Feature & Movie Musings: Preparing for WonderCon 2019 & a Review of Shazam!

Crushed on by Christy Jane, on March 29, 2019, in Comics/Graphic Novels, Events, Reviews, TV Thoughts & Movie Musings / 1 Comment

Feature & Movie Musings: Preparing for WonderCon 2019 & a Review of Shazam!

WonderCon is an annual convention focused on comics, the latest for DC and Marvel entertainment, books, and all things fan-focused. It’s hosted by the same people who host San Diego Comic Con and also located in Southern California (Anaheim). We are excited for the opportunity to cover WonderCon and fangirl with other fans! Plus, I had a sneak peek of Shazam! last weekend and have some thoughts on what worked and how comics still has a long way to go. Check it out!

WonderCon 2019

What’s on My Schedule:

Bookish, comics, and manga panels, panels for Cloak & Dagger and Dark Phoenix, and fun panels like a Buffy Once More with Feeling singalong in the style of Rocky Horror. Friday seems to be my busiest day since that’s when the Marvel entertainment panels are happening. I think there’s going to be a surprise Shazam! panel, which is why I tied it in here.

Creators I Hope to Meet:

One thing I love about WonderCon is the variety of talent that is attending. I hope to meet authors Livia Blackburne, Ann Aguirre, Sarah Kuhn, and Maura Milan and comic creators Jen Bartel and Jody Houser. I have books and/or comics for each of them!

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Tell me why your most anticipated books made your list!⠀ . . .⠀ OH EM GEE did you see the Eclipse the Skies cover???? I am so in love with it! Ignite the Stars is now forever a favorite because HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE IA (well, unless you’re the Commonwealth)??! I asked @mauraisdoomed what surprised her most in book 2 and she said, “In Eclipse the Skies, I wanted to show a new side to Ia. Not as the Blood Wolf of the Skies, or the Sovereign. What happens when you strip all those titles away? There’s a girl with so much strength and vulnerability, a girl whose choices are her own but impact so many other people. And the struggle for her isn’t if can she handle the responsibility of these decisions, but it’s a question of does she want to?”⠀ .⠀ I have a bunch of reasons why I loved Ignite the Stars over on #bookcrushin .com today. Honestly, it’s one of the best space books I’ve read and I can’t wait for Eclipse the Skies! Check out the synopsis below!⠀ .⠀ Ia Cōcha never thought she’d be working for the Olympus Commonwealth. But that was before she found out her trusted brother Einn was trying to tear apart the universe. Now, Ia, the Blood Wolf of the Skies, has agreed to help the Royal Star Force on one condition: when she finds him, she gets to kill Einn herself.⠀ ⠀ Brinn Tarver has just come to terms with her Tawny identity when the public lashes out against her people, crushing her family. At her breaking point, she starts to question everything she believes in — including Ia.⠀ ⠀ After the death of his mentor, Knives Adams is doing his best to live up to a role he didn’t ask for as Aphelion’s new headmaster. Still, with each new step deeper into war, he feels torn between his duties and the pull of Ia’s radical — sometimes criminal — ideas.⠀ ⠀ As they fight to keep darkness from eclipsing the skies, their unpredictable choices launch this breathtaking sequel to explosive new heights.⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #bookish #igreads #booknerd #bookstagrammer #bibliophile #booknerdigans #instabooks #bookblogger #Bookstagram #booktography #yalit #bookaholic #yabooks #bookphotography #yafiction #booklove #bookgram #libros #livros #mauramilan #eclipsetheskies #ignitethestars #yascifi #s

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What I’m Cosplaying:

So, I decided to stick with fandom clothes this time around rather than break out more cosplay. I have Supernatural, Star Wars, and Marvel clothes with me!

Shazam! Review

If a superhero can’t save his family, he’s not much of a hero. – Billy Batson aka Shazam!

One of my most anticipated comic to screen adaptation for 2019 is Shazam. Shazam is the super strong, bulletproof, lightning-wielding, flying adult alter-ego of teenager Billy Batson. Summoned by a sneeze saying “Shazam!”, the hero is exactly what you’d expect from a teen in an adult body – a little bit impulsive, a little bit unsure, and a lot of heart.

Shazam sets up Billy as the hero and Doctor Silvana as the villain. Billy, the foster kid searching for his mother and finding family along the way, and Dr. Silvana, the privileged adult who was never good enough for his dad and brother. When an ancient wizard sets out to imbue his magic into the next generation (the person tasked with keeping the 7 deadly sins from invading our world), Dr. Silvana is offered the chance in his childhood but is once again rejected because he couldn’t keep his hands off the shiny. He spends his life and riches searching for the missing link – and the power. Indeed, Envy is his greatest downfall. 

Newly Shazam-ed Billy is in his umpteenth foster home, having run away from the others in search of his mother. Seems he’s landed a good one, with two parents who aren’t going to give up on him and a host of foster siblings determined to help him feel welcome. I appreciate the positive voice of his social worker and his foster parents. Let’s have more of that – helpers HELPING. Not every foster kid has a tragic foster or social worker story. 

This is where the heart of Shazam lies, in found family and making the best of a tough situation. The actors and actresses playing the 6 kids shine in their roles and give us many laughable and heartwarming moments. 

Inevitably Billy as Shazam and Dr. Silvana (now inhabited by the Seven Deadly Sins) must face off. Billy’s just a kid in a grown up body (ok, with a few powers) and that’s not much for ancient evil. Who best to support Shazam than his Shazamily! Canon to the comics are the family of Marvels (the original name of the Shazam fam), with each of Billy’s foster siblings joining him in the good fight. Seeing it on the big screen was a treat to Shazam fans – but I have a few issues with how it went down. 

It’s great to see a diverse cast in the forefront of the movie. Eugene is Asian, Pedro is Latinx, fat, and not straight (though we know nothing more about his character beyond that), Darla is African-American, and Freddy has an unexplained disability and uses a crutch to walk with. I’ll give DC some credit for that (most is comic canon). We have to examine some of the perpetuating issues carried over from the comics – the fact that Freddy’s disability disappears when he becomes a hero (he does retain it in his non-hero form), Pedro transforms into a buff, lean adult version, and Eugene, the sole Asian-American character, is displayed as highly intelligent and a computer geek (and in the comics has additional powers to control technology). While Freddy has been around since the beginning of the comic, Pedro and Eugene were added not too long ago – and written by a white, cishet man. The movie and recent comic series (it’s 3 issues in) could have been an opportunity to build out these characters and make them into more than stereotypes. I’m disappointed in the decision to leave harmful prejudices in and it affects how I feel about the movie greatly.

Shazam has the heart and cast to be great, if only the creative team had examined the biases presented in the material. 

Shazam opens in theaters on April 5th.

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