CBNcomic Review | TheGroovyDeadpool; # 1

                 By: Carefree Black Nerd

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After finishing True Believers "The Groovy Deadpool #1" I was very pleased. The golden and silver age art style of comics have been lost on me since I have returned to the comic book culture. Aside from the Archie comics that is.

I must say this issue was a great intro back into that nostalgic art style. Secondly, the story itself was very entertaining and of its time. Aunt May even made a cameo and this book. This story being from the 70's showed her as a very different character than the way she's presented now. Although her abrasiveness is probably do to Uncle Ben's death still being fresh. (Since time passes much slower in comics) 

In this lost issue from the 70's deadpool misinterprets a "Heroes for Hire" ad in The Daily Bugle as a Now Hiring ad from power man and iron fist.

In true deadpool fashion he comically intrudes on the Heroes for Hire's latest case. A Hispanic widowed single mother (Mrs. Camacho) who owns a bodega is being shaked down by a pale white skinned pimp (in a white suit) ironically coined: the White Man. 

In context of the 70's and blacksploitation era it's clear to me that the white man is The White Man.

Once the Heroes for Hire accept the case Deadpool continues to disrupt the duo's plans. He finds himself in hilarious situations and conquers them in a way only deadpool could. The dialogue in this issue is sharp and quick and the old age art style compliments the story very well. All in all this was a very satisfying issue, as a one-shot story it's one I would recommend to anyone especially those with limited knowledge of the character.

 

        CBNcomic Review | Season 1 | Issue 1 

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CBNcomic Review | Extraordinary X-Men; 005

                 By: Carefree Black Nerd

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I just finished the final chapter of the first arc...and I must say I am so happy I held out. Initially I wasn't sure how I felt about the first few chapters [or the series itself] It was getting a little shaky there for a minute. I'd almost given up, until the impromptu press conference Ororo held [after the team's battle against the mutant/inhuman/clone-hybrid of Scott-created by Mr. Sinister]

Over the course of 12 beautifully drawn panels she declares:


"My name is Storm. I am a mutant and these are my X-Men ... Know one thing, we are done hiding. If you try to hurt us. If you try to hunt us...we will retaliate."


She's ends her speech with a poetic and nostalgic: "To Me, My X-Men."


Seeing her melaninated face on several jumbo screens being viewed by countless people [both human and inhuman alike] THAT is the very point that sold me on this particular series. The trial basis is over and I'll be following this team going forward.

** honorable mention: Colossus, teenage Jean, old man Logan, Illyana and Bobby

 

     CBNcomic Review | Season 1 | issue 1

Imitation of Life: House of M

I take a look at one of Marvel’s most historically significant events and how the stigma of mental illness plays out drastically within the fictitious world and how it draws direct influences from the headlines and institutions dealing with the mentally ill in our society today.

By: Carefree Black Nerd

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When I re-introduced myself to the wonderful world of comic books I went straight for the gold standard: X-Men. As soon as I stepped foot into the comic shop I was pulled, almost magnetically, towards the 2005 trade paperback “House of M”

I practically snatched the book from the top shelve and began feverishly flipping through the pages. I admired the beautiful penciling and vivid coloring. All the while I stood there figuratively drooling over the pages, the only question on my mind was: What is House of M?

House of M is Marvel’s 8 issue limited series and crossover event from 2005. Brian Michael Bendis wrote the event while Olivier Coipel illustrated it. Apparently it was a follow-up event to the effects put in place due to Planet X and Avengers Dissembled. (Both stories I know nothing about thanks to my decade long hiatus). The series began with the Avenger, The Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff)  having a nervous breakdown. In this meltdown she used her reality altering powers to recreate her lost children.

 In creating the new reality warped world Wanda and Charles Xavier combined their powers to give the assembled avengers and X-Men their hearts desire. Although that concept is nothing new can I just fan out at how amazing of an idea that is and how greatly it was executed in this series. Magneto’s greatest desire seemed to be the most dominant one. His shaped the entire world as a whole. He wanted to be acknowledged as the heroic figure and leader of the mutants (Which is why there is no Charles Xavier in this world). His desires also brought about an explosion in the numbers of the world’s mutant population. In House of M mutants outnumbered and outranked homo sapiens substantially.

