April 30, 2011

Rambling Round-Up

Here's are some articles by me that have been posted on the interwebs in the past couple of weeks!

Why Wouldn't You Go to the Renfaire? - Renaissance faires are a blast, but some folks get hung up on things like costumes and refuse to go.  I think they're missing out, so I address a few FAQs about renaissance faires.

DIY Weeping Angel Cosplay - I think I've established that I'm terrifed of the Weeping Angels from Doctor Who, right?  Even though it scares me, I found a very detailed how-to on making your own angel costume.  Just don't go stealing any phone boxes, okay?

The Doctor Has Fashionable Companions - Speaking of Doctor Who, ever noticed how his companions get different outfits while his remains the same?  I'm sure you have.  I discuss this topic in my latest column for ScienceFiction.com.

Star Trek: Captain's Log TPB

Conan Road of Kings #3

April 28, 2011

Her Universe: New Shirt Designs!

Her Universe is going to be offering two new shirt designs at Disney World's Star Wars Weekends

In case you are not familiar with Her Universe, the company was founded by Ashley Eckstein (the voice of Ahsoka Tano on The Clone Wars) last year.  She wanted to buy cool Star Wars merchandise, but she soon realized that a lot of the available t-shirts just weren't made for girls.  I am not the only one who raids the boys' section at Target to get cute tees.  She did something about it.  She created Her Universe specifically for female fans.  We responded positively when she launched the line last year.  The designs are fun, and the shirts are of the highest quality.  Most importantly, the apparel fit properly.  So far, the company just offers Star Wars merchandise.  They have partnered with SyFy though, and fans can expect shirts from such shows as Warehouse 13 and Battlestar Galactica.  To which I say - yay!

The two brand new Star Wars designs that will be released in May at Disney World feature Yoda and a whole cast of characters from the original trilogy.  I will need to own both of them.  It sounds like they are exclusive only to Star Wars weekends though; I'll have to trick a droid into grabbing them for me.*  A couple of popular shirts will also be available for the first time in Padawan sizes.

*I learned that they will be available online after Star Wars Weekends.

April 26, 2011

Long Beach Comic Expo Recap

Did someone say comic expo? Okay, twist my arm, I’ll go. I attended the Long Beach Comic Expo last year, and it’s a fun one day show.

Since I went last year, I knew to expect a smaller show. I got the impression that a few people were confused or disappointed about the size and offerings, but it worked for me. The dealer room/exhibit hall was set-up in a medium sized room. The offerings in one section of the room included lots of back issues of comics, trades, graphic novels, and steampunk hats. I didn’t notice many toys or t-shirts. Lots of indie comic creators lined the outer walls of the room, and the rest of the space was taken up by a mini Artist Alley. I say mini, but there was really so much art to browse through. That really stuck out for me as a highlight of the convention. A handful of cosplayers attended, and to my amazement, I didn’t see one slave Leia. That might be a first for me. I did spot steampunky goodness, a Dr. Horrible, a couple of Batmans, and a fantastic Joker & Harley. I went in an Amy Pond-inspired outfit.*

There was another area in the hall that most convention attendees couldn’t access. The Guild was filming at the convention that day, they set up their own fake convention: Mega Game-O-Rama Con! You could stand behind the caution tape and look around the set. They set up fake booths and Golden Apple Comics had a booth in the real convention and the fake one. To complete the phony convention, The Guild crew made up some panels and posted signs outside the convention meeting rooms. Many convention attendees pre-registered ahead of time to be extras and I saw them pull in a couple of Stormtroopers from the 501st Legion table. I didn’t stick around to watch actual filming, but I did see Felicia Day and Jeff Lewis at the Golden Apple table in the actual convention.

It’s a great show to attend with friends you actually want to hang out with (and I did). You have time to walk the floor repeatedly, leave to eat lunch, or just sit in the hallway and chat.  I never felt uncomfortably crowded or squished. I got to look at art at my leisure and talk to the artists and creators. Oh, and back to the art. I added a fair amount to my collection. I purchased pieces from Tom Hodges, Mark Dos Santos, James Riot, and more. I’ll be busy framing next weekend. I also picked up all the Blazin’ Brandy comics by Stephanie Lesniak.

My nitpicks:
I feel that $15 is too much considering what the show offers. There were approximately 10 panels and a cozy exhibit hall. I think $5-8 would have been the ideal price range. That said, I still had a good time.

