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By Nate VanLindt On 11 Nov, 2017 At 08:45 PM | Categorized As Comics/Manga, Editorials, Featured, News, Reviews | With 0 Comments

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Spoiler Alert!  If you haven’t read the December 1973 issue of Captain America And The Falcon (#168) yet, this article contains detailed information about the plot and storyline!  Don’t come complaining later if you ruined it for yourself!

Now, with that out of the way, let’s take a look at some comics!  Recently, I came across a good-sized lot of Captain America And The Falcon comics from the early to late Seventies.

Forty-two issues spanning a solid seven years of Captain America with a fair number of gaps of course.  Like a lot of kids, I grew up reading the occasional Cap story, but I never really collected it.  I picked up this run because a fair chunk of the later issues was the final run written and drawn by none other than Jack ‘The King” Kirby himself, almost twenty issues.  Most of the earlier issues were written by an assortment of writers including Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, Tony Isabella, and even Marv Wolfman.  Having never had access to this much Cap before, I figured I was in for a treat.  What I hadn’t expected was what a surprise I was in for as well.

I read a lot of Marvel Comics as a kid.  My favorite was Spider-Man.  Most of my comic collection as a child consisted of Marvel and DC from the Seventies and Eighties.  But I read those comics with a child’s eyes.  Coming back to them as an adult and reading them with an adult’s perspective shows a complex multi-layered dynamic between the characters that I’ve never realized existed before.  It’s something that isn’t in a lot of today’s modern comics; a subtext commentary about our society at the time the books were written.  It turns out Captain America And The Falcon was a book that was notably not afraid to address the issues of the day, namely racism and the inequity between blacks and whites in 1970s America.  There are comments and statements throughout the book, often between Cap and Falcon, about how African-Americans are treated in the USA.  It’s not just here or there either.  Stan Lee addresses it, Jack Kirby addresses it and bringing us to Captain America And The Falcon #168, Roy Thomas & Tony Isabella address it.

 

This issue of Captain America caught my attention, not just for the iconic cover, but also because it was a self-contained one issue story that was made into a Book And Record set which I happened to own as a child.  I’ve probably read the entire book at least fifty times, but having lost my Book and Record collection over the years, I’d almost forgotten that the story existed and had no idea that it was actually a regular issue that was released in the early Seventies as well.  So over twenty years later, I sat down to read it again.

The story starts out with Cap and Falcon out on patrol.  One of the first things you notice though is the tone of which Falcon speaks.  His dialect comes out in the writing and he sounds like he’s straight off the street in the Seventies.  This fits of course, but I never noticed it as a kid.  Captain America has a much more refined mode of speech but their banter back and forth flows naturally.   Things got surprisingly adult very quickly though, with Steve Rogers (and if you don’t know that’s who Captain America is…well, I can’t help you.  Or I just did, take your pick) worrying about the morality of having fallen in love with the daughter of the woman he used to be in love with in the 1940s.  And Falcon reassures him by telling him that it’s just ‘an old-fashioned [love] triangle’ that’s got him down.  Okay, so apparently that’s just par for the course for most people.  Who knew?

While I’m still reeling from the implications of that little bombshell, a mystery villain attacks Cap and Falcon out of the blue, spouting dire threats at Cap specifically.   Here’s where things get really interesting.  Falcon sneaks up on “The Phoenix” while he’s attacking Cap and kicks him in the back from behind.  Standard superhero stuff.  But then the Phoenix responds.

As you can see in the panel, Sam Wilson (that’s the Falcon for those of you who also didn’t know) refuses to sink to his level and makes with the witty banter in return, offering him a fair fight and the Phoenix responds again.  He then proceeds to pile drive Falcon in the chin with the butt of his um…laser rifle.  Yeah.  In 1973.  Hey, it’s a superhero comic!  But as you can imagine, the above exchange left me nearly open-mouthed.  Had I seriously read that dialogue properly?  Apparently, I had.  And make no mistake, this is a theme that is rife throughout the Captain America And The Falcon series.  It’s not unique to this issue.  However,  they did choose to make this particular issue into a Book and Record set for kids.  But don’t worry, the shocks don’t end here!

Cap then drives off Falcon to try and keep him safe and then goes hunting for the Phoenix on his own.  He finds a likely victim and ends up getting captured by the villain himself.  A chained Captain America asks him who he really is and why he holds such hatred for him and in true villain fashion, Phoenix gives Cap his life’s story.

He’s the son of Baron Zemo, a Nazi scientist who worked on weapons development for the Third Reich.  That’s right, Nazis.

But not just Nazis, Nazis and their families.  Zemo’s son portrays his father as a loving family man, working tirelessly for the benefit of the German war effort, until an attack by the despicable Captain America bonds his mask to his face and he becomes mad with anger and revenge and turns on his family, eventually meeting his doom.  Now his son is out, for blood, rising like a phoenix to wreak vengeance upon our not-so-hapless hero.  Phoenix loses in the end and loses his life too.  Falcon drops in to save the day, Phoenix spouts more racial epithets and Cap joins in to stop him, but his own weapons destroy him and Cap has an introspective moment about the nature of hatred.  Even this scene was emotionally charged and reminds us of our history.  

