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

How You Can Help Peter David

Photo CC-BY-SA Derek Hofmann

Geekdoms of many colors have spread the word by now about Peter David’s stroke in the final days of 2012. His wife Kathleen has been posting updates on Peter’s site about his status. Today she writes to explain how we as fans can help Peter and his family:

Even though we have health insurance we have co-pays and the like. And since this stroke fell at the end of the year, we have all the new co-pays to deal with (I can honestly see those of you who have had to deal with this nodding your heads). And there are things that the insurance company just won’t cover (more head nodding). So we are at the beginning of what is going to be a very expensive year even though we are only 4 days in.

The most direct way is to buy his books from Crazy 8 Press or from Amazon or Barnes and Noble websites. These are books that he gets the money from directly and the most per book.

Because of their higher returns to the author, she specifically directs supporters to:

  • Pulling Up Stakes Part 1 and Pulling Up Stakes Part 2 — These are ebooks available for as little as 99 cents. Crazy 8 Press seems to be getting slammed right now, presumably with supportive fans, so here are the Amazon and Barnes and Noble links to them as well.
    Sick of vampire books? Movies? TV shows? Yeah. So are we. Sick of the entire unlife of vampires? Yeah. So is Vince Hammond. Unfortunately, Vince is in it up to his (wait for it) neck. Because Vince is a young vampire hunter who lives with his vampire hunter mother in an entire community of vampire hunters, who in turn are part of a cult of vampire hunters going back all the way to the French Revolution, which many believe to be an uprising of the poor against the rich but was actually a massive purging of vampires from the French nobility (hence the guillotine).
  • The Camelot Papers — Available in ebook or print-on-demand paperback. If that link doesn’t work, here it is on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
    A powerful ruler who’s considered by many to be simple-minded and vacuous and has serious father issues. A no-nonsense, polarizing woman who favors pants suits and pursues dubious agendas involving social needs. A remarkably magnetic leader of men with a reputation as a skirt-chaser. A scheming, manipulative adviser who is constantly trying to control public perceptions. A man seen as the next, great hope for the people, except there are disputes over his background and many contend he’s not what he appears to be.
  • The currently released Hidden Earth Saga (a third is in process): Darkness of the Light and Heights of the Depths
    Crazy8 lists only the Nook version, but Darkness of the Light is also available in print and Kindle versions on Amazon, as is Heights of the Depths.

Whether you love comics, Star Trek, Babylon 5, or sci-fi novels, there’s almost certainly something in his prolific bibliography to touch your geek interests. Peter David was one of the first geek authors I fell in love with. At my first con, I sat in a huge ballroom for some popular guest I no longer recall behind a family with two small children. When the panel ended, the wife asked the husband if he knew where his panel was. I didn’t think much of it until I went to the next panel I wanted to see, which was Peter David. Lo and behold, I’d been sitting behind him for the last hour and had no idea.

I still laugh when I remember asking him to sign a book afterwards. I said I’d bought a new copy because I was embarrassed to show how tattered the original was. He said, “I’d rather see that one, since it means you love the book and aren’t just going to sell it on eBay!” (The next year I brought the tattered one.) He ended his panel by encouraging those who had come to see him to stay for a young, new writer with the undesirable spot of the last session on the last day of Dragon*Con.

His wife Kathleen I’ve mostly encountered from costuming and puppetry panels at Dragon*Con. I haven’t sewn a costume seam in years without hearing her in my head complaining about costumers who create something beautiful and then don’t clip the threads at the end. (I’m clipping, I’m clipping, I promise!) They’re both tireless contributors to so many facets of geekdom. If you’re a longtime fan, this is a chance to support someone who has influenced your fandom(s). If you’d never heard of Peter David until a few paragraphs ago, this is a chance to discover a writer you won’t regret meeting and to help a fellow human in the process.

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — December 5th, 2012

A panel from Death: The High Cost of Living, Vertigo Comic.

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week.

The comic book publishing world suffered a bit of upheaval this week as Karen Berger resigned from her position as executive editor of DC’s Vertigo imprint. Many readers probably won’t know her name but her influence in her over 30 years at DC, especially in charge of Vertigo, cannot be understated.

