Dec 31, 2010

Interview: The Creative Team of Sim-I

Everybody loves monkeys. And it seems the guys at Semantink Publishing are no exception. Coming this Spring, writer Joe Pezzula and artist Daniel Touchet bring us Sim-I, a comedic tale about a super smart monkey attempting to escape the evil scientist who made him that way. I recently spoke with the creative team about their intelligent primate, their working relationship and their experience with the independent publisher.

Jill Pantozzi: Joe, where did the idea for Sim-I originally come from?

Joe Pezzula: It all began with a simple thought from James Ninness. One day he called me and said, "Lab monkey smarter than the average person. Can you do funny?" Before I could answer, I realized my pen was already on the page. I figured that a lab monkey MUST want to escape his prison, and from there I started to create the world within the walls, the creatures and other characters that would be the real "stars" of the page.

JP: Give me an idea of what the book is about exactly and what types of adventures we can expect.

Pezzula: I can tell you that the story revolves fully around a lab monkey (Sim-I) whose brain is enhanced by a crazed scientist with a darker purpose. The catch is that he still howls like a monkey. The newly intelligent-yet-incoherent Sim-I weasels his way throughout the facility, searching for an exit, he discovers hidden rooms, secret gardens, sex-crazed technicians, mechanical friends and enemies, and glittering, expensive fruit. Basically, we're watching Sim-I and his friends rally support against the scientist who made him intelligent, as they try to escape the lab and venture to the world outside. If he's caught, he faces vaporization or being puffed into a powder, a fate he'd rather avoid.

Daniel Touchet: All that, and bananas.

JP: Was there a conscious decision to make it an all-ages book or did that come later?

Pezzula: It's funny you say "all ages book" because it was quite an adventure to get it this point. Originally, though Ben [Glibert] was aiming for a straight up comedy, my first outlines were dark and rather grungy -- violent, even. Then we had a long talk, during which I consumed several scones that had a consistency similar to metal (but they still tasted great, because it's not about the texture...I digress). What we ended up discussing changed my perspective of the character and the setting. I realized that the jokes didn't have to be deep or full of "great meaning." The world could be the joke, sure, but at heart, Sim-I is still a monkey. If the joke literally involves slipping on a banana peel, or a love potion gone wrong (we are, after all, in a lab) then so be it. Just as long as Sim-I continues his search for an exit, then we've reached out goal. So, in a roundabout way of answering your questions, the tone of the material developed later, with time and through many iterations, to become accessible to all ages.

Touchet: We talked about the audience for the story, and I imagined many different approaches, but we all seemed to gravitate toward making it universally funny, with some tongue-in-cheek (rarely get to use that phrase) mixed in for good measure. It feels, to me, as though it's a "hard" PG, if that even makes sense.

JP: What are some comics that inspired you to write your own? Is this your first foray into the four colors?

Pezzula: I've only recently -- in the last five years -- become a large fan of comics. My recent influences have been Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina, and Runaways. Now I know they're all the same author, but each has a simple arc to its story, each has an appealing undercurrent / theme that holds interest when the story lags or takes a time out, and each is about more than just "superheroes." Comics can be inspirational as well as action-packed, and the great thing about Runaways, for instance, is how accessible it is to any age, yet you don't feel like a chump reading it as a 27-year-old dude. Sim-I is my first dip into the comic-book world, though I have contributed to Semantink's The Undergrounds web-series.

Touchet: Comic strips always seemed like it was in my future. What else could a Calvin & Hobbes-obsessed little artist hope for in his life? In my sophomore year in high school, I entertained my friends with a 3-panel strip I'd make with a Capricorn goat, sometimes guest-starring characters from pop culture. I made over a hundred pages with two strips per page. Even as slapped-together as it all turned out, I literally illustrated to myself how possible it is to do more than just draw a picture with no context.

JP: How did you wind up collaborating? What's your working relationship like?

Pezzula: Daniel enjoys monkeys and bananas, so he truly heard the higher calling of Sim-I. Really, I believe we happened upon each other's company during a small gathering in San Diego. I enjoyed his sketches and the work he'd done with The Undergrounds, and, to be frank, when I started writing The Undergrounds I always had his style in mind. I generally write as much as I can of the entire arc, and after careful review with Ben, the script lands on Daniel's desk. He calls me often, though I try not to answer. When he texts, I feel more obligated. Maybe it's because I respond to the written word more than the verbal. I like that Daniel takes his freedom and runs with it, and even when we chat he'll often answer his own question. I'm more like a sounding board, and I can't imagine trying to tell him what to do -- it's all about the conversation, talking it out, dealing with what's in the script and making it fully realized on the page through his commonalities and my vague imagination.

Touchet: Considering the hilarious nature of The Undergrounds, we fell into each other's arms, as it were, collaborating whether we liked it or not. And since we did, and do, there wasn't a lot of question that we'd like to explore this work relationship and see where it takes us.

