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Wednesday, December 30, 2015


Monday, December 28, 2015

Spinsterella Easter Eggs & Fun Facts

The original title for Spinsterella was supposed to be Heavy. However, the story I planned never worked. After reworking the premise around a darker comedic theme and making the heroine a Goth, I retitled it Spinsterella.

The premise for Spinsterella revolves around a single question: What scares the spooky girl? And the answer to that question was very simple: Basic social interaction. While many Goths have a dark and spooky appearance and enjoy dark stuff like horror movies and graveyards they struggle with a lot of anxiety and fear regarding social situaitons. I thought people would enjoy sharing a laugh while watching my Goth heroine come to realize that those everyday social interactions she was so afraid of participating in weren’t anything to be afraid of at all.

What most people don’t know about Goths are that many are very shy. And the scariest thing for Goths is just trying to talk to people outside of their social circles. With many Goths being introverts, they live inside their heads and imagine things being more terrifying than they actually are. The most horrifying thing for a Goth like Matilda is just thinking of approaching a stranger like the fictional Shawn. So they imagine scary scenarios about those strangers to avoid talking to them. In many cases some Goths are actually more scared of people than people are scared of them!

Matilda’s nickame Spinsterella is a jab at the Fairy Tale Cinderella. Back during the late 19th Century a spinster was an over 30-woman who many thought had no chance of ever getting married. Many at Amalgamated Consolidated didn’t think Matilda would ever get to the happily ever after of marriage due to all the emotional walls she erected around herself.

Spinsterella is the second romance novel I’ve written. The first one I wrote was A Recipe For $ucce$$/The Cassandra Cookbook in 2004.

In some ways Spinsterella can be considered the bookend to A Recipe for $ucce$$/The Cassandra Cookbook. Spinsterella contrasts to A Recipe For Success/The Cassandra Cookbook in theme, style, tone and design. While the characters in Cassandra’s world are whimsichal, lighthearted and live in an idealized Technicolor world, the characters in Spnisterella are dark, cynical, and live in a Noirish world that’s Black & White.

Both A Recipe for $ucce$$ and Spinsterella are actually 10 years apart. I started A Recipe For $ucce$$ in 2004 and Spinsterella in 2014.

For a fun in-joke a Matilda and Shawn actually go out on a date to see A Recipe for $ucce$$ on their date at the Magic Johnson in a later chapter in the book.

Both Spinsterella and A Recipe For $ucce$$ were written during dark periods in my life. I started work on A Recipe for $ucce$$ after a period of depression I was going through after being fired from a reception job at a law firm and I wrote Spinsterella to deal with unresolved issues I was going through after being fired from a job as a CUNY Office Assistant seven years ago.

Both Spinsterella and A Recipe For $ucce$$’ heroes are based on myself. And they both follow What If? scenarios that completely contrast each other. Simon is trying to move forward in the job I’ve always wanted to have, while the fictional Shawn is working towards picking up the pieces of his life after losing that job at City College seven years earlier.

The Shawn Character in Spinsterella is the most like the real life me. He has a lot of my mannerisms and pretty much acts like I do in real life. On the job I am a “Quiet Man” who says little and gets the job done. And many of the issues Shawn deals with in Spinsterella are many of the same issues I’ve dealt with in real life. Weight, social anxiety, and shyness are things I struggle with in the workplace. Thanks to these issues, I often spend most of my time focusing on getting myself through a day rather than on socializing and forming relationships with co-workers.

I use the Shawn character to make a commentary about long-term unemployment, the unstable American job market and the effects it has on a person’s mental health. When I was of work I’d have to literally put my life on hold. And during that time I had to shut down parts of my personality so I can get through a day. So if a person who’s out of work isn’t being social when they first return to the workplace it’s not because they’re aloof or concieted, it’s because they are trying to figure out if things are going to be stable enough in their lives to think about forming those relationships with others.

What many don’t understand about the job market over the last 20 years is that it’s hard to get things started when you can’t find a job and even harder to keep them going if you can’t keep it. All that economic instability prevents someone like myself from being able to think about things like little things forming social relationships at work. Many long-term unemployed people like myself don’t think of making personal connections with others because they don’t think they’re going to be staying for an extended period of time. So they keep their distance to avoid being hurt and disappointed about losing another job.

The Shawn Character in Spinsterella deals with a many of the fears I’ve had in my life. It’s these issues I thought that kept me from being able to keep a job. And as the character faces those fears he starts to move forward in his life.

Both A Recipe For $ucce$$ and Spinsterella are actually comedies. While a Recipe for $ucce$$ is a lighthearted comedy with dark undertones, Spinsterella is a dark comedy with light undertones.

Both A Recipe for $uccess and Spinsterella story models were influnced by the style of two of my favorite directors. A Recipe For $ucce$$’s story model influenced by director Billy Wilder while Spinsterella’s story model was heavily influenced by director Tim Burton. I’ve always been a fan of Tim Burton’s dark and unique visuals and his cerebral approach to storytelling. Growing up with Tim Burton’s films I’ve always taken ideas from his movies and applied them to my stories. Some like The Temptation of John Haynes are practically Tim Burton movies in paperback.

Spinsterella’s comedy is heavily influenced by Tim Burtons’ comedies like Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands, along with workplace comedies like Office Space, Clockwatchers, and the TV show Daria. While A Recipe for $ucce$$ is rooted in Wilder’s 1950s-early 1960s approach to comedy, the humor in Spinsterella comes from the model I studied in Burton films and 1990’s films. That model uses a bit more irony, satire, and sarcasm to get a laugh. The only technique I took from the oldschool comedy models of the 1940s and 1950s was to make fun of the situations that made introverts uneasy. I wanted people to laugh at the peoples’ reactions to what went on, not the people themselves.

Spinsterella is set during December 23-January 15. This time in an office is notoriously known as DEAD time because most companies have finished their work for the year. During this time NOTHING happens in a workplace and people who haven’t taken their holiday vacations are just sitting around killing time. I thought it’d be the perfect opportunity for two introverts to have a romance. No one would see them, and they’d feel safe about expressing themselves once they faced their fears.

The name Amalgamated Consolidated is a satirical jab at American corporations. With all the mergers and acquisitions companies have they call themselves crazy names like ExxonMobil, GlaxoSmithKine, and NBCUniversal.

I intentionally didn’t describe what Amalgamated Consolidated actually does because I wanted the reader to imagine what kind of company it was and what they did. But they’re a big company that’s been around for a LONG time and won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

The Offices of Amalgamated Consolidated are inspired by one of my favorite indie movies, Clockwatchers. In Clockwatchers the office space the temps work in seems to be frozen in time with Formica desks, vinyl chairs, florescent lighting, and elevator music right out of the 1960s. I thought that kind of archaic environment was the perfect place to set up as a DEAD space that contrasted the modern people like Matilda and Shawn trying to go about their lives in it.

The Matilda Crowley character is inspired by actresses Tia Mowry and Persia White. I was listening to something Persia White said on a radio show in 2009 about “being so dark because she was so light skinned” and came up with the idea to create a character who showcased the dark side of being biracial.

Matilda Crowley’s relationship with her dad is inspired by Tia Mowry’s relationship with her father. A year and a half ago I saw a picture of Tia on Facebook hugging her father and her talking about the close relationship she had with him. And that inspired me to write a story showing the love that biracial children have for their White fathers. A misconception that many Black people have about interracial relationships are that White fathers often abandon their families. When this isn’t the case at all. There are some White men who love their Black wives, their Biracial children and have loving relationships with their familes.

If I had to describe what Matilda looks like visually it’d be a Gothed up Tia Mowry with the fashion sense of DC Comics’ Death, the hair of Lydia Deetz from Beetlejuice and the voice of Persia White.

Matilda’s reasons for being Goth relate to her living on the dark side of being light skinned. As a Biracial woman she has been bullied and harassed by Black people for not being “Black” enough in terms of her “Black” identity. Reading about the Tragic Mulatto as a teenager she believes a tragic end will come to her life if she contines to make efforts to conform to the stereotyped standards of “Black” identity established in America. So in a desperate effort to break away from the path of the Tragic Mulatto, she becomes “Mad Matilda” the Goth Monster who seeks to walk down her own dark path in life.

The name “Mad Matilda” is inspired by the character from the 1980s Road Warrior Movies Mad Max. Like Mad Max, the teenaged Mad Matilda was making efforts to forge her own identity in uncharted territory of a post apocalyptic Black Community filled with zombie crackheads, druglords, punk gang members, and hair hatted hoodrats.

