I'm not sure what to write about for this Monday post. Nothing specific is jumping out and I've got the energy of a fat kid on a sugar crash. So I'm going to quick hit today and share a bit of this and that...
The first real add for Disney+/Marvel's show WandaVision is out! What I most love about the Marvel movie universe is the story-lines and choice of characters. I know at first they were forced into the Avengers because of preexisting movie deals with Sony and Fox which blocked them from their most popular franchises X-Men and Spider-man (not to mention Fantastic Four), but they took it all in stride and created an incredible movie universe.
The best part at the time, and to this day, is they selected my favorite characters growing up. The stories we've been shown in Marvel's Movie Universe are based on the characters and adventures I'd been reading and re-reading for the last 30+ years. While I love Spidey and all the mutants of Marvel, it's the Avengers who own my nerdy heart.
The great thing about comics is their soap-opera-like storytelling. There is a cyclical pattern to the stories and adventures that affect our heroes. The writers, no matter who it is or when the wrote, will go back to the well and retell a familiar story with their twist. In the old days, they thought their audience was turning over every few years as they grew older. However, as the comics' stories became more sophisticated, the readers didn't leave. They simply grew older, which of course allowed for the creators to tackle more mature themes and to push the envelope a bit more.
So as a reader of Marvel Comics from the early 80s, I have seen these stories many times, told by different writers of course but always with the same centralized themes. These are the stories - the legends - that helped shape who I am today. These are the adventures that allowed me to escape and hide when the outside (real) world became too real. A place where I could depend on my heroes to be heroes and my villains to be villains - except when they finally saw the light and became heroes in their own right. A place where no matter what happened, soon it would all make sense.
And it's why no matter how many times I see them, the Marvel Movies overwhelm me with a sense of disbelief and nostalgia. It is a visual representation of a not only a special time and place in my life but of fictional "family" members coming alive from the page. And so I am as excited for the Disney shows (as they tackle some of the newer, and less familiar, stories with some of my favorite characters) as I was when I saw the first previews for Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, and Captain America.
I am a big fan of the Vision and Wanda story-line; 2 Characters not meant to be together, fighting against all odds for their love to bloom. It is a great story to watch and while it felt a bit hurried in the movie universe, it still is one of my favorite elements to the story they presented. While Wanda was initially handled with kid gloves, it didn't take the writers long to realize the vast potential her character, and powers had. She is one of the most powerful people in Marvel hands down.
Sunday was Jon Bernthal's 44th birthday. He is one of my favorites and his portrayal of Punisher is one of the best casting jobs ever of a comic book character to screen. His ability to play burning intensity to complete understatement allows him to disappear into his characters. I have yet to see one of his performances that I was disappointed by. So in honor of his birthday, I am sharing one of my favorite movies starring Mr. Bernthal, Pilgrimage. Set in the 13th century, he helps a group of monks(including Spider-man's Tom Holland) move a religious relic. You can stream it on HULU.
He also has a few minutes in Peanut Butter Falcon...a movie you need to watch just because. You can stream it on Amazon Prime and HULU.
My 2nd novel The Pope Lick Massacre just got its lucky 13th review. Getting reviews is tough, and many times people who read your books will never leave a review. It's one of the greatest gifts you can give a writer, especially if you enjoyed the book and would recommend it to others. The more reviews a book gets the more others will be willing to take a chance on it.
Criticism is okay also. If you have real issues with a person's book and you aren't comfortable leaving a bad review. See if you can contact them to take a few moments to let them know what you didn't like or what you feel needs to be fixed. Those notes help, not only with the work in question but future projects the writer is working on. You can always leave some criticism in a good review as well. Let them know what you liked and what you feel needs some more work.
There are two types of people in Jefferson County: those who know the legend of the Pope Lick Monster and those who believe it. Before the night is over, Sam will have no choice but to join the believers. Since their mother’s death, Sam’s sole focus has been taking care of her younger brother, Kenny. Now Kenny’s Scout troop is missing, having never returned from the woods around Pope Lick. Sam gathers a group of friends to search for the boys and their Scoutmaster. With each step, they get closer to discovering the scouts aren’t the only ones in the woods this night.
“The Pope Lick Massacre is a bold, brutal horror story that’ll remain in your mind long after you read it. This book is not for the faint of heart.” –Independent Book Review