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At ComicCon Pennyworth serves up secret societies and a smidge of torture

first_img Tags More Comic-Con 2019 The very best cosplay we saw at Comic-Con 2019 In a room surrounded by bars, with what looks like an electric chair in the middle, a constable asks me if I know anything about the Raven Society. I don’t. Secret societies aren’t really my thing. But I’m told if you download the Epix app, you earn admission to this mysterious organization. He says if I’m lying there will be consequences. Another one says, “Either way there will be consequences.”Ain’t that the truth. “As a side note, it’s also a photo opportunity,” the first one adds. I watch as groups of people pretend like they’ve just been torturing each other and having a ball doing it. Having flown through Chicago Midway Airport last week, I’ve had my fill of torture. As one group exits and another takes its place, I zip out to the exit, past a red phone booth and back into 2019 San Diego. Comic-Con Pennyworth’s world is posh but dangerous.  Erin Carson/CNET The tray of utensils — the kind that would come in handy if you were trying to extract information from someone — was the first clue I wasn’t just hanging around a yet another dimly lit, posh-looking bar. The tray were sitting by a cot, in a dark little room hidden behind a bookcase housing books, pictures and an assortment of decorative knick-knacks, all meant to evoke 1960s London. img-2544 Erin Carson/CNET Or at least, a certain part of 1960s London. This isn’t exactly Carnaby Street. I’m out at San Diego Comic-Con and this interactive experience mixing booze and intrigue is a promotion for Pennyworth, a show from DC Comics, airing son on Epix. Pennyworth tells the backstory of Alfred Pennyworth. Alfred, best known as Bruce Wayne’s childhood caretaker, butler and confidant, is portrayed in the show as a young man and former British SAS soldier, who creates a security company with Bruce’s dad, Thomas. Pennyworth, which premieres on July 28, isn’t the first show to dig into the pre-Batman world. Fox’s Gotham, which ended in April after five seasons, followed Jim Gordon, who goes on to become Gotham’s police commissioner, as well as Bruce Wayne as a boy and a middle-aged Alfred. At SDCC, Batman is an even more distant figure. There’s talk of secret societies called the Raven Society and the No Name Society. Constables are looking for information on them, and attendees are poking around the plush furniture, black jack table, post card station and, you know, torture dungeon.  Post a commentcenter_img 0 Stan Lee sang to me: 10 crazy Comic-Con moments I’ll never forget Comic-Con at 50: From hotel basement to massive cultural blowout First-time SDCC cosplay is terrifying, complicated and exhilarating 62 Photos Share your voice TV and Movieslast_img read more

Two Houston School Board Incumbents Seek Reelection Two Others Step Down

Two Houston School Board Incumbents Seek Reelection Two Others Step Down

first_img Share Laura Isensee/Houston Public MediaIn October, Trustee Diana Davila issued an apology to the community on behalf of the Houston school board, for how they’ve behaved over the last 10 months.The slate of candidates is set for the Houston school board elections in November, even as a state-appointed board of managers is looking more likely due to governance issues and chronic low test scores at one high school.Of the four seats up for election, two incumbents — Diana Davila representing District VIII and Sergio Lira in District III — are running for another term.  But two other trustees, Rhonda Skillern-Jones and Jolanda Jones in Districts II and IV respectively, have decided to step down and not run for another term. In all, 11 candidates are vying for those open seats: seven in District II and four in District IV.Mark Jones, a political professor with Rice University, said that might not be enough turnover to avoid a state takeover of the entire nine-member board.“If in the end the level of renewal is only two seats, I doubt that has much effect on the overall function of the board and probably more importantly does not change the vision of the board in the eyes in the state of Texas government and the eyes of the TEA in particular,” Jones said.The beleaguered board is subject to a special investigation by the Texas Education Agency, whose top investigator has recommended that the state’s Education Commissioner, Mike Morath, replace the elected board with an appointed board of managers. Separately, the HISD board of trustees could be removed and replaced with appointed governors because one high school, Wheatley, recently had its seventh failing grade in a row. A state law mandates that a school be closed or a school board be replaced if a campus fails state standards for five or more years.Another HISD trustee, Elizabeth Santos, has announced she’s exploring a run for the Texas House to replace state Rep. Jessica Farrar, a Houston Democrat, but isn’t required to resign in order to campaign.Despite the threat of a state takeover, the elections will move forward, according to TEA’s rules. If the commissioner does appoint his own board of mangers, those governors would schedule new elections as they transition back to an elected board. In that scenario, recently elected HISD officials could assume their powers and serve out the remainder of their terms, if there is any time left during that transition. HISD trustees serve four-year terms; state-appointed board of managers have typically served between two and five years in other Texas districts.Jones said that Davila and Lira may be more vulnerable than typical incumbents because of the allegations in the state’s investigation, but considered them still the favorites as incumbents. They each face only one challenger: Judith Cruz in District VIII and Dani Hernandez in District III. What’s more, Jones said, is that the Houston mayoral race and City Council elections in November could drown out attention from the school board races.For the open seats, Jones said the real battle is to get into a run-off.He said while the general public may not be very attuned to the controversies swirling around the board — from secret meetings to free meals — the looming potential state takeover could have dampened a more robust challenge against either Davila or Lira.“There’s a sense of why bother — Why go out and work really hard? Why incur the wrath of incumbents and the special interests that support them if in the end, all that’s going to happen is a board of managers is going to take over?” Jones said.last_img read more