And it's too true that I do end up calling and finally resort to texting Joe with questions, then in-turn answer my own questions. I like the way he thinks, and realize he'll be happy with what answer I asked him for and then gave him. So, legally mandated restraining order-willing, together we manage to get to the bottom of what to do with "our" ideas.

JP: Daniel, I hear your editor didn't even know you could draw until a short time ago. When and why did you finally reveal yourself?

Touchet: Strangely enough, I "exposed" myself to Mr. Glibert once upon a time when he visited me at my day job one evening (yes, I see the irony). I was in the middle of entertaining myself with sketches and the like, and naturally, he was curious. Delighted as a pony to show off my scribbles, I flipped through the pages I had handy, explaining some aspirations I hope to get to one day. I detected then that he seemed to take mental snapshots of my soul and put it his back pocket in case something might come up in the near future. Thankfully, it did.

JP: Who or what are some of your inspirations artistically?

Touchet: Being "inspired" by something or other has often been a funny thing to me, because I can glean inspiration from almost anything, without actually being able to draw a line between the source of inspiration, and what I end up making. I feed off creativity. When I was younger, the Ninja Turtles, in the 7th grade, I'd always been inspired Jim Lee. These days it's Mike Mignola, Guy Davis, Gabriel Bá, Fabio Moon, Ryan Ottley, Eric Powell, Doug TenNapel... heck, even Hergé.

JP: Daniel, You also work on Semantink's webcomic The Undergrounds, was it tough taking on another project considering the webcomic is weekly?

Touchet: Semantink is impressively well-organized. Infectiously so. Almost in a scary, unnatural way that makes you wonder if it's all really just a giant super robot spreadsheet, which would be even cooler to work for, but since these guys are so cool and personable (each and every one) I was jittery with excitement to work on even more with them. The idea of The Undergrounds having a finite time frame was nice, but disappointing. So getting a whiff of another project was welcome.

JP: What do you think are some of the advantages of putting your book out with a smaller publisher versus a larger one?

Pezzula: Not having dealt with a larger publisher, it's hard to answer fully. However, I will say that Ben has been FANTASTIC to work with. I emphasize the word with because it's always a collaboration. The benefit, I guess, would be that a smaller publisher allows that personal, one-on-one chat session, the dedication to making each book the very best it can be, rather than simply spouting out product. I didn't want Sim-I to be a slapstick, junk comic with no point, made only for merchandising or adaptation or whatever. With Semantink, I feel it's about the first "real" project I've worked on as a writer. Feeling special helps dudes like me who are quiet and usually like to blend into the wall.

Touchet: I believe Braveheart put it best when he was riding back and forth on his horse after letting a blind person apply his eye shadow, "Freedom." I like being on the ground floor with Semantink; they're poised to have fun, and I admire their conviction to make a real effort of each property, while giving us our creative space. We're getting the attention we need to make this comic cool. I've always felt Sim-I's as important to them as it is to us.

JP: How will the book be released, as single issues or in graphic novel format? Did you favor one over the other?

Pezzula: I believe the release will happen as single issues. As a reader, I like holding a lot of pages at once. The graphic novel has a different feel, can effect the flow of your reading and total involvement in the story. Since I'm basically catching up on comics, I read most everything as a graphic novel. I think the only exception recently was Incognito, which was decent, but I read four issues in one sitting -- more like a novel feel than anything else. On another note, for Sim-I, I think the individual format helps because the stories are more episodic than serial (but still serialized and overarching), you can probably work out, as a new reader, what's going on. If you can't, then maybe you need to obtain the brain of a monkey.

Touchet: To be honest, I'm just excited as all get-out to know this will eventually be a bound book, on my shelf. Narcissistic? Maybe, but I try to draw what I want to see, and it's always for myself.

JP: Other than kids, who do you think Sim-I will appeal to?

Pezzula: Hopefully not kids. I can't stand them...oh, is this thing on? Listen, I hope anyone who can read, or wants to read, will read this comic book. It will increase your health by burning calories when you laugh; it will make you smile; it will inspire you to play matchmaker and, especially, appreciate the true taste of the sweetest fruit. Honestly, I think anyone who enjoys a laid back afternoon would enjoy the book. And primates.

Touchet: Hopefully, fans of the smaller-press comic The Cryptics, Atomic Robo, NextWave Agents of H.A.T.E., The Umbrella Academy, ZOO annual pass holders...

Dec 30, 2010

The most memorable moments in DC history for women: Nominee #21

If you've never visited the tumblr blog DC Women Kicking Ass, you're missing out. It came on my radar just a few short months ago and has since skyrocketed in popularity. And it's no wonder, its writer Sue has a great love for comics and a strong vision about when things go right or wrong. So I was honored when Sue asked me to contribute an entry in her "Most Memorable Moments in DC History for Women." She's had many other well-known bloggers contribute plus creators like Gail Simone and Bryan Q. Miller. It was also with great pride I accepted the moment Sue offered up to me specifically knowing my love for the character.

You can read this article where it was originally published and check out the rest of the nominees at DC Women Kicking Ass!

