Otakon 20

August 17, 2013

Otakon 20

Overall there was some fantastic cosplay. You can view my Otakon album by clicking the above image!

-Lauren

Otakon 2013 Is Finally Over

August 12, 2013

My 13th Otakon has come and gone. This year was almost no different than the rest, save for visiting the ER Saturday morning at 4am, leaving that same day at 10pm, and not really leaving my hotel room because this con has effectively outgrown the Baltimore Convention Center.

A few things did come out of Otakon though. Funimation announced they will be releasing a few certain anime series that Bandai Entertainment had, such as the classic anime Cowboy Bebop. Other titles they picked up are Witch Hunter Robin, Escaflowne, Code Geass, and several other anime titles.

I didn’t make it to the VIZ panel, but I did hear they were releasing Ranma 1/2 on BluRay.

Like I said earlier, Otakon has outgrown the BCC. They have cited the aging convention center as a reason why they want to move. On one hand Baltimore should put some money into the dated convention center. On the other, we really need to put out money into more important things here. However that is another topic for another blog.

The crowd and lack of crowd control at Otakon was also terrible. Hopefully this is something they can work on for next year. Or maybe they do need to cap attendance again. There were points throughout the con where you were in human gridlock and couldn’t move for some time. Also, while I understand that people should have their badges going into the con, asking for them while I’m sitting down in the Charles Street lobby is absurd. And asking to see my badge going from the con into the Hilton is also a little silly. Again, these are concerns I hope Otakon takes note of for next year.

On the plus side, the rave was good. Lots of energy and good vibes. The music mix was also really good Friday night. OtaChan was terrific (I made a Luna magnet!) and clearly had a lot to keep kids, and kids at heart, busy. The Otakon museum was a nice stroll down memory lane of Otakon pasts. The manga library was also well stocked this year. I did however miss MAT3K, which I’m still bummed about. But what can you do!

The Thursday preregistration pick up was also fantastic. From what I could tell by driving by at 9am, they moved anyone outside into a line that was indoors. That way, you could get up and use the bathroom, get food, and generally not be outside in the summer. This was a great idea. Whomever thought of this deserves a gold star.

All in all it was a good con. I can’t wait for next year!

(Pics to come later!)

-Lauren

 

BronyCon 2013

August 5, 2013

This past weekend Baltimore played host to BronyCon 2013, a convention centered around My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

There were thousands of people (around 8,400 came to this con) coming to celebrate a common thing. What strikes most as odd about this con however is that the show has attracted a large number of older men as fans. Frankly I didn’t spend a lot of time wandering around the convention. I do enjoy the show. I’ve seen a number of episodes, I like what it teaches it’s target (and not so target) age groups, and the characters are diverse. However a con like this could not attract me as an attendee. I worked at the con as a guest handler, and spent most of my time either sitting in the green room or taking my guest around the con. I also can’t ignore the fact that many Baltimoreans were dismayed and annoyed that this con came here. The negative connotations this con has also can’t be ignored, but frankly that’s another topic for some other blog.

My guest was a total blast to hang out with. In fact every VIP I spoke with was gracious, kind, and enjoyed themselves at the con. The team I worked with was also fantastic. I’ve worked at many cons, but this was without a doubt the best team I’ve ever worked with. Everyone got along and knew what they were doing, and if they were just pretending they did you would have never known. Communication between team members was outstanding, and any problems we may have had were taken care of right away. Every attendee we came into contact with were polite and not intrusive. While I may have gotten around 5 hours of sleep the whole con I would happily work in that department again. The team leaders we had were also top knotch, and I would love to work with them at any con regardless of the subject matter. Even if I may not fully understand the point of the con. They were just that good.

Will BronyCon be back in Baltimore? I’m not sure. If you went, I hope you had a good time. Below are the few photos I took of the rather diverse crowd I ran into. 

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-Lauren

 

The Wolverine film review.

