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Showing posts from August, 2013

[Theology Thursday] Hope and the Superman Myth

Note: thispostwillcontainmajorspoilersfromTHEMANOFSTEELfilm. Ifyou haven'tseenityet, feelfreetowatchitandcomeback. I'llwait.

In the film, Kal-El (not yet called Superman) calls attention to the fact the symbol that looks like a big red "S" to American earthlings is actually the symbol for his family on Krypton, and that it also stands for hope there as well.
Throughout the film it seems as if writer David Foyer and director Zack Snyder are going to reinforce this theme: several times in the course of the film (presumably due to the upbringing of his adoptive earth parent's the Kents) he is seen finding a way to save lives.  Indeed, this has been a major refrain of most reviewers that I've heard that it is this stubborn refusal to end a life that marks Superman as an iconic comic book hero. So what happened in the third act? Why was Superman not able to save both the family in the Metropolis train station andGeneral Zod?1 Why do we get an odd snapping sound ef…

[Fandom Friday] Ben Affleck and Nerd Rage

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"OMG Casting Ben Affleck as Batman just set us back another 10 years in our efforts to cure cancer, end poverty and bring peace to the Middle East. OH WAIT IT'S ONLY A MOVIE" - Berin Kinsman, from his Facebook Page (used with permission)

Why do we in the geek/nerd community get so bent out of shape abut things like the recent announcement that Ben Affleck has been cast as the new Batman in Zack Snyder's upcoming Batman/Superman film?  People have been bringing up disastrous Affleck films like Gigli, Daredevil and Armageddon. Others have defended the choice citing his recent directorial triumphs like last year's Argo, which won him an Oscar for Best Director.

Me? I'm willing to give Ben a chance, although I must admit he was not my first choice.

But the question remains: why the vitriol here, when other things are so terribly wrong with the world?

To begin, I'm not sure that individuals in the geek/nerd community were not outraged by the recent charges of…

[Theology Thursday] The Nothing New Lament

In a recent article in USAToday, writers Scott Bowles and Andrea Fuller report on the idea that original stories seem to get eaten up by "sequel-itis" and "reboot raves".  To bolster their argument, they bring out an impressive assortment of statistics:


Original films accounted for just 39% of box office from 2003 to 2012, down from 65% in the 10 years before.So far this summer, original stories account for just 30% of sales.Original movies accounted for less than half (47%) of the top summer releases from 2003 to 2012, down from 70% the decade before.Pacific Rim cost the studios $190 million while only earning $94 million as of the publication of the article.

They quoted University of Nebraska film professor Wheeler Winston Dixon, who is generally unhappy about the trend: "Films routinely cost $100 to $200 million, and with that kind of money at stake, who has time for originality? It's much safer to bank on a franchise."  On the other hand, Robert Mc…

[PODCAST] Sex, Lust and Video Games - Theology Gaming

Just over five years ago, there were very few podcasts and blogs devoted to exploring geek culture through the lens of faith. In the time since, there has been a virtual explosion in the number and quality of entries. I am very excited by the possibility that the church is slowly embracing those who are traditionally within an often ostracized community. This past week,  I discovered a great new podcast: Theology Gaming. Recently, they had a Theme Week where the various hosts posted individual blog posts relating to the theme of sex, love and lust in video games. They then came together in a round table format to discuss the issue.I liked their final takeaway that it just seems that our culture is so hypersexualized that it seems as if we expect every relationship to somehow culminate in a physical relationship, that there doesn't seem to be a place for the simple, chaste phileo friendship, but that it must develop into a relationship marked by eros.This will most likely join my l…

Comics and Me

I tell people that when it comes to comics, "I am conversant, but not fluent." What I mean by that is that I am familiar with most of the mainstream superheros (and a few lower tier ones), but I don't regularly follow them on a monthly basis.

I remember as a child visiting my aunt and her family. In their home were dozens of comics, featuring characters from both DC and Marvel, and I read them all for years.  I discovered Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, the Avengers, and many others for the first time this way. From this humble introduction, I watched the Super Friends as a Saturday morning cartoon and the Incredible Hulk and Wonder Woman as live action network TV shows.

As I grew older, I supplemented my awareness of comic book heroes by buying certain books (Spider-Man was always a favorite), or picking up used copies of others.  As a science fiction fan, I enjoyed Marvel's serialization of the original Star Wars film, even though they lost me in the following storie…