From 1966 to 1988 Barbara Gordon was known as Batgirl. In 1989 she was reborn as Oracle. Now, I’m a redhead in a wheelchair so it’s easy to relate to Barbara Gordon, but you’d be wrong to assume that’s the only reason I love her.

Barbara is strong both physically and mentally, determined, intelligent, altruistic and loyal. And all of that was before she even became a crimefighter. In this nominated moment, from 1987’s Secret Origins #20, Barbara gets to show all of those qualities and then some.

The story, by Barbara Randal, was another retelling of Batgirl’s origin with a few tweaks here and there. Whether it was on purpose or just to sound cute, the tale begins with Barbara’s birth father Roger Gordon, calling her by a nickname – “Barbie doll.” No character was farther from the qualities Barbie was known for than Babs. At such a young age, it was almost a dare to be the antithesis of a doll known for just one thing – her beauty.

After being adopted by her Uncle Jim Gordon following her parents’ deaths, Babs found herself drawn to her new father’s crime reports. While previously idolizing Supergirl, she became obsessed with her new locales hero, Batman. As if she needed much urging on, an actual run-in with Batman while hiding in her father’s office one night cemented the deal. And Batman himself was the impetus.
Knowing she was concealing herself, he slyly (and I must say here, Gordon is a terrible detective for not noticing) writes a note and drops it on the ground for her to find. "Don't get caught - he'll get angry!" Again, it was almost as if Babs was being dared to take this path. "He was the most amazing man I'd ever seen,” she said, "I think he liked me."

From that moment on Babs built up her mind and body, studying with a sensei, memorizing blueprints and maps of Gotham and becoming a star athlete at school. Then she realized hiding that genius intellect and photographic memory was probably a better idea for someone who was going to need a secret identity. So at sixteen, off to college she went to become a library professional. She threw herself into this new act so well that she almost forgot what she really wanted to be when she grew up. Then came the night of the policeman's masquerade ball.

Dressed as Batgirl for fun, on the way to the ball she found Bruce Wayne being assaulted by Killer Moth. She shouts at Wayne to run and takes care of the villain and his thugs singlehandedly. Batman arrives seconds later and asks who she is. When she doesn’t reply the way he’d like he scolds her, "Don't play games. You're playing a dangerous one already..." "Fine,” says Babs, “Tell you my name if you tell me yours." OH SNAP! Not only did she talk back to Batman, she schooled him at the same time. She was proud of what she had just done and wasn’t about to let anyone, even her idol, get away with talking to her like that. "Don't talk down to me Batman! You have no idea what I can or can't do! But you'll find out!"

And with that, Batgirl was truly born. She just stopped a robbery, she could do it again. She could do anything. "I could really be Batgirl!"

I’ll admit, it’s always kind of bothered me that Barbara didn’t really have a particular reason to start fighting crime other than she thought it was cool. Obviously Batman and Robin had the death of their parents at the hands of criminals as an impetus to a life of heroics but Barbara simply saw it as a career to aspire to. But Babs having forgotten her dreams of fighting crime and simply going to a costume party, kind of makes her all that more amazing. She didn’t have to be a superhero. No one was telling her to. She merely liked doing good and was determined, no matter what anyone else said, to do the most good she could.

It makes me very happy to see that a more recent incident echoes this one. I’m talking about the #11 nominated moment where the new Batgirl, Stephanie Brown, slaps Batman. Stephanie is pissed as all hell Batman was testing her (She can doubt herself just fine thank-you-very-much!) and reacts in kind. It goes to show you that something comes along with the name Batgirl and that Babs, in losing the name and gaining her role as Oracle, exudes those qualities so much that they rub off on her apprentice. A Batgirl by any other name would still put Batman in his place.

Dec 29, 2010

Hey, That's My Cape! – The Year In Geek

It’s that time of year. The kids are on vacation, everyone’s bellies are swollen from holiday feasts and every journalist is coming up year-end wrap-ups in their chosen field. Yup, me too.

Ask anyone, 2010 was a loooong year. The economy might be down in the dumps and everyone’s miserable but it was a great year for entertainment to be sure. Not that all of it was good mind you, but we definitely had a lot to pass the time. So here are my highlights from 2010, not chronologically, not in order of importance, hell, not even in alphabetical order. Here’s some stuff that happened in 2010 that mattered to us.

Check out the list in the last Hey, That's My Cape! of 2010 at Newsarama!

Dec 27, 2010

What happens on Raxacoricofallapatorius, stays on Raxacoricofallapatorius.

Even though I've been rewatching Doctor Who for the last few months, I'm still suffering from D.W. Doctor Withdrawal. So it was perfect timing that the annual Christmas Special actually aired ON Christmas for us Americans this year. Not only was it a great episode but we got some surprise extras as well!


