May 30, 2008

Nerdy News

In this edition of Nerdy News a grumpy girl will get even grumpier, a group of L.A. kids gets some exposure and we say goodbye to a star composer.

Goth icon and all-around misanthrope Emily the Strange is finally getting her own movie. It was only a matter of time. Originally created for record stores and skate shops by Rob Reger, Emily quickly moved from stickers to her own clothing line and eventually to comic books. Dark Horse began publishing Emily in 2005 and Entertainment President Mike Richardson will be producing the feature film. A director has yet to be chosen and no word on whether it will be animated or live-action.

The Hollywood Reporter says the story, created by Reger, is being kept under wraps but will include Emily's backstory as well as her four cats. Thirteen new characters are also set to be introduced with names like Earwig and Umlaut. The film will provide the basis for a young-adult novel to be published sometime next year by Harper Collins. No word yet on the release date of the film.

I can see the tag-line now: "Emily wants see another movie instead!


Marvel continues on their non-stop train of comic-to-film announcements. Brian K. Vaughan is set to adapt his Runaways for Marvel Studios. This newest film is still in it's earliest stages considering Marvel has a lot on their plate through 2011. Marvel Studios' President Kevin Feige will act as producer.

Honestly, I don't know how Vaughan has the time for it. Besides his regular comic duties, he's a producer and sometimes writer on Lost and is developing Y: The Last Man for New Line Cinema. I have yet to read any Runaways but I've heard a lot of good things about it and the idea behind it sounds like something I'd enjoy. I promise, I'll get around to reading it before the movie comes out.


Finally, it is with much regret I tell you about the passing of Alexander "Sandy" Courage at the age of 88. Courage was the composer of the theme to the original Star Trek series, which you can hear above. He passed away at an assisted-living facility in Los Angeles on May 15th. He had been in poor health for a few years.

He was born in 1910 in Philadelphia but raised in New Jersey. Courage began as an arranger at MGM Studios and composed and collaborated on some of the most famous musicals of the 50's and 60's. Showboat, Gigi, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, My Fair Lady and Fiddler on the Roof are just a few. In the 80's he composed the score for Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.

Also composing for another space TV show, Lost in Space, Courage had a falling out with Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry over the theme. Roddenberry wrote lyrics to the song never intending on them to be sung on TV but simply entitling him to half the royalties. 

Funny enough, Courage wasn't even a sci-fi fan yet he created one of the most memorable themes in the history of televison. 


I'm off to Wizard World Philly tomorrow. See you there!

Dharma wants you!

On behalf of the Dharma Initiative, Octagon Global Recruiting is currently seeking volunteers to contribute to an important new research project.

A new research project is about to commence which will play a vital role in furthering the Dharma Initiative's objectives.

Octagon Global Recruiting, on behalf of the Dharma Initiative, requires research volunteers to assist in a range of unpaid positions.

Our national recruitment drive will commence in San Diego, California July 24 - 27, 2008.

Everything you've just read is from what looks to be the new Lost Experience website, There was a quick commercial for the site during tonight's two-hour season finale. There's a short introduction video plus a chance to put in your email address to play along. And if the date of the recruitment drive sounds familiar to you that's because it happens to correspond with the San Diego Comic Con. Anyone want to pay for me to fly out there? Pretty please??

May 29, 2008

Oh Mother!

Actual conversation I just had with my mom.

Me: Mom, what would you do if you woke up tomorrow a superhero?
My mom: I don't want to be a superhero. That's a lot of work and I'm lazy.

May 28, 2008

Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra

If you understand that, we are kindred spirits. If you don't, well this post probably won't interest you, but read it anyway! I attended my first ever Star Trek March...and I'm finally getting around to telling you about it.

The convention was hosted by Creation Entertainment in Secaucus, NJ. I knew the hotel it was held in very well. It's right next door to the My 9 studios where I did my college internship and where the New York portion of the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon was held every year. I've been receiving emails from Creation for years now about all kinds of conventions but never attended one until now. They are the company that does the Xena, Stargate, Lost, Battlestar Galactica, Farscape and Lord of the Rings conventions among others. Saturday's guests included Rene Auburjonois (Odo from Deep Space Nine), Armin Shimerman (Quark from TNG and Deep Space Nine) and Brent Spiner (Data from TNG).

I had intended for my first Star Trek convention to be last years big celebration in Las Vegas but couldn't find anyone willing to go with me. So, needless to say, I was a little let down by the size of this one. It definitely wasn't as grand as I expected it to be. When I got to the hotel I almost thought I came on the wrong day. There were no signs saying the convention was there and there weren't any crowds of people hanging around outside. The Trek conventions in this area are usually held in Secaucus or Cherry Hill. Why not New York or Philadelphia?

