Posts Tagged ‘Lauren’

The Red Headed Disney Princess

June 8, 2012

I saw the new Disney/Pixar film ‘Brave’ last night at an advance screening. In tow with me was a 9 year old girl, the perfect age for this movie.

The story is about a Scottish princess Merida. Merida is a free spirit who enjoys archery and doing whatever she pleases. The very idea of acting like a proper princess goes against her very being. Merida is around the age of 16, and her mother says it’s time for her to pick a suitor. This deeply angers Merida who believes she should be in control of her own destiny. After meeting with the three suitors, she throws a fit and runs away from home. She stumbles on a witches house (a woodcarving witch who is obsessed with bears). One thing leads to another and the witch gives her a spell to change her mother and ultimately Merida’s destiny. The spell doesn’t go as planned, and her mother is changed into a bear. This is a nice twist of irony as her father is known as the king of bears. Now Merida has two days to figure out how to break the spell, or else her mother with be stuck as a bear forever.

It’s a cute story, but not very entertaining for anyone over the age of 10. There are funny moments, especially with Merida’s three younger brothers. And it wouldn’t be a Pixar movie without all of the touching scenes between parent and child. But other than that I was bored through most of the movie. Merida is a great protagonist though. She has balls of steel and doesn’t want (or need) a prince charming to save her. Merida want’s to be in control of her own life, something most girls living in her time were not in control of. She also has the rare case of having both parents alive in a Disney movie. The premise of the movie is pleasant, and it has a good message for young girls. The animation is typical Pixar which makes it easy on the eyes. The voice acting was perfect. Kelly Macdonald voiced Merida, giving her a special charming attitude.

But even with all of that, I wasn’t charmed by this film. It’s no ‘Toy Story 3’ or ‘Finding Nemo’. But it’s still an enjoyable kids movie that will make a lot of money simply for being a Disney/Pixar Film. The 9 year old however, loved it. And really that’s all that matters.

I give it a solid 6 out of 10.

-Lauren

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Have Sword, Will Stab.

May 24, 2012

Let’s talk about ‘American Dark Age’. I bought the comic at Asbury Park Comic Con a few weeks ago. I’m not sure what really drew me in. The black/red/silver color scheme cover, or the fact that the protagonist is a female who kicks serious ass.

The comic opens with our heroine, Katherine Brody, stabbing someone with a sword. She’s wearing fully body armor; NOTHING but her head is exposed. On her torso is a Slayer belt buckle. She mentions she’s from Oregon and that she’s a punk rocker. How exactly did she get here? Well, she tells us. Or at least begins too. One the day she decided to leave home. On that fateful day Earth fell into “The Blackout”. Everything just stopped that day. Electronics, war, peace, everything stopped. While that isn’t explained in full detail (it’s safe to assume that’s being saved for later issues) we do see a little bit of Katherine’s life. She played in a punk rock band. She lived with her father, who is her best friend. That dynamic drew me in the most. I’m rather close with my dad, so I always have a soft spot for characters who are as well (Barbara Gordon, I’m looking at you). Her mother is missing in action. Her father is trying to do what’s best for his daughter. They seem to lead a pretty normal life.

Meanwhile on the other side of the world in Vatican City, some priests are talking about this and that. One of them, Mr. Holly, is visited by an owl. The owl is clearly some kind of signal that shit is about to go down as he excuses himself from his fellow brothers. He meets up with a young man in a park, where he tells him “It is time to close the hand…” Awesome. Shit’s gonna go down. But we don’t see anything really happen yet. Issue 1 sets everything up, and we can assume everything after is going to be ten kinds of awesome.

The story telling is great. Writer/creator Jean Michel creates a believable character, within a realistic world. The art is also exceptional, with penciling by Jaqueline Taylor. The art is detailed which is a real feast for the eyes. You can find out more about the comic (including where to buy it) here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/megabraincomics/keep-american-dark-age-alive and I really urge you to check it out. I’ll be ordering issue two within the week (hey, I gotta wait to be paid).

-Lauren

Don’t Hit Your Junk With a Stick

May 24, 2012

On Free Comic Book Day 2012, Mike Riley of I Taste Sound (http://www.itastesound.com/) was nice enough to give me a copy of his new 24 page book, ‘I Taste Sound Presents…Peener Sticks World Cup’. It’s no secret that I find his comics to be really funny.

