Saturday, December 16, 2017

Blondie to Appear in THE ARCHIES #6 in March 2018!

Archie Comics announced yesterday its latest real life celebrity guest star to appear in THE ARCHIES: Debbie Harry! This music icon will be appearing in the sixth issue of this comic book series:
“Blondie have always been one of the best looking and best sounding bands in rock music,” says Joe Eisma. “I’m very excited for them to appear in The Archies—I can’t think of anything cooler than pairing Debbie Harry with Betty and Veronica!” Blondie’s cool factor has stayed strong for decades, and Alex Segura echoes his collaborator’s sentiments about the band appearing in their series. “What’s cooler than Blondie? Their music was formative for me in college, and no lead singer had the distant, smooth calm of Debbie Harry - with a ton of verve and a killer, unique voice. Getting the chance to write them, and showcase a band that’s still relevant and kicking butt is going to be a lot of fun, and a perfect way to close out the first year on the book.”
Debbie Harry will meet up with the Archies in March 2018!

The Black Hood's Identity Finally Revealed in This Week's "Riverdale"

Hopefully you watched "Riverdale" this past Wednesday. It was the mid-season finale episode and a Christmas-themed episode at that.

Since Fred Andrews was shot at the end of Season One, people have been curious about the identity of the Black Hood.

I was convinced until recently that Sheriff Keller would turn out to be the Black Hood. And we learned in this week's episode that I was completely wrong!

So who was the Black Hood? It was no other than Joseph Svenson (FKA Joseph Conway)! That's right! The masked vigilante who shot Fred Andrews and killed Ms. Grundy and then shot Moose Mason and then killed the Sugar Man was none other than Riverdale High's beloved janitor!

Do you remember when we learned about the Riverdale Reaper? He was a mysterious man who killed a family of four -- the Conways -- in their home many years back. It turns out that one of the Conway children -- young Joseph Conway -- hid under the bed and watched as his family was murdered. He later escaped and pointed out the killer to several of the townsfolk, who ended up burying the Reaper alive.

Years later, Joseph -- who'd been renamed Joseph Svenson -- revealed to his caretakers that he might have identified the wrong man. In other words, it's possible that the real Riverdale Reaper is still out there. But more importantly, an innocent man may have been horribly murdered because of information that Joseph had given those people!

A lot of people are still waiting for some sort of fake-out. Mr. Svenson appeared in only three episodes and it seems like the Black Hood should have been someone more integral to the overall series.  But the show's creators have told us that Mr. Svenson was indeed the Black Hood.

Did you guess the Black Hood's identity? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Christian Group Sues University of Iowa Over Its Inability to Reject Gay Student Leaders

An organization called Business Leaders in Christ (or BLinC) has filed a lawsuit against the University of Iowa, claiming that the university violated their religious liberties last month when they revoked the group's registration as an on-campus organization. And, of course, it's all about BLinC's ability to reject gay members who date from leadership positions.

According to the lawsuit, a former member of the group filed a complaint with the University of Iowa in February 2017 claiming that he'd been denied a leadership position within the BLinC back in 2016 because he is openly gay. He also filed a similar complaint against 24:7, another Christian student group.

BLinC's president at the time Hannah Thompson admitted to denying the gay student's leadership role, but also said that he wasn't rejected as a "leader" for being gay, but for his "desire to pursue a homosexual... relationship." Long story short, BLinC was kicked off-campus. That decision has hindered its ability to function because of its ineligibility to participate in on-campus recruitment fairs, use campus facilities, or receive university funding.

BLinC has not only sued the University of Iowa, but also Dean of Students Lyn Redington, Assistant Dean of Students Thomas Baker, and IMU Executive Director William Nelson. They are seeking the reinstatement of the group's official recognition and some damages. They are represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

Personally, I don't care if Business Leaders for Christ can reject LGBTQ members or leaders. I find it sad that they're ecumenical enough to be led by a female president -- which would get them blackballed from most Christian traditions and denominations --, but not ecumenical enough to accept LGBTQ "leaders" (whatever that means).

And yes, I recognize that they are open to LGBTQ leaders who are celibate. Given that I've belonged to a denomination that's long supported full inclusion of LGBTQ members and leaders and that's supported full same-sex marriage rites and rights, BLinC's enlightened distinction seems terribly old-fashioned and unappealing to me.

I do find it ironic that the group is called Business Leaders in Christ. So you can be a Leader, but not a leader of the Leaders.

