Elements of Great Anime

Elements of Great Anime

Elements of Great Anime

iGeekOut

Ever since Anime first made an introduction in the United States in the late 1970’s to mid-1980’s, a debate has raged among fans as to what the exact elements of great anime are. While there will always be some debate, there are a few things that most any fan can agree on. For each of the elements listed here, there will be a brief description of how it helps make a great anime. Additionally, while each element will have an associated anime with it, each of the anime’s listed contain each of these elements…hence why they are so great.

Backstory

While there are some anime’s that are fun to watch, which don’t have much, if any, kind of a backstory the truly great ones have a backstory that shows the events and people who lead up to whatever the current crisis is. If there is any anime that has a wonderful amount of backstory, it has got to be Naruto. With almost 20 years’ worth of material to draw from, it is only to be expected that there would be quite a bit of backstory included along with the main story. In fact, due to the backstory, some of the otherwise touching parts of the series becomes truly heart wrenching. One of the most notable examples of this is the when Jiraya dies. Thinking about the history that lead up to that moment still makes me tear up a little.

“Frenemies”

Oftentimes the best antagonists aren’t exactly the “big-bad” of the show, but rather someone who is (or becomes) a friend of the protagonist, if not the actual best friend. An example of this can be seen in the classic anime Dragonball Z with Goku and Vegeta. Vegeta is not only a member of the once mighty Saiyan race of super warriors, but also their prince. Since he originally came to Earth to conquer it, he was a big bad at some point. Once he was defeated by Goku, the two eventually became “frenemies” who more often than not work together to save the planet and improve one another’s skills.

Balance

There needs to be balance in a great anime. Balance between the forces of “good” and the forces of “evil,” or at the very least “us” versus “them.” The better examples of this in anime, such as with The Macross Saga (a.k.a., Robotech) still has this balance in mind even when it appears at first glance that there is a large disparity between the two forces. Oftentimes, the balance will come about due to the antagonists underestimating the protagonist’s forces or skill. However, the best examples will show that there was an actual balance between the forces without anyone even realizing it…as seen with the Max Sterling and Mirya the Zentradi faceoff.

Character Development

No one likes stagnant, one dimensional characters. There must be some noticeable (and believable) development of the characters over time. Ideally, this growth is gradual, but when you look back upon the story it also must be blatantly noticeable. One of the best possible examples of this can be seen with the characters Kirito and Asuna in Sword Art Online. At the start of the series, Kirito did not want to have any major contact with anyone for fear of losing them if he was not able to protect them and they died, while Asuna didn’t have any faith in herself and just wanted to die. By the end of the first season of the series, they were able to beat the game, fell in love, and were looked at as the heroes of the game.

Overarching Plot

A great anime needs to have an overarching, and comprehensive story as is possible. The best anime’s will show an event, or series of events, in season one that look rather minor at the time they are introduced, only to have it come back and smack everyone in the face later. An example of this can be seen in the awesomely good Attack on Titan, where Eren’s father is shown as researcher in the early part of the series, only to find out later on that Eren’s father may actually have been researching ways to control the Titans and the one to have caused some of the problems that Eren faces. This is driven home even more when it is shown that there are others who also have the same “issue” that Eren has, and that there may be even more as well.

Twists

Who doesn’t love to have a good twist or two in a series? These are what helps make the story move a long, and keep things fresh and interesting as well. Things are going along in one direction, and suddenly, the story moves in another without you even realizing that it was coming. If you haven’t seen The Seven Deadly Sins on Netflix yet, you really should as it’s a perfect example of this. Each episode has some kind of a twist and turn to it that you don’t exactly see coming, but when it happens makes perfect sense. Just keep an eye out for the interplay between Meliodas and and Sir Gilthunder…it’s truly epic.

No, we did not include a love interest, though each of these often had that as a minor (to major) plot point. Additionally, we did not include epic fight scenes, though each of the anime’s listed above do include those as well. Keep in mind that everyone may have a different idea of what makes up a great anime, but it is rather safe to say that each of them will include this list at a minimum. If you look for these elements in an anime, then you really can’t go wrong.

Top Five Zombie Movies – 2016

Top Five Zombie Movies – 2016

Top Five Zombie Movies – 2016

iGeekOut

Zombies have become an almost necessary element of modern classic horror and urban fantasy movies. In fact, they have become such a part of the pantheon of cinematic ghoulies that it can be rather difficult for some to decide which zombie movies are great, which are meh, and which are complete and utter dreck. That’s where this list comes into play. It is designed to share with you, dear reader, some of the best zombie movies available right now. At least in my humble opinion that is. Whether you agree with the list or not remains to be seen.

5 – Warm Bodies

The initial, rather surprising, entry to this list is 2013’s Warm Bodies, which is a screen adaptation of a book by the same name. Nicholas Holt plays R, a zombie who may only be mostly dead as opposed to all dead. When R comes ends up saving Julie (played by Teresa Palmer) he realizes that he can still feel something in his cold, dead(ish) heart, and that there may be some hope for him and that he might be able to make a recovery from being dead(ish). While this is a fun movie, and one that has a few scary parts, it is not as scary of a movie as some of the others on this list. It is definitely one that you will want to keep on your list as a show you need to see at least once, if only because of the unique approach to zombies that it presents.

4 – I Am Legend

Will Smith plays Robert Neville, the lone survivor in New York City after a biological outbreak that turns the rest of humanity into ravenous zombies…at least as far as he knows. I Am Legend is one of those movies that grabs hold of you within the first few minutes and simply doesn’t let go. Neville isn’t going into this blind though, he is immune and can use his own blood as a serum to help create a potential cure. However, along the way he must not only battle against the infected, but the threat of his potentially going slowly insane. All it will take is one wrong move on his part and he will either die, or worse.

3 – Night of the Living Dead

As the spiritual godfather of all modern zombie movies, George Romero’s classic movie Night of the Living Dead can be said to have created the modern zombie craze. In many ways, this movie is what set in stone the way we look at zombies today, and is the golden bar by which we judge all other zombie movies. One of the interesting things that people find themselves asking by the end of this movie is just who is really the living dead? Is it the various strangers in the house who must band together to try and survive and overcome virtually insurmountable odds, or is the unrelenting horde pounding on their door? Watch and find out.

2 – Zombieland

Zombieland is the story four strangers who come together, and learn how to trust again in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. While this movie is definitely a zombie flick, it is also one of the funniest movies that I have seen in recent years. Ever wanted to have some practical rules that you could use to survive a zombie apocalypse? Well, look no further. Jesse Eisenberg plays Columbus (no real names are given in the movie…it’s one of the rules) who is a former college student and narrator of the story who you quickly learn to love despite (or perhaps because of) his almost desperate need to be liked. As the story progresses you see how Columbus (the one who created the rules) slowly learns that he can periodically set aside those rules and begin to live again. At least if he does it carefully.