And as I read through more issues, the same types of themes reoccurred.  One of the Kirby issues (Captain America And The Falcon #194, February 1977) has Steve dreaming about an ancestor from the American Revolution and when he tells Sam Wilson, Falcon accuses Cap’s family of owning slaves, possibly even his own ancestors!   Isn’t that literally the exact thing that’s been in the news the last year or two?  It’s basically a conversation about white guilt, ignorance, and forgetting the past in less than 3 paragraphs!  Absolutely stunning.

Stop and think about all of this for a minute.  We have the child of a Nazi following in his father’s footsteps and coming to America to assassinate Captain America.  It does at least explain his brutally racist remarks to Falcon.  But take this book out of context for a moment.  Overlay it with the politics and mood or the country today.  It’s like we never got past that era.  We have the same racism.  We have neo-Nazis spreading across North America and Europe like a virus.  It’s FORTY-FOUR years after this comic was written and we still have the same issues for African-Americans in America as we did in 1973!  It’s right there in black and white for all of us to read in a comic primarily intended for children.

If anything, in many ways things have gotten worse instead of better, but we talk about the ‘rising racial tension in America’ like it’s shocking and new.  It’s not.  It never left.  It’s a social convention that’s been lurking about beneath the surface that we mostly avoided talking about except for the people directly suffering from it.  And it’s all wrapped up in a neat little red, white, and blue package for anyone to see in a comic written before I was even born.  Not in literature, nor in a journal article, or even an editorial.  In a superhero comic book.  THAT is how pervasive the endemic problems in our society are.  THAT is what we need to realize.  That every little thing shows us something is very wrong and we continue to ignore it, even in our kids’ comics.   Racism, white supremacy, the changing structure of relationships and learning to accept them, none of it is new. We’ve just forgotten it isn’t.  Maybe we need to look to the past and have some open discussions about these issues.  Perhaps we should put aside the politically charged arguments and the political correctness and simply look at our world…through the panels of a comic book.

A final note:

For those of you who are interested, Captain America And The Falcon is not remotely the only mainstream book that handles themes like these.  Marvel and DC in the 1970s both covered a variety of sociopolitical issues.  Notably, Black Panther, Luke Cage, Hero For Hire, and the Power Man And Iron Fist comics for Marvel and Green Lantern/Green Arrow for DC were heavy hitters.  Drugs, racism, poverty, and social inequity all get some serious contemplation between super-powered brawls.  If you get the chance, take a second look at some of those old comics.  You might just be surprised what’s inside them! 

 

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On this episode, we talk to the Host and Creator of The Show Radio, Andrew Alliance. We talk about his beginnings and how the show and how he himself has evolved. Andrew is a personal friend of this author and Real Otaku Gamer. We discuss E3 2017, the industry and his Geek/Gamer history. Do yourself a favor and get acquainted with Andrew Alliance. The Audio Version is below.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 25 Apr, 2017 At 03:45 PM | Categorized As News, News, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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Capcom and Marvel Entertainment have released a lot of new info about Marvel vs Capcom Infinite. We have seen the first story trailer, and learned the release date will be Sept 191th. There are already 6 DLC characters planned and multiple character skins. The deluxe edition  was also detailed in the trailer as well.

 

 

 

By otakuman5000 On 27 Mar, 2017 At 06:10 PM | Categorized As Comics/Manga, Featured, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

No GravatarLogan

20th Century Fox

Run Time 2h 17min

Rated R

20th Century Fox has gotten a lot of flack over the years about their handling of the X-men cinematic universe. Some of the flack, this author feels MIGHT be warranted, other parts not-so-much. The success of Deadpool and the fact that Fox has basically let Marvel call the shots with the next wave of films is starting to show promise.

Now it is time to get back into the X-men Universe with the release of Logan. Directed by James Mangold, this is the last of the Jackman-Wolverine solo movies, and it is a thrill ride from the first frame to the last. Set in the not-too-distant future, Logan places you in a world where the mutants are all but extinct. The world actually resembles today, Xmen are now comic book characters, action figures, and pictures on t-shirts. Mutants are the stuff of legend and lore. So when people hear about the Wolverine, it is almost mythical.

The story is about an aging Logan, trying to help care for an ailing Professor X  in an outpost near Mexico. Along with Caliban, they have a pretty peaceful existence, until Logan is contacted by someone needing his help to save a young girl, and here is where things get interesting.

The next piece of the story without spoilers is the X-23 project. If you are a fan of the comic you know the story. For those who don’t, in Logan, the central focus is the little girl Laura aka x-23. She is the result of a government genetic program designed to create new mutants as weapons. Some of the doctors are not happy with what they are seeing, so they help some of the kids escape. Logan is sought out and this is where things get crazy. It is up to Charles and Logan to save her and make it to Eden.

The story between Laura, Charles, and Logan is the highlight of this film. The banter between those three is the glue that holds the movie together. There is a point in the movie where Logan refers to Charles as his “dad”, and it fits so perfectly. Laura is actually genetically Logan’s daughter and unwittingly acts like it throughout the film. The emotion is woven into the fabric and pacing of the film.