Anyway, check out these legal briefs when you have an hour or two. I am curious to see how this lawsuit unfolds.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

"New Warriors" Live Actions TV Series Coming to Freeform Channel in 2018 -- Featuring Squirrel Girl!! // Updated Below: Full New Warriors Roster Revealed!!

(Originally written on 04/05/17): I just heard some very good news! Marvel Comics will be getting a new live action television series featuring the New Warriors! And while I generally like the New Warriors, I'm even more excited to learn that this version of the New Warriors will feature one of my favorite Marvel Comics superheroes: Squirrel Girl!!

"New Warriors" will be a half-hour live action comedy series. It will launch in 2018. So far, Squirrel Girl is the only character who has been revealed for the team. But I'm already sold!!

Updated on 04/19/17: The full roster for Freeform's "New Warriors" comedy series has been released and it's a surprising mix of classic Warriors, former Warriors, and never-before Warriors!

In addition to Squirrel Girl and Tippy Toe, this team of New Warriors will include Night Thrasher (celebrity YouTube hero/entrepeneur), Speedball (hero wannabe who has the ability to toss out kinetic balls of energy -- unsure if this version can bounce like the comic book version), Debrii (telekinetic lesbian who tells it like it is), Microbe (shy hypochondriac with the ability to telepathically talk with germs), and Mister Immortal (the man who cannot die).

"New Warriors" will make its debut on Freeform alongside another new show, "Cloak and Dagger."

Updated on 12/13/17: There is a great picture circulating that features the cast of the new "New Warriors" television series:

I'm really excited about this new show!

Anonymous Mother Complains that Religious Bakery Refused to Make Rainbow-Layered Cake For Her Daughter's 17th Birthday // Bought Peach Cake Instead

I really haven't been following the story of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, CO. I'm aware of the basics: a gay couple sought a wedding cake from the business and they were turned away based off the owner's religious beliefs against homosexuality. The couple filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission who found that the business clearly and admittedly discriminated against the couple on the basis of sexual orientation, which is a protected class in the state of Colorado. The business appealed this decision and it was recently heard by the US Supreme Court -- and most likely LGBT protections will be dealt a severe blow because of this case.

Anyway, I just read a news story of a mother from Littleton, CO, who appears to be doing her best to grab a bit of the rainbow -- albeit anonymously. Anony-Mom reached out to ABC Denver-7 to report that she once tried to purchase a rainbow-themed designer birthday cake from Masterpiece Cakeshop for her daughter's 17th birthday, but her cake order was refused:
In February, the woman said she called Masterpiece Cakeshop to order a 17-layer birthday cake with rainbow frosting, only to be told the owner doesn't make rainbow cakes. "She's not gay, or anything, but she is an artist and she's really good at what she does and she uses every color and she wanted a rainbow birthday cake and he wouldn't do it," the woman said.
Masterpiece Cakeshop's owner told the television station that the business doesn't mind decorating the outside of a cake with rainbow colors. They just draw the line at rainbow-layered cakes.

Anony-Mom later realized that the Masterpiece Cakeshop was the same bakery that went before the US Supreme Court earlier this month -- and she's fuming. And she made sure that ABC Denver-7 knew all about it!

Anony-Mom now refuses to return to Masterpiece Cakeshop and so do all of her family and friends. Despite all of their collective rage, she did go ahead and get a cake last February for her daughter's 17th birthday:
Instead, the woman ordered a peach cake after she said the bakery also refused to make her a plain white one.
Seriously, why would you spend your money on a cake that's so much trouble to design? I can understand that a rainbow-layered cake might be too much trouble for Masterpiece Cakeshow to design, but no white cakes? How morally compromising is a plain white cake?? And why settle for a peach cake, of all things?

Anyway, very silly news article. Colorado deserves better.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Archie Comics to Publish New DICK TRACY Comic Book Series in 2018

Here is the comic book news that I didn't expect to read today: Archie Comics plans to publish a DICK TRACY ongoing comic book series starting in April 2018. DICK TRACY will feature writing by Alex Segura & Michael Moreci and artwork by Thomas Pitilli.

Dick Tracy is a tough police detective who was created back in 1931. He was featured in a long-running comic strip for decades. He's also appeared in radio dramas and comic books, not to mention a really great movie from 1990 starring Warren Beatty and Madonna.

Alex Segura -- who not only writes, but does a day job as Archie Comics' co-president -- apparently inquired about the possibility of obtaining the publishing rights to the Dick Tracy character several months back and Tribune said that they wanted to get the character back out into comic book adventures again. One thing led to another and here we are!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Archie Comics Launches a New Generation of Mighty Crusaders!

