We’re Thankful for ‘Lois & Clark’, Bat-kids & ‘The Omega Men’ This Week

Welcome to our weekly recap of DC Comics’ latest releases. Ray Goldfield is the proto-typical DC reader, while I’m the lapsed DC reader who needs to be pulled back in.

This week, when the stories were good, they were excellent but when they were bad, they were awful. The Batman line, of course, remains strong, but The Omega Men and DC Bombshells pull their weight. And we split on book of the week, with Ray going for Robin, Son of Batman while Superman: Lois & Clark is my favorite.

As for the worst, it’s good that Superman has the book mentioned above and that Wonder Woman has DC Bombshells because and the less said about their regular weekly books, the better.

Oh, and yet another sequel to the great Dark Night Returns came out. How doe sit stack up to the original? See below.

Robin, Son of Batman #6 – Patrick Gleason, script and pencils, Mick Gray and Tom Nguyen, inks,

Ray: 9.5/10 (Book of the Week)

Corrina: Not Book of the Week For Me But I Still Recommend It for the ‘Aww..”

Ray: The end of the first arc, before Damian heads back to Gotham to take part in the upcoming Robin War (which gets teased in another book this week as well). Surprisingly, the arrival of new Big Bad Den Darga actually takes a backseat this issue, with the villain fleeing to put his plan into motion, and the focus being on Damian and his odd supporting cast.

The opening segment shows one of Damian’s missions in the Year of Blood, which leads to him slaughtering a colony of Man-Bats. However, one young Man-Bat (who is sure to get all the fan art on Tumblr) survives, and Damian can’t bring himself to kill it. So he takes it back to his mother and gets approval to keep it as a warrior companion. It grows up into Goliath, natch. The powerful heart of the issue, though, is in Damian’s reunion with his mother now that they actually have time to talk. Continue reading We’re Thankful for ‘Lois & Clark’, Bat-kids & ‘The Omega Men’ This Week

GeekMom Deal of the Day: Kindle Under Fifty

I’ve been keeping an eye on Amazon for special deals, particularly on cool but not-too-expensive gifts for the four minions and spotted this one today.

Amazon Kindle 6″ Glare-Free Touchscreen Display, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers.

Not bad. For that price, I could get a couple for the younger minions and keep the iPad we’ve been fighting over to myself.

‘The Rise of the Tomb Raider’ Exclusive Art Giveaway

The revitalization of Lara Croft returns in Rise of the Tomb Raider, available exclusively on Xbox One. In celebration of this monumental sequel to the reimagining of Lara Croft, we have an awesome set we to giveaway.

The Rise of the Tomb Raider wooden crate is filled with four pieces of limited edition artwork as well as a digital download of the game to go with the prize pack. Check out the widget below to enter to win. Continue reading ‘The Rise of the Tomb Raider’ Exclusive Art Giveaway

Martian Manhunter Destroys Earth & The Secret Six Take on Aquaman in DC This Week

Welcome to our recaps of DC Comics’ latest issues. Ray is the prototypical DC fan. It takes a great deal for him to give up on a title. I’m the one who tends to have the quick hook, especially for titles are are just ‘meh.’

This week, the Bat-kids keep chugging along in Batman and Robin Eternal, the Secret Six get wet in a terrific issue featuring Aquaman, Martian Manhunter‘s many selves argue with each other about saving the Earth in a great whacked-out story, and the original Teen Titans try to get back together in Titans Hunt.

On the bad side, the title character of the Telos gets the most random origin ever, the aptly-named Doomed closes its run, and Jimmy Olsen gives in to the Dark Side in Earth-2 Society.

Batman and Robin Eternal #7 – James Tynion IV and Scott Snyder, story, Genevieve Valentine, script, Alvaro Martinez, pencils, Raul Fernandez, inks

Ray: 9.5/10 (Book of the Week)

Corrina: Buy the Series.

Ray: I was waiting for this series – which has been consistently strong since it started – to truly wow me with an issue. Valentine’s first issue as the script writer does just that as it turns the spotlight on Cassandra Cain and Harper Row and their growing friendship. The team is a bit splintered, as Tim Drake has gone off the grid and is following his own leads – accompanied by Jason Todd, who tries to get the young genius Bat to open up about his issues with Dick and Bruce in his own snarky fashion. I’ve really enjoyed the interaction with these two in this series, even though it’s a pretty clear indication that we’re wiping out their previous hostility.  The flashback segments continue to show us how Bruce got closer and closer to Mother in the past, but they’re brief.

The meat of the issue is in Harper and Cass’ undercover mission for Dick. Continue reading Martian Manhunter Destroys Earth & The Secret Six Take on Aquaman in DC This Week

DC This Week: Definitive Green Lantern, New Superman Origin & Constantine Gets Naked

Welcome to our weekly recap of DC comics’ new releases. Ray is the protoypical DC reader, while I’m always searching for that comic that will appeal to new readers and might make them a comic fan for life.

This week has a strong candidate in that vein in the Darkseid War Green Lantern book, with a story that Ray and I loved unequivocally. There’s also the debut of a Hollywood-connected origin story for Superman, American Alien, which focuses on Clark’s childhood and struggle to control his new abilities. Ray feels it treads familiar ground but I loved the optimism in the book. Too bad Max Landis’ take on Jonathan Kent wasn’t on the big screen.

