Demythify: 2013’s Top 3 With Post Young Justice Cartoon Network, Dwayne The Rock Johnson, DC New 52 Trinity War & Neil Gaiman (G.I. Joe 2 Retaliation, Star Wars 7)
by John Babos on March 25, 2013

Thanks for popping by and checking out my weekly Monday Demythify column.

I have spent most of the last five months mourning my fandom due to the ending of the “all-ages” cartoon era at Cartoon Network. The network has cancelled or not-renewed (same outcome either way) several shows that had cross-family, multi-generational appeal with shows like Young Justice Invasion, Green Lantern The Animated Series (GLTAS), and Star Wars The Clone Wars tossed from CN’s 2013 line-up. (If you would like to see more Young Justice, let DC Entertainment know HERE and filling out a related Change.Org petition here can’t hurt.)

This is on top of CN’s cancellation of ThunderCats last year and HUB’s similar dismissal of G.I. Joe Renegades.

In the case of G.I. Joe Renegades and Star Wars The Clone Wars, The Hub and Cartoon Network may have been dealing with the wishes of the properties’ respective owners choosing to go in new directions: Hasbro’s G.I. Joe Renegades cartoon appears to have directly inspired the live-action silver screen G.I. Joe 2: Retaliation film (out March 28, 2013) and Lucasfilm / Disney appearing to move in a new direction cartoon property-wise.

In the end, I have lost 5 TV cartoons I enjoyed watching in less than a year. That is on top of cancellations of comics I have enjoyed from DC Comics New 52 effort including: Deathstroke, Team 7, Justice League International, Legion Lost and others. Luckily there are some DC titles doing well that I can still read monthly from DC like Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Nightwing, Red Hood and the Outlaws, Suicide Squad and others. Plus Marvel is back on my radar with books like All-New X-Men and Cable and X-Force, so the future doesn’t look too dim for the future especially if you factor in the fact that every book Valiant Comics publishes is AMAZING.

So, this week, instead of mourning the past, we look to the future with my 2013 Top 3 pop culture offerings in film, TV and comics.

Beware, some SPOILERS may follow. You have been warned. ;)


TV: Scooby Doo Mystery Inc., Good & Going Too

While we await a new G.I. Joe cartoon on HUB or elsewhere to follow the G.I. Joe Retaliation film, assuming it is succesful and not Battleship-like, and a new Star Wars animated series to follow Clone Wars likely on Disney XD, the only cartoon on Cartoon Network that I see for 2013 that remains all-ages is Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated (or simply Mystery Inc.). However, it too is ending with its second season in April 2013! Wow, that’s six (6) cartoons I enjoyed being cancelled in 12-month span.

The series has an ongoing mystery in the treasure hunt guided by the Planispheric Disk, simmering character based subplots like Fred and Daphne’s romantic tension, comedy relief with Shaggy and Scooby, with Velma the odd brilliant person out. The added history of several other mystery solving teens over past generations is a cool twist as is the current Mystery Inc. competing with the preceding original Mystery Inc. The series has kept true to the original “mystery of the week no-such-thing-as-real-ghosts” formula that made the first season in 1969 so compelling and successful, but also brought it into the modern age.

However, Season 2 seems to have the team questioning whether a real terror can exist with the mystery of “Niburu” being foretold. It is unclear what Niburu stands for in the Scooby Doo series, but it could refer to the Niburu Cataclysm or doomsday scenario that is said to happen in the 21rst century with a large planetary object colliding with the Earth. Or in Scooby Doo fashion it could be a (faux) Demon. We’ll have to wait and see.

While I remain very disappointed in Cartoon Network’s Fall 2013 offerings, I will sample the new DC Nation Block of Beware the Batman and Teen Titans Go. However, they do seem more kiddie in nature than the Young Justice Invasion and Green Lantern the Animated series they replace.

I’m also curious what will happen with Scooby Doo next with no Season 3 on the horizon. Another reboot maybe? There seem to have been a Scooby Doo series on television in some fashion for the last 40 years: 24 seasons and over 420 episodes.


Film: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Conquers Hollywood

Dwayne Johnson is not only the current WWE Champion headlining Wrestlemania 29 against John Cena on April 7, 2013, he is also set to have his biggest career movie year with at least 5 films being released in 2013 PLUS his active lobbying to get a role in a returning film franchise.

2013 already saw the release of Snitch in February 2013, a film about “A father goes undercover for the DEA in order to free his son who was imprisoned after being set up in drug deal.”

Then we have March 28, 2013’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation, a film that sees G.I. Joe “not only fighting their mortal enemy Cobra; they are forced to contend with threats from within the government that jeopardize their very existence.”

On April 26, 2013 we get Pain and Gain that sees Mark Wahlberg team with Dwayne Johnson and others that see “A trio of bodybuilders in Florida get caught up in an extortion ring and a kidnapping scheme that goes terribly wrong.”

