Tag: Rebecca Narkiewicz

Night of the 80′s Undead

A  new potential zombie sensation recently launched in the comic book world, Night of the 80s Undead. Zombies? 1980s and a comparison to John Hughes? I’m there!  Question is, can this Action Lab/ Danger-Zone title keep me there?

night of 80s UndeadJason Martin and Bill McKay let you know immediately what you are in for with cover art featuring the  typical boobs a poppin’ female donning door knocker earrings and a shredded Frankie Says Relax tee  plus a splattering of overly red comic book blood oozing behind the title.

Unfortunately, the first thing to catch my eye in this comic book was the misspelling of Ronald Reagan (as “Ronald Regan”). I just had to call that out guys, sorry. 

The story, obviously, takes place in 1980s Hollywood. The Russian/USA  Cold War, bad Tom Selleck-moustaches, and coke problems are in full effect. The KGB has poisoned a supply of drugs entering the USA with a virus that immediately infects the user so they become zombies with the speed and strength of  coked up maniacs.

Almost immediately, the comparison to John Hughes I have been promised has me a little miffed. There is not  heart or appreciation of the 80s to be found here, just a check list of what made up 1980s popular culture. Did the creators just binge watch Miami Vice? This doesn’t seem to be tongue-in-cheek or satire. The cameos of ’80s Charlie Sheen, Jon Cryer, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and OJ Simpson  seem more self-gratifying  than clever. Maybe having actually been a child of the 80s I’m a little too close to the decade to find this amusing. If your only familiarity with the 80s is music, movies, and TV than you may find Night of the 80′s Undead clever, but I just found it pandering to the  current popular retro vibe.  Time would be better spent watching any 80s zombie movies.

Mom always said if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all, so I will admit the inclusion of a  goth/new wave/funk/rap list of songs for a suggested soundtrack by page number was a creative touch and the music selection has my music snob seal of approval. I also liked the horizontally layered panels which are easy to follow along with, and the recommended movies from the 80s for viewing. This is the first issue, so perhaps they are getting out the obvious jokes and the next issue will be more creative. Overall, however, I can’t recommend this first issue of Night of the 80′s Undead with a clean conscious. Unless you enjoy just seeing panel after panel of comic book boobs, drug snorting, and cartoon-like blood.

 

 

Tank Girl is Back in Tank Girl Solid State

Solid State Tank Girl #1She’s baaaack. The irreverent, obnoxious, ultimate contemporary female comic book anti-hero and cultural icon, Tank Girl has returned. And she’s brought her favorite friends along for the fun, Jet Girl, Booga, and Barney in Tank Girl: Solid State.

If you aren’t familiar with Tank Girl, or only know her from that love it or hate it 90s film starring Lori Petty and Ice-T, she may be worth a trip down retro lane because of her importance in comic strip history. Tank Girl was the it girl for a while. Originally created by Alan Martin and Jamie Hewlett (most recently of Gorillaz fame), the 90s Tank Girl was a not so underground influence on culture and even inspired spreads in fashion magazines. It is nice to see even in the overly politically correct and easily offended world we live in now, Martin is keeping true to Tank Girl who is still more early 90s raunchy Madonna than cute “princess punk” Gwen Stefani, and more Paglia than Steinem.

While Tank Girl is still irreverent and obnoxious, this first issue seems a little shallow and brief. The synopsis reads:

Tank Girl, Jet Girl, Booga and Barney are back, in a mission to save their favorite little radio store. Everything goes to plan, but somewhere along the line Booga manages to electronically summon a gang of evil counterparts, fronted by the darkest bitch on the planet – ANTI-TANK GIRL!!! The fight is to the death, as each gang member draws on their deepest, most screwed-up powers to eliminate their own personal nemesis. Things are about to get very dark, very bloody, and very stupid.

This first issue is mostly male adolescent humor, i.e. ball jokes along the lines of “That’s no moon, that’s a testicle.”  I give props to the Fantastic Voyage inspired storyline; Tank Girl and friends get shrunk to go inside Booga and have 15 minutes to save him. But I feel it didn’t even make a dent in what the storyline may be. And rather than include a mini story at the end, I wish they would have extended the main plot a little longer to get to the meat of the story arc.

Having gone through several artists after Hewlett who have interpreted Tank Girl, always keeping her a tad skanky, Martin and Titan are now giving an up and coming artist a chance. At first Warwick Johnson Cadwell’s art work brings to mind the geometric angles of Marc Hempel. The pages seem one-dimensional. This compliments the rough and tumble world of Tank Girl. Everyone still looks like they need a shower. And while you can see Cadwell’s voice in his work, it’s still obviously the world of Tank Girl fans want to see.

I vaguely remember Tank Girl comic strips from some magazine in the 90s, memory says Spin but I don’t think that’s right. I never totally got into her, but appreciated the wacky and crude portrayal of her apocalyptic world. However, my ultimate issue with Tank Girl was the baseness of it all. The strip was too Mad Max, too “What the hell is Booga? And why is she screwing a mutant kangaroo?” That hasn’t changed here. If you are already a fan of Tank Girl, potty humor, or look for funky fashion inspiration in your comic books, grab this asap as it will probably be your pot of tea. However, if you look for more tasteful inspired fare, you might want to pass.

Solid State Tank Girl #1 
Issue Number: 1
Number of Issues/Volumes in Series: 4
Page Count: 32pp
Retail Price: $3.99
Street Date: May 15, 2013

Cult “Well Hey, These Things Just Snap Right Off”

If you’ve been watching ArrowSupernatural, Vampire Diaries or other CW fare, you have probably been inundated during the commercial breaks with cryptic snippets and the hashtag #DoNotWatch flashing across your screen for the new show Cult.  I have to admit, the promo pieces piqued my curiosity and the one with the girl stuck in the car with the oncoming train really freaked me out.  Of course, we are all about the creepy here at G4 so there was no doubt I would be watching. The ante was upped further when I discovered Supernatural alum Alona Tal has a starring role.  Fans supposedly never really took to her Jo Harvelle, but she was one of my favorite characters and the perfect foil to Dean’s lady-killer charms.
http://youtu.be/kUuBhhxdHoc

Having watched the first Cult episode, “You’re Next,” on the CW’s site here  before its Tuesday, February 19 television premier, I have to say I am pretty excited about the showI’ve been enjoying the not so perfect The Following, but I haven’t been left with feelings of “I need to talk about what’s going on with someone now!” Don’t get me wrong, I think most of the first episode of Cult was a little disappointing and the acting is not up to the star power of Bacon/Purefoy. There is a sense of artificiality in the show within the show scenes, hopefully to just distinguish it, but it can be jarring flipping frequently between the two. The cliché of “the police don’t believe me, I’ll look into this myself,” the expected mole in a position of authority, and an intentionally absent and mysterious creator aren’t screaming “This is something original”. But a story has to start somewhere and the last five minutes are a game changer. The last scenes gave me some chills.

Not creepy at all.

A not too spoilery synopsis Jeff (played by Matthew Davis), a disgraced investigative reporter who was fired from the Washington Post for making up facts which in turn caused a lot of supposedly crooked police to be fired, has a ne’er-do-well brother Nate whose latest obsession is this show Cult.  Jeff meets with a seemingly crazy Nate who rambles on about his paranoia, obsession and fear of the show Cult and slips Jeff a pair of 3D glasses before Jeff walks off disgusted. That evening Nate disappears leaving a bloody chair behind in his apartment. Of course Jeff has no fans in the police department now and let’s just say that reporting his brother missing doesn’t garner him any sympathy. Jeff slyly picks up Nate’s Cult journal from his desk and starts doing his reporter thing.

The show within the show is about detective Kelly Collins who is trying to find her sister and nephew after the leader of the cult she escaped from, Billy Grimm (played perfectly by Heroes’ Robert Knepper), has them taken by his followers.  Billy even states he doesn’t know who all his followers are  and that they are everywhere. Billy wishes Kelly luck finding her sister and hands her a pair of 3D glasses.  The show within the show is created by Steven Rea and as we are told at several points during the real show, Steven is reclusive and no one gets to him.

