Funko POP – Funko POP Everywhere

Funko POP Vinyl Figures can be found everywhere,  You may have noticed that there are POPs for just about every franchise known to man,  If you can name a franchise that isn’t in POP form, chances are it will be soon.

What is it that makes these 3.75 inch figures so adorable and collection worthy?  Really, it’s a number of reasons.  The usual price tag is $9.99 and the availability throughout retail stores helps.  Their lines include popular franchises such as Star Wars, Breaking Bad and Harry Potter.  In addition, notice the huge, square head with black beady eyes and no visible mouth.  These figures can pretty much sit in an office, a room or in a box amongst others of its kind.

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For those that are serious collectors, the figures in an unopened box are a must.  Some figures have been discontinued while others were distributed in limited quantities.  At San Diego Comic Con (SDCC), Conan O’Brien held his TV show and distributed four variations of his persona in POP form to members of the audience. Each one goes for at least $100 on eBay and the set of four is easily listed at $600 or more.

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Think this is crazy? Check out some of the Freddy Funko POP variations.  These are usually released every year at SDCC in extremely limited quantities.  As the years go by, the usual asking price on eBay is a whopping $1000 or more!

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Nerd Swole recently experienced the long lines and craze for Funko POPs in our recent trip to SDCC.  We were given a checklist of which Funkos we wanted and in the end, we got most of the items on our list.  Sadly, some POPs sell out rather quickly.  The tiny SDCC sticker on the box is what makes them so sought after as they are labeled as “exclusives”.

Notice the SDCC logo
Notice the SDCC logo

While we could never dream of possibly ever collecting all the POPs variations in existence, we do feel these figures make a great gift for any age.

Let us know your thoughts! Please check out our Amazon Store, full of items that we recommend as Amazon Associates! 

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Cool Stuff: Batmobile Phone Case

I’m sure everyone has wondered what it would be like to have a batmobile cell phone that has incredible features with LED lights and such. Oh, just me? Maybe you’ll change your mind after this video.

While I could do without all of the over-the-top dubstep, and while it is definitely a novelty and not practical at all, it is pretty dang cool. Phones are getting pretty big anyways, whats a little bit more lost pocket room?

Let us know your thoughts! Please check out our Amazon Store, full of items that we recommend as Amazon Associates! 

Please like us on Facebook! And follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest! Contact me at twentytwo.le@gmail.com if you’re interested in writing for Nerd Swole.

Blood Battle: Damian Wayne (Robin) vs Terry McGinnis (Batman Beyond)

Back when Bruce Wayne was out of commission as a result of Final Crisis, there was a battle for the cowl. All of the Bat family for the title of Batman and eventually, Dick Grayson won out, as Damian became his Robin. However, there was no blood lost in that battle. Now, we pit the true sons of Batman against each other.

This week’s matchup: Terry McGinnis aka Batman Beyond VS Damian, the Son of Batman!

The Rules:

We’re putting both Terry and Damian at their best, even though they are not the same age. Both are relatively young in their superhero career and with separate backgrounds, both work with Bruce Wayne directly, and even though Damian becomes a future Batman in a more apocalyptic era, we’re gonna have him as Robin.

Sorry, Bloody Batman. You have to sit this fight out.
Sorry, Bloody Batman. You have to sit this fight out.

This is because there is no record of Terry working on his own as an older Batman, so their fight has to be comparable to the time under the guidance of Batman.

Damian Wayne

Talia Al Ghul and Bruce Wayne have spent plenty of time together, both as allies and enemies. However, when Bruce discovers he was drugged during one of their rendezvous, he comes face to face with something more frightening than some of the rogues he fights: Bruce discovers he has an illegitimate son with Talia. Only 10 years old and raised by the League of Assassins, Damian leads armies, uses swords, studies people and habits, and sadly, has killed.

The boy is ruthless.
The boy is ruthless.

Bruce both loves the boy and a darker reflection of himself and hates how he’s been raised. Taking him under his wing, Batman fights crime with his own Robin, going through the ups and downs of raising a child and trying to protect yet another Robin from the madness in Gotham. Although so young, Robin’s training both with the league and with Bruce Wayne has given him the ability to severely cripple thugs and the crime in Gotham.