This is not the TARDIS commercial that aired during the special but another that's currently posted at WherestheTARDIS.com. It's apparently a promotion to show off your very own TARDIS, whatever form it may take, and enter for a chance to win a private Doctor Who screening event in your town plus over 100 DW DVDs. According to the website, judging will be based on the following:
  • Most original design of the TARDIS
  • Most creative use of materials
  • Most creative placement in a public location
  • Most Facebook Likes on wheresthetardis.com
Besides the commercials, with some pretty fantastic lines, the actual Christmas Special was wonderful. It turned out not to be a classic A Christmas Carol retelling but a very twisted version of it instead. It didn't have as much Amy and Rory as I would have liked but at least they were in it. The "aliens" were a very unique choice and made for a great plot point and British singer Katherine Jenkins did a delightful job as the beautiful Abigail. A fun aside, her character's last name was Pettigrew, Pettigrew is the last name of the character Wormtail from Harry Potter and the actor who plays Dumbledore in Harry Potter, Michael Gambon, was her co-star in this episode. :)

We also got a pretty long sneak preview of Season Six at the end of the episode which isn't airing until the Spring on BBC America which means my D.W. is going to be pretty bad come April. Seems like we can look forward to some epic stories though. The Doctor coming to America seems particularly adventurous.

To add to all this Doctor Who goodness going around, here are some tremendously awesome minimalist DW posters:




(Posters via Karma Orange, click link for more.)

Dec 22, 2010

Hey, That's My Cape! - Farewell to Gates/Igle's SUPERGIRL

It was with a heavy heart last week that I picked up Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle’s last issue of Supergirl. I’d like to say in protest that it was the last issue I’m ever going to pick up because I loved their work so much and don’t want to think about anyone else on her book but I can’t because I love the character Supergirl even more.

When my mom first rented the Supergirl film starring Helen Slater from our local library I doubt she had any idea the monster she was about to create. I wore my Supergirl pajamas as my Halloween costume that year and never looked back. I know a lot of people will say that movie was terrible but it captivated me as a young girl and it will always be one of my favorites. Just like Gates and Igle’s run.

Read my farewell to the team that made Supergirl great again in this week's Hey, That's My Cape! at Newsarama.

Dec 21, 2010

BREAKING NEWS: Artgerm Draws Hot Women!

Some days I am simply humbled by the talent of others. Today is one of those days.

Stanley Lau, also known as Artgerm on deviantart, has been illustrating covers for Batgirl and Birds of Prey recently. This Wonder Woman piece I found the other day is striking on so many levels. The colors are just amazing and the pose and act are phenomenal. "This is something I did for fun, cos personally I still prefer the old costume of wonder woman instead of the latest design," said Lau. Me too. She needs to do this for real soon.

Another recent illustration that caught my eye was his cover for Birds of Prey #10. I had originally thought this was Oracle until I read last week's issue #7 and found out it's another redhead. Either way, I'm looking at possible new cosplay because this is just gorgeous.

Speaking of cosplay, one I'll never do is Power Girl. Love her but see, thing is, I'm not that well-endowed. Regardless, I love it when artists have fun with her chest size and don't make her oddly proportioned. Amanda Conner is one such artist and it turns out Lau is too. What better explanation for the cut-out than a ventilation apparatus?

Catwoman is taking quite the leap of faith in this one.

And just to show this wasn't all about hot ladies, I give you Lau's variant cover for Green Lantern #56. How adorable does Saint Walker look here acting like Larfleeze? Pretty damn adorable if you ask me.

Dec 20, 2010

Fifth Element Custom Minimates Taunt Me

You probably know by now that I'm a huge fan of The Fifth Element. If not, this video is all you need for proof. Well here is something made just for me. But not.

These are custom made Minimates created by Luke Porter. Pretty cool, right? From the original post, I thought these were customs but that a real set was actually being made by Art Asylum and Diamond Select Toys (click the link at the bottom and you'll see what I mean). I got very excited at the prospect until someone on Twitter informed me posts like that are just written to sound like a real news item. Sad panda. Either way, Porter did an amazing job, especially on the Diva. He used twistie ties for her tubes! Now if a real set could actually be made or Porter would like to give me his, I'd be happy to add them to my ridiculously geeky collection. :)


Dec 16, 2010

Chewie Fighting Nazis on a Giant Squirrel

I've had a lot of Star Wars coverage on the blog this month and while I don't like to lean to heavily on one topic, this was too good to pass up.

Yup, that's furry ol' Chewbacca riding into battle on a giant squirrel to fight Nazis. I'm constantly amazed at peoples imaginations. This magnificent art was a commission deviantart user gamefan84 (Tyler Edlin) put together. He calls it "Fur on Fur." And that's really all I have to say about that.


Hey, That's My Cape! - Superheroes' Santa Wishlists

All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth? All I want for Christmas is you? All I want for Christmas is a hippopotamus?? No thanks, I’m not wishing for any of those this year. Hopefully Santa will bring me a few items I asked for and maybe even a couple surprises but I got to thinking the other day, what do superheroes have on their lists this year?

Here’s a few things our favorite characters told us they're asking for most of all this holiday season. Surprisingly, World Peace wasn’t on anyone’s list...

Read their lists in this week's Hey, That's My Cape! at Newsarama.

