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Upgrade

The fun thing about science fiction and speculative fiction, is it’s great conversation fodder. After seeing the movie Upgrade, my husband and I now have an agreement. If I ever become quadriplegic, and a creepy guy comes into my hospital room and offers me an implant that will restore my bodily function, the answer is YES. What if the implant takes over my body and turns me into a killing machine? We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. What if the guy who implants the chip is super sketchy, and is using me for his own nefarious experiements? So? Get me the fuck out of this wheelchair. The answer is yes, always yes, no matter what, yes.

It probably doesn’t say much good about me that I’d rather be a pawn in an evil genius plot than a quadriplegic, but there it is. I’m not sorry.

But here’s the thing. If you have the technology and know-how to create something as advanced and miraculous as Stem, then you have the ability to safeguard it from abuse....
 

Bargain Bin Gold: Star Trek-The Next Generation (1988)

Comic conventions, new comic shops, flea markets, yard sales… There’s a certain thrill I feel any time I see bargain bins of comics. Old books for a buck? Fifty cents? A quarter? Stand back, because I’m in my natural habitat. Now this is not the place to go to find the first appearance of Wolverine. Heck, it’s not even the place to look for the first appearance of Wonder Wabbit. Bargain Bins are universally scattershot and incomplete, and usually disorganized to the point of no return. It’s impossible to look for something in a bargain bin. You just look.

It’s one of my favorite places in the world.

Last weekend, at the first New Orleans Comic-Con, there was a two for a dollar section bigger than certain comic shops I’ve visited. Among the various treasures I unearthed there was an entire six issue run of the original Star Trek: The Next Generation miniseries from 1988. Having read the issues, I can proudly declare that I more than got my three dollars’ worth...
 

Three Wishes: Streaming the DC Universe

We live in a streaming world. We have our Netflix, our Hulu, our Amazon Prime, but that's just where it starts. Do you want a vast selection of horror movies and TV shows? Subscribe to Shudder. Are TCM classics and highbrow fare more your thing? You need Filmstruck. Miss the cartoons of your youth? Get yourself some Boomerang. A fan of a certain famous science fiction franchise and want a service that includes that and literally no other reason to sign up? Right this way to CBS All-Access.

With so many different streaming services and more on the way, you've got to start being choosy about which ones you're going to get. When DC first announced their plans for a streaming platform, I was skeptical that there would be enough content to make it worthwhile. Then the announcements started: live action shows featuring The Titans, Swamp Thing, Doom Patrol and more, plus a new animated Harley Quinn series and the resurrection of the popular and be unfairly cancelled Young Justic...
 

The Flash #48: A War For Family

The Flash #48 (DC Comics)
By Joshua Williamson, Howard Porter, Hi-Fi & Steve Wands

Superman is my favorite superhero. He has been for a very long time, and yet there’s something about the Flash family that connects with me on a deep, primal level. If I was falling off a cliff, I’d want Superman there to save me, but if I had to bet on which comic would move me to tears, I’d look at Barry Allen and Wally West’s reunion in DC Universe Rebirth #1 and everything that has happened to the characters since then. When I read that book, I felt like I had been reunited with an old friend I’d feared I would never see again. I felt it again when Jay Garrick appeared in the closing pages of The Button, when Wally and his Aunt Iris were reunited, and I would place money on Joshua Williamson doing it to me again before the Flash War storyline ends.

The Renegades -- peacekeepers of the future -- have been sent back in time to put Iris West on trial for the death of...
 

The 2018 Superhero Watch: Doing Whatever a Spider Can

This year, as I’ve mentioned once before, I’ve set a goal for myself: watch and rewatch as many superhero movies as I can. And since I’ve got something of a platform here, I wanted to periodically update you on my progress and tell you what I’ve been thinking so far. (If you want to keep up with my progress, you can follow along on the Letterboxd list I update each time I watch another film.) In my first column about this process, I talked about the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date. Today, our Venn Diagram is going to have a little bit of overlap, as we look at one of the few characters to have a successful cinematic career before joining the MCU: Peter Parker, the Amazing Spider-Man.

