UNDER CONSTRUCTION

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Hi there, we are in the process of building a brand new website. For business inquiries and updates, products, travel, book signings, etc, please email JoMarkCREATIVE@gmail.com, or contact us on Facebook/Twitter @ JoMarkCREATIVE.

 

See you soon!

Josiah & Mark,
Father and Son Authors.

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Batman: The Killing Joke – Movie Review

Josiah made a contribution to Neonfade.com. Check out his review of ‘Batman: The Killing Joke’!

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Warner Bros. Animation presents the much anticipated cinematic adaptation of Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s 1988 iconic Batman story, The Killing Joke. The story acts as a bottle-neck episode in the careers of both the Caped Crusader and Clown Prince of Crime showing their last climactic confrontation, as well as shedding some light on a possible origin story of the man who would become Batman’s arch enemy, the Joker. The movie welcomes legendary voice actors Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy who uttered every growl, laugh and monologue for their respective characters from the 90s to the early 2000s. Also, Tara Strong, who is no stranger to lending her voice talents to DC animated films, joins the cast as Batgirl/Barbara Gordon.

As the story goes, Batman makes a final attempt to reach Joker while in jail and appeal to his humanity. Batman wants to avoid killing him or being killed or risking…

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Superman Red Son

It’s Josiah, writing to you today  to share a few thoughts after re-reading one of my favorite comic books, Superman: Red Son.

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Written by Mark Millar, this comic book tells the origins of Superman from the point of view of the Soviet Union. The story follows the last Son of Krypton as he achieves more and more power, even replacing Stalin after he is assassinated. Over the course of the story, Superman meets familiar faces re-imagined in this alternate universe like Wonder Woman, Batman and Green Lantern, all re-written within the context of living in a world where Superman is a weapon of Communism.

What I loved most about the book is Millar’s understanding of Superman as a character. No matter what political side Superman aligns with he is the same noble boy scout we all know and love, he’s just a Communist this time.

I only fix things that are broken… I’m not interested in politics or leading the party or any of that behind-the-scenes stuff. I came to Moscow to help the common man. I’m a worker. – Superman.

Superman is forced to walk a fine line he never had to before, one where he wields not only power over the physical world, but legally, over people’s lives and their destinies. Millar writes a poignant story of a noble man trying desperately to be a better man than his predecessor. Where it would be easy for Superman to break the backs of his citizens with his combined physical and political power his resolve to fight for the common man despite the world’s suspicions of him are inspiring to read.

Watching Lex Luthor try to save the world from Superman with his inventions and government funding as the golden boy of the U.S. of A is enthralling as well. Before this story, these two titans duked it out within the same city limits but now the world is their chess board as they try to outwit and outgun the other in the name of what they believe in. Usually I like my Lex Luthor a stone-cold villain but this story manages to make him out to be an edgy antihero of sorts… of sorts mind you. Both men are fighting for the same thing in different ways and that’s for mankind to realize its full potential. And isn’t that what Superman is all about?

Whenever I talk superman with friends I always recommend this book to them. This, and Superman: Birthright by Mark Waid and All-Star Superman by Grant Morrison. I’d say these three are the holy trinity of Superman books. And it blows my mind that even fighting on the side of the hammer and sickle for a brief yarn, this strange visitor from another planet continues to strive for human excellence and goodness.

Another worthy gem from Mark Millar would be Marvel Comic’s Civil War which is now a major motion picture.

Ultron and Loki Show Us the Importance of Human Connection

Its Josiah again!

Loki, the God of Mischief, is coming back to make trouble, and he’s not alone. Last week,, Tom Hiddleston was announced as a returning cast member for Thor:  Ragnarok, the third installment in the Thor movie series; and he’s not alone. The “threequel” adds some new players wearing the faces of Cate Blanchet of Lord of the Rings fame, Karl Urban beamed down from the U.S.S. Enterprise, Tessa Thompson by way of Philly and Jeff Goldblum at the top of his ‘Resurgence. The movie of course heralds the return of Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth, Idris Elba and Sir Anthony Hopkins. Thor: Ragnarok decimates theaters some time in 2017.

But enough about them, let’s talk about Loki!

