In our house, we limit screen time, maybe an hour a day. For the first two years, we capped TV watching at an hour a week.
We also tend away from the licensed products.
You know the ones I am talking about, the Elsa socks, Batman toothbrushes, or Elmo dolls. So imagine my husband’s surprise when I announced we were giving our two-year-old nephew Spider-Man for Christmas.
Disney on Ice! is on tour this year with the 100 Years of Magic. With 100 years to cover, I’m excited to see the over 50 member cast bring fan favorite characters to life on ice. Feld Entertainment is promising to bring an long list of Disney favorites to the rink. In the past, I’ve seen the Disney Princesses, Frozen, and Toy Story brought center stage and will see the addition of Finding Nemo, the Lion King, and other Disney misfits.
With 100 years to cover, there is also an impressive list of dance numbers and songs for Feld to pick from and it will be interesting to see which ones they decided were the most influential for this show.
For tour dates and ticket prices, head over to Disney on Ice! and see when they are stopping by a rink near you.
Stay tuned to GeekMom for a full after-show review in September!
If you’re like us, you can’t get enough of the Lego video games. Lego Dimensions comes out in September, and we just have to wait a little bit longer for the next one. Lego Marvel’s Avengers will be released on January 26, 2016 in North America and January 29, 2016 in Europe. It’s the first console game to include the stories and characters from The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron.
GameStop pre-orders will also get the Silver Centurion Iron Man minifig, also playable in the game. Pre-orders online will come with it, but if you buy in-store, it’s only available while supplies last.
Lego Marvel’s Avengers will be available on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS and Windows PC.
The game will follow the storyline of the two Avengers movies, which you can get a hint of in the peek at a few of the characters below:
Let’s just get this out of the way right from the get-go: I loved Ant-Man. It does not pass the Bechdel test, and it would be awesome if Marvel could get it together and do that one of these days. This is not the movie where they see the light.
Having said that, I still loved it. I haven’t been this excited to write up a movie in a while. As I write this, I just left a screening about two hours ago and couldn’t wait to talk about it.
Note: only minor and vague spoilers in this review.
When Ant-Man was announced, I wasn’t terribly excited. In the whole scope and scale of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it was hard to imagine where he would find his place. What could they do with him? Paul Rudd’s casting helped, and then the trailers really helped. By this week I was so looking forward to it.
And it didn’t disappoint. Ant-Man the movie is completely aware that it is about Ant-Man. It’s light and fun and full of skeptical looks from Paul Rudd, like he is in on the absurdity of it with us. It plays with Ant-Man’s size in a way that takes advantage of all the action sequences a proper superhero movie should have. But it also throws in spot-on little jokes to remind us not to take it all too seriously. Because we are talking about an Ant. Man. The Thomas the Tank Engine scene was perfect.
Forget the science of how Rudd’s Scott Lang shrinks, and really forget the plot. Corey Stoll’s Yellowjacket wants to sell shrink technology to the highest bidder, but Michael Douglas’s Dr. Pym, who invented the tech, wants to stop him. But that’s actually not what’s important.
The characters are the big draw here, along with a big save-the-world heart. Despite some occasional swearing, this is the most family-friendly superhero movie to come along in a while. The gore isn’t very gory, and the scares aren’t terribly scary. And Lang is doing everything to make his young daughter proud, and to protect her future.
The very first scene gives us a surprise appearance by a favorite Marvel lady, and somehow after that I just knew I was in for a treat. Paul Rudd is exactly the Ant-Man this movie needed to take a tiny character with Aquaman-caliber superpowers and make him worth a big screen. Michael Douglas’s Dr. Pym is a great genius trying to stop the bad guy (Corey Stoll) from letting advanced science fall into the wrong hands. Evangeline Lilly got a pretty awesome bonus scene during the credits.
But Michael Peña stole the show. He played Scott Lang’s prison buddy Luis, a man who was arrested for stealing two smoothie machines. He is glorious and surprising in every scene he’s in, whether he’s talking about wine tastings or “sublime” Mark Rothko paintings.
This movie did two things really well: It got back to the kind of humor that made the first Iron Man such a standout (remember when no one could picture Robert Downey, Jr. as a superhero?). And, it made an army of ants that weren’t creepy crawly. They are actually sort of adorable, and I didn’t think it was possible to make a movie that would give me all the feels about ants.
But I do, I have all the feels about ants. And Ant-Man. And Michael Peña. Stay to the very end of the credits, there are two bonus scenes.
GeekMom attended a promotional screening for review purposes.
Remember when you used to be able to get comics for just a few cents? Well, Marvel is making comics available for a penny—about 17,000 of them.
The company just announced plans to offer its Marvel Unlimited service for the introductory price of 1 cent. As part of the San Diego Comic-Con festivities, this deal will only be offered to new subscribers and only for the first month.
However, that’s an awful lot of eye candy for the price of well… penny candy. The collection features 75 years of Marvel Comics, which includes The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, Daredevil, Spider-Man, Ms. Marvel, and so much more. If it seems really overwhelming (in a good way, of course), click over to the Discover section, which allows users to search by storylines, characters, or creators.
To get the discounted goods, you will need to use the promo code PENNY during your checkout process. Just know that this offer is only good through July 20, 2015. (Editor’s Note: The offer has been extended through July 27!)There are a few other restrictions as well. Like, don’t expect to cancel your current subscription to get the discount; the offer is only open to new and former (now-cancelled) members who have not subscribed with a promotional offer in the last 6 months. It also doesn’t work on gift subscriptions, Annual, or Annual Plus memberships. Make sure to read the fine print!
The Marvel Unlimited app is available on the iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. After the 1-cent promotional period is up, expect to pay $9.99 per month. However, that fee ensures that you’ll always have plenty to read, since both classic and new issues are being added on a weekly basis.
I am sure you have all seen the hashtag #WeWantWidow going around, imploring Marvel to include more of the Black Widow character not only in merchandising, but to the collective Avengers movie universe.
A movement is growing. It was exciting to get the update from our friends at Legion of Leia.com about the Black Widow Flash Mob that took place on June 6. The idea was created by Kristin Rielly, founder and editor of Geek Girl Network. The outcry was sparked by the Avengers: Age of Ultron’s lack of the Black Widow character. The voices included female Disney and Marvel fans from around the country, coming together to take change in their own hands.
My four-year-old’s untimely demand (most of them do come when I am in the shower) seems to be right in step with this social media uprising.
So after my shower, we went searching for Avenger team items. The cute hat above was found at Target and did not include Black Widow. Sadly, it didn’t shock me. I think I had gotten used to the gender inequality when it comes to finding female Marvel, DC, or Star Wars characters in merchandise from local stores. Most of Ella’s geekware items have been purchased in the “boys” section. In all fairness to Target, just this summer there has been a recent influx of superhero clothing, so they seem to be taking steps to offer more for girls and women. One was even found that included Black Widow. It’s a good start.
Choosing to get the hat, I asked Ella why she thought Black Widow was not on it. Her answer was, “She was off saving people and saving Hulk and Captain America.”
We decided to add her to the hat ourselves. We found a picture of Black Widow in Ella’s Captain America: The Winter Solider coloring book. It was chosen because it had her on the cover. Coloring the picture together, I mentioned that sometimes if we want to change things, we need to find solutions and do it ourselves.
Maybe someday Ella will be writing for Marvel or designing clothing. She might be packing up this hat as a sentimental reminder of her youth on her first astronaut mission to Mars. Those DIY, problem-solving skills may just come in handy if her mission team needs something important mended.
Whatever her future, it is my hope as her GeekMom that she remembers that she is the architect of her own life and to put on a towel before jumping out the shower with ideas to change the world.
In her own way, she is joining in by saying #WeWantWidow too.
Only a little more than six weeks to go until one of the founding members of The Avengers sees if he can measure up to the standard the rest of the MCU has set–even at a half-inch tall. Ant-Man stars Paul Rudd up against Corey Stoll as Darren Cross/Yellowjacket and premieres July 17, 2015. Watch the latest trailer here:
The calendar may say it’s spring, but the summer movie season is officially upon us with the release of the sequel to 2012’s blockbuster The Avengers this weekend. It’s Marvel, it’s Joss Whedon, and it’s the Avengers, so there’s no question Avengers: Age of Ultron is going to be a megahit to rival, perhaps even surpass, its predecessor.
A traditional review seems rather pointless for a film like this. I mean, if you want to see it you’re going to see it, no matter what the critics say (for the record, I say it’s a whole lot of fun and well worth your time). What’s more valuable, I think, is an exploration of the issues the film raises, particularly in terms of the depiction of its main female hero, Black Widow (deftly portrayed by Scarlett Johansson).
Due to some grossly insensitive comments made by a couple of the actors in an interview (et tu, Evans?) and the observation that Black Widow has been woefully underrepresented when it comes to merchandise, the character has become a lightning rod for controversy on the fringes of the Avengers franchise. And let’s not forget that despite Johansson’s popularity and the rich well of story material, there’s still no sign of a Black Widow standalone film.
These are all legitimate gripes, important to the ongoing conversation about the treatment (or, sadly more often, mistreatment) of women in Hollywood. Yet it always seems as though there are those lying in wait for things like this to happen, ready to fire up the outrage machine and whipping out hashtags like pre-printed Super Bowl championship T-shirts. There’s a old newspaper saying: “Never pick a fight with anyone who buys ink by the barrel.” The updated version is: “Never offend anyone who sells ad space by the page click.” To be fair, it doesn’t help that tone-deaf filmmakers, actors, and studios fall into the trap every single time.
So now, instead of talking about Black Widow’s arc in Age of Ultron, we’re drawn into a larger debate about slut shaming and invisible protagonists on retail shelves. There are plenty of places where you can engage in that worthy discussion, but I’m not going to get into all of that here (others have covered the topic quite thoroughly). What I’d rather focus on is Natasha’s storyline in the film itself, an aspect often overlooked in the midst of all these external elements.
This is where I must to pause to issue a spoiler warning before continuing. The following article will deal with some minor plot points from the film. I won’t be revealing any major details about the final act or any of the other character’s storylines (except where they directly intersect with Black Widow), but if you want to go in truly knowing nothing you may want to stop here and come back after you’ve seen the film. Otherwise, let’s dive right in.
Setting aside for the moment her appearances in previous MCU installments, I would argue that the storyline Whedon has written for Black Widow in Age of Ultron is actually quite empowering. The sweeping action sequence in the film’s opening shows her fighting shoulder to shoulder with her male counterparts. They value her for her skills and what she can contribute to the team. No one talks down to her, flirts with her, or considers her lesser because of her gender. She’s the only one who points out the difference, often jokingly referring to her compatriots as “boys.”
In a way, Natasha Romanoff is the spiritual successor to Peggy Carter, achieving the equality and respect among her colleagues that Peggy could only dream about in the 1940s. I believe in giving credit where it’s due, and Whedon has made Black Widow an intrinsic part of the Avengers, consumer products not withstanding.
It’s Natasha herself who goes and challenges that dynamic by not only having romantic feelings for Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), but expressing them to him outright. She takes the initiative, making it clear to him that she’s still considering whether to go for it, and if she does it will be on her terms. It’s sort of adorable the way Bruce has no idea what to do with this declaration. He’s obviously interested (even the “other guy” has a soft spot for her), but has convinced himself he’s damaged goods. What he doesn’t realize is that’s exactly what she sees in him. She’s damaged too, and looking for someone who won’t judge her for it.
I’ve heard some critics take issue with the fact that Black Widow in Age of Ultron is basically defined by her relationship to a man, as if somehow that diminishes her as a character in comparison to her male counterparts. I don’t agree with either part of that assessment, but let’s say for the sake of argument that the first part is valid and her journey in the film is centered around her connection with Bruce. If that’s true of Natasha, then it’s true of Bruce too, since they are on a parallel path. Their story is about trying to find some shred of good in a whole lot of bad. The question that unites them is whether they are too far gone for redemption. Love is one measure of redemption, but it’s not Natasha’s only option.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the film should be held up as beacon of feminism or anything. Though it features a handful of outstanding female characters, they scarcely interact.
I especially wanted to see more of the strong friendship hinted at between Natasha and another female character outside of the world of the Avengers, but their screen time together is minimal. Certainly there’s room for improvement on the Bechdel front. What I’m arguing is that Black Widow is far from marginalized in the source material, even if she gets the shaft everywhere else.
Age of Ultron is a very crowded film, with lots of moving parts. That Whedon was able to serve so many characters, even in a minimal way, and still keep the running time under three hours is an impressive feat of storytelling.
I encourage Black Widow fans to see the film themselves and form their own opinion, outside of the Internet echo chamber. You may come to a completely different conclusion, and that’s fine. That’s great. That’s a discussion I’d love to have.
Is this what I’m to expect of my superhero stories now? A gut punch? A blinking out of the darkness of the theater (or my living room, but hey, I’m feeling like Ponyboy right now, mkay?) into a world that just doesn’t seem to make as much sense as it did before? A search for meaning? Weird dreams that I’m running from crazed Russians and bald-headed men in suits only to find out that I’m the one that’s been sent to save Hell’s Kitchen?
There have been other adaptations of Daredevil, but I don’t want to talk about those. I really don’t have to. That’s what rocks so much about Marvel’s Daredevil series on Netflix for me. Unlike so many other superhero retellings, it didn’t have to pay homage (*cough*superman*cough*) or lumber along trying desperately to re-invent itself and tell everyone that this time it’s different. It just kicked ass, took names, and moved along.
I’m babbling. But it’s a little hard to process.