Also, more fun with DC Bombshells, the Bat-kids, and Starfire, while Gordon Batman looks to be in over his head again, and we take a walk with Constantine through his daily life, which is as weird as you might guess.

Justice League Darkseid War: Green Lantern #1 – script by Tom King, art by Doc Shaner

Ray: 10/10

Corrina: Buy It. Brilliant Hal Jordan story.

Ray: King is riding an incredible hot streak right now, with a popular run on Grayson, Omega Men being critically acclaimed, and Vision getting the best reviews of the Marvel relaunch.

Now he can add the best Green Lantern comic since Geoff Johns bid his farewell to that list. This one-shot focuses on Hal Jordan as he prepares to take on the mantle of the former New God of Light, Lightray. However, where it even outdoes the excellent Batman issue is in its compelling portrayal of the psychological toll that this kind of power would take on a man – especially a man, like Hal Jordan, who has been tempted by unlimited power before. It’s not mentioned explicitly in the book, but it’s impossible to read without remembering Hal’s fall from grace with Parallax. Continue reading DC This Week: Definitive Green Lantern, New Superman Origin & Constantine Gets Naked

Exclusive Preview: Scooby-Doo and the Prehistoric Ghost

The Scooby Gang has faced any number of ghosts but being chased by a phantom dinosaur is a unique situation. In this exclusive preview of Scooby-Doo! Where Are You #63, due out Wednesday, they have to go digging (literally) for the clues.

From the official blurb:

Rinosaur!! When an archaeological dig site is haunted by a phantom dinosaur, Mystery Inc. is called in to debunk it. But can they exorcise this prehistoric poltergeist, or will they go extinct in the process? Continue reading Exclusive Preview: Scooby-Doo and the Prehistoric Ghost

Creating the Perfect Tea Blend: Plum Republic

Hello, I’m Corrina, and I’m a tea addict. The booth that I frequent the most at various conventions? The tea booth. And I’m also lucky enough to have a great loose tea store where I live.

But I’m always looking for new flavors and my preference is black tea blends. When PlumDeluxe.com in the Northwest offered me a chance to try some of their custom blends, I jumped at the chance.

I tried three blends and was thrilled with all of them. That led me to ponder: Exactly how does one create great tea?

In an interview, Andy Hayes, founder and creator of PlumDeluxe.com, answered that question, plus talked about how he chooses his blend and how it is it to become addicted to tea.

Plum tea, photo by Corrina Lawson
One of Plum Deluxe’s blends, photo by Corrina Lawson (Uh, yes, I might have drunk it all before I remembered to take a photo. It was too good to resist!)

GeekMom: What goes into putting a blend together? How do you decide on the ingredients?

Hayes: I look at 3 perspectives:

Visual: Is the tea rich, beautiful to look at? (How many times have you heard the saying, “We eat with our eyes”?)

Scent: Great teas smell good! The majority of our taste receptors rely on smell to interpret flavor, so fresh ingredients that are fragrant are very important.

Taste: Last, but certainly not least! We usually go through at least 3, but sometimes in the teens or twenties, of recipe rounds before landing on a particular blend. Sometimes you get lucky. :-) Continue reading Creating the Perfect Tea Blend: Plum Republic

Bat-Characters: You Get a Comic & You Get a Comic & You Get a Comic!

Welcome to our weekly recap of DC Comics’ latest issues. Ray Goldfeld is the prototypical DC reader, while I’m mostly interested in a good story over everything else, though there are times when my inner fangirl it runs away from me.

To paraphrase Ray as he sent the reviews, we went Bat-Gordon by a slim margin over Bat-kids and Wildstorm Batman. That means that Detective Comics, Batman & Robin Eternal and Midnighter are at the top of our list. Plus, an outstanding issue of Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman. Let’s savor that because it’s not going to be around for long.

Plus, Scooby Doo encounters Phantom Stranger and the Spectre!

Batman: Detective Comics #45, Peter J. Tomasi, story and words, Marcio Takara, artist

Ray:- 9.5/10 (Book of the Week)

Corrina: Buy It!

Ray: I’m always a big fan of true genre-bending stuff, the kind that fuses together two concepts that should have no business working together but somehow work brilliantly. That’s the case with this issue of Detective, which seamlessly fuses a murder mystery plot with a creepy cosmic horror/monster plot.

Continue reading Bat-Characters: You Get a Comic & You Get a Comic & You Get a Comic!

Exclusive Interview Clip of the DC Super Hero Girls Creators

When I spoke to the team behind DC’s Super Hero Girls comic, toy, and video initiative at New York Comic Con, what came across loud and clear was their enthusiasm.

That enthusiasm can be seen in this exclusive interview clip featuring Shea Fontana, writer and story editor of the DC Super Hero Girls animated shorts and author of the upcoming DC Comics graphic novel, and Lisa Yee, author of the upcoming young reader books.

And I love their capes.

You can find more of the interview in “DC All Access” on DCComics.com.

‘DC Comics Bombshells #15’: Check Out This Version of Supergirl

DC Comics Bombshells, a comic based on a marketing idea of 1940s throwback covers, has turned out to be not only a successful experiment but wonderful one, offering a fresh look and perspective at a number of familiar DC characters. And the Wonder Woman in this book is classic Wonder Woman.

