Monday, June 17, 2019

TITANS Casts Drew Van Acker as Aqualad

But how does he look with purple contact lenses?

TV Insider has revealed that the DC Universe series Titans has cast Drew Van Acker as Aquaman's protégé Garth, better known to DC Comics fans as original Teen Titans member Aqualad!  Aqualad will make his debut sometime during the show's upcoming second season.

Meanwhile, DC Universe provided this official description for Aqualad -- "Garth is a founding member of the Titans and was Aquaman's eager sidekick known as Aqualad.  Also born in Atlantis and a member of the royal court, young Garth was trained by Aquaman as a protector of life above and below the ocean.  He would eventually step out from the shadow of his mentor to become his own hero as a Titan along with many other former sidekicks."

Van Acker, 33, is best known as Jason DiLaurentis on ABC Family series Pretty Little Liars and as Detective Tommy Campbell on the 2017 CBS police drama Training Day.  His other television appearances include episodes of Tower Prep, Devious Maids, Hell's Kitchen, Greek, and Castle.

Created in 1960 by Robert Bernstein and Ramona Fradon, Aqualad first appeared in Adventure Comics (vol.1) #269 as Garth, the son of the Idyllist King Thar and Queen Berra, the reigning monarchs of Shayeris, the capital of The Hidden Valley of colonies from Atlantis.  Thar had inherited the throne and access to ancient magical energies that his brother Zath, a powerful magician in his own right, believed to be rightfully his.  Zath practiced dark sorcery and necromancy and was eventually banished from the Hidden Valley.  Zath's body transformed into a disgusting half-human form, and under the new name of Slizzath, he returned to Shayeris twenty years later with an army of the undead.  He planned to invade the Hidden Valley and transform it into a necropolis he would rule.

King Thar knew of this and assembled an armory of robots and weapons to stop his demented brother.  The Idyllist radicals killed him and banished his pregnant wife Berra back to Atlantis.  Before Thar was killed, however, he was able to cast a magical spell that trapped Slizzath in an other-dimensional prison.  Unfortunately, this spell was linked to a magical ritual which would give his offspring access to incredible mystical powers and accessing that ritual would give Slizzath the energy required to break free of his prison.  So word was sent out that all babies born with purple eyes, the Idyllist mark of power, should be banished and killed, lest they try to perform the access ritual and accidentally free Slizzath and his undead army.  The Idyllists also claimed that Thar had gone insane to hide their complex, fearful plan.

In Poseidonis, one of the domed cities of Atlantis, Queen Berra gave birth to her son, Garth, who was born with purple eyes.  The Atlanteans claimed Garth had been born genetically inferior and sentenced him to death on a seabed leagues away from Atlantis.  It has been speculated that with the assistance of Aquaman's father, the Atlantean sorcerer Atlan, the young Garth not only survived but thrived, learning language and survival rituals to keep the young boy from going feral as he scavenged his way through the undersea.  Garth developed an intense fear of schools of fish, however, which haunted him into his teens.

Eventually, Garth encountered and rescued Aquaman and became his sidekick, Aqualad. As Aqualad, Garth and Aquaman shared many adventures, but after Aquaman married Mera, and had his own son, Arthur Jr., adventuring with Aqualad became less important to him, leaving Garth feeling unsure of his role in his mentor's life.  Looking to help to other teens in trouble, Garth became one of the founding members of the Teen Titans after meeting the first Robin, Dick Grayson, and the first Kid Flash, Wally West.  Still shunned by many Poseidonians despite his heroics on their behalf, Aqualad was sent away to be schooled in Scotland, at a school on the shores of Loch Ness.

After being forced to defend himself in a life or death struggle against Aquaman over the survival of Arthur Jr., Garth stayed in the Hidden Valley to search for links to his identity, eventually finding out he was the lost prince of the Idyllists.  However, it would be several more years before he learned the truth about his father's murder and his mother's complicity in his exile at the hands of the Poseidonians.

