July 22, 2014

Review: Titan Comics' New Adventures with the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors

If you've followed the Doctor from the screen to the pages of comic books, you most likely know that Titan Comics picked up the license for stories about the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors from IDW Publishing. BBC Worldwide made a new deal with Titan Comics, and the partnership was announced in January. The first comics from the deal are out this week with #1 issues for new adventures with  Tenth and Eleventh Doctors. You can read my spoiler-free reviews of the comics after the image.

The Tenth Doctor #1 features writer Nick Abadzis and artist Elena Casagrande and is set after Donna Noble has left the Doctor's side. We meet Gabriella Gonzalez, a young woman caught up in what she feels to be dead-end work in her family's businesses. She has dreams but doesn't see a way out of her current situation. Enter the 10th Doctor. While I could do without the "saving a young girl" bit, I realize it's a standard part of a Doctor Who tale... for now, at least.

The story definitely has the right vibe, and it's easy to picture an on-screen version of the events in your head as you read. Abadzis found the Tenth Doctor's voice, and I found myself hearing the Doctor's lines as though David Tennant were speaking them.

I can see that Gabby has potential as a companion, but I don't get a complete sense of her personality just yet. It's only the first issue though, and there's plenty of time to get to know her more. As it stands, I'm intrigued enough to keep reading.

This comic features a mystery that needs to be solved, and the Doctor and Gabby have barely scratched at the surface. It looks like their first adventure together could cover several issues.

Being a huge fan of Casagrande's work, I wasn't disappointed by the art. Her landcapes are enchanting, and she's skilled at making the characters' emotions jump right off the page.

The Eleventh Doctor #1's story appealed to me a little more and not necessarily because the Eleventh Doctor is my Doctor. Writers Al Ewing and Rob Williams and artist Simon Fraser infused a lot of feelings into the issue. It takes place after the Doctor left the Ponds after they got hitched.

We meet Alice Obiefune. Again, it's a similar set-up of the Doctor sweeping in and making things better. Alice is down on her luck when the Eleventh Doctor shows up, and she's presented in such a way that you empathize with her immediately. I felt a strong connection with her, and I like seeing the Eleventh Doctor paired up with a personality so different from Amy's and Clara's - those two feel like the same person at times.

Anyway, the first issue for the Eleventh Doctor presents a one and done story with an adorable but troublemaking alien dog, and despite Alice's heavier moments, it's a light and feel good story. It's a well mixed combination.

Fraser does a spendid job at capturing Matt Smith's expressions, and I like the brighter palette of the Eleventh Doctor's story.

I recommend giving both #1s a shot. They'll be available at a comic shop near you tomorrow, July 23rd.

Full disclosure: Titan Comics provided these comics for review purposes. This did not affect my opinion of the comics or my reviews.

July 21, 2014

Check Out Jess Archer Versus

Like Veronica Mars? Then web series Jess Archer Versus is probably right up your alley. Writer and director Amy Taylor created the characters in a short film (embedded below) and describes the series as "Veronica Mars as a comedy with the style and sensibility of an Edgar Wright film." Sounds like a can't-miss combo, and in the newest chapter, high schooler Jess Archer helps a classmate accused of selling midterm exam answers.

Learn more in this video about the project

After watching that, I want to be Amy Taylor's friend. She's hilarious and seeing the amount comedy just in the introduction video makes me feel more excited for the web series.

The Kickstarter campaign for Jess Archer Versus is trying to raise $15,000. The money will go towards location permits, insurance, production equipment, and paying the cast and crew. Making quality web content takes money. Rewards include cookies, using your name or likeness in production design, being an extra and more.

Get a look at the characters from the Jess Archer world in this video:

Support Jess Archer Versus at Kickstarter.

July 20, 2014

The Line for Comic-Con in 1982 (not 1983)

It's no secret that attending Comic-Con has become a challenge. Obtaining a badge and a place to sleep is a test of fortitude. It wasn't that way when I started attending in 2006, and it especially wasn't that way in 1982.