Under Berger’s stewardship, Neil Gaiman’s Sandman was born, as was Garth Ennis’ Preacher, Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta, Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles, Bill Willingham’s Fables and Brian K. Vaughn and Pia Guerra’s Y: The Last Man, among many others. Many male comic readers will tell you that Gaiman’s Sandman was a gateway to comics for their girlfriends. In my case, it worked the opposite way. Sandmanis one of the few comics that my husband, who studied English literature at the University of Chicago, pronounced “brilliant.”

Berger’s Vertigo dealt with mature themes in grown-up ways, as violence was dealt with in a Sopranos/Scorsese way and the sex more in the tone of mature movies like The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

My favorite Vertigo title is Sandman Mystery Theatreby Matt Wagner and Guy Davis. Set in crime ridden New York, Wesley Dodds battled crime as the Sandman, armed with prophetic dreams and a gas gun. The art is realistic, the setting is even more so, and it dealt with the lowest depths of human evil but also the highest aspirations of humanity. At the center of it all is the relationship between Wesley and crimefighting partner Dian Belmont. It’s as much Dian’s story as Wesley’s, as she struggles with the restrictions placed on her by society.

It would make a great HBO or cable series, like many of Vertigo’s comics.

Given her relationship with some of the most creative people in comics, I’ll be waiting to see what Berger does next, be it a move to another company or starting her own.

Dakster Sullivan — The All New X-Men

The All New X-Men is one of the newest titles to debut under Marvel Now and I don’t know what I’m enjoying more, the art or the story. The story follows Wolverine and his team after the events of the Avengers vs. X-Men mini-series and is written by one of the series lead writers, Brian Michael Bendis.

Continue reading GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — December 5th, 2012

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — October 31st, 2012

AVX: Consequences  Image: Copyright Marvel
AVX: Consequences Image: Copyright Marvel

Happy Halloween and New Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week.

Dakster Sullivan – Avengers vs. X-Men: Consequences

The past two weeks have been torture for me since all of my local comic book stores have been sold out of Avengers vs. X-Men: Consequences. One store told me the popularity of it just came out of nowhere for them. Thanks to a friend at Marvel, I was able to read them digitally this week and get my AVX fix.

AVX: Consequences is a mini series that shows us what happened after the war between the Avengers and the X-Men was over and the repercussions that came from it.

Thanks to Hope, Scarlet Witch, and the Phoenix, the mutant population has started to flourish again and the world is coming to grips with the new influx of mutants popping up. For the most part, everyone is free to go back to the normal lives they lived before the war and others are helping to search for the rest of extermination team (lead by Cyclops).

Hope is trying to figure out where she belongs and just wants to try to be normal for a while. Cyclops is in a high security prison that couldn’t care less if he wakes up breathing. He appears to lack guilt for the deaths he caused and his only desire at the moment is to become a martyr for the mutant cause, a desire Wolverine is sorely tempted to fill.

After reading issues #1 and #2, I hate to say I’m starting to have some sympathy pains for Cyclops. I don’t believe what he did was right, but I also don’t think he should be receiving the torturous care he is getting in the prison. It will be interesting to see how he gets out and what his life will be like once he does. I can imagine his relationships with some of his former teammates is not going to be as great as what he might hope it to be.

I would love to see an issue focus on the school a little and what the students went through while the war was going on. I’m also curious to see what will happen to Hope now that she is free to live her own life for the first time.

The Avengers vs. X-Men graphic novel is up for pre-order on Amazon now.

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

Continue reading GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — October 31st, 2012

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — September 19th, 2012

AVX Round 11 / Image: Copyright Marvel Comics
AVX Round 11 / Image: Copyright Marvel Comics

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week.

Dakster Sullivan –Avengers vs. X-Men Round 11

*MAJOR Spoiler Alert*

The battle rages on as the Avengers vs. X-Men mini series comes down to its last issues. Marvel made it known a few weeks ago, that a character with a strong influence on the X-Men and Avengers world would perish in the fight. I’m sorry to say, that character’s pages were numbered in this issue. Continue reading GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — September 19th, 2012

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — August 8th, 2012

AVX Round 9 / Image: Copyright DC Comics
AVX Round 9 / Image: Copyright Marvel Comics

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week.

