Friday Four: 3/9-3/13

Here’s what got me pumped this week!

1.  This week’s episode of Empire

empire sinsI just watched Empire episode #10 Sins of the Father and I’m still not okay. It’s been over two hours and I still can’t get over how much the series packs into every single episode. The show keeps killing it and I think it can only go up from here.

I don’t want to seriously spoil the episode for anyone that hasn’t seen it yet (and believe me, you should all be watching this show), but even though a few loose ends were tied up, I personally wound up with more questions that the show had better answer by the two-hour season finale on the eighteen.

Personally, this episode didn’t exactly knock me out of the water with the musical choices. There just wasn’t that much on tap. But a must-listen (especially if you’re a big sap like me) is the song that Jussie Smollet’s character Jamal Lyon sings to little Lola, his ex-wife’s precious baby girl. It’s basically the cutest song in the world and it’s a soft moment in an otherwise super intense episode.

If you want to watch Empire (and you really should because it combines Shakespearean drama with vibrant characters and the actual best soundtrack ever),  feel free to check it out on HuluPlus and on Fox’s website itself.  It’s got a few issues (okay, more than a few and Lucious is like half of them) but it’s a show with characters that are incredibly polarizing and you either love them or hate them.

2.  DC Costume Redesigns

This week, we got to see two redesigns for big DC superheroes and I’m still trying to parse my feelings on them.

smww-18-paulo-s-cbrI first saw the new designs for Superman and Wonder Woman because everyone I know was like “Okay what are they wearing now” and I am always ready to dish some dirt over superhero redesigns. Thanks to this article over at CBR, we get a great picture of the two redesigns side by side on Paulo Siqeuira’s cover for Superman/Wonder Woman #18.

I’m… not sure how I feel about them and that’s the kicker I think. WW’s new costume is a lot busier. We’re almost going from one extreme to another. In the original costume, she’s wearing her usual stars and stripes outfit. It’s familiar. It’s eye-catching. It kinda looks like a bathing suit.  This new suit has a lot more. It does seem closer to what a superhero would wear and it’s nice to see WW in an outfit that is sexy but not inherently sexualized. I think this really sort of pinged me because I don’t know how I feel about it and that’s weird because I always have an opinion,even when it’s a wrong one.

adventure comics 3 kon
Adventure Comics # 3 – Francis Manapul and Geoff Johns

Meanwhile, with Superman’s outfit, I know exactly how I feel: He looks like Francis Manapul’s Superboy.

Now that’s not a bad thing, but it is a weird thing for me because the jeans + S-symbol shirt combo immediately pings me to that time where Superboy was all the rage. It makes me think of an untested, young superhero and Superman isn’t that at this point. He’s had the suit, he’s been the big shot, but now the choice to have him back in the casual combo that he wore early on in his New-52  career at the same time comes right at a time that he’s (probably) at his least powerful. I’m honestly looking forward to picking the comic up once it’s out and seeing how this plays into his perceived vulnerability.

I went into the redesigns like “yeah,I’m going to hate these” but really, I’m honestly a bit more hopeful because they’re not bad redesigns (they’re polarizing and fans have already mainly picked their sides, but they really aren’t bad). The WW one is really different from any we’ve seen in a while and I especially like the blade sheathes in her arms. The Superman one isn’t that different from the one that we saw in the early days of the reboot so it isn’t new, but the reasons behind it (you know, his potential powerlessness and all), are actually interesting.It’s enough to make a Stitch want to catch up with Action Comics.

2. Meeting Dr. Ernest “Rip” Patton

IMG_0226Last night I was in the presence of greatness. I was able to attend a lecture event where the guest of honor was Dr. Ernest “Rip” Patton, one of the original Freedom Riders during the Civil Rights movement. I arrived early (being at the school 4 hours before the event is helpful like that), and so I was able to speak one-on-one with him for several minutes. Seriously, I have met celebrities before and I wasn’t as awe-struck as I was than when Dr. Patton pulled up a chair and started speaking to me. He spoke about his experiences in the segregated south and about how hard he and his fellows worked towards desegregating places like Nashville. It was hard to listen to sometimes, but he lived it. It was one of the most amazing lectures I’ve ever been witness to and as both a historian and an African-America, it hit me hard.

I plan to write an in-depth piece about his lecture once I hear back from the professors that set the whole thing up and get some more photographs of the event, but if you are interested in learning more about Dr. Patton and the Freedom Riders, PBS aired a documentary on the 50th Anniversary of the freedom rides from Nashville, Tennessee down to Alabama and what they went through. The documentary is called Freedom Riders and can be viewed on the PBS website or purchased on Amazon.

4. My first real guest post

It’s funny, that my first real guest post happened before I had a real blog to speak of, but it’s what got me thinking about doing some serious blogging. I’m a huge fan of the Grayson series currently being put out by DC (with the amazing creative team of writers Tim Seeley and Tom King and the fantastic artist Mikel Janin) so I’m always writing posts about the series and Kermit flailing all over the place.

So when my friend Yamini (creator of browngirlcomics and main mod over at the Graysonology tumblr) offered to host my latest essay on the series on her site, I was freaking jazzed.

The essay (an almost 3000 word monster) looks at the Grayson series and how the creative team tackles and twists some of the pervasive (and oft problematic) tropes that exist within both the spy and superhero genres. I’m so proud of it that well… it just had to be on my Friday Four.

If you’re looking for a good read about what Seeley and King get oh so right about Dick Grayson and the spy/superhero genre mash up, please head over to BGC and check out my guest post: Trope Subversion in Grayson