Showing posts with label Science Fiction Related. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Science Fiction Related. Show all posts

11 March 2021

Marcus Nel-Jamal Hamm to Release Short Film 'The Black League of Superheroes' on April 30th [Trailer Included]

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Marcus Nel-Jamal Hamm to Release Short Film 'The Black League of Superheroes' on April 30 [Trailer Included]
'The Black League of Superheroes' - Poster
Former pro wrestler turned writer, director, actor and producer, Marcus Nel-Jamal Hamm, will be releasing his anticipated short film, The Black League of Superheroes – available to watch on April 30th through the film's website and via YouTube.
Marvel and DC enthusiasts will enjoy following the story of a young hero, Miles Morales Spiderman, who discovers that an intentional injustice was covered up as an accident. To prevent this from happening again, he takes advantage of his gifts and "borrows" a powerful glove to summon his elders: Spawn, Blade and Black Panther. The band of superheroes must then decide how to best address the tragedy that has unfolded before them.

  • With the current political climate and the ascent of the Black Lives Matter movement, Marcus was inspired to create a film where Black individuals can see themselves reflected as superheroes.
Marcus Nel-Jamal Hamm to Release Short Film 'The Black League of Superheroes' on April 30 [Trailer Included]
'The Black League of Superheroes' -Miles Morales Spiderman (screengrab)
"Being able to create positive Black images is extremely important in times like this, and it's also important for Black people who are being victimized and brutalized from mischaracterizations to regain a sense of empowerment," Marcus explains.
  • Among the aforementioned superheroes, audiences will also see fan favorites including Superman, Storm, and Bayne.

The Trailer:

Synopsis:

(Via IMDb)
Spoilers Alert! The synopsis below may give away important plot points.
"A young hero, Miles Morales Spiderman learns of a tragic incident claimed to have been accidental that turns out to have been intentional. His hidden abilities make him capable of knowing the truth from lies but he can't reveal this to the world to protect his identity. Instead, he takes advantage of his gifts and "borrows" a powerful and mystical glove using it to summon four of his elders who he believes will help him to right the wrong that has happened and that he knows will continue to happen if nothing is done about it. These heroes, Spawn, Blade, Black Panther have never met one another and must quickly make a decision that can be the difference between life and death. They were all in the middle of their own experiences at the time that they were summoned and one unique hero, an unrecognized Superman is of the same universe that Miles has taken the others to so he is not summoned, but invited the old fashioned way. The 4 wait impatiently for his arrival in order to learn the reason for their sudden relocation into an empty room in a place unrecognized. Young Miles is hopeful that his elders will show him the way to deal with the harshness of reality. Spawn, Blade, and Black Panther were all summoned from their own universes so we will see the events that were unfolding at the time prior to being called upon. Black Panther, in a tactical pursuit, to claim his greatest treasure, the X-Men's Storm. Blade was on the hunt for a tough vampire who was once a prize MMA fighter named Pogona. Spawn was in the alley streets watching over his friends when one is suddenly attacked. Each of their stories are told while they wait for the arrival of Superman and then Miles Morales proceeds to reveal the reason for his bringing them there. They must then decide on how they can best address the tragedy that they learn has unfolded...."
Marcus Nel-Jamal Hamm to Release Short Film 'The Black League of Superheroes' on April 30 [Trailer Included]
'The Black League of Superheroes' - Blade (screengrab)

About Marcus Nel-Jamal Hamm: 

Born in Washington D.C. and a graduate of the University of Maryland College Park with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice, Marcus Nel-Jamal Hamm emerged into the entertainment scene through the world of pro wrestling under the moniker of Marcus Jordan. He is a multi-title holding main event performer.

Marcus transitioned toward acting with a role on two episodes of the HBO series, The Wire. He's continued to gain momentum working as a television, theatrical and commercial actor, and is trained in film/TV stunt fighting.

This June, Marcus will be producing and starring in Heaven's Revenge, the full-length feature of the hit short of the same name (which he also stars in and can be seen on Amazon Prime).

  • Now an L.A. mainstay, Marcus is an advocate for global world peace and a promoter of a new Urban Renaissance where he inspires youth from all walks of life.
Marcus Nel-Jamal Hamm to Release Short Film 'The Black League of Superheroes' on April 30 [Trailer Included]
'The Black League of Superheroes' - Black Panther (screengrab)

SOURCE: Marcus Nel-Jamal Hamm

6 March 2021

Pre-registration Now Live On The App Store For Latest Zombie-Themed Strategy Game From 37Games 'First Refuge: Z' [Trailer Included]

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Pre-registration Now Live on the App Store For Latest Zombie-Themed Strategy Game From 37Games 'First Refuge: Z' [Trailer Included]
'First Refuge: Z' (screengrab)
37Games is launching its latest zombie-themed strategy game First Refuge: Z in several countries. Unlike other mobile games of its kind, First Refuge: Z creatively combines underground shelter building, zombie hunting mechanics, and strategic war game elements, bringing a breath of fresh air to the genre. 