I didn’t watch all of these films in order, but I’m going to talk about them more or less that way. Also, In that aforementioned first column, I spent time talking about Tom Holland in Spider-Man: Homecoming, so I’m going to get this out of the way first. Holland’s Spider-Man is the best...
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  • Memories on the World of Magic: The Gathering

    Memories on the World of Magic: The Gathering

    I was introduced to Magic: The Gathering in Spring of 1995…and as I remember it, that was within just a few weeks of the end of the Revised ("3rd") Edition. I'd missed Arabian Nights, Antiquities, Legends, and The Dark…and the then-current expansion was Fallen Empires.

    I was there for the arrival of 4th Edition, and the first new expansion I was there for was Ice Age. Shortly after, we got Chronicles, and I remember that the card I most wanted from that set was Chromium--the Elder Dragon. (Which I got in my first purchase of several boosters!) Those gave way to Homelands, which was the first/only set I ever got to get an entire booster box--I remember getting that as a Christmas present that year.

    I remember the release of Alliances, and Mirage…and remember being aware of Visions and then even Weatherlight…though as I recall it, I only got a few boosters of Alliances, and I think only a "starter deck" and a couple boosters of Mirage. (After...
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  • Kneel Before "The One Who Will Save Us All"

    Kneel Before "The One Who Will Save Us All"

    SPOILERS AHOY! - A bed full of lemons? Quake vs Yo-yo? Graviton vs. Thanos? Madness!

    Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 5 Episode 20 - The One Who Will Save Us All
    Directed by Cherie Gierhart, Written by Brent Fletcher

    One of the best things about this show is how in any given episode, a bunch of things can be resolved, but you always come back to the original problem staring you right in the face. Despite all of the plot movement, when this episode closed, we are still left with the team struggling to break the time loop and stop whoever The Destroyer of Worlds happens to be from shattering the Earth. We know now it isn’t Ruby, and it still could be Daisy Johnson – but maybe it is General Talbot?

    I have to say that these last few episodes have very much felt like a comic book. It’s hard not to make comparisons to the first season since there are so many call-backs, but I recall back then thinking that there just weren’t enough super-powered people...
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    Last edited by Craig Reade; 05-07-2018, 11:40 AM.

  • Three Wishes: What We Want in Avengers 4

    Three Wishes: What We Want in Avengers 4

    In Three Wishes, we take a look at something in pop culture and express three hopes for the future, whether those wishes are almost inevitable or pie-in-the-sky dreams.

    Spoiler Warning: This article contains all manner of spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War. If you are one of the three remaining people in North America who hasn’t seen it, read no further.

    In the run-up to Avengers: Infinity War, more than one person called it the Empire Strikes Back of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As it turned out, in terms of consequences, it made Empire look like Benji. After killing several of the MCU’s heroes in the preceding 140 minutes, Thanos successfully assembled the Infinity Gauntlet and completed his stated goal of killing off half the population of the universe with a snap of his fingers. People who read the comic books upon which this was based probably weren’t totally shocked, but even hardcore fans lost their breath when the devastation turned out to include...
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  • Free Comic Book Day Frenzy

    Free Comic Book Day Frenzy

    There are certain dates you spend all year waiting for: Christmas, Halloween, St. Crispin’s Day for an excuse to do that speech from Henry V to your English Lit students... but as a card-carrying nerd, there’s a day that has stood out to me for several years now as THE day, the one I’m waiting for, the experience around which the whole geek year revolves. The first Saturday in May, tomorrow, is Free Comic Book Day.

    It’s a simple enough concept: every year the comic book shops, distributors, and publishers of North America collaborate to give out thousands of free books to anyone who walks into a shop. Some of the books are new, some are reprints, some are samplers of a publisher’s various wares, some are used to launch upcoming titles or storylines. It’s a nice no-risk (for the customer) way to get people to try things out and see what’s what. Aside from the bigger titles that everyone knows about, over the years FCBD has helped introduced me to future favorites like Atomic...
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  • Chess

    Chess

    So I’ve always wanted to be one of those chess people. You know, you’ve seen them in the movies. The unassuming girl who everyone underestimates, but she sits down at the chess table and demolishes the most genius-y of the geniuses there. I want to be crafty. I want to be impressive. I want to be the owner of that goddamn board.

