Tag Archives: fantasy

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?
Continue reading Franchise Wars

Book Review: Legion by Brandon Sanderson

by Brandon Sanderson

I love Brandon Sanderson’s work.
The Mistborn series remains one of my favorite fantasy series ever.  The man has a fantastic imagination, extraordinary attention to detail, and a great ability to get those things on paper in a truly entertaining way.  In all the books of his I’ve read, it’s his magic systems that stand out.  He goes to great lengths to explain how and why the magic in his universes work, to the point they are almost as much science as they are magic.  Everything is explained, and it all makes sense in the context of the world.

I know Sanderson as a writer of Epic Fantasy novels.  His books tell truly epic stories, some getting up into the 1000+ page territory.  Knowing that, I was surprised when I found out that his next release would be an 80 something page novella.  It seemed like such a huge departure from his earlier stuff, but I’m happy to say that the man doesn’t need 1000+ pages to tell a great story, as it turns out he doesn’t even need 100.

Legion tells the story of one Stephen Leeds, a man with the unique ability to have multiple personae.  These hallucinations, he refers to them as his aspects, are real in the sense that he can see them and have conversations with them, even though no one else can.  There are quite a few of them, and each has its own specialty.  It’s kind of a tough concept to grasp, but Sanderson does a great job of explaining it all in such a few number of pages.  It’s a very quick read, but it left me very much wanting more.  I would definitely call this project a success.

"ParaNorman" is one of the summer movies you don't want to miss!

Written by: Christopher Lee

The next few months are going to be crazy times in the theaters for geeks, nerds, dweebs and spaz’s, but let’s not let all the blockbusters take our focus away from some of the “smaller” films that might otherwise slip under the radar, like “ParaNorman” which comes out on August 17th, 2012 from Laika Entertainment, the studio that brought us “Coraline” and “The Corpse Bride”.

“ParaNorman” tells the tale of young Norman Babcock who is your stereotypical “Weird Kid” who gets put down by his family and picked on at school. The difference here lies in the odd ability young Norman has for communicating with the dead. 

This of course leads him to all sorts of issues that a kid his age shouldn’t have to deal with, but nothing like the sort of problem that’s coming when an evil witch spirit casts a spell to raise the dead and rule the world. Her plan might come to fruition if not for the heroic efforts of the reluctant little hero.

Okay, I’ll be the first to admit. The plot is/seems a bit “done”, cliche’d, and contrived. It really seems like the studio just wanted to make another “creepy kid’s movie” and having run out of ideas and not wanting to deliberately rip off Edward Gorey, instead ripped off Peter Jackson. Really, this movie looks like the “Frighteners” for kids (and Hot Topic patrons). Not to mention all the obvious stereotypes. C’mon, haven’t we had enough of the “friend of the misfit hero is a dopey fat kid”? I’m sure that if it wasn’t that, it’d probably be a ginger. I mean, everyone knows the only hero dork in pop-culture who has a best friend that’s not an idiot, socially inept, or of obvious physical difference than the norm, is Spider-Man (I refer to Harry Osbourne if you didn’t get that), though, granted, as much as I love the new series, “Ultimate Spider-Man”s Miles Morales’ best friend is a chubby asian nerd…stereotype much? Okay, okay, that’s a different article all together.

All that being said, none of it means that I don’t want to see “ParaNorman”, mind you. It still looks fun, and I honestly think going into it with lower expectations will let me enjoy it a bit more than if I expected something great and new. Your thoughts?


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The Walking Dead recently had a big spoiler hit from a leak of the Season 2 blu-ray cover. To fans of the comic, it won’t be big news, although if previous story leaks, that have thus far proven to be accurate are to be believed, the actual “incident” will be a bit different from how it panned out originally. If it DOES happen as said, I personally will be a little upset about it since it is a defining moment of the growth of two of the main characters in the series.


So, the first part of what I’ll tell you here is what was on the blu-ray cover. The part that many saw coming and the Walking Dead comic fans have been waiting for, the death of Shane.

“This special limited edition Blu-Ray includes all 13 episodes on 4 discs, including bonus features such as: the making of the barn, an extended zombie gut scene, Shane’s last episode, full Comic Con coverage with panel, comic book vs episode comparison, and more!”

Now, for the story leaks, why I believe them and what upsets me about the evident change.

