Katsucon 2014

March 18, 2014

It’s been a few weeks and the dust from Katsucon 20 has startled to settle. This con had a lot of high, and some very low points. For the most part everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. After the madness of last year with a certain youth group, this year seemed to be more relaxed, given the awful weather. I got to the con around 1 on Friday and promptly went to pick up my badge. I did at the door registration and for good reason. The pre-reg line took something around 3 1/2 hours for most people while at the door took 30 minutes.

The programming was kind of lack luster. There were a few conventions about western comics (there was a DC New 52 panel), which is all fine and good, but if your focus is on Japanese culture and ONLY Japanese culture, there’s no place for a panel on western media (with exceptions of course).

Let’s talk about the gazebo, the all mighty white, wooden structure that cosplayers near and far apparently dream about. I won’t lie, it is a nice looking gazebo in a middle of a nice looking hotel. There was some drama before the con about Katsucon REQUIRING you to have a convention badge in order to gaze your eyes on the gazebo. Turns out you didn’t really need a badge. No one was checking badges anywhere near the gazebo. Badge check was still in full swing for the rave, the artists alley, and dealers room. What still gets me is that you have to pay $80 for a badge in order to go into another room and spend more money. But that’s not something that just happens at Katsucon; that happens at every con.

I didn’t attend a single panel. I went to the rave for around 30 minutes, and checked out the video game room. I want to desperately believe that every anime con I attend will have something for me, but unless it has something related to Sailor Moon, I fear I won’t be enjoying them at all anymore. But that’s life!

-Lauren

Guardians of the Galaxy trailer.

February 20, 2014

When Marvel announced Guardians of the Galaxy movie,I like everyone else didn’t know about the series.
How can they make a Sci-Fi movie that the general audiences will spend money to see even though it isn’t a “Superhero” movie.
Well,by casting actors everyone is familiar with,and make it have some humor.

After watching the trailer,I can say that they did a great job in showing everyone what to expect in the film.
Rocket Raccoon & Groot are going to be show stealers in the movie.
I’m curious to see how Bradley Cooper will voice Rocket Raccoon (I always pictured a British actor to voice Rocket,but I’ll give Cooper a chance)

Overall the cast looks great,and it looks like a fun movie to watch.
Can’t wait till August 2014.

-Sarah

Everything Is Awesome!

February 7, 2014

Let’s assume you’re reading this because you’re like me, and you generally enjoy rad things. I saw The Lego Movie last night. The previews were generally promising, but this movie could have gone either way. Thankfully it went in the way of awesomeness, and made for an enjoyable time in the theater.

Meet Emmet. Just a regular guy working a regular job, and nothing really special to offer anyone. He follows directions (“root for local sports team”, “return a compliment”) and doesn’t do anything that would make him particularly special. One day after work, he notices a young woman digging through his construction site. He goes to confront her, but it blinded by her beauty. When he goes to talk to her, Emmet falls through a crack, falls down a few tunnels, and accidentally finds “the piece of resistance”. Could this mean that Emmet is actually special, and can save his Lego town?

The movie isn’t as wildly complicated as you would think. Guy meets girl, gets a glue cap stuck to his back, then attempts to save the world. But the deeper messages in this movie are important for both kids and adults. Emmet is scared to break away from his normal, rule following life. He listens to what’s popular, watches popular shows, and is perfectly happy with it. His female companion WyldStyle is your typical rebel: anti conformity, rule breaking heroine who’s perfectly happy. These characters are very different but they all work together. The movie also pushes the idea that imagination is key. Following the rules may not always be what’s best. Sometimes you have to break the rules to find out who you are, and to celebrate your differences.

The only issue certain parents may have is the extreme marketing going on in this movie. But if you’re sincerely upset that a Lego movie, called The Lego Movie, is also a giant ad for Lego toys, you really need to lighten up. Children’s movies and shows push toys all the time, and nothing you say or do will change that. This movie is wildly enjoyably and I laughed from start to finish, and so will you.

And I won’t end this review without mentioning how terrific Batman was in this movie. Arguably the funniest character in the film, this is a terrific parody of the character we all know.

Everything is awesome!

-Lauren

The Boys Only Club

December 15, 2013

When I was a young girl reading through old copies of Batman and The Flash I had no idea I was embarking on a life long hobby into a “boys only” club. Growing up I was isolated most of the time. I went to an all girls school, was bullied horribly, and my only escape were my comics. To my bullies my comic hobby wasn’t a “boy” thing. It was strictly a nerdy thing. To my father who supported and supplied my lust for comics, it wasn’t a “boy” thing. It was a thing he and his daughter enjoyed together. We both would read each others comics. He would take me to see most of the super hero movies that came out when I was young. I wasn’t abnormal to him.