We are also introduced to Skye (played by Jessica Lucas), a researcher for the show Cult at the CW. Skye has been perusing the web and found that there are fun fan sites and then there are “hard to get into sites” with scared people. Skye is told by her bosses, “We’re just a television show; they’re just fans.” But upon Jeff showing up on set trying to get to the show’s creator, Skye overhears Jeff talking about Nate’s disappearance and Skye goes off with Jeff to investigate some fan sites and they stumble upon some Cult LARPING,  more tragedy, and more interactions between Jeff and the police officers that already mistrust him. Cue the mysterious computer disc. Lesson #2 from Cult (Lesson #1: don’t get all mussed black out my windows obsessed with a mysterious TV show) if you find a mysterious computer disc, don’t put it in your personal computer – go to Best Buy or an Apple Store.

3D glasses, a suspicious red car, and who knows how many followers just grabbing selected people off the street and things start adding up, but to what? After the aforementioned last few minutes, I really want to know. And I want to know what the heck just “snaps right off.”

There were a few saving graces as I was watching. There is some industry humor and cracks about Bruckheimer shows,  and as The Simpsons are prone to making fun of their own Fox network, Cult is following in its footsteps with some subtle fun poked at CW since the television show Cult within the show is also on the fictionalized CW network.

My only real criticism isn’t really of the show itself, but rather mourning what could have been a crazy insane guerilla type advertising campaign a larger network could have given it to build suspense. The mysterious red car driving throughout different major cities, 3D glasses and secret messages to look out for, and video pop up ads with the show’s cult leader Billy saying “You’re next.” They could have gone further. They could have gone all Trent Reznor Year Zero on everyone and hid digital clues in different venues. But maybe it’s a fair trade. A show as different as this probably has the best non-cable chance on CW over the other networks. And maybe we’ll see them use those tactics in the show as their fan base disappears and they need to get new fans.

Did you watch it already? Do you plan on it? Come here after and let me know what you thought!

A Demonic and Hellish Valentine – Lo

Not all of us are Valentine’s Day devotees. Some of us find joy in yelling “Happy VD” on February 14 or wearing an old school Sid and Nancy “Love Kills” shirt (or maybe that was just me in high school).  Whether you are sad to be unattached, just don’t dig commercial greeting card created holidays, or just want a few movie suggestions, I’m here for you, friends.

For months I’ve passed over a curious little title in Netflix: 2009′s  Lo. The rating was surprisingly high for a low budget horror movie I’d never heard of, so I finally threw caution to the wind; after all, it’s not like I’m a movie snob or anything. What’s one or two more wasted hours in my life thrown to the cinematic winds? And doesn’t the movie poster just look intriguing?
Lo gets right to it in a scene that probably replicates what my own attempt at summoning a demon would look like. An imperfect sketch, candles falling over, and forgetting a key component are the pitfalls our lead Justin experiences as he performs the ritual from an old magic book.
The demon Lo appears, christens Justin by the name “Dinner” and gets right to the smack talking and verbally toying with Justin. See, Justin has lost his lady love, April, and thinks Lo can help return her from the demon that stole her and maimed him. Lo summons up Justin’s memories and plays them before him like a sitcom recorded in front of a live studio audience. As the memories roll and tales from Hell’s denizens are told,  Justin may find his memories are far different than what really may have occurred. Is April really a damsel in distress? Is her name really April?
This is an odd little film starring people I’ve never heard of and written and directed by Travis Betz. Reportedly shot in three days and inspired by  Jan Švankmajer‘s Faust, while not necessarily “gory horror” as it was labeled, some of the costumes and tales from hell are a little yucky. The movie mostly takes place in Justin’s apartment as he sits inside his safety conjuring circle and tries to figure out the mystery of who or what April is and how to get her back.  There is such heart to this silly, odd little film.

There are times where it seems they go a little Sam Raimi wanna-be, but imitation is flattery in this case.  And while this is not horror, it is a little too horror to be straight comedy.  There are also musical numbers. Sometimes I wonder if that is why “indie” exists, a category for films that defy simple description.

Stay tuned next time for more suggestions!

 

CHEW Volume 6 Space Cakes

 

Toni Chu is always having fun in the pages of CHEW

CHEW has officially reached its halfway point (cue the tears).  The Eisner Award-winning comic book by John Layman and Rob Guillory  is one of my life’s greatest joys, and I am making it my mission to introduce CHEW to everyone who enjoys a side of wacky with their comic books. The latest storyline, “Space Cakes,” is now available in one volume out now.

CHEW Volume 6 Space Cakes 

Presenting a new storyline of the New York Times Best Selling, Harvey and multiple Eisner Award-winner series about cops, crooks, cooks, cannibals, and clairvoyants! While Tony Chu – the cibopathic federal agent with the ability to get psychic impressions from what he eats – clings to life in a hospital ICU, his twin sister Toni steps up to take center stage. Toni is cibovoyant, able to see the future of anything she eats, and, lately, she’s seeing some pretty terrible things.

CHEW takes place in a US where chicken is outlawed, the FDA and USDA have agents that pack guns and some other talents, and a cockfighting rooster called Poyo helps fight crime at home and abroad. This collection also includes the one-off issue “Secret Agent Poyo” devoted to the fiercest fowl of all time, as well as a gallery devoted to artists’ tributes to CHEW.  See here for my review of its initial release.

For most of “Space Cakes,” Tony is in the hospital, mostly unconscious except for a fun storyline with wonderful hallucinations. Tony’s incapacitation prompts the people in his life to team up for zany adventures. They comprise Toni, his twin sister and Nasa agent; FDA Agent Cesar Valenzano, his ex-partner whom he doesn’t remember; John Colby, current USA agent and another ex-partner; and Poyo, John’s new partner. It’s easy to underestimate an eclectic group like this, and one villain even called them, “A stoned cripple, a retard, a chicken, and only two guns?” We find out how tough they are later though, tanks to Poyo’s badassery.

Each issue in volume 6 tells a wacky tale of art licking, psychedelic chogs (those adorable frog/chicken hybrids), an exploding porterhouse pantsuit, a formula for spontaneous combustion, and an almost wedding.  There is also a flashback to the contentious childhood relationship between Tony and his chef brother Chow. The stories are all connected through the “vampire” who is kidnapping, murdering, and eating people with unique abilities like Tony.  The vampire calls himself a collector, and by eating someone, he gains their special ability.  What’s his endgame? Can the USDA, FDA, and NASA continue working so well together? Will Toni get her happy ever after with her boss/boyfriend Paneer Sharma?  With so many characters, a few plot lines, and a whole mess of crazy, you’d think there would be some issues of cohesion.  There aren’t; Tony’s misadventures seamlessly flow together. ”Space Cakes” ends on a cliffhanger that will have you rereading the volume, wanting more.

Now, I may upset some artists by saying, and I truly do apologize, but as a fan of art and comic books I will say that while there are great illustrations done by great artists, oftentimes good art can just kind of get overlooked as you focus on the story.  There needs to be something to grab you. The illustrations in CHEW pulled me in immediately. Rob Guillory’s style is instantly recognizable and adds to the overall character and vibe of the comic. It’s fun without being silly or over-the-top. It’s just left of reality without being too Sunday funny papers in tone. You see a cover and regardless of the character featured, you think “Hey, that’s CHEW.” Layman’s writing is nothing to pass over either. It’s witty, gross at times, and a bit outlandish (poultry ban, chicken/frog hybrids) but totally 100% original and creative. Weaving vampires, champion cock fighters, the FDA, USDA, NASA, and aliens into a humorous comic book romp with occasional surprises looks so effortless in the hands of Layman and Guillory.
And be on the lookout in 2013 for the chance to buy your own adorable little chogs by Skeleton Crew

CHEW Space Cakes Vol 6

Diamond code : OCT120481

ISBN : 9781607066217

Recommended retail price : $14.99

Release Date : 12/19/12

Good Girls Gone Geek 12 Days of Geekmas Gift Ideas!

Christmas is right around the corner.  I’ve been cranking Guster’s Tiny Tree (a few years later and that Target commercial still makes me cry). Proffitt and I are almost done with Christmas cards and still racking our brains for last minute gift ideas so you might not have to.  We promise a broad range of prices because frankly, we hate those magazine gift lists that assume we all have $100+ to spend on everyone in our lives. It’s more about the thought and the personal touch than the dollars, anyway.

From Bex:

Every nerd we know is either a lover of Star Wars or knows someone who is. There is no lack of Star Wars branded merchandise, but it is rare to find something so classy and cool.

For day 12, I present (pun intended)

Star Wars cufflinks with a palladium coating from Neiman Marcus for about $125. Now if you search for these online, you can find them at other price points but I saw them at Neiman  first. Throw in some chocolate chip cookies for yourself and it’s a successful day of shopping.

Day 11. Not every writer is a Neil Gaiman, but if you know someone who loves to write by hand, keeps a journal, or fancies writing letters, you can’t go wrong with the Pilot Varsity disposable real fountain pens. I am yet to commit to the  hefty price tag of a serious fountain pen (mainly because I am a loser of favorite pens), but I have tried lots of disposable ones and the majority are crappy.  The Varsity, used in Sex and the City by Carrie Bradshaw,  is a gem. For about $21 at Staples you can get a variety pack of colors in these handy, fluid, smooth writing pens. I’ve had mine for about two years and they are just as fresh as when I first used them. The colors are vibrant and make writing fun. Add a nice little notebook, stationary (Italian paper is a dream to write on, hint hint), or a carrying case and you’ve got a fully loaded gift to impress that creative someone.

Day 10. Listography book/journals by Lisa Nola.  I received My Future Listography a few weeks ago for my birthday and in an odd turn of events, it has provided me with both comfort and inspiration during this crazy month.  It’s fun to think about future Halloween costume ideas, changes you’d like to see in the world, places you’d like to spend the night, other lives you’d like to lead if you had 9 lives, etc.  I’d liken it to a journal for writing commitment-phobes. Nola has listographies focused on movies, music, your love life and more.  Great for inspiring a group discussion or personal reflection, these can be found at the Chronicle Books website and are priced at a $16.95 .  And as an aside, I love Chronicle Books. They  had me hooked since publishing the interactive Griffin and Sabine love stories.  If you are ever stumped for gift ideas, just look through their website.

 

From Proffitt:

Spoiler Alert: Bex’s Christmas present may or may not be included below.  (Hint: it totally is).

Day 9. Funko POP figures, The Walking Dead.  I mean…I just…look at how adorable these things are!  While I’m a little bummed we can’t get the whole crew (yet…?), I can tell you that as soon as I saw these on Amazon.com I scooped up all four of the available dolls – Rick, Daryl, Bicycle Girl Walker and  RV-Walker.  Why two walkers, but no Glen?  Who can say?  I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for future additions.  When I purchased these, the Daryl Dixon doll was no more expensive than any of the others, but it looks like that has changed!   I don’t know if these are limited edition, or if there will be more Daryls released later, but you might want to get him while you can.  (Don’t worry Bex, I’m sure you’ve put it together by now – I’ve got you covered on this one).

 

Day 8. Funko POP Game of Thrones figures OK, I’m a little obsessed here.  I haven’t bought these yet, but they are the only thing besides books and a hair dryer on my Amazon wishlist, so fingers-crossed!  Again, some of the choices baffle (No Jon Snow?!  Who is picking these things?), but the sorrowful look on tiny Sandor Clegane makes me so happy/sad.  I’ma give him some hot chocolate! Figures included: Daenerys Targaryen, Khal Drogo, Eddard Stark, Sandor Clegane (The Hound), White Walker, and Tyrion Lannister.

 Day 7. Urban Decay Smoked 24-7 Eye Pencil Set from Sephora.com

OK, OK, these aren’t in any way geeky or nerdy.  They’re just fun.  Urban Decay makes quality stuff and their eye makeup is particularly awesome.  If your lady friend likes getting dolled up for a night on the town, she might enjoy these.  I’m in love with the colors.

From Bex:

Day 6. Everyone has that quirky friend that is hard to buy for. Fashion forward and fun, what can you get her that she doesn’t already have? A fabulous handcrafted comic book inspired accessory. Go to Etsy and search “Pow headband” and you will find such delightful gifts like this from JanineBasil for about $25 US dollars plus shipping. She’s in London but the shipping isn’t that pricey and there are other crafters who have similar products at different price points so there is probably a seller near you. Or be inspired to start creating your own designs.

Day 5. We just love her and she’ll probably always be on our gift list. GeekSoap. She frequently rolls out new designs and right now the Dragon Warrior Slime soap is just gushing with adorableness.

OR this for the Harry Potter fan- Platform 9 3/4 

There is a soap for almost any nerd/geek you know and love like D20 Soap on a rope , our favorite houses from Game of Thrones soaps , adorable tentacled cephalosoaps , manly smelling Mustache soap  and so much more. The scents are light and not overpowering. I have uber sensitive skin and using these vegan formulas did not irritate me at all. We can’t say enough good things about Lesley and her products. And at $6-7 price ranges plus some $5 sale items, you can buy every geek or non geek on your list some soap.

Day 4. An Umbrella umbrella from Thinkgeek.com.  Thank you to friend of GGGG Scott K for even making me aware of such awesomeness.. Chances are it won’t be back in stock for the holidays, but it’s on here because gamers, movie fans, and those who like good design can appreciate this umbrella. It’s useful, kicky,  looks great and maybe worth the wait.

Alternate Day 4. Also from Thinkgeek.com, at long last a blue canary night light. Who does not fondly remember that They Might Be Giants song and love it? The description on this item alone made me want to buy it and at $12.99, why not? Include with it a note that reads “Say I’m the only bee in your bonnet” and you have a gift to make the right lady/fella swoon and think you are the bees’ knees.  There’s also a nifty looking Tardis night light that deserves honorable mention.

From Proffitt:

Day 3.  SHARK SOCKS. For all you knitters out there, this post will show you all the details up close so you can give your favorite Jaws/Shark Week fan a pair of shark socks to wear…around the house, I guess.  Unlikely they will fit into any shoes.  Plus, they’d probably just eat right through them anyway (ba-dum-ching!)

Of course, you don’t have to knit sharks specifically.  We’ve seen hand-knit Tardises, Jayne hats, even Zombies.  If you’ve got the needle-skills, knitting something specifically targeted to your friends may be just the budget-friendly idea you’ve been looking for.

Day 2.  Nostalgia toys! Especially good for anyone 30+, find some old toys, video games, or gadgets from their youth.  One of my favorite recent memories was playing through the original Super Mario Bros on  a friend’s Nintendo.  If someone gave me an actual Easy Bake Oven, I’d probably marry him.  Don’t have the time, the money, or the parent’s basement to ransack for originals?  No problem.  The nostalgia thing is hot right now.  You can find Rubik’s Cubes in toy stores again, and old-school video and board games are out there, too.  Maybe throw in some Pop Rocks and Candy Cigarettes (oh, they still make ‘em) and make a gift-basket with a 80s or 90s theme.  Man…I’m loving this idea.  I’m taking this one for myself!


Day 1. The Walking Dead from Telltale Games

I know, I know.  I’m Walking Dead obsessed right now.  I just love it so much.  Also, this game is getting phenomenal reviews. 

That’s it for our 2012 gift recommendations!  Hope we helped you check some folks off your list.  Please share your recommendations with us, too!

 

This post originally appeared on Good Girls Gone Geek

 

 

 

 

 

Reviewer’s Word: Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2- The High Cost of No Cost

One of the Movie Posters

I am not a fan of the Twilight film franchise. I do not foresee myself reading any Stephanie Meyer book, ever. However, I would never want to truly disparage an entire fandom. I adore Supernatural and that certainly takes away some nerd cred in some eyes. I am sure the Twilight characters and stories Meyer created have served a purpose for her numerous fans. Now, I can and do hope that purpose isn’t to encourage moony females to surrender their entire lives for a guy because he “sparkles.” (I had to say it, come on!).

Not being a Twilight fan has not stopped me from having to watch the entire film series, however. My desire to be a good friend supersedes the persnickety critic in me.  So, I have watched with good humor each installment. Until now. Breaking Dawn Part 2 did not only finally break the camel’s back, it did a number of unspeakable things to that poor camel.

This is not really a review of the film. And truly, I promise even though I do not like Twilight, I will not judge you if you do. As I mentioned, at least one friend is a Twi-hard.  But there are a few things I need to get off of my chest because I just don’t get it. And there will be spoilers.