The folks behind the Expo and the Long Beach Comic Con should take care to differentiate the brands. A lot of people attending Saturday called it the con rather than an expo, and it makes attendees have higher expectations. Well, bigger expectations. The Expo is separate from its big brother and should be treated as its own event. Maybe give it a separate logo, website, or a new name? I’m not sure, but I just heard the names swapped interchangeably and they shouldn’t have been.

Those barely count as complaints though; I'll be going back next year!

*I make a good companion - in the Whoverse definition not the Firefly kind. Within the first 30 minutes of arrival, I ran and then I performed investigative reporting.  My partner in crime's - @ArkhamAsylumDoc - parked car was hit and the driver left. She stopped his car with the Force (really) but he denied doing it.  We still had an awesome day despite this.

April 22, 2011


It's been a while since I've provided an update on my Doctor Who watching progress.  It's been maddeningly slow because life does not understand that I'd like to sit on the couch and have a Who marathon of epic proportions.  But.  I just finished "The Waters of Mars" and next up is "The End of Time."  And yes, I know what the second half of that story brings - not specifics, but I'm aware of what happens at the end.  I'll get there.  It will be soon too; I'd like to blaze through the fifth season and catch season six as it airs.

I started my Who experience with the new series just at the end of last year (or was it the beginning of this year?  It's all a blur).  It didn't take long to see why this show has lasted for almost fifty years or why it has some of the most tenacious fans I've ever met.  Even stepping into the Whoverse as a complete newbie knowing very little about Time Lords and the TARDIS, I could feel the show's rich history.  At WonderCon, Neil Gaiman said he liked having that lengthy past to draw upon when he wrote his episode.  He also said you can just jump in:

"No, look, there's a blue box. It's bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. It can go anywhere in time and space and sometimes even where it's meant to go. And when it turns up, there's a bloke in it called The Doctor and there will be stuff wrong and he will do his best to sort it out and he will probably succeed 'cause he's awesome. Now sit down, shut up, and watch Blink." - Neil Gaiman, (watch the WonderCon panel here).

The word awesome is even more so when it is uttered by Neil Gaiman.

But I digress.

One of the beautiful things about Doctor Who is that you can step in at almost any episode.  Sure, there are ideal points and like with all things, you'll have a better experience if you know more.  Just don't be intimidated and feel like you have to start from the beginning to know what's going on.  For the past couple of years I thought I that I needed to watch hundreds of episodes to catch up, and it delayed my exposure to the Whoverse.  Sad, right?  I let go of that at the urging of a friend, and I'm glad I didn't wait any longer.  One day, I will go back in time (sadly, without a TARDIS) to at least the Fourth Doctor.  I'll finish the new things first though.

It's exciting to be a part of a new fandom, but Doctor Who is a little different.  I feel privileged to join this group.  Allons-y!

April 20, 2011

Review: Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog - The Book

I can hardly believe that Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog came out it 2008. I remember the excitement about the series that swept over the internet. It felt like it was just last year. Maybe that’s because I watch the web series and listen to the soundtrack on a regular basis. It doesn’t get old. I was happy to hear that Titan was publishing a book to accompany the story. Really. Insert nerd squees here.

This book isn’t just a visual companion with the script. Don’t write it off as fluff that just rehashes the story (some movie books do that). Dr. Horrible: The Book has the script but also plenty of new and shiny facts to make it worth picking up. You’ll be laughing from the foreword on the first page by Captain Hammer. As you go through the pages, you’ll find letters from all the main cast members with memories about filming, exactly how Dr. Horrible’s remote control in Act I was designed, behind the scenes photos, handwritten lyrics from Joss, insight on the costume designs, and more. One of the neatest things is the inclusion of sheet music for the songs. I can’t play instruments, but I know people who can. And I will bribe them with cupcakes to learn “My Eyes” and play it over and over.

This book is also special because it's an anomaly.  There aren't many (or any) published visual companions for a web-only project.  The team behind Dr. Horrible created something special in a time when the writers of Hollywood were being stepped on.  Fans took down internet serves with an outpouring of support for Dr. Horrible.  Fans helped this book be made.

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog: The Book is oversized and pretty. The layout makes you flip through the 160 pages in a happy, give-me-more-now fashion. I went through once to read the extras and a few times just to make sure I looked at every photo. There are lots of them. I really can’t think of anything they left out in this book. It has the same fun spirit and quality that the web series did. If you want to make a Dr. Horrible fan in your life happy, buy them this book.