The cheapest way to attend one of these convention is to buy a single ticket at the door. No service fees and no paying around $300 for a Gold Pass that will get you a reserved seat. The room is small enough to give you a fair view with general seating. Food, like at any convention, will cost you an arm and a leg of course. 

Armin Shimerman and Rene Auburjonois

Armin Shimerman was first on stage after I got settled in. I saw him out in the hallway earlier looking cool as a cucumber with his jacket swung over this shoulder. I'm a fan of his work on Buffy the Vampire Slayer too of course so that was very exciting. I considered asking a question about that show instead of Star Trek but thought I'd get yelled at by the audience so I didn't. Another girl there was brave enough to do so later on which made me happy. He seemed very happy to be there, most times answering questions with a story instead of a simple response. He was able to joke his way out of those questions you know some fan is inevitably going to ask like, how does certain technology on the show work. Not how did the prop work, how does something like that actually work in real life. I will never get that.

During his time on stage Shimerman was joined by Rene Auburjonois for some shared experiences and more fan questions. They seem to be really good friends and spoke about their roles on Boston Legal as well. After a few questions had gone by a familiar voice appeared on the microphone. Brent Spiner had snuck his way into the room and began acting like a fan. He even asked one of those technology questions they all love to get. Check out this YouTube clip another fan posted of the hilarity that ensued.

Auburjonois took the stage next and didn't really need anyone to ask him any questions, he was quite capable of entertaining us with his stories about his past, like his role on Benson and about how his family is doing. Though he got one of my favorite questions of the day. A fan asked if he thought his character Odo could get "Borged." Auburjonois went on for about five minutes about how he was sure Odo got "bored" occasionally until the fan corrected him. He then turned to the audience and said, "Did you know that's what he meant?" To which we all replied, "yes." He at least got a chuckle out of that.

During an intermission I took a stroll to the vendor room which was about the size of a large classroom. Chase Masterson (Leeta from DS9), Max Grodenchik (Rom from DS9) and if I remember correctly, Elizabeth Dennehy (Lt. Cmdr. Elizabeth Shelby from TNG) were signing there. I think I actually remember a table that was selling everything else but Star Trek merchandise. Also, before he went on stage, Brent Spiner was there signing copies of his new CD, "Dreamland."

Brent Spiner

Brent Spiner on stage is something that must be seen if you have the chance. Like, I said, they were all very entertaining, but he is a true showman. Not only did we get a FANTASTIC Patrick Stewart impression but he was also willing to give us just the slightest bit of Data. Just a quick non-emotional face and a twitch of the head to the right. It lasted about a second but it was awesome. He also spent his time plugging his CD which he consistently reminded us we could order on his website

The rest of the day consisted of trivia contests, auctions and door prizes. The trivia contest involved fans posing the questions to other fans. Some questions were simple, some were extremely hard and some made me giggle. Like this one.

The highlight of the convention for me had to be the door prize giveaway. No, I didn't win anything, someone else got something very special. Here is her own video explanation.

All in all I'd say I was a little disappointed by my first Star Trek convention experience but it was fun anyway and the people there were very nice. One thing I expected were a lot of costumes but there actually weren't that many. A few girls in pretty dresses here and a few officers there but no Klingons or Cardassians or anything cool like that. Strangely enough there was a guy dressed as a Jedi. I was thoroughly confused until he got up to ask a question and announced that he was a Jedi Starfleet officer, then I was a little more confused. There was also a girl wearing one of those Chewbacca backpacks. I would have thought that kind of thing wouldn't be allowed by either fandoms. It's like the Montagues and the Capulets! Though, how the guy in the Care Bear suit got in, I'll never know.

May 27, 2008


Ain't It Cool News was given this first shot of the Minutemen from Watchmen. Oh yes, it will be good.

May 26, 2008

Nerdy Bird am LOOOOOOVE baseball.

In case you didn't get that, it's Bizarro speak for, I hate baseball. Actually, hate is a strong word, I just couldn't care less for sports. But for those of you who love sports and comics, Sports Illustrated has something extra special on stands today.

This marks the first time a DC Comics character has graced the cover of SI. The reason? SI figured it was appropriate to show how "Bizarro" the Major League Baseball season has been so far. Lesser-known, and usually less successful, Tampa Bay Devil Rays are near the top of the league while multiple World Series winners and poster-boys of baseball, the New York Yankees are near the bottom. That's where the idea for the cover came from and where Mark Bagley got his inspiration to draw it. That's Devil Ray Carl Crawford tossing Yankee Derek Jeter around like a rag doll while Bizarro looks thoroughly confused, as always.