My husband and I watched the entirety of Daredevil in about a week’s time. Sure, by binge TV standards that might not be too fast, but keep in mind we’ve got kids and jobs, and a crazy busy schedule. Essentially as soon as the kids were mostly asleep, we’d run to the living room and watch the next episode. We are, in every respect, a target market. Recent favorites include mostly anything Marvel’s done, Justified, and Game of Thrones. Even more telling than the time spent at the console was the fact that even though Game of Thrones premiered in the middle of our viewing, both of us really wanted to just watch more Matt Murdock kicking butt in Hell’s Kitchen and get our questions answered.
Okay, so no. It’s not going to change the way television is made. It might not be for you. But the series succeeds in many ways that, for me, were unexpected.
First, there’s no dumbing down to get a lower rating in the movie theater. This stuff is raw, gritty, bloody. It’s a superhero for adults with adult sentiments, viewers who aren’t interested in tie-in backpacks and t-shirts. This is so often the curse with comic book related film and television, it gets marketed to death and watered down so they can make money off of kids (and well, judging by my desk at work, some parents, too).
The other thing I noticed? It’s cut like a movie. One of my biggest complaints about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is the gorram commercial breaks. Having to edit a show around commercial interruptions just makes for some really awkward moments in terms of pacing and plot. It made me really wish that S.H.I.E.L.D. could have the Netflix treatment. It gave them time in every episode to really paint the mood without rushing. And I think it’s one of the reasons that the villain is so very complex and almost… almost… someone you can pity. It’s also why it didn’t get bogged down in dreaded comic book origin story mode. It didn’t have to. It’s hard to do that when you’re pressed for time. But Daredevil, for the most part, was just time well spent.
And the performances? They were great. I mean, it’s got the luxury of being an ensemble cast. Even the (sometimes very short-lived) villains each had their own moments in the sun. Charlie Cox is growly and great, just a hint of his English accent punctuating his vowels now and again. He is what he needs to be, and is strongest when he’s trying to balance the guilt and shame of his chosen profession with his calling as a lawyer, often right in front of his friends.
More than anything, Daredevil just shows how much more room there is to go in the streaming TV medium. It has some hiccups (could’ve used some more complex women, perhaps; occasionally the gore got gratuitous, and the climax didn’t quite hold up to the very end) but it’s also just the first season. Considering it’s already been renewed, and how long it took for Matt to get his full suit (seriously, I cannot believe the interminable wait on that one) there’s a whole lot more story to tell.
The massive Marvel Cinematic Universe is about to get bigger. With the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron, we’ll see the addition of at least three new Avengers to the already abundant lineup, not to mention supporting players both familiar and strange (though the real Strange is yet to come). There’s a shiny new bad guy too, the Ultron of the film’s title, a twisted artificial intelligence with genocidal tendencies (voiced with relish by James Spader). This not only makes for a crowded film (more on that when we get to our review later this week), it also makes for a very crowded press conference.
Earlier this month, Disney hosted said press conference at their studio in Burbank, where a baker’s dozen of panelists, including all of the usual suspects, appeared to promote the film. On hand were Scarlett Johansson, Joss Whedon, Elizabeth Olsen, James Spader, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, Paul Bettany, Cobie Smulders, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Kevin Feige. Each one of them could have held an entertaining press conference all on their own, but as it was we had to split our attention among all of the impressive talent in front of us during the limited time we had.
You can imagine how hard it must have been for Whedon, who wrote and directed both Avengers films, to do the same over the course of years. “There’s like 47 of these people,” he joked. “I really didn’t think that through, and I regret very much doing this at all.” That last part may not have been a joke.
He went on to explain the challenge of making sure each of the characters got their moment in the film. “I have all these people. I love all these people. They’re extraordinary. But making sure that they’re all being served, all within the same narrative structure, that they’re in the same movie, that it’s all connected to the main theme. At some point during the editing process, I could not have told you who they were, who I was, what movie I was making, I got so lost in it. But I think it all came together, and you know, it’s just about making these guys look good.”
Downey Jr., whose quippy sense of humor is not unlike that of his big-screen counterpart Tony Stark, pretended to be offended when it took the press a while to get around to asking him a question. “I want to say this very clearly,” he said in a mock-serious tone. “The next time I’m not asked the first question, I’ll [expletive deleted] walk out.”
The first question actually went to Smulders, who plays former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Maria Hill. She was asked about the development of her character since we first met her in the original Avengers film.
“Maria’s now under the employment of Tony Stark and she’s now working with him to privatize security,” Smulders said. “It’s very fun being a thread to be able to tie the TV show and the movies together. That’s been a lot of fun. But yeah, she’s got a bigger job now. She’s working, like I said, with Tony, and she doesn’t have S.H.I.E.L.D. at her disposal anymore, so it’s a much more difficult job.”
Johansson, who plays another kick-ass female character, Black Widow, was also asked about how her character has changed over time and her emotional journey throughout Age of Ultron.
“There’s some sense finally of there being a kind of normal, in a way,” Johansson said of the film’s opening scenes. “I mean, it’s a well-oiled machine where, you know, we’re tag teaming each other. It’s finally like the introductions are over and we’re at work, like we’re digging our heels in. And at the end of Avengers 2 I think Widow is, you know, she let her guard down, she was hopeful for something. I think she had this moment of false hope.”
Speaking of character development, fans of Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye will be happy to know he actually has some in this film, after spending a lot of the first on the sidelines under Loki’s control.
“Well, I speak in this movie, which is awesome,” Renner says of the differences between the two installments. “And I become part of the team, which is awesome. And dive into some really killer aspects of [the character]. When sitting down with Joss, and even Kevin [Feige] back in the day, talking about why I liked him, why I wanted to play Hawkeye, because I didn’t understand, I could never do like what these gentlemen do. I don’t have that creative of a mind. I understood Hawkeye in the sense of he’s a human just with a high skill set, so I could tap into that, and I feel like I got to explore a little bit more of that, even outside the skill set.”
The new cast members also got their turns to speak, at least for a little bit. Spader talked about being thrown into the role of a giant killer robot on his first day. In addition to providing the voice, he also did some motion capture work and was present on the set when shooting with the other actors.
“I arrived in London and within the first half hour they put on a suit, they put on all this gear, and I’d gone through a range of motion,” Spader recalled. “And then within 15 minutes I was watching me walk around a big room, moving and doing this and that and everything else, and watching Ultron, or at least a formative stage of Ultron, on a monitor in front of me. And it started right there. And the next day I was on set shooting a scene with Scarlett. And so really that pace was what it was, through the entire project. And luckily I’d had some conversations with Joss and one fantastic meal with a whole bunch of wine to figure out who this guy was. And that was it. That really was it. It was just trying to hold on.”
Olsen and Taylor-Johnson, who play super-powered twins Wanda and Pietro Maximoff (AKA Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver), were asked if their previous work together as husband and wife in 2014’s Godzilla helped them develop chemistry as siblings.
“I think it’s only a benefit,” Olsen said. “I mean, it’s kind of intimidating joining this group so I’m glad I got to do it with Aaron by my side.”
Taylor-Johnson agreed. “Yeah, it was comforting to know, stepping on set, when it was such a big ensemble and cast, that you kind of had some to feel comfortable with. Absolutely, yeah.”
The last newcomer to the film wasn’t really a newcomer at all. Paul Bettany has been a part of the MCU since he first recorded the voice for Tony Stark’s A.I. assistant J.A.R.V.I.S. in Iron Man. In Age of Ultron, he takes on the physical role of the Vision, a mysterious, benevolent android. The dual role is no coincidence, but we can’t say any more than that without giving too much away.
When asked about the differences between the two roles, Bettany cut right to the practical aspects of the job. “The main difference is I have to show up,” he said. “You know, the great thing is being able to work with all these incredibly creative and talented people. However, I also now have to show up at junkets, you know, so everything’s a double-edged sword.”
Free Comic Book Day is May 2nd, and this year there are 50 different books available including: Wonderland (Zenescope), Gronk (Action Comics), Pokemon (Boom), Avengers #1 (Marvel), Secret Wars #0 (Marvel), and Divergence (DC Comics). I’m always excited to get my mitts on as many books as I can (and after I’ve grabbed all I’m allowed, I’ll send my son and husband to get the rest).
I’ve patrolled my local comic book store in costume the past three years and I have a few tips for anyone who is new to this day or new to some of the titles on the table.
Don’t judge a book by its cover. Just because a title has a kid-friendly cover, doesn’t mean it’s a kid-friendly story. I saw more little kids with Zenescope in their clutches last year than I care to have seen, and each time I walked them back and pointed to a more age-appropriate title for them.
Many of the FCBD books are jumping on points to get readers interested. You can bet if there is a title on the table that there is another book in the store that your child or you will be interested in.
Support the store with your wallet. FCBD costs the stores a lot of money each year, so help them out by buying something while you’re there. Most stores have sales and discounts on various titles that day, so it’s a win-win for everyone.
Meet fellow fans and ask for recommendations. If you see someone else grab something you like, ask them if they have any recommendations for other books. If you don’t like a particular title, ask for recommendations that are different.
Come in costume! FCBD is like a mini-comic book convention. Come dressed as your favorite character or let your child wear their favorite character attire (even if that means it’s their Batman PJs with the cape on the back).
Make a day of it! Get to the store when they open for the best selection of free books and then, hit up another store, and another, and…well, you get the point. Not every store stocks the same FCBD books, so the more stores you hit up, the better your chances are of getting a wider variety.
Contests! Stay updated on contests and giveaways at your local comic book shop and on FCBD Facebook page. A few of these contests require pictures of you with your books, so take pictures of your family with their picks.
Regardless of how you plan to spend the day, have fun with it! Oh, and grab as many books as you can. You never know when you can trade a Wonderland or Avatar book for something else down the road.
We know you’re all waiting with all the patience you can muster, ticket in hand, for this weekend’s release of Avengers: Age of Ultron. To tide you over, here are a few new featurette videos, starring Black Widow and Scarlet Witch.
It might not be made of vibranium, but your kids will love having Captain America’s shield hanging on their wall nonetheless! With just a few inexpensive items from your local craft store, you can turn a small round cork board into a shield that will always catch your kids’ attention.
Thanks to a sale at Michael’s, I found everything I needed for this project for less than five dollars total.
What You Need
Round cork board, approximately 7″ (available at Michael’s)
White star (wood or paper), approximately 3.5″
Red, white, and blue acrylic paint
Hot glue gun
Twine and thumbtacks or sticky Velcro strips
Start by drawing a circle the same diameter as your white star in the middle of the cork board. If you’d like to use a template, take the opportunity to encourage the kids to go on a quick scavenger hunt around the house for circles you could trace. Trace or freehand two more circles so that the stripes are approximately half an inch apart.
Once your lines are lightly traced, begin by painting the middle circle blue.
Allow the blue paint to dry completely. Next, paint the two red stripes, keeping the middle stripe free of paint. Paint the outside stripe along the edge of the cork board. Allow the red paint to dry completely.
Finally, paint the middle stripe white, and let it dry.
Next, hot glue the white star into the center of the blue circle.
Once the paint is dry and the hot glue has cooled, flip the cork board over. To hang the board, you can use Velcro strips on the wall, but I’ve had varying success getting those to stick well to cork board. The board is even small enough to glue magnets to and stick on the refrigerator.
You can also take two thumb tacks, and press them lightly in the middle of the board. Tie a string (at least 4″ in length) on the pin of each tack, and then press them in completely. Tie the two strings together.
The bulletin board is now ready to hang on the wall! Pin reminders, homework, and more on your new star-spangled bulletin board.
Chloe Bennet and Clark Gregg took the stage at Emerald City Comicon to talk about their favorite parts of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., along with hints of what’s to come in the upcoming action-packed episodes.
Both actors gushed about the cast and crew of the ABC series. Bennet feels a “sense of family” on the show, which Gregg echoed by saying that Bennet feels like a daughter to him. She also mentioned an interesting dynamic with Agent May (Ming-Na Wen) as Skye grapples with her new powers, and revealed that not only do the two characters grow closer, we’ll also see parts of May’s past in upcoming episodes. (The Cavalry, anyone?)
Bennet also shared what’s in the future for Skye as she learns more about what it means to be Inhuman. “She grows a lot,” she said. Luke Mitchell’s character is part of that journey, serving as her guide into her new life.
Gregg was a little more coy about upcoming episodes of the show, but did say, “People who like the Inhumans will be satisfied by what’s coming up.”
When asked about additional characters from the Marvel cinematic universe crossing between Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the films, Gregg would only say with a smile, “There’s always that possibility.” A fan of the way Marvel is telling an overarching story across multiple media, Gregg left the impression that there are still surprises to come.
With Coulson and his crew so active in Marvel’s world, sooner or later The Avengers are going to find out. When they do, a fan asked, which does Gregg think will have the most intense reaction? “Coulson would like to see Cap happy to see him alive again,” he said. “But I hope Banner wouldn’t be too angry about it.”
Both actors seemed genuinely happy and excited to chat with their fans and be a part of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “Growing up, [pretending to be] a Disney princess was not as exciting to me as being a superhero,” said Bennet. “And now I get to be one!”
Gregg echoed her sentiment. “I’m really proud of what the show has done and where it’s going… I get to go to work and be my 11-year-old self every day.”
Being a geek is becoming more and more mainstream. Yet there are still stereotypes of what makes a geek a “geek.” Being a comic book fan is a quintessential sign, and often linked to the old-school idea of socially-inept, single guys. For women who proclaim their love of comics (like me), it’s just…strange.
