Zombies Ahead – Prepare to Stop

Lock the doors.

Lock the doors.

I found this news article today on Foxnews.com and thought it was pretty amusing at the ingenuity and humor of some hacker out there.  Imagine seeing this sign in the Marvel Universe.

Excerpt:  Transportation officials in Texas are scrambling to prevent hackers from changing messages on digital road signs after one sign in Austin was altered to read, “Zombies Ahead.”

Chris Lippincott, director of media relations for the Texas Department of Transportation, confirmed that a portable traffic sign at Lamar Boulevard and West 15th Street, near the University of Texas at Austin, was hacked into during the early hours of Jan. 19.

“It was clever, kind of cute, but not what it was intended for,” said Lippincott, who saw the sign during his morning commute. “Those signs are deployed for a reason — to improve traffic conditions, let folks know there’s a road closure.”

“It’s sort of amusing, but not at all helpful,” he told FOXNews.com.

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Big Bang Belt Buckles

Stylin' & Profilyn'

Stylin' & Profilyn'

I suppose I owe some credit to CBS’s sophomore comedy “The Big Bang Theory’ for my latest geeky pop-culture grab at youth.

Belt Buckles.

If you get the chance to ever watch this brilliantly funny show for all comic and sci-fi fanboys, the character Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) sports some interesting attire (as does Sheldon…love his T’s).  In addition to his regular clothing, if you pay attention to his accessories, you’ll note that he has quite a variety of superhero belt buckles, generally DC based.

The more and more I watch this show I noticed that I am becoming enamored with the belt buckles, and thus decided I needed to buy me some.

Amongst one of my favorite 80’s properties, G.I. Joe, I discovered a sweet looking Cobra emblem buckle on a black background.  I was more surprised to find many on line stores that sell novelty buckles were currently out-of-stock on this item, so I paid a premium of $18 for this gem (cheapest I found was $14.99).

The other one I purchased was also directly from the show, the metallic and stylized ‘S’ from Superman Returns.  I was also surprised to find how many Superman belt buckles there actually are, and it was hard to remain with my original choice but I did. 

Cobra!!

Cobra!!

I purchased them both from styleonline.com who have quite a few fanboy properties to choose apparel and accessories from.  They probably have the biggest selection I’ve come across so far, but they kill you on the shipping.  I was a little bummed to discover that the cheapest method on two belt buckles was going to be $9.  I don’t understand that seeing that Amazon can ship for free on anything over $25, and other stores shipping are 1/2 that.  Oh well….Anyway, I can’t wait to sport my new buckles at work and around the neighborhood.  I’m sure my wife will raise her eyebrows and shake her head, but who cares…..she watches The Real Housewives of O.C., so she has no room to talk.

Ultimate Nick Fury no more at Marvel Studios?

Marvel's "Shaft"

Marvel's "Shaft"

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Samuel L Jackson may not be returning as Nick Fury in future Marvel movies as recent negotions have broke down.

Samuel first appeared in the hit Iron Man movie as the re-imaged version of Nick Fury from the Marvel ‘Ultimate’ Universe line of comics (traditionaly, the Nick Fury in the 616 universe has been white and previously palyed in a tele-movie by Dabid Hasselhoff).

It was believed that he woudl re-prise his role in Iron Man II, as well as the in-development Thor and Captain America movies that would eventually lead into the anticipated Avengers movie in coming years.

While Marvel Studios won’t comment on the status of ongoing negotiations, Sam was recently quoted as saying “There was a huge kind of negotiation that broke down.  I don’t know.  Maybe I won’t be Nick Fury.  Maybe someone else will be Nick Fury or maybe Nick Fury won’t be in it.  There seems to be an economic crisis in the Marvel Comics world so [they’re saying to me], ‘We’re not making that deal.'”

This story is interesting to me on two fronts: 1) Sam appearing as the Ultimate version of Nick Fury in the post credit scene of Iron Man was a fanboy moment and very exciting to see a man of Mr. Jackson’s calibre in that roll.  2) With the recent Secret Invasion arc taking place in teh 616 universe, Nick Fury has returned from his comics abscence as has been playing a prominent roll in the ongoing story of the Skrull invasion and been helming a new team of exciting new heroes which will only be fleshed out in the new Dark Reign arc just starting.  I expect to see much more focus on Nick Fury thsi coming year or so.

Comics: New Avengers #47

First and foremost there are two things to say about the cover in regards to this issue: 1) I’m curious to know if some of the ‘pictures’ of the characters in costume are actually the creative team of the comic that are photo-shopped in.  Clearly a few of the faces portrayed are those of real people disguised as Skrulls which I think is a pretty cool concept.  2) The cover has absolutely nothing to do with the content of this issue.  By the focal point being Clint ‘Hawkeye’ Barton in a prominent pose wearing his signature costume, it leads the reader to believe at first glance that this issue will have something to do with Clint re-announcing his return to the Marvel Universe and possibly shedding his recent Ronin persona.  In fact, the whole issue is devoted to a back-story of how Luke Cage and Jessica Jones met but somehow touted as a ‘Secret Invasion’ tie-in…also somewhat of a stretch.

No Hawkeye here

No Hawkeye here

Yes, there is indeed a tie-in to Secret Invasion, particularly as it pertains to the last few pages of SI #8 and Luke and Jessica’s baby girl, but not the focal point of the issue.  It was neat to compare the last few pages of this issue to the last few pages of SI #8 as you see the event unfold from two separate vantage points and helps fill in the blanks for the reader as only Bendis can do.

Other than the last few pages the story within is again split amongst two separate pre-Invasion time frames.  We open with Luke and Jessica  speaking to each other within their apartment on how they are going to raise their daughter and the ramifications it may have on their child seeing that they are superheroes.  We witness a side of Luke in which most new fathers can identify with…how do we hold a baby, change it’s diapers, and all the other responsibilities we have no clue on.  Jessica of course lends motherly and confident logic here as she tries to quell Luke’s parental fears and points out he once fought Dr. Doom, so how hard can it be?

We are then treated to a backstory in retrospect on how Luke first came to meet Jessica Jones ina  quest to locate his estranged father and make a reconnection.  Bendis is very good on thier introductory dialogue here weaving a very serious matter to Luke with some light hearted humor from Ms. Jones.

Jessica catches up with Cage Sr.’s new home, but is stopped at the screen door by Mr. Cage’s new wife.  The dialogue goes back and forth in this manner as we learn more about the relationship with the estranged Cage Sr.  The use of the screen door and the shifting perspective between Jessica and the woman who answers the door is very well done and almost feels cinematic in nature.  The big surprise we learn towards the end of the ladies yammering is that Luke has been standing off panel the entire time and digesting everything he is hearing for the first time…speechless.

In the aftermath of this encounter we fast forward what can only be assumed to be a brief period of time (hours) in which Jessica and Luke share an emotional moment outside a local Dairy Queen of all places.  Its moments like these in comics where you forget you are reading about superheroes and begin to look at these characters as actual living, breathing people.

While issue #47 may appear to be a ‘filler’ issue at first glance, it’s actually a treat to see how the relationship between Luke and Jessica first originated and really adds a new layer of depth to them both beyond how sometimes Marvel characters can be portrayed as very one dimensional especially in the recent wake of all the non-stop action that made of the core Secret Invasion and all the other tie-ins.