The legacy of 'men' in black
Agents J and K from the "Men in Black" movies make sure to neuralyze the situation.
May 24th, 2012
05:55 PM ET

The legacy of 'men' in black

Editor's note: Aaron Sagers is a New York-based entertainment writer and nationally syndicated pop-culture columnist. He has specialty knowledge in "paranormal pop culture," has lectured at conventions nationwide on the topic and is a media pundit on supernatural entertainment. He covers pop culture daily at ParanormalPopCulture.com and can be found on Twitter @aaronsagers.

They are super-secret agents who sacrifice their identities and dedicate themselves to safeguarding humanity from extraterrestrial activity, all while operating undetected in the background of a society they are sworn to protect.

Starring Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin, “Men In Black 3” is the new installment of the science-fiction film franchise in which “MIB” agents routinely save the planet from alien threats. In the latest entry, which is heavy on time travel, agents J (Smith) and K (Jones, and Brolin as the younger incarnation of the character) rely on shiny weapons to get the job done. And to keep the average citizen from freaking out about aliens, they occasionally have to erase memories using their handy gadget, the neuralyzer.

But don’t confuse the heroes of the “Men In Black” movies with the nefarious men in black suits that occupy a far larger space in the consciousness of people who believe in aliens and UFOs.

The source material for the "Men in Black" movies was Lowell Cunningham’s early '90s comic book. The comic portrays MIB as agents who track paranormal happenings and murder witnesses to contain a situation - obviously the funny good guys of the movies are a departure from the original.

The comic's treatment hews closer to other MIB theories found in popular culture (and we’re not talking about Johnny Cash or Jacob’s brother from “Lost”). FULL POST

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'Avengers' vindicates geek community
Chris Hemsworth, left, stars as Thor and Chris Evans stars as Captain America in "The Avengers."
May 8th, 2012
07:00 PM ET

'Avengers' vindicates geek community

Editor's note: Aaron Sagers is a New York-based entertainment writer and nationally syndicated pop-culture columnist. He has specialty knowledge in "paranormal pop culture," has lectured at conventions nationwide on the topic and is a media pundit on supernatural entertainment. He covers pop culture daily at ParanormalPopCulture.com and can be found on Twitter @aaronsagers.

So yeah, I loved “The Avengers.”

Let’s simmer on that word for a few: love. Love for a movie is a pretty significant emotion, and yet I stand by it. While not perfect (the gripes are ridiculously minor), the film was a pure joy. It delivered on the promise of a Marvel-ous adventure with Captain America, Thor, Iron Man and (finally) an awesome, Incredible Hulk.

But this isn’t a movie review.

Instead, it’s more of an “I told you so,” to Hollywood power brokers locked into the philosophy that audiences crave dark heroes and sober plot lines, and that the geeks who grew up loving the source material could not be trusted to make a blockbuster. FULL POST

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When Hollywood gets in the way of a perfectly good myth
April 13th, 2012
03:40 PM ET

When Hollywood gets in the way of a perfectly good myth

Editor's note: Aaron Sagers is a New York-based entertainment writer and nationally syndicated pop-culture columnist. He has specialty knowledge in "paranormal pop culture," has lectured at conventions nationwide on the topic and is a media pundit on supernatural entertainment. He covers pop culture daily at ParanormalPopCulture.com and can be found on Twitter @aaronsagers.

Remember how the half-god Perseus flew on the winged horse Pegasus to save Andromeda from Hades’ Kraken, and then later battled the chimera, minotaur and titan Kronos? If your basis for Greek mythology is the 2010 “Clash of the Titans” remake and the new sequel “Wrath of the Titans,” that’s how you might remember the pursuits of Perseus. But that’s not how it happened.

Right, so technically none of it “happened,” but the Greek myths of titans, gods and men that have existed for more than three millennia are the stuff of ancient religion and part of our pop culture pantheon. Many myth geeks like me were exposed to the tales – which live at an intersection of history and storytelling – at an early age when we craved adventures about monsters, violence and valor (and were exposed to, incidentally, sex, betrayal and heinous acts).

