big planet

Big Planet Comics presents: The Planetary Pull October 15, 2014


Welcome to the Planetary Pull at Big Planet Comics in College Park, MD In this episode for the week of October 15, 2014 Harry and Billy review

Ultimate Spider-man #6
Deadpool Art of War #1
Batman and Robin #35
Death of Wolverine #4
Storm #4
Wolverine and the X-men #10
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mc wrong

Breaking down the Michonne Cosplay, Blackface and some of the fallacies within

by Aitch Cee

*** When you are done here, read this***

So right now, cosplayers and others in the geek community are discussing this young lady Kira Markeljc who decided that she loved the character Michonne so much that she would cosplay her. Which is great, except there is an issue; she wanted to be so accurate to the character, that she actually darkened her skin and from the looks of it, used a nose prosthetic as well to accurately portray her character.   Reaction to this has been varied and divisive. Some have brought it to her attention that she was insulting Black people because she was doing black face and what she was doing can be seen as an affront.   So I will cover a few things from my own POV on this issue.  First of all, let’s cover 2 basic questions:

Is this blackface?  NO.

Can this be misconstrued and mistaken as blackface?  YES.

Now that’s out of the way,let’s move on.

Is what she did racist?

In my opinion, I would like to believe that what she was trying to establish wasn’t to insult or mock the character.   I do believe that what she was doing was something that many strive to achieve to do and that was to be the most accurate in her portrayal of the character.   The issue I have however is the ignorance of what she was doing and how she proceeded. In my opinion, in cosplay or any role that you take on, one should be aware of the responsibility of what you are doing and how it may affect others, so sure, if we give her the benefit of the doubt and say “Well ok, she is from Germany and she may be ignorant of what blackface is.” Great…but there are two things to be aware of. One, Germany and much of the world still have a history of negativity and blackface and Germany had issues as recently as the World Cup when fans thought doing blackface somehow was ok. So to say that she was ignorant of the fact still leaves a lot to be desired and questionable and her reaction after having it brought to her attention was also troublesome.  So, given what’s presented NO, it’s not racist. BUT, what happens next when she gets informed about her actions becomes troubling.

Was she responsible as a cosplayer?

We all have done some things in life that may have offended others, myself included.   And there have been times when we have done so inadvertently and because of how we were raised or our cultural background did not perceive what we did as a slight.   So again, if we gave Kira the benefit of the doubt in that she meant no harm, once she was told what she was doing could prove insulting to others, why would she say, “Everyone who makes something good gets haters, right,” Markeljc said. “I see it as something special; my site also gets more likes.” This is where she drops the ball. Instead of owning up to what she did and the possible insult she would cause, she comes off almost like she wants the attention and is glad for it. It’s almost a middle finger to those who are blatantly telling her “this isn’t right.” it’s not even like someone wanted an apology but at the most she could have stated that she understands the concerns that others have raised; that didn’t happen because, ‘haters are gonna hate’.  When it gets this far, it’s hard to argue that ignorance is bliss because now when you are at this stage, you as a cosplayer have a responsibility to keep your cosplay in a positive spotlight and the way you react in such an adverse environment will determine if others will ultimately respect your decision or turn on you. Her reaction showed that she didn’t care as long as she got more likes. Again it’s not just in cosplay but in any area where you may be a part representing a whole. It’s almost the same thing we tell people about reactions they may get depending on what they wear. It may not be right for people to talk to you or treat you any kind of a way based on what you dress but at the same time if you want to be treated right you have to show some dignity and class when something negative is brought to your attention. Was she responsible as a cosplayer when informed about her cosplay being offensive? NO.

What about other arguments made?

What I have found interesting in trying to illuminate people on this topic is the total amount of false equivalents brought forth during the discourse of this topic.