First off, seriously, Renesmee? What the hell kind of name is that? Please do not have a  rash of babies born in in 2012-2014 with that name, please, please. It must be said, though, the actress who plays her, Mackenzie Foy, is an adorable beauty.

And Bella? The entire film I just kept thinking to myself “Bella is a selfish b-word.” I really do not like to curse, so yes, I really was thinking “b-word.” Maybe it’s more in depth in the book, or maybe it’s just Kristin Stewart’s cold fish school of acting skills, but seriously, Bella just seemed like “everything be damned but Mr. Sparkles.” She was portrayed as unbothered at the thought of her father believing she had died and was angry at Jacob for telling him the truth. Plus, Bella never really seems to appreciate Jacob’s friendship and the sacrifices he’s made for her and her new vampire family. Would it have hurt to include one heartfelt speech from Bella to the wolves and Jacob?  Plus, perhaps it’s nit-picky, but way too many closeups of Bella that really didn’t communicate anything.

What angered me most in this final installment, though,  was the lack of cost.  I don’t know if the book ended the same way, but this movie’s ending felt cheap and like a big cop out.  Fans of Joss Whedon get our hearts broken by some of his choices and we complain that he kills off beloved characters, but Whedon’s world has costs. The actions and risks the characters take have consequences. Those strong feelings of grief the deaths elicit from fans make us feel far more invested in the story and make the fiction seem truer in our hearts. And Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, those books are all about costs. There is no such visceral experience in Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2.

Due to a bitter Irina misconstruing something she sees, she unwittingly makes a false report to the Volturi. So, the Cullens are forced to travel the world to find other vampires to witness that Bella and Edward’s child Renesmee is not a vampire made child, that she is human. Eventually, many of the vampires decide it is time they stand up to the Volturi and align themselves with the Cullens. The film reaches the final scene, a standoff between the Cullens, their vampire and werewolf allies and the Volturi and their black hooded army. Alice (Ashley Greene who probably could have played a much better Bella), the vampire with the future premonitions, goes to meet the Volturi and a battle ensues.  Alice witnesses her husband Jasper killed by the Volturi. Then we witness the shocking beheading of Carlisle Cullen, which actually for a moment cued a tear in my eye. A massive battle ensues and there are deaths. Vampires, wolves, and Volturi are struck down. Finally, the film had some balls. But wait, no…

Cut to Alice taking her hand off the mind reading Volturi who just witnessed the premonition of his death in that day’s battle through Alice’s mind. Both sides turn away to probably fight another day. The entire battle didn’t happen. Everyone lives and walks away. The only loss is poor Irina. For unknowingly making false claims, she alone is cut down that day by the Volturi. Cheap, I say.  There was no cost or loss to Bella or the Cullens. It made the entire franchise a ball of fluff with no teeth. It was…Disney. But even Disney will shoot Bambi’s mom so that isn’t even a fair comparison.

I just did not get why Meyer would have ended her series like that. It is hard to kill of characters, but from J.K. Rowling to Neil Gaiman, good authors know it needs to be done and how to do it.  Meyer’s inability or unwillingness to sacrifice characters makes me take her less seriously as an author and a creator.

The dreamy swoony Lee Pace
(from his IMDB page)

As  asides, I have to give kudos to the casting of the effervescent Lee Pace as Garrett. He was a welcome breath of fresh air on the screen. Only in his scenes did I sense any life or energy in the film.  He’s definitely an actor we need to see more of and I am looking forward to seeing him in The Hobbit as Thranduil. Bravo to the cinematography. I certainly dream about moving to Washington State after each film. Finally, the music selection is always surprisingly cool. Those are the three reasons to see the movie-Pace, beautiful scenery, and good tunes.

Any words of defense for the ending? Are their Twilight fans who wished for a different end?

1 Tweet Comic Reviews

Some tasty bite size comic treats, coming straight out of our brains and poked right in to your comic loving eyes!!!

AQM_Cv0_ds  Aquaman #0 – Finally a zero issue that gives relevant backstory and answers questions. @GeoffJohns, I salute you Sir and your team! – Bryan Brown (@bryanthenerd)
talon #0  Talon #0- Scott Snyder turns in another brilliant piece of comic poetry and introduced an interesting new series. – Bryan Brown (@bryanthenerd) – - – -Snyder is winning at comics at the minute! Court of the Owls was a great arch. This looks to be an amazing series. – Jason Martin (@thejizzo)
happy Morrison  Happy #1 – Gritty, city crime drama. Talking blue horse. Blood, laughs, & maybe a Christmas miracle? Good kind of crazy. – Rebecca Narkiewicz (@GGGoneGeek)
mind the gap  Mind the Gap #5 – Intrigue. Impressive illustrations. Shock of an ending. Lived up to the hype. Still early, start reading & catch up! – Rebecca Narkiewicz(@GGGoneGeek)
witchblade  Witchblade #160 – This is a great ongoing, even better since the Rebirth. Battles, gore and madness as standard. – Jason Martin (@thejizzo)
superman0  Superman #0 – Backstory…how refreshing. The last days of Krypton seen through the eyes of Jor-El. – Bryan Brown (@bryanthenerd)
BMTDK_Cv0_ds  Batman: The Dark Knight #0 – Bruce Wayne sets out to find the people responsible for his parents deaths. Great story! – Bryan Brown (@bryanthenerd)

A Night Unchained (AKA, Bex and Proffitt Meet Neil Gaiman)

Sometimes, you never know where life will take you. Who knew a last minute musical gig involving the Charles In Charge theme song would lead to the apex of  fan girl experience? A few lines of “I want Charles in charge of me,” an exchange of weekend plans, and five days later my husband received an invitation to the potluck dinner for the Unchained Tour in Charleston, SC.  Along with my visiting partner in Good Girls Gone Geek crime, Proffitt, we were going to dine in the presence of one of our favorite authors of all time. Oh yes, did I mention Neil Gaiman was on the Unchained Tour?

I put myself on verbal lockdown, not mentioning the dinner  to anyone who would have the vaguest idea of who Neil Gaiman is.  I suppressed any excitement with the constant thought of “I will not believe this is happening until he is standing inches away from me.”  The mental self-psych out did work. Until I realized, as the Unchained van was parking in front of the house, that  I’d been avoiding thinking about it and therefore hadn’t thought about it and was now in a panic induced state of “What am I going to say to this creator of stories I’ve been reading for over 20 years?”  I had a beer and took pictures of some chickens to settle my nerves and rejoiced a little inside that klutzy me fell on my face  right before Unchained’s arrival rather than after. I walked inside and passed Neil Gaiman waiting at the end of the line for a plate,  I paused one moment and excused myself for having “a fan girl moment.” He pleasantly held out his hand and said “Hi, I’m Neil.” How awesome is that reaction to just mellow out a crazed fan? It actually worked. Or maybe it was just the smooth, familiar voice of The Simpsons dubbed “British Fonzie.” Next thing I knew I referred to him as Mr. Amanda F****** Palmer. Then I ran away for awhile, happy.

Good design. May use it in the future. Thanks Neil!

As dinner and conversations progressed, it became  clear that many of the guests were oddly not aware of who this black-clad British gentleman was. Many were there just to support the spirit of this awesome event or they were from the local music scene, like Rachel Kate Gillon and Joel T. Hamilton who supplied the musical interludes between the Unchained stories. After devouring one of the best dinners ever, I summoned the blind courage to just approach Neil as he was standing alone.  Proffitt and I wished to thank him for the effect he has had on our lives. Neil tweeted about us twice last year when we started a reread of Sandman, and was instrumental in getting people other than our friends to read us. I remember saying something to him, with wild hand gestures, about how much impressive “stuff” he has in his head (nervous speak for “brilliant ideas and a vast, various, impressive amount of knowledge”).  Neil was gracious, engaging, and supportive and offered to scribble (his word) on something if I had a book of his I wanted signed. Oh did I. He proceeded to design my future headstone on The Graveyard Book. He was also agreeable to posing for a few pictures, and even got the official Unchained photographer, Andrew Von Goellner, to take some as well.  It was wonderful to be able to have a few moments with  someone we have been faithfully reading for over half of our lives, and in a casual setting as opposed to having a long line of other fans queuing for the same moment.