Dec 14, 2010

Jeff Lemire On Why Superheroes and Boys with Antlers are Equally Great

Eisner and Harvey award nominated comic writer/illustrator Jeff Lemire hails from a small town in Essex County, Ontario and has his surroundings, in part, to thank for his success. Although non-autobiographical, his three-part Essex County series from Top Shelf Comics is set in the farming community where he grew up. Canada Reads has recently named the trilogy one of the Top 5 Essential Canadian Novels of the Decade.

This young man from Canada, who drew much of his inspiration from his native soil, has achieved a great deal of success so far. Vertigo Comics picked up his next graphic novel, The Nobody, in 2009, quickly turning him into a rising star in the comic book world. Lemire’s breakout hit, Sweet Tooth, an ongoing series also published by Vertigo, focuses on a young boy with antlers lost in an apocalyptic world that, in his innocence, he knows very little about. Its success led to Lemire being named writer of one of DC Comics’ newest high-profile titles, Superboy. I spoke with Lemire recently for Publishers Weekly Comics Week about his accolades, the change from his creator-owned characters to DC superheroes and Sweet Tooth Volume Two, in stores now.

Head on over to PW Comics Week for the interview!

Dec 13, 2010

Metal Park's Geek Art

The holidays in New York City is something everyone should experience at least once in their lives. Yes, the Rockefeller Center tree really is that impressive, not to mention the tons of other sights to see this time of year. For sure Bryant Park is one of them. They have an ice rink as well plus tons of specialty shops and boutiques scattered around the park for holiday shoppers. While showing some out-of-town friends the area this past weekend, I found my new favorite shop, Metal Park. Why is it my favorite? They make geek characters into recycled metal art!

The artist, Pairoght Jarusuwan, must be a huge lover of sci-fi and comic books because he's fashioned tons of geek characters from these genres. The statues are created from recycled engine and motorcycle parts plus random scrap metal. Then, they're ARC-welded, polished with a wire brush and coated with lacquer to prevent rusting. And we all know, as old as Yoda is, he never rusted.

Besides these awesome AT-ATs, Metal Park has X-wings, speeders and several other Star Wars vehicles for sale. As amazing as those are, while perusing the shop, I highly considered taking home my very own Sith Lord...

There were several different sizes and versions of Darth Vader plus a few badass Boba Fetts to be had. The store also held an R2-D2, several types of droids and a Jar-Jar Binks. You can see a few other Star Wars pieces here.

Star Wars wasn't the only geek fiction represented in the shop. Far from it actually. There was a nice selection of superheroes as well. This Captain America will definitely be able to fend off attacks with that epic shield. As you'd imagine, there's a few Iron Man statues, plus a few Ghost Rider items as well. I saw a very cool Spider-Man in the actual shop too.

The first thing that caught my eye at the Metal Park shop was an (I'm estimating) 8-foot tall Predator statue. It cost $12,000 and it was already sold. (Hope they don't live in a walk-up!) There was a bunch of smaller versions though, some with the mask, some without, all awesome. There's even a lamp!

Of course you can't have Predators without Aliens. In fact, if I hadn't already purchased my brother's Christmas gifts, he would have gotten one of these. We're firm Alien supporters when it comes to Alien vs. Predators. :) Check out some more, including an extremely scary table at the website.

Granted, a lot of the pieces online are already sold or sold-out (though the site says some may be available after the New Year) but are you really surprised? These are geekTASTIC! Take for example, this wicked Optimus Prime who isn't the only Transformer being transformed into art.

And yes, let's not forget video game characters. BioShock's Big Daddies are already giant hunks of metal, they certainly lend themselves to these recycled creations. I can hear them coming now.

And just in case you thought there were only cool, scary statues available, fear not! It's Wall-E to the rescue! Another great choice for representation by scrap metal if I do say so myself. Girlfriend EVE was also in the shop looking pretty as ever.

The statues range in size from five inches to eight feet and from about $25-$12,000 in price. Jarusuwan will be at the booth in Bryant Park until January 2 but you can always purchase something from the website. He also does private commissions if something you want is sold out or you just have an entirely different character in mind. I'm highly considering going back for one of those Vaders I saw or maybe the Wall-E, I'm really kicking myself for not just buying one then. But perhaps I'll commission a Tik-Tok from Return to Oz instead. Something tells me Jarusuwan would create a fantastic depiction of the Army of Oz.

What do you think? Aren't these crazy amazing?!

Dec 9, 2010

I've joined the Clone Wars.

Though I'm a Trekkie, I very much love Star Wars. So when I was invited to a screening of three new episodes from Star Wars: The Clone Wars in NYC I absolutely said yes even though I'd never seen the show. Well, looks like I'm gonna have to get the DVDs and catch up because they've got me hooked.

As I said, I got to see three new episodes from the show but they were strung together without a break like a film. These episodes come from the second half of the season. The first half of season three has already aired but when the show returns in January you should prepare yourself for some major events and action.

