Why Full House’s Kimmy Gibbler Was NOT the Wacky Next Door Neighbor

26 Feb kimmy-gibbler

Author’s note: This piece was originally written for the now-defunct comedy site Slacktory (RIP) but with the recent release of Netflix’s Fuller House, I thought it was a good time to share it again. 

You weren’t allowed to have a sitcom in the 90’s unless a wacky neighbor was involved. Family Matters had Steve Urkel, Home Improvement had Wilson and Full House had Kimmy Gibbler. However, unlike her contemporaries, Kimmy never used a shrink ray on the Tanner family or obscured half of her face whenever she went into public. She was just kind of a dumpy weirdo who got shit on all the time by the people next door.

But here’s the thing—in what bizzarro universe is Kimmy the wacky, eccentric next door neighbor when you consider the shenanigans happening at the Tanner house? How is it that we’re tricked into thinking that Kimmy is the weirdo when she doesn’t live in a house with her dad, two sisters, her uncle’s entire family and her dad’s unmarried college buddy?

Those earrings tho

source: bustle.com

To everybody else in the neighborhood, the Tanners must seem like some creepy cult polygamist family of serial killers. First of all, every single adult in the household is a quasi-celebrity. Danny and Becky host a local morning talk show,  Joey is a stand-up comedian and ventriloquist who hosts his own children’s show and Jesse is apparently a popular enough singer to warrant impromptu jam sessions with the Beach Boys, which only continues to add to the Manson-esque mystique of the Tanner clan.

The point is, these are people who really could and should be living on their own by now but are somehow compelled to live in basements and attics, like college students who just returned home to mom and dad’s place. And at the heart of it all is Danny—a broken man who fell to pieces after his wife died and is now obsessed with keeping the house clean and “full” of people.

This is what Kimmy Gibbler lives next door to and the Tanners have the audacity to give her shit about having smelly feet?

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7 Reasons Why Power Rangers is a Positive Superhero Franchise for Girls

24 Feb go-go-female-rangers

I absolutely freaked out when I heard that BOOM! Studios was going to be publishing Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: Pink a comic book miniseries that focused around Kimberly, the original Pink Ranger.

For starters, I was excited that we were getting a spin-off from the phenomenal Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers comic series and that it wasn’t starring Tommy. But I was even more excited that they were choosing a female character to focus on for their first foray into a solo Power Rangers story.  And the more that I thought about it, the more it made sense—because the Pink Ranger is a powerful brand unto herself.

Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: Pink #1

Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: Pink #1 Source: nerdist.com

It’s something I actually noticed last Halloween. I always get geeked out when I see little kids dressed up like Power Rangers and I realized that I was seeing more little girls dressed like the Pink Ranger than little boys dressed like any of the male Power Rangers.  That’s probably due to the fact that little boys have a wider variety of male superhero costumes available to them while little girls have fewer options. Fortunately, Power Rangers has always been one of those options for little girls who have an interest in superheroes.

In a time when parents are searching for positive female superheroes for their children, I think many fail to realize that Power Rangers has been pumping out these kinds of characters for over 20 years.  It may be a show targeted to a young male audience, but Power Rangers has always been about empowering females and promoting gender diversity whenever possible, for the benefit of both male and female viewers.

Here are just a few examples of why Power Rangers is the perfect franchise for young girls looking for positive female superheroes.

Power Rangers are non-sexualized

It’s no big secret that female superheroes are designed with the male gaze in mind. That makes it kind of hard for parents to find positive female superheroes that aren’t sticking their scantily clad asses in the air like porn stars all the time.

The female Power Rangers never have to deal with that crap. They basically wear the same thing that the male superheroes are wearing—with the occasional addition of a skirt. Which, admittedly, might seem weirdly sexist, but from what I hear the skirt actually serves to hide male stuntmen’s bulges when they portray female Power Rangers. So it’s more functional than fashionable.

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Why I Made the Calculated Decision to Become a Comic Book Fanboy (and Why I Don’t Regret It)

16 Feb What_If_Vol_2_42

I first got into comic books when I was eight years old, which means I’ve been a comic book fan for 3/4 of my entire life. When you’re a fan of something for so long it become such an engrained part of who you are as a person. And while all the people in my life know me as a comic book fan and creator, I don’t think that any of them understand the real reason why I got into comics in the first place.

Unlike most comic book fans that pick up the hobby in an organic kind of way, my first foray into comics seems almost like a coldly calculated decision in retrospect. And while most comic book fans can admit to feeling like outcasts growing up because of their hobby of choice, I actually took to comics as a way to fit in—or rather, to fit in with straight guys.

Why being gay made me a comic fanboy

Like a lot of other gay guys, most of my friends growing up were girls. In my case a lot of that was simply due to geography. In my neighborhood there were no other kids the exact same age as me. There were a bunch of girls who were a grade younger than me and a bunch of boys who were a few grades older than me and I was just this weird queer kid stuck in the middle. So obviously I chose the path of least resistance and made friends with the girls, instead of working my way up from the bottom of the pecking order with the boys.

But the thing about being a boy who is mostly friends with girls is that you always fall into situations where you’re divided up by gender and separated from all of your friends. I think every gay kid growing up dreaded those times when the boys and the girls would be split apart and you’d start to feel like a lamb amongst a pack of wolves. So when those situations would arise, you’d need to have a coping mechanism, something that would help you navigate the world of masculinity which seems foreign and terrifying.

