The day is finally here! Great Big World: The Trouble with Dr. Beamo is available for purchase! As of right now, only the print edition is available, but digital editions will be available very soon! Head on over to my page for Great Big World to get the scoop, or just click the image above to head over to my personal store at Createspace to purchase a copy!
It is with great pleasure that I am able to (finally) reveal the cover for Great Big World: The Trouble with Dr. Beamo! I held off on revealing it until I had the placement all set and was just about ready to print the sucker.
The artwork is by the talented Kelly A. Gould and it gives the reader the first look at one of the shadowy creeorks. There are only a few final touches to be made to the book itself and I'm hoping, Amazon willing, that it'll be ready and available for the holiday season! More info to come once you can finally get your eager hands on it. Thanks for your patience and thanks most of all to Kelly for the great job and putting up with my (endless) tweaks!
15 years. Sounds like a long time, doesn’t it? It isn’t. It goes by in a flash, but at the same time, it feels like a lifetime ago. 15 years ago today my family lost my dad to cancer. Quite literally, it was the worst day of my life.
My dad was my favorite person. I inherited so much from him—his sense of humor, his brains, not so much his golf game. When I was a kid, he took me everywhere with him and would even let me stand up in the front seat of the car—ah, the eighties and their lax child safety laws. As I got older and began developing my comic book addiction, my dad became my number one enabler, taking me on weekly trips to the comic book store at the mall. In return, I got him hooked on The Fat Boys—his favorite song was “Protect Yourself (My Nuts).” Of course, as I grew into my teens, I didn’t want to be caught dead with my parents. If I had known how little time I had left with him, I would have changed my attitude. When I got to college, my dad, who had been out of work for a long time, took a job nearby—60 miles from our home. He made that commute every day to put me through college, even when he got sick, and was always there for me when I needed to come home. I loved those drives and learned a lot from him. It was obviously different from when I was a kid, but it was like old times.
He was diagnosed with cancer of the bladder in late 1996. We were hopeful he could beat it and tried several different things including some radical surgery, but he knew. He knew it would be his last fight. He held on long enough to see me get through school. I never forgot that the entire time I was at Rutgers—my father was literally killing himself to get me through. My grades weren’t all A’s, but I made damn sure I didn’t let his sacrifice go to waste while I was there. His health deteriorated rapidly after I graduated. He died in the afternoon. I was supposed to go to work that day and was playing a round of Final Fantasy VIII before my oldest sister called me into the room. By the time I got there, he was already gone. I don’t remember ever playing Final Fantasy VIII again after that. I never forgave myself for that and I doubt I ever will.
When people talk of having “father issues,” usually it’s because their fathers were absent or abusive, unloving. I didn’t have that problem. I loved my dad and he definitely loved me. My father issues stem from his death and the gaping hole it’s left in my life. Naturally, these issues work their way into my writing. Maxim Ultra, whom you’ll all meet sometime next year, definitely has a tough time shaking off his father’s shadow, while always wondering if he’d be proud of him. Jake, the star of Great Big World, has a father who’s married to his career, while his Uncle David wonders if his own father’s still alive after vanishing mysteriously. So, yeah, a lot of daddy issues pop up in my stuff and will probably continue to do so until I’m old and gray, because I’ll never stop missing my dad. For my graduation gift, he bought me my first PC because he wanted me to follow my dream, and I’m finally taking real steps to honor that.
I don’t profess to know what happens to us after we leave this world, but I hope he’s in a better place. He deserves that at least. And I hope that I’ll see him again someday.
“Love you, pal.”
With everything going on right now with Great Big World - more news on that coming soon, I promise - I had to condense my annual Fall Movie Preview to cover the thirteen films I'm most excited for this year. This summer was high on quality and this fall movie season looks to keep that trend going with films from Christopher Nolan, Paul Thomas Anderson, Bennett Miller, David Fincher, and more. Check it out over at The Hodgepodge Podcast and thanks for reading!
So, let’s focus on Avengers 2, which arrives in theaters next May. The majority of the cast turned up at Comic Con along with Producer/Marvel Svengali Kevin Feige—Writer-Director Joss Whedon was recuperating from knee surgery in London—and they brought some footage with them that will inevitably be included in a future trailer for the film this fall. Like with Batman and Superman, the place went crazy. However, what I want to discuss here today is what could happen in the film, or more specifically, what I want to happen. Call it my dream scene. It’s not much, but it would drive every audience member insane with excitement if it happens.
First, we need to talk about some of the rumors surrounding the film. Being the sequel to the third highest-grossing film of all time—not adjusted for inflation—is going to generate just a tad bit of interest. So there are a ton of rumors and scuttlebutt surrounding this film. I’ve heard Ant-Man might show up—probably Michael Douglas if it happens.
