Features

Spider-Man: Far From Home arrives in multiplexes as the third entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in five months (the 23rd overall in only 11 years), as an epilogue/coda to Avengers: Infinity War/Endgame and Phase 3, and finally, as a semi-anticipated sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming. It’s also an exercise in brute-force brand maintenance, primed to sell Avengers and Spider-Man-related merchandise, including, of course, Spider-Man action figures (Spider-Man wears four superhero suits in the new film, from the Iron Spider suit introduced in Avengers: Infinity War, his first, Tony Stark-given tech suit originally seen in Captain America: Civil War, an all-black stealth suit, and a new hybrid suit that swaps out the familiar blue with black, but otherwise keeps Steve Ditko’s design aesthetic). But branding saturation or superhero fatigue isn’t the most significant problem with the Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel: It’s both the not unexpected over-reliance on the late Tony Stark’s long shadow as a central plot driver and yet another weak, underwritten, ultimately underutilized supervillain (minus the “super” part). (more…)

Our friends at Toynk Toys are out again, this time at Anime Expo 2019 in Los Angeles. Toynk Toys is known for bringing fun, quality, highly collectible merchandise to everyone who plays with and collect toys, regardless of age. At Anime Expo 2019, you can expect more of the same. Enamel pins, Campos notebooks, and mystery boxes, all My Hero Academia themed await Anime fans at the Toynk Toys booth. But that’s not all. Toynk Toys will also have a ton of the home and office supplies, collectibles and toys from many other franchises, all officially licensed. What do the mystery boxes contain? Where can you find Toynk Toys at the expo? NerdBastards is here to answer all these questions and much more.

 

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A semi-sequel to the Conjuring films and a direct sequel to Annabelle – in the head-scratching, over-convoluted chronology of the James Wan-produced Conjuring universe, Annabelle appeared up in movie theaters before Annabelle: Creation (even evil dolls deserve origin stories, apparently) –  Annabelle: Creation covered related key, mythology-expanding events that unfolded before Annabelle (making it a prequel to a prequel). Annabelle Comes Home finds the super-creepy doll (and demonic conduit) with the rictus smile and unblinking blue eyes front-and-center again, this time terrorizing Ed and Lorraine Warren’s (Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga) preteen daughter, Judy (McKenna Grace), her ultra-competent babysitter, Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman) and Mary Ellen’s oddly death-obsessed best friend (forever), Daniela Rios (Katie Sarife) over the course of a single, inexplicably foggy night. Annabelle Comes Home delivers everything audiences loyal to the Conjuring universe have come to expect, up to and including the obligatory slow-build, slow-burn scenes punctuated by the appearance of a ghostly apparition, occasional jump scares (earned and unearned), and the periodic injection of cathartic humor to offset the potential grimness of the proceedings. (more…)

 

Steve Ekstrom is a writer, editor, letterer, and Indie comic producer. He has successfully Kickstarted projects, worked as a journalist for nerdy news outlets, and started his own indie comics studio, Imminent Press.

NerdBastards.com had a chance to talk with Steve about his career in comics, his love for writing, and his experiences in the indie comic scene, and it is fair to say that we learned a lot. Please enjoy this next installment in our ongoing series of interviews with indie comic creators. (more…)

If nothing else, we can thank Tim Burton‘s 1989 film for the explosion of the Bat-franchise. Even if you hate the flick (and I understand there are some that do), we all owe it something. Without it, we don’t get the brilliant animated series that kept much of its tone (and Danny Elfman‘s glorious score), we don’t get nearly as many Batman action figures and t-shirts. Sure, someone would have made a Batman film eventually, even if this one never got off the ground. But it did, and thus it’s the launch pad not just for the Batman franchise, but for the modern age of superhero cinema.

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As a fictionally famous scientist once said, more as a warning than a promise, “Life finds a way.” The same or similar idea applies to Disney-Pixar and the relentless desire and/or drive to leave no piece of intellectual property, even one as beloved by multiple generations as the Toy Story series, unexploited, regardless of the risks involved. The potential billion-dollar upside was simply too much for any profit-oriented movie studio to pass up. At least that’s what the average cynic would say, especially given the toyetic nature of the Toy Story series and a third, presumably final chapter, Toy Story 3, that seemed to end the series on the highest of high notes. Luckily, any fears or concerns about a potentially disappointing fourth entry don’t apply to Toy Story 4, an unreserved, unqualified triumph of story, character, and animation. It’s an all-ages appeal with more than simple, surface-deep pleasures but a film that will join the Pixar pantheon as both a series and a studio best.  (more…)

Every once in a while a young creator steps forward and brings the world something unique. Something fresh. Ryan Hääck has shared with the world his Unspeakable Text. A comic book horror anthology that exposes an evil book, a collection of tales throughout history that supernatural forces tried to force the world to forget. Ryan, along with ten fabulously talented artists are seeking to make these stories into a collection under one cover. Join Ryan Hääck and the artists behind these spine-tingling tales, help them see their horrors to reality and get some awesome reward goals for yourself to boot.

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Rick Stafford is a cosplayer with a wide range of charters that he brings to life, but he is most known for his many variations of DC Comics’ heroic defender of the deep, Aquaman. Rick dons the green & gold to attend cons and volunteers to visit sick children in hospitals. He has attended numerous charity events, and conventions to inspire the hero in all of us.

Like any true hero, Rick has had to overcome some extremely difficult obstacles in his life. Some of these obstacles would have broken weaker men, yet Rick continues to preserver, moving forward with the strength and endurance of the indomitable characters he brings to life through his cosplays.

We at NerdBastards had a chance to talk with this real life hero and learn what motivates him to cosplay and volunteer so much of his time to others.
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No Will Smith; no (major) problem.

With Will Smith completely uninterested in returning to the 22-year-old Men in Black franchise (once upon a time, Smith made it look good) and otherwise busy with other commercial pursuits (playing a blue-skinned, top-knotted, magical genie in the recent live-action Aladdin adaptation), Tommy Lee Jones all-but-retired from performing, Sony Pictures unsurprisingly turned to one of the MCU’s MVPs, Chris Hemsworth, and Hemsworth’s Thor: Ragnarok co-star, Tessa Thompson, to restart and/or soft reboot a series that last saw the darkened interior of an air-conditioned movie theater seven years ago (given the rapidity in which pop-culture favorites turn into yesterday’s disposable detritus, zero guarantee moviegoers will respond with more than just passing nostalgia). It was still a gamble. Hemsworth has yet to carry a film outside the MCU. Thompson has yet to topline a major studio film. On individual charisma and collective chemistry alone, Hemsworth and Thompson prove themselves more than worthy of headlining a big-budget, spectacle-driven franchise entry of their own, the F. Gary Gray (The Fate of the Furious, Straight Outta Compton, The Negotiator, Friday) directed Men in Black: International. (more…)

 

Mad Cave Studios is an indie comic book company on the rise. With titles like Honor & Curse, Midnight Task Force, Knights of the Golden Sun, Show’s End, and their flagship title Battlecats, Mad Cave is making a name for itself and taking its place as a respectable indie brand in the comic community. The company repeatedly creates new and diverse titles to captivate its’ readers. No two titles in the Mad Cave line-up are the same, making their books more accessible to a wider audience.

The MADMAN behind this ambitious indie company and the writer for the majority of its titles is Mark London. His MAD dreams and visions have shaped Mad Cave Studios into a forward-thinking company that prides itself on quality storytelling and beautifully expressive art. We had a chance to talk with Mark about Mad Cave Studios, writing comics, the indie scene, and the future for himself, and his company. (more…)