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Credit: Sony Pictures

The week in geek: Sandman rises, Walking Dead dies, and The Little Mermaid arrives

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Jul 5, 2019

Hey, congratulations! You did it! Another week is in the books. Albeit a shortened, holiday week with fireworks (and tanks apparently), but you still made it, and that's worth celebrating.

So, what are our big stories this week? A lot of things happened? Jumanji's trailer showed The Rock's best Danny Devito impression. The Stranger Things kids hung out at the mall. Some things are ending, some are beginning anew, but only a select few stories can be declared best of the best. Here they are: the five biggest stories from... The Week in Geek!

MAD MAGAZINE GOES BYE BYE (BASICALLY)

Rumors started circulating earlier this week that 67-year old humor publication, MAD Magazine, would no longer be in publication. And that, it turns out, is mostly true. After issue 10 of its current numbering, the beautiful corpse of MAD icon, Alfred E. Neuman, will be placed on display at your local comic book store. And by that, I mean that MAD will re-release old content with new covers through specialty shops like comic shops, but that's about it. There may also be annual specials with no content, but, otherwise, MAD is kaput.

gulf wars

Credit: Mad Magazine

MAD will likely be remembered for its parody art of movies, but it also had the power of biting satire behind it. Fun fact: MAD released an image that was a parody of Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones called, "Gulf Wars Episode II: Clone of the Attack" which predicted America would go to war with Iraq again, under the authority of then-president George W. Bush. That's profoundly gutsy for a publication that most people started reading as kids.

Hopefully, absence will make the heart grow fonder and people will clamor for Alfred E. E. Neuman's return, like a bobble-headed ginger zombie, but with jokes. And speaking of zombies...

The Walking Dead 193 2

Image Comics

THE WALKING DEAD IS OVER. SURPRISE?

After 16 years and 193 issues, Robert Kirkman, creator of The Walking Dead, shocked the world by suddenly drawing the story to a close. The surprise ending comes right after the death of the series' protagonist, Rick Grimes, and while fans probably assumed that meant the end was near, nobody saw it happening this suddenly — and so close to issue #200. 

Not only has the TV adaptation persisted sans Rick, there's also its spin-off, Fear the Walking Dead, which never featured Rick Grimes at all. And also there's the matter of fake solicitations sent to retailers for future issues that will now never exist. That's kind of... not nice, I wanna say. It was kind of a mean prank to pull on book buyers at comic shops.

But The Walking Dead has always been one of those stories defined by its shocking endings. Usually, the endings came in the form of surprise, gruesome deaths. This time is a little different in that it features a significant time jump that's more about Rick's legacy than anything else.

If you haven't read the issue, we won't spoil it here, but let's just say it's different from the ending Kirkman originally envisioned where all of Rick's hard work was inevitably overrun by hordes of the shambling undead. Speaking of spoilers...

SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME ENDS BIG

This part of the round-up will contain spoilers. Lots of them. Like, for the very end of Spider-Man: Far From Home. Just be prepared.

**SPOILER WARNING! Spoilers below for Spider-Man: Far From Home!**

Prepared? Good.

This week saw the release of the final film from the current revolution of the MCU, Spider-Man: Far From Home. The movie is part wacky, teen comedy, part road trip, and also part mourning the death of a father figure. Yes, indeed, it's a Spider-Man story, alright. But that doesn't mean the story doesn't stray from the formula a bit.

Obviously, we're accustomed to Peter Parker being more of a friendly, neighborhood superhero, but Far From Home flips the board on Spidey's story in bigger ways than just a European field trip. Over the course of the credits, we get two major revelations. The first, which features the surprise (and very welcomed) return of JK Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson, reveals Spider-Man's true identity to the world. Peter Parker's friends (and loves) may know who he is, but the world? That's a lot less common, especially for the movie versions of the character.

The other big surprise comes from the very end of the movie when it is revealed that Nick Fury and Maria Hill, who both feature heavily in Far From Home, are not really themselves at all: they're Skrulls. And where's the real Nick Fury? In space. Far from home, indeed. And if that final reveal is anything to go on, it seems like all things intergalactic will be a major part of the MCU's future.

The Little Mermaid

Credit: Disney

THE LITTLE MERMAID CASTS ITS LIVE-ACTION ARIEL

Disney has found a (mostly) successful formula in remaking their animated hits as live-action films. This year showed the potentials and the pitfalls with Aladdin pulling in about $880 million while Dumbo flopped at a mere $350 million. Still, the overall net positive is undeniable, with other successes like Maleficent (sequel coming soon), the enormous success of Beauty and the Beast, not to mention the wildly positive buzz around Beyonce's The Lion King.

And since Disney is crushing it on '90s rehashes, it was inevitable that a live-action The Little Mermaid would happen, too (even if it came out in 1989). There are rumors of Melissa McCarthy playing Ursula, but the confirmation we do have this week is that singer (and one of the stars of Grown-ish), Halle Bailey, will feature in the role of Ariel. 

Yes, that's right, a black woman is playing un petite poisson dame. I have no idea if I French'd that right, but the point is that, as a result of Bailey's casting, there's a hashtag, #NotMyAriel, although the backlash seems to be the overblown result of a bunch of people arguing with a troll account that may even be a bot. The internet is a bad place, y'all.

Regardless, Bailey seems like good casting and the grand majority of people seem pretty excited. So that's nice.

Sandman: Overture (Cover by Dave McKean, J.H. Williams, III)

Sandman: Overture (Cover by Dave McKean, J.H. Williams, III)

MR. SANDMAN, BRING ME A STREAM(ING NETFLIX SERIES)

Now that Good Omens, the once-thought-unadaptable book by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, has found massive success through Amazon Prime, it's starting to seem like anything is possible. For example? Gaiman's career-defining comic, Sandman, is also getting a TV adaptation, this time through Netflix.

Gaiman himself clarified himself on Twitter that the first (of hopefully multiple) seasons will be 11 episodes long and focus mostly on the collected Sandman stories, "Preludes and Nocturnes."

Along with Allan Heinberg and David Goyer, Gaiman is just beginning the planning process of Sandman. There are no scripts yet written and the rumored Goyer Sandman movie script apparently never existed. Gaiman himself, however, will be co-writing the pilot episode.

People are excited, albeit very nervous. Much like Good Omens before it, Sandman has often been seen as unadaptable, but hey, Good Omens worked!

And most people agree that Keanu Reeves should play Dream, aka Morpheus. Woah. 

Anyway, that's it. Your week in geek is over. Go in peace. Let us know what you think about these stories and what, if any, other stories won your week.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author's, and do not necessarily reflect those of SYFY WIRE, SYFY, or NBC Universal.


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