Karl Story did the inks for the cover and Alex Sinclair finished it up with the colors. Bagley is currently hard at work on the art for all 52 issues of the new weekly series at DC, Trinity, out next week. The "Bizarro Baseball" issue of Sports Illustrated is on stands now.

May 23, 2008

McGirly Meets McGeeky

It's not often the girly side of my personality gets to mesh fully with my geeky side. Most of the geeky things I like aren't inherently girly and the girly things I like are almost NEVER geeky. So it was with great joy last night when my two halves were able to come together in a way I never thought possible. Grey's Anatomy and Star Wars.

It was the two-hour season finale of Grey's last night. I was expecting lots of drama, lots of surgery and lots of sex. What I was not expecting was to hear a one-minute twenty-second monologue about Han Solo. But that's exactly what I got.

Background for the dialogue I'm about to share with you is this; A young man named Andrew decided to jump into cement to impress a girl. Needless to say, that hardened on him like, well, carbonite and he was freaking out about it. Dr. Bailey the Chief Resident is trying to calm him down.

Andrew: I'm like Han Solo. In Star Wars? He was incased in carbonite?


Dr. Bailey: Andrew, you're going to make a lot of mistakes in your life, but mistakes, they're just pieces. Like this is the foolish piece but, you know, it's just a piece. You need to be proud of the whole picture. The whole picture defines you not just this one piece.
Andrew: I'm a loser, I'm a loser, I'm a loser, I'm a loser.
Dr. Bailey: Uh, Andrew! Andrew, hey! Hey! Listen to me. HAN SOLO IS NOT A LOSER. Han Solo got incased in carbonite and that was a big mess but that's not what he's remembered for. He's remembered as the guy who made the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs and who braved the sub-zero temperatures of the ice planet Hoth in order to save someone he cared about from the big ugly Wompa. He's remembered as the guy who swooped down at the last minute, blasted Darth Vader out of the sky so that Luke could use the Force and...and destroy the damn Death Star! Ok? Princess Leia saved him from the carbonite and they fell in love and they saved the universe and had twin Jedi babies that went on to save the universe again. Right? Now that's the whole picture. The carbonite was just a piece. Ok?

(After several strange looks from the other doctors...)

Dr. Bailey: What? So I like science-fiction. Somebody got a problem with that?
Doctors Collectively: No. No. No. It's great. No. Not at all.

And there you have it folks. When she started talking I was thinking, ok, general knowledge I guess. But she kept going, and going, and going. By the time she got to the part about Han and Leia having twin Jedi babies I was in a geeky fever! That wasn't even in the films, that was in novelization! The only hint we had that Dr. Bailey was a geek was that she played oboe in her high school marching band and even then I would have never thought she'd be THIS serious. And here I thought the creators of Lost and Heroes were the only serious geeks in television. Thank you Grey's Anatomy for making my two halves feel like one.

(If you'd like to see the actual scene it's about 5:38 into this Youtube video of the finale.)

May 22, 2008

Skynet, Judgment Day, the history of things to come.

All I ever wanted from a Terminator movie was the chance to see more than 30 seconds of the war between the humans and the machines. Now, thanks to Warner Bros. it looks like I finally get my wish. Not only are we getting a fourth Terminator film, we're getting a new trilogy.

Warner Bros. Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment and The Halcyon Company began principle photography on Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins, May 5th in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The film is scheduled for release on this exact date next year. McG will direct and Christian Bale will star as a grown up John Connor. Newly announced casting includes Australian born Sam Worthington, musician Common (rumored to be playing John Stewart in Justice League: Mortal) as Barnes and Moon Bloodgood (rumored to be playing Maya in the new Street Fighter movie) as Blaire Williams. Anton Yelchin who plays Chekov in Star Trek will be playing the role of John's father, Kyle Reese.

According to the press release:
In the highly anticipated new installment of The Terminator film franchise, set in post-apocolyptic 2018, Christian Bale stars as John Connor, the man fated to lead the human resistance against Skynet and it's army of Terminators. But the future Connor was raised to believe in is altered in part by the appearance of Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington), a stranger whose last memory is of being on death row. Connor must decide whether Marcus has been sent from the future, or rescued from the past. As Skynet prepares it's final onslaught, Connor and Marcus both embark on an odyssey that takes them into the heart of Skynet's operations, where they uncover the terrible secret behind the possible annihilation of mankind.
I've known Christian Bale was going to be playing John for a while now but I'm surprised to hear that he has actually signed on for three films considering his current involvement with the Batman franchise. With that said, I'm shivering with anticipation of this one. It seems they are distancing themselves in a way from the previous three films, notice there's no talk of Arnold Schwarzenegger making an appearance. All I want to see is all out war with the machines and Terminator skeletons walking around blowing things up.

