Author Archives: Tony B Kim

About Tony B Kim

Mild-mannered writer disguised as a super nerd, fighting a never-ending battle for fandom, cosplayers, & the Ameri-CON way! #WalkingDead #GameOfThrones #DoctorWho

Comic-Con Cosplay Catastrophe

Over the past few years, mashing up genres has become the hot thing to do in the world of cosplay (which I am guilty of). However, if we are not cautious, we may find ourselves mashed up beyond recognition. Thanks College Humor for this hilarious take on what will probably soon be a reality and for reminding us why we are so awesomely weird. Btw- Joss, you are the man.

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Truth, Justice, and the American Male Way…

This article is a repost from Crazy4ComicCon.com
Now that the fanfare has settled from Comic-Con, it’s time to reflect on a more serious aspect of the show. Among all of the amazing parts of Comic-Con, the panels, fans, celebs, toys, and events- there is still one issue that has left a sour taste in my mouth ever since I started attending back in 2006. Like year’s past, I focused on all the big announcements coming out of legendary Hall H. With the grand hall being the epicenter of the pop culture universe, the contents of each 45 minute panel is enough to start the  domino that leads to a media frenzy that lasts all year long. The world is watching, so what do they see? Whether it was Hunger Games, X-Men, Doctor Who, Avengers or most other Hollywood powered panel, one message is clear, there is still a significant lack of heroic diversity in Hollywood.

Marvel Studios Panel At Comic-ConWith tongue in cheek, I called my article “Truth, Justice, and the American Male Way”. The problem is, I’m an American male but I sure don’t see any leading men that look like me. My parents immigrated here from Korea shortly before I was born, however just being ‘American’ doesn’t seem to be enough to carry the mantle of a leading role in our cinema culture. To be honest, I should have titled this “Truth, Justice, and the White Male Way”- because that seems to be more accurate judging by all the pics that traditionally come our of Hall H from year-to-year. I know what I am sharing is not anything necessarily new, but how much longer can we continue to accept this? Billions of dollars are poured into these properties that tell stories of white males, celebrate the heroism of white males, and serve to launch careers of white males. While I love all the hype and hoopla that surrounds Hall H, I am also saddened by the fact that this is nothing more than a celebration of our nation’s most treasured commodity: white handsome men. Our applause, adoration, and dollars just goes in to feed this vicious cycle too. I know the intent of most creators and producers is not to crush the spirit of any minority groups out there, but it happens in some way with every movie that comes out with mono-ethnic casting. Sure having a black Nick Fury or Perry White does help, but they are not the ones on the marquee nor is what a franchise is being built on.

Warner Bros. And Legendary Pictures Preview - Comic-Con International 2013A common retort I get (typically from Caucasians) is  “Well they are just playing the characters as they were created- which are white…” While I appreciate being faithful to the source material, with this reasoning, we will never see major characters led by people of color. Characters created back in the 40s, 50s, and 60s, were still under the heavy influence of a racist culture. It wasn’t until bold creators like Gene Roddenberry (Star Trek) came along that dared the status quo and helped bring minorities onto TV. Not only are minorities not being considered in key roles but often times they are being replaced for the sake of profit. Take the recent Lone Ranger movie by Disney. How awesome would it had been if they cast an actual Native American for the role of Tonto instead of just trying to ignite yet another franchise for Johnny Depp? It was yet another role to make the rich richer while marginalizing a minority group yet again. To make matters worst, whenever we see minorities in film, they still fall into broad stereotypes that do very little to progress the mindset for the audience. In general, Asians are still martial artists, Blacks are still thugs, Mexicans are low riding gang bangers, and the painful list goes on and on. Does Kato, Storm Shadow, and a samurai sword wielding Sulu have to be all I have to look up to?

Liam Hemsworth, Willow Shields, Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Jena MaloneWomen have fought the similar fight as many marginalized groups over history, however I do think progress is being made- albeit a little. With franchises like the Hunger Games, women are getting more powerful roles but they are still the exception and not the rule- and I still can’t figure out why? Is it that the powers that be don’t know what to do with strong, independent women? We’ve seen some success on the small screen but it is clear Hollywood still feels it is too risky to put their dollars behind an iconic character like Wonder Woman. Sorry ladies, Catmwomen and Electra is all you have to represent. If there is any doubt to this, try applying the Bechdel Test to any of your favorite movies. Warning, if you are like me, this test will ruin movie watching (but for the better). I’m elated that women are getting more opportunities but if you stand back and really analyze the landscape of cinema, it is still pretty abysmal. Leading roles for women are few let alone to have multiple named female in a cast that contribute to the story and aren’t there to fight over a man. I so appreciate this recent article about women at Comic-Con by Kate Conway that delves into this issue more deeper.