1 – Dawn of the Dead (2004)

Every few years it is necessary to shake up any given genre, and zombie movies are no different. In 2004, Zack Snyder (yes, the same guy who did Watchmen, 300, and Man of Steel) with the help of zombie grandmaster George Romero provided a story that did exactly that with Dawn of the Dead. No longer did we have the slow, lumbering zombies that you could easily get away from (provided they weren’t in large groups). Instead we were now faced with a new kind of zombie. Ones that were smart, fast, and somewhat more aware of the world around them both through sight and sound at a minimum. Be aware that before you watch this movie it is very bloody, and without a doubt violent.

So, this is our list for the Top Five Zombie Movies – 2016. How close did we come to your list? Did we miss something that should have been listed, but wasn’t? Do you disagree with something that we have on this list? Don’t be shy and share with everyone your point of view in the comments below. Who knows, it may just be added into next year’s list. So be sure to let it rip!

iGeekOut’s Top 15 Horror Movies – 2016

iGeekOut’s Top 15 Horror Movies – 2016

iGeekOut's Top 15 Horror Movies - 2016

iGeekOut

Whether you are looking for a good scare, or are wanting to get into the mood for Halloween, you really can’t beat the attraction of a good horror movie. However, that can often present a unique challenge since it can often feel like a good horror movie is difficult (if not impossible) to find since most of the horror movies that are made lately are nothing more than utter dreck, with a few sprinklings of decent offerings. So, if you are looking for a way to creep yourself out for the next few hours, or are wanting to put on a film fest that would make even the Mummy quake in fear, here is a list of 15 “go-to” horror flicks that won’t disappoint. Keep in mind that while some of these are a bit funny, they do tend to get scarier (and often times more disturbing) as the list nears the top spot.

15. The Cabin in the Woods

Have you ever wondered why most horror movies tend to follow the same old clichés over and over? Well, we get a rather interesting answer from the minds of Joss Whedon (The Avengers) and Drew Goddard (World War Z). In the simplest of terms, five college friends go for a weekend trip up to The Cabin in the Woods, only to find (in the words of the movie itself) that “bad things happen.” This delightful horror movie has all the old tropes from pretty much all horror movies, but they are presented in a delightfully new way that makes you wonder who is really the bad guy and what is actually going on. This is definitely one of the few movies on this list that when you think you know what is going on, you find yourself both right and wrong at the same time. Confusing? Maybe, but a fun time none the less.

14. Night of the Living Dead

George Romero is, without a doubt one of the Grand Masters of the horror genre, and the undisputed Godfather of the zombie survival movie. In fact, it can easily be stated that with the release of Night of the Living Dead in 1968, George Romero created the modern interpretation of the zombie. This movie may come in rather low in the special effects department when compared to other horror movies that are released today, but it is still consistently ranked on “Best of” lists the world over nearly 50 years after it’s first release. There are a number of reasons why, not the least of which is the superb storytelling and pacing that is seen in the film, but also in the practical effects used to add a gritty realism that isn’t seen much in movies today. Additionally, since the movie can be viewed as a metaphor of american society at the time in a number of ways (race relations, non-conformists vs. conformity, and so on) it is so easy to see why it has stood the test of time.

13. The Exorcist

Both herladed and lambasted as one of the scariest movies of all time, William Friedken’s interpretation of the William Peter Blatty novel of the same name, is almost as controversial today as it was when it was first released in 1973. The Exorcist is much more than a simple possession flick, and can (in many people) create an almost visceral reaction to what is being portrayed. There have been relatively few movies that have portrayed so accurately the fight between faith and science, and the maddening confusion that some find themselves confronted with in the face of inexplicable events. Some of the best scenes throughout the movie is the gut-wrenching fear that mother Chris MacNeil (played by Ellen Burstyn) and Reagan MacNeil (portrayed by Linda Blair) exhibit as they are faced with a series of events that science has no rational answer to. The Exorcist is held up as the gold bar standard of possession movies, even 43 years after it first came out. There is just something about this movie that speaks the to viewer on an almost primal level.

12. Devil

One of the more recent, and successful, offerings by writer M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense) and director John Erick Dowdle (Quarantine), Devil is an intriguing study of a group of people who are trapped in an elevator. Seems rarther simple enough, but the kicker is that unbeknownst to these individuals, the Devil (yes, that DEVIL) is also trapped with them. By taking advantage of things such as racism, sexism, manipulation, pride, vanity, and a few others, the Devil is able to pit these supposedly everyday people against one another. At almost every turn, Devil will make you question what is going on, what you believe you know, and what you think you have already learned. In true Shyamalan fashion, there is a twist, but it is one that isn’t really all that obvious at first glance. Best of all, when you think that the twist has happened, you find out that it really hasn’t. While, as with many Shayamalan movies, you may want to pay close attention, you don’t need to worry about the minutia in order to enjoy it. The suspense slowly builds up over time, and there are a couple of jump scares, but all in all Devil is a very enjoyable movie that you will find yourself watching again and again.

11. Alien

Directed by science fiction master, Ridley Scott, Alien is the initial offering in one of the most successful horror (and movie) franchises of all time. The crew of the space mining ship, Nostromo, finds themselves answering what they think is a distress beacon (when in fact it is a warning) and find themselves slowly being killed by an alien organism that is beyond their understanding. To make matters worse, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that the corporation that the crew works for actually set them up, knowing that they might likely die in the attempt to capture this organsm. One of the best things about this movie is that not only does it build slowly over time until there is an explosive finale, the story is portrayed by an all star cast led by Tom Skerrit (Top Gun), Sigourney Weaver (Avatar), John Hurt (V for Vendetta), and Sir Ian Holm (The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies). Alien is also one of the few horror movies to have avoided the remake craze in recent years. This is probably due to the fact that it can still scare just as much today, as when it was originally released.

10. Signs

The second of the M. Night Shaymalan offerings on this list, Signs is at first glance an oddity for this list. It is not your traditional “horror” movie in that the protaganist Hess family is not faced with the resurrected, ghostly, or supernatural monsters or threats that are portrayed in other movies here. Rather, what the family is faced with is a mysterious series of events that slowly (and inexplicably) take on global significance with no recourse be to hold on for the ride. Signs is arguably one of the top two or three movies ever made by M. Night Shaymalan, and he is truly at the top of his game here. This is especially evident in the portrayal of Nel Gibson (as Reverend Graham Hess), Joaqin Phoenix (as Merrill Hess), Rory Culkin (as Morgan Hess) and a young Abigail Breslin (as Bo Hess). These actors portray a truly loving family that is faced with horrific events that they have no control over. The slow build of tension is done so masterfully, that the audience isn’t even aware that it’s happening until they find themseleves literally on the edge of their seat, breathless in anticipation with what is going to happen. When Signs was first released to packed theaters, it was not unheard of to see the entire floor covered with the spilled popcorn of those who had been watching, since it was common for the buckets to get dropped in fright.

