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Heroes and Villains – Reviewing Recent Comics 7-19-2017

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This time on Heroes and Villains, we’ll be looking at a variety of comics out this week and last, from a variety of genres. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #17, Sisters of Sorrow #1, Dark Days: The Casting #1, New Super-Man #13, Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 11 #9, Angel Season 11 #7, Kill All Monsters! Omnibus Volume 1, The Guild Library Edition, and Dept. H #16… be warned, there may be spoilers…

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The Librarians S03 E03: And the Reunion of Evil

We take a break from the god of chaos and get into a little primeval chaos as we party with the Frost Giants on this week’s episode of The Librarians.

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The Librarians S03 E01: And The Rise of Chaos

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In season one, it was the Serpent Brotherhood, in season two it was the Fictionals, now it’s finally time to see what big bad we’ll be fighting in the season three premiere of The Librarians.

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31 Days of Horror 2016: Where Women Rule

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Welcome to another edition of Biff Bam Pop’s 31 Days of Horror!

Every year BBP writers make sure your October is full of the spooky stuff – rundowns of our favourite movies and why they still matter to us; recaps of ongoing television shows with a horrific bent; comics, books, movies and more. The majority of BBP contributors love the horror genre, and even better, love to write about it.

This year, we’re going to have some guests join us as well. Towards the end of the summer, I started reaching out to some friends and colleagues about whether they’d like to contribute to 31 Days of Horror. They’re writers and singers and actors. They’re supremely talented in their fields. And then, as I sat down to write this introduction, it hit me.

They’re all women.

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The Ten Percent: Where Scholars Dwell

“Ninety percent of everything is crud.” – Theodore Sturgeon

Hello, and welcome to another installment of “The Ten Percent”, a regular column where Ensley F. Guffey and I take turns examining the inverse of Sturgeon’s Law; in other words, the small portion of everything which is not crud. As regular discerning readers of Biff Bam Pop! know, we usually we use this space to discuss a film or television show or comic that gets people talking years or even decades after its premiere. The Ten Percent are the works which stand the test of time, and it’s not a question of genre here in the Ten Percent – slapstick comedy has a place, along with high-toned drama. Quality animation rubs shoulders with science fiction and over there you can find show-stopping musicals chatting with bloody horror. The Ten Percent last because they are high quality productions which demand more of their viewer than simple passive reception.

But this is going to be different for, instead of talking about the show, I’m going to discuss the people. See, there is a small, ferocious band of people known as television scholars. They apply critical theories to television, and they’re not kidding about it. Think of it like this. English literature has scholars. Some of these scholars focus intently on the work of one author – let’s say it’s Charles Dickens.  (Remember that, because we’re going to come back to him.) Now, some Dickens scholars dig into his works to see what can be learned about Victorian society by examining the novels (generally called “texts” in this case), while others look at the texts to discover what can be learned about Marxism, philosophy, the class system of England, teaching itself, and so on – there are a lot of different ways of looking at things.

Television scholars do the same thing, but their “texts” are TV shows, with each episode being the equivalent of a chapter. It’s relatively new (certainly compared to English literature as a field of study!), having only been around for 30 years or so.

While plenty of shows (including The Wire, The Sopranos, and The Simpsons) have been the subject of scholarly works, including graduate theses and doctoral dissertations, the one that is most often the subject of these studies is –

Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

By a long shot.

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The Ten Percent: Babylon 5 (1994 – 1998)

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“Ninety percent of everything is crud.” – Theodore Sturgeon

Twenty years ago, J. Michael Straczynski’s epic, award winning series Babylon 5 first aired on broadcast television. The show marked an important shift in the way American TV series were designed, for instead of a typical episodic structure where the story returns to the status quo ante at the end of the hour and picks up the following week as if nothing had happened, Straczynski plotted Babylon 5 as a series of long story arcs, which were themselves contained within one narrative master-arc. The series follows the adventures of the human crew and multi-species diplomats aboard the space station Babylon 5. Set in a universe where humans are far from the oldest, most developed, or most powerful race, the five season arc is a kind of coming of age story of humanity as a whole. The people aboard Babylon 5, both human and alien, find themselves confronted with multiple dangers ranging from the galaxy-wide machinations of two truly ancient and powerful races; to the smaller scale, but no less deadly, intrigues of interstellar politics. Led by Commander Jeffery Sinclair (Michael O’Hare) and Captain John Sheridan (Bruce Boxleitner), the people aboard survive and overcome the myriad difficulties facing them and the universe by building new alliances, and most importantly, new communities, that link together previously disparate peoples. In the process, however, there are enough space battles, civil wars, and assassination attempts to keep the most hardened action-junky satisfied, and all of it part of a single, grand narrative.

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Blue on Black: Toronto, Book Launches & ComiCon – Oh My!

I’m a pretty impulsive person. I always have been. This behaviour has taken me on some wild rides, some incredible, some not so much. Now that I’m a “responsible adult” I’ve toned it down and reigned it in quite a bit, but still sometimes I get that itch to go for something, my inner voice whispering, “Come on… Why not?” Recently, a stranger invited me to fly across the country and stay at his house for a few days. “It’ll be fun,” he said. That was pretty much all I needed to hear, so I booked a ticket, caught the flight, and crossed my fingers that this guy wasn’t a serial killer since I was going to be staying at his house. Well it turns out he wasn’t a serial killer, at least not the kind interested in the likes of me, and it turned out to be quite a fine 6 days after all.

I should probably mention that the stranger in this story is in fact Andy Burns, and that he (obviously) wasn’t a complete stranger. We’d become close online friends since last summer when our paths silently crossed at the Twin Peaks Festival in North Bend, Washington, and even more so since last fall when I started writing for BBP. He invited me to Toronto for the launch of his book, Wrapped in Plastic: Twin Peaks, but we had never spent any time together in person, so we were both a little nervous that our online connection wouldn’t necessarily translate into the real world. Turns out it did, and we had a fantastic time.
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Andy Burns On…Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s Dead Man’s Party

Each week, one of Biff Bam Pop’s illustrious writers will delve into one of their favorite things. Perhaps it’s a movie or album they’ve carried with them for years. Maybe it’s something new that moved them and they think might move you too. Each week, a new subject, a new voice writing on… something they love.

I know exactly where I was when I finally got “it”. It was a Tuesday night (naturally). I was in the wreck room/basement of the home I shared with my mother. I was flipping channels, just a little after 8 pm ET when I landed on channel 20. It was a catch-all channel from out of Barrie, Ontario that would pick up various shows from the WB and the other networks. On this night, they were showing an episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. It was the second episode of the third season. It was called Dead Man’s Party.

And it’s the episode that got me.

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Glenn Walker On… Firefly

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Each week, one of Biff Bam Pop’s illustrious writers will delve into one of their favorite things. Perhaps it’s a movie or album they’ve carried with them for years. Maybe it’s something new that moved them and they think might move you too. Each week, a new subject, a new voice writing on… something they love.

I’ll be talking about Joss Whedon’s “Firefly” and its cinematic sequel Serenity. Meet me after the jump, for some of my favorite stuff.

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Don’t Get Lost Looking For Wayward #1 On The Wednesday Run

It’s another Wednesday and that means another fascinating title released via Image Comics.

I know, I know. This particular column has been dipping into the Image well quite a bit this year – but believe me, all of those titles have been worthy ones to read. And if history is any kind of teacher, then so will that publishing company’s latest offering, the supernatural tale called Wayward.

Follow mw after the jump for the mystical scoop on the new series.

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