First Refuge: Z
is set in a world where humanity has been brought to the edge of extinction by a deadly zombie virus. The desperate actions of the remaining survivors seem futile in the face of treacherous bandits, hordes of zombies, and sinister corporations that roam this wasteland, all contending for supremacy.

In the world of First Refuge: Z, each player can construct and customize a unique underground city. By building rooms of different specialized functions, residents can live safely and happily in their underground shelter. Players can even assign residents to different rooms to do different jobs. Residents in the same room may fall in love with each other, get married, and bear children.
As the senior officer of this underground shelter, players will need to search for and save survivors, recruit formidable heroes, develop the underground city, and fight off deadly zombies as well as other players from over the world. All in all, it's a world full of danger and challenges.
Pre-registration Now Live on the App Store For Latest Zombie-Themed Strategy Game From 37Games 'First Refuge: Z' [Trailer Included]
'First Refuge: Z' (screengrab)
The hero roster in this game is diverse and varied. There are heroes from every background and race. There is a tough looking middle-aged man holding a cigar in his mouth while blasting away at the undead. Not to mention there's the classic sheriff who is always ready to battle incoming outlaws and zombies alike. Let's not forget the little girl named Arora who wields a crossbow and might be the key to curing the zombie virus. There are more heroes than you can count and each of them has their unique skills and origin story. Nobody survives alone. By sticking with these heroes, you can save humanity and even the world.
Similar to other strategy war games, you can deploy heroes and edit the lineup to challenge campaigns and defend your shelter against waves of zombies. Each battle requires valor and strategy. You can even see captains all over the world getting together to fight for the control of the capital. 
Pre-registration Now Live on the App Store For Latest Zombie-Themed Strategy Game From 37Games 'First Refuge: Z' [Trailer Included]
'First Refuge: Z' (screengrab)
  • Who will achieve victory and become the leader of the state? Join the fray and figure it out yourself.
Follow the official First Refuge Facebook fan page to be updated on the latest news, trailers, giveaways, and more.

SOURCE: 37Games

10 February 2021

Steven Spielberg Announced as the 2021 Genesis Prize Laureate [Video Included]

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Steven Spielberg Announced as the 2021 Genesis Prize Laureate [Video Included]
Steven Spielberg Announced as the 2021 Genesis Prize Laureate (screengrab)
The Genesis Prize Foundation today announced film director, producer, and philanthropist Steven Spielberg as the 2021 Genesis Prize Laureate.

  • The annual $1 million Genesis Prize, dubbed the "Jewish Nobel" by TIME magazine, honors extraordinary individuals for their outstanding professional achievement, contribution to humanity, and commitment to Jewish values.
The award recognizes Spielberg's outstanding achievement as one the most influential filmmakers in the history of cinema; his social activism and prolific philanthropy; and his principled stance against anti-Semitism and all forms of intolerance. 

The Prize also recognizes his extraordinary work to preserve the memory of the Holocaust and prevent future genocides through film, public advocacy and philanthropy.

For the first time in the history of the Genesis Prize, the voice of global Jewry was a major factor in Laureate selection. Two hundred thousand Jews on six continents cast their votes for the 2021 Laureate; millions more engaged on social media. While the Prize Committee had the ultimate discretion about the selection of the recipient of this prestigious award, the fact Spielberg received the most votes was a major determining factor.
"The Genesis Prize celebrates Steven Spielberg's unique talent, his commitment to making the world a better place, and his unparalleled contribution to teaching the post-war generations about the horrors of the Holocaust," said Stan Polovets, Co-Founder and Chairman of GPF. "We are delighted to welcome Steven Spielberg to the distinguished family of Genesis Prize honorees, which includes such luminaries as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Natan Sharansky, and Michael Bloomberg."
This is the latest in a series of prominent awards bestowed on Spielberg, which among others include the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award of the United States; Legion d'Honneur, the highest order of the French Republic, and Germany's Federal Cross of Merit.
"Spielberg is a great Jewish visionary and storyteller," said the legendary human rights activist Natan Sharansky, who was awarded the Genesis Prize in 2020. "Key Jewish themes are often woven into his narratives: importance of identity and belonging, maintaining humanity in a ruthless world, caring for the other, and honoring the moral obligation to do the right thing. His talent makes them universal: told by Spielberg, these stories come alive in people's hearts across the globe."
Steven Spielberg becomes the 9th Genesis Prize honoree. All previous Laureates chose to direct the $1 million Prize award to philanthropic causes about which they were passionate. Sharansky, who preceded Spielberg as the Genesis Prize Laureate, directed his $1 million award to support individuals and organizations working to alleviate the Covid-19 health crisis and prevent future pandemics.
"Congratulations to Steven Spielberg on this important Jewish award," said Isaac Herzog, Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel and Chairman of the Genesis Prize Selection Committee. "He is an example of great Jewish talent, whose extraordinary work in film and philanthropy is infused with the values of his people – a quest for justice, compassion, humanism, and a heartfelt desire to make the world a better place."
Steven Spielberg Announced as the 2021 Genesis Prize Laureate [Video Included]
2021 Genesis Prize Laureate Steven Spielberg. (Credit: WFPA / Alamy Stock Photo)

About the 2021 Genesis Prize Laureate:

Steven Spielberg is widely considered to be the most successful film director in the history of cinema. His films grossed $10bn and his imagination has captivated tens of millions of people around the world. After establishing his reputation with blockbuster films such as Jaws, ET, Jurassic Park and Indiana Jones, he began to explore serious topics such as justice, slavery, women's rights, corruption, and morality of war in films such as Saving Private Ryan, Lincoln, The Color Purple, The Post, Munich and Bridge of Spies.