9. The Ring

The whole premise of The Ring can be boiled down to three simple words – demonic chain letter. Directed by Gor Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean:The Curse of the Black Pearl), The Ring tells the story of a video tape that causes all who watch it to die within a week of watching it. The main character Rachel (Naomi Watts) is a reporter that is tasked with tracking down the veracity of this supposed urban myth, and ends up falling on the wrong side of the curse. While the pace and buildup of the tension in the movie is done fairly well, nothing can quite beat the ominously slow and deliberate advance of the horrific Samara, even if it is only on the video tape. You just know that there is something wrong with what is about to happen. This fact is driven home even more when she takes her first, horrific, steps outside of the television.

 

8. The Blair Witch Project

Whether you love it, or hate it, The Blair Witch Project is a movie that will draw elicit a strong reaction from those who watch it. This low budget movie is the one that started the whole “found footage” sub-genre of horror movies that is so popular today. The “footage” that is portrayed in the film tells of the last days of a trio of film students who are investigating the supposed story of the Blair Witch located around the area of Burkittsville, Maryland who went missing…never to be seen again. What makes this movie so truly enjoyable is that so much of it was shot without a script. For example, the entire scene where Heather is recording herself as she apologizes was completely unscripted and the fear shown is as real as could be since she really did not know what had happened to her co-stars previous to this scene.

7. Jeepers Creepers

Victor Salva (Powder) wrote and directed Jeepers Creepers, which tells the unfortunately tragic story of a brother and sister team who are on their way back from college and stumble upon a mysterious monster who is finishing the last few days of it’s 27 year ritualistic killing and eating spree. The brother and sister team are portrayed by Justin Long (Tusk) and Gina Philips (Chained) who see what looks like a mysterious figure potentially dumping a body down a well and investigate. What they don’t know is that that this is infact a supernatural creature who, every 27 years, starts to hunt those it finds “interesting” in some way to gather new body parts to keep it going. Throughout the course of the movie it appears as if there is literally nothing that that the two can do to stop the relentless pursuit of this monster…other than out last the cycle. What makes this story truly horrific is that you don’t really get the meaning behind the movie’s title until the last few minutes.

6. The Changeling (1980)

Are you looking for a good old fashioned haunted house story? If you are, then you can’t go wrong with the masterful performance delivered by George C. Scott (Patton) in the Peter Medak (Species II) directed The Changeling. George C. Scott plays John Russell who is the sole survivor of an accident which killed his wife and daughter, who rents a beautiful old home that has a tormented past. John slowly comes to realize that there is another occupant to the home, a child who was murdered decades before who supposedly wants justice and answers to why. Unlike many other horror movies, The Changelingis entirely psychological with no blood or gore throughout the movie. In many ways this can make the terror much more intense than in some other contemporary horror movies since there is no “outlet” for the fear that slowly grows throughout the movie. One thing for sure, you would never expect that a wheelchair can be quite as terrifying as it is in this show.

5. The Conjuring

Some of the scariest stories around are those that are said to have been based off of real life. Whether you actually believe in real life supernatural events or not, the events portrayed in 2013’s The Conjuring are truly terrifying. The Conjuring, directed by James Wan (the Saw franchise) documents one of the most horrific events that paranormal investigators Ed (Patrick Wilson, Insidioius) and Lorrain Warren (Vera Farmiga, The Judge) supposedly took part in. BAck in 1971, the Perron family move onto an old farm located in Rhode Island, and soon start to experience some truly demonic events. To make matters worse, it really doesn’t matter where the Perron’s move, or what they do, it doesn’t seem to help. As things escalate, the Perron’s reach out to the Warrens (noted for investigating the events at Amityville) for help. What sort of demonic force is awaiting the Warrens, and why is this considered one of their most terrifying investigations? Watch the movie to find out.

4. Evil Dead (2013)

The original iteration of The Evil Dead (1981) is perhaps one of the most famous, and well known, B-movie horror flicks of all time. In fact, it is so well known that it is the one movie that could arguably be given credit for giving Sam Raimi (30 Days of Night) his first big break and is also what helped Bruce Campbell (Burn Notice) become the king of the B-movie. This remake has all the elements of the original, though it is presented in a much darker way. It has been said that this remake is what Sam Raimi, who also had a major hand in the production, would have made originally if only he had the budget.

As with the original, five friends head to a remote cabin and accidentally unleash a demonic entity that could potentially destroy the world. The official tagline of the movie is “The most terrifying film you will ever experience,” and while that may be stretching it just a bit, it’s not that much of a stretch. Not only is the descent into madness that the five friends experience absolutely horrific, this is arguably one of the most disturbing movies that you will ever see. A brief example of this can be described in four words: tounge and razor blades. If you want to see a movie that will leave you feeling like you have gone through the wringer, then this one should be on your list (as it is on ours).

3. Sinister

Sinister tells the story of Ellison Oswalt (played by Ethan Hawke) who was a one hit wonder in the true-crime book genre, and is desperately trying to regain the fame that he once obtained by researching the unexplainable deaths of most of the family, and the apparent abduction of the younest child. Shortly after moving in, Ellison finds a box of old 8 MM movies that strongly imply that these deaths were actually the result of actions conducted by a serial killer. Unfortunately, as the movie progresses, it turns out that he has stumbled upon the worst possible form of a chain letter. Worst of all, his family may now be at risk if action isn’t taken.

Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) does a superb job of directing the cast in this movie, and slowly building the tension until the terror felt by Ellison (and the rest of the family) is almost physically felt. While there are a few bits of blood, they are certainly limited when compared to other movies. Unlike many of the other movies on this list, and that have been produced recently, Sinister doesn’t fall into the trap of relying on “blood and guts” to scare or titillate. Most everything is done relying on camera angles, pacing, and story to produce the overall tension that is expereinced by the viewer. In many ways, this tale of a demonic “chain letter from hell” has a very Alfred Hitchcock feel and pace to it.

