how WandaVision explores consequences

Over on Tor.com, I take a look at how WandaVision allows the MCU to do things the movie series can’t do as well, and that the comics have always done: develop the characters and show that actions have consequences.

An excerpt:

One is the impact of Thanos’ snap in Infinity War, and, more to the point, the impact of the Hulk’s counter-snap in Avengers: Endgame. The latter in particular was pretty much an abstraction in Endgame and played for laughs in Spider-Man: Far from Home. WandaVision has done a much better job of showing the terrible toll it has taken, both on those left behind and those who were reconstituted. Monica Rambeau was dusted at a time when her mother’s cancer was in remission, and one subjective second later was told that the cancer came back and killed her. With Rambeau mère dead and Rambeau fille dusted, SWORD winds up in the incapable hands of the Peter Principle That Walks Like a Man, Tyler Hayward.

Meanwhile, Wanda Maximoff had just watched Thanos kill Vision in front of her face, and then came back to find that, not only had his body had been taken by SWORD, but Hayward won’t let her have his body for burial. Oh, and Wanda finds out that Vision also bought them a house. (It’s not clear whether the house was torn down in the intervening five years or if construction had started on the house and was abandoned during the blip years.)

how WandaVision is mining three different histories

I have a piece up on Tor.com in which I look at how the first four episodes of WandaVision on Disney+ have been mining three different histories: the history of American sitcoms, the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and most especially the history of the source material, to wit, the characters’ comic-book counterparts.

An excerpt:

We still don’t know the extent of what’s happening in WandaVision, but episode 4 made it clear that the weird sitcom world they’re occupying is of Wanda’s own creation and she has a certain amount of control over it, much as she did the House of M setting. And she’s resurrected people from the dead before in the comics—she’s done it with the Vision, with Wonder Man, and with her brother Quicksilver. And the comics character has a history of mental issues and instability, including being possessed by the demon Chthon (in Avengers #185-187 by Mark Gruenwald, Steven Grant, David Michelinie, & [John] Byrne in 1979), a massive mental breakdown after the Vision was dismantled and resurrected and she found out her children weren’t real in Byrne’s run on Avengers West Coast ten years after that, and then another breakdown that nearly destroyed the Avengers in 2004’s Avengers #500 by [Brian Michael] Bendis & David Finch, with subsequent issues in the “Disassembled” storyline, and then House of M.

my Spidey novel in audio and my StarCraft manga reissued!

I quite accidentally discovered that both my 2010 StarCraft manga Ghost Academy Volume 1, with art by Fernando Heinz Furukawa, and my 2005 Spider-Man novel Down These Mean Streets are getting reissues of sorts!

Ghost Academy Volume 1, which was originally published by TokyoPop, has been reissued directly by Blizzard Entertainment as part of their “Blizzard Legends” line. The manga is a sequel of sorts to my 2006 StarCraft: Ghost novel Nova, showing Nova Terra’s time being trained as a Ghost.

You can order the manga from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

In addition, Marvel is putting out an audio edition of Spider-Man: Down These Mean Streets this month — the release date is 29 December 2020 — read by Tara Sands. You can preorder it from Amazon or Barnes & Noble. This is a nice prelude to the book itself being reissued as part of the Spider-Man: Darkest Hours Omnibus from Titan Books next spring, which will reprint DTMS along with Jim Butcher’s Darkest Hours and Christopher L. Bennett’s Drowned in Thunder.

So if you missed either of these the first time they came out, now’s your chance to pick them up!

KRAD COVID reading #84: “Playing it SAFE”

From 1994-2000, Boulevard Books and Byron Preiss Multimedia teamed up to publish a series of novels and anthologies based on Marvel’s heroes. One of the latter was The Ultimate Hulk in 1998, edited by Stan Lee & Peter David, which had stories from throughout the Hulk’s checkered history. Here I read my contribution, “Playing it SAFE.” Besides being a story about the Hulk (in his “Professor Hulk” mode where all his personalities are merged) fighting the U-Foes and the Leader, it’s also one that brings the novel continuity in line with the comics continuity. (Yes, the novels had their own continuity.)

