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The Wednesday Waffle Issue 18: Almost the end, and more Marvel-ous news!



Merry Christmas to all our customers. It has been, I think you can all agree, something of a year. We started 2020 with such high hopes and with ambitious plans to expand and develop the business into something new and innovative.

Then 2020 actually happened, and things went very much awry.

We nearly crashed and burned more than once. Like many small businesses Destination Venus struggled through both lockdowns and we absolutely would not have survived without the generous support of our wonderful customers. (That's you - yes you, reading this now. Yes, you.) We can't thank you enough, but we promise we'll try.

If you're reading this, then Destination Venus is now closed until after Christmas. We have every intention of opening between Christmas and New Year, but we're not announcing anything too far in advance because the COVID rules are changing so fast. Keep an eye on the website or our social media and we'll be sure to keep you up to date.

Once again, a huge thank you to all our customers, Hat, Liz, Alice and Steve who have been the core of The Geeks at the Gates this year, everyone who was interviewed, and to all the fine people at Harrogate Community Radio who give us their platform every week. If you're a subscriber to the podcast version of GATG a sincere apology for being so inconsitent - it's an editing time issue and we have just about resolved it.

All that remains it to wish you a very Merry Christmas. See you next week for the final Waffle of the year. Until then - here is the news:


Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) has traditionally been held on the first Saturday in May. Obviously comics store on both sides of the Atlantic were locked down on the first Saturday in May this year, and so for 2020 Free Comic Book Day became the "Free Comic Book Summer" with the free titles being spread out over July and August.

It worked, but not as well. The sense of having "an event" just wasn't there. So, next year it's back, no longer in May, but back on a single day, now 14th August 2021. There's been no clear explanation for the change, although logic suggests that the industry is more confident that we'll be free of lockdowns and social distancing by mid-August that it is about May.

Stay tuned for more details throughout the early part of 2021!


Hard on the heels of the announcements of the next wave of Marvel projects on the big and the small screen, bookies are beginning to lay odds on who will play whom. At the moment Giancarlo Esposito, who is currently pleasing fans with his performance as Moff Gideon in The Mandalorian, is odds on to take the role of Doctor Doom in the forthcoming Fantastic Four movie.

He has certainly shown great "evil dictator" cred in The Mandolorian, so I can certainly see him as the dictator of the Eastern European nation of Latveria. Not that he's the only person being suggested for the part. Irish actor Cillian Murphy, of Peaky Blinders face is also tipped as a contender for the role, as is Michael Fassbender and Viggo Mortensen. Of those three, Murphy could certainly bring the kind of unhinged intensity that would make Doom interesting, and Fassbender proved in the X-Men franchise that he can carry the weight of a complex and morally ambivalent villain.

That's sort of the question though. After taking on the mantle of "Young Magneto" would Fassbender really want to launch himself into another genre franchise? The same could be asked of Mortensen - although he'd be switching from the swashbuckling heroics of Aragorn to the more brooding diabolics of Victor Von Doom.

Obviously it's all speculation at this point - as are the thoughts about actors who might fill other roles. Good odds are being offered on real life couple John Krasinski and Emily Blunt taking the roles of Reed "Mister Fantastic" Richards and Sue "The Invisible Woman" Richards, which might be a good fit - it would certainly please a lot of fans and of course the chemistry between them would be genuine - but given the regularity with which Hollywood marriages crash and burn producers might be a little wary of putting real life spouses into the mix.

If their marriage collapsed would it bring the franchise down with it? You could certainly see a situation where fans got behind one or the other in a sensationalized break-up, or even became polarised, so that half the fanbase was behind one and the other half behind the other - which could be catastrophic for the intricately woven connections of the MCU. The recent issues between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard serve as a reminder of how much of an impact such personal issues can have on the movies people are in. The rights and wrongs of it are - from the point of view of the movie producer - incidental to the survival and profitability of the project.

Depp and Heard aren't even in the same movie series, but their relationship woes have made deep impacts on three separate franchises. Imagine the damage that would have been done to a franchise that featured them both! It's not a nice way to think, but movie producers are famously not always nice people, and they have to think of the film first.

Of course, in the past it's been the role of Sue Richards' little brother Johnny "The Human Torch" Storm. Previously portrayed by Chris "Captain America" Evans and Michael B. "Eric Killmonger" Jordan there has been a great deal of negative comment about the actors who played the part in the past.

So far as we remember the main objection to Michael B. Jordan taking the part was that he was not of the same ethnicity as Kate Mara, who played his sister Sue. Oddly nobody complained that Mara was a different ethnicity than Jordan, so if you wanted to read the criticism in a particular way you might have questioned exactly where the root of the objection lay. Equally, of course, Johnny Storm in the comics is white, Michael B. Jordan is not, so you could I suppose take the view that it was the character of Johnny that was being changed and that it shouldn't be.

My thought at the time - which hasn't changed since the movie came out in 2015 - was that adopted siblings are still siblings and the movie is not the comic. In any event, if you've had the misfortune to see 2015's Fantastic Four you'll be aware that Michael B. Jordan isn't the reason the movie is bad. He's actually pretty good in it, although it's hard to be considered "good" in a movie that sucks so hard.

The same can be said of Chris Evans in Fantastic Four and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Neither opus can be said to be great, but they're not terrible - if you have nothing better to do on a rainy afternoon you could do worse than check them out - but it's also fair to say that Johnny Storm is not the role that Evans will be remembered for. So it's a role with some baggage.

So. Who is in the crosshairs this time?

Top of the list appear to be Anthony Ramos and Zac Efron. Ramos is perhaps best known for his role in the original Broadway production of the musical Hamilton, and Godzilla: King of Monsters. Efron was, of course, young Simon Tamm in Firefly, so clearly anything else he might have done is unimportant.

Either would be fine for the role so far was we can see.

That just leaves Ben "The Thing" Grimm. Stephen Graham of This is England fame seems to be the top tip here, and we'd be behind that casting choice too - although John Cena has also been mentioned in connection with the role because of course he has...

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