Franchise Wars

With the release of the Avengers: Infinity War trailer dropping earlier this week, and the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi due out in a few days, nerd-dom is at its highest of levels right now. And while I cannot wait to see The Last Jedi in theaters on opening day, I’ve come to realize that I am more excited for Avengers than I am for Star Wars.

To some, this may seem sacrilegious. The franchises aren’t even in the same category or genre. How can they even be compared?

Earlier this week, Mark Hamill expressed his feelings about the Star Wars franchise on Good Morning America:

“When I read the script, I was stunned. These films now are being made by people that were children when the first films came out. They were the generation that grew up as fans and now are in charge of the franchise. It’s wonderful to be associated with something that makes people so happy. It’s escapism…we don’t want real life, it’s too harsh…”

Hamill isn’t wrong. Star Wars is quite the escapism for fans to leave the real world behind. And while I long for a release from the monotony of the day to day, Marvel has taken this idea on a different path.

In 2008, Marvel Studios’ Iron Man rocked box offices and started a ten year journey to the moment fans have waited for next year. In one film, they created the foundations for a franchise that rivaled Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and even Star Wars. What Marvel Studios did was allow the world to see that superheroes were still relevant in modern society.

I was never much of a comic reader as a kid (surprise!), mostly because they were expensive and I nor my parents could afford them regularly. But where older comics dealt with issues plaguing the WWII era – Captain America punching Nazis – many of the modern comics did not line up nicely with modern worldly issues. (Again, I’d like to restate that I did not read many comics as a kid, so perhaps I just never noticed that they did.) So when Iron Man rose to meet the challenges of war during our currently state of affairs in 2008, a realistic type of escapism occurred.

Maybe it could also be that I never discovered Star Wars until I was in my teens. Maybe those that grew up with the franchise connect more closely. Maybe it’s Marvel’s marketing to produce two movies a year that intertwine so seamlessly , where Star Wars is playing catch up with Rogue One and the upcoming Solo film.

Hamill’s right in that we all want an escape, but for me I want that escape to seem real. That doesn’t mean that I still don’t want to be a Jedi at heart, or that I don’t want to create screen-accurate Jedi cosplay, or that I can’t wait for an Obi-Wan Kenobi solo film. But for me, I watched that Infinity War trailer, ten years of emotion and excitement game me goosebumps. I love the Star Wars franchise for its fantasy entertainment, but the Marvel films to be more a more realistic, hopeful sort of fantasy escape for me.

What do you think? Which movie are you excited to see more? Do you think these franchises will see in an end in the near future? I’d love to continue the conversation in the comments below.

Avengers: Infinity WarTrailer

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Trailer

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Reading Without Walls

Of all the social media “challenges” I’ve seen over the years, this is perhaps my favorite, and it’s happening now, in the month of April, but you can feel free to continue it as long as you like.

Reading Without Walls is happening now, and anyone can participate — teachers, librarians, book-sellers, and readers. Just find something new and different to read — and let books open up the world around you.

Thanks to books series that have been made popular through movies and TV series like Harry Potter, Hunger Games, A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones), Twilight, and I’m sure upcoming, American Gods, the hobby of reading books has retained a love and following that I once feared becoming extinct.

This year, however, the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Gene Luen Yang, has issued a challenge to the world. #ReadingWithoutWalls

The challenge goes like this:

It’s that simple! Once you’ve finished (or heck, before you even start!) don’t forget to challenge your friends as well. Also, make sure to use the hashtag #ReadingWithoutWalls on your posts to join the community and spread the word.

Reading Without Walls aims to promote diversity and learning through exposing people to ideas, cultures, experiences and concepts outside of their normal circles and/or comfort zones. To help us all better understand one another at a time when we couldn’t feel or seem more divided.

READING WITHOUT WALLS is an inclusive way to spread appreciation and understanding for others — and to learn new and exciting things.

Beauty: The STD You Want

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Modern society is obsessed with outward beauty. What if there was a way to guarantee you could become more and more beautiful every day? What if it was a sexually transmitted disease? In the world of The Beauty, physical perfection is only one sexual encounter away.

I am in love with “Beauty” by Jeremy Haun. My local comic book shop even knows me by name now because I can no longer wait months for the next trade paperback.

TheBeauty_01-1The artwork is absolutely gorgeous. Also, the story is intriguing. The stories center around a new STD known as “The Beauty” – a STD everyone actually wants.

When you go unprotected with someone with the disease,  the next morning you wake up absolutely gorgeous. Your fat burns off, you look more youthful, your skin clears up … let’s just say: you’re drop dead model gorgeous. You do run a bit of a fever but you have a higher metabolism so on top of looking incredible, you can eat whatever you want to. That alone makes me even want to get this.

But within a few pages of the first issue, you realize there is a big drawback to this disease – one that Continue reading

Face It Tiger, You Want These Variants

In anticipation of the upcoming new series, Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man, Marvel Comics has released a series of variant covers running across many of it’s top series by some of the best artists the industry has known. I personally want  mini-posters of each and every one of these to have tastefully displayed in my living quarters. Wow.

From Marvel:

“Both the Gwen Stacy Variant Program and this month’s Venomized Variant Program were such runaway successes, we couldn’t help but try to top ourselves,” says Marvel SVP Sales & Marketing David Gabriel. “And with Chip Zdarsky and Adam Kubert’s new Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man book on the horizon, the timing couldn’t have been better to put the spotlight on fan-favorite Mary Jane Watson.”