But perhaps the most interesting idea concerns Stargirl and Supergirl, who have been reimagined as pilots for the Soviet Union’s Night Witches. The sisters instantly run into problems being used as propaganda fodder, and that leads them down the path of rebellion against problems in their home country.

DC’s description of this issue: “Duped by their own leaders into attacking a group of innocents, Supergirl and Stargirl make a fatal decision. A certain swamp creature also makes a timely intervention.”

Written by Marguerite Bennett with art by Bilquis Evely. It’s a digital first title and this chapter is now available or download via the DC Comics App, Readdcentertainment.com, iBooks, comiXology.com, Google Play, Kindle Store, Nook Store, and iVerse ComicsPlus.

DCBombshell 15 SF Cover
Continue reading ‘DC Comics Bombshells #15’: Check Out This Version of Supergirl

‘We Are Robin’–Gotham’s Own Takes Control

Welcome to our weekly reviews of DC Comics releases. Ray Goldfield is the prototypical DC reader, while I’m the voice of those who have to be truly convinced to buy something.

This week, we continue to have a serious disagreement about the merits of the political satire, Prez, but remain solid in support of the Gotham-centric titles, especially Gotham By Midnight and We Are Robin. As for other superhero-led titles, this wasn’t a good week for second tier characters. Ray also takes a look at at the digital-first Batman ’66 comic at the end of the post.

For our review of the wedding issue of Batgirl, check out our spotlight post. Continue reading ‘We Are Robin’–Gotham’s Own Takes Control

‘Batgirl #45’: A Sea Change For DC on LGBT Weddings

In 2013, Batwoman writer and artist J.H. Williams III quit the comic, citing that DC would never allow Kate Kane and Maggie Sawyer to be married as one of the major reasons for his departure.

“We were told to ditch plans for Killer Croc’s origins; forced to drastically alter the original ending of our current arc, which would have defined Batwoman’s heroic future in bold new ways; and, most crushingly, prohibited from ever showing Kate and Maggie actually getting married,” Williams wrote.

DC backtracked, claiming that none of their characters would be allowed to be married, a ridiculous stance that had them claiming the married couple Aquaman and Mera weren’t actually married. Batwoman the comic never recovered from Williams departure and has since been canceled.

Now, two years later, another Bat-comic, Batgirl #45, is hosting a LGBT wedding featuring Barbara Gordon’s former roommate, Alysia Yeoh, a trans character, and her partner, Jo. Meanwhile, over in DC Bombshells, Maggie and Kate are still very much an item, even being given a tasteful and beautiful love scene, and DC is publishing Midnighter, a comic featuring a gay male lead.

This is progress. That’s why Ray Goldfield and myself are we pulling out this review from our main DC issue recaps and giving it a spotlight today.

Batgirl #45 is on sale now at comic shops and Comixology.com

Batgirl #45 – Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher, writers, Babs Tarr, artist.

Ray: 9/10

Corrina: Buy It!

Ray: This issue has gotten a decent amount of hype, given that it features Barbara’s former roommate Alysia’s wedding to her partner Jo. You can’t talk about the issue without mentioning the importance of the fact that it features a transgender character marrying their same-sex partner, but I think it’s almost as important that in many ways, this is incidental to the story. Continue reading ‘Batgirl #45’: A Sea Change For DC on LGBT Weddings

‘Robin, Son of Batman #5’ Exclusive Preview—Talia’s Back

When the DC did a reshuffling of titles after the Convergence event, one thing became clear: They were committed to Robin. That included the continued publication of Grayson, the new We Are Robin, Red Hood and Arsenal, and the new Batman & Robin Eternal.

But perhaps the most intriguing title is Robin, Son of Batman, featuring Damian, Bruce Wayne’s biological son by Talia Al Ghul. Damian was raised by his mother to be an assassin in the tradition of the Al Ghuls, swapped allegiances to his father, was killed by his mother’s minions, and, finally, resurrected. (He is an Al Ghul, after all.)

That’s a lot for a boy not yet even a teenager. In this series, taking place while Bruce Wayne is presumed dead, Damian, in his own unique way, is trying to make amends for his “year of blood” while under Talia’s influence, which makes his encounter with his mother in this issue a climactic event.

DC’s blurb: Damian, Mya, and Goliath are attacked by the mysterious faction known as the Lu’un Darga, and dragged deep inside the earth where they find…Talia al Ghul?! How will Damian face the mother who betrayed him?

Robin, Son of Batman #5, written by Patrick Gleason, art by Gleason and Mick Gray, will hit stores on 10/28, and will also be available at Comixology.com. All images courtesy DC Comics.

RBSOBM_Cv5_ds Continue reading ‘Robin, Son of Batman #5’ Exclusive Preview—Talia’s Back

‘Secret Six’ Goes Mystical In an Excellent Overall Week From DC

Cover to Secret Six #7, image copyright DC Comics
Cover to Secret Six #7, image copyright DC Comics

Welcome to our weekly recap of DC Comic’s new releases. Ray is the prototypical DC reader and I’m the agnostic, lapsed DC fan.