Oftentimes a Goth’s name directly relates to their life experiences or something important to them. And these names sometimes evolve as a Goths’ life experiences change them. Which is why 40-year-old Matilda is currently known as Spinsterella, the Black Widow at Amalgamated Consolidated.

There is actually a method to “Mad Matilda’s” Madness. The “Mad” part of her name is actually play on words. Matilda is “Mad” because she feels can’t be her true self in a world where biracial people aren’t truly accepted by either most Black or most White people. And she’s also “Mad” because she thinks she has to play crazy to keep people from hurting her. The method behind her “Madness” is a major part of the first act of Spinsterella and relates directly to the characters’ fears about forming a personal connection with Shawn.

The “Mad Matilda” Era of Matilda’s life from her teen years to her early twenties was inspired by what I knew about Goths growing up. Back in the 1990’s I watched a lot of Jenny Jones shows where she featured Goths as guests and I watched a news reports about Rave parties in warehouses and clubs.

Matilda’s father Jason Crowley is inspired by actor Tommy Lee Jones. Every time I wrote a piece of dialogue featuring Professor Crowley, his was the voice I heard. I thought it’d be a hilarious contrast if someone as formal as an Ivy League college professor had a Goth for a daughter.

The reason why Matilda lives in Sugar Hill is because I’m very familiar with the neighborhood. My father used to take me to a barbershop on Fredrick Douglass Boulevard when I was a kid and to visit relatives who lived in the area. I also used to walk through Sugar Hill to go to the train station when I used to work at City College of New York back in 2008. After I lost that job, I used to visit the area when I would go shopping at the PathMark (Now SuperFoodTown) on 145th Street and Fredrick Douglass Boulevard. I always thought it’d be a great place to set a story in, and I always wanted to tell a story where I could talk about the culture and history of the area.

Matilda Crowley isn’t my first attempt at writing a Goth Character. The first Goth character I created was actually Colleen Anderson in 1989. Back when I was writing my first novel The Changing Soul back in the 1995, Colleen is described as “A Grown up Chocolate covered Wendesday Addams”, wearing a white blouse, black skirt, black tights, black lipstick and combat boots. Unfortunately, in spite of years of revisions I couldn’t get the book to a place where I felt it was ready for publication.

The second attempt at a Goth character was Marilyn Marie from All About Marilyn. Marilyn’s dressing in Black at the end of the second act of the screenplay was actually supposed to be the first phase of her becoming a Goth, but I decided not to make it part of her character transformation arc because it didn’t fit the character.

I’ve been planning to write a Goth Character since the mid 1990’s. But the details never were right or the character just didn’t fit into the story I was planning. To get the details to make Matilda’s life as a Goth as realistic as possible I spent over a year and a half researching the Goth Subculture. In that time I studied Goth fashion blogs like Sophistique Noir, Watching videos on Goth makeup from YouTubers like Drac Makens, and learning about the subculture from various Goths on numerous YouTube channels. In the Acknowledgments section of Spinsterella I mention many of the bloggers and YouTubers and thank them for giving me the information to help me make Matilda’s Goth experience. I’d love to thank them all personally in an e-mail, (I did send Sophistique Noir a note thanking her before she stopped blogging) but I don’t know if I’d offend anyone else.

With Spinsterella I wanted to write a different type of romance. On the surface it’s a story about a pair of misfits, a Goth and a Quiet Man, but when a reader peels past the layers they’ll see it’s actually a story about two introverts finding love with each other as they face their fears.

As a man who continues to struggle with social anxiety and shyness I wanted readers to understand how an introvert’s fears hold them back and prevent them from getting the best in life. Oftentimes introverted people are so busy living in fear of what they imagine will happen that they don’t go for what they want in life. And it’s those fears that keep them from having relationships with great people. Introverts like Matilda and Shawn often erect mental walls around themselves and are afraid of letting others into their lives.

There’s usually a great person inside an introvert’s head. But they just need to feel safe enough to let real people get to know that person.

 In Spinsterella I wanted to show what happens when introverts like Goths and Quiet people face their fears: They go out and enjoy this thing called life. Yes, both Matilda and Shawn fall and stumble on their road to a relationship. But as they pick each other up and help each other deal with their fears they grow closer as a couple.