April 19, 2011

RIP Elisabeth Sladen aka Sarah Jane Smith

Image by Carolyn Edwards, DeviantArt
No. The universe has to move forward. Pain and loss, they define us as much as happiness or love. Whether it's a world, or a relationship... Everything has its time. And everything ends. - Sarah Jane Smith, "School Reunion."

Actress Elisabeth Sladen passed away today at the too young age of 63.  I knew her best as Sarah Jane Smith.  I know it's just a character that she played, but it feels like so much more than that.  It's a character she brought to life and entirely embodied.  She's beloved by so many fans for a reason.  Sarah Jane grabbed my heart the first time I met her in "School Reunion."  Sladen just has that sort of presence.  It's not demanding, but it makes you take notice.  She was brilliant and inspiring.  I've only seen her in the new Doctor Who, and I've wanted to go back to the Fourth Doctor at least because of Sarah Jane.  I need to do that as soon as possible.  Rest in peace.  You will be missed.

April 17, 2011

Rambling Round-Up

Here are some articles and reviews by me that I posted elsewhere on the internet this week:

Convention Survival Tips - Some hopefully helpful tips to make your convention experience more enjoyable.

Game of Thrones Dinner Party - You can throw your own Westeros-inspired dinner party without blood and gore.  I run through my list of suggestions in this article for ScienceFiction.com.

Sci-Fi & Fantasy Apps for the iPhone - I've tried a handful of sci-fi/fantasty related apps (I'm app addicted), and these are my favorites!

Dragon Age, Volume 1

April 16, 2011

Meeting George R.R. Martin at the Game of Thrones Food Truck

HBO has done a lot of heavy lifting to promote Game of Thrones (which is premiering tomorrow night, yay!). One of these ideas was a food truck.

Genius. Bravo, HBO.

Reading almost any fantasy book makes me hungry, but A Song of Ice and Fire has made my mouth water. GRRM describes the feasts with just the right amount of detail, and they usually sound delightful. I say usually because the horse hearts don't so much appeal to me. The rest of it. Wow. If you're curious, Westeros.org has made an exhaustive list of the food and drink mentioned in the series. I am guessing Chef Tom Colicchio perused a similar list when he created the menu for the Taste of Westeros food truck.

The truck started in Manhattan and ended in Los Angeles. I tracked it down with my superpowers (aka using Twitter) on two days. I had read about the various menus – each day's menu was inspired by a specific location in Westeros. I was hoping I would get the trout with almond butter, one of the entrees for the King's Landing menu. On the first day that I could go, Wednesday 4/6, it was The Wall. Black seafood stew with dragon peppers or beet and pickled egg with horseradish accompanied by the always present lemon cakes. HBO minions passed out a copy of the menu to each of us. I opted for the stew as my main course. The dishes were served in small wooden plates shaped like boats. The napkins were printed with sigils of the major houses and their mottoes. The seafood stew was spicy and rich. I might have tipped the plate to indelicately slurp every last bit of the sauce. I'm classy like that. The lemon cakes were divine. They were sweet and spongy like angel food cake and topped with a sort of glaze that reminded me of lemon curd. So delicious. Tom Colicchio generously posted the lemon cake. It was so worth the wait in line with my pals.

For the final appearance of the food truck, I ditched work early to visit the truck in Venice. My priorities are straight. I frantically parked and walked towards friends already in line. They asked, “Did you see George R.R. Martin?” I thought they were kidding, but I looked back. I had buzzed right past him. Soon he started his walk down the entire line of fans. We were near the beginning, but it looked like people stretched around the corner. He took the time to chat and to take photos with anyone that asked. I heard him reassure a few people that A Dance with Dragons is indeed almost finished. He asked our group if we lived nearby, and most of us live in the Valley so that's what we said. He said something like, “I'm guessing the food truck didn't make it to the Valley.” Definitely not. He talked to us about spending time there while he worked on Beauty and the Beast while the crew was stuck shooting in Vernon. He took pictures with a couple of people in my group. I held in the nerd flailing until he was out of hearing distance. It was such an awesome surprise. I almost forgot that we were there for food.

GRRM with me, @snoopshan, and @tarynoneill
Photo by David Nett
The menu for the last day was inspired by Winterfell. Venison with apples and cinnamon or suckling head cheese with lemon cakes. I chose the venison. I was happy to receive Targaryen sigil napkin with my food (I didn't use it or the napkin from Wednesday). It was served on a skewer, and I'm convinced that makes any food better. It was the most tender venison I've eaten and the apples were a perfect accompaniment. I ate my lemon cake as slowly as I could and considered storming the food truck to take all the lemon cakes.