  • So if a person colors their skin, green, blue or chartreuse, or if they are Twi’leks and Wookees it’s ok but if they color it brown it’s wrong. <<this argument doesn’t hold up simply because characters of that skin tone and aliens as we know them don’t exist so stop it.
  • But what if I cosplayed someone of a different race? How is that offensive? I am trying to stay authentic. << Same reason why we are talking about this in the first place. Any time you decide to do any cosplay where you are changing your skin or your looks to fit someone of an ethnicity (Black, Asian, Hispanic etc.) you are running the inherent risk of offending someone.  Do you think all Asians are cool with Westerners cosplaying anime characters?  Do a google search for “Asians against western cosplay” and see what you find.
  • But…but Europe is cool with this and so enlightened!!  <<< Yeah…no.  If you missed the other links, go educate yourself on Black Pete.
  • But wait, what about The Wayans in White Chicks?   <<<that movie insulted everyone and is a perfect example of just because you can do a certain thing doesn’t not mean you SHOULD. **
  • And Nick Cannon did it to sell records <<<see above and how well did that album do?  Exactly. **


  • But, Eddie Murphy and David Chapelle did Whiteface, why wasn’t that considered insulting to white people? <<<There is a fine line in my opinion when there is such a thing of satire and social commentary and something that is meant to be hurtful. (Don’t worry I am getting to RDJ in a minute!!) If you go back and watch actually clips of what they did, Eddie Murphy’s especially, even 30 years ago, it was a testament to what defined ‘white privileged’ was and how it defined America. Again make sure before you point these examples out WATCH them and not just blurt them out
  • But what about RDJ in Tropic Thunder. That was black face. <<<Yes it was…it surely was and maybe somewhere along the line you would have seen the movie mock mentally handicapped people, gay people as well as people dealing with addictions…but nobody remembers that. All they remember is RDJ’s black face. And few will say how much of stinging, biting satire it was on Hollywood as a whole and how it still has not changed in decades when it comes to casting people of ethnicity. But it still doesn’t beat Bamboozled. Yes…I said that.
  • And we aren’t even going to bring up Beyonce

The thing with some of these arguments is there are people who mean well and truly want to do better but a lot of them get into trouble when trying to compare apples with oranges as well as trying to get people to ‘forget history’.   You can’t forget things that are institutionalized and still happening especially when those that have committed some of the very sins that bother us won’t acknowledge them nor try to change for the better.   If you sweep a pile of dung under the rug, guess what…it’s still there. The worst thing you can tell anyone is to either ‘forget the history’, ‘stop being oversensitive’ or ‘let it go’ because in effect you are telling that person, you either have nothing to add to the conversation or don’t care enough to have it and this is especially for anyone who has never experienced what the aggrieved party is going through. In short, either stay out of the conversation or show some empathy.

Speaking of Hollywood

Someone made the argument during the course of discussion that was had that “Actors and actresses play roles other races than what they actually are on a daily basis. You got Hispanics playing as Cleopatra and Egyptians, Americans playing Italians, people that are half black half white, playing as an African. “ And just because these things happened and still are happening (An Englishman and an Aussie in Exodus anyone?) doesn’t make it right. Do a quick check of history and you will undoubtedly see that the movie industry has made it a point to continuously to eschew accuracy to ensure that big movies makes money. Anyone cool with Johnny Depp as Tonto? What about Russell Crowe playing a Spaniard in Gladiator? What about Prince of Persia? Also what about the numerous period pieces in which those of higher stations were played by actors with British accents? You know, because Brit accents are the pinnacle of upper-crust.

So, to conclude, like my friend Maki Roll who has had the same questions heaped upon her, at this point, I won’t argue the issue. Not all of you reading will agree with what is written here and that’s good. But, I will ask that before you get into a running debate over this, go educate yourself. . That includes this young lady that decided to do this cosplay. Keep in mind as well it’s not just Black people that are affected by this. There is a reason why in some parts of the world this won’t fly and also, ignorance is not bliss especially when nearly every piece of information is a Google search away. EVEN IF YOU ARE A PERSON OF COLOR and decided to cross that line, know what you are getting into and know what issues may arise. Some people will respect you for it, others may not.  If you have time to post pictures on the web that will be scrutinized because you changed your skin, you can easily Google as to why people are criticizing you for it.

Lastly, I say again, if you want to do this, if you choose to cosplay a person and change your skin color in the process, by all means do so, but educate yourself  first and just be prepared to comport yourself in the best way possible when you get reactions that are not in line with your costume and who knows, you may change a mind or two. Just remember subjectively:

With great cosplay, comes great responsibility.