There is one possible downside. According to Variety, they are looking to make it PG-13. The Terminator trilogy is one of the highest-grossing R rated franchises ever but Halcyon producers want to widen the fan base and don't think the lowered rating with compromise the film. "The ratings have changed," said Halcyon co-founder and co-CEO Victor Kubicek, "The PG-13 has increased in intensity." I don't know if they are exactly aiming at family-friendly but if there's one thing the Terminator movies are not, it's family-friendly. Unless you count the warm and fuzzy moments between John and the T-800. Those were pretty cute.

Of course no movie franchise is complete without a video game. A new Terminator game is set to be released along with the movie next year. With the technology we've got now I'm thinking it's going to be pretty bad-ass.

Now that he's played Jack Kelly, Laurie, Batman, Alfred Borden and John Connor if we could just get Christian Bale in The Hobbit somehow, my fantasies will be complete.

May 21, 2008

Buffy Tarot Update

Just letting you know the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Tarot deck is now available for pre-order on the Darkhorse site. I told you about it previously along with the "Conversations with Dead People" board. They say it's $14.99 retail but it's only $11.99 at the site they direct you to pre-order it from. 
Lost hundreds of years ago, the Slayer's tarot is an important artifact from Slayer history that came into existence after a group of women shared a vision of a rogue Slayer who would love a vampire and who would be aided in her fight against evil by a group of mystical allies. The heretical prophecy led to the suppression of the deck by the Watcher's Council.

Written and conceived by Rachel Pollack, author of twelve books on the tarot, including the renowned 78 Degrees of Wisdom, she teams with long-time Buffy artist Paul Lee to create this one-of-a-kind tarot card set.
It's going to be a slow crawl until September folks.

Brine and Bad Word

Shiver me timbers! Avast ye landlubbers! Prepare the futtock shrouds and batten down the mizzen! Get the powder monkey to holystone the poop deck! 

In case you're wondering, no, I did not just watch all three Pirates of the Caribbean movies back to back. Actually I just got finished listening to "Set Sail for Sodomy," the debut CD from Brine & Bastards.

In the age-old debate of Pirate versus Ninja, I always choose Ninja. That's not to say I don't love Pirates too, but I don't know anyone in a cool Ninja band. So here we are. Brine & Bastards formed their punk rock pirate band back in 2004. Original members "Skipper" Shawn "Short Dong" Dillon (The Rodneys) does vocals, "Handsome" John "Miserable" McGuire (Pencey Prep) on bass and George "The Fisherman" Collazo (Nancy Drew, Dead Go West) on guitar, are joined today by Dan "The Navigator" Peacock on drums. "The Mad Alchemist" Matt Dallow and "Dead Eye" Dave Trainer aid the crew on accordion and guitar. 

If ever there was a CD to drink to, it's this one. Not in the get-drunk-and-talk-to-strangers-about-how-depressing-your-life-is sort of way but in the get-drunk-and-sing-along-with-strangers-about-that-wench-you-met-last-night kind of way. It's just a really fun CD and very catchy. I wouldn't be surprised if B&B became the new pirate shantey standard.

"Set Sail for Sodomy" was released earlier this year by Refugee Records and has already garnered a lot of attention." 'Songs of the Siren' might be - hands down - the best punk song of 2008," says Life in a Bungalo author George Koroneos. He may be right. "Songs of the Siren" has now be played several times on GRock Radio's The Punkyard.

It's no surprise B&B are doing so well. Besides their raw talent, the CD was expertly and seamlessly produced by Strong Arm Studio and holds it's own with most, if not all, major label releases. The artwork by Stu Horvath at Borderland Design does the same. The cover shot here is just a tantalizing view of what awaits you on the rest of this 6-panel digipak. It would have been easy to dress a girl up in a slutty Pirate costume and be done with it, but Horvath doesn't do easy, he does glorious Pirate phantasmagoria.

Brine & Bastards put out a debut CD any Pirate would be proud of. You can order it directly from their Myspace and from Interpunk and Itunes as well. You can join their mailing list and street team over at Reverb Nation to keep up with their latest happenings and live shows, which, if you're in the NJ area, I highly recommend. Obviously they dress their parts and act like scallywags but the best part is, if they're drunk at a show you'd probably never know it because, duh, they're Pirates! 