In the short amount of time between Wanda’s meltdown and the creation of the new world Charles suggest to Magneto that something must be done to address Wanda’s nonexistent control of her extreme power. Charles heads to Avenger’s Tower in New York City and calls a meeting with the Avengers and the X-Men and a few miscellaneous but significant mutants. He calls this meeting to discuss a solution to Wanda and her terrifying instability. While in the meeting Emma Frost (See Generation X post) demands that they murder Wanda.

 Professor Xavier with the Avengers and X-Men at Avenger Tower

Professor Xavier with the Avengers and X-Men at Avenger Tower

And here is where the story gets interesting. Now the X-Men (and mutants in the marvel universe) have been a long standing allegory for persecuted minorities (blacks especially) and the poor treatment they have received by society at large. Although the X-Men brand has evolved since the 60’s this has still been a running theme.

With that historic message in mind both in the comics world and the real world, this story shifted from a large event in the Marvel universe to an analogy of the mental health issues in society but especially in the black community (and how society as a whole treats and mistreats blacks with mental health issues—specifically black women). In this instance Wanda is the representation of a black woman experiencing a mental breakdown.

According to minorityhealth.hhs.gov’s CDC 2012 Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Adults: 2010, the percentage of population with feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, or that everything is an effort all of the time, among women 18 years of age and over (2010) was a 1.3 average among black women (non-Hispanic) compared to white women.

Emma is a sane, able bodied, hetero normative cis-gendered woman who’s first instinct is to kill her cultural sister because of her “harmful” mental state. Yes, it’s extreme and most people aren’t trying to kill the mentally challenged (heck, it’s a superhero comic book). But what this conversation between panels does is shine a light on how we mishandle women and men who are often seen through the lens of their illness as being monolithic one-note characters. Once these caricatures show any indication of what society doesn’t deem normal or acceptable or even too much of a nuisance to deal with (our homeless population) then the authorities lock them in jails or they’re executed on the street in cold blood. Again these are two extremes but they are two extremes in a series of things that actually happen to the mentally ill.

When reading through this series for the first time I was disgusted at the cast. The story was written well and the conversation was more complex than a simple “let’s just kill her” in a single word bubble. And true enough everyone wasn’t happy about that option and a few voiced their concern but that still didn’t change my mind. My attitude towards the cast remained because of the motivation presented to support the killing of Wanda. That being, in the words of Emma herself

            “….if the world found out that an out-of-control mutant with reality-altering powers was out there somewhere with a screw loose it would set mutant/human relations back to the stone age. That would be it for us.”

I can accept that in this world that is probably the most viable option but it was just so jarring to read those words in black and white. As I said before Bendis did an amazing job with this script. The very fact that I was torn between the sensible killings that clearly needed to happen and my emotional response to empathize with Wanda speaks volumes of him. Even now, knowing what needed to be done I still feel like the team dropped the ball. Mainly because for the long history of mutants and omega level mutants in the marvel universe it seemed like there should have been a plan set in place for this and several other possible D-Day scenarios by these teams.

This isn’t the first, second, third or even twentieth event in the marvel universe and they all usually have high stakes for everyone involved and the world at large so since its inception back in the 60’s how on earth did we make it to 2005 and the most viable option is to murder Wanda. Hell there are so many alternate timelines and earths in the multiverse, you mean to tell me that no one could employ the help of a time traveling mutant to find a way to help Wanda?

Stay tuned for CBN’s second installment on House of M

Feature | Season 1 | Issue 1

The freshmen of ‘94:Generation X

With tons of super hero and teen books written over the years Generation X has always held its own with a quintessential mix of the action that made super hero books exciting and the teen angst drama that made so many other books classics. Even fifteen years after the series ended, Generation X still stands as the supreme teen book and the greatest high school super hero team [in training] of all time.

