Rafael Encinas

Imagine If… – Episode 128 The Power Of MARVEL!

Chris, Rafa, and Mitch go over the spinner rack and then give it a go in finding the wizard Shazam a champion worth of his powers in the Marvel Universe for this #NewComicBookDay.

So if you ever wonder”What If?”, or utter the words “Just Imagine”, or love to argue “Who Would Win?” then this is the podcast for you. Let Chris and Mitch take you to another world, another time, and instruct you to “Imagine If…”.

Comic Culture With Rafa: #009

The Magic of Buffy: Excitement for the BOOM! Studios Reboot Comic Series

An Editorial From Rafa Encinas

As stated so often already by so many different editorials, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of those series that was just part of the cultural zeitgeist of the 21st century as soon as it manifested in the late 90s. Now with over 20 years of content and history, BTVS lives on in pop culture infamy, and for good reason. Joss Whedon created absolute magic with his quirky teenage fantasy/supernatural “coming of age” / “monster of the week” television program. It was witty. It was funny. It was passionate. And most importantly, it was important.

Growing up, Buffy and the Scooby Gang taught me the value of family, both the one you are born into and the one you make for yourself. Like for so many others, I felt this show was special because it was a show that felt inclusive. It normalized and humanized all walks of life. I have many friends who felt that identifying as “queer” became much more acceptable because the characters onscreen created a safe and fun environment where sexual orientation wasn’t just a trope. It was an everyday thing that just happened to be part of the show; its cultural significance was huge. Buffy was my hero, and this was one of the first times feminism would become a huge staple in my mindset.

Not only that, but besides its cultural significance, on a personal level, this was the first show that showcased an intense unpredictability. SPOILERS to those who have not watched the show, but I still remember the feeling of shock and awe I felt when Angelus snapped Ms. Calendar’s neck, when Joyce unexpectedly passed away, and the final episode with Anya. These moments still feel like fresh wounds that never healed. There was a formula to the show, but danger was at every turn no matter how light-hearted the humor. Anyone could die at any moment.

And this is part of the allure of the franchise; why so many avid fans continued with the comic book series long after the television series had ended. This story was wild and magical, and it still boasts some of the most relatable and hilarious moments of any television show. However, the fact that it is grounded in empathetic and realized human characters made it powerful and ambitious. We were part of the Scooby Gang, so their successes were our successes, and their losses were our losses. We were family.

This is why I am excited for BOOM! Studios to now be delivering a revamped and modernized take on the vampire slayer. With three issues already out at the point of this editorial, I cannot express just how much fun and excitement I have had reading through this new imagining of the characters of Sunnydale.

Jordie Bellaire is a perfect choice for writer because she manages to capture the charm and wit of the characters, as they monologue through their everyday lives, while still giving it a modern look and feel for 2019. Not only that, but illustrator Dan Mora is such an a amazing artist who is able to bring these real life characters to life on the pages. Buffy looks like Sarah Michelle Gellar. Willow looks like Alyson Hannigan! The art style is gorgeous with colors that pop and a fluid motion that reads smoothly.

Some may not like the pacing of the comics, but there is so much lore that needs to be established, so I am okay with it. Buffy feels like Buffy. Other characters with their slight redesigns are interesting. I like the new origins for both Anya and Spike. Giles has the whole “hot librarian” thing going on. I especially like how they are playing into Xander’s deep-seated struggles with inadequacy (I’m curious to see where this will lead). I am a little taken aback with Cordelia’s “positive” characterization, but I’m on board for something new. And then Willow feels different, but I like her new confidence and style. Overall, this feels familiar enough with some new talking points which feels exciting!

Overall, these are my general thoughts and feelings:

Things I have really enjoyed:

  • the colors and art direction that move the plot forward.
  • Buffy’s characterization is dead on! Sixteen-year-old Buffy is portrayed with the right amount of sarcasm and heroism seen in the television program.
  • The introduction of Spike; portrays all things cool. He seems more like an antihero than a villain at this point, and his interaction with Cordy was both interesting and enjoyable.
  • All the little Easter Eggs and call backs to the Buffy lore (such as Anya name dropping Wolfram & Hart, Xander’s profile name: The Xeppo, and the foundation for Spike & Giles’ inevitable banter).
  • Joyce and her boyfriend dynamic is new, and I am excited to see more.
  • Anya’s introduction as the keeper of ancient artifacts instead of just some revenge demon.
  • The comical introduction of Camazotz, Buffy’s pegasus. I’m excited to see what they do with this!