So for me, comics became that coping mechanism.

teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles

Image Source: i09.com

I mean, I had dabbled in comics here and there before—things like the Sunday paper, the comics they printed in Disney Adventure magazine, stuff like that. And I was already acquainted enough with superheroes from cartoons like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Darkwing Duck, so making the transition to comic books seemed just like a natural step to take.  But even still, there was nothing natural about my decision to take that step.

I remember the exact moment when I crossed over that threshold and decided to become a comic book fan. I was on the bus on the way to school and somehow I had gotten shuffled into the back where the older boys in my neighborhood were sitting. They were all in the middle of a discussion that had started at the bus stop about comic books.

But as I was listening to their conversation, something just sort of clicked with me. The characters they were talking about—Batman, Superman, Spider-Man and so on—these were characters I sort of knew. These were giant pop culture icons that worked their way into everything.  I hadn’t actively participated in comic fandom up until that point, but somehow I could already speak some of the language.

As a gay kid trying to fit in with other males, having the right vocabulary is crucial for opening up lines of communication. Like when guys start talking about sports or cars and shit, I just have no idea what any of it means. They might as well be speaking a foreign language.  But the names these boys were throwing around on the bus that morning, they were characters I recognized. I felt confident that this was a world I could be a part of, something that would connect me with other males without me having to compromise my authenticity.

In testing my theory, I decided to try and speak to these strange creatures using their native tongue. Since this was the 90’s, the conversation they were having had been about the different comics they owned that were worth money. They bragged about having the first appearance of this character or the death of that character. And it was clear that everybody was just bullshitting in the way that kids do, but I felt confident that I could throw down my own bullshit and be a part of the group for a chance.

Incredible_Hulk_Vol_1_2

Image Credit: marvel.wikia.com

Now this is the part where I know that I was always meant to be a comic book fanboy, because I somehow managed to come up with some pretty impressive bullshit (for the time.) I told those boys that my dad owned the second issue of The Incredible Hulk. Somehow I knew that going back too far, to say the Golden Age of comics, would be too unbelievable. Some Jedi part of me just happened to pick a Marvel character from the Silver Age, during a time period where my dad might have actually been able to buy the comic.  And I also knew it was too unbelievable to pick the first issue, but the second issue was more realistic while still just as impressive.

For whatever reason my bullshit actually worked too— they bought the lie and even seemed somewhat impressed by it. I felt like I had something new in my hands, a new set of tools to help me navigate the scary world of masculinity. But I also knew I couldn’t fake it for long, at some point I’d have to actually start reading comics.

My first comics

I wasted no time after that day on the bus jumping headfirst into the world of comic books. Fortunately for me, this was back when you could buy comics on a spinner rack pretty much anywhere. The next time we went grocery shopping I had my mom bring me to the little book store that was located in the same strip mall as our grocery store. This was already a pretty established routine for us, since I was a voracious reader as a kid and I think that helped make it easier for me to make the leap into comics. I was trying something new in the same place where I bought Judy Blume books—it felt like this was already part of a world I was familiar with.

I remember the book store had two big spinner racks of comic books, which as a little kid who had never ventured into comics, felt somewhat overwhelming.  There were so many choices and I wanted something that had a lot of characters. This was almost more of a research trip than anything else. I needed a crash course in comic books, I needed a wider vocabulary to work with, so I picked out a comic that I thought would give me the biggest bang for my buck.

That comic, strangely enough, was Marvel’s What If? #42 which was “What if Spider-Man Had Kept His Six Arms.”

What_If_Vol_2_42

Image Credit: marvel.wikia.com

This book had everything! Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, X-Men, Doc Ock, the Lizard, Morbius, a whole rundown of Spidey’s rogues gallery—and a story that I didn’t fully understand. This was my first comic, I had no idea what “What If” meant and I had nothing of comparison to help me realize that this wasn’t the normal continuity.

I pretty much went the first year of my life as a comic book fan convinced that Spider-Man still had six arms and that he just kept them invisible thanks to an invention by Mr. Fantastic. I even had all these fan theories about how he was the strongest because you never saw his extra arms so he could just pummel the shit out of bad guys and they’d be like “how is he even doing this?”

This comic became my bible. I would carry it around with me everywhere, still in the original paper bag from the book store (I didn’t understand poly bagging yet) and would study it whenever I had the chance. I also had this weird need to be seen reading it, to attract to me the people who would help me navigate this new world or to impress onto people that I had a masculine side too.

My next comic book was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic from the Archie Comics run. This one was bought out of sheer Turtle fandom because it was some special team-up issue that had all the Turtles and their various allies fighting together.  It was a fun book, but it didn’t help me on my quest to understand the world of comics, especially because the Turtles were starting to wane in popularity by then.

But my third comic book—that changed everything. That changed me as a person, as a comic book fan, as a writer—it was groundbreaking.  That comic was X-Men Adventures #1.

How the X-Men changed everything

For those of you who don’t know, X-Men Adventures was basically just a comic book adaptation of the X-Men animated series that aired on Fox in the 90s. When I picked up the first issue of X-Men Adventures, I didn’t know what it was, I just knew that it was a first issue and that meant it had special value, since again this is the 90s we’re talking about.

But I also already had this notion that the X-Men were pretty cool. I had played the X-Men arcade game a few times and thought the characters were all so interesting and weird and like nothing I had seen before. This just seemed like the best way for me to learn more about them and to jump into a series right when it was starting.

X-Men_Adventures_Vol_1_1

Image Credit: marvel.wikia.com

 

Of course, I’d shortly discover that the comic was just an adaptation of the cartoon because the cartoon became my goddamn life for a while. I taped every episode, watched it repeatedly, I became obsessed with this show, these characters and the comics that they spun out of.