This was my “Oh, y’all see Neil designing my headstone. Cool, but freaky.” face.

 

The Unchained event itself was even more entertaining than the dinner.  George Dawes Green founded the Unchained Tour and its mission statement is “Unchained believes that the art of the raconteur—the telling of unscripted, personal, porch-style stories—is one of the great arts, and that nights of storytelling are vital to any vibrant and healthy community. Our mission is to bring brilliant raconteurs, along with musicians and writers and other artists, to towns large and small across the South—and eventually across the continent. We’ll champion the local and homegrown: independent bookstores, community gardens, performing cafes.  We’ll advocate getting offline and off the grid, and wherever we go we’ll celebrate the pleasure and inspiration of raconteuring.” George came on stage briefly to preach a mini sermon on the importance of tangible books in the e-reader, electronically obsessed world.

 

 

The real emcee of the evening, however, was storyteller Peter Aguero. Peter himself seems to be a rough around the edges guy and his stories gave the feeling they could go raunchy at any moment, but  were surprisingly about love- his parents’ and also about his own wife who apparently surprised him by flying into Charleston that day.  Dawn J. Fraser spoke of her experience as a Trinidadian California transplant trying to find herself and overcome aggression from her mom’s new dog. Fraser was funny and full of rambunctious energy. Playwrite, stage performer, all around interesting guy Edgar Oliver was the third raconteur. His voice and diction reminded me fondly of Peter Lorre.  Oliver spun the longest of the tales and it was filled with fear, love, paranoia and insecurity peppered with laughs and to be honest, some awkward glances between the audience because we refused to believe, despite Peter’s insistence, that was Oliver’s real voice.  Rachel Kate Gillon and Joel T. Hamilton provided  musical interludes and brought up special local guests Sarah Bandy and Cary Ann Hearst  to perform an old hymn. (Hearst has had a song featured at the end of True Blood and you may have seen her serving Anthony Bourdain at Jestine’s Kitchen during his Charleston visit on No Reservations.)  The live music was a nice touch, and gave it a more intimate feeling of we’re just sitting on the porch talking together and strumming tonight.

The crowd draw was saved for last. As Aguero introduced Gaiman, he told the crowd to chill out and enjoy the moment because the next storyteller was “just a dude who wrote some stuff about some sand.”  Enter Neil Gaiman, who has probably never told a bad story in the last 30 years.  Neil said he was going to answer a question for us he did not answer when the New Yorker asked – when he knew he was writer.  His original answer was he is a person not a comic book character and does not have an origin story. Neil then said pointedly, “I lied.” He proceeded to narrate in that soothing, smooth voice a childhood memory involving a vulgar rhyme and nearly being kicked out of school which culminated in the f word bringing a realization that words have power.  And then the evening was over too soon. Neil was gracious enough to stand at the Captain’s Comics and Toys table and sign autographs for awhile after the show. However, joy and excitement can be so very exhausting, we went straight home to bed (after madly attacking all forms of social media with “Hey guess who we just met!”).

The Unchained Tour is a marvelous thing is this day and age. Even if a story has been told 100 times before, there is an intimacy in sharing it with others in person that makes you feel you are in on something special at the time.  It was refreshing to have someone on stage call all of us out for trying to filter experiences through a phone camera lens or computer screen and remind us to unplug and unchain ourselves.  I will make a point to keep updated on all things Unchained and I will be there if they come near Charleston.  And I must agree with Peter Aguero, to a point. Neil Gaiman seemed very much just a regular dude.  But he’s a dude who has written stories that have brought tears to my eyes, intrigued me, scared me, and made me laugh. Sure, he’s just a dude, but he’s one amazing dude. And he’s one polite  dude who after the tour tweeted about meeting Proffitt and I and called us wonderful, and funny. Is there a cloud 20? Because we’re so there.

You can read Rachel’s account and see more photos of our evening here.

 

Spike #2 A Dark Place A Surprisingly Poignant Read

Frison’s cover

Dark Horse’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9, Spike #2 is quite a roller coaster read.

 “After parting ways with the love of his life, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spike has taken himself far away from San Francisco.  He can’t just be Buffy’s only-in-desperate-circumstances fallback guy. His way of coping with the endless heartbreak? Head to the dark side of the moon in a spaceship filled with human-sized bugs, drown his sorrows in a bottle of booze, and avoid any trouble…Although that can only work for so long…”

In issue one, we saw Spike finally realize he needed to be away from Buffy for his own peace of mind, and we saw him go away with giant bug people/aliens. But now, Spike and his bug friends have been overtaken by other aliens- giant frog/fish aliens who hold Spike captive. The frog/fish aliens need remnants that may still contain some shreds of magic from The Seed that was left in Sunnydale. Who better to help them out than former Sunnydale resident baddie Spike.  Spike wheels and deals with the frog/fish, but the story’s surprise may be on everyone.

In a nutshell, there are some ugly space creatures and handsome Spike. The frog/fish aliens are so fun to see snipe at Spike. Spike (or really, James Marsters) is drawn expertly. His facial expressions are so lifelike it’s cool but also kind of creepy.  Spike’s snark just oozes off the page. Also, it’s a lot of fun to see giant bugs be noble and have names like “Frisky”.

However, the issue is not just gross aliens and fun. It’s a rollercoaster of nonsense and reverence.  Sure he’s with giant bugs on a trippy space ride, but Spike is having a dark night of the soul. Spike’s moral compass never pointed to good, always more what was best for Spike, so even with a soul he is not the make amends sort that Angel is. Spike doesn’t make apologies for the vamp he is.  But we see Spike is learning to deal with a broken heart in a mature, responsible way.  He’s coming to grips with his past in Sunnydale, which ties into his past with Buffy. Spike also gets to be a bit noble.  It helps that he is involved with beings who do not know his past and who have put their faith in this wayward vamp.  Going back to the Hellmouth and reading Spike’s observations, this story is kind of a goodbye to Sunnydale for us fans too. Some of us never really thought sinking the town gave us any closure.

Spike #2 is good for Spike’s soul, and apparently the reader’s too.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9,  Spike#2  A Dark Place
September 19, 2012
Script: Victor Gischler
Pencils: Paul Lee
Inks: Andy Owes
Cover: Jenny Frison / alternate cover: Steve Morris
Letters: Richard Starkings
Executive Producer: Joss Whedon
Diamond code : JUL120048
Retail Price: $2.99

Mind the Gap #5- “Portrait of the Con Artist”

Jim McCann’s comic book Mind the Gap has received lots of hype. My partner in crime at Good Girls Gone Geek and fellow nerd here, Proffitt, did a great interview with Jim you can find here. I hate to admit I have not had the opportunity to read any of his work yet, so I jumped at the chance to review issue #5 of Mind the Gap “Portrait of the Con-Artist” published by Image Comics.

Rest assured, this is not a difficult comic book to just jump in after it’s started.  I love that there is a synopsis and a portrait gallery of the main players with names and brief descriptions. It was a great way to ease into the story and not feel lost.  I wish more comic books would do this, actually (and George RR Martin but that’s a different story).

 

 

 

This is obviously the issue where the plot thickens. Ellis Peterssen was intentionally beat into a coma and has ended up in some middle ground world between life and death and she now has the power take over live bodies of those who have moved on (such as a brain dead little girl’s body). Ellis’ boyfriend’s father has a suspicious recording of a conversation of Dane’s that he submits to the police stating his son must be responsible for her attack.  This issue delves into Dane’s past and his relationship with his father and possibly opens another mystery regarding Dane’s mother. And apparently the ending is a shocker. I get the feeling this is a story that will be spawning other stories that have their own stories and so forth. In other words Mr. McCann, I hope you are ready for a long run.

It’s hard to tell from one issue if this book will live up to the bar that has been set for it, but it’s off to a good start.  Enjoyable to read and suspenseful. I just got to know these characters but the writing was so heartfelt and honest, I care about Dane and Ellis already.  The art doesn’t get boring, there are subtle differences from the present, the past, and the dreams Dane has.  And a particularly lovely page showcases moments of Dane and Ellis falling in love.

Check this out if you were wondering about it or heard the good press. I look forward to future Jim McCann projects.

Written by Jim McCann, art by Rodin Esquejo and Adrian Alphona with alternate cover by Bjo Chen.