Yes, the photo that's been going around the internet is from 1982 not 1983. It was taken by Alan Light and commemmorates the 13th event. The convention started in 1970, but it happened twice in that year. The first event in 1970 was a minicon used to raise funding for the actual event that happened in August. Both were big enough to count in numbering. In 1982, San Diego Comic-Con took place from July 8th-11th - the only year the dates line up with what's shown on the marquee in the above photo. The comic convention happened at Hotel San Diego.

Other glimpses at the 1982 event from Alan Light:

The dealer's room:

A bigger crowd outside:


And yes, a Women in Comics panel! From left to right, the line-up features: Dori Seda, Unknown, Jan Duursema, Trina Robbins, Carol Kalish, Jo Duffy, Lee Marrs, Catherine Yronwode, Carol Lay, Terry Boyce, and Melinda Gebbie.

You can see more photos from Comic-Con 1982 on Flickr.


July 18, 2014

Best Bee and PuppyCat Cosplay Ever

Adorable cosplay makes me happy, and I don't think this Bee and PuppyCat ensemble could be any cuter. Amanda Dawn wore the ensemble recently and while I love the dress, hair, and facial expression, my favorite part is the bag of crotch ice:

The er, prop, comes into play in the first episode of the cute cartoon series. And if you haven't watched it, please give up ten minutes of your time to check it out because you will cry from laughter. Then you can come back here and appreciate the creativity of this outfit.

I love everything about it, and I really must get a PuppyCat plush to call my own.

h/t The Mary Sue

July 17, 2014

A Character from Frozen is in the Big Hero 6 Trailer

The first trailer for Big Hero 6 dropped this week, and the animated film from Disney and Marvel looks like a lot of fun. We see the main character, Hiro Hamada, and his robot Baymax trying to file a report in a police station. The corkboard by the police officer's desk features some wanted posters, and one eagle-eyed Tumblr user spotted a familar face: Prince Hans from Frozen. The jerk was sent back to his home by Queen Elsa, but it looks like he may have escaped custody.

Do you think it's just a fun reference, or does it mean the worlds of Frozen and Big Hero 6 are connected? What did Hans do to become a known criminal in San Fransokyo? Or is it a more evil twin brother? He does have a lot of siblings...

What are your theories?

h/t Nipah

What it's like to cover Comic-Con as press

San Diego Comic-Con is a week away. Cue the panicked Flight of the Bumblebee music. It's a fun experience - I wouldn't have attended it for the past nine years if it wasn't - but it's definitely stressful. I haven't attended as a fan for a few years now, but I remember even that coming with a certain amount of crazy. First of all, it's tricky just to get a badge. If you're lucky enough to score one, you still have to figure out where you're going to sleep. I'm not even going to start on the costs associated with all of that.

Then, you're faced with countless decisions. Which offsite events to check out? Which panels to see and how long to set aside for standing in line? Where to eat? What exclusives to try to obtain? It's exhausting. The Nerdy Girlie has some tips to help you make the most of the event if you're attending the convention as a fan.

I still get some fan experiences in, but Comic-Con is mostly about work for me. I've covered the convention for IGN, Backstage, and Fashionably Geek. I've done video interviews for Blastoff Comics, too. This year is a mix of all that plus some cosplay for Adafruit and coverage for my web series with Shout! Factory, Con Woman. Whew.

Because I'm always interested in other perspectives of events, I thought I'd share a little of what it's like to cover Comic-Con as press. Keep in mind, this is different for everyone. There are at least a bajillion outlets at the convention covering specifics like toys, comics, or cosplay and catch-all outlets covering a little of everything. Because I mostly do stuff for IGN, I cover a lot of television and some film. My schedule usually includes panels, roundtables, and maybe a press line or two. I also try to spend time taking photos during the convention. Evenings involve the occasional screening and networking thing, but mostly I try to leave them for wrapping up writing and hanging out with friends.