I started playing X-Men with kids on the playground and it turned into this entire X-Men club where we all had our own reserved character to play as, almost like we had these secret alter egos. When I first started playing, I always wanted to be Storm. To me, she was just the coolest and the most powerful. She was even the first X-Men action figure I owned. But hiding behind how powerful Storm was only worked for so long. At some point I had to man up and pick a male character.

So I started playing as Wolverine instead. I figured that if I was going to have to play a male character, then I’d be the best fucking one. Wolverine’s sense of machismo never really bothered me because he had this wild, uncontrolled animal side that I could easily tap into.  He had all this pain in his past and he didn’t shy away from feeling it—he’d use it to feed into his power. So I never worried about being masculine enough to play Wolverine because flying into a berserker rage all the time was a cathartic release that I looked forward to every afternoon at recess.

The X-Men gave me a sense of community, but it wasn’t relegated to just the playground either. The themes of tolerance and acceptance helped me feel more comfortable with myself. Sure the X-Men had their struggles, but they also had support, they were a family. The ideas that X-Men presented became a sort of litmus test for me—if someone could get behind the X-Men, it meant they were more likely to be accepting of people who were different from them.

But most importantly, the X-Men helped me to accept myself. They showed me that there was a sort of power in being different and a responsibility to be true to your authentic self. It may be hard to be an outcast but it’s even harder trying to live as something you’re not.

I went into comics hoping to have a fun new hobby that would help me develop a masculine side but what I got out of it were the tools I’d need to realize that it’s okay if you don’t have a masculine side in the first place.

Why I write comics for my 8-year-old self

One piece of writing advice that I always hear from people is to write the kind of stories that you’d want to read, but have yet to exist. I feel like all writers do that anyway, but I usually take it a step further and reach back to the past. I try to think of the stories I’d want to read as a young queer trying to navigate comics for the first time.

I decided at an early age that I wanted to become a comic book writer. There wasn’t anything calculated about that decision, I just wanted to tell stories and entertain people. But as an adult trying to make my younger self’s dream a reality, I’ve felt this strong sense of responsibility to tell the right kind of stories, especially when I’m writing for a younger audience. I want to write the kind of comics that give the queer kids out there the strength they need to be their authentic selves.

That’s the energy that I put into all of my comics, no matter what the audience may be.  And if I make a difference in just one person’s life, then I’ll feel like it’s all been worth it.

But obviously I’d totally love it if I could make a difference in like a bunch of people’s lives all at once.

Why Talking About Music Gives Me Anxiety

21 Jan Jareth-Dance-Magic-e1422726912434

Last week David Bowie died and I think the most devastating thing I took away from his death was the realization that I’ve been a Bowie fan all along.

Like any queer fanboy I discovered Bowie through the magic of the movie Labyrinth (and his fabulous codpiece which should have rightfully had second billing before Jennifer Connolly.) But even that’s a lie. As a kid I loved “Space Oddity” but I had no idea who sang it.

And so that’s how I discovered Bowie, through bits and pieces over the years. Never fully committing to true fandom, but somehow appreciating such a wide sample of his work—and the amazing things he’s inspired—that it all hit me at once.  But even now there’s a tinge of guilt at the back of my brain buzzing about my co-opting of the word “fan.” I like a bunch of his stuff, but is that enough to call myself a fan?

This has always been how my weird relationship to music works. It gives me anxiety to even think about it.  If you want to torture me all you have to do is gather all my friends and family together and put my music collection on shuffle, without giving me the ability to skip a song or say anything in my defense.

Music is such a personal experience for each individual, but it’s also tied heavily to our shared culture. And the dichotomy between these two aspects creates a breeding ground for social anxiety—especially for creative types.

Music and creativity – the ultimate combo

One day when I was feeling all moody and depressed, my writer friend Chris Meeuwes (of The Naturals) tried to strike up a conversation with me over Facebook about music. And as he started listing off his musical tastes, I got so anxious that I flat out told him “I don’t really get into music.”

Lies. All lies.

I feel bad that I kind of cut him to the quick and I still haven’t apologized because I’m awkward as hell, but the whole interaction made me realize that I kind of deny a part of myself to other people. Music is important to any creative. Anyone who says otherwise is probably some super advanced robot programmed to look human and feign creativity.

I used to listen to music a lot while I wrote, but nowadays I find absolute silence to be the best environment for me. If I do listen to something, it’s usually instrumental, typically classical – music with lyrics just messes me up. If I’m feeling particularly anxious when I’m writing, I’ll often turn to my playlist of Joe Hisaishi music so I can pretend that I’m in a Miyazaki movie.

But music is still an integral part of my creative process. When I’m working on a new comic or playing with a new concept, I’ll often put together a playlist that embodies the spirit of what I want to say in my writing. It’s not necessarily a soundtrack, although I will sometimes pair songs to specific scenes like I’m scoring a film. It’s more like the aural equivalent of a Pinterest board—a bunch of different feelings I want to evoke for inspiration.

But just the discovery of new music itself is an important factor in firing up the creative juices. I often feel like a song collector—dipping in here and there, taking whatever I like and leaving the rest. It makes it hard to pin down my tastes or even talk about it with people. There are some bands that I absolutely love—until I don’t anymore. And there are bands that I’m just discovering and I’m not sure I’m fully committed yet.

All I know is that there’s a large quantity of individual songs that creates the strange mosaic that is my musical tastes. And I know that makes me sound really pretentious, but in actuality I’m just a gay fanboy is all.

Coming out of the musical closet

The thing that people don’t realize about coming out of the closet is you never really stop doing it. There’s always going to be new people in your life that assume you’re straight. And even those who do know and accept you don’t ever really fully grasp what your queer experience is like.