Check it out! And please subscribe to the channel!

autographed books for sale!

I’ve got a whole mess of my books for sale, and I’m more than happy to not only sell and ship them to you, but autograph them as well!

If you want any of the titles below, all you have to do is tally up the cover prices, add $5 for shipping in the U.S. (if you want shipping to a foreign country, just send me the cover prices and I’ll bill you for the postage once I know how much it is), and then send me the money, which you can do any number of ways:

  • PayPal to krad@whysper.net
  • Venmo to @keith_decandido
  • Zelle to krad@whysper.net
  • Check or money order mailed to me at PO Box 4976, New York, NY 10185-4976

Let me know your shipping address and to whom you want the book autographed. If you have any questions, comment on this blog post or e-mail me at krad@whysper.net.

Also please bear in mind that I’ve got limited quantities of some of these titles, so don’t wait too long…..

Here’s what I got:

The Precinct books

  • Dragon Precinct — $15
  • Unicorn Precinct — $15
  • Goblin Precinct — $15
  • Gryphon Precinct — $15
  • Mermaid Precinct — $15
  • Tales from Dragon Precinct — $15
  • any 3 of the above Precinct books — $40
  • any 4 of the above Precinct books — $55
  • any 5 of the above Precinct books — $65
  • all 6 of the above Precinct books — $80
  • Mermaid Precinct signed & numbered hardcover — $75

The Bram Gold Adventures

  • A Furnace Sealed — $15

The 18th Race

  • To Hell and Regroup — $15

Collections

  • Ragnarok and Roll: Tales of Cassie Zukav, Weirdness Magnet — $17
  • Without a License: The Fantastic Worlds of Keith R.A. DeCandido — $15

Anthologies

  • Bad Ass Moms (with “Materfamilias”) — $16
  • Did You Say Chicks!? hardcover (with “A Bone to Pick”) — $20
  • Pangaea Book 3: Redemption (with “Journalistic Integrity”) — $16

Alien tie-ins

  • Bug Hunt (with “Deep Background”) — $17
  • Isolation paperback — $8
  • Isolation audio CD — $20

Marvel tie-ins

  • Spider-Man: Down These Mean Streets — $10
  • Spider-Man: Venom’s Wrath — $10
  • Thor: Dueling with Giants — $10
  • X-Men Legends (with “Diary of a False Man”) — $20

Star Trek tie-ins

  • The Art of the Impossible — $8
  • The Klingon Art of War — $25
  • Myriad Universes: Echoes and Refractions (with A Gutted World) — $15
  • Seven Deadly Sins (with “The Unhappy Ones”) — $15
  • A Singular Destiny — $8
  • Tales of the Dominion War — $24 SOLD OUT
  • A Time for War, a Time for Peace — $8 SOLD OUT

Young Hercules tie-ins

  • The Ares Alliance — $3
  • Cheiron’s Warriors — $3
  • both YH books — $5

Other tie-ins

  • Command and Conquer: Tiberium Wars — $5
  • Farscape: House of Cards — $10
  • Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda: Destruction of Illusions hardcover — $10
  • Serenity — $10
  • Sleepy Hollow: Children of the Revolution — $8
  • Supernatural: Heart of the Dragon — $8

some Marvel titles I edited now available as audiobooks!

ultimatespidey

Over the years, several people have had the rights to do prose based on Marvel’s superheroes. Marvel themselves have also gotten into the act, publishing novelizations of various storylines.

One of the former group was Byron Preiss Multimedia Company, who copublished (with Boulevard Books) a series of more than 50 books — novels and short-story anthologies — for which I served as Editor, and also contributed one novel and a bunch of short stories. The line ran from 1994-2000. BPMC also did a series of YA novels, copublished with Simon & Schuster. BPMC went bankrupt at that point, and ibooks inc. took over the license (also run by Byron Preiss, but BPMC was a publicly held company, whereas Byron owned ibooks). Since then, besides Marvel themselves, bunches of publishers have had the license, from Del Rey to Titan to Joe Books to Pocket Books. (I wrote for each of the latter two, a Thor trilogy for Joe Books and a Spider-Man novel for Pocket.)