By: Carefree Black Nerd

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By 1993 the X-Men franchise was well into its 30th year of print. The franchise had its own classic stories filled with crossovers, classic villains and a deep rich attachment to the core team and their history. As great as all that was for the already established X-Men fans I found that it was rather difficult as a new comer to the series.

As a child I found it very challenging to sort out that 30 year old history. I collected comics as they popped up in the grocery store every month but that wasn’t an easy task for a child with no income. So getting complete story arcs was nearly impossible. In spite of all that I still wanted to know everything I could about the rag tag group of vibrantly costumed mutant heroes. You can only imagine my glee once I discovered the X-Men animated series which aired on FOX kids. But even with the cartoon I still couldn’t make heads or tails of all the different characters and plot lines.

Relief came in the summer of 1994 in the form of Uncanny X-Men’s The Phalanx Covenant. Marvel had the great idea of having the X-Men play a minor role in this seven series summer crossover. This event spawned the greatest teen group of all time: Generation X. This teenage team came along right on time for me. This new series had aculturally diverse cast, it was relatable to the current real-life gen x-ers and it was different from all other X-books so it allowed readers being introduced to the Marvel universe a different feel than the high energy action packed drama of the previous 30 years.

The book consisted of ethnically diverse teenage mutants. This was done specifically by design to reflect the intricacy and cynicism of the real life demographic. Ranging in age from 14 to 17 years old there was Chamber, a British mutant with the lower half of his face and his chest replaced with fire. Husk: a young white girl from Kentucky who could shed her skin leaving her body in a different solid substance every time. Jubilee: A Chinese American former X-Men team member who could produce colorful explosive plasma energy. M: A wealthy Monaco born girl, who could fly, had superhuman strength and telepathic ability. It’s worth noting that this character was also written as autistic.

Mondo, a Samoan boy whose body could take on the properties of objects he touched. Skin: the Hispanic former gang member from East Los Angeles possessed six extra feet of grey tinted skin. Synch: African American teenage guy from St. Louis who could copy the power set of any other mutant or super human person nearby. Penance: was a mute childlike red skinned girl with razor sharp skin and claws. Lastly added towards the end of Generation X’s run was Gaia. She was from another world and was the guardian of Citadel of the Universal Amalgamator.

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You can imagine my surprised when I opened this book and saw not only kids who looked like me but kids who represented other ethnicities and social economic status from around the world. Some of which I knew about first hand but most I knew nothing about. The X-Men were an entertaining group of characters but they, much like the other X-titles were majority white with a few token characters of color making their way in the comics one way or another. Add to that they were all adults, sure I had Storm to look at and seesomething of myself and I would be crazy not to mention Bishop. But nothing screamedrelatable like a young teenage black boy from St. Louise in a comic book using super powers like all the heroes I had seen growing up.

The Generation X team’s diversity is what made them relatable to me. I didn’t have a wealthy Middle Eastern love interest growing up. Nor did I have any British friends who spoke solely into my head using telepathy I still saw in this book more of what I knew to be true of the world at large: A mixed bag of different cultures and races trying to get by. This team existed in a world of chaos and strife as a group of kids in a boarding school trying to get an education and a better handle on their own mutant powers. The concept was set up to succeed before day one by just existing in the X-universe in the way it did. Add to that a few love triangles, family drama and story arcs that took you all across the United States and other dimensions and the series practically soldit.

Generation X was different from all other X books. It wasn’t the, on the frontline battling kind of book like the X-Men [X-Force, X-Factor, Excalibur and Wolverine] was. It was a teen book but that is where the similarities ended with its predecessor, the New Mutants. The team didn’t even have a rival super powered team or school to battle with. Generation X was not mentored by Professor X they weren’t even trained at his estate in New York.

The Generation X team was taught and supervised by Banshee (former X-Man) and the White Queen (former supervillain). Their base of operations was the Massachusetts Academy—a prep school in the Berkshire Mountain of Massachusetts where the White Queen has been the administrator for years most notably as the headmaster for the Hellions (rival team to the New Mutants) The series ran from 1994 to 2001, ironically enough the most formative years of my life which is partly why I stand by my original idea that Generation X is the greatest high school super hero book of all time. And because of this Chris Bachalo (the original artist) has become not only my model artist for the series when I think about the characters but also my favorite artist to this day.