Again, well done, HBO for an experience that really immerses fans into the world of the Seven Kingdoms. I hope the food truck inspires a cookbook with all the foods of Westeros.

April 15, 2011

Response to the NY Times Game of Thrones Review

When I sat down tonight I intended to write about my experiences with the Game of Thrones food truck last week and meeting George R. R. Martin. Instead I clicked on a review from The New York Times about Game of Thrones.  It sidetracked me.  The review by Ginia Bellafante feels like a direct slam against a woman like me. A woman that loves Game of Thrones. It feels like a flaming insult to geek girls. It was such a direct contrast of an article from Wednesday that Susan Young wrote for MSNBC about geek girls powering viewership for sci-fi/fantasy TV that I was jarred. Then I was angry.

Why did the article get my geek girl knickers in a twist? I encourage you to go read it, but I'll pull out some highlights:

“Game of Thrones” is boy fiction patronizingly turned out to reach the population’s other half.”

“...is the sense you get that all of this illicitness has been tossed in as a little something for the ladies, out of a justifiable fear, perhaps, that no woman alive would watch otherwise.”

"While I do not doubt that there are women in the world who read books like Mr. Martin’s, I can honestly say that I have never met a single woman who has stood up in indignation at her book club and refused to read the latest from Lorrie Moore unless everyone agreed to “The Hobbit” first."

At least she concedes that there are women in the world who read Mr. Martin's books... right after she states that no woman alive would watch the show without the added "illicitness."

Ms. Bellafante: How about you, I don't know, get crazy and try to seek out a female fan of Game of Thrones? Trust me, there are thousands of them! Then you could have asked her why she likes the series. Or you could have been more scientific and asked lots of female fans. This is better than simply making the arrogant claim that this is boy fiction.

I am a woman. I read and adore A Song of Ice and Fire (the series of which A Game of Thrones is the first book), and I will be watching the show. Another woman recommended the series to me. In my personal experience, I have seen more women showing excitement about Game of Thrones than men. I've seen this on blogs, on social media, at Game of Thrones events, and at conventions. I've sat on the Iron Throne, I've watched every trailer and making of for the series, and I've chased down the food truck and met George R. R. Martin. I am insanely excited to watch one of my favorite series brought to life. And not because of the sex scenes.

The series is hardly “boy fiction.” Where does this phrase come from?  Is it automatically for boys because there are swords and mutton?  The series weaves an intricate tale of power spread across a vast kingdom. The major houses play the game of thrones, and the lesser houses and peasants deal with the fallout. A vast Wall to the north keeps out Wildlings and supernatural beings. The seasons have no determined length and winter is coming. The characters are rich and layered (and yes, numerous), and none of them are safe. There are also a lot of kick-ass women and girls. Daenerys Targaryen, Cersei Lannister, Catelyn Stark, Arya Stark – they all survive hardships and fight in the best ways they know how. They fight for power, their families, and for their lives.

I will say that the fact that there is sex in the series does contribute to one of the reasons the series stands apart – it's gritty.  It is not your average fantasy tale full of squeaky clean Legolas-like characters (I do love Lord of the Rings, but it's a very different sort of story). The pages of the series are stained with blood and gore and lust. Do I pick up the books specifically for the sex scenes though? Not at all.

I'm not tuning into the television show to see sex either. I won't lie – I'm not unhappy about seeing Jason Momoa shirtless as Khal Drogo, but that isn't the primary reason I'm watching. I want to see Westeros on screen. The detailed, harsh world that George R.R. Martin created is bound to be visually incredible. I want to see the Wall and the White Walkers. I want to watch Cersei Lannister and Ned Stark exchange words like they are weapons. I want to see Arya learn how to dance. You get the picture, right? I'm not saying, “Wow, I can't wait for that Dothraki orgy scene.”  Of course, I can only speak to my feelings. Other women could be tuning in just for the “illicitness” but this woman would watch even if Jason Momoa kept his clothes on.

All this said, it is a review and Ms. Bellafante is entitled to her opinion (though I don't think it's much of a review - as Daniel Fienberg points out, it doesn't mention a single actor, character or plotpoint). The purpose of reviews is for stating opinions. She didn't like the show, so what?  But reviews are not for making sweeping generalizations about women. Generalizations that also happen to be incorrect. I understand that she may not personally know any geek girls. That doesn't mean we don't exist. One giant brush cannot paint all women the same color. It's presumptuous for anyone to think they can do so.