When I was faced with an honest conversation about musical preferences, I went into panic mode because it sometimes feels like another closet I have to come out of.  I like music that you can dance to, that has emotion and drama, to the point of being cheesy in some cases. I like music I can sing along with or that transports me to that creative zen place that makes my imagination flow.

But music can sometimes be a weirdly masculine thing. I grew up with a father who listens to hard rock and does so as loud as possible. I’m surrounded by friends who are into punk, metal, all sorts of things that don’t really blow my whistle. I’m not pointing the blame at anyone but myself—and I can even appreciate some of the stuff my dad is into when there’s the right level of theatrics and camp involved (Pink Floyd, Queen, etc.) And one time my dad admitted to me that he liked that Ace of Base song “The Sign” so at least I know I’m not alone in having an eclectic taste.

I think that deep down, the behaviors I learned growing up to hide my queerness from the world sort of robbed me of being able to fully appreciate music. I just wandered around until puberty not knowing how to even get into music. I mean, I remember one time when I told my mom to just get me a CD that has “Whoomp! There It Is” on it for Christmas.

In 7th grade I finally broached the music world when I became a fan of No Doubt, but even then I stole that fandom from my little brother who had purchased their CD for himself (he hasn’t been a fan since.) No Doubt started out being a little bit ska, a little bit alternative, with an in-your-face feminist vibe that was punk enough to be an acceptable choice for a closeted queer kid trying to stay alive in middle school. Early No Doubt was universal, I could appreciate the band and not feel like the weird gay kid because even straight guys liked them. I had my way in.

But it’s been a struggle since.

The K-Mo Mixtape

One of the things I’m finding really important to my writing is maintaining authenticity. It’s something I’m trying to focus on in the coming year. So I thought one of the ways I could get over my anxiety and start creating from my authentic self is to share my weird musical tastes with the world.

I threw this playlist together of 25 songs that have sort of guided my creativity over the last year.  Some of them are new songs I just discovered, others are old songs I’ve loved for a while. One or two of them are from artists  I really love, some of them are artists that I’m slowly getting into while most are just songs I’ve collected randomly.

These are the songs I turn to when I need a boost or need to vent. I’m sharing them both in the hopes that maybe you’ll find one or two songs to add to your own aural inspiration mosaic and because I don’t want to be embarrassed by something that plays such an important role in who I am as a creative.

So listen to The K-Mo Mixtape courtesy of this handy Spotify playlist and get inspired.

spotify:user:tenchichan:playlist:0lzeBv1C6g4AYyFfxeLHfs

What kind of music do you listen to when you create? What songs can you count on to give you inspiration? Leave a comment below and let’s talk music without the anxiety.

Top 10 Actresses Who Should Play Rita Repulsa in the New Power Rangers Movie

14 Jan gathering-of-ritas

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—I love me some Rita Repulsa.

So when I heard that Saban and Lionsgate were teaming up to bring a live-action Power Rangers movie to the big screen, my first thought was for my beloved empress of evil.  Like everybody else waiting for this movie, I started to think of what my dream cast would be – but then I kind of got stuck on Rita.

We already know which actors are going to be playing the Rangers themselves, so I wanted to share with you my top picks for Rita Repulsa—including the number one actress who I think should take on the role.

I wanted to note that I personally believe the role of Rita should be played by an Asian actress, however when compiling this speculative list I opened up the possibilities to all actresses. Rita is kind of a strange case because she was originally a character directly taken from the original Japanese footage and dubbed over. They eventually cast a new actress when they ran out of footage, but kept the dubbed over voice.

All of the actresses who have played Rita have been Asian and I feel that the producers of this movie should respect that in their casting decisions. However, I’m able to accept another actress as Rita, since the character herself is not technically Asian in origin—she’s a space alien whose brother is a skeleton and father is some kind of demon creature. As such, I cast a wider net when searching for the perfect Rita.

The many faces of Rita Repulsa

The many faces of Rita Repulsa

What to look for in a good Rita Repulsa

I don’t think I’m being melodramatic when I say that the right treatment of Rita could literally make or break this movie. As the movie’s villain she has to be threatening enough to create tension but also close enough to the source material to be familiar.

In the original TV show, Rita was sinister, irritable, flamboyant and funny. She openly reveled in being bad and causing pain with devilish glee. There are plenty of great character qualities for the producers of this movie to work with here.

So when casting my Rita, I kept things in perspective. I wanted an actress who could do the character justice, but update her for movie audiences. In fan casting Rita, I wanted someone audiences could believe as a threat worth imprisoning for ten thousand years, yet could still have a bit of fun with the role.

These ten actresses have the right combination of fierce, funny and frightening to pull off the character of Rita Repulsa.

10. Ming-Na Wen

Ming Na Wen

Photo Source: movieweb.com

Ming-Na Wen has plenty of experience playing heroes like Chun-Li and Mulan, but it’s her role as Agent Melinda May in Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD that puts her in the running for Rita.  Agent May might be a hero, but Ming-Na plays her with such an icy coolness that you never know whose side she’s on. She’s perfected the art of freezing an entire room of people dead in their tracks with just a look—she could definitely play a would-be world conqueror like Rita Repulsa.

The only thing keeping Ming-Na Wen from being higher up on the list is that she works better with a dry sense of humor; we haven’t really seen her go completely nuts yet. She’d be a great choice for a serious Rita, but that’s not what we’re going for.

9. Taraji P. Henson

Taraji P Henson

Photo Source: eonline.com

You might be thinking that I only added Taraji P. Henson to this list based on her role as Cookie Lyons on the TV show Empire—and you’d basically be right. It’s not that I’m hopping on the Taraji P. bandwagon (okay, I am a little) but it’s because everything about the character of Cookie just screams Rita Repulsa to me. I mean, the scene in the first episode where she hits her son with a broom is exactly that kind of energy that would work for Rita. As Cookie, Henson is able to perfectly walk the line between fiery and vulnerable—her anger comes from years of imprisonment, which is something that would definitely translate to Rita.

But Taraji P. Henson’s connection with the character Cookie would also work against her as it’d be hard for audiences to forget about that role when she’s playing a character with a lot of similar personality traits. I also get the feeling that the actress is going to want to go after meatier roles now that she’s got the star power from Empire. She’s already been nominated for an Oscar before; I’m thinking she’s going to want to try for one again. And there’s no way Rita Repulsa is going to be the character to do that for her.

8. Margaret Cho

Margaret Cho

Photo Source: Sprint2thetable.com

 

I feel like Margaret Cho would have an absolute riot with this role. She’s a hilarious stand-up comedian with a lot of energy and a big ol’ mouth. I can easily imagine her screaming about her reoccurring headaches and beating her subjects with her magic wand. Margaret Cho would provide a great opportunity for this movie to have elements of camp and comedy, which just might be what it needs to be successful.

But the problem with Cho is that she doesn’t really work well as a global threat to humanity. I could easily see her playing a villain, don’t get me wrong, but I think if audience see a stand-up comedian coming out of a space dumpster they’re going to have a hard time taking anything that comes next seriously.

7. Helena Bonham Carter

Helena Bonham Carter

Photo Source: misscablackburn.blogspot.com/

 

Helena Bonham Carter is a total weirdo—and I mean that in the most loving way imaginable.  She’s got a thing for taking on twisted, dark, crazy characters like the infamous Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter movies.  She can be terrifying, unhinged and comical all at the same time, she’s the perfect triple threat to take on Rita Repulsa.

The only problem with Helena Bonham Carter, other than the fact that she’s not Asian, is that audiences seem to be getting a little fatigued by her whole dark and moody schtickt. It doesn’t help that she shows up in every movie her husband Tim Burton makes with Johnny Depp, and there haven’t been a lot of winners in that list lately.

6. Michelle Yeoh

Michelle Yeoh

Photo Source: renaud corlouer

Michelle Yeoh has international acclaim and an acting pedigree that includes hit movies like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Memoirs of a Geisha and Sunshine. She even holds the distinction of being a Bond Girl. She’s the type of actress you’d call if you want Rita to have some depth to her. She could make Rita seem powerful, intimidating and sympathetic all in one go.

So the biggest question is—where has she been lately? We haven’t seen much of her lately, although she is starring in the upcoming Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Sword of Destiny for Netflix which will bring her back into the spotlight. And even if you ignore the fact that she may not have box office draw, she’s not really known for her loud, brash, funny characters. She’d be a no-nonsense Rita and I feel like Rita has to have at least some nonsense.

5. Sofia Vergara

Sofia Vergara

Photo Source: machetekillsmovie.tumblr.com/

Meanwhile, Sofia Vergara is pretty much all nonsense.  Mostly known for her role on the sitcom Modern Family, Vergara is a loud, expressive, animated comic actress—but she’s no stranger to kicking butt either. Her role in Machete Kills as the leader of a group of assassin prostitutes shows she has what it takes to play Rita—weird metallic bra and all.

But like Margaret Cho, Sofia Vergara might be a little too funny to pull off a serious Rita Repulsa. If the producers of this movie want to crank up the camp factor, then she’s a perfect choice, but it’ll take a lot for audiences to forget her comedic past.

4. Angela Bassett

Angela Bassett

Photo Source: Tumblr

Angela Bassett is a goddess—she could play this role in a heartbeat. You might think I’m basing this decision entirely on her role as voodoo queen Marie Laveau in American Horror Story: Coven—and I won’t lie, that role factors in heavily here. But she has an amazing body of work that proves she’s got the right stuff. I mean, her role as Amanda Waller was the best part of that shitty Green Lantern movie.

There’s almost nothing holding Angela Basset back from being the perfect Rita—she can be commanding, wild, scary and funny all at the same time. The only problem is that her humor tends to be a little more biting that we’re used to with Rita. Don’t get me wrong, Rita’s got attitude in spades, but Angela Basset could cut you with words while Rita would just call you an idiot and smack you with her wand.

3. Tilda Swinton

Tilda Swinton

Photo Source: femaledoctorwho.tumblr.com

Tilda Swinton is the shit you guys. I absolutely love her in everything and she’s great at disappearing into a role. She’d have a riot playing Rita Repulsa, I mean just check out her performance as the White Witch in The Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe if you want to get an idea of what she’d do with a role like this.  Not only that, but she’s played a lot of great goofy characters in the past in movies like Snowpiercer and The Grand Budapest Hotel.  I just really want to see what she’d do with a character like this.

But there’s no way in hell she should be Rita—not after the whole recent debacle when she was cast as the Ancient One in Marvel’s Dr. Strange movie. The Ancient One is typically depicted as an Asian man and a lot of people were upset that a role was taken away from a POC actor to be given to a white woman. I don’t think she’d want to go through something like that again and she’s probably too wrapped up in Dr. Strange to even be a serious contender anyway.