Have you picked up MIGHTY CRUSADERS #1 yet? The first issue of this new comic book series by Archie Comics was published last Wednesday -- and I really like it! It's features an interesting mix of Red Circle Mighty Crusaders, New Crusaders, and Dark Circle heroes -- and they mesh together well.

"Heroes for Today" features storytelling by Ian Flynn, artwork by Kelsey Shannon, lettering by Jack Morelli, and coloring by Matt Herms.

So who are the Mighty Crusaders? There's Joe Higgins (AKA Broken Shield, FKA the original Shield), the team's founder and administrator. There's Victoria Adams (AKA the current Shield), fresh off her recent mini-series, "Daughter of the Revolution." There is Jack Sterling (AKA the original Steel Sterling, who looks remarkably healthy for a WWII hero who was killed off way back in NEW CRUSADERS #1). And then there are the surviving New Crusaders: Greg Reeves (AKA Comet), Kelly Brand (AKA Firefly), Wyatt Raymond (AKA the Web), and Ivette Velez (AKA Jaguar). And then there's the newest member of the bunch: Darkling (AKA ???). She seems to be the dark horse of the bunch -- in more ways than one!

The story starts out in the middle of a battle against a new villain named Dino Rex that does a great job of highlighting the team dynamics, as well as their various powers. We then learn that Joe Higgins is the leader of M.L.J. and the administrative head of the Mighty Crusaders. Higgins and the current Shield then help us understand a little better how the New Crusaders morphed into the current batch of Mighty Crusaders. Victoria then does her bit to welcome the Web onto the team -- and hopefully starts the process of gelling a bit better with the former members of the New Cru!

But don't feel like you need to know a lot about the Mighty Crusaders or their long and convoluted history. It's pretty easy to pick up this comic book and move comfortably forward with this new team.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Remembering Lukewarm, the "Outlandishly Camp" Character from BBC's "Porridge"

I've been binge-watching "Porridge" on Britbox over the past few weeks. This is the sitcom from 1973-1977, not the more recent sequel series (which I may write about in coming weeks). "Porridge" tells the story of Fletcher, a career criminal serving a 5-year sentence and his never-ending efforts to pull one over on the prison officials.

I bring up "Porridge" tonight because I was searching online for information about one of the characters, a gay character named Lukewarm. He was played by an actor named Christopher Biggins.

I looked up the character and discovered this article from 2007 where some fan of the program complained about a "politically correct" decision by the BBC to edit out a joke involving Lukewarm:
Fans of the sitcom, which regularly pulled in more than 10 million viewers, have accused the BBC of "giving in to the politically correct brigade" after a phrase was removed from the programme on Saturday. They claim the comment "that sort do, don't they", referring to Lukewarm's ability to keep his cell clean, was taken out because it could be offensive to homosexuals. While the BBC denies the allegation, fans say the change is akin to removing a line from a Shakespeare play.
Unless things are done much differently in the UK than they are done here in the US, the joke was likely edited out to make allowances for longer commercial breaks compared to the 1970s. It's pretty common to notice missing portions of favorite American sitcoms. And that particular line in that particular episode is edit-free on Britbox. For what it's worth.

Anyways, that's not why I was writing tonight. I'm actually responding to this particular description of Lukewarm from that article:
Ronnie Barker's character Fletcher was always ribbing his fellow inmates, not least Lukewarm, the outlandishly camp chef played by Christopher Biggins.
Now maybe I'm too immersed in the LGBT communities. And maybe I've watched too many episodes of "Are You Being Served?" with Mr. Humphries, not to mention half of the British television programs that included any portrayals of gay or trans men from the 1970s to the present. But Lukewarm isn't any more "outlandishly camp" than any of the other characters in "Porridge." I mean, it's clear that he's gay. And he often knits. But he doesn't mince, and he doesn't lace his conversations with sexual inuendos, and he doesn't do anything with his clothing or appearance to stand too far out of the norm. So I don't get where they get off on calling him "outlandishly camp." I just don't see it.

Anyway, Lukewarm returned in a 2003 follow-up movie (which I've only see this portion of) called "Life Beyond the Box: Norman Stanley Fletcher." His full name is revealed for the first time (I believe) in this story: Timothy "Lukewarm" Underwood. It's revealed that he's living in Denmark with his husband Trevor, who's a motivational speaker. We met Trevor once before in the final episode of the first season of "Porridge."

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Archie Horror to Publish New VAMPIRONICA Title in March 2018!

Remember back in July 2015 when Archie Comics hinted at a new horror title starring a vampiric version of Veronica Lodge? Earlier today, Archie Comics announced that they will finally be publishing a new ongoing comic book title under its Archie Horror line of comics titled VAMPIRONICA.

