I Am the Princess and the Pea; I Am the Wolverine

I was having a horrible night of sleep (again), in pain, and woke up trying to locate the sea urchin that must have been shoved in my bed. I sat up and found the source of my agony: a wrinkle. One wrinkle in the sheet. Just one.

I stared at it and my exhausted brain cursed, “I am the $#@$ing ‘Princess and the Pea’.” A true princess is so sensitive that twenty mattresses cannot keep her from feeling a single pea underneath them all. It really sucks to be a true princess. Can I be a hardy peasant instead? Alas, I have to keep my royal pedigree to rule my vast lands.

If only hyper-sensitivity came with riches and servants. Instead, I get the migraines and sleepless nights without any seeming benefit. But my geeky-themed mind likes to twist my fate to the fantastical. Maybe the “Princess and Pea” was based on an actual princess who was sensitive like me? Spinning her bad physical luck into a badge of honor: Royalty is more perceptive than the average populace. Don’t try to pull anything on that princess because she can detect a tiny vegetable under her bedding!

The world is a lot to handle for the average person, but what about those with super senses? Continue reading I Am the Princess and the Pea; I Am the Wolverine

Geeky Tea Art

small wolverine with tea
Image By Lilianna Maxwell

Everyone has their way to unwind. For me, I like to browse fan art, especially when the artist takes liberties with the clothing, environment, or other characters. I asked my daughter to draw me having tea with Wolverine one year for my birthday, and you can see that she made me an adorable old lady with my fictional guy. (Apparently, my jokes are so funny his claws came out.)

Lately, I’ve combed DeviantArt to find fan art with tea. Combining my geeky interests with my love of tea on artwork might sound like a challenge, but it’s not. I am not alone with my obsessions! Here are some of my favorites:

First, here is an artist who is drawing a tea-inspired artwork EVERY DAY for a year. She often puts in her fan favorites from Miyasaki, Avatar, and Disney; it’s great. Check her out!


Image by Tea-For-JBASS


Even stormtroopers need a tea break :

Image by ziggy90lisa


Here is Loki as the embodiment of matcha :

Image by audreymolinatti

So how do you unwind? Art? Fandom? Add some tea!

(Images used with permission.)

Avengers Assemble for Marvel Universe Live!–Show Review

Avengers Assemble \ Image courtesy of Field Entertainment
Avengers Assemble \ Image courtesy of Field Entertainment

With 25 heroes and villains taking the arena floor to battle it out for the ultimate power (the Tesseract), you can bet I wanted in on some of the viewing action for Marvel Universe Live. I’m fortunate enough to have had a chance to check out everything the tour has to offer, from the show, to the souvenirs, to the food during a show at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida.

There was the good, the bad, and the really expensive.

My first stops at any show are the souvenir and food stands. They had some really cool looking items including a show prequel comic book, a hoodie, and several toys. However, I walked home with none of it because of high pricing. The comic book cost $20 (the sticker price “justified” due to the comic also containing a program), the hoodie cost $50, and the toys ranged from $10 and up.

The show food (like snow cones and popcorn) ranged from $8 (popcorn in a box) to $15 for a snow cone in a souvenir cup. There was quite a bit of snow cone in that cup, but not $15 worth. I originally bought the “fresh” popcorn ($12.50 in a souvenir bag) and returned it because it tasted horrible.

After giving in to a snow cone, we started on our quest to find our seat. On our way, we stumbled on a green screen photo opportunity, but the $19.95 price tag didn’t entice me enough to stop walking.

Our seats were looking straight down the stage and I couldn’t have asked for a better view, which was funny because our seats were the cheaper of the seat priced in the lower bowl.

The show starts with a neat introduction of the Marvel Universe on the main screen of the stage and the fun begins.

The story begins as Loki starts up trouble by discovering that mutant DNA (he uses Storm, Cyclops, and Wolverine as his unwilling DNA sources) can be used to create a new Tesseract. Wolverine escapes thanks to Iron Man and S.H.E.I.L.D, but Loki gets away with Storm and Cyclops. From here we are introduced to our leading cast: Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Black Widow, Captain Marvel, Falcon, Wolverine, and Bruce Banner/Hulk.  In order to defeat Loki, they need to put the Tesseract back together and use it against him and break up into three teams.  Wolverine is his usual self and goes rogue, and Banner goes with him just in case he runs into trouble.

With the hero teams formed, the main villains are revealed. They are Loki, Green Goblin, Rhino, The Lizard, Killian, Red Skull, and Madam Hydra. There are also a few smaller roles thrown in to fill things out, including Hydra Agents, Chitauri, Extremis soldiers, Electro, and Black Cat.

First, Iron Man, Hawkeye, and Captain Marvel fought Dr. Aldrick Killian and his Extremis soldiers. This fight was pretty interesting in terms of the special effects used. My son didn’t take his eyes off the stage during the final moments thanks to Killian walking out on fire.

The second team-up was Thor and Spider-Man against the Green Goblin, Rhino, Doc Oc, and The Lizard. This was by far my favorite scene because it had all of the elements of the web-crawler and Thor that I love. Spider-Man’s sense of humor and Goblin’s reactions were right on target each time. This scene included a nice mix of stunt work and hand-to-hand combat. Black Cat and Electro both made brief appearances and I’m a bit surprised that Electro was wearing a modification of his comic book costume rather than the more recent version from the movie.

The final team-up was Captain America, Black Widow, and Falcon against Red Skull and Madam Hydra. This was the most disappointing part of the show because 95% of it was done on motorcycles versus using other effects to even it out. Falcon was in his comic book costume and stretched his wings a bit, but he was mostly there to deal with the Hydra Agents. Black Widow was pitted up against Madam Hydra while Cap took on Red Skull.

It felt like they over-saturated the scene and diluted the audience’s attention too much. I missed a really cool motorcycle stunt by Captain America and Red Skull because I was looking at Black Widow.

In between the fight scenes, Wolverine and Hulk came out to do small bit-parts while the tech crew set up the next major fight. These might have been smaller scenes for the characters, but the creators did them justice. It was hard to pay attention to the set change when Wolverine and Bruce were exchanging funny dialogue and stunts.

The finale battle brought everyone from all of the fights back out on the main floor. Captain America and his team were late to the fight and while the character said they had a reason, I couldn’t pick up on it in their previous fight scene. The final battle is also where we finally get to see Banner go all green with anger and Hulk-out.

At the end of the show, I thought back on the characters they included and what I would have changed.

For starters, I would have given Storm a stronger part or used one of the weaker X-Men in her place. Her presence demands respect and at least a few special effects, neither of which she was given. Cyclops was a good choice for the part he played, but he was also underused in the special effects and combat choreography department. I would have replaced Falcon with Black Panther and added Vision in to the mix. I understand that neither of these characters are as well-known as the rest of the team, but hey—let’s educate the kids in the audience.

On my way to the car, I talked about the show with my 9-year-old son and my brother. My son couldn’t say enough about it. He loved it from beginning to end. Captain America was his favorite part because of the motorcycle stunts. My brother decided that it wasn’t as cheesy as he originally thought it would be. While there were some cheesy  moments, there was a nice balance of corny and really awesome moments.

I’m happy to have had my two hours with the Avengers and hope they make this a regular tour with different story-lines in the future.

Tip to our readers: If you are planning on buying tickets for the show, try to get tickets from the angle you see in my videos. As you can tell from the footage, quite a bit of the show is dark (meaning you won’t be able to see key parts) in certain areas of the arena. 

This event is appropriate for all ages, but will probably be more enjoyed by younger fans. For ticket prices and show dates, check out Marvel Universe Live.

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Disclaimer: GeekMom received tickets for this event.


The World According to Wolverine

The World According to Wolverine \ Image: Insight Editions
The World According to Wolverine \ Image: Insight Editions

After reading The World According to Spider-Man, I had to pick up The World According to Wolverine,  because I was curious how the writer would take Wolverine’s berserker rage and tame it down for all-ages.

There’s a lot about Wolverine’s world that, until recently, has been a mystery. Wolverine takes the time to clear some of it up himself in his own words. He admits that he has a few rough edges about him that tend to leave blood behind (and it’s generally not his). Since this is a kid friendly book, he mentions a few of his past mistakes without getting into the guts-and-gore of it all.

The writer chose the smart path and based this Wolverine off of the more recent incarnation where Logan is the Headmaster of the Jean Grey School for the Gifted. He admits in the beginning that he may not be the best person to give out the sort of advice included in the book, but decides to do it anyway hoping the reader will learn from his mistakes.

He goes in order through his history as a child who discovered he was a mutant (check out the Wolverine: Origin comic book series) and continues through his days on the X-Force and up to his current position with the X-Men.

At each stage in his life, he uses his past to teach a lesson about working on a team, trusting others and yourself, dealing with loss, and how to take a step back and focus on your internal struggles verses always throwing your fist around when you get mad.

Don’t expect the witty sarcasm in this title that was in The World According to Spider-Man. Wolverine is in true character: by that I mean he tells it like it is. He warns his readers several times about being careful when it comes to making stupid choices.

I’m a big fan of anything Spider-Man / Wolverine, so I was really happy to see two pages dedicated to their at-times forced partnership. I was even happier to recognize some of the references Wolverine makes to their adventures together, including being stuck back in time together (one of my favorite Spidey / Wolverine stories).

There are some inserts in this book, but none of them really jumped out at me as anything special. They’re worth checking out when they show up in the book.

If you, or someone you know, would like to learn more about Wolverine and what makes him tick, you should check out The World According to Wolverine. It will give you a nice rounded view of the man with the claws and why he is the way he is.

Disclaimer: GeekMom received a review sample.

Father’s Day Gift Guide 2014!

Happy Fathers Day! \ Images by  Dakster Sullivan
Happy Fathers Day! \ Images by Dakster Sullivan

Welcome to this year’s Father’s Day Gift Guide! With the big day just around the corner on June 15th, we’ve come up with a list of items we know any dad would love. Whether your dad is into books, clothes, electronics, or toys, we have them covered!


Astonishing SpiderMan & Wolverine \ Image: Amazon
Astonishing SpiderMan & Wolverine \ Image: Amazon

Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine
What could be better than seeing heroes that are polar opposites having to work together to survive an out-of-control journey through time? I can’t think of anything. Watching the witty and intelligent Spider-Man being forced into a team-up with a guy like Wolverine, someone not known for his patience with the webcrawler, is pure fun from start to finish.

Cost: $15.00 on Amazon

Birdmen: The Wright Brothers, Glenn Curtiss, and the Battle to Control the Skies by Lawrence Goldstone
Birdmen is a true story about the feud between the great air pioneers and the dangers they faced in air and on the ground to achieve their dream. This is a great book for the history-loving dads!

Cost: $20.97 on Amazon

Tic Tac Tome
For the dad who likes a challenge, Tic Tac Tome is for him. At first, I wasn’t 100% sure about this one, but after playing it myself, I’ve found it be a nice way to take a break at my desk. Essentially what you’re doing is playing against a book in the game of tic tac toe. What makes this challenging though is there is only one way to beat the book. It’s a fun book that anyone can play with (or get frustrated with).

Cost: $9.00 on Amazon

Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities
Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities is a highly curated selection of the most awesome tools available. The term “tools” includes maps, software, DIY books, gizmos, pretty much anything highly useful. Tools include hand tools, maps, how-to books, vehicles, software, specialized devices, gizmos, websites, and much more. This huge book reviews 1,500 items. It’s impossible to open it without digging in.

Cost: $29.97 on Amazon

Make: Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing
Make: Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing \ Image: Amazon

Make: Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing 2014
Make: Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing 2014 is the go-to resource for the latest in 3D printing technology, feature and model comparisons, plus 3D printing tutorials.

Cost: e-book $7.99, paperback $9.49

Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers: The Secrets of Ancient Fermentation by Stephen Harrod Buhner
There are plenty of books on home brewing. You won’t find another volume like Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers: The Secrets of Ancient Fermentation. The author writes about ancient beer that was made for ceremonial use, healing, and daily use. Certain plants were included to give the brew stimulating, aphrodisiacal, euphoria-producing, even psychotropic properties. Hops weren’t commonly used, since hopped ale was known to dull the senses and diminish desire. That all changed when authorities instituted regulations that standardized hopped beer. Yes, the author provides recipes for authentic ancient ale made from those magical plants.

Cost: $31.00 paperback

A Playful Path
The newest book by fun guru Bernie DeKoven, A Playful Path, is made up of tools and ideas to inspire the possibility-building, wide-open glory of playfulness in work and family life. It’s really an essential guide for How to Be Human.

Cost: ebook free, paperback $21.95


Image: JunoJumper
Image: JunoJumper

JunoJUMPR is a portable battery that let’s anyone jump their car without having to flag down a second car to handle the jumping part. In addition to jumping your car, you can also use it to charge your USB devices. For the dad who wants the stats, this little guy packs an impressive punch with a 6,000mAh lithium polymer battery and can produce a 12 Volt output at a peak of 300 amps. The best part is that it only weighs 7 ounces and is the size of an average cell phone, so you can carry it anywhere. 

Cost: $89.99 on JunoJUMPR’s website

Phiaton: Chord MS 530 Wireless, Noise-Cancelling Headphones
The Phiaton: Chord MS 530 Wireless, Noise-Cancelling Headphones will give dad the gift of quiet so he can listen to whatever his heart desires. The noise-cancelling on these headphones is so good, my brother uses them at work to tune out his co-workers on days he really needs to focus. The downside is they work so well, you might have to poke your dad with a stick to get his attention, because he won’t be able to hear you after he puts them on.

Cost: $290.98 on Amazon

These classic sleep headphones will allow dad to snooze off to his favorite nap time tunes without any discomfort from bulky headbands. You can also go to SleepPhones website and download free music for dad to fall asleep to.

Cost: $29.39 on Amazon

Neptor \ Image Amazon
Neptor \ Image: Amazon

Neptor: NP056K Dual Port Portable Battery Charger
Make sure dad is never without his electronics with a portable battery charger. This one is lightweight and could fit in dad’s pocket. Don’t let the slim design fool you, because this little guy can charge two devices at once (one phone and one tablet). 

Cost: $49.99 on Amazon

Roku with AirCastLive
AirCastLive allows dad to use his iPhone or Android mobile device to capture, save, and share the special moments he captures on his phone and then send it to a smart TV or Roku device.

Cost: $5 for the app on Roku and 1GB of free storage space, with options for up to 40GB for $39. The app will be free from June 9th thru June 16th

Griffin Power Dock
Griffin PowerDock 5 is a great electronic organizing tool. It can hold and charge up to 5 devices at a time. All you need to do is plug your USB cable into the dock, wrap it around the bottom of the base to hide the wires and you are all set. It’s recommended for iOS devices, but has been tested successfully with Kindle and Android devices, though charging times will vary.

Cost: $75.00 on Amazon.

Justice League Collection by Griffin Technology

The Justice League collection by Griffin Technology has some fun accessories for dad’s iPad including headphones, case, and stylus. I love my Superman case for the iPad and the matching stylus that goes with it.

Cost: Starting at $14.99 and up

Logitech Harmony \ Image: Amazon
Logitech Harmony \ Image: Amazon

Logitech Harmony Ultimate
This all-in-one remote will help Dad streamline control of the TV, consoles, Roku, TiVo…anything with a clicker can be consolidated. And this universal remote can be aimed at anything in the room and still work; no more honing in on tiny sensors from across the living room. The touch screen is intuitive, and the Harmony Ultimate also lets you control all of your devices with an app on your phone.

Cost: $349.00 on Amazon

Clothing and Accessories

Booq Boa Courier 10
This is a great looking messenger bag for the dad on the go. The stabilizer strap helps make sure it stays secure on dad when he’s riding and the padded interior will keep his iPad and other belongings safe. For added safety, the bag has a reflective trim that lets dad be seen even in low light conditions.

Cost: $81 on Amazon and $95 on Booq website

Ogio Newt 15 \ Image: Ogio
Ogio Newt 15 \ Image: Ogio

Ogio Newt 15 Laptop Bag
Ultimate backpack for a stylish and organized dad. The front pocket has slots for pens, and notepads. The smaller top pocket is designed to hold smaller peripheral devices such as an mp3 player, phone, and their charging accessories. The main compartment is fleece-lined for dad’s iPad or tablet devices and the larger main compartment is fleece-lined for dad’s laptop or other must haves.

Cost: $99 on Amazon

Cosplay Apron by Simply Superheroes
For the dad that likes to cook, check out the character aprons over at Simply Superheroes. If you live in the U.S, use the money you save with free shipping to pick dad up something extra. If you find something that is perfect for dad, but it’s out of stock, you can sign up for email alerts to learn when it will be back in.

Cost: $19.99 on Simply Superheroes website

Dollar Shave Club
Give dad the gift of a clean shave with the Dollar Shave Club. For as little as $4 a month, you can have dad’s razors delivered to his doorstep. The best part is that the Dollar Shave Club is a lot cheaper on the wallet than picking razors up at the grocery store.

Cost: $4 and up per month

Image Credit: http://ministryofsupply.com/

Men’s office wear from Ministry of Supply
Office wear with high tech cred. Think dress shirts made from NASA thermoregulatory material, socks infused with odor-absorbing carbonized coffee, and moisture-wicking chinos with four-way stretch. Worth every penny. Our picks include the Apollo dress shirt ($98), Aviator chinos ($118), and Atlas dress socks ($18) .

Cost: various by product

EcoSphere Closed Aquatic Ecosystem
The Original EcoSphere is the world’s first totally enclosed ecosystem—a complete, self-contained, and self-sustaining miniature world encased in glass. This work of art is a perfect balance of active micro-organisms, small shrimp, algae, and bacteria, each existing in filtered sea water. Because the living organisms within the EcoSphere utilize their resources without overpopulating or contaminating their environment, the EcoSphere requires virtually no maintenance and lasts for years.

Cost: $55.99 on Amazon

Toys / Games

Risk: Doctor Who \ Image: Amazon
Risk: Doctor Who \ Image: Amazon

Doctor Who Risk: The Dalek Invasion of Earth
I thought it was unfathomable that anyone would spend upwards of forty or fifty bucks for Risk game….until I found it was a Doctor Who version. The Doctor Who Risk: The Dalek Invasion of Earth is an “absolutely fantastic” spin on the popular Risk game, puts the player in control of five Dalek armies, both classic and paradigm. In addition to players trying to defeat each other, there will be plenty of conflict with 11 regenerations of The Doctor. Even if you own other versions of Risk (and we already have three variations in our home), the urge to “exterminate” your opponents may be too much to pass up.

Cost: $49.99 on Think Geek and $40.27 Amazon

Star Wars Black Series Figures
The Black Series figures are a big hit among collectors. The detailed design and attractive packaging make these a must for any Star Wars action figure collector. I know many a 501st Legion member who hunt these down for sport, so if you see one, grab it up for dad’s collection.

Cost: Starting at $17.99 at Target

Zombie Survival \ Image: Amazon
Zombie Survival \ Image: Amazon

Zombie Defense Solutions 3-Day Survival Kit by VooDoo Tactical
Both my husband and I love zombie stories and camping, and this 3-day survival kit is right up his alley. Packaged in a Zombie Apocalypse preparation box, it has a five-year shelf life and contains food, water, lighting, basic first aid items, tools and a mylar emergency blanket to accommodate one adult easily for three days in an emergency situation.

This is a practical gift for outdoors loving geek, as it can be carried easily in the trunk of a vehicle for road trips or camping. It’s also a fun way to use the zombie scenario to educate your own kids about the importance of being prepared for more real disasters such as extreme weather or being stranded in wilderness areas.

Zombies or no zombies, dad will be prepared.

Cost: $27.95 on Amazon and Barre Army Navy

Sphero 2.0
Sphero is a ball of challenging fun for everyone, even pets. At first I thought it was going to be easy to get the ball to go where I wanted it to go, until I realized it has a mind of it’s own. My husband and son had a blast teasing the dog with it. She knew it was a ball, but she couldn’t understand why it was chasing her. Needless to say we had fun watching her reactions to it. You can add to the fun by downloading free games in iTunes.

Cost: $99.00 on Amazon

Gallium \ Image: Amazon
Gallium \ Image: Amazon

Gallium is the metal that melts in your hand. Keep it in a bottle and submerge bottle in warm water to liquify. Caution: Gallium causes metals to corrode and will stain glass, so be careful.

Cost: $15.99 on Amazon

Halo Headband
The Halo Headband is the answer when engaging in any sweat-producing activity such as cycling, running, even roof repair. It’s thin, adjustable, fits under a helmet or hat, and rinses clean.

Cost: $10.48 on Amazon
Disclaimer: Some of the GeekMoms who submitted to this post may have received review samples of their suggestions. 

Wolverine: The Musical

Image: 20th Century Fox

When I first saw a link to something called Wolverine: The Musical, I was instantly pessimistic. I began pooh-poohing it and consigning it to the portion of my brain that deals with things such as Legally Blonde: The Musical. To my mind, it was either real and “oh my goodness what were they thinking,” or it was fake, and I’m getting really sick of spoofs, misnomers, and entertainment gossip mongering. Then a fellow GeekMom urged me to watch it, and these ladies are usually reliable sources of entertainment!

What happened when I hit play is everything that is good about the entertainment industry. While doing an interview on The Matt Edmondson Show for BBC Radio, Hugh Jackman, good sport that he is, was handed a version of Wolverine: The Musical set to the music of “Who Am I?” For those not familiar with it, this is the hail Mary of songs sung by the character Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, played by Hugh Jackman in the movie. It was wonderful from the second he started singing, became even more wonderful as he went on, and the last few moments end with me devoting my life to Hugh Jackman.

Who am I?
Am I a superhero with some claws?
Or just an actor searching for applause?
Wolverine has all the fans.
But what about me, Hugh Jackman?

But, don’t take my word for it. Watch for yourself. I recommend daily viewings until spring finally arrives.

My “Bad Boy” Valentines

wolverine 2
Image By Lilianna Maxwell

This drawing was a present from my daughter: me having tea with Wolverine. But she made me old because it was more “appropriate” since I’m married to her father. I found that hilarious because he’s a fictional character so what’s to be worried about? Only just my total obsession with Wolverine.

And other “bad boy” fictional characters.

Photo on 2-4-14 at 1.37 PM
Image By Rebecca Angel

You are quite sexy
Yet so two-dimensional
Abarai Renji

This would be followed “xoxoxoxoxo” and then I’d be too embarrassed to sign my name—assuming Renji and I would be in the same junior high classroom, forced to exchange valentines. Considering he doesn’t really exist, I suppose I shouldn’t feel any shame admitting that there was a time when I would spend free moments rummaging on deviantart for any and all renditions of my favorite Bleach character, that I became obsessed enough to write a haiku, then a song called “Two-Dimensional Love.” The lyrics are about falling in love with someone fictional, being aware of it, knowing it’s ridiculous, but you just can’t help yourself.

Renji is loud, quick to anger, and jealous. So why do I love him? He’s also fiercely loyal, first to defend others, and when he is gentle—it is a beautiful moment. Renji, Wolverine, Zuko

Lately, my crush is Loki. I remember the first Thor movie; I never mentioned to anyone that I found Loki attractive because his helmet was so silly, his hair was kinda floofy—but I was only trying to talk myself out of yet one more dive into bad-boy fandom. I want to kiss that smirk off his face! I thought I must be the only one.

Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World Loki (Tom Hiddleston) © 2013 MVLFFLLC. TM & © 2013 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.

Oh, was I wrong.

What’s up with the bad boys, you wonder? When I was chatting with a fellow geekmom, we both admitted to being attracted to fictional characters that we would never want in real life. She married a computer programmer, I married a molecular biologist—both are sweet, soft-spoken men that bake cookies with their children. My husband has never gotten into a physical fight in his entire life, and I don’t see him starting now. The only arguments he gets into are verbal, and never gets above a tolerable volume—he mostly just points out logic and facts. The one time I was majorly insulted in his presence, I defended myself while he silently put a hand on my shoulder.

Sometimes I want to imagine what it would be like to have a hot-tempered manly man. But in my bed, not daily life. Fiction is great that way. Whether it’s a TV show or comic book, I’m introduced to lots of sexy men that would piss me off in the real world. In the second X-Men movie, Wolverine says to Jean Grey, “I could be the ‘good guy’.”

No, you can’t.
And I love you that way.
(from the geeky girl in the corner)

So, ladies, what are your favorite bad boys of geeky fiction?

How To Frame Your Fandom

how to frame your fandom bigAt this year’s Geek Girl Con I was on a panel called “Home, Geek Home” where we discussed ways to incorporate geekiness into your home. We talked a lot about decor and how easy it is to take every day decorating ideas and add a geeky touch. I like to use pinterest to collect ideas and then apply them to my geeky collectibles. To display all of the geeky artwork I collect, I created a small art gallery in my bathroom. It’s curated to my tastes and is a nice surprise when guests come over.

One wall in my mini-gallery is devoted to nothing but Wolverine art, which is pretty specific, and not always something you might want all over your house. By displaying the art in a hanging gallery format, it makes the pieces that much more special. You can definitely spend the money to get your artwork custom framed but it’s a cinch to do yourself. Here’s how to collect and frame your geeky art collection.

wolverine by thom zahler
all photos by justJENN

1. Art

If you collect something specific, like I do, a commissioned piece is great way to go. Artists at comic cons are usually open to commissions during the con, and you can request specific poses or details. I knew someone who asked every artist to draw pictures of Batman with a sandwich. If you can’t travel to a con, check out the artist’s website. If you don’t see a shop of prints you can also email them and ask about commissions.

While at Geek Girl Con I commissioned this fantastic Wolverine from Thom Zahler. His turn around was quick and he was willing to do pieces in a variety of price ranges. When you get the commission, most likely it will be just the art, so it’s your job to make it hangable.

Do your research and buy from an artist whose work you respect and who you can trust. Make sure you understand their pricing, payment, as well as terms of their time table. Some artists are fast and have a quick turn around time, while others are known to take your money and never deliver. Sadly, that’s pretty common.

sizing your art2. Frame

Choosing the right size of frame is crucial to hanging artwork. You want the piece to shine and a small frame that crowds the image won’t do the art any justice. Give it some breathing room and go a little bit bigger than the size of the piece. This happened to be drawn on a 9″ x 12″ Bristol. While that’s standard sketch size it’s not standard for frames, which means the paper would have to be cut or the image will just float in a large frame.

digital mattes3. Mattes

Here’s how you fix that offsize problem, my suggestion is to always go with a matte. You’d be surprised at how much a matte can help your print; it grounds the image and makes it look even more elegant. Think of the mood you are trying to set with mattes. White or cream provides a nice background, while black mattes are a great alternative for making stark images pop.

Frame stores now sell “digital print mattes” which have larger openings. These work great for sketches on odd-sized Bristol and they cost the same as regular pre-cut mattes.

Wolverine art gallery4. Hanging

Hanging frames in a straight line is fine, but when you have a hodge-podge of artwork from a bunch of different artists, it’s nice to create an art wall. I like to place the frames in a seemingly random order, in reality, it takes me a really long time to figure out how to “randomly” place the frames. I like to lay it out first, trying to keep the flow of the colors and feel of each print in mind as I place them next to each other.

Collecting artwork and creating a gallery of a character you love is a great way to grow your fandom. Over time, you can curate a beautiful collection too, and in the process you’ll be supporting amazing indie-artists!

Featured Wolverine artwork by: Thom Zahler, Jason Ho, J Salvador, Mike Maihack, Rogan JoshCliff Chiang, justJENN designs

Photo Gallery: Booker Dewitt and Wolverine at Comic Con New York

Booker montage. Photo credit-Jonathan Calderon.
Booker montage. Photo credit: Jonathan Calderon.

This year, as something of a rite-of-passage, the high school senior and his best friend attended Comic Con New York, sans parentals.

“Congratulations,” I told my son semi-seriously when his ticket arrived in the mail. “Now you’re a man.”

It did feel like a milestone, though, when I dropped the two of them off at the train station Friday morning, my son dressed as Booker Dewitt from Bioshock Infinite, his best friend a very-convincing Wolverine. They looked so grown up. I don’t think I’ve taken that many pictures of my son at one time since his first day of high school.

“You’re acting like this is my prom or something,” my son laughed at one point, mid-picture.

“Be quiet and lower your skyhook, it’s blocking your face,” I replied.

They had a great time, took a million pictures, and got home before I even thought about panicking. (“Erm. We ran out of money and got hungry.”) Another geek-parenting achievement unlocked.


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Avengers vs. X-Men Companion – Make Mine Marvel Part 2!

Avengers vs. X-Men Companion \ Image: Dakster Sullivan
Avengers vs. X-Men Companion \ Image: Dakster Sullivan

Avengers vs. X-Men is what made me a Marvel fan. I’ve always loved the X-Men because of the animated series, but the AVX event made me fall in love with the X-Men and the Avengers in their comic book world. While reading the AVX event I stuck to reading the main twelve-part mini-series and avoided the crossovers, mostly due to budgetary constraints. I’m never 100% sure about reading crossover titles because the cost involved is usually pretty high and this particular event had over fifty issues to keep up with–at $3.99 an issue, that would have cost me close to $200. I loved the AVX event so much though, I decided to pick this up to catch up on the action I missed!

Avengers vs. X-Men takes place after the unfortunate events of M-Day, when Scarlet Witch declares “no more mutants.” The main event focuses on the Avengers and the X-Men fighting over what to do with Hope, a teenage mutant messiah, and how to handle the incoming visit from the destructive Phoenix force.

I feel it’s important to mention that this book doesn’t have any extra fluff–introductions or behind-the-scenes anecdotes from the writers or artists. I think this is a shame and that it would have been nice to see a letter or intro from one of the writers. The only ancillary material included is a list of the issues. Even with this omission, however, the Avengers vs. X-Men Companion hardcover edition comes in at around four-pounds, considerably larger than the Avengers vs. X-Men main event hardcover.

In addition to cost, another problem I have with crossovers is that some of the books don’t actually have anything to do with the main event. After reading the companion novel, I realized that this event sets itself apart from the rest because, for the most part, each crossover in AVX explains something that happens in one of the twelve main issues. For example, the Shi’ar Death Commandos are mentioned briefly in one panel during AVX but you never actually see them until you read Wolverine and the X-Men #11.  Similarly, through New Avengers #27, we get to see how Spider-Man became Hope’s mentor in Avengers vs. X-Men #9 and their individual reactions to their new student / mentor relationship.

When I reviewed the Avengers vs. X-Men hardcover edition last year, my sole complaint about the book was that it didn’t include the crossover titles. After seeing the companion title and the AVX hardcover title side-by-side, I’m glad they decided to put them in two separate books. At a retail value of $99.00, the Avengers vs. X-Men Companion costs considerably less than buying each issue individually, so this is a great deal for anyone who enjoyed the AVX event but couldn’t keep up with the crossovers at the time. If you enjoy reading your comics digitally, you’ll really appreciate the inclusion of a free digital copy so that you can download the title through the Marvel or Comixology app and read it on your electronic device(s) (a $75 value). The digital copy takes up three digital volumes, and depending on your device, could be around 1gb or more of space per volume.

The Avengers vs. X-Men Companion is available on Amazon, Comixology and your local comic book store. I highly recommend you pick up the hardcover edition so you can get the digital volumes for free.

Disclaimer: GeekMom received  a review sample.

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — August 21st, 2013

Wolverine: First Class #1 \ Image Copyright Marvel
Wolverine: First Class #1 \ Image Copyright Marvel

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 take a look at a kid-friendly Wolverine story and Corrina gives a glimpse of a comic exploring what Star Wars could have been.

Dakster Sullivan — Wolverine: First Class #1 by Fred Van Lente and Andrea Di Vito 

Written by Fred Van Lente, Wolverine: First Class #1 takes place during Wolverine’s early days at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. After Professor X receives a signal from a young mutant in trouble, he sends Wolverine to retrieve her,  but he must bring along Xavier’s newest student,  Kitty Pryde (AKA Shadowcat). Reluctantly, Wolverine and his new teammate head off on what Wolverine is already expecting to be a brutal assignment. (It is interesting to note this is adding in yet another adventure featuring Wolverine with a female teenage mutant. See Jubilee and other previously chronicled adventures with Shadowcat.)

Wolverine is right to worry about the kid coming along, because she’s greener than grass. However, it is her quick thinking and ability to overcome her fears that saves them both, as well as their new mutant friend.

The ending makes me hope that this isn’t going to be the last time these two work together. (Corrina’s note: For a history of their long-working relationship, check out the six issue miniseries Kitty Pryde and Wolverine from 1984-1985. Sometimes it pays having read comics since, like, forever.)

Looking back at some of the other Wolverine stories I’ve read, I don’t think there is another Wolverine-centered story out there I’ve enjoyed more than Wolverine: First Class issue #1. For a story revolving around a “no holds barred” character, the artist, Andrea Di Vito, did a great job giving us the Wolverine we know and love while still making his actions family-friendly.

Why do I love the more family-friendly Wolverine? Well, it comes down to three simple reasons:

  • My 7-year-old son – Having a nice variety of kid-friendly comics with popular characters for us to read together is important. It keeps him from turning into a child-version of Daredevil and performing acrobatics to grab more adult content comic books that I keep on high shelves.
  • Anxiety – I suffer from high anxiety, so reading something that has a lot of violence is rough on me mentally and takes away the relaxed feeling I want when reading comic books. I do read some series with violence, but I keep them to a minimum and I’ll drop a book quick if it becomes too much for me.
  • Character depth and understanding – We learn a lot more about the characters when they’re not going after someone’s throat all the time. I like to see all the sides of my favorite characters, both good and bad. In Wolverine: First Class issue #1, we see more depth to Wolverine’s character as he has to bring himself under control to accomplish his goal as well as keep from killing his teammate.

You can pick up Wolverine: First Class #1 as a single issue on Comixology for free, as part of Wolverine: Tales of Weapon X on Amazon, or in the Wolverine: First Class (Volume #1): The Rookie collection.

Curious to know what I’m pulling this week? Check out my pull list on Comixology.

The Star Wars #1 cover, copyright Dark Horse comics.Corrina–The Star Wars #1 by J.W. Rinzler and Mike Mayhew

The Star Wars that could have been? On September 4th, Dark Horse Comics will begin publishing The Star  Wars #1, an authorized adaptation of George Lucas’ rough draft screenplay, which morphed into the movie and, eventually, the series we all know and love.

The Knights (!) of the Sith are still the bad guys but other elements are nearly unrecognizable. Luke Skywalker is an older general (shades of Obi-Wan, perhaps?) and Han Solo is a big green alien. Well, so it seems from this preview. Also, C-3PO appears decidedly feminine. The interior art looks fantastic, especially the detail and the colors.

It’ll be fun to compare the two version when this story is fully told.

Looking for something else, readers?

Check out this week’s newest titles. Something new we’re doing this week is highlighting our suggestions, so if you see GM next to a title, consider it GeekMom recommended! KF10 specifies titles that are friendly for kids ten-years old and younger. 

DC-Comics-Old.jpg marvel-logo1.jpg

100 Bullets Brother Lono #3 (Of 8)
Animal Man #23
Arrow #10
Batman ’66 #2
Batman And Nightwing #23
Batman Beyond Universe #1 – NEW SERIES
Batwoman #23
Birds Of Prey #23
Captain Atom Vol. 2 Genesis TP
DC Universe Presents Vol. 2 Vandal Savage TP
Fables #132
Green Lantern New Guardians #23
Green Lantern Sector 2814 Vol. 2 TP
He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe #5
Justice League Dark #23 GM
Justice League Of America’s Vibe #7
Legion Of Super-Heroes #23 (Final Issue)
Red Hood And The Outlaws #23
Supergirl #23
Superman Unchained #3
Wonder Woman #23
World Of Warcraft Bloodsworn HC
Avengers #18
Avengers Assemble #18
Avengers The Complete Collection By Geoff Johns Vol. 2 TP
Cable And X-Force #13
Daredevil #30
Deadpool Vol. 2 Soul Hunter TP
Dexter #2 (Of 5)
Disney Pixar Presents Planes Magazine #16 KF10
Fantastic Four Vol. 2 Road Trip TP
Indestructible Hulk #12
Marvel 1602 HC
Mighty Thor Omnibus Vol.  2 HC
Morbius The Living Vampire #8
New Avengers By Brian Michael Bendis Vol. 5 TP
Nova #7 GM
Spider-Man Dying Wish TP
Superior Spider-Man #16
Superior Spider-Man Vol. 2 A Troubled Mind TP
Thunderbolts #14
Ultimate Comics The Ultimates #29
Venom #39
X-Factor #261
X-Men #4 GM
X-Men Legacy #15
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

Berkeleyworks The Art Of Berkeley Breathed From Bloom County And Beyond HC
Danger Girl G.I. JOE HC
Dinosaurs Attack #2 (Of 5)
G.I. JOE The Complete Collection Vol. 1 HC
Judge Dredd #10
Judge Dredd The Complete Carlos Ezquerra Vol. 1 HC
KISS Kids #1 (Of 4) KF10
My Little Pony Micro-Series #7 KF10
Popeye Classics #13
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles New Animated Adventures #2 KF10, GM
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Villain Microseries #5 (Karai) GM
Transformers Last Stand Of The Wreckers HC
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth #110
Blood Brothers #2 (Of 3)
Buffy The Vampire Slayer Willow Wonderland TP
Conan The Barbarian #19
Creepy Comics #13
Dark Horse Presents #27
Dragon Age Vol. 3 Until We Sleep HC
Dream Thief #4 (Of 5)
Lobster Johnson A Scent Of Lotus #2
Nexus Omnibus Vol. 3 TP
Sacrifice HC
Star Wars Dark Times A Spark Remains #2 (Of 5)
Star Wars Darth Vader And The Ninth Assassin #5 (Of 5)
Star Wars Omnibus Knights Of The Old Republic Vol.1 TP
Strain The Fall #2

Acronym Key: VC = Variant Cover / HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback / GM = GeekMom Approved / KF10 = Kid-Friendly for 10 and under

Wolverine’s Claws in my Heart

Image courtesy Marvel

This week I watched the first X-Men movie with my son. My husband declined, saying he hadn’t been that impressed with the plot when we saw it in the theater. He was right. The movie is more about introducing the world and characters. I loved it. I remember walking out of the theater with my mind buzzing over the amazing concept of mutants and powers. I kept thinking of cool mutations I could have, asking my husband what he wished he had. My man humored me, but he had had these conversations with his friends back in junior high when they read the comics. My enthusiasm was about ten years too late.

He also suspected my excitement over the X-Men movie was tied into Hugh Jackman. He’s right on that too. My jaw dropped at the very beginning of the movie, where a bare-chested Wolverine wins a cage fight. Yummy. I’ve been a fan of Hugh since. But it was Wolverine that I fell in love with. The vicious but noble character is by far the favorite of fans.

But my thoughts on X-Men and Wolverine continued way past what was normal for enjoying a movie. I couldn’t get it out of my mind. Seriously, I was worried about myself. I had two young children to take care of at home and my thoughts were constantly in another world. I confessed to my husband after two weeks of this. He rolled his eyes and continued to work on his PhD.

I decided I would write my thoughts down and maybe that would end my obsession. I jotted an outline and realized I had no idea how to write a movie. I had only written a few short stories, and the beginning of a few novels. One hundred and eighteen pages. That’s how long a movie is. The format is strange too. I found screenwriter forums online that let me read scripts, and ask questions. I took books out of the library about screenwriting and the movie business. For Christmas that year, my father gave me screenwriting software.

A few months later I realized two big things. The first was that my movie would never be made onto the big screen. Ever. Not unless I left my family, moved to Hollywood and used some kind of mutant power on 20th Century Fox. The second was that I had to stop reading about screenwriting and actually write a complete draft. I decided that I was writing it for my sanity. I had to get this Wolverine obsession on paper completely and then get on with my normal life.

I did. It was the first time I had ever written something long, real, and not a school assignment. It was a proud moment for me when I handed my first draft to my very patient husband. He read it…and looked at me…looked down…looked back at me.
“Honey, this is a romance. X-Men isn’t about romance.”
“But they had stuff in the movie!”
“But it’s not the main story line.”
He was right, of course. I was just in love with Wolverine. But I didn’t give up. I started researching.

I needed to know more about the world if I was to do it right. The internet is amazing with databases on all the mutants and their histories. I dragged the kids with me to the comic book store, and was usually the only girl, the only mom, and the only one over twenty five. I was also completely confused. Apparently the X-Men comic had been going for quite some time by then and had a myriad of spin-offs. I met a man who had a very good job during the day that let him afford his comic-buying hobby. He enjoyed helping me find a selection of issues that would give me voices and appropriate behavior to the characters I was using.

I fell in love with more than Wolverine’s chest. The whole world was so fascinating and exciting and I got more ideas for my movie. I found a main plot line that made the characters have to fight and use their powers and work together. Of course there was still romance, but that was woven in and pared down. I think only one scene from my original draft of X-Men: The Eleventh Plague made the final cut.

After re-watching the movie this past week, I didn’t get into all of this with my son. I asked him if he liked it, and he did. I found the pile of “research” I still had and gave it to him to enjoy. My obsession ended with writing that movie. All in all, it was a year of my life. Was it a waste of my free time? I don’t think so. It opened the world of screenwriting. I’ve since written a few short movies that I produced myself with the knowledge I gained. I still enjoy graphic novels, comics and manga to this day. And I always earn geek points in conversations with my X-Men knowledge.

Probably the most important aspect of it all was learning how to write: the research, world-building, drafts, editing, accepting criticism and holding a finished copy of my work. The intensity I felt for this fictional character carried me through the process. Wolverine was the beginning of a long line of obsessions that have led to creative projects over the years, but he was my first and that’s special. His claws will always remain in my heart.