But that is changing. I was just invited to a Fan Girls Night Out at my local comic store by another mom who is also into comics. There are more of us than you realize. And although it may seem new to the mainstream world, it is far from abnormal. The history of women in comics as both fans and within the industry stretches back to the beginning.
The new documentary She Makes Comics is an eye-opening and heartfelt look at women within the history of comics, and I highly recommend watching it. The film is directed by Marisa Stotter and produced by Patrick Meaney and Jordan Rennert of Respect!Films. It is executive produced by Sequart’s Julian Darius and Mike Phillips and by Columbia University comics librarian Karen Green. It is a series of interwoven interviews of passionate people with different roles and points of view. My teenage son and I watched it together, finding it informative and entertaining.
Did you know that women and men made up equal numbers of comic book readership before the 1950s? American comics were about many topics, had various settings, and reflected every possible interest. By the ’70s, women readers started to drop off dramatically, partly due to the focus on male superheroes as the best-seller comic book theme, as well as the feminist movement awakening a generation of women who were tired of the same “wedding bliss” ending. An underground women’s comic movement began, and it was fascinating listening to the creators talk about it on camera: both the excitement and the fears.
Several women really changed the comic book world, from Wendy Pini, the original chain-mail bikini awesome cosplayer who then created ElfQuest, to Janette Kahn, former publisher of DC who broke the glass ceiling, to Gail Simone, notable comic writer, and author of Women in Refrigerators, an unapologetic look at how female characters are unfairly treated in comic stories, to Kelly Sue DeConnick, the creator of the hugely popular female Captain Marvel, and many more.
How do women get into comics in the first place? Better comics. The consensus of the interviewees was: Give us a variety of women featured, complex characters, and in-depth storytelling. As an X-Men fan, it was cool to know how many other women in this film cited that series as their turn-on to the whole genre. The fact that the male creator of the series had two female editors makes sense. Neil Gaiman’s Sandman was another “gateway” comic, again, with a female editor. In fact, that editor, Karen Berger, is credited with developing the talents of some of the biggest names in comics for the past several decades.
I personally got into comics in the 1990s, and was quite alone. I took my two young children to the comic book store and was the only female there, let alone a mother. I found it interesting to hear about that time period. The film talked about how more women were getting into the creative side of comics then, but still not equally represented by a long-shot. The industry was not welcome to women or women-centered stories, but also, women are not as confidant in promoting themselves.
Comics used to be sold in supermarkets and bookstores, but then only in specific comic stores that were (and mostly still are) very much a bachelor den of boob posters and all-male staff who assume a girl is only there because she is dating a comic book fan. In 1994, a support organization for women in comics was created called Friends of Lulu which put out a book helping comic book stores understand how to attract more females to their stores—why shut out the biggest consumers in the country? The internet ushered in a huge change. This has given women a place to connect, collaborate, and share their love of comics. The film also mentions the influence of the manga craze during that time as well, with comics targeted to girls.
There is so much to this film, but what stood out to me most was the passion of the people interviewed, and the range of ages. I loved hearing from the elder pioneers in the industry, as well as the younger talents of today. Inspiring the next generation of comic creators came up a lot, and is something I support wholeheartedly. Everyone should be able to express themselves in whatever medium suits them best, boys and girls. Check out the film!
She Makes Comics is now available to order on DVD and as a digital download at SheMakesComics.com.
Marvel’s picture book Shake to Assembleis an interactive story that you might expect to see told with pixels on a tablet rather than printed on pieces of paper. Young readers are invited to tap, shake, flap, flick, and even tickle the pages to assemble their favorite team of superheroes.
On our first read-through, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Hervé Tullet’s brilliant book Press Here.Shake to Assemble will get kids giggling as they get hands-on with every page of this highly entertaining picture book.
These are not the serious Avengers poised to save the planet in Age of Ultron. This is a silly, just-for-kids version of the team: the hapless Hawkeye, a boisterious Thor, and five more Avengers to assemble the complete team. The text asks kids to touch the page or book in a certain way to call the next Avenger into action.
Without spoiling too much of the surprises each page holds, I will say that it’s a treat to see the roster selected for this team of Avengers. Thor, Captain America, Hulk, Hawkeye, and Iron Man are pretty much a given for any Avengers lineup, but I was delighted to see Falcon (in his original costume) and Black Widow join the others. My daughter was even happier. She paused to pat Black Widow and whisper, “You’re my favorite Avenger.”
While you might first wonder why the book wasn’t simply created as an app—especially when the narrator instructs you to swipe the page to make Black Widow appear—it’s a fantastic reminder that a fun story doesn’t need animation and sounds to be engaging.
Shake to Assemble hits bookstore shelves March 31, 2015, for a suggested retail price of $12.99.
GeekMom received a promotional copy for review purposes.
In comic book terms, Marvel is doing a reboot or hitting the reset button. Reboots are one of those weird phenomena specific to comics. Basically, the powers that be determine that their universe of characters have too much baggage, too much backstory, for any new reader to understand. The answer is rebooting and starting fresh with all the characters back to the beginning, perhaps with some new pieces, and perhaps with old, non-working pieces jettisoned.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that cleanly. DC has rebooted three times since the 1980s and each time, all the old stories were tossed aside and new ones were told. But sometimes the new stories were so similar to the old ones (see: Batman) that it was hard to remember what had happened to the Caped Crusader and what no longer applied. The Legion of Superheroes, which seemed to undergo perpetual rebooting, now has backstory so mixed up that likely only Mark Waid can keep it straight. I try and my brain melts.
Marvel Entertainment is, of course, now owned by Disney, and though details remain sketchy as to what the new universe will look like, a sure bet is that it’ll look more like the cinematic Marvel Universe. Because Disney isn’t satisfied with just the regular comic book market found in local comic shops. They want to reach all those moviegoers. This is likely their first step.
Xavier and Magneto Would Be a Couple in My Marvel Universe
A couple of years ago, I was playing a game on a comic board (the late, lamented Bendis Board on Jinxworld) and one of the exercises was to reboot and then recreate the Marvel Universe.
Not only did we have to decide what the new starting point was, we had to decide on creative teams, and also on weekly shipping schedules. To make the game interesting, we couldn’t just pick creators out of a hat. We had to use creators who could reasonably expect would agree to be on the books. However, our reboot differs from the real upcoming reboot in that it contains the X-Men and Fantastic Four, whose movie rights are owned by companies other than Disney. Odds are good that the new Marvel Universe will find a way to work around these characters.
Participating in our group were myself and fellow board members, Wayland Smith (Kingsmythe on the board), Kedd, Slewo O., Mark4Myself, and JasonWGBB007.
It was truly one of the most fun things I’ve ever done. You can see we took chances on going outside the box and changed the nature of relationship between Professor X and Magneto from the books. I’d argue it’s a slight change because, really, one only has to watch the X-Men movies to see the subtext that’s practically text.
Our basic concept of the reboot was that more single titles that covered many genres would be more likely to appeal to the audience that isn’t reading comics on a regular basis, especially those we could reach through the same-day digital issue via Comixology.
In our reboot, we could assign creators if they were plausible. But if this was truly happening, we’d have to get all these people to agree to take on the work. Not an easy task.
My favorite single pitch was the Dr. Strange book set into the 1930s as a mystic agent of the British government. A mystic Indiana Jones. I know, Marvel won’t actually do it but I’d love to see it. Hey, someone tell Kevin Feige and Benedict Cumberbatch about this please. And some of our titles have come to pass, such as S.H.I.E.L.D., which is now also a television series, albeit with a different cast.
So, GeekMom readers, what titles do you love that you’d like to see more of right now and, if you’re not reading, what kind of titles would bring you in?
1. Avengers–Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Iron Man, and Captain Marvel are the army to call in when all else fails. Uneasily aligned, their first task may be their last: How do you stop the all-powerful Celestials from remaking the Earth?
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Olivier Coipel
2. Captain Marvel–Carol Danvers is an Air Force colonel, test pilot, and superhuman by virtue of her contact with the alien race, the Kree. Her first mission as a superhero is to stop their secret experiments on the human race, and planned invasion of Earth.
Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Artist: Dexter Soy
3. Thor–For Thor, the god of Thunder, life has taken a turn for the worse: His father is missing, his brother is on the Throne of Asgard, and he is trapped on Earth. He must now use his godly powers to protect humankind, as well as find a way to return home and restore order to Asgard.
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Stuart Immonen
4. Iron Man–Billionaire inventor Tony Stark has a team of Iron Men to fight on the front lines of wars across the world, though with public opinion turning against his new weapon, Stark is fighting on multiple fronts. With support from his friend James Rhodes, and trusted assistant Virginia “Pepper” Potts, Tony fights in the boardrooms of his company and the military. But when money and finesse aren’t enough, Stark suits up as the Invincible Iron Man to protect what he holds dear and fight against threats to his company.
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: David Aja
5. Captain America–James “Bucky” Barnes, the new heir to the Captain America title, struggles to continue filling the void left by his old partner Steve Rogers the original holder of the mantle and fight the new evils of the 21st century alongside his partner: Rikki Barnes, his great-niece and the new Bucky.
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Gabriel Hardman
6. Captain America & Bucky–The history and legacy of Captain America through the decades. Featuring Steve Rogers and all of his successors.
Writer: Bryan Q. Miller
Artist: Dustin Weaver
7. Excalibur–The British lead European S.H.I.E.L.D. team. Made up of members from across Europe and focused on defending against regional threats, Excalibur tries to prove to the world that different cultures and nations are more powerful working together than against one another.
Cast: Captain Britain, Psylocke, Colossus, Pete Wisdom, Nightcrawler, the Black Knight, and Faiza Hussain.
Writer: Zeb Wells
Artist: Alan Davis
8. Hulk–Bruce Banner struggles to control the raging monster that exists within him, while rebuilding the life he saw torn apart by his own obsessions.
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Dale Eaglesham
9. Avengers: The Initiative–Under Commander Maria Hill’s direction, unaffiliated Avengers Operatives insert themselves into the worldwide superhero community searching for allies in the on-going fight against the deep seeded reaches of terrorist organizations like HYDRA, A.I.M., and Black Spectre.
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Bryan Hitch
10. League of Losers–Even henchmen have aspirations. Several low level henchmen from evil organizations around the MU come together at The Bar With No Name to commiserate, heal the wounds of a thousand beatings handed out by Spider-Man, Captain America, Luke Cage, and other heroes, and drink. But these lackeys want more out of life than being the punching bags for some roided up guy in a flag suit. They want to be their own boss. They want to create their very own super villain organization. But what will be their greatest enemy? S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Avengers or their own incompetence?
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Kev Walker
11. S.H.I.E.L.D.–SHIELD director Maria Hill leads a covert team of highly trained spies including Hawkeye and Black Widow, on the black ops missions that keep the planet from slipping into all out war at any moment.
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Mike Deodato
12. Thunderbolts–The Avengers’ rapid response team. When situations are spiraling out of control the Thunderbolts are sent in to hit hard, fast, and without mercy.
Cast: Luke Cage (leader), Valkyrie, an exile from Asgard, Goliath, Inertia, Sunspot, and Songbird.
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Terry Dodson
13. Alpha Flight–Canada’s super-powered team operating out of Department H and slowly making themselves known as big time players in the super powered arms race, but with increasing pressure from the Canadian government for more oversight, and a growing distrust from the Canadian public, how long can the team truly last?
Cast: Guardian, Vindicator, Sasquatch, Northstar, and Snowbird
Writer: Michael Avon Oeming
Artist: Esad Ribic
14. Black Panther–T’Challa has inherited the crown of the most technologically advanced and isolationist nation in the world, and his first act is to open the borders in an attempt to break down generations’ worth of paranoia and xenophobia. The only question now is will his external enemies get him before his internal enemies have a chance.
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Sara Pichelli
15. Young Avengers–The next generation of heroes. They’ve been trained, but being thrown into the middle of the fire won’t leave them all unscathed.
Cast: Patriot, a Captain America legacy character; Stature, the daughter of a S.H.I.E.L.D. scientist who was accidentally exposed to his growth ray; the mysterious Iron Lad; Hulkling, the result of Skrull experimentation on humans; and super-powered twins Wiccan and Speed who were found as babies after a botched S.H.I.E.L.D. raid. Their origins remain unknown.
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Artist: Humberto Ramos
16. X-Force–The U.S. Government’s blackops team of mutants that has existed since the first World War in some form or another. Their existence is on a need to know basis only.
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artist: Chris Bachalo
17. Uncanny X-Men–Magneto’s book.
Writer: Mike Carey
Artist: Tim Seeley
18. X-Men–Xavier’s book.
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Barry Kitson
Professor Charles Xavier and Erik (Magneto) Lensherr were friends, lovers, and are now enemies. Xavier believes in teaching peaceful co-existence between mutants and humans while Magneto offers mutants a chance to survive, if necessary, by pushing humans out of the way. They’ll fight each other for the hearts and minds of the next generation.
19. Deadpool–The so-called “Merc With a Mouth,” Wade Wilson aka Deadpool is out to prove he was the greatest product of the Weapon X program, and gain all the fame and adulation he can handle, as the World’s greatest mercenary.
Writer: Fabian Niceza
Artist: Mark Bagley
20. Exiles–Magda Lensherr ran away from her husband, Erik (Magneto), when it became clear that the need for power would eventually consume him. Now she fronts a loose organization of mutant outcasts and misfits, some hidden beneath cities across the world, some hidden in plain sight, like her children Wanda and Pietro. But soon, Xavier & Magneto’s war will pull her world apart.
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Amy Reeder
21. X-Men Legacy–A trip through the mutant past of the Marvel Universe, peaking into the younger selves of Xavier and Magneto as well as mutants of generations past.
