Method Man and Marvel have been good buddies this year. The god MC made an appearance in the critically-acclaimed Luke Cage on Netflix. He traded hoodies with the Power Man himself in a local bodega after Cage saves the day. If you're a fan of hip-hop, then you know the Wu has been about that Marvel comics life from jump street, so that scene alone is a dream come true. The show has already been renewed for a new season, and a teaser promo for it has already dropped, so maybe we'll see him make a comeback later down the line in Marvel's robust Netflix-verse.But, luckily for us, the relationship didn't stop there. Method Man, an avid fan of comics, got to live my young blerd fantasies. He got to write an issue, and not just any old comic book, it's Ghost Rider. If you're unfamiliar, Ghost Rider (aka Robbie Reyes) is one of the coolest characters around, especially this year. Johnny Blaze (an alias of Method Man) comes directly from the roots of Ghost Rider himself. But Meth isn't the only musician with a connection to the character.One of the most recent design for the character was even based on the newly-solo pop giant Zayn Malik. Photo: MarvelSo... is Method Man is bumping "Pillow Talk"? I'm not sure. But he did tell us that, "As a lifelong Fan of Ghost Rider and Marvel Comics as a whole, it has been an honor and a privilege to contribute my own story to the canon. WU-celsior!" So he's pretty hype about this special issue of Robbie Reyes too. He also told us his favorite issue of the Ghost in comic book history – Ghost Rider #1 by Garth Ennis and Clayton Crain. Here's an image of the cover:Photo: MarvelWe could get into the nitty gritty about this 97-page Christmas masterpiece, but the spoilers might ruin the experience. If Method Man, plus Marvel, plus Robbie Reyes the Ghost Rider himself doesn't have you sold, you're already too lost in the sauce. I will say that it was a truly enjoyable read. Method Man and his Marvel collaborators had your boy on the edge of his seat.Pick up this Ghost Rider X-Mas Special Infinite Comic #1 here at marvel.com For more blerd content like this, sign up for Blavity's daily...
The newest Star Trek series, coming to CBS finally has a lead – and it's a black woman. There were hints that the newest Starfleet captain to join the ranks would be a woman, but now it's official. Sonequa Martin-Green will play the rank of lieutenant commander on the legendary sci-fi space exploration show, but her character's name still isn't public info. Nevertheless, this is history in the making. Martin-Green is the first black woman ever to lead a Star Trek show. There have been black women ship captains, and strong supporting characters, before her, but none of them have ever been the center of the story. Even though she's not a ship captain to start, I think we can expect her career trajectory to head that way as the series develops.Don't fret The Walking Dead fans, Sasha isn't going anywhere. Apparently, Sonequa will continue to play her role on the AMC comic book-turned TV show mega hit. So don't worry, now you'll just get to see her twice a week instead of one. Star Trek: Discovery has been busy at work in the casting department. Michelle Yeoh will play Captain Georgiou, Doug Jones is an alien Starfleet Science Officer – Lt. Saru, and Rapp is Lt. Stamens, a Starfleet Science Officer on the show's titular space vessel, the Starship Discovery. However, it's not all sweet. Bryan Fuller, the original showrunner that sparked our excitement about Angela Bassett potentially being captain has stepped back from the role, hanging on as just a producer. Hopefully, that won't impact the show to negatively.There's still no air date for Star Trek: Discovery, but as things develop we'll be here to give you the details. Fam, it's lit.Loving Blavity’s content? Sign up for our...
Spider-Man: Homecoming finally let loose some footage for the culture, and it did not disappoint. Ever since Tom Holland made his debut in Captain America: Civil War, the hype has been building, and the casting announcements have done nothing but up the ante every time. Not to mention that Holland and his crew of co-star classmates have been making a strong case for the crew of the year award. Photo: Entertainment WeeklyBut now you can see it for yourself: the very first look at the newest reboot of the Spider-Man franchise. There's highs school daydream goodness. There's a great shot of the superhero big brother program featuring billionaire genius Tony Stark, and as much action and explosions that Sony could pack into a trailer without giving too much away. We have all this melanin in the trailer, including the #BlackGirlMagic coming from Zendaya and Laura Harrier. It’s time to suit up. Watch the official #SpiderManHomecoming trailer now and see the movie in theaters July 7. pic.twitter.com/ryAE5o1UXp— Spider-Man (@SpiderManMovie) December 9, 2016I'm even more excited than I was before. What about you?Spider-Man: Homecoming will be in theaters July 7, 2017. Loving Blavity's articles? Sign up for our daily...