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Well to be fair, its all of the other characters that got me started thinking about him in the first place. In fact it was Zemo, the villain from Captain America: Civil War that first got me reminiscing on Loki again. My friends were comparing villains from the various Marvel serials so it was only a matter of time until we traced it all back to Thor’s adopted brother. I liked Zemo enough, as understated as he was. Just a normal guy who had a bad day and used his resources in the government to bring the Avengers to their knees. He had a family, he was human – one of us.

The Punisher, Kingpin and Kilgrave from the Netflix corner of Marvel Studios, share similar traits to Loki, all able to draw some sense of sympathy from the audience. In some way shape or form I could mostly find some way to relate to some of the best baddies that Marvel had to offer.

And then I remembered Ultron.

The second Avengers villain, Ultron was an android built by Tony Stark/Iron Man as a means to save the world, a global “suit of armor” as it were, until via the world wide web, Ultron got a whiff of every troll throughout the history that ever plagued mankind. Ultron’s solution?  Rain fire from the sky and cleanse the planet.

Ultron was played by the excellent James Spader, who waxes poetically about God, Noah and the Flood, and allusions to Pinocchio and his refusal to be a puppet.

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There are no strings on me.  (Ultron – The Avengers: Age of Ultron.)

And through it all on the first viewing I felt kind of bored, or rather, underwhelmed. I knew what I was getting into with a robot villain and the buzz excited me. But imagine my surprise when while watching the movie I suddenly felt like I was at a great party that just got crashed by that one nerd who just recently learned some lore about a character and just has to tell everyone how much he knows now.

That’s Ultron, and I just wanted him to go away.

Back to Loki for a second, I have to be honest here, I never liked him all that much. I always felt like I missed something about the character. He was just, already mean, yet everyone swore he was a tragic character deserving of my sympathy. I just didn’t see it. He is childish, power hungry, delusional and a bully who tried to take Asgard and then planet Earth by force:

You take the world I love as recompense for your imagined slights? (Thor – The Avengers)

And for all of that mess of a character, for all of that disconnection I felt… that I connect with Loki so much more than I do Ultron! The robot was just born, “learns” about humanity from of all places, the Internet. He doesn’t even try to reason with the Avengers or give them a chance to work anything out, he’s condescending and behaves as if he’s one of us. One of us? Dude, you just got here (but you don’t even go here), and to top it all off you’re LATE! How are you going to “teach” us about ourselves?

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Don’t get me wrong, his speeches are pretty, but I didn’t connect them with Ultron, I kept waiting for Loki or some thinking AND feeling (no really come on) character to echo such grandiose rhetoric about purpose, evolution and rebirth to step out from behind his monochrome back.

I think its the blessing and curse of Spader. He is so convincing as Ultron that it makes him all the more annoying because you can tell that he believes everything he is saying even though he hasn’t earned anything. Which I still felt on my second only viewing of The Avengers: Age of Ultron tonight. Ultron didn’t grind my gears quite as much this time and I appreciated his ideas about death and change a lot more this time. I think it’s because I connect Ultron to Tony so much more than I did the first time; I think a lot of what Ultron is projecting onto the Avengers belongs to Tony (somehow) and was transferred through faux comic book science mumbo-jumbo. And the father/son ideas are better the second time around too.

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I guess I just want to connect. I feel like the Avengers are fighting an idea more than a person in this movie and that makes it a challenge to believe in Ultron. Plus the movie was rushed. Loki at least had a single movie prior to his invasion in the first Avengers movie, but Ultron’s development would have benefited from a more gradual descent into darkness rather than his immediate villainy; for me anyway. No shade aimed at Marvel or Ultron or any of you that really enjoyed the character and the movie, these are just my observations.

I sometimes feel cold and mechanical like Ultron, we all have our days. Sometimes the world seems all doom and gloom, all hope is lost, like we’ll never achieve our highest potential and get it all done. But we try, we never give up. You know, I think that’s why the Vision, Ultron’s “brother” I guess you could say, makes so much sense (plus Paul Bettany has voiced JARVIS in four movies already). He works very well as a hero at this stage of the game thanks to his relationships with the team and humanity at large. He’s seen us at our highest and lowest points and he’s stuck with us all the while and transformed from a servant into a friend. Without Ultron I don’t think this resolution would have been as poignant.