How dare anyone say that Game of Thrones is “boy fiction.” What a crude and useless phrase. I am proof that it is not the case, and I am not alone.

Also?  I love The Hobbit.

If you feel so inclined, you can submit a letter to the editor of The New York Times about the review.

April 14, 2011

The Making of The Hobbit

Peter Jackson:  Kudos. Ups.  Props. You rock.

The director and producer of The Hobbit has started his behind the scenes vlog.  He posted the first video last night, and it's not just a few minutes of pretty imagery.  It's ten minutes and takes fans all over the set!  We get to see Rivendell, Bag End, weapon production, costumes, and a certain wizard.  To see Jackson back in this world is... heartening.  To see the locations again and know that in this world, Middle Earth is living and breathing again is moving.  It takes me to a sappy place. 

So, thank you, Peter Jackson for your devotion to the fans. We know that even a short video can take a lot of time to put together.

Watch and enjoy.

I'm so thrilled that this movie is finally happening.

April 12, 2011

Visiting Lucasfilm (pure nerd joy)

Visit to Lucasfilm

Recognize this fountain, you might.

The serene Yoda Fountain is located just outside the doors of the Letterman Digital Arts Center - home to Industrial Light & Magic, LucasArts, and Lucasfilm's marketing, online, and licensing units. I've seen it in pictures. I've seen Bonnie Burton check in at the Yoda Fountain on Twitter (via Foursquare). And then I finally got to see it. I exited the elevator and walked into the lobby and almost ran out the doors to see this fountain. It was the first of many nerd-flail moments. I mean really, I was practically bouncing up and down.

I went back indoors because I knew the lobby was full of goodies. The tables in the lobby were scattered with Star Wars books. A couple of the walls were lined with bookshelves, and action figures and sculpts had proud places right by the books. In between the shelves, Boba Fett and Vader hung out to greet visitors. This little mini museum was just the beginning.

About the time that I was thisclose to touching something I shouldn't have, the friend from ILM that the geek boy and I were meeting for lunch came out to the lobby to pick us up. We were handed fancy badges that had to be used a lot more than I was expecting to gain access to different areas. The walk to the cafeteria is kind of a blur. As I hoped and dreamed, the halls were lined with displays and paintings and so many beautiful/amazing/geeky sculptures and paintings. I mean, I sort of knew that's what it was like but to experience it person... wow. The highlights: maquettes of Jurassic Park dinosaurs, the model for the house from Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events (so incredible), E.T., E.T. in the bicycle basket, Davy Jones busts from Pirates of the Caribbean, Jar Jar in carbonite opposite of a doorway with Han Solo in carbonite, stunning matte paintings, R2-D2... so much fantastic memorabilia. It was hard not to touch things; I'm a very tactile sort of person.  I just held on to my purse really tight.  It probably looked like I was afraid of muggers.  Or stormtroopers.  I felt like a strong creative force (yeah, pun intended) emanated from the walls. At one point during the visit, I walked just behind Dennis Muren. I had a moment.

If I set the pace, it would have taken almost an hour to just to walk to lunch. Apparently the guys with me actually wanted to eat! I just wanted to stroll around, look at things, pretended like I worked there, and do more nerd-flailing. In that order. But the view from the cafeteria is enchanting and as it turns out, the food is tasty. They have tons of options too – have I mentioned that it takes me a while to decide on what to eat? While I was circling for the third time, I ran into Ashley Eckstein though – so this leads me to conclude that food indecision is a good thing.

Before leaving, I of course had to make a mad dash through the gift shop.  I was like that person at Disneyland that you see just picking up things just because of the logo. I couldn't help myself! My favorite purchase was a moleskine emblazoned with the Lucasfilm logo. I'm a sucker for a moleskine (or any sort of journal/notebook) and the beautiful silver logo made it irresistible. Somehow I still forgot a coffee mug and a bottle of Skywalker Ranch wine. Next time. Oh yes, there will be a next time.  After all, I have to go back to get Bonnie's tour! (This time I just got to squish her with hugs and drool over all the toys and crafts in her office).

April 11, 2011

WonderCon 2011: Archaia Panel

Archaia Comics made a big announcement two weeks ago at C2E2, but they left some major reveals for WonderCon. Fans arrived to the panel early to hear the latest news. Editor-in-Chief Stephen Christy led the discussion featuring Marketing Manager Mel Caylo, Assistant Editor Rebecca Taylor, and special guests Joe LeFavi and Nate Cosby.