But recently it seems like being a girl in this hobby has been everything but normal.

Websites such as Jezebel, Bleeding Cool, and io9 have all had articles on women enjoying this hobby. Cosplayers have come out of the woodwork to share with the internet stories of being sexually harassed. Certain comic book executives have gone on to say they do not want a largely female following, or that women simply don’t read comics. We’re not smart enough, not cultured enough, or we simply can’t understand the plight of an angry orphan who stalks bad guys in a bat costume.

That’s wrong.

Women make up 51% of the population. To say you do not want us in your hobby is frankly stupid, because last I checked my money was as good as anyone else’s. I also don’t want you to treat me with special gloves either! I don’t need to be put on some kind of shelf, to be gawked at and talked about as “that’s a girl who likes comics!”  Maybe you haven’t noticed the influx of women in this hobby. That comic cons are filled with as many women as men. Some of the very best comic writers are women as well. Have you read anything Gail Simone has written? Most of you out there get and understand that this is a hobby for everyone. I don’t want it to be a “boy” or “girl” thing. We need to realize we are living in the era of the nerd. We have shows called “Heroes of Cosplay”, “Comic Book Men”, “King of the Nerds”, “Big Bang Theory”, “Nergasm” and who knows what else is due to come. Movie theaters are constantly showing super hero movies, which in turn have been some of the highest grossing films ever. Target, Wal Mart, even Nordstrom carry Batman clothing for all ages. Everywhere you look there are kids adorning themselves with Bat symbols, Captain America shirts, and proudly proclaiming “I am a nerd!” for the whole world to see.

This is a hobby for everyone to enjoy regardless of who you are. I don’t need special “girls only” comics or other things. I just want to talk about the characters I love with other like-minded people. Come on people, let’s make this a better nerd world for generations to come.

-Lauren

Batman/Superman or Justice League movie?

December 10, 2013

With the casting of Wonder Woman for the Batman/Superman movie,I’m starting to wonder what WB/DC is thinking?
The actress casted as Wonder Woman isn’t what I’m worried about.
I’m worried about the script they’re using for the film.

And Wonder Woman may not be the only superhero in the film.
With rumors of Flash,Nightwing,and Martian Manhunter making cameos,I’m starting to think WB/DC is making a JLA movie.

I know they’re trying to play catch up with Marvel/Disney,but I’m worried that they may go too far with this film.
Yes,I and every fanboy & girl wants a JLA movie,but I think they’re rushing it to beat Marvel/Disney.
Plus,there isn’t enough screen time for each hero to have any character development if they go this route.

Whatever they go with,I’m still going to see it.

 

-Sarah

Dark Elves VS. Asguardians

November 11, 2013

Dark elves, Gods, and death! Oh my! ‘Thor: The Dark World’ continues Marvel’s money making extravaganza of Avenger themed movies.Thor starts off as you may imagine: There’s an epic battle between the Asguardians and the Dark Elves. Thor’s Grandfather, Bor, tries in vain to defeat them. The King of the Elves Malekith has an evil power called the Aether that can turn the whole universe dark and gloomy and dead. Bor wins the battle (but only after King Malekith sacrifices his people for his own survival) and seals the Aether somewhere deep, dark, and away from any pesky things.

Meanwhile in modern day Asguard, Thor and his merry bunch are busy restoring peace in the nine realms.

So what about poor Jane? She’s kind of depressed, is trying to get out of the house, but frankly no mortal man will ever live up to Thor. While on a date with a charming mortal British man, her sassy intern Darcy crashes the date to pull Jane away for urgent scientific stuff. Some kind of boring stuff happens (Oh look a portal in the middle of an abandoned building!) and then Jane wanders away because she’s picking up some heavy readings (Thor?) on her scientific Thor stalking device…and is promptly dragged into a dark room which is really the portal to where the Asguardians hid the Aether…which promptly inserts itself into Jane. And now since the Aether is “free”, Malekith is heading back to Asguard and Earth in search of it, so he can finally destroy the universe.