An unnamed source spoke out before the premier of the second half opener of Season 2. He/She detailed a few scenes that have occurred just as described, the scene with Hershel in the bar, the encounter with the other group and Rick taking them out, the big fight between Rick and Shane in the school yard, and Shane’s ultimate demise.

Evidently, in the series, Shane draws Rick away from the group either planning to kill him, or deciding to during an altercation, that much is grey. Either way, the report states that Rick ultimately kills Shane, who then turns and rises, zombified and comes at Rick. A struggle ensues and suddenly Zombie Shane is shot in the head….by Carl.

In the comics Shane is killed before they leave the encampent and head to Hershel’s farm. Shane asks Rick to go out into the woods on a hunting excursion and when far enough out, essentially loses it and points his gun at Rick with full killing intent. What he didn’t know is that Carl had followed them out, having already been trained with and given his own gun, because he felt that he was big enough to hunt with his father. Carl shoots and kills Shane in defense of his father.

This is important for Carl because it shows that he has it in himself to “do what is necessary”, but as he’s just a child, it also, obviously, affects him in a way that changes his character. He matures. He shows that he understands that he can’t be afraid to do what needs to be done even when the actions could be construed in a morally grey area. This also affects him further in the story and helps him and the group in other instances, which I won’t further spoil.

Just so you don’t think it immediately turns him into “Baby Hard-Ass”, immediately after shooting Shane, Carl is shocked at how much his actions hurt and how hard it is to deal with. We’re then given a very honest father and son moment, defining the relationship of the Grimes men.

This is important for Rick because it hits him with a very large smack of reality in his situation. He, more strongly than ever, understands the role that he needs to undertake, both as a leader and more importantly, as a father. There is a scene later in the series where Rick goes out on his own and digs up Shane’s grave to get a better sense of what they’re up against. Whether a person needs to be bitten or scratched or just dead before they rise again. As Shane begins to crawl out of the grave, he gets the answer he needs and finishes the job, thus also coming to terms with his past and letting go of his uncertainty and grief over what happened with his once friend and partner as well as setting the stage for his growth and becoming a questionably better leader for the group as his conscience now hold less sway over doing not necessarily what’s “right”, but what needs to be done. Which, in the world they now survive in, seems a bit of a more important quality.

So, what do you think? If a fan of the comics, how do you feel if the changes to the story come to pass as reported?

Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Don't knock it til you've tried it!


If you’re a Star Wars fan, you’ve been in heated discussions not only about the movies, original or prequel, but of aspect of all the other medium as well.
Many I’ve spoken to have dismissed the “Clone Wars” tv series as a kids show to be put on the backburner indefinitely, no doubt, in large part, to the fact that it’s based in the environment of the almost universally reviled prequel films.

I say now, as I’ve said for some time, don’t do that to yourself.

The “Clone Wars” is a treat. It’s a well made and planned out series that caters to the fans. It has a linear story format that, at times, seems above the age for which it seems targeted. Characters die. I don’t mean just faceless clones and robots, I mean real storyline characters that you grow an attachment to are killed off in this series. It’s relatively violent, more than you’d expect. Not simply lightsaber battles either. It’s well acted as well. Oddly, the computer generated characters seem to have more life than they did in the actual movies.

“Sorry I am, young Skywalker. Directing, one of Lucas’ strong points, is not.”

There’s quite a bit of fan service to be had as well. Nods and appearances to locales and characters you might not expect are given aplenty. There is a two part episode in season three that is a tribute to King Kong and Godzilla respectively. There is, as well, a tribute episode to the “Seven Samurai” that was rather well done, giving a wonderful nod to what is generally well known as the samurai films of Akira Kurosawa that Lucas claims formed the base of Star Wars itself.

BEHOLD!!! The Zillo Beast!! (Yes, that’s what it was actually called, just in case anyone didn’t know it was a Godzilla nod already…and LOOK AT THOSE TANKS!)

I could go on about how much I enjoy this series, but instead, I think you should check it out and form your own opinion. Don’t just dismiss something without giving it due chance. If you’re a Star Wars fan, you owe it to yourself to discover some good that has come out of the prequels.

Oh…and did I mention, Darth Maul is BACK!! Watch the trailer and be excited!



It's story time!


Last night, I was inspired to write, something just came to me and I just went with it, start to finish, stream of consciousness. It’s not the most original tale, but I’m pretty proud of it. Tell me what you think! -Chris

“The River Stone” by Christopher Lee Mannix

Once upon a time, there was a young peasant boy named Apple. He never liked that name, so he preferred people to call him “Jeff”. Jeff was just a regular boy, under normal circumstances nary worthy of mention. He wasn’t particularly smart and for a stone-cutter’s son, he wasn’t very strong. He always felt that if given the chance, he could be courageous, but being a poor boy working a thankless job for his weary father, he had accepted that the chance to prove so would never come.