Starz "Torchwood" Panel - Comic-Con 2011I’m afraid the GLTB community is going to have an even longer wait than probably any of the minorities I listed above. It seems the main value of gay characters in Hollywood are more or less to be comic relief or to be a broad stereotype. I can’t even think of a main character of any movie that is gay but that NOT be the main point of his/her character. Contrary to popular casting, a gay character doesn’t have to ‘act gay’ in order to legitimize his/her role in a story. John Barrowman’s Captain Jack Harkness of the Torchwood series has been the first step in this direction and it has added a refreshing new aspect to this conversation.

I dunno, am I just taking crazy pills here or does this all seem a little insane? Is it too much to ask that we minorities be given a fair shot and not be relegated to secondary characters or comic relief. It’s so blatantly obvious yet no one cares or is empowered to do anything about it. It’s not a shock to anyone when I say, I love Comic-Con. I wouldn’t blame Comic-Con for this plight more than I would blame a dish for serving a bad meal. But it saddens me that at the core of all these amazing Hall H announcements, the underling message to the next generation of artists, writers, directors, and actors is that if you are going to make it in Hollywood, you need to play this game. Think about it, with all of the amazing talent, power, and money in Hollywood, there still has yet to be an established leading Asian American male. Seriously? It’s the 21st century and Asians are closing in on half the population of the world and yet no leading men of Asian American decent? I am going crazy.

SONY DSCI was glad to end Comic-Con with my Battle for Multicultural Heroes panel on Sunday. Joined by a great group of fellow advocates, it was awesome to interact about this issue with a passioante audience. In the shadow of all the epic Hall H announcements, I think it was fitting to put it all into context and to talk openly about what need to happen for this culture to change. The conversation was the very tip of a very large iceberg but each small step counts. Hopefully, we’ll locate the audio for it to post online.

Let me make something clear. I love white people. They are awesome. They are one of my favorite things in the world :). In most cases, I know it’s not malignant intent but usually a result of this issue just being out of sight, out of mind. Unfortunately, minorities will never be able to create themselves out of this plight. It will only come at the permission of white men. As gate keepers of this industry, it will take a coordinated effort to make this change. It will be difficult and long but a change is long overdue. For the sake of length, I plan to share the solution for this change in my next post- so check back tomorrow. My hope is not to stir contention or spread divisiveness about what is otherwise the best event of the year. I simply want to bring to the forefront what’s on the mind of many fellow Comic-Con fans in hopes to spark conversation. If one creator makes a different decision as a result of these conversations then progress is being made. But it’s going to take a lot of talking, a lot of sharing of ideas, and compromise at many levels. I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. I can’t think of a more important topic that is more dependent on your comments.

Check back tomorrow for my part 2 to this article as I present a solution to this dilemma.

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The Battle for Multicultural Heroes Panel at Comic-Con

CC Panel Promo

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by | July 9, 2013 · 7:43 am

New Star Trek Into Darkness Trailer

As we creep ever so closely to the May 17th release date- more and more images of the new Star Trek movie are coming out- and it is looking better and better each time. This may take the franchise where no Star Trek movie has gone before!

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Star Trek Into Darkness #2

Another AMAZING trailer has been released for the new JJ Abrams highly anticipated Trek adventure. This one takes more of a humorous and personal approach which was missing from the first awesomely action packed trailer. It’s great to see Kirk up to his rebellious shenanigans with his failthful crew following their Captain’s lead. I can’t decide which movie I am more excited for- this one or Man of Steel. Each new trailer puts either movie in the lead in my conflicted mind. Either way, I will be their for opening night of both eagerly hoping for my world to be rocked. What do you think of this new trailer?

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Man of Steel: Empire Magazine

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This is a pretty epic cover for the March issue of Empire Magazine. Since it was announced, Zack Snyder has been walking a tightrope suspended over a mine-field. Fans have been scrutinizing his every move waiting to pounce on anything that looks suspicious. Not only is the fate of the world at stake but the future of Warner Bros/DC film universe. In my opinion, so far so good. I love this cover and the couple of trailers we have seen so far. June 14th can’t come soon enough. What do you think?

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Convention Schedule 2013

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A new year of conventions is about to kick off! Where once we had just a few cons to attend, there are now many cons to cover- too many in fact. BabbleOn 5 would love to hit every one from East to West but sadly we can’t. Below is our tentative con schedule- the ones in RED are the cons we are going to cover for the site. Hope to see you around!