What if Mary Jane had been awarded the Eye of Agamotto to become the new Dr. Strange? What if she had taken up the one-woman war on crime as the Punisher? Or became infused with gamma radiation to become the new Incredible Hulk? Well, wonder no longer!

In order to whet your appetite and get you ready for your pull-lists or hunting days, here’s the list of images, issues and artists of what’s been revealed thus far. Continue reading

Ironheart Gets A Live Action Debut

In case you weren’t aware, last May, Marvel comics inroduced a new hero to the Iron Family (hey, if Bruce Wayne can have a Bat Family, why not Zoidberg?), Riri Williams. Riri is a 15 yr old girl with an advanced genius intellect. She just so happens to have a strong interest in becoming an inventor and engineer.
She’s so smart, in fact, that she is awarded an early scholarship to MIT’s prestigious campus where, in her spare time, she secretly designs and builds her own Iron Suit out of materials acquired from the campus. She does get caught, but manages to escape in her suit, where, while acclimating herself to the operations of her new armor, she travels to New Mexico. While there, she assists in the apprehending a pair of escaped convicts, but damages her suit in the process. Upon her return, Tony Stark, the Iron Man himself, hears of her achievements, and contacts her, offering to take her under his wing jetpack, and train her as Ironheart.

Now, the current rumor mill has Ironheart making her big screen debut in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War Part 2. However, in an unofficial yet excellently portrayed manner, we get to see her a little earlier than 2019.

Every year, as a part celebration of Pi Day (March 14th/3.14), which also happens to be the day they announce Continue reading

Hero Within: Geek Chic’s Next Level

Today is a special day.

My friend Tony, who is very well integrated in the nerd world (he hosts many panels all over the US, including San Diego Comic Con, and runs his own blog ‘Crazy4ComicCon‘), is bringing fashion and geekiness together with a line of nerdy clothing for men with a slight twist on what we’re used to.

I met Tony a few years ago through common fandoms and interests on social media, and officially at Philly Wizard World when he had reached out to me regarding panels he was set to host, and looking for knowledgeable nerds for panelists, and knew I had quite a few connections. Since then, he’s referred to me as his ‘Nick Fury’ if you will (Nicolette Fury?). I gather geek professionals for his Philly Wizard World panels, and it’s a blast.

What I’ve always noticed each year I saw Tony, even through pictures that he posts on his many con adventures, is that  Continue reading

You Were Right

I’m obsessed with a new pop-artist. Sure, Scott C still has my undying love, but I, for some reason, JUST discovered Dan Hipp.
I can’t seem to find an “about” page anywhere, but from what I can tell (what his tumblr and twitter bio says at least) Dan is the Art Director on Teen Titans Go!, which, I’ll be honest, I don’t love. Especially since Young Justice was so damned good and didn’t get a chance to continue past 2 seasons and this is still running…..*sigh*. Here’s a bio from an old (2011) blog:

Illustrator and comics artist Dan Hipp has clients that include Real Simple, Wired, DC Comics, Image Comics and Random House.

When not working on professional assignments, and/or training to survive the zombie apocalypse, Hipp fills his blog with his wonderfully colorful, energetic and in-your-face drawings of characters from comics, movies, games and other aspects of pop culture.

His takes on the characters are usually wacky and imaginative, including mashups and routine zombifications, and are often hilarious. I particularly enjoy his mash-up Tintin covers, in which Tintin meets Ridley Scott’s alien or becomes Han Solo.

Hipp employs large areas of bright but almost monochromatic color, against which smaller passages of contrasting color shine out. He embellishes his linework with areas of darks or textures and cranks it all up to 10 with his great sense of comic exaggeration.

You can browse his blog or Tumblr as well as his Flickr stream.

Unfortunately his limited edition collection Mr. Hip Strikes! is sold out, but you can still purchase some of the comics he has worked on, and, at some unspecified point in the (hopefully near) future you will be able to purchase his new book, Stray Days.

Who Watches the Watchmen, indeed.

Suffice to say, Dan is an amazing and imaginative artist who brings great life and ideas to some of our favorite characters. This particular piece prompted today’s post.
It’s a sort of “What if?” story for everyone’s favorite emo boy, Anakin Skywalker. WARNING….you may find someone cutting onions or the room filling up with smoke or just simple feels right in your heartspace after reading this:

YOUWERERIGHT

So yeah. You love Mr. Hipp now too. Follow his stuff!

Blog: http://mrhipp.blogspot.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/misterhipp
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dan.hipp.1

There’s more, but you’re a smart cookie! Search him out yourself!!

RI Comic Con 2015 – lessons learned from 2014

RICC2015_Banner

In 2014, I reported that both the Rhode Island Comic Con organizers and convention center have some growing up to do as they were entirely unprepared for the new cohort of nerds that were quickly expanding (click here for original article).  This past 2015 con demonstrated that they had indeed adapted to that demand.  More articles discussing the events, costumes, and general other fun things will be published soon.  For now, I am focusing on the con’s logistics, improvements, and a few questionable choices for both the attendees and the vendors.

Where the con was before undersized, using just the RI Convention Center, it was now rectified with the expansion to also include the Dunkin Donuts Center.  Lines were better organized into the event; waits were not unreasonable for the volume of people at the peak times.  And of course, no one was turned away this time.

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Main entrance lines.

Continue reading