During this time, Garth met and fell in love with Aquagirl (Tula), the impetuous and feisty Atlantean ward of Aquaman's predecessor, King Juvor.  They dated for years, aiding Aquaman as defenders of the undersea realms, until Tula's death at the hands of Chemo during the event known as Crisis on Infinite Earths.  Grief-stricken, Garth left Atlantis, rejoined the Teen Titans on a number of occasions, and saw his relationship with Aquaman become violent and strained.

As Garth entered his twenties, he encountered a band of shark-like merpeople who attacked the hero with a kind of "mystic water."  Garth vanished and reappeared in another dimension, where Atlan waited to train him.  Atlan taught Garth to use powers the young Idyllist didn't know he possessed, including elemental powers which allowed him to heat and cool water and create whirlpools, as well as fiery purple blasts of energy from his eyes. Toward the end of his training, Garth was scarred in a ritual, leaving two pronounced scars over his right eye which healed into "tattoos" once he had conquered his inner turmoil.  Atlan told Garth that the final part of his training was to complete the ritual that would grant him full access to his ancestral magical power, and thus Garth had to return to Shayeris, in the Hidden Valley.

Garth returned to our dimension at nearly the same time he left, although he was approximately three years older upon his return. When Garth, alongside Atlan, returned to Shayeris, he found the city overtaken by undead creatures.  Completely unaware of his own history or his uncle's powers of necromancy, Garth was ill-prepared for the sudden return of Aquagirl, risen from the grave.  Together with a shark-warrior named Letifos, Atlan, and Aquagirl, Garth descended into Shayeris.  Just the sheer proximity to the ancient pool of ancestral magic allowed Garth to tap into the power, and charged with the purple energy, he recreated his costume out of the Idyllist red and black flag and renamed himself Tempest.

Tempest found his father's sanctum and performed the magical ritual which would give him his power.  The false Aquagirl, a magical conduit for Slizzath, attacked Tempest and channeled that power into Slizzath, releasing the monster from his other-dimensional prison. Using his stolen power, Slizzath captured Tempest and Atlan, raised an enormous undead army, and finally transformed the Hidden Valley into the necropolis of which he had long dreamed.  Tempest eventually broke free of his prison and found the remaining Idyllists, hiding in Thar's old armory.  There, Tempest was reunited with his mother and the truth—that the fearful Idyllists were so terrified of the release of Slizzath, they lied about Thar's sanity and saw to it that Garth was banished as an infant.  Disgusted, Garth took control of the armory and a small number of Idyllist warriors and attacked Slizzath.  Tempest destroyed the Aquagirl zombie that had seduced him and, using his full range of powers, sent his uncle back into the other-dimensional prison void, sealing the portal forever.

Van Acker will be the first actor to portray Aqualad in live-action, although the character has appeared in various animated projects, including The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure (voiced by Jerry Dexter), the Teen Titans animated series and Teen Titans Go! (voiced by Wil Wheaton), Batman: The Brave and the Bold (voiced by Zack Shada), Young Justice (voiced by Yuri Lowenthal), and DC Superhero Girls (voiced by Jessica McKenna).

Titans is expected to return to DC Universe for Season 2 sometime in Fall 2019.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

50 Years -- All These Things That I've Done

Fifty years.

Today, I celebrate my fiftieth anniversary of entering the world and find myself reflecting on all the wonderful people I've encountered and things I've experienced along the way.  Most people have a hard time getting older, looking back at their lives with regrets or dwelling on missed opportunities.  Oh, I have my share of those as well -- roads not taken, things still unfinished -- but I try not to dwell on them too much.  I'd rather focus on appreciating the roads I did take and the things I did achieve in life.

As some of you reading this know, I almost exited the planet at the age of 26 thanks to my colon becoming toxic during New Year's Eve in 1995.  After finally getting an initial operation that saved my life, roughly six hours from my colon rupturing with built-up toxins that would have poisoned my already-weakened system, I spent the first half of 1996 recuperating and having two more reconstructive surgeries to rebuild my colon using remaining tissue.