On Friday at WonderCon before the panel, they announced an anthology based on the Immortals movie. Joe LeFavi of Quixotic Transmedia facilitated the partnership between Relativity Media and Archaia, and he joined the panel to discuss the graphic novel. Tarsem Singh is directing; the release date is set for 11-11-11. It will be gritty and beautiful and according to LeFavi, “There are more abs in the film than there are actors.” The movie comes down to the last stand of mankind against a massive force of evil. They are tying the anthology into the movie, but it will be an original collection of short stories instead of a graphic adaptation.

LeFavi stated, “We're taking some of the best comic creators and we're allowing them to step within the world of the film and to go play. Take these characters and these major events and tell Greek mythology tales the way you've always wanted to tell them.” They announced that Nate Cosby, former Marvel editor, is editing the collection. One half of the book will tell about the gods on Mount Olympus before the events of the film, and then it will flip over and take readers to mankind's side of the story. Cosby said that everyone he pitched the story to was excited about contributing. The list includes the talents of David Mack, Ben Templesmith, Jock, Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, Jeff Parker, Chris Roberson, and Francesco Francavilla among others.

Stephen Christy pointed out that it is unique for a comic book company and studio to partner in this way. The graphic novel will be published through the Archaia Black Label division; this division exists specifically to work with the entertainment industry to bring stories to comics. LeFavi said the relationship has been amazing so far. The book will be released before the film, so as LeFavi mentioned, if fans do read the anthology before, “you will get a different experience from the film. You will have a richer viewpoint on what's going on... a lot of people can see a 90 minute movie and that's all they need but fanboys want more. They want those questions answered, and that's why this book exists."

Then they moved on to a discussion of another partnership – the one with The Jim Henson Company. In addition to Fraggle Rock and the Dark Crystal original graphic novel with Brian Froud, Archaia will be publishing a hardcover anthology of tales based on The Storyteller. Cue an audible gasp from the audience. Christy said that one of the wonderful things about their work with Henson is that they've had access to the Henson vaults the entire time. They uncovered some interesting treasures related to The Storyteller, including an original unproduced episode written by Anthony Minghella. Cosby is also editing this collection, and the anthology stories will center around this unproduced screenplay.

Janet Lee's Storyteller Art
The book will be released in September, and the list of contributors is dazzling. It includes Roger Langridge, Katie Cook, Janet Lee, Jim McCann, Evan Shaner, Marjorie Liu, Chris Eliopoulos, Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, and many more. Cosby said everyone he contacted about this project enthusiastically said yes. It is also his favorite Henson creation after The Muppets. The idea of this storyteller sitting by the fireplace telling arcane stories to his dog and the audience has powerful appeal. The stories are not original but rather derived from legends and fairy tales that go back hundreds or thousands of years. Cosby emphasized, “It's so much fun. It's one of the favorite things that I've ever edited.” The creation of the anthology has been supervised closely by Lisa Henson. It's important to Archaia that partnerships are actual collaborations and not just licenses. They want to make sure it's meaningful to fans.

Rust Cover
Next, attention shifted to Rebecca Taylor. She showcased two upcoming original graphic novels to be released this summer. Old City Blues will be available in June. The story by Giannis Milonogiannis is a cyberpunk police thriller set in Athens, Greece in 2048. Taylor said the story is really a straight up police drama that is a perfect cross between Japanese and European style comics. The other book, Rust by Royden Lepp, will be out in August. It focuses on a small farm where the family is just trying to get by after the end of third world war. Their life is shaken up when a young boy with a jet pack crashes into their barn. He was followed there by a huge robot leftover from the war. Mystery and drama ensue.

Finally, Mel Caylo made note of some upcoming forewords. Writer/producer/director Alan Ball will be writing the foreword for Lucid hardcover (release date in early May). Christy explained Lucid as The Bourne Identity meets Harry Potter. Mages, secret magic, power, and war are all a part of the comic by Michael McMillian. This is Archaia's first book in partnership with Zachary Quinto's production company Before the Door. Christy was also very excited to discuss another book they are working on with Before the Door - Mr. Murder is Dead. He told the audience, “It's literally one of the best comic books scripts I've ever read in my entire life.” He said the premise for the story by Victor Quinaz is, “What if Dick Tracy grew up, became a cantankerous old man, and became a bad guy?” The comic has flashbacks, and as it goes back in time, the art style changes. If they go back to the 1970s, the art will match that time period.

Caylo also mentioned the upcoming hardcover Days Missing Vol. 2 will have a foreword by Wil Wheaton. Archaia works with Roddenberry Productions on this story. It's a science fiction series about a character known as The Steward. He has the ability to fold a 24 hour period to repair dire situations.