I don’t like to give away all plot points in a review so I’ll stop there. The movie seemed to carry on at times, but it wasn’t frequent enough to make me want to fall asleep. The gags were all there. Stan Lee’s cameo was appreciated, but myself and my best friend had one question: Where the hell was S.H.I.E.L.D in all of this? They have such a strong presence in every other Marvel movie, yet here it was as if they didn’t exist. While I may not have been fond of Agent Coulson when I first met him, he is without a doubt my favorite Marvel character now.

The acting was fantastic, but Tom Hiddleston stole the show as Loki. Just like Robert Downey Jr. brought Tony Stark to life, Hiddleston has made the malicious and cunning Loki lifelike and even human in some respects. He is the best anti-hero in the Marvel movie universe. Bring tissues, because there are some true tear jerking moments that deal with him. We also need more of Idris Elba’s Heimdall. His unwavering loyalty to Asguard (especially Thor) is truly touching. Since most of this movie takes place on Asguard the CGI is in full swing in this movie. The movie is visually stunning, and the story will draw you in. This is a fantastic follow up to both Thor and The Avengers, and I strongly urge you to see it.

-Lauren

Afterlife With Archie

October 16, 2013

Let’s take a stroll through beautiful never changing Riverdale. Archie is trying to forever figure out who he wants to take to the prom. Jughead is forever eating hamburgers. Betty and Veronica are forever vying for Archie’s affection.

Now what if that was turned on it’s head?

Afterlife With Archie certainly shows a darker, scarier, and sadder place than what we’ve all grown up with. The series opens with Jughead carrying his recently deceased dog, Hot Dog, to Sabrina’s house. In an act of despair Jughead pleads with Sabrina and her aunt’s to bring Hot Dog back. However, Hilda and Zelda are against the idea. Sabrina however wants to help her friend, so off she goes to help bring Hot Dog back from the dead. There are ramifications of raising the dead however.

I was hesitant about this series at first. On one hand I’m glad Archie is thinking outside the box. On the other Jughead is my favorite character, and Hot Dog kind of looks like my dog Spencer. I’m not saying I’m emotionally attached to these characters, but it is like watching your best friend’s dog die and then become a zombie. This is also not for children. Afterlife With Archie is definitely for an older audience, and there’s nothing wrong with that. For years I’ve been vying for an Archie series I could really get into and that was also age appropriate and finally I have it. 

The art is the main draw for me. Francesco Francavilla brings these characters to life (and then death) in a beautiful way. The art is not typical Archie. It’s dark and creepy. When Hilda and Zelda find out what Sabrina has done they show their true selves–something we’ve never seen in Archie comics before.The zombified Hot Dog is also terrifically executed.

The story, written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is  fantastic. Reading Veronica say “sexy” anything in an Archie comic seems almost taboo to me. His care and attention to Reggie is the most heartbreaking. Yes, Jughead did just lose his best canine pal. But it’s Reggie who seems to be taking it just as hard (and for good reason). It’s a Reggie we’ve never seen before, and one I’d like to keep around.

This series is off to a great start. I can’t wait to read the rest.

-Lauren

This one time, I was on Comic Book Men.

October 14, 2013

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Earlier this year I saw a thread on an anime website for a production company looking for cosplayers. Turns out it was actually for Comic Book Men. When I started talking to a casting agent, she decided I’d do better talking about comics on the show. Why? Because frankly I know a lot about comics–specifically Archie. I did a few interviews, talked to a lot of people, and one thing led to another and I was told when to come up for filming.

So off to Jersey I went on a beautiful Tuesday. I was pretty nervous, but that’s to be expected. But then when it was go time, it wasn’t so bad. I brought in my under copy of Archie #18, an un-restored CGC 3.5. I went in with every intention of talking about Archie, and I did! We talked about the current Archie, talked about Kevin Keller, the Kiss and Glee crossover, and a few more things. However only the Glee part made it in. I understand about time restrictions but I feel they could have done more. The problem I find with many comic shops who generally don’t deal with old comics is that they gloss over GA Archie. That’s a shame since Archie is a very important comic when talk about the history of comics. When it came time to negotiate, I asked $200 for the book. That’s roughly guide for it. Eventually we landed at $100 and that’s good enough for me.

Walt, Bryan and Mike were nice, but it was clear GA Archie was a little beyond their scope. That’s ok, I love teaching people about the fantastic history of Archie comics. You can watch the episode to see what else went on. Shame they didn’t keep the part where I asked for a job application–I thought it was pretty funny. Personally I would love to see a female on the show, or any show where there’s a female who knows a great deal about comics. Wouldn’t that be fantastic!

