Introducing The 2nd Annual Benji Awards.....And Now Your Host, Daryll B.
5 MINUTES DARYLL!!!!!
*Ugh* Goddammit! Why do they make these tuxedos so tight?!?!?!!? *Ugh* Shouldn't have had that...last...donut...*CRASH!!!*
"Live From the BenCave!!! It is the 2nd Annual Benji Awards!!! And now your host, straight from a rubber room in Bellevue.... Darylllllllllll B.!"
Howdy! Afronerd Aficionados and Facebook Followers. Hello to Blerds, Geeks, and Outcasts of All Ages! Another year of the zany, creepy, strange, and downright stupid has passed by...and those where just my altercations with authority!
I kid! Seriously, I loved this past year of interacting, watching, reading, listening, and talking to talented people and the art they expressed. I wish I could have had an unlimited budget to do and experience everything but I fear that it wouldn't make me appreciate the moments that I actually got to have with friends, enemies, and all those in-between. I ran 30+ blogs between Afronerd.com and Facebook. I got to talk to other fans, podcasters, stars, and industry professionals with my Twitter debut. I even got a chance to fit in 2 NerdCore shows along with 3 comic conventions.
So these Benjis, aren't awards per say as much as my way of taking a look back at 2015 and having a bit of fun. No insane politics. No campaigning. No nudity....unless I get hot models for a live feed of this then yes! LOTS OF NUDITY!
*Looks at producer's grim disposition*
As I was saying, no nudity.... And with that we start the damn thing!
My Bush "Just Like My Other Sins" Award goes to: A TIE! DC's Convergence and Marvel's Secret Wars! - I swore up and down that I was done collecting event stories. That I could wait until the events were collected in hardcover/trade paperbacks. But then the Big Two had to put fan favorite writers and artists on the tie in books and I literally got sucked in to buying over 50% of each. *SIGH* There were great highlights for me though: I got Dan Jurgens and Lee Weeks on Superman again. Gerry Duggan established within me a newfound respect for him with Infinity Gauntlet. Master of Kung Fu was pure class and the best mini in my opinion to come out of Secret Wars. I got Classic Teen Titans and Legion of SuperHeroes along with Renee Montoya's Question from Convergence. But for my smiles, my wallet was crying in pain...
My Childish Gambino "Starlight" Award goes to: Al Ewing. So Marvel says they are going to start a Mighty Avengers title (aka ethnic Avengers) and hand it to this British writer from 2000AD. I went "Oh they have lost it..." I couldn't have been more wrong. Al Ewing wrote the stuffing out of characters like Luke Cage, Monica Rambeau, and Jennifer Walters. He took Superior Spider-Man, White Tiger, Kaluu, and Blue Marvel, fleshing them out in a team setting. He wowed everyone so much that in post Secret Wars, he's got 2 Avengers books AND the Contest of Champions "What If"/mobile game tie in. Mr. Ewing seems poised to take over the reins from Remender and Hickman.
My Sammus "Black Young Pretty" Award goes to: Amandla Stenberg. Since her turn in The Hunger Games, she's been vocal about her image and how she views the world. AS has reached out and been quite active, showing that her actions back her words. She's even found time to jump into the comic book medium to create the fantasy comic book Niobe. Move out of her way world, AS is taking over....
The Mega Ran x Phill Harmonix "Death To The Titans" Award goes to: Image Comics. I'm not a big Image guy BUT it would be silly not to give them due. They have The Walking Dead and Saga, two of the most talked about books this millennium. Image has talent from both big companies given Carte Blanche to do stories their heart desires. The Image catalog reads like a rich library of genre from Western to Science Fiction. The way the company has transformed themselves with books like East of West, Sex Criminals, Black Science, Southern Bastards and the like lends an air of the unexpected that Marvel and DC can't touch.
The Adam WarRock "Nerds Ruin Everything" Award goes to: Star Wars The Force Awakens. Originally, I had Mad Max Fury Road for the butt hurt male fans that couldn't stand that a woman had a strong role and presence in the film. Unfortunately, the last 2 months saw nerd rage go through all the stages of sexism, racism, privilege, and ignorance. We saw friends turn on one another because of spoiling and even now a petition to get George Lucas back in control of the franchise. Dear Angry Nerds, JJ Abrams and Disney got your money. They can care less now and all your are really doing is showing your true moronic selves....
My Random "You Know The Name" Award goes to: G. Willow Wilson. Well if Marvel Fans don't know her work through Ms. Marvel and A-Force by now then they are just blind. Quality writing that increases her heroes myth status while making them more relatable to the reader. Kamala Khan is the new Peter Parker/Miles Morales. Her A-Force is yet another step in G becoming a big money writer at Marvel. Who knows what the future holds but the present is fantastic reading!
The SkyBlew ft Laurin Maloo "Life Is Just A Dream" Award goes to: David Walker. On the Afronerd Show, we went from trumpeting the need for more black writers at The Big Two companies to David Walker being the go to guy. Coming off a great Shaft: A Complicated Man miniseries at Image (trade available now. Check your comic shops!), Walker was tasked with defining Cyborg in his first solo DC series. Then Marvel hit him up with having Nick Fury Jr. meet his dad for SHIELD's 50th Anniversary stories. And the cherry on top is we heard in November that he, along with Sanford Greene, will be helming the Power Man/Iron Fist book. Good Times!
The Wordburglar "Venomous Ideology" Award goes to: TIE! Kelly Sue DeConnick & Erika Alexander/Tony Puryear. I have been a fan of Kelly's work through her Avengers stories and absolutely awesome run on Captain Marvel. NONE of that can prepare you for her Bitch Planet at Image. Think a 70's exploitation movie run through a grindhouse lens that smashes up against a hostile alien planet. Similarly, I knew Ms. Alexander through Living Single but the story her and Tony have crafted in Concrete Park about gangs/criminals/misfits exiled to an alien world is fascinating. This was a perfect book for me coming down from my DMZ high.
My You Bred Raptors "Ice Nine" Award goes to: The Peanuts Movie. To say I had fears about Blue Sky not capturing the voices of my beloved characters was an understatement. They MORE than exceeded them by giving a fantastic movie that will be put alongside the TV classics for years to come.
My Sammus "Fly Nerd" Award goes to: Ant-Man. For all that didn't have faith in Paul Rudd or that the project would crash and burn without Edgar Wright. Ant-Man was only one of the best comic book movies this past year and cemented Rudd and Evangeline Lilly as future major players of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
We'll pause here for a brief intermission...
*UGH...Why is this door stuck?!?!?!....*
3 MINUTES TIL WE RESTART DARYLL!!!
*Bathroom door is stuck! I can't get out!!!*
BUT WE HAVE TO START
*Run the book reviews! RUN THE BOOK REVIEWS!*
Ah. Another week. Another full slate of books.
Betty and Jughead get desperate to "save" Archie from Veronica in Archie #5 by Mark Waid and Veronica Fish. So where do they turn? Enter Reggie Mantle. Can you say disaster? A friendship pack is formed along with all the enmities that come with it....
Pacific Rim Tales From The Drift #3 by Travis Beachum, Joshua Fialkov, and Marcos Marz finally clears up a timeline question for me with the inclusion of 2 guest stars. The Jaegers and the main team that we have been focused on get a major new challenge. And how far/deep does a drift link go anyway?
DMC #2 by Darryl DMC McDaniels, Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez, Amy Chu, David Walker, Greg Pak, Juan Doe, Sung Goo Won, Marcus Williams, Afu Chan, and Elliot Fernandez sees the titular hero trying to fight the spread of a designer drug on the streets and within his classroom. Included in this anthology/continuous story: other heroes in the DMC Universe, we meet who taught DMC, and the introduction of LAK6, who's the perfect combination of Milestone's Rocket and Marvel's Jubilee. Each chapter gives a different flavor from action to horror, to comedy. Money well spent here and I can't wait to see what's next!