2. Insidious

Perhaps what sets Insidious apart from any of the other movies on this list, is that it plays on the horror that parents feel when their children are at risk. Director James Wan (Lights Out) perfectly captures the story of two young parents who are desperately trying to figure out what is happening to their child as he falls into a coma following a mysterious incident in the attic of their new home. As the story progresses, it turns out that there may actually be a mysterious link between the events that are currently plaguing the Lambert family, and some events that took place to the father, Josh Lambert (Patrick Wilson The Conjuring), when he was younger. Evenn when the final, chilling, confrontation takes place you find yourself terrified and wondering what is going to happen next.

 

1. The Grudge (2004)

The Grudge tells the story of a young American nurse who is in Tokyo with her boyfriend, and who is drawn into a powerful curse that is slowly killing all who encounter it. Follow Karen Davis (Sarah Michelle Geller, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as she is trying to track down the cause of the curse, and stop it’s spread before it’s too late. The slow, and dramatic, pacing of the story is often told from the points of view of each victim, and shows how everyone is interconnected. Best of all, this movie helps show that a movie really doesn’t need to have tons of blood, guts, gore, and violence to truly scare the pants off you.

Despite The Grudge is actually an American remake of a Japanese horror movie, there is very little that is lost in translation. What this movie does, is beautifully show the difference in teh “rules” between Western horror movies, and those of the East. Frankly, if you found yoruself in a Western horror movie, once you figured out the rules you have a fairly good chance of surviving. Being in an Eastern horror movie basically means you are hosed…you will die (or go insane). You just don’t know when.

Well these are 15 of the best horror movies to watch. How close did we come to your list? Did we miss something that should have been listed? Do you disagree with something that we have on this list? Tell us your point of view in the comments below, and who knows it may just be added into next year’s list.

Artist Spotlight – Alex Webb

Artist Spotlight – Alex Webb

Artist Spotlight - Alex Webb

iGeekOut

Shortly after Salt Lake Comic Con, 2016, iGeekOut had the opportunity to sit down and interview a talented young artist named Alex Webb. Alex, who is in the very early stages of his artistic career, shows a lot of talent and potential that belies his young age (he is a senior currently enrolled in Copper Hills HIgh School, located in West Jordan, Utah). He was nice enough to take a few minutes to answer a few questions, and provide us some exciting news as to what we could potentially expect from him in the coming years. This is one artist that we would not be surprised to make it big. Who knows, maybe he might even make it to the big time, and one day be the artist or inker for DC or Marvel Comics? The raw talent is certainly there.

When you were a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

I wanted to do what I am doing know. I always wanted to be an artist.

What originally got you interested in drawing?

I don’t remember much from my childhood, but my Mom used to say that when I was young I used to have books that I couldn’t read. [Instead] I would just stare at the pictures every night. So, for me drawing is obviously a way to express myself, but what got me into it was Comics. That I could make a living off of doing art.

How (and why) did you choose to become an artist?

I just…no matter what I have done, I always come back to drawing. I have always stopped, and whenever I did I have always felt lost. Drawing is a way for me to feel at home. I just love to draw all the time. It’s like a comfort type of thing. Some people have comfort foods, for me I have comfort drawing.

What was your first “Big Break?”

This past Salt Lake Comic Con (SLCC16). It was my first time there as an exhibitor, where I was able to get a table, and set up and display my art to a large audience.

What decisions in your career do you consider the most beneficial?

Beneficial, meaning, what helped me out the most? I would just continue to read comic books. Just the thought of, you know, me being able to…my art being able to be in those books, and read around the world, has always been a drive for me.

Did you receive any formal training (i.e., schooling) to become an artist?

No. I really didn’t start taking lessons until my middle school year, and those were only school lessons. Even then, they weren’t very helpful. I have primarily been studying on my own, looking at other people’s art. I think that I excelled in such a way that they just couldn’t teach me much any more.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

Most of it has been from comic books, though I am trying to listen to more music. But [unfortunately] I can’t seem to put more of my thoughts from music onto paper. It usually has to be just me, the paper, and complete silence. That’s when I can start to really create.

What is your favorite medium to work in, or with?

Pen and paper, though…hmmmm…you know, at Comic Con, there were a lot of people who asked me “Do you do digital?” To which I would usually respond “Do a lot of people do digital?” and I was told that yeah, they are. I don’t know. To me, it sounded like they are saying it is a handicap if I do digital. But, for me I would like to go into digital and see what I can do. It’s just a money thing right now that’s keeping me from doing that.

Do you draw for a target audiendce, or simply create art that you like to view?

It’s more for me. But now that I’ve gone to Comic Con, and seen all these different people who like sooo many different things, I am starting to think that I should start doing other things, and branch out a bit. Become more diverse, ya know?

How do you come up with your ideas?

Uh…it Just comes a lot from the movies [that I see], and the comics that I read. But, if I really, really like something, I usually take a long time drawing it. Inspiration also just comes from my head, you know? If I feel this is will look good on this character, I try to integrate it as much as I can.

When you start working on a project, what do you do to “Get in the Mood?”?

Beyond absolute silence, usually when I get an idea, I try to sketch it out, and try to force myself to think of it in different ways. Until I start thinking about drawing it “for real,” that’s when I have to get in the mood. Usually…usually, just drawing all day. But, now to get in the mood, I look at other artists. Before that though, I just drew. I always had something with me that I could doodle or draw on.

What is your favorite artistic style?

Honestly, it’s definitely not mine. I wish that my style could be a lot better. It’s not as tight, or as unique as I would like it to become. I have always tried to have things be more realistic, so the artist that I have really tried to influence my style is Joe Madureia. I have always tried to have styles like that. And now that I styles like this. (Pointing at artwork). I can see myself going towards it, though I can also see myself going away from it. I am trying to develop my own style, though having some elements that I like form [Joe’s work].

How do you deal with “Artist’s Block?”

It definitely does happen. I have thousands, and thousands, of screenshots of other artist’s work. I don’t publish them, or share them in any way, but when I see soemthing that I like, I try to draw it in a different way. So, it really is just trying to push past it. Push past the block, and I use other people’s art to help me out.

What is your favorite part of a project?

uh…that’s hard. Because, sometimes I love getting started, but when you get to the end and it did not turn out the way that you wanted. But to me, it’s really towards the middle. Like, that’s when you are in the grind. When you know that you have to keep going. And, in the middle is where I would stop with a lot of pieces. So, it’s just the middle, trying to get past that grind, it’s like the bliss of finishing the project.

How often do real life events impact, or influence, your work?

Definitely does impact my work. Usually, it impacts it for…some times it’s detrimental. But, if there is something hard going on in my life I tend not to draw a lot. After such an experience, I find myself drawing more and more, and if it [the experience] was bad, I try to draw more good things. Sometimes it does influence my work, it just depends on what’s going on. If it’s dark, and I draw more dark things that’s when I know I need to take a break and deal with what’s happening.

If you could pick any one artist to work with, who would it be, and why?

That’s tough, that’s very tough. I would like to see the greats from the Renaissance, you know? Like DaVinci, Michelangelo, and so on. But then, there’s a language barrier there. This is a good question, I have never really thought of it before. It’s a very good question. Straight off the top of my head, I would have to say Michelangelo. This is because he was big into sculpting, and I would love to learn that. It’s the way that he did the human body, and the way that he was so accurate. I would like to get that accuracy into my drawings. I would love to work with Michelangelo and get that accuracy into my drawings.

When working with another artist, how do you divide the work load?

I don’t do a lot of “professional” work with other artist, though there is a family that I do try to work with as much as possible to feed off them. To help me and get a real big mashup of our work. We have tried to do some collabs, but you know, their life and my life sometimes things happen where we can’t. But we have done some collabs. Usually, if we like to draw on it, we draw on it. If we don’t, then we pass it over to the other guy. We generally do the stuff we like, and pass on the stuff we don’t.

When working with another artist, how do you settle “Artistic Differences?”

Oh, man…uhmmm. It’s probably not the best idea [to have those kinds of differences]. It’s probably best to surround yourself with those who have the same interests as you. That family I love to collaborate with, one of them have this style that everyone loves. I try to be around him more often. But, I also find myself going over to this other guy’s work, and it’s very “cartoony.” I don’t know, I can’t pick and choose which one I want to follow any more.

What does a typical work day (or week) look like for you?

For me, it’s split with school and then I have newspaper as well. I actually work with my school newspaper, I am the layout guy, and I do comics for them, and I also have to draw art for them. Then, after school I stay after school to help with the newspaper, and I have swimming. Usually, I try to do it when I can, stay up late or do as much as I can on the weekends.

For comic books and graphic nocels, which is more important – story line, or the artistic depiction of story line?

I don’t know. The story is the backbone. If you don’t have a good backbone then the art is going to just fall off, and it will just reveal the bad story. A good story is crucial since you can have an excellent story, and mediocre art, and still have a fantastic comic. Now, if you have good story, and great art then you have a work of art.

What, from an artistic perspective, do you consider to be the difference between a comic book and a graphic novel?

Uhhmmm…I don’t really know the technical difference between a comic book and a graphic novel is. I think that a comic book is more for entertainment though,s oething that you can enjoy reading, and focus on the great piece of work. A graphic novel would be more on the storytelling side of things, where you can focus more on a single character and see where they go, and what they do.

What other artist, besides yourself, do you consider the most exciting right now, and why?

Oh gosh, I think it’s. I don’t know, I think…have you seen the art from the new Civil War II? I just think that it’s fantastic. I think his name is Mark Morales (it was actually David Marquez). It’s just so realistic, but then you can tell that he has also his own style. It’s just…I know I’m trying to follow after him, and develop my own style to where I want it to be.

Which of your artwork is your favorite, and why?

I don’t know if I could say any of these (Alex points to the artwork he brought with him). I think that it was a picture I drew back in elementary school. I drew this fantastic picture of Venom, and I thought the world of it. I look back on it now, and I still think it’s the greatest even though it doesn’t look as good as I thought it would be. It’s just that it was teh best that I could have drawn at that moment, and it was the one that I thought most epitomizes the skills I had at the time.

Do you have any plans to either continue, or start, a new series, and if so, how many pieces do you envision in it?

I may be working on a comic book series in the future. Ever since Comic Con I was approached by this guy, and I am thinking about it. I have two or three pictures that are with in a collection, but haven’t really tried to tell any stories (of my own) with a series of pictures. If I have done it, it may have been more by accident then design.

I know that things are rather busy for you right now, but what do you do to decompress in your offtime?

Probably bug my little brother. He’s not all that little anymore since he’s almost as tall as me. Just bug the crap out of him, or just veg out from him. When he comes home from practice, he’s just totally destroyed, and I just sit next to him and watch Netflix.

Is there anything special, or specific, that we should be keeping an eye out for?

As I said earlier, I may be working on a comic book series in the future. Ever since Comic Con I was approached by this guy, and I am thinking about it. I’m really, really, thinking about it. It’s a local, it’s called Yonder Comics, and as far as I know it’s called Cosmo-Man. My art might not be in the early issues, ’cause he is already drawing and publishing it. So, I might be involved in the later stages.

If you could say any one thing to a budding artist, what would you say?

Obviously the cheesey line of “Don’t give up.” But, it’s just to try. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. You know, I’ve never shown [my work to] as many people as I did over at Comic Con. You know? Just don’t be afraid to show people your art, and you know be out there. Basically, just own it.

What personality trait is the most beneficial for an artist?

I don’t know…I would probably have to say “humble.” If you go around and show people your art, and say “Yeah, I’m the best,” it can kind of push people away. You have got to be able to say “Yeah I drew that,” but you have to be humble, and show that you are nice.

What do you consider your best work?

I would have to say it was a picture of this guy who many people at Comic Con thought was Diablo from Suicide Squad, that was actually just a Native American guy in a head-dress that was done in pen. I called it “Breaking Fate” since it shows this guy breaking chains around his hands and taking his own fate. I just felt like I rocked it, and it was my first real pen drawing.

Email:

mattchief4234@gmail.com

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Artist Spotlight – Hannah Lynn

Artist Spotlight – Hannah Lynn

Artist Spotlight - Hannah Lynn

iGeekOut

In recent years it seems like there has been a bit of a resurgence in the popularity of coloring books among fans of all ages. Hannah Lynn is one of the most talented artists to currently be working on this fun medium. Not only is her artwork popular among younger children, but it is becoming increasingly popular among parents, and young adults. In a recent trip to Salt Lake Comic Con 2016, she was kind enough to take a moment or two and talk with the staff of iGeekOut. This interview is the result of not only that discussion, but more than a few emails being traded back and forth.

When you were a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

First, I wanted to be a mom. Besides that, I really wanted to be an illustrator. I was always making bookmarks and selling them door to door around my neighborhood, and had my first commissioned job when I was only 11 years old. My 7th grade science teacher paid me $60 for a detailed colored pencil drawing of a bald eagle for his son’s birthday. I still tossed around many other ideas like being a doctor or a scientist, or even a teacher, since being an artist by profession was much less a possibility in my day because the internet didn’t exist yet.

What originally got you interested in drawing?

I have been drawing and coloring since before I can remember! It was just something I always did.

How (and why) did you choose to become an artist?