It was a frustrating and emotional time for me, adjusting to the new set of cards life had dealt, but the experience taught me to focus on more important things.  My wonderful girlfriend Lori and I became engaged, and as I recuperated, we spent the next year planning our wedding and our the rest of our lives together.  My parents, Harold and Wilma, proved yet again how loving and incredible they are, welcoming Lori into our family and trusting her with their only son.

In the 22 years since Lori and I were married, I've been so fortunate to share my life with her and do so many things I never imagined as an only child reading comic books in his bedroom and growing up in the small town of Medina, Ohio.  Living in a small condo with our two beloved cats, Tamaya and Keiko, we forged a life together, grew our professional careers, enjoyed the company of our wonderful family and friends, and every so often, traveled the world to see the wonder of it all.

All those places, all those experiences...everything that almost didn't happen if I didn't make it off that first operating table at the dawn of 1996.  If you've survived a similar experience, you probably get what I'm talking about here.

So, to everyone who's been a part of my life, however how important or how small, thank you for sharing the planet with me as we spin around the solar system.  I hope you're enjoying the ride as much as I am.

-- Charles

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Syfy Developing KRYPTON Spinoff Series for DC Comics' LOBO

What the Main Man wants, the Main Man gets.

Deadline is reporting that Syfy and Warner Horizon Scripted Television are developing the Krypton spinoff series Lobo, based on the DC Comics antihero, with Lobo actor Emmett J. Scanlan expected to star.

According to the article, the new show "would track the story of Lobo, a 'foul-mouthed, dangerous, irascible, intergalactic bounty hunter' and a deal is in place for Scanlan's reprisal of the character.  Krypton executive producer Cameron Welsh will serve as executive producer/writer.  

Lobo made his Krypton debut in last night's Season 2 premiere episode, "Light-Years from Home", finding Seg-El (Cameron Cuffe) and Adam Strange (Shaun Sipos) in a forest on an alien planet.  Lobo shot Adam when he tried to talk to him, and then blasted Seg unconscious as well.  The bounty hunter said that his name is Lobo and wondered why they were there, then realized that he should have asked them before he stunned them.  Lobo chained their legs and dragged them away.

Scanlan, 39, is an Irish actor perhaps best known to DC Comics fans as Jim Corrigan, the Spectre, on the NBC series Constantine, as Simon on the BBC America zombie series In the Flesh, and as Brendan Brady on the British soap opera Hollyoaks.  He also appeared in the Marvel film Guardians of the Galaxy as the Head Riot Guard, and on episodes of Atlantis, No Offence, Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands, and Safe.

Created in 1983 by Roger Slifer and Keith Giffen, Lobo first appeared in Omega Men (vol.1) #3 as a Velorpian whose entire race had been exterminated by the Psions.  Lobo played an important role in the Citadel War, in his capacity as a bounty hunter.  He was hired by the Citadel's human agent Harry Hokum to capture the Euphorian known as Kalista in a bid to learn the secret behind her home world's planetary shield.  Along with fellow bounty hunters Bedlam and Berserk, he raided the mothership belonging to the Omega Men, where upon he engaged in combat with Kalista.  Soon after, Harry Hokum hired Lobo once again, this time to assassinate the Omega Men's interim leader Tigorr.  Lobo never had the opportunity to complete the contract however.

In 1988's Justice League International (vol.1) #18, the character was revamped as a Czarnian whose name comes from a Khund dialect that means "one who devours your entrails and thoroughly enjoys it."  He hailed from the planet Czarnia, which was a virtual paradise that knew nothing of war and the Czarnians were almost immortal.  When Lobo was born, his evil was so frighteningly apparent, the nurse who delivered him went insane and became the planet's first mental patient in ten millennia after the infant Lobo chewed off four of her fingers.  Lobo knew he was one of a kind, but he wanted even more.  Inspired by the idea of genocide, Lobo created a swarm of lethal scorpion-like creatures and set them on his people, wiping out his entire species but himself.