2. Constance Wu

Constance Wu

Photo Source: deadline.com

I have to admit, I can’t take all the credit for this pick. I saw someone on Reddit name her as their ideal Rita and I just had to steal it. Sorry person who I’m totally stealing this pick from, but you were so right about how Constance Wu has the right sense of humor to portray Rita. If you haven’t seen her on Fresh off the Boat yet, you need to stop and go watch it right now, it’s on Hulu damn it!  She can be playfully icy in such a way that would make for an excellent Rita.

The only thing keeping Constance Wu out of the number one spot is the fact that she’s just a little too adorable to be menacing. There’s a great scene in the Halloween episode of Fresh off the Boat where her character is confronting some teen hoodlums in the middle of the street. She’s hilariously furious and it’s one of the funniest scenes on the show so far, but it makes me feel like her portrayal of Rita would be just a hair shy of actually intimidating.

1. Lucy Liu

Lucy Liu

Photo Source: xavierpop.com

Look, I’ve spent a lot of time and energy researching the perfect Rita Repulsa and Lucy Liu is the best pick. She has all the criteria and then some.  She can be campy, badass, funny, icy, commanding, threatening and all at the same time.  If you don’t believe me, just take a look at her credentials. Her iconic role as O-Ren Ishii in Kill Bill is a perfect example of her ability to be kind of campy and badass all at once. Charlie’s Angels is another film where she’s been able to flex both her humor muscles and her action muscles at the same time.

I think she’d have a lot of fun in this role and she’d bring a little star power boost to the cast, who so far are all young actors and unknowns. I could see her menacing a bunch of teenagers, I really could, in a way that would be fun but also have some high stakes tension and drama.

So there you have it. I’m interested to see who they’ll actually pick to play Rita in the upcoming Power Rangers movie.  If it’s anybody off of this list I’m going to personally take credit.

Who do you think should play Rita? Leave a comment below with your top picks!

 

What I Learned From Taking a Year off From Comics (And Why I Wish I Hadn’t)

12 Jan featured1

Which is worse—moving in the wrong direction or not moving at all?

It’s a question that I recently heard on an episode of Scriptnotes, an amazing podcast about screenwriting (and just writing in general) and I’ve been mulling it over in my head ever since. The reason why the question struck such a chord in me is because I feel like I just spent the past year not moving at all, in lieu of accidentally moving in the wrong direction and now that I’m on the other side of it I have to wonder if it did me any good.

Probably not. But at the same time, it wasn’t completely worthless.

It’s not like I went into 2015 thinking “yeah, I deserve a break.” In fact, it was quite the opposite. I remember clearly what my emotional state was last New Year’s Eve. I had big things brewing, big opportunities on the horizon and a lot of lofty ideas about how I wasn’t even going to be the same person in a year’s time. Only one of those things ended up being true and not in the way I was imagining.

So why did I fall off the face of the comic world for a year? The answer is something that I think all comic book creators go through at some point in their careers.

happy-new-year-crappy-old-year

The Little Red Hen Syndrome

As a comic book writer, I often liken myself to the story of The Little Red Hen.  If you’ve never read the story as a kid, the Cliff Notes version is that this little red hen wants to make some bread, so she goes around the farm asking the other animals to help her out. She’s all up in their face like “Who will help me make this bread?” And nobody wants to help her.

So she goes about all of the labor by her own damn self. I mean, this chicken is straight up planting wheat for this bread. She’s harvesting and milling her own grains and shit. And every step of the way she asks the other animals if they want to help her out, but they don’t. In the end, she makes this delicious bread and all the animals want to eat it, but she’s like “Fuck off, this is my bread, I’m the only one who worked for it.”

I always liked this fable because it shows how something as simple and ordinary as a loaf of bread requires time, patience and hard work to create.  Before you can even make the dough a bunch of things have to happen: wheat has to grow, eggs have to be laid, yeast has to—yeast up or whatever it does. And as a comic book writer, I often feel like that little red hen, running around all like “Who will help me make this comic?”

Continue reading

What Comic Book Artists Need to Know About the Writers They Work With

8 Apr featuredimage

Comic book artists deserve to be paid.

But here’s the hard truth nobody wants to ever deal with—so do comic book writers.

Lately I’ve watched as the conversation about paying comics book artists has shifted into a dangerous direction, with artists essentially declaring that they’re most important member of the team while simultaneously dismissing the contributions that writers bring to the table.

And as much as it bothers me, I understand why it’s gotten to this point, because I think artists get the wrong impression about what comic book writers actually do and what we have to go through to work in this industry.

This is in no way my counterattack against artists (though ya’ll have done plenty of attacking on writers lately) instead it’s me doing my thing—writing about the world the way I see it. And I hope that by sharing my perspective with my fellow comic book creators, we can all get back to making comics together like the badass super teams we are, instead of the divided front we’ve created recently.

my-so-called-comic-book-writer-lifeA little about my perspective

So I don’t know how other comic book writers do it and I don’t even know if I’m doing this right. All I can do is share with you my story thus far to give you a better understanding of what I’ve had to go through to work in this industry. I’m not saying my story is typical, just that it’s mine. Continue reading

Find Out Who Mystery Club Meddled With Last Summer in Snack Attack! vol. 2

16 Jun I Know Who You Meddled With Last Summer Mystery Comic
I Know Who You Meddled With Last Summer - art by Jesse Hughes

I Know Who You Meddled With Last Summer – art by Jesse Hughes

 

Mystery Club (and their talking dog) are all about solving mysteries and meddling with folk they ought not meddle with.

 

There’s no way that a lifestyle chasing after unsavory business types

 

Today let’s take a closer look at the second story in Snack Attack vol. 2, a story of betrayal, sabotage and good ol’ fashioned mystery solving- I Know Who You Meddled With Last Summer. This collaboration came together in a different way in that I picked the idea to match the artist and vice versa.

