Ramping up for the big Cap movie this weekend got us all excited, preened and pumped for some small screen Marvel action, NOW!

The weekend brought us to the store for a DVD copy of Thor: The Dark World and a stranger, peculiar animated relative (second cousin?) Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher.

Mixing Anime and the Marvel Cinematic Universe (I think) made for a great sequel to the Madhouse produced Marvel Anime series, but underserved as a rally cry for this weekend’s live-action Winter Soldier. The Cosmic Treadmill ran with this on the HUD, and here’s what worked and what didn’t! 

The Punisher, for better or for worse, has always been a favorite Marvel character. I grew up with his War Journals, his Armory, his War Zone and throughout the ‘80s. Artists like Jim Lee Mike Zeck drawing Frank Castle and his family’s murder was my raison d’être! One day, I thought, I’d be rich and sexy enough to buy Amazing Spider-Man #129. I thought wrong!

As for Black Widow, co-star of this movie and The Avengers, I’ve only been interested since Iron Man 2. ScarJo’s stoic yet sexy expressions and her trickery over Loki in The Avengers certainly puts her in the front lines of the squad, but ‘back in my day’ Black Widow was second string. I have more Mockingbird comics in my long boxes than Natasha Romanoff!

Either way, story wise, this is a great pairing. You know what you are going to get with Frank Castle. He’s the opposite of Batman—killer, judge, jury, executioner. Black Widow, a former Russian spy, now S.H.I.E.L.D. spy under the thumb of Director Nick Fury (Cinematic, Samuel L. Jackson version) is one who must answer to military protocol and her higher ups.


Find All-New Marvel Now at!



X-23 and Deadpool Finn at Anime Boston 2013 - Photo by Stacey Rizoli

Comic book fans and enthusiasts of any niche pop culture genre can be secular at times, closed minded, and exclusionary. It is the nature of the thing, I suppose, to be deeply invested and engaged by taking ownership of what appeals to you and what may become the building blocks of your identity. I’ve ignored the last ten Anime Boston conventions on this narrow-minded reasoning. After the Marathon bombings postponing Boston Comic Con this year, I put on my black costume karate gi to embrace the sense of pride and engagement with the nerd fan community that one can only get at a large convention in your hometown. This is how I, as a superhero comic fan, learned to stop worrying and love Anime Boston 2013. 

My photographer Stacey and I headed for our passes early in the day, eager to take in the wonders of Anime Boston on Saturday. Lines were manageable with bag checks and plenty of volunteers to assist directing traffic. In light of the terrorist attacks, no weapons were allowed at the con this year.

There were plenty of foam swords, accessories, and larger than life costumes this year, so the restriction was certainly not affecting anyone’s creativity.


It should be noted, cosplay at Anime Boston is intricate and omnipresent. Well over 80 percent of the crowd is dressed up or decorated in some way.

Iron Man takes a load off - Photo By Stacey Rizoli

Nerds of all fashions are here, Doctor Who fans, Vorlons (Babylon 5), superheroes, kitty cats with mechanical ears, all manner of tails and white masks swarm around you in a sea of paper mache, facepaint, leather, and vinyl. Cosplayers range in age from young to old and costume materials range from $2 to $2,000.

Cosplay at Comic Con is huge, don’t get me wrong, but as Stacey pointed out, “You’d be out of place if you didn’t dress up here.”

My thirst for nerd knowledge makes me a panel junkie. Anime Boston uses Guidebook, a live updating smartphone app that makes it easy to look at a complicated schedule such as this that includes screenings, martial arts demos, panels, kid’s activities, signings, and contests. We had set up our schedule in advance the night before and backed this up with the hard copy on the convention floor. Getting the lay of the land took some getting used to, Anime Boston uses most spaces in the gigantic Hynes Convention Center.