The story is based around Asajj Ventress' (a Sith apprentice) fall from grace and revenge plans against her Master, Count Dooku. This leads her to her home planet Dathomir seeking the help of her kin, the Nightsisters. Together they recruit Savage Oppress, a male of the Zabrak species (the same as Darth Maul), to their cause but have no idea what they've helped to create. Obi-Wan and Anakin find themselves involved when several Jedi are murdered by a new threat.

I keep wanting to say "the film" because these three episodes really did have an epic scale to them that felt like one. More precisely, the arc is thrilling and quite remarkable, even to someone unfamiliar with this particular universe. If you haven't seen the show before either, these new episodes are a great spot to dive in. From what I've heard from a few people, The Clone Wars is a fantastic show but the Savage (pronounced sah-VAHJ) arc is very different in it's tone. How's that exactly? Well, it's pretty dark and features mostly villains.

Obi-Wan and Anakin don't actually play much of a part in the arc, instead Count Dooku, Asajj Ventress and the Nightsisters' leader, Mother Talzin have the main stage. In fact, the Nightsisters may be my newest obsession. Their sinister weapons, combat skills and sorcery make for a dangerous trio. Of course Savage is the real standout of the arc. It's his origin story after all and he makes quite the impact. There are several impressive lightsaber battles and other action sequences that make me sorry more people couldn't see it on the big screen. And oh yeah, the Force gets used to the extreme. As if the majority of the story wasn't entertaining enough, the creators stick on a very interested twist at the end that will have fans eagerly anticipating the rest of the season. Don't miss this.

Following the preview, I also got to see a teaser trailer for the rest of the season and it looks just as thrilling, not to mention game changing for the series. Now, at the event I got a sweet Savage Oppress t-shirt and poster and while you're not prying the t-shirt from my cold, dead hands, I really have no place for a poster in my house. So, I've decided one of you lucky Nerds of Prey will get it! All you have to do is send an email (please don't tell me your life story, just say hi or something.) at nerdybirdcontest [at] gmail [dot] com to enter. The contest ends Sunday December 12, 2010 at 11:59 pm. One entry per person. A big thanks to LucasFilm for the event and swag!

And no, the girl in the Storm Trooper t-shirt is NOT included. :)

Hey, That's My Cape! – Give the Gift of Comics

We all have a good idea what we’d like for the holidays this year. You may even have your list formally written up (if you’re like me and still want to pretend you’re ten years old). It’s a safe bet you have one or more comic books or graphic novels on that list, am I right? But what are you buying for others this season?

It’s easy to shop for your fellow comic reading pals but maybe you’re a little stumped on what to get everyone else. Well, seeing as how you’re in a comic shop every week anyway, why not try and get your shopping done at the same time? Now, I’m not suggesting you grab the first thing off the shelves, stick a bow on it and consider yourself done. I’m sure mom wouldn’t appreciate a copy of Blackest Night when she’s never even heard of Green Lantern before. What you need to look for are comics for people who don’t read comics. And there’s an abundance once you start looking. Naturally I suggest you steer clear of the superhero genre for beginners but here are a few ideas to share your favorite pastime with friends and loved ones without them shoving your gift into their closet until they re-gift it to you next year.

Check out some of the best comics to get your non-comic reading friends and family hooked on comics this holiday season in this week's Hey, That's My Cape! at Newsarama!

Dec 7, 2010

C-3PO Swimsuit is all our fault.

"I am C-3PO, human-cyborg relations." Can't you just imagine the types of human-cyborg "relations" going on as a result of this new swimsuit from Black Milk? Yeah, I know you can.

I'm sure you remember the Artoo swimsuit that made a huge splash a few months ago ("Seriously, we sold so many of these it was nuts," says Black Milk.). Well, say hello to Threepio, the latest Star Wars swimsuit from the company and the perfect companion piece. "Because Artoo was lonely," according to Black Milk. Yes, oh so very lonely...

It was inevitable a C-3PO version would be made really. The amount of press the R2D2 suit got was astronomical. Although I thought the company might make C-3PO into one of their classic catsuits, I'm sure they'll have just as much success with the swimsuit. I'm even thinking a few guys might be compelled to buy one for some reason...

Yes, these are the droids you're looking for.

Priced at $85, just like the Artoo version, it's equally out of my reach as that one was. Especially during the holidays. Perhaps they'll have a buy one, get one half-off sale later in the season (the company is based in Australia). Until then, these droids will continue bickering like they always do.

Newsarama Need to Know

Something secret has been brewing for a while in the recesses of the Newsarama offices. Now, it finally sees the light of day. "Has Boobs, Reads Comics" readers, I give you: Newsarama Need to Know.

It's a brand new genre news show from TechMediaNetwork where Newsarama Editor Lucas Siegel and myself break down the most important geek items of the week for those of you who may not have time to read about them. How excited am I about this? VERY EXCITED.

In our debut episode we talk about The Walking Dead writer staff woes, the Spider-Man musical debut and The Dark Knight Rises rumors being debunked. What are you waiting for? Find out what you NEED TO KNOW!

