Comics Review: Lenore–Purple Nurples by Roman Dirge
Review by: Prof. Jenn
The cute little dead girl is back, with a newly remastered collection of deranged adventures, the central plots of which surround the ghostly Creeping Creepig. Some highlight moments include: the scene with the Harbinger Chop, the origin story of Lenore’s nose, the Greatest Epic Battle Ever Seen, portal trips into Heck and back, and the gorgeous Bonus Material.
The Lenore series is famously two parts silly, one part cute, and three parts sick and twisted. This collection is no different.
Bottom Line: Purple Nurples is a very entertaining Lenore collection.
They always told me never judge a book by its cover. As usual I didn’t listen, because this new issue of The Superior Spider-Man’s cover was comic book love at first sight. Anytime Marvel and it’s creative powers find a way to bring Spider-Man 2099 into a story line I’m in. On this cover, he sits perched high an above a futuristic city with the modern Superior Spider-Man below, crouching upside down and imbued in shadows. A showdown between the Otto Octavius Spider-Man and the cult classic Spider-Man 2099 is just what we need in these strange times of our former friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Part one’s story does the cover justice.
The book opens with us in Nueva York, 2099. Spider-Man is taking on a tear in the timestream, allowing us a reason for how these two Spider-Man’s will meet. Dan Slott tips the hat to former Marvel storylines that have occurred during our “Heroic Age” in which our “incursions into the fabric of space-time” have broken all of time. It’s up to the future Spider-Man to stop an event from happening in 2013 that will end in the eradication of his own existence. The stakes are set.
The rest of the book brings us up to speed on both politics of Peter’s boss Max Modell and how this may plants seeds for the problems in 2099’s world as well. There are also more glimpses of the plans of the Green Goblin and his team in The Goblin Underworld.
We get a fun character scene where Otto revels in his newly donned abilities from the body of Peter Parker by showboating in a friendly charity softball game amongst athletically challenged co-workers. He may not be a super villain anymore, but he’s still a jerk.
I can’t say enough about how awesome Ryan Stegman’s art continues to be. The splash page of Spider-Man 2099’s entrance shows right away how badass he’ll look in this storyline.
Slott continues to wind us through this controversial time of Spidey’s continuity. Again, it’s hard to know how long Octavius will be Peter Parker/Spider-Man, but until it comes to a head, it’s sure to remain interesting. After all, we are set up for a battle between Otto’s Spider-Man and the future’s Spider-Man…
8 out of 10
Book Review: About Time 7 by Tat Wood / Dorothy Ail
Review by: Prof. Jenn
The About Time series claims to be “the most comprehensive, wide-ranging, and at times almost unnervingly detailed handbook to Doctor Who that you might ever conceivably need” (p.5). This claim is absolutely true–it’s exhaustive in its detail, backstory, commentary, critical analysis, and etc. of episode by episode. If you’re a Doctor Who fan, these are a way to bolster your nerdly knowledge (or at least solve arguments as a reference).
Volume 7 of About Time covers the very beginning of the new Who: years 2005-2006, Series 1&2. Each episode is gone through with a fine-toothed comb, one by one, with such discussion categories as: Which One Is This?, Catchphrase Counter, History, Deus ex Machina, Analysis, Continuity, and Things that Don’t Make Sense, among many others. There are also essays interspersed with the episode sections, which honestly got into a slightly annoying flip-back-and-forth-between-pieces like a magazine. It’s enlightening to know not only the TV production culture surrounding the creation of these eps, but also the actors’ backgrounds, combined with the connection of the stories and characters to the old Who. It’s a particularly nerdily useful thing when the author refers back to previous volumes so one can flip back and forth to see how monsters recur and evolve, how the Doctor has changed and yet stayed the same, between the old series and the new.
Bottom Line: I highly recommend the About Time series in general, and volume 7 is stellar in its detail.
The Flash #23 finally brings us the face off that’s been building for some time in the New 52 universe: When The Flash crosses path with Reverse Flash.
Reverse Flash is a revered antagonist of Flash and was at the center of the wildly entertaining recent DC/Warner Bros. animated movie release of Flashpoint. Check it out, then go back a read the comics it was based on. Or vice versa… Hey, it’s your life!
The Flash #23 issue is part 4 in a storyline in which Wally has been trying to track down the culprit who is murdering anyone with access and powers through The Speed Force. What works in this issue is we finally get to the exciting reveal of who the Speed Force Killer– The Reverse Flash and who his true identity is.
Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato continue their well balanced writing of both superhero business with Wally’s personal life as we get a glimpse of how his girlfriend Patty is handling Wally’s busy extracurricular running schedule in a nice character moment between her and her father. She’s at her parent’s anniversary party alone, as Wally is too tied up saving time itself to be able to attend. Coupled with some exquisite frame work and continued exciting artwork, Flash maintains itself to be one of my favorite current DC books.
I won’t spoil the ending of this issue, but I will say this, it leads up directly into September’s Villains month at DC, where all the titles will be taken over by the character’s major villain. The next Flash issue will actually be Reverse Flash’s comic.
The ending is dramatic in some big ways and worth the cliffhanger it sets up. The storyline concludes in four weeks, after the Villain’s month issue.
Book Review: Turbulence by Samit Basu
Review by: Prof. Jenn
Turbulence is a superhero novel, but unlike any other superhero novel out there. For one thing, it takes place mainly in Mumbai (and sometimes in London). None of our characters are American. For another thing, the myriad superpowers that our gaggle of characters finds themselves with are so unusual, so real, and often mysterious as the characters themselves wake up one day and have to figure out what it is they actually have “come down with”, and then decide what to do about it.
The main story surrounds two newly-superpowered people: Aman and Uzma. They are two of many that were on a particular flight to London, that ended up giving superpowers to everyone on the plane. In this book, we don’t ever know where the powers came from, but there is an upcoming sequel–maybe the origins of the powers will be explained there. Anyway, Uzma doesn’t know what her power is (she doesn’t discover it till the very end), but Aman’s power is the ability to go online. Like, without a computer. Not only that, he can bypass any security codes, etc. well you get the idea. Other superpowered people we meet include the super-strong, able-to-fly Vir, the indestructible bad guy Jai, Tia who can multiply herself indefinitely, among others. Our conflict arises when Jai and his peeps decide that taking over the world is a good idea, and our “good guys” disagree. Though the discussions between the super-folk about what is the right thing to do with the powers is pretty compelling, making us wonder whether the good guys and bad guys are really that different.
Bottom Line: Turbulence is highly recommended. Bring on the sequel, Mr. Basu!
Comic Review: “Rat Queens” #1 by Kurtis Wiebe
Review by Prof. Jenn
Here’s a list of why I immediately adore the Rat Queens:
1) They are a very D&D rooted adventure group, and are bad-ass, diverse, and all-female.
2) They are Postmodernly self- and pop-culture-referential.
3) They are exquisitely drawn: action, character, and setting well-rendered. The art is exciting as well as easy on the eyes.
4) They are action-packed as well as hilarious.
5) Publicity copy has called the Rat Queens: “like Buffy meets Tank Girl in a Lord of the Rings world on crack!” I wouldn’t actually put the Tank Girl reference in there, though I do see where they’re coming from. They’re not quite as gritty as Tank Girl. They are certainly raucous, boozing, and bantery, but there’s more joy there than nastiness.
Bottom Line: I love the Rat Queens, and I want more!
Heroes of Cosplay is the SyFy channel’s new series about cosplay competitions at conventions. The show follows a select few cosplayers behind the scenes of the competition into their homes, studios and their creative processes. Each episode centers on a different convention, and the cosplayers must create a new look for each competition. Cosplay, for those who might not be familiar, is short for “costume play” and it is the act of wearing a costume to portray a character from a work of fiction. These costumes are often hand made and they can cost hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars and hours to create. Some cosplayers like to get into character by acting like the character they’re representing. Other cosplayers merely create and wear the costumes. Either way, the cosplayers are judged on “presentation” during the competition, as well as detail and craftsmanship.
The cosplayers the series follows are mostly professional and semi-professional costumers. Chief among them is the well-known costumer Yaya Han, who appears as a guest judge at each of the competitions in the series. She is introduced by her self-chosen title, “the Ambassador of Cosplay”, and she often shows up to give our cosplayers some (seemingly unsolicited?) advice, like a costumed fairy godmother. When I spoke with Yaya at SDCC, she stressed that the competitions were not rigged in any way to favor the competitors. Indeed, in the past two episodes, only one award has been given to any of the show’s stars (it was to Holly and Jessica for “best team” for their Dungeons and Dragons costumes). We see some of the creative process, though a lot less than I had hoped. There were some cool shots of Jesse vacuum forming his Steampunk Stormtrooper helmet, and a harrowing scene where Holly makes a head cast of Jessica to help sculpt her Tiefling horns. Most of the show focuses on (surprise) the drama and stress that goes into creating something on a too-short deadline for a competition.