It took a year and a half to for me to take Spinsterella from the concept stage to completed novel. And in that time I learned a lot about Goths, the Goth subculture and the people who live that lifestyle. And I learned they are GREAT people. Again, if I ever met a few I think I could be a friend to them.

I also learned a lot about social anxiety, shyness writing this book. And I faced a lot of my own fears. I was extremely uncomfortable writing sex scenes before I wrote this book and I finally faced that fear when I went to they keyboard to write this novel.

Personally I think I grew some writing Spinsterella. And I’m hoping that people come out of the reading experince learning something about how people like outsiders and introverts find love and romance with each other.

You can pick up Spinsterella in paperback and Kindle on It’s a great book you’ll really enjoy!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Kindle Freebie!

Merry Christmas from SJS DIRECT! This years' Kindle Christmas freebie is my new novel Spinsterella:
Spinsterella will be FREE Christmas Day & Dec 26th! 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Isis: Imitation of Life Concept Cover

I spent Saturday night drawing. And I designed the Isis: Imitation of Life Concept cover for the 20l6 Kickstarter. Hopefully a professional artist like Bill Walko can do a better job on this than I can.

I was inspired by a lot of influences to create this single image for Isis: Imitation of Life. The 1934 film Imitation of Life, Pulp fiction characters like Doc Savage’s cousin Pat Savage and historical images I studied of Black life and Black culture in the 1930s.

The story I’m trying to tell with this concept piece is one about Isis and the conflict between the two worlds she lives in. The contrasting Black and white bagckgrounds evoques the art deco of the 1930s, the time where the story is set. This is the time of Jim Crow in the South, racial discrimination in the North, and the Spectre of Red Communism hovering over Black America. On the White side is Isis in her guise as Spelman College Professor Andrea Thomas Robinson wearing traditional 1930s fingerwaves, and red make-up and a white and blue suit to symbolize who she has to be in Black America. While on the Black side Isis is wearing her traditional New Heliopolitan kilt, blouse, ankh pendant and bracers and natural hair, symbolizing who she is on the inside. One could say this is who she is under her clothes, a goddess and a hero out to help those in need.

The question I try to answer in this story is: Can the goddess really call herself Black? Or is she mocking Black people in America by trying to live an imitation of their lives by walking among them?

Isis: Imitation of Life is one of the darkest stories in the Isis series. In this one I explore racism, intra-racism, race and identity in 1930s America. A lot of heavy subject matter for a fantasy story, but I believe these issues need to be examined and discussed more by people regardless of race.

I spent close to a year and a half doing research for this book. Watching movies that explored the lightskin/darkskin issue like Pinky and Imitation of Life, studying the history of race in America in the 1930s, lynching in the 1930s and studying pulp fiction and the paradigm for pulp fiction for the story model.

In addition to telling a story about race and identity in America I wanted to make a commentary about Black superheroes in the age of Pulp Ficiton and the Golden age of comic books. If one looks at history in the 1930s the age of Doc Savage, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman they’ll see there were no Black superheroes having fantastic adventures back then. And the main reason why there were no Black pulp adventures in the 1930 or Black superheroes in the 1930s was simple: There were no Black magazine publishers in the 1930s. The first Black magazines like Ebony didn’t hit newsstands until 1945.

And when White publishers like Street & Smith, Timely and National Periodical Publications were publishing Doc Savage, Marvel Comics and Superman and Batman in the 1930s they oftentimes didn’t feature Black characters in their stories. Outside of Coons like Whitewash Jones in the Young Allies and Slow Motion Jones in Whizzer strips most readers didn’t see many Negro faces in comic books or pulp fiction.

And with no Black publishers in business there was no one out there to tell our stories in the genre. With Isis: Imitation of Life I wanted to tell a pulp style story of what heroes like Isis were doing back then to fight the good fight against Jim Crow and racism in America. And show a balanced humanized image of the Black people who lived during that time while doing it.

With the pages laid out and the book in the middle of its third and final draft I’m planning to have Isis: Imitation of Life out around April-June 2016. And I’d love to put a professional cover on the book. And I can only get the funds to pay for it with your help. So I’m asking everyone to donate to the Kickstarter coming this January!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Why The Black Man’s Investment in Pussy never Pays Off

Black men are some of the poorest men in the industrialized world. Why? Because they invest in Pussy.

Why do Black men invest in Pussy? Many Black men are raised in single mother households. And because they are misled to believe their mothers are the natural leaders of the family, they believe that getting between the legs of a female is the highest honor and achievement they could ever accomplish in life.