VAMPIRONICA will feature writing by Greg & Megan Smallwood, artwork by Greg Smallwood, and lettering by Jack Morelli. The concept is about as simple as JUGHEAD: THE HUNGER, except that instead of Jughead being a murderous werewolf, Veronica will be a murderous vampire.

VAMPIRONICA will be published in March 2018.

Incidentally, this promo article really annoyed me with its initial paragraph:
Between Afterlife with Archie, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and the recent addition of Jughead: The Hunger, Archie Comics’ horror imprint is flying higher than Sabrina’s broomstick ever thought possible. But there’s already another series coming to Archie Horror, and it’s got a bit of a bite to it.
Both AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE and CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA have suffered from chronic and extensive publishing delays. It really aggravates me when Archie Comics promotes these otherwise wonderful comics when they as a company cannot get it together enough to publish these titles on a regular basis.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Is Mary Hurting her Grandson on "Coronation Street" -- Or Does He Just Have an Allergy to Bananas?

(Originally written on 12/04/17): Early last month on "Coronation Street," Mary called the police and reported that her daughter-in-law was drunk driving with her grandson. Baby George was sick and Mary had seen Angie at the local pub with a glass of wine in front of her. Leading up to this interaction, Mary had found a brochure about alcoholism in Angie's jacket. And Angie's mood had just been off. It turns out that Angie had barely drank any wine and she was definitely not drunk. And she isn't an alcoholic, but has been suffering from post-partum depression. Needless to say, Mary got in a lot of trouble for this and her son Jude told her to stay away from the entire family.

Then earlier this week, Mary defended Angie was a busy-body and apologized for her earlier shameful behavior. Jude and Angie approached her later that day and told her that they would allow Mary access to Baby George again. She was allowed to babysit her grandson. Of course, Mary was given no notice so she took George with her to work, at the local florist shop. 

She spent the morning covering the baby with flowers and taking pictures of him. Despite Mary's best efforts, George was increasingly fussy at the store. In fact, he ended up getting sick again and his parents ended up rushing him to the hospital for the third time in a month or so. When asked about George's health, he told Mary to stay away. Which was upsetting. 

But as upset as she was and despite being a little strange, Mary had the common sense to recognize a possible sign of Baby George's illness. Could he be having some sort of allergic reaction to the flowers in the store? 

Jude wasn't taking Mary's calls, so she said that she would text the theory to her son. I can't help wondering if Jude had blocked her messages because I haven't heard anything from him or Angie or the doctors about allergies to plants or to flowers or to related scents.

But Mary learned that other people were being allowed to visit Baby George so she took it upon herself to visit her grandson in his room -- and he had another reaction shortly after her arrival!

This was enough for Angie to decide that Mary was purposely making Baby George sick. Somehow. So, the hospital hooked Angie and Jude up with the hospital social worker and they immediately filed a complaint against Mary!

And just to clarify a point, they made this decision to contact social services before Mary ever visited Baby George at the hospital. That medical setback was just the final slice of cake.

I understand that there are some people who purposely harm children in order to gain sympathy and attention. And I understand that hospitals sometimes report people to social services in those instances. But my experience is that they don't just into "report mode" this quickly unless they have some pretty convincing evidence. Which they really don't have here.

I mean, what exactly is Mary supposed to be doing to purposely make Baby George ill? How is she making him feverish? Or causing breathing spells? It really makes no sense to me.

Worse yet, social services took the report seriously and called in the police, who promptly visited Mary at her home. They asked her a bunch of vague questions and then told her to stay away from Baby George and his parents.

I always hear about Britain's stressed economy. And I understand that this is happening in a fictional world. But I can't help but wonder if social services is truly contacted regularly for this type of thing -- and wonder if this type of knee-jerk reporting process helps contribute to the UK's overwhelmed social services network

Anyway, George's parents and the hospital would probably be more effective with tracking down the source of his illness -- if they truly believe that Mary is the source of it -- by actually talking to her and working with her to track her movements than they have been by simply reporting her to social services!

Updated on 12/06/17: I was watching tonight's episode of "Coronation Street." Angie and Jude were on the way to South Africa when all of Mary's friends began interfering in an effort to stall their effort and to get them to speak with Mary.

Things came to a head when Baby George got sick again while Jude and talking with Mary and while George was far away from Mary and never touched by Mary. In other words, Mary is innocent.

It's looking like Baby George is allergic to bananas. And possibly other fruits. But definitely bananas.