Ironically, I didn’t follow the path to become an artist by profession until much later in life, after I had started a family, because I grew up in the 80’s and early 90’s before the internet really existed for artists like it does now. I had taken about 10 years off of doing much in the way of art, as work and family became the main priority in my life. I picked up drawing again as a hobby for me, as I desperately needed an outlet for stress as a stay at home mom and online business student. Since I have always been entrepreneurial, I started selling my work right away on eBay, and things very slowly branched off from there.

What was your first “Big Break?”

For me, what I would consider to be the first “big break” was the moment that I knew I could actually “make it” as an artist by career, even if it meant I would still probably struggle for a bit. I had a few small contracts and had sold lots of originals and prints before I got a decent licensing contract about 6 years ago that would keep me quite busy for the minimum term of the contract, which at the time was 3 years. I was also accepted into San Diego Comic Con as an exhibitor that same year after being on the waiting list for 3 years. Up until that year I was still considering it to be a part time gig on the side, and was still looking into other options for long-term employment or other business ideas.

What decisions in your career do you consider the most beneficial?

There are lots of decisions along the way…many forks in the road. It gets a little hairy when you are making an income and you have to let go of something that is making money…but not enough money for the time you are putting in. When first starting out, you can’t say no to anything, because you have to make any dollar you can. You have to bend over backwards to make customers happy and take every job you can get. But those decisions to stop offering bookmarks online and only offer them at shows (even when a handful of people were asking for them online), for example, were ultimately the most beneficial, and the most difficult decisions to make. But, I’m the CEO of my own company, and I’m relying on the big boss to make those tough decisions for the overall health of the company, so that the talent will still have a job 30 years down the line.

Did you receive any formal training (i.e., schooling) to become an artist?

Nope! I have an Associate’s in Business and a 10-year degree from the School of Hard Knocks. When I first started, I literally went to the local craft store and got some cheap cardstock, Crayola colored pencils, an Exact-o knife, and a small cutting board so I could make the little ACEO cards I started with. I had no idea what I was doing. I scanned them and uploaded them to eBay as one-of-a-kind originals because I had no idea how to reproduce a print. As the prices of the originals went up, so did the requests for prints. I taught myself how to use Photoshop by stumbling through it so I could create prints, and upgraded my materials to higher artist’s quality pencils and pens with my earnings. I still learn new things every day in that program! I taught myself how to do a little bit of code for website editing by looking page source codes and messing with them; that’s pretty much how I’ve learned to do everything—by trial and error. You can do anything you are truly passionate about if you have the desire to learn!

Where do you draw inspiration from?

I have always loved character art, specifically eyes and female characters. Early inspiration came from my childhood cartoons and animated feature films from Walt Disney. Today, I find inspiration in almost everything around me. Something as simple as a strawberry can be the theme of a piece.

What is your favorite medium to work in, or with?

I prefer watercolor pencils and ink on heavy weight, hot press illustration board to create my pieces. Although, I do work with acrylics on wood occasionally just for fun.

Do you draw for a target audiendce, or simply create art that you like to view?

Starting out, I didn’t think people would want character art, but I was only doing it as a hobby anyway so what did I have to lose? I was excited to learn that they like what I had to offer! I have had many suggestions to do other things like landscapes or art featuring boys, but I stick to females and their animal friends! This is mainly because that is what I like to paint, and they have always sold. If you look at my early portfolio from when I was a child, it is mainly females, character art such as the Little Mermaid or animals (always cartoon style), or random female eyes surrounded by stars and such. Today, as a professional artist with a distinct brand, my artworks are very congruent and pretty consistent across the board because I aim to be recognizable and trademarked. I want people to know exactly who painted the artwork when they look at it. I do have a series that is in a different media (pencil and ink) and in a different style, but the subject matter is the same (fantasy females).

How do you come up with your ideas?

Ideas can come from absolutely anywhere! Personally, I draw them from my own personal life and from when I was a child. My artworks are very childlike, because that is when our dreams were the biggest and we didn’t place limitations on what we could accomplish, what was possible, or what was hiding in the forest. The fantasy genre is all about that. It’s all about dreaming up whatever, and being as creative as possible without any walls to contain it. It’s about taking your dreams, as crazy and as colorful as they can ever be, and making them tangible through a piece of art. You’ll also notice lots of animals and nature in my pieces, because I am an animal and an avid outdoors enthusiast. There is something so majestic about the forest and the animals that live within it; only in our dreams and through art can we build a scene in which there is a perfect forest, lush with thousand-year-old trees and strategically placed waterfalls…all while we are feeding berries to a wild deer and snuggling with a baby bear; because in reality those things elude us. There is something incredibly mysterious about the ocean, since we know so little about it; it’s like another planet with its alien like creatures and insanely colorful whimsical underwater plants…it begs the existence of a human-like creature to explore it and live in it. Everyone wants to be a mermaid and swim where no human can breathe, chat with the dolphins and play tag with sea turtles; or to be a fairy with wings that can soar high above the clouds and explore the deepest areas of the forest where all the wild animals roam undetected. It’s the stuff dreams are made of. To me, that is what art is about. It’s about going through a portal and escaping reality. Reality is average and abundant. Art is rare and intriguing.

When you start working on a project, what do you do to “Get in the Mood?”?

Google and brainstorm!! Looking at pictures of a particular theme is a great way to get in the zone. I am a visual person, so I need to flood my brain stem with the world I am about to enter. Sometimes I’ll watch movies in the style of the theme as well, like Halloween for example.

What is your favorite artistic style?

Interestingly, as much as I love fantasy art, I also really love folk art paintings of landscapes and the countryside or little towns, because they are places to escape to where everything is perfect about the human condition (also a form of fantasy he-he!). A large painting with a young couple flying a kite, the bakery just down the road, a family raking up leaves, an adorable red barn with happy cows outside of it, and a momma duck with her little ducklings in the town pond with the bench next to it waiting for you to come feed them. No fear, no sadness, no crime, no problems. [It’s] Like Heaven.

How do you deal with “Artist’s Block?”

If I have a big block, I get away. I have to hit the reset button and go out hiking, shopping, visiting with friends, etc. Most of the time it’s because I haven’t gotten out enough. There are things all around that inspire us, but if we stay in the same place looking at the same four walls all day, it can get a little dreary. The internet is helpful, but it’s not the same as just getting away to the forest for a hike, breathing the fresh air, and letting the mist from the rushing river hit your face. Or, sometimes I will use my creative energy doing something else like cooking something I’ve never made before, decorating, or gardening, until the painting muse returns.

What is your favorite part of a project?