An average day at Comic-Con goes something like this:
- Start anywhere from 7-8:30am
- Prep my messenger bag. I always have: my laptop (it's tiny and pretty light), the power cord and mouse (my trackpad stopped working when I spilled a drop of water on it), business cards, pens, a Sharpie, hand sanitizer, wallet, Comic-Con badge, gum or mints, two voice recorders and an extra set of batteries, my iPhone, my iPhone cable and plug, a portable charging unit, headphones, small point and shoot camera, a snack or two, a bottle of water, my notebook with my schedule and any interview questions I have etc, and if I'm shooting my web series, my Go-Pro and stand for it.
- Write any notes and interview questions for the day (always write down more interview questions than you think you'll have time to ask - especially for roundtables since someone else will likely have similar questions as you)
- Breakfast at the hotel. It's typically the biggest meal I eat every day so I pile the plate high and grab a banana for later.
- Spend time in the exhibit hall if I can or head to my first event
- Go between the exhibit hall, panel rooms, and the Hilton Bayfront and whatever hotel IGN is set up in. There is a loooot of walking. And feeling guilty about getting access to panels that others have waited hours in line for (I know I'm working, but I can never shake that feeling). After panels, I'll usually find a quiet place to sit and tidy up my notes and get an article published as quickly as possible. The free wifi in the lobby area downstairs always works well for me.
- Wrap up the day anywhere from 6-8pm, go to the hotel to finish uploading urgent stories and photos, empty out all the business cards and swag that got shoved in my face out of my bag, shower and change, head out for a few hours. I finish up any lingering posts before bed. I try to leave all transcribing from roundtables until after the convention is over because we all know how much fun transcribing is.
- If I have energy before bed, I'll prep interview questions for the next day and/or pack my bag.

This year I'll be adding in grabbing footage and performing interviews for Con Woman.

It's a busy weekend. It's a blast, and I'm thrilled I get to do stuff like interview The Hunger Games cast or sit in on the Game of Thrones panel for work. But, it is a marathon. Sometimes friends don't always understand that you can't hang or meet them at an offsite event. I wouldn't change anything though. Working at San Diego helps offset the cost of attending (really though, I could fix that by not attending at all), and it's an exciting environment. In the moments when I'm not feeling tired, I sort of get high off all the rushing around and urgency. Is it next Wednesday yet?

Who else is attending Comic-Con this year?

July 16, 2014

Ariel Encounters Prince Hans from Frozen

In my mind, many of the worlds seen in Disney films are all connected. There's a pretty compelling argument that connects Tangled and Frozen. Elsa and Anna's parents were on the way to a wedding when their ship went down, and Rapunzel and Flynn are spotted in the crowds attending Coronation Day. Some also think The Little Mermaid is set in the same world and the sunken ship she swims around with Flounder and the shark is the shipwreck of the King and Queen of Arendelle. So... that doesn't place them in the same time period, but I still like this fan art that puts Ariel and Prince Hans together.

It's by Tumblr user hollyoakhill, and she thinks that Ariel finds Hans in a shipwreck. I like to imagine it's more vindictive, and that Han gets pushed off the ship going home and Ariel somehow knows about his transgressions (maybe Anna has a shell phone for underwater communication) and decides to serve some justice. Mermaid style vigilantism, baby.

Okay, maybe my explanation has a few holes. The art is still awesome. What are your theories about the mash-up?

h/t Neatorama

July 15, 2014

Snowpiercer Is Already Available to Rent or Own Digitally

Somehow or another, Snowpiercer didn't hit my radar until recently. Film critic Scott Weinberg tweeted about it, and some friends sat me down to watch a trailer that had me itching to get to theaters. Snowpiercer is a science fiction action film with a sprinkling of horror that's based on a French graphic novel. Directed by Bong Joon-ho, it was released in South Korea in 2013 but only made its way to the United States in June 2014. Even then, it was only released in a few locations. Snowpiercer has spread to more and more theaters, and if you can find it playing near you and can go and support it, I highly encourage you to do so because it is completely worth it.

Snowpiercer isn't a cheerful movie. It's bleak, hard-hitting, and paints a scary portrait of a world that could one do be ours - at least in parts. However, it's compelling, beautifully told, and one hell of a science fiction story. To make the package even better, the film stars the likes of Chris Evans, John Hurt, Tilda Swinton, and Ed Harris. The trailer explains the basics of the plot:

If you can't get to a theater, you're in luck because Snowpiercer is already available digitally on Amazon and iTunes. Set aside two hours and fork over $7 to watch it or $15 to purchase it. I don't think you'll regret it, and you'll be supporting fine filmmaking.

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