We Are Blood

The sound and color of fear was vivid on our faces as wave after wave of enemies stormed our ancient pretend pyramids. The taste in the wind was sweet and distracting, paletas (popsicles) and oranges, as tiny bellies bellowed louder than the laser blasts and explosions that infiltrated our make believe sofa cushion fortress. Tiny hands held giant guns and smaller feet ran through dunes of sidewalk salvage. Together, love was forged in the crucible of fairytale and fantasy and bonds were built on the imaginary remnants of a war tattered backyard. We were soldiers, mutants, monsters, robots, friends, family...we were, we are, we will always be more. We are blood.

This is a love letter; to friendships built on the dreams we now see realized in TV and film today.

History of Dreams

Growing up, what bound us, what wove us together as friends was our fascination with super heroes. A love I think most boys our age shared, but what makes this unique, are the lengths at which this fascination has taken us. If you guys didn't already know, Louie, Uno, and myself have been friends for well over 20 years. We all met roughly around ages 5-7 and I've had the distinct pleasure of growing up, or rather, getting older and fatter, with these guys. Then there's my older, cooler, recently crowned "King of the Nerds" big bro, Jeff, who I believe instilled within me the love and appreciation for all of this stuff and in essence, fueled the fever dreams of our imaginations through his influence and knowledge of our heroes.

Uno, Louie and I would spend days either watching the X-Men cartoons, playing with G.I. Joes, or pretending to be Ninja Turtles in real life. We did the classic “call out what character you were in mid air in time to land and strike their signature pose” all day, every day.  Yeah, I know, super cute. Essentially, as a precursor to what we’re doing now with the podcast, we’d sit on Uno’s parent's 1980-blue-Toyota-pickup-truck and talk about how Cyclops would win in a fight against Captain America or what would be the craziest topping we'd put on a pizza if we were the ninja turtles. And though things have come and gone, our likes and dislikes have changed the ever present joy of dreams and make believe has kept us friends for the last 20+ years. These dreams we are now seeing realized and brought to fruition in glorious high definition on screen. These are now moments we share with you, our listeners, our friends, our TBR Family. Through our love of TV and film, we now share the same experiences we shared as kids with you and it has been amazing. You have all been amazing. And I am happy to include you in the fold. Now, you, along with my brothers, my kin, my friends, are blood too!

Reality: X-Men Franchise

At our core, in the deepest in most places of our being lies the catalyst to our friendship and that is the X-Men. As kids, I don't think any other group of heroes or super powered beings championed our dreamscapes more than the X-Men did. As a kid, I remember watching the 90’s X-Men animated television series (as I am sure most of us did) and I don’t think I ever experienced the sensation of helplessness or despair as potently until the X-Men had to fight Apocalypse. That story line itself was overwhelming and Apocalypse beyond formidable. This caused many discussions amongst us as to how to defeat him. Which combination of powers could slow him down and which could kill him. After several reenactments in my house or backyard, some scraped knees, and childish fights regarding me being Wolverine the last two tries and not sharing that character with Louie, we figured it out, with a bit of strategy, a bit of a luck and a lot of hot cheetos and Lucas chili powder. We had killed Apocalypse…Then, the moment came, the X-Men would square off against their foe and we were glued to the TV. The X-Men, at this point, had traveled back in time to ancient Egypt to find a way to kill Apocalypse. But, just then, with his booming and terrifying robotic laugh our hopes were dashed and we learned that he, Apocalypse, had placed those hieroglyphic clues there to mislead and confuse his foes just to ensure that no one would truly know how to kill him; I was floored, lost and confused. We had never seen a bad guy do that before. This was a sobering dose of reality for us. Bad guys are actually bad! They weren’t just guys who kept coming week after week enduring defeat after embarrassing defeat. We were crushed. But that sense of dread was short lived, and eventually, it all worked out and he was forced into the Astral Plane where he would be forced to age without the use of his stasis chamber and slowly die a lonely miserable death. Justice.

Looking now at what the X-Men have become as of late i.e. X-Men: First Class, The Wolverine, Days of Future Past and now the upcoming adaptation of our most frightening foe in X-Men: Apocalypse, they’re imaginings now are better than anything we could have dreamed of. What has been created for us on film is in fact a love letter to us, the fans of these characters we grew up with. And it has been written as passionately and transparently as one would write to the love of their life. We are smitten and yearning for more. So to Mr. Singer, Mr. Vaughn, and Mr. Mangold we tip our hats to you gentlemen for taking our dreams and breathing life into them.

Dreams: Exo-Squad

We’ve seen our thoughts transformed from comics, cartoons, and toys on to film but one group of characters that I feel merits an on film adventure are the men and woman of the Exo-Squad. For those who may not be too familiar with this cartoon, here’s the basic premise per IMDB User: dslcobra:

To call Exo-Squad a "cartoon" is unfair. This saga is absolutely brilliant with its parallels to the reality of war, racism, prejudice, ethnic cleansing, and the brutalities of totalitarianism.

In Exo-Squad, a race of artificially created humanoids -bred for slavery revolt against natural humans in order to exterminate them and take their own place as the rightful rulers of the Sol system.

In the outer reaches of the solar system, are the Space Pirates who were prisoners forced to mine the outer planet's moons for raw materials for building spacecrafts. A group of violent, angry people bent on revenge against the people of earth.

In the middle are humans, who make up the populous of Earth, Venus and the space Navy, The Exo-Squad. Besides commanding a large force of battleships, they are trained for heavy weapons - including E-Frames - powered armor battle suits that increase the destructive power of individual soldiers.

This is a kid’s dream show; one that I feel is ripe for film adaptation. If you guys have the time, please look this up on YouTube just to get a feel for how awesome this show truly is. We’ve seen exo-skeletons/mech suits used recently in The Matrix Revolutions, Avatar, Elysium and Edge of Tomorrow, just to name a few, but the suits in Exo-Squad are nothing like we’ve ever seen. But those suits are nothing if not for the characters or pilots within them. With names like J.T. Marsh, Alec DeLeon, Wolf Bronsky, Nara Burns and Takagi, this eclectic group of soldiers offered something for all of us to be enamored with. I can’t rightly do this cartoon justice with just a few lines in a blog. But, I really hope that through our interest, together, maybe, we can make some noise and try to get the gears turning for something to come of this. You have all been great in making this podcast grow and gain some momentum, I am absolutely sure that we could make a little noise in this regard. What do you say, are you up for the challenge? #Exosquadmovie

What are your thoughts? What are some of the movies you guys never thought would actually get made from your childhood? Whether they were TV shows, cartoons, comics, toys, etc, let us know in the comments section below.

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Later kids!