Writer: Marjorie Liu
Artist: Chris Samnee
22. Wolverine–He’s been everywhere in the world and done everything except find a cause he can believe in. But with a possible war between humans and mutants, he can’t stay on the sidelines.
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Butch Guice
23. Fantastic Four–The first family of science. They are explorers as well as heroes, often finding new problems simply through Reed’s inventions. Classic line up of Reed, Sue, Johnny, Ben. Based in the Baxter Building in New York.
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Marcos Martin
24. Nova–Richard Rider is pulled in way over his head when is mistakenly granted access to the Nova Force. When the responsibility of defending the planet is thrust in his lap will he be able to rise to the occasion or will fear and self-doubt lead to the destruction of the universe?
Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Salvador Larocca
25. Guardians of the Galaxy–The universe is in chaos, with the fires of conflict spreading thick through the galaxy, something must be done. A group brought together out of necessity, rather than choice, forms to save everything. Star-Lord: Disgraced hero and now a wanted man, Groot: King of Planet X, Rocket Raccoon: Half-World’s top cop, Quasar: Protector of the Universe, Gamora: Deadliest Assassin in the Galaxy, Adam Warlock: Universal Savior. They’re brought together by Major Victory, a man who claims to be from the future, and the only one who can save the present from utter annihilation.
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Artist: Leonard Kirk
26. Inhumans–An offshoot of humanity created by the Kree and relocated by their advanced technology, the mighty king Black Bolt rules over Attilian, a mobile space station. With the Inhuman royals (Medusa, Crystal, Triton, Karnak, Lockjaw, Gorgon) they keep the peace aboard the station and deal with travelers, merchants, and criminals.
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Fiona Staples
27. Mar-Vell and the Starjammers–Kree Warrior Mar-vell is wanted by his own people as a traitor, he’s hunted by the Skrulls as an enemy and he’s hiding in Shi’iar space under the name of Corsair and leading a gang of pirates who try to be on the right side of justice. Crew: Hepzibath, Raza, Ch’od, Sikorsky, Xenith, and Lyja (a Skrull).
Creative team: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Artist: Declan Shalvey
28. S.W.O.R.D.–Tasked with keeping Earth safe from extraterrestrial menaces, S.W.O.R.D. is based on an orbital station, watching over their home world. Abigail Brand uses captured alien tech and whatever sympathetic aliens they can recruit to fight off the far too many aliens that are interested in Earth.
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Steve Sanders
29. Spider-Man–Peter Parker has been Spider-Man for only eighteen months and now he’ll have to enter the world as an adult following his high school graduation. As he moves out on his own, he’ll have to tackle college, dating, and a higher profile in the growing world of superheroes.
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Pia Guerra
30. Punisher–Following a deep cover operation gone wrong, Frank Castle’s family was targeted by a loose connection of crime bosses. Now Frank teeters on the edge of sanity, barely maintaining his day job as an ATF agent as his thirst for vengeance and his need to punish the guilty grows out of control.
Writer: Brian Bendis
Artist: Michael Lark
31. Daredevil–The city of Boston in a powder keg waiting to explode between the Irish mob, racial tensions, and the demands of a growing city. By day, Matt Murdock works within the flawed system, using his skills as a lawyer to right wrongs within the system, by night he takes to the streets as Daredevil using his fists to punish the criminals that escape through the cracks.
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Paolo Rivera
32. Marvel All Stars–Focused on short arcs and featuring team ups between street level MU heroes and villains. Cast rotates every arc or two.
Writer: Brian Bendis
Artist: Amanda Conner
33. Daughters of the Dragon–The Daughters of the Dragon are more plugged into the seedy underworld of the MU than any else. Acting as information brokers, vigilantes, and middlemen in the constant battle against the rot and decay of crime, the DotD prove that knowledge truly is power.
Cast: Misty Knight, Colleen Wing, Jessica Jones, Paladin, Cloak & Dagger, and She-Hulk as sometime lawyer, sometime muscle.
Writer: Paul Dini
Artist: Alex Maleev
34. Strange: Agent of MI:13–In the 1930s, Stephen Strange works as a field agent and occult expert for MI13, he circles the globe hunting for obscure artifacts and battling against rival occultists, demon obsessed Nazis, and the occasional death cult.
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Francisco Francavalla
35. Iron Fist–The Seven Capital Cities have been destroyed, and it’s up to Danny Rand to find whatever is responsible and hopefully rebuild the Seven Capital Cities of Heaven. But first, he must convince the champions of each city that he was not reason behind all of the destruction.
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artist: Cassandra James
36. Ghost Rider–Too stubborn to die, Johnny Blaze clawed his way out of hell hoping to redeem himself, now he’s on the run from angels, demons, and fanatic freelance spiritual bounty hunters. With nowhere to turn all Blaze can do is ride.
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: David Mack
37. Moon Knight–Marc Spector nearly died, should have died, and his life was redeemed by Khonshu, Egyptian god of Justice and Vengeance. He now fights crime as the Moon’s Knight of Vengeance. He uses an array of weaponry adapted from his career as a mercenary, and receives guidance in the form of intuition and the ability to fade into the darkness of the night. He is joined on his quest by Frenchie, a helicopter pilot from his merc days, and Marlene, his lover and manager of his wealth and businesses from his cover identity of Stephen Grant.
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Mark Texeira
38. Sleepwalker–Nightmares are escaping from the dreamscape and it’s up to the Sleepwalker and his human alter ego, Rick Sheridan, to make sure the world can sleep easy.
Writer: Joe Hill
Artist: Ben Templesmith
39. Midnight Sons–Blade and Damien Hellstrom hunt the things that go bump in the night, but their uneasy alliance and history of bad blood may destroy them before the monsters and demons get a chance.
Writer: John Rozum
Artist: Becky Cloonan
40. Nick Fury and the Howling Commandos–WWII action from Nick Fury’s perspective. Nick & his commandos are out in the middle of the Pacific, stranded, and first must rescue themselves from a raging sea, sharks, and enemy subs before they can even begin the job of getting to mainland China and driving out the Japanese invaders.
Writer: Chuck Dixon
Artist: Will Rosado
41. Rangers–A loose team in the American Southwest dealing with the unique challenges of the badlands, including sometimes fighting among themselves. Shooting Star is a markswoman with trick bullets of different types. Texas Twister controls small cyclones. Red Wolf is a Cheyenne warrior with connections to the Cheyenne wolf god. Phantom Rider is a mystically powered cowboy ghost. Firebird is a mutant with flight, energy, heat powers who sees Red Wolf as a collaborator with the white conquerors.
Writers: Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti
Artist: Paco Medina
42. Runaways–When S.H.I.E.L.D. takes down a major villain, their families are often left in disarray. Under the guise of creating stability, S.H.I.E.L.D. takes the children of captured super-powered villains into custody. In reality, they’re monitoring the kids for signs that they may just be the super villains of tomorrow. How far will one group of kids go to escape S.H.I.E.L.D. custody and prove that they are nothing like their parents?
Writer: Brian K. Vaughn
Artist: Adrian Alphona
43. Brother Voodoo–Thrust into the role of sorcerer Supreme, Jericho Drumm must hold line and defend the mortal realm against a continuous bleed of mystical enemies.
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Artist: Sean Phillips
44. Silver Sable and the Wild Pack–Silver Sable and her Wild Pack operate in the gap left between heroes like the Avengers and official groups like S.H.I.E.L.D. If the money’s right and the client’s credit clears, they’ll take the job. They work for private clients, governments that want deniability, and the occasional good cause when their PR agent screams loud enough. First arc: The Chinese government hires them to capture a band of new rogue supers, but the team learns all isn’t as it seems and start questioning the nature of the job.
Writer: Daniel Way
Artist: Jamal Igle
45. Power Pack–A family outing unexpectedly results in superpowers for a group of young siblings. Granted superhuman abilities by the mysterious ship they call “Friday,” Alex, Julie, Jack, and Katie Power decide to try becoming superheroes. But in a world still just adapting to the idea, what will the reaction be? The return of a fan favorite by the original creator.
Writer: Louise Simonson
Artist: Gurihiro Studios
46. Venom–Venom is an alien symbiote that escapes from SWORD custody and bonds itself to Flash Thompson, who’s just blown out his knee and won’t have that college football career he so desired. Flash tries to balance his ego, his newfound power, and his fear of the scary men in black who seem to be chasing him.
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Darick Robertson
47. Ka-Zar and the Savage Land–Lost as a child, Ka-Zar has come of age in the hidden world of The Savage Land. Now outsiders threaten to destroy the only home he’s ever known and Ka-Zar must bring together the squabbling factions of mutates to repel an enemy force like none they’ve ever seen.
Writer: Brian Wood
48. Marvel Two-Gun Western–Matt Hawk always believed in the rule of law until he moved West and found the rule of the gun only applied in Tombstone. As things get ever weirder around him and the town is put under siege by steam gadgets controlled by an immortal alchemist, Diablo, Matt’s going to have to call in all the help he can get, whether they’re wanted men or not.
Writer: Garth Ennis
Artist: Khoi Pham
49. Werewolf By Night–Cursed by the bite of a werewolf, Jack Russell is determined to find a cure, punish the creature responsible for his condition, and hopefully return to the life he was forced to abandon.
Writer: David Liss
Artist: Emanuela Lupacchino
50. Amadeus Cho: Prince of Power–The 7th smartest person in the MU is 16, loves riding his Vespa, playing with his puppy, Kirby, and has his hands full running the Olympus Group and reigning in the Olympian Gods that act as the board of directors.
Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Skottie Young
51. Union Jack–Set in the 1960s, Brian Falsworth is an MI6 agent charged with hunting down war criminals across the world. His mission takes us from the rainforests of Brazil to the Australian outback and anywhere else evil men may hide. Falsworth has seen how desperate men will stop at nothing to escape justice for their horrors they have committed.
Writer: Andy Diggle
Artist: Patrick Zircher
52. New Warriors–The New Warriors are young, popular, successful crime fighters funded by Lincoln Industries. They’re starting to think, however, that their boss is the vicious kingpin known as Tombstone and that he’s using them to eliminate his competition.
Cast: NightThrasher, Firestar, Debrii, Speedball, and MVP.
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Denys Cowan
Recently, I realized just how far behind I am with my Avengers universe watching. I only stuck with Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for a few episodes during the first season, and I haven’t seen the most recent installments of Iron Man, Thor, or Captain America. So I decided that I need to catch up on all of it in time for the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron (especially after seeing that second trailer).
Then, I decided I wanted to re-watch all of it—the movies and TV—in the right order. I’ve forgotten a lot, and I like an excuse to binge-watch pretty much anything.
But, what’s the right order?
This was a hard question. Marvel’s Agent Carterhas started, but I kind of want to watch it all after Captain America: The First Avenger—to see what Peggy Carter gets up to without the boys.I also want to re-watch Ang Lee’s Hulk, which I haven’t seen in 10 years. I know Marvel Studios likes to pretend it never happened, but that seemed like the most sensible place to start. And from there, my ultimate Avengers playlist took shape.
Hulk (2003): Again, I know the first Hulk movie never gets mentioned alongside the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After Universal put out Ang Lee’s version to all kinds of mixed feelings, Marvel got the rights back and completely reworked the story for the reboot in 2008. But, it’s still where it all started. Remember Eric Bana?
Where to get it: Amazon (DVD, Blu-ray, Instant Video), iTunes.
Iron Man (2008): The first “real” movie in the Avengers franchise, and the movie that made Robert Downey, Jr. an action hero.
The Incredible Hulk (2008): Edward Norton’s portrayal of Hulk is really fun, and I like anything with Tim Roth. Wow, I’d forgotten all about Roth’s Blonsky until starting this list. And Robert Downey, Jr.’s first (very brief) crossover appearance as Tony Stark. Must hurry up and get through the first two movies on my playlist.
Marvel’s Agent Carter (2015): I’m saving my episodes of Agent Carter for when I’ve made it this far in my playlist. Because I love what I’m hearing about the miniseries, and I really want to revisit her in Captain America first to refresh my memory.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season One episodes 1-7 (2013): I made it through the first six episodes of the show when it first aired, and then I lost interest. But then everyone told me it really picked up a couple of episodes later, after Thor: The Dark World was released. So, I was *thisclose* to getting hooked. I will try again.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season One episodes 17-22 (2013-2014): GeekMom Corrina told me major Winter Soldier spoilers abound at the end of the first season, so this is where I will pick up the series after watching the latest Avengers universe movie.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season Two (2014-2015): I’m hoping to squeeze in the current season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. before the big event in May, but obviously, I don’t know yet if the show will wrap around the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Since the movie’s release is May 1, I’m guessing at least the last couple of episodes of S.H.I.E.L.D. may pick up after the movie.
Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week we climb the trees to check out Squirrel Girl and take a closer look at Ant-Man.
Dakster Sullivan — Ant-Man (2015 – ) #1 by Nick Spencer with art by Ramon Rosanas (Cover by Mark Brooks)
With Ant-Man’s movie coming out right around the corner (July 17th, 2015 to be exact), it’s no surprise that Marvel would kick off a new series staring the insect-abilitied hero. The series is already showing its similarities to the movie in the fact that it’s Scott Lang that bears the name of Ant-Man rather than Hank Pym.
Scott’s main mission in this issue is to get a job that will allow his ex-wife to see him as more than a bum of an ex, which will in turn allow him to spend more time with his daughter, Cassie. Nick Spencer’s writing along with Roman Rosanas’ art really made me feel for Scott and by the end of the issue, I didn’t care that he wasn’t Hank Pym, the Ant-Man I’m more familiar with. It was a serious story with moments of lightheartedness that reminded me of Spider-Man.
I’m not sure where the comic book series will fit in with the movie, or even if it will fit in at all, but I’m excited to see more of this hero in the future.
Kelly Knox — The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1 by Ryan North and Erica Henderson
You’re probably asking yourself, “Who?”
It’s Squirrel Girl, Marvel’s part-girl, part-squirrel, all-fun mutant who has defeated the likes of Thanos, Wolverine, and Doctor Doom. And now, she’s a new college student! Doreen Green decides to move out of the Avengers Mansion attic and into a dorm room as she embarks on a new stage in her life. But that doesn’t mean she’s giving up being a superhero, as Kraven the Hunter finds out when the two cross paths on campus!
I love everything about this book, from the moment it kicks off with Squirrel Girl composing her own theme song, to North’s fabulous one-liners and sense of humor throughout the book. (Kraven’s trading card, don’t even get me started.) Doreen wants to earn her degree because there’s “more to being a super hero than just punching the strongest,” a message that won’t be wasted on young readers. While the book is rated T for teens, elementary age kids will find plenty to like—and Henderson’s art style is perfectly suited for young readers.
This unexpected addition to my monthly pull list is nutty (I had to say it), witty, and just plain fun.
Age Recommendation: 12 and up
Looking for something else, readers? Check out ComiXology’s website for a complete list. Personally, I’ll be grabbing SpiderVerse #2 and Star Wars #1.
Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week, I find myself disappointed in Guardians of the Galaxy, but excited to see where the next issue will take us. Meanwhile, Lisa finds a new love in an old classic turned movie, Kingsman: Secret Service.
Dakster Sullivan — Guardians of the Galaxy (2013 -) #22 by Brian Michael Bendis and Valerio Schiti
We open the issue to see Venom attached to Groot. There’s some fighting, random shooting by Rocket, and a weird flash to the Spartax Empire talking about needing a new leader. By the end of the issue, we are still on the ship and watching Venom go from one member of the Guardians to another with the ending being almost a copy of the previous issue. With this now going on for two issues, it feels like a running gag gone bad.
Every series has its dud issues, so I’m looking forward to the next issue taking the story in a direction other than Venom playing Duck, Duck, Goose with the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Age Recommendation – 12 and up
Lisa Tate — The Secret Service: Kingsman by Mark Millar and Matthew Vaughn with art by Dave Gibbons
I can’t believe I let this Mark Millar comic spy thriller, illustrated by Dave Gibbons (Watchmen), slip by me when when it was originally released as a six-volume series in 2012 and 2013. I first got wind of the story with the announcement of its movie adaptation hitting theaters next month. It was nice to find out the collected six issues were released in trade paperback form in February of 2014.
From the beginning, this was a fun, crazy take on the British super-spy genre, with a horrible-yet-hilarious plot twist that occurs in the first few pages. (I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but it involves Mark Hamill…yes that Mark Hamill).
It turns out, several sci-fi icons are being abducted, and it’s up to one of the world’s greatest spies, Jack London, to figure out how this is connected to some other shocking mass murders. This would be a thrilling story for any James Bond lover, myself included, but the true heart of this story is Jack’s taking-under-his-wing of his street thug nephew Gary (AKA Eggsy) to help him channel his street smarts for the greater good.
I tend to go hot-and-cold on Millar, who can be an incredible storyteller when he doesn’t feel the need for inserting so much shock value profanity and violence into his work it overwhelms the story. Kick-Ass had some great characters, but frankly left me cold. This may be the reason I first ignored the series, which I may have assumed would be not much more than Kick-Ass with a British accent.
Yes, it had its over-the-top gruesome moments, but they were certainly less prominent than Millar’s better-known series. I found this story much more satisfying, especially since there was a very real and redemptive quality to the character evolution of Eggsy. I felt myself wanting to see good things happen for Eggsy and his family. I was embarrassed for him when bad choices were made, was heartbroken for him when his was judged harshly for his less-than-favorable upbringing, and was impressed with his transformation. This type of sympathetic attachment isn’t something I usually get from Millar’s stories, and I salute him for showing this side of his writing talents.
Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:
Absolute Batman Incorporated HC
Action Comics #38
Aquaman And The Others #9
Batman Eternal #40
Deathblow Deluxe Edition TP
Detective Comics #38
Earth 2 #30
Earth 2 World’s End #14 Fairest #33 (Final Issue)
Flash Season Zero #4
Green Arrow #38
Green Lantern #38
Injustice Gods Among Us Vol. 2 TP
Justice League 3000 #13
Legends Of The Dark Knight 100-Page Super-Spectacular #5
Names #5 (Of 9)
New 52 Futures End #36 Scooby-Doo Team-Up #8 Kid Friendly
Showcase Presents The Unknown Soldier Vol. 2 TP
Sinestro Vol. 1 The Demon Within TP
Superboy Vol. 5 Paradox TP
Superman The Power Within TP
Swamp Thing #38
Wolf Moon #2 (Of 6)
All-New X-Factor #19
Amazing Spider-Man #12
Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 2 Edge Of Spider-Verse Prelude TP
Angela Asgard’s Assassin #2 Ant-Man #1 New Series
Avengers No More Bullying #1
Bucky Barnes The Winter Soldier #3
Death Of Wolverine HC Death Of Wolverine The Weapon X Program #5 (Of 5) Final Issue Hawkeye Vs Deadpool #4 (Of 4) Final Issue
Iron Fist The Living Weapon #8 Legendary Star-Lord #7 GM Recommended
Marvel Masterworks The Fantastic Four Vol. 1 HC
Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars Prose Novel HC Marvel’s The Avengers #2 (Of 2) Final Issue
Men Of Wrath By Jason Aaron #4 (Of 5)
Miracleman #14 Operation S.I.N. #1 (Of 5) New Mini-Series
Punisher Vol. 2 Border Crossing TP
Spider-Man 2099 #7
Storm #7 Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1 New Series / Kid Friendly
Uncanny Avengers Vol. 5 Axis Prelude HC Wolverines #1 New Series
Angry Birds Comics #7 Kid Friendly
Edward Scissorhands #3 (Of 5)
Judge Dredd Vol. 6 TP
Maxx Maxximized #15 My Little Pony Friends Forever #13 Kid Friendly My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic Vol. 6 TP Shadow Show #3 (Of 5) Kid Friendly Skylanders #4 (Of 5) Kid Friendly
Steve Canyon Vol. 5 1955-1956 HC
Sunglasses After Dark Full Blooded Collection HC Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Animated Vol. 5 Choosing Sides TP Kid Friendly
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Classics Vol. 9 TP Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles New Animated Adventures Vol. 4 TP Kid Friendly
Tom Sutton’s Creepy Things Chilling Archives Of Horror HC
WEIRD Love #5
Angel And Faith Season 10 #10
Drug And Drop Vol. 1 TP
Ghost Fleet #3
Hellboy And The B.P.R.D. 1952 #2 (Of 5) Lady Killer #1 (Of 5) New Mini-Series
Lone Wolf And Cub Omnibus Vol. 7 TP
Pariah Vol. 3 TP Usagi Yojimbo Senso #6 (Of 6) Final Issue
Starting at $39, SuperHeroStuff.com might have the most expensive mystery boxes for geeks, but you get quality products that you won’t want to throw away.
The boxes come in three different themes, DC Comics, Marvel, or Star Wars. The main difference between the boxes is the total worth of what is inside. A sidekick box costs $39 and you are promised over $60 worth of merchandise. The hero box promises you at least $70 in merchandise for $49. When ordering your box, you can request a men’s, women’s, or kid’s sized shirt for the Hero box. Certain times of the year kid themed boxes are available, but it’s not an ongoing thing.
To see what these mystery boxes were all about, I checked out a DC Sidekick box and a Marvel Hero Box.
Both boxes included a bumper sticker, paper craft, key chain, and a comic book.
This wasn’t my favorite box of the two, but I still loved everything that it came with and gave it a home within my office at work. My 9-year old son ran off with “baby Batman” as he calls him and has been attached to him ever since.
I love how they included feminine items since I requested a women’s shirt. The socks are super comfy and I wouldn’t mind getting a few more pairs in the future. I already had that same Captain America shirt, but welcomed it anyways since my current one was running a little small.
The only thing I’d change about these boxes is the packaging of the comics. It was a rainy Florida day when my box arrived and the bottom of the box was a bit soggy, which leaked into the box and onto my comic book. It’s still readable, but not in a condition that I would be able to trade it later on if I choose to do so.
Compared to other services I’ve reviewed, this was by far the most expensive, but also the most worth the expense. You know that you will be getting high quality merchandise and not cheap promo items thrown together. With three themes to choose from, you also stand a better chance of winding up with items you will enjoy. I plan on keeping my eyes peeled for more Hero and Sidekick boxes in the future. It’s a bummer that they’re not available by subscription, but maybe their popularity will catch on and SuperHeroStuff will offer it down the road. The next box offering will be in January 2015!
While surfing Facebook the other day, I found a BINGO card for readers and immediately tried to see if I could fill the card with books I’ve read.
I started to realize that I had a mix of novels and comics that I was trying to fit onto the card and then it hit me…why not make a BINGO card of my own, specifically for comic books?
A few hours later after looking over my own comic book shelf and pulling my brain apart, I had my BINGO card. In my excitement to create my game, I overlooked the fact that it’s my game and I can’t even get a BINGO. Well, it looks like I’ve given myself a challenge and it’s one I’m going to be skipping all the way to the comic book store to complete.
Here’s how to play!
Each square has a reading requirement. If you have read a title that fits the description, you get a check mark on that square.
Each title can be used only once (for example: If you use Guardians of the Galaxy as a “Best-Selling Title” then you can’t use it for the “Series that is now a TV show or a movie”).
BINGO is achieved when you have filled an entire row either horizontally, diagonally, or vertically.
So, can you claim Comic Book BINGO champion? How many squares can you fill?
Guardians of The Galaxy was one of the most popular films of last year, but considering how crazy we all went for the ragtag bunch of intergalactic misfits there’s shockingly little official merchandise available. I needed Star-Lord’s Orb for a cosplay and put together this tutorial for anyone who wants to have a go at making one themselves. They make excellent party bag favors and are incredibly fast and cheap to make.
What you need:
A Polystyrene Ball (the Orb should fit comfortably in your hand so consider whether you are making one for a child or an adult when choosing what diameter ball to purchase, mine was three inches in diameter)
A Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks (I used three sticks to cover my ball)
Black and Silver Paints (grey optional)—I used a mix of acrylic and enamel
Once there was a labbit and his name… was Deadpool. Deadpool Labbit was very sad, because he had no one to bounce his snappy wit at or photobomb. One day, the self-professed “cleaner of the gene-poool” arrived on the doorstep of a geek family. He was so excited to join their group, he decided they were worth keeping around.
Since that day, Deadpool Labbit has graced Universal Studios, Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Magic Kingdom, Chuck E. Cheese, Tampa Bay Comic Con, and several other places with his awesomeness. He’s had people ask for his photo and several wanted to know where they could get their own Deadpool Labbit.
Deadpool Labbit’s family told his fans to head to Kidrobot’s website to adopt their own Labbit for $50.00! Everyone was happy to hear that they too could have their own Labbit to buddy around with.
Some people thought that while Deadpool Labbit is awesome, his 7-inch size might be a bit to much for them to handle. “In that case,” replied his family, “check out the mini labbits! They’re only 2.5-inches and can fit in your pocket.”
With so many adventures already under his belt, Deadpool Labbit (or DL as his family calls him) doesn’t think life can get any sweeter, but it can and it will… very soon.
Deadpool doesn’t know it yet, but his next adventure will be taking him on the Disney Cruise Line to Nassau and Castaway Cay. With characters, food, swimming, and beaches, he might just find time to enjoy himself.
Welcome to this year’s back to school guide! We have a nice mix of gadgets, accessories, books, and clothing to outfit your student with for the upcoming 2014-2015 school year. We’ve got backpacks, fitness trackers, cameras, laptops, and books. Oh my!
Gadgets and Accessories
Misfit Shine ($99.00)
Shine is a wearable fitness tracker that is capable of tracking your activities and sleep with only a watch battery and Bluetooth technology. Misfit Shine comes with a magnetic clip and a durable sport band (I advise against using the magnetic clip because it falls off easily) and is available in nine colors.
PureGear: PureTek Roll on Screen Shield Kit ($24.99)
Why take the chance on spending $150.00 on screen repair when you can spend $25.00 and prevent it? PureGear: PureTek Roll on Screen Shield Kit is the easiest screen protector I’ve ever used and the first I didn’t have any issues with when putting it on.
PureGear: PureMove ($39.99)
PureMove is a comfortable armband holder for those who like to take their iPhone out on a run with them. I tested this with my own iPhone 5s and it felt very secure inside the casing.
Lenovo Flex 2 ($600.00) The Lenovo Flex 2 is the laptop of choice when it comes to needing enough power to get school work done without the worry of your student getting caught up in extensive online gaming. The screen flips 300 degrees for those who prefer to use the touchscreen element or watch a movie.
BiteMyApple.co: JUMP ($49.99)
If size matters to you when it comes to carrying around a spare battery, you can’t get much smaller than the BiteMyApple.co: JUMP. The downside to its size is that it will only give you around 30% more power on your iPhone battery and you can only use it once per charging cycle. On the upside, its small size allows it to fit in your pocket and it light as a feather to carry around.
JunoPower: JunoJUMPR ($99.00)
JunoPower: JunoJUMPR works on both your electronics and your car. Providing 12 volts at 300 amps it can bring your car or motorcycle back to life with the included jumper cables and it can also be used to charge your electronic devices.