$2.99

September 26, 2012.

JUL120510

Grant Morrison Gets Happy!

Grant Morrison described his newest venture for Image Comics as “Sin City meets It’s A Wonderful Life,” however, I was not expecting the turn that issue #1 took. It is a crazy trip and I would love to see the look on every reader’s face as they come to find where those feathers featured falling on the cover are coming from.

It’s Christmas time, it’s snowing and it’s the big city. We meet our antihero, Nick Sax. Sax is a highly decorated former detective we come to assume has abandoned or been abandoned by his former good life and family. A botched hit lands him in the hospital with the mob coming to press him for information and then things get wacky and the mystery starts to unfold.

As usual, Morrison crafts a story filled with strong voices.  His use of rough language and grammar works with these shady characters and seems like natural, not forced, dialogue. Sax gets very animated during the last few pages as the story starts kicking things into high gear.  There will be blood, but there are going to be laughs too.  And since family is going to be involved (Sax’s daughter at least), it may be heartwarming as well. It’s too early to tell with just one issue, but the story gets kicked off with a bang here.

The artwork by Darick Robertson is just phenomenal.  I love panels that feature snow and he does a great job with the snowy city scenes.  Robertson makes an ugly scene (a vomiting drunk being peed on by a dog) look almost beautiful.

If you are a fan of Morrison already, you will appreciate this story. If you have not read any of his work, this is a great place to start.

 

The official synopsis contains spoilers I don’t want to give, so read at your risk here:

Meet NICK SAX – a corrupt, intoxicated ex-cop turned hit-man, adrift in a stinking twilight world of casual murder, soulless sex, eczema and betrayal.  With a hit gone wrong, a bullet in his side, the cops and the mob on his tail, and a monstrous child killer in a Santa suit on the loose, Nick and his world will be changed forever this Christmas.  By a tiny blue horse called Happy… 

September 26, 2012

Item Code: JUL120382

Written: Grant Morrison    Art: Darick Robertson

Colorist: Richard P. Clark    Letter: Simon Bowland    Designer: Drew Gill

 

 

Reviewer’s Word: Resident Evil: Retribution

Let me first say to the ladies and any male fans of cosmetics – rest assured, apparently even after a zombie apocalypse, there is an abundance of hair dye and eyeliner.

Movie goers will either love Resident Evil: Retribution or hate it.  The franchise has proven to be fairly polarizing and this fifth installment is no exception.  If the Resident Evil movies haven’t won you over yet, you will find nothing redeeming in this latest chapter. But, if Alice’s adventures in kicking Umbrella ass have been enjoyable in Resident EvilRE: ApocalypseRE: Extinction, and RE: Afterlife, Retribution is a grand edition to the mix.

The film starts off where Afterlife ended.  The beginning few minutes are some of the best in  Resident Evil film history.  With no deeper of a plot than escaping the ultimate in Umbrella labs, Alice (Milla Jovovich)  is joined by some familiar faces from films past and gets help from a very questionable source.  The film also introduces some familiar characters from the Capcom game series.  The first film started as more of a prequel to the game series but has slowly developed its own canon while sharing a universe with the game and mingling with game characters.  While the Redfields are curiously missing this go round, Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory) makes her return and we are introduced Barry Burton (Kevin Durand), Leon S. Kennedy (the oh so handsome Johann Urb), and Ada Wong (Li Bingbing).  And of course how can we forget Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts)- Alice’s greatest nemesis (no pun intended) is back.

Bingbing as Ada just looks unreal in the most awesome way

While Kevin Durand playing a more heroic type instead of a creepy villain is the freshest thing about the film, Johan Urb is really really nice to look at, and Li Bingbing makes a dazzling entry.  I don’t know if it was intentional on the director’s part, but Wong in her fitted red dress with thigh high slit almost looks as if the actual character was sliced out of the video game and superimposed into the movie’s screen. It was enough to make me question for a moment if Li Bingbing was a real person.

The zombie effects were perfect; I jumped out of my seat during a few scenes, and Milla is in top form with commentary such as “You’ve got to be kidding?” when seeing the two more outrageous villains she has to contend with. Her exasperation made her more human, offered a laugh, and mirrored what many viewers were probably thinking.  Fan favorite monsters appear in company with the usual zombies that started it all.

The film is pretty much nonstop action for about 90 minutes and we are not left with a story tied in a tidy bow (were you really expecting that anyway). We are left with an ending of epic proportions and a hint at what could be the most ambitious, fantastic story in the arc if they continue with a sixth film.  Milla has stated that director/writer Paul W. S. Anderson already has a rough outline of the story and if the sales for Retribution are good, a sequel could happen. The film has taken first place this week with an expected 21.1 million, so chances are in favor of that part six.

What works in the film is the audience’s love of Milla. Milla moves through her stunts effortlessly while looking awesome. And even when infected with a mutant virus, her character Alice is still human and the heart of the story and Milla portrays that believably. Wesker is deliciously sleazy and fun to hate.  The music by Tomandandy is incredible and never overpowers the action on screen. And even after five films, I still think the good old fashioned original zombie mutants are scary as hell.  And the ending. The last shot left me in awe. Visually stunning graphic masterpiece with a fabulous score and wardrobe.

What doesn’t work so well is a very narrow plot that could have been a little more expanded on. It’s very predictable. And the acting? Well, my better half asked “Do they intentionally act bad for these films?”  While certainly not on par with some of those Syfy TV movies, it’s not going to win any awards. Also, with the huge catalog of monsters available in the Resident Evil world, it was disappointing to see them not take advantage of new baddies.

In a nutshell, if you’re a fan, by all means see this in the theater. If you are generally not disposed to liking inspired by video game films, this isn’t going to change your mind on them.  Unfortunately I can’t offer an opinion on the 3D. 3D films tend to give me headaches, so I had to stick with good old 2d. But I have to admit there was only one scene where I thought I may have missed something awesome by going 2D.

 

1 Tweet Comic Reviews

Get your faces ready to be hit with the awesomeness that is this weeks 1 Tweet Comic reviews, telling you everything you need to know in 140 or less.

Bionic Women #4  Bionic Woman #4 -  Jamie Sommers is not Buffy Summers. Remember that Writers. – Joseph Furguson‏(@malestrithe)
AvX #11   Avengers vs. X-Men 11 – I wish I can buy the ending as permanent. – Joseph Furguson‏(@malestrithe) – - -If you like @Marvel at all you need to read this series, big things afoot!!! – Jay Martin(@thejizzo)
RMN_Cv0 Resurrection Man #0 – Nice way to end the series. Hope the character comes back in some way later on. – Joseph Furguson‏(@malestrithe)
chew  CHEW #28 Space Cakes part 3 – Exploding cows. Poyo does battle. Bloodiest issue yet. And fun. Why aren’t you reading this? –  Rebecca Narkiewicz(@Glitterboo)
He-Man-and-the-Masters-of-the-Universe_2_Full-665x1024  He-Man and the Masters of the Universe #2 – Muddied confusion left by issue #1 is starting to clear thanks to issue #2. – Bryan Brown(@bryanthenerd)
2586500-game_of_thrones10_super  Game of Thrones #10 – Stunning artwork and a brilliant retelling of George R. R. Martin’s first book in the Song of Ice and Fire series. – Bryan Brown(@bryanthenerd)
Batman #0  Batman #0 – Its Batman, buy it. #BatmanIsWinningComics – Jay Martin(@thejizzo)

Autumn in Nerdville – How Bex Plans to Spend Her Season

Football season has started, the weather has the slightest chill, and there are not multiple movies being released each week that I want to see. It’s fall!

It’s time to take a step back and take a deep breath and then start catching up on everything that we missed in the hustle bustle of summer and also find some new joys to take pleasure in other than some returning favorite TV shows.

In true nerd style, my fantasy football team is named Secret Agent Poyo to the confusion of my fellow non nerd league participants. I vowed to my better half I will learn what the heck is going on in the game this season and spend some days and nights actually paying attention to the game. I have also promised The Nerd that I would knit him a scarf Tom Baker Doctor Who style and I plan on keeping my word. But you can bet that I will be knitting whilst drooling over Norman Reedus in The Walking Dead.  I am a Project Runway fan (so is Felicia Day, don’t judge) and  I made a promise to myself to finally try my hand at sewing clothes; I am thinking my Good Girls Gone Geek partner in crime Proffitt and I need some  Tardis inspired blue dresses. I have also purchased my first bottle of Mod Podge and plan on going decoupage crazy- making collages in my journal, pretty-fying a desk and maybe some even some shoes.