When this week was good, as with Secret Six, Titans Hunt, Martian Manhunter, Black Canary, Gotham Academy, Batman & Robin Eternal, Doctor Fate and Justice League, it was very good. Also excellent was Clean Room #1 by Gail Simone and Jon Davis-Hunt, the new Vertigo mature readers comic, and that earned a bonus review at the end of this column.

When it was bad, well, it was awful. Wonder Woman and Superman/Wonder Woman hit new lows. Continue reading ‘Secret Six’ Goes Mystical In an Excellent Overall Week From DC

Why Are We So Hard On Our Heroines?

This is a question that’s been rolling around in my brain for some time. It started when I watched the first episode of Marvel’s Agent Carter and Peggy blew away all my expectations, and it twigged again when I encountered the heroines written by my fellow authors in the Five Past Midnight supernatural thriller box set.

All of the heroines in this set are independent-minded and unapologetic about it. One is an assassin and loves the adrenaline rush. Another smokes. Another is a bartender who loves sex.

It’s not the usual treatment of women even in romance novels, which is why those characters struck me as unusual.

The overall question of who our heroines are and what we want from them goes hand-in-hand with Jennifer Lawrence’s recent statement that she’s done with trying to be likable, or the debate over Black Widow‘s role in Avengers: Age of Ultron.

We, as a society, have a certain idea of what fictional women should be, what they should feel, and why they should feel.


Five main reasons and they’re all related.

We’re Not In Charge of Our Own Destiny

Men are the ones usually writing female characters in pop culture. Sure, that’s beginning to change, but not as fast as it should. For example, the percentage of female directors has hardly budged in the last 20 years. (Still 16 percent.) The Star Wars and Star Trek films are all written and directed by men. Only one woman, Nicole Perlman, has a screenwriting credit on the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, for Guardians of the Galaxy. Some men can write women well, of course, but for the most part, these men are mainly interested in male stories. See my Ant-Man rant. Women are seen in so many cases as adjuncts supporting a lead male character’s story, not as part of their own story.

There Can Be Only One

This leads to the second problem. Because there are so few women, she has to stand in for all the things. She has to be beautiful, she has to be intelligent, she has to kick-ass, but she has to be warm and supportive to everyone too. This is nowhere more clear than in Age of Ultron. Tony is the impulsive, smart one, Steve is the stalwart leader, Clint is the family man, Bruce is the loner, but Natasha is also the loner, the smart one, the leader when needed, the women grieving for losing the idea of family, and the sexy one. If she were non-white, she’d be the representative for that ethnic group as well.

Whew. That’s a lot of things to be all at once. Continue reading Why Are We So Hard On Our Heroines?

DC Super Hero Girls: This Time, They Asked Us

When it was decided to launch a new line of female superhero shows, toys, graphic novels, and dolls for 6-12 year-old girls, the developers did something that is radical in the comic book world:

They asked the girls what they wanted.

Tania Missad, the Consumer Insights Director at Mattel, said the entire DC Super Hero Girls line is geared to exactly what their target audience asked for.

“What we found was that they wanted these heroes to be empowering, to be strong,” she said during an interview with the entire creative team behind DCSHG at New York Comic Con.

For instance, Missad knew from her experience in working with doll brands like Barbie, that normally the favorite colors of girls this age are pink and purple. But the girls surveyed for DCSHG were adamant that Supergirl’s costume retain its classic blue-and-red color scheme.

“They wanted classic, recognizable superheroes,” Missad said. “They wanted authenticity.”

Those of us who longed for just these kinds of toys when growing up are nodding our head thinking, “D’uh, I could have told you that,” but DC Entertainment particularly has had a blind spot when marketing to girls and women in the past. Continue reading DC Super Hero Girls: This Time, They Asked Us

The Return of Lois & Clark Plus Sexy Batman in This Week’s DC Comics

In this week’s reviews of DC Comics releases, Lois and Clark return in a sweet and satisfying story, a Jewish lesbian beats up Nazis, and Stephanie Brown says what we’re all thinking about the sexy Dick Grayson.

Ray is the prototypical DC reader and long-time fan while Corrina is the lapsed and more cynical comic reader who loves new and different takes on the familiar. This week, we have a first: a split decision on the book of the week. Not because one of us disliked the other’s choice but because both books were so good, emblematic of an excellent reading week overall.

Superman: Lois & Clark #1, Dan Jurgens, writer, Lee Weeks, penciler, Scott Hanna, inker,

Ray: 9/10

Corrina: Buy It!

Ray: The old-school creative team is a perfect choice to bring us this post-Convergence spin-off title that takes the older Superman, Lois, and their son  and places them on the main Earth.

It’s implied that they were sent by Brainiac at the end of Convergence to the beginning of the New Earth timeline, arriving roughly at the time of Justice League’s first arc. Since then, Superman and Lois have been living incognito on a rural farm where they’ve been raising their son Jon, now a grade-school-age boy who is starting to ask questions about his father’s mysterious actions. The fact that there’s been a second Superman on the planet the whole time, underground and serving as a guardian angel for the entire world, is incredibly fascinating.

Image copyright DC Comics

Jurgens is the one who wrote most of the wedding of Superman and Lois and wrote the characters for over ten years in the 90s, so it’s no surprise that he has an amazing grasp on them and their relationship. Continue reading The Return of Lois & Clark Plus Sexy Batman in This Week’s DC Comics

10 Tidbits About ‘Sleepy Hollow’ Season 3

Sleepy Hollow was an unexpected hit in its debut season but season 2 hit more than a few snags and the show was nearly canceled.

