The Future of Comic Book Movies

With the success of Deadpool and with the announcement of an R-rated cut of Batman V Superman, there are many parents out there who are worried that all movies based on comic books will bear the R rating. I personally don’t think that this is something that will happen. Comic book movies make so much of their money from parents taking their younger kids, that it would likely be financially irresponsible for studios to only make R-rated movies.

Something else to think about is that Batman V Superman is not the first Comic Book movie to get an alternate rated dvd/blu-ray release. If you go back three years to The Wolverine (I know it was terrible, but it was the last comic book movie to get an unrated cut after it’s PG-13 theatrical release), you will see that it really doesn’t take much to get an R rating. The theatrical release of the Wolverine had one “F-Bomb”, quite a bit of action, a little blood here and there, while the Unrated release had three “F-Bombs” (more than one is an automatic R), more action, and blood EVERYWHERE!

According to the Motion Picture Association of America, “An R-rated motion picture may include adult themes, adult activity, hard language, intense or persistent violence, sexually oriented nudity, drug abuse…” Before we continue, I want to break down a few of these guidelines just a little more:

Language: Movies are getting pretty lax these days, and it seems like they can pretty much get away with saying pretty much whatever they want. But as I mentioned before, more than one “F-bomb” can get you an R rating, unless there is a two-thirds majority of the board who believe the language is justified by context or use.

Violence: Movies based on comic books will usually have some kind of violence, but when it is intense or persistent, you are tiptoeing the line between PG-13 and R.

Nudity: Along with the guidelines about sexually oriented nudity, in 2010 the MPAA added that “male nudity” will likely get you an R rating.

Back to the issue at hand. Everyone behind Deadpool was doing everything in their power to push the R boundary as close as possible to the NC-17 line. With 84 “F-bombs”, violence and blood out the wazoo, a multiple minute sex montage, and a view of Deadpool’s penis, Deadpool was lucky to premiere with their R rating.

The news that Batman V Superman is getting an R-rated cut shouldn’t scare anyone, it should excite people. Where Deadpool can be seen as a model for future characters who don’t have established storylines in a cinematic universe, Batman V Superman can be seen as the new model for the PG-13 theatrical/dual rated dvd/blu-ray release. I’m not saying every comic book movie should follow either model just for the sake of following the model, but that the studios should just be focusing on who the character is via the source material.

The future of comic book movies is not going to be based on the success of Deadpool, Marvel will keep doing what they are doing with the MCU with their PG-13 films, their ABC crime style dramas, and their mature Netflix content, and DC will continue to play catch up with their cinematic universe while dominating in the animation department. The only change that we will most likely see from Deadpool’s success will hopefully be more movies/online series starring more of the anti-heroes of the comic book world.   

The bottom line is that no matter what a movie is rated, it is our job as parents to view questionable content before letting our kids watch it. If I am wrong and all comic book movies go the way of Deadpool, then you can always wait for the FX release.

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Merchandise Equality

It’s been awhile since my last post, I apologize. I’ve been sitting on this post for a while. Partly because I haven’t wanted to step on any toes of the voices already out there. I also wasn’t sure that I had the right words to say at the time, and finally because I think this is a topic that can’t just go away. This is something that we need to keep talking about, and working together to find a solution.

Geek culture is filled with strong women. We see them in movies, cartoons, comic books, and TV shows, yet we don’t see a lot of them in toys. Some “insiders” say it’s because geek culture is male dominated, and that this male dominated culture only won’t pay for products with these strong female characters. But are those people wrong?

Since starting this blog, I’ve seen a few instances that show these “insiders” may in fact be wrong. People lost their minds when the Guardians of the Galaxy merchandise starting hitting the shelves. Not only were Gamora figures scarce, but companies who bought the merchandising license from Marvel/Disney removed Gamora from all packaging and clothing. When Star Wars Rebels toys started hitting the shelves, Sabine Wren and Hera figures were no where to be found. Even Avengers: Age of Ultron came under fire for their lack of Black Widow and Scarlett Witch merchandise. There was even more hot water when Black Widow was replaced by Iron Man on a toy thats literal concept came from a scene in the movie.

So what can we do? It’s simple. We have to stop talking with only our keyboards and our smart phones. We also need to start talking with our money. When you see merchandise with these strong female characters, buy it and share the purchase on your social media pages. Don’t only look in big box stores, search your local comic book store, or even the parent company’s online store. Show these companies that you really want these figures, don’t just tell them.

Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer released

Tonight, about 20 minutes into the Oregon/Ohio State game, ESPN aired a new Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer. A few minutes later the trailer was released online. If you are not a sports fan, here is what you missed.

I can’t wait to see this movie!!! May 1, 2015

Using Comicbooks to Improve Your Child’s Literacy

(A post that I originally wrote for Salt Lake Comic Con – check out the original post by clicking here)

Can reading comicbooks to your children improve literacy? I think it can. Short children’s books can sometimes be intimidating, but many children already love the characters and stories in comics, so this world will pull them into the world of reading. Also, the format used in comicbooks is really easy for kids to follow. Here are a few ideas that might help grow your child’s love of reading and possibly improve their literacy skills:

1. Find your child’s favorite characters in easy-to-read books.
Easy-to-read books usually have more pictures and fewer words, are shorter and have storylines that will keep your child interested. The only downside is that your child might like these books so much that you might end up having to read them multiple times a day.

2. Read the comics inside the official magazines of your child’s favorite cartoon.
The comics in these magazines follow characters that your child already knows and loves. These comics are also super short and funny, not unlike the comics you find in your Sunday morning paper, making it easy for your child to stay engaged.