His films also have delivered compelling narratives of Jewish history and present day events – the Holocaust, terrorism, and the maturing of the State of Israel. Spielberg's 1993 masterpiece Schindler's List has had a profound impact on humanity's perception and awareness of the Holocaust. Fifty years after the Shoah, Spielberg's film fostered a strong emotional connection with this tragedy for a vast, global audience – touching the post-war generations in a way that no other medium could. Spielberg channeled all of his proceeds from Schindler's List to fund philanthropic causes – both Jewish and non-Jewish. In 1994, he established the USC Shoah Foundation, dedicated to preserving Holocaust survivor testimonies. Concerned with prevention of genocide, the Foundation also works to preserve the memory of other 20th century genocides – in Cambodia, Armenia and Rwanda. Over 55,000 survivor testimonies have been recorded to-date.

  • Spielberg and his wife Kate Capshaw founded the Righteous Persons Foundation, which has made more than $100 million in grants to various Jewish organizations. Through the Wunderkinder Foundation, Spielberg has given extensively to health, arts, youth and education.

About the Genesis Prize and Prior Laureates:

The Genesis Prize is a global award that celebrates Jewish achievement and contribution to humanity. Launched in 2013, the Prize is financed through a permanent endowment of $100 million established by The Genesis Prize Foundation.

Previous Genesis Prize laureates are former New York City Mayor and philanthropist Michael Bloomberg (2014); actor, producer and peace activist Michael Douglas (2015); Itzhak Perlman, virtuoso violinist and advocate for individuals with special needs (2016); sculptor and advocate for the rights of refugees Sir Anish Kapoor (2017); Oscar-winning actress and social activist Natalie Portman (2018); owner of New England Patriots and founder of the leading foundation to combat anti-Semitism Robert Kraft (2019); and legendary Jewish leader and human rights activist Natan Sharansky (2020). In 2018, the Genesis Prize Foundation honored U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with its inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to social justice and equal rights.

27 January 2021

COVID-19 Movie 'Songbird' is a Disaster – We Need Better Pandemic Stories [Trailer Included]

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COVID-19 Movie 'Songbird' is a Disaster – We Need Better Pandemic Stories [Trailer Included]
COVID-19 Movie 'Songbird' is a Disaster – We Need Better Pandemic Stories (Image via STX Films)

If the reality of COVID-19 were not enough, you can now watch Songbird, a new blockbuster movie which pictures the world in 2024 trying to deal with the ravages of COVID-23, a new mutation of the coronavirus. As one reviewer writes, the film combinesa Romeo & Juliet-lite love story with a sub-Contagion thriller”. Hailed as the first feature film about the pandemic, released during the pandemic, Songbird has not received the warm welcome its producers might have hoped for.

COVID-19 Movie 'Songbird' is a Disaster – We Need Better Pandemic Stories [Trailer Included]
'Songbird' (screengrab)
One of the most generous reviews is from The Guardian, which described the film as “a fascinating historical document of how some creatives found their way around the rules during an impossible time for a struggling industry”. In contrast, Canada’s Globe and Mail, cautioned viewers to “physically distance” themselves from Songbird, which it described as “crass and gimmicky”. Other reviewers also saw the film as a “schlocky and opportunistic” production. Viewers, meanwhile, have criticised it as being in bad taste for trying “to bank on the current times and failing just about every step of the way”.

The range of these responses tellingly reveals the complexity of the bigger questions behind the film, namely: what role does culture play when it comes to disasters? This question is not new. Yet the seemingly never-ending current global health crisis gives it a sense of urgency.

Cultural representations of disasters can show ways to make sense of crises. Whether it’s the allegorical painting of the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, HBO’s Chernobyl, or Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012), a magical realist response to Hurricane Katrina, these cultural representations act as social commentaries. They anticipate political action, shape and express environmental ethics, and – most importantly – they can help us to imagine what a possible future could look like.

Not in the same boat

Films, TV series and books about disasters show, again and again, that there is no one way of experiencing any disaster. Zadie Smith’s recently published Intimations, an essay collection of pandemic reflections, describes this in clear terms: “The misery is very precisely designed, and different for each person.” As the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 clearly demonstrates, we are all not in the same boat. This has been captured by poetry, and confirmed by research.