Season 3, however, is off to a promising start with a renewed focus on Abbie and Ichabod working together, and a new season-long arc about their second tribulation as supernatural witnesses.

I attended a press roundtable at New York Comic Con last weekend that included Raven Metzner, the co-executive producer, Lyndie Greenwood (Jenny Mills), Zach Appelman (Joe Corbin), and Nikki Reed (Betsy Ross).

Among the most interesting tidbits from the interviews:

  • This season will have a coherent and well-planned story arc, according to Metzner. “The second season didn’t have the consistency it could have and the piece I’m most excited about is that we have a really good plan for this season.”

    sleepy hollow, Joe Corbin, Jenny Mills
    Jenny Mills and Joe Corbin, Sleepy Hollow. Should they go with #jordin? Image via Fox.

Continue reading 10 Tidbits About ‘Sleepy Hollow’ Season 3

The Bat-Crew Is Back Together, Including Cassandra Cain

Welcome to our weekly recap of DC Comic’s new releases. Ray is the committed DC reader and Corrina is the somewhat lapsed DC fan.

This week sees the debut of Batman & Robin Eternal which also features the return of a fan favorite character, another chapter in the complicated and intense Omega Men story, the continued adventures of that crazy couple, Midnighter and Grayson, and indie legend Carla “Speed” McNeil delivers a fine Wonder Woman story in Sensation Comics.

Batman & Robin Eternal #1 — James Tynion IV & Scott Snyder, story, James Tynion IV, script, Tony Daniel, pencils, Sandu Florea, inks

Ray: 9.5/10 (Book of the Week)

Corrina: Buy It (But I have reservations)

Ray: The second act of the greatest DC comics weekly ever begins here, and it does not disappoint. With a new creative squad in place and once again headlined by Tynion and overseen by Snyder, all the pieces are in place for another runaway hit. While the issue does push some buttons that might upset people, it’s been very clear with Eternal that things are rarely what they seem, and in terms of character, the Bat-family is rarely done better.

Continue reading The Bat-Crew Is Back Together, Including Cassandra Cain

Rape by Deception in ‘Aquaman #44’ is Poorly Handled

Welcome to our recap of this week’s DC Comics releases. Ray is the seasoned DC fan, I’m the more cycnical and lapsed DC reader.

We usually focus first on our favorite issue of the week, and work our way down from there but we’re making an exception today. There was one comic with such a problematic plot element, a rape by deception, that we have to start there.

Sorry, Batman Annual #4, our book of the week, and Grayson Annual #2 with your team-up with Superman. We’ll get to you after.

Aquaman #44 – Cullen Bunn, writer, Alec Morgan, layouts, Art Thibert and Jesus Merino, finishes
Ray: 3/10
Corrina: There’s bad writing and then there’s problematic writing. This is both. Continue reading Rape by Deception in ‘Aquaman #44’ is Poorly Handled

‘We Are Robin’–An Inventive and Unique View of Gotham

Welcome to our weekly recap of Wednesday DC comics issues. Ray is the long-time DC reader and fan, while I’m the lapsed and more cynical reader. This week, we enjoyed all of the offerings that include a Batman connection, particularly We Are Robin and Gotham by Midnight, Batman ’66 and Scooby Doo Team-Up. The last two make great use of Batman history.

However, best to avoid the titles featuring villains and Flash is becoming a serious disappointment.

We Are Robin #4 – writer, Lee Bermejo, penciller, James Harvey, insks, James Harvey with Diana Egea.

Ray: 9.5/10 (Book of the Week)
Corrina: Buy It.

We are Robin #4 splash page
We are Robin #4 splash page, copyright DC Comics

Ray: I’ve been loving this title since the start, but my one complaint is that we were introduced to a big group of original characters right out of the gate without any real setup, making several of the teen heroes besides Duke blank slates. We even lost one, Troy, without knowing much about him.

Fortunately, after last issue’s shocker, this title slows down and gives us a done-in-one focused on the first of our new heroes, Riko Sheridan. This issue takes place in the immediate aftermath of Troy’s death, and deals with the fallout not just among their inner circle, but in the world of social media surrounding them. Guest artist James Harvey gives this issue a distinctly manga-esque vibe, managing to seamlessly blend Riko’s excitable inner fantasy life with the mundane reality around her. We learn a bit more about her personal and family life, as well as what led her to decide to join the Robins. Halfway through the issue, we shift to Riko going on a solo mission on the roofs of Gotham, and it soon becomes clear that she’s very much a rookie. Continue reading ‘We Are Robin’–An Inventive and Unique View of Gotham

Measuring FTL Travel For Fictional Worlds

SF, space opera, SF romance
cover copyright Christie Meierz

Welcome to our weekly guest blog for science fiction authors, Geek Speaks…Fiction, where writers geek out about what makes them happy.

Space opera fans, we’ve got a treat for you this week! Christie Meierz is the award winning, best selling author of the Tolari Cycle, novels of intrigue, suspense, and romance set in the future amongst the stars. Today, she joins us to tell us what made her geek out while writing her new release, Farryn’s War, the first book in a new series!