Sometime in 2013 we will get Empire State, a film “drama centered on two childhood friends who plan to rob an armored car depository, and the NYPD officer who stands in their way.”

Lastly, for now, May 24, 2013 brings fandom Fast and Furious 6 where Dwayne’s Johnson’s “Agent Hobbs enlists the aid of Dom and team to help bring a rival gang, led by Owen Shaw, to justice. In exchange for clear records, they must put an end to their schemes, no matter how personal the cost.” The film apparently ends on a cliffhanger that sets up Fast and Furious 7 so there seem to be a few franchises that the Rock will be a part of going forward: Fast & Furious, G.I. Joe, Journey and maybe… Star Wars?

Dwayne Johnson has announced that he is keen on joining the cast of Star Wars Episode VII (Star Wars 7) under the stewardship of J.J. Abrams. It has been reported that at the March 13, 2013 Sydney Australia premiere of G.I. Joe Retaliation that the Rock let it be known of his interest in a Star Wars role.

    “I played with two lines of action figures when I was a kid: G.I. Joe and Star Wars.”

    “By the way, because we didn’t have a lot of money, I used to steal them. I’d just rip open the packages and shove ‘em in my pockets … like a lot of kids. I got caught a couple of times, got my ass kicked by my parents.”

    “So when I got the call saying, ‘How do you feel about becoming the leader of the G.I. Joes?’, it was like if I got a call from George Lucas saying, ‘I want you to be in Star Wars‘.”

    “I’m gonna call J.J. (JJ Abrams is directing the next Star Wars film) and you’re gonna help by printing it and I’m gonna be in Star Wars!”

Add with constant fan demand for Dwayne Johnson to play villain Black Adam in any upcoming Shazam or Justice League feature film from Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment, it seems that The Rock’s geek credentials are well established.

Certainly looks like its Dwayne Johnson’s world, and we’re just living in it.

Also on the movie front, I remain also excited for other non-Rock 2013 films: Iron Man 3 (May 3, 2013), Star Trek Into Darkness (May 17, 2013), Man of Steel featuring Superman (June 14, 2013), The Wolverine (July 26, 2013) and Thor: The Dark World (November 8, 2013).


Comics: DC’s Trinity War, Valiant’s Harbinger Wars & GAIMAN!!

Since 2012’s Summer of Valiant, the company has been putting out quality book after quality book, month in and month out. In April 2013 we see the beginning of a 4 month long “family” cross-over event that pits Bloodshot against the Harbingers. Bloodshot and Archer & Armstrong are my top 2 fave Valiant titles, but X-0 Manowar and Shadowman are solid, with Harbinger not appealing to me conceptually despite solid art and writing.

That said, I am intrigued by Harbinger Wars as it seemingly will bring Bloodshot face-to-face with his past actions as a Harbinger Hunter. I’m not sure where this cross-over event will go, but am pleased it will feature the debut of another Valiant property with the H.A.R.D. Corps in June. The Harbinger Wars 12-issue checklist is available here. 2013 just got a whole lot more interesting.

This year will also likely see the debut of the DC Comics New 52’s much teased Trinity War. I’ve un-puzzled the various Trinities in DC’s pantheon, but it is still anyone’s guess who or what is going on with Trinity War.

In 2013 we will also get to read more of Neil Gaiman in comicdom. Not just with his Sandman Zero Vertigo prequel series, but also at least one issue of Marvel Now’s Guardians of the Galaxy featuring a guest-star in the Todd McFarlane and Neil Gaiman created Angela (for Image Comics’ Spawn). The Associated Press reported the following last week:

    Neil Gaiman, Angela character are Marvel-bound

    PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Writer Neil Gaiman is returning to Marvel Comics this summer, and he’s bringing the red-haired heavenly bounty hunter Angela with him.

    The publisher announced Thursday that Gaiman’s angel will return first in the pages of “Age of Ultron” No. 10 in June. She’ll appear again in Marvel Entertainment’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” No. 5 in July that Gaiman will co-write with Brian Michael Bendis.

    Gaiman’s previous comic outings include revered runs on “The Sandman” and “Marvel 1602.”

    He created Angela in “Spawn” No. 9, and she was one of three characters who formed a long copyright dispute between Gaiman and Image Comics co-founder Todd McFarlane.

    The pair reached a confidential settlement in early 2012.

What Gaiman’s ownership stake in Angela is unknown, but Marvel Comics has pitched Angela as a “guest” in the Marvel Universe. Take that as you wish.

Rumors are also surfacing that Marvelman or Miracleman, whose rights were tied up in part by the McFarlane / Gaiman legal dispute, may actually make his Marvel Comics debut soon. If Age of Ultron is Marvel’s answer to DC Comics’ Flashpoint, perhaps Micky Moran and his alter ego will become a founding Marvel 616 Universe character if time is bent and remade at the end of AU?

Well, that’s my 2013 watch list.

What are you looking forward to in 2013?

Thanks for reading. All feedback welcome. :)


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