The pandemic has not struck with the same force nor at the same time. What COVID-19 has revealed is ever-starker socioeconomic divides. The pandemic is having a disproportionate impact on certain demographic and labour groups. It has cut a swath through the most vulnerable populations, the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions as well as the key workers who are keeping the cities, hospitals, and schools running. In short, the impact of the pandemic (and we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg) is contingent on pre-existing, long-term, and sustained vulnerability.

COVID-19 Movie 'Songbird' is a Disaster – We Need Better Pandemic Stories [Trailer Included]
'Songbird' (screengrab)
In response to the profound suffering and disruption to all aspects of our lives, many yearn for some, even small, return to “normal life”. Yet, it is precisely this “normal” – the reality of fatal inequalities, racial violence, injustice, and disenfranchisement – that is the problem.

No return to the pre-pandemic conditions is possible, nor should it be wished for. Rather, post-pandemic recovery has to work to address and repair these long-term structures of injustice, racism, and political, social and cultural marginalisation. Good artistic works aim to recover these hidden narratives and voices, voices that need to be central to any long-term recovery processes.

Starting slowly

The future starts slowly. How it will look depends on long-term community efforts and – even more so – on policy changes and political decisions. Yet waiting for these might mean waiting too long. In the meantime, artists, neighbourhood groups, mutual aid and solidarity groups forge their way through the crisis, start this slow labour of recovering, already pointing towards what alternative futures, in a small way, might look like.

The future starts with listening to the discordant experiences of those most affected by the impact of the pandemic. For Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich, reflecting on writing in the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster, it soon became clear that “the book that I’m going to write will take years”. Indeed, her novel Chernobyl Prayer took ten years to complete. This “novel of voices”, as she calls it, captures precisely those discordant meanings, ongoing sense of irreparable loss and confusion.

Understanding what the current pandemic means and what its real impact is will also take years. Undoing long-term vulnerabilities will take even longer. Yet this work has to start now and continue day in, day out. For British philosopher Nigel Warburton, Albert Camus’s The Plague (1947) provides inspiration, with its depiction of “ordinary people rising to an occasion and doing extraordinary things”.

Whether an artistically uninspiring, ethically problematic contagion-themed love story where the pandemic is exploited as a jumping-off point can capture the many voices of the pandemic experience, sketch a horizon of post-COVID-19 life, or provide an inspiration for such ordinary work of slow healing and recovery, is highly unlikely. Tellingly, for one viewer of Songbird, in order to enjoy the film, one must “ignore what’s happening” in real life.

While seeking an escape might not in itself be bad, as film scholar Alfio Leotta reminds us: “The kind of escape we seek matters.” It is thanks to the other worlds offered by books, films, that we can gain a better, more critical, but also more courageous, imaginative, view of the present we are in and, not least, of what can the future hold.

About Today's Contributor:

Kasia Mika, Lecturer in Comparative Literature, Queen Mary University of London

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. 

10 December 2020

David Hasselhoff Goes Metal With Two Man Music Project CueStack [Music Video Included]

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David Hasselhoff Goes Metal With Two Man Music Project CueStack
'Through the Night' - Single Cover
The metal debut of David Hasselhoff has been released today!

After announcing this collaboration to the world at the end of October, CueStack finally published the song and music video of 'Through the Night' featuring David Hasselhoff on vocals. 

Background Story:

'Through The Night' is a project that came to fruition after David openly expressed his interest in heavy music and big appreciation for his fanbase within that genre. His legendary performance at the Austrian Nova Rock festival showed the promise of something very special happening when these two worlds would finally collide.

As life-long David Hasselhoff fans, CueStack (Martin Kames, Bernth Brodträger) developed the vision for this unique project in 2018. After months of planning, meetings, songwriting and sketching out different ideas, they invited David to join them for a music- and video recording session in Vienna. Both the song and music video were recorded in April 2019 and David went back to California as CueStack and their team put together this vision during the following months.

After Martin contacted and briefed David, working tirelessly on creating an efficient schedule to pull all of this off on just one day, Bernth got to work on different demos and ideas for the song itself. 'Through The Night' was an idea for a song that Bernth wrote on the very first day of gathering material for the project. It already resembled the final result quite a bit but in regular CueStack fashion, many additional songs were created, exploring different artistic possibilities. Martin and Bernth eventually settled on the very first idea and demo and showed it to David.

David Hasselhoff Goes Metal With Two Man Music Project CueStack
CueStack & David Hasselhoff.
David liked the song right away but wasn't fond of the first set of lyrics. The song originally told the story of a lone wanderer in a dystopian future scenario, with intentions of capturing the entire journey in the music video, turning it into an epic short film. Without the images and story of the video in mind, the lyrics were too abstract for David's taste. So Bernth started from scratch to create the final lyrics, keeping only the original chorus. 'Through The Night' is now about pushing through dark times with hope and courage, fighting your way towards the light at the ending of the tunnel. This resonated with David immediately and still made it possible to work in themes of darkness and struggle into the lyrics, while keeping the focus on a positive message.
Due to the very limited timeframe of the music video shooting, CueStack turned the multiple basic sets into impressive, surreal and dystopian digital worlds afterwards. Bernth's background and previous experience as a graphic designer came in very handy for creating the digital sets, while Martin handled the extensive cutting process, editing and post-production of the final music video. With this quickly evolving workflow, they could turn those basic two-dimensional sets into vivid images and futuristic landscapes that further express the atmosphere and sound of the song.

After hundreds of phone calls made by Martin (including canceled video shoots, canceled recording dates, constantly changing crew/staff for the project, declined proposals, and much more) and many different songs, lyrics and pre-productions recorded by Bernth, the project finally came to fruition!

CueStack feat. David Hasselhoff – Through the Night (Official Music Video):


The collaboration started in 2018 and what seemed like an impossible idea slowly turned into a reality. The ultimate goal was to create a metal project with the most-watched man on TV, showing the world his heavy side. David recorded the track with CueStack in 2019 in Vienna where they also shot this epic music video together. CueStack conjured up a dystopian Sci-Fi world in the music video for 'Through the Night', continuing the cinematic style that was established with this year's first single 'Transhuman Generation'.

CueStack – Transhuman Generation (Official Music Video):

  • Another very well know special guest on this EP is Caleb Shomo, the singer and mastermind of the band 'Beartooth' who produced a retro synthwave remix of 'Through the Night'.

About CueStack:

The first full-length CueStack album 'Diagnosis:Human' will be released in 2021.

When the worlds of eccentric lighting / VFX designer Martin Kames and shred guitar content creator Bernth Brodträger collide, explosive music and art manifest in the form of CueStack. An unmistakable blend of metal and electronic music with well established sonic trademarks is the result, paired with an industrial, dystopian corporate identity that is ever-present in the band's cinematic music videos and artworks.

David Hasselhoff Goes Metal With Two Man Music Project CueStack
Martin Kames, David Hasselhoff, Bernth Brodträger

CueStack feat. David Hasselhoff – Through the Night is available on:

Fans of this unique collaboration can also get the extended 'Through the Night' Box Set: a Digipak CD featuring Caleb Shomo's (Beartooth) synthwave remix, as well as an unplugged version and 2 CueStack songs. 

The Box Set also contains a unique poster, gym bag, autograph card and baseball cap.

30 November 2020

Marvel’s First On-Screen Muslim Superhero — Kamala Khan, Ms. Marvel's Alter-Ego — Inspires Big Hopes

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Marvel’s First On-Screen Muslim Superhero — Kamala Khan, Ms. Marvel's Alter-Ego — Inspires Big Hopes
Some Ms. Marvel comic storylines have revealed her as a well-rounded character while others have advanced Islamophobic themes. (Marvel)

Amid the stress of a rising second wave of COVID-19, comic book fans found something to celebrate this September. Marvel Studios announced the casting of its first on-screen Muslim superhero, Kamala Khan, the alter-ego of Ms. Marvel.

Much like Canadian teen actress Iman Vellani who was plucked for this role, Kamala has been a virtual unknown outside of comic fandom despite being a sensation since her series debut at the top of comic book sales charts in 2014.

It should be no surprise then that Marvel Studios decided to capitalize on this success and signed Kamala for her own TV series on Disney+ for an anticipated debut in late 2021 or early 2022.

As a researcher who has examined Muslim superheroes in American comics, I find Kamala to be the most intriguing of all American Muslim superheroes. She has an ability to destabilize stereotypes of Muslims while reinforcing ideas about American exceptionalism. In the hands of different writers in various comic iterations, she has appeared as multi-dimensional and stereotype-breaking, but also as a one-dimensional figure that advances Islamophobic themes.

Marvel’s First On-Screen Muslim Superhero — Kamala Khan, Ms. Marvel's Alter-Ego — Inspires Big Hopes
Kamala Khan is a Pakistani American who speaks Urdu. Panel from Volume 1, digital edition. (Marvel)

Muslim characters post 9/11

It may seem that Marvel Studios is taking a big risk spotlighting a Muslim character when we are living in a time of rising anti-Muslim hatred in the West. But while there has been a resurgence of Muslim superheroes in American comics after 9/11, some of these representations reiterate stereotypes.

Muslim characters underwent a mini-makeover in popular culture after 9/11. Characters emerged from being buffoonish villains to figures who gave off the appearance of depth while simultaneously regurgitating stereotypes. American studies and ethnicity scholar Evelyn al Sultany coined the term “simplified complex representation” to describe this approach in her book, Arabs and Muslims in the Media: Race and Representation After 9/11.

Certainly, Muslim superheroes were a thing before 9/11. But after 9/11, a spate of Muslim superheroes emerged, including characters like the orientalized Sooraya Qadir (Dust), who appeared in New X-Men in 2002, Simon Baz, member of the Green Lantern Corps featured in Green Lantern, and Josiah X who first appeared in The Crew. This is fascinating to me since superheroes often function as patriotic symbols, and Muslims are regarded as the quintessential “other” because Islam is usually framed as incompatible with the West.