July 28, 2013

Here’s my review of The Wolverine.
I can say that it’s a lot better than X-Men Origins:Wolverine hands down (story & character wise)

Pros:
I love the Japanese setting of the film (the bullettrain seen was great)
The Japanese cast were great (mostly from Rila Fukushima & Tao Okamoto)
Rila Fukushima as Yuriko was awesome (she was a fun character to watch,her being a mutant didn’t really bother me that much)
Tao Okamoto was also great as Mariko.
There are hints of Claremont’s mini-series,but the rest is just for the film.
The Silver Samurai was cool.
They didn’t shoehorned in a bunch of mutants in this film (like Origins did)

Cons:
Viper really wasn’t much of a villain(they could have cut her character out and no one would have notice)
The Jean Gray scenes confused me (is she really dead?,why is she with Logan?,why is she even in this film?)
I would have like to have seen more of Yuriko.

Overall,I loved this movie (WAY better than Origins)
4 out of 5.

Had I review Origins,I would give it 3 out of 5.

Also,stay after the post-credits to see a scene that links X-Men:Days of Future Past 🙂

Harassment and Cons

July 26, 2013

I grew up in the world of comics. My dad would take me to small cons and shows across Maryland. Eventually I started attending conventions with my friends, and some shows I do solo. There had been times where someone would make some off color comment, but I could never let one bad apple ruin my love for this hobby. Recently there has been a large outcry from the women (and men!) in this fandom about how they are being mistreated at conventions. From sexist remarks to blatant sexual harassment, it seems everything is imploding on itself.

Like I said, I’ve had some rather rude remarks come my way. I’m not here to divulge my dear readers into that. What I am here to share with you is this; Women and men and everyone in between are capable to enjoy and love this and any nerd fandom as they see fit. The idea of a “fake geek girl/boy” is not for any single one of us to decide. If someone doesn’t know everything about the Platinum Age of comic books, who cares. If someone doesn’t know every little detail about the TARDIS, it is not the end of the world. That does not give you permission to belittle a person.

If a man or woman is cosplaying and they so happen to be in a skin tight costume, that is also not an excuse to harass said person. If you happen to see a lady wearing a Witchblade costume, guess what, still not grounds to make lewd remarks to her. As a cosplayer I can assure you we know we will get looks. If you have something to say that may even remotely offend the person in question…keep it to yourself.

If you have been a target (be it in cosplay or not) report it to a staff member or con security. If you see something happen, get con security. If you have to intervene do not get physical. Look out for one another, and keep in mind that everyone will express his or her fandom in different ways.

In a nut shell, live and let live.

-Lauren

 

Some Archie Things

July 5, 2013

It should come to no surprise that I have an odd obsession with Archie. Thankfully a seller on eBay (who’s been collecting for 30+ years!) is starting to list stuff on eBay. Long story short, I won these awesome shirts and a Veronica sweat suit. If any of you in cyberspace has any info on them, please contact me! I’d love to know a bit about them.

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Thanks, Dad.

June 15, 2013

I get asked by people all the time “How did you get into comics? Why is Batman your favorite hero?” stuff like that. At the root of it all it the same answer “It’s what my dad liked.” My dad was born in 1950, and thus grew up in the Silver Age of comics. He read Superboy, Superman, Captain America, and Archie. He also got heavily into sci-fi and proudly ran his college sci-fi club. He attended a few cons and was overall dedicated to it. And then I was born. Now was his chance to rub some of his nerdness off onto me. (As far as his SA comic collection goes, my grandmother threw them away.)

 

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I don’t remember a time in my life before comic books. When Batman came out I was 3, and Batman was everywhere. I would come home from preschool and watch the Adam West show. If we went out and I saw anything that resembled the Batsymbol, it was imperative to my life to obtain it. When Batman Returns came out in 1991, my dad took me to see it. My mom was less than thrilled. “She won’t sit still.” She insisted. My dad knew better and sure enough I sat through it with a possibly glazed over look. Batmania had hit me hard. I gobbled up comics, toys, and whatever I could find on T.V. In my first grade Halloween party I insisted my parents buy me a Batman costume. I broke the belt and cried the whole day because of it. When I got home dad stapled the belt back together which ultimately saved the day.