During my hiatus from comics the series ended and the characters were spread throughout the Marvel universe. So you can imagine my heartbreak when I walked into my neighborhood comic shop and received the bad news. Apparently Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief thought there were too many X books out so he disbanded the team at issue #75. This was also done because Grant Morrison (X-Men writer) wanted to add a new cast of teens to the New York Xavier Institute.

There was a Fox Network made-for-television movie about Generation X back in February of 1996. The movie received mixed reviews and plans to develop a series were abandoned soon after. But oh how I wish they would’ve done a Generation X movie the right way now that comic book movies are all the rage. Scratch that, I would love to see Generation X as a gritty 13 episode Netflix series in the same vein as Daredevil and Jessica Jones. A nerd can dream.

** Honorable mention: Blink, Leech, Artie and Franklin Richards

               Feature | Season 1 | Issue 1  

Cheers to the Birthday Boy, Wade Winston Wilson

With Marvel’s rehashing of a once visited character, Deadpool opening as the newest edition to the cinematic universe this month I decided to take a look back at Deadpool’s origins and see what exactly makes him tick.

By: Carefree Black Nerd

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         Deadpool is Marvel’s resident anti-hero. I have to admit that I have very limited Deadpool knowledge. Sure I remember seeing him in different books I picked up as a child. But he never did a crossover with my personal X-team—Generation X* (see first feature article). Prior to Marvel’s announcement of Deadpool’s solo movie and even before his first silver screen appearance in X-Men Origins: Wolverine I found myself a little intrigued by him and his red suit but my interest only got me that far.

            25 years to the month of Deadpool’s first appearance in New Mutants #98 (February 1991) Marvel fans can finally find him on the big screen in all his comedic glory. The Merc with a Mouth as first introduced into the Marvel universe as a super villain in both New Mutants and X-Force. Later his depiction changed to the role of anti-hero.

            Deadpool is disfigured and mentally unstable which is interesting since he’s one of the very few characters who routinely break the fourth wall in the Marvel universe. Wade does this as a part of his character’s shtick and all in the name of humor and good fun. The way he uses his slapstick is very different than the way the Purple Man in Marvel’s Max series, Alias uses it.

            Deadpool’s backstory has been deliberately presented as vaguely as possible. It’s subject to change depending on the writer at the time. What makes any story told believable is that Wade himself is unable to remember any of his origin story or personal life. My favorite story out of all that have tried to explain Deadpool’s past is that one told by his arch enemy, T-Ray. In his version of events T-Ray claims that he is actually the real Wade Wilson and that Deadpool is a manic murderer who stole his identity.

            Much like Wolverine, Deadpool has an accelerated healing factor. This was artificially endowed to him through the Weapon X program. He regenerates destroyed tissue at a superhuman rate because of this he is immune to diseases. This power set prevents him from being permanently injured thanks to the advanced cellular regeneration throughout his body. This mutation also causes psychosis and mental instability. His neurons are also affected by the cellular regeneration. It is implied that Deadpool’s healing factor exacerbated an underlying mental issue. This was demonstrated when he lost his healing factor but didn’t gain his sanity.

            His brain cells are mutated as well. His dying neurons rejuvenate themselves at super accelerated rates. This allows Deadpool to recover from any head wound and renders him nearly invulnerable to psychic and telepathic powers. Additionally, Deadpool’s body is extremely resistant to drugs and toxins thanks to his mutation. He can, however, be affected by certain drugs like tranquilizers if the dosage is large enough. It’s shown that Deadpool is effectively immortal when X-Force encounters him 800 years in the future.

           In December of 2013 Deadpool was confirmed as #omnisexual. This came from Deadpool writer, Gerry Dugan via twitter. One half of Deadpool’s co-creator, Fabian Nicieza stated:

            “Deadpool is whatever sexual inclination his brain tells him he is in THAT moment. And then the moment passes.” He goes on to explain that Deadpool is “NO sex and ALL sexes. He’s your and everyone else’s. So not dismissive but rather the epitome of inclusive.”