After reading Sooraya Qadir’s debut, it became obvious to me that comics found a new way to sensationalize Muslim representation.

Enter Kamala Khan

To me, Kamala seemed to be the rare glimpse of hope that existed on the other side of the rainbow if we just characterized Muslims — who make up almost one-quarter of the world’s population — as something more nuanced. And she delivered on that front, particularly in her early days.

Readers met her as a Pakistani American that spoke Urdu. This means we saw representation of Muslims in the West escape the frequent stereotypical assumption that all Muslims are Arabs and vice versa.

Marvel’s First On-Screen Muslim Superhero — Kamala Khan, Ms. Marvel's Alter-Ego — Inspires Big Hopes
This panel from Ms. Marvel, Volume 1, digital edition, written by G. Willow Wilson and illustrated by Adrian Alphona, depicts Kamala Khan as a believable character in a possible real-world setting. (Marvel)

Later in Magnificent Ms. Marvel #13, written by the Arab American writer, Saladin Ahmed, the sole focus shifted away from Kamala Khan when an Arab American sidekick named Amulet was introduced.

Successful sales, popularity

In Ms. Marvel’s earlier volumes written by the Muslim writer, and white Muslim convert, G. Willow Wilson, we saw Kamala anointed with her superhero mantle to the tune of Amir Khusro’s poetry. We saw her juggle her schedule between battles and mehendis, and even got a glimpse of her great-great grandmother’s move from India to Pakistan during Partition.

Back then, I remember comic book store clerks telling me how popular Ms. Marvel was with customers. The print collection of the series sold half a million copies alone. As Wilson notes, the first issue had had eight separate printings and its digital edition became Marvel’s best-selling digital comic of all time. Its first volume, released in 2014, was ranked again amongst the top five in sales rankings in September 2020.

I remember thinking that this Urdu-speaking Muslim powerhouse could be the start of a new type of Muslim character. She was proof that creators didn’t need to recycle the tireless oppressed Muslim woman or terrorist Muslim male tropes for sales.

G. Willow Smith discusses Kamala Khan as ‘A Superhero for Generation Why.’

Introducing Islamophobic themes

But following the success of the Ms. Marvel series, Kamala appeared in Marvel’s Champions series about a team of teenage superheroes. Perhaps Marvel intended to further boost the popularity of the already-successful Ms. Marvel series by bringing in Mark Waid, a high-profile non-Muslim white writer, who authored the popular comic series (and award-winning graphic novel) Kingdom Come and others.

In Champions, some tired stereotypes surfaced. In the third issue, the team flies to a fictional South Asian country. There, they rescue hijabi Muslim girls from violent men who conform to stock villain Muslim stereotypes like the terrorists seen in Hollywood movies such as True Lies.

Here, Kamala is effectively used as a racist weapon against brown men and is depicted to suggest proof of western superiority. Sadly enough, I was concerned she could be used this way before she actually was.

I was reminded that such tropes may exist simply because of implicit bias as opposed to profitability.

Celebrate and watch

Marvel’s First On-Screen Muslim Superhero — Kamala Khan, Ms. Marvel's Alter-Ego — Inspires Big Hopes
Kamala’s selfie with Wolverine, from ‘Ms. Marvel’ Volume 2, digital edition. (Marvel)

For now, we should celebrate the debut of Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first Muslim superhero. I have hope that the Disney+ series will do her justice as its showrunner is the stand-up comedian and writer Bisha K. Ali, known for incisive commentary.

However, Marvel plans to move Kamala eventually to the silver screen and there’s already talk of a Champions type of superhero team series featuring Kamala.

If anything of the likes of Kamala as a racist weapon to prove western superiority is featured, I can’t say there will be much cause for celebration.

About Today's Contributor:

Safiyya Hosein, PhD Candidate in Communication and Culture, Ryerson University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. 

8 October 2020

Everard Goes Back to the Future on Oct. 14 with 1960s Space Age Cars and Sculptural Art from Estate of John Bucci

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Everard Goes Back to the Future on Oct. 14 with 1960s Space Age Cars and Sculptural Art from Estate of John Bucci
Concept car designer/fabricator John Bucci (Italian/American, 1935-2019) at the 1964 New York World's Fair, where his 1962 fiberglass car 'La Shabbla,' thrilled millions of visitors at the Cavalcade of Cars exhibition. (Archival photo from the Estate of John Bucci.)
On October 14, Savannah's Everard Auctions will go back to the future with an online-only auction of wildly imaginative cars and sculptural art from the Estate of John Bucci (1935-2019).
A visionary artist whose work was decades ahead of its time, Bucci crafted fiberglass fantasies that drew widespread media recognition and praise from the highest echelons of the custom-car world. 

Two of his Space Age vehicles are featured in the auction: 

  • The 1962 car known as "La Shabbla," which was the rage of the 1964 New York World's Fair
  • "La Trieste," which created mob scenes and was pulled over by curious Polizia when Bucci drove it around Italy in 1967.
Even today, more than half a century after they were fabricated, Bucci's unconventional automotive prototypes look futuristic enough to be parked in the Jetsons' garage. They are attracting bidder interest from new and long-time fans of avant-garde and automotive art.