Raven White is an Atlanta native and an amazing visual artist. She's been setting the timeline on fire back to back with her work.It all started with a love of Pokémon and an IG classic from Solange. Photo: Solange/InstagramThat post sent White's imagination into hyperdrive. And she did what talented black people always do – make magic..@solangeknowles mentioned Pokemon on her Instagram so my hand slipped and made her a gym leader. Battle me. pic.twitter.com/2SYp0ePUfS— /rā•vē•rā/ (@raveyrai) August 4, 2016The tweet went viral, as it should have, and all of the Pokémon stans came out to play (myself included). But it was her most recent masterpiece that caused me to press her for an interview, which she graciously accepted. Because of another spark of inspiration from one of her followers on Twitter, another celebrity couple got the Pokémon trainer treatment. Atlanta's very own president and first lady – Gucci Mane & Keyshia Ka'oir.So @awokes tweeted that Wop and Keyshia looked like Atlanta's Pokemon Gym Leaders and y'all suggested their team so here~ We did it, fam. pic.twitter.com/dWSo1MyhCj— /rā•vē•rā/ (@raveyrai) December 2, 2016Tell us when you knew you wanted to become an artist.It was in high school. A SCAD representative came by and said, "Hey, you can come here for animation." And then I thought, "Well, I'm not going to be a psychologist anymore, I'm going to do animation, I'm going to do television shows. Because I love cartoons and I love video games – definitely I'm going to go for it." I didn't see the representation that I wanted to see, and everyone that tried to do it wasn't doing a good job. So I'd rather do it myself. What were your favorite cartoons growing up? Were you into western animation or anime?Both. It was during the era of Toonami, and they gave us a good mix of both of them while I was growing up. I watched lots of Nickelodeon while I was growing up. Cartoon Network introduced a lot of anime like Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z and Pokémon. Others (I watched) included Atlantis, Prince of Egypt and Iron Giant. So what was the first spark to draw celebrities as Pokémon trainers?Pokémon Go was a hit at the time and Pokémon Sun and Moon was around the corner. I was just in the mood for it. I was also having an emotional break down because of student loans. But as soon as I saw Solange post about feeling like a Pokémon in her Met Gala dress I was like, "right there, I have to go ahead and do this, right now." She's so aesthetically pleasing to look at and has such a look that it made sense, because Pokémon gym leaders have such a look that she fit. I had to go for it.What was the first Pokémon game that you ever played? It was Sapphire, and I lost it. I don't know where it went. So I had to go and immediately get Alpha Sapphire. I finished that recently. I had it for over a year, but Ferguson things were happening at the same time. I also had to graduate from school and show my senior film, so I was stressed out.Have you played Sun and Moon at all?Yes, I'm almost done with it!Do you love it?I have mixed feelings. I do enjoy it, but I think Team Skull is kind of co-opting blackness so I feel a little weird about. Other than that the gameplay is fun. This is my first time using a lot of bug and grass type Pokémon. What if Professor Oak came to you and said, "Raven, you can have any starter in the world that you want." When you're going off on your Pokémon adventure, what do you choose?I'd have to say, maybe, Honchkrow, because I love crows. Well, duh, my name's Raven. So I'd probably go along with the Gucci Mane route. Ok, so you walk into Gucci Mane and Keyshia Ka'oir's Pokémon gym. What does it look like? Of course it has to be dark, there has to be a lot of fur, and there has to be a lot of gems and diamonds up in there. A lot of people have been telling me, "Yo. Burr, c'mon where's the ice type?" But he also took the ice cream off of his cheek, and I specifically asked my Twitter followers what Pokémon would they want, and they came through. So, it looks great. It all flows together. But most of all, of course his music has to be playing.But when you defeat them, what badge do you win? It has to be ice cream related. (I then suggest that it's a shiny ice cream cone badge. To which she replies, "Yasss.")So, are you going to keep this going? Are you going to do more celebrity Pokémon mashups?Yes, I like the idea of engaging my Twitter a lot more and I liked the process of this one. The first two, of Solange and Chloe & Halle I chose the Pokémon teams. But bringing Twitter along and having them decide gives me a chance to sit back. Don't think that Pokémon art is the the glass ceiling for Raven White. She wants to tell our stories through animation via her other projects, and for years to come in her own television series. Just from meeting her this one time, I wouldn't be surprised if we're showing our future kids her work as she represents the black experience on screens everywhere. Follow Raven White on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook & pledge on Patreon to see more exclusive work. Loving Blavity's articles? Sign up for our daily...