One day, while stopping at a stream for water on a trading trip to a neighboring town with his father, something caught his eye. It was the most beautiful stone he’d ever laid his eye on. Perfectly smooth and round, with a faint pearly glimmer unlike any he’d ever seen. Afraid his father would take it for which to make into jewelry, he quickly hid it in his tunic and hurried back to their cart to hide it until he got home later that evening.

For the next week or so, Jeff would examine and caress his wonderful treasure. He hid it in the barn next to the horse’s stable. Late one night, when he heard his father coming up to the barn. He hurried to get his stone back into it’s safe hiding place. In his rush, he knocked over one of the shovels and down it came, grazing right across the stone scoring an ugly line across the top. Seconds that seemed like hours passed in the horror of the one precious thing he felt he may ever own, ruined. When seemingly out of nowhere a sound that rose into a hellish, screeching cacophony filled the space around him. His father burst in the door, frantic, frightened and saw Jeff kneeling, teary eyed, holding the stone.
“What the devil was that!?” roared his father, fear fading, replaced by anger. “I…I don’t know…” cried Jeff. “I cut my stone…and the sound…”. Jeff’s father raced over, fear once again alive in his every move, his eyes fixed on the beautiful rock in his son’s lap, which, in the seconds between moments had begun to glimmer more strongly than Jeff had yet seen it. The line where the shovel had scored the stone seemed to begin shining. “Noooo…no no NO!!! Where did you get that!? Get up…GET UP!!! WE HAVE TO GET IT OUT OF HERE NOW!!!”

Jeff’s father grabbed him and pulled him up with such force, his feet momentarily left the ground and he could barely get them back under him as his father dragged him, racing out of the barn and into the woods faster than Jeff, in his 10 years had ever seen him move.
Breathlessly, Jeff yelled out, “Father! What is it! You’re scaring me! What’s wrong!?” “Don’t talk, just run, we’ve got to get it away from the town, we’ve got to get rid of it as fast as poss…..”
Out of nowhere, they were stopped as their path was blocked by a large black dragon which appeared, seemingly out of nowhere.
It reared up, slowly, then faster than they could blink, pinned both men down with it’s steely arms. “You’ve taken my child. You’ve harmed my child. Return it now and I shall leave you alive, but not without retribution.” spoke the beast.
“Please!” yelled Jeff’s father, “The boy took the egg, he knew not what it was, please don’t harm us! If you must, harm me, but leave the innocent child!”
The dragon seemed to think for a minute, it lowered it’s head to Jeff’s father and said, “The ignorance of men is of no concern to me. In your ignorance, you’ve revealed the thief, and he shall pay.”
The dragon lifted it’s arm off Jeff’s father and with a crystalline claw that flashed like lightning in the moonlight at the speed of it’s strike, it sliced Jeff from cheek to chest, leaving a magnificent wound that smoked as it seem to cauterise itself….and young

Jeff screamed.

His father, unable to bear seeing, hearing his son wounded so, blindly charged the beast.
The dragon reared back, but not up, like a giant black snake, ready to strike.
Seeing his father about to be struck down, Jeff knew so quickly, he felt his body reacting before his mind fully realized what it was doing, jumped up and threw the egg stone, striking and embedding it straight into the dragon’s eye.
The dragon roared as it raised onto it’s hind legs and threw it’s wings open, the sight of which stopped both father and son in their tracks, in which the knew not was awe or fear.
The beast dropped back down with a ground shaking thud and looked at both of them, a glowing furnace building in it’s mouth.
Quickly as he could, and with aim to match the greatest archers of the realm, Jeff grabbed another rock and threw it with a strength that shocked him. It struck the same spot. The egg shattered, screaming, exploding….

The dragon shuddered and dropped. It’s head seemed to have lost the top quarter.
Father and son each, breath held, slowly looked away from the beast, towards each other.
Jeff’s father let a nervous, proud smile lift his face. Jeff looked at his father, smiled back and said, “I knew it…I always knew I had courage in my heart.”

As he started to laugh, his father’s face again turned to horror. Before he could realize why, he realized he was suddenly…helplessly….engulfed in a fury of liquid flame.

The End.