‘Peener Sticks World Cup’ was born out of a single panel comic he drew some two years ago, which shows three young boys toppled over in pain after hitting each other in the junk with sticks. In a not so distant future, Peener Stick teams from all across the world must compete for the Peener Sticks World Cup. We see team America battle France, Germany, and the “evil” Russians. It’s safe to assume everyone else from other parts of the globe were eliminated early on. But if you’re really wondering why Japan isn’t represented in this comic, I think you’re reading too much into this. The comic is an easy funny read. The art is much like the rest of his I Taste Sound stuff. Simple but effective. The writing style is also creative. One of the characters talks like a baby, and while I had trouble reading some of his lines at times, it adds a little bit of character to these guys. I could also point out that team America wears diapers through the whole thing. I don’t think that has any real meaning what so ever, but there you go. Diapers. There’s no real moral of this comic, other than hitting yourself in the junk with a stick really hurts.

The comic is available on the website for $3.99.

-Lauren

Super Team Movie, Go!

May 6, 2012

Like everyone else on the planet, I saw The Avengers. I’m not going to bore you with how much I loved it, how I laughed and cried. No. I’m not.

I’m not going to go into heavy detail about the plot either. It’s pretty straight forward. The biggest heroes in the Marvel universe team up to save the world from Loki and an alien race. Not everyone gets along at first, and it takes a sad event to cause all of them to finally come together. They save the day and life goes on.

What interested me the most is how non comic book fans would like it. Lucky for me, I work in a gym. Needless to say I’m one of the two people in there who knows a little about comics. The general ruling was “This movie rocked.” the dialogue, characters, and story were easy to follow. There was some confusion as to whom the character was during the credits. I won’t explain because it would be a spoiler. The movie was paced well too. Everything worked well together, and I’m glad it did. The movie has already grossed around $600million over this weekend worldwide, and it will only go up.

So if you have yet to see it because none of your friends are into comic books…take them. They will enjoy it even if it’s not for the same reasons you will. It’s a fantastic summer flick. I even saw it in 3D and it was good!

What I’m curious to see is if the fnal Batman installment will financially beat it out. I believe it will, but with this strong opening Batman will have to work for it.

In Defense Of The Cosplay Photographer…

April 9, 2012

Recently I’ve noticed a trend of cosplayers coming out of the wood work online crying about “rude” photographers not posting pictures, or photographers who only take pictures of girls. Most recently, the photographer I use for most of the posts here (Pat) came under fire for not posting a picture of two girls from Katsucon, but rather posting just one. The one he posted turned out better than the first. It has nothing to do with who was prettier. One picture turned out blurry, while the other didn’t. While this example is rather personal for me, I have seen this scenario played out countless times. I have been cosplaying for 10+ years. If I had a penny for every time a photographer I knew didn’t post a picture of me, I’d have enough pennies to pay one month of my car payments. There have been times where I have (very nicely) asked said photographer whatever happened to the picture. Since I happen to hang around photographers, I understand when they say “It didn’t turn out right.” That’s cool. I get it.

However, you can’t really take my word for it. Below is the reply Pat gave to a very angry cosplayer about not posting her picture.

“I was at Katsucon hanging out when I saw a Marceline from Adventure Time walk by. I walked after her and tapped her on the shoulder and asked if I could take her photo and of course she said yes. She was with someone else also dressed up as an A.T. character and they both got into their posing positions. I took 2 photos, one of both of them together, and one of the Marceline which is what I wanted in the first place. After that 30 second transaction I said thanks and walked back to catch up with my group. Not exactly an earth shattering event by any means. Anyway later that weekend I edited and posted the photos online. A couple of people in the photos found them on Flickr and were pleased with them and thanked me for taking the photo. Fast forward 2 weeks later and I get this nasty post on my Flickr page under the Marceline photo…

(Edited out)