Small, but not weak.
Small, but not weak.

Terry McGinnis

In the animated series universe, Batman has given up fighting crime at around late 40s to 50s. During one fight, Bruce’s body fails him, and to stop a murder, his only option is to reach for a gun. Frightened by his own desperation, he shuts down all Batman operations, to “never again” sink that low. Years pass, and a futuristic Gotham has corporate greed, more psychos, and a crime surge that the Gotham Police Department cannot keep up with. Enter Terry McGinnis, a sweet but roughly raised man in Gotham. He looses his father and look to Mr. Wayne for guidance. Instead, the work out a deal so that Terry can use the updated Batman suit and Bruce can guide him via comm links. What follows is the career of one of the most iconic Batmen. Terry’s suit is also equipped with cloaking, batarangs, a suit that can produce damaging shock waves, rocket boots, wings, and many more tools that have been created as a result of Bruce Wayne’s tenure as Batman. What makes Terry interesting is that he was adopted. Revealed in Justice League Unlimited’s “Epilogue” episode, Amanda Waller explains to Terry that he had been created using DNA from none other than Bruce Wayne.

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FIGHT!

Interesting enough, both boys were raised pretty rough. Damian’s training has given him a sense of royalty, but also has hardened him into not trusting anyone. Terry’s upbringing is in an even darker Gotham, where gangs of Jokers create chaos in the name of the prince of crime himself. In the odd scenario where we can put these two heroes head to head in a single timeline, Terry would fall prey to underestimating not only Robin, but to taking sympathy on a young boy. Most do this, and Damian takes advantage to surprise and subdue Terry. However, Damian can’t plan on the future, and Terry can usually outwit people using new gadgets. Size does matter, so physically, Terry can take and give out a bigger beating. Plus, Batman Beyond can use him environment better, both having fought people in the League of Assassins and with his creativeness in using the tools of the Bat. Damian’s abilities are never in question, but his rashness and stubbornness usually compromise him, leaving Terry to take this fight.

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However, we’re also leaving this fight up to the readers! Who would win this fight? Twee to @Nerdswole and say whoever you think should win with the #BatmanBloodBattle and we’ll reveal the results during the next Blood Battle!

ESAD RIBIC – ARTIST APPRECIATION POST

Fun fact: The first post on NerdSwole featured artwork by famed Marvel artist, Esad Ribic. While you may or may not have heard of him, I’m sure many have noticed his most recent design, the new Thor.

Avengers Now Thor, debuting in September.
Avengers Now Thor, debuting in September.

While whether I’m a fan of this newly-redesigned Thor is up to how the comic transitions from the current God of Thunder, the design is downright stunning. Esad’s work features atmospheric textures that make his pencils look like paintings. And if you haven’t seen his brushwork, well……

Uncanny X-Force #12
Uncanny X-Force #12
Commissioned Work
Commissioned Work
Sub-Mariner: Depths
Sub-Mariner: Depths

I’m stunned half the time when I turn to a page in a comic he’s working on and find one of these glorious pages:

From Thor: God of Thunder #1
From Thor: God of Thunder #1

Fortunately, this is just the tip of the ice berg that is Esad’s talents. While he works currently on marvel titles such as Loki, Silver Surfer: Requiem, and Uncanny X-Force, he has worked on plenty of Marvel’s covers.

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Avengers 24.Now : Rogue Planet
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Kingpin Vol 1: Thug
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Uncanny X-Force Vol 1
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House of M #1
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Batman Illustration
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Joker Illustration

If you can’t get enough of Esad Ribic’s art like myself, you can check out his official site here. Lastly, he’ll be working on the new Thor: God Of Thunder, so be sure to pick that up when it hits shelves September. Thanks for checking out this latest Artist Appreciation!

Tweet me @Bumsteezy for any artists you think should be featured, professional or not, and I will check them out!

Skottie Young – Artist Appreciation Post

This past weekend, Gaurdians of the Galaxy wowed audiences, critics, and studios with an astounding opening weekend with a story based on the most far out team you can think of. A raccoon, a tree, a daughter of Thanos, a killer to kill Thanos, and a half earthling/half kree thief. With characters like these, Marvel decided to promote them not only in their own book, but with two comics, Rocket Raccoon and Legendary Star-Lord. While I’m a fan of both characters, one of my favorite artists, Skottie Young, happens to be both writing and penciling Rocket’s solo book this year.

Poor Groot.
Poor Groot.

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While many picking this book up will see Young’s writing for the first time, it’s certainly not his fist crack at drawing Marvel characters. Check out some of the amazing variants this man has concocted.

Storm (2014)
Storm (2014)
New Avengers
New Avengers
Original Sin
Original Sin
X-Men (2013)
X-Men (2013)
Iron Man: Armor Wars
Iron Man: Armor Wars
All-New X-Men
All-New X-Men
Thunderbolts
Thunderbolts
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Flowers for Rhino
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MARVEL ADVENTURES: SPIDER-MAN #59

This man’s unique and vibrant take on Marvel’s best (& worst) is truly one of my favorite. Young is also working Marvel’s Oz series, comics that delve into the mythos from Wizard of Oz.

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The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz #6 by Skottie Young

 As for things outside of Marvel…

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Hagrid & Harry
ssJoker
The Joker
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Boba Fett
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Mr. Incredible

Above all, the art is always fun and inviting. Skottie is crazy and that’s definitely better for us readers who can’t get enough of his work. You can check out his official site and can find his artwork in your local comic store, and online. Thank you again for checking out this article. In the future, I will feature more artists as I did in this post.

Tweet me @Bumsteezy for any artists you think should be featured, professional or not, and I will check them out!

Nerdswole is at San Diego Comic Con!

You heard it right! Brian, Alex, and Erin will be at the swolest nerd event of the year: San Diego Comic Con 2014!

Of course, we’ll be on the show floor, waiting for panels, and hauling all sorts of swag. However, we’re also here to witness the big events. Keep checking up on the Nerd Swole homepage for live updates and articles about the breaking news and releases that will be unveiled here at San Diego Comic-Con! Starting Thursday, all three of us will be posting as often as possible up until Sunday to cover the convention and make it like you came here yourself!

Now, to add to the SDCC hype train, here’s a list our must-see panels and booths!

Erin

Every year I’ve been going to the Walking Dead and Game of Thrones panels because they always have good footage and bring out the entire cast to talk and answer questions. Both panels are always a fun time, the creators and cast seem to love the environment. Apart from that, I think everyone should be watching the Image Comics panels to see all the best of the best in the comics industry and to hear what’s new creative ideas are releasing soon.

The Walking Dead Panel 2013
The Walking Dead Panel 2013


Brian

I’m super excited about Saturday’s Hall H presentations. Hall H will have Marvel and Warner Brothers. I’m also extremely excited to test play Super Smash Bros 4 in the Nintendo lounge. However, my favorite activity is always looking at all of the amazing cosplay people do. Here are some examples from last year:

Otacon from the Metal Gear Solid franchise.
Otacon from the Metal Gear Solid franchise.
Warriors of Asgard protecting Mjolnr.
Warriors of Asgard protecting Mjolnr.
Red Son Superman
Red Son Superman
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Brian will be cosplaying this year, look out for his costume!

Alex

While the con itself was jam-packed with every fandom in existence, events and locales around the area were just as incredible. From the Nintendo Lounge (aka the mini-E3), the DC Charity Booth featuring custom KIA vehicles and auctioned off artwork, and even the Walking Dead obstacle course at Padres stadium, the whole city was alive with passion and excitement. Within the con, I can hardly wait for the Marvel and Warner Bros panels on Saturday, along with the premiere of Batman: Assault on Arkham!

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Promotional Hobbit set piece from 2013.
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Auctioned off Batman artwork.
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And lastly, exclusives! Megaman & Megaman X from Capcom Booth!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please feel free to contact me/us if you want to meet up at SDCC 2014!

Brian: @theTwentyTwo
Erin: @GuyNamedErin
Alex: @Bumsteezy

 

In Case You Missed It: JL8

Across the interwebs, you find some incredible things. Our feature on Questionable Content was one of those incredible webcomics and today, we’re showing off another great webcomic that wins the hearts of comic and non-comic fans alike.

This is JL8.