Jena Malone As Lady Robin in JLA: Dawn of Justice?

Actress Jenna Malone has gone and dyed her hair red and the Internet is up in arms!


Fans are consumed with speculation if Jenna Malone will play Batman’s famous sidekick Carrie Kelly, aka Robin.


Malone has been seen numerous times near or on set of Dawn of Justice during filming:


If this is true, that could mean Batman’s origins are possibly based in the world of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, where Carrie Kelly’s character is featured. Also, Malone has worked with Snyder before on Sucker Punch, so if this is true, it would come as no surprise.

Malone is 29 years old, probably a decade older than Kelly in the comic, but come on look at that face. If you’ve seen Sucker Punch, you know Malone can pull it off.

Not every fan thinks this is a good idea.


Fanboys and purist are conducting business as usual by demanding that Tim Drake (Nightwing) be involved in Dawn of Justice, and fist pumping in anger that this casting wouldn’t be in line with what they are use to.

Then there is the question of who else is going to be featured in this film?! You have Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, and Aquaman. Lets not forget that the Flash and Green Lantern need to be cast. Now a rumor that Robin will be in this too…

Is this overkill? Does anyone really care at this point?

The film is slated to be released in 2016, so there is plenty of time for things to change…again. I think Malone would be a great addition, but I’m not holding my breath for anything involving this film. I will just wait til it hit theatres.


How I Learned to love the (un)Dead

The Walking Dead, Season Five or How I Learned To Love The (un)Dead.

 by Jonathan Wolk


I would like to tell you that I am going to make this review, of The Walking Dead Season 5 Season premiere episode, “No Sanctuary”, a “spoiler free” review, but that’s not going to happen. There’s just way too much juicy goodness that happened in this episode for me not to talk about it (CLANG, Slice, Gush!!!! NEXT!) and besides, if you’re not watching it live, Sunday Nights at 9PM East Coast Time on AMC, what the hell is wrong with you!?! So YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED…


Last season many people talked about it being a season of “Hurry up and wait”, where much of everything in the last two thirds of the season was all building up to something, for the arrival in Terminus. There were those who called the season slow, plodding, and, well, downright boring at times. I was not one of those people, but I can understand that point of view. There was not a lot of action. There was this building tension that hung over everyone, with all of us wondering, ”Well what the hell is going to happen next?” Between looking at the flowers, Beth being kidnapped, and Dr. Porter’s miracle cure tour to D.C., we were left with all these questions and no answers. All of it was leading up to Terminus. Well we got to Terminus, and our weary travelers realized pretty quickly, if not quite quickly enough, that something was not quite right. Ultimately the “Termites” (all credit to The Talking Dead’s Chris Hardwick @nerdist for coining that one) threw everyone into a box car and left us waiting…




 The walking dead s05e01 moments - 6

And that brings us to Sunday night. Wow. Wow, wow, wowwee, wow, wow, wow! You wanted action? Let’s have Badass Carol™ sniping dudes left and right and blowing up a giant propane tank FTW. Let’s have Tasha Yar/Terminus Mary getting kneecapped and then left to be eaten alive by walkers by Badass Carolagain. Let’s have murder, and mayhem (literally. Look it up in the dictionary), guys getting lined up at a trough to be slaughtered like pigs, gunfights, knife fights, attempted infanticide, bludgeoning, stabbing, face eating, MacGyvering of makeshift weapons, I mean, what didn’t happen last night?

BadassCarol HG-N6

That is a good question isn’t it? What didn’t happen? It seems Tyreese finally got off the Schneid and managed to get his kill on. Maybe. (I never saw a body, did you? I really hope that Tyreese really did like he said and finished the job. He sure didn’t want Carol going in there to make sure the job was finished…Hmmm?) (Note to self: Either way, do not threaten Judith in front of Tyreese.) I also did not see anyone asking about Lizzie and Mika, or any mention of where Michonne’s sword is (SERIOUSLY!?! Where is that thing!?!). There were no answers about Beth, or any clarity about what the hell Eugene is talking about. Is that guy for real, or is Abraham being taken for a ride? There are still a lot of questions to be answered this season, though I do not think it will all be quite as exciting as this season starter. Now they will have to really figure out what they all want and where they plan to go with Terminus likely in the rear view.