Things I am looking forward to:

  • Xander’s story and how it plays out. It’s an interesting dynamic to see how feelings of inadequacy and imposter syndrome can come into play when surrounded by powerful people.
  • The build of the Giles/Buffy father/daughter dynamic. I lived for these moments in the show.
  • The introduction of Angel! Can’t wait! It will probably be when I least expect it. Also, are we going to get Angel or Angelus!?
  • If no Angelus, I am looking forward to The Master! Hopefully, he’s got some cool stuff in store for Sunnydale and the hellmouth.
  • The further characterization of new characters Rose and Robin.

It feels good to see Buffy reimagined for a whole new generation of people to read and enjoy. I am excited to see new ideas and fresh takes on characters I love; I mean, I’m already digging the introspective Xander, the kind Cordelia, and the confident Willow. If you are a Buffy fan, I highly recommend you pick this series up. If not, pick it up anyway. It’s a quirky coming of age story with demons and vampires. It’s going to be awesome!

Geek Elite Features: Kelsey From Play-Well TEKnologies @ Mission Viejo Library Comic Con 2019

Geek Elite Media was at the Mission Viejo Library Comic Con in Mission Viejo, CA on March 23rd and conducted interviews of guests to the convention. Today is Rafa talking with Kelsy of Play-Well TEKnologies.

To learn more got to their website:
https://www.play-well.org/

Comic Culture With Rafa: #008

The “Tommy Oliver Variety Hour” Coming To Comic Stands Near You!

An Editorial From Rafael Encinas

The “Tommy Oliver Variety Hour” Coming To Comic Stands Near You!

BOOM! Studios has done such a wonderful job at bringing the Power Rangers lore to new heights. I have been a devout Power Rangers fan for many years, and specifically, these past couple of years have truly been a blessing because of the talent, excitement, and respect that the comic book medium has brought to the franchise. I have been reading these amazing stories since they have come out in January of 2016, and I now have a reason again to buy single issues and to collect variant covers again without waiting, like I normally do, for the trade graphic novel. Moreover, I have especially liked the attention to detail and maturity that Kyle Higgins’ has given us in his stories and in his characterizations of the cast. Whether it be Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Go Go Power Rangers, or Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Pink, I have loved the new adventures and situations that these teenagers with attitude have gotten into.


However, with all good things, there is always room for improvement, and unfortunately, sometimes there is a growing frustration.  At Wondercon this past weekend, the BOOM! Studios panel revealed that starting with issue #21, the Go Go Power Rangers ongoing series would finally be introducing Tommy Oliver to the team; this in turn would begin the “Green with Evil” plot we have seen in the television program. The incorporation of Tommy into this series will coincide with Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’ issue #40 kicking off the new “Necessary Evil” storyline with a returning White Ranger Tommy.

So, basically, we are getting a whole lot of Tommy Oliver! This is great and exciting news if you are a Tommy fan, but Power Rangers is so much more than one single ranger.

Now, I do not mean to sound like a complainer. I mean, we have gotten some truly amazing stories these past couple of years. However, as many fans have pointed out on twitter and reddit threads, the love and focus on a certain Green Power Ranger has been at the forefront for these comics for some time now.  Afterall, this past year we have seen Tommy’s evil future doppleganger take the spotlight during the “Shattered Grid” storyline, and we even got “Saban’s Power Rangers: Soul of the Dragon” one-off graphic novel. Now, we are getting two heaping helpings of Saban’s Favorite Ranger in both the green and white variety. And honestly, this isn’t the color palette I’ve been craving.

Though I recognize the appeal for the Tommy character, after all, he is a foundation to what made Mighty Morphin Power Rangers so popular! However, I have always loved the power rangers for their team dynamics. The television show managed to change from the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: teenagers with attitude in colorful spandex to the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Tommy Oliver variety hour. I understand that Tommy was the cool Green Ranger, which I 100% loved as a kid; however, the shows got too focused on Jason David Frank’s character and the show was less about team dynamics and more about how many flavors of the Rainbow can Tommy fit into. Jason David Frank has probably done more for the franchise than any other ranger in the series, but at this point it is too much.

I am hoping that these stories will prove to be some powerful and engaging story arcs, after all, BOOM!Studios hasn’t failed me yet. However, it is disheartening when you see the spotlight on the same character over and over again, especially when there is such a rich history of so many awesome Power Rangers characters. But again, only the future will tell how we see these stories in tandem with their respective visions. I hope to see more Ranger variety in future stories.

Imagine If… – Episode 126 Detective Comics #1000 Roundtable

Chris, Rafa, and Mitch invite other Batman fans to talk about the momentous Detective Comics #1000 at Fan-Quest Comics And Games for this #NewComicBookDay.

So if you ever wonder”What If?”, or utter the words “Just Imagine”, or love to argue “Who Would Win?” then this is the podcast for you. Let Chris and Mitch take you to another world, another time, and instruct you to “Imagine If…”.