Watch Dogs 2 is out today, November 15th, and I intend to get lost in the world of Marcus Holloway as soon as humanly possible. However, all of my conversations with friends about Ubisoft's predecessor to this title have been terrible. I didn't play the first Watch Dogs, but my homies got burned bad. Apparently the storyline was not good, the gameplay was even worse, and there was no redeeming quality to make the money spent worth it. That should tell you how much I actually believe in this game's premise. I still dropped my coins on the pre-order. At its core, Watch Dogs 2 is an open world shooter like Rockstar's GTA. But it's the circumstances in which this game is set that are the most attractive to me. We follow Marcus, a young black hacktivist, as he slides down the rabbit hole of government corruption and crooked politicians – trying to make a difference the only way he knows how. And so he seeks out and joins the group DedSec, fixing the world's problems one hack at a time.So you can see why someone might wanna hit the sticks for hours on end in a time like this.Photo: UbisoftBelow the story's surface, Watch Dogs 2 plays like all of my disappointed homies hoped the first title would. There's some Grand Theft Auto in the mix, but the sense of purpose gives us license to be rugged. And there's all kinds of tech to use in this game that will keep you one step ahead from the opps. Marcus Holloway is the lead character that guys like me have been waiting for in video games for at least a decade, maybe more. Plus, if you're into solving puzzles and think playing stealthy is healthy, like me, it looks like you're in luck.Mostly, the levity of a black millennial hacker taking the law into his own hands in San Francisco is not lost on me. This is big for the gaming industry. And my fingers are crossed that this title does well, because we need more adventure protagonists that aren't the perfectly tan, chiseled jaw white guy. That's no diss. I love Nathan Drake, but facts are facts. We just don't need any more of him. Obviously it all comes down to how it plays. And the only people who really know are the good folks at Ubisoft and the handful of influencers who got the chance to hit the sticks before release. Hey Ubisoft, hit your boy with the look next time. But with bated breath, I will venture into the world of DedSec's San Fran and pray that I come out on the other side shell shocked and exhausted – because that's how you know it was lit. Thanks for reading Strictly 4 My Blerds. Are you going to cop Watch Dogs 2? Let me know in the comments....
Invincible Iron Man #1,Riri Williams' origin story, is out. Brian Michael Bendis is the creator and writer of this character. And although there should (and could) be a black woman writing this story, he's no slouch either.Panels pop off the page like Invincible Iron Man is already on the screen.This issue takes us through the evolution of Riri up until she's built her suit. From the tender age when her aptitude and potential are first realized, we follow benchmarks in her progress and intellectual growth. But more importantly, we also follow the development of her platonic and familial relationships. Those are the conversations that really color how Riri interacts with the world around her. And like many other heroes, her drive to save comes from tragedy.We even get to follow Riri into battle. She's found her purpose, but that doesn't mean it's supposed to be easy. It's very clear that she has much to learn. Luckily, there just might be a way to get the info she needs to assimilate to the superhero life more smoothly.It's very clear that there is a singular vision driving this book. Invincible Iron Man is well-written, beautifully drawn, and the story moves like a well-oiled machine. But maybe that's also part of the problem. While the call-to-action, become-a-superhero part of it all works great, there is no cultural context. Where are the moments that characters steeped in the black zeitgeist like Luke Cage brought us. There are no mentions of anything intrinsically familiar to where we come from as black people. That's where the involvement of black women would have paid dividends to make this character and her experience feel real.However, I thoroughly enjoyed the action.Invincible Iron Man #1 is available right now on Marvel.comWant more posts by Ira Hobbs? Sign up for Blavity's daily...
Overwatch League is coming. eSports have been blowing up for a while, and now Serena Williams is in on the action, too. Blizzard's Overwatch is the title of choice for many gamers. And it's great for recreational and competitive play.
So, naturally Blizzard had to jump into the eSports game.
Introducing the #OverwatchLeague—a world-class sports ecosystem that puts YOU at the center: https://t.co/pznCqN918f
THIS IS YOUR LEAGUE pic.twitter.com/aq2h485mUk
— Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch) November 4, 2016
And who better to bring the news to the people that Serena Slam Williams? In the promo, we follow the trajectory of a competitive gamer Krusher99. Their rise to fame, fall from grace and return to glory. Little do we know, it's been Serena whipping that work the whole time.
The very first Overwatch League season will begin in 2017. In the preseason, Blizzard will hold a combine that allows the top players on leaderboards and competitive gamers to get noticed by a pro team and get signed. Any players signed in that period will receive a guaranteed contract. Each Overwatch team will represent major cities in different regions. Team announcements will be coming in the next few months.
This is literally the most lucrative time to become a gamer in the world. eSports is close to a billion dollar industry, gaining new sponsors and corporate investors every day. One day it stands to reason that competitive gaming will be one of the most profitable international sports in the world. And I wouldn't be surprised if you saw more celebrities and athletes like Serena get involved. Former NBA players Shaquille O'Neal and Rick Fox already own an eSports team.
For more info about Overwatch League, go to overwatchleague.com.
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Roxane Gay is writing the highly anticipated Black Panther spin-off, World of Wakanda. She's making Marvel comic book history as the first black woman to write a run for the company. Her story will heavily feature the all-woman Dora Milaje, the elite fighting force that protects the king.
Fam, it's really lit right now.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Roxane spoke about how she was sponsored by another black woman-led story. This one was created by another one of our faves, Shonda Rhimes. When asked about other pop culture she referenced when developing her characters Gay said, "I have definitely thought a lot about Olivia Pope in season 1 of Scandal."
A Dora Milaje/Olivia Pope team up would be legendary. Imagine if that the whole crew comes to America and helps Pope & Associates take down a super powered bad guy. I'd read that issue a thousand times, and then buy a second copy to frame it. Roxane also gave a huge shout out to the beloved Image Comics series Saga, which means she has immaculate taste. What else would you want from the woman writing our comic book about Wakanda? I was already excited to read the books as they drop, but this was me even more charged up. Roxane Gay is magic and World of Wakanda is at the top of my pull list.
Make sure you go pick it up on November 9th, or pre-order the book now if you're like me.
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We caught up with the prolific comic book man David Walker right before a panel at New York Comic Con. Walker has worked on some the best runs in the game, and is currently writing Marvel's Power Man and Iron Fist.
Here's our talk about #BlackHeroesMatter, social media in comics, & creativity.
Blavity: Could you tell us about your involvement with the #BlackHeroesMatter movement?
DW: It really started out as trying to gather a group of creators and fans together at the San Diego Comic Con. [To have] a group of black folks just to have a show of force. And by force, I mean a show of numbers. I put out a call to small group of people, thinking maybe there'd be a dozen of us. And that number grew very rapidly. And then URAEUS (@JaycenWise), an artist out of Baltimore, he came up with the concept #BlackHeroesMatter.
Blavity: How has social media affected the way you connect with your fanbase?
DW: Before social media, things like Twitter and Facebook, you thought you were alone. You might be the only black kid at your school who read comic books, or you might live in a predominately white town in Iowa or something. The problem with the system is, the system is designed to dehumanize us and make us think that we're crazy. Because social media allows us to connect and realize we have a lot in common, communities start to come together.
That's what the Black Lives Matter movement has done, and that's what the #BlackHeroesMatter movement is doing as well.
Blavity: Last question, you spoke about your anxiety the other night. As a creative person, what is a good way to create through your anxiety?
DW: The key for me is just to take it and try to spit it out. I spit out onto the page – taking the anxiety and taking the anger and turning into something else. Black folks as a people are the masters at creating something out of garbage, out of nothing. We are the discards, and we've often taken things that are discarded and made art out of it. So why shouldn't our anger and our angst and anxiety be able to be turned into art?
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We had the opportunity to talk to Natacha Bustos during New York Comic Con this year. Bustos currently is the artist/penciler of Moon Girl and the Devil Dinosaur.
Check out our conversation about her work life, all the melanin in Moon Girl and Latinx representation at Marvel.
Blavity: So talk to us about how you started with Moon Girl and the Devil Dinosaur. What is the process of working with Marvel?
Natacha Bustos: The process with Marvel is we work together. Primarily, we work by email. We have a lot of communication and every opinion counts and that's nice. Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder (the writers of Moon Girl) are doing a super great job with the script. When they have the script ready and it's approved by Marvel, it comes to me and I read it carefully. And then I add things with my art. They are always open to my opinion and it's very kind. It's a great way of working.
Blavity: Let's talk about your art and how you draw. One of the things I love about Moon Girl is that it's so rich in color. There's so many characters of color in Moon Girl, like Lunella and her classmates. And you see so many different types of melanin that pop out on the page. How did you learn to experiment with color?