So they make getting pussy a priority instead of getting money. And if they ever get money they invest it in getting pussy. An investment that loses them money before they even open their wallets.

Whenever Black men get money they don’t think of saving it to spend it on assets that build wealth for themselves. Things like commercial property, bonds, stocks, antiques, or even putting it in the bank.

All those investments make money. But what does pussy profit a man?

Nothing when you consider all the poverty most Black men remain in due to their quest for it. Even worse, some are willing to sacrifice their personal intangibles of manhood such as like their dignity and self respect for peek under a woman’s skirt.

An investment in pussy doesn’t profit a man in the long run. What does a man get from chasing females?  A smile? Some attention? Maybe a chance to see her naked after he takes her out three times?

Big deal.

Too many Black men invest in pussy hoping it’ll get them social currency. Never understanding that social currency has no value to anyone outside of the people in his social circle. Sure he can brag about how he got the panties. But that won’t pay his bills or take care of him in his old age.

Social currency may make a man cool for a minute. But it leaves him poor for a lifetime. Every dollar a man invests in getting pussy is money he’ll never get back.

An investment in Pussy is like taking money and throwing it in the trash. What most Black men don’t understand is that a vagina on a woman is a standard feature. And spending extra to get what a woman already has standard is like going to a car dealership and paying extra for an AM/FM radio or cupholders.

Spending money on women won’t increase a man’s chances of getting laid. Usually most women make up their mind whether or not they want to have sex with a man in the first five seconds of looking at him. And they’d give that man sex for free if he’s just patient enough to see how things go.

A man’s money is best spent when he invests it in himself. When a man puts himself first and invests his money in taking care of his needs he’s guaranteed to get a return on the investment every time. Every dollar a man spends on himself will come back to him a hundredfold or even a thousandfold. Instead of investing money in getting pussy, Black men need to start investing their resources in getting their financial houses in order.

Brothers, someone will always be there to take care of a woman at any stage in her life.  But who’s going to take care of you?


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Shawn's appearance on The Men's Advocate show with Linda Gross

Last week I was a guest on the Men's Advocate show with Linda Gross. We discussed my classic blog Ways Single Mothers Destroy Their Sons. Really enjoyed discussing this topic in depth with Linda and I'd love to do another show with her!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Why Men Must Pay Themselves First

From birth many a man has been told by his mother that he has to put a woman first and take care of her. And Madison Avenue advertisers and Hollywood movie studios reinforce this idea by telling him he has to sacrifice ever dollar he’s worked for to provide for her needs and to make her happy.

When that’s not his job. No man is responsible for a woman’s happiness. She is.

If a man is not married to a woman he owes her NOTHING. If he’s single, his main priority in life should be focusing on his needs and what he wants to accomplish in life.

What most men don’t understand is that in this age of Feminism women are can get jobs faster than a man, and get paid the same as a man if not more. And if women want things to be eaual in terms of economics then why should a man pay her way in life?

In fact things are actually economically imbalanced as it is between the sexes. Sure women make just as much as men, But what many of the pundits and politicians don’t factor in is in addition to that high paying job many women have, they usually most a couple of boyfriends, a fuck buddy and a couple of simps paying for her dinner, drinks, clothes, shoes, shopping sprees and cell phone bills. And with all these dudes and even the government bankrolling her $5 coffees, her iPhone, and her designer clothes and other assorted gifts and trinkets, she has an income far larger than the base salary she reports to the IRS.

So why should a man come out of his pocket spend his hard earned money taking care of some woman when she has multiple revenue streams including her salary?

He shouldn’t.

A Smart man pays himself first. Why? Because every dollar spent on him improves his quality of life.

Most women are going to get money from someone. Whether at her job, from her husband, her boyfriend, her fuck buddy, her side dude, or a sugar daddy she’s seeing as a side piece. Not to mention all the Simps and Tricks out there ready to get their pockets picked.

Just make sure the your wallet stays in yours.

Most women are going to be taken care of by someone. The question most men need to ask themselves is: Who’s taking care of you?

A man’s main goal in life is to take care of his needs first. And part of taking care of a man’s financial needs are paying himself first. Every dollar he invests in himself allows him to build wealth that will take care of himself in the future.

