Children of Nostradamus Novels On Sale for $.99!

 

In 1992, psychic Eleanor Valentine altered the fate of mankind before her assassination attempt on the President of the United States of America failed. Forty years later, Children of Nostradamus, individuals with extraordinary powers, begin receiving letters sent from the long dead psychic. As the world is plunged into chaos by a corrupt government, a shadow organization rises to power and only the a group of rogue Children of Nostradamus stand a chance of protecting mankind.

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A Month of Comic Geekdom In Review

What happens when twenty-three authors and artists share a love of comics? You get a month long event of amazing unique perspectives about the comics that shaped them in their youth and continue to shape them. From social commentary, to fandoms, to geeking out, I had an amazing time reading these articles and finding people who share my passion for illustrated stories. If you missed a story, here’s a recap of the last month.

Watchmen: A Darkness Witnessed in the Heart of Men by Jeremy Flagg
Extraordinary Assaults by Jeff Deck
Gold Age of Comic Book Movies by Thomas S Flowers III
The Resurrection of “Street Level” Heroes by Errick Danger Nunnally
Modern Heroes: Where Myth Meets Reality by Joshua Guess
Reality & Continuity, Or Why 9/11 Reveals Some Insights About Live-Action Superheroes by Lance Eaton
The Folly of Subcultural Gatekeeping, or WWXD? by Amanda Kahl
Once Upon a Time, We Were All Kitty Pryde of the X-Men by Jeremy Flagg
I get it, but it’s still okay to love Superman! by Eddie Jakes
Necessary Evils by Steve Van Samson
Again with the Superheroes?! A friendly, Well-Intentioned Rant. by Angi Shearstone
X-tinction Agenda, An Arc to End All Arcs by Jennifer Allis Provost
Escapism in Comics by Thomas Washburn Jr.
In a World of Heroes be the Purrfect Villainess by Cameron Garriepy
For the Love of Long Form Storytelling by Chris Duryea
Comics Aren’t Just for the Boys: Girl Power by Amanda Pazzanese Minaker
What Comics Taught Me by Chris Philbrook
Marvel’s Jessica Jones – Not a Hero Because of Powers by E.J. Stevens
Adventures in Babysitting, But More Mutants by Trisha Wooldridge
They call him DOOM by James A. Moore
What’s with all the Nipples? Female Sexualization in Comics by April Hawks
Son of The Demon – The Batman the DCEU Needs by Martin Campbell
Comic Characters Who Need Their Own Movie by Max Bowen

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Comic Characters Who Need Their Own Movie

Over the past decade, comics have made the big transition from the printed page to the silver screen. It hasn’t been a flawless leap, and there are a few productions that I think we as a people wish had never seen the light of day [cough, Fantastic Four, cough]. Truly, it’s a great time to be a nerd, when one of the cornerstones of geek subculture has now become part of the mainstream, and it’s a little less cool to say that you know who Wolverine is.

But here’s the problem: Wolverine’s one of the few we know. In an industry with a dearth of possible stories, we’ve seen five Spider-Man movies, six starring the X-Men, and countless Avengers titles. While more are planned, it doesn’t look like the theatrical roster is going to expand by too much. So, I decided to throw my two cents and comprise a list of characters, some from Marvel and others from different companies, that I think deserve their own movie.

Darkhawk
Regarded as a C-List hero that gets to occasionally team up with the big boys, Darkhawk has in fact saved the entire world and gone toe-to-toe with some of the heavy-hitters of the Marvel Universe [the guy was part of the Infinity Crusade, I think that at least moves him to B+ List]. His back story starts out like many heroes—as a kid, Chris Powell basically fell into his powers, after he used an alien amulet to transform into an android powerhouse.

Unlike many, his course to heroism was somewhat erratic. His mentors include Venom and The Punisher, folks whose idea of due process is a deciding whether to skin the bad guys alive or just cave in their skulls. It’s no surprise that he’s questioned the wisdom of leaving the bad guys in one piece.

Now, let’s talk powers—Darkhawk has enough for two characters. Super strength, an energy shield, a force blast, flight, even some kind of nightmare face that terrifies anyone he looks at. Yeah, his outfit makes him look like a cyberpunk Power Ranger, but he makes it work.