I’ve also heard talk of a possible Black Panther cameo or at least his father, T’Chaka—Black Panther is T’Challa—to put the character and his kingdom, Wakanda, on the Marvel Cinematic map. Then there’s all the talk about Falcon and War Machine and how big their roles will be, if they’re officially showing up—the footage at Comic Con confirmed that Don Cheadle will make an appearance for sure.
But the character I keep hearing about, the one that keeps getting teased, is Carol Danvers, or how she’s known nowadays, Captain Marvel. This would be a good move for Marvel in their bid to beat Warner Brothers and DC to the punch at having the first solo female superhero film—although, with WB/DC’s recent announcement of nine(!) films over the next six years, you have to imagine that one of them will be Wonder Woman…right? However, nothing is confirmed on the Captain Marvel front.
The actress linked most to the role is Starbuck herself, Katee Sackhoff. This would be very serendipitous casting since both Starbuck and Carol Danvers are very similar characters. Both are pilots and have had to navigate a world dominated by men. Other actresses could do a good job with the part, but I think Sackhoff would hit it out of the park.
So Carol Danvers is the lynchpin of my Avengers 2 dream scene. Here’s how it would play out:
Steve: Carol? What are you doing here?
Carol: (Jerks her thumb over her shoulder) Oh, I’m just here with a friend.
Steve looks over her shoulder.
Cut back to a bemused Steve.
Steve: Well, enjoy your night.
Steve and Thor leave Carol.
Steve (to Thor): I think I know that guy.
This scene would do multiple things. The first obvious thing it would do is connect the X-Men and Avengers universes without explicitly doing so. As of right now, The Avengers and other films under the “Marvel Cinematic Universe” umbrella are produced solely by Marvel Studios, which is owned by Disney—Disney actually owns Marvel in total, comic books and all. On the other side of the street, the X-Men and all characters associated with them are licensed to 20th Century Fox. So, while in the comic books, the X-Men and Avengers all exist in the same Marvel Comics Universe, in the films, the crossing over of the properties across studio lines is a no-no. By doing a scene like this, having Hugh Jackman appear as “a guy who looks exactly like Wolverine,” but not explicitly saying so, it would show Marvel is winking to the fans and saying, “Yes Virginia, there is a Wolverine.”
Second, this simple interaction would go a long way to fleshing out both Cap and Carol Danvers’ characters. In the comics, Cap and Logan met back in World War II—Black Widow was also involved as a child, but we’ll ignore that part for the movies. Since Logan’s healing ability has helped him live for over a hundred years with no hint of aging and he has been involved in every war since his birth, it would make sense that he and Cap might have crossed paths in Europe.
Also in the comics, Carol has always had a close relationship with Wolverine as well as the X-Men—ever wonder why Rogue can fly in the books and not in the movies? When she was a villain running with Mystique, she stole those powers from Carol Danvers. A scene like this would acknowledge that history and inform the audience on Carol’s past, making her a more compelling character.
Third, Wolverine has been a member of the Avengers in the monthly books - as has pretty much every other Marvel character; The Avengers aren't too picky. He helped launch a new title called New Avengers after Brian Michael Bendis blew up the old team back in 2004. While he's mainly been an X-Man, it wouldn't be out of the ordinary for Logan to show up and fight with the Avengers.
Finally, it would just be mind-blowingly awesome to see Hugh Jackman as “Wolverine” in an Avengers film. The studios will probably never sort out the legal and financial hurdles to have Wolverine make a proper appearance with the Avengers, but this would be the next best thing. Fans love the interconnectedness of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and my dream scene would only go towards enhancing and expanding that. The odds of it happening are less than zero, but we can all dream, right?
I'm currently putting the final touches on my review of the latest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film. In the meantime, head on over to The Retroist and read my personal retrospective of the Turtles' 30 year history!
Thanks for reading!
Another one of my essays has been posted over at The Retroist! This one asks the question, Is The Dark Knight Returns the Greatest Batman Story Ever Told? Click on the links or picture above to find out! This is the second of a series of essays I'm writing this year to celebrate Batman's 75th Anniversary, so stay tuned for more and check out my earlier essay about Batman: The Animated Series.
Thanks for reading!
Is Raiders of the Lost Ark the most perfect film ever made? I like to think so and I explain why over at The Retroist! Join me as I discuss all the fantastic elements that came together in just the right way to make Raiders absolutely perfect. Hope to see you over there and thanks for reading!
Heading out to see Trans4mers this weekend? Be sure to head on over to The Retroist and read my latest essay first. It's all about the only GOOD Transformers film, 1986's Transformers: The Movie. Take a look and thanks for reading!
Time to pull the veil of secrecy off the characters in Great Big World! I dabbled in cartooning in school and have dusted those skills off again to bring my characters to life. We'll start with the villains of the piece, introduced in the Prologue that I posted a little while back: Dr. Beamo and Count Sugar Cain!
There's more to come, but I can't reveal ALL the characters, because then, well, you won't have to read the book.
Thanks for reading!