3. Find comics with your child’s favorite cartoon characters.
This goes along the lines of number two. Your child will already know and love these characters and will be engaged in the storylines. These comics usually have bigger panels and simpler stories. If your child is familiar with the characters from their TV shows, they might even try to do some of the voices with you.

4. Find artists/storytellers that appeal to your child.
In my opinion, there are no better comics to start your children off with than the amazing work from Aw Yeah Comics, especially “Tiny Titans,” “Superman Family Adventures” and “Itty Bitty Hellboy.” These comics follow characters that you and your child love. The story lines are fun for both you and your child, the artwork is colorful and child-friendly and there are even some fun “translate what the alien is saying” activities that help your child identify letters of the alphabet.

5. Let your child pick out his/her own comics from the “All Ages” section of your comic shop.
By letting your child pick out their own comics, they are telling you what they want to read and they will be more likely to sit with you and read along. These will be their comics and nothing makes a new comicbook fan happier than having books of their own.

6. READ! READ!! READ!!!
Reading is what it all comes down to. Reading with your child a little each day is the key to improving your child’s literacy and their love for reading. Before my son came along, I could have gone the rest of my life without reading. But once I found something that we both love, reading time is now something that we both look forward too. It doesn’t really matter what you read to your child, as long as you read. In my opinion, comicbooks are the best way to open your child’s mind to a new, never-ending universe.

The Tiny Titans Are Back!!!

Tiny Titans

The Tiny Titans are back in Return to the Treehouse. J loves Tiny Titans comics, and this one is no different. We have read our copy about 5 times already and we’ve only had it for a couple hours. The Tiny Titans return with the a great story and awesome artwork that all ages can enjoy. The story will have you laughing and will leave you wanting more. I promise you will enjoy this fun series. This is the first of six issues, a great start to your child’s first comic book collection. I recommend that every child and parent have this series in their comic collection.

J and his comic

Free Comic Book Day 2014

FCBD

The first Saturday in May is just like any other Saturday. Except for the fact that you can go to your local comic shop and get some free comics! This year was my first time partaking in what will be an annual event for J and myself. There were a couple things we learned from our experience that will help us have an even better experience next year. Don’t get me wrong, we had a blast today. We got some great comics and met some great people.

There are many things you can do to prepare for FCBD, but here are some of my FCBD tips:

1.Go to freecomicbookday.com: Check to see if your local comic book shop even participates in Free Comic Book Day. The worst thing would be to show up at your local shop on FCBD only to find out they don’t participate. The FCBD website also has a list of what comics your shop should have.

2.Get to the shop early: There will be lines and you don’t want to find yourself at the end of the line, especially if there’s a specific comic you want.

3.Bring water and snacks: This is very important if you have your child with you and you end up towards the end of the line. You may have a 2-3 hour wait before you even see the door to your shop.

4.Bring some money: Yes it is Free Comic Book Day, but it’s not only about getting free comics. Some shops might have sales going on as well. Also it’s nice to support your local shop and economy.

5.Have Fun: The most important tip I can give with these types of events is to have fun. Your shop maybe doing more than just giving out free comics. Some shops will have cosplayers, artist/writer signings, and take and post pictures to Twitter using the FCBD hashtag to share your families FCBD experience.

***Bonus Tip*** Make it a cosplay* day: Do some family cosplay and have a great time. After getting your books, head out to a restaurant in your outfits. Make it a whole day where the family is just having a blast being their favorite comic book characters.

If you didn’t make it out to your local shop this year, make sure you mark Free Comic Book Day on your calendar for next year. It’s not hard to remember since it is always the first Saturday in May. Just remember to be prepared and to have fun, and I promise it will be a great family outing.

*Urban Dictionary defines cosplay as, “Dressing up and pretending to be a fictional character (usually a sci-fi, comic book, or anime character).”-The More You Know

Batman…a Dad?

It’s not uncommon for superheroes to, at some point, have children take up the hero mantle. The Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow comes to mind. Even Superman Returns gives you a glimpse of what Superman’s son can do. This Spring, DC Universe and Warner Bros. Animation will be releasing a new animated feature inspired by the 2006 Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert graphic novel Batman and Son titled Son of Batman. That’s right people, Batman is a dad. And actually since he doesn’t really have a day job, you could argue that he is actually an at-home dad.

In the graphic novel, major crime is at an all time low and Bruce Wayne decides he should take a well deserved vacation away from Gotham. While on his vacation he is greeted with a problem that only Batman can fix. Bruce suits up and battles an army of ninja man/bat hybrids. After the battle Bruce discovers that Talia al Ghul is behind the attack, but that is not all that he discovers. Talia has a surprise for Bruce. A 10 year old son named Damian. Talia tells Bruce that she has “allowed Bruce to evade his responsibilities,” so Damian could be trained by the League of Assassins. She also tells Bruce that Damian is out of control, and that he lacks the discipline that only Bruce(technically she says a good man) could teach him.

The rest of the graphic novel follows Bruce’s journey in training Damian in a way that would counteract the League of Assassins training, mainly that Batman does not kill his enemies. In my opinion the graphic novel shows the hardships in Damian’s journey, and I really hope they portray that in the upcoming animated feature.

I would recommend that people read ‘Batman and Son‘ before seeing the animated feature so you have an understanding of the Damian character. You can check your local library or comic book shop for the graphic novel and for the 4 part continuation of the Damian Wayne storyline called Damian:Son of Batman.

Here is the trailer for Son of Batman, set to release on May 6, 2014.

What are your thoughts on the Son of Batman, or any other story lines that involve the children of superheroes?