The panel wrapped up with questions from the audience. Questions were about variety of Archaia titles from A Tale of Sand to Immortals to The Killer (someone asked if they were surprised by the success of The Killer to which Christy replied, “No, it's awesome”). One person commented on the high quality of Archaia books and even the posters they were handing out as giveaways for Immortals. Christy stated that the only way that print publishing can survive is if they are creating destination material. It has to be something that makes fans want to go out and buy a book as opposed to downloading it. They want to make quality product because they know fans spend hard earned money, and they want it to be worth it to the fans. Christy mentioned this key phrase: “We only publish books that we believe in.” That extends beyond the stories to the quality of the product. The passion every panelist had for the upcoming projects was palpable. It was contagious. Keep an eye on Archaia over the next year.

April 10, 2011

Geeky Links of the Week

My favorite links from the past couple of weeks!

Muppet Theatre - This dedicated fan built a Muppet Theatre playset from scratch.  The sides open, the curtain goes up, and the back wall is fully decorated.  It's really beautiful; click the link to see several photos of the finished piece.

Best Nerd Books Money Can Buy - Blogger from Things to Do in LA lists eight books that are the best of the best.  Selections cover topics such as Star Wars, architecture, and pasta shapes.  I want almost all of the books on this list.

Lord of the Bling - Check out this comic that explains why Lord of the Ring should really be called Lord of the Bling.

Dress Made from Golden Books - Growing up, I had dozens of Golden Books.  They were the little hardcover storybooks with a golden spine.  I treated mine like treasure.  A designer has made these childhood memories into a dress, and it's gorgeous.  Click the link to see pictures!

Crossplay Justice League - This cosplay group at WonderCon turned heads.  It's the Justice League, but crossplayed.  I particularly like Aquawoman.

English to Aurebesh Translator - Translate English to Aurebesh with the click of a button.  I think I'll be using this translator to make greeting cards in Aurebesh.

Printable Lightsaber Craft - Build your very own lightsaber from paper, posterboard, and cardboard with these handy instructions!

April 9, 2011

Rambling Round-Up

Between visiting LEGOLAND and spending three days at WonderCon, I had a lot to write about this week.  Actually, that's an understatement.  Here are my articles that got published around the interwebs over the last week.

ElfQuest WonderCon and LA Premiere - The ElfQuest Fan Imagining went live on Wednesday, 4/7.  Read about the release of the teaser trailer at WonderCon (the producers sat on a panel with the Pinis) and the premiere of the full fan trailer in Los Angeles.  I was lucky enough to attend both events.

Legoland Star Wars Miniland Grand Opening
Visiting the Star Wars LEGO Miniland Opening - Remember when I mentioned I visited the opening of the new Star Wars Miniland at LEGOLAND with the 501st and Rebel Legions?  Read about my day and how awesome the 501st Legion is even though they're the bad guys.

Interview with Geek Girl Bonnie Burton - Bonnie Burton talks with me about zines, writing, and her new Star Wars Craft Book.  This lady is serioulsy a rock star.

A WonderCon 2011 Recap - My recap of my fun weekend in San Francisco at WonderCon - drinking with droids, fun panels, watching Grant Imahara be inducted into the 501st, and more!
WonderCon 2011 Clone Wars Panel - My recap of the goings on at the Clone Wars panel at WonderCon; check it out to read about the very cool special guests at the panel!
Supernatural Equals Super Awesome - Why I watch Supernatural.

Recap of The Clone Wars Season Finale - My recap of the spectacular season finale of season 3 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.  A certain Wookiee makes an appearance.

Dollhouse Epitaphs One-Shot

Love and Capes Ever After #3

April 7, 2011

ElfQuest Fan Imagining - An ElfQuest Fan's Dream Come True

ElfQuest has been around a long time, since 1978 to be exact. In the beginning, creators Richard and Wendy Pini self-published the comic that told the stories about a group of elves who were displaced from their home. They were on a journey – or a quest – and it was an incredible one. The elves were fierce and brave. This included the females of the tribe. It was an inspiration to many, including two talented women that were actresses, producers, and very familiar with creating web series. These two women were talking about ElfQuest on Twitter one day, and the idea for a fan imagining of the beloved ElfQuest was born. Directors/producers Stephanie Thorpe and Paula Rhodes took the project to IndieGoGo and brought it to life.