She will also be hosting a Facebook release party for Farryn’s War on Thursday, September 24. GeekMoms Corrina Lawson and Fran Wilde will be guests, and books and other prizes will be up for grabs. 

I’ve been an astronomy geek since the age of seven, when my mother bought a coffee table book on astronomy with a big color picture of the Orion nebula on the dust jacket. I picked it up for the pictures… and stayed for the math. I had just learned multiplication and division, and somehow never learned that girls aren’t supposed to be good at math. I spent a very happy afternoon working out the distances from the sun to each of the planets. In light-minutes. And light-hours.

Continue reading Measuring FTL Travel For Fictional Worlds

‘Prez’: Political Polemic or Entertaining Satire?

cover copyright DC Comics

Welcome to our weekly recap of DC Comic’s new releases where Ray Goldfield, long time DC reader and fan, and myself, more cynical and lapsed DC reader, give our thoughts. This week, we’re nearly 100 percent in agreement but where we disagree, we seriously disagree.

For instance, we both love Secret Six and Black Canary, but Ray believes that Prez is an absolute failure and I love it for its brilliant satire of the political world. He also thinks the current run of Wonder Woman is getting better.

If only.

Secret Six #6 – Gail Simone, writer, Tom Derenick, artist
Ray: 9.5/10 (Book of the Week)
Corrina: Buy It.

Ray: Now that Secret Six has hit its groove, it is quickly resuming its place as one of DC’s best books. Continue reading ‘Prez’: Political Polemic or Entertaining Satire?

Horror Author Sam Sattin Creates an Imaginary Game For His Book

This week on Geek Speaks..Fiction!, horror author Samuel Sattin joins us to share what made him geek out while writing his new book, The Silent End, a chilling novel for mature teens and adults alike. His work has been described as being full of fun, terror, tragedy, and delight.
Welcome, Sam!

About the author: Samuel Sattin is a novelist and essayist. He is the author of League of Somebodies, described by Pop Matters as “One of the most important novels of 2013.” His work has appeared in The Atlantic, Salon, io9, Kotaku, San Francisco Magazine, Publishing Perspectives, LitReactor, The Weeklings, The Good Men Project, and elsewhere. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College and an MFA in Comics from CCA. He’s the recipient of NYS and SLS Fellowships and lives in Oakland, California.

It’s not overly difficult to describe what I geeked out on while writing The Silent End, mostly because the main character is a grade-A certified nerd, seventeen and on the edge of emotional collapse in many ways.

Continue reading Horror Author Sam Sattin Creates an Imaginary Game For His Book

Giveaway: ‘The Marvels’ by Caldecott Medal Winner Brian Selznick

Marvels, Brian Selznick
Marvels in hand! Photo by Jackie Reeve.

Today is the release day for Brian Selznick’s latest beautiful children’s book, The Marvels. This is huge news if you’re a fan of his work, since it’s been four years to the week since his last book, Wonderstruck, was published.

Selznick is one of my absolute favorite children’s authors. I read Hugo Cabret to my third grade classes every year, and I’ve recommended Wonderstruck I don’t know how many times. I’ve been so excited for The Marvels since its preview back in May, and now it’s finally here!

Here’s the synopsis:
From the Caldecott Medal–winning creator of The Invention of Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck comes a breathtaking new voyage.

In this magnificent reimagining of the form he originated, two stand-alone stories—the first in nearly 400 pages of continuous pictures, the second in prose—together create a beguiling narrative puzzle.

The journey begins on a ship at sea in 1766, with a boy named Billy Marvel. After surviving a shipwreck, he finds work in a London theatre. There, his family flourishes for generations as brilliant actors until 1900, when young Leontes Marvelis banished from the stage.

Nearly a century later, Joseph Jervis runs away from school and seeks refuge with an uncle in London. Albert Nightingale’s strange, beautiful house, with its mysterious portraits and ghostly presences, captivates Joseph and leads him on a search for clues about the house, his family, and the past.

A gripping adventure and an intriguing invitation to decipher how the two narratives connect, The Marvels is a loving tribute to the power of story from an artist at the vanguard of creative innovation.

Interior page from Marvels, book copyright Scholastic Inc.

You can learn more about The Marvels here. And, check here for a list of Brian Selznick’s tour dates to promote the book.

To celebrate, we are giving away a prize package to one lucky GeekMom reader. It includes:

· A copy of The Marvels;
· A custom The Marvels jigsaw puzzle;
· and a $50 Visa gift card.

There are four ways to enter, and if you follow us on Instagram you’ll get a bonus entry.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The contest will close this Saturday, September 19th at 11:59pm ET. A random winner will be selected and announced following the end of the giveaway.

Happy book birthday to The Marvels!
Prizes are provided by Scholastic.

‘Batman #44’–A Definitive Batman story

cover via DC Comics
cover via DC Comics

Welcome to our weekly recap of DC Comic’s new releases. Ray is the long-time DC reader, a prototypical DC fan, while I’m the lapsed and more cynical type.  But when we agree something is good, that means it’s darn good.

Which brings us to Batman #44, which Ray and I recognize as something special. There’s also great fun to be had in the latest issue of Starfire, and a road trip with Harley Quinn this week. Overall, an excellent batch of stories, and Ray is particularly high on the Green Lantern/Star Trek crossover that’s being published by IDW. (See end of post.)

