Nightwing New Movie – Who should Direct?

Warner Brothers adding a new Nightwing movie to the DCEU has gone from rumor to something that will definitely happen, even if we don’t know precisely when it will happen. That’s okay, I’m patient, and it’s about time that the general populace got a chance to meet grown-up Dick Grayson – the man comics fans know, who is no longer running around in short green pants. So, naturally I’ve been following the news on-line about the film.

Director Promises a Nightwing Film of Action and Heart

But reading about the film, while it sounds promising, I found the following quote, well, disturbing,

“It’s gonna be a fucking badass action movie with a lot of heart and emotion,” McKay told Collider.

and not just because of the language. While Nightwing is a strong character, there is more to him than that, and he’s also the antithesis of the “beat-up now ask questions later” superhero. Dick Grayson’s greatest strength is his compassion, not his physical abilities. It’s what sets him apart from Batman. It’s what in a very real sense caused Dick to quit being Robin, attend college, date Barbara Gordan, then move to Blüdhaven to be his own man and develop his own hero, Nightwing.

I’d prefer a female director for Nightwing. The character is over-whelmingly popular with female comics readers and female fans, and not simply because of Dick Grayson’s looks or assets filling out his costume. Furthermore, Nightwing’s popularity with women is something that happened organically – suddenly Nightwing was a book that in all it’s guises was being read by women (versions such as the original Chuck Dixon Nightwing series from the 90s, New 52’s Nightwing and later, Grayson, and the current Rebirth Nightwing).

It isn’t simply Dick’s handsome looks, or his butt, or his incredible physical skill and agility that make women “swoon” for the character – Dick Grayson is a character who cares for others, and uses his skills to help them – in long-lasting, impactful ways, whether that’s with his money, or saving someone, or putting a dangerous criminal in jail, or simply being a good listener – to other members of the Bat Family, to his friends, even to strangers. Batman may save a city, Superman may save the planet, Oracle may supply the information the Justice League needs to understand what a villain is trying to do – but Dick Grayson will take the time to stop his landlady from losing her apartment building and home after an earthquake, or help a friend get into medical school on a scholarship, or listen to Tim Drake as he tries to figure out his life, or even stop to give a hurt child a teddybear.

Dick Grayson is a natural carer – and that’s probably a reason that a lot of women like him. So why not let a woman direct the Nightwing film? I will see it either way, and I’m sure Chris McKay will be great (I loved The Lego Batman Movie – I really did) but Patty Jenkins knocked it out of the park with Wonder Woman, and the film saved Warners this Summer. So why not do something different. Why not hire a woman?





Non-Fiction Book Review – Inside HBO’s Game of Thrones: Seasons 1 & 2

  • Title: Inside HBO’s Game of Thrones: Seasons 1 & 2
  • Author: Bryan Cogman
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 11/03/2014

Inside HBO’s Game of Thrones is a beautiful coffee table book for the television series, specifically seasons 1 and 2 only. The pictures, especially the full-size ones and the double-page spreads are absolutely gorgeous. Often books like this have nice pictures but are skimpy on content. However, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, as much as I loved the beautiful photography. Inside HBO’s Game of Thrones covers not only the major houses: Stark, Lannister, Baratheon, Targaryen, but all the important but minor characters that appeared in the television series as of Season 2. That is another asset of the book by the way, because it only covers the first two seasons, and it religiously avoids spoilers, if you still have not seen later seasons – it’s a safe read. And since Season Four won’t be released on DVD until February of 2015 – it’s a safe bet some fans of the show have only seen through Season 3 at least. This is a good book to get that avoids spoilers. Also, there are very, very few references to the books and none that are spoilry in nature (a few characters, in terms of casting, were, according to Inside HBO’s Game of Thrones quite different. The interviews on casting explain these choices.)

Besides giving a well-grounded, if brief, history of Westros, Essos, and the major and minor houses – the hardcover coffee-table book is filled with interviews: casting directors, actors, costuming directors, set designers, some information on locations, etc. It’s a thorough coverage of the television series’s first two years. I highly enjoyed it.

If you are a fan of HBO’s Game of Thrones television series this book belongs on your bookshelf.

There are a few things I would have liked to have seen: 1. The Credit Sequence for the show won an Emmy – I would have liked to read more about the development of the 3-D map, with pictures (I love models); and 2. I’d just like to see a map. Even with the map in the credits of the show – I’d like to get a better idea of where everything is. But there is a book due out this Fall for Series 3 and 4, so maybe these additional items will appear.

Highly recommended for fans of the show.

Book Review – Carved in Bone

  • Title: Carved in Bone
  • Author: Jefferson Bass
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 04/08/2013

I enjoyed this. It’s very much in the same vein as Kathy Reichs books, which I’ve read for years. There’s a lot more humor, including “gallows” humor in the book – but not of the offensive or even gross-out type.

The descriptions of forensics, evidence-gathering, bone cataloging, scene-handling et cetera are extremely well done and precise without being too overly detailed. At no time did I find the science or police parts of the novel to get boring. The description of a cataloging the bones of a recently discovered mummified body (as well as the explanation of how and why a body could mummify when buried in a cave) took me back to my under-grad physical anthropology days. Again, it was also the perfect mix of correct scientific detail and not going over-board with the same.

What I really liked about Carved in Bone was that several other threads of plot and even other cases are woven through the main mystery. Whether it was Dr. Bill Brockton’s embarrassment that he’s agreed to testify for the defense for a man unjustly accused of murder (much to the chagrin of his police-officer friends and his normal partner in criminal cases, the DA) – only to discover he felt good at proving the original autopsy was completely botched and the man actually wasn’t even murdered at all, and Brockton gets warm fuzzies when the innocent man is released. Or, Brockton’s completely believable interactions with his students – Carved in Bone weaves together several great plots and colorful characters.

I did find that at times the very thick “dialect” of the East Tennessee mountain folk that the main case revolves around was hard to get through and almost came off as making fun of the characters. On the other hand, Jefferson Bass’s novel made unlikely characters (such as subsistence pot farmer “Cousin Vern”) sympathetic and understandable.

Oh, animal lovers beware – there are two scenes of animal cruelty in the book. Neither “praises” the activity but I was quite upset anyway. One scene is used to point out a certain character is The Bad Guy(tm) and the other is a scene of local color. At least one was gratuitous, possibly both, depending on how you look at it.

I also liked the subtle hints of other areas of anthropology. The discipline has four areas: physical anthropology, archaeology, cultural anthropology and linguistic anthropology. Carved in Bone actually has almost as much cultural anthropology in it as physical anthropology (forensics).

Overall, a fast smooth read, enjoyable, and I would be likely to buy more books in the “Body Farm” series. The author “Jefferson Bass” is a pen name for noted physical anthropologist Dr. Bill Bass (founder of the Body Farm in Tennessee) and journalist Jon Jefferson.