Wow, You’ve Got A Friend In Me reference, two toy allusions in one post, two Disney (and Pixar) jokes at that, okay time to end this. So movies can teach us about relationships and first impressions as well as yeah, watch a movie more than once!

(All images taken from Google)

March Madness

Yo, Josiah here! So two of the busiest months for me are (in ascending order) May due to all of the graduations and the graduation BBQs that follow. And then March due to the at least one dozen birthdays shared amongst my friends and family. But this past March was by far the most hectic and I’ve got the novel to thank for that. Enjoy this brief recap of what Noteworthy Tribute was doing in March 2016!

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  1. March 13 – Beechtree Author Q&A
    Back in February Dad and I held a book signing in our local community. A close friend of my Dad’s is a part of a book club and invited us to their space to hold a signing. Readers had a month to get through the book so we could all talk spoilers back at Beechtree. The highlight of the Q&A session was meeting Teressa, a fellow author. She passed on a lot of wisdom and experience on and admonished us not to give up on the author dream and to do all we could to get our book out to the masses; and she jumped at the chance to help in any way she could. Since then, we have been in contact with her and registered for new local vendor opportunities. Writers gotta stick together!

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  2. March 14 – Belcroft Bible Church
    The entire Bradley Clan shared the various endeavors we’ve launched ranging from the novel to videography and travel experience all thanks to a business expo the church held. We were allotted a couple minutes to talk about ourselves and how the novel came to be. Afterward, a few people walked away with their copy of the book! Some highlights from that night came in the form of meeting a social media guru and another videographer looking to work together. Oh and top of that, I turned 27!

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  3. March 18 – Seaton Memorial A.M.E. Church
    Packed into a room were six authors from the DMV area! Most of the books were instructional or of the memoir variety, so Noteworthy Tribute stood in the gap for creative fiction. It was amazing to be sitting amongst other writers who made it their mission to get their story published for the world to see. It was incredible and the night was capped off by a video conference with all of us and another author who published a story book for children, a loose retelling of his life. He aims to connect an app to the book to inspire kids to pursue their interests in technology, and higher education. entrepreneurs

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  4. March 26 – Ukazoo Books & The Inconvenient Truth
    We ventured to a rather spacious used/new bookstore in Towson, MD, a really chill place I remember visiting once during my time at Towson University. It was a real treat to catch up with two film maker friends from school who came to support the book, one of which was the camera woman on my senior film! But the high lights of the day came in the form of two interviews one of which wasn’t even planned. We met a young Mass Comm major from TU who got stood up by another author she was there to write about but when she saw our table she plopped down and got to know us; we even discussed traveling and her other interests and she walked away with our story, both professional and personal. Lastly, we caught up with my friend TD Stroman III whom I worked with on a fun indie/fantasy film years ago. He is the host of The Inconvenient Truth filmed out in Fairfax. He squeezed us into our own segment since he was mostly covering local comedians that day, but when he spoke with us he totally understood our message of father and son bonding, passing of the torch and how it inspires creativity.

So that was the month of March and it was a packed one. As we continue on our journey we continue to meet fresh new voices in the arts and they further inspire me to be as authentic as possible, keep learning and never quit. We’re only four months in and so much has happened to Noteworthy Tribute and I can’t wait to see what April brings!

Write you again soon!

BeechTree Book Club Presents

 

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HAPPY 2016!!!

We have been invited to the BeechTree Book Club on Sunday, February 21st, 2016 @ 3:00pm (EST) and concluding @ 5:00pm to sell and share Noteworthy Tribute!

Come with your friends and family and get your signed copy at $10  each, cash/credit, meet us and hangout with other readers and even learn how you can join this local book club that has been so kind to invite us out.

This is part 1 of our spring book event, the signing and introductory portion. We will return to BeechTree for part 2, the discussion and Q&A section with you all the following month March 13th @ 3:00pm and concluding @5:00pm.

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For more updates LIKE us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter via links in the widgets below. There you can join the event page and invite your Facebook friends, even bring some from your own book club because BeechTree is turning no one away!

We can’t wait to meet you!

Best,

Mark & Josiah