If only this week was the last issue of Section Eight, an experiment that has failed spectacularly.

Batman #44 – Story by Scott Snyder, written by Scott Snyder and Brian Azzarello, art by Jock. 

Ray: 10/10 (Book of the Week)

Corrina: Buy This Masterpiece. 

Ray: Fill-in issues and done-in-ones in the middle of an arc are often throwaways, but that’s the furthest thing from the case here with this breather issue. Obviously, Snyder and Jock have worked together before, so it’s not a surprise that they’d do something special here, but I was really surprised how this story worked so well as both a small-scale, affecting story about Batman’s past and a piece of the puzzle in the ongoing superheavy story.

One of the biggest complaints about Batman from certain corners is that he’s “a rich guy beating up the poor and mentally ill,” but that’s always been a stereotype that doesn’t really work given all the work Bruce does for Gotham and its citizens. In many ways, this story shows how he got there.

It opens right after Zero Year, with two Batmen, present and future – Bruce and Jim – meeting to discuss a mysterious case of a teenage boy dead in a field. He has bullet holes in him, but Batman’s investigation reveals he actually died from a massive fall from the middle of nowhere. With the issue narrated seemingly by Gotham itself, Batman’s investigations lead him to a dark, twisty, and emotionally powerful tale that involves the boy’s run-ins with local gangs, rising Supervillains like Penguin, and a trigger-happy cop whose duty in the Corner (Gotham’s worst area) has left him brittle and paranoid. The issue takes on a lot of timely topics, like police brutality and gentrification, but it avoids easy answers and leaves a lot of shades of grey in every reveal.

In the end, it’s the story of a boy with very few choices who made a deal with the devil that led him to that field, and the reveal of just how he fell from a thousand feet up from the middle of nowhere is incredibly clever. Mr. Bloom factors into this issue, but I was a bit surprised that he was just a bit player (albeit a key one) and we know just as little about him as we did before. Jock’s version of him is fabulously creepy, though.

This is an incredibly strong issue, setting the stage for the man Bruce Wayne became as Batman and the man he is now, as well as a near-perfect stand-alone story of Gotham. If only all fill-ins and break issues could be this strong.

Corrina: Fill in? No, this is a masterpiece, a story so strong that if someone asks me why I love Batman comics, I could hand them this issue to explain why. The title is a ‘A Simple Case,’ and so it seems at first, the story of a boy trying to be a man caught in the middle of a gang war.

But, as Ray said, it’s about all of Gotham, it’s about why Batman does what he does, and why it sometimes works and why the job of cleaning up the city for good citizens is never easy. This reminded me of the classic Denny O’Neil/Dick Giordano story,  “There is No Hope in Crime Alley.”

It’s time for another addition to The Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told.

Gotham Academy #10 -Becky Cloonan & Brenden Fletcher, writers, Karl Kerschl with Msassyk, art
Continue reading ‘Batman #44’–A Definitive Batman story

‘Wonder Woman ’77’ Exclusive Preview

We don’t have a new Wonder Woman movie as yet but we still have Lynda Carter and the original Wonder Woman television show. That show lives on in comics, in DC’s Wonder Woman ’77.

The latest in this series is a digital-first chapter coming out tomorrow and we have the exclusive preview. Wonder Woman ‘77, chapter #8, is the second part of a three part storyline featuring the debut of Wonder Woman’s notorious arch nemesis, The Cheetah.

From DC’s description: At the grand opening of Wonder Woman’s museum exhibit, Cheetah crashes the event with a dart gun and all chaos ensues! Can Wonder Woman save the day from this catastrophe?



WW77_09_300-004_HD WW77_09_300-005_HD WW77_09_300-006_HD

All images copyright DC Comics.

The chapter will become available for download Wednesday, September 9, via the DC Comics App, Readdcentertainment.com, iBooks, comiXology.com, Google Play, Kindle Store, Nook Store, and iVerse ComicsPlus.

Bradley Beaulieu Geeks Out on Mother/Daughter Connections

Join GeekMom in welcoming epic fantasy author Bradley P. Beaulieu to Geek Speaks…Fiction!

Bradley Beaulieu fell in love with fantasy from the moment he began reading The Hobbit in third grade. While Bradley earned a degree in computer science and engineering and worked in the information technology field for years, he could never quite shake his desire to explore other worlds. He began writing his first fantasy novel in college. It was a book he later trunked, but it was a start, a thing that proved how much he enjoyed the creation of stories. It made him want to write more. 

He went on to write The Lays of Anuskaya series as well as The Song of Shattered Sands series. He has published work in the Realms of Fantasy Magazine, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, Writers of the Future 20, and several anthologies. He has won the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Award and earned a Gemmell Morningstar Award nomination. Learn more about Bradley by visiting his website, quillings.com.

Brad’s highly praised novel, Twelve Kings in Sharakhai, was released last week from DAW/Penguin Random House. Read on to find out what made him geek out while writing it!

When I start working on new books, it’s the world that gets fleshed out first. I write big-canvas fantasies, so it’s important to me to know the lay of the land, the kingdoms in play, their cultural histories, the political landscape, the magic, and so on. This is really important to me because I want to create characters that can believably inhabit this world. The world is the soil in which they grow, after all.

