It’s been about a month since Lilac City Comicon 2019. The end of a good comic convention is always bittersweet. A lot of memories were made and laughter was plentiful, but real life has to catch up with con-goers at some point. Fortunately, you don’t have to totally let go of Lilac City Comicon 2019. If you’ve already read all the books and comics you bought and you’ve already put up all the posters and prints, here are some tips to keeping that comicon feeling alive.Continue reading
With Captain America handing his shield to Falcon, one of Marvel’s next heroes has already been chosen. The question remains: Who is Tony Stark’s successor? Iron Man is too hot a property to leave languishing because of a simple death. Here are the top prospects for Marvel’s next Iron Man.
Spider-Man: The trailers for “Spider-Man: Far from Home” make it seem like the world is looking for a new Iron Man. Peter Parker felt like Stark was his mentor, and his sense of duty requires that he try to take up the mantle. Parker invented his web shooters, so he has the engineering acumen to take up the Stark suit improvement mentality. He also has a suit made by Stark that he can improve upon and reverse engineer, and his relationship with Happy would probably give him access to the resources of Stark Industries – resources his aunt can’t provide.
But making Spider-Man the next Iron Man removes Spider-Man from the movie scene. It might work for a couple of movies, but ultimately, it hamstrings the opportunity to make more money from two popular franchises. Since Sony owns the rights to Spider-Man, Peter Parker is probably not going to be the next Iron Man. The world may need a new Iron Man, but it won’t be Peter Parker unless the MCU wants to introduce a live action Miles Morales.
War Machine or Iron Patriot: James Rhodes is the first one on the scene of Tony Stark’s death. He has an Iron Man inspired suit with more weapons. Marvel has already proven that it can take second rate properties and turn them into blockbusters, and Don Cheadle is no chump actor. He could carry a movie. The only things standing in his way are resources and the ability to engineer new suits. Rhodes has yet to show his genius side.
Pepper Potts: “We’re going to be okay. You can rest now.” Pepper Potts to Tony Stark, “Avengers: Endgame.” This statement could be Pepper taking the mantle from Tony. The “we” she is referring to could be her and her daughter, or it could be the planet Earth. Pepper may be signaling to Tony that she is ready to take on the responsibility of the suit. She has a different demeanor than Tony, but she is adept at managing resources and has the financial wherewithal to keep improving her Iron Man suit.
Morgan Stark: Sure, Morgan’s only five in “Avengers: Endgame,” but she could don the suit in as early as nine years (She’s already shown a penchant for wearing the suit parts). She’d be 14, which is still young, but if she has inherited the Stark genius and the Stark determination, there’d be nothing that could stop her. Picture Morgan teaming up with Pepper in Iron Man suits and imagine what kind of powerful story that could be. It would also give people time enough to heal from the death of her father while she isn’t healed herself. Who would she take revenge against?
Harley, the boy from Iron Man 3: At the end of Iron Man 3, Harley has a dream workshop and a Potato Gun Mark 2. There’s every indication that Stark kept in touch with his protégé, and Harley is at the funeral. Harley would likely have the Stark resources, like Peter would, and he has proven he can build things. If he’s worked hard at it, he may be able to invent and modify with the best of them.
Robert Downey Jr. from another universe: The multi-verse has been revealed. Any hero can come back at any time, and they can come back differently. Iron Man could return exactly as he was, but what if in his universe, he lost Pepper and Morgan? How would that make him different? What if the next Iron Man pits Pepper and Morgan against a Tony Stark bent on taking them to another universe? Would they go or would he kidnap them?
Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man seems to be to popular to leave dead, but Marvel will achieve the most integrity if they don’t bring him back. Except this is a comics universe: No one ever truly dies. Tell us who you think will be the next Iron Man in the comments.
“Cars 2” was universally panned for its weird torture scene, and while I found it the best of the Cars series, most people didn’t appreciate the adult themes in a child’s movie. “Toy Story 4” doesn’t have the torture scene though it does have a half toy and a scene of involving dummies trying to rip Woody’s voice box from him. As for adult themes, “Toy Story 4” runs circles around Lightning McQueen and friends, and they make the film deep and darkly depressing. There are scores of Easter Eggs for the Pixar fan, including “Lifted” and Dinoco.