Dreamscape Media is doing a bunch of Marvel prose stories in audio form, from many of the above publishers. 

Among the titles being released are several of the books I edited as part of the BPMC/Boulevard, including two I contributed to: The Ultimate Spider-Man, which includes my first-ever work of professional fiction, “An Evening in the Bronx with Venom,” co-authored with John Gregory Betancourt and Untold Tales of Spider-Man, which has my solo story “Arms and the Man.”

Narrated by Thom Rivera, The Ultimate Spider-Man also includes stories by Stan Lee his own self, as well as Peter David, Ann Nocenti, and David Michelinie (all of whom have written Spidey’s comics adventures), as well as Tom De Haven, Lawrence Watt-Evans, Greg Cox, Dean Wesley Smith, Craig Shaw Gardner, Richard Lee Byers, Christopher Golden, and Robert L. Washington III.

Narrated by David DeSantos, Untold Tales of Spider-Man (based on the then-running title written by Kurt Busiek that chronicled Spidey’s earliest days) has stories from throughout Spider-Man’s history by Spidey comics writers Nocenti, Tom DeFalco, Danny Fingeroth, Eric Fein, and Glenn Greenberg, as well as authors Golden, Byers, Will Murray, José R. Nieto, John Garcia, Pierce Askegren, Michael Jan Friedman, John S. Drew, Ken Grobe, Steven A. Roman, Steve Lyons, and Adam-Troy Castro (who’s “The Stalking of John Doe” is one of the best Spidey stories ever told in any medium, IMO).

Other titles that I edited that are part of this set of releases are Spider-Man: The Gathering of the Sinister Six by Adam-Troy Castro, Generation X by Scott Lobdell & Elliot S! Maggin, Spider-Man: Carnage in New York by David Michelinie & Dean Wesley Smith, Spider-Man: The Octopus Agenda by Diane Duane, Captain America: Liberty’s Torch by Tony Isabella & Bob Ingersoll, Iron Man: The Armor Trap and Iron Man: Operation A.I.M. by Greg Cox, The Incredible Hulk: Abominations by Jason Henderson, Spider-Man: Valley of the Lizard by John Vornholt, X-Men: Empire’s End by Diane Duane, Spider-Man: Wanted Dead or Alive by Craig Shaw Gardner, The Incredible Hulk: What Savage Beast by Peter David, and Daredevil: Predator’s Smile and the three books in the X-Men: Mutant Empire trilogy and X-Men: Codename Wolverine all by Christopher Golden, as well as the anthologies The Ultimate X-Men and The Ultimate Super-Villains.

The full list is in this story on The Beat.

UntoldTales

4-Color to 35-Millimeter: X-Men: Dark Phoenix

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The X-Men movie series revolutionized superhero films in 2000. In 2019, that series came to an ignominious end, as they took a mulligan on adapting the Dark Phoenix storyline and still hit it into the sand trap. The great superhero movie rewatch is disappointed by X-Men: Dark Phoenix.

An excerpt:

As with the previous films, the ten-year jump proves (again) to be utterly unconvincing. Aside from being bald, James MacAvoy doesn’t look like he’s thirty years older than he was in First Class, and Michael Fassbender and Nicholas Hoult don’t even have that going for them, they just look a few years older, not three decades. Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, Evan Peters, and Kodi Smit-McPhee all act exactly the same as they did in Apocalypse, with no indication in looks, body language, or personality to indicate that they’ve aged ten years since the last movie.

The worst, though, as I feared from her lackluster performance in Apocalypse, is Sophie Turner, on whom the movie pretty much hinges. Unfortunately, she’s awful. The script calls for her to be tormented, but she mostly just looks constipated, with the glowy eyes and fiery veins attempting to show her turning evil because her performance just is not up to the challenge.

4-Color to 35-Millimeter: Ant-Man & The Wasp

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This actually went up a week ago, but I was at Philcon and forgot to post. Derp.