Big Red Button – USB Powered Rage Relief Device ($14.99)
Who doesn’t love a big red button that they can push to make their screen blow up, make it look like they are working (or studying), or let them punch something in the face as many times as they desire? I have mine on my desk at work and it’s great for those moments I need a little stress relief in my day.
Polaroid Z2300 10-megapixel Digital Instant Print Camera ($179.99) To capture those special school moments, the Polaroid Z2300 brings an old school classic to new school. You can either print the photos you want to keep or save them to the camera and drop them on your computer. I like this camera because unlike previous Polaroid cameras, I can pick and choose what to waste my paper on. The 2×3 size paper makes it perfect for smaller scrapbooks.
Keyport Slide 2.0 Bundle – Ultimate Keychain Replacement ($99.99)
This is the master of all key rings. You can have up to six different keys or tools in this one compact case. I like the flashlight, 32 GB USB drive, and house key sliders. You can also have a bottle opener, pen, Nite Ize S-Biner MicroLock, barcode insert (for your reward card barcodes), and your car key even if it’s a chipped model. It’s your modern Swiss army knife.
Kikkerland KRL32TC Dog LED Keychain with Sound ($6.88)
Every backpack looks cooler with key chains hanging off of it, so why not make one of them useful? This adorable puppy shoots bright lights out of his eyes, lighting the way when needed. Oh, and you can also use it to hold keys.
Pyle Audio Light Up Erasable Board ($80.00) For those that want a cooler board than the traditional white board check out this cool board by Pyle Audio. I have one in my office and I use it to write encouraging messages to myself.
Building Block Flash Drive ($9.49)
Flash drives have become the new office supply that you can never have enough of, especially during back to school days. How about getting a few back ups, made to look like Lego building blocks, so the kids can have their own? Warning: These are just as painful to step on as real Lego bricks, so keep them off the floor!
Rubik’s Cube Flash Drive ($24.90)
What better way to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Rubik’s Cube than to have a few tucked into your kid’s backpack? Or maybe this is one item you can say you bought for the kids, but ends up in your office supply basket?
Iron Man Flash Drive ($10.99)
This is one way to make homework fun—load it up on an Iron Man flash drive! This is one back to school accessory that won’t get lost along the way.
Guitar Flash Drive ($9.69)
For all those musicians in your house, there is nothing classier than having your school flash drive be a small guitar. A fun conversation starter with teachers and friends.
AquaNotes ($7.00 each or 5-pack for $28)
Have you ever noticed that some of the best ideas or forgotten thoughts come to you while in the shower? That’s because when you are in the water, your mind goes into a kind of meditative state and things come forward that may have been pushed back. It drives me nuts when this happens because when I leave the shower I’ll more than likely forget whatever it was I remembered again. This is where AquaNotes comes in. AquaNotes are waterproof notepads that you can write in while in the shower. They are perforated so when you dry off, you can take your notes with you. The suction cups on the notepad and the pencil make it easy to attach to the shower walls in between you genius thoughts. AquaNotes come in traditional blank pages and fun word game pages.
William Shakespeare’s: Star Wars translations ($9.00 and up)
No class on Shakespeare is complete without Ian Doescher’s translation of the Star Wars trilogy. It’s by far the coolest way to learn and with references to original Shakespeare plays, it’s a fun way to get kids to find the hidden meanings. Check out the teacher’s guide to learn how to use these three books to help your child understand the Shakespearean language.
Nick and Tesla’s Gadget Glove ($10.00) Nick and Tesla’s Gadget Glove gets kids reading about a fun adventure between to kids and along the way, the reader is instructed on how to build the glove that the main characters use in the story. You don’t get all of the instructions at one time, so it encourages kids to finish the book to learn how to make the glove 100%.
Piggy Island ($9.00) Piggy Island takes readers into the world of the bad piggies from Angry Birds. Any Angry Birds fan will appreciate the humor in seeing how King Pig rules his subjects and what goes on when they are not fighting the Angry Birds. While it doesn’t teach mathematics or science, it will give your reader a break from the serious and enjoy some fun.
Yogi Bear: Life is a Picnic Basket ($9.00) For Yogi Bear, life is a picnic basket and in this hardcover title, Yogi gives advice on seeing the glass half full. I don’t think there is another bear out there who I would trust to give me life advice.
World of Warcraft Journal ($16.00) Journaling is a great way to reduce stress in your day and help you put your mind at ease before bed. Get your student off to a great start by giving them a cool journal they will be happy to take with them everywhere. While the theme of this journal is World of Warcraft, the name of the game is nowhere on the journal once you remove the paper wrapper, so if they are into Dragons, but not the game, this is still a cool looking option.
Marvel Heroes and Villains Poster Collection ($18.00)
Decorate that dorm room with some Avengers posters. For $18.00 you get 40 posters in a humble 11 x 17 size. My favorite part of this book are the movie posters they included. They are just the right size for the average size dorm room and you can swap them out easily for a quick change in decor.
Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor($9.00) With a main character with the name “Frank Einstein,” you know that something will get zapped by lightning and that’s when the real fun begins. The author did a nice job intertwining real science in with a story about a creative and fun main character.
Explorer Series ($10.00) The Explorer Series is the first graphic novel series on this list and for good reason. The story isn’t hero driven or politically oriented. It has beautiful art that draws you into the story and has enough humor, suspense, and darkness to interest kids today. Each of the books in the series revolves around something mysterious and are great for those that like to read multiple short stories that tie together in a nice little package.
NERDS Series ($8.00) NERDS stands for: National Espionage, Rescue, and Defense Society. What happens when a group of unpopular fifth graders start their own spy network and run it within the halls of their school? You get a fun story about kids turning their nerd qualities into extraordinary abilities with some James Bond-like villains thrown in. This series is told in a traditional chapter book format.
The Incredible Plate Tectonics Comic($ 8.00) Anytime I can learn something through a comic book format, I’m all for it. The Incredible Plate Tectonics Comic takes us on an adventure with Geo and his robot pup, Rocky, as they travel back in time to Pangea to wade the dangers that lurks there and race to get back in time for class.
Learn to Program with Scratch($24.00)
Scratch is a language that is kid friendly to learn and explore the basic elements of programming in general. The book is aimed at young minds and illustrates examples throughout the book. I’d recommend this title for anyone in the 4th grade and up.
Foundations in Comic Book Art ($19.00)
Get your inspiring comic book artist off on the right start with Foundations in Comic Book Art. With step-by-step lessons and exercises for future artists, this title will make a nice addition to their school books this year.
How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare by Ken Ludwig ($9.99 and up depending on format) Ken Ludwig, may be a successful playwright and author in his own right for Broadway hits like Lend Me A Tenor and Crazy for You, but his book How To Teach Your Children Shakespeare, celebrates another scribe, William Shakespeare, with contagious enthusiasm.
Rather than the dry interpretation of many of Shakespeare’s classics like Romeo and Juliet and The Tempest, Ludwig makes the stories—and The Bard’s writing style—adventurous and fun.
Readers are challenged, in Ludwig’s friendly, witty, and conversational style, to read passages aloud for themselves, then with their kids. Parents will also find themselves learning a bit more about Shakespeare in the process. They might even get some of the more melodic passages stuck in their head like a catchy tune (“I know a bank where the wild thyme grows”).
Although the primary focus of this book is the appreciation and interpretation of Shakespeare, its memory exercises can also help the mind stay fresh for other subjects and tasks.
Give this book as a companion book to any of Shakespeare’s works in book or video form.
Lunch Boxes and Backpacks
Cotapaxi Backpacks (starting at $79.00)
When choosing your backpack this year, consider Cotapaxi’s lightweight backpacks and give back to underprivileged children in Peru at the same time. The backpacks are built by designers from leading companies including: Nike, Columbia, Sportwear, and Marmot Mountain. The backpacks start at $79.00 and pays for a week of onsite tutoring for a child in Peru.
R2-D2 Tin Lunch Box ($29.99)
What Star Wars fan wouldn’t be excited about bringing their lunch to school in a cool R2-D2 lunch box? It has great reviews for durability and likability.
Hello Kitty Lunch Box ($19.99)
An adorable option for the Hello Kitty fan, this lunch box will inspire good nutrition and great conversation at the school lunch table.
Aquarius Fender Amp Lunch Box ($10.99)
Be the coolest kid at the lunch table with this authentic looking Fender amplifier lunch box. The teachers might be as intrigued as the kids sitting next to you.
Boombox Lunch Box ($12.99)
With detailed authenticity on every side, fool the teachers (or co-workers) into thinking you’ve brought some tunes along for the lunch hour. Deep enough for a thermos and cool enough for kids or adults.
OGIO: Newt Backpack ($99.00)
If your student has a laptop (up to 15″) to drag back and forth I recommend the OGIO: Newt Backpack. I use it for my laptop anytime I’m going out of town and it holds my laptop, a couple of notebooks, and plenty of comics to get me through my journey. The compartments for the laptop and its accessories are padded with a soft velvety material to protect them while in transit. There is also a chest strap for added support if they want to clip it in place.
Bag of Holding—Con-Survival Edition ($29.99)
ThinkGeek has given us the Bag of Holding and now they have the Bag of Holding—Con-Survival Edition. The really cool part about this bag is the clear vinyl iPad pocket that lets you work your iPad without taking it out of the bag. The soft area on the front is great for attaching patches and pins for collecting. I like to carry this when my daily tasks involve my iPad and taking notes.
Health and First Aid
MediBuddy First Aid Kit ($5.99)
These mini first aid kits come with all the basics (band-aids, sting relief, burn cream, etc.) and will easily fit in a backpack or mom’s purse. Kid-friendly packaging make them fun to carry. Maybe grab one for the bottom of the diaper bag too.
AAA 85 Piece First Aid Kit ($24.99)
Do you have a first aid kit in your minivan or other kid hauling vehicle? The first time you have a bee sting, bump, or cut while on the go, you’ll be thankful you thought of it. This one easily fits under the seat, is filled with all the essentials, and can be refilled as needed.
TOMS Red Chemical Structure Women’s Classics Slip-On Shoes ($54.00)
TOMS is celebrating back to school with this nerdy chemistry pattern. Comfortable, stylish, and geeky! GeekMom Ariane is happy to see them offered in women sizes, because TOMS has had some geeky patterns available only in men sizes in the past.
Her Universe Marvel Line ($20.00 and up)
Her Universe is full of awesome lines for the female geek to outfit their new school year. One of my favorites is the Captain America Cardigan because it’s light enough to carry in my backpack, but still keeps me comfortable in a cold room. When purchasing anything Her Universe, I suggest you go one size up to account for shrinkage. In terms of the cardigan, I would go two sizes up if you like it a little loose around your arms.
Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week, Corrina talks about her haul from Boston Comic Con, Princess Ugg continues her journey to be a true leader to her people, Sophie looks at a rather confusing issue of The X-Files, and last but not least, Lisa dives in with a one-shot Guardians title. Dakster Sullivan — Princess Ugg #3 written and drawn by Ted Naifeh
Princess Ugg is one of my favorite titles to come out of Oni Press. Actually, with its strong female lead and real-life struggles of young girls when it comes to fitting in and getting through life, it’s one of my favorite titles period. Princess Ugg is not the typical princess. After the death of her mother, she goes on a journey to learn as much as she can so she can one day rule her people to the best of her ability.
Issue #3 reveals what really set her on a path to a school where she is clearly the unwelcome outsider. Princess Ugg’s people are warriors and we learn that war has been her people’s way of life for so long, they don’t know of a time when there wasn’t fighting going on with someone. This was a path that Ugg’s mother wanted to change, but died too early to see to it herself. With her dying breath, she placed the burden to find a new way on her daughter.
Princess Ugg seems to be up to the challenge, but she still isn’t sure if she made the right choice in showing up at the school to begin with. By the end of the issue, we see Ugg make an ally at the school and get her first challenge to start learning what it is she needs to know to help her people.
I could say the same about all of these titles. I knew that the Marvel 70th Anniversary Collection, first published five years ago, would be good, but I didn’t expect it to include a cracky Captain America and Bucky cross-dressing tale, the origin of Groot, a wonderful story from Marvels about the first Human Torch, and a classic Spider-Man tale. If you’re unfamiliar with the Marvel Universe but love it from the movies, read this book. If you love Marvel already, read this book.
And in the same vein, Stern’s Invaders collection from the 1990s was a terrific, wonderful surprise, with the three main Invaders going up against Baron Von Strucker. (You might recognize the name from the after-credits scene at the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.) Plus: It’s an oddball Marvel super-team adventure, set in the 1950s. I love these kinds of stories. Heralds is a terrific contemporary story featuring many women in the Marvel Universe trying to help meld the former Galactus Herald Frankie Raye back into a real person. Hellcat has all of the best lines, but what starts as a fun romp ends far more poignantly, as the cost of heroism becomes clear. I haven’t read the Human Target book yet, but crime noir with Cliff Chiang art? SOLD.
Sophie Brown — The X-Files Season 10 #15 written by Joe Harris and drawn by Matthew Dow Smith
“There’s a lot of history here,” Scully tells us as she makes her first appearance in this month’s issue of The X-Files. She’s referring to Skyland Mountain, the location where she is now standing and from which, almost 20 years ago, she was abducted. However, she may as well be referring to the issue at large. This issue is a veritable treasure trove of easter eggs for fans. There are throwbacks to season two’s “Apocrypha,” season four’s “Talitha Cumi,” season five’s “Patient X,” and many many more. This issue wraps up the season’s second five-part arc, “Pilgrims”—at least it wraps it up as well as any X-Files mytharc story-line was ever wrapped up, meaning that there are a lot of questions left unanswered. During last month’s controversial Issue #14, Mulder was controlled by an alien entity named Sheltem and this month sees him quickly dump our gangly protagonist for reasons that aren’t altogether obvious. Jumping into the body of a local sheriff, Sheltem disappears into the night, but not after leaving behind a somewhat unnecessary body count for good measure.