May 19, 2008

How Super is your Squad?

Game publisher THQ grabbed the rights to a huge franchise earlier this month, Marvel's "Super Hero Squad" animated series, which doesn't even have a network to air on yet.

THQ is probably best known for their long standing relationship with Disney/Pixar and Nickelodeon so it's no surprise they were chosen to develop a game for this new Marvel series. "Super Hero Squad" is a fresh look at well known Marvel heroes aimed at 4-10 year-olds. Instead of each hero coming from their original hometowns, they'll be based in the newly created Super Hero City and work together. Besides the animated series set to launch in 2009, Marvel is really taking advantage of every outlet possible for their new venture including the video game and a line of toys from Hasbro.

THQ will likely produce more then one game if the series becomes popular. Variety reports they made a multi-year deal with Marvel that enables them to make games independently or tied to the property's various incarnations in other media. The first game, like the animated series, is set for 2009.

THQ's current project, a video game adaptation of Pixar's latest feature film Wall-E, is set to be released June 24.

May 16, 2008

Nerdy News

Welcome to Rapture. Or should I say Hollywood?

Take-Two Interactive is coming together with Universal Studios to develop the highly-successful and awesomely creepy video game "BioShock" into a feature film. Pirates of the Caribbean's Gore Verbinksi will be directing and producing. John Logan of Gladiator and Sweeney Todd fame is in talks to write the script. No other details have been given at this time.

Christoph Hartmann, President of 2K Games, said, "BioShock fans appreciate the depth and complexity of the game, and our partnership with Gore Verbinski will introduce the world of Rapture to an even wider audience. In addition to his impressive body of work, Gore is an avid video gamer and true fan of BioShock. That was extremely important to us in deciding to move forward with this project."

A sequel to the game, BioShock 2, is set to be release in late 2009.


In other video game news, there's a new "LEGO Batman" trailer online. I know I say this a lot but, it's ridiculously adorable. Especially the little strut they gave Catwoman. But, no Poison Ivy?


How would you like to attend an Unexpected Party? Peter Jackson and Guillermo Del Toro are inviting you to a live internet chat about The Hobbit. This is similar to what Jackson did before production started on The Lord of the Rings.

"So this is how it will work: we ask all fans with an interest in The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings to send one question to this website. As us anything! Guillermo and I will select and answer the 20 most common questions, so that we can both attempt to address the key issues as best we can," Jackson said in a statement.

The answers will be given during a one hour live web chat hosted by Weta. The chats will start May 1st and continue through May 10th. The date and time of the live chat depends on what part of the world you live in so check the site for details. Besides the chosen 20 questions, Jackson and Del Toro are willing to take additional questions live and chat about the project. They are suggesting it's a good idea to register in advance.


There is some sad news to report. Illustrator, and one of the founders of Mad Magazine, Will Elder passed away yesterday morning at the age of 86. Journalista! was the first to give word and soon The New York Observer and others followed.

After leaving Mad, he and Harvey Kurtzman worked on an Archie Comics parody "Goodman Beaver Goes Playboy!" Though it resulted in a lawsuit by Archie Comics it garnered the attention of the original playboy, Hugh Hefner. The result was Elder's other famous work with Kurtzman, "Little Annie Fanny," which was published in playboy from 1962 - 1988 and in 2001 was published in trade paperbacks by Dark Horse Comics.

May 14, 2008

Architecture was meant to be enjoyed.

Clap! Clap! It's time to dance your cares away. The Fraggles are back.

Variety is reporting Fraggle Rock is being turned into a live-action musical motion picture...Fraggle Rock: The Movie. The Jim Henson Company will be producing and Cory Edwards (Hoodwinked!) will be directing. Ahmet Zappa, who has been connected with the Fraggle movie for years now, will be executive producing along with Brian Inerfeld.

All of the original Fraggles (Gobo, Mokey, Red, Wembley, Boober) will be back for the film in which they venture outside their home and into the real world. They believe humans are aliens. No word yet on who those humans will be or if my favorite characters, The Doozers, will have a role. Personally, I think The Rock should guest-star.

It's been a long time since I've watched Fraggle Rock and I only ever got to watch the last season or so. My family didn't get HBO until 1987, it's last year on air. But I love it and I love all the Muppet movies. I think it's a shame they've slipped our of popularity in the last ten years, probably because of all the animated features to have arrived in those years. Though I have to admit, a little part of me has always been scared by some Jim Henson's Muppets. For every cute Muppet who made me want to eat construction (The Doozers), there was another who made me want to hide under my bed (Skeksis). It was Marjory the Trash Heap in Fraggle Rock.