Dec 6, 2010

Jewelry I'd Need Batman to Buy for Me

Some things exist just to taunt me. Like the Tauntaun sleeping bag for example. Its level of geek-envy plus its cost is equal parts tantalizing and agonizing. It's unfortunate I find these types of items so often and am unable to buy them.* Well, thanks to Noir Jewelry, here we go again...

What's that? A ring with a replica of Gotham City atop it? YES PLEASE! $225? Oh...nevermind then. I really want it but I'd be afraid of poking an eye out.

Up next I give you a single Catwoman Claw. Of course you'll need ten of them to complete the look as they sit at your fingertips. But at $150 a pop, you'll actually need to be a catburgler to afford them. Might as well pick up the matching earrings while you're at it.

For you Wonder Woman fans out there, Noir Jewelry has a few items that might be up your alley. How about this gorgeous Wonder Woman ring? They have another ring as well, plus a logo necklace to complete the ensemble.

Speaking of necklaces, if you're more of a Supergirl kind of person, they've got this extra large one for $500. I think you might have to be as strong as Supergirl to wear it though.

And finally, my absolute favorite, the Batgirl dome double finger ring. Yeah, that's right, you wear it on TWO fingers. Like most of the jewelry, it's solid brass plated in Gunmetal and has Cubic Zirconia stones covering the top. I would rock this like nobody's business. Too bad I'm not the type of person who can afford to buy $300 rings. Or their corresponding cuff bracelets. Le sigh.

And you all wonder why Batman's my dream man. If I were dating him he'd totally buy these for me. Seriously though, designer Leeora Catalan has put together and awesome lineup of DC jewelry. It's nice to see something new, different and classier than most of the products out there today. One day, when I hit it big, I'll buy these for myself.


*Please feel free to donate any items to me. ;)

Dec 3, 2010

Newsarama Radio!

Just when I thought I was out...they pull me back in. To radio that is.

Last week the first episode of Newsarama Radio premiered...without me. After some yelling, blackmailing and beat downs I was able to secure my spot on the second episode.

In reality they were happy to have me onboard. I was in the radio biz for 5+ years and I love to talk about all things geeky. Here's what you can expect from this week's show:
This week’s episode tackles Young Justice, the Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark preview opening, Mark Millar’s KAPOW! Comic convention, and new editorial promotions at DC Comics (and what that might mean to you).

In the break, you’ll hear Kirby Krackle’s “Ring Capacity.” The nerd rock band covers lots of comic book characters, and with Green Lantern on everyone’s minds with the trailer and all, we thought this was a perfect fit. Thanks, guys!

The main topic this week is THE WALKING DEAD. We talk the TV show, we talk the comic, we talk the rumored firings, we talk racism and controversy, and we go off on two monster tangents about Call of Duty and the Birds of Prey TV show. Why? Because we can, dagnabit.
Sound interesting? Then head on over to Newsarama.com and give it a listen. Enjoy!

Dec 2, 2010

14 Reasons Why Batman's My Dream Man

(BEWARE: Adult content to follow) It's like DC Comics sent Ray Palmer and Zatanna on a secret mission into my brain. Palmer, to shrink them both down so I wouldn't notice what was going on, and Zatanna to read my mind. In current DC continuity, there's officially not one, but TWO Batmen running around the streets of Gotham. Two?! Can you imagine the possibilities? And I don't mean for fighting crime. On second thought, I'll just stick with the original, Dick doesn't do it for me (that's what she said.) Do you get where I'm going with this yet? No? Okay, let me spell it out for you: I WANT TO HAVE SEX WITH BATMAN.

No offense to Mr. Grayson but I'm in love with the man, not the suit. Well, ok, maybe the suit a little but it's Bruce Wayne's Batman I get all hot and bothered for. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I KNOW he's a fictional character but trust me, I'm not the only person out there with the hots for him. Don't ask me to tell you when it started because that would only freak you out more than this list is going to already. Let's just say I've had an unhealthy obsession with the Caped Crusader for a long time.

Head on over to Topless Robot to find out the 14 reasons why.

Dec 1, 2010

Hey, That's My Cape! - Comic Book Charities

Today is World AIDS Day. It also happens to not be new comics day because of the Thanksgiving holiday. Now, we may not be Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake or Alicia Keys foregoing all internet activity until one million dollars is raised for Keep A Child Alive, but we can do something. Here’s a thought: donate the cost of one comic or graphic novel you would have purchased today towards AIDS awareness and finding a cure.

Sounds easy, right? Most people don’t realize this, but charity usually is. Whether it takes the form of giving money, donating goods or your own time to help a particular cause, charity is not only easy, it’s rewarding.

See how comic fans and industry professionals are doing their part to help the world in this week's Hey, That's My Cape! at Newsarama.

Top 10 Gifts for the Geek in Your Life

There's lots of choices out there this holiday season when it comes to gifts for your favorite geek...or yourself (yeah, I won't hold it against you, we've all done it). Luckily Entertainment Earth has put together a nifty list with some of the most wanted geek items this year to make your life easier.