There’s a really lovely reversal of a scene from season two’s “Ascension,” as Scully looks over footage from an in-car police video recorder to establish what has been happening to Mulder at Skyland Mountain. Her finding him safe and well (almost) at the bottom of the sky tram track feels like them coming full circle too, if we look back to 1994 when he fought his way to the top of the same track only to find her stolen away. The pair of them get to share a tender moment—and a genuine one too, as neither of them appear to be currently possessed or a shapeshifter this time. Scully strikes a somewhat heartbreaking figure as she stands alone, hugging herself and staring up the mountain as they talk briefly of their son, even if their talk is cut short all too quickly.
She experiences a terrifying flashback to the events of “Patient X,” either that or she has suddenly gained some sort of psychic super-sense as she stares wide-eyed into the forest and whispers to Mulder, “Don’t you feel it on the wind?” Away from Mulder and Scully, Krycek isn’t faring so well. Once again under the thumb of the Smoking Man, we get to see a level of violence and use of language that was omitted from the show’s TV days. We finally begin to piece together what has been going on with him throughout this arc, and when really considered, it’s altogether horrifying. Thrown into the events at Skyland Mountain by the CSM’s mysterious new superior, Krycek soon discovers that he might be about to experience a significant change in his life. I’ll be interested to see what direction his story will take now, as his character offers almost endless possibilities.
The issue ends back in the New York offices of The Syndicate. There’s a lot of old faces here, faces who even in silence pose their own questions. With one final throwback to the show, we get to see a final glimpse at the truth behind their re-appearances after the events of the movie and “One Son.” There are more questions here than answers, as always, but there are also new possibilities. Age Recommendation: Teen +
Lisa Tate — Guardians of the Galaxy #1 (Marvel 100th Anniversary Issue) written by Andy Lanning and Ron Marz and drawn by Gustavo Durarte and Edgar Delgado
The idea behind the release of this comic is more confusing than the story. Released as if it were prediction of what the comic might be like in the year 2069 (a century after the original Guardians of the Galaxy team debuted), it is also billed as a one-shot with an ending that might indicate otherwise.
The comic manages to make The Guardians even more off-beat, and the plot even more “out there” than before, but it isn’t done in such a way that is hard to follow. Duarte and Delgado’s artwork is just plain fun, and the character depictions are well-suited for the story. It was my favorite element of this comic. I can even see some die-hard Groot fans bringing this book to their neighborhood tattoo artist for design inspiration.
The character mashups and reinventions are plentiful: Gamora is Star Lord, Rocket has a trio of alien nephews/sons at his disposal, and Drax has returned to his Martian Manhunter-like old-school look. Iron Man is Tony Stark’s disembodied consciousness in mess of nano-bots. Lanning’s influence also brings back characters Vance Astro and Charlie-72. Cosmo the space dog also makes a much-appreciated appearance.
Galactus, the story’s main threat, has absorbed the Silver Surfer, which has turned him into, not surprisingly, Silver Galactus. There are some problematic story elements, in that those who haven’t followed Dan Abnett’s and Andy Lanning’s 31st Century Guardians series might feel as if they have been dumped in an unfamiliar group with no previous introduction. It’s not too hard to catch on though, and the story is still a fun and fast read.
Those who have been seriously following all recent Guardians of the Galaxy series might not want to take this one too seriously, but fortunately, the writers don’t seem to want readers to do much more than just hang on for the wild ride. Age Recommendation: Teen +
Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:
Astro City #14 Batgirl #34 Gail Simone’s Final Issue
Batman #34 Batman Earth One TP
Batman Eternal #19 Birds Of Prey #34 (Final Issue)
Coffin Hill #10 Constantine #17
FBP Federal Bureau Of Physics #13
Flash Vol. 3 Gorilla Warfare TP
Flash Vol. 4 Reverse HC
Green Lantern Corps #34
Green Lantern Wrath Of The First Lantern TP
Harley Quinn #9
He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe Vol. 3 TP
Injustice Gods Among Us Year Two #9
Invisibles Deluxe Edition Vol. 2 HC Justice League United #4 New Series
MAD Magazine #529 New 52 Futures End #15 Weekly Series New Suicide Squad #2 New Series
Preacher Vol. 5 TP Scooby-Doo Where Are You #48 Kid Friendly Smallville Season 11 Chaos #1 (Of 4) New Mini-Series Superboy #34 (Final Issue)
Superman Wonder Woman #11 World’s Finest #26
All-New X-Men #30 Amazing Spider-Man #5 GeekMom Recommended
Amazing X-Men #10 Avengers #31
Avengers Undercover #8
Avengers World #11
Captain America #23
Captain America Vol. 4
The Iron Nail HC Captain Marvel #6 GeekMom Recommended
Deadpool #33 Deadpool By Daniel Way The Complete Collection Vol. 4 TP
Deadpool Dracula’s Gauntlet #6 (Of 7)
Fantastic Four #8
Hulk #5 Inhuman #3 New Series
Marvel Universe Avengers Assemble #11
Nightcrawler #5 Nova Special #1 GeekMom Recommended
Original Sin #7 (Of 8) Spider-Man 2099 #2 New Series
Ultimate FF #6 United States Of Murder Inc #4 New Series
Wolverine And The X-Men #7
X-Force #8 X-Men #18
Dave Gibbons Watchmen Artifact Edition HC
G.I. JOE Silent Interlude 30th Anniversary Edition HC Godzilla Cataclysm #1 (Of 5) New Mini-Series Judge Dredd Anderson Psi-Division #1 (Of 4) New Mini-Series Littlest Pet Shop #4 (Of 5) Kid Friendly
Maxx Maxximized #10 My Little Pony Animated Vol. 3 The Return Of Harmony TP Kid Friendly My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic #22 Kid Friendly Squidder #1 (Of 4) Kid Friendly
Star Trek #36
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #37 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles New Animated Adventures #14 Kid Friendly Transformers Primacy #1 New Series Transformers Vs G.I. JOE #1 New Series
X-Files Season 10 #15
Abe Sapien #15 Blackout #4 (Of 4) Final Issue
Creepy Comics #17 Dark Ages #1 (Of 4) New Mini-Series
Ghost #7 Guns Of Shadow Valley HC Lobster Johnson Get The Lobster #5 (Of 5) Final Issue
Marvel Classic Characters Uncanny X-Men #94 #1 Storm
Samurai Executioner Omnibus Vol. 2 TP
Star Wars #20 Star Wars Legacy II Vol. 3 Wanted Ania Solo TP
Star Wars The Lucas Draft HC
Terminator Salvation The Final Battle #8 (Of 12)
Acronym Key: VC = Variant Cover / HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback
On a recent attic purge at the in-laws, we acquired something new to us: two boxes of the most varied ’80s comics you can imagine. The Toxic Avenger, Jello Man, Animaniacs, Spider-Man, you name it. My 4-year-old son could barely contain his joy. Having discovered comic books at PortCon last summer, he has read the few comic books he has so many times over they don’t even pretend to hang together anymore.
So for the last few weeks we have spent the early morning hours, little brother’s afternoon nap, and much of bedtime, curled up in the big armchair reading, but also not reading comic books. How do you not read a comic book you are reading? Well, it turns out that not all cutesy comic books are created equal. (I’m looking at you Warner Brothers.) Some that seem to be good for a younger audience on the surface, actually contain some interesting language and metaphor choices that we’d rather not explain at this stage. So we selectively read for some time, skipping over certain frames and pages, before determining that the collection needed to be culled.
We sat down one evening and went through hundreds of comics, determining which ones were good for now and which ones could be put aside for a few years. Now, some things are obvious. Most comic books that my friends read are not suitable for my 4-year-old. But some of the characters he loves, and that seem age-appropriate, aren’t always the best reading for little ears. So, if you get handed a collection of similarly random comic books, here are our criteria:
1. The Wolf Whistle Test. Any comics that depict a male character momentarily morphing into a wolf when a girl passes by—instantly gone. Don’t get me wrong; there are classic cartoons that contain this kind of imagery that I would love to share with him in years to come. At this young age, when he is absorbing the world around him like a sponge, that’s not an ideal I care to teach him.
2. The Language Test. None of the comic books we had in our stack contained any actual cursing, but there was a great deal of snark and sarcasm. Now, I am all about the snark and sarcasm. My pastor would say that sarcasm is one of my spiritual gifts, but on a 4-year-old, it is not cute. Animaniacs J’accuse!
3. The Violence Test. Some of the superheroes that my son adores are much more violent in the comic books than they are in the cartoons and movies. The language often describes what’s going on, but a picture speaks a thousand words. On the whole, I avoid many of the superhero comic books at this stage, but some of the more cartoon-like ones can still contain more violence than you would expect.
4. The Nudity Test. Closely linked to the Wolf Whistle test, this speaks more to the clothing of a character than the relationships depicted. A lack of clothing, on either sex, is a big no for our comic book library. My son gets more curious each day, and images in comics like The Toxic Crusader prompt questions that I’d rather deal with in about eight years’ time.
When all was said and done, we packed away about half of the Animaniacs comic books, most of the DC/Marvel lines, and were left with a good collection of Looney Tunes and Hanna Barbera comics. My son is perfectly happy with Yogi Bear, and hasn’t noticed the shrinking pile. It is much easier to read to him now that we aren’t stumbling to edit a sentence every page or so.
When a film gets such nearly universal glowing praise as Guardians of the Galaxy has, all those accolades can inflate expectations to such a degree that nothing could ever live up to them. So I realize that I’m only adding to the hype here when I say that Guardians of the Galaxy is every bit as epic, irreverent and plain old fun as you could hope it to be. But that’s just the way it is.
Director and co-writer James Gunn and co-writer Nicole Perlman, who is rumored to also have a script for a Black Widow floating out there (ohpleasemakethishappen), expertly traverse a diverse color palette of tones, always keeping that core of lighthearted mischief at the center. If you’ve seen the trailers, you should already have a good idea of what you’re in for, but rest assured that there are so many fantastic moments you haven’t seen yet, and they’re not all jokes.
Take the first five minutes, which punch you in the gut with a heart-wrenching death scene and then immediately whisk you away to the far reaches of the cosmos for a goofy solo dance number. You might think this would give the viewer a kind of emotional whiplash, and it does, but it also serves to establish a range right off the bat, to let you know that despite the jokes there are actual, emotional stakes here.
That sequence also does a great job introducing us to the film’s lead character, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), or as he likes to call himself, Star-Lord. Abducted from Earth as a boy, he was raised by a group of intergalactic outlaws known as Ravagers. Pratt infuses the character with his personal charm and unassuming heroism, and damn near carries the movie on his broad shoulders alone.
When Peter steals a mysterious orb and attempts to double cross the Ravagers by attempting to fence it himself, he becomes the target of a number of unsavory operators. Among them is the deadly assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana), the adopted daughter of powerful supervillain Thanos (who is mentioned more than he is seen, but is played by Josh Brolin in the quick glimpses we do get). She is sent to retrieve the orb by genocidal buzzkill Ronan (Lee Pace), who is in league with Thanos and becomes the de facto antagonist of the film. But Gamora has her own ideas, and her motives line up more closely with Peter’s than either of the big baddies.
Also on Peter’s tail are a pair of scrappy bounty hunters: Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), a wisecracking genetic anomaly who also happens to be a brilliant escape artist; and Groot, a sentient tree-man whose vocabulary is limited to the words “I am Groot,” exclusively in that order (those three words are given proper weight by Vin Diesel). These two are so good together they could support their own spinoff film, or an HBO series. If it weren’t for the inherent likability of Pratt and the formidable screen presence of Saldana, they would steal every scene out from under them.
The four come to blows and land in prison, where they add one final member to the team, Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), a muscle-bound brawler craving vengeance against Ronan for the death of his wife and child. He joins up with Peter, Gamora, Rocket, and Groot when he finds out that their mission intersects with his own and may bring him closer to the subject of his wrath. To his, and everyone’s, surprise, he finds himself coming to respect and even trust his new companions as they work together toward a common goal.
The impact this film will have on different audiences is bound to vary, depending on their familiarity with the source material and the Marvel universe. For those who know the Guardians of the Galaxy comics, the changes in many of the origin stories may be disconcerting at first, but it’s not hard to see why Gunn and Perlman made those choices.
As if to make up for that, there are some Easter eggs thrown in that only those fans will get. If you only know the Marvel movie universe, there are a few morsels thrown your way too, though some of them won’t pay off until far down the road in future films. And if you have no familiarity with any of those things, you’ll still have a great time discovering these characters and this world.
Be warned that the introductions fly by almost too fast, though. If there’s one issue I have with the film (and it’s a minuscule one compared to all the other great stuff), it’s that it moves at such a brisk pace there’s hardly any time to absorb all the new features of this cosmos before we’re thrown hurtling through it. Those familiar with the outskirts of the Marvel universe probably won’t be thrown off by the references to things like the Nova Corps, Xandar, and the Kree race, but everyone else may find themselves playing a bit of catch-up during the first act. Of course, that won’t be as much of a problem the second time you see it. Or the third. Or the fourth.
