stan lee
Tag: opinion

The Week in Geek: We mourn Stan Lee, celebrate She-Ra, and fear Grindelwald

Contributed by
Nov 16, 2018

The week is over, and it was another long one. It's snowing in New York, the first snow of this winter. So while you're possibly bundled up and hiding away from the world, let's get you caught up.

Here are the 5 biggest stories from... The Week in Geek!

STAN LEE DIES AT 95

Stanley Martin Lieber, kid from the Bronx and face of Marvel comics (if not all of comic books from the 20th century until the sun explodes) passed away this Monday. Our own Mike Avila wrote a beautiful obituary, and there's more articles about one of comics' most prolific creators than I have ever seen on any single person in one week ever (including a piece at SYFY WIRE featuring so many of Lee's colleagues fondly remembering him).

In an interview with Conan O'Brien on Late Night back in 1995, Stan Lee talked about the glut of articles that would come out about a person after their death. Lee noted that these articles came out so swiftly because they are pre-written, sometimes even years in advance, just in case. "That's how you know you're famous," he said.

And to pull back the curtain a little bit, when I first started at this site, back when we were still called Blastr, my former editor-in-chief did ask me to write up an obituary for Stan Lee. This was probably around 2012.

In fact, almost everyone I know in this very odd business has written some kind of piece designed for release in the event of Stan Lee's passing. I guess that's what happens when you have a direct hand in creating The Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, The X-Men, Thor, Daredevil, and honestly most of Marvel's roster of heroes and villains.

Almost everyone has a Stan Lee story, one where they met the man and he was more gracious than they expected. I don't know why people were surprised. He's called Smilin' Stan "The Man" Lee for a reason. In fact I don't believe there has ever been a better ambassador of goodwill between comics and the world than Stan Lee.

I've seen friends admit to crumpling in the street at the news of Stan Lee's passing, weeping openly that the man who created the heroes they love most is no longer a part of this world. But he is. In death, the most we can hope for, beyond a glut of pre-written articles, is that something we did mattered and that we will be remembered. And as fans and fellow creators gather, it's impossible to be left with anything but the profound knowledge that Stan Lee mattered immensely and that he will be remembered. Excelsior!

FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD IS IN THEATERS

The Wizarding World continues to exist, Harry Potter or no Harry Potter. The first sequel to the new franchise, Fantastic Beasts, is released into theaters this week.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald continues to wrestle with an awareness that the children who read Harry Potter and watched his subsequent films are not kids anymore. And just as Daniel Radcliffe and his fellow actors matured during the Potter films, so, too, has the Wizarding World overall.

The Crimes of Grindelwald is J.K. Rowling's most mature bid to draw a direct comparison between what real-life people justify through world wars and what wizards justify in her world. The Crimes of Grindelwald attempts to take on race in a way Harry Potter never did, it questions the ethical implications of wizardry, and, yes, it sure does have an Asian woman turn into a snake. They definitely did that.

How successful Rowling is in her continued attempts to make more mature this world she created I leave to you.

FOR THE HONOR OF GRAYSKULL, SHE-RA RETURNS

In decidedly non-adult news, Netflix (under the watchful eye of Noelle Stevenson) dropped the first season of the revamped She-Ra cartoon this week. They didn't even wait until Friday, which means, if you're reading this, you may even have already binged the entire 13-episode run.

She-Ra, in case you didn't know, used to be the distaff female counterpart to He-Man, a 1980s cartoon hero created with the primary purpose of selling toys. If you grew up in that decade, you probably watched both He-Man and She-Ra. You almost certainly also owned some of the toys.

And because everything that was old is new again, She-Ra is back, this time without He-Man's involvement. Like the original incarnation, Aurora, aka She-Ra, begins her adventure as a soldier in the army of the evil Horde; she just doesn't know they're evil.

Pulling influence from Steven Universe, Sailor Moon, Star Wars, and about a million other things in between, the new She-Ra remains an all-ages affair. This is not a grim, dark show. It is a show for best friends. And, indeed, that is its strength. She-Ra doesn't discriminate: Whether you are a princess of power or a statuesque scorpion woman, everyone has friends.

Also there's a talking horse.

doctor who christmas

NO DOCTOR WHO CHRISTMAS EPISODE THIS YEAR

For the first time since Doctor Who returned in 2012, there will be no Christmas-themed episode airing on the day of trees in houses and presents under said trees.

Doctor Who's current showrunner, Chris Chibnall, has said that there just aren't any more Christmas-related ideas left for Doctor Who. And, I mean... there's been (checks notes) killer Christmas trees, killer spiders, a Titanic in space with Kylie Minogue in a French maid costume, an homage to A Christmas Carol, an homage to The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, killer snowmen voiced by Sir Ian McKellen, a town called Christmas, dream Santa fighting xenomorphs, superheroes saving Christmas, and the Doctor meeting their own original incarnation before becoming a woman... at Christmas.

Yeah, you could make an argument that Doctor Who could maybe take a break from Christmas.

People are weirdly up in arms about this. Some have pointed out that former Who showrunner Steven Moffat went to great lengths to make sure Doctor Who retained its Christmas slot last year, but, as the Doctor themself said in the episode, "The End of the World," everything has its time and everything dies. Even Christmas TV episodes.

Anyway, there will be a Doctor Who episode for New Year's Day, so don't fret too much. Your gift hasn't been forgotten, it just got delayed in the post by a week.

PIKACHU REALLY DOES TALK IN FIRST DETECTIVE PIKACHU TRAILER

There are a lot of trailers that dropped this week, but none quite garnered the same surprising attention as the one for Detective Pikachu. I think most people had assumed that this movie would be... not good? Maybe they thought Ryan Reynolds wouldn't actually be the voice of Pikachu? Maybe they haven't caught 'em all and are filled with a life of regret and sadness?

Regardless, the trailer for Detective Pikachu dropped this week and it is iconic. Pikachu is there. Charmander is there. Bulbasaur, Squirtle, Psyduck, Mr. Mime... all there! And of course: Style icon Jigglypuff is also in attendance.

There is some controversy (isn't there always) over the fact that Pikachu speaks English instead of Japanese, but I dunno, dudes: It's kind of cool that Pikachu and Deadpool are voiced by the same dude and that dude is the guy from Two Guys, A Girl, and a Pizza Place. That's my hot take and my reference to obscure '90s sitcoms for the week.

And, on that note, the week is over. Go in peace. And let us know what you thought of these stories as well as what the biggest stories were in your week.

See ya next time!

Make Your Inbox Important

Get our newsletter and you’ll be delivered the most interesting stories, videos and interviews weekly.

Sign-up breaker
Sign out: