September 19, 2014

The Dune Recipe for No-Bake Spice Cookies

David Lynch's 1984 adaptation of Frank Herbert's Dune isn't what I would call a movie for kids. That didn't stop the powers that be from producing a series of Dune activity books though. The books included coloring pages (at least of one of them featured dead characters), puzzles, connect-the-dots images, and even math problems. It's so bizarre and glorious that the activity book pages seem like things made up by an artist on Tumblr. But no, they're real, and you can even buy the Dune activity books on eBay.

One of my favorite selections from the activity books is a recipe for No-Bake Spice Cookies. Paul Atreides is clearly a big fan because hey, the spice must flow.

Click to enlarge:

See more Dune activity book awesomeness at Coilhouse.

September 18, 2014

Everyday Cosplay - Claire from Outlander

I've fallen pretty hard for Outlander, and I look up to Claire Randall. The character is fascinating and multifaceted, and Caitriona Balfe does an incredible job playing her. I didn't know when I read the book by Diana Gabaldon, but Balfe is the Claire I pictured.

Anyway, I adored the dress she was wearing when she traveled through the stones and had to put together an everyday cosplay look for it:

Don't forget to let me know if you have any everyday cosplay requests!

Why Batman's Tumbler is On the Star Wars: Episode VII Millennium Falcon

Today is a good day for Star Wars fans because Bad Robot just shared a peek of the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars: Episode VII. In a video titled, "Hunka Junk," Han Solo's ship is revealed to the tune of John Williams "Binary Sunset" music. Yes, it's enough to give a person mega goose bumps. And maybe tears if you're the weepy type. Spoiler: I'm the weepy type.

In a few seconds the video takes a Batman turn with music by Hans Zimmer from Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight trilogy. The shot closes in on a Batman easter egg attached to the Millennium Falcon: his Tumbler. The Batmobile Tumbler was used by Batman in the Nolan films.

Take a look:

Why is there a Batmobile on the Millennium Falcon?

Batmobile Tumbler on the Millennium Falcon
Zack Snyder, director of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and J.J. Abrams, director of Episode VII have been playing a game on Twitter with photos showing a DC Comics-Star Wars crossover. Why? I'm not sure, but it's resulted in some amusing back and forth. It seems to have started on July 23rd with Snyder's tweet featuring Superman gone Sith:

Bad Robot and Abrams answered SuperJedi with a photo of Episode VII cast member John Boyega as Batman on July 25th. Behold "#BOYEGAMAN."

Then on August 2nd, Snyder tweeted a photo of Batman and R2-D2 in a Tatooine-esque landscape with the words: "BATMAN & R2BIN @bad_robot"

Bad Robot and Abrams struck back on August 8th with this wonderful image of C-3PO as Batman and the caption: "THE C3PED CRUSADER @ZackSnyder"

And it didn't end there. Snyder recently shared a photo of a Stormtrooper getting arrested by the Gotham City Police Department:

And now, Abrams has responded by showing him what the Millennium Falcon would to do the Tumbler. It would crush it. I hope Snyder responds by incorporating a Millennium Falcon toy into the Tumbler undercarriage.

September 17, 2014

One Character, Different Costumes: Sherlock Holmes

Cosplaying is elementary, my dear Watson. Can you believe I managed to use that Sherlock Holmes catchphrase in this post already? Or that it isn't really a Sherlock Holmes catchphrase after all?

Anyway, as you may have inferred from the title and opening sentences, this week's installment of "one character, different costumes" is focused on Sherlock Holmes. He's starred in books, films, television series, and even comics and has several different looks. You can become Sherlock by donning a deerstalker hat and picking up a magnifying glass, or you can dress like Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock from the current BBC series. There are several ways to approach a Sherlock Holmes costume - just take a look:

Gender swapped Sherlock Holmes cosplayed by Yvonne/Mi-caw-ber, photo by vw. Could this BBC Sherlock costume be any more perfect. I can't get over how much the hair looks like Benedict Cumberbatch's. Wow.

Robert Downey's Sherlock cosplayed by A/C Photography/Adamantium84, photo by S. Carter. Seeing this makes me want to re-watch the 2009 Sherlock Holmes - I really liked the costume designs.

Classic Sherlock at Dragon Con 2013, photo by James. You can't go wrong with the classic look, and if you're a lady who wants to change it up, you can pair the caplet and hat with a dress. Speaking of...

Darling Army is known for making awesome cosplay pinafores, and you only have to dress this black suit jumper up a little to look like Sherlock.

A genderbent take on the classic Sherlock Holmes outfit cosplayed by triumph-forks, photo by Heather. Finally! A pipe! Love the way this photo shows off the Sherlock silhouette in the background.

Another Robert Downey Sherlock-inspired costume from Lux-Laterna, photo by Kezia. The details on the costume are great but get a load of that set! Lux-Laterna designed and decorated it. That's dedication.

September 16, 2014

Baltimore Comic-Con recap

I did it! I made it through convention season. Baltimore Comic-Con took place about a week and a half ago, and I think it's my last convention of the year. If anything, it should be my last out of state convention of the year. Anyway, Baltimore hosts my favorite convention because it's all about comics. A comic convention that actually focuses on comics. Crazy, right?

The convention expanded to three days this year (from two days) and moved into a bigger space in the exhibit hall. There was more time to see everything, more room to move around the aisles, and they offered several interesting panels which is an improvement over past years. Even with taking most of Friday to stay in the hotel room and work, I had plenty of time to explore the exhibit hall, hang out with friends, collect new art in my Daredevil sketchbook, attend panels, and record video for Con Woman (that will be up on the Shout Factory YouTube channel in the next couple of months). I also covered a few panels for Comic Book Resources (huzzah!) and interviewed Joel Hodgson, the creator of Mystery Science Theater 3000, for Con Woman. Not too shabby.

Daredevil by Mike Maihack

Matt Murdock by Lora Innes
Baltimore Comic-Con was a breath of fresh air after Dragon Con. It was less crowded, and since it was just in a single convention center instead of five hotels, navigating was a breeze. It was only a short walk to the convention center from the hotel, and the Inner Harbor was right across the street with plenty of delicious food (there's also shopping if that's your thing). I wandered over to admire the USS Constellation but got distracted by being miserably hot and didn't make it on board. Next year will be the year.

I mentioned that Baltimore is all about comics, and that was evident in just a few minutes of walking around the exhibit hall. If I want to catch up on trades or look for fun single issues to read, this is the convention I wait for. The percentage of vendors selling comics is high, and many issues and trades are discounted. Artists' alley (which was a little difficult to navigate because I couldn't find table numbers) was packed with indie and self-published titles. I came home with a giant stack of comics that I purchased and received in the Harvey Awards attendee gift bag:

I would have rolled around on them except I was worried about hurting the covers.

You can see all my photos from the convention at Flickr.

September 15, 2014

Favorite quotes from Outlander: The Garrison Commander

Saturday's episode of Outlander, "The Garrison Commander," took us into darkness as we got to know the true heart of Black Jack Randall. It wasn't pretty. However, it did make for what I think is the best installment of the series thus far. Wow.
See my favorite quotes from "The Garrison Commander" after the image.

source - Starz
“By all means, we must protect the claret.” - Jack Randall

“Well, I must admit, the idea of grinding your corn does tickle me, but it’s not myself I’d be nominating for the position.” - Dougal MacKenzie

"I dwell in darkness, madam, and darkness is where I belong. I need no sympathy and you'll get none from me. One way or another, I will get the truth out of you." - Jack Randall

“The question of the kilt will remain an enigma.” - Lord Thomas

“The truth carries a weight that no lie can counterfeit. I promise that I would reveal myself to you, and, I have.” - Jack Randall

"The Scots just want the same freedoms we enjoy, freedoms we take for granted. They are not the aggressors, Captain, we are. It is their land and we are occupying it." - Claire Randall

“If I were brave enough, I’d commission you a colonel in one of my regiments. You do know how to order the men about!” - Lord Thomas

And then... well, wedding bells are in the future:

Read my full review of the episode at IGN: Outlander: "The Garrison Commander" Review

September 11, 2014

The craziness that is Dragon Con

I attended my second Dragon Con this year. I survived, exhausted and with a scratchy throat but still happy. My first trip to Dragon Con was so overwhelming that I spent most of it on the verge of freak-out tears. This year? I smiled. A lot. I still panicked a couple of times because of the intense and pressing crowds, but I had friends, I had a purpose, and most importantly, I knew what to expect.

Talking about Dragon Con is like talking about the traffic in Los Angeles. Unless you've experienced the hell of sitting on the 405 and lived through the stop and go crawl of that city's freeways, you don't quite get it. You can appreciate the frustration of others when they explain their woeful tales of being stuck in the car for hours to go barely nowhere, but you don't grasp it until you take a walk in their shoes... er, a drive in their car. That's Dragon Con.

I can tell you about the crowds and show you pictures and video (here's what the Marriott lobby looked like at 6:30pm on Friday night of the convention), but you won't know the unique experience that is Dragon Con until you go. I've already discussed some points about why Dragon Con is different from other conventions in a post last year, so I'll just rundown the highlights of my trip this time around:

- I mostly learned my way around and through the hotels. I knew how to get from point A to B, and if I wandered around aimlessly it was by intent and not just because I was lost. Much better that way.

- I took the time to stop and smell the roses. I only had a few panels scheduled, and I liked that freedom and not putting pressure on myself to be five thousand places. It meant I could stop to sit or take photos, like this one of a Jawa playing chess against Star-Lord:

- That also meant I had time to explore. I found the legendary back steps of the Hilton where giant cosplay shoots happen and I wandered into The Armory to see a variety of sharp and pointy things and talked with a lady who participates in full contact medieval combat. She was awesome.

- I participated in three Star Wars panels and watched many more and considered the Star Wars panel room my home base:

- I talked to cosplayers who used electronics in their costumes for an article at Adafruit and photographed as many cosplayers as I could.

- I met a couple people I'd only known on Twitter for years, met new friends, and spent some quality time with existing friends browsing the dealer's room and watching the costume contest.

- I wore two costumes at the convention: my Star Trek dress and a Daring Do ensemble fashioned by my friend Kara:

Overall? It was a blast and now I completely get the appeal of Dragon Con.

You can see all my photos from Dragon Con at Flickr and stay tuned for a Dragon Con-centric episode of my web series Con Woman soon.

September 10, 2014

One Character, Different Costumes: Thor

It's already Wednesday, and that means it's time to look at different takes on one character's costume. Behold, the god of Thunder! I've seen various approaches to tackling the outfit from comic book replicas to cinematic universe replicas to sexy version to mash-up versions. Each one - unless it's purchased at a costume shop - stands apart from the others. Here are a handful of examples:

Impressive Thor cosplayed by Jason, photo by Katou. He has a nice enough wig to make Chris Hemsworth jealous.

Pika-Thor cosplayed by Cosmic-Empress, photo by Mike Shum. Yes, Virginia, mash-ups exist for everything.

Lady Thor cosplayed by kmjohnson13. I don't mind the midriff-baring genderswapped Thor costumes, but I appreciate the more crossplay look too.

Fantastic Thor spotted at Wizard World Chicago by transformersnewfan. Look at the size of that hammer!

Love this Thor dress designed by Olivia. It looks comfortable and easy to wear all day to a convention.

Femme Thor inspired by The Avengers design cosplayed by Izzy, photo by reiche1. I love the way she did the wings.

Mermaid freaking Thor cosplayed by Maya.
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