The show has stirred up controversy in the cosplay community. The initial excitement for a reality show based on cosplay and featuring some of the cosplay community’s most talented names has faded since the show first aired and has been replaced with… resentment, mostly. It’s what happens whenever an unelected elite minority is chosen to represent a population: rebellion. The show was marketed as a documentary style, and it does catalog events and interviews like a documentary, but it is basically another competition reality TV show. It was not made for cosplayers, it was made for the large, existing reality television audience. From what I have seen so far, it’s modeled pretty closely after TLC’s Toddlers and Tiaras. This isn’t a bonehead move for SyFy, since Toddlers and Tiaras is a massively popular show. It’s also not a show that was made for its subjects. I don’t know how the child-beauty-pageant-going community reacted to Toddlers and Tiaras, but I bet it wasn’t all positive.
The strange thing for me is that this is the first time I have been familiar with the work of reality TV stars before the show aired. I know some of these people, or have met them at conventions. I follow them on Twitter and Facebook. I know what some of them are really like. Watching their personalities edited to fit the reality TV model is totally fascinating. To say that the drama is all manufactured is as ridiculous as saying that everything on the show happened exactly as it seems. There is inherently drama that surrounds competitions, and cosplayers are no different. However, some of the perceived cattiness is definitely a result of editing out of context remarks together. Most of the time it’s pretty transparent.
I don’t identify as a cosplayer, but I do consider myself part of the community. The cosplay community I know is mostly a welcoming, largely inclusive bunch that will tell you to wear whoever you want as long as you’re having fun. Cosplay competition is a very small part of the activity. You definitely do not have to have ever been judged in a competition to be considered a cosplayer. That the show is focusing on competition just makes it easy to package and market, and makes more relatable for those unfamiliar with the hobby. It kind of explains to the layman why anyone would spend the kind of time and money that our cosplayers spend creating a costume. I will tell you a secret (spoiler alert: not actually a secret), you don’t spend hundreds or thousands of dollars and hours creating something for a cash reward that might very well be less than the total cost of your costume and trip to the con. You do it because you love how you feel when you dress up as a favorite character: powerful, sexy, magical. It’s the process and the reward of a job well done. It’s the attention from children who believe you’re actually who you’re dressed up as and the “May I take a picture with you?” from excited fanboy/girls. Sadly, this is what the show is lacking so far.
We still have more to see from Heroes of Cosplay. Perhaps there are some redeeming surprises in store. The second episode aired recently and featured a couple of new faces. Heroes of Cosplay is on at 10pm on Syfy. You can find them on Facebook at (www.facebook.com/HeroesofCosplay) and on Twitter at (twitter.com/HeroesofCosplay).
Are you tired of buying those boring sexy shirtless firefighter calendars year after year? Don’t you wish there were something new, different, and perhaps a bit geeky? Wouldn’t it be cool if “Mr. November” was dressed up as Commander Shepard? If the answer to any or all of those questions was “heck yes!”, then you need to check out this Kickstarter (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/954587867/men-vs-cosplay-2014-gaming-calendar-project).
The Men vs Cosplay Kickstarter project aims to produce a 12 (or maybe 18 month!) calendar featuring some of the best the male cosplay world has to offer. There are several high profile cosplayers participating in the calendar, such as Sylar Warren, Bill Doran, and Cap Santiago to name a few. At this point, the project is fully funded, but there are reach goals set. There are several backer levels, but $20 will get you a calendar. The funding period closes on Sept. 6, 2013.
You can find Men Vs Cosplay in a lot of places around the internet, including:
Their website: http://www.menvscosplay.com/
and Tumblr: http://menvscosplay.tumblr.com/
Aside from the Kickstarter project, they’re a pretty fun bunch to follow because of the constant high quality male cosplay photos.
This past Sunday, all of Hollywood Geek-Royalty gathered at the Avalon Theatre in Hollywood for the 1st Annual Geekie Awards. The entire event was dreamed up by the ever-talented Kristen Nedopak who was looking for a way to support indie geek art. While many of the smaller awards were announced ahead of time on their website (http://www.thegeekieawards.com/), several of the larger awards were given away in a live ceremony that live-streamed across the world. Plenty of geek celebs were on hand, including Stan Lee himself who received the first ever Geekie Award and serenaded the crowd with a song he wrote about being a geek for life.
For those lucky audience members sitting in the tables near the stage, 3D printers were working all night making custom art. I was able to see them printing away all evening and they provided people with a lot of entertainment (except for the “party table” up front who broke theirs early on).
I was privileged enough to be invited to attend as a cosplayer and even got to be onstage in my steampunk Maleficent costume to hand over the award for the Best One Shot category with Chris Gore and Keahu Kahuanui. There were plenty of amazing cosplayers on hand to entertain the crowd, take photos with and add further geek cred to the evening.