Multiple Man
Jamie Madrox’s own powers have tried to kill him. There, I think that’s all I need to say.

What? I need to do more. Fine, fine….

Madrox is a mutant with the power to create a duplicate of himself through physical impact. Basically, you punch him and get two to fight with. Have fun with that. He’s a member of X-Factor, a government -run mutant team because sure, the government has always had the best interests of mutants at heart.

Despite some questionably judgment in allegiences, Madrox has proven himself a hero time and again. The guy can make as many duplicates as he needs, and as far as I know, there’s no limit to this ability. He’s basically a one-man army. More than that, he can see, hear, and experience anything his copies do. Send one to infiltrate a Hydra base, but he gets killed? No worries, Madrox Prime [as he’s sometimes referred to] saw everything he needs to stop their fiendish plan.

But that’s not all! He can learn anything his copies learn just by absorbing them back into his body. He once sent a copy to spend years learning martial arts, then gained all the skills in a moment. If he gets hurt in battle, drawing the copies back into himself can heal his wounds. It’s actually a wonder that he bothers being part of a team.

Mice Templar
OK, this would be likely be multiple films, but the premise is amazing: infusing Celtic and Norse legends to tell a tale of destiny, revenge, and war. On the surface this seems like standard Disney fare: an army of mice taking on the evil rat empire, but the similarity ends very quickly. And very, very bloody

While this certainly has the potential to be a good animated series, let’s just say the parental warning would be high for this one. It’s about as gory as the movie Braveheart, and has a complex, ever-evolving story that follows a young mouse named Karic, someone who wants absolutely nothing to do with the destiny thrust upon him as a great savior, only agreeing once he sees that he’s the only thing saving his kind from complete annihilation. So, no pressure, right?

Ink
A lesser-known member of the second incarnation of the New Mutants, Tattoo isn’t actually a mutant, and has no powers that are his and his alone. Instead, he employs a mutant tattoo artist, whose gift allows him to make any ink he draws a power. Draw the biohazard sign on your hand: congrats, you can now broadcast the plague to anyone around you. A set of wings on your heels: heads up, you can fly. Hell, the guy even gave himself the powers of the Phoenix. Yeah, the same one that decimates worlds for fun. That Phoenix.

To be fair, Tattoo isn’t a real hero, and only gives himself these powers for his own gain, but when the chips are down, he steps up and does the right thing, even when that “right thing” puts him in a coma.


Max Bowen founded Citywide Blackout five years ago to support and promote Boston’s music scene. The show has grown significantly over the years, with many different co-hosts bringing their distinct personalities, experience, and expertise to the table. This show wouldn’t exist if not for their hard work.

Today, Citywide Blackout airs on WEMF every Thursday at 9 p.m. with co-hosts Matt Zappa and Tom Crossman. The show shines the spotlight on musicians, artists, writers, filmmakers, and much more.

In addition, Max is a regular contributor to The Noise Magazine, which covers the Boston music scene through live show and CD reviews and in-depth articles. He has worked as a journalist for Gatehouse Media for the last 10 years. Today, he’s the editor of the Westwood Press and Medfield Press newspapers.

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Son of The Demon – The Batman the DCEU Needs

Growing up I was always intrigued by comics. I loved the idea of combining art with words and felt a euphoric high as my eyes digested every page I turned. I could not mow enough lawns as a young man to keep up with my obsession for the dazzling covers and intriguing storylines being printed for my enjoyment. It was even upon the pages of a comic that I found my first crush, T
he Enchantress. Thor #491 was my introduction to this wonderfully disastrous goddess who intrigued my attention with her cunning cleverness and mystique. Unfortunately for me, The Enchantress was obsessed over the thunder god himself, something I, as a mere mortal man could not possibly compete with.

In all honesty, as a young man, I exclusively read only Marvel comics. This was the case not because I was trying to shun DC, but because where I grew up in Northern Maine, the internet was a foreign concept at the time and outlets to purchase comics were non-existence. Truth was, I had to walk a half mile to my neighbor’s house where he would give me a stack of comics every couple weeks. He had a subscription to a handful of Marvel comics and after he read them, he passed them along to me.