Me and Jesse Hughes of Plummy Press go way back together, we’ve been making Science Girl together for a few years now, but we’ve never had a chance to collaborate on something different. We try to fill Science Girl with as much of the kind of fun cartoony stuff that we grew up with, but it was nice to branch out even further and try something new together. Meddled is based off our shared love of Scooby-Doo and while most of the Snack Attack! stories are influenced by cartoons or kids shows that I grew up with, this is the first story where I just decided to do a straight up parody instead of an homage.

In Meddled we find our heroes, the plucky young gumshoes of Mystery Club, dealing with a mystery that hits close to home. Someone is threatening them, destroying the things they love and leaving behind notes that say “I know who you meddled with last summer.”

But as mystery-loving teens tend to do. Mystery Club has pissed off a lot of shady business people in the past and there’s a long list of potential suspects.

I Know Who You Meddled With Last Summer Rube Goldberg Trap

Mystery Club employs complex Rube Goldberg traps to get things DONE.

When I set out to write the script for Meddled I really wanted to play to Jesse’s cartoonist style, which is something I don’t always get to do when writing Science Girl. So I knew right off the bat that there were two different things I wanted to include in the script. For one, I wanted to include a scene where we see all of the suspects– just so I could have fun coming up with different monster/ghost ideas and that Jesse could have fun coming up with different designs for them.

The other idea I wanted was a Rube Goldberg-esque trap sequence. I always loved those as a kid (with Pee Wee’s breakfast machine being my all-time favorite. ) You might as well call Jesse by the name Kevin McAllistar from now on, cause this dude is a master at setting up traps. He nailed that trap scene– and the rest of the story too. He really brought his cartoonist pencil with him and I’ve always felt Jesse’s a little more of a Disney and Warner Bros. style than a Hanna-Barbara style, so it was cool to see his unique take on a Hanna-Barbara inspired story.

I Know Who You Meddled With Last Summer Mystery Comic

The character of Casey was based off of Shaggy from Scooby Doo and was named after the late Casey Kasem, who voiced Shaggy for many years.

It’s a little strange to be promoting this story now, right after the passing of Casey Kasem, who was the original voice actor for Shaggy, a role he played all the way until 2009. There is a character in Meddled named Casey, who I named as an homage to Casey Kasem. At the time when I wrote the script, I was just doing it to honor a great voice actor that I grew up enjoying (and I always loved it when he showed up on Saved by the Bell, too!)  But now it serves a sort of memorium to the actor.

Will we ever see the likes of Mystery Club again?

Maybe.

I’ve actually considered a sort of weird head-canon that connects the world of Science Girl to Mystery Club, so it’s possible those two worlds could collide sometime in the near future. But for now, you can read all about their exploits in Saturday Morning Snack Attack vol. 2 which is available in the legendary K is for Komics store.  Or of course, you could always read Meddled for free online on the Plummy Press Blog

Abigail Astoundo is Busting-Up Beasties in Snack Attack! vol. 2

4 Jun Abigail Astoundo: Beastie Buster

Abigail Astoundo: Beastie Buster

When there’s an evil beastie messing up your house, who you gonna call?

Nope, not the Ghostbusters. They couldn’t handle this business. Only Abigail Astoundo, 11-year-old Beastie Buster has what it takes to save the day.

Today we’re taking a look at the first story in Saturday Morning Snack Attack! vol. 2, a tale of action, adventure and flying llama creatures– Abigail Astoundo: Beastie Buster.

Despite her young age, Abigail is ready to take on the Astoundo family business of busting evil beasties using her family’s legendary sword, the Beastbane– a mystical blade that has the ability to turn into whatever a monster is weak against. Abigail might be strong, brave and confident when it comes to fighting beasties, but she’s about to find out there are worst things than monsters lurking in the woods– like teenage boys.

Abigail Astoundo just might be the world’s last beastie buster, but it seems her kind is about to be replaced by beastie trainers– people capable of capturing and controlling monsters using magic gauntlets. Only 11-years-old and Abigail’s already finding out that her job skill is becoming obsolete and that the world is moving on without her. But there’s still plenty of work for a beastie buster to do–because sometimes, an evil beastie is really just an innocent creature being manipulated and controlled by a beastie trainer.

 

Concept art of Abigail Astoundo by Rose McClain

Concept art of Abigail Astoundo by Rose McClain

Rose McClain, the artist for Abigail Astoundo: Beastie Buster is an up-and-coming superstar who also works on the educational comic Solution Squad and the webcomic Scoundrels. I met her at Detroit Fanfare when I was premiering Snack Attack! vol. 1 and she was there to promote Solution Squad. She picked up a copy of the book and we got to talking and she said she was an artist who’s always looking for new work. When you’re a writer and you hear those words, you don’t hesitate. I immediately got in touch with Rose for the next volume of Snack Attack! and I knew she’d be the perfect artist for Abigail Astoundo.

I got the idea to write Abigail after watching the Adventure Time episode “Fionna and Cake.” I loved the idea of the gender-swapped Adventure Time characters, but the episode kind of irked me because I wanted to know why the show couldn’t just have a female lead from the start. Abigail Astoundo was created from that frustration. I wanted a high-energy adventure story with a spunky female lead (and of course, her fabulous flying llama friend.)

Rose fell in love with Abigail immediately and I knew it was a match made in heaven. We started to collaborate together on how to bring the story together and we decided to do something new, something I hadn’t yet done as a comic book writer. The designs for the characters were all created by me and then tweaked by Rose to look more appealing.