Here we have a sequel that fixes all the problems with the first one and is much more fun as a result, since Hope van Dyne’s Wasp is way more interesting and competent than Scott Lang’s Ant-Man. It’s a delightful romp, and has more Luis, which is always a good thing. The great superhero movie rewatch looks in on Ant-Man & The Wasp.

An excerpt:

Luis remains one of the best characters in the MCU with his rapid-fire commentary and overly detailed stories (his summary of the Lang-van Dyne relationship is classic). I still think it was a missed opportunity to not have Luis sum up Infinity War at the beginning of Endgame, but alas. (They made up for it by having the X-Con Security van play a hilarious but important role in the latter movie, at least.)

The supporting cast is strong, as well. Abby Ryder Fortson is adorable and a great helpmeet as Cassie. Even more so than Goggins, Judy Greer and Bobby Cannavale are pretty much wasted in this movie, though I do like that they’ve all reconciled and become a strong family in the wake of the events of Ant-Man. Laurence Fishburne—last seen in this rewatch playing Perry White—is a delight as Foster, while Michelle Pfeiffer—last seen in this rewatch playing Catwoman—is luminous in her too-little-screentime role as Janet. (Rudd playing her when Janet possesses Lang is also hilarious.) Although, as I asked in my Aquaman rewatch, is having main characters’ mothers played by female leads in 1990s Batman movies be trapped in a nether realm of some sort for three decades going to be a trope now?

4-Color to 35-Millimeter: Black Panther

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WAKANDA FOREVER!

Do I need to say anything else? The great superhero movie rewatch is fulsome in its praise for Black Panther.

An excerpt:

And then we have the three rock stars of the movie in Lupita Nyong’o, Letitia Wright, and the amazing Danai Gurira. Nyong’o is a powerful helpmeet as Nakia, who puts helping people above even her own country. Wright is the face of STEM in the MCU as Shuri (and I hate that she never got to meet Tony Stark, though I can’t imagine T’Challa would want the two of them anywhere near each other—still, I dreamt of a scene in Endgame where just as Stark is about to offer Shuri an internship at Stark Enterprises, Shuri instead offers Stark an internship in Wakanda). Gurira’s Okoye is the single scariest person in the MCU (teaming her with the Black Widow in Infinity War was a masterstroke), and a brilliantly realized creature of duty. The three of them are T’Challa’s primary support, and I love that the movie never once draws attention to the fact that all three of them are female.

4-Color to 35-Millimeter: Thor: Ragnarok

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A movie I love and hate in equal measure, as it’s a good general Marvel Cinematic Universe entry, it’s a very good Hulk movie, it’s a good vehicle for the characters of Thor and Loki, but it’s a simply terrible Thor movie. And it blows its attempt to adapt Thor #382 in a truly pathetic manner. It’s fun, but I hate it. I love it, but it’s awful. The great superhero movie rewatch has many feelings about Thor: Ragnarok.

An excerpt:

Worst of all, though, is that this movie redshirts the Warriors Three, and would have done the same for Sif if Jaimie Alexander wasn’t too busy starring on a TV show (which is the first nice thing I’m willing to say about Blindspot, which is a really dreadful series). It’s obvious that Hogun’s final confrontation with Hela was originally meant for Sif, and it would have been a truly despicable and horrific end to one of Marvel’s strongest female characters. But even without Sif, this is a contemptible misuse of three of Marvel’s most venerable and delightful supporting characters, who were established in Thor as being his nearest and dearest comrades. And this movie just kills them perfunctorily without even much of a fight, just so they can show how badass Hela is. Except we know how badass Hela is already—she fucking blew up Mjolnir with one hand! Her badassitude was well established, so there was no need to just cast aside Thor’s three best friends on the altar of proving it once again. Especially since Thor never once even asks about Hogun, Fandral, or Volstagg. Their deaths are never passed on to him, he never gets a chance to mourn them, or even give any indication that he gives a rat’s ass about them. The only non-family Asgardian he has any significant interactions with is Heimdall, who gets treated generally way better, I guess because he’s played by a more famous actor.