That isn’t to say that my characters aren’t individuals. They are. Of course they are. But this is the part that’s so interesting to me: Once you know the norms in this new world you’re creating—the social mores, the customs, traditions, religions, and so on—you can start to play with them and see where your characters diverge from those norms. They may hew closely to them, which may give clues as to how you can best challenge the character. Or they may diverge widely, bringing perhaps a more immediate and consistent sort of conflict as the characters struggle or fight against the norms.

The main character in Twelve Kings in Sharakhai is a young woman named Çeda (pronounced CHAY-da, like mesa). She’s a pit fighter, and a woman who runs packages in the shadows beneath the nose of the twelve kings of Sharakhai. The kings, who have ruled the city with iron fists for over four hundred years, kill Çeda’s mother viciously when Çeda is eight. In some ways it comes as no surprise. Her mother, Ahya, had been tempting fate for a long while, running out on the holy night of Beht Zha’ir, when all are forbidden from roaming the streets and the ghul-like asirim come to the city to take tribute.

Çeda is shaped by many things, but foremost among them was her upbringing with her mother and the questions left in the wake of her mother’s death when she is hung by the cruel kings. Çeda begins to find the answers to those questions only years later when she too goes out on Beht Zha’ir to save her best friend, Emre.

One of the asirim finds her and whispers long-forgotten words in her ear, words Çeda has read before in a book left to her by her mother. It is through that one strange event that Çeda begins to unlock the secrets behind her mother’s purpose on the night she was killed. Like a blooming rose, the answers to those riddles complicate, leading to more riddles in turn. They point her toward the very night, four hundred years before, when the kings made their dark bargain with the gods of the desert to secure their power.

I often find that I don’t really know what a character is like until after I’ve created the first draft. Why? Because while I know something about them, I don’t know enough details to know who they really are. By the time the first draft is done, though, I know so much more. The characters are no longer plans in a character sketch. They have stories and accomplishments. They have hopes and fears. They have become real.

The connection between Çeda and her mother, Ahya, was one I expected to explore, but not as much as I actually did in the writing of Twelve Kings. So much flowed from that mother-daughter relationship: Çeda’s often-rocky adoption on the part of Dardzada, an apothecary who loved Ahya but now finds only pain when he sees Çeda; her befriending of Emre, a boy who becomes not only a close friend, but her best friend, perhaps her soulmate (a thing Çeda refuses to acknowledge); her ties to a desert witch that eventually changes her life; her connection to the kings.

All of it really opened Çeda up for me.

I found myself coming back to Ahya’s legacy often. It advised me, a compass by which I could navigate this complex tale. More than anything, though, it made me care for Çeda deeply. It’s a form of geeking out, I think, coming to love your characters, or hate them, or whatever we want the reader to feel about them, because it’s only when we truly feel for them that we can write truths about them on the page.

So there it is. I geeked out about Çeda. And I hope you will too.

About Twelve Kings in Sharakhai:
Sharakhai, the great city of the desert, center of commerce and culture, has been ruled from time immemorial by twelve kings — cruel, ruthless, powerful, and immortal. With their army of Silver Spears, their elite ompany of Blade Maidens and their holy defenders, the terrifying asirim, the Kings uphold their positions as undisputed, invincible lords of the desert. There is no hope of freedom for any under their rule.

Or so it seems, until Çeda, a brave young woman from the west end slums, defies the Kings’ laws by going outside on the holy night of Beht Zha’ir. What she learns that night sets her on a path that winds through both the terrible truths of the Kings’ mysterious history and the hidden riddles of her own heritage. Together, these secrets could finally break the iron grip of the Kings’ power…if the nigh-omnipotent Kings don’t find her first.

You can find Bradley P. Beaulieu at www.quillings.com and on Twitter as @bbeaulieu.

DC Comics This Week: You’re Gonna Love This Wonder Woman

cover copyright DC Comics.
cover copyright DC Comics.

Welcome to our reviews of this week’s DC Comics. Ray is the long-time DC reader and I’m the more skeptical, lapsed DC reader. As the last week of the month, it’s a relatively light week but the shining stars for me and Ray are twofold.

One, Detective Comics #44, which manages to be darkly funny and handles the cast of Gotham’s police officers better than any story since the late, great Gotham Central. This is what the Gotham show could be, if it focused on the right elements, instead of attempting to be an over-the-top villain fest.

Two, DC Comics Bombshells, which features a Wonder Woman we can get behind. Heck, the story in this issue would make a great start to a Wonder Woman movie.

But we part ways on Omega Men, a slow boiling SF story about terrorism, rebellion, and how far those oppressed are willing to go.

Detective Comics #44, Brian Buccellato, writers and colors, Fernando Blanco, art

Ray: Book of the Week. 9.5/10

Corrina: Buy It. 

Ray: Buccellato brings his  run to a close this month, making way for Pete Tomasi next month, and he closes it out in style.

This story could have easily gotten ridiculous, pitting Jim Gordon against a giant Joker Robot made from the power core of his own suit and piloted by the Joker’s Daughter, but the creative team has a deft touch that makes it work really well. The story doesn’t lose sight of the fact that Jim is very out of his element here, and his commentary on the absurdity of the situation is very welcome, as his practical, military-minded approach to taking out the threat. Continue reading DC Comics This Week: You’re Gonna Love This Wonder Woman