John Ostrander: Run, Squad, Run!


by John Ostrander

As I write this (last Friday), the Suicide Squad movie has grossed $318, 779,276 domestically and $413,000,000 internationally for a total worldwide gross of $731,779,276. It’s been playing since the start of August and, in the U.S., it’s still on the top ten list.

It has now out-grossed the first Iron Man film. It has also out-grossed Iron Man 2, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Thor: The Dark World, Thor, Ant-Man, Captain America: The First Avenger, and The Incredible Hulk. It has also out-grossed all of the X-Men films, the Wolverine films, and The Amazing Spider-Man films.

And Suicide Squad did not access to the #2 market in the world, China. (Why won’t the Chinese let it in? Beats me.)

It means that not only a lot of people have seen the movie, but many have seen it more than once. (I’ve seen it three times so far but you’d probably guessed that I would.) I know it’s still in at least one movie theater in my remote vicinity.

This is for a film that rates a 26% on Rotten Tomatoes.

I still don’t understand. Did these disapproving critics and fans see the same film I saw? That all these other people saw? Yes, I know it’s not the Citizen Kane of superhero flicks; I know it’s flawed and I could recite some of those flaws. But, as I said before, I’d give it a good solid B. It’s a fun summer popcorn entertainment and it’s just different enough from other superhero films to deserve the attention it gets.

I saw at last one online poster sniff that, yes, it has had a lot of customers but, then, so does McDonalds. I’d hasten to point out that there are food critics who have praised McDonalds french fries. The fact that something is popular does not mean it isn’t good. (Ook. Two negatives in one sentence. Ah well.)

There are things that are different in the Squad film – I heard one millennial cite the coloring, the use of music, the pacing, and the central idea of bad guys being made to do “good” (“good” being a relative term). It is something different.

It’s something that the younger generation seems to be hooking into. The ad calls them the Worst. Heroes. Ever. – and they are. You wind up rooting for them anyway. As twisted as it is, the central romance in the film is Jared Leto’s Joker and Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn. The film is a different take on the superhero genre.

Look, I’m not going to try and tell people that their opinion of the film is wrong. They react according to who they are and how the film strikes them. I might suggest, however, that they might want to give it another chance. Sure, I’m biased and, yes, I have a (tiny) vested interest in the Squad’s success but I think the movie might be better than some people give it credit for.

So get a ticket, grab some popcorn, and meet me at the Cineplex while the Suicide Squad is still playing. I’m ready to go see it again.

John Ostrander is one of LB’s favorite writers in any medium and the writing brain behind the most successful run of Suicide Squad in comics. Don’t forget to read his most excellent blog at ComicMix.

Diana Vacc sees “This is Us”


By: Diana Vaccarelli

*Be warned – this review may contain spoilers!*

The 2016 fall television season is in full swing.  I got microwaved my popcorn the other night and watched the highly touted new NBC show This Is Us.

This Is Us at this point has seems to have a simple premise: The show gives us a glimpse in the lives of a group of people who share the same birthday. Twins Kevin and Kate. Lawyer Randall. Married couple Jack and Rebecca. But the glimpses themselves are all about surprising twists.


  • Finally! Network television has come out with a show that is so original I couldn’t help but grin.  And the twists! Let me put it this way: The ending of the pilot episode is guaranteed to shock and surprise you. My mouth was wide open at the end in very pleasant astonishment.
  • The performances of all the actors are stellar. I hope the Emmy committee is still watching broadcast TV because in this one episode alone every performance needs to be acknowledged.
  • The writing of the show is more than twisty. It is original and brilliant.  Dan Fogelman, writer and producer (known best for Crazy, Stupid, Love) gives us a series everyone can relate to. No matter who you are in life there is a character here that, quite simply will remind you of…you. Even if you aren’t an obese woman working on losing weight and getting healthy, a famous actor struggling with moral issues regarding his career path, or a black man abandoned by his birth parents the day he was born, you’ll find yourself relating.


  • I tried my utmost to find a flaw in the first episode of This Is Us, but, honestly, I couldn’t. I related, I enjoyed, I can’t wait to see more.  the first time!


Do you want to watch a show that is honest, talks about issues that affect families today, and makes you think? If so, then This Is Us is for you.  I’m so excited that mainstream television finally came out with a show that feels new and original, instead of giving us yet another retread.

Put this one on your DVR list, find yourself a snack, and watch. I’ll betcha dollars to the proverbial donuts (not that I would eat such an unhealthy snake, of course) that you’ll have a smile so big you’ll feel it spreading across your whole face!

Cartoon: “A Reader’s Blessing”

Grant Snider and his Incidental Comics website are on a roll. (And they have been since Day 1!)


Larry Brody: Getting to Know the Thai Kaeng

A rare calm moment from The Fantastic Friends Episode 1

by Larry Brody

A typically tense moment from the newest version of the Sangre De Cristo teaser

As many of you already know, I’m a partner in a Thai animation studio start-up called Southeast Asia Animation. SEAA is the home of a group of Thai animators calling themselves the Thai Kaeng and their Big Boss, a 17 year old genius currently living in the leafy green state of Oregon.

In as short a logline as I, as SEAA’s Senior Advisor, can give it, Thai Kaeng Anime is a combination of new ideas and deliberately old school methodology geared to achieve two purposes – the entertainment and amusement of the audience and the fulfillment of its creators’ need to function as true artists.

In other words, the Thai Kaeng isn’t just sitting around drawing and writing, its using drawing and writing and all that to meditate and become one with the universe, while at the same time conjuring up the craziest, funniest, scariest, bloodiest stuff its members can get jammed into their brains from out there in the void.

The SEAA website hasn’t yet officially launched, but once again I’m here to ask you to take a look at what’s there. So far, the previews of SEAA’s two animated series, The Fantastic Friends and Sangre De Cristo have been very well received. The FF sample has over 35,000 views, and the original trailer for SDC has about 34,000.

Recently, the Thai Kaeng put two more videos on its site at The first is a revised version of the Sangre De Cristo trailer, incorporating suggestions made by TVWriter™ visitors (including Westworld writer-producer Danny Thomsen – hiya, Dan!) . The second is a sneak peek at Episode 1 of The Fantastic Friends. They’re quite different from each other and yet, by most U.S. television standards, equally, erm, well, insane.

The Fantastic Friends Pilot Sneak

The Sangre De Cristo Revised Trailer

Like before, I’d consider it a personal favor from you out there to me stuck in this tiny box, if you’d take a look and tell me whatcha think.


2017 Writers Guild Awards Submissions Deadline


The WGAW wants to remind us that its awards (and pretty much all other showbiz awards) go to the self-starters. If you did WGA covered work in TV, radio, and New Media, including any series covered by the WGA, it’s time to nominate yourself for one of the most coveted prizes in the Industry.

So, like the pic above says:

For TV-RADIO-NEW MEDIA script submissions, please click here.

For SERIES submissions, please click here.

For PAUL SELVIN submissions, please click here.

Break a leg!