JL8 is a fan made comic about the young version of the Justice League. Writer and illustrator Yale Stewart puts out new issues on a weekly basis and works to make each comic snappy and enjoyable for all ages. Yale pulls great aspects from the characters rich histories and throws our tikes into odds situations that are easy to understand and a joy to see pan out. Whether you’re a die-hard comic fan, an avid viewer of the cartoons, a superhero movie buff, or even know of the character’s existence, there’s a lot to enjoy in these digestible comics.

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The first issue introduced us to Bruce and Alfred, along with the type of humor we’re getting and the lighthearted world of DC.

The comics started out by casually introducing the kids and revealing them as heroes who are just youngsters with powers and daily struggles. The comic doesn’t take itself too seriously, but also maintains the integrity and history of the characters in play.

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Later comics venture into arcs, such as recess, birthday parties, camping trips, and more. Along the way, there are nods everywhere to the DC history, which come in both subtle and obvious ways.

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The serious moments are truly heartfelt and the comical moments knock you on the floor laughing. The comic always has a way with using the super moments to reveal how truly human these kids are. Batman is Bruce, Superman is Clark, Flash is Barry, and Wonder Woman is Diana. The costume becomes a melding of the real face and mask and Yale gives us a new look at some of our favorite characters.

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To catch up with the series, you can check out and follow the official JL8 blog for the latest comics, or check out the archive for high quality images for every comic (great for new readers to catch up on).

And in case you aren’t a DC fan (which I wouldn’t believe after you’ve been through this article and seen JL8), Yale’s art has showcased Marvel characters, along with other commissions and projects he’s worked on. Here’s a sample.

Gambit & Rogue
Gambit & Rogue
Spawn
Spawn
Batman and Daredevil
Batman and Daredevil

Thanks for checking out this post and make sure to keep up with Nerdswole for new articles every week!

JEPH LOEB/ TIM SALE RETROSPECTIVE PART 2: DC

Comic books are works of love. The art, the characters, the writing, the events. Readers like myself fall in love to beautifully done renditions of characters and in turn, love the authors and artists who give us iconic tales. Whether you were introduced to your favorite character on a small cameo, got a sneak peek into an alternate reality, or were indulging on a classic read, there was a story that brought you pure joy and satisfaction. As a guy who loves retrospectives, here’s an ode to the team and series that has always given me great joy. Here’s to Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale.

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Last week, I tackled the duo’s work on Marvel, revealing that the team took a look back into the lives of the alter egos of some iconic heroes and gave them human depth, accessibility, and heart. Well before they showed their colors, the team started with DC Comics. Their first team up was a mini-series that revamped the classic team: Challengers of the Universe. While I haven’t read it, you can see Tim’s talent blasting off the covers.

Literally exploding off the page.
Literally, exploding off the page.

What I do know is that this duo tackled two of DC’s biggest names: Superman and Batman.

Superman For All Seasons

While the team didn’t give the man of steel a year-long epic, Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale did bring a lot of heart and voice to Superman’s supporting cast and captured the world that comes with co-existing with the Man of Tomorrow.

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Each issue of the 4-part mini-series is narrated from a supporting character, following their experiences along with Superman’s early days as a hero. Many of the Superman villains have not been established and we see Superman dealing with natural disasters, transportation crises, and crime at its lowest level. With the emphasis on character over action, the tales provide new perspectives to Clark’s incredible personality and show that there is much more to a hero than a power-set.

All_Seasons_-_Clark_and_Shelby

Batman: The Long Halloween

Easily one of my favorite comics of all time, The Long Halloween is a 13 issue series that covers Batman’s early days in Gotham, after Batman: Year One. Back when Harvey Dent was the district attorney and even before Robin was introduced, Batman is dealing with a serial killer along with competing mob families. Batman struggles are he works with law enforcement to get real progress in his city.

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Look family, Dark Knight fans?

One of the main reasons I picked up this book in the first place is that it was used as inspiration for the Nolan Batman trilogy, namely the portrayal of Two-Face. Much like in the Batman animated series, Bruce Wayne and Harvey Dent are friends before Dent gets mixed up with the Joker, the mob, and everything else that lies in Gotham’s underbelly. A tragic accident and family threat later, Harvey lets loose his angry side in a terrifying way.