We started going to a local comic shop, Alternate Worlds in Cockeysville Maryland, when I was 6. Before then we had been to other shops but now we had a place to go every week. Dad still read his Superboy and Captain America comics (and anything else that caught his eye), while I focused on the Batfamily, Archie, and eventually manga. My dad never understood the manga thing (and still doesn’t) but it made me happy so why not. In 1999 he even took me to my first Otakon! However that was a little much for my dad (something I can’t really understand) and I’ve been gleefully attending anime cons without him since. But we still went to small comic shows and sci-fi shows since that was still in the scope of things he liked. His last convention was Baltimore 2008. He got himself an Amazing Fantasy #15 and Amazing Spider-Man #1, and left a happy camper. That was also around the time we got into collecting key books, specifically Silver Age DC books. My dad still gets a kick out of buying a book he had as a kid. My grandmother kicks herself for throwing away his books when she finds out how much their worth now.

I still attend conventions, and I still read comics. My dad doesn’t read comics or attend cons anymore. He still loves the medium and enjoys it from the comfort of his own home, but the torch has been passed. If it weren’t for my dad I would have never been as involved with the wonderful world of comics like I am. Thanks dad, for fostering such a deep and passionate love for a truly wonderful medium in me.

And a Happy Father’s Day to all the amazing dads out there!

-Lauren

 

 

 

Man of Steel movie review (spoiler warning)

June 15, 2013

I saw Man of Steel on Friday.
So,I wanted to write a review on it.
Is it the best Superman movie? Yes.
Did I enjoy it? Yes.
Is this the Superman movie we’ve been waiting for? Yes and then some.

The movie starts out with Lara-El giving birth to Kal-El.
We soon find out that he’s the first “natural” birth on Krypton in centuries (this twist interest me)
Apparently,Krypton were using a form of Eugenics to create their people (I wish they would of given more info on why they were doing it)
Anyway,Jor-El tells the leaders of Krypton that using the planet core for resources has made the planet unstable and have a week to live.
Then we see Zod and his goons killing everyone.
Jor-El escapes and returns to his home to send his son to Earth (their sun is still young,so Kal-El can survive on Earth)
Zod gets there,but it’s too late in stopping the rocket,he then fights and kills Jor-El.
He and his goons are send to the Phantom Zone for their crimes.

We then jump 33 years after on Earth to see Clark working on a number of jobs (crab fisherman is were he starts off)
I could go on for hours writing this review,but I want everyone to watch it themselves.

The casting is pretty much spot-on.
Cavill as Superman is awesome.
Amy Adams as Lois Lane is good (I’m one of the few that likes Ms.Lane as a redhead,I think it adds to fiery personally)
Michael Shannon as General Zod is pretty badass.
The 2 performances I thought were great are Costner & Crowe as Jonathan Kent & Jor-El.
They’ve helped Clark to understand his powers and how when the world see him,the world will change forever.
I was surprised how much screen time Jor-El got in this film (45 mins total)
Seeing Jonathan Kent die was heartbreaking,but he knew that Clark wasn’t ready to be seen yet (which is why he didn’t want him to save him)

The idea of Superman being a Christ-like figure makes sense to me.
Superman was created to give kids someone to look up to.
And when you look at Superman,he is someone we as humans can look up to for what he stands for good.

The one scene that will get fans upset is at the end were Superman has to kill Zod to save a human family.
We all know that Superman doesn’t kill,but in a situation that he was in what would have he done?
Also,by killing Zod Superman is the last Kryptonian,and Earth his new home.
Knowing what he did,he’s angry and in pain for his actions knowing he’s the last of his kind.

The SFX were awesome(Superman finally gets to punch some bad guys)
The flashback scenes were pretty good (it gave us a idea on how Clark was dealing with his powers)

Overall this the best Superman movie to date.
The one problem I had with the movie is they didn’t explain why Krypton were using Engenics to create their people.

4 out of 5
It’s a must see movie (screw the critics)
I loved it,and I’m a Marvel Comics fan girl LOL.

-Sarah

Archie and the Movies

June 7, 2013

If you haven’t heard yet, rumors are flying all across cyberspace in regards to a live action Archie movie. My phone and email inbox were blown up by my friends sharing this exciting news. To all of you, I thank you. That means a lot to me to know that when you see or hear anything about Archie, your first thought is to tell me.