Hopefully I'll be able to handle her better now that I'm 25. 

Probably not.

May 13, 2008

Nerdy News

In case you're interested, has an exclusive first look at DC Comics Final Crisis. The article previews five pages from the first issue with art by J.G. Jones and dialogue by Grant Morrison. You can also choose to view the pages in Morrison's original detailed-script form. Also included is Jones' design work on Darkseid. And that's all I'll say because I didn't look at the pages. I for one, want to go in fresh. Final Crisis begins May 28th.


In other Nerdy News, you may want to make a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art if you're a fan of superheroes and haute couture. The special exhibit "Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy" will be there through September 1, 2008.
"Featuring movie costumes, avant-gard haute couture, and high-performance sportswear. it reveals how the superhero serves as the ultimate metaphor for fashion and its ability to empower and transform the human body. Objects are organizes thematically around particular superheroes, whose movie costumes and superpowers are catalysts for the discussion of key concepts of superheroism and their expression in fashion."
Sounds like a lot of fun to me, but then again, I'm a girl and the fact that they have Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman costume has me sold.

I knew you were up to something, though I'll confess I hadn't thought of necrophilia.

How could I have gone my entire life and not seen Flash Gordon? I have no idea but it sure cost me major geek points last night.

A bunch of friends gathered at my boyfriends house last night to watch a movie. There were a few things to choose from, Flash Gordon being one of them. We planned on watching it for a few minutes then putting on something else. Needless to say, everyone was mesmerized (some of us by hot pants, others by hawk men) and we wound up watching the whole thing. 

About halfway through my friend George said, "You've seen this before, right Jill?" Not thinking much of it I answered, "No". Little did I know I was about to unleash a flurry of geek criticisms the likes of which I'd never been on the receiving end of. "You call yourself a geek?!" "How is that possible?!" "Ohh man, you lose at least 50 geek points for this one." Well, I felt like crawling into a ball and hiding under the couch after that.

What can I say? It wasn't on purpose I never watched it. I guess it just wasn't one of those movies that crossed my path growing up. It's totally up my alley though. I mean, my god, will there ever be anything like the 80's again? Spandex was plentiful as was intercourse. Or at least the verbal and visual representations of it. I mean, hello? What do you think is on the front of his Rocket Cycle?

Yeesh. And don't even get me started on all of the bondage. Or how about Dale telling Flash to "Save it for our kids" after only knowing him for about a day? Talk about a fast woman.

It took me forever to figure out why Ming was reminding me of Ian McKellan. I finally looked him up and found where I knew him from as an old man. Max von Sydow played Lamar Burgess in Minority Report. I also looked into Flash Gordon himself Sam J. Jones. But how about this for odd? He starred in a 1987 TV movie called The Spirit. Yes, THAT Spirit! The one written by Will Eisner and being made into a major movie for next year. He played Denny Colt. And his co-star? Nana Visitor, Kira, from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. I also saw that she had a role on the new Battlestar Galactica, which (and don't ruin it for me) I don't even know if it's aired yet. And just to bring it all back around, Jones made a guest appearance on the Sci-Fi channels Flash Gordon series which, after seeing a clip of their hawk men, you couldn't pay me to watch.

Anyway, I loved it and I could go on and on about all the fantastic ridiculous dialogue or costumes but I won't. Though I will say, an entire soundtrack by Queen made it even better for me. I'm just hoping I can gain back at least some of the geek points I lost by writing about it. Now I must go fashion a brain drainer so I can reprogram myself to think I saw Flash Gordon when I was negative two-years-old.

May 10, 2008

The ancient Shamans were next called upon to do the hokey pokey and turn themselves around.

Looking to contact your vampire ex-lover from beyond the grave? How about finding out if you'll ever get out from under your kitten debt to that loan shark demon, Teeth? Well look no further folks. Presenting: The Buffy the Vampire Slayer "Conversations with Dead People" Board and the extra special Buffy the Vampire Slayer Tarot Deck!

Have I sold you yet? For most Buffy fans, myself included, there's no hard-sell needed. They will be mine and it will be glorious. The board, if you didn't already know, is named after an episode from Season Seven of BTVS. It comes with a fun extra too, a comic-style instruction booklet written by current Season Eight author Drew Goddard and illustrated by Paul Lee, who's also drawn some of Season Eight.