Dakster Sullivan – Avengers vs. X-Men Round 9

After sitting on the sidelines for most of the mini-series, Spider-Man takes center stage in Round 9, both physically and emotionally. Early in the issue, Spider-Man has the chance to explain to Hope, the mutant Messiah, what being an Avenger is all about. Later, Spider-Man is given the chance to act on his own advice and swings into action to save the day.

Of all the rounds so far, this is my favorite! Spidey brings a different attitude to the Avengers with a less-intense and fun loving way of looking at things, with a side of dark humor. The heart to heart moment he shares with Hope is my favorite moment in the mini-series so far.

He explains to Hope that each member of the team eventually gets their moment to shine, she just needs to wait for her time to come.  Later, he realizes the truth of his own words when the team goes into the mountains to rescue their teammates that are being held captive by Colossus and Magik. Putting his life on the line, Spider-Man stays back to hold off the Phoenix while the rest of the team get their injured teammates to K’un-L’un. In his fight against the Phoenix, we get to see Spidey at his best.

During the fight, I wasn’t in fear for Spidey’s life because he is a major character and I don’t think Marvel would kill him off. I was touched by the concern that the rest of the team showed when they all realized that Spidey didn’t make it back out with them and went back to save their friend.

As far as the Phoenix Four, they are all starting to feel the strain that the new level of power is putting them on. Each one is fighting a darkness within themselves and only a couple of them realize it. I have some hope for Colossus, but I’m afraid Emma and Magik have lost themselves in the darkness of the Phoenix power. Cyclops has been losing his mind progressively since the Phoenix arrived, so I didn’t see any change in him yet.

Of all the issues so far, this one is the least disappointing of them all.

Each issue of Avengers vs. X-Men comes with a free digital issue. Check out your local comic book store for more information.

Are you readingAvengers vs. X-Men and have something to say? Leave me a comment. I’d love to read your input on the series.

Kelly Knox – Arrow #1: Special Edition

Arrow Issue #1 / Image: Copyright DC Comics
Arrow Issue #1 / Image: Copyright DC Comics

This week I stumbled upon Arrow #1: Special Edition in the DC Comics app. It’s a tie-in story obviously created to promote the new Arrow series coming to the CW this fall. I’m already a fan of Green Arrow — including his incarnation in Smallville — so I was interested to see what the new television series might bring. (Plus, the issue is free!)

The first thing I noticed is that the setting is Starling City, not Star City as it’s been in the comics. I assume either it will later become Star City, or perhaps that will serve as a nickname, but it’s a noteworthy change. The story introduces Oliver Queen, your run-of-the-mill billionaire playboy with no cares in the world, until Something Happens that makes him change his ways and become a crime-fighting vigilante.

Continue reading GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — August 8th, 2012

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — July 25th, 2012

Captain Marvel / Image: Marvel Comics
Captain Marvel / Image: Marvel Comics

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week.

Kelly Knox – Captain Marvel Issue #1
Ms. Marvel stars in her new series, Captain Marvel, and she makes quite the impact in its debut. The issue opens with a newspaper front page announcing that Carol Danvers’ mask is off, and she has donned a new costume and a new hairdo.

The newspaper sets a retro tone for the opening of the book as Ms. Marvel fights alongside Captain America as the Absorbing Man makes a mess of things in New York City. With the villain shouting outdated sexist comments like, “Wouldn’t catch me gettin’ bossed around by no broad” and “just like a woman,” it made me question in which decade the action was taking place. It wasn’t until I noticed some onlookers snapping pictures with their cell phones that I stopped wondering and paid attention to the story again.

If you’re not familiar with Ms. Marvel, Captain Marvel #1 takes just a few panels to give you her background and how she obtained her marvelous powers. The series isn’t a reboot of Ms. Marvel. Her long history is still there, and the first issue does a wonderful job of showing her in action to tell you about her personality and career as both a superhero and an Air Force colonel. GeekMom Corrina, who also picked up the issue this week, mentioned, “I thought DeConnick captured Carol as a military officer perfectly.”

As promised, Captain America and Spider-Man make appearances in the first issue, and Cap is instrumental in encouraging Carol Danvers to take up the name of Captain Marvel.

I had high expectations for this series and Captain Marvel #1 paid off. I recommend picking it up.

Continue reading GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — July 25th, 2012

Ultimate Spider-Man — Guest Staring Wolverine This Sunday

Ultimate Spider-Man /  Image courtesy of Marvel
Ultimate Spider-Man / Image courtesy of Marvel

This week’s Ultimate Spider-Man features Wolverine as the special guest star. After a run in with a telepathic mutant, Wolverine and Spider-Man find that they are not quite themselves. Actually, instead of being themselves, they’re actually each other! In a Freaky Friday like twist, our favorite web-slinger and claw wielding mutant must work together to find a way to get back to normal.

Anytime you get personalities like Wolverine and Spider-Man together, you’re going to have some clashes. A fifteen-year old who talks to much plus a bad attitude carrying mutant with a history of “attack now, ask questions if they survive” equals out to more than just a few good laughs.

As it progresses and our heroes start to figure things out, their day goes from bad to worse in a way that only this week’s villain can cause.

When I saw a trailer for this week’s episode on Marvels website, I thought the storyline looked very familiar. After watching the episode, I realized that I read a similar story two issues of the Ultimate Spider-Man comic book series. Through a little researching, I learned that the similarities between the comic book and this week’s episode are no coincidence.

Brian Michael Bendis, consulting producer on the animated series, wrote every issue of the Ultimate Spider-Man and he also wrote this week’s episode. After reading the comic books that this episode is based on, I was hoping I could see it animated one day and this episode does not disappoint.

I love the mix of humor and action that this series brings and I look forward to downloading it each week from iTunes. Of all the animated series on today, this is my son’s favorite (it’s a tight race with Voltron, but Spidey wins).

Check out Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man on Disney XD this Sunday. Following this weeks new episode, Disney will be hosting the Ultimate Father’s Day Marathon with three full hours of non-stop Spidey action. Check your local listings for time and availability.

Ultimate Spider-Man /  Image courtesy of Marvel
Ultimate Spider-Man / Image courtesy of Marvel

Wicked Audio 3D Series for Kids Review

Wicked Audio 3D Image: Max Borges Agency
Wicked Audio 3D Series Image: Max Borges Agency

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a sucker for headphones and anything shiny. If I can share the shiny object with my son, it gets bonus points. Wicked Audio 3D series headphones are one of those items. The packaging was simple and not over the top (another bonus because I hate wasted packaging). The cording was long enough to keep my son from getting tangled up, and the built in volume control was a nice feature.

After I had a chance to look them over, I let my son check them out. His first reaction was the typical six-year old one…it’s mine! I asked him to be my little review helper and try them out. When he looked back at me with a blank stare, I told him to play his iPad and use the headphones. That he understood and for once he was more than happy to do as I asked.

In the past, when I handed him a pair of headphones, I had to beg for them back. This time, the story ends a little differently. For the past month, the headphones have stayed where I put them, hanging on his closet door. Instead of picking them back up, he decided to go after my Wolverine Coloud headphones instead. I don’t know if it was the color, or the sound quality, but my son just would not pick back up the Wicked Audio headphones.

I tried them out myself and found there to be nothing special about them. They sounded and felt fine. My best guess is that my son was just not that into them.

Landon Kulp Photo by: Debbie Kulp
Landon Kulp Photo by: Debbie Kulp

By accident, we were given a second pair of the headphones, so we gave them to my eight-year old nephew. This is where the real review begins. Not only does he still use them, my parents love them too. While visiting us, he made sure to bring them along. Of course, my parents have found a new use for them. Apparently, my nephew snores so loudly during the night that one evening my mom got out of bed and used the headphones to help drown it out.

Overall, the Wicked Audio 3D series was not for my son, but they were a huge hit with my nephew. That makes sense because they are very different individuals. So, if you have a eight-year old who loves sports, Justin Beiber, and hugs in the middle of the day, these are going to go over with a huge in your house.

For another option in kids’ headphones, check out fellow GeekMom Patricia Vollmer had the chance to look at the Urban Ears: Tanto headphones. From what I can tell, these are another great option for any parent looking for child friendly headphones.

In exchange for my time and efforts in reporting my opinion within this blog, I received a free review sample. Even though I receive this benefit, I always give an opinion that is 100% mine.


GeekMom Comic Book Corner — May 23rd, 2012

Image: AVX Issue #4 Copyright Marvel
Image: AVX Issue #4 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.

Dakster Sullivan — Avengers vs. X-Men Issue #4

In issue #4, we see something unexpected … Hope turning to Wolverine for help. Let’s recap a minute: In issue #2, we see Wolverine attempt to make shish kabob out of the poor girl. Now she’s setting beer traps in the frozen wilderness for his help? Fortunately for Hope, Wolverine falls for it and agrees to hear her out.

The plan she laid out seems logical. Hope believes she deserves a chance to find out if she can handle the power and help with the rebirth of the mutant race. Wolverine’s school is all about helping mutants learn to use their powers and make a better world. The safety in her plan is admitting that if she can’t control the power, Wolverine is the only one she trusts to stop her. It makes perfect sense for Hope to need Wolverine’s help.

Continue reading GeekMom Comic Book Corner — May 23rd, 2012

DIY "Real" Wolverine Claws

Wolverine in action. Image: John Gibson

Wolverine is a pretty popular choice for cosplay. You see guys with their hair grown out and their bushiest sideburns wandering the floor of almost every con. Some decide to wear the bright yellow spandex. Some opt for jeans and a leather jacket. But they all opt for those amazing adamantium claws. They’re the accessory that makes or breaks the costume so no matter how cool the hair, if the claws look like cheap plastic, then the effect is ruined just a bit.

Wolverine claws. Image: John Gibson

Not a problem for Wolverine fan John Gibson. He went all out and enlisted the help of his cousin, Vic Hlushak, to create a custom pair of metal claws that look like they’re growing out of his skin. No, they’re not adamantium, but then they don’t actually sprout out of his hands either. They’re created out of metal flat plate and rod, and took a weekend afternoon to perfect. They measured each claw to fit John’s hand along and capture the look of the claws coming out of his skin.

This is real metal-working, not something anyone can just throw together in their garage, but if you’ve got the tools on hand, Vic created a step-by-step guide for making these claws. He even includes a supplies list which surprisingly amounts to all of $12. I wish I knew someone who had the skills, because I’d make these in a second. And then I’d wear them on Halloween and scare the daylights out of all the neighborhood kids. Hey, if I’ve got these on my hands, who are you to argue, bub?

GeekMom Comic Book Corner – April 11th, 2012

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week.

Daredevil 10.1 review by Corrina

Daredevil 10.1 cover
Daredevil 10.1 cover


A terrific introduction to Daredevil, this comic is great for old fans wanting to catch up with Matt Murdock or for someone who’s never read the character. Amazing art by Khoi Pham and a great script by Mark Waid that highlights all of Daredevil’s abilities without being showy. If you read this issue, you’ll understand everything Daredevil is about.

Avengers vs. X-Men #1 review  by Dakster Sullivan

Avengers vs. X-Men #1 Cover Image courtesy of Marvel
Avengers vs. X-Men #1 Cover Image courtesy of Marvel

Last Wednesday, Avengers vs. X-Men #1 was finally released. For a first issue, it was really exciting! The issue hit the ground running at lightning speeds into the story surrounding the fight between the two teams.

The first half of the issue centers around a supposed attack on Earth. After the dust settles, we meet Nova and realize it wasn’t an attack at all (you learn more about him and why he crashed into Earth in Avengers vs. X-Men Infinite #1). The story switches gears and we see Captain America and Iron Man standing in front of the U.S. government discussing the imminent return of the Phoenix power.

The second half of the issue is more about dialog between the main characters than action. Captain America has separate conversations with both Wolverine and Cyclops. We learn that while Cyclops views the Phoenix as a chance to revive the mutant race, Captain America considers it a threat to the entire planet.

The conversation between all the characters makes me wonder just how much any of them really know about what is going to happen. In the first few pages, we see the Phoenix destroying entire planets on its way to Earth. That makes me think that Cyclops’ hope for a mutant rebirth is a pipe dream. Knowing a little bit about the destructive powers the Phoenix possesses, if Captain America thinks that simply taking Hope into protective custody will keep the Phoenix at bay, I think his helmet might be on too tight.

With the words, “Avengers Assemble” we are left wondering…what will happen next!

Avengers vs. X-Men #1 also marks the premier of two new Marvel technologies. The first is Marvel AR. After downloading the app to my iPhone and iPad, it looked pretty simple to operate. When you come across a page in the comic that has the AR logo, you hold your device over it and the app will locate the content related to that page/frame. The comic book comes to life on the screen of our device. At first I tried it using my iPhone, but the screen is way too small to read any text that comes up. It was a little awkward, but once you get the hang of it, it’s really cool.

The second is the release of the new Infinite comic books. Promised to be the newest comic book reading experience, Infinite comics bring a sense of movement and animation to the digital reading experience.

“The uniqueness comes from the fact that [Infinite Comics] uses tools that the digital medium offers, but it doesn’t reinvent comics so completely that they become something other than what they are,” continues Quesada. “If anything, outside of the great smell of ink on paper and the holding of a physical comic book, the Infinite Comics technique, I feel, enhances what a comic book can do without changing what makes comics great.”

The first issue centers on Nova and his crash landing on Earth. This little side story added a lot to my AVX reading experience. Personally I found the first issue beautifully done and exciting to read. A small part of me felt like it was way too different from my regular comic book reading experience. It was almost like watching a movie with comic book bubbles. Afterwards, I realized how cool it was overall and I read it again.

Overall, it was a great comic book experience. Avengers vs. X-Men #2 comes out next week and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books from DC and Marvel:

100 Bullets Book Vol. 2 HCBatgirl #8

Batman And Robin #8

Batman Arkham Unhinged #1

Batman Incorporated Deluxe Vol. 1  HC

Batman No Mans Land Vol. 02 New Edition TP

Batwoman #8

Deathstroke #8

Demon Knights #8

Frankenstein Agent Of Shade #8

Green Lantern #8

Green Lantern #8 Combo Pack

Green Lantern The Animated Series #1

Grifter #8

Hitman Vol. 06 For Tomorrow TP

I Vampire TP

Legion Lost #8

Legion Of Super Heroes When Evil Calls TP

Mister Terrific #8

Northlanders #50

Resurrection Man #8

Saucer Country #2

Shade #7 (Of 12)

Showcase Presents The Losers Vol. 01 TP

Suicide Squad #8

Superboy #8

Teen Titans Prime Of Life TP

Unwritten #36


Amazing Spider-Man Hooky #1
Avengers Assemble #2 With Dig Code

Avengers Coming Of Avengers #1

Avengers Vs. X-Men Its Coming TP

Avenging Spider-Man #6 With Dig Code

OmegaBlack Panther

MDMA Kingpin Of Wakanda TP

Carnage Usa #5 (Of 5)

Daredevil Season One Premium With Dig Code

Deadpool #53

Essential Avengers Vol. 8 TP

Fantastic Four #605

Formic Wars Silent Strike #5 (Of 5)

Goldfish Gn HC

Halo Fall Of Reach Invasion #3 (Of 4)

Journey Into Mystery #636

Marvel Universe Avengers Earths Mightiest
Heroes #1

Mighty Thor #12.1

MMW Captain America Vol. 6 HC

MMW Captain America Vol. 6 Dm Var Ed 178 HC

New Avengers #24 Avx

New Mutants Unfinished Business Vol. 04 TP

Punishermax Frank TP

Punishermax Homeless Prem HC

Scarlet Spider #4

Secret Avengers #25

Secret Service #1 (Of 7)

Spider-Man Complete Ben Reilly Epic Book 04 TP

Ultimate Comics X-Men #10 With Dig Code

Uncanny X-Men #10

Untold Tales Of Spider-Man Omnibus HC

Untold Tales Of Spider-Man Omnibus HC Dm Var

Winter Soldier #4

Wolverine #304

X-Men Dark Phoenix Saga New Ptg TP

X-Men Legacy Lost Legions TP

Acronym Key:  VC = Variant Cover  / HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback 


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.