Seeing this picture kind of made me miss the old Who credits where they showed the Doctor’s head at the end. Memories…

 

With the weather getting colder, it’s also the perfect excuse to stay inside, snuggle up with the cats and a blanket with a glass of beer/wine/tea depending on the mood and watching full seasons of shows I missed getting into in a timely manner like Sons of Anarchy, Game of Thrones, Gossip Girl (don’t judge!) and I’m thinking I want to revisit the original Doctor Who series I haven’t seen in well over 15 years. Well, now I’m feeling less relaxed about fall and more “Oh dear, how am I going to finish all this,read,write, find new music to love, work the day job, keep up with those Winchester brothers, and find those perfect vegan boots?”

Are you as psyched about autumn as I am? What’s on your to do list or catch up with list? Sewing tips for me?

Chew #28 Space Cakes Part 3 of 5 Reviewed

It is certainly no secret I totally have a fan girl crush on John Layman and Rob Guillory’s CHEW comic book. In fact, if this were Pewee’s Playhouse, Pewee would be telling me to marry it. Issue #28 “Space Cakes” is third in a five part arc and it just gets a bit more bizarre as you go along and a whole lot more fun too.

The USDA and the FDA are each trying to best each other and get hold of a kidnapped scientist who has some secret genetic information regarding livestock and exploding meat. But Tony was last left in and out of consciousness in the hospital, you may be asking, how can they do this without him? Kidnap him (again) of course!  Notice the cover not only includes Poyo, but also some vaguely familiar animals who are all part of the adventure, sort of.

Highlights from what may possibly be the bloodiest issue of CHEW include Tony’s sister Toni doing something to Poyo I’ve wanted to do since he graced the page (see page 6), and the coolest Poyo action scene to date.  And par the course, there is an abundance of fun hidden in the backgrounds.  I can get so caught up in the word bubbles and think of the story as only the exchange of dialogue and speed past the amazing art in comic book panels. With the little gems littered here and there (like the “It sux to be you” balloon in the hospital) that I am forced to slow down and take in the awesome illustrations.  Layman’s writing is whip smart and praise worthy , but there is just something that draws me to Guillory’s style. It’s simple without being elementary, and his color choices are spot on and never drab or juvenile. For me, CHEW is all about fully enjoying every aspect of a comic book and having fun.

If you have not checked out this Eisner award-winning comic yet, it really is time to catch up.  Showtime is still working on a televised version and references to CHEW have popped up in such places as the CW’s Hart of Dixie. Get caught up now and you can tell your friends you were a fan of CHEW way back when.

CHEW #28

Written and lettered by John Layman, illustrated and colored by Rob Guillory

Price: $2.99

Diamond ID: JUN120541

On Sale: September 12, 2012

Supernatural 8 Preview-”Their Fate Will Be Written In Stone”

CW has released a long promotional video for Supernatural‘s upcoming eighth season. One thing fans of the show know is that the powers that be at Supernatural cut some awesome promo videos (remember this one).  This one is a little bit of a let down without a classic song accompanying it, but it has me starting to anticipate the fall TV season.

It looks like the brainy Kevin Tran (played by Osric Chau), who can read the word of God, has escaped the Leviathans, but did he ever get to take his SATs?  We also see old favorite Castiel and of course, the Winchester brothers.

This season will start one year after season seven left Dean in purgatory with Cas. And the show has a new front-runner who was behind many of the fan favorite episodes, Jeremy Carver.

The show will premiere in its new time slot Wednesday, October 10. Are you excited or nervous this season may be  just more of the same angels and  demons storyline that’s gotten tired?

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters-Trailer is Out

Honestly, I’ve been ready for Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters since Syfy’s 2012 knockoff Witchslayer Gretyl starring Shannen Doherty. Plus, this one has Jeremy Renner. I’m there. Opening night. With a smile.

I can’t say it looks like a great film but it looks fun and action packed.  Costarring Famke Janssen, Gemma Arterton,  and the “tall witch” is played by Zoe Bell (Tarantino geek squee!). If IMDB trivia is to be trusted, while she was at Cannes in 2011,  Famke Janssen said she took her role to pay off her mortgage (ouch).  So that may just cement my fears about this film, that it is just a cheezy fairy tale action fest that will be cool effects and one liners and lots of weaponry. But hey, sometimes that is just what the day warrants for movie going experience.

Are you intrigued by the story? Renner? Both? Neither? Do tell.

 

Sneak Peak- Revolution Episode 1

If you were bummed your city was not one of the few hosting a night of lights out and a showing of Revolution, you are in luck! NBC is offering up the first full episode of the upcoming J.J. Abrams and Eric Kripke series Revolution here at NBC.com before its official September 17 premiere date. The first episode was produced by Abrams and Kripke, written by Kripke and directed by John Favreau.

If you have not heard of the show until now, it is set 15 years into the future after a mysterious, as of now unexplained event leads to the complete loss of all electrical powers.  After the fall of civilization as we know it, the luckier of the populace abandoned the cities for less urban areas and set up rural farming communities. There is a menacing militia of men branded with M’s led by Sebastian Monroe, who we assume has intentions of world domination. At the center of it all is Charlie and her brother Danny whose father, we find out at the very start of the show, knows what happened and he and his brother Miles are wanted by the militia to take back to Monroe.

Without giving too much away, Charlie sets out to find uncle Miles (played by Twilight’s Billy Burke) at her father’s request. She’s accompanied by a her father’s doctor girlfriend and a former Google employee played by Zak Orth who is so far the comic relief as a shumpy, once upon a time computer nerd who is still asking questioning what caused the loss of power.

The road ahead for Charlie and her group is fraught with dangers in this new world- bandits, militia (the head of the militia is the fabulous Giancarlo Esposito) and more that we’re yet to meet on-screen. There was plenty we encountered on the screen in this first episode. Little gunfire, just mostly some great knife play and hand to hand fight scenes.

My only hang up lies with the casting choice for Charlie.  She is played by Tracy Spiridakos.  You may know her as one of the purebred werewolf twins from the US Being Human, or as the little girl in the “Bedtime Stories” episodes of Supernatural. I can’t place my finger on it, but I do not find myself  rooting for her for any other reason than she’s the heroine and we’re supposed to. I am currently ambivalent to her portrayal of Charlie.  Or maybe there is only room for one crossbow champion in my heart and it’s forever Daryl Dixon.

Overall, I have high hopes for The Revolution.  Kripke may be responsible for one of the few movies I actually hated (Boogeyman) but he is also responsible for my beloved Supernatural.  Kripke has proven he can write intra-family struggles really well.  True to Kripke’s aesthetic, there was some AC/DC thrown into this first episode. And the ending was unexpected enough to leave me anticipating the second episode.

Reviewer’s Word: The Possession

If you are like me, you’ve scrolled through popular auction sites and have seen bizarre things up on the block such as “ I dug this jar up from a local cemetery and since I’ve had it, strange things are happening.”  Sam Raimi read a 2004 LA Times article “A Jinx in a Box” and purchased the rights for his Ghost House Pictures production company.  This story became the catalyst for the recently released film The Possession about a young girl who acquires a Dybbuk box containing a demon that is bent on taking her over while her parents and older sister fight to save her.

Directed by Ole Bornedal, written by Juliet Snowden and Stiles White, produced by Sam Raimi.The film takes place in a little less than a month’s time and while the pace is quick, the timeline does not feel choppy in the least.  I have to admit it falls into the trap so many scary movies do these days- the trailers give the good scares away- but there are still plenty of goose bump moments.  In particular there is a scene in the kitchen between the mom and daughter that did have me truly on edge.

Is The Possession ground breaking or a new story that needs to be told? No, but it tells an old story in a compelling way with some good chills.  Thankfully the movie does not rely on elaborate and plentiful special effects but more atmospheric tension.  I hate to compare it to the obvious example of The Exorcist; the latter is an iconic film. I do not think The Possession aspires to be that grandiose.  It is a quieter scary movie that is probably more effectively viewed at home on a dark rainy night than in a large theater.     

