Tag Archives: marvel entertainment

CHANGING OF THE GUARD

Earlier this week, Disney decimated the competition with the reveal of their 2021 content season and beyond. Star Wars fans alone will be gorging on content for years. They’ll be barfing it up like Grogu (Baby Yoda) barfs up blue macaroons.

Are you not entertained?

In the MCU, the abundance of content will give the Marvel fan the same sense of satiation. Loki, What If, Shang-Chi, Eternals, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, WandaVision, Black Widow, this list goes on and on…

But there was one announcement that divided fandom, specifically Black comic fandom:

No, T’Challa? But, muh Black manhood!

Black Panther 2, to be released in 2022, will not feature T’Challa, but rather focus on the country of Wakanda itself and other characters from the first film. This announcement was made because Chadwick Boseman, the superlative actor who brought T’Challa to life, passed away unexpectedly a mere two months ago.

Of course, the obvious go-to would be Shuri taking over the mantle of the Black Panther from her brother. The comic books themselves have shown Shuri as a Black Panther. However, some people (Black men if we’re being completely honest here) are up in arms with claims of Black man emasculation because the MCU will not recast the role of T’Challa nor use CGI to continue Brother Chadwick’s visage, if not performance, in this next film.

The King was taken from us far too soon…

Ok. My two cents:

Yes, major characters like the DC Trinity have had multiple people play the various characters. However, there was always a sufficient amount of time between the “changing of the guard” so to speak. Examples include:

Superman: from George Reeves in the 50s to Christopher Reeve in the 70s to Dean Cain in the 90s, etc.

Batman: from Adam West in the 60s to Michael Keaton in ’89 to Christian Bale in ’05, etc.

Wonder Woman: from Lynda Carter in the 70s to Gal Gadot in 2018…

Yes, many actors have played these roles, but their performances were spaced generations apart from each other…

Point being, there were decades in between new actors taking on these roles for new generations.

Now T’Challa, specifically Chadwick Boseman’s performance, has elevated the role of Black Panther to that same mythic status. He made the role his. His performance is forever iconic. And, let’s keep it a buck, no matter who will eventually become the next T’Challa will be scrutinized and compared to Brother Chadwick’s performance… especially for BP2.

In other words: it’s too soon.

Of course people are gonna compare actors who took on the role like the late Sean Connery’s James Bond vs. Daniel Craig’s interpretation of the character. That’s natural.

But again, we’re dealing with generational comparisons. Brother Chadwick passed, what, two months ago?

It is simply too soon.

In addition, though T’Challa opened up Wakanda to the rest of the world doesn’t mean the next film will focus on that. Keep in mind, the MCU is now five years ahead of “regular” time thanks to Avengers: Endgame. It is possible to do a “back in time” BP movie without Chadwick to learn more about the nation and the mantle of the Black Panther (think the third Underworld film Rise of the Lycans) and then go forward in the third movie with a new T’Challa.

How cool would it be to see some of the other Black Panthers in the second film?

The thing is, some folks think T’Challa and Chadwick are the same person, which is not true. Besides, the MCU isn’t dumb enough to kill off a character because an actor passed. T’Challa is making them a lot of money. But I think they are sensitive enough to mourn. And, keep in mind, the whole cast and crew of BP (who are mostly returning) are still in mourning as well. They became a family on set and they are probably not ready to replace their champion.

This is actually a smart move, emotionally, to have BP2 focus more on Wakanda. Maybe the movie would be about other Black Panthers throughout Wakanda’s history. Maybe it’s about young T’Chaka. In any event, BP2 would act as a bridge for the next actor to fill Chadwick’s shoes in the role of T’Challa…

And I would love to see a flick about those who wore the habit of the Panther before the current King of Wakanda.

Of course, this is all speculative. None of us own the character and The Mouse will do what The Mouse does. We’re just gonna have to wait, see, and consume (or not) what they give us.

I yield the rest of my time to the floor…

https://www.griotnterprises.com

The Final Rant Part Three: There Is No Spoon

Molly Danger by Jamal Igle
Molly Danger by Jamal Igle

The comic book industry, as we imagine it, does not exist.

I realize that what I’ve just said is rather controversial. I realize that what I just wrote may make some heads explode. The truth, sometimes, is a bitter pill to swallow. But, it must be said so that we can proceed in a positive direction.

To be an industry, it must be self-sustaining. It must provide goods and services that the public can’t live without.

With that being said, here’s another truth:

Industry does not care about what you think.

