18 Things To Look Forward To in 2018!

The new year is finally upon us and with it not only do we have a fresh start do do things better then we did last year, but also a years worth of new animations, comics, film and more to look forward to!  So without further ado, here are eighteen things to look forward to in 2018!  In no particular order other then how I feel talking about them.  So let’s get started!

 

 

 

  1. Mary & The Witches Flower.

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The first feature length film by Studio Ponoc is getting an western release through GKids and Fhantom Events on January 18th and anyone who is a fan of animation should be excited about this one!   The film which more or less apes Studio Ghibli’s artstyle seems to be full of not just quality animation but a genuinly enjoyable story with a main protagonist attending a Harry Potter-esque school while also uncovering a dark secret.  The movie based on the children’s book by the same name will no doubt be a delight for animation and film goers of all ages!

 

2. The Snagglepuss Chronicles

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DC Comics has been making the most of their rights to publish books based on the classic Hannah-Barbara Characters as of late with their HB Beyond line which takes the classic toons and revives them with a modern twist and Snagglepuss Chronicles is no different. The book features an even more anthropomorphized version of the classic pink cat who is a gay southern gothic playwright during the “Red Scare” period of American politics.  The series despite being set in the past is extremely relevant to the increasingly disturbing state of American politics as of present and is sure to be a poingent socio-political tale as well as one of the best comics of 2018. So if you are a fan of classic Hannah-Barbara characters and quality socio-political commentary I say check it out!

 

 

3. Craig of The Creek!

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One of Cartoon Network’s new original series for 2018, Craig of The Creek is an animated slice of life adventure series about the titular Craig and his friends as the have various adventures in the forest nearby his neighborhood.   The show is more or less meant to be a stand in for the currently ending series Clarence though the visual style is more akin to that of Steven Universe and the general tone of the series going off the polite is far more relaxed and innocent.  Overall Craig of the Creek is another attempt at a modern version of a series similar to Reccess or Rugrats minus the occasionally manic tone of the latter, with seemingly a tiny bit of Bridge To Tarabithia thrown in, sans the sad parts of course.   If you are a fan of fun and relaxing toons I would definitely recommend checking it out!

 

4. Cosmo

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The latest series for Archie’s all-ages action imprint. Cosmo is a revitalization of a silver age comic series brought back to life by popular Sonic Scribes like Ian Flynn, Tracy Yardly and more!  The series follows a young alien Cosmo and his crew as they go on various intergalactic adventures.  This series is just starting and if it’s anything like Ian and co’s past work it is no doubt to be a hit!  Infact the first issue came out this week so go to your LCS and pick up a copy why don’t yea!?

 

5. Black Lightning

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The latest CW/DC Superhero series which premiers on January 16th stars the company’s first African American hero coming out of retirement to help save his home town from an ever growing criminal element he thought he had defeated.  The series is sure to be the most relevant and socio-political charged series in the DCTV Universe to date and you would be crazy to miss out on it!

 

6. Teen Titans GO! To The Movies!

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While the television series is infamous for being rerun on CN far too often the fact its getting a movie could be good for animated films in the long run.  If this movie does well enough there is a chance WB could be open to more 2D &/or traditionally animated films in the future and possibly more animated films based on DC properties as well. So even if you hate how much CN airs the show on TV, i’d say at least give the movie a chance. I mean, c’mon you do want that Young Justice movie someday…right!?

 

7. Equestria Girls: Digital Series

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The Doug Meets Sailor Moon style Spin-off of My Little Pony which features the characters as candy colored magical teenage girls instead of sentient magical horses recently received a digital series that will be having a new episode every week throughout most of 2018.  With a first season spanning forty-five episodes and a second season currently in production fans of these ponies turned teens are sure to have plenty of laughs and friendship lessons for sometime to come.  *If the Discovery Family App would stop leaking them before they get their YouTube premier that is*

 

8. Krypton

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The long awaited series about The House of El and Superman’s home world pre-explosion is finally going to premiere in March of 2018.  The series has been loosely described as “Game of Thrones in Space” and while that will most likely end up being a bit of an exaggeration the series is sure to intrigue Superman fans both young and old.

 

9. Bingo Love

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An original Graphic novel by Tee Franklin and Jeen St-Onge showcasing the life of a same-sex couple from 1963 to the present day, Bingo Love seems to be setting itself up to be an important and heart warming love story for the ages.