    But I’ve never learned how to play, mostly because I’m afraid I would be none of those things. Because from what I understand, chess takes patience and attention to detail — not my strong suits. I’ve never wanted to embarrass myself.

    Recently, my husband and I took our four year old daughter to a STEAM festival in Costa Mesa. It was a pretty cool event, with robotics and science experiments and craft projects and violinists.

    There was also a chess table.

    You already know where this is going, but bear with me.

    My daughter saw the giant chess board and was immediately enchanted. She sat...
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    Last edited by Craig Reade; 05-03-2018, 03:53 PM.

  • Avengers #1: It's Been a While

    Avengers #1: It's Been a While

    It’s been a while.

    I’ve always been an Avengers fan, but it’s been a very long time -- nearly 200 issues, in fact -- since I’ve read an Avengers comic. Oh, I’ve read comics called “Avengers” in that time (and sometimes “New Avengers,” or “Avengers Academy,” or “Uncanny Avengers”) and some of them have been very good. But even the ones I’ve enjoyed have had a different feel, a different flavor. Some of them were close. But it was like drinking a Coke Zero when you really wanted a Coke. Even the best of runs since the infamous “Avengers Disassembled” began in issue #500 have felt… off.

    For a few pages, Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness’s Avengers #1 tasted wonderfully familiar.

    The centerpiece of the issue is a summit between Steve Rogers, Tony Stark and Thor about whether it’s time to get the band back together. (Why, exactly, the band is broken up after their victorious finale in last week’s Avengers #690 is not adequately explained, but that’s a...
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  • The Adventures of Superdad

    The Adventures of Superdad

    After a prologue in Action Comics #1000, we stand here a few weeks before the Brian Michael Bendis era of Superman truly begins. As is to be expected, Bendis and DC have both played details of his story pretty close to the vest, aside from a little playful trolling and a reassurance that Bendis doesn’t want to just blow up what the previous creative teams did as they move on. I’m not here to speculate on what comes next, nor to plead with DC to keep things one way or another, but rather to talk about what those previous teams have done right, and why it has meant so much to me. I’m here to talk about Jon Kent.

    But first, let me backtrack. Although I was, of course, aware of the character as far back as I can remember, the first Superman story I ever bought new off the stands, eagerly awaiting each new chapter, was “Krisis of the Krimson Kryptonite.” This 1990 storyline culminated in Superman #50, in which Clark Kent proposed to Lois Lane. So you see, while fifty years of comic...
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  • The Zealotry of The Doctor

    The Zealotry of The Doctor

    Have you ever heard of the Zeal of the Convert? This phrase comes from the perception that converts to a new religion are frequently more fiercely devout than those who were born into it. Of course, not all converts are aggressive zealots – I wouldn’t even say most of them are. Despite the negative implications of this stereotype, l believe it is logical and perfectly understandable that someone who reached an epiphany about their own existence would be very excited about their new awareness and passionate about traveling down the path they just discovered. They might even try to convince you to go with them!

    This phenomenon isn’t limited to religion. You can find examples of it among people of all kinds wherever someone adopts a new idea or way of thinking. There’s the ex-smoker who becomes fiercely anti-smoking or the new vegetarian that proselytizes about their food choices – no matter what way of thinking you are talking about, it seems like you can find examples...
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  • Welcome to Forgedby4.com!

    Welcome to Forgedby4.com!

    Now, let's talk about some things we love.

    You know that feeling you get right before you move in to a new house? That's kind of like what I am feeling now. The house is shiny and new and full of possibility. You just haven't moved any of your stuff in yet. That's kind of the state this site is in right now - full of possibility, but since it is brand new, it isn't quite home yet.

    To give you an idea of what you can expect in the coming days and weeks, Forgedby4.com (or Forged by 4 Colors, if you like) will become a place where you can read about a whole host of things related to could be called 4-Color Culture that we enjoy, and that we think you will enjoy too.

    The 4 Colors in our name refers to the 4 Color Process (also called process color printing). This printing process became synonymous with classic comic books that were printed on inexpensive newsprint. For those of us who have grown up or lived for a long time enjoying those 4-color classics (and...
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