John Bucci was a dreamer even in his youth. He grew up in a region of Italy that became part of Yugoslavia after World War II. After immigrating to Chicago in 1959, he worked at Radio Flyer, Zenith and Sun Electric. But his true gift was being able to visualize the fantastical and create it out of fiberglass. He gained renown for his spectacular replicas of Trevi Fountain, which he supplied to trade shows and Italian festivals around the country.

Around 1962, Bucci found himself without sufficient funds to buy a car, so he did what came naturally – he made one, a car of the future that he named "La Shabbla," or "Sword." Its futuristic fiberglass body sits on a Fiat chassis with an Arbath 750 engine. It features retractable headlights, a working steering wheel, electrically powered hood cover, oscilloscope, and blue woven leather seats. 

Everard Goes Back to the Future on Oct. 14 with 1960s Space Age Cars and Sculptural Art from Estate of John Bucci
John Bucci, La Shabbla, 1964 World's Fair Concept Car (image via liveauctioneers.com)
  • The car was displayed at the Calvacade of Custom Cars at the 1964 NY World's Fair, where it was mobbed by fairgoers and even caught the eye of singer Paul Anka, who hopped inside for a photo opportunity.
In as-is condition, La Shabbla is a show car that can run off AC/DC current when in static display mode. On AC current, it can perform limited operations including opening the hood, and extending/retracting the steering wheel and passenger windscreen. The engine turns freely when rotated by hand. 

  • Auction estimate: $50,000-$75,000.
Everard Goes Back to the Future on Oct. 14 with 1960s Space Age Cars and Sculptural Art from Estate of John Bucci
John Bucci, The Trieste, Fiberglass Concept Car (image via liveauctioneers.com)
La Trieste is believed to have been constructed around a Porsche 356 floor pan and is powered by a Porsche 4-cylinder (1600cc super) engine capable of hitting a top speed of 160mph. Bucci created it with a five-layer fiberglass body that received five coats of paint. Its windshield and side windows are made of polycarbonate, and the door-locking mechanism appears to be electromagnetic. 

  • In 1967, Bucci took it on an extensive tour of Italy, then exhibited it around America's Midwest. 
In 1967, John Bucci (Italian/American, 1935-2019) drove around Italy in his concept car 'La Trieste,' attracting mobs of curious, car-crazy citizens. Italian Polizia even pulled him over just to get a closer look at the futuristic vehicle, which was 100% street legal. (Archival photo from the Estate of John Bucci.)
A May 1972 article in the Chicago Sun-Times Business News section described La Trieste as resembling "a land-bound missile" and said "…even if it didn't run – which it does very well – it would have to be considered somewhat of a milestone in auto styling." 

  • Currently in fair condition, La Trieste has an $8,000-$12,000 estimate.
Bucci's design oeuvre also included functional, avant-garde sculptural furniture made from plexiglass, steel, found objects and wood. A selection is entered in the auction with estimates ranging from $120-$1,500.

9 September 2020

'Apocalypse Love Story' is a Film the World Needs Today [Trailer Included]

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'Apocalypse Love Story' is a Film the World Needs Today
"Apocalypse Love Story" trailer released by award-winning director Justin Wilder Neese
Award-winning director and producer Justin Wilder Neese has released the trailer for his upcoming independent feature film "Apocalypse Love Story."
The story revolves around two 8-year-old children – a Caucasian girl and African American boy, who are the sole survivors of an ecological worldwide apocalypse. Their struggle to survive and dependence on each other sets them on a journey of self-discovery, friendship and love.
Sam was the daughter of a survivalist father, possessing the knowledge and skills to survive on her own. James is the survivor of domestic abuse. Despite his kind, brave heart, he lacks any survival skills. Each character battles the overwhelming loneliness of this desolate world – until one fateful day they meet.

Sam is played by 11-year-old actress Kayden Tokarski with 10-year-old actor Byron McCray in the role of James. The movie also features cameos by actress and model Jena Sims, celebrity trainer Corey Calliet, and actress Sage Kirkpatrick. 


'Apocalypse Love Story' is a Film the World Needs Today [Trailer Included]
'Apocalypse Love Story' - Two kids are the sole survivors of an ecological worldwide apocalypse
"Our protagonists are children whose journey is essentially an uplifting and inspiring tale: One where there is no prejudice or hate – only the harsh environment around them and a growing reliance on each other," said Director Justin Wilder Neese. "Their minds are uncynical and unbiased … children see each other like we should see each other – as equals. This film tells a story that is full of hope, something today's society is clearly desperate for, and it's message is one the world needs right now."
  • Los Angeles-based Neese is the award-winning director of "Hummingbird" and "Glass of Scotch."

The Trailer:

  • "Apocalypse Love Story" is set to be released by early January 2021.