When I first get to add color to the piece. After the concept sketch has been done, the line art has been transferred, all the major layout decisions have been made, the penciled-in details have been defined, the inking has been done, and the pencil lines underneath have been erased. All of that is work to me. The fun starts when the color comes out. My second favorite part is about in the middle, when the new world I have created is really fleshing out and my face is so close to the paper that I feel like I could just jump in and live there. That is when I wish I could share that moment with everyone, because it is unlike any other experience.

How often do real life events impact, or influence, your work?

All the time! Artists are emotional beings and most are affected by everything around them, positive or negative. The change of the seasons, the illness of a family member, coming back from vacation; they all bleed through. I got some new baby ducklings after one of mine passed away recently, and they inspired an illustration in my Enchanted Halloween Coloring Book, alongside a mermaid in a pond on an autumn day..

If you could pick any one artist to work with, who would it be, and why?

I’m kind of a loner, so I am not sure about that one!

When working with another artist, how do you divide the work load?

Again, I work alone. I have not done any collaborative projects.

What does a typical work day (or week) look like for you?

90% work like processing orders, website updating, social media, image editing, answering emails, dealing with copyright infringement cases, accounting, etc. and 10% art. I have made efforts to tip the scales in favor of creating lately, and I am accomplishing that goal slowly but surely. Outsourcing my coloring book printing/publishing to Createspace was a big one for me. Ironically, as a professional artist, I still fight for time to create and paint like someone who is moonlighting as an artist. I always joke around saying I should run away with the Circus, as the Artist Who Never Paints.

For comic books and graphic nocels, which is more important – story line, or the artistic depiction of story line?

I have never done a comic book or graphic novel. That is entirely new dimension that I haven’t explored yet, and may never.

What other artist, besides yourself, do you consider the most exciting right now, and why?

Honestly, I don’t follow a lot of other artists so that I can stay as original and authentic as possible.

Which of your artwork is your favorite, and why?

I get this question a lot, and the truth is I don’t have one! I’m just as bad as my fans. You should see me trying to choose the 10 most popular artworks for making pins for a show or something. The list ends up being 75 images long before I just give up!!! I just can’t choose; they are all like my children.

Do you have any plans to either continue, or start, a new series, and if so, how many pieces do you envision in it?

The possibilities of ideas and themes for my artwork are endless. I have at least five more coloring books planned that will take me at least the next year or two, and quite a few new storybook princess paintings to add to the portfolio.

I know that things are rather busy for you right now, but what do you do to decompress in your offtime?

I spend time with my family (husband and two girls), my animals (dogs, cats, ducks, chickens), and my garden. We recently bought a beautiful home out in the country with a couple of acres, so I spend what down time I do have just hanging around and taking in the views of the city, mountains, and canyons that surround our property, since I work from home. I kind of piddle around feeding the chickens, watering the flowers, taking a walk down to our pond, or watching the wildlife when it comes by (we get skunks, deer, rabbits, and lots of birds including owls!) which gets me some exercise and some outdoor nature time on a daily basis. One of my favorite things to do is to go out onto our big wrap around front porch when there is a thunder and lightning storm and just watch it. The sunsets are a pretty amazing treat on the porch as well. As a family, we love to go hiking, camping, or to National Parks like Yellowstone, which we are just an hour and half outside of. We have a family vacation planned in January (when it’s snowing and cold here) to Maui, and I’m very excited about that! I hope to pick up some tropical inspiration there.

Is there anything special, or specific, that we should be keeping an eye out for?

I have a very special coloring book planned that I have been keeping under serious lock and key for almost a year now; sorry no hints! I haven’t told anyone about it because I had so many others to publish before I can make this one a reality. I’m almost there. Just two more books (Christmas and Punch of Color Girls-the sketchy tattoo girl’s series) and then I can get to the one I’ve been dreaming about for the last year! It has to have the proper attention. I’m thinking of booking a writer’s style retreat to do it, so I can eliminate distractions and really get in the zone, but we will see how well real life allows for it when I get to that point and am ready to do it!

If you could say any one thing to a budding artist, what would you say?

I get this question a lot at shows where I exhibit my work. Parents will tell me that their child is talented, but they have no idea where to point them in terms of becoming an artist when they grow up. I tell them the same thing every time. Go to business school unless you have a clear designated path. Learn how to market yourself if you want to make it your living. There are as many ways to make money as an artist as there are colors in the spectrum. Do you want to be a gallery style artist, where the pieces you sell are one of a kind hanging over someone’s fireplace? Or maybe you want to be a video game designer? Do you want people to collect your artwork like they do mine, and travel to shows and do signings and talk to people? Or would you prefer to just do the artwork and have an Agent find ways to sell your work on products? Or maybe you want to be an architect and design houses or skyscrapers? Play to your strengths. My youngest is insanely talented in art already, but she is extremely talented in math as well. Add that to her natural personality traits of being a bit shy and introverted, and you have all the makings of a successful Architect there.

I have always been business-minded and have been making money on my artwork since I was five, literally selling stuff door to door, and I have an employment background in management and sales. So, I am an independent artist and entrepreneur because I enjoy creating products that people can use and enjoy in their everyday lives (like coloring books or bookmarks, or a print for their daughter’s room), and I like talking to people (not all the time, I need my quiet solitude and uninterrupted creating time). So that makes it a good fit. You are much better off taking something that you are already a six at and bringing it up to a 10, than to take something you are a two at and bringing it up to a five or six. Talent is only about 10% of this whole game. The rest of it is your passion, hustle, and building something amazing over a long period of time. Make sure you are investing in something long term rather than running after every little thing that you think will make you money. If you do things solely for the money, it will get old and it will show through in your work, or you will quit at the first real challenge (and they are coming!). In the beginning, it’s a must to explore all the different options, because you are trying to find your way and looking for what sticks. But once you find it, shed the rest and hone your focus. Then keep putting in the hours towards that and keep your eye on the prize. There are so many shiny things that are just waiting to steal your creative juices. FOCUS and have patience! You have to go through each step to get to where you are going; there are no shortcuts.

What personality trait is the most beneficial for an artist?

Being self-motivated is pretty important, because most artists are self-employed and have to be the ones to push themselves to get things done. Even under contract, or under the direction of an agent, proper time management is key since artists are generally provided a window of time in which to get things done, which offers quite a bit of wiggle room. If you are a procrastinator like me, you will use all of your wiggle room up front and then work 16 hours a day and drink five cups of coffee each day until the project is done. Let’s just say I’m not a fan of deadlines. But, most artists aren’t, because creating art isn’t much like any other job on the planet, and it requires a certain “ebb and flow” to it. Art isn’t done until it’s done, and we can’t put an ironclad time stamp on it until those hours are over. To quote a project timeline, I look at how long my last one took, double it, then think about how long I think this next one will take, triple that, and then add it to the first number; this provides a formula in which I can actually meet a deadline, and it’s still by the skin of my teeth! I can spend hours just thinking about a project, and it looks to everyone else like I’m doing nothing. But, it’s all part of the process.