Aizan by Shawn Alleyne
Aizan by Shawn Alleyne

As a business, dollars are the only thing that the industry cares about, its bottom line. It doesn’t care about diversity, it doesn’t care about civil rights and the industry doesn’t care about the honest representation of any culture. As long as that money is coming in, as long as people are lining up to consume what the industry has to offer, then the industry is good. The industry keeps on truckin’.

Comics do not fit this category. The comic book is a medium by which I, and others, choose to deliver the most important component of the entertainment industry…

…The property.

With the acquisition of Marvel Entertainment by The Walt Disney Company, the medium of the comic book is officially part of a larger industry known as the entertainment industry. This industry is made up of many facets including literature, video games, television, music, merchandising and animation. These are the different mediums by which we disburse entertainment to the masses. Disney bought Marvel because Disney was lacking in properties directed at young boys. Throughout the 90s and the early part of the new millennium, they focused so much on their live programming and the “Princess” line (i.e. Mulan, Pocahontas, Beauty and the Beast, etc.), they forgot about the boys in their marketing strategy. They weren’t getting that (In my best TF Curtis impersonation) “Little Boy Munnaaayyy”….

Midnight Tiger by Ray-Anthony Height
Midnight Tiger by Ray-Anthony Height

The boys didn’t care that they were being ignored because they were satisfied with the properties that other companies provided (i.e. DC Entertainment and Marvel). Now, DC and Marvel make their money through their properties. The properties are disbursed through the various mediums that were identified earlier in this post. Comic books represent a small, but crucial part, of their bottom line. Comics are the first step in getting their properties to the masses. If the comic book is successful (indicated solely by how many units are sold), then the property can be further exploited through other media. Marvel Studios’ successful exploitation of their peoperties (thanks again to the Blade property, for getting the ball rolling) in the cinematic realm made Marvel Entertainment attractive enough to be acquired by Disney.

Lucius Hammer by Ravenhammer Comics
Lucius Hammer by Ravenhammer Comics

The deal was a win-win for both companies. Marvel now has the resources to continue doing what they do, and Disney has a ready-made and thriving think tank to develop more properties that could be marketed to the young boy demographic… And they want more. That’s why they bought the Star Wars property for over 4 billion dollars (Dr. Evil pinky close-up).

We, as comic book readers, are the focus group in this Grand Hustle of marketing. If we don’t support a property through our dollars, and our dollars alone, then that property will not be successful. Hollywood picked up on this. That’s why it’s even more difficult to get to and attend the San Diego Comic Con these days.

Will Power by Vince White
Will Power by Vince White

What does that mean for the independent creator?

If you want to do comics and have true control and (hopefully) success in this business, first understand that comics aren’t just comics. It’s all about creating a strong concept, a strong property and disbursing that property through as many channels as possible. You can’t wait for DC and Marvel to create that property. You’ve got to do your own thing. The only thing standing between creators and success are themselves.

At this stage of the game, you don’t need Diamond for distribution. POD outfits like DriveThruComics.com and IndyPlanet.com not only provide digital and print books to the buyer, but retailers can order multiple copies at a discount as well. In terms of merchandise, using online companies like Zazzle.com can provide those at little to no start-up cost to the entrepreneur.

The Horsemen by Jiba Molei Anderson & published by Griot Enterprises
The Horsemen by Jiba Molei Anderson & published by Griot Enterprises

What does the mean for the fan?

Your dollars dictate the success or failure of these properties. Your dollars determine whether or not your favorite characters, or the idealized version of yourselves, become part of the global fabric of recognized and beloved properties. If you do not pay for these properties, they will not grow and flourish, but wither and die in obscurity.

The only thing that stands between satisfied and unsatisfied fans are the dollars you spend. Spending money on companies that create properties that speak to you ensures that they will continue to exist. This game ain’t easy and if you’re gonna play it, it’s gonna take hard work and being on your grind each and every day. That’s the reality and I want to see more projects of quality rise to the challenge.

The comic book industry does not exist, but it is a business… And business is good.

Outworld: Return of the Master Teachers second promotional poster
Outworld: Return of the Master Teachers second promotional poster

Speaking of business, please support the amazing properties displayed in this article. And, there’s only 21 days left in the Outworld: Return of the Master Teachers Round Two campaign on Indiegogo. We’ve raised $60.00 of our $1500.00 goal to get our next property out to the masses in May. To support, click here:

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/outworld-return-of-the-master-teachers-round-two

Next up: The standard… Cheers!

http://www.griotenterprises.com