The tarot deck was written by established tarot writer, Rachel Pollack, who also wrote the Vertigo Tarot for DC/Vertigo a while back. The art here is also done by Lee and pulls themes and characters from all eight seasons of Buffy. They come with an instruction book f you actually want to learn how to use them but if you're like me you just want them because they're gorgeous. Either way you'll be happy but the extra cool thing is the book also explains how the deck fits into the Buffyverse and gives them their own backstory.

Comic Book Resources has a full write-up of the story behind the creation of the deck and previewed these two cards.

The Magician and Death cards

The Occasional Superheroine had a preview of two of the more, shall we say, thought provoking cards.

The Temperance and Devil cards

And just the other day Newsarama gave us a look at one more card. Who else could have been the High-Priestess?

The High Priestess

Both the talking board and tarot deck are set to be released in September. "Conversations with Dead People" is already available for pre-order on the Dark Horse website for $29.99. I would imagine the tarot deck will be up soon. Happy haunting, or slaying, as the case may be.

May 7, 2008

Grand Theft America

Holy crap. "Grant Theft Auto IV" made half a billion dollars in it's first week. Yes, I said half a BILLION!

And you thought the $300 million "Halo 3" made in it's first week was impressive. Take-Two Interactive dropped the bomb this morning, GTA 4 sold over 6 million units globally, making it the most lucrative launch in interactive entertainment history. Almost half the total was sold on it's release date. Granted, GTA 4 was released for XBOX 360 and Playstation 3, while Halo 3 was only on XBOX 360, but still. I'm sure it didn't hurt that they sold a $90 special edition either. Though why my boyfriend, or anyone else for that matter, needs a fake safety deposit box I'll never know (and don't wanna know).

"Rockstar's goal is to make each new title in the Grand Theft Auto franchise even better than those that preceded it, and Grand Theft Auto IV is a smashing success on that score," said Ben Feder CEO of Take-Two. Smashing success? Is that the best he can come up with? They're probably gargling with liquid gold right now. 

There had been talk that the release of GTA 4 would hurt Iron Man's box office numbers. Obviously that wasn't the case. Personally I think that's a ridiculous argument. I think people who play video games are coherent enough (contrary to popular belief) to realize taking two hours out of their day to see a good movie is OK. The game will still be there when they get back. Video game sales only hurt the box office when there are crappy movies out.

$500 million dollars. It's hard to even comprehend that amount. Last years Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association only made around $63 million. And that's from fundraising done all throughout the year! I'd like to challenge each and every one who bought GTA 4 to give $60 to MDA this year as well (I may be a touch biased having MD myself). Once they've got $500 million, next year you can all give to another charity.

I guess it's true what they say, crime does pay.

May 5, 2008

$100 million worth of Iron

Heavy boots of lead
Fills his victims full of dread
Running as fast as they can
Iron man lives again!

Ozzy Osbourne first sang those words with Black Sabbath in 1970. Almost forty years later they've made for the perfect opener to my Iron Man review. Thanks Ozzy. For the most part I try to avoid theaters on opening weekends. Especially when it's an opening weekend for a superhero movie. But, for the sake of keeping current I decided I'd go for it anyway. I'm glad I did.

First the facts. The advantage of waking up a noon and being lazy enough not to post until later at night actually worked to my advantage this time. It was originally reported by Paramount that the estimated take for the weekend was $100.5 million with a cumulative gross of over $104 million. They apparently estimated a bit high. Later in the day it was established that it was only $98.6 million for the weekend and over $102 million when screenings from Thursday night were factored in. I'm sure the studio would have loved that first figure to hold but it's impressive none-the-less. Iron Man has now become the second- highest debut for a non-sequel film, the first being the original Spider-Man, and the tenth best opening of all-time.

Iron Man is the first film to be financed fully by Marvel and with it's success it's no wonder that a sequel has not only been rumored but already has a release date for April 30, 2010. In fact because of successful numbers for parent company Marvel Entertainment Inc. they went ahead and announced a whole slew of new comic related movies to be released in the next three years. Thor will follow the Iron Man sequel in June 2010, and Captain America (May) and The Avengers (July) will have the spotlight in 2011. Those are in addition to films already set for the rest of this year and next like Ant-Man, Punisher: War Zone, X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Incredible Hulk which hits theaters June 13.

Enough of the business end of things. How was the actual movie? Simple. It was great. One of the better superhero movies I've ever seen. I'm not sure what to actually call the main plot of the film. They spent a lot of time on Tony Stark's evolution into Iron Man which was obviously a good idea. Vietnam was swapped, in my opinion, seamlessly for modern day Afghanistan as the birthplace of Iron Man. There Tony is held against his will by Raza (Faran Tahir from Lost and the upcoming Star Trek film) who leads the terrorist group "The Order of the Ten Rings" and told to build them a missile system. Of course Tony has other plans after seeing what stolen weapons from his company have done. 

