How Marvel Has Evolved

How Marvel Has Evolved - Nerd in the City

How Marvel Has Evolved

As we embark on Infinity Gauntlet Fitness and inch ever closer to the release of Avengers: Infinity War (April 27th, you guys!) it feels like as good a time as any to reflect on the journey Marvel’s taken us on in the last decade. Particularly in the last two or three years, as the MCU has expanded and Marvel has gained more pop culture influence than even company executives (likely) ever dreamed of, it feels like there’s been a great deal of evolution. Once I got to thinking about this, I realized the extent of it is actually pretty great, so I decided to write it all up. 

Side Arcs Have Drifted Away
This isn’t true in all cases. For instance the Captain America series is more or less directly in line with the core Avengers/Infinity War collaborative films. But elsewhere, a lot of the MCU side arcs seem a little bit more separate from the Avengers saga than they once did. Thor films have completely taken on their own flavor; the Guardians movies and Ant-Man series exist largely for MCU comic relief; and Black Panther certainly seems poised to launch almost its own world within the MCU. At this point it feels more like Marvel is in charge of several interconnected series, rather than one big one with a lot of separate chapters. 

The Netflix Experiment Got Huge
Once upon a time the introduction of a Daredevil series on Netflix seemed almost quaint. It was exciting, to be sure, and as it turned out Netflix and Marvel did a wonderful job with it. But it seemed very small compared to the sheer magnitude of the MCU. But even though blueprints were released pretty early as to the plans to expand the Netflix concept, it feels like a surprise just how big it all got, and how quickly. We’ve now seen multiple seasons for multiple heroes, as well as The Defenders, and it’s only been a few years. Oh, and for what it’s worth, the newly released second season of Jessica Jones is as good as any of it! The show is ahead of its time and thoroughly entertaining. 

The Gaming Priorities Shifted 

Aside from streaming and TV, gaming is probably the biggest side branch of the Marvel empire, and it’s actually changed quite a bit. Two years ago most of what Marvel had to offer in this arena existed via mobile app or online casino. Now the landscape is quite different. Playtech, the online developer responsible for the casino games, flushed out all of its Marvel content. And the apps, while still running strong, are taking a backseat as the company looks to develop more high quality console games. A few of these are just around the corner, and should elevate Marvel gaming to new heights. 

Diversity Became A Priority 
To put it bluntly, all of Marvel’s leading heroes for many years were straight, white men. To some degree this was to be expected, since that’s the case with many of the most prominent heroes in the comic books. But the studio took far too long to figure out ways to emphasize non-white, female, or LGBT characters (and we’re mostly still waiting on that last one). But credit where credit’s due, diversity has become a clearer priority in the last couple of years. Black Panther just became one of the biggest hits in the MCU and is a terrific celebration of black culture (with a few fantastic, strong female characters as well). And there are some female-led films coming down the pipe. Things are moving in the right direction, and in a beautiful way the MCU feels different for it. 

There May Be Award Talk
Here we’re looking into the crystal ball a little bit, but why not? There’s a chance that another year from now, when we’ve already witnessed the Infinity War, Deadpool has given us a stash of new quotable lines, and Infinity Gauntlet has whipped you into shape, we’ll be talking about how Black Panther performed at the Oscars. None other than Christopher Nolan has predicted a nomination, and he certainly isn’t alone. Award talk for a Marvel movie would definitely represent an exciting evolution in the MCU.

This is a contributed article from Henry Johns.

#NerdsLove

February is the month of love. Which often illicits a “Yuck” and an eye roll from me. Instead of my usual “down with love” attitude, I decided instead to share the things I love with my instapeeps. And the best part is that a bunch of you joined my challenge and shared the things you loved with me! Check out the hashtag #NerdsLove for more from everyone and each individual hashtag below for more specific expressions of love.