            That quote is one of the reasons I like Deadpool as a character. I like him for breaking through the fourth wall and his comedic commentary (that’s so much better than Spiderman’s on Wade’s worse day). But Deadpool is also a sexually wide-ranging character. His attraction to the same sex is treated just as his attraction to the opposite sex: as normal. In my Generation X article I spoke about representation and how important it was for me to see Synch, an African American teenage kid in my favorite comic. Who knows what kid dealing with their own issues with seeing someone like them in comic, movies, cartoons or something might run across the omnisexual Mr. Wilson.

            Deadpool’s history through Marvel comics is a colorful and interesting one. The preview’s for his solo movie look very good and they were even funny (the first few times I heard his jokes) but I just hope that Marvel does him justice on the big screen this time around. I’ll be sitting front row with my fingers crossed and my hat off to you Mr. 2 guys, a girl and a pizza place.

 ** Notable aliases: Regenerating Degenerate, Jack, Wade T. Wilson, Mithras, Johnny Silvini, Thom Cruz, Hulkpool, Wildcard and Zenpooleature

Feature | Season 1 | Issue 1

 

Editor’s Letter: Issue 001, Season 01

“So, when did you fall in love with hip-hop?”

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That’s a question many of us know all too well. It’s one of, if not the single most recognizable lines from the 2002 romantic comedy and cult classic: Brown Sugar. In this movie Andre (Taye Diggs) and Sidney (Sanaa Lathan) both recount their childhood love of hip-hop into their adult years where the two BFF’s would eventually become lovers all to the backdrop of their first love and the glue that held them together for15 years—hip hop.

            As an 80’s baby and a 90’s kid I grew up with a strong hip hop influence both inside and outside of the home. Even in all my lanky, bad skinned, thick glasses wearing nerdy glory I couldn’t escape the powerful cultural force that was hip hop and rap. With my word of the day and collection of comics and toys in tow I maneuvered the adolescent battlefield of insults, sports and horseplay. Somewhere between all those after school adventures and playground spats I found that most all childhood friends I had grew out of a few things we shared after happening to be in the same place at the same time: playing the dozens, hip hop music, television shows, sports and comic books to name a few.

            It is with that childhood mindset that I find myself knocking on the door of adulthood with a 40 hour work week in one hand and continuous responsibilities in the other. And it is out of that mindset that Carefree Black Nerd was born.

            One day I woke up and realized that I had missed out on the last few months and years because of the traditional adult trajectory I was cruising on. This was the day I decided to return to the things that brought me joy back in the day. I vowed to return to the things that I let escape me over the years: music, cartoons, comics, television shows, and food among other things. I wanted to reach back into my childhood and resurrect that nerdy adolescent I walked away from.

            Through Carefree Black Nerd I hope to get back to the quirky and weird things that I loved as a kid. I want to connect with others who share the same interest. I want to connect and work alongside others who may have a vision bigger or different from mine. I plan to dive back in and explore one of my first loves: writing. I just want to live in my art and enjoy the culture again. I have to make up for lost time. I need to find out what has happened to my favorite characters from the 80’s and 90’s.

            In this issue I begin my journey of reconnecting to and rediscovering that thick-glasses-wearing-lanky-cartoon-watching kid by digging into the old toy chest and dusting off the old comic books. I’ll acclimate myself to the culture by getting familiar with a few origin stories of some of comic’s mightiest and most interesting characters. As well as those in music and film and anything else that catches my eye.

            It is with a happy heart that I start this journey and I hope that you will help me take these steps of familiarizing myself to nerdom from the things in my past. And I hope you’ll help me fill in the blanks for the time I have lost over the years. I ask that you give me suggestions, ask me questions, give me recommendations and just plain ol’ connect with me. Thanks in advance.

            In the spirit of Brown Sugar and my childhood bedroom littered with action figures and cartoon themed wardrobe that I ask you the reader…

So, when did you fall in love with the nerd culture?

A.R. Sheppard

#Editor’s Letter | Season 1 | Issue 1