Greetings, fellow denizens of the post-apocalypse! The ol' mailbag was full before people had recovered from Comic-Con, so I expect to have plenty of questions about what went down (hint hint). Meanwhile, let's talk about Hollywood's perception of failure, the greatest superhero football team of all time and why I want to cuddle with Arrow's Stephen Amell.

Flop House

Andy H-D.:

Sometimes a movie opens as a smash hit or an obvious bomb. In between are movies like Pacific Rim. We can see total domestic and worldwide gross, and supposedly the budget, but usually we don't get specifics about income like On Demand, Blu-ray sales, and network TV deals; nor do we see specific expenditures on marketing, etc.

How can we tell if a movie is making "enough" money that Hollywood types might give it a sequel?

PS: I love Postal Apocalypse. Keep up the good work!

I’d love to give you some kind of math equation for this, but it’s at least as much about perception as it is actual money made. Pacific Rim’s big problem is that it was out-grossed by the lowest common denominator Adam Sandler’s Grown-Ups 2. If Grown-Ups hadn’t come out this weekend and Pacific Rim had made the same money, the doom and gloom wouldn’t be quite as bad.

And while sometimes other factors make up for bad domestic gross, but sometimes they don’t. Pacific Rim’s international gross seems to be doing so well that the movie’s fortunes aren’t considered terribly dire; meanwhile, although John Carter finally recouped its money thanks to its worldwide gross, it’s still considered a flop. But then sometimes you get movies that make a ton of profit and are still considered disappointments, thanks purely to criticism and overinflated expectations, which include Superman Returns, Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes, and more.

Basically, the best way to know if something is a flop is read your movie sites who report on news from Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline and the like. Now, whether these news sources are being accurate when they call films flop or not, often it ends up being a self-fulling prophecy.


The Straight and Arrow


Hello Mr. Bricken,

Could you please list your top five (or as many as you need) favorite and/or bad-ass homosexual superheroes? Feel free to cross companies, comics, TV, web stuff or anything else you can think of. I'd prefer you avoid baseline/powerless humans or ancillary characters, but go ahead and improvise as you see fit.

Also, I'd love to know which character you would go gay for.

Sadly, finding five major homosexual superheroes even in 2013 that are well-written is sadly hard, but I do have a few favorites:

1) Batwoman. I admit, I really love what Greg Rucka and now J.H. Williams III have done with this character, and what I love more is how her homosexuality is merely a fact of her life, not a salacious draw for readers.


2) Midnighter and Apollo: Regardless of what The Authority turned into later, those first Warren Ellis stories basically took Batman and Superman’s relationship to its logical extreme and treated their affection for each otherwith a certain amount of dignity, even while deconstructing all the superhero stuff.

3) Northstar, because he was the first. He got so much grief for it — as a character, in pop culture — but he stuck it out, and he recently got married in an issue that, while a bit sensational, took pains to show Northstar and his beau as having a real, loving relationship. Respect.


Honestly, I haven’t reading enough of Renee Montoya/The new Question or Earth-2’s Alan Scott or Shatterstar or the few others to give you informed opinions on them, so I’d love to hear thoughts and suggestions in the comments.

As for who I’d go gay for, well, I have a hard time being attracted to drawing of dudes. That’s no judgment — I find drawings of sexy ladies to be sexy — it’s just that I don’t seem to have that capacity to make that leap. Real guys, however, I can totally admit are good-looking. It’s not like I’m getting aroused at the site of them, but Chris Hemsworth’s Thor and Chris Evans’ Captain America are goddamn amazing. They look like superheroes — it’s like they managed to get their bodies into actual superheroes physiques without going too far — and I’m just in awe. of them I have zero problem admitting they are supremely attractive men


And, as a straight man, let me tell you that Stephen Amell, star of Arrow, is dreamy. I’m weirdly obsessed with him. I kind of want to put his picture all over my high school locker. If I were a (presumably straight) woman I’d have to watch Arrow with a drool bucket or something. I don’t want to have sex with him, but if he asked, I probably would, just on principle. The man is dreamy. That’s all there is to it.


Doomed Patrol

Ed C.:

So I've been seeing these pretty awesome clips that io9 has been posting from DC Nation, and I started wondering, do you think that there's any possibility at all that we could see a "Doom Patrol" cartoon? Especially one based on Grant Morrison's run? Yeah, I know, he dealt with some "adult themes" like rape and sexual abuse, among others, but if they toned that down, and kept the general weirdness don't you think this would make an awesome cartoon? Who wouldn't want to see The Brotherhood Of Dada wreaking absurdist havoc on the TV. Is this just a fanboy pipe dream, or what?