NB: The thing that's most important to me is that the people I see on the street appears in the comics too. Because sometimes I feel like [people that's in the comics] are not exactly what you see in the street. I try to do more diverse persons in every panel that I can. It’s great with Lunella Lafayette, I love this character. I love working on her expressions and her relationship with the dinosaur. And because she's a child, the expressions on her face, she has to have it. It's good to draw her.
Blavity: Last question — America Chavez. It got announced that she will be getting her first #1 comic. Being a Latina, what would you like to see in the next 2-3 years in terms of Latinx representation at Marvel?
NB: I think Marvel is doing a great job now, and I think it will be growing year by year. And now I'm seeing more creators and more diverse creators, which is super great. We even have more women creators. I hope in maybe five or more years we will see all the panorama very different from now. It’s a signal that we're growing and that there’s more progress. We all deserve to work in comics on the same level.
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Donald Glover paid Ellen a visit to break his silence on being cast in the Star Wars Han Solo spin-off. Everything he said about his relationship with the role makes the decision feel even better.
Glover said he has very fond memories of the character.
"That was the first toy I had — Lando. That was the very first. I remember it like yesterday, my dad gave it to me." He also said that he called his dad straight away after getting the part, and that he was excited. But it was his mom in the background who let him know, "Don't mess this up."
So the pressure is definitely on, but I have no doubt that Donald will rise to and above the occasion. Ellen went on to praise his work on Atlanta, a show that's become a phenomenon on television. On the critically-acclaimed show, Glover said, "I just wanted to make Twin Peaks with rappers."
This has been a banner year for Donald Glover. And I have a feeling it's just going to keep getting better. Watch the full interview above!
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Next month, The Pokémon Company will celebrate 20 years of success with the release of Pokemon Sun & Moon. This version is special for a couple of reasons. First, many speculated that we might get Pokemon Z, a continuation of X & Y. Instead, the Pokémon Company decided to bring in a new generation of Pokémon with Sun & Moon. Second, in order to pay homage to the first generation, the developers have added something called alola forms to some of the first generation monsters (Grimer, Sandshrew, Vulpix etc). Last week, The Pokémon Company and Nintendo blessed us with a short demo to give us a taste of what we’re in store for come next month. Let’s jump in:
One of my beefs with the demo off top is that it’s short and it definitely caters more to the younger audience. The demo starts off slow, introducing the player to a couple of new elements to the game. Now the homie Ira already came through and talked about some of it, but getting my hands on the demo reassured my hype for this game.
HMs are gone.
Yup. I never thought I’d live long enough to see the day where hidden machines were taken out of the game. No longer do we have to sacrifice a Pokémon just to teach them a weak move to advance the story through the game. They tested this with the Eon Flute in ORAS (Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire), but now they’ve replaced all HMs with Ride Pokémon. In the demo, we get Tauros Charge, which also you to ride the Pokemon and smash rock obstacles that obstruct your way.
Movement is more fluid.
Remember Pokémon (or really any roleplayer game) back in the day, and how movement was done through a grid-based system? This made sense in the 2D games, but once they stepped up the graphics in X & Y and ORAS, we were hoping to have free range of motion. They’ve done this with Sun & Moon. The character models are upgraded, and we’re no longer restricted to a grid-based movement.
Pokémon Snap is back...kinda.
On one hand yes, photography is back in Pokémon. I have no idea why it took Nintendo this long (three pieces of hardware to be exact) to re-implement photography, but here we are. It’s a little different than Pokémon Snap, given the graphics and animation of the Pokémon. In one of the trials in the demo, they let you mess around with the mechanics. While the picture taking is a bit forced and unnecessary, it works and it’ll be nostalgic for people who remember playing Pokémon Snap on the Nintendo 64.
The battle animations haven’t changed much.
This isn’t the biggest deal, because Lord knows I’m going to be the first in line come November. But with a new generation of monsters to battle with, I was expecting some new battle animations. It was confirmed that we’re getting over 100 new moves, however it would’ve been really nice to see some of the old moves get new animations over its ORAS counterparts.
Believe it or not, what I’ve given you here is just a sample of all the information we got from the demo. If you look around, you can actually find leaks of the entire Pokédex with alolan forms and all.
What did you think of the demo? Are you still going to pick up Sun & Moon when it drops November 18th? Let us know in the comments.
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