How does a man pay himself first? Simple. Put some money in the bank every paycheck. $25, $50, $100, or $200 is a good start if you can. Over the course of a year a guy can have a couple thousand dollars saved up. That’s money he can use to invest in himself and his long-term goals. Too many men who put women first put their needs last. And because they’re helping her get rich they never enrich themselves by working towards the goals in life they set out to accomplish in life.

Yeah, she gets what she wants when you help her. But what does that get a man?

Nothing. Some think because they got some beat up used fish smelling pussy with 500,000 miles on the odomoter like a 89’ Yugo they have something. But a man can get sex anywhere for free in a world where women outnumber men 4 to 1.

Guys, don’t sell yourself short. Put your money in your pocket, not hers.

Guys, YOU worked hard for your money. So use it to take care of YOU.  Pay yourself first and Save your money. If you have a goal in life and you’re working put some money away towards it achieving it. Whether it be buying some stocks and bonds, paying for publishing a book, getting that certificaton, or starting your own business, every dollar you save towards your goals is going towards YOU and what what makes YOU happy.

What a man spends his money on says a lot about what a man considers a priority in his life. And when a man pays himself first he’s making a statement that he’s the most important priority in his life. And that his needs come first before anyone elses’. When a man pays himself first he can have the money to buy for other things that build wealth like Mortgages, stocks and bonds and commercial property or franchises in fast-food restaruants. Fixed tangible assets that build value over time and can be passed down to the next generation.

Paying yourself first means you making money for you a priority. If a man took just a fraction of the money he invested in making women happy he’d be able to improve the quality of his financial life tremendously.   

Guys, Get your money right for you. These women are going to being taken care of. So take care of yourself. Because no one is going to look out for you but you.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Batman V. Superman Trailer….Is There A FAIL beyond EPIC?

Damn. Just Damn.

That’s all I can say after watching the trailer of Batman. V. Superman Dawn of Justice.
Is there a FAIL beyond Epic? 

The only place with a hotter mess than Batman V. Superman is in the netherrealm of Hell on the ninth level. From what I saw in the trailer I believe I have just seen the worst movie of 2016. And possibly the worst superhero movie of all time. Pitof, Roger Corman, Joel Schumacher, Michael Bay, and the makers of 2015’s Fantastic Four movie and 1989’s Captain America ain’t got nothing on Zack Snyder. Snyder is going to go down in history in as the Ed Wood of Superhero movie genre after this film. This one’s going to get ROASTED on this generation’s version of Svengoolie and MST3K.

Yep, Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice is going to be a groundbreaking film. It’ll be the film that defines what NOT to do when making a superhero movie. From what I saw in the trailer there were a TON of mistakes only a first-time filmmaker would make. A jumbled story that’s all over the place, Cringe-worthy dialogue, and absolutely HORRIBLE acting from Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill, and a series of drab dreary uninspired shots with no personality and by the numbers special effects and action sequences.

From what I saw I have to wonder if Zack Snyder is Just Tyler Perry using a pseudonym. Because what was presented onscreen was just like watching one of Perry’s suckatcularly bad films. I hate to say it but if Madea actually popped up in this movie it would be an improvement.

This one’s not even close to the source material. Even on Bizarro world they’d say Batman & Superman weren’t in this movie. Thanks to Ben Affleck Batman is just a cardboard cutout standing in place with a cell phone attached to it. Superman is just some angry dude in a cosplay costume who was told they were out of Fresca at the commissary. And Lex Luthor acts more like the Joker than the cold calculating businessman everyone knows in the comics and the Bruce Timm animated series. I don’t know who these characters are but they weren’t like anyone I read in DC Comics growing up.

And Wonder Woman…She just pops out of nowhere. Sorta like Alicia Silverstone’s transformation into Batgirl in Batman & Robin. It’s the most WTF? head scratch worthy moment in the trailer. If she’s supposed to make me want to spend $15 on this movie I just decided to keep my wallet in my pocket.

I still can’t believe that Warner Brothers actually spent money on this travesty. But eleven years ago they spent $100 million dollars on Halle Berry’s Catwoman and thought it was a good idea.

Good Gravy.

If WB wants to throw money away, hey give me $100 million to make a movie. After watching this cinematic vomit calling itself a superhero movie I honestly believe I could make a better film. I know for a fact I could write a better screenplay. To say that so-called professionals made this movie is an embarrassment to the film industry. I’ve seen better craft on fan made superhero films on YouTube. Batman: Dead End BLOWS THE DOORS off what I saw in that trailer.