Confusion reigns in Guardians of Infinity #2 by Dan Abnett and Carlo Barberi as the present Guardians mix with Guardians 3000 to fight Guardians 1000 and an unstoppable alien horde. Yeah gonna need a scorecard to keep track of this one. Thank goodness Rocket has one. In the 2nd Story by Robbie Thompson and Jim Cheung, Rocket goes off to find a missing Drax, who has found happiness?!?!?! Um. What?
And now the rumble is fully underway in Contest of Champions #4 by Al Ewing and Paco Medina. Bullseye-Elektra vs Guillotine & Stick! Venom-Hulk vs Gamora! Ares vs Sentry! Wait. Ares vs Sentry? I seem to recall a previous fight where that wasn't too good for the God. But no worries. The Maestro has an ace in the hole being prepared and it's..him?!?!?!?!? OK I can't wait to see how Ewing uses HIM in issue 5
Some are just a little pissed at The Galactus Solution in The Ultimates #3 by Al Ewing and Kenneth Rocafort and choose to take that issue up with the team. Meanwhile, the team decides to fix "time" and....yes you read that right, they want to fix time. I'm sure just the intra-team conversation will have Marvel Geeks talking. And if that isn't enough, enter a very personal enemy to shake things up...
Enter Singularity to the Marvel Universe proper in A-Force #1 by G. Willow Wilson and Jorge Molina but there's a major problem: the heroines that helped her craft a personality and taught her friendship and family don't know who she is! And oh yeah, some malevolent force has followed her into our universe... So there's that little hitch to a happy reunion too...
Vader Down ends in Star Wars #14 by Jason Aaron and Mike Deodato and Darth Vader #15 by Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larrocaas we have fights on all sides! A renegade Imperial Force! Wookie on Wookie violence! Princess Leia needs to make a decision! Luke needs to stop getting jumped! Triple Zero and BT get into more violence! Han Solo shoulder shrugs! Vader is fighting the love child of Ackbar and Grievious! Yeah all that happens in these two issues and we can even include C3PO and R2-D2! The crossover has been awesome!
There you Folks go! A whole bunch of books that I need to double back and reread now! Ciao!
Ok Folks! Sorry for the delay! The Benjis continue NOW!
My MC Lars ft K. Flay "Single and Famous" Award goes to: Tatiana Maslany. Lord knows I had a stacked field here with Krysten Ritter from Jessica Jones, Candace Patton from The Flash, Ming-Na from Agents of SHIELD, Jenna Coleman from Doctor Who, and the emerging Melissa Benoist from Supergirl but... NO ONE... male, female, trans, can come close to the yeomans job that Masalany does on Orphan Black. This is like a mutated one woman show in public as she still has no less than 5 different, unique yet intriguing characters to play each episode!
My Nuttin' But Stringz "Thunder" Award goes to: The Flash. How the writers and cast ended season 1 to how they began season 2? Genius! Hands down the best show on network TV. Grant Gustin, Patton, Jesse L. Martin and cast with one more kicka$$ season may just have a show here that will rival the Adam West Batman on being beloved when all is said and done.
My Ghostface Killah "The Champ" Award goes to: Stephen Amell. I love Clark Gregg from Agents of SHIELD, Gustin and Martin from The Flash, Mehcad Brooks from Supergirl, and Mike Colter from Jessica Jones but Amell has all of Arrow depending on his charisma and efforts. Show after show, we may dismiss him at times as a Bruce Wayne ripoff but his Ollie keeps the show together. In addition, Amell has used the platform to crossover into movies (the upcoming TMNT 2) and even had fun interactions with the WWE Universe.
My Two Weeks Notice "Body and Soul" Award goes to: Astro City. Lord knows you folks have seen how much I love to read comics but there are a very few that issue in, issue out get an emotional response from me. Kurt Busiek's gem continuously does that to me time and time again. I have felt joy, sorrow, anger, frustration, love, hate and relief while reading AC...and it has never stopped me from picking up the issues again to read over and over. I can't stress this enough that THIS is the series of comics and graphic novels that I recommend to adults who want to read superhero comics for the first time.