Spoilers after the trailer.
The first part of the film contains elements from previous films. A flashback to nine years ago shows what Woody is willing to do so that no toy is left behind and how Bo Peep is removed from the home. It also shows how Woody is tempted to leave Andy for the love of Bo Peep, but his loyalty to Andy keeps him home.
Flash forward and Woody is abandoned in the closet. His “Sheriff” badge is given to Jessie while Bonnie plays games with all the other toys. Woody puts on a brave face and does his best to keep everyone safe and organized. However, his disappointment and pain are clear. When Bonnie faces the trauma of going to Kindergarten, Woody tags along and helps her build a new friend. The new friend is a spork that wants to be in the trash, so Woody spends an entire song trying to keep the spork from throwing itself away. Much of the rest of the film involves Woody trying to save the spork from an antique store.
During his adventures, Woody meets up with Bo Peep, who has been on her own for years, and is faced with a decision: Does he go back to “his kid” or does he stay with the love of his life? This parallels the exact decision that adults have to make when it comes to their relationships or their children, except Woody is abandoning his child for his old flame.
The choice he makes is disturbing on several levels. Woody chooses Bo Peep going against his long-held beliefs about loyalty and no toy left behind – something he learned in the first film during his rivalry with Buzz.
He also goes against his character traits of compassion and selflessness, which are still on display moments before his final decision. The implication is that if your child ignores you, it’s okay to abandon that child for someone else. When the going gets tough, Woody leaves.
If Woody is the father in this scenario (the film revolves around getting back to his child), Bonnie is being left in a selfish decision that is spurred on by Buzz, who misunderstands what his inner voice is. In essence, Woody is spending his child’s inheritance and never going to see her again.
But he’s not just abandoning Bonnie. He’s abandoning the toys that he’s become a leader to, and he’s abandoning his friends. Woody choosing carnal love over enduring the hardships if familial love that come with a changing position and lifestyle is exactly what many people are doing nowadays.
For more Disney-related analysis, order “Penguinate! The Disney Company.”
Spider-Man went to space. That’s far from home. Going to Europe, while a nice diversion and, in Earthly dimensions, far from New York, it just can’t be considered that far from home for Peter Parker. It’s Europe, and he’s coming from the East Coast. But that’s just part of the story.
In the spoiler trailer released after “Avengers: Endgame,” the multi-verse is unveiled, and Nick Fury recruits Spider-Man to join forces with Mysterio against the monsters from Mysterio’s Earth. Fury tells Peter “We have a job to do, and you’re coming with us.” If Peter, Fury and Maria Hill are headed into the multi-verse, Spider-Man will be far from home. And it’ll be farther than anyone else on our Earth has ever been.
Kevin Feige has said that “Spider-Man: Far From Home” ends the MCU’s third phase. With its reveal of a multi-verse and Avengers’ time machine that could also serve as a fountain of youth if they run time through a person rather than the person through time, no character is safely dead, and many could return with different personalities and different motivations. Imagine the Captain America story where he is actually a Hydra agent… It’s out there in the multi-verse and could bring Chris Evans back.
For now, we just have to believe that the “Spider-Man: Far from Home” trailer is as misleading and spoiler-free as every other Marvel movie trailer. We also know that Peter Parker is going to have to live up to the mantle he feels has been passed to him (as well as some serious peer pressure from Nick Fury).
Maybe you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but you should definitely judge a town by its bookstore. Portland has Powell’s, Corvallis and Salem have The Book Bin, and Independence, OR, has Second Chance Books. For a town with fewer than 10,000 people, Second Chance Books provides a great place to pick up your next favorite read.
The owners are friendly and knowledgeable about books, and they are willing to help local authors schedule a book signing. The book collection is larger than you might expect from a small-town bookstore. If you love the thrill of the hunt or just want to discover something new in the used book world, the shelves or chock full of an eclectic mix of books organized by subject and author’s last name.
The joy of a used bookstore lies in its ability to reveal books you may have missed or may not have purchased because of the expense. The value of the bookstore lies in its ability to improve your mind through knowledge and improving imagination. Even a simple walk through of Second Chance Books can inspire you to greater creativity as you read and connect titles of books. If you need a place to get your book fix, Independence, OR, offers a bookstore that will fill the bill, which makes the town a great place to live.