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Along the way, Batman battles a new face every issue and the mysteries pile up as Batman races to save lives. This is one of the most incredible arcs in Batman history, and for those of you who love the current Batman run by Scott Snyder will enjoy seeing this young Bruce Wayne slowly getting consumed by the madness in his city. Lastly, this story, along with the sequel, have been accepted as part of the main continuity before the new 52 was established. Unlike the Marvel retellings, Batman’s battles in this year-long tale follow him, which can be prominently seen in Batman: Hush, which was written by Jeph Loeb.

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Batman: Dark Victory

Luckily, the success of the previous book let the duo team up to continue Batman’s early days. Following up on the loose ends in The Long Halloween, Dark Victory focuses on Batman’s isolation as a hero and person, and how he creates a bond between himself and the young Dick Grayson. I can’t talk too much about this tale without revealing what happened in The Long Halloween, but I can make mention of how Tim Sale’s interpretations of the characters are bursting with personality. Joker’s menacing smiles and slim appearance reflect his deceptively brutal persona, The Riddler’s stringy appearance is about as disheveled and weak as he is, and Bruce Wayne’s overbearing physique works in conjunction with his shadowy and brutal alter ego.

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While the sequel never quite lives up to the original, Dark Victory revisits some tragic moments in Gotham, including the death of the Graysons. The emotional intensity Loeb gives each character is heart-wrenching and never lets the reader set the book down.

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Batman: Haunted Knight

While these are technically three separate Batman Halloween specials written on different years, they are collected because they follow the same style and tone of the main two major arcs. Batman deals with a major villain each special, and each one acts in a more surreal manner than Batman can explain. Whether he’s working through Scarecrow’s fear gas, fighting the Mad Hatter’s mind controlled drones, or even trying to understand what the Joker is up to this time, Batman’s Halloween themed stories may be the shortest and most engrossing adventures ever.

Batman-Haunted-Knight-Joker-Jeph-Loeb-and-Tim-Sale-Trinity-Comics-Review

Catwoman: When In Rome

The last of the duo’s work on Batman, this story follows a gap in Dark Victory when Selina Kyle heads to Rome to unravel a mystery about her past and family. Batman held her back in Long Halloween, and Jeph Loeb uses this opportunity to write for a Selina who can act without hesitation and fend for herself. While she does eventually find help along the way, Catwoman escapes the shadow of Batman she have been running from ever since Batman: Year One. For fans of Catwoman, this is one gem not to pass up, as we gets humor, mystery, action, and true character development.

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If there’s any team of creators that have made me love comics, it’s these two guys right here.

Jeph Loeb
Jeph Loeb
Tim Sale
Tim Sale

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For those just getting into comics or even someone looking for a great set of stories, you can’t go wrong with the books I’ve delved into. Thanks for checking out this two-part retrospective and make sure to keep up with NerdSwole every week.

Batman’s New Look and What It Means for Man of Steel 2

Probably the biggest news this week (other than Jay-Z and Solange in the elevator) is the official reveal of Ben Affleck as Batman, alongside his Batmobile.

Yes, it's happening people.
Yes, it’s happening people.

So before I criticize or praise what I’ve seen, I just have one thing to say: Man, this guy is huge. Christian Bale was a muscular man but I wouldn’t describe him as large, especially compared to Tom Hardy’s Bane.

 

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Here’s the comparison of our modern Batmen.

 

 

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Say what you will, but Affleck is looking closer to Batman’s physique in his own series, versus Bale looking closer to his Justice League appearances.

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Here’s Batman in his own comics, clearly not skipping leg day.
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Justice League (New 52) – We can see Batman is as slim as Green Lantern, Superman, and even Flash.

Why does the physique matter? Well, it tells the tale of different Batmen. Some fans (like myself) who see the Ben Affleck outfit see the small bat ears, a new Bat symbol in the middle, and biceps the size of melons. Bat fans know that the inspiration comes from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns.