Paula Rhodes as Nightfall
ElfQuest has a big fan base. It would take one to keep the comic going for over 30 years. Yes, 30 years. That period has plenty of stories to choose from. In fact, an actual big studio version of ElfQuest keeps coming on to the table, only to get knocked off. Warner Bros. currently holds the rights and progress is inching forward. One reason Thorpe and Rhodes wanted to create this fan trailer is to have a rally point for fans. They wanted to have something to point at and say – look, fans are excited and want to see an ElfQuest movie happen. They're starting off on the right foot.

The teaser for the almost five minute fan trailer was premiered at WonderCon on Friday, April 1. It has received over 50,000 views since. Fans are drooling and not just because the teaser featured scantily clad women with elf ears. Thorpe and Rhodes are fans of the series, and they took the time to do everything right. The costumes were sewn by hand, accessories were carefully reproduced, and the elf ears were specially sculpted to match Wendy Pini's design. Actresses were cast specifically because they looked like the elves. I had the opportunity to visit set on the second day of filming. The location was secluded, and the variety of sets available was ideal. Every scene was shot carefully and as many times as necessary. The wigs and costumes were all of the highest quality, and the make-up was perfect. Even up close, I could barely see the seams on the elf ears. Everyone on set was obviously happy to be a part of the project.

That love and respect for ElfQuest comes through in the completed fan trailer. I recommend watching it more than once. You'll want to look at the costumes and characters again and again. If you are a fan of ElfQuest, you'll be able to spot some shots right out of the comics. Don't forget to check out the gallery of production stills on their site!

ElfQuest Fan Trailer
Read the comics online for free

April 6, 2011

LEGOLAND Star Wars Miniland

I know a lot of awesome people.  One of these folks (thank you, @TKMANDO) invited me to the grand opening of the Star Wars Miniland at LEGOLAND with the 501st Legion Southern California Garrison.  He had seen my blog post where I mentioned that I wanted to see the new Star Wars addition and would get there one day and figured, well, why not on opening day?  Why not indeed.

The opening ceremonies were brief and by 10:30am, the general public started to arrive in the Star Wars Miniland area.  Even though it was crowded, it wasn't too difficult to view every scene.  There were seven areas representing each film and The Clone Wars animated series.  The models depicted popular scenes and featured lots of recognizable characters and moments.  Here are some of my favorites:

Episode I - Naboo

Legoland - Naboo Miniland

Episode II - Geonosis

Legoland - Geonosis Miniland

Episode III - Kashyyyk and Mustafar

Legoland - Mustafar Miniland

Episode IV - Tatooine
Legoland - Tatooine Miniland

Episode V - Hoth

Legoland - Hoth Miniland

Episode VI - Endor

Legoland - Endor Miniland

The Clone Wars - Christophsis

Legoland - Christophsis Miniland

The day held one more reveal: the team from the Travel Channel show, The Sand Guys, sculpted a beautiful Star Wars piece at LEGOLAND.

Star Wars Legoland Sand Sculpture

Though it was neat to see all the new LEGO builds, the best part of my day was experiencing the camaraderie of the 501st Legion.  You can read more about that in an article I wrote for Tor.com; it should be published soon!

See more photos of the Star Wars Miniland!

Back from WonderCon

I just rolled back to Los Angeles from my visit to WonderCon in San Francisco.  Besides the convention, I took time to visit wine country, eat lots of food, and swing by Lucasfilm.  Before I left for that trip I was lucky enough to visit the grand opening of the Star Wars Miniland at LEGOLAND.  Given all that activity, I do have lots of exciting posts and pictures coming over the next several days. 

At WonderCon, I attended some fabulous panels about comics, psychology and comics, ElfQuest, and Clone Wars.  You can bet I usurped the Iron Throne.  For now, I'll leave you with a picture of that feat.  I'll be posting some photos of LEGOLAND and the costumes from WonderCon soon.  The rest of my WonderCon coverage will go up at a few different sites, and I'll sum them up in a separate post.

April 3, 2011

Rambling Round-Up

Here's some articles I posted on the interwebs over the last week!

Plucker review - My review of the Brom tale, Plucker.  It might not be for everyone (and definitely not for kids) but it is a twisted, interesting tale.

Lego Stilettos! - I'm not even kidding.  LEGO bricks on stilettos.  I want to have a craft night to make them.

Death... Is A Girl - Discussion about the character Death in Neil Gaiman's Sandman comics.  She's exactly the opposite of what you would expect.

Wash with Geek - Some of my favorite geeky soaps from terrific companies!
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