And how about Martin, that Termite in the shed with Tyreese ? The mind games he plays with Tyreese are just brutal!

Martin-“Horrible shit just stacks up day after day. You get used to it.”
Tyreese-“I haven’t gotten used to it.”
Martin-“Of course you haven’t. You’re the kind of guy who saves babies. That’s kinda like saving an anchor when you’re stuck on a boat in the middle of an ocean.” Oh yeah, and this gem:“You’re a good guy. That’s why you’re gonna die today.” I mean REALLY!?! That guy sure has bought in to the program! That seemed to be a theme with all the residents of Terminus. The way Mary explains things to Badass Carol™, combined with the flashbacks, it’s clear how low these people have fallen and what has gotten them to the place where people were no more than meat. She talks about how it became what it has become; “The signs, they were real. It was a sanctuary. People came and took this place. And they raped and they killed and they left over weeks, but we got out, and we fought, and we got it back. We got the message: You’re the butcher, or you’re the cattle.”

Mayhem Mary

That sentiment, “you are either the butcher or you are the cattle”, is one that I think may end up echoing, resonating, through much of the season as we see our merry band of survivors continue attempting to make their way in this world, possibly to Washington D.C. There will no doubt be hard and painful decisions to be made. But who will lead them? Will it be Badass Carol™ or will Rick, with his new “No Prisoners” approach, finally be the decisive leader these people have long needed? Even in those happy moments at the end of the episode where we have the tearful reunion with everyone, Carol and Daryl’s embrace, Tyreese and Sasha, and of course, Rick seeing his daughter Judith again. He had thought her dead and that had changed him, with him talking about going back in to Terminus to make sure they finished off every last Termite, despite the immense risk to all of them, but once he held her in his arms again he stopped talking about revenge on the Termites, so will he remain strong otherwise?



And what about Morgan? Didn’t think he’d be back, did you? (unless you’ve read the books…) There is SO much promise for the coming season, and I for one can not wait to see where they take us… Show writer Scott Gimple and Episode Director/ Show FX supervisor Greg Nicotero had some interesting if vague tidbits on the must-watch aftershow The Talking Dead, and I for one am ready to go along for the bloody ride….

Join Rick and the gang, Sunday Nights at 9PM Eastern time on AMC


Do Capes Matter for Superheroes?

by Valerie Greene

Lets ask the question, should superheroes always wear capes? I think it depends on two things. The hero, their purpose and costume design. The cape definitely highlights a sort of dynamism. When you open up an actual comic book, you see the pages do not move, so the cape is drawn as cloth fluttering around a character to signify that the superhero is a super, spinning dynamo of action and movement. You have your vigilante types like Batman and Blade who have utility uses for their capes (well Blade wears a trench coat, but you can consider it a cape).

The way he swings the coat around you would think..</p> <p>
The way he swings the coat around you would think..

For them, their capes are indispensable tools. The coat/cape has many hidden pockets to store all kinds of items, devices, and weapons that have various need.


Take The Shadow for example…

His cape is a huge staple within the comic. He would swirl his cloak around him to distract and confuse his enemies. Additionally, The Shadow (and Batman to an extent) cape helps to create a shroud of darkness around them, so they blend into their dark surroundings. Capes provide cover for these characters (and many others), whether they are bullet proof in some way, or visual cover. Lastly, it can also help the hero glide on air if need be (again, refer to Batman)

Long, flowing, intimidating
Long, flowing, intimidating

Capes can save our heroes from flying objects such as shrapnel and can protect them from falls or break their falls when they have no choice. Capes can even help our heroes fly or glide on air (Batman for sure…)

There are instances of where the costume work solely without a cape, as the costume serves its utility purpose without one. Look at Captain Marvel and Captain America…..

Don't understand the waist scarf here.....
Don’t understand the waist scarf here…..

The costume is based on military-style uniforms and work as a utility in and of itself. This is key to creating costumes that do not require a cape.