1at-2 But as we know, the movie isn’t simply about the costume. We’ve known since International Comic-Con 2013 that the movie was to take inspiration from the alternate reality in which (SPOILER) Batman gave up the caped crusader life, only to return to save his city in his old age. The climatic finish is the duel between an elderly Superman and the jaded Batman. (END SPOILER) While this is the route the film could take, we have to remember that the anticipation is also coming from the myriad of characters Zack Snyder is placing into the hotly anticipated sequel. While Henry Cavill will return as the Man of Steel, he will be joined by Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, and Ray Fischer as Victor Stone aka Cyborg. It’s a big movie that is both hoping to stand alone as an epic Batman/Superman film while also acting to set up an even larger film, Justice League. So with that in mind, here’s a few duels between the World’s Finest and what could be used as inspiration for the upcoming DC blockbuster.

You've been warned.
You’ve been warned.

Kingdom Come

This was the first story I though of after The Dark Knight Returns. Beautifully painted by the great Alex Ross and written by Mark Waid (along with Ross), Kingdom Come is another Elseworlds tale that takes place in the future. Superman and Batman are older, on opposing sides facing a doomed world and a conspiracy helmed by Luthor among other dastardly villains.

The four covers of Kingdom Come, showing the factions in the doomed world.
The four covers of Kingdom Come, showing the factions in the doomed world.

While Superman’s more titanic fight happens later with Captain Marvel, Clark and Bruce’s interactions can certainly influence the Affleck/Cavill dynamic. Their relationship will set the tone for the film, as they can team up or fight. tumblr_mnsld9QCuk1s62094o1_1280

Batman/Superman Movie

This is one of the few inspirations that are from TV, but it’s a plausible route for the 2016 movie. This animated movie is a combination of episodes from the Superman animated series, which pairs him with Batman from The New Batman Adventures. Their initial encounter is a sight to see and the movie follows both heroes fighting their arc villains, Joker and Lex Luthor, together.

Batman: Hush

Batman has been bogged down in his city, and only when Superman stops by does he look up from his troubled city to get some perspective. However, in Batman: Hush, Batman is dealing with a new serial killer and finds his sanity escapes him. Superman, becomes susceptible to Poison Ivy’s mind control and the two face off in a duel unlike any other. While this is a Batman story, you can get a sense of the brutality Bruce is dealing out and how it may tie into the darker Man of Steel series.

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I’m more excited than the Ben Affleck haters and am just looking forward to how they will reincarnate Batman when we’ve had a great Batman in Christian Bale so recently.

What do you think of the new suit? Any thought of the duel of the World’s Finest? Leave them below in the comments and make sure to keep it locked on Nerdswole for all the latest in comics, movies, tv, and more!

Nerds are Romantic

When I say that nerds are romantic, I’m talking a little less this:

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and a little more this:

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The iconic Hamlet and the beauty found in the form of a skull.

Is this because Valentine’s Day is around the corner according to every retail chain? No. This article is simply to celebrate the idealism that gets taken for granted when you think of nerdom.

For starters, let’s take one of Merriam-Webster’s definitions for romantic:

adj :  marked by the imaginative or emotional appeal of what is heroic, adventurous, remote, mysterious, or idealized

How are nerds not romantic? The slightest presence of a person’s interest in a fandom, franchise, hobby, or piece of art is drenched with emotional attachment.

Nerds may get romantic to a point where that passion turns into:

Exactly. Unbridled passion! Thank you Miss Lemon.
Exactly. Unbridled passion! Thank you Miss Lemon.

However, at Nerdswole, we appreciate these passions, in their smallest increments or their biggest of parades.

Everything is given purpose and beauty. Everything counts and that’s a beautiful fact.

In video games, it’s every experience boost, every item, every useless character, every single expanse of land, and every thing the game has to say. In a general sense, take the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and the trading game. There is a weapon, known by many Zelda fans, called the Biggoron sword, a giant sword which needs to be held with both hands and rivals your legendary master sword. But how does one attain this weapon? Well it starts out with…

A cucco egg.
A cucco egg.

An egg. As a token of gratitude, the woman who you’ve helped retrieve her cuccos (chickens and roosters in Legend of Zelda) gave Link (the player) an egg. This egg hatched and you gave it to a hoodlum for a medicinal mushroom, the herbs went to a witch for a potion, and so on and so forth. Finding the people necessary to make this chain of events work is a chore in itself, but you help people along the way. Eventually, you find the pieces to help your fellow giant blacksmith, who leaves your with a small token of gratitude…

Well, it's small for him. It's a two-handed weapon for us little people.
Well, it’s small for him. It’s a two-handed weapon for us little people.