It’s also important to note the essential role that the soundtrack plays in Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s not just background music; it’s a part of the story. Peter’s Walkman and mixtape, which he had with him the night of his abduction from Earth, are his prized possessions and his only connection to his home planet and long-lost mother. The filmmakers took great care in selecting each ’70s track not just for its sound but for its thematic relevance to the story. From the catchy “Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Swede to the Jackson 5’s groovy “I Want You Back” to Redbone’s soulful “Come and Get Your Love” to the punky “Cherry Bomb” by The Runaways, these songs are the film’s beating heart.
For those who keep track of these things, Guardians of the Galaxy does pass the Bechdel test, but only just barely. There are a few quick exchanges between Gamora and her half-sister Nebula (Karen Gillen) during a pretty awesome fight sequence that hint at a much deeper story for both of them. Gillen looks amazing in her blue makeup and prosthetics, but Nebula amounts to little more than a one-note henchwoman for Ronan. The film doesn’t have the time to go into the relationship or history between these two fascinating female characters, which I would have loved to have seen.
In an era where sequels dominate the box office, it’s wonderful to see a giddy, visually spectacular, original film (at least, original in the sense that the title doesn’t have a Roman numeral after it) like Guardians of the Galaxy emerge from the pack to become the must-see movie of the summer.
And make no mistake, if you like science-fiction, comedy, action, or things that are good in general, you must see this movie.
If there’s one thing director James Gunn got right when making Guardians of the Galaxy (and he actually got a lot right), it was the casting. From top to bottom, the assembled group of talent on screen is truly impressive. I mean, we’re talking big names like Glenn Close and John C. Reilly in supporting roles with very little screen time (they make it count, naturally). As for the main cast, the film relies on each of them to bring a range of complex, sometimes even contradictory, qualities to their characters. They all have the capacity to be both noble and roguish, tough and vulnerable, deathly serious and lighthearted. Part of the fun of the film is watching the titular team come together as a group.
A couple weeks ago I got to watch many of those actors come together in real life at a press conference to promote the film. In attendance at the event were stars Chris Pratt, Michael Rooker, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Dave Bautista, Benicio del Toro, and director James Gunn. According to Gunn, it was the first time they’d been assembled in one place (Diesel provided the voice of Groot but didn’t play the character on screen and del Toro’s role is basically an extended cameo).
Pratt grounds the film as Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord, an ordinary human who was abducted from Earth as a child and raised by Yondu (Rooker), the leader of a group of intergalactic outlaws known as Ravagers. When Peter steals a mysterious orb he becomes the target of multiple pursuers, including bounty hunters Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Diesel), as well as a trained assassin named Gamora (Saldana). They all eventually cross paths with Drax the Destroyer (Bautista), a convict seeking to avenge the deaths of his wife and child, and must put their differences aside to face an even greater threat that could mean the destruction of the entire galaxy.
“I’m like so emotional right now,” Gunn said as the press conference began. “Because I’ve missed these guys so much. I luckily got to spend some time with Zoe and Dave last week, but everybody else I haven’t been around and it’s just an amazing moment for us, I think.”
Gunn wasn’t just passionate about his cast, he animatedly talked about the origins of the project and what it meant to him to bring these characters to life on screen. When asked about taking on a lesser-known property from the Marvel universe, he said that it was “liberating.”
“I think I would have had a harder time trying to fit into the regular Marvel scheme of things,” he said. “This gave me a chance to take what I loved about Marvel movies and Marvel comics and create a whole new universe, which really has been the most exciting thing in my entire professional career.”
For Pratt, it was also a big step. Until last year he was probably best known as lovable doofus Andy in Parks and Recreation. Then, he lent his voice to the lead role in the blockbuster film The Lego Movie, followed by this starring role in Guardians of Galaxy. He’ll next be seen on the big screen running from dinosaurs in next year’s Jurassic World. Despite all the increased attention, Pratt taking this new career direction in stride.
“I’d been sort of having an identity crisis as an actor,” he said. “I didn’t know what I was, if I was a action guy or a comedy guy. And I thought maybe I could do a combination of both, but there’s nothing out there that’s like it. [I thought] maybe I have to develop something, And my manager just kept saying, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy, man.’ I said, ‘All right, maybe you’re right. Let’s go meet on it.’ And then James said, ‘I just want somebody to do their thing.’ And part of me thought, ‘Okay, well then I’ll just do my thing and if it’s not right, that’s okay.’ But I had an idea what that thing was and it was the thing that I got to do in this movie.”
Each of the actors in turn got a chance to talk about what their role in the film meant to them and what attracted them to it. Though Saldana was cast late in the process and arrived last on set, she said had a very specific view of how to portray Gamora when she arrived.
“I just didn’t want Gamora to look like any typical action person that’s just like very martial artsy and just does that Underworld jump and lands and the ground breaks and shit,” she said. “I wanted her to be a little more graceful and sleek, very classy in the way that she fights.”
The inspiration hit her, she said, as she was watching some footage of a Spanish bullfighter in action: “I’ve never seen somebody move so smoothly. It was just such a seductive dance. And I thought, ‘Well, that’s Gamora.’ She’s a woman and she just has to be very seductive in the way that she tricks her enemy into falling into their own death. And I thought. ‘Well, that’ll be interesting to do. I’ve never done that.'”
Just as Gunn gave Saldana the freedom to play with her character, del Toro also appreciated the way the directed allowed him to take chances with the smaller role of Taneleer Tivan, aka The Collector.
“I felt like I could explore the character in every way I would have wanted to,” del Toro said. “And James was very supportive to taking chances and trying different things. And I felt like an animal that grows up in a cage and suddenly you open the door and he comes out and he’s tentative to take chances. James was very, very nice to me to allow me to like go, go, go, go, go. And so at the end I was like, ‘Oh, I could have done this, I could have done that.’ But it was a great feeling.”
One of the most heartfelt moments in the press conference came when Diesel talked about the timing of the project, coming as it did on the heels of the death of his friend and Fast and Furious co-star Paul Walker in November of 2013. As a gentle, humanoid tree, Groot symbolized growth and regeneration in a way that spoke deeply to the actor at the time.
“It was at a very important time when I did this movie because it was in December and it was the first time I was coming around humans again and the first time I was working again,” Diesel said. “And there was something very therapeutic about in my personal life— I guess in my professional life, too—dealing with death and then playing a character that celebrates life in the way that Groot celebrates life. I took my kids to a screening to see this movie and they walk around the house reciting Star-Lord, Gamora, and all the characters. Something very beautiful happened in playing this role. Something that as an actor I never would have imagined.”
Guardians of the Galaxy opens in theaters on Aug. 1.
Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. Today on Comic Book Corner, a storm is brewing with Storm, Wonderland, and The Unwritten set to take the stage.
Dakster Sullivan — Grimm Fairy Tales verses Wonderland #1 of 5 by Troy Brownfield and art by Luca Claretti
I’m not a huge fan of Zenescope’s Wonderland series, because it’s a very dark and can be a pretty gruesome story-line to read. When I realized that Wonderland would be going up against Sela in this mini-series, I put aside my feelings about the art and started down the rabbit hole.
My curiosity was rewarded with not one, but two strong female leads, one of whom is also a mother.
The overall first book seems to be just a huge misunderstanding after Sela (Grimm Fairy Tales Heroine) decides to kick tail before asking questions. I’m not surprised though, because she states early on in the story that she hates “Wonderland crap.” The violence that was there wasn’t overwhelming like watching a slicer horror flick. Considering how this issue ended, I’m excited to see what happens next. I might even have to pick this up when it comes out in trade.
Kay Moore — The Unwritten Vol. 8: Orpheus in the Underworld and Vol. 9: The Unwritten Fables by Mike Carey and art by Peter Gross
In this collected volume of issues (42-49 of The Unwritten), the story spirals around, with many main characters, including Tom Taylor, visiting Hades. He discovers that right and wrong and debts and gifts are not read the way we write them. Carey subverts my unconscious ideas of the underworld, minions, dark lords, sidekicks, and dozens of other tropes while simultaneously honoring them—an approach that had me wondering about my own interpretations. With The Unwritten series sprawling through all of fiction and all of the world, I was afraid that as it progressed, it would become unreadable, but this graphic novel answered some of my questions, gave me some new moves to admire, and had me breathless again for the next installment. Age recommendation: 17-years-old and up.
The Unwritten Vol. 9: The Unwritten Fables by Mike Carey, Bill Willingham, Peter Gross, and Mark Buckingham is a cross-over between The Unwritten and Fables, both iconic, idiosyncratic, and entertaining comic storyverses. Our story begins with Unwritten‘s Tommy Taylor seeking to mend the wound that threatens the bonding of stories and the material world. At the same time, in a Fables storyverse, the mundane Earth and many other lands have been overtaken by a dark lord and a small surviving contingent of Fables are using spells to resist him. When Tommy’s and the Fables’ paths and purposes cross, another ingenious story is set in motion. In the Unwritten series, I enjoy the richness of literary references; in this telling, there are all sorts of childhood fables incorporated from Bill Willingham’s popular Fables mega-series. I read it as a natural marriage of stories, weaving the strands of other stories and creating one beautiful tapestry that entertained and occasionally surprised me.
Age recommendation: 17-years-old and up.
GeekMom received a review copy of these titles.
Kelly Knox — Storm #1 by Greg Pak and Victor Ibanez
X-Men was the first title I read as a kid, and the reason I really got hooked on comics. I loved the team dynamics, and found the characters endlessly fascinating, especially Storm. Ororo Munroe is compelling and mysterious, but always seemed aloof and enigmatic. Storm #1, out last week, re-captured the feeling I had then toward the title character, but is filled with the promise that I’ll finally get to know Ororo Munroe.
The first issue of Storm’s ongoing series opens with her floating in the clouds, and thanks to Victor Ibanez’s gorgeous art, you feel like you’re hovering alongside her. In every panel she seems regal and powerful (which is no surprise since she was once a queen). In this first issue, you see Storm on her own for most of the story, but still get the team dynamic that I love so much about the X-Men as Hank McCoy provides support.
The action also shifts to the mansion, or The Jean Grey School for Higher Learning as it’s known now, showing you both sides of Storm’s life as a hero and a headmistress.
Storm #1 is an excellent place to get into (or back into) comic books. The story is clearly just getting started, and there are no references to other goings-on in the Marvel Universe that might make you feel like you’re missing out on something. If you’ve ever loved the X-Men, pick up Storm #1 to get back into their world.
DRM Free Backups Available from ComiXology…Sort Of
ComiXology announced the latest update to their service allows for you to download DRM free backups of “some” of your purchases. By some, they mean none of the major publishers are included. I can understand why Marvel and DC Comics wouldn’t want their customers to back up their comics. It’s like giving us a paper copy of it to pass along as they…wait…ohh that’s what we do with our regular comics isn’t it? Okay. In that case, I don’t understand why they wouldn’t let their customers have their comics in a form they can back up.
I currently have over 1,200 comics in my ComiXology account, and of those books only about 20 are available to back up. You could say I feel a little bummed and cheated by this new service. Especially since the books that I’m able to download a back up of, I don’t care about because they were free to begin with. Hopefully Marvel and DC Comics will work something out so their customers can actually own the comics they buy, but until then, I’m not holding my breath.
Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:
Adventures Of Superman #15 Ame-Comi Girls Vol. 2 Rise Of The Brainiac TP GM
Aquaman Annual #2
Batman Eternal #17 Batman Li’l Gotham Vol. 2 TP Kid Friendly
Batman The Dark Knight Vol. 3 Mad TP
Batman The Dark Knight Vol. 4 Clay HC
Batwing Vol. 4 Welcome To The Family TP Bodies #1 (Of 8) New Mini Series DC Comics Presents Batman Adventures #1 Kid Friendly
Detective Comics Annual #3
Doom Patrol Omnibus HC Harley Quinn #8 GM
Justice League #32
New 52 Futures End #13
Red Lanterns Annual #1
Sandman Overture #3 (Of 6)
Smallville Season 11 Special #5
Vertigo Quarterly Magenta #1 Wake #10 (Of 10) Final Issue
100th Anniversary Special Guardians Of The Galaxy #1 Movie comes out Friday!
All-New Invaders Vol. 1 Gods And Soldiers TP
All-New Ghost Rider #5
Avengers World #10 Cyclops #3 New Series
Deadpool Dracula’s Gauntlet #4 (Of 7) Guardians Of The Galaxy #17 GM Hawkeye #19 GM
Human Torch By Karl Kesel And Skottie Young The Complete Collection TP
Iron Man Special #1
Iron Patriot #5
Marvel Masterworks The Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 8 TP
Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy The Art Of The Movie Slipcase HC
Mighty Avengers Vol. 2 Family Bonding TP
New Avengers #21
Original Sin #3.3
Runaways The Complete Collection Vol. 1 TP
Secret Avengers #6
Spider-Man The Complete Alien Costume Saga Vol. 1 TP
Superior Foes Of Spider-Man Vol. 2 The Crime Of The Century TP
Ultimate FF #5
Uncanny Avengers #22
Uncanny X-Men #24
X-Men Magneto Testament TP
Cartoon Network Super Secret Crisis War #2 (Of 6) Kid Friendly
Danger Girl May Day #3 (Of 4)
G.I. JOE The Complete Collection Vol. 5 HC
Infestation Omnibus TP
Jinnrise Vol. 2 TP
Locke And Key The Covers Of Gabriel Rodriguez HC
Metal Gear Solid Complete Deluxe Edition HC
Rip Kirby Vol. 7 HC
Samurai Jack #10
Star Slammers Re-Mastered #5
Tales Of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vol. 5 TP
Transformers Robots In Disguise #31
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Veil #4 (Of 5)