I was quite taken back by this. I am not a portrait photographer, I do 99% landscapes, just me, my camera, and the streets. For the last maybe 8 years I have at times taken photos of “cosplayers” at various nerdy conventions. In all of that time I have never had anyone become upset at a photo I have taken, or didn’t take. I’m not Annie Liebovitz, this isn’t the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. This is some kids having fun and I am helping them out by taking their photo so they can show their friends online. That being said I do however have pride in what I do. I will not post photos and put my name on something that does not meet my standards. Every photo I post is sharp, focused, and composed. I’m sorry if this does not jive with the camera phone generation who finds taking blurry photos in their mirrors to be acceptable photography. Now since I’m aware these people don’t even know what aperture and shutter speed is I’ll try to dumb this down as much as possible. The shooting conditions in this place was (by photographic standards) was a poorly lit hallway in a hotel basement. I took the photo of the pair of them using a 50mm lens only, no flash, no additional lighting on my part, no image stabilizer. The exit data says the photo of the pair of them was taken at 1/30 of a second at f/4. For those who don’t know f/4 is not fast, f/2.8 or f/2 would have been a more ideal setting to use. So why not use it you ask? Because I need to take a shot with two people, two people who will not be standing on the exact same focal plane, thus I require more depth of field, thus I must use the slower f/4 to achieve this goal (the smaller the aperture the greater of the depth of field aka area in focus). This is simple physics, this is how light works, I cannot control it. The #1 rule of taking a photo of any living creature is to focus on the eyes. How many times have you seen a bad portrait shot that was focused on the nose of the person? So I took the photo of the pair of them doing my best to follow this rule. Then I took another this time just of the Marceline. This time the camera was set to 1/60 of a second shutter speed. For anyone who doesn’t know 1/30 is about the limit of what a person can do hand holding a camera with no image stabilizer. Shooting at 1/30 is taking a gamble, but this is digital so it’s not like I am wasting film if it doesn’t turn out and this isn’t exactly someone’s wedding photos. So now this 2nd photo was going twice as fast as the last one which means less chance of me shaking the camera and ruining the photo. Magically this means the 2nd photo turned out a lot better. And getting back to that whole taking pride in what I put my name on thing I chose not to post the first photo that turned out blurry but that doesn’t mean I didn’t take one. So claiming I only wanted to take a “pretty girl photo,” which for the record is certainly not a quote I ever said, is not accurate in the slightest. I take photos of whatever I want to, and if it is a person I ask their permission. I spent $3500 on that camera/lens combo I was using this day. So unless you are paying me money to take your photo you don’t really get much say in what I photograph or post online.

I know many cosplayers read this, so take what you can from these words. Almost every photographer you see at conventions does take pride in his and her work, so don’t get mad if a picture they took of you didn’t wind up online. It’s ok. And if you want more pictures, ask! Really! I’ve never had a photographer turn me down if I ask for a few more shots. It’s flattering for them to hear, especially if it’s someone you admire.

You can follow Pat Gavin on Flickr here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/patgavin/

-Lauren

 

Annapolis Comic Con 2012

March 28, 2012

This past weekend I got the chance to stop by Annapolis Comic Con. I didn’t get the chance to visit last year, but I’m glad I went this year. The convention was held in a gymnasium inside a rec center, and while it was a small show, it packed a ton in. There was a nice variety of dealers. I found pulps, Golden Age comics, Silver Age, modern, toys, books, art…You name it, you could probably find it. The dealers were terrific too. I love talking about comics and everyone here was willing to talk to you, even if you weren’t buying from them. This convention was also rather kid friendly. I saw many families walking through the convention. This is a great sign, as kids are the future of this (and any) hobby. On Saturday I heard around 1,500 people showed, with more expected for Sunday.

I did manage to catch the end of the cosplay panel featuring the lovely Han. In the end cosplay is about having fun, so go have fun. I feel the same can be applied to this hobby. Collect what you like, and have fun with it.

I’m excited for next year, and I wish this convention luck!

And now for the best part, pictures by Pat!

 

-Lauren

 

BB Wolf and the Three LP’s

March 21, 2012

The story of the Big Bad Wolf is something most of us know of from our childhood. A wolf is blowing down the houses of some pigs, but at the end he fails at destroying them all. But what caused the wolf to act this way? Was there a chain of events that lead to the wolf going crazy and blowing down houses?

