Monday, January 25, 2016

Looking Forward to 2016

Well, as I mentioned before, I lost most of my Summer and early Fall last year due to very unforeseen circumstances. But, things are progressing for the positive with my daughter, which is great news. While work remains extremely busy, I feel like I'm in a decent place where I can get back to the blog and not feel "guilty" about it.

At the tail-end of 2014 and early 2015, I did a "Daddy's Geek Top 10 of 2014" two-part post, recapping my list of cool things that debuted in 2014, including games, TV shows, movies, comics, and Star Wars stuff. I had intended to do a list for 2015 as well, but seeing as how we're already more than two weeks into 2016 and that I did kind of drop out for a bit to focus on my daughter's recovery, I think it makes more sense to focus on things that I'm looking forward to in 2016.

I'd love to hear your lists for 2016, as well as things that you really enjoyed from 2015. Please drop them into the comments below.

Coming in 2016...

  • Movies. 
    • Given how big a fan I am of DC Comics, it might seem obvious to think that I'm looking forward to "Batman vs Superman: Dawn of the Longest Movie Title", but sadly, as cool as the idea of having Batman and Superman together in a movie sounds, I'm just not looking forward to this movie. Although I was actually pretty enthusiastic about "Man of Steel" after I first saw it, I've had about two and a half years to ruminate over it, and at this point I am decidedly in the "I don't need to watch that movie ever again" camp. The main part of this is actually what I alluded to in my review in the last third of the film. That's a huge part of my dislike of the film. But more important, it's just not Superman. If the film had been about pretty much any other character, or even a made-up hero, I probably would be fine with it. But my real issue is that DC and Warner Brothers seem to be going so far out of their way to make their movies "dark" and "grim" to be different from Marvel, and in so-doing, they are losing the sense of who their characters are. Batman works well as a "dark" character. But Superman? Not so much. As I look at the Marvel movies, for the most part, they do look like they were pretty much pulled right off the comics page. However, "Man of Steel" decidedly does not like that, and that's to its detriment. Given that Zack Snyder is also working on the "Batman vs Superman" movie, and given what I've seen so far in the trailers, it looks to be another dark, gritty movie that I'm just not looking for in a comic book movie. 
    • On the flip-side, I am pretty excited for "Captain America: Civil War." I enjoyed the comic series the story is based on, and I'm glad they were able to work Spider-Man into the movie franchise. 
    • Then there's "Suicide Squad," also based on a DC Property. Back in the mid-80's, I had a lot of fun reading the John Ostrander run of Suicide Squad, in the post-Legends days. However, the new movie doesn't look like it has the sense of goofy charm those stories had (even though they were based on violent criminals - it was essentially a comic book version of the Dirty Dozen, which worked quite well). I'd say I'm a little shocked that DC picked the Suicide Squad to debut in the movies before some of their more well-known properties, but they're using the Harley Quinn version of the Squad which is currently in the comics, and Harley is basically DC's equivalent of Deadpool (which isn't to say she's anything like Deadpool in terms of her character; it's just that she's a one-off humorous character that people seem to just adore for no explicable reason). 
    • And speaking of "Deadpool" ... right now I have no interest in that movie. I'll probably just wait for cable/DVD for that one. 
    • Then there's "Star Wars: Rogue One" which I'll definitely see - it's an interesting time period, and I'm looking forward to seeing a different treatment of the Star Wars universe other than that of JJ Abrams. 
    • The list of movies I'd like to see also include "X-Men: Apocalypse," "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny," "Ghostbusters," and maybe "The Magnificent Seven" (although I'm leery of that last one). 
  • TV.
    • I haven't yet heard a ton about the new shows coming out for the 2016/2017 season, but in a few months I'll be going to the Upfront Presentations held by the networks and can report back then. 
    • In the meantime, the two shows that are debuting in 2016 that I am pretty excited about are "Agent Carter" (season 2) and "Legends of Tomorrow," both of which debuted last week. I have them recorded but my wife and I tend to like to watch these types of shows together and last week we were both busy with work and didn't get a chance to watch them yet. 
  • Comics. 
    • While one can read ahead roughly three months to see what the "solicitations" are for comics, I actually tend not to read those too often. Many of the solicitation descriptions actually can contain spoilers, especially when you see things like "Final Issue" listed. As such I don't really know much about what's coming up this year but I'm sure there will be some big summer cross-over events that end up being not quite as good as they should be. 
    • Image continues to come up with really great, intriguing ideas with spectacular art. One of my favorite Image titles, The Fade Out, just finished its short 12-issue run (it was planned to only run 12 issues; it didn't get canceled because no one was reading it). This "film noir" style comic that took place in late 1940's Hollywood was by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, who really have a knack with the noir style setting. I'm really eager to see what their next project will be. 
    • I've read a rumor on comics site Bleeding Cool that DC Comics will be doing yet another reboot of sorts this summer once the remaining titles (that haven't already been canceled) from the original New 52 reboot in 2011 reach #52. Right now they are on #48. There are actually only a few of titles that will reach #52 this summer (it's all the ones you'd expect - Batman, Detective, Action, Superman, JusticeWonder Woman League, Flash, and Green Arrow, plus a couple of others). Other than that, DC lately seems like they are starting to focus on shorter, self-contained "mini-series" that are planned to run for 6-7 issues. It's a strategy that Marvel TV-show runner and comics writer Jeph Loeb mentioned as "the future of comics" in an interview on Kevin Smith's "Fatman on Batman" podcast a few years ago. Essentially the idea is that kids (or people in general) are going to be skeptical of picking up a comic book that has a high issue number on it, for fear that they won't be able to follow the story. But, if instead  you have shorter runs of self-contained story arcs that run their course and then start over again with a new #1 and a new arc, you're more liable to get someone to take a chance on picking up an issue. While there's some validity to this theory, for those of us that are "continuity geeks" (I like reading stories where authors take scenes from the past that seem unrelated and work them into the current stories - Geoff Johns and especially Grant Morrison are experts at doing this), it's a real let-down. 
  • Games. 
    • Unfortunately, my gaming ran into a standstill starting in the summer after my daughter's accident. Since then, I've actually only role-played twice - once at a Convention over Labor Day Weekend (which, as I noted in my post, was not a great experience), and once just a couple of weeks ago at a Friday night Savage Worlds Cthulhu game. I'm in the process of soliciting dates from my group that will work for an upcoming game in my long-running World of Samoth campaign
    • Other than that, on the gaming front, I was recently asked to participate in an RPG-related event again this year, which is really awesome. I'm not going to share quite yet what it is, but if you've read my blog for the past few years, you can probably figure it out.
    • I'm not entirely up-to-speed on what new RPGs or supplements are coming out this year - I'd love for people to drop their recommendations below. 
    • Other than RPGs, I played a few board games in 2015 but I don't really know what new games are coming out in 2016. I usually am exposed to new board games from my friend, Cal, who plays a lot of new board games at his friend Tom's house on Friday nights. 