I’m of two minds on the matter. First, DC seems to be willing to try some pretty strange and unique things during these DC Nation shorts; on the other hand, those things are usually about visual styles than characters, although occasionally a non-Super Friend-level character like Amethyst may slip through. But the difficulty with Doom Patrol — the adult content, Danny the Sentient Transvestite Street, the fact that no one younger than 18 knows what the hell Dada is — it seems really unlikely DC would bother. It’s not impossible to turn Doom Patrol into something weird but Saturday morning cartoon-friendly, but DC has a lot of other simpler options.

I used to think our best shot at getting some kind of Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol animation was with the direct-to-DVD movies, and then the awesome Wonder Woman animated movie failed to sell, and they canceled those Teen Titans and Batgirl movies to concentrate on churning out Batman and Superman flicks. Sigh.



Friday Night Fights


Dear Postman, I'm a huge fan of two things that don't often go together: comic books and football. Now that football season is almost underway, I'm hoping that I can get your input on something I've often pondered about. Who would start on a football line-up made of superheros? Proviso: Teleportation, phasing, telekinesis, force fielding, and flying will not be allowed. Also, no unreasonably giant-sized players (eg. Galactus/Giant Man). Thanks!


I’m always gratified to see a fellow nerd into football; regardless of how much I enjoy scifi and toys and cartoons and things, it’s nice to know that people — including myself — aren’t so rigidly defined. Anyways, I loved this question (and no, I didn’t answer just to compensate for how much I talked about Stephen Amell above).


Quarterback: Batman, obviously. His ability to strategize is perfect.

Running Backs: The Flash and Quicksilver. I’ll go for ridiculous speed over brute strength; if the defense can’t catch them, they can’t stop them.


Wide Receivers: Mr. Fantastic and Plastic Man. I assume their ability to stretch will allow them to catch any ball thrown at pretty much any location, no matter who’s defending them.

Tight End: I think I want someone scrappy like Wolverine. A healing factor wouldn’t hurt, either.


Offensive Line: Someone big, but not prohibitively big, like Hulk or the Thing as the center, then the tough guys like Luke Cage, Hercules, She-Hulk or Power Girl as the guards and tackles.


Defensive line: I want all combat guys on this line — people who are used to getting past villains no matter how big, fast, tough, powerful or whatever they are, so they can reach the quarterback. That includes Daredevil, Spider-Man, Captain America, Iron Fist, Black Canary, Black Widow, etc.


Linebackers: Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel. Now, please don’t think I’m relegating these ladies to the linebacker position because I think they’re less capable; I’m putting them in the linebacker position because they’re more capable than everybody else. If I have a defensive line based purely about getting to the opposing quarterback, obviously runners and receivers will get through. With their power, speed, and intelligence, I’m supremely confident WW and CM would effectively shut the offense down.

Cornerbacks: Hawkeye and Green Arrow, assuming shooting arrows is still legal (which it shouldn’t be, but hey, you didn’t mention it). They should be able to knock any pass out of the air.


Safety: Superman. What’s safer than Superman?

Flop House, Part 2

Jason O.:

Hello Mr. Postman,
Long time reader, first time questioner here! So my fellow geek friends and I tend to enjoy all things geek, and while we look forward to the various comic and book movie adaptations that come out every summer, the movies we usually look forward to the most are those rare original stories that aren't based on anything prior.

Last summer our fingers were crossed for Super 8 (Talk about disappointment!). This year we've all been rooting for Pacific Rim (though Elysium is a close second). As such, we all ran to see it opening weekend, and while we were thrilled that the movie kicked our asses, we were saddened to see it land in third place at the box office.

So my question to you is, how do you continue living on a planet where PR comes in third and Grown Ups 2 comes in first at the b.o.?


Booze, mostly.

But don’t despair for the original movie concept quite yet. This year has Pacific Rim, Elysium, Oblivion, After Earth, and Gravity alone. Now, I won’t pretend all of these are great, but they show that Hollywood is still willing to try new IPs, and they always will, to an extent. There are two reasons for this: 1) They’re always looking for the next new franchise, especially one they can own by themselves and not have to split the profits with Marvel or DC or somebody, and 2) there are always going to be directors like Chris Nolan who make successful movies who are able to convince Hollywood executives to allow them to make their own individual projects like Inception or Interstellar.


I won’t pretend sequels and reboots aren't more prevalent than ever before, but I think we still have a way to go before the year is full of nothing but movies with numbers after the titles.

My Worst Nightmare

Ryan R.:

More of something horrifying. I followed Topless Robot religiously when you wrote for it so I know you hatred of E.T. I guess the question is, who the hell would spend $250 on this nightmare product?


Apologies if this makes you cry.

People who would spend $250 on this nightmare:

1) Satanists

2) Parents that hate their children

3) People that want a giant sentient scrotum-creature decorating their house

4) People that hate me and who plan to break into my house at night and leave E.T. there knowing that when I wake up and see it I will literally shit myself to death in pure terror


5) Steven Spielberg

Do you have questions about anything scifi, fantasy, superhero, or nerd-related? Email! No question too difficult, no question too dumb! Obviously!