No cape needed
No cape needed

Cape as Fashion/Symbolism

Superman is a good example of this. In his case, as it is a thing of symbolism. The cape creates an ‘epic factor.’ Superman’s frequently depicted as a sort of guardian angel… giving him wings would have been too much. Why not give him a cape instead? I’m sure there is a lot more Kryptonian history involved in the wearing of the cape, but thats another can of worms for another day …..

How spiritual...
How spiritual…

In the case of Batman its also symbolic…so the cape helps to enhance the Batlook, showing that he is a creature of the night.

</p> <p>  "I am the night...."<br />
“I am the night….”

Fashion has a lot to do with it as well. Depending on the costume design, a cape is necessary to enhance the look. Would this costume be convincing if it came without a cape? I think not.

Superman doesn’t use his cape to manipulate his enemy, or shield him from much of anything. It is just there. To me, his long flowing (probably heavy) red cape always looks cumbersome to wear. If you need reference as to why capes don’t always work, look at this scene from The Incredibles:

Personally, I like some of superhero looks without the cape. It looks sleeker, and our heroes look lighter on their feet.

Still blends into the dark, without the cape.&nbsp;
Still blends into the dark, without the cape.&nbsp;
Looks more like a jump suit, but it works
Looks more like a jump suit, but it works
Not sure if this is Superman or Superboy
Not sure if this is Superman or Superboy

I think in the end it boils down to costume design (not including characters like Iron Man of course because a cape on that suit would look stupid.) Some costumes look fit for a cape, and some, I’m not sure why the cape is there. I guess the bottom line is what purpose it serves and does it make sense in terms of the character. Maybe you guys can educate me more on the wearing of capes……

Brunothe brawlerbralor

Cosplay Spotlight: Elliot M. !!

My name is Elliot M. I’m from Alexandria, VA and, believe it or not I’ve been cosplaying since I was about 4 or 5 years old. Long before I even knew what cosplay even WAS.


  1. Who or what inspired you to cosplay

My first cosplay was when I used to go to preschool dressed as a locomotive engineer in my denim striped overalls and hat. It’s just always been one of my favorite imaginative outlets.  When I was about 15 or so in high school was when I found out there was a whole COMMUNITY of people like me, who loved to dress up and come up with stories and just have fun. Once I found out about that I ran with it.
In truth, pretty much anything can be cosplay material. I think what makes me….unique? Weird?….as a cosplayer is that I don’t really dress up as established characters much (Though I did make a Wildcat costume Wildcat, not Black Panther. Yes, I know he’s ancient). To me, cosplay is the incredible ability to bring yourself into what you love, forget the canon! But, because they’re from a different universe, I tend to give them names of their own.

  1. What kinds of costumes do you like creating and what are your hobbies?

I started building my Mandalorian Armor (which has evolved along with me as I’ve evolved as a person (to the point where I need to make some bigger plates now). I named him Bruno (My great-grandfather’s given name) Bralor (Being my favorite Mandalorian Clan name).
But you can’t have a Mando and not a Jedi. As one of my friends in the Mandalorian Mercenaries Costume Club (of which I am not officially a part) once told me “you might stay for the Mandos, but everyone came to Star Wars for the Jedi.” But, like my Mando, I wanted to make my Jedi a reflection of me but in the Star Wars universe. So, I made the Kung-Fu Jedi (since I love kung-fu movies). I named him Ganner Iro-Gen. (There’s a Kung-fu reference there somewhere. Possibly to a certain tea-drinking former General, perhaps?)
But I also like doing some goofy costumes. When I’m not cosplaying, one of my longest running hobbies is playing the guitar (tied for favorite hobby with sailing and stage combat). So, since AC/DC is my favorite band, I dressed up as “Engus” (because Angus was taken) for Halloween once year. I ended up going to a bar and talking the DJ into letting me use his amp for a song. I played “Thunderstruck” and got the party hopping again. It was awesome.


  1. What is one big piece of advice you would give to a new cosplayer?

I think the best piece of advice I would have for a someone who’s new to cosplay is: don’t care about what anyone else says (unless it’s a compliment). At the end of the day we’re all nerds/geeks in costumes being people me might not necessarily be. You do it for yourself, for the fun, for the fulfillment of those times when you meet someone and they say “WOW! That’s AWESOME!”. There is no room in cosplay, or in life,  for people who put you down when you put your best foot forward. Be who you want to be, and you’ll find that people will appreciate it.