LOS ANGELES, CA: November 30, 2010 - Got a geek in your life? Having trouble finding the perfect gift for them this holiday season? Entertainment Earth - entertainmentearth.com - a worldwide multi-channel Internet and catalog retailer of action figures, toys, bobble heads, and collectibles - has the answer with its 2010 list of the Top 10 Gifts for the Geek.

Here are Entertainment Earth's picks for the passionate fan of all things geek:

1. Star Wars Slave Leia in Metal Bikini Bust, $60 - Star Wars gets sexy with this hand-numbered collectible resin bust from Gentle Giant. Inspired by Carrie Fisher's riveting (and rivet-full) outfit from Return of the Jedi, the captivating work stands 10-inches tall, including her Vibro Ax weapon. She's sure to go fast, so give the gift of Princess Leia Organa before she's gone forever! Limited edition of 4,200 pieces.

2. Doctor Who 11th Doctor Sonic Screwdriver Flashlight, $12 - Based on the latest incarnation of The Doctor's handy-dandy tool in the hit BBC series, this unique light replica from Underground Toys is sure to get your family and friends out of darkness-related jams on Earth or any other planet from here to Gallifrey! Measures about 6-inches long.

3. Star Wars Boba Fett Jet Pack Backpack, $35 - Every kid imagines getting a rocket pack, and here's your chance to own one. Sadly, it doesn't fly, but the intergalactic bounty hunter's jet pack can store your gear while you're at Comic-Con, school, or out hiking. The soft plush replica from Comic Images measures about 26-inches tall.


4. Star Trek Original Series Exclusive Geological Tricorder, $45 - Not only is this a low-cost replica of a prop in the original series, but some parts of it have never been seen on film before. It's the first look at the inside of this futuristic gadget from the watershed TV show. Incredibly detailed, the authentic 1:1 scale instrument measures 7 3/4-inches long and features lights, sounds, and the voice of the computer.

5. The Venture Bros. Henchman 21 and 24 Action Figure 2-Pack, $40 - Who would win in a fight between Anne Frank and Lizzie Borden? That's the kind of thing these two guys discuss on the Adult Swim series The Venture Bros. Featuring Bif Bang Pow!'s retro, vintage-style sculptingand real fabric clothing, The Monarch's longest-living henchmen, Number 21 and Number 24, stand about 8-inches tall in this San Diego Comic-Con Exclusive set.

6. Cthulhu Bobble Head, $13 - The works of H.P. Lovecraft have inspired a generation of sci-fi and horror writers, and a bunch of toymakers. Straight from Funko and the sunken city of R'lyeh, the terrifying beast known as Cthulhu is here in bobble-head form to sit on your desk and keep an eye on your candy jar. He stands about 6-inches tall and promises to wobble, but not gobble up your goodies!


7. Back to the Future II Exclusive DeLorean, $45 - Doc Brown built a time machine out of a DeLorean, and now you can have one! Measuring 13-inches long and compatible with many 3 3/4-inch action figures, this limited edition Entertainment Earth Exclusive celebrates 25 years of the series in style, complete with lights, sounds, opening gull-wing doors, and pivoting "hover mode" wheels you won't find anywhere else. Figures not included.

8. Ghostbusters ECTO-1 License Plate Prop Replica, $30 - "Who ya gonna call?" The awesome ambulance from 1984's Ghostbusters movie is one of the most memorable vehicles of the decade. While a full-sized replica of the car would be too big, its famous license plate has been crafted in exacting 6-inch tall x 12-inch wide detail, ready for any home or office as a magnificent decoration. It doesn't get much geekier than this!

9. LEGO 6177 Builders of Tomorrow Set, $35 - Just bricks! The LEGO Builders of Tomorrow Set is a box of 650 bricks in a multitude of bright colors. No figures, no windows, no tires, no nothing to get between the recipient of your gift and creating something really fun. The only limit is their imagination. Heck, you could even build something cool on your desk while pretending to listen to a teleconference!

10. Ultimate Geek Pen, $10 - The Ultimate Geek Pen delivers on its name. This high-tech gadget has enough bells and whistles to make any geek drool. A UV light, laser pointer, flashlight, ballpoint pen, and stylus tip are all integrated into this nifty silver pocket-sized contraption from Accoutrements. What a great stocking stuffer!

For more really cool Gifts for Geeks from Entertainment Earth, visit entertainmentearth.com.

About Entertainment Earth(R), Inc. Entertainment Earth(R) - entertainmentearth.com - is a worldwide multi-channel retailer and wholesaler of action figures, toys, bobble heads, and collectibles with a state-of-the-art website and popular print catalog. Founded online in 1996 and based in Los Angeles, California, Entertainment Earth offers an ever-expanding selection of over 12,000 licensed products and has pioneered best practices in the industry with innovations such as a Mint Condition Guarantee(TM), Risk Free Shopping, and Hassle Free 90-Day Returns.