All the useless items along the way, the no name people we help, even the things we think of in passing, all have some purpose. Life may not hand you a giant sword for helping people with demanding needs, but the universe usually finds a way to help those who help others.

Everything is given purpose. Everything counts and that’s a beautiful fact. Take for instance Barney Stinson, from How I Met Your Mother). For a man so awesome, only this video could capture that awesomeness in action:

And yet, for all this awesomeness, we find that the ideal successful man with riches, women, even respect, has to struggle to maintain love, family, and sometimes his stories straight. His own idea of a hero is even doused in romanticism. We discover that Barney is a fan of the Karate Kid, but does not see Ralph Macchio as the Karate Kid. In the clip below, well, you’ll see:

Only a true romantic sees the movie for what they want to see. Not to take away from Daniel’s journey from 0 to hero, but Barney sees what he sees in a hero in Johnny Lawrence of the Cobra Kais. Every person in the film, even the so-called bad guy, counts to someone.

Everything is given purpose and beauty. Everything counts and that’s a beautiful fact. Lastly, let’s take my favorite hero, Spider-Man.

I just got around to reading Death of the Stacys trade paperback recently. A testament to how well it has stood the test of time, the book connected with me the way modern stories have. It’s a testament to how well the characters were established way back when and how writers have preserved such icons like Peter Parker, Doctor Octopus, and even that ol’ stick in the mud J. Jonah Jameson. We sees Peter’s struggle in maintaining both lives, we see his loved ones suffer because of it, and we see the villains who take advantage of it. Seeing the tragedy unfold, I felt that Gwen’s loss was so tragic, yet necessary, like Uncle Ben’s. Without that death, Peter may have gone on to wrestle and lose his way.

Wolverine's gets a close up view of the Peter Parker who hadn't lost his Uncle Ben, and doesn't like who he sees (Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine #4)
Wolverine’s gets a close up view of the Peter Parker who hadn’t lost his Uncle Ben, and doesn’t like who he sees (Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine #4)

And without the loss of Gwen Stacy, we may not have appreciated a woman who captured our hearts a few years earlier. No moment captures romanticism better than the iconic debut of the beautiful Mary Jane Watson.

Mary Jane Watson, Amazing Spider-Man #42
Mary Jane Watson, Amazing Spider-Man #42

That moment changed the nature of secondary characters, of romantic interests, of Spider-Man’s life, and the lives of us nerds. Love at first sight was forever ingrained into the minds of millions when we saw Peter gaze upon the beautiful redhead.

That moment has been attempted, even retold with stunning results.

Mary Jane Watson, Spider-Man: Blue
Mary Jane Watson, Spider-Man: Blue

For many, seeing the introduction and rise of Mary Jane was ideal for nerds everywhere. Having a woman rock your world, even when you had thought love was found (then with Gwen Stacy). Her dynamic character has endured throughout the years and she’s has become as well-rounded and dimensional as Peter has. Many people may not know what’s going on in Spider-Man comics at the moment, but few will not think of Amazing Spider-Man #42 when they hear “Mary Jane.” An secondary character who was introduced at first as a love interest has become a person of her own with as much value to the Marvel Universe as anyone else.

Everything is given purpose and beauty. Everything counts and that’s a beautiful fact. Nerds find the smallest things beautiful, whether you can understand how gorgeous artwork touches your soul, how finding a shiny Pokemon is like finding a silver needle in a gold needle haystack, or even how a quote from a narrator gets tied to a character who died and that has stayed with us, forever.

…with great power there must also come — great responsibility!

I’ve compiled a few comics that are not all canon, but capture the essence of the characters we love. It makes us feel right that we are bearing witness to the characters at their core, whether it’s Peter Parker’s guilt over Gwen, Joker’s insanity as a disease, or even Phil’s photography of the great heroes in Marvels.

  • Marvel’s Color series (Spider-Man: Blue, Daredevil: Yellow, Hulk: Gray) – Jeph Loeb/ Tim Sale
  • Marvels – Kurt Busiek / Alex Ross
  • Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Vol.1 (new52) – Various Authors and Artists
  • DC: The New Frontier – Darwin Cooke
  • Joker – Brian Azzarello/ Lee Bermejo

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