I honestly have to wonder if Warner Brothers has money to waste or are the heads of Warner Brothers and DC Comics are truly their own worst enemies. In between the horrible comics, undersized overpriced action figures, and this cinematic abomination calling itself a Superhero movie it’s clear that the people who work at DC and Warner Brothers just HATE DC’s Superheroes. Because people who loved those characters wouldn’t produce something of such poor quality as this and be proud of it.

 After watching the trailer for Batman V. Superman it’s clear to me Warner Brothers just isn’t ready to compete with Marvel Studios. The difference between Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War is clear. One is a quality movie with a clearly defined story, multidimensional characters, rock solid cinematography that shows the story, and special effects that blend seamlessly into the film while the other is a jumbled mess of a film with no story, cardboard characters, uninspired camera work and horrible special effects that sticks out like a sore thumb. In one film you can see over $100 million well spent and in the other you can see $100 million tossed in the trash.

The sad part about Batman V. Superman is that it clearly shows Warner Brothers hasn’t learned anything about making superhero movies since 1997 when Batman & Robin flopped. If Batman V. Superman is the best Warner Brothers can do for DC Comics properties then it’s truly time for a top to bottom housecleaning at Time Warner at DC Comics and Warner Studios. Because clearly they need a new vision regarding the management of DC’s properties. If Batman V. Superman is the best the most talented people at Warner Brothers can produce regarding DC’s cinematic properties is a hot mess then it’s time for Warner Brothers to get new people.

 If the executives at Warner Brothers are really serious about change then maybe they should contact me on my Facebook page.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Shawn’s thoughts & Observations On The Captain America: Civil War Trailer

I meant to write this blog a week ago when I saw the Captain America: Civil War trailer at the library. But in between Black Friday book promotion, uploading videos, editing four books, and preparing for next year’s cover Kickstarter, I have been SUPER busy. But after seeing the trailer for Captain America: Civil War I’m definitely counting down the days until the movie opens. This one looks like another great one from Marvel Studios. 

Yeah, Marvel Studios isn’t directly adapting the Comic storyline Civil War from the comics. And that’s a good thing. Marvel’s Civil War storyline from the comics just isn’t adaptable to the screen. There’s no way Disney can sell a movie where the inciting incident of the story is supervillian murdering a school filled with children to the core audience of families and children. That’s just not gonna get a PG-13 rating from the MPAA.

And it’s not gonna sell to the audiences of moms and kids who spent over $1 billion dollars all over the world who made the original Avengers movie the top movie at the box office. Nor will it sell with the audiences of families and children who made Avengers: Age of Ultron a billion dollar hit this year. Marvel Stuidios parent company Disney knows who’s paying all the money for all those movie tickets and they don’t want to alienate that big audience.

So we get an adaptation based on original ideas. Like the possibility of Winter Soldier a.k.a Bucky being framed for a crime he possibly didn’t commit. And Cap trying to get to the bottom of it.

And Black Panther. Black Panther onscreen was just AWESOME.

I know some comic fans are griping about the change in story, but the original Marvel Civil War was a creative and PR disaster for Marvel. It split the declining comic book audience and made many long time comic fans stop buying Marvel Comics altogether. Worse, it turned the once fun Marvel Universe from a black and white world into a dark angry place filled with shades of gray. The inciting incident of the comic book Civil War is a supervillian named Nitro murdering a school filled with small children just to kill the New Warriors, a team of superheroes filming a reality show. And in response to this tragedy the government wants to control superheroes with the proposed Superhuman Registration Act. As the heroes take sides in this re-hash of the Mutant Registration Act storyline of 1986, Cap says the heroes should remain independent while Tony Stark sides with the government.

And as the heroes debate their ideologies, Tony Stark and his illuminati friends make a clone of the missing Thor that kills Ben Foster aka Giant Man, and the man behind the Iron man starts making the kinds of unethical compromises that would make the TV version of Oliver Queen look like a saint in comparison. And instead of heroes fighting the good fight against evil, they start fighing against each other to prove whose idea of doing the right thing is the actual right thing. Is the government right for wanting to regulate heroes? Or should heroes remain free to fight the good fight against what’s truly evil?

