Superhero Spotlight – Doctor Fate

Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have gotten relatively acquainted with Doctor Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme of that world. In the following year, Warner Brothers will release the Dwayne Johnson-led Black Adam, and audiences will meet Doctor Fate (played by Pierce Brosnan). Since the 1940s, Doctor Fate has been the chief magic-user of the DCU, mentoring and working with characters like Zatanna and John Constantine. Fate’s history is a complicated one, centered around a magic helmet that has been worn by several different people. Doctor Fate first appeared in More Fun Comics #55 (May 1940). It started as a six-page strip in an anthology of superheroes, pulp stories, and funny talking animals. He was created by the prolific creative mind Gardner Fox and artist Howard Sherman who didn’t really have a background or even secret identity. The character was just Doctor Fate.

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PopCult Podcast Episode 6

This episode it’s a conversation about our Top 5 Films of 1996. There are some interesting moments where we agree and disagree. One thing we do agree on is what we think about Disney’s Cruella which is our review of the episode.

We’d love to know what you thought of this episode so leave your comments here or leave a voice message on our Anchor page. We might share your comment on an upcoming episode of the show.

You can listen to the podcast here or on Spotify or Google Podcasts.

Movie Review – Caveat

Caveat (2020)
Written & Directed by Damian McCarthy

Lynchian is a term that gets thrown around a little too liberally. It’s meant to denote that something is reminiscent of the work of filmmaker David Lynch, but it is often applied to either tv shows set in strange small towns or for media that is esoteric & quirky. The Lynch aesthetic is much more specific from my perspective, a way of telling stories in abstracted settings brimming with emotion & passion. People often behave in strange ways, and stories have elements of melodrama that take bleak turns. Not much I’ve seen has genuinely reminded me of that, but Caveat is actually a movie that lives up to the term. I won’t say Caveat is as masterfully delivered as Lynch’s films, but it is a decent horror movie that builds a unique atmosphere.

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Comic Book Review – Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 3 (of 9)

Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 3 (of 9)
Reviewing stories found in Crisis on Infinite Earths #4, DC Comics Presents #86, Infinity Inc. #20-21, Infinity Inc. Annual #1, New Teen Titans #13-14, Swamp Thing #46, Wonder Woman #328-329
Written by Marv Wolfman, Paul Kupperberg, Roy Thomas, Dann Thomas, Alan Moore, and Mindy Newell
Art by George Perez, Rick Hoberg, Todd McFarlane, Michael Bair, Ron Harris, Eduardo Barreto, Steve Bissette, Don Heck, and Pablo Marcos

One of the things I’ve noted during this full reading of the Crisis event is that it was clearly broken into acts and that for most of the story, the majority of Earth’s heroes don’t really know what’s going on. It’s a handful of characters in the inner circle of the Monitor at this point, and everyone else on the various Earths is left wondering why the skies are red and time is breaking all around them. Crisis #4 opens with Supergirl swooping in for a short visit with Batgirl. It’s also a reminder that these two have rarely been paired together in their lengthy histories. With Superman & Batman being partnered so often and now their sons, you have to wonder why we didn’t see more of a Supergirl/Batgirl ongoing team-up. It seems like a natural fit.

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TV Review – Loki Season 1, Episode 1

Loki Season 1, Episode 1 (Disney+)
Written by Michael Waldron
Directed by Kate Herron

I am one of those people that never got all the fans gushing over Loki. He’s a perfectly okay character, and it wasn’t until Thor: Ragnarok that I actually found him entertaining. Even in the comics, I just never found Loki a very compelling character. He feels very one-note to me and just works in the same repetitive cycle. With his death in Avengers: Infinity War, I supposed it was the end of the character in the MCU. However, Endgame had the Avengers traveling back in their own timeline and allowing a variant Loki to be created, one who shunted away with the use of the Cosmic Cube. This Disney+ series is where we find out where he went and what became of him.