As much as I loved reading about Thor, The Hulk, Captain America and other of my neighbors’ favorites, I found myself itching for something new. While visiting the local library with my uncle, as he was looking for a couple new movies to check out, the librarian started striking up a conversation with me. I told her how I didn’t read much, mostly comics. I inquired if the library had any, she promptly shook her head no. But as she was shaking her head no, it was clear a couple thoughts began rolling around in her head. She scurried into a backroom and after a few seconds came out with three comics in her hand. “These were donated along with a box full of books the other day, here you take them,” she said handing them to me.

Those three comics were my introduction to Batman, not the cartoon character that I had seen during Saturday mornings, not the Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer movie renditions but the Mike W. Barr/Jerry Bingham version. Yes, the three comics the librarian bestowed upon my possession happen to be Son of the Demon, Birth of the Demon and Bride of the Demon, which is a trilogy revolving around the relationship between Batman and The League of Shadows. Over the next couple weeks, I must have read those three comics a dozen times, engrossed by the engagingly complex storyline. The comic was darker, more meaningful and gave me an in-depth look at a superhero unlike I had yet to read.

For those who have not read The Demon trilogy (which the comics are known as), it is a must. I won’t give away the details as I think everyone should experience the story unfold in front of their eyes for the first time in comic form, but let’s say we get to briefly see a less reserved, more humanistic side of Batman. The series also does a great job at delving into what a life of love would possibly look like for our complicated masked crusader. All through the trilogy is faced with decisions that don’t revolve around the murder of his parents, the destruction of his city but instead, he is faced with decisions about his future. There is also numerous conflicts within the storyline as Batman’s love interest is none other than the daughter of Ra’s Al Ghul himself (who is my personal favorite DC villain, I know, I know, The Joker is the undeniable fan favorite).

But I think this story line and unseen version of Ra’s is just what is needed for DC to refresh the impact Batman can have on the cinematic world and help DC put a stop to just following in the footsteps of its universal counterpart, Marvel. The retreading of the Batman movies is becoming overplayed. I cannot take another origin story.

The opportunity to explore more in depth The League of Shadows, it’s inside makeup, while focusing on Batman will help tell a story that has yet to be told and it could unfold in a rather promising way on the cinematic screen. Beyond getting a look into the personal life of Batman, the series could potentially help tap into the world of magic and mystique that is starting to finally translate to the big screen. This storyline is a chance to shake things up in the world of Batman, the chance to do something different, something for the real comic book fans.

Marvel is dominating the cinematic comic book scene right now with their fun, colorful portrayal of superheroes that has caught the attention of adults, families, and fanatics of all ages. I think it is safe to say that Marvel won’t be letting their grip on that scene go anytime soon. This leaves little room for era on DC’s part when it comes to putting out a product that matches what Marvel is doing; honestly to this date after Suicide Squad and Batman vs Superman, their idea of simply making their movies seem edgier than Marvel’s without actually doing so, is falling flat.

How about DC does something Marvel doesn’t do, and simply step outside the box with the stories they are trying to sell (Example, Deadpool). How about making the next series of Batman movies revolve around The Demon trilogy (Hello Ben Affleck). This could be a pivotal decision in the franchise’s history, allowing it to reboot the series and create something special that will appeal to hardcore fans. I think a movie revolved around such a complex story, one that is refreshing will garner a better reception from critics and put up respectable box office numbers (which we know is the generating force behind everything).

Now, I understand The Demon Trilogy is a storyline that is foreign to most part-time comic fan but with the right writer behind the script, preparation in advertising, there will be plenty of time for fans to catch up. This includes possibly purchasing a copy of The Demon Trilogy, getting to know who Ra’s (who I know played a big role in the last trilogy but still has so much story left to tell) and other main characters are, well before the film’s release.

So to keep it short, come on Batman, step outside the box, be different, show the world a side of superheroes that is rarely ever seen in a Marvel movie; a vulnerable hero. Make a young man’s vision come true, let’s bring The Demon Trilogy to the big screen.