Now I thought this question was settled back in comics in 1986 after that horrendous Mutant Registration Act storyline in the X-men comics, but after 9/11 some dimbulb at Marvel decided to re-hash it to make a commentary about the Bush Administration and its war on terror.

Unfortunately while the heroes debated this ideology they wound up making the kinds of moral and ethical compromises that show what evil they’re capable of. Making us all question what “good” truly is and if the “good guys” are really doing what’s good for us or what’s good for them. Now that may be deep stuff that makes people think, but it doesn’t make for fun comic book reading.

Especially when the final climax of the story is the death of Captain America.

Yeah, that’s the kind of ending that’ll make those Moms want to take their kids to see that next Marvel Studios movie next year. While a couple of thousand comic fans may love them some Bucky Cap from the Brubaker/Epting run of comics but he doesn’t sell millions of action figures like Steve Rogers does. Just head over to a Toys R’ Us or a Target where he still clogs the pegs to this day.

So I understand why the story was drastically changed. Disney knows it’s a long road to Avengers: Infinity War Parts I and II and all it takes is one bad movie to sour the moviegoing public on Marvel Stuidos films. A Captain America: Civil War based on the Comic book version of Civil War would have split the movie audience just like the comic audience and cost Disney the billion dollar budget they’re planning for that film before a single penny is spent.

Disney and Marvel Studios knows it can’t risk alienating their core audience of families and children with so much at stake. They spend more on movie tickets and merchandise than any other group. So Civil War is basically gonna be heroes fighting heroes with a bad guy being the puppet master, not some super dark allegory about the morality of what is truly good. If anything all we may get at the end of the story is someone like Sikorsky being the U.N.liason between the Avengers and the government like in the oldschool comics.

And I’d be happy to pay money to see that. 

I hated that whole government regulating superheores story back in 1986 when they ran it in the X-men with the Mutant Registation Act and I hated it when they re-hashed it in Civil War. With comics being America’s mythology it just seems unpatriotic to run a story about superheroes needing government regulation. One would think those who fight to protect the freedom and rights of others would want the right to have that freedom to operate independent of any government control.

After all, that’s the difference between the Avengers and the Marvel’s old Soviet Super Soldiers. The Avengers were an independent organization with support from the government, the UN, and nations all over the world, While the Soviet Super Soldiers were a government controlled and government funded superteam. Heck, Crimson Dynamo was a just an employee who was paid by the government to wear his armor. No one pays Tony Stark or Steve Rogers to be superheroes, they fight the good fight because they believe they’re doing the right thing.

I’m really looking forward to seeing Captian America: Civil War. From the trailer I watched, it looks like a great movie. Yeah, the story has been changed from the comics, but comic fans need to understand that Superhero movies are adaptations of comic book characters and comic book stories. And while a superhero in the movie may be named Captain America and Steve Rogers, he’s a completely different entity than the character in the comic books. They may look the same and sound the same but they’re two different people. That’s why this Captian America is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, not the 616 one in the comics.

And in the Cinematic universe where things are adapted, not copied, sometimes plot points and story elements are changed from the source material to make them work onscreen and to sell to a larger audience like those moms and children who spend billions of dollars on movie tickets and action figures. The changes in Captain America: Civil War do not mean a return to the horrible storytelling of the Joel Schumacher Batman films of the 1990’s, it just means that Disney and Marvel Studios are trying to create the best quality film experience for the largest audience possible.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Lawrence Cherry’s The Atonement Now Available on Smashwords

Lawrence Cherry’s sequel to Commencement , The Atonement  is now Available on Smashwords!

After nearly two years in exile, Allen and his friends prepare to ceebrate the homecoming of the prodigal Jim Reid. Everyone believes the event heralds the beginning of happier times, but specters from the past cast their shadows over the present, threatening to ruin the reunion.

In The Atonement, friendships and family ties are tested as Allen and the others are forced to revisit old hurts and offences that stand to jeopardize their spiritual walk. As they each attempt to overcome pesonal demons from their pasts, they realize they will need more than each other – they will need faith.

The Atonement, is the third part of Lawrence Cherry’s Commencement saga. The series follows a group of young African-Americans who learn about, life, love, and faith and how to live a good life in an increasingly immoral society.

For The month of December The eBook version of The Atonement will be available for just 1.99. So you can pick up this sequel for half the retail price until January!