Norman was born June 22, 1935 in Santa Barbara, Calif. This year, the animation pioneer celebrated his 80th birthday. He always had an interest in drawing and art, so for college, he attended the Pasadena based Art Center College of Design. Before getting into the animation industry, he worked with comics.
The casting of X-Men’s Storm has been controversial from the very start. For over a decade, the African storm goddess has been played by Halle Berry to the displeasure of fans. During this year’s San Diego Comic Con, it was revealed that Berry wanted to do a solo Storm film, but fans were not as enthusiastic as she was. Around the time of the casting of the first X-Men film, Angela Bassett was rumored to have turned down the role, making way for Berry.
Issues of skin tone were the main problem. Debates over whether Storm is a light-skinned or dark-skinned woman have overshadowed the real issues — like is Storm important to the franchise or is Berry talented enough? The answer to these questions may well be no, but there are other Black actresses who could pull off the character if given a chance:
Harris has been in genre films since the beginning of her career. She has become famous for her roles as Selena from 28 Days Later (2005), Calypso from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, and most recently she was Eve Moneypenny in Skyfall (2012) and the upcoming Spectre (2015). Harris manages to be strong and beautiful at the same time — a feature Storm possesses.
The next installment of the Tomb Raider franchise, Rise of the Tomb Raider, will be available only on Xbox 360 and Xbox One when it is released in November. However, in a July 23 announcement, the gaming publisher Square Enix has revealed that the game will be available to PC users, Steam and the PlayStation 4 in 2016.
“Renowned developer Crystal Dynamics, a Square Enix studio, is leading development in the latest entry in the iconic series for additional platforms,” according to the released statement.
The game begins where the 2013 Tomb Raider game left off. Lara Croft is now in Siberia searching for the ancient city Kitezh in order to find the secrets behind immortality. As she navigates through the wilderness, she will be facing off with Trinity and the forces of nature as well.
Here is a snippet of the gameplay released during E3:
Netflix’s upcoming Jessica Jones series will be a new addition to Marvel’s ever expanding universe.
Krysten Ritter plays the title character, Jessica Jones, and Mike Colter plays Jones’ significant other and hero in his own right, Luke Cage. In November 2001, comic writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Michael Gaydos introduced the former super heroine turned private investigator in Alias #1 to the Marvel universe.
Luke Cage will be introduced in the series and then he will have his own series soon after. Cage was a prison inmate and the government used him to as an experimental guinea pig. In their efforts, they turned the man into an invulnerable and impenetrable wall. Now he has bullet proof skin and works as a hero for hire.
In a long Tumblr post, Bendis answered a fan’s concern for the series.
“The show is so good. I have seen the first couple of episodes and because I didn’t work on it directly I can say this with full no ego fanfare: I loved it!! and believe me, I was going to be the hardest on it. Harder than any of you. Jessica is a part of my DNA. A bad Jessica Jones show would have hurt me deeply. BUT it is faithful and lively and everything that I could personally have wanted from the show. the mean streets of marvel Netflix from a different perspective than Matt’s but at the same time… it all fits. just like the comics on their best day. and just like Netflix DD, the look of the show is cracklin’ noir but with its own palette.”
Over the past month, the series has been picking up steam with multiple set photos being released and increasing media coverage.
The show is set to air later this year. Below are some of the released set photos.
Sci-fi and horror writers like Octavia Butler, Virginia Hamilton, N. K. Jemisin, and Tananarive Due have been featured on Blerds before and have become major symbols for diversity in these genres. Their writing has influenced others and their works have spread like wildfire. In a genre like horror where white males dominate, there are new voices that are out there changing the landscape for the better and adding much needed perspective. Here are some of those voices.
Linda D. Addison
Addison is a poet and short story writer that focuses on the supernatural. She is the first Black person to win a Bram Stroker Award. In fact, the author has won three Bram Stroker Awards for her poetry collections, “Consumed, Reduced to Beautiful Grey Ashes” in 2001, “Being Full of Light, Insubstantial” in 2007 and “How To Recognize A Demon Has Become Your Friend” in 2012.
Jefferson is a contemporary horror writer but she has also written erotic fiction in the early days of her career. Jefferson is currently a comic/manga editor in the editorial department at Dark Horse Comics where she has worked on comics including “Emily the Strange.” Some of her novels include Mixtape for the Apocalypse (2011) and Voice of the Blood (2011).
Cyborg has had a long history in the DC Comics universe. He first served as a key member of the Teen Titans in the 1980s, and in the New 52 he became a founding member of the Justice League. But Cyborg became extremely popular after the early 2000s animated Teen Titans series.
While all of his fellow JL founding members had a solo title, Cyborg was left without, even though he had fans. However, all of that changes this week when Cyborg#1 is released.
The title is written by David Walker with art done by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado and Adriano Lucas. Cyborg aka Vic Stone will be on his own trying to balance being half-man and half-machine.
In an interview with comicbook.com, Walker talks about the theme of the new title.
“I’m surrounding him with a cast of characters that some pull him in one direction and others pull him in another direction, in that sort of man-versus-machine,” he said. “Who are the supporting characters who make him feel more like a machine, and who are those that make him feel more like a man?”
There will be new villains called the Tekbreakers and the Technosapiens who are original creations by Walker.
This title is part of DC Comics post New 52 lineup that has shaken up the entire universe for the better. Titles like Midnighter, Black Canary, Dr. Fate and others are energizing the DC brand. Hopefully, the book will introduce an exciting rogues’ gallery for Cyborg and a new host of fans.
The Marvel cinematic universe has become a gold standard in cinematic world building. However, it isn’t perfect. For fans who waited years to see their favorite super heroes on the big screen, the MCU is perfect and can do no wrong, but for others, it is a pool of mediocrity. With all of the good there is also bad. Here are some problems that need to be addressed.
People of Color
Watching Marvel movies can be a painful experience for people of color. Actors like Idris Elba, who is a Golden Globe winner, has been relegated to a divine doorman. He may get five minutes of screen time per Thor film, even though he is a dynamic actor who starred in his own TV show.
Oscar winner Don Cheadle plays the sidekick to Robert Downey, Jr., a man who was nominated for an Oscar portraying a Black man in Black face. There has to be a reason Terence Howard jumped ship. These talented Black actors have climbed the mountain top of their craft and they get no real respect or significance in these films.
Honestly, Anthony Mackie has a decent role and some actual importance in the Captain America films. Also, Nick Fury is vital to the universe but what will happen after Infinity War? People are banking for Black Panther, but will he be relegated to a bit player in the team up films? It is possible. Marvel has a lot of diverse characters. It would be nice to see more Hispanic and Asian heroes as well.
During the 2015 Blogher Conference held in New York from July 16-18, filmmaker Ava DuVernay talked the ins and outs of the film industry. The director also dished on why she passed up Black Panther.
“For me, it was a process of trying to figure out, are these people I want to go to bed with? Because it’s really a marriage. It’d be three years of not doing other things that are important to me,” she explained. “So it was a question of, is this important enough for me to do?”
In Blerds‘ continuing coverage of DuVernay’s journey into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there had been news about the director possibly directing the Black Panther film since the last week of June. The blogosphere went bonkers with anticipation and some websites were reporting that she took the job.
However, in the first week of July it was revealed in an interview with the Huffington Post that DuVernay turned down the job over creative differences.
“This is my art,” DuVernay told the crowd of bloggers. “This is what will live on after I’m gone. So it’s important to me [to] be true to who I was in this moment. And if there’s too much compromise, it really wasn’t going to be an Ava DuVernay film.”
Many fans have worried about how X-Men: Apocalypse will look after seeing a leaked and blurry trailer of the film from San Diego Comic Con.
On July 16, Entertainment Weekly released high-resolution, behind-the-scenes images of the cast in full costume.
The film will take place in the ’80s where the ancient Egyptian mutant Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) returns to gather his four horsemen. So far, he will gather Pyslocke (Olivia Munn), Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Angel (Ben Foster) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender). This gathering of powerful mutants will put Professor Xavier (James McAvoy) on high alert to defend humanity.
In addition to the regulars, there will be new mutants premiering in the franchise and younger versions of mutants who were prominent in the earlier films.
In an interview with Deadline, actress Halle Berry discusses Storm and a possible solo film in the X-Men universe.
Berry has become a regular attendee to San Diego Comic Con over the years due to Fox’s X-Men franchise that has resurged in popularity in the last two years.
The studio and actress are hoping to continue that success by rolling out more films like X-Men Apocalypse, Deadpool, more Wolverine and much more. But with all of that, where are the Black superheroes in this equation?
For Berry, she wants a Storm solo film.
“In a heartbeat. In a heartbeat I would do a Storm movie. I love that character through and through. So if that ever became an opportunity for me, if it’s before I’m 65 years old, I would absolutely do that,” says Berry.
She goes on to say:
“Well, I think they should do it. If the fans want that the fans need to speak up and I’m sure it would be a possibility. If Fox felt like they could make money off of a Storm movie I’m sure they would do it.”
The sad reality is that Storm, as portrayed by Berry, is not very well received by fans. Many people have wanted the character to be darker-skinned because of issues of representation and comic continuity.
Alexandra Shipp has been chosen to play the younger Ororo Munroe/Storm.
As for Berry, the actress has ventured into the realm of TV with her summer hit Extant. The CBS show has done well and is into its second season.