“Beloved, you give too much thought to what is real and what is not, to what is true and what is false. I realize that is your way, but just this once, accept things as they are. Forego your control, your discipline. Just once, let yourself go… and take me with you.”

Batman – Son of The Demon


Martin Campbell is a Maine-based author who grew up with a fascination for reading about the things that go bump in the night. He has been a fan of horror, fantasy and science fiction his whole life.

Growing up in the small farm town of Whitefield, he had plenty of time to sit around and let his imagination run wild. He spent a lot of time watching his favorite horror films (such as The Thing, Evil Dead and Bride of Frankenstein) and reading his favorite books (The Stand, The Amityville Horror and Bram Stoker’s Dracula).

By putting his unique imagination and love for horror to work, Martin has found a passion for writing and creating his own world of things that go bump in the night. By studying some of his favorite authors, he has worked hard over the last few years to try and bring to his pages some of his readers greatest fears.

After writing several short stories for various anthropologies, magazine’s and websites, Martin has completed his first book called MAINE AFTER DARK, a collection of short stories based in Maine.

Visit Martin Campbell’s Website

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What’s with all the Nipples? Female Sexualization in Comics

When I was, oh maybe three or four, I was introduced to my first super heroine. (I was still enamored of Super Grover, don’t get me wrong.) She-Ra was a bad ass that matched the things her brother, He-Man could do. She had a sword that transformed her from Adora, to her alter self, She-Ra. She had a witch that worked with her (who, by the way was stereotypically witchy: Long nose, eccentric, the hat- everything) She-Ra’s sword was amazing in that it could transform itself at her will to any item she needed at the time. Sometimes a shield, sometimes grappling hook- whatever she needed. She-Ra was also wicked strong. She moved giant boulders, carried people and so much more. She was a role model in a time when Barbie was considered ideal, with her kitchens and heels and dressed.

Here’s the thing about She-Ra, though. The target audience was young people. Poor She-Ra, badass extraordinaire, had to strut around in a skirt that barely covered her ass, and a halter top, in addition to some boots with giant heels. Granted, she rocked that, but why should she have had to? Also, her costume was mostly white, which I get is a nod to her purity, but she doesn’t stay in She-Ra form all the time and she got into situations that should have left it nasty. And yet, her hair was always immaculate, as was her costume. Most of these questions occurred to me much later in life. And I know, I know, the magic of comics and television.

***

I grew up a bit and was introduced to Archie Comics. To begin with, I have to say that Archie’s two love interests, Betty and Veronica, were curvy and often seen in bikinis and tight tops and jeans, or mini-skirts. They are perpetual teens, that have changed fashions with the passing decades. As a pre-teen and a teenager, they were role models that I read about over and over and I got a new issue every time that they came out. But they were typical High Schoolers and yet so very far from it. I went to public school and a small fraction of the populace looked anywhere close to the girls in the comics. I knew I never would achieve that, but at the same time I really would have liked to. Again, they were the ideal seventeen year olds, but only to someone that never had to actually be around real seventeen year olds. Part of being a teenager is learning that the standards set by the media are in no way realistic, but it is a difficult battle to fight and it is a daily struggle for so many. With the target readers a group that is typically insecure and many of which have issues with their own bodies, even venturing into body dysmorphic disorder, it is an unfair precedent to fight against.

Now, from the same Comic Empire, comes the woman that is infatuated with Jughead. Her name is Big Ethel. She is taller than most of the Riverdale High students, earning her the nickname. She is plain, gangly, and often the object of Jughead’s ridicule and rebuffs. He comments on how annoying she is and though she is constantly trying to win his affection, he is indifferent. To be fair, Jughead is in love with food in all forms, but still. The one not drop dead gorgeous girl fights and fights for the interest of the guy she wants and Archie has the choice between curvaliscious girls that fight over him. Sigh.

***

In order to really dig in and make sure that I was remembering the right things about the right heroines, I did a quick search on female super heroes. I regret it. I saw images of She Hulk (which, let’s be honest is a stupid name for a character who is bad ass in her own right, but the name implies that she is nothing more than a counterpart to the Hulk, and therefore not really even worthy of her own original naming. But I digress) in a freaking leotard that is practically cut to her belly button and is cut way up to her hips. It reminded me of a male wrestler’s costume and they don’t have to worry about their boobs popping out.