There's my quick look at some things I'm looking forward to in 2016. Again, I'd be really interested to see what movies, TV shows, books, comics, and games you all are interested in (and why). Drop a comment below, or head over to my Google Plus page (link over to the right-hand side) to discuss.

Cheers, and Happy 2016!

Hanging: Home office (laptop)
Drinking: Iced Black Tea
Listening: "Scavenger" by France and Dom

6 comments:

  1. I had no idea they were remaking The Magnificent Seven; I think I will give that one a miss.

    I'm not at all interested in the dark and grim direction the DC films have taken -- I didn't bother with Man of Steel after I found out about the ending -- but I am intrigued by Suicide Squad; it seems to have more colour and vitality in it than anything else DC/Warner is offering.

    I am looking forward to Deadpool because while it looks violent and profane, it does also look funny and it seems to have captured the character's idiosyncrasies; I am interested to see how they handle the fourth wall.

    I hated the Civil War comic but the film looks pretty good, so I'll give it a chance, and I too am intrigued by the new Spider-Man.

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    1. I had a friend who had the same opinion about The Magnificent Seven until he remembered the it was technically a "remake" of Seven Samurai. But, I, too, am very skeptical about it.

      Totally agreed with you about the dark and grim direction of the DC films - it just doesn't work for me for characters I grew up with at the tail-end of the Silver Age. For Suicide Squad... I'm sure I will see it eventually, but the animated film DC/Warner did featuring the Suicide Squad was one of my least favorite films they have done.

      I'm curious what you hated about Civil War - I read it about 10 years ago, only one time, so perhaps I need to re-read it.

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    2. Crikey, has it been ten years already?

      I think it was a combination of many things. Millar and Quesada hyping the project as being better than Watchmen was not a good start. I didn't like Steve McNiven's art at the time, and Millar's writing was clumsy; the metaphor for what was going on in the US at the time didn't come through as well as it could and should have. The entire premise relied on most of the cast acting out of character -- Reed Richards, for example -- and for those who had good reasons for behaving the way they did -- Iron Man -- that potential was unexplored and squandered.

      It was another big event story in which heroes fought heroes, an idea that wasn't anywhere near as innovative as Millar thought it was, and I was starting to get event fatigue as Marvel seemed to be going from one to another without any breathing space. I stopped reading most Marvel comics soon after.

      In Marvel's survey of the greatest stories of its 75 year history, Civil War came in at #2, and I am baffled, but perhaps that just means I am out of touch with what the audience likes.

      Anyway, all that said, the film looks better.

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  2. I disagree on Man of Steel, but yours is hardly a uncommon opinion. I would also say the newest trailers of Batman vs. Superman seem to be showing a degree of humor, so it might address some of your concerns concerns.

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    1. My initial reaction to Man of Steel was actually pretty positive, but that was mainly because I was just excited to have a non-Batman DC character on the silver screen. Over time, my initial enthusiasm waned. I do think that Snyder knows how to frame and film a fight scene between two super-powered characters. From that standpoint, it looked good. But, I really didn't need to watch that for 45+ minutes and then have it end with a completely non-Superman ending. And that doesn't even take into consideration the complete destruction of Metropolis to which Superman seemed indifferent. We had just seen that same type of scene at the end of the first Avengers movies - Superman could have stood out by not doing that.

      What are your thoughts about it - it sounds like they are more positive.

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  3. I like the same things you liked, largely. On the "non-Superman ending" I would be more sympathetic to that complaint if the likes of Mark Waid and others weren't insisting their version of Superman was someone the Superman. Superman has killed--it's hardly new to his character. To say "well he shouldn't" means you would have preferred a different movie, but doesn't make this movie bad.

    I would have preferred they dealt with the destruction of Metropolis, but superhero movies are mostly about carnage and no consequence. Marvel has done much more in the films and shows after Avengers than the mostly triumphal ending Avengers got. If the Superman follow ups deal with the aftermath of that to a degree (and it looks like that's going to be a lot of Batman's motivation, maybe?) I think that works. So, its a blemish in the film to me, but not a deal breaker.

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