In this story by JD Arnold and Richard Koslowski takes place in rural Mississippi during the early 1920s. B.B. Wolf is a wolf just trying to get by for his wife and three pups. He is a farmer by day, working on the farm that have been passed down through his family, and a blues musician at night. Everything seems to be alright, until the first Littlepig shows up, informing Wolf that his property would be taken over by another pig. They had exactly one week to vacate. Wolf, unsure of what to do, goes on with his life. The day they were supposed to vacate, the wolves in the community come together and scare off the pigs. The pig claim that they will take revenge and they do. Days later while Wolf is playing in town the first Littlepig gets his revenge by burning down his home, and killing his wife and two of his cubs. This sends Wolf over the edge, who tracks down the pigs one by one, seeking vengeance for his wife and cubs.

This is a fantastic retelling of a timeless story. Only this time it’s much more believable. Events such as these were probably not too far-fetched in real life; The white man wants to take away an African American’s property, and will go at any lengths to secure it. Brutal murders, lynching, and everything else you might think of in 1920’s America is also here. This story is bleak and jarring. By the end of the book I felt bad for the Wolf. Perhaps all this time we were duped into believing his was the bad guy. This book is worth every penny, I can not recommend it enough.

-Lauren

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

February 17, 2012

Tonight I was invited by some friends of mine to see the new Ghost Rider movie. Now I never saw the first one, but this was a free preview and frankly, how hard can a Nic Cage movie be t follow. So at 7pm on the dot Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance started. To sum it up, the movie was campy. Maybe not as campy as Batman and Robin, but it was up there.

Plot wise it was an easy movie to follow, but very easy to forget. Johnny Blaze has to save a child who happens to be the spawn of Satan, but he’s actually a good kid. Or not really evil. Throughout the movie you have pretty forgettable characters trying to kidnap this kid, kill him (as well as his mom), or kidnap the kid, kill the mom, and give the kid to the devil. Somehow if Johnny Blaze saves the child his curse will be lifted. Idris Elba saves the day near the end, Johnny realizes he can’t live without Ghost Rider, and all is well.

The acting was pretty stiff from almost everyone except Nic Cage and Idris Elba (who steals every scene). The script was funny, but not an epic work of art.  The best parts of the movie were the animated scenes, which were gritty and dirty and just plain awesome. Some of the live action scenes reminded me of Sin City, while others were Matrix rip offs. The special effects were done well. I mean really. I had no complaints with them at all. The 3D wasn’t terrible either, but I would save your money. Overall this is a solid C+ movie. Not terrible, not great, but a pretty forgettable flick. I’d say to wait for a DVD rental copy, unless you enjoy campy movies.

-Lauren

Watchmen; The Prequel

February 1, 2012

Exciting news! This morning DC comics announced that there will be a second Watchmen series coming out. It will be a seven part prequel, featuring different artists and writers. A sample of what’s in store…

‘Comedian’ by Brian Azzarello and JG Jones
‘Minutemen’ by Darwyn Cooke
‘Ozymandias’ by Len Wein and Jae Lee

I am both excited and nervous about this. The ‘Watchmen’ series was perfect. It had enough back story to each character without over kill. The characters were well thought out, and we knew who they were. Having a prequel might be a great idea, but Alan Moore isn’t writing any of these books. At the end of the day, only the original creator knows his (or her) characters inside and out. Watchmen has a legacy on its own for being one of the greatest graphic novels of all time. This isn’t Batman or Superman. This has not been an ongoing series for 70+ years. Sure, DC has the rights to them, but this series was untouched.

The timing of this series wouldn’t have mattered. Watchmen has always been regarded by fans and non fans alike as one of the greatest graphic novels in history. However, this may have been a better marketing ploy had they done this series before the movies release. Having it come out on the heels of the “new” 52 is fine, but it’s a little much. I don’t see this as something a non comic book reader would buy. I’ve heard from many of my non comic book reader friends say ‘Watchmen’ was already a difficult read (albeit a good one). Why would they be interested in a back story…when each character already has one in the comic?

I’ll still pick up an issue to check it out, but I’m not holding my breath for the second coming in comic books.

-Lauren

 

The New DC Logo: I don’t care.

January 26, 2012

Last night I was at my local comic shop, and I was asked how I felt about the new DC logo. My reply is in the video below. If you don’t know, I’m the only girl in the video.

-Lauren