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Movie Review – Scanners

Scanners (1981)
Written & Directed by David Cronenberg

Over the last year, I have begun to go deeper with David Cronenberg’s work with Videodrome and The Fly. In previous years I’d seen films like Dead Ringers and Existenz. I’d also viewed some of his more recent movies like A History of Violence, Eastern Promises, and Maps to the Stars. Cronenberg is one hell of a complex director to pin down. His early work is undoubtedly of the science fiction/horror genres, particularly pioneering body horror on film. More recently, he’s focused much more on the psychological elements of his stories forgoing the visceral & gory bits. Scanners is very much of that early period in his filmmaking days, interested in the evolution of humanity in the face of a more uncertain modern world where technology was digging in its talons.

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Movie Review – Mommie Dearest

Mommie Dearest (1981)
Written by Robert Getchell, Tracy Hotchner, Frank Perry, and Frank Yablans
Directed Frank Perry

Mommie Dearest is a film entangled in so many worlds & perspectives. On the surface, it’s an adaptation of Christina Crawford’s memoir of growing up as the daughter of actress Joan Crawford. It was seen as a “so bad it’s good” movie and won the Golden Razzie in its release year. The film has become a cult classic, particularly embraced by the drag community due to Faye Dunaway’s over-the-top performance. Even Paramount realized a couple months into the release that the picture was being seen as a comedy more than a serious biopic and began advertising it as a piece of camp. It’s a strange film to watch because it’s centered around a child’s emotional and physical abuse, yet it’s delivered so outlandishly you can’t help but crack up. 

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Weekly Wonderings – June 7th, 2021

We finally watched the Bo Burnham special “Inside” on Netflix, and wow! I don’t think I’ve seen a piece of media yet that really captured the inner turmoil I felt during the pandemic. I don’t believe everything Burnham did in front of the camera was an authentic expression in the moment, but I think he gave some striking performances of what was happening internally. It’s also an impressive technical achievement, particularly the lighting he used. It is part stand-up comedy, but I think it’s more than that; it’s a piece of performance art that is actually good. I feel it will be one of those pieces of pandemic art that will get unpacked over time. It’s something you certainly have to strap in for before you start watching.

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Movie Review – Ragtime

Ragtime (1981)
Written by Michael Weller and Bo Goldman
Directed by Milos Forman

In 1905 the United States was in a period of change. This is known as The Gilded Age when rapid economic growth for some Americans experienced a significant increase in wages. This was due to the explosion of industrialization across the country and led to many European immigrants traveling across the Atlantic with the promise of a better life. Black Americans benefited as well and began to see some increase in their wealth yet were still subject to Jim Crow laws. White Americans, as always, took more than everyone else and were able to grow their middle class and create some of the first Captains of Industry, multi-millionaires whose wealth gave them immense power. This time was also known as Ragtime, named after the popular musical style which featured a syncopated rhythm. As with almost all popular music in America, it was originated by Black people before becoming popular nationwide.

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Comic Book Review – Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 2 (of 9)

Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 2 (of 9)
Reviewing stories found in Crisis on Infinite Earths #2-3, Infinity Inc #19, Justice League of America #244, Detective Comics #558, The Losers Special, and Wonder Woman #327
Written by Marv Wolfman, Roy Thomas, Dann Thomas, Gerry Conway, Doug Moench, Robert Kanigher, and Mindy Newell
Art by George Perez, Todd McFarlane, Joe Staton, Gene Colan, Judith Hunt, Sam Glanzman, and Don Heck

The first phase of Crisis was well underway by issue two with Harbinger dispatching her assembled heroes & villains to help activate unique towers The Monitor has posted through space and time to hold back the wave of antimatter. This leads to Superman of Earth-2, King Solovar, and Dawnstar being sent to Earth-AD, where they help Kamandi the Last Boy battle the Demon Shadows. Arion, Obsidian, and Psycho-Pirate show up in ancient Atlantis, which quickly goes awry when Psycho-Pirate uses his emotional manipulation powers on his allies. The Pirate is taken away and ends up in the presence of a large shadowy being.

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