  1. What is one thing the cosplaying community can do better when it comes to dealing with each other?

To be brutally honest, I think the one thing that’s appalled me more than anything else about the cosplay community as a whole is how judgmental and exclusive some people (admittedly a very, VERY small percentage of cosplayers) try to make it. I can understand people wanting to have a good costume. I do, I know. But when you speak to someone else and try to enforce YOUR aesthetic or YOUR standards on someone who didn’t ask for your input, you’re being a jerk. We as cosplayers do this for the love of cosplay not fame, fortune, or benefit. And if you are overly critical of someone else’s costume, you run the risk of taking the fun out of it for them. We can’t have that, now can we?



Dracula Untold – Tales of the Original Bat-Man

by Aitch Cee


This movie shows that if you go in with low expectations, you just might get entertained. As it is, Dracula Untold, starring Luke Evans, is less of Bram Stoker’s story and a lot more of a fictional retelling of Vlad Tepes and how he became the Son of the Devil.

After watching this movie the way this story is told, you almost feel as if you are watching a superhero’s origin story. This movie is directed by Gary Shore with this being his debut big Hollywood film and before I delve into the movie, I would do a courtesy by saying it’s a shame at how this movie has so far being panned. It’s neither slow like 1992’s Dracula nor a train wreck like Dracula 2000(Trivia: it’s one of Gerald Butler’s early movies). It’s very briskly paced and does not linger but more on that in a moment.

The plot of the story is that Vlad is trying to bring peace to his country and to do so, he must pay tribute to Sultan Mehmed (played by Domic Cooper who looks nowhere Turkish) in order to keep the peace. However, when some of the sultan’s men turn up dead, they want more than what Vlad is willing to give. Seeking a way to end the war, he seeks out a higher and darker power to free his people at any cost. One thing to point out is if you know your history, Vlad Tepes has always been painted by the west at least as a depraved individual but in many parts of Romania, he is still revered as a hero. Now don’t get it twisted, what he did to his enemies was cruel but effective. In the movie, that portion of the story is loosely told but he is also shown to be a caring father and dedicated husband with some terrible choices to be made to save his people under his stead.

As I stated earlier, this movie is very briskly paced and I was kind of surprised that this movie clocked in at 90 minutes. But, it’s all you need to tell the story. It gets straight in with Vlad’s issue of resolving how he will keep the peace with the Turks, how he gains his vampiric power and what he has to lose. I thought it was a nice plot device to portray him as a fallen hero who has 3 days to do what needs to be done or live out the curse forever. Another touch was that Gary Shore was ambitious for hoping to keep the doors open for a sequel as early on when Vlad faces his Master played by Charles Dance (when he’s not dying on the can), we are lead to believe there are larger forces afoot, should Vlad succumb to the Thirst.

The movie kept me entertained with enough of the story intertwined with some passable action scenes to keep it from bogging down in useless dialogue. There is one scene that I thought was a bit hokey in which Vlad takes on an army of the sultan’s men all by himself and when the battle is over, Vlad’s soldiers arrive very late to the scene and at that point, not one has the sense enough to be afraid. But, hey, it feels like a superhero movie right? We can forgive that right? Well, not quite but that fear is made up for later and to be honest there are more plotholes to be had but, just try to be entertained, ok?

Of course before you know it, secrets are discovered, vows are made and by the time we make it to the climax, which although telegraphed, we are given yet another hint at a possible sequel as the movie gives a possible nod of Bram Stoker’s story with a modern day twist and a hint of darker things to come.

To sum it up, Dracula Untold is not the trainwreck it could have been and it’s a bit darker that what I thought it could be. The set pieces are nice to look at even if it feels a little over the top like a video game gone wrong. It has enough plotholes to drive a silver-tipped stake through but it still tells a story that should not bore anyone looking for a good action movie especially this close to Halloween. At the end of the day, it’s not a bad first effort by a new director who knows how to tell this story about an old legend in a modern age of capes and super powers.

3 out of 5 stars

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