 

10.  BumbleBee

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A Transformers Movie focusing on a fan favorite character and NOT directed by Micheal Bay!?  This could be a TF fans dream if things come true and with some of the same talent that worked on Kubo & The Two Strings behind the helm we might just get our first genuinely good live action Transformers film!  Fingers crossed!

 

11.  Summercamp Island

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Yet another Cartoon Network Original Project Summercamp Island is a surrealist slice of life fantasy series about two friends at their first summercamp which is much more than meets the eye.  With a visual style hearkening back to old Nick Jr. series such as The Busy world of Richard Scary and Little Bear and a cute meet weird style reminiscent of Adventure Time I have no doubt that Summercamp Island will be another hit for the network!

 

12. Aquaman

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The King of the seas is finally getting his own film and with this James Wan helmed film we are no doubt going to get an entirely new take on DC’s classic character!

 

13. Sailor Moon: Eternal Edition

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A new deluxe edition style re-release of the classic Sailor Moon manga with a new translation, color pages and more.  This is the definitive edition of the Sailor Moon manga and a must have for fans of the pretty sailor gaurdians

 

14. Miles Morales: Spider-Man

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Sony Animation’s first super-hero film may just end-up being their best film in years!  Though it still doesn’t make up for that gosh awful Emoji Movie!

 

15. Persephone

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An original graphic novel taking inspiration from greco-roman mythology sure to delight readers of all ages!

 

16.  Unikitty

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The popular Cartoon Cat-Unicorn and her friends from the LEGO Movie finally have their own cartoon and it is awesomedorable!

 

17. Sonic The Hedgehog

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IDW is bringing back the 90’s gaming Icon in comic form and it’s sure to be a blast for readers young and old!

 

18. Black Panther

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I may despise Disney but even I realize the success of this film is bigger then one studio.  Black Panther performing well could mean a better chance of more diverse and progressive leads in films to come.  Plus it might finally convince DC to green-light a Vixen or Static Shock flick, so there’s that as well.

 

 

And ther you have it.  Eighteen things to look forward to in 2018!  There will of course be plenty more to enjoy that’s not on this list but this should be a fun little taste none the less. Happy new year everyone!

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The Importance of Neurological Diversity in Media

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Over the course of the 21st century we have seen a slow but steady increase in the amount of diversity presented in various forms of storytelling, art and entertainment media.  The majority of the focus has been on things such as racial and sexual diversity though lately other types of diversity such a body diversity have begun to make headway as well.   I personally feel though there is another type of diversity of equal importance that often gets overlooked in the debate.  and that is neurological diversity.

 

 

While true many characters in various animated series, comic, films and television programs are given diverse personality types and some of these could be attributed to various neurological conditions or quarks, very seldom do we see such things actually addressed within the context of the work.  Though thankfully this too is slowly changing.  This year Sesame Street introduced an Autistic character named Julia onto their program to both reach out to young autistic children and teach other children from a young age that some children may act/behave differently than them and that’s OK and should not prevent you from wanting to become friends.  And while Autism like many things in the realm of human existence is a spectrum and one character can only cover so much, the character’s inclusion into the children’s program is a small step in the right direction.

 

Other then that we have seen many other television programs address unique character quarks but not all have quite tackled the issues head on.  The character Jeff from Clarence has expressed to his friends how he has his own way of doing things and how many things other kids do make him feel uncomfortable but outside of over exaggerations of typical OCD & Germaphobic tendencies the show hasn’t always gone too in depth towards Jeff’s neurological quarks from a serious perspective outside a few speeches by the character himself.  I am not saying  the character can’t properly represent neurologically diverse individuals, just that this type of teasing is noting new in animation.   Other then that many other all-ages and adult animated programs have also touched on or introduced characters with various neurological quarks as part of their character traits that while engrained in their character’s habits and personality are not always explored as deeply as they could be.  Steven Universe is a masterpiece in its emotional depth and maturity but even it like most other programs can shy away from the more serious psychological issues at time.  The cult favorites My Little Pony/Equestria Girls have characters like Fluttershy & Sour Sweet that represent conditions such as severe generalized & social anxiety and disruptive personality disorder but these elements are only used as obstacles to over come social issues & friendship problems more often then being something the character has to live and work to control on a daily basis.  Then of course you have Tina Belcher from Bob’s Burger’s who is also a very socially awkward character but her unique quarks are often just played up for cringe or laughs.