The second gate at the Disneyland Resort continues to perform poorly and disappoint guests. With three-day, single park passes costing around $100 per day, it makes sense for most guests to skip Disney California Adventure (DCA) altogether – especially if they are on a budget.
While there are several problems with DCA, the most glaring is the problem of theming, and the problem is easily illustrated with one photo. Taking the photo from Grizzly Peak Airfield toward the Carthay Circle Theater, the Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout towers in the background and creates a dissonant sight line that doesn’t make sense in the theme park context.
Walt Disney thought that controlling sightlines was important enough that he built a berm and planted trees on top of it to keep people from seeing what was outside the park. The Walt Disney Company has repeatedly lobbied the Anaheim City Council to keep other hotels from rising above certain heights, so that they can’t see in and they can’t be seen from the park. The Jolly Holiday Café was built with two styles of roofs – one to fit the aesthetic of Main Street, U.S.A. and one to fit the theming of Adventureland.
Disneyland and its progeny have all been about theming when they work. The current regime seems to have forgotten its company history and the innovations that it brought to amusement parks. Theming is Disney’s strongest characteristic. They use it to keep stories cohesive, and they should be using it to keep the stories of their parks understandable.
With Pixar all over DCA and not just on the pier and the Little Mermaid’s huge fin- or footprint (depending on the part of the story you’d like to reference) on the opposite side of the pier, Disney California Adventure has a theme problem. Its name no longer matches its content, and it’s been caught in a no man’s land of California references that don’t fit in the Cars landscape, the impending arrival of Tony Stark’s Marvel land, which will likely incorporate the now poorly placed Guardians of the Galaxy attraction at least in name and zone, or many of its other attractions.
It’s time for the Disney Company to let it go and speed up the retheming of the park, which will necessarily include getting rid of Buena Vista Street and Hollywoodland, which is currently the default play place for Marvel superheroes, Monsters, Inc, and Mickey’s Philharmagic – none of which actually represent the heyday of Hollywood and together they present a dissonance that does the park more harm than good.
Even with a 90-minute wait at Radiator Springs Racers and not using any FASTPASSes, my wife and finished the park between the hours of 9 am and 6 pm. We didn’t ride the Incredicoaster (She doesn’t like loops) or Goofy’s Sky School. We also skipped all of the rides, we could find almost everywhere else – Ferris wheel, giant swings, the Zephyr…
Our 6 pm departure was facilitated by the lack of good, moderately priced food choices in the park. Corn dogs, hot dogs, and hamburgers get old. The Pacific Wharf Café and the nearby Mexican and Chinese restaurants weren’t appealing, and the pasta at the end of the pier just hasn’t ever been that great.
You can still find spectacular shows like “Frozen” and “the World of Color.” When you’re not on a budget and you’ve made reservations, the Carthay Circle and Wine Country Trattoria are still two of the best restaurants in the parks. For those of us that are on a budget, Disney California Adventure isn’t worth the price of admission. I keep hoping, but it looks like it’ll be another two decades before the park finds its footing – if it ever does.
If you missed seeing me at any of the events and author signings during the last three weeks, don’t fret. You can still get my books from Amazon, from my website and from the Candy Cane Inn in Anaheim.
Every book I have written is available in paperback format from www.penguinate.com. That’s the website where this blog post has been published. Simply order and pay for the book, and it will be shipped to you in a timely fashion.
If you feel better about using Amazon, you can get many of my books in paperback. Amazon is also the only place to get copies in eBook format via Kindle. (If you want paperback versions of “There Are No Penguins in Alaska” or “Disneyland Is Creativity,” you’ll need to order them from Penguinate.com.)
For people who are going to or near Disneyland, the Candy Cane Inn is a great place to pick up “The Haunted Mansion Is Creativity” in paperback. (It’s even better if you’re staying there.) The Candy Cane Inn is located on the same side of Harbor Blvd as Disneyland, and it carries a small collection of Disneyland books written by former employees and fans, including my own book and “Cleaning the Kingdom.”
In December, we are signed up to be at Salem Holiday Market from December 13 to 15. There might even be a new book by then.