There were plenty of logistical issues throughout the evening, but considering this was a large-scale first year event, things went reasonably smoothly and the crowd seemed to enjoy the evening overall. The biggest gaff of the night came from the young (and very excited) Winner twins while presenting the award for Retail Stores and Websites. The nominee package and category name were skipped entirely, but thankfully the winners from the Nerd Machine stepped in and filled in the blank for the audience.
The pre-filmed skit that kicked off the evening and the videos preceeding each set of nominees were spectacularly done and added a real professional air to the evening. The inclusion of Best Webseries nominees the League of S.T.E.A.M. throughout the evening was also quite entertaining, especially when they used their famous net get to snag a zombie coming after host Alison Haislip.
Kudos to all involved with the evening and the events leading up to it. I for one will be curious to see how the show evolves in the future and hope that next year’s event will be even better!
“‘Man of Steel’ soars high.”
- Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
A HERO WILL RISE WHEN
Man of Steel
ARRIVES ONTO BLU-RAY 3D COMBO PACK,
BLU-RAY COMBO PACK, DVD 2-DISC SPECIAL EDITION, 3D LIMITED COLLECTOR’S EDITION and DIGITAL DOWNLOAD ON NOVEMBER 12 FROM
WARNER BROS. HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Blu-ray Combo Packs include nearly 4 hours of special features
All disc versions feature UltraViolet
Burbank, CA, August 19, 2013 – The fate of mankind is in the hands of one man when “Man of Steel” arrives onto Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD 2-disc Special Edition, 3D Limited Collector’s Edition and Digital Download on November 12 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. In “Man of Steel,” Clark Kent is forced to confront his extraterrestrial past and embrace his hidden powers when Earth is threatened with destruction.
The film also stars four-time Oscar® nominee Amy Adams (“The Master,” 2012), Oscar® nominee Michael Shannon (“Revolutionary Road,” 2008), Academy Award® winner Kevin Costner (“Dances with Wolves,” 1990), Oscar® nominee Diane Lane (“Unfaithful,” 2002), Oscar® nominee Laurence Fishburne (“What’s Love Got to Do with It,” 1993), Antje Traue, Ayelet Zurer, Christopher Meloni, and Academy Award® winner Russell Crowe (“Gladiator,” 1992).
“Man of Steel” is produced by Charles Roven, Christopher Nolan, Emma Thomas and Deborah Snyder. The screenplay was written by David S. Goyer from a story by Goyer & Nolan, based upon Superman characters created by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster and published by DC Entertainment. Thomas Tull, Lloyd Phillips and Jon Peters served as executive producers.
“Man of Steel” will be available on Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack for $44.95, on Blu-ray Combo Pack for $35.99, on DVD 2-disc Special Edition for $28.98, and as a 3D Limited Collector’s Edition for $59.99. The Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack features the theatrical version of the film in 3D hi-definition, hi-definition and standard definition; the Blu-ray Combo Pack features the theatrical version of the film in hi-definition and standard definition; the DVD 2-disc Special Edition features the theatrical version in standard definition; and the 3D Limited Collector’s Edition features the theatrical version of the film in 3D hi-definition, hi-definition and standard definition, and also includes a limited release metal “S” glyph with lucite glass stand. The Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD 2-disc Special Edition and 3D Limited Collector’s Edition include UltraViolet* which allows consumers to download and instantly stream the standard definition theatrical version of the film to a wide range of devices including computers and compatible tablets, smartphones, game consoles, Internet-connected TVs and Blu-ray players.
A young boy learns that he has extraordinary powers and is not of this Earth. As a young man, he journeys to discover where he came from and what he was sent here to do. But the hero in him must emerge if he is to save the world from annihilation and become the symbol of hope for all mankind.
BLU-RAY AND DVD ELEMENTS
· Journey of Discovery: Creating “Man of Steel” – This immersive feature-length experience allows you to watch the movie with director Zack Snyder and stars Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Diane Lane and others as they share the incredible journey to re-imagine Superman.
· Strong Characters, Legendary Roles – Explore the legendary characters of the Superman mythology and how they have evolved in this new iteration of the Superman story.
· All-Out Action – Go inside the intense training regimen that sculpted Henry Cavill into the Man of Steel and Michael Shannon and Antje Traue into his Kyptonian nemeses. Includes interviews with cast and crew.
· Krypton Decoded – Dylan Sprayberry (Clark Kent, age 13) gives the lowdown on all the amazing Krypton tech, weapons and spaceships featured in “Man of Steel.”
· Planet Krypton – The world’s first exploration of Krypton and its lost society.
“Man of Steel” DVD 2-disc Special Edition contains the following special features:
· Strong Characters, Legendary Roles
· All-Out Action
· Krypton Decoded