Original Abigail Astoundo concept by Kris Moore

Original Abigail Astoundo concept by Kris Moore

It took me a long time to get Abigail’s look down right. I knew I wanted her to have some sort of monster skin cape/scarf with a hat to match, but it took me forever to get it right. Eventually I came up with the giant monster paws, which Rose took even further by giving the paws a kind of life of their own. They can hang behind Abigail like a cape, cover her own arms like sleeves or move on their own to express emotion. I’m not going to lie– I wish I had a cape like this in real life. I would wear it all the time and embarrass my family and friends.

You may have noticed that Abigail’s sword, the Beastbane, has a giant bite mark taken out of it. The bite was my idea– I wanted the sword to look old and beat up, since it was passed down in the Astoundo family for generations. I figured at some point, some monster had taken a chomp out of it.

Rose picked up on the idea and took it even further by adding a little bite mark or missing section whenever the Beastbane transforms into another object. When you’re reading the story, try to find all the little hidden bite marks.

Here’s hoping that you’ll see more Abigail Astoundo in the future. Rose and I have already talked about continuing with Abigail’s story. Where does she go from here now that she knows beastie trainers are out there, taking control of monsters and making them do bad things? How do you survive in the world when your profession of choice is dying out? These are the questions we look forward to answering.

But for now, you can find Abigail Astoundo in Saturday Morning Snack Attack! vol. 2 now available for purchase in the K is for Komics store.

 

Saturday Morning Snack Attack! vol. 2 Will Make You Nostalgic for a Big Bowl of Sugary Cereal

3 Jun Snack Attack! vol. 2 cover by Crystal Mielcarek.

N is for New! Snack Attack vol. 2 is now for sale!

If you were a kid growing up in the 90’s you had to face a Sophie’s Choice moment every Saturday morning– either stay in bed and sleep in or wake up early to watch cartoons. Thanks to Saturday Morning Snack Attack! you’ll never have to make that decision again (well, that and the invention of DVR.) After over a year in the making, the second volume of Snack Attack! is ready for your consuming pleasure, so grab a bowl of your favorite cereal and settle in for a sugar rush you won’t soon forget.

Saturday Morning Snack Attack! vol. 2 features four short stories written by yours truly and illustrated by some of the best artists I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. I’ll be giving each of the stories in the anthology an in depth look later this week, but at a glance here’s what you can expect from this next volume.

 

Abigail Astoundo: Beastie BusterAbigail Astoundo: Beastie Buster

Story: Kris Moore

Art: Rose McClain

When Abigail Astoundo takes on the family business of busting evil beasties, she discovers the worst beastie is not a monster at all, but a teenage boy who can control creatures with a magic gauntlet.

 

I Know Who You Meddled With Last SummerI Know Who You Meddled With Last Summer

Story: Kris Moore

Art: Jesse Hughes

These mystery-loving teens and their hungry dog meddled with the wrong criminal last summer– and now he’s back to get his revenge by taking away the things they  love the most: their stuff.

 

GigasbiologyGigasbiology

Story: Kris Moore

Art: Edwin Domingo

Letters: Brandon Williams

Dr. Lacey Harper is a gigasbiologist– a scientist who studies giant monsters– and the proud adoptive mother of a giant monster of her own, a bat creature named B.B.  Through Dr. Harper, B.B. has learned how to communicate with humans, but can she also learn what love is?

 

 

Sugar & Spice vs. Everything NiceSugar and Spice vs. Everything Nice

Story: Kris Moore

Art: Brandon Williams

Special Thanks: Martina Sic

A sneak peek at an upcoming webcomic by Kris Moore and Brandon Williams!

Sugar and Spice thought the Five Fingers of Death had killed someone important to them, but now that they’ve found out he’s alive they’ll do whatever it takes to get him back.  They say girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice, but they’re not– they’re made of guts!

 

Snack Attack! vol. 2 cover by Crystal Mielcarek.

Snack Attack! vol. 2 cover by Crystal Mielcarek.

Of course, what would a comic book be without a cover and the cover for Saturday Morning Snack Attack! vol. 2 has an interesting story behind it.

The cover was created by Crystal Mielcarek of Smushbox.net, a local Michigan artist and a long-lost friend of mine. About a decade ago, Crystal was dating one of my friends and the two of us hit it off well thanks to a shared love of cute things and being weird. Well, as things go when you’re in your 20’s, we lost touch after she broke up with my friend but it seems fate would bring us together once more.

I was shopping for Christmas presents at the Rust Belt Market in Ferndale, purchasing handmade soaps for the ladies in my life and as I was paying for them this adorable painting of Sailor Moon caught my eye. The minute I was done with the soaps, I sidestepped directly over to the adjacent booth to meet the artist who painted my homegirl Usagi and wouldn’t you know it– it was Crystal!

So we not only got to reunite after all these years, we also had the chance to collaborate for this volume of Snack Attack! I knew I wanted to show Mr. Snacktime in a sort of school lunch theme and Crystal’s art was the perfect match for what I had in mind. One of Crystal’s signature series are paintings of food cuties so I knew I was in good hands.

Do yourself a favor and check out Crystal’s artwork. She’s shown me some of the comic projects that she has in the works and I’m certain they will blow your freaking mind. I can’t wait to collaborate with Crystal again, but I’m afraid I’m gonna have to wait in line behind a whole bunch of other people who got there first.

Of course, Crystal is just one of the awesome artists I got to work with this time around on Saturday Morning Snack Attack! and each one of them is going to be getting their moment in the spotlight, so stick around this week and learn more about all the talent that went into making this anthology come to life.

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