At the heart of most good scary stories, there is a human story too.  A family torn apart by divorce and a dad that is pretty absent, choosing his career over his family, are at the center of The Possession. Kyra Sedgwick and Jeffrey Dean Morgan are great at having those soft moments spawned by memory then instantly returning to their separated reality. As a moviegoer, I cared for this family and that enhanced the level of horror that was enfolding. It wasn’t just about the effects. We see the family in their daily lives juxtaposed with the possession as it is happening and that gives the story its teeth.

Kyra Sedgwick and Jeffrey Dean Morgan are believable in their roles as a newly divorced couple, Natasha Calis gives a great physical performance as the possessed girl, and recording artist Matisyahu plays a small but integral role and is so likeable on screen I hope to see him in other things soon.  However, the most surprising performance in the film is by Madison Davenport who plays Calis’ older sister.  Davenport balances a fine line between bratty oldest child, caring sister, and a daughter pained by her parents’ split.  She plays the role with strength, not pity, and is one of those actors who can do so much with so little.  I wish her a drama free childhood in Hollywood and will keep an eye out for her future roles. And honorable mention to original Melrose Place alumni Grant Show who seems to be having a Hollywood comeback.

It looks like there may be a sequel. After a first place Labor Day weekend opening, the film’s producer, Sam Raimi, has already hinted to MTV the possibility of sequel,  “There are so many tales of the original Dybbuk box that never made it to the screen in this version. It’s really out there, that thing.  People do have so many stories. Ghost House Pictures has gone ahead and purchased the rights to their stories to make into a film…”

The final word, there are so few good horror films so if you like simple scary stories this is a great choice. It is like the raisin bran of horror. It has substance and a story that makes sense, a few scares, but not many effects or laughs. Matinee it or wait for blue-ray.

 

Adventure Time #7 is a Great Time

If you don’t frequent Cartoon Network or have any cool kids in your life,  I am going to to do you a solid and let you know right now you need to be watching the Pendleton Ward created Adventure Time on Cartoon Network.  Adventure Time may be one of the best adult nerd friendly children’s cartoons of all time.  Taking place in a post-apocalyptic world called the Land of Ooo, you’ll find Jake the talking dog who serves as mentor and fellow adventurer to 14 year old human, Finn.  Jake and Finn’s friends are Princess Bubblegum, Wildberry Princess who has the occasion assassin after her, a goth rock moody vampire named Marceline, and villains like the Ice King.  And yes, there are adventures galore! And lucky for us, those adventures are now in comic book form now, published by KaBoom! (the children’s division of BOOM! Studios).  

  

 

Adventure Time #7 features FOUR cover options, a story that can stand alone, and two bonus short stories. Cover A by Chris Houghton with colors by Kassandra Heller, my favorite – cover B by Jason Ho, cover C by Graham Annable, and cover D by Franco. The story is written by Ryan North with art by Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb with letters by Steve Wands.  The two shorts are “Time Waits for No One” written and illustrated by Shannon Wheeler (creator of Too Much Coffee Man), and “Lumpy Space Drama” written and illustrated by Zac Gorman.

In #7 Jake is trying to fix Princess Bubblegum’s time machine and even utters the phrase dearest to Whovian hearts -”Timey wimey.” But of course, Jake being who he is (inspired by Bill Murray’s Meatballs character), he has to mess with time and we all know how that kind of behavior can have repercussions.  The results of Jake’s antics are a janked timeline that is not math, as Jake and Finn might say. Read Adventure Time #7 and find out what BMO is up to, if Jake and Finn learn to be more observant, and find out who exactly Queebles is.

“Time Waits For No One” features various philosophies, with apologies to Ray Bradbury and others, on time explained by Princess Bubblegum.  And  “Lumpy Space Drama”, well, that one is not as much crazy fun, but it does end the adventure on a moody, funny note kids may miss but adults will understand.

I just can’t say it enough, this comic book is one to make a trip to your local comic book store to grab off the shelf with great flourish.  You will read it from cover to cover again and again, and chuckling while the person next to you thinks you’ve lost your mind.  Heck, if you’re like me, you’ll be doing the voices and reading the painted signs aloud.

Release date, tomorrow August 22, 2012

Diamond Code JUN120949

Retails $3.99 (variant cover prices vary)

 

Hello Kitty, Not Goodbye

In 2011 while promoting her film Young Adult, Charlize Theron is credited with saying “I’m pretty amazed by Hello Kitty. Here’s why … I see so many women in their 30s walking around in Hello Kitty [expletive] and nobody’s concerned for them. It’s the one teenage iconic thing that’s okay for 30 year olds to have. Nobody is concerned when people walk around with Hello Kitty earphones and stickers on their forehead.”

I admit it. I immediately took some offense.  I am one of those 30 somethings who love Hello Kitty and I don’t think there is anything to be concerned about. Now, I am not walking around in public in Hello Kitty apparel (does a HK button on a travel cosmetic bag or band aid count?), but I have a house full of Hello Kitty goods.  From a Pez collection to a waffle iron, I am ankle deep in some Hello Kitty.

I first became inducted to HK fandom while in elementary school. My French pen pal sent me a vinyl-covered notepad in the shape of a flip flop with an illustration of little Hello Kitty on a beach. It was so darn cute. Then came the San Rio store.  I was amazed at all the different characters that were so different from the American toys I played with like legos, action figures and dolls.  They didn’t really seem to have a purpose other than to be adorable and make you smile.  Chococat, Bad Batz Maru, Corocorokuririn, Keroppi, My Melody, my favorite the pig Zashikibuta, and Hello Kitty’s twin sister Mimmy just to name a few of Hello Kitty’s different friends over the years.  San Rio was a store of just cuteness and those yummy, tiny, translucent lolly pops in various cute shapes like stars.  It was a great place to pick up inexpensive little gifts like diaries, stickers, and those lollies. The store was an immediate pick me up.

 

As the years have gone by, why has the love of Hello Kitty stayed? My theory is  because a lot of the time, Hello Kitty doesn’t even have a body- she is often just a floating cat head without a mouth.  There are no expectations from Hello Kitty or body image issues. There is just joy.  And the fact San Rio’s marketing team is pretty smart with the creation of items like rice steamers, toasters, sparkling wine, some adult “toys” and pricey pave diamond pendants etc. that are for definitely for adults.  (The biggest coup in my petite collection is the rice steamer a friend tracked down in Tokyo and had shipped after a few challenging phone calls.)  I was a big fan of Barbie and I have no issue with her, Barbie to me was a symbol of a girl who could do anything or be anything from a French Cancan dancer to an astronaut, but Hello Kitty is ageless ( for real, is she supposed 3, 8, 20?).  And for me, pink is a happy color, but there is enough white cat to keep one from being oversaturated in the hue. Hello Kitty has no expectations for you either. No wardrobe to decide, she’s just there.  And without the mouth she could be smiling, laughing, shouting, even crying with you.  She’s almost a blank slate.  Not saying I relate to Hello Kitty, but she’s not there staring back at me like “You’re hair will never be as shiny as mine, ha ha” or with a frozen annoying grin.  And maybe a psychological okay- Hello Kitty is not actively marketed in commercials or magazines like children’s toys are so there isn’t a mental stigma of “This is a children’s toy, why am I playing with it?”

I can be a grown up at work all day but smile inside because I’m using a pen with a subtle Hello kitty design or rocking some Hello Kitty underthings beneath a suit.  It is a bit of a fountain of youth for the soul.  While I would never begrudge someone their Hello Kitty suite or bathroom, I do find it a bit extreme for an adult. But I fail to see anything wrong with a Hello Kitty accessory and a few home goods.  And I am not above being entertained by the site kittyhell.com.  Whether you are a fan or not of Kitty White and friends, check that site out because it’s funny. How else would I have found out there is Hello Kitty KISS toilet paper?

Are you pro/con or ambivalent on the ubiquitous feline? Do you have any interesting HK items? Or a die hard fan of something else that is looked at by some as a child’s icon? (I’m looking at you, Bronies!) And I think I just may bust out my Hello Kitty backpack for Dragon*Con, and a smile.

 

 

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