The SkyBlew "Lost in Translation" Award goes to: Naruto The Movie The Last. To my knowledge, an English dub of this "ending coda" to the Naruto Saga hasn't been released yet. You know what? I don't care. This movie is the perfect payoff to the diehard fans who have followed his growth for years through the Manga and Anime. And Hinata and Naruto...? Damn. 2nd category that puts me close to tears....
My K. Flay "Make Me Fade" Award goes to: Jessica Jones. You know that notion that female heroes can't carry their own shows? Or that Gals can't do dark, gritty and disturbing yet be captivating? Krysten Ritter and the JJ crew totally erased those outdated notions with this 13 episode series tour de force. The only thing that was more talked about since its release has been The Force Awakens. That's a tribute to its quality and the fact that Netflix and Marvel got this street level storytelling down!
The Mega Ran, Richie Branson, and Storyville "O.P." Award goes to: Marvel Studios. So Age of Ultron wasn't as epic as we Marvel Zombies hoped for. They bounce back with a great Inhumans storyline in Agents of SHIELD. We have problems with Ant-Man behind the scenes? No Problem! Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly and cast do an awesome on screen job that makes everyone forget that. We have 10 months until the next movie and Batman/Superman is next? No worries! They release a Captain America Civil War Trailer on Thanksgiving that not only was awesome, not only made Black Panther a buzzed about topic in the mainstream, but also put even MORE pressure on Warner Bros and DC to make a great BvS movie. That's GANGSTER!!!
The Adam WarRock "So Far, So Good" Award goes to: AfroFutureFest. Founded by Tim Fielder from Matty's Rocket, this collective of primarily black artists and creators I found out about through Chuck Collins, creator of the webcomic Bounce!, and is living proof of the credo in numbers there is strength! This was the creator table to be during New York Comic Con as you had:
Fielder, Collins, Afua Richardson of Genius, Alex Simmons of Blackjack, Anthony Pugh of LogikOne, Shawn Atkinson & Carl Kent of St. Cloud, and Erika Alexander & Tony Puryear of Concrete Park
That's a lot of industry knowledge and personality coming together to promote and raise each other's profile. And I had fun talking to the creators and finding out more about the business. Yeah I totally geeked out but this...THIS was positive proof that if we cooperate with each other, we can be successful individually and as a larger group. And I got lots of new books to try out too!
The Deltron "Upgrade" Award goes to: Jamie Broadnax. This year was the year of Black Girl Nerds. An overlooked section of our culture was given a high platform and spotlight as Broadnax and her brand made tremendous inroads within the discussions of movies, tv, art and literature. The woman's energy and drive is quite amazing and it has enabled many nerds from across this globe to find a voice that was finally like them. BGN has also shown the power of a multi-platform initiative to everyone. Hell I could put Black Nerd Problems, Nerds of Color, and Fan Bros. here quite easily too but yeah...Jamie took this one too! =p
Finally the Sammus "Lovesong" Award goes to: YOU. I'm here doing this to keep my sanity true; but it is you fantastic followers who actually take time to read my ramblings. For that, I am in your debt always.
So another year goes by and I pledge to control myself and not take these issues so.....RIGGHHHT. Let's face facts. That isn't Daryll and you wouldn't want me to be anything else. I promise to stay true to you, to AfroNerd, to the business, and to geekdom everywhere!
Most of the songs I used for the Benjis can be found on Bandcamp.com and for the others, well that's why we have Google, Yahoo, and Bing right? I can assure you that they are all quality NerdCore type songs...except for the Bush, and Nuttin But Stringz songs. I couldn't resist using songs with titles of Just Like My Other Sins and Thunder though. Totally fit my weirdness!
Thanks For Reading! Have a Great 2016! And Until Next Time, Keep Fantasizing!