You can catch Comic Book Men every Sunday on AMC. My specific episode is season 3 episode 1, The Incredible Bulk.

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-Lauren

 

Oh, and the Jughead tattoo I have? It’s on my hip.

Archie’s Pal Kevin Keller #8

August 30, 2013

Recently I was going through my large pile of back issues, when Kevin Keller #8 popped out at me. I admit that I don’t read Archie like I used to as a child, but I still keep up with what my favorite comic book teenagers are up too.

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Kevin Keller was introduced into the Archie universe by creator Dan Parent. Kevin was introduced in Veronica #202 as the first gay character in Archie comics. I’ve talked about Kevin in the past, and I still firmly believe he is a wonderful addition to Archie. He is a positive role model for young children regardless of sexuality.

In Kevin Keller #8 we come in at the end of a two part story. Devon, Kevin’s boyfriend, are pretty rocky. Devon wasn’t comfortable with coming out, but eventually him and Kevin became a couple. Things were then made more complicated when a former admirer of Kevin, Paul, returns to the scene! Kevin assures Devon that Paul is only a friend, but can Devon get passed his jealousy?

Kevin Keller #8 folds out like any normal Archie story. Veronica has an idea for the school play, which will be about teenagers through history. Kevin plays the lead male with Betty as the female lead. When the play gets to the 21st century it is revealed that Paul will play opposite Kevin as his boyfriend. This raises red flags to Devon who then immediately signs up to help with props in the play. His jealousy eventually gets the better of him, and Devon sabotages the play (with positive results from the audience).

This comic deals with issues and feelings many young adults have. Jealousy, insecurities, and learning to cope with these feelings. Devon feeling jealousy over Paul being so close to Kevin during the play was a perfectly normal human response. That he couldn’t distinguish real life from the play is something that happens to teenagers (and adults!) every day. Devon even asks Kevin to quit the play, but Kevin declines. Devon in a way is acting like a bully, trying to get Kevin to do what he wants or else they can’t be together. Kevin made a commitment to his friend Veronica, and he won’t be swayed by Devon’s clearly jealous ultimatum. These panels are very important as it shows it’s young readers that it is OK to stand up for yourself even in a relationship. Your friends (and lovers!) will do things you don’t agree with, but it’s important to trust them and stand by them.

Another page of note is page 9. Veronica informs Kevin that during a specific scene, he has to pull Betty along by the hair. Betty is furious at the idea and let’s Veronica know. Veronica then insists that Kevin drag her by the arm, but he’s clearly uncomfortable with that as well. What this is showing young readers is that it is not OK to forcefully take someone with you anywhere, even in a school play. To drag someone by the hair or arm is brutish, rude, and it shows a distinct lack of respect for that person. Personal boundaries are to be respected, and that no means no. 

At the end of the comic Devon is remorseful for how he behaved towards Kevin and the play. He suggests that he and Kevin break up, but Kevin reassures Devon that he won’t give up on him. Kevin does acknowledge that what Devon did was wrong, but can also see that Devon reacted in such a manner because of his feelings. Devon apologizes to both Kevin and Veronica. Young readers will hopefully take away the message that we as human beings will make mistakes. We should be able to recognize flaws and issues, but we should also be able to forgive our friends and loved ones. We can learn from our mistakes and grow! Hopefully Devon will be around for a long while as his character is only just starting to develop.

-Lauren

 

 

Ben Affleck as Batman.

August 28, 2013

As you all know by now Warner Bros announced that Ben Affleck will play Batman in the Man of Steel sequel.
Then fanboys went crazy and posted hateful stuff at Mr.Affleck and WB.
Hell,they even had a petition to have him removed O_O

What to I have to say about it?
Well,for one I didn’t go crazy about it.
I was more shocked than anything else.
He’s not the worst pick for Batman (that one goes to Clooney :P )
Affleck has earned some respect recently for his directing.
Yes,he did DareDevil but that wasn’t his fault for it being god awful (bad writing & direction were the blame)
I don’t really understand why he’s getting this much hate from fanboys.
I mean look at how much hate Ledger & Hathaway got when they were casted as The Joker & Catwoman.
And they turned out pretty good.

I think we all need to wait & see how Affleck will do as Batman before we pass judgement.
He could turned out to a great Batman,but we won’t till we see a trailer of the movie.
I hope he give a great performance as Batman (and prove the haters wrong)

-Sarah


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