Me? I love it all! @NerdintheSand
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#NerdsLoveStarWars
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#NerdsLoveLaughing
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#NerdsloveGaming
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#NerdsloveAnimals
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#NerdsLoveZombies
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#NerdsloveJaneAusten
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#NerdsloveSports
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#NerdsloveStarTrek
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#NerdsLovePizza
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#NerdsLoveFashion
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#NerdsloveBuffy
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#NerdsloveDeadpool
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#NerdsloveMarvel
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#NerdsloveLOVE
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#NerdslovePresidents
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#NerdsloveFitness
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#NerdsloveConventions
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#NerdsloveDancing
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#NerdsloveTravel
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#NerdsloveSand
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#NerdsloveFamily
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#NerdsloveMondays
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#NerdsloveSocial
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#NerdsloveKiddos
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#NerdsloveFriends
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#NerdsloveHarryPotter
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#NerdsloveDisney
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#NerdsloveMusic
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#NerdsloveSpring
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It’s never too late to share what you love. The hashtag #Nerdslove is not going anywhere! Do you love something? Share it!
We’re all nerdy for something.

Star Wars EU Review

The Old Republic: Revan by Drew Karpyshyn

Revan has quickly become one of my favorite books, not only in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, but among mainstream fiction as well.

This Jedi turned Sith Lord, turned Jedi again plays a pivotal role in The Old Republic as well as the broader Star Wars Universe itself. In fact, Darth Bane (a series also penned by Karpyshyn) later discovers Revan’s holocron which spawns the reinstitution of the Rule of Two among the Sith.

Perhaps it is author, Drew Karpyshyn’s history as a game developer that gives his writing another dimension. At times it feels like you’ve entered the gaming world instead of merely picked up a good book. His imagery is strong and his characters are visceral. In fact, a lot of Revan’s story plays out in the Bioware game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.

After fighting in the Mandalorian Wars, Revan and his friend Malak get caught up in a series of mysterious trails taking them far beyond the Outer Rim to the ‘Unknown Regions,’ where they discover the Sith waiting patiently for a chance to strike back at the Jedi Order. Malak and Revan are confronted by the evil Sith Emperor, and are turned to the dark side through his powerful influence.

Able to finally break away from the Emperor’s control, Revan and Malak begin to “establish their own Empire. Resulting in the Jedi Civil War. Revan is betrayed by Malak and is captured by a young Jedi Knight named Bastila Shan.” (Wookiepedia) Eventually Revan’s memory is wiped and he returns to the Jedi fold and marries Shan.

Karpyshyn’s novel begins after these events, once his memory has been wiped and he has been married to Bastila.

If there is a story that I would love to see played out on either the big or small screen, it is Revan’s story! A definite must read if you are at all interested in (obsessed with) the Star Wars Universe.

Nerd HQ Recap

If you still don’t know what Nerd HQ is, then listen up.
It is equal parts pure nerd heaven and heart-warming philanthropic endeavor.

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To be a volunteer at Nerd HQ is like being at Nerd summer camp. You make great friends, have amazing fun and inevitably end up crying when it’s all over.

Comic Con is it’s own behemoth animal experience and every nerd should experience it at least once. And once they do, they should come over to Nerd HQ and never leave!

While Comic Con tends to be all lines and crowded spaces and over crowded panels, Nerd HQ is well orgnized and happy chaos. And because all the money made goes to Operation Smile, there is a sense of peace and happiness within everybody working there. Not only have we worked very hard to be chosen to be there, but we have chosen to be there for free. And that instantly becomes a rewarding experience!

The celebrities who come, new and returning seem constantly amazed at the blanket support given to this cause. And people walk away happy.

This is, of course, due in large part to the overall love that the nerd community has for Zachary Levi, prince of nerds (king would probably be Joss) arguably one of the kindest people in Hollywood.

He works to make his guests feel comfortable and protected and his fans feel special. All while being an ambassador and champion for Operation Smile. His team is made up of good friends and devoted family members. The kind of people he surrounds himself with says everything in the world about the kind of man he is. It was an honor to meet him.

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When I say it was amazing to be apart of, what I mean to say is that it was AH-MAZE-ING!!

I would gladly go back every year if they’d have me.
And I endeavor to make every nerd in America aware of what they are doing over at The Nerd Machine. Because it’s truly worth knowing about.

Here’s a snapshot of what the week looked like from a volunteer perspective. The things I saw and got to do. There was a lot of standing and running around,  lot of being ready for whatever may come our way. And at the end of the day, every moment was worth the next.

Gaming floor:

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NERD party:

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Panels:

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Nathan Fillion

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Evangelline Lilly

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Richard Madden

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Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles

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Tom Hiddleston

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Serenity in the park:

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Nathan and Alan narrating

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Fun with fellow volunteers:

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The whole amazing team!!