The movie will likely be done by Warner Brothers studio, with Jason Moore taking the helm. Moore is no stranger to teen film. He directed “Pitch Perfect” and his writer, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa works on the show “Glee”, which Archie is currently doing a cross over with. Aquirre-Sacasa has said the movie will be “a quintessential teen movie..” complete with drama, heartache, humor, and maybe a musical number or two. Oh and the most important part? It’s going to have zombies in it. Why not.

Archie has always dabbled in the world of live action. In the 1950s, Archie attempted to break onto the small screen with a TV pilot. The pilot has been in circulation via YouTube and many a con bootleg, so it’s not hard to find. To be honest it’s not half bad. We open with Mr. and Mrs. Andrews trying to get Archie up for school. He has devised a mechanism that makes it sound like he’s getting ready for school, when in fact he’s still asleep. The plan backfires, but you can’t blame him for trying. Then when he gets to school we’re introduced to the classic Riverdale gang; Beautiful, rich Veronica. Cute, girl next door Betty. Best friend and eating machine Jughead. Wise guy and rival Reggie. And of course Mr. Weatherbee who constantly has inner monologues about Archie and what to do with him. The acting isn’t half bad and it is very enjoyable.

The second foray was an ABC special in 1978. If you have any Archie comics from that year, you’ve undoubtedly seen the ads for it. I have yet to see any footage of it but I know it has to exist somewhere.

Third was the failed TV pilot turned made for TV movie, “Return To Riverdale” in 1990. The movie shows us what the gang is like 10 years after high school. Archie is a big city lawyer married to a woman who is neither Betty or Veronica. Betty is a school teacher, Veronica is still rich, Jughead is a psychiatrist, and Reggie owns a gym. However this isn’t a terrible basic movie in terms of how these characters have grown. Betty winds up with a creep who bosses her around, Veronica has been married and divorced four times, and Jughead has also been divorced and has a child. Our innocent teenagers carry some pretty heavy baggage…but that’s another post for another day.

Everyone is reunited for the big high school reunion. Archie is nervous as he hasn’t seen anyone in forever, and when he encounters Betty and Veronica sparks do fly. The climax of the film is when the gang has to save Pop’s from being torn down by Veronica’s still rich and kind of rude father. There’s a happy ending for everyone, and they all live happily ever after. 

There’s also the successful live action Sabrina The Teenage Witch, and let’s not forget about the Josie and the Pussycats movie which was very enjoyable.

Maybe it was just poor timing, or maybe America just didn’t want Archie as a live action series. But there’s no actual good reason why it shouldn’t be done! The characters are likable and diverse. The situations are realistic. After 70 years it’s high time we got something. Even if the acting and dialogue isn’t the best it will still be an enjoyable film. I can’t wait to see it.

-Lauren

 

Batgirl #19

May 6, 2013

Batgirl #19

The New 52 run of Batgirl has had it’s share of drama. Barbara Gordon can now walk. The Joker tried killing her mother. Writer Gail Simone getting kicked off, then brought back on to the title. The newest piece of drama was Batgirls brother James trying to tear her life apart.

Batgirl 19 continues the emotional roller coaster of her life. It opens with Babs going back to her room mate Alysia and asking to come back. Barbara tells her everything (except that she’s Batgirl). In turn we find out Alysia is transgendered, marking the first transgendered comic book character. Or at least, the first one who isn’t fantasy based or has super powers. This is a huge step for DC, and for mainstream comics in general.

We then continue on where Batgirl has to track down James before he kills their mother. In an emotional showdown, James reveals why he hates Barbara so much, and why he wants to ruin her life. It ends with Batgirl throwing a batarang into his eye which causes him to plummet to his death. Maybe. It also starts a possibly new chapter where Commissioner Gordon is now Batgirl’s enemy. I hope Simone and DC explore that in upcoming issues. I feel it would really push Barbara to the limit and we can then see how truly strong our heroine is.

This was a fantastic issue and shows how far the New 52 Batgirl has come. This is certainly darker than previews Batgirl issues, and I’m personally loving it.

-Lauren