What do you consider your best work?

Actually being an artist by profession. It’s one of the most difficult professions to claim for a living.

If you are interested in seeing some more of Hannah Lynn’s work, purchasing some of her great books or art pieces, or simply want to follow her, then use these links. As you can see, she has a very large social media pressence. Join the club, and see what else she has to offer!

Website:

www.HannahLynn.com

Facebook:

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Luke Cage is Coming

Luke Cage is Coming

Luke Cage is Coming

Bob McFadden

The Marvel Cinematic Universe became a cultural phenomenon with its feature films, but these works are frequently criticized for repeating the same formula every time, for having pitifully underdeveloped antagonists, and for putting the importance of crazy airport action sequences above storytelling and character development. Agents of SHIELD came along with the opportunity to dive deeper into its storytelling, as it would put out more hours of content than all of the previous installations of the MCU combined by the end of its first season. Unfortunately, the show initially fell victim to many of the same criticisms, and both expectation and viewer-ship waned.

It wasn’t until Netflix came along that the live-action story-creating potential of this universe was realized. The Marvel Netflix shows have been an interesting and largely successful experiment so far. While they are certainly created for a different breed of audience, with much more violence and mature themes than would be profitable on the big screen or permissible on broadcast TV, it is undeniable that they are carefully crafted works of art in their own right. And on Friday, September 30th, we will all be able to binge-watch what may end up being the most fun show to come out of Marvel TV so far.

The Netflix series includes a throwback to Luke Cage’s classic costume, including the tiara.

The Netflix shows are definitely hard to stop watching. When one episode ends, it doesn’t matter if it is three in the morning, you watch as your cursor mysteriously drifts itself towards the “next episode” button, leaving your body barely aware of what is happening as you continue to dive deeper into the season. Each episode ends leaving you wanting and needing more. Hopefully, Marvel TV is able to maintain a high level of quality, even with their push to get more and more of these series out more quickly.

And more than I was with any of those series, I’m excited to see Luke Cage. Daredevil takes his job way too seriously, and Jessica Jones carried the burden of some very serious subject matter, but Luke Cage is literally unbreakable, so it should be a good time, right? (I mean, yeah, he was seriously injured when he got shot in the head in Jessica Jones, but… he got better!) Luke Cage avoids the Daredevil problem by being reluctant to take on the role of a superhero, much different from Matt Murdoch who is addicted to it. And he avoids the brooding problem of Jessica Jones by… music!

We get to have swagger. A compelling hero and compelling villains. We spruced it up a little bit and added some music but it was going to be fun either way.

Cheo Hodari Coker

Luke Cage showrunner

Cheo Hodari Coker, the executive producer and show-runner of Luke Cage, cites music as an enormous source of inspiration for the show. Coker, who is most well-known as the writer of the 2009 Notorious B.I.G. biography, tells fans to prepare for “the Wu-Tangification of the Marvel universe.” We can expect this to start right from the first few moments, as Coker personally wrote the first two episodes of the series. Each episode of Luke Cage is named after a Gang Starr song, and the season plays out much like an album, with episodes instead of tracks.

Season 1 Episodes

  1. Moment of Truth
  2. Code of the Streets
  3. Who’s Gonna Take the Weight?
  4. Step in the Arena
  5. Just to Get a Rep
  6. Suckas Need Bodyguards
  7. Manifest
  8. Blowin’ Up the Spot
  9. DWYCK
  10. Take it Personal
  11. Now You’re Mine
  12. Soliloquy of Chaos
  13. You Know My Steez

Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Adrian Younge are responsible for the show’s musical score, and if the trailers are any indication, Luke Cage will breathe and bleed hip-hop. So far, trailers have included tracks such as an Isaac Hayes rendition of “Walk On By,” (which was sampled by the Wu-Tang Clan); Ol’ Dirty Bastard‘s “Shimmy Shimmy Ya”; Miike Snow’s “Heart is Full (remix)” featuring hip-hop duo Run the Jewels; and Nas’ “Made You Look” from his 2002 album, God’s Son.

On September 26, 2016, the final trailer for Luke Cage dropped, and somehow made the show look even cooler. The Wu-Tangification increases with a Method Man cameo, as the member of the Wu-Tang Clans surreally swaps hoodies with Luke Cage after Cage gets holes shot in his. This newest trailer, released yesterday, can (and should) be viewed, right here next to this text.

Not everyone in Harlem is bulletproof; Pops seems to pull an Uncle Ben.

The official trailer above includes Night Nurse, or Claire Temple (played by Rosario Dawson). We have seen her before in Daredevil and Jessica Jones, and she seems to be acting as the string that currently links all of the Netflix series together. (Much like Phil Coulson did for the early MCU.) Claire will probably have her most significant arc yet in Luke Cage, as her comics counterpart was primarily associated with Luke Cage. It’s funny that we will see the nurse the most here, as she shouldn’t have much healing to do. Hopefully she meets a better end than Coulson in the Avengers. (Just kidding, it has already been confirmed that she’ll be popping up in Iron Fist next year. Don’t worry.)

While on the topic of the cultural tone, it goes without saying that Marvel’s first series led by a black hero lead comes at a time where it provides a welcome relief from some of the images prevalent in the media today. Hundreds of pieces have already and will continue to be written by people much more qualified than I to speak on the subject, but it goes without saying that an unscathed black man sporting a bullethole-ridden hoodie is a powerful and inspiring image for many. “The world is ready for a bulletproof black man,” said executive producer Cheo Hodari Coker.

This is a show that celebrates black culture rather than apologizing for it. It takes place in a Harlem that actually looks like Harlem, instead of trying to filter it through a whiter lens. Mike Colter, the actor who plays the role of Luke Cage, noted “We’re just trying to tell a story. We have no agenda. But I hope the black community can feel good about the series.”

Power Man comes along to join the MCU in just a few days, to break a dude’s hand into powder with his face. Tune into Netflix on September 30th!

The official synopsis for Luke Cage is as follows: In this groundbreaking new series, audiences will witness the evolution of Luke Cage (previously introduced in Marvel’s Jessica Jones) after he has relocated to Harlem and is in the process of picking up the pieces following his failed relationship with Jessica Jones. Like the preceding Marvel series on Netflix, Marvel’s Luke Cage is a gritty, action-packed drama, grounded in the real world with heroes who focus on saving their neighborhood and have their feet firmly planted on the ground.

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