Personally, I remember seeing the original 1981 version of “Clash of the Titans” with the Ray Harryhausen visual effects when I was about 4 years old. While not so much obsessed with Harry Hamlin as Perseus, I couldn’t get enough of the Medusa the Gorgon, the Kraken and Pegasus.

I even had a few of the action figures from Mattel’s very limited toy line that never took off. But more than the winged horse toy whose wings kept falling off, my prized post-“Clash” possession was a tattered 1957 copy of W.H.D. Rouse’s “Gods, Heroes and Men of Ancient Greece” that was kicking around my house for some reason.

Written in a spry tone I’d later associate with John Hurt in “The Storyteller,” Rouse’s book became a preferred storybook for me. Along with dinosaurs, animals and super heroes, I memorized and categorized the names of the major and minor players of myths. Although the stories themselves didn’t change as I grew older, the way they were told and interpreted did.

And then I saw the “Clash” remake in 2010. Though I tried to keep it in check, my nerd rage began to boil over. FULL POST

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The most evil books known to nerdkind
The dastardly, absolutely not good "Book of Pure Evil," from "Todd and the Book of Pure Evil."
April 2nd, 2012
04:21 PM ET

The most evil books known to nerdkind

Editor's note: Aaron Sagers is a New York-based entertainment writer and nationally syndicated pop-culture columnist. He has specialty knowledge in "paranormal pop culture," has lectured at conventions nationwide on the topic and is a media pundit on supernatural entertainment. He covers pop culture daily at ParanormalPopCulture.com and can be found on Twitter @aaronsagers.

Print isn’t dead, but it can be deadly.

Within popular culture, there exist guides with the express purpose of wreaking havoc and unleashing hell on humanity. While the Kindle, iPad and Nook might have a killer effect on the book industry, these are books that are very industrious at killing.

For instance, in the supernatural comedy series “Todd and the Book of Pure Evil” - now in its second season on cable horror network Fearnet - a group of teens at the Satanist-controlled Crowley High battle the forces of a mysterious tome that grants wishes with sinister twists.

After witnessing the dark powers of the book and the control it holds over the weak and needy, metal head Todd (Alex House), Jimmy the Janitor (Jason Mewes of “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back”) and a gang of high schoolers become determined to end the "Pure Evil" plague. The result is a series that has the charm and wit of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," but with more of a raunchy, at-times awkward humor that appeals to die-hard horror nerds.

But  "Book of Pure Evil" is far from the only that sits in the devil’s stacks. Therefore, what follows is a list of the most harmful books of verisimilitude within pop culture that contain information not to be checked out. After all, while reading is fundamental, it can also be fundamentally dangerous. FULL POST

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'Run For Your Lives': 5K puts racers in the middle of a zombie apocalypse
Runners swerve around some zombies at the 2011 "Run For Your Lives" event in Darlington, Maryland.
March 1st, 2012
03:00 PM ET

'Run For Your Lives': 5K puts racers in the middle of a zombie apocalypse

Editor's note: Aaron Sagers is a New York-based entertainment writer and nationally syndicated pop-culture columnist. He has specialty knowledge in "paranormal pop culture," has lectured at conventions across the country on the topic and is a media pundit on supernatural entertainment. He covers pop culture daily at ParanormalPopCulture.com and can be found on Twitter @aaronsagers.

When it comes to the zombie apocalypse, popular culture has taught us that everyone falls into one category or another: infected or survivor.

You’re either running away from an undead threat, or you're running, and shambling, after your next human snack. Yet the role that’s so rarely discussed with zombie pop is that of a maker.

That has now changed. Instead of an act of God, nature or mad science, the zombie apocalypse has been orchestrated by one man, Derrick Smith

Smith is the co-creator of Run For Your Lives, a 5K race and “zombie-infested” obstacle course that officially launched last October in Darlington, Maryland, and is launching a nationwide roll-out in cities across the country, beginning with Atlanta on Saturday. FULL POST

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