Bonus Video:


  • For more information follow Apocalypse Love Story on Instagram at @apocalypselovestory and Twitter at @apocalypseloves.
SOURCE: Justin Wilder Neese

5 September 2020

#EmbraceYourPowers! Marvel's Avengers Available Now For Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC, And Stadia

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#EmbraceYourPowers! Marvel's Avengers Available Now For Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC, And Stadia
Embrace Your Powers! Marvel's Avengers Available Now For Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC, And Stadia (PRNewsfoto/SQUARE ENIX)
SQUARE ENIX announced that Marvel's Avengers is now available worldwide for the PlayStation4, Xbox One, PC, and Stadia.
Marvel's Avengers offers players a truly rich experience and combines the single player focused Reassemble story campaign with the ongoing Avengers Initiative's War Zone missions, which take the Avengers around the world and beyond. 

Each mission in the Reassemble campaign is designed to showcase one or more hero's unique abilities, while the Avengers Initiative missions can be played solo with your own custom AI team or with a group of up to four players (Internet connection required. Your platform's online multiplayer requirements will apply...) as any Hero in the player's roster.

"At its heart, Marvel's Avengers is a game about hope in a modern Super Hero setting," said Shaun Escayg, creative director for Marvel's Avengers at developer Crystal Dynamics. "Our original story campaign features Kamala Khan, aka Ms. Marvel, as the point-of-view focus who is unflappably optimistic, and she uses her passion, natural curiosity, gifted intellect, and emerging powers to expose a conspiracy, leading her on an adventure to re-assemble and re-build the Avengers to their former glory."


#EmbraceYourPowers! Marvel's Avengers Available Now For Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC, And Stadia
Embrace Your Powers! Marvel's Avengers Available Now For Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC, And Stadia (PRNewsfoto/SQUARE ENIX)
To ensure a continuing heroic experience for all players, the narrative of Marvel's Avengers will expand over time, with the addition of new stories featuring new heroes, villains, mission types, regions, items, and more delivered to players at no additional cost once they own the core game. 


  • These stories move the entire Marvel's Avengers narrative world forward on a multi-year arc, and all new missions are accessible to the entire roster of playable heroes.
Fans won't have to wait long for this new content, either. The game's first post-launch content season, focused on the recently announced Kate Bishop and her iconic mentor Hawkeye, Clint Barton, begins just weeks after launch with mysterious new Tachyon missions. 

Kate's Operation, "Taking AIM," kicks off in late October featuring a new villain and new mystery. Kate, an Olympic-caliber gymnast and master archer, comes with her own distinct set of Heroic Skills, outfits, and takedowns to unlock and master just like the core launch Heroes.

#EmbraceYourPowers! Marvel's Avengers Available Now For Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC, And Stadia
Embrace Your Powers! Marvel's Avengers Available Now For Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC, And Stadia (PRNewsfoto/SQUARE ENIX)
"Taking AIM" begins shortly after the conclusion of the game's Reassemble campaign and is just the first half of the two Hawkeyes' Story Arc. Clint Barton's Hawkeye takes the stage in November to complete the double-feature arc and set the stage for what's next. 


  • All of these new missions are playable with the entire roster of heroes, and all of this content, including heroes, villains, game modes, missions, gear, and more will be made available at no cost to all owners of the Marvel's Avengers core game.
Players in Marvel's Avengers are also able to customize Earth's Mightiest Heroes in a number of ways. While each Super Hero plays true to their unique power sets, each has the flexibility to play differently based on the gear players equip and the skills they enable, so no two player's heroes play in exactly the same way. 

Each hero has dynamic combo systems, heroic moves, intrinsic abilities, and signature move sets to unlock and customize – many inspired by classic moves from over 80 years of Marvel history across all media, while others are crafted as originals just for the game.

  • Players can also dress the iconic Super Heroes with classic, fan-favorite, and all-new original outfits, including Iron Man's suit from the 2014 Original Sin storyline, or Thor's Donald Blake identity, which is a nod to an alias of Thor's who first appeared in 1962's Journey into Mystery issue #83.
#EmbraceYourPowers! Marvel's Avengers Available Now For Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC, And Stadia
Embrace Your Powers! Marvel's Avengers Available Now For Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC, And Stadia (PRNewsfoto/SQUARE ENIX)
  • Marvel's Avengers will be available on PlayStation5 and Xbox Series X when the consoles launch in 2020. 
  • Players who own the current-gen version of the game will be able to upgrade to the next-gen version at no additional cost, regardless if players are moving from PlayStation 4 to PlayStation 5 or Xbox One to Xbox Series X. 
  • Those moving their saves to next-gen will transfer their player profiles and progression so they can pick up right where they left off. In addition, cross-gen play will be supported so PS5 players will be able to play with their friends on PS4 and Xbox Series X players can connect with their friends on Xbox One.
#EmbraceYourPowers! Marvel's Avengers Available Now For Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC, And Stadia
Embrace Your Powers! Marvel's Avengers Available Now For Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC, And Stadia (PRNewsfoto/SQUARE ENIX)
  • Marvel's Avengers is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB.

Related Links:

SOURCE: SQUARE ENIX

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