystopia – and xenophobia is often a problem in dystopias. When things go poorly, when there is war or famine or plague, the outsider is one of the great fears or hated groups. I’m thinking of dystopias like V for Vendetta, or Children of Men, or The Windup Girl. All of these show worsening relations between nations, and worsening racial situations. General distrust and unhappiness.

Which unfortunately means that even if we reach an idyllic future, we may have to go through worse xenophobia to get there. Even in Star Trek, the idea is that they went through World War 3 to get there – and things were likely not very friendly at that point in future history. It was the introduction of aliens and space travel that united humanity and led to peace.

This post is part of the April A to Z Challenge, and also part of our occasional series on Science Fiction Today. You can read an explanation of both here. We are striving to keep these posts short, and know that we have not covered every example or angle – plenty of room for discussion!

Can We Be Too Old For A Genre?

Recently I was asking the question, what does it mean to be an adult? It seems like a good question, in a society lacking a proper coming-of-age, and where we have many aspects of dependency now carrying on late into people’s 20’s. What does it mean to suddenly, somewhere in the midst of all of that, be an “adult?”

In thinking about this question, I have also been wrestling with some opinions that I’ve read. One is Alan Moore, acclaimed comics writer, who thinks that comics are for teens, and that the adults (generally probably men/manchildren in his mind) reading comics are just refusing and failing to grow up. I wrestled with this a bit in a discussion of Watchmen on Sourcerer, and I was talking Alan Moore again today for V for Vendetta

The other opinion is that of Alejandro Inarritu, director of the new film Birdman. I read about this on We Minored in Film – great post (and it got me commenting at length) and it got me thinking I wanted to write about this. Well, rant about this. Inarritu believes… well, in his words (quoted from We Minored in Film):

“I think there’s nothing wrong with being fixated on superheroes when you are 7 years old, but I think there’s a disease in not growing up.”

So two creators, saying comics, comic movies, superheroes… these things keep us as children, make us weird or wrong as adults. And I want to respect and engage with their opinions, because unlike people who don’t even give science fiction a chance, these creators are engaging with the genre, creating works in the genre, and not just completely dismissing it. So what does it mean for a genre – like the comic book story – to be for children? Well, let me be sarcastic, and then a bit serious.

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300 – LitFlix

I have finally read the graphic novel, 300, to compare to the movie. I had done so with intention of comparing to the new movie, 300: Rise of an Empire. A sequel which has no foundation in the graphic novel I read. A sequel which is not receiving the best of reviews.

Okay, so actually maybe the worst. Or there was this written review over on the Mary Sue: http://www.themarysue.com/300-rise-of-an-empire-review/

So Holly and I have decided, especially with how many movies there are coming out this month, we have better things to do with our time than see 300: Rise of an Empire in theaters. Maybe we’ll rent it later on and I can weigh in? For now, how about some comparison of film and graphic novel? On to 300!

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