Then there was the second plot thread which involved Tony's business partner and friend Obadiah Stane, played by Jeff Bridges, who is supposed to be the primary villain. He's the "Iron Monger" that Iron Man goes up against at the end and who puts the damsel, Pepper Pots played by Gwyneth Paltrow, in distress. The only reason I can see for calling this the main plot is because it's the second half of the film. Speaking realistically, this was an origin movie and having Iron Man fight a more closely matched, and similar looking, foe could have been another film altogether. Putting both in one movie could be the reason that second plot felt underdeveloped.

Putting all of that aside, the movie was just plain awesome and Robert Downey Jr. was born for this role. He oozes charisma without even trying. Everyone wants to be him or be with him, even if he is a budding alcoholic and a womanizer. The romance between Tony and Pepper was played incredibly well considering. It was a relief to me that it almost couldn't be considered a romance. Superhero movies tend to get bogged down by insisting on these grand love affairs for their main characters. Iron Man did it just right. 

I'm also fairly relieved to report there were no overtly corny moments in the film. Being corny hasn't worked in superhero movies since the original Superman with Christopher Reeves. Since then we've had such gems as, "I'm the Juggernaut bitch" and Peter Parker dancing. Now those are all well and good for increasing ridiculous YouTube videos but they make me cringe. Hopefully Iron Man won't fall into that trap in it's sequel.

There were a lot of little moments that worked well. Jim Rhodes, played by Terrence Howard, made just a slight nod to himself taking on the mantel of War Machine in the future when he spots the silver version of the Iron Man suit. Howard was supposedly cast with this in mind. Stan Lee makes probably my all-time favorite cameo of himself. While walking a red carpet Tony mistakes him for Hugh Hefner. Clark Gregg plays Agent Phil Coulson who, at first, you think of as an annoying government official there to debrief Tony on the incident in Afghanistan sent from the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division. You think to yourself, my, what a ludicrously long agency name. Pepper even suggests they get a better name. But they already have. S.H.I.E.L.D. 

Of course if you didn't stay until after the credits you missed the last bit of nerdyness. Tony comes home after revealing to the press, "I am Iron Man," to find a man in the shadows of his living room. The man steps forward to reveal his face. It's Samuel L. Jackson, or rather, the Ultimate Nick Fury. He tells Tony he's just become part of something much larger and that they need to talk about the "Avenger Initiative".

Just an aside, I found something interesting while looking at the cast for Iron Man on imdb. Peter Billingsley, yes, Ralphie from A Christmas Story, was in Iron Man. He's credited as someone named William. Not only that, he was an executive producer! All I can say is good for him.

So Iron Man is a box-office success as well as a fan success. I have to admit, one of my favorite parts of the whole movie was Tony Stark's robots. They were adorable for machinery. Anyway, we'll see if it will hold the number one spot this weekend once Speedracer is released. Don't hold your breath on a review for that one.

May 2, 2008

Free for All

The favorite day for comic book readers, besides Wednesday's, is tomorrow. I'm talking about Free Comic Book Day of course.

There's lots of variety as to what's being given out this 7th year of FCBD. There will be a copy of All Star Superman #1, which you probably already bought if you were reading along with that title but it's a nice thought anyway. Just in time for the Hellboy movie there's a Hellboy/B.P.R.D. book as well. I'm looking forward to something called Comics Go Hollywood. Apparently it's going to include story boards from the animated The New Frontier and lots interviews and behind the scenes looks. There will also be two non-comic giveaways, Star Wars CMG miniatures and a Ironman Heroclix. For a complete list of what you could find check out the FCBD site.

Some select stores will be having creator appearances to add to the mix as well. Locally in New Jersey there is only one store listed on the FCBD site that will have a creator appearance. Fernando Ruiz from Archie's Mysteries will be at Dewey's Comic City in Madison.

Remember, not all comic shops are participating in FCBD, though a lot are. You should check their store locator before you head out just in case. I am planning on going into NYC for FCBD but that might depend on how the weather turns out tomorrow. From what I hear there can be lines at some of the bigger stores and standing in the rain makes my scooter very unhappy (read: not work). But I look forward to hearing all of your experiences on your FCBD if I don't make it out and if I do get out I'll see what readers have to say at the stores.

Newsarama has a nice piece up about the History of Free Comic Book Day that's worth a read. In addition, Comic Book Resources, does some history but is also doing all-out coverage of the day from seven different states.

Have fun!