 

Now again I am by no means saying that these characters cannot be inspiring to viewers that share the same or similar unique neurological diversity to them, just that with media’s slowly increasing willingness to talk about so many other types of diversity and to talk about things like emotional maturity and true morality in a more refined, serious yet still easily digestable manner that it would also be beneficial to neurologically diverse viewers and society as a whole, as everyone has some sort of quark or imperfection that helps make them uniquely who they are, to discuss characters neurological diversity in a more open, casual and mature manner as we have seen other issues brought up within media over the course of the 21st century.

 

One example I think television could take some level of inspiration from would be comics.  In recent years we have had characters like Jessica Cruz pop up to many a readers delight.  Jessica Cruz for those that don’t know is the newest Green Lantern of Earth and is unique not just in the fact that she is the first female Green Lantern to hail from our blue orb but also because she is a character who has openly dealt with the trauma of extended bouts of sever anxiety and depression and was still able to over come these and become a hero.  The book doesn’t ignore the issue though and early issues show how even as a hero Jessica still is working to overcome and control her anxiety and that it is her true arch-enemy the same way the Joker is to Batman.

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This extremely open and human portrayal of Jessica is what helps make her work as a character and seeing her overcome her fears and anxieties to become a hero is an inspiring story for readers of all ages.

 

Overall I do think that the representation of neurological diversity is becoming more prevalent if not somewhat more slowly then its ethnic/sexual/physiological counterparts.  I just hope that our favorite cartoons and comics will continue to push the envelope so to speak and continue to add episodes and stories giving open dialogues about neurological diversity and neurologically diverse charters so young children and adult viewers alike can continue to be empowered and inspired by these characters that give us all the courage to dream.

The Importance of Self-Care in Troubled Times.

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OK, there’s no nice way to say this, the world is shit right now.  We have an idiot in the white house who is openly enabling and empowering Nazis and white supremacists and helping the most corrupt political party America has had in decades push through horrible legislation that harms and oppresses innocent men and women just because of their religion or ethnicity and not to mention all the damage all the EPA regulations being rolled back that will only hurt/endanger the environment and make people as well as all other life on this planet sick .  So yea, our current social and political climate is probably the worst it has ever been it has ever been in the past 30 or so years, so what does that have to do with this article.  Well honestly, everything.  Weather we like it or not we are part of this mess of a world right now, and while I know many of you are doing your best by protesting and fighting against the current admin and all the Nazi goons empowered to walk through the streets, as well as donating to organizations like the NAACP & SPLC that fight hate groups like this, the fact of it is these monsters probably aren’t going to go away anytime soon, so while we must never stop resisting or give-up on the fight it is also important to maintain proper self-care so we can keep our mental and physical health at a place where it is good enough to keep up the daily battle for life, liberty & freedom for all.

 

Collected here are some simple tips for self-care that can help bring some momentary peace to our lives in these troubling times.

 

 

  1.  Light Exercise:  Yeah I know it’s not particularly fun to jog or walk on a treadmill/elliptical.  But 15-30 minutes of light cardio in the morning before work or school can help get your body ready for the day, and hopefully get you pumped up enough to handle anything.

 

 

2. Read A Book (or Comic):  Sometimes all you want to do is sit down and  read a book, and for good reason.  Books can take us to worlds beyond our own, show the good and bad man is capable of and teach us as well as inspire.  Weather its a reread of an old favorite or a new venture you can never go wrong with a good book!

 

3. Watch some cartoons!:  It may sound silly to some, but between the bright colors, off beat antics, meaningful morals and life lessons watching a good cartoon to make you laugh, cry tears of feels & joy or just genuinely put a smile on your face can be a good way to make a bad day better.  Weather your tuning in to Steven Universe on Cartoon Network, Loud House on Nick, Rick & Morty on Adult Swim, or popping in a Equestria Girls DVD you can’t go wrong.  If a cartoon can make you happy that’s some worthwhile self-care!

 

4. Take A relaxing Bath/Shower:   On top of the obvious important of cleanliness, many cultures throughout history have viewed water as a source of rejuvenation and purity. A nice warm bath or shower can help take the edge off a long hard day.

 

5. Remind Yourself that you matter, you are special and you are loved: Look in the mirror and tell yourself how unique and awesome you are, look at photos of friends and family that have supported you, talk to friends on the phone and online, play with your ever loyal pets.  And just never forget that you can make a difference, that you matter!

 

So yea, I know this isn’t much for my first post in over a month, and I know it may come off as cheesy or pointless. But hey, we’ve all got to remember to take care of ourselves so we can be there to take care of and help others when they need it.  So, thanks for reading.  And stay awesome!