Amazing Arizona Comic-Con: Jan 25-27

Portland Comic Con/Wizard World: Feb 22-24

WonderCon Anaheim: March 29-31

C2E2: April 26-28

Long Beach Comic Expo: May 11

Phoenix Comicon: May 23-26

E3: June 11-13

Anime Expo: July 4-7

San Diego Comic-Con: July 18-21

Disney’s D23: Aug 9-11

DragonCon: Aug 30 – Sept 2

PAX: Aug 31 – Sept 2

Zombie Run: Sept 28 (not a Con but close enough)

New York Comic-Con: Oct 10-13

Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo: Nov 1-3

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Star Trek Into Darkness teaser

It’s been a long 4 years, but we finally get a look at JJ Abrams highly anticipated sequel to the rebooted Star Trek. In my opinion, the new Star Trek franchise is one of the few reboot/re-start/re-imagining that surpassed expectations at every level- and I am saying this as a HARDCORE Trekkie. Even though 4 years has been a long time in cinema terms, I’m glad that JJ took his time with it instead of rushing a ‘McMovie’ out to make a buck. Apparently from to this teaser, this Star Trek adventures seems to be much different than it’s predecessors- which is a good thing. We’ll be getting a longer version on Dec 17th so keep your hailing frequencies open. What are your thoughts?

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A movie fan poll:

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When it was first announced that JJ Abrams Star Trek sequel would hit the theaters in 2013, I was elated. Then when it was announced that a special 9-minute preview would be released in front of The Hobbit IMAX, I was going plain bananas- and immediately started making plans to seeing it there. However, upon further thought, I started to reconsider this decision. Even though I loved seeing both the Dark Knight and DKR previews, I do think it took away from the impact when seeing their respective films. I love Star Trek more than anything so I am in a dilemma if I should see this preview since it’s my highest anticipated film for next year. What do you think? Do you like to see these extended previews or do you avoid them? Thanks for your vote!

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50 years of James Bond

In honor of 50 years of Bond, James Bond- here is a great video highlighting the 50 most memorable moments for 007.

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Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome

The nerd universe is in desperate need of a new space saga series- let’s hope this can be the beginning of the next. Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome will FINALLY be released THIS FRIDAY on Machinima Prime. Follow young pilot William Adama in the First Cylon War and his first adventure aboard the Battlestar Galactica.

It will be awesome- SO SAY WE ALL!

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Top 10 reasons why The Walking Dead opener was a success

The long anticipated season 3 opener for The Walking Dead finally aired Sunday night. Overall I loved the comic book series but unfortunately, I don’t think it has translated very consistently on the small screen. season 1 was strong but I found season 2 to be a bore and frankly, I was glad when it was over. Much to my chagrin, the season 3 opener came out of the gates not walking, but running. Here are my top 10 reasons why the episode kicked zombie booty:

  1. Mega zombie killing action: After a leisurely death here and there from last season, we finally see some serious hand to decrepit hand combat. I think more zombies were killed in this first episode than all of last season.
  2. Team kills: Everyone is getting better at combat. They aren’t sissies anymore- and it’s about time.
  3. More Daryl: Everyone’s favorite redneck is doing what he does best- killing. Every motley crew needs a gunner and he is as good as they get.
  4. Michonne: I think she became a fan favorite in about 30 seconds. She’s fierce, strong, and best of all, wields a samurai sword. May the cosplay begin.
  5. The Prison will set you free: Herschel’s farm storyline was a brief encounter in the original comic book but somehow turned out feeling like a prison. Unfortunately, they dragged it out for an entire season and it turned the series into The Crawling Dead. The Prison storyline promises to be much more interesting and is possibly the best arc in the source material. It is a rich environment with endless amount of dark corridors which makes it especially creepy. Plus, the sense that a Prison leading them to more freedom is perfect irony.
  6. Rick steps up: Finally some leadership from our central character. I liked Shane but he was making Rick look like a whimpering, indecisive fool. Leadership means doing what you have to do for the sake of the group regardless if you lose popularity points. It’s good to see Rick grow a pair.
  7. Non-stupidity: At least in this episode, people aren’t doing dumb things- like crashing cars, cutting themselves, getting lost, etc. Sure crazy things happen, but season 2 felt like the writers were just running out of good ideas. Let’s hope they don’t revert back to being idiots.
  8. The Herschel upgrade: Not to be an age-ist but we have one in every demographic but an extra in the 60+ category- so Dale had to go. Dale turned out to be pretty whiny so Herschel is a nice upgrade. He brings wisdom and steadiness to the group but has a certain toughness. Plus he has medical skills. Dale skill: fixing an RV.
  9. Gore: it’s always nice to remind us why The Walking Dead is on a cable channel. Zombies getting their faces ripped off and peeps getting limbs amputated is good, solid family fun for all. Keep it coming.
  10. Finally, Carl grows up: Finally, Carl is doing something instead of getting lost. Put a gun in his hand (with a cool silencer) and get him into the action.

I was really pleased with this season opener. If it follows the comics, this is just the beginning of the roller coaster ride. Let’s hope the writers learned their lessons from season 2 and keep this show running not walking.

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