Then there was Elektra, who was a fascinating character with real depth. She had OCD, big time, and yet she still wore slinky skintight clothes while she was chasing bad guys. But the thing is that in these comic universes, none of the guys even notice that the costumes show almost all of the women’s bodies. I attribute that to the fact that they are all so used to seeing women bouncing around practically naked. In real life, when women dress like the heroines, they attract gawkers because…well…BA-BAM. Comicon? Girl skin all over.

Super Girl, in the Television show, has a spandex unitard/ footy pajamas reminiscent of her predecessor, Superman, but her boobs are squished in and pumped up so high, the damn things are practically chin rests. Her breasts would be just as effective tucked tight into her suit and out of sight as much as skintight material will allow. They don’t do anything to aid her in her pursuit of evil. It isn’t like she is a Fem-Bot with laser shooting titties. Unless I missed that episode.

Black Widow is another completely competent, ass kicking, no shit taking woman. And the costume she wears in the movies has coverage and purpose. She can do amazing things, but she uses her body to do them, so it makes sense that her clothing fits her so closely. Loose clothing would be a disadvantage. But she has a zipper that goes all the way up in the movies, and yet it is strategically left open just enough to show her cleavage crack. Again, unnecessary.

***

The picture I have included for this piece is a comic heroine from an obscure comic that a friend introduced me to about fifteen years ago or so. I was a bit eager to read them partially because I am pagan (identified at the time as a witch,) And my middle name is Dawn. Also the protagonist is a redhead. I love the storylines about Dawn: Queen of the Witches, but she literally walks around in leotards that crawl up her butt and she has permanently erect nipples, no matter what she wears. She clearly runs free from bras. That last part, though, I totally understand. The perma-nips have no purpose other than ogling. She is such a highly sexualized character and most of the pictures of her, even in the process of developing her as a character, are pinup style and sexual poses. I literally had to, in my head, separate her outfits from the storyline in my head. That being said, I have dressed up as her on Halloween several times. From the neck up. No way would I wear those outfits in public, even if I didn’t live in sometimes-snows-on-Halloween Maine. I like her makeup and her hair, which, though totally superficial, intrigue me because of the weeping left eye.

***

Final Fantasy games are another example. In FFX, Rikku is a race called Al-Bhed. They go diving for wreckage from the world that existed in previous times. Again, she has a full body suit that works for the character, logically. Though it is tight, that is a benefit when one is prowling through water filled metal debris, where other, looser clothing might get caught on something and be a liability. Once again, however, she has a lot of boobage and her zipper is conveniently low enough to show it off.

Final Fantasy X was a great game, despite my small amounts of anger over the depictions of the female characters. I understand that the native society of the game designers differs from ours and that may explain, though not forgive, the issues I had. Final Fantasy X-2, however, made my blood pressure rise. The main characters are female. Super bonus, right? And they are the same characters that I knew from Final Fantasy X. Yay, again! Then I started playing. In order to increase your abilities, you have a dresssphere. Translation: You have to change your clothes to change your powers. Unlike in other final fantasy games, where you level up your own skills by earning the power up and it just happens to the character itself. Other than armor, and weapons which can also level up. No, the increase in FFX-2 of abilities revolves all around the clothes the women wear, not the women themselves. That is the stupidest thing I can think of.

Women in real life deserve more credit than to be evaluated on the clothes they wear. By extension, the heroines that we should be able to relate to for who they are and what they themselves can do. We need heroines that show depth of character rather than depth of cleavage cracks. We need relatable, talented, realistic people that can overcome obstacles and not have their boobs clear those obstacles three whole seconds before she does. And little girls deserve all that too.


April Hawks lives with her husband and three of four sons. She spends far too much time on Pinterest, gets really weird ideas for stories from her crazy dreams, her kids, her husband, and strange synapses firing in her brain. She writes speculative fiction in both novel and short story form. She lives in Maine in a teeny, cozy town.

Amazon page April Hawks
Blog : https://aprilhawks.com/

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