The emotion holds the story together, but it is the gritty action and fight scenes that keep the story moving. The scenes in this film are some of the most intense we have seen in the Wolverine cinematic universe to date. These scenes are also very satisfying and very relevant to the story.  Logan is trying to save his “family” while helping a cause that is is not 100% on board with. The pacing of the action sequences is a thing of beauty. The young actress playing Laura (Dafne Keen) is a great action star. She has the same disdain for people that Logan has at first, but as the story progresses, she learns she can count on friends.

Logan is the perfect way to showcase Hugh Jackman’s final solo Wolverine performance.  This film has what great films need, great writing, on point pacing, great performances, edge-of-your-seat action, and most of all, heart. You will not be disappointed with this film. This author recommends viewing it more than once.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 28 Feb, 2017 At 12:07 AM | Categorized As ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Mega Man Legacy Collection producer and director Frank Cifaldi  revealed during an interview with The Watch podcast that his company Digital Eclipse are working on a new Capcom game compilation and it could be announced relatively soon.

 Cifaldi stated

I shipped a collection called Mega Man Legacy Collection the year before last (it’s been a while), and we’ve got another one coming out soon that they’re gonna announce any day now. I don’t know when – I wish I could talk about it but it’s really cool.

It is not yet known if this is Mega Man related or not, but it is worth noting that this is the 30th anniversary of Mega Man this year. Could this be an X collection? We shall see soon.
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By Jonathan Balofsky On 27 Feb, 2017 At 04:20 PM | Categorized As ROG News | With 0 Comments

No GravatarAfter 10 years at EA, Peter Moore will be leaving this year to join Liverpool Football Club as its new chief executive officer. Moore will begin in June and report directly to the club’s owners, Fenway Sports Group.

During his 10 years at EA, he was in a number of leadership positions, including chief operating officer and president of EA SPORTS, notably managing the FIFA series. This is a big change for EA and will lead to some big changeups being made at the company.

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By Jonathan Balofsky On 8 Feb, 2017 At 07:35 PM | Categorized As ROG News | With 0 Comments

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The Entertainment Software Association has made major changes to E3, since for the first time ever, the expo will be open to the public this year.

15000 general public tickets will be available at e3 2017. Tickets will be priced at $250, however there will be an early bird discount bringing it down to $150. If you go, you will have access to panels, presentations and most events at the show.

Geoff Keighley will be involved with this change, and will offer access to special benefits associated with his own E3 programming, such as developer interviews and other events.

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By Jonathan Balofsky On 8 Feb, 2017 At 06:04 PM | Categorized As ROG News | With 0 Comments

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The Entertainment Software Association has made major changes to E3, since for the first time ever, the expo will be open to the public this year.

15000 general public tickets will be available at e3 2017. Tickets will be priced at $250, however there will be an early bird discount bringing it down to $150. If you go, you will have access to panels, presentations and most events at the show.. Tickets will be priced at $250, however there will be an early bird discount bringing it down to $150. If you go, you will have access to panels, presentations and most events at the show.

Geoff Keighley will be involved with this change, and will offer access to special benefits associated with his own E3 programming, such as developer interviews and other events.

Source

By Jonathan Balofsky On 26 Jan, 2017 At 11:11 PM | Categorized As News, News, News, NINTENDO, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

No GravatarWell this came out of nowhere, but Square Enix and Marvel will be entering into a multi-year and multi project collaboration.

 

Marvel Entertainment and SQUARE ENIX® today announced a new multi-year, multi-game licensing agreement to develop and publish original games based on beloved Marvel Super Heroes, beginning with The Avengers. This newly established partnership pairs the creative minds at Marvel and Square Enix for one of the most powerful alliances in interactive entertainment. The first blockbuster game is being crafted by Crystal Dynamics®, developers of the award winning Tomb Raider® series, in collaboration with Eidos-Montréal, the home of the critically acclaimed and award-winning Deus Ex game series.

The Avengers project is being designed for gamers worldwide and will be packed with all the characters, environments, and iconic moments that have thrilled longtime fans of the franchise. Featuring a completely original story, it will introduce a universe gamers can play in for years to come. More details on The Avengers project and other games will be announced in 2018

This is quite the surprise, but does make sense given Square Enix’s ties to Disney, the parent company of Marvel. Let’s hope we can get some good games from this. If they are as good as some of Square Enix’s recent games, we are in for a treat.

 

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 5 Jan, 2017 At 01:34 PM | Categorized As News, News, News, NINTENDO, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

No GravatarInti Creates has shared a new video development update for Bloodstained Ritual of the Night. This time we are shown the village in the game.  Though the video is very short (only 30 seconds), we do get to see some interesting things. For one thing, the village itself is extremely reminiscent of the village seen in the opening of Dracula X and Rondo of Blood. IGA and Inti Creates have been throwing in numerous references to Bloodstained’s spiritual predecessor and it is amazing. As well, the brief look shows off just how stunning the game is and no doubt will be on launch.

Check it out below.