After traveling across the galaxies as an intergalactic bounty hunter, Lobo made his first appearance on the planet Earth when he was hired by Manga Khan to take out the newly formed Justice League International.  However, after Big Barda teleported Lobo across the galaxy, Lobo landed on Earth in the Justice League Embassy.  After a brief altercation with Guy Gardner, Lobo hung around, pretending to be a friend, while waiting for the right moment.   Before he could act, however, Manga Khan canceled his contract.  Since then, he encountered various DC Comics superheroes, operating solo or as a member of L.E.G.I.O.N.

In the current DC continuity known as DC Rebirth, Lobo was reintroduced in the limited series Justice League vs. Suicide Squad as one of the villains freed by Maxwell Lord who was a member of Amanda Waller's first Suicide Squad.  Batman eventually implanted a bomb into Lobo's brain and detonated it, blowing up Lobo's head.  After Lobo regenerated it, he discovered Batman did so to free him from Lord's control, and later accepted Batman's offer to join a new incarnation of the Justice League of America to repay the favor.

Scanlan is the first actor to portray Lobo in live action on Krypton, although the character has appeared in various animated projects, including Superman: The Animated Series and Justice League (voiced by Brad Garrett), Young Justice (voiced by David Sobolov), and Justice League Action (voiced by John DiMaggio).

Krypton Season 2 airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. EST on Syfy.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

TITANTALK 036: "Doom Patrol Season One Review" is Up!

"Critics.  What do they know?  They’re going to hate this show."
-- Mr. Nobody, Doom Patrol: "Pilot"

Hello again, Titans fans!  My fellow TitanTalker Jesse Jackson and I are back with another new episode of TitanTalk: The Titans Podcast!  This time, we're joined once again by DJ Nik from the Whiskey & Cigarettes Show to review Season One of the DC Universe series Doom Patrol, featuring the highs and lows of the show’s 15-episode first season, along with hopes and predictions for Doom Patrol Season Two!

In this episode, Jesse, DJ Nik and I discuss things keeping Nik from getting a big head, Nik's initial reaction to the series, Nik reading up on Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol run, Jesse's casual knowledge of the Doom Patrol from the comics, the core characters of Cliff, Rita and Larry, David Lynch's The Elephant Man, Cliff becoming a better human as a robot, Jesse and Nik's early frustration with Rita, Rita's character arc of becoming one of the team's leaders, the show bringing everything together, Larry coming to terms with his sexuality, the Doom Patrol getting more character development in one season than some superhero characters get in three or four, Doom Patrol showing Arrow how to do flashbacks correctly, our reactions (or lack thereof) to the excessive profanity, waiting for Cliff to unload with a bunch of f-bombs, Crazy Jane becoming one of the show's best characters, getting to see The Underground with Jane's various personas, Diane Guerrero out-acting James McAvoy in Split, Timothy Dalton in Penny Dreadful, the Chief's big secret about being responsible for the Doom Patrol's accidents, my initial skepticism about Cyborg joining the Doom Patrol, Cyborg being the traditional hero contrast to the other members, Alan Tudyk as Mr. Nobody, Mr. Nobody getting the viewer involved by breaking the fourth wall, Nik eating pasta during the Beard Hunter's gross beard-eating scene, Mark Sheppard as Willoughby Kipling, the Bureau of Normalcy being disturbingly relevant to our times, Doom Patrol addressing difficult and uncomfortable subjects and pushing the boundaries of a superhero TV show, Devan Chandler Long as Flex Mentallo, everyone loving the depiction of Danny the Street, the dangling subplot of exactly why Mr. Nobody hates the Chief so much, what we're looking forward to in Season 2, Jesse and I moving over to The Fandom Zone Podcast to discuss Krypton Season 2, and more!

If you'd like to check out episodes of TitanTalk, you can find us on...

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Be sure to come back soon for Episode 037 as Phil Perich from Capes and Lunatics returns to help me discuss the second half-season of the DC Universe animated series Young Justice: Outsiders!  Look for more of TitanTalk: The Titans Podcast on iTunes, Google Play Music, YouTube, Libsyn, and the official Southgate Media Group website!

NEXT STOP EVERYWHERE 143: "The Fires of Pompeii" is Up!

"Some things are fixed, some things are in flux.  Pompeii is fixed."
"How do you know which is which?"
"Because that’s how I see the universe.  Every waking second I can see what is, what was, what could be, what must not.  That’s the burden of the Time Lord, Donna, and I’m the only one left."
-- The Tenth Doctor and Donna Noble, Doctor Who: "The Fires of Pompeii"

Hello again, Whovians!  OG partner in time Jesse Jackson returns to Next Stop Everywhere: The Doctor Who Podcast to help me discuss "The Fires of Pompeii", the second episode from Doctor Who Series Four in 2008, featuring David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor, Catherine Tate as Donna Noble, Peter Capaldi as Lobus Caecilius, and Phil Davis as Lucius Petrus Dextrus! 

In this episode, Jesse and I discuss things like Jesse thowing me off my rhythm, the Doctor using the phrase "fixed points in time", Peter Capaldi and Karen Gillan appearing on Doctor Who before they became the Twelfth Doctor and Amy Pond, that awkward moment when you think you're arriving in Rome only to end up in Pompeii on Volcano Day, more of Jesse's growing appreciation of Donna, Donna being a check on the Tenth Doctor's godlike arrogance, how Donna views the Tenth Doctor compared to how Rose views him, the symbiotic relationship between the Doctor and his/her companions, the Doctor's "come with me if you want to live" moment, the Sybilline Sisterhood's powers of prophecy, the origin of the handshake, the HBO series Rome, wondering why the Pyroviles had centurion helmets, the Pyroviles' big plan to turn everyone in Pompeii into Pyroviles, the Doctor being revealed as the one responsible for Mount Vesuvius' eruption, the explanation of why the Twelfth Doctor looks like Lobus Caecilius, Invisible Kid from the Legion of Super-Heroes, our favorite quotes of the episode, my Reverse the Polarity segment, Jesse donating his Set Lusting Bruce episodes to the Bruce Springsteen Archives, and more!

If you'd like to check out our latest episode, you can find us on...

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And hey, if you'd like to pick up the officially official Next Stop Everywhere t-shirt, you can find it on TeePublic right HERE!  Help support the show and feel free to post pictures on our Facebook page of you or some other cool person you know wearing the shirt!

Be sure to come back later this week as special guest companion DJ Nik from the Whiskey & Cigarettes Show makes his Next Stop Everywhere debut to help me discuss "The Enemy of the World", the fourth serial from Doctor Who Season Five in 1967-68, starring Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor and Ramon Salamander, Frazer Hines as Jamie McCrimmon, and Deborah Watling as Victoria Waterfield!  Look for more of Next Stop Everywhere on iTunes, Google Play Music, YouTube, Libsyn, Soundcloud, Stitcher, and the official Southgate Media Group website!

THE FANDOM ZONE 153: "Krypton Season One Review" is Up!

"Kal-El, my future grandson.  This is the story of the House of El.  Our ending has yet to be written, but this is how it began.  Ours is a story of sacrifice and triumph, how the House of El led a revolution against tyranny.  The story of your family isn't how we died, but how we lived."
-- Seg-El, Krypton: "Pilot" 

Hello again, everyone!  After far too long, The Fandom Zone Podcast is finally back!  In this brand-new episode, I'm joined by new co-host Jesse Jackson to discuss the characters and first season of the Syfy series Krypton, based on the mythos of DC Comics’ Superman!

In this episode, Jesse and I talk about things like welcoming Jesse to the Fandom Zone, Jesse and I moving over from TitanTalk: The Titans Podcast, an update on previous (and hopefully future) co-host Karen Lindsay, both of us being big fans of Superman, Seg-El being based on Sieg-El from DC Comics and named after Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel, Krypton's Brainiac being influenced by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank's take on Brainiac from the comics, Krypton making a series about a doomed planet actually matter, Cameron Cuffe being a comics geek, Jesse holding off on Deadwood so we could discuss Krypton Season One, Adam Strange needing his helmet and jet pack, Jayna-Zod killing Seg-El's parents, Seg-El being raised as someone in touch with the common people as opposed to an elite scientist, the Marty McFly family photo-like Superman cape, Adam Strange's Doctor Strange joke, Brainiac's collection of Kandor causing Krypton's destruction, Daron-Vex being a total weasel, DC Comics' new 3-page Krypton comic story, the cancellation of Swamp Thing, our upcoming reviews of each Krypton Season 2 episode, and more!

You can now check out episodes of The Fandom Zone using...

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And if that isn't enough for you, you can also check us out on YouTube, Libsyn, Soundcloud, Stitcher, and the official Southgate Media Group website!  Oh, and if you're interested in an officially official Fandom Zone Podcast t-shirt that all the cool kids are wearing, you can get those on TeePublic HERE as well!  Feel free to post a picture on our Facebook page of you or some other cool person you know wearing the shirt!

Be sure to come back next week, as Jesse and I review "Light-Years from Home", the Season 2 premiere of the Syfy series Krypton, right here on The Fandom Zone Podcast!

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

NEXT STOP EVERYWHERE 142: "The Brain of Morbius" is Up!

"You thought I was dead, didn't you?"
"You're always making that mistake."
-- The Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith, Doctor Who: "The Brain of Morbius"

Hello again, Whovians!  Special guest companion John Takacs returns to Next Stop Everywhere: The Doctor Who Podcast to help me discuss "The Brain of Morbius", the fifth serial from Doctor Who Season 13 in 1976, featuring Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor, Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith, Philip Madoc as Dr. Mehendri Solon, and the introduction of the Sisterhood of Karn!

In this episode, John and I discuss things like John's fondness for Season 13, Doctor Who fandom in Ohio, Robert Holmes rewriting Terrance Dicks as "Robin Bland", how great Vincent Price would've been on Doctor Who, nods to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, the Doctor's sheer contempt for the authority of the Time Lords, Sarah Jane being smarter than the Doctor after Solon gives them both drugged wine, the Doctor killing Solon with cyanogen, the mindbending battle between the Doctor and Morbius, explaining those mysterious faces hinted as previous incarnations of the Doctor before the First Doctor, the various "Brain of Morbius" home video releases, wondering why Solon only took Condo's left arm, Condo being too dumb to die, blind Sarah Jane being an homage to the blind girl in Frankenstein, wondering how the brain of Morbius hooked up with Dr. Solon, John's first reaction to Morbius' fishbowl-head creature form, the notorious Mary Whitehouse, the Sisterhood of Karn falling out with the Time Lords, Maren releasing the Sisterhood needed to change, Tom Baker almost being set on fire, our favorite quotes of the episode, my Reverse the Reverse the Polarity segment, new feedback from Holly from Wisconsin, David K. Proctor and Paul from Australia check in with updates, John showing off his Seal of Rassilon ink, the Judoon returning for Series 12, and more!

If you'd like to check out our latest episode, you can find us on...

Google Play Music -- RIGHT HERE
iTunes/Apple Podcasts -- RIGHT HERE
Stitcher -- RIGHT HERE
Direct MP3 downloads/Libsyn -- RIGHT HERE
Next Stop Everywhere's Facebook page
Next Stop Everywhere's Twitter account
Next Stop Everywhere's Instagram account

And hey, if you'd like to pick up the officially official Next Stop Everywhere t-shirt, you can find it on TeePublic right HERE!  Help support the show and feel free to post pictures on our Facebook page of you or some other cool person you know wearing the shirt!

Be sure to come back later this week as OG partner in time Jesse Jackson returns to help me discuss "The Fires of Pompeii", the second episode from Doctor Who Series Four in 2008, featuring David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor, Catherine Tate as Donna Noble, Peter Capaldi as Lobus Caecilius, and Phil Davis as Lucius Petrus Dextrus!  Look for more of Next Stop Everywhere on